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The problem with being a product knitter

I hate ripping back my work. Hate it. I live with big-ish mistakes far more often than I fix them.*So, it’s Thanksgiving break and everything. And so I’m all trying really, really hard to get my two remaining sleeves on the Aran Wrap Cardigan to a point where they can be knit, rather mindlessly once school and chaos starts again.With Kalani‘s input, I decided to knit the sleeve caps mostly as directed. I say mostly because I figured out that what was really, really bugging me most about the sleeves, was the elongated seed stitch triangle on the front of the sleeve (the decreases of which, we figured, was what pulled the sleeve cap to the correct location.I decided to place 75% of the sleeve decreases in the front panel until the point where the triangle disappears (and then put the rest in the back seed stitch panel). This way, the triangle is shortened. I’m not even that sure if I like it right now. But I’m pretty sure I do.IMG_4688.JPGHello.  Please, don’t mind the self-boob-grabbing.See? Small triangle of seed stitch.Here’s what the back looks like:IMG_4690.JPGPlease ignore the bump created by the bunching of my short sleeve.Anyway… so I’m liking this, I’m pretty sure.And today, I spent most of the day working on the other sleeve. I wanted to get the short-rowing and decreasing out the way while the first sleeve was still fresh in my mind. So… I got to work.And I decided not to let myself try it on for as long as I could stand: it would be like a reward once I finished the decreasing. The Two Towers was on TV (it’s perfect for knitting-backdrop) and I just kept right on knitting.Finally, as my hands started to cramp, I went to try on the sweater. Curses.IMG_4692.JPGI did all of my decreases on the wrong seed stitch panel.URgh.Seriously?Luckily, I only really have to frog back to the beginning of the decreases. Not the whole sleeve/sleeve cap shaping. Still. WAY more ripping back than I ever wanted to do with this sweater. And I just want this beast to be DONE.*A big mistake I’m living with: The first two times I cabled the huge cable pattern in this sweater… I messed up the crossings. Rather than fix it, I’ve been crossing those cables differently each time.

Sleeve Cap in Need. Desperate need.

OK. So remember that sweater of beautiful, beautiful awesomeness? The one from Vogue Knitting with tons of pattern issues (no blaming the designer here).I’ve made some progress. In fact, everything is pretty much done except for the sleeves. The delay? The time and attention needed to pick up sts (in pattern) and maintain concentration to do a sleeve cap. Today/this weekend, I was going to have the time to do this exact thing.And then I hit a road block.Allow me to explain. So, if you’ll remember, this pattern is basically a beautiful, amazing rectangle with sleeves. Here’s a photo that illustrates this well.Hokay. So, I picked up the sts and began the sleeve. The problem (at least how I’m perceiving the directions) is that the sleeve cap is being placed in a really, really strange place.oddshort row lines.jpgThe directions (unless I’m completely off base – and if I am, please someone tell me) indicate that you should knit the purple row, and then short row, yellow, green then blue and continue in that manner. This puts the big, wide cable in the middle of the sleeve cap – definitely a good thing…But when you put the cardigan on… here’s where the short rows end up:oddshort rows 2.jpgNow… I know I haven’t actually made a sleeve cap before. But I feel like my American Apparel shirt nicely illustrates the way the sleeve cap should be. Don’t you think?Here. Wander and look at these sleeves. I’ll wait.I feel like I want to move the sleeve cap so that it goes like this:RowsIwant.jpgIt makes sense to me. But then I’m only partially confident that I can keep the large cable from getting wonkey. Because that would mean that when you look as the sleeve flat… the short rows would go like this:wantedshortrows2.jpgAnd that also seems kind of wonkey.Now, I’ll grant you that this isn’t your traditional cardigan pattern.  The fronts hang/are pulled across the front.  I still just don’t think that I should put the sleeve caps across the back…  And I think that if I moved the sleeve cap… some of the wonkeyness in the sleeves could be fixed.So.  The choice seems to be:  Make the cable across the back a little wonkey where it meets the sleeves*(see note below) or… make the sleeves a little wonkey.  What do you think?****  NOTE:  I made a mistake in making the cable across the back/fronts.  The big cable isn’t at the right pattern row where the sleeve holes are:  it’s supposed to be after the cable cross (and entering like 7 rows of work even) and not about to go into the cable cross.  I kind of think that the fact that it’s entering the cable cross might actually help make it look less wonkey if I move the sleeve cap.

