Thursday, March 29, 2012

Granny Squares

A friend of mine (actually, a friend's mom, but who is still a friend) was diagnosed with cancer.

A bunch of friends decided that it would be good for us to get together and put together an afghan for her.

The rules were simple:
  1. Make a 6 inch square from any craft
  2. Make it from a pre-determined list of yarns & colors so that we'd at least be consistent
  3. Make it with love.

So, we ordered the yarn, and started. Some people are knitting, some are crocheting, some are using tunisian crochet, and some are doing a combination thereof.

Granny square blanket
This photo taken during one of our get togethers to see where we were in the process and how much more needed to be made.

I had forgotten how much I really do like knitting granny squares. They're cute colorful projects that take no more than 20 minutes to finish. Here are some of the ones I made:

Granny SquareIMG_0815

IMG_0814Tunisian Crochet

I also took the time to learn some basic tunisian crochet and make a square out of that. And I found that while it is rather a neat method -- it takes a lot longer than just crochet'ing a simple granny square. BUT, tunisian crochet makes for a wonderfully THICK fabric.

Once everyone is done with their squares, we'll get together and sew together this wonderful blanket

I think I might be making more granny squares in the future. Several years ago, I made myself a wonderful granny hexagon blanket, which I love to pieces. I might have to make myself a full granny square blanket.

Hexagon Blanket (3)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tardis Gloves

For Gallifrey One 2012, I decided to go ahead and create a pair of Tardis gloves for myself. After poking around Ravelry, I saw that there were quite a few Tardis patterns, including gloves.

None of them QUITE fit what I wanted, although some came close. I looked up photos of the different Tardis from the Doctor Who: The TARDIS Handbook-- which we happened to have handy around the house -- coz we're geeky like that.

So, I noodled around on the Google docs spreadsheet and came up with my own pattern. I saw that some of the existing glove used purls to either denote the windows or the paneling. I didn't like that. Some didn't have the right number of panels or windows.

I also wanted to have POLICE BOX on each hand, but no matter how much I played with the spreadsheet, I couldn't fit both words onto the small space at the top without having it wrap around to the back of the hand. So, on that front, I compromised.

I made my first one, and had some issues with the thumb placement, which I subsequently corrected in the 2nd glove. But, still, it ain't too bad (despite my lack of duplicate stich skills). Regardless, I got plenty of complients at Gallifrey One.

Glove 1Glove 2

Eventually, I'll get around to posting up my chart, once I've cleaned up all of the notes I made on it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Frank, the Never Ending Sweater

I have a sweater THAT WILL NEVER END.

As anyone who reads this blog (or follows the podcast will know, I've been working on the sweater, Everybody Knows, using my lovely handspun, Frank since October 2011.

I've been having issues with this whole project -- not issues with Frank the Fleece or the actual pattern itself. BOTH are wonderful. But I have had logistical issues that have been either my fault or circumstances beyond my control

1) Not enough yarn because I decided to change the pattern I wanted to knit. I had enough for the old pattern, but not Everybody Knows. I spun enough for the body of the sweater & the collar, but didn't have enough for the sleeves.

2) 11/8/11 - 1/15/12: I spun more for the sleeves, and began knitting the sleeves.

3) 2/28/12 I "lost" one skein of Frank and was 6 inches away from finishing both sleeves. I thought I had to spin more

Small ball with 6" left to go

4) DH FOUND the lost skein, YAY

Errant ball of yarn

5) I discovered the armscye of the sweater is too big (that's the sweater armhole). Consequently, I have TOO much fabric around the armpit when I attach the sleeve and it bunches when I put on the sweater. I had to figure out a way to resize the armscye.

6) 3/11/12: The sleeves were too big. I derped and increased too much. I had to rip back 6 inches on both sleeves and reknit with the correct amount of increases

7) When trying to fix the armscye, I had an issue with a cat and clawss. Sufficed to say, it was ugly, and even my LYS sweater guru said..You need to rip back and reknit.

8) I rip off the collar. I undo the shoulder joins. I RIP back the right front panel to the armscye. I reknit. I rejoined the shoulders.

8) I figured out an ingenious way to fix the armscye of the other arm by making a reverse "gore". Essentially, I knit a small piece of fabric that I then grafted on that made the armscye smaller. Because it's garter stitch, you can't realy see the extra fabric.

9) I reknit the collar, then ripped it back 2x over because I didn't write directions on how to do a mandarin collar like I did the last time.

10) I attached the sleeves 4x over, because I HATE attaching sleeves and it's never a pretty thing.

And now, I'm FINALLY in the home stretch. I've attached the grosgrain ribbon to the button band, and I HAVE BUTTONS for it.

It's not going to be the prettiest sweater I've ever knitted, but it's nice and warm, and very servicable.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Finishing a Sweater: Hikers Waistcoat

As most knitters know, it's often times very hard to find buttons for a sweater that would match its look. Often times you find buttons that are a perfect fit immediately, and sometimes, you have to look around for a while.

So, while I was looking for wood buttons to go the Hikers Waistcoat (Ravelry Link / website link), I added the button bands for the sweater. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any grosgrain ribbon that matched the colorway, so I dyed some 3" wide white silk ribbon to a golden hue, folded it in half, and sewed white twill ribbon to add some stabilization.

Then I handsewed the whole thing for the buttonbands.

