October 18, 2018

Frogs Everywhere

I think I've done more frogging than knitting the past couple of weeks. 

I can't say much because at least I'm now working on yarn crafting projects again.  Between the month of sewing I had to do this summer and some other miscellaneous stuff going on, I didn't really get back in the yarn crafting gear until the fall hit.

Sure, I did finish a pair of socks for my husband (finally, and without losing one this time!):

But the rest of the time since went like this:

  • Finish up the custom baby dress and write up the pattern (which, being a on the fly pattern, mostly involves trying to figure out how the heck you wrote down what you wrote when making the darn thing). 
  • Finally start an adult sweater to replace the one I been wearing so long I've had to darn both sleeves at the elbow (anyone remember when the work sweater was completed? It's been awhile; I can't say I'm surprised).
  • Realize that I could get a sweater done for NYS Sheep and Wool if I pick up the one I was designing and knitting two years ago and un-screw up the neckline idea. 
  • Get past the neckline, do another trim, then decide on another neckline trim to better match the other trim, redo the neckline.
  • Finally get to the sleeves, so I do the math for the sleeves, try to work the sleeves, realize sleeve doesn't fit, rip sleeve out, adjust and restart sleeve. Now sleeve is too big on cap but tight elsewhere, rip sleeve out, get peeved at sweater when as I'm not going to finish it in time for Sheep and Wool and have no clue how to actually mathematically calculate an afterthought sleeve.  I then banned sweater to the time-out corner for a couple of days. 
  • Decide that due to all the other crap that I should start a nice seed stitch cowl out of some soft yarn bought two years ago. Then I realized that the yarn is too thin to work for a good seed stitch cowl, so I surf patterns, don't like any of the patterns, get idea, try idea, rip idea out, try another idea, rip idea out, chart third idea, start idea, rip idea out, adjust chart, start idea, rip idea out, repeat two more times. I finally get an idea I'm mostly happy with off ground, but at this point I've created a time-consuming pattern for what was supposed to be an easy cowl. I resisted the urge to go find more yarn in the stash to do that seed stitch cowl.  Work on not-easy cowl on the subway for some reason.
  • Go back to sweater, figure out a way to recalculate the stupid sleeves, start sleeve again, get half way done, realize it's still screwed up, rip it out.  I then realize I was using the stitch gauge instead of the row gauge to calculate everything for the sleeve, not that my method didn't work. Recalculate using correct gauge and start sleeve again.
  • Decide to also work on getting baby dress pattern tech edited, tech editor finds first row has one stitch off of cast on, realize the one stitch off is because all the other calculations are screwed up and spend all night trying to figure out how the heck I managed to knit the thing in the first place.
  • Then decided that I should write this blog post instead of working on sleeve or anything else I decided to design or start at the same time.

I mean, it's probably a good thing that I've gotten my design groove back.  I'm looking forward to getting something out there given the time it's been since I've had actual time and inspiration to devote to this.  But why do I have to make it so hard on myself when I could just simply work on something already written or easy without struggling through all the frogs?  Then again, I write software as a day job.  It all involves sitting there and beating your head against the wall wondering why on earth you're doing this when what you did isn't working for the 5th time...until you figure it out, get something done, and feel accomplished and confident.  Then you're more than willing dive right back into another wall because it won't be as crazy this time...right?

And if I have to frog that cowl or the sleeves one more time, the yarn is shot and I won't know what to do with myself.  Probably ban it back to the timeout corner.

June 10, 2018

Follow Instructions? Never!

So it turns out that I fail at following knitting instructions.  Despite the fact that I wrote said knitting instructions.  Why, yes, I may have had to just rip out a whole weekend's worth of work because I forgot to increase in one location.

Since this is a pattern I am eventually planning to write up and most likely sell, I won't show you much, but here's a teaser (after I ripped out most of it):

What makes this even more...well, I guess what makes it make more sense is that this is the second reproduction of this pattern. Story goes like this:

  1. My sister is having (now has) another kid.  It's going to be another girl. Yay, make all the things with the yarn I got on the NYC Yarn Crawl because I got suspicious and so bought baby-appropriate yarn.
  2. Start a blanket with yarn I had from last baby making spree, pick all the patterns out for all the yarn I can think of.
  3. Promptly get nothing done because get assigned insane work project in the middle of capstone project for grad school.
  4. Hit winter break, go on vacation to Iceland (was awesome), get one sweater done for baby over vacation.
  5. Realize that all the yarn I bought is wool and baby is due in spring.
  6. Find out WEBS is having a sale.
  7. Find out nice colored cotton yarn is on sale as well.
  8. I can do matching dresses in two different colors of this yarn for both my nieces, right?
  9. Realize I don't like any of the patterns again for the style of dress I like to give kids.
  10. Make up the pattern by coming up with the start, getting half way through the top, deciding I don't like my plan, futzing around until it works out, quickly scrap write it down with calculations, and continue knitting body of dress.
  11. Start grad school again. Tons of schoolwork this semester again. Get to work all the hours again because nor'easters. Knitting? What's that?
  12. Realize baby is due in a week.
  13. Quickly finish up dress, writing rest down on paper.
  14. Baby born, yay! Realize I am not going to see baby until I'm out of school, damnit.
  15. Finish grad school. Get to work two nights right after. Somehow finish baby blanket same time.
  16. Get to see sister and nieces. Give the sad pile of stuff I actually got done to sister. I tell her 'I'm going to make this dress for the other niece', and she goes 'the dress you made her before still fits. It actually fits both of them.' I think 'going to do it anyway; need to test pattern'.
  17. Clean up notes made before, print them out, and start second dress.
  18. Don't actually read notes carefully because I think 'ah, I see what I did here' and forget to do one increase, which screws up the whole pattern.