A dirty little affair…

I’ve been working really hard on the Aran Wrap Cardigan (which really needs a saucier name). I promise. It’s just I’m at one of those stall points. You know, where you’re faced with starting the next section (in this case, an arm or the skirty part), but it will take some concentration to get to a point where you’re in a groove.And everything else just looks so, freaking, unbelievable sexy right now. Case in point:yummy detailYea, I know, hot right?So here it is, proof that I’ve been knitting. Scratch that. Crocheting.This project was the perfect, quick little distraction to my wandering fiber lust. I started it yesterday after my Granny Square class (I was teaching) around 3 ish and had it blocking by midnight. It’s just so yummy!Scarf it to yaAnd it only took one skein of the most pefectly autumnally orange Alpaca Silk ever. LOve. It.So I was working on this yesterday afternoon at a volleyball tournament (I was there to support a friend/supervisee)… and I’m crocheting along, minding my own business, getting into the game here and there. Yup. I was totally channeling the soccer mom thing. But it was fun.And I finished a LOT of the scarf!Pile o' AnneOne of these days, I’ll pick the Aran Wrap Cardigan back up.  Just not today.  And maybe not tomorrow.  We were meant to be.  But just not right now.

My Bliss

A funny thing happened yesterday. After a short conversation with one of my staff members, I walked back to my apartment at about 8:30 and as I walked, my brain was empty. There was nothing imperative for me to do, nor was there any catching up to do with on of my RAs. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but it was the first time in weeks that I’d been in this position. As I walked to my apartment, I considered taking a nap (even though I wasn’t tired).When I opened the door to my apartment, an errant ball of green yarn instantly caught my eye.I gasped aloud. I. Could. Knit.And a heavenly choir sang down from on high.I had a block of about 4+ hours where I could knit, uninterrupted, and without any guilt about what else I could be doing. Life is good. And knit, I did.IMG_3585.JPGI worked on my Aran Wrap Cardigan and made significant progress.  Before I started, I was an inch below that sleeve hole.I still love this project… and now that we’ve picked up our affair again, it’s like we were never apart.  Now I just have mile to knit and then the other armhole… and then a few more miles for the right side… and then some more miles for the skirty part…  Whooooo.  I’m in for the long haul, I guess.

I’m a Swatch-lete!

Barred Knit PatternI was going to resist doing the knitting olympics this round… but I decided that a swatch a day should be doable (and easy enough to “work ahead” – which I guess is like I’m doping, but don’t tell!) and so… we’ll have a swatch a day… but probably only occasionally on this blog. I’ll post them each day to the WTP blog, however.Yarn: Cascade 220 SuperwashNeedles: US #8Gauge: 5 st/inch after blockingPattern: Barred Knit PatternStitch Count Repeat: Multiple of 6 stitchesBook: A Treasury of Knitting PatternsPage: 152Comments: easy and pretty fun.

Secrets and Obsessions

IMG_2596.JPGI finished a blanket!! And, by my deadline! (check out Rav for the details.)I’d been wanting to make Babette (which is crocheted! ::gasp::) because it’s just so freaking pretty – and it reminded me of the blankets that my grandma used to have – but with a nice new modern feel. But I knew that if I made the blanket for myself, it would take years. Probably even longer than my log cabin did.So I pitched the idea to my mom (the one with the mad crochet skillz) that we BOTH work on it and present it to my sister as a graduation present. She liked the idea and one awesome yarn-shopping-trip later, we were all set to go. I did crochet some of the squares, though my mom did more than her share. I had the awesome job of seaming, weaving in the ends and making the border. The fun stuff right?It was worth it. My sister likes it, and as a friend said: It’ll be perfect for those movie nights.Next up:IMG_2628.JPGI started a new, mindless sock. I lurve it. The yarn came from a sock blank swap that we had over on Ravelry and the package totally made my day.I know that I promised that I was going to design a sock and show you the whole project along the way… but there are a few things stopping me right now, only one of which is that I haven’t yet come up with a stitch pattern that I want to use. The other thing?I have an addiction. An obsession really.I’ve become a twilight fan.Luckily, I only started the series 2 weeks ago so I haven’t had to wait that long for the final book to come out (tonight. Midnight. Eeek!) – but I’ve re-read all the three books and I can’t stop thinking about it. I joined a Ravelry group and it’s more than 3/4 of my posts (out of the last 30 days) on Ravelry now. At knitting night last night, I was yelled at more than once for checking out some of the latest posts on the topic.As you can imagine, reading about 2,000 pages twice (and daydreaming about irresistible vampires) has seriously cut into the knitting time.Anyway. I was ashamed and hiding my addiction, but now I just don’t care – I fully acknowledge that I have an addiction. Kalani reminded me that this is the first step. This should all be over in a few days and then I’ll hopefully be back to my knitting self.And Mom? You still cannot read these books. Edward is mine and I don’t want him in your head. I’m just not comfortable with that. Really, I’m just trying to protect you from this terrible addiction. Yea. That’s it. I’m just looking out for your best interest.

