Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Casting on for Basket-weave Vest...

I finished Opulent Raglan a couple nights ago. She is already dried and ready to wear for FO pictures, but that will depend on when I see my photographer (read: bf) next.

Notting Hill was depressing me because I felt like I was making too many mistakes. So I frogged it and casted on for Basket-weave Vest from the September issue of Creative Knitting instead.

Hopefully, this pattern will work for me. *crosses fingers*

Monday, October 27, 2008

FO: Munny

Here's a FO that I finished over the weekend. Due to his ears, his name is Munny since he is half mouse, and half bunny!

From the front

From the back

With his new girlfriend, Garlands

Pattern: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Jessica Spencer
Hook: Size E
Yarn: Lily Sugar 'N Cream - Cream and Light Blue, also some pink felt for his inner ears
Amount: Less than a ball each of both colors
1. Since I couldn't find any brown Sugar 'n Cream in stores, I made him with my cream-colored stash yarn.
2. Placement of ears (sewn on for a more floppy shape, vs. pointy bat-like ears)
3. 1 row shorter and narrower on the legs as my gauge might have been off
4. Thicker overall straps

I can't sew very well, (and perhaps lack the patience), therefore my wonderful bf did all of the sewing. I'm truly amazed he could do that considering he's never seamed amigurumi before. :-)

I love Munny so much! (Hehe.) Now that I've made my first amigurumi, I'm really interested in trying other patterns. My boyfriend recently bought a new video game called Little Big Planet that stars a little hand-knit looking character. One of the games' creators' mother can knit, and look what she made for him below!

Hello. I'm Sackboy!

Sackboy celebrating Chinese New Year
Don't you want one? Unfortunately, there's no pattern for him on Ravelry, or if there is, it's not public. I'm going to try to see if I can recreate him, wish me luck! The hardest part appears to be his mouth. I can't tell in the picture if it was simply embroidered on, or if it is actually indented and open.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Opulent progress report

So I took a 2 week break from this project, but I'm almost done! Half a sleeve, and the neckline to go!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

FO: Gretel

After admiring countless Gretels online, I have finally made my first one. And yes, there will be many more to come. The pattern is beautiful, clear, and very easy to understand. The only thing that stumped me was the tubular cast-on which took me a while to grasp. However, I didn't realize that Ysolda had a pictorial for tubular cast-on on her website, so I will try to use that next time. I ended up using a different tutorial that left me skeptical as to whether it really was a tubular cast-on, or plain 1 x 1 cabling. My Knitting Answer Book clearly explained the 1 x 1 rib tubular cast-on, but there were no specifics on how to convert for 2 x 2 rib.

Pattern: Gretel by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Patons Classic Merino Wool in Cognac Heather
Amount: 1 ball
Needles: US 5 and 7
Size: Regular
Mods: My cast-on was too loose so I added a round of crochet slip stitches to tighten the brim up
This particular hat will go towards my mom. I plan to make more for her, and as Christmas gifts for other people. It's funny I find it so satisfying to make hats for others, but I don't own even one for myself. Wait, scratch that. I do have one hat - the last lacy beret I made that came out a bit too big. It's beautiful but it doesn't fit me well enough for me to love it.
Footnote: And those are my new glasses! First glasses that I've had since I was 8 that did not have round and/or pink frames! :-)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Look at those huge balls!

Anthropologie sends me their periodic emails from time to time, and I literally squealed when I saw this picture.

I love those huge balls of yarn! And the hand-knit looking beret, and hand-knit looking sweater! Sigh. I am a yarn addict, and a sucker for anything that looks hand-knit.

I could use a yarn stool too.

I wonder how much that ball in the background weighs.

How do I make a slipknot?

I went window shopping at Anthropologie last night, and every time I go in, I secretly yearn for this mouse door stopper. This picture is borrowed from somebody else's blog, but the color in real life is actually more bronze and darker. Doesn't he look so cute? *No, I can!* If you know me, I really love mouse figures and anything to do with cute mice, especially because I was born in the Year of the Rat.