And here we are. Back to almost the beginning because I missed one last increase needed for the pattern to work.

Oh well. At least I have time to knit again.

So this was just the last year's worth of crap going on that lead me to end up abandoning the blog for...two years, yikes!.  Grad school is completely done, work is ok at the moment, and everything else is not where I thought I would be when life went crazy, but it's now stable, so I should be getting back into the swing of things now. There's a lot of catching up to do so I may not get there right away, but I'll try to start blogging my mishaps and future projects again.  There should be a number of those shortly.

September 5, 2016

Overlapping Stripes Baby Hat

To get the actual pattern (pdf), please click here to download it from Ravelry

Overlapping Stripes Baby Hat

A simple striped baby beanie with a slight twist.

Craft Type



Knitting and purling, decreasing, switching colors


12.5 in (31.8 cm) around unstreached at brim, 5.5 in (14 cm) tall
Fits head sizes between 12 – 16 in (30.5 – 40.6 cm) around


24 stitches and 41 rows per 4 in (10 cm) in stockinette stitch

Yarn and Yardage

Color A: 1 skein of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (Sport, 137 yards per skein) in Citrus
Color B: 1 skein of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (Sport, 137 yards per skein) in Duck.
Or two different colors, about 35 yards each, of a comparable yarn.

Needles and Hooks

US 2.5 (3.0 mm) 40 in. circular needle or DPNs

Happy knitting!

July 11, 2016

My Life is Baby Projects

Jeez, where do I start? Well, I guess that one of the reasons I haven't posted any of my projects in half a year is that my life is currently baby patterns, and for awhile I couldn't even talk about it.

I was merrily carrying along up to the end of last year working on things like the sweater pattern I swore I'd create and the sky shawl when one of my sisters announced she was pregnant.  In my family's house, that goes quickly from 'yay!' to 'oh, shit now I need to buy yarn and make stuff!'

Well, maybe that was just me.  But other members of my family are also making stuff.

Anyway, so for the past 6-8 months or so, almost all of my projects have been baby stuff.  I made this sweater:

I have to credit the woman who works at the button section of the notions store I go to.  I'll be looking at something that would work, and then she'll come up with completely different buttons that work perfectly.

and a matching hat and booties:

and then started this blanket (haven't finished it yet, though):

and then got this out of the way:

and then started another, cooler weather sweater, for which I have no picture yet.

We're not going to talk about the amount of yarn I bought for this (more than I've used, certainly). I always get into this 'I can make all the things!' mode when it comes to special things like having an excuse to make really nice baby items (since this is my niece).  However, it turns out that, no, when you work full time and go to school part time and have to do things like keep up with an apartment and get distracted by my fiance and my attention-whore of a cat:

Who then proceeded to attack the sweater.  He's already claimed the extra, wrong-sized, baby bootie.
, let alone all the scheming and planning I've done for various things, one being the baby shower, you in fact cannot make all the things.  I can barely make the baby stuff; I haven't even touched the other projects in months, and I'm still in the middle of it.

My niece is due next month.  Oops.

January 28, 2016

I Think the Magical Yarn Babies Have Taken Residence in My Stash, However (The VogueKnitting Live 2016 Debrief)

Another year, another VogueKnitting Live debrief. Luckily, nothing else was going on this year behind the scenes.  That also means I have no excuse for purchasing a package and spending over $100 dollars to go and spend more money. Oh well. 

In General
This year was a lot saner than last year.  Well, not in the amount of yarn I bought, but in what they were offering.  I don't know if it's because I spend all of Sunday attending class and lecture and was distracted but both all the pretties and other people on Saturday and therefore missed the crazier stuff (well, OK, crazier than this thing:

), but it still seemed like what they were offering was rather tame. 

The Class and Lecture
So, because it turns out that with VogueKnitting's price increases this year, it only cost me around $10 more to buy a class/lecture/marketplace package than buying the marketplace and class al la carte, I did so. It doesn't help that the package is called the Times Square Day Tripper Package. Because that's exactly what you want to be doing as a native New Yorker, going to Times Square.  On a weekend.  Where all the tourists and wonky, shady characters are.  I might still be a bit sour that VogueKnitting moved to a hotel smack in the middle of Times Square, meaning I have to go through there on a weekend, but anyway...

