Saturday, November 15, 2008

My first hat!

I hope my MIL likes it. I love it.

and now the REST of the story

So I told my friend this story and she almost had a heart attack. Me? I really didn't think anything of it...

So back to talking about stitch markers. When I was making my hat, I used a stitch marker for the first time. It's just a round little circle that you move from one needle to the other as you knit in the round so you know how many rows you've knit, etc.. Easy, right?

Well I was on the bus knitting away on the hat. Knit, knit, knit. Knitting in the round goes FAST, people. I'm sort of shocked how fast. Anyway, I got to the point where I was starting a new row and I moved the stitch marker over to the right needle... except I didn't. The marker fell. In the dirty bus. In the evening.

Now these buses can end up being extremely crowded, depending on what time you catch it. This was one of those, and I had someone sitting next to me. I tried to look as best as I could for the marker, but there wasn't a lot of wiggle room. Shoot! I had really just gotten started. I was bummed, because I was making such good progress on the hat, and bus time is my knitting time.

I tried to think of an alternative. I didn't have paper or other string in my purse to use instead. I thought, and thought. Then I remembered that I read that Crazy Aunt Purl used some childhood ring as her stitch marker. "Ah Ha! Look at how smart I am!"

So I took off my wedding ring and put it on the needle (this was the point in the story where my friend was horrified and sure that I was going to say I ended up losing it). I wasn't worried. I just knit away, happy for my solution. I was proud I had come up with something so I could keep on knitting. So I knit for the rest of the ride and had perfect timing - we got to my stop just as it was time to move the stitch marker (ring) to the next needle. I took the ring off the needle and put it back on my finger. Wah Lah!

I walked into my apartment building, strutting and thinking that I was just TOO COOL and TOO AWESOME.

Fast forward to the next morning, when I go to the bus stop, still smirking about how smart I was the night before. I boarded the bus, took a seat, and immediately started knitting again. I did about 20 stitches, and my smile faded. Oh crap. OH CRAP. I had forgotten to get a stitch marker, and had just continued knitting on my own in the morning.

That was neither cool nor awesome. In fact, it was pretty dumb. There was a work around, but that'll teach me to get too cocky when it comes to knitting!

Keep on knittin' (and stop struttin')!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bits and Pieces...

So work has been.... crazy. Usually I use knitting as my way of relaxing when work is crazy, but it's been so crazy that there hasn't been all that much relaxing. I still knit on the bus on the way to work, but really that's about it. I even had to work some of the weekend, but let's talk about more interesting stuf... knitting!

Last weekend one of my knitting pals came over for a yarn, fondue, movies & wine. We had a grand old time, and since she's an advanced knitter, I asked for help with starting my hat. I hadn't knit in the round before, and I definitely hadn't made a hat. She introduced me to something I hadn't done before: gauge. For scarves and even baby blankets it isn't necessary, but for something you're really going to wear (unfortunately) you need to make sure the gauge is correct.

So I started according to the needle size the pattern called for. I knit four inches and then showed it to my friend, so she could measure. Well. Apparently you aren't supposed to knit every row when you're doing gauge. You're supposed to do a row of knit, then a row of purl (aka stockinette). CRAP! I undid the whole mess, and started again. When I was done doing stockinette for four inches, I handed it over to my friend again for the second measurement. Nope, not right. I needed to use smaller needles. I had started with 11's, so she suggested 9's. I gave it another whirl. Take three and...Nope, not quite right. CRAP AGAIN! This was getting old, fast, and we were almost through a movie and a half! I tried 8's the next time and... success. Finally. Thank God, or I would have stuck a size 8 needle in my eye and cried. Now we could focus on what the real goal was - learning to knit in the round (and use a stitch marker). We had enough time for like two rows and that was it, but it was enough. In the round is easy peasy so far.

And boy do I have a story about stitch markers...

Keep on knittin'

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A sixth scarf.... and a little OOPS!

I made this scarf in two days, basically. It could be made in 2-3 hours, really. It's the same pattern I used for the green and gold scarves, but I made this wider. I told the friend I made this for that it reminded me of a muppet. Good thing she loves Cookie Monster! You can't tell in this camera phone pic, but it's blue.

