Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I learned DPNs!

Being inspired by the number of beautiful Gretels I see on Ravelry and others' blogs, I took it upon myself to learn DPNs. After all, I can't cheat forever with the 12" circulars I recently purchased in Washington. (Which reminds me, I need to get around to posting about my vacation...) Last Friday, I sat down, looked through the Knitty tutorial of using DPNs, and taught myself to use them in 10 minutes. Yay! The prospect of finally getting over the fear of DPNs have opened me to an entire world of knitting that I had previously believed would always be closed to me. Hats, sleeves, mittens, fingerless gloves, toys, socks, oooh the possibilities! I think I will start with hats first.

To memorialize this momentous occasion (well, at least for me), here' s a picture of the very first thing I made with my new DPNs. It's really just a tube that I seamed up at the bottom, but I will be calling it my Bag Hook Cozy.

Hello there. I am warm and cozy.

Crochet and alpaca dreams...

My fall issue of Interweave Crochet finally arrived yesterday. There are several gorgeous sweater patterns that I would love to try. The one that caught my eye immediately is the Northern Dreams Pullover. It looks just like a crochet version of a Fair Isle sweater! Sigh. If I was to make the smallest size, it would still require 13 balls of baby alpaca. Looking online, that would bring the total to $91 before shipping! Even looking at cheaper substitutes would still total $70 if I want a sweater that is at least partially alpaca. Sigh. Maybe this is why I don't crochet sweaters and have turned to becoming an obsessive sweater knitter. Talia was amazingly budget-friendly. She only took less than 3 skeins of Cascade 220 that I bought on sale for $4.79, so even after shipping and buttons (that I got in Vancouver), the vest only came out to $20 total!

Northern Dreams Pullover

The other cardigan that stood out to me is the Stepping Stones Cardigan. It would require 12 balls for my size which would total $84 before shipping! Yikes! But so classy and beautiful.

Stepping Stones Cardigan

Besides my lovely magazine, my Custom Knits book arrived yesterday too! I was so happy with both book and magazine arriving on the same day. Custom Knits is the new book by Wendy Bernard whose blog Knit and Tonic I read religiously. She also designed the Opulent Raglan in the Fall 2008 Knitscene which is absolutely gorgeous. In fact, every time I go to B & N, I drool over the latest issue. I am majorly tempted to buy the issue just for that pattern, but I haven't made up my mind yet.

I have stopped work on Shalom Cardigan for a couple weeks. Frankly, she will probably get frogged as I am not completely loving working on it. To me, the pattern doesn't excite me and I really shouldn't work on projects that I don't LOVE. Lately, I've been very undecided on which major project to start next. A pattern from Custom Knits (there are too many beautiful ones to choose from!), Back to School Vest from Fitted Knits, Bluebell Pullover, Central Park Hoodie, Lush and Lacy (am I really advanced enough to make this?), arrghh...too many choices! I have decided to start the Easy Basketweave Vest from the September issue of Creative Knitting for my dad once the yarn arrives. They have the pattern for free on I'm also considering the Notting Hill Vest by Kathy Zimmerman, but it looks harder especially with all the cables. I don't know what my dad's bust size is, so I'm going to wing it and hope he's around a 50". He usually wears size Large in shirts and sweaters.

At the moment, I am currently using up my leftover yarn from a Newsboy Hat I crocheted a couple months ago for my dad. The pattern I'm using will look like this when I'm finished. (Of course, it won't be pink. Hehe.) I had to frog 6.5 inches of ribbing (which was nearly 60% of the hat) when I realized this hat should be worked in the round, but the pattern didn't specify. Technically, it can be knitted flat, but then you'll have to sew up the side seam, and it might show, especially with the turned-up brim. Plus, I love knitting in the round as my seaming/finishing skills are still very rudimentary. It looks like a very simple and generic pattern, even like a hat you could buy at Target or the mall.

Also, I bought a beautiful ball of Patons Classic Merino Wool at Michaels last weekend. I don't know if it's a new color, but I have never seen it in other stores. It's called Cognac Heather and I think it would make a wonderful Gretel for my mom (once I learn tubular cast-on!) My parents and I are probably going to San Francisco over my Christmas break, and I really want to get started on providing warm and stylish accessories. I don't know why, but fall really makes me want to jumpstart all these projects. Sadly, it's still in the 80s here in San Diego. I admit I wore Talia to work last week and turned up the A/C so that I could "enjoy" wearing her. Does this make me a bad person? So many projects to work on, and so little time!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

FO: Lacy Beret

Quick post:

I finished this tonight, and haven't blocked it yet. I'm so excited to have made my first knitted hat!
I tried this because it’s an unconventional pattern that didn’t require knitting in the round or dpns. I didn’t check my gauge, but knitted looser so it came out slouchier.

Yarn: Patons Classic Merino Wool in Bright Red
Amount: 1 ball
Needles: Size 4 24" circular (knitted flat)
Mods: Omitted Rows 63-64 so the band didn’t turn out too tight at all. In fact, it could stand to be a bit tighter. Instead of seaming side, I single crocheted with wrong sides together.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm back!

Well, I've been back in town for almost 2 weeks now, but it has been a whirlwind of activity. After coming home from Washington on the 6th, I went to a dentist consult on the 9th to do x-rays of my teeth, and had all 4 wisdom teeth removed on the 11th. I was a bit scared going into the process as a lot of people I know have been telling me horror stories about their experiences. One co-worker even has a permanently damaged jaw. And I had never been under anesthesia before so that was also a new experience for me. But all in all, it really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Except for non-stop bleeding on the first day and swelling like a chipmunk, it was relatively painless. I only had to take 1 Vicodin after the surgery and I haven't taken any since. Don't want to become addicted to painkillers if I can help it.

I took many pictures in Seattle, Bellingham, and even a day in Vancouver. I even had the rare chance to do a quick visit at an alpaca farm! Once I clear up hard drive space on my computer, I'll load the pictures up and tell you all about my exciting trips to the Washington yarn stores. :-)

Over the past four days, I took time off from work and basically slept and knitted everyday. I am really glad to say that Talia is finally finished! I actually managed to get past the neckline shaping part! Yay! I still need to sew on some buttons, block her, and then I'll take some pictures. I still can't really believe I finished her since she is the most complicated knitted sweater I have ever made. She's not perfect, and I know exactly where I made mistakes, but after frogging numerous times, I decided I'll live with mistakes that hopefully nobody else will notice too much.

On the knitting front, I realized I tend to fall into new projects before an old one is quite finished. So yesterday, before Talia was completed, I started the Shalom Cardigan from . Hapichick on Ravelry has a gorgeous version of which I will be shamelessly copying her right down to the yarn. Only difference is that mine will be a blush pink. :-)