Popsicle! Limesicle!

sock3I’m pleased to be able to announce one of my secret projects!Yay!Here we have Popsicle (Rav link), a new sock pattern that features a mirrored patterning across the foot. I designed this for Three Irish Girls yarn company and their Sock Yarnista sock club.I’m incredibly proud of this design and the way it turned out. It’s pretty easy/simple… and the swooshing off the foot makes me hope that people will be able to avoid some second sock syndrome. Just doing my duty, you know…sock1One of the design challenges in this sock was that I had to figure out how to do the gusset decreases (since the instep had it’s own party going on, I didn’t want to crowd it with your typical gusset decreases). I knew that as Cat Bordhi explains, I could place the decreases where ever I wanted in the gusset section, just so long as they existed… I tried a few options and finally found a perfect solution… along the bottom of the heel. You can see a photo here that illustrates this.Um, so yay! I love this pattern and I hope you do too!Here are some specifics:Popsicle, Designed by Nicole HindesGauge: 30 sts over 4 inches (36 rows over 4 inches)Yarn: Three Irish Girls Kells Sport MerinNeedles: US 2 (But use what gets YOU gauge)Download available: at the Three Irish Girls Website ($5.95)The inspiration: This sock is an homage to the summers of my childhood. It’s a fairly simple, top-down sock with a heel flap. The interesting element to keep you out of the heat is the way the pattern melts off the top of your foot like a popsicle during the dog days of summer.

My Holiday

IMG_2399.JPGWhat a great weekend! We’re a great, crazy bunch. Here’s how the weekend went:IMG_2302.JPGI at some raspberries. Fresh from my mom’s bushes.IMG_2308.JPGWe played some cards and ate some yummy food.IMG_2323.JPGWe hung around and waited for the fireworks to start (there were 30 of us watching the fireworks).IMG_2363.JPGThey were bright.IMG_2359.JPGAnd a little crazy.IMG_2342.JPGAnd beautiful.IMG_2384.JPGAll these photos taken by me. On my honor. With help from this tutorial.IMG_2431.JPGThere were babies.IMG_2437.JPGAdorable, very photogenic babies.IMG_2423.JPGSuch cute babies.IMG_2450.JPGThere was some intense cardboard boat building.IMG_2480.JPGSome intense boat racing.IMG_2472.JPGA huge crowd to cheer on the boaters.IMG_2503.JPGWe don’t actually know who the people in the real boats are. Apparently they thought racing cardboard boats was an oddity worth watching.IMG_2447.JPGThere were some prizes. My team won the titanic award. We literally went down in flames.IMG_2516.JPGThere was the charity auction. My sleep mask brought in $55. The bottle of Oliver wine that I donated at the last minute brought in $70! The total donation from the auction? $5,600!!!!IMG_2535.JPGAnd because we’re not fun enough… we had a pinata too!IMG_2546.JPGWhew. I’m exhausted. Click over to the flickr set for more photos.

Braids made easy!

So, I just made the fabulous Bird-in-Hand Mittens. I loved this pattern and after I finished the first one, I wanted the second one immediately. However, once I cast-on for the second mitten, it lagged at only an inch long for like 3 days. Why you ask?The knitted braid! On the first mitten, I did the braid twice and when I reached the third braid, I ended up doing a purl round instead. It’s just that every time I went do do one of those braids, it took me like an hour to make it around. Definitely fidly knitting.So. There I was on my second mitten, contemplating how I can make the mittens match but get to the “fun” fair-isle parts of the mitten faster. Suddenly, I had it! A slipped line of crochet stitches. The best part is that you can join the braid seamlessly!Here’s a tutorial:First, you’ll want to have the line of stitches that you want your braid to be on top of. I marked that in my mittens with this little green string like this:Add Braid HereFirst, insert a crochet hook into the side of a stitch and pull up a loop. You’ll have one loop on your crochet hook.IMG_1343.JPGNext, staying on the same LINE of stitches, insert your crochet hook through the fabric, one stitch over from where your current loop is coming from. Remember that one stitch has two legs to it.IMG_1344.JPGBehind/underneath the fabric, hook the yarn.IMG_1345.JPGPull the yarn up through the fabric. You’ll have two loops on your crochet hook.IMG_1346.JPGLift the right most stitch over the stitch you just pulled up, and off the crochet hook (much like if you were binding off). It looks just like the braid does! And it’s so much quicker, especially once you get a rhythm going!So how do you do the seamless join?Well, once you get around, you’ll have one loop, right at the base of where you started.IMG_1347.JPGInsert the tip of the crochet hook right into the heart of the first stitch that you made (in between the two legs).IMG_1348.JPGCut the yarn in the back (with about 6 inches left for working with) and pull the string up through the fabric so the end is now on the right side.IMG_1349.JPGNow, you’ll basically be duplicate stitching to create the seamless look. Thread the yarn on a tapestry needle and pull it under the two legs of the stitch directly to the left of the stitch though which you pulled the yarn through the heart of.IMG_1350.JPGFinally, put the yarn back through the “heart” that you pulled the working yarn up through.IMG_1351.JPGWeave in the end and push and pull the yarn as necessary to even out your tension.Voila! You have a seamless braid!IMG_1352.JPGI hope this was helpful!