In other news, as I was binding off this scarf I quickly noticed that I had bound off too early. I had three stitches left and no yarn to bind it off, let along to finish. Yikes! Usually I have a little too much left. SO I put the yarn to the side and tried to think of how I could fix it. The solution actually took a while for me to come up with, which is embarassing. Basically I frogged two-three rows and then put it back on the needles. It got a little twisted, which was easy to fix, and then I was able to bind it off correctly. Shew! Crisis averted and scarf number six is now in the books!

Keep on knittin'!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oops - another one!

I forgot to post this pic of my friend Olga's scarf. The cell phone doesn't do it justice - very pretty yarn. I hope she likes it :). This is actually a wine colored scarf - hard to tell from this. Various shading, though, as you can tell. It's a cute pattern. It didn't pick it up well in the photo, unfortunately.

Scarf five.... finito!

I finished the scarf for my friend Colleen. I hope she likes it. I originally had some fancy black yarn, but it shed too much I knew she'd be unhappy. I think the silver will look great with her black coat. Crossing my fingers that she likes it...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Aw, Knots!

I guess this happens to every knitter sooner rather than later. Their first experience with knots in the skein. I hadn't experienced it until I bought some yarn for a scarf I'm making for my friend for her birthday. The yarn is Patons Shetland Chunky. It's a wool/acrylic blend. It's not scratchy, and I absolutely love knitting with it. I don't love, however, that the first skein I knitted from was a tangled/knotted mess. It had both ends in the center. Usually there is one on the outside and in the center. What a pain! I spent almost as much time trying to untangle the yarn and then make a ball as I did actually knitting that skein!

One of the ladies in the knitting group at work told me she always knits from the outside. For some reason I thought, "how messy!", but she's totally right. From now on I will pull the yarn from the outside and hopefully avoid the knots. I can't be bothered with knots - there's tons of knitting to do!

I'm finally almost done with this scarf. I'm knitting from the back for the first time, so when I have to tink it's taking me a while to find out how to tink that stitch. I've accidentally twisted or dropped and have had to go back a full row to fix it. I'm not used to how the stitch looks - knits and purls, on the other hand, are easy. But I really love the pattern and think with this yarn it looks great. I hope my friend likes it. It's the scarf I like the look of the most so far...and it will be my fifth scarf! Wow! I actually finished five things. Who'd a thunk it? Six if you count the dish cloth (which I barely do). I still have four scarves and two hats to go before Christmas, i think. And with the weather cooling down this weekend I really wanted to start on an afghan. Lots to do!

Keep on knittin'!

Knitting prezzies and enjoyable lunches

Now that I have this new hobby it makes it pretty easy for my hubby/friends/parents come present giving occasion. Sweet! I got a great needle holder from one of my friends for my birthday, and a great Vogue knitting book from another friend. I love them both so much! They both make me smile when I look a them. My hubby got me a gift certificate at a knitting shop in Manhattan that I need to go use at some point, too! Sweet. Fancy yarns.

My coworker/knitting buddy Elizabeth gave me a present out of the blue. Let me give a little background first. We both were going to what I called the 'lower end' yarn/fabric place to check it out. As soon as we walked in, I was a goner! Love that yarn. Great stuff to choose from and so much cheaper than the little shops. Elizabeth was laughing at me as I kept asking her, "How much do you think it would take to make a scarf in this yarn? What about a hat and scarf?". At one point she asked me how much I had in my basket. I just looked at her and blinked. I had no idea. I was in the zone, baby!

Fast forward to last week when Elizabeth told me she had something for me. She stopped by my cube to give me something I'll carry around with me from now on. It's is a tri-fold laminated sheet that includes various garments and how much yarn is needed to make it. It's awesome! Thanks again, Elizabeth!

Getting presents out of the blue is great. The only thing better is when they're related to knitting.

Keep on knittin'!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Yarn, Yarn, Yarn

When I first joined ravelry I noticed people talking about their 'stash'. My coworker told me about hers (and she has one in the office as well as her home!). I got the fever, and immediately placed an order for some cotton, and some other yarns I thought looked cute online. The good news was I had started creating my very own stash. The bad news was I really didn't buy enough of each kind to make anything more than maybe a hat or baby booties or the like...and I don't know how to make hats or baby booties.

I just hadn't learned how to tell how much yarn it was going to take to make something that I actually wanted to makie. And I'm still learning that one. Very slowly.

