Monday, August 28, 2006

Seattle is for lovers (of knitting)

by Wednesday I had knit enough on my gauge swatch to figure out parameters for this brown hoodie. I cast on that evening so that once I got on the plane on Thursday afternoon, all I had to do was start knitting and the plan worked great. The pattern called for four inches of 2x2 ribbing to start and I got about halfway through that in the 2-hour flight with a break for complimentary beer, chips and salsa (way better than a tiny cup of Pepsi and dry-roasted peanuts!). I was a little discouraged that it seemed to be taking so long, but ribbing is slow, like seed stitch. I finished up the ribbing on Friday while hanging around with Grandpa and the rest of the family and by the time we settled down to watch the Angels demolish the Yankees after lunch on Saturday, I was rarin' to go and I made incredible progress that afternoon. When we left for Pike's Market (closed at 5pm! what?) I was feeling very satisfied with the day's knitting. Sunday we got to the airport early (thanks to the complimentary with a scary-ass driver shuttle service from our hotel) and I got in a few more rows before settling down for two solid hours of knitting on the plane. By the time we got home, I had all this completed (see picture at left). I haven't measured it yet to see how much more I have to do before starting to shape for arm-holes, but this is the most productive knitting weekend I've had in a long time.
Add in visiting with Luke (home from Iraq), Mom, Dad and Grandpa, plus a fun traveling adventure with my sweet husband, PLUS a Mariners game and I'd say that measures up to a really fun weekend too.
We arrived at Santa Barbara Airport at 10:30 on Sunday morning and by the time we got back to Ventura after dropping off our ride, picking up cars and checking in with Wes' squad (they were all working!) we got home around noon and started making up for the time away: checking mail, making grocery lists, etc. We watched a fun movie last night after dinner and I was able to knit a little more, but mostly was paying attention to make sure I got the jokes :)

Mom modeling the pink sweater

I got all the beads sewn on in time to bring this with me to Seattle so I could make Mom real comfortable and take pictures of her (ha). The length on her is perfect, so I am glad it worked out! I was sad when I realized I had knit this top too short for myself (anxious to get to the next step, I guess, since this was a big learning piece for me), but Mom had her eye on it while I was still knitting :) and now she can hang on to old homework of mine, like she did when I was a kid. And now we can officially retire the big head picture!

Taylor modeling her jumper

This morning Kristina sent over this picture of Taylor wearing her cute jumper! It looks like it's a little too long for her, but it is also a million degrees in Arizona right now. By the time the weather cools off, it should fit her just fine!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

good news/bad news

so, the bad news first ... on Monday night I had the front shaping done on my x-back tank and only a few inches of straps to complete the project. I connected the front straps together with a stitch holder so it resembled a halter top and tried it on ... in the month or so that I have been sporadically working on this project, my running mileage has more than doubled so I have dropped a couple of pounds (most noticably in my cans, unfortunately! and pooch, fortunately! my hips are ample as ever). I also realized that when calculating gague, I did not take into account the amount of give that seed-stitched ribbon yarn has and when I put on the top, it was far too big. My choices are now to rip it all out and start over, or hang onto it until I gain 15 pounds. I am hoping the former never happens, so I will have to rip this project apart and start over. This could be good, since my two other projects I currently have are quite challenging and I would probably welcome the chance to mindlessly seed stitch in front of the television some days. However, it is disheartening to rip out six balls worth of knitting, so I will most likely put this away for a while.
GOOD NEWS: my brown cabled hoodie is going to be sooooo cute. I have knitted up a swatch to figure out my gague (smaller than called for! but I think that's because I am using a blended yarn, instead of 100% wool, so the yarn is a bit thinner) and also to test out knitting cables from a chart, instead of written directions like I had for the blue project. So far, so good. I just need to take some new measurements and make sure I don't make this too big so I look like a bag lady, or too small so I can't lift my arms while wearing it. I don't know if you can tell from the picture (camera phones aren't known for their attention to detail) but there is some nice pink fleck action going on in the swatch too. I have quite a few pink warm-weather tops that I can wear with this hoodie when the weather turns colder. It has been hot in Ventura this week, but Brian mentioned feeling a "fall chill" in the air this morning while surfing.
Tonight Wes is golfing with Matt and Andrew, so I have the apartment to myself to pack for Seattle (leaving tomorrow right from work) and then watch the season finale of House (I missed it in May, but TiVo came through for me last night when it re-ran) while I cast on for the back of this sweater and knit a few rows to start it off. Once I get in my seat on the plane (next to a stranger, most likely ... note to self: charge iPod tonight) I want to be ready to take off knitting right away!