The Lecture
I signed up for the lecture called Knit to Flatter by Amy Herzog.  Now, lectures always feel a little stunted to me, but that's simply because they're only a hour long, and most of the people giving them are used to classes.  This has nothing to do with this lecture in particular, by the way, it's just something I've noticed from the past two lectures after taking a lecture and a class back to back for the first time.

However, this lecture was semi-interactive and funny, and made some good points.  It turns out what she was discussing (how to make a sweater that you would wear 'out to lunch with a non-knitter') is something I've already done, however, her point about fabric behavior being crucial was something I don't think I fully appreciated before.  Also, the statement that (and I'm sure I'm paraphrasing a bit here) 'the yarn's not growing [when you block it]. It's not making magical yarn babies' will forever be in my vocabulary (it was also used in the context of pilling, as in 'when the sweater pills, it's not making magical yarn babies, that's material from your sweater'.  I knew that, but that way of putting it is still funny).

The Class
First off, all the really interesting classes this year seemed to be scheduled for Friday, which kind of sucks.  Even if I could have taken off of work (I couldn't have this year anyway because I was too busy in company-approved training on how to build iPhone apps), I wouldn't have.  However, I did find a Sunday class similar to one I spotted on a Friday date at first, and that was Seams Like Surgery by John Brinegar.

The good news is that the class was good.  It was well-taught and led, we laughed at jokes and, for me, I learned some decorative seams as well as how to better due mattress stitch.  It turns out I've been doing it pretty well, but his way of thinking about the instructions really helps with porting the technique away from stockinette.  I was immediately able to seam a garter stitch item much better afterward despite that not technically being taught.  While I will say I probably could have learned most of the material off of the Internet, I still don't regret taking the class.

Fashion Shows and the Panels
Honestly, I didn't catch too many fashion shows this year, and absolutely none of the panels.  Actually, I don't think they had any traditional panels this year.  The had events like participating in extreme knitting! (no thanks; I like my needles smaller than I am) and...I don't remember.  Anyway, I did catch part of one, and two other fashion shows and they were pretty meh.  Nothing too crazy.  Nothing standard or overly practical either (after all, this is a fashion show and when is fashion not overly artistic over practical), but nothing that made me go WTF?!?

If anyone from VogueKnitting is reading this, let it be known: I like the WTF?!? stuff; the best part of what makes VogueKnitting VogueKnitting was making fun of some of the stuff considered fashion.

Anyway, there was a couple of questionable items, including a really bulky garter stitch cardigan (what is it with rug-looking cartigans?):

And a very bulky, very glowing, hot pink shawl-scarf:

Otherwise it was your standard sparkly shawls and batwing sweaters that make the model look like they have short stubby arms, and as normal items that you're going to get that meet current trends. Oh well.

Beyond my quickly-becoming-normal behavior of 'buy all the yarn for all projects I want to do now and then some!, in the early hours of being there Saturday this is the exchange I had with my mom over text:

Me: LOL I found self-striping yarn that looks like watermelon
Mom: Interesting.  Are you at Vogue?
Me: Yes.
Me: Want something?
Mom: Yarn for the baby blanket pattern you sent
At this point, I'm thinking 'this is the wrong place to look for yarn for a baby blanket', but this is my mom, so...
Me: Ok, will look.

So I got stuck running around the marketplace, desperately trying to find a DK like yarn that had enough quantities to make a baby blanket.  Now, there's two things about VogueKnitting that I don't know if my mom gets: 1) it's mostly mid to upper range yarn that is the type to not have dye lots and be hand-painted (oh, and good luck finding one that can be washed) and 2) there's usually limited quantities at shows.

At one point, I asked my mom what her budget for this was, because I was finding really nice superwash yarn where the vendor had multiple skeins, but it was all at least $25 dollars a pop. Her answer was '$100 or so', so that cut those out. I ended up having to get three different colors of Malabrigo Rios at the Knitty City booth of all places (I try not to spend all my money at the local yarn shop booths; I can go to them here if I want and there's other vendors you can't get anywhere else attending, but sometimes they have the right stuff when you want it), because there wasn't enough of any of the colors I liked. 

I ended up sending her another pattern to consider that used three colors as well. I also ended up buying her a present:

Because the joke is funny alone, it's even funnier when carried by a crocheting dietitian.

Oh, and despite this being the wrong place to buy yarn for a baby blanket, I also bought yarn for a baby blanket.  Mine costs a bit more than $100 dollars, but it was perfect and superwash, and came in bigger skeins so I didn't need as many of them and my yarn budget gives up.

All in all, I had fun.  Sure, the fashion shows are getting boring and their free non-marketplace offerings were slim this year, but the class and lecture made up for that (despite having to pay extra for those). I really need to stop buying all the yarn, though, despite the fact that I did need a bit of it this year as I didn't have anything suitable in my stash.  And I am using it now, so this isn't a 'shove in there and leave it for two years' situation.  Well, maybe the yarn I bought for myself with no pattern in mind will be that, but half of it won't.