I'm an impatient person. No doubt about it. I want to know how to do all the stitches now! Shouldn't the yarn come with some sort of magic that guides you while you're working with it? Wouldn't that be awesome? I get for now I'll just have to be content with knitting, perling, and fondling the yarn.

Keep on knittin'!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Another One Bites The Dust!

I made this scarf for my coworker, who made me bread and gave me some soap that he had made the last time I had to travel to the midwest for work. He liked the color from this picture (even though he originally requested blue). I tried to tell him you don't need a blue scarf with a blue coat. He'd look like a smurf.

Admittedly I shared that information with him because I was almost done with this green one. Hee hee. I am waiting to find out if I need to block it or not, then I will send it on to him.

Keep on knittin'!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Promises, Promises

The other day on the bus on the way home, the bus driver shouted back to me:

"Are you making a baby blanket for my baby boy?"

Keep in mind, I was knitting the green scarf at the time. I replied:

"No...but I could make him a scarf!"

"A scarf?! He's six weeks old!" he exclaimed.

"Well... maybe when he's older I can make him one." I bargained.

I am not promising blankets to anyone else. If I ever make another blanket it will be using very large needles and chunky yarn! Oi! Sooooo slow! Although the other day in knitting group I got about 8 rows done, which is pretty good when you figure each row is 132 stitches. But still... it feels like it's taking forever.

I have about five more scarves to get done by Christmas, which won't be bad at all, actually. As long as I don't promise any more blankets. Eek.

Keep on knittin'!

Friday, September 12, 2008

This blanket isn't going to knit itself...

Boy, ain't that the truth.

While I've put the blanket on hold, I've gone gang busters on the scarves. I'm working on my third scarf now (finished two), and finished a dish cloth. Also, my mom said in email that knit cloths are nice because they last longer. Well guess who's getting at least one dish cloth for christmas? Bwahahaha. Suckah!

I started the blanket first. Then I decided to try some smaller stuff 'to work on during the commute to work'. That was my excuse, but it's really all about the instant gratification. If I could just finish the darn blanket, I could really work on the quick stuff! So I'm coming up with a plan. I will work on the blanket when we have our knitting group at work. That's two hours every other week. I'll also try to work on the blanket at least one night a week. We'll see how that goes.

My mom has only made one baby blanket in her life, and now I understand why. It takes forever! Sheesh. Oh well...

Keep on knittin'!

Another FO

I finished my second scarf while sick today. I had about an hour and a half where I felt OK, and finished the scarf. Otherwise, I knew I was sick when I didn't want to knit!

This scarf was incredibly easy, knit on huge needles and only 12 stitches wide. It only took one skein of yarn, too. Talk about instant gratification. Hooray for Lionbrand! I might keep this one for myself.
Keep on knittin'!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Alternate use of dish cloth...


Tales of a dish cloth

Once I finished hubby's super-cute ribbed scarf, I decided to start something small. I wanted instant gratification, basically, so I used one of my peaches and cream balls of cotton and began a dish cloth. I started it in the airport, and then worked on it on the plane. The first thing I noticed about cotton was that it a) felt like knitting with string, and b) is a slippery little bugger on metal needles. I had to cast on several times, because it kept looking wrong to me. I watched the youtube video, thinking I was doing something wrong. I wasn't, it was just the way the yarn (I use that term broadly!) seemed to work. After I got two rows on it started looking more like knitting again.

The dish cloth pattern was simply 3K1P every other row, and K rows inbetween (check me out with the pattern speak!). As I clicked away, it quickly started growing. Let's talk about the clicking. I love the sound of needles clicking now. It sounds...productive. I absolutely love when my knitting group at work gets together and we're all chatting and clicking away. It makes me happy. The click and the slight swishy sound when you move the stitch off the needle and on to the other needle are like music to my ears. Obviously I am becoming a knitting lunatic.

Anyway, back to the cloth. So one of my coworkers saw a picture on my phone of the dish cloth and asked me what it was. I told her. Then she asked what the purpose of it was. "What do you mean the purpose of it? It's a dish cloth!" I explained. "Yes, but it's a knitted dish cloth..." she clarified. Um. Uh. Hrm. I changed the subject. Once I got back to work I showed the dish cloth to my coworker. His first response was "I never understood the purpose of a knit dish cloth". I'm now done with the dish cloth and have to say, I agree. I can't really see anyone using it. It's pretty enough (even for a plain one), however, it's not really all that funcational.