Button Band

Eventually, I found an Etsy store in Europe that had some excellent handmade buttons for a very good price. Her feedback was pretty positive, so I was pretty confident in purchasing from her store.

So, I ordered Plum Wood buttons with some of the bark still on them. They were about the size of a dime. I <3 them.


Here they are spaced on the sweater.
Buttons on sweater

I used some embroidery thread that matched the buttons, and sewed them on to the sweater.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Just When You Think You're Done....

Sometimes, things conspire against me. Or at least that's what I tell myself to cover up my poor planning skills.

Take my Frank Sweater for instance. First, there was the never ending question of whether or not I would have enough yardage to finish the sleeves.

Then, it turns out that I had JUST enough to finish both sleeves (and yes, I did finish both sleeves) and with some yardage left over.

But now, I have another problem -- the armscye of the sweater is too big (that's the sweater armhole). Consequently, I have TOO much fabric around the armpit when I attach the sleeve and it bunches when I put on the sweater.

Luckily, I only put one sleeve on and tried it on before doing the other sleeve.

Now, I have to figure out a way to reduce the size of the armhole by at least two (2) inches. I have an idea but I'm not sure if it'll work, but even this problem might be too much for my current skillset.

I might need to go to my LYS and solicit the help of the knitting gurus. However, I don't have the time to go down there until next weekend.....which means Frank will remain undone for another week.

Maybe I should keep him as a vest? *sigh*

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Sometime yesterday, DH found my errant ball of Frank! It had falled behind & underneath a storage bench that we have in our office. It was in a plastic bag containing:
  • a ball of Frank
  • a half full weaving bobbin of singles
  •  my test skein when I was initially trying to determine how to spin/ply Frank
(The photo doesn't do the size of the ball justice.)
Errant ball of yarn

DH was quite proud of himself. He had heard me bemoaning my fate with Frank (a seemingly never ending saga of spinning, knitting....finding out you're short yardage, then spinning, knitting....finding out your short yardage....) He left it on my desk to find when I got home.

I awarded his good deed with much lavish affection. Then I proceeded to finished the last 3" of one sleeve last night. I still have plenty left for the 3" of the second sleeve., which I will finish today.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sometimes Magazines Do Not DO Justice to Knit Wear

Yesterday, a friend and I went to Imagiknit, a wonderful LYS in San Francisco. I still don't have much of a yarn budget due to a huge car repair bill, but there's no charge for window shopping.

My friend, D, is a person who loves yarn & fiber, but doesn't want to knit or crochet (as her mother kinda turned her off to the craft) -- I'm working on remedying that situation. We wandered the store and I explained some things she was curious about (what is "wool" versus alpaca, and what micron count meant)

At one point, I looked up and saw the samples that had been knit for the store, and saw this sweater vest (Ravelry Link) and PROMPTLY fell in love with it. (The store sample did NOT have the fringe on the shawl collar).

I tried it on...and it fit beautifully, and my friend, D, said, "Oh, that is SO You". The cables were beautiful. The yarn used was Lana Grossa -- a 4 ply cable ply bulky yarn (merino/cashmere) in a dark charcoal grey, and it was soo soft, so luscious, and the cable definition was simply Amazing with this yarn.

The sales girl tried to look up the pattern, but their inventory said they didn't have the magazine in stock (of course, right?), but another helpful sales clerk FOUND said magazine on a table (it was mislabeled in their inventory).

When we flipped to the pattern page, I was pretty shocked.
  1. the photo of the cabled sweater was TINY. You could not get a good look at it.
  2. there was FRINGE all over the shawl collar (the sample did NOT have the fringe)
  3. in the already tiny photo, the fringe covered up all of the lovely cabling so you wouldn't have known about the cabling
  4. it was in an awful sky blue colorway

This is how approximately "small" the photo was in the magazine

Myself, D, and the sales clerk looked at the photo, looked at the sample, looked at the photo...and we all said "Wow". We all thought the photos sucked. This magazine was oversized and the product photo was 1/4th the size of the a corner and easily overlooked. I would have EASILY passed over this pattern had I been flipping through the magazine on a whim.

If the store didn't have the knitted sample, I would have never known about this wonderful sweater.

Sufficed to say, I bought the magazine with the pattern. However, I did NOT buy the yarn -- that will have to wait until I have a yarn budget again....although I am tempted to just spin for it....

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Yup. Definitely Short on Frankie

I'm definitely short with Frankie. I was hoping beyond hope, but knowing deep down that I was going to be short.

* I have 3-4 yards (if that) yarn left.
* I have 3 inches left on both sleeves (6 inches total).

I tore apart my Stash area looking for that "missing" ball of Frank. I couldn't find it. At one point, I was pretty damn sure I had it. Then I was just "sure". Because, I WROTE down EXACTLY how much I had on my blog & my Ravelry page.

Now I don't know if I dreamt the whole thing, then dreamt walked/typed onto Ravelry AND my blog about this extra skein that I had. Either that or the gremlins took it...or somehow in the night, Frank the sleeveless sweater got up, took the ball and hid it (which would be difficult without sleeves).

So, I'm pretty sure I had to have dreamt the extra skein.

But, watch...after I spin up another 3 ounces of Frank, wash, and thwack the yarn, the missing ball will turn up. *sigh*