We'll see what next year brings.

January 15, 2016

The Good Kind of Remake

In the wirlwind of projects, both craft-related and not, that I've have to complete or are completing for others, I did manage to re-visit an old project of mine.  I got better yarn and knit a new version of my Reversible Eyelet Hat.

To be fair, I guess it wasn't 100% for me, though this version is better than my old one (which I still have and used). The person in my knit group who's responsible for the KALs (which work a bit differently in our group than the more traditional method) decided to focus on hats again, and out of the long list of hat patterns for it decided to list both of my hat patterns.

When she told me this, my first thought is 'dang, I wonder if the first one is good enough for that?'  The Reversible Eyelet Hat was my first knitting pattern, and it was designed on the fly in one size.  As well, I had already seen from those who did it on Ravelry that it ran big.  I also found that after the first year, my original one has stretched out as well and was big for me as well, and I prefer looser hats. So I decided to take my own pattern and re-knit it using nicer yarn, a different gauge, and less stitches.

The good news is that I found that the pattern is 99% correct.  The CO amount with the needle size it gives you will make a big hat if you have around a standard-sized women's head, but the instructions themselves are perfectly fine.  The only correction I would make is that unless you need a large hat (think around 28"), you're better off COing around 92 or 88 stitches, even 84 depending on things like the yarn and needles you're using.  I did 92 stitches using smaller needles for the re-make, but I also decided to use a wool/silk blend that had it's own stretching tendencies (this was probably not the best decision with a hat pattern that also has a tendency to stretch out, but it worked).  The good thing about that pattern is that it is super adjustable, and any multiple of 4 will work with the instructions as written (so I guess I wasn't as much of a dumbass with my first pattern as I thought).  Also, dropping down doesn't affect it as much as you would think, given the lacy and ribbed nature of the hat.  The pattern itself has a tendency to stretch, so you need to counteract that a bit.

So I didn't bother rewriting the pattern (though I will change the CO amount).  But be assured that it is doubled checked now.  Now if only I could take better pictures.

November 13, 2015

Emergency Baby Sweater

I used to have an extra baby sweater lying around, a couple of years ago, until I decided to gift it to my previous downstairs neighbors who had just had a kid.

I should have made one to replace it.  I wasn't expecting to be told a relative of mine was having a kid only two months before being due to have said kid (communication?  Why would there be communication?). However, I decided to try, and managed to pull off making a baby sweater within a month.

The pattern is Preppy Cardigan from 60 Quick Baby Knits, the yarn Cascade Yarns Pacific (which is one of my favorite acrylic/wool blends now; it worked up wonderfully and you can throw it in the washer and dryer no problem.  This is after I washed and dried it, by the way).
And because of that, there's a happy ending to this story.  I managed to mail out the sweater to have it arrive just in time for the baby to be born (as in, the relative I mailed it to took it to the hospital with her to give to the new parents). So I have that going for me.

As well, this is on top of the other relative I've known was pregnant for longer, which luckily is due in March and therefore that project is on the back burner, because holidays are coming up fast and I had to start making presents. I've already made at least two of my presents already and am working on a third:

I based this off of a pattern on Ravelry called Squishy Soft Cowl, but I cast-ed on a lot more stitches. And accidentally twisted the cast on, so it's now a mobius cowl. Oh well.

Pattern is Brain Waves, also on Ravelry.
Yeah, I've got the socks done.  And a baby sweater.  And a cowl. And part of a hat.  Wow, that's a lot given that I've had no time recently (going to grad school on top of everything can do that to you.  Oh, and getting this fur-ball doesn't help either:

This is Murphy.  This is Murphy sleeping on the bag my project is in that I brought over to knit on because he was trying to sleep next to me on the couch. Instead, he immediately sat on the bag and fell asleep.
). At least I still have my commuting time to work on things.

Of course, the one thing I did sacrifice this year was making a Halloween costume, so I did forgo something. Can't have it all.

September 6, 2015

It's Going to Be Full Of Stars

With the sucess of finally doing and finishing Xeina behind me, I decided to start another I-planned-to-do-this-and-bought-the-yarn-ages-ago project:

Yes, I ended up using DPNs in the beginning.  It turns out while Magic Loop works for starting, it doesn't once you get a few rows in -- it puts too much pressure at the corners with only two points.
This is Celestarium.  It's a pi shawl.  Why am I doing another shawl?  Well, because this one's a freaking star chart of the northern sky in knitted form.

Honestly, since this was the other yarn purchase I screwed up on and got the wrong weight for (using sport weight yarn for a fingering weight shawl...because who knew a yarn with socks in the name would be sport weight?), it may come out bigger than planned.  This works because I'm not planning to wear it. If it's big enough, I'll most likely use it as a blanket, or do what my boyfriend suggests and hang it up as a wall decoration.  Especially if I, um, borrow the edging pattern idea from this lovely person (I'm a sucker for infinity cables).

