Lickety Knit

In which I stick a toe into the humbling cyberknitting universe.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Secret pal gifties!

I arrived home today knowing I was in for a treat (my secret pal tipped me off -- she has tracking information and saw that the package had been delivered), but I didn't realize how much of a treat. The unassuming manilla envelope I found on my doorstep contained:

1) A funny card with a nice long message
2) Two delectable-looking chocolate bars from her (approximate) home city of Seattle (cool!) that I will devour the minute Passover is over
3) A fantastic book of knitting patterns for children -- every pattern is adorable and classic and not at all cheesy (my typical complaint with kid pattern books). It has a sort of New England beachy theme, I'd say, which is perfect! I love it and want to knit about 20 things from it.
4) Two balls of Debbie Bliss alpaca silk. That's what the label says, anyway. I actually have a hard time believing that it's anything other than a cumulus cloud that has been spun into yarn and died a rich, luscious purple. This stuff is unbelievable. I am thrilled. She also very considerately included a scarf pattern I might want to use the yarn on. However, I think I shall just slowly accumulate a huge stash of this stuff and then sleep in a big pile of it.

I'm off to post on the Knittyboard secret pal thread, but in case my SP sees this first, thank you thank you thank you thank you! You have wonderful taste and I am blown away by your generosity.

By the way, I'm coming to Seattle in August...perhaps we could meet up if I guess your identity by then! (Or I'll have to wander through the streets calling "Secret paaaaaal? Secret PAAAAAALLLLL!!!" until you are so mortified that you identify yourself so I'll shut up.)

Here, by the way, is a more straightforward picture of my loot:

My first foray into designing

I am designing a baby sundress. I don't really like to accumulate a stash, so when I finish projects I look for something to do with the leftover yarn right away (my recent opera scarf is a good example). For some reason I decided that a cute little infant tank sundress would be a good way to use up the ribbon yarn. This is the approximate extent of my planning for this garment:

96 st --> 48 st / dec 6 st. 8 times ev. 6 rows?

Then I just launched in. I don't yet have enough done to know whether I'm setting myself up for severe disillusionment.

My main problem is that I don't have a good sense of the approximate size and shape of babies, and I don't know ANYONE with a baby girl. (It disappoints me that society is still at a point where the moms I know, progressive as they are, would probably be hesitant to let me try my sundress on their sons just for sizing purposes.) The secondary problem is that even if I did have a way to obtain baby measurements, recent evidence has demonstrated that gauge on Deco Ribbon yarn is not a straightforward size indicator. So, I resort to guessing. The nice thing about babies is that they are sort of blob shaped and pretty much anything will fit them at one point or another.

Pictures this weekend of my progress (with my new digital camera, due to arrive today!).

Monday, April 25, 2005

X-back (take two) is finished!

I X-pected not to have any time this weekend to work on the X-back, so you can imagine my X-citement when I found some X-tra time and X-pediently went to work it. When it was finished, I tried it on, not knowing quite what to X-pect. I looked in the mirror. "It fits!" I X-claimed.

Turned out I was correct -- negative ease was key with the Deco Ribbon. In fact, when I was knitting it I was sure it would wind up WAY too small, but it seems to have worked out well. If you can forgive the (X-traordinarily) crappy quality of these pictures, you can see how it fits.

From the back. The rolls of shoulder fat are mostly the unfortunate result of the lighting.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Massive frogging

For those non-knitter readers of my blog who aren't familiar with the term "frogging," a quick explanation: it means ripping out massive amounts - sometimes all - of your knitting project. The reason? "Rip it, rip it," is reminiscent of the sound we assign to the croak of a frog. (This is distinct from tinking, which is undoing one stitch at a time by knitting backwards -- "tink" is "knit" backwards.) "Frogging" usage examples: "I had to frog all the way back to the waist decreases," "I frogged the whole thing because it turned out too big."

That last one is what I did last night with the Ribbon X-Back. Although I knit to gauge and the measurements seemed technically correct, apparently some yarn needs "negative ease" -- that is, it has to be stretched out (by the wearer's body) to fit correctly, so you knit it smaller than your actual measurements. That seems to be the case with the Crystal Palace Deco Ribbon. So now I'm knitting it much, much smaller, sort of on a wing and a prayer, and hoping it comes out a lot better. Stay tuned.

P.S. I was impressed by how maturely I handled the frogging of an entire project. The silver lining is that it's rather cathartic to rip out knitting. There's something vaguely satisfying about it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

More random stuff

Look, laptops with transparent screens!

Okay, not really. Just my most recent assignment for my photo class. Actually, the assignment was to make some sort of complicated representational alternate reality blah blah blah I couldn't really follow, so instead I used photoshop to make it look kind of like my laptop has a transparent screen. Why not? I would have preferred to have been knitting, though.

Note: There are people who do this much better and much more impressively than I do here, because they don't use photoshop -- they take a photo, make it their background, and then photograph that. I tried to do that, but gave up quickly. Haaaaard!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Opera scarf

This is the "opera scarf" that I'm making with the leftover Honeymoon Cami yarn. It's really easy to make (sl 1, yo, k2tog over and over again on both sides), but I'm disappointed by how uneven my edges are. I know blocking will help with that a little, but still, I wish they weren't such a mess.