I've decided I'm giving it to the coworker who questioned why I would make one in the first place. Let her figure it out! Whee!

Keep on knittin'!

Online vs. Store

We don't have a car, so up until about a week ago I've only gotten my yarn online (or when a coworker went to a Michael's near her home and bought me my blanket super skein). The nice thing about buying online is that you can find some great deals, and you can pick what you need pretty quickly. Online has worked for me for the most part. I've had one case of getting the wrong dye lot on one ball of yarn when I ordered multiple balls of what was supposed to be the same color. It took a while to get it rectified, but they sent me the correct dye lot to match the other two balls...and they even let me keep the wrong one. So basically, online has been pretty OK.

Fast-forward to about a week ago when I was traveling for work. One of my coworkers is a crafter (makes soap and lotion) and mentioned he needed to get some ribbon. I don't ever rent a car when I travel for work, so he offered to take me to Joann Fabrics after work one day so that I could look at the yarn and he could check out the ribbon.

Oh dear.

I used to laugh when I read about people oohing and ahhing when they talked about touching yarn. I even read about someone who smells it (you know who you are). I thought it was funny and eccentric. I thought the people were a little obsessed. Perhaps they were a just a tiny bit crazy? I was wrong. That or I'm one of the obsessed crazy ones. I'd rather think I was wrong, frankly.

Walking into that store reminded me of going to Vegas the first time. So many colors! So many textures! So many accessories! Goodness gracious, I was in heaven. I picked up a basket and away I went. I ended up buying about a dozen skeins of various yarns. I also got three new sets of needles and a storage container (collapsible fabric one). How I managed to fit all that yarn in my carry on is still a mystery to me, but I did it. I'm glad I only had a basket to fill up and not a cart.

Keep on knittin'!

Friday, September 5, 2008

My First FO

As evidenced by the picture below, I have my first knitted FO (finished object). In normal people talk, I've finished my scarf!

Finishing the scarf was both exciting and scary. Exciting because I finally finished something. Scary because I wasn't exactly sure how to do it. When you finish something, you 'bind off''. This is basically just knitting in a way that removes the stitches from the needle. You're sort of knitting the stitches together, so that the scarf can't come unraveled once it's off the needles. This is all fine and dandy, and I learned how to do it via a video on youtube. Can we just pause here now and give a big shout out to the wide, wide world of web? Without the internet I'd be single and would have yet another unfinished scarf in the closet. So thank you, internets. Thank you.

Back to finishing the scarf...

So I did the binding off, and you're stuck with one last stitch on the needle. I looked at it and really had no idea what to do. I tried to find a video about it, but I believe the answer was so simple they won't even put it on youtube. I finally found someone on the Ravelry help chat that told me what to do. Basically, you cut the 'working yarn' (the yarn that's attached to your project and that you use to continue knitting) a couple of inches after the last loop and pull that through the last loop to create a sort of temporary knot.

This is not as easy as it sounds. Why? Because cutting the yarn was terrifying! You can't tink or fix or add anything to your project once you've cut that yarn. There's no going back. I told the ladies at work it was like cutting an umbilical chord. That scarf was my baby! I was nervous, but I played the role of a new surgeon and asked hubby to hand me my scalpel (scissors). I took a deep breath and then I cut. I took the last loop off the needle and pulled that extra long few inches of yarn through it.

I had a scarf! Hey, look! A scarf! I immediately stood up and started an impromptu celebratory dance. I danced, and then I added a sing-songy "I finished the sca-arf, I finished the sca-arf" to the mix. I put the scarf around my neck and took a picture. I put the scarf around hubby's neck and took a picture. I put the scarf around my dog's neck and took a picture. Good thing the cat was in hiding somewhere.

It was such a rush. I made something that someone could actually use... and it looked pretty good! I finished something! I totally understand the addiction to starting lots of projects. The more you start, the more you can finish. I think a lot of people don't finish what they've started, though, and that's the real shame. The finishing part is the biggest thrill. It's the reminder of why you spent so much time doing something. Sure, it's relaxing to knit. It's something you can do while you're doing other things (traveling, watching tv, etc.) so you feel more productive. But the finishing. That's the really awesome part.