On the knitting front, I finished the waist shaping for Opulent Raglan last night and realized one side looked wonderfully shaped whereas the other side was not. I knew I should have gone with my instinct of decreasing evenly among both sides, instead of taking the pattern literally at its word. So it's back to frogging tonight. Honestly though, I don't feel too sad about frogging with this pattern. Can it be I enjoy it so much that I actually want to prolong the knitting progress? *Gasp* Besides, I need to learn to get out of my lazy habit of not frogging and then ending up with a product that ends up in the back of my closet unworn.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Good News and the Bad News

When posed with "Would you like to hear the good news or the bad news?", most people choose the bad news first. (If you want to see the good news first, then scroll down to the second paragraph.)

Bad news:

Notting Hill is not going the way I want it to, and I am seriously considering frogging it. I was loving the pattern until I reached Row 30 where I was supposed to bind off for armholes, but Row 30 was only 5 inches above the ribbing where the pattern said it should be 12.5 inches above the ribbing. Was I way off in gauge? I don't think my gauge was that far off since I made a swatch, washed in Soak, and laid flat to dry before I started the project. So I went for another 90 rows before I reached 12.5 inches. Afterwards, I got a bit lost on the underarm shaping due to the "when there aren't enough stitches to complete a cable, work in rev st." This happened in Talia too, but somehow the scroll lace pattern worked itself out. Here, my cables are looking pretty wacko since there are 2 different types of cables. Sigh. I don't want to give my dad a vest that isn't at least mostly perfect. But I've spent so much time knitting on it last week. I know it was only a week's worth of work, but somehow I really wanted to power through and finish it. Now I'm considering ripping and finding another vest pattern, perhaps "Peter Easy" by Berroco or "Skye Tweed Vest" (another Kathy Zimmerman pattern). Notting Hill was designed by Kathy Zimmerman. Has anybody knitted her patterns before? In general, are they clear and straightforward? Maybe I'm spoiled because I tend to knit patterns that are very clear and concise.

See the cables at the very top that are going wacko? :-(

Good News:

Out of frustration from Notting Hill and excitement over the Fall Knitscene, I casted on for Opulent Raglan last Sunday. I made at least three different swatches using different needles before I could finally reach stitch gauge. Row gauge is a different story, but I don't mind it being smaller as it would mean my neckline would get raised (yay, for no cleavage showing at work!). It's only been 2 days and it's growing really quickly! My only minor concern so far has been the waist shaping. I reached the waist shaping part last night, but my work so far had only reached the top of my bust! Maybe I'm short-waisted (one of these days, I need to go measure and find out), but it's quite alarming to shape for my waist when I haven't even gotten past my boobs yet. After consulting Ravelry (oh, how I love that site), I decided to add in another 19 rows before I start the waist. Hopefully, by then, it'll fall right below the bust.

I'm using Ella Rae Classic in Colorway #11 which looked like a pastel peach online, but it really is more of a dusty rose. It doesn't bother me at all since the yarn was deeply discounted, and I still love the pink color. The other wonderful news is that I bought a couple more balls of yarn from from their Spooktacular Sale they're having this month, and they all arrived yesterday. But wait for it! The best news is that I had ordered 2 extra balls of Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Woodland Mix to add to the 2 balls I bought in April from the WEBS anniversary sale. I figured it would make a good 2nd Opulent Raglan should I be successful with the first. Or perhaps the Backwards Cabled Pullover in Custom Knits. Here's the best part...THE LOT NUMBERS WERE THE SAME!!! Wow, talk about luck! I really wasn't expecting the lot numbers to match considering the yarns were bought 6 months apart from 2 different companies, and I hadn't even put in a request for it. Yup, that really made my day. :-)