A good mindless project to use up extra yarn.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Fun stuff

A post over on Peatbogfaery's blog led me to this enjoyable time waster: You enter text and then it searches the internet for images based on that text, applies all sorts of weird effects to them, and then randomly lays out both images and text. Rather addictive. Here are some of my favorites based on - what else? - Lickety Knit.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Not knitting related. Just a photo I took this morning that I thought was cool.

Ribbon X-Back!

The lighting is perhaps overly dramatic for these 3 inches of knitting, but it was early morning and that's what the sun was doing. Anyway, I am very, very excited about this pattern; it's knitting up quickly and is a lot of fun. The ribbon yarn is interesting to work with -- very different (and not in a bad way). I just hope I ordered enough of it.

In other news, I washed and blocked my honeymoon cami and could not believe what a difference it made! My stitches are now much smoother, and the sheen and drape are unbelievable. I can't wait to wear it! I'll be sure to model it soon and do an official "finished object" post about it.

I am using the leftover Mystik yarn from the HC to make a warm-weather dressy scarf that may or may not ever be useful to anyone. We'll see.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Knittins and Kittens: A photo series

Click photos for larger versions, if you think you can stand the cuteness!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Waaay past my bedtime...

I stayed up too late in a knitting frenzy finishing my Honeymoon Cami! To my utter disbelief, it actually fit when I tried it on! Although it has more than a few mistakes, and the stockinette stitches are uneven, and the ends aren't woven in yet, it's mine mine mine, the first adult clothing item I've ever knit and only the second thing I've ever made for myself. I'm so excited! More tomorrow (including a post over on the knitalong and probably gratuitous additional pictures)!

(Note: When I imagined the moment of completion, I did not expect to look like death warmed over. Please excuse my appearance in that photo. Focus on the cami.)

(Second note: You can see in the back of the picture an open box on the table. That's the yarn for my next project, a sweater for my husband, which just arrived today. Perfect timing!)

Monday, April 04, 2005

Knittyboard Secret Pal

Over on the Knittyboards, volunteer members periodically arrange "Secret Pal" exchanges, in which board members are assigned "pals" to send several small gifts to over the course of three months. This is the first time I have participated, and I'm very excited! In order to help participants tailor their gifts to their pals' likes and dislikes, we all fill out extensive questionnaires. I'm jumping on Amy's and Alesia's bandwagon and posting mine here for the boundless interest of the knitblogging public.

1. What is your current skill level? Intermediate (more or less, depending on the day)
2. What are your favorite fiber colors? Neutrals/earth tones; rich, muted colors.
3. Are there any fiber colors you absolutely do notlike? If so which? I do not care for variegated yarns (unless it’s very subtle), neon colors, or extremely bright colors.
4. What are your favorite fibers? Mostly “classics.” Naturals over acrylics, mostly, though of course there are exceptions. Super soft is always a bonus!
5. Do you have any unwelcome fibers (stuff you just don't need more of or like)? Novelty yarn, yarn where two threads/colors/fibers are very obviously mixed together (like a tweed), very bulky yarn.
6. What is your Dream Yarn? Soft, strong, luxurious to touch. Nothing flashy or trendy.
7. How do you feel about novelty fibers (both the yarns and the items made with them)? Oops, should have read ahead before answering above. I am not interested in novelty fibers or items made from these fibers.
8. What is the next thing you want to learn (techniques, etc.) on the needles? I just finished my first cable sweater and would like to do more cabling. I also really want to make a man’s sweater.
9. What item(s) do you knit the most? Baby sweaters, but I really want to be doing more adult clothing.

10. Allergies: Do you have any food, fiber, smoke, pet allergies your SP should be aware of? I can smell smoke in anything (that has been near smoke, that is) and can’t stand it. Other than that, just penicillin and shellfish, allergy-wise. But I sort of doubt that info will be particularly relevant.
11. Do you have an or wishlist you'd like to share with your SP? (That link should work for my Amazon wish list.)
12. What is on your "cool stuff" wishlist (knitting or not)? Pretty, frivolous stitch markers; an under-bed storage something or other (my stash, while not comparable to lots of people’s, is growing rapidly), a small bag to carry individual projects on planes, etc., double-pointed needles in various sizes.
13. What about stuff you don't need at all? Knitting-wise? Uhhh…my hobby only recently became a full-scale obsession, so there’s not much I’m maxed-out on yet.
14. Do you have hobbies other than knitting (tv, sports, collectibles, fave things)? The Boston Red Sox, photography, the Sims, my husband.
15. Books you would like (knitting or not): Many, many knitting books. I sort of want the Stitch and Bitch books, just because they seem to be instant “classics,” but I’m interested in a number of things. A stitch dictionary would be really cool. Or one of those books with small projects like “Weekend Knits” or “Last Minute Knitted Gifts” or what have you. Also magazines – I only subscribe to Interweave Knits.
16. For those of you who live outside the US, is there anything you'd like that you can't get your hands on? N/A
17. In the event your SP lives outside the the US, is there a particular yarn, etc. you can't find in the US? Hmm. I don’t know enough about yarn outside the US to answer this. I’d certainly be open to something I couldn’t get here! An issue of a knitting magazine not sold in the U.S. might be cool, too.