If you're familiar with the pattern, you might have noticed that I've adapted it a bit.  I decided to not do the yarn overs that were paired with the beads. I want it to look like the sky.  Let me tell you, this makes it so much simpler as well; I don't have to worry about one star over two rows, I just have to find the stitch to put the bead on.

However, I upped the complexity a bit by also deciding to the luminosity version, which is the one where someone marked all the starts by their luminosity rating so that you could use different bead sizes for each rating. But it's actually not all that complex.  If you're planning to do this, here's the trick: take an couple of hours to go through the charts and color each bead by the colors in the luminosity chart (this works if your doing the different color version as well, or both). Write a chart matching color to the bead size you're using. Ta da, don't have to worry about it again:

Of course, I ran into a snag where I couldn't get enough different bead sizes to do all the luminosities. Hell, the 6/0 beads are a pain to string on the stitch with this yarn, since it's thicker, and you can only go so big.  So I'm using the 6/0 beads for the lowest two luminosities, then scaling up. Also, watch out for total bead size vs hole size; I actually have to flip the 5/0 and the 4/0 mappings because while the hole is bigger in the 4/0s, the 5/0s I bought are bigger beads overall.

Despite all this, it's actually a rather simple pattern. It's mostly knit, knit, knit...place bead, knit, knit, knit... The only trick is looking at the chart and knowing where the next bead needs to be placed, which of course is easy if you put a set of stitch markers every 20 stitches in the circle, and mark where they are on the chart. This makes the thought process go: 'OK, my next bead is two stitch markers and 13 stitches away'. Boom, get there, put bead, look where next one is. And there are rows where it's mostly knits.

The only demoralizing thing is that I got this far so quickly and I'm on the second to last section, but now I'm slowing down (because pi shawl: the stitch count doubles when you double the rows). Also, looking it up?  Less than 10% done, of course.

It doesn't help when this happens:

This is my parent's cat, Atticus. Why the cat decided to sit there when there was a whole rest of the chair available is the mystery every cat owner has.

It also doesn't help that the yarn keeps dumping dye on my hands, so every time I have to put it down, I have to go wash my hands:

Yeah, I've never had a yarn do this to me. Bleed when washed? Sure, all the time.  Bleed a little on my hands? Yeah, once.  Make it so half my hand is discolored? Never.  The color is worth it, however.  It really does look like a night sky.

August 10, 2015

As it Turns Out, I Didn't Get Too Distracted (Xeina Shawl Debrief)

So I did manage to finish the Xeina Shawl this weekend:

Its really hard to get a good picture of a large shawl
Despite all the minor problems, I think it came out pretty decent.  However, it also came out *huge*, which is completely my fault. I did a number of extra repeats in the body since I was using lighter yarn and later decided to just work the body until I ran out of one skein of the blue yarn, 13 repeats in total.  Yeah, in hindsight, I probably should have done 10 or 11 repeats instead, especially since the lace border came out bigger as well (probably due to using lighter yarn...heavy lace weight blocks out lacier, it turns out:

 ). When I realized it was blocking out really big, I measured it, and it's 80.5 inches long, and around 20 inches deep. As a 5 foot aught woman, it means the tips of the shawl go past my knees.

Though I probably shouldn't fret about it being big. I rarely wear shawls as intended; I usually use them as coat stuffers, and having a big shawl with some cashmere content means I have a neck warmer with length to wrap it around my neck and down my coat.  Or over my head and around my neck.

However, I'm still in love with the color scheme I used and how it works in this pattern, so I am a little sad this won't work so well with a dress. Not that I want to be wearing this now, with all the 85-90F degree weather we've been having here.

Ah, screw it, I'll do this properly:

The Pattern
I have little to say. It's a solid pattern that I had no issues with. All the issues I ran into were due to my misjudgement, not the pattern itself. Also, while it took me months, let me note that this was due to not having time to work on it much and the fact that I was using lighter yarn. If I had been using the sport weight yarn as intended, I could see this being a 2-3 month pattern with downtime, not a 6 month one.

The Yarn
I used Spirit Trails Fiberworks Sunna (the royal blue color) and Spirit Trails Fiberworks Nona (the darker blue). Sunna is a fingering weight and Nona is a heavy lace weight, by the way, and so not recommended for this pattern unless you're willing to do what I did, which is do more repeats and get through more repeats of the lace pattern (which, honestly, if you manage to get the right count for the lace part after adding stuff, I commend you.  I didn't, and had to fudge it, then fudge it again when my first fudge was miscalculated). However, these are beautiful yarns, especially the Sunna.  The Nona one unwinds a bit and sometimes sticks to itself or splits, but I find this an issue with most lace weight yarns.  I have a funny feeling that the issues I had, especially with the yo and k2tog rows in the body, wouldn't have happened if I had a heavier yarn than lace weight. Such is screwing around with the yarn choices.