Monday, August 21, 2006

more cables! and a hood!

so last week I finished knitting the blue project and started shaping the top of the x-back tank. I had some quality knitting time yesterday after doing five hours of laundry and house-cleaning (domestic goddessing is not as glamorous as the name implies!) and all that is left on the x-back is the straps. Just seven stitches across for a lot of inches, then three-needle bindoff and done! probably could get it done tonight depending on how late we run and if Wes wants to just sit around and watch TV. so, in anticipation of this weekend's plane trip (yay Seattle! yay Luke!) I stopped by Anacapa Fine Yarns at lunch. I thought I had my heart set on making this, but when I got ready to leave for AFY, I decided to wait and browse through the many books and magazines Lois has available. I think this is mostly because I did not want to pay $5.50 for just one pattern.
And I definitely made the right decision. The very first magazine I picked up, KnitScene, had three patterns I was interested in making, just at first glance. The magazine costs $7.99 so this is a much better deal - plus it is full of articles and ads for other knitting websites and products. There was even an article on felting without a washing machine, which I am very interested in, since I have to pay to use the machines at our apartment complex and I don't want to clog up anyone else's washer with lots of fuzz from the blue project. So I feel like this was a good investment. The pattern I liked best was this gorgeous cabled hoodie cardigan (pictured at left). In the hardness category it is "ready for a challenge" so I hope I can handle it ... I still have not technically made anything with arms. But I know how to do cables, so I should be okay. Lois will love to help me on anything I get stuck on, I am sure :)
I first picked out a great royal blue flecked with grey and orange, but there was only one ball of it at the store and it turns out that was a really OLD ball of yarn and Tahki Yarns doesn't even produce that color anymore. So while I was sad and lost, wandering around the store for a while, I finally decided on brown. This is a good neutral color and the tweed yarn used in this pattern has great flecks of pink and white in the brown yarn, so I was sold. I used my AFY Frequent Buyer certificate to save $25 on my order (love coupons!) and now I am back to work, dreaming about starting on this project! I will probably try to do a gauge swatch before getting on the plane to Seattle on Thursday because the yarn I bought is a little bit different than the yarn used in the original. The original called for 100% wool yarn and I don't think it gets that cold here in Ventura, so I bought Tahki Yarns New Tweed, which is a blend of 60% wool, 14% silk and 26% viscose to keep it from getting too warm. At first I was really disappointed I couldn't use the blue, but then I remembered that last winter I wore the crap out of my brown pull-over and often thought how nice it would be to have a cardigan of a similar color. Now I will have one - with a hood! That makes it extra great :)

Friday, August 18, 2006

you know what I hate?

when I just finished lunch but I am still hungry ... what's up with that?

anyway, on my way to do some car knitting since I remembered to bring my other tools today. It's Friday, no one is in the office ... zzzzz ... need to get away from my desk before I pass out. Will have lots of work to do when I return to get me through to 5pm since I now place all the ads on the editorial pages (new responsibilities!).

p.s. just spent a whole paycheck on two tickets to Seattle for next weekend! can't wait to see Luke (haven't seen him since Thanksgiving) and Kristen (ditto, even though she has been in cali all summer. whatever.) and mom and dad (when did they leave on the journey across america? May? It was after the Ducks game, that's all i remember). and maybe Grandpa too! And we're going to a Mariner's game! whoohoo! so now I have to finish mom's pink shell and have to find a new project to bring on the plane since we got tickets sooo late and there is no way there will be two seats together for Wes and I

Thursday, August 17, 2006

short lunch (and Christmas is coming!)

big plans to knit on the x-back tank at lunch today ... I even drove away from the office and parked by the beach to truly enjoy myself ... however, I didn't read ahead in the pattern while packing up my stuff last night and didn't realize that I would need a cable needle and stitch holders to work on the third row in on the work I planned to do today, and those tools got left at home. So I knit two rows and turned around and came back. But I did read through the rest of the pattern while I was still in the path of ocean breezes and realized that I am just about done with this thing. I have already bound off most of the back (saving just 12 or so stitches live which I will pick back up for the straps, you can see them in that picture on the holder) and the next row in my pattern is where I will split the front to form the v-neck. The rest of the pattern will require me to pay attention at each row to make sure I am getting all the decreases for shaping in the right place, but there isn't a lot of actual knitting left to do.
So now I really am looking ahead to my next projects. If anyone wants knitted Christmas presents, I would like to start on those ASAP. Feel free to browse the links on the right for patterns and let me know if you see anything you like ... also, here are a couple of patterns I would enjoy making if someone would wear them:
  • Ballet Camisole - I love knitting in the round and would like to try the gathered bust
  • Blossom (for a kid) - almost as cute as Taylor's jumper and things for kids go faster than things for grownups. but I don't know too many kids I want to knit for, so maybe not.
  • Fetching - I loved making cables on my blue project, plus these look easier than gloves (not brave enough to try that yet!) but still cute
  • Mariah - more cables! and I love hoodies. I will probably make this for myself sometime soon ... but it looks hard!
anyway, remember I can always switch out colors and usually switch out yarn too. If I am going to put in lots of effort knitting something, I want it to be worn! So let me know if anything looks like it would make a good Christmas present :) p.s. Mom - if I make it to Seattle, you aren't getting a Christmas present, but you do have a birthday to plan for too, so I might be able to squeeze you in :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

when Wes is away ... Katie will knit!