FAVORITES: Who/What is your favorite...
Chocolate: Any sampler box that comes with a map
Muppet: Rolf, the piano-playing dog (mostly because I love his “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” with John Denver on the “Christmas Together” album)
Flower: Blue hydrangea
Ice Cream flavor: Ben and Jerry’s sweet cream and cookies
Fragrance: Soapy clean; lavender
Shoes to wear: Well-worn sandals
Type of garden: Languid, overgrown, in full bloom
Animal: In person? My cat. As a zoo exhibit? Penguins.
Beverage: Cream soda

19. If you were candy would you be sweet, sour, or cinnamon? Hmm. I’m trying to think of a candy that is mostly sweet but with a sour coating. Sour Patch Kids? Ech, not what I want associated with me. Okay, so let’s just say 75% sweet, 25% sour.
20. If you were a fruit which would you be? A green apple. Classic, tart, preppy.
21. Are you a Java Junkie? No. You should see me after one cup of coffee. And by that I mean, you really shouldn’t see me. It’s not fun.
22. Your birthday, in case it falls during the swap and your SP wants to send you a card: February 19. I don’t even think my half birthday will fall during the swap. Maybe my quarter birthday? Yes, I will be 27.25 on May 19. Woohoo!
23. Do you have a personal mantra? No, but I’m about to make one up for the purpose of this question. Wait, I take that back. I just googled “personal mantras” to borrow someone else’s, and apparently they’re supposed to be kept secret. So yes, I have one, but I’m not telling.
24. How do you really feel about socks? How do I really feel? I had no idea this was something people weren’t forthcoming about. I am generally in favor of socks, but I stick with the basic solids. Nothing too crazy. Although my first-ever knitting project was socks, I no longer have much interest in making them.
25. What is your shoe size? 7.5
26. What kind of music (and/or which artists) do you listen to when you are happy? I almost always listen to my complete music collection on shuffle on my iPod. Favorites include the Dixie Chicks, Crowded House, Lisa Loeb, Simon and Garfunkel, Moxy Fruvous, and cheesy Broadway musical soundtracks. I’m pretty flexible us long as it’s not uber-poppy or too loud and screamy.
27. Rate yourself on a girly/fruh fruh factor from 1 - 10: If 1 is Janeane Garofalo and 10 is Barbie, probably a 3.
28. What languages do you speak (besides English)? Fairly bad French and quickly diminishing American Sign Language.
29. If you could have any "super power," what would it be? For practicality, teleportation. For luxury, the power to slow time (while still moving at a normal speed myself) – I’d like to make Saturday mornings last forever. But the good old classic – flying – is mighty, mighty tempting.
30. You're given $10,000 for traveling. Where do you go and why? Australia/New Zealand. Because that’s where I really want to go but without free money it’s pretty much beyond my means right now. I am dying to see that part of the world (and I wanted to go before LOTR made New Zealand trendy).

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Greatest Gift of All

I have recently discovered that my dear sainted sister-in-law (and, let's be honest, mentor and spiritual guide) has learned of my obsession with knitting. And although her tone, when she emailed my husband about it, seemed at first glance to be mocking, I could easily read between the lines to sense the hurt she was feeling that I'd never knit HER anything.

Well, I couldn't let things remain in that state. Immediately I put aside all my other, suddenly unimportant, knitting projects and began to search for the knitted gift that would be worthy of Rachel Sr., this noble woman - indeed this angel - who has played such a significant role in my life. But WHAT?

The nice women over at the Knitty Boards helped me locate a number of extra-special patterns (particular credit goes to Stitchy McYarnPants). Since the warm weather is coming (we're told), it seemed most appropriate to make something light and skimpy and summery. This was the frontrunner for a while:

But a bathing suit cover-up seemed as though it would have limited use (though there's no denying it could have doubled as a bath mat during non-bathing-suit weather), and I knew that Rachel Sr. would be so touched by my thoughtful handmade gift that she'd want the flexibility to wear it more often and to any public place. With that in mind, I selected these lovely shorts:

Nice (though doesn't the one on the right look kind of well-endowed in the crotch, for a girl?), but would she feel shortchanged to receive such a small item? I mean, really small? Wouldn't she want something that I really invested a lot of time into? Yes, I thought. Yes, she would.

After an exhaustive search (including a brief consideration of making this to brighten up her D.C. basement apartment and to provide her with a reminder of me that she'd see every day), I settled on this perfect project. It combines the skimpiness of the shorts with the full-size project of the cover up. Oh man, Rachel Sr. is going to look goooood in these:

"Urban Cowgirl" describes Rachel Sr. perfectly! She grew up in the wilds of St. Louis and now lives a crazy urban life in Howard Fineman's basement! Oh, and, wait! Wait until you see the back:

Pockets with hearts on them!! I mean, that is just so her! I can't wait to get started. She's just going to love me soooooo much! Watch here for progress!