Two warnings though: they do grow like no body's business (shame on me for not swatching, I guess) and it bleeds:

Ran out of vinegar before I could completely set it as well. Will have to try again another time.
 Funny story on how I ended up with this yarn for this pattern, though.  For the past two years at NYS Sheep and Wool, Spirit Trails has had this shawl as one of their display patterns, and it's still one of my favorite examples of it.  When I saw it the first time I did two things: fell in love with the two-colored version of the pattern and decided that this was something I could use the Sunna I bought the first time I went to Rhinebeck for.  However, because I though Spirit Trails only sold fingering weight yarn (they don't, by the way), I thought the Xeina Shawl had to be fingering weight.  It was only after I had bought the Nona yarn, blinded to the pattern and finding a matching color for the Sunna I had, that I realized that Xeina was a sport weight shawl and that I now had fingering and lace weight for it.  So I was determined to make it work.

All in all, it worked out, other than the size. And even that doesn't render it unusable. Also, now I finally have one of my big projects done.  Now back to using more of my backlogged stash. 

August 8, 2015

A Cacophony of Chaos

Well...I would say a lot of things have happened in this void, but in terms of yarn craft, I would be stretching the truth somewhat. I mean, sure, I got a couple of minor things done, mainly these bags here:

No pattern; made these up.
I got the second one done just in time to use it, so I guess that was good. As well, I did finally get and set up a new place to store my yarn stash:

But otherwise, I've been starting and working on a number of things that still ain't done, of course. Like the Xenia Shawl:

Ok, if I huff it I could probably get it done this weekend, which means most likely I'll be distracted by other shiny things to do and not touch it.  But I could. Maybe.

I also, thanks to one of my knitting group people, ended up starting a dish towel that, due to the fact that I'm using scrap cotton, thought I ran out of the blue color, then found another fourth of a skein of it, is coming out just a little funky:

Pattern is Triple L Tweed Dishcloth by Purl Soho, though I'm making it much longer and with different weight yarn.
My only excuse for this project is that I can work on it on the subway, unlike the shawl.  That's what I'm going with.  But having a subway project, of course, didn't stop me from swatching for a pair of socks with some really, really brightly offensive yarn (that I bought at WEBS, because one of the things I did in this void was go on the annal WEBS trip (I'm one of the drivers; I kind of have to).  It turns out that between having moved my yarn stash recently and bringing my sister along, I spent way less money than usual (I got my sister to spend more than me, he he he. But she doesn't have a stash, so that made it easy).  That didn't stop me from buying a number of skeins of yarn, of course):

This is not my type of yarn.  That's because it's for my other sister, as she likes the loud bright colors. I'm planning Hanukkah presents early this year.

Also, I started swatching and doing the spreadsheet formulas for another sweater design. Because it's about time I started attempting a design again; I have way too many of them in my head, with the yarn ready to go as well, and no other work done on them.  It doesn't help that I have a bit of a deadline to my free time (well, what little I have left after being in the middle of selling a house and going a little crazy at work).  I'm going for my master's starting this month, and will be in class four evenings a week, plus using my weekends to do school work. This should be fun.

 But maybe I can get that all but started (I still need to order the needles for it because I need a different length circular; unfortunately a thought that only occurred to me after I attempted to create a sheet for my size to start it). Oh, who am I kidding, I'll spend this weekend (of which I'm taking off two days so it's a four day weekend) mostly playing Skyrim or XCOM or maybe even Karmaflow, if I feel like frustrating myself.  Or actually cleaning the apartment. Or doing the thousand other things I should be doing that I didn't do yet because last week, I took a little vacation:

Went fishing one morning; caught nothing. Oh well. This is Lake George, if you want to know.
Of course, got very little knitting done there either.  There was too much to do, and any downtime we usually spent playing board and card games.  I did, however, start teaching my boyfriend to knit. He's now attempting a one colored version of the dishcloth I'm doing, because it's only knit and slip stitches, it's a little more complicated than garter stitch, and I haven't taught him the purl stitch yet:

He wants it a certain size, so I'm teaching him how to swatch at the moment.

We'll see how this goes.

June 23, 2015

I Fail at Yarn Chicken

I guess this doesn't really count as yarn chicken as I actually had another skein of it, but I was hoping not to have to break into it, damnit:

That was how much farther I had to go with the royal blue color to finish the last repeat I decided to do.  A measly one or so inches.  But of course, since the other choice was ripping the whole last repeat of the pattern out, I did bother winding the second skein to use a tiny, little bit to finish the body.

I'm now on the border, which is a bit more fiddly:

 And oh so even slower. But it's still coming along, which I guess is a good thing.
However, as it's a lace pattern and so I can't travel with it much, I've ended up knitting this as well:

A bag.  Where it's obvious I got bored and changed up the pattern a couple of times.  I was going for a medieval look, but the yarn I used kind of ruins that...however, that's what I had at the time, and I was playing with a concept there.

However, since I now have to carry my work phone on me for my next SCA event (yay for being the only support for my apps now), I thought I would make a new bag with the first pattern there.  With better colors. Though it also turns out that all my sock and lace yarn is variegated modern stuff.  Because of course it is; why else would I buy the random skein unless it was nicely colored variegated sock yarn? 