FO: Toni Ribbed Hats

Pattern: Toni Ribbed Hat
Yarn: Patons Classic Merino Wool
Amount: I used leftover yarn, but if I had to guess, probably around 220 yards/hat
Needles: US 8 24" circulars and US 8 DPNs and/or US 8 12" circulars
Size: The blue one is for a man 24", and the black one is for a woman 20"-22"
Mods: Instead of knitting flat and seaming, I joined for knitting in the round and switched to DPNs for the blue hat, but I got lazy and switched to my 12" circulars for the black hat

I really loved this pattern! It was so simple, easy, and quick! It literally only took me 2 nights to finish one hat. The blue one will be for my dad, and the black one for my mom. It's rather funny that the yarn was from the yarn leftover from the crochet newsboy hats I made for them. And I still have yarn leftover! It's the never-ending balls of yarn! I'll probably make one more in the future that will have black and blue stripes.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Meme...

Well, I've been tagged by juicyknits for the "six random things about me" meme.

Here are the rules:

Link to the person who tagged you.
Post the rules on your blog.
Write six random things about yourself.
Tag six people at the end of your post.
Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
Let the tagger know your entry is up.

1. I have keratosis pilaris which is really a fancy way of saying I was born with rough, dry skin with small red bumps. Luckily, they only occur on the tops of my arms and on my legs. Some people even have it on their face and chest. Elsewhere I have pretty normal skin. When I was a kid, I was pretty depressed with this condition, and I would spend hours online researching what lotions could cure it. Unfortunately, there is no cure but the good news is that by the time I reach age 30, the bumps might diminish in appearance. Also, they're not as prominent in the summer.

2. My left eye is weaker than my right eye. I also have astigmatism. (Just learned this 2 weeks ago from my optometrist.)

3. In all the jobs I've ever had, I've always been the youngest person among my co-workers.

4. My favorite actress of all time is Audrey Hepburn. Favorite movies are My Fair Lady, and Breakfast at Tiffany's. (I think she even knits in a scene in Breakfast at Tiffany's!)

5. The first thing I had ever crocheted was a multi-colored tea cozy. 16 years later, my mother still uses it everyday. :-)

6. My oldest UFO is probably around 15 years old. It was a pair of pink, knitted slippers. One was completely finished with a furry pom-pom. The other was technically finished, but somehow I couldn't muster up the will to make a second pom-pom.

I'm not going to tag people, but feel free to tag yourself if you like.

Casting on for Notting Hill Vest...

Last year, when I started seriously taking up crochet again and whipping out warm hats for my parents, my dad asked for a vest. I told him I wasn't advanced enough at that time to attempt a vest, but now a year later, I think I'm up to the task.

Which is why I casted on for Notting Hill from the Fall 2007 Knitscene two nights ago. This pattern was available a while back on the Knitting Pattern Central website, but it has been pulled off the web since. I was making pretty good progress on it last night when I noticed the right side was looking a bit wrong. After staring at it for a while, it dawned on me that I had forgotten to cross a couple of the cables! Grr. What a dumb mistake! I skipped breakfast this morning before work so that I could carefully frog, and hopefully start going again tonight. And I rarely ever skip breakfast. (Can you tell that I am totally obsessed with knitting? Sigh. This is a disease, I tell you!)

If all goes well, it should look somewhat like this...

Here is what I have so far...

I am a bit scared because after reaching Row 30, the pattern states that it should be 12.5" above the rib. I was coming out at 8 inches, and that was including the rib!!! On Ravelry, I've heard that this pattern has mistakes and I'm not sure if this is a mistake or if my gauge is totally off. I made a swatch and got gauge, but I'm always paranoid that my real gauge will change once I start knitting the actual project. I think I'll remedy it by adding another repeat of 10 rows to the right length, and then start binding off for the armholes. Also, I don't know my dad's exact bust size so I'm winging it and hoping he can fit into a 44" (size Large). This is also my first project that is knit into pieces and then sewn together. Wish me luck!