Thursday, June 28, 2007

At the half-way point--pausing to enjoy the view!

Progress on the pullover's sleeve became faster as I got closer to the shoulder thanks to the decreases. And the less stitches on the needles, the more rows I was able to do on the train! Returning home from work today with five minutes until my stop, I had almost finished binding off when I accidentally dropped a stitch. So much for my triumphant finale! I ended up finishing the sleeve at home in front of the computer. Here it is, in all of its triangular glory:

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A different perspective:

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The two finished pieces together:

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It's starting to look like a pullover now, eh? Two more pieces like this and I'll be ready to block and seam this puppy together! I'll probably cast on for the front in a few days--I'm a bit behind in reading the first six Harry Potter books before the final one comes out next month! (A change of activity is supposed to be good for concentration, right?)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Making a knitter of her

Today I sheared a live'un!!

My father, to be more presice. Sadly, he produces hair and not wool.

Ever since I learned about Ravelry, I was anxious to join and see what it was all about. So many knitters and crocheters in one place--who can say 'no' to that? Finally, a few days ago I received an invite and signed up! I haven't had time to explore it yet or get settled in, but after reading about various bloggers' addiction to it, I think it's only a matter of time before it becomes one of my daily habits.

Work was busy this weekend so I didn't get to knit as much as I'd hoped; my goal was to finish the sleeve I'm currently working on, but no cigar. I'm about 3/4 of the way done, with 11 of 16 repeats out of the way. 'Not much time to knit this week, so the soonest this piece can be finished is next weekend.

Eventually it'll look like this:

The list of knitting/craft blogs I read has gotten longer again. I read sporadically, but I do read them! It's extremely uplifitng to interact with people with a common interest, to give and receive compliments and critique. Mostly, I just like oggling at crafts!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

You CAN take it with you...but will you use it??

The mominator (aka my mother) and I left for a vacation on the 12th, but amidst the hustle, bustle, and shouting, I didn't find time for an update. So here it is, in all its posthumous glory!

Knitting needles and planes: there's a lot of infrmation about this topic if you know where to look. (Craftster has a thread featuring experience as well as rock-solid evidence; then there's TSA's list.) Up until the day before our flight, I'd been looking forward to whipping out my knitting 38,000 feet above ground...then the pink fog of dreamland cleared and I came to realize reality: no carry-on inspector in their right mind would let an abundantly-pierced gal wielding sharp, thin metal sticks onto an airplane full of unsuspecting people. Well, they might, but the odds were against me. Besides, I wasn't prepared: circs or even plastic needles look much more benign, and point protectors are good to have as well. Having weighed my chances, I concluded that it would be best for both me and the knitting if it rode in the suitcase. Better than having to stick it in an envelope and mail it back home.

Since our destination featured a beach, I'd imagined that I'd get a lot of knitting done there. And wow was I wrong! Maybe it's because I had forgotten what a sandy, wet place the beach was, or maybe the Harry Potter books I brought along proved more interesting (with #7 coming out soon, I've gotta get in the mood). So in conclusion, the knitting only came out in the hotel room, and just a few times at that. Silly me, I'd even brought materials for starting the front of my WIP, as well as my Vogue Knitting reference book and some larger needles and scrap yarn for the purpose of practicing new techniques. Oh, well. I guess knitting on the beach just isn't for me.

Knitting on the train, however, is definitely my thing. Getting a second job in San Francisco has proved to be pretty beneficial to my knitting, since there's not really much to do for the 35 minutes that I'm on the train. It warrants some interesting comments/conversations/glassy-eyed stares. The interaction is one of my favorite things about knitting, second to the finished product and the experience, that is!

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Small Mistake Almost Sunk This Kitschy Ship...

Yow, not one update for almost a month. (Some would call it a curse, while others insist that it's a form of genius that's closely related to procrastination).

To summarize: I was progressing well on my current WIP and getting a lot done at work...until I made a mistake. About halfway through the ridge-patterned section of my pullover, I must have gotten distracted by something (like my job) and instead of purling 2 rows, I only purled one and moved on. As I was knitting the next row, things didn't look right and I realized my mistake. No problem!, thought I. I'll just frog this row and that'll be the end of that. So I frogged the row, undoing the stitches one by one (they're so small that ripping them out will almost guarantee that some will get lost). My workday was just about over by the time I finished frogging, so I put my knitting away; I could go back to it the next day, right?

That's where things went painfully wrong (insert screeching violins here).
I didn't get a chance to knit at all the following week but when I started again Saturday morning, I was confident that I knew where I'd left off. The first ridge looked right but as I finished the second, I saw that the repeat didn't look right: the WS was on the RS, and vice versa. To say I was perplexed was an understatement. So I frogged what I'd done and set out to correct my mistake, a process that took almost 2 full days of knitting a few rows and frogging them again (stitch. by. stitch)! It got rather depressing after a while. I somehow finally managed to find the right place in the pattern repeat.

After that, things went smoothly until the "knit both sides at the same time" direction for knitting the neck. I'd initially thought that this meant keeping the work on the same needle and to keep knitting as usual. As I tried to knit on the other side of a bound-off row, the two sides became connected and I realized that there must be something else to the whole "knit both at the same time" thing. I looked up the term in my Vogue Knitting reference book, which cleared things up: each 'side' is to be knit using a separate ball of yarn. So I made another skein of yarn into a ball and things went merrily on their way.

Behold, the finished back piece!

I cast on for this piece on April 22 (Sunday) and finished on June 3 (Sunday); that's a little over a month. Not bad for knitting twice a week, plus a row here and there on weekdays.

A few detail shots:

A view of a shoulder and the neck opening.

Armhole shaping.

For the sake of variety, I decided to knit a sleeve now. My progress so far:

As suggested by Gloria, I've been writing out pattern instructions to prevent myself from losing my place (instructions like "decrease every other row 5 times AT SAME TIME cont. ridge pattern" or "*dec. 1 st each side, work even 3, dec. 1 st each side AT SAME TIME...." are just asking for it). Writing out the pattern repeat (k, k, p, k, etc.) and then adding whatever it is you have to do next to that row helps tremendously. I check off rows as I go and there's no chance of losing my place!

A (blurry) example of my notes:

This update is dedicated to a Mr. B. Franklin, whose aphorism I stole and twisted into what is now the title of this post. You rawk.