Guess I know what to get at WEBS this year now. 

May 28, 2015

Lessons in Math, or the Things I Shouldn't Be Doing

EDIT 6/3/2015: made the rule more general and removed the assignment = sign because that's not math, that's a programming concept.
The sad part about having a thousand things to do that don't include this blog post is that very little yarn crafting gets done.  It doesn't help when you now have company on the train ride; it's not conducive to working on projects. But that's a whole different story.

This story is about what I've gotten done.  Mainly, about how I forgot how math works.

You see, when my knit group decided to do stuffed animals as its next "knit-along", I decided to do something slightly different and crochet a holy hand grenade instead[1]:

 As you can probably see, it's not my best effort.  I lost track of the beginning of the round in the sphere, didn't do invisible decreases, can't sew straight, and the cross on top was the bane of my existence. This is of course what happens when you buy the yarn and a crochet hook that's slightly too small for it on the fly and start the project on a bus.  Anyway, since I had to buy a full skein of the gold yarn for this project, and the grenade isn't that big as written, I ended up with most of a skein of gold yarn left.

So I decided to make a bigger, hopefully less screwed up, one.  But in my quest to do so, I failed math.  On the suggestion to make a grenade double the size, I immediately found a crochet sphere calculator (using my phone, on a bus...this seems to be a trend that ends badly) and doubled the maximum number of stitches which make up the equator of the sphere.

This doesn't double the size of the sphere, by the way:

It makes it way bigger than that.

You see, doubling the circumference of the great circle in the sphere does double one thing: the diameter of that circle. However, when we say 'size' what we're really referring to is the volume of the sphere; how much space it takes up. 

Doubling the diameter of a flat circle roughly quadruples the area of that circle.  Doubling the diameter of a sphere roughly multiplies the volume by eight. So the resulting sphere is eight times bigger, not two.  Oops.

What I should have done was double the volumn of the sphere.  Is there an easy way to do that in terms of equator size?  In order to figure out what the hell happened and how to do this on the top of my head, I did it the hard way first and did some math.

The original sphere was about 50 stitches around.  My gauge was 6st per inch.  So that give me about a 8.3in equator, or using the equation C=pi*2r, a 1.33in radius.

My 'doubled' sphere was therefore 100 stitches around. That gives me an 2.65in radius.

The volume of a sphere is V=(4/3)*pi*r^3.  That would make my 50 stitch sphere about 9.85in^3 in volume, and my 100 stitch sphere about 77.95in^3 in volume...as I said, about 8 times more.  But I wanted only double the volume...that is, I wanted a sphere about 19.7in^3 in volume.

19.7in^3 = (4/3)*pi*r^3 give me a radius of 1.675in, which gives me a circumference of 10.5in,which is about 2in more than my original circumference. At my gauge listed above, this would result in about 14 more stitches, but gauge changes so let's stay in inches.

This isn't the rule, by the way.  The rule actually turns out to be this: take the cube root of the multiplyer you wish to place on the sphere's volume (in my case, this is 2, so about 1.2599) * the circumference of your original sphere to get the circumference of a sphere with m*volume[2].  Let's write that in math: C(m) = cuberoot(m)*C.  That's how you change the size of a spherical item.

And people don't believe me when I tell them yarn craft is technical.

[1]My mom is convinced that now I'm on some watchlist due to the amount of bomb patterns I've been introduced to by doing this (there's a lot more on Ravelry than you'd think). Because this is the craziest thing I've looked at on the internet.

[2] I was having issues figuring this out on my own, so thanks to my boyfriend's WoW friends (particularly the one who is a mathematician) for taking up the problem and figuring the actual rule between volume and circumference out for me.

April 12, 2015

The Other Important Thing To Check

I was naughty.  I didn't swatch properly for a pair of socks I started working on and it bit me in the ass.

Ok, so I'm usually naughty in this way.  Every so often I'll do a semi-proper swatch, and by a semi-proper swatch I mean I'll knit more than an inch long on a 3 to 4 inch piece before casting off. Very rarely, I'll have sufficient motivation or time to knit a proper swatch. This is usually when I'm designing, but I'll do it for other major projects where getting the size wrong is really going to ruin things.  More commonly, however, I knit a small 2" x 1" swatch, get an idea of gauge, wash it to make sure it doesn't disintegrate or grow too much, and start the project.

Of course, by half-assing it this way, you would think what bit me in the ass was the gauge.  Not so; actually the gauge is working out better than I thought it would. No, the problem was that the colors I chose for the project didn't work:

You see, in my love of dark colors, I was thinking these contrasted sufficiently enough to allow for some colorwork to be done. I explicitly bought the purple skein so that I had a color to contrast with the black.  I was so confident, I barely did any colorwork in my swatch:

Which is why I ignored the fact that you can barely see that I did any colorwork in the swatch, and went on my merry way of casting on.