Keep on knittin!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Finished Object (FO)

I did it!


Knitters have their own language.

When I first started going to the knitting group meetings at work, I understood about 75% of what they were talking about regarding knitting. There were plenty of new terms: increase, decrease, hank, tinking, frogging and blocking were just a few. I learned what increasing and decreasing were, because somehow I managed to do both on the baby blanket. My coworkers were amazed I possessed such talent. Especially when the pattern did not call for either increasing or decreasing. What can I say? I'm gifted. To this day if I were making something that called for either, I'd have to look online or actually read one of my knitting books.

I learned what a hank was (it's a way the yarn can come - either a skein, ball or hank) when my friend told me she bought a hank of yarn. "A 'hank'?!", I questioned. I thought she just didn't know the jargon yet, poor thing. It was me, though. Perhaps if I actually would read one of the knitting books I bought I would have known better? But who wants to read about knitting when you can actually knit. I realize saying this that I will probably not have any readers of this new blog. Um, oops!

Tinking is knitting backwards. It's undoing what you've done, because you messed up somewhere along the line. I'm altogether too familiar with tinking at this point. Frogging, is when you rip out a bunch of knitting you've already done and start from scratch. I had to do that on the hubby's scarf at the point where I changed the yarn. It was terrifying! I made it through to the other side, though, and I'm telling you that you need to look at your work often to ensure you don't have to frog it. Starting over sucks, dude.

Blocking is... ok, I'm still learning about blocking. All I know about blocking I've read on My Crazy Aunt Purl dot com. She is a hilarious writer, who is now a published author! Check her out at Her scarves magically grow after doing this blocking stuff. But the growth depends on the fiber used.

Fiber. Yeah, that's another one. You don't call it yarn. I'm not sure why. Is it some politically correct thing that's rearing its head in the knitting/crocheting world? Is yarn a bad word? The term fiber does make it sound fancy, let's face it.

And I talked about the stash last time. Everyone wants an impressive stash of fiber. My coworker has a stash at home and at work. I have a tiny stash at work. I haven't bought my fibers with specific projects in mind, but I feel the peer pressure of the other knitting addicts to grow my stash (as opposed to growing my 'stache) and don't want to be left behind. It's totally keeping up with the knitwits. I'm a follower when it comes to this stuff. I admit it.

Time to finish that scarf! Keep on knittin'!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A New Obsession

I've become addicted to knitting. I initially took up knitting for a second time when I found out my sister-in-law was going to have a baby. I wanted to make her a blanket, and my only experience up until that point had been a very long scarf (I couldn't figure out how to get it off the needles after several friends explained (and even showed in some cases) me how to do it). That scarf is still buried in the closet somewhere, silently weeping. But it is extremely long, so it might be sad, but a little proud of it's length. Size does matter. At least for scarves.

I joined the knitting group at work, who meet every other week. We have some real knitting professionals in that group (although they're all modest, lemme tell ya!). They've gotten me through the purl stitch, as well as my initial ability to increase and decrease at random. They had no idea how I did it (obviously I didn't, either!), but they thought it was hilarious that I managed to somehow do both without knowing it. Hello! Newbie here!

When I got stuck on the blanket and the group wasn't meeting again for over a week, I started a scarf for the hubby. It's a made of a soft grey Red Heart yarn, which I found out later on is something that the yarn snobs look down on. Whatever! It's good enough for hubby :D.

The scarf is what I knit when I'm on the bus in the morning, and sometimes at lunch. I'm almost done with it. The blanket I knit at night after work. I'm a little addicted. And a little crazy. I bought a bunch of yarn, which the enlightened refer to as a 'stash', just because I ... well, because that was what all of the other addicts seem to do. Unfortunately I usually bought only one skein (ball) of it, so there a very limited amount of things I can make. Oopsies. Live and learn.

I tried to convince the hubby that the scarf really only needed to go around his neck, and then it I could knit in a button hole and sew in a button and we'd call it good. He didn't want to be a fashion trailblazer, though, so it can actually wrap around his neck a few times at this point. I'm ready for a smaller project. Dishcloth, here I come!

I'll post a picture of the finished scarf once it's... finished.

Keep on knittin'!