Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I'm Like The Bode Miller of the Knitting Olympics

I could've been great. I could have a wonderful picture of the sweater. But no. I didn't finish.

I was doing great too, but I let my cross-stitch project get in the way. Sure I could blame the tonsilitus I came down with on Friday, but it was my choice to not work on the sweater.

I'm still going to try and finish, but there will always be the stink of failure on it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

An Overly Dramatic Knitting Olympics Update

Hello, everyone. Welcome to my first Knitting Olympics update.

So far my knitting is going very well. Due to a delay on Friday (work) I was not able to begin casting on until 6:00 pm EST. This late start, though, did not hinder my progress over the weekend. Even with periodic interuptions like important appointments, purchasing blizzard provisions and naps I was able to finish the back section of my sweater by Sunday evening.

That same evening I began casting on the sweater front and made it well into the second stripe. Monday I continued the impressive pace and was able to work from the decreasing rows in the increasing rows -- despite the freezing temperatures of my apartment.

But by Tuesday I began to lose steam, leading to an mistake that has become a minor set back. The pattern calls for an increase on each end of the row, but I only increased on one side. The realization of the missed increase came at a devestating time as well, four rows had been worked since the missed increased and I was growing tired since it was very close to my bed time. Frustrated with myself I went to bed with the shadow of the missed increase and ripping looming over me.

This morning I awoke with enough time to get ready for work and insert the needle into my stitches to begin ripping. I felt very proud of myself because I found a way to rip only to the point of where my increased needs to be, thus ensuring the integrity of the row and saving me the hassle of re-knitting the increase row.

Right now the rows still need to be ripped and I'm still feeling rather tired. I hope to be able to resolve the set back and get the sweater to an even better point than before. I also have my knitting circle tonight and the support of my teammates will be quite helpful.

As my project stands, even with the set backs encountered so far I look to be completely finished well before the end of the Olympics. Which leads to think of attempting a second project/competition. So far the choices are Jaywalkers or a Fortune Cat or Pasha. Tell me what you think.

Lastly, in a totally unrelated to knitting topic, this morning I was looking at pictures of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show winner. His name is Rufus and he's a cute dog. But I think this picture is hilarious:

It looks like he's smiling!!!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Swatch The Deck, Matie!

Lately I have been in love with Lion Brand Wool-Ease, mostly in worsted weight. And even though I bought a whole bunch of skeins of black on Sunday, yesterday I got a hankering to buy more yarn. So I rushed down to P&S with only 25 minutes left before they closed and stood in front of the Wool-Ease looking for the perfect colors.

Then I saw the first one -- chocolate brown. It was just right. Not to red. Not too yellow. And the thought of a cute striped sweater with a bateau neck came to me and I started looking for another color to go with it. Pink? Not the right shades. Peacock blue would have been perfect, but they only had one skein left. That's when I picked up one color that looked like a long shot, but the more I looked at it, the more it looked better with the brown. It's this strange green that's called Seaspray. It's not quite green, but I also wouldn't call it a seafoam. It's quite ambiguous, but I can't wait to start knitting it up! (Especially since this will be my first sweater design.)

While I was there I also took a look at their circular needles. P&S doesn't have the best circular selection. It's pretty much just bamboo and Susan Bates. Lately I've been shying away from bamboo (probably because I've been doing so much acrylic knitting) so I went to the Susan Bates. They had the sizes I needed in air-travel-freindly lengths so I grabbed an 8 and 9. I was about to grab a 7 when I saw the 10 and decided to get it instead. Even though I made my test swatch the night before I decided that trying the 10 wouldn't hurt.

What a difference! I cast on the same number of stitches as the 9 swatch, but the 10 swatch 1.5" longer. The thing that ticks me off, though, is that, on the 10s, I was still able to get 8 stitches per 2 inches into the swatch guage, as directed in the instructions. BUT, I'm still getting 11 rows per two inches instead of 10! Is it because I'm not using two strands held together? How is this going to effect the sweater? Will it be too long or too short? Is it going to be terribly baggy?

I'm still going forward with it, though, on the 10s, because part of me is saying that I never paid attention to guage before, so why should I start now. I'll know by the 26th what this daredevil knitting philosophy will mean for the finished item.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

In Training

Last night I began my test swatch for the sweater I'm making for the Knitting Olympics. I also did the math of how many rows are going to be in each piece so I could determine how many rows should be in each stripe. I think 10 will work.

Today, while I was reading yarnharlot.com I got linked to this great blog post about how to stay in shape during the Knitting Olympics.


The tip I loved the most was the one about yarn balls (get your mind out of the gutter). Since I'm using Bernat I was going to keep the yarn in their original skeins, but now I'm thinking that I should turn them. I do have the little hand crank machine, but I do make the tension rather tight (trouble of being a sewer for so long). But this tip will definitely stay with me when I roll other skeins of yarn.

I also went to the Transportation Security Administration website to find out what kind of knitting needles are allowed on planes and I'm quite perplexed. One of the things they suggest are circular knitting needles less than 31 inches in total length and that they are either plastic or bamboo -- no metal. What am I to do? I've having a fling with aluminum needles lately and it looks like things are getting more serious. I mean I really, really l-o-v-e metal needles. The yarn just flies off of them, especially the acrylics and acrylic blends. And what about the length issue? I'm making a sweater and I could only find needles in 36" length!

My only hope is to go through security and look very non-chalant. Other wise I have to mail them back to my apartment while at the airport.

Does anyone know what the restrictions are for knitting needles lately? Have they loosened recently and just not been posted on the internet?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Finally! A Reason To Look Forward To The Olympics!!!!

Last week at my STITCH N' BITCH (take that Sew Fast/Sew Easy) I met Julie, who also has a knitting blog right here. While I was at her main site I saw a very interesting button and I pressed it and it took me to the coolest knit off I've ever seen. Here, you try it:

How cool is that?!!

Since I've finished the sweater for my nephew and the sweater for my dad, and although I'm in the middle of the sweater for my aunt, I am going to do this!

I've already decided that I'm going to make the Magnolia sweater from my Rowan Vintage Knits book, but I'm modifying it a bit. Instead of using the Rowan yarn, I'm using Bernat. Instead of using two yarns held together like the pattern, I'm just using one. And instead of the somewhat solid color in the picture, I'm going to make stripes using a dusty rose and a medium charcoal gray. I'm also adjusting the needle size down one for the three sizes required, since I'm switching from two strands to one.

I'm going to start the swatching tonight so I can adjust my guage and I've already started working out the number of rows for the sweater sections so I can determine how many row should be in the stripes. I even bought circular needles so I can take them on the plane to Peoria with me, but I hope they won't be taken because they're aluminum.

I also want to finish my aunt's sweater before the Knitting Olympics begin. I am very, very determined to finish the projects I start now.