Making Slippers Non-Slip

I loved the slippers I made (Pattern: Felted Clogs by Fiber Trends) the other day – they are nice and toasty and I see myself wearing them a lot. I was worried, however, of wearing through them too quickly. Mostly, however, I needed the bottoms to be waterproofed. I plan to wear these slippers on late-night emergencies that my job may have me responding to. And, sad as it is, there is more than a tiny chance that I may accidentally step in vomit. Naturally, I want to protect the bottom of my slippers from such a sad fate. In case you want to do the same, here’s how I did it:First, you’ll need to gather your supplies:IMG_1080You’ll need:

  1. Slippers (or whatever it is you want to make non-slip)
  2. Silicone/Latex Caulking stuff. You can get this at any hardware store. Pick a better color than clear – it didn’t turn real clear for me (you’ll see in the photos later) – there’s a good selection of colors – black, white, brown and I think some other colors too… a good variety. Whatever you pick, however, you’ll probably be able to get at least 3 pairs worth of non-slip out of it – so keep that in mind when you buy your stuff (that was why I chose clear). Also – someone advised me to NOT get the cheap kind (which may peel off in layers) – so I splurged and bought the 7$ bottle. I’m not really sure if I succumbed to peer pressure for any legitimate reason – but he seemed to know what he was talking about. Also – please know that Silicone will be EXTREMELY slippery on a wet smooth floor. Latex, not so much.
  3. A caulking gun – borrow this from someone you know – I bet someone you know has one. I had to buy mine because there aren’t many people in the residence halls who have done any sealing (with caulk) recently – not that I actually asked anyone, by the way.
  4. Some means of spreading the caulk – you could use an old credit card – or a spreader thing like I did.
  5. Newsprint – for protecting your table/surface area.

After you cover your surface with newspaper, you’ll need to prepare your caulk tube. Consult the directions on the tube you bought – I had to cut the top off of mine – and poke a hole like below (I used a knitting needle).IMG_1081Next up, load the tube into the caulking gun. You’ll have to pull the trigger a few times to get the caulk to the tip. From here, the next step is to squirt the gel onto the sole of your slipper. You’ll need a lot. Squirt like crazy. If your trigger fingers get tired (it’s hard), do 1/2 a sole at a time.IMG_1083Don’t worry if a string of gel goes off to the side or somewhere that you don’t want it – just let it be and don’t worry about it for now – whatever you do, don’t rub it off and smear it into the slipper. Only smear the gel where you want the gel to be – and definitely smear it – rub it into the fibers.IMG_1085You can try to add a pattern into the slippers with your scraper if you want – try to come up with some sort of “tread” pattern. You can also skip the idea of a solid covering – and use the nozzle of the tube to write “left” or “right” or “hand wash only” or whatever the heck you want. If you’re going for the full coverage affect, make sure you’re erring on the side of too much caulk vs. not enough.IMG_1086Make sure you’re careful to get the edges (especially if you’re worried about stepping into something gross). Once you’ve covered both soles, let the silicone/latex “cure” as directed by the package – make sure they stay “sticky side up.” Mine took 24 hours to fully cure to the point where I was comfortable walking in them.IMG_1088Once the soles are fully cured, you can pull off parts of the silicone that aren’t where you want them – like if one of your squirts went awry – or if you covered too much of an edge – just cut or pull off what you don’t want. It’ll come off pretty easy.In the future, if you wear your slippers so much that you begin to wear through the sole – just-reapply with some more caulk. Double (triple) the length of the life of your slippers!And that’s it – pretty simple.A note about washing: A few readers have asked about the washability of this treatment – and I would say (with no experience, mind you), that a wash on the gentle cycle and an air dry is probably just fine.