so Wes was gone a couple nights this week in Fresno for some additional training. So I got caught up on my TiVoed shows and also did some crazy amounts of knitting. Monday night I got caught up on Grey's Anatomy and finished all the pattern rows for the blue project before I wanted to pass out (also ran 3 miles at recovery pace with Tia that evening before coming home to cook dinner for Wes before he took off). Last night I didn't run (I had done some strength training before work that morning), so I came home and enjoyed back-to-back episodes of House that I had missed at the end of the season (what is it with me and hospital shows all of a sudden? I never really watched ER ...) and finished knitting the blue project (still have to felt it) and started sewing beads on mom's pink shell. It takes a long time to sew those little beads on the big piece of knitted material. I am less than half-way done ... but I will get it done by next week! If we can go to Seattle (trying SO hard to make it work) I want to bring it to give to mom then. Tonight I have a hard workout planned and then Wes is coming home from Fresno and is cooking dinner, which means I have to do dishes, so might not have time for more sewing, but tomorrow at lunch I will continue working on the x-back tank. I am ready for new projects!! Maybe this ... or this or a cardigan I like in here ... I can't decide! :) but I am leaning more towards things I can wear in colder weather. I figure my tiny lacy wrap will be done by next spring if I work on it a little at a time! I am not going to try and finish it while the weather is still balmy this year!! I will just make myself crazy.

Monday, August 14, 2006

making new time to knit

My mystery blue project is almost finished! I used most of my lunch breaks last week for knitting. This is good unless someone stops by to chat and then I get distracted and mess up the cable pattern. This happened on Wednesday and I couldn't trace my stitches back to fix it, so I stopped by AFY and Lois ripped out a couple of rows to get me back on track. I can drop one or two stiches at a time to go backwards on a project, but I am not brave enough to pull out a whole row all at once. For that I am grateful to Lois for her help!! The shipments I was waiting for also came in so I was able to pick up a couple more balls of the red ribbon yarn to finish off that cute x-back and I exchanged the skinny green yarn for skinny turquoise yarn that I like much better for the lacy wrap.
I am having to reevaluate my knitting time and figure out a new schedule. I used to just knit all night while Wes was working, which got me through some projects very quickly, but also didn't allow for much sleep! Now that Wes is on day shift and I am running more to prepare for the Nike Run Hit Remix 5-mile, I don't have as much time at night, but I also do not go home for lunch as often. Lunch breaks have now become my main time for knitting. I also grab a few rows here and there in the evenings before Wes gets home on days I do not run, or if there is a ball game on, but we have been watching less television lately. My list of things that I want to knit keeps growing longer ... My priorities now are the blue project and the x-back tank, once those are finished I will concentrate more on the lacy swatch to get the pattern right before I cast on hundreds of stitches for the sweater. I also need to decide what Christmas presents I will be knitting and get started on those. I am going to try and only have two projects going at once (the lacy wrap being one ... since it is so complex, there are lots of places I wouldn't bring it so I need to have something a little easier to carry around to bring to work and other places).
This newfound realization that I probably won't get to make all the projects that I want to make has led me to purchase a few sweaters at the store, instead of making them myself. Also, now that I can knit my own cables, I find I am more attracted to store-bought sweaters with cables.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

a little too busy right now ...

haven't made much progress on any of my couple of projects I have going. I haven't been able to get to AFY in the past week since they are not open late into the evening and I have been running a lot after work. Also haven't had time to work on the cabled project since this weekend was busy busy busy and I had to drive myself so no knitting in the car. Friday night was Mark's wedding,
Saturday I drove to HB for birthday lunch with Grandma (okay, I just remembered ... Grandma and I did have a little knitting/crochet-fest after lunch. I got four or five rows in) and then Amanda's housewarming party in the evening. I got up early on Sunday for breakfast with Leslie before heading out to Long Beach for lunch with Leanna, Mark and Troy on my way back up to Ventura. I hurried home and even had time to stop at Costco and make it to the apartment before Wes should have been home from work but he ended up getting stuck there until 10pm! Even though I missed him, it was nice to have some time to myself after being around people all weekend ... I thought about picking up the knitting again, but all I really wanted to do was sit and not think about anything. I couldn't even concentrate on a new book for too long ... so I passed out in front of That '70s Show :) anyway, maybe I will get in some good knitting time at lunch today ...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Treasure Hunt

I bet if you really wanted to, you could figure out what project I am working on ...
anyway, Wes is back on the day shift now (yay! we are a real family again!) so my nighttime knitting is limited, but I love taking a knitting break in the middle of the work day. It is a good way to chill out for an hour. Today and yesterday have been good lunchtime knitting days, and I had a little bit of time while watching the Angels game last night, but cables take longer than straight knitting so it is taking a while. I have finished four of nine 12-row pattern repeats though, so I am almost halfway done. whoo! I'm planning to make a couple of these little projects, but I got a call from AFY while I was in Tahoe saying that my extra red ribbon yarn shipment arrived, so I need to run by there and pick up some more balls so I can finish off that project too, but between knitting at lunch and running after work (starting to train hard for the Nike Run Hit Remix in September!) I haven't had time to get there. I am not in a hurry though, these cables are keeping me occupied for now!