By the time I finished the first colorwork segment, however, it became obvious.  You couldn't see the pattern at all.  If I was just making a striped sock, it would have worked ok enough, but that first colorwork section wasn't even the biggest and therefore I said screw it and ripped the sock back out to the toe section.  I then went statch diving and found this fingering weight yarn:

 I was hoping to use this for something like a Hitchhiker, but I was already committed to the sock pattern and this was the only yarn I found light enough to work with the black for the colorwork.  To be fair, it is coming out nicely (despite the fact that I had to pretty much write the heel directions myself since they didn't exist in the pattern):

Pattern is Vellamo by Taina Anttila
I guess the other lesson here is have a good stash.  Not that I need to tell most yarn-crafters that.

March 12, 2015

Beats the Record

I finally finished my longest running project:

Recognize this?  No? That's the blanket I made out of all the garter stitch log cabin squares that I started back in January...of 2012.

Yeah.  Then again, I could have had it done months ago.  It's not that the blanket took forever, its that things don't get done if you don't work on them part that took forever. The squares, since I picked them up and put them down a lot, took a good two years on their own.  The border took a year, technically.  If you remember, I sewed up the blanket during the Olympics last year and almost finished the border a few months later.  But I ran out of black yarn.  So, to avoid buying more, I borrowed some.  Except it was Red Heart. Which, by the way, doesn't work too well as Red Heart is a lot thicker than Simply Soft.  So while the blanket was techically done, it flared out at one of the ends due to the other yarn.  So it again sat there, with a plan to get more Simply Soft and re-knit the last ten rows. 

I finally got the yarn about four or so months ago, and then it took me until last month to finally go 'this isn't staying here any longer on my couch like this' and do it.

Just in time for me to have to use it because throat infections suck. So, it's useful, at least?

February 21, 2015

Seed Stitch Lattice Hat

See, I told you I'd release another free pattern.

To get the actual pattern (pdf), please click here to download it from Ravelry

Seed Stitch Lattice Hat

A beret style hat that's way easier than it looks. The lattice effect is created using a contrasting color in a slightly lighter yarn than the main color and working seed stitch throughout.

Craft Type



Knitting and purling, decreasing, working in the round, basic stranded colorwork


17.5" (21") circumference at band, unstretched and blocked.  Fits around at 18 - 20" (21 - 23") head.


22st and 32 rows per 4" [10cm] in dual color seed stitch [the body pattern]

Yarn and Yardage

MC: 1 skein of Madelinetosh Tosh DK [225 yds/205 m]
or around 130 yds of a comparable yarn. Sample used
suggested yarn in colorway Dirty Panther.

CC: 1 skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Sport [270 yds/247 m]
or around 100 yds of a comparable yarn. Sample used
suggested yarn in colorway Baltic.

Needles and Hooks

US 5 [3.75mm] 16” circular
US 8 [5.00mm] 16” circular
US 8 [5.00mm] 40” circular for Magic Loop or equivalent
sized set of DPNs

Happy knitting!

February 9, 2015

For What it's Worth

While, given it's a week into February, that my hopes for getting a new pattern out around New Year's are dashed, I am working on one.  Here's a hint:

One of the reasons I have no pattern still is simply because I keep changing my mind.  I keep changing my mind partly because I keep trying things out and they don't work.  Or I don't like them.  Or it's too small, too big, wrong yarn, etc, etc. It isn't helping that I only did one swatch, and it was small.

This is what happens when you think you can knock out a 'simple' item of your own design without doing much pre-planning, out of scrap yarn.  I should have known it doesn't work that way. Now, it doesn't help that I haven't had much time for knitting recently, let alone calculating things officially in a spreadsheet.  Spreadsheets require hours in front of the computer working on them.  I can knit on the subway,  the bus, and wherever I may be at the moment. Might have contributed to my throw-it-to-the-wind half-ass planning, that did.

Anyway, it seems to be working now.  Hopefully.  Though I can't promise when it'll be written up and out, or if I'll be more than one size,  I can promise that I'll release it for free.

I actually thought about that for a bit, even though this pattern is pretty simple and in the end I decided that it'd only be worth between $0.50 and a dollar, which means it doesn't pay to get it tech edited.  And I won't sell a pattern that hasn't been tech edited, because that's not respectful of my users.  If it's free, well, I try to make sure there's no errors, but that's the trade off for getting a free pattern.

However, it does have a different aspect to it, which is why I paused at first.  Even something as simple as this takes a good amount of planning and some time investment.  This is something I have very little of at the moment.  And since my last pattern was put for sale, there's the aspect of going legit on top of it.  Where's the line between free and not?  Should I give my efforts away like that, after I've said they're worth something?

But then I realize, who am I kidding, I ain't a professional in this nor do I want to be.  So, free pattern. At some point.

I did also get this done:

Pattern is Flame Hat by Irina Dmitrieva.  I did the beret version.
Yay, shiny cable hat.  It's a little big, but it stays on my head, covers my ears, and is warm enough. Now what to do with the other skein of that yarn...