December 27, 2011

I Know, I Know...

I actually had a whole post planned revolving my completion of the Bucket and Brims hat remake, since I realized that it would be a perfect segway into my one major mistake when I was learning to knit, but then life got in the way.  I'll still get around to that post, but it's not going to happen any time soon.  Sorry about that.

Quick updates: I did get all the hats I needed to done for the holidays, and the recipients liked them, so that's a good thing.  I'm currently finishing up my first baby sweater for this other baby on the bus right now (sorry, don't have a picture).  I should be done tomorrow (minus the buttons...which will have to wait because I have a ban on myself from buying any craft stuff right now).  I did change the sleeve length to short sleeves since this is supposed to be a late spring baby in an area of the country that gets pretty hot. 

Then I'll have nothing to do on the bus for the rest of the week.  Then I won't need it.  That's all I'm going to say for now.  I'll try to get back to really posting when my life settles down. 

A belated happy holidays to everyone, and have a happy new year.

December 2, 2011

Hats, Hats, and More Hats

I've gotten back into my pre-winter hat kick.  Yep, I know winter's coming when I start wanting to make hats.  I did this last year too, so I guess it's going to be a thing with me.  Winter's coming, time to make hats.

Last year, it was motivated by the fact that I had one slightly-too-big hat and scarf set, and another scarf.  I needed more hats and scarves so I didn't freeze, head off when I started walking part of my commute.  This year, it's been quick presents.  Well, mostly.

I first blame my mother.  She wanted an alpaca hat for Hanukkah.  She sprung it on me a couple of months ago, so I was able to plan, get the yarn, and make the hat.  It also helped that she choose a really quick knit:

The pattern is the ever popular Thorpe, using Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky, in a size large...which ended up being a little too big when I washed the hat.  Should have dropped down a needle size and/or done the medium so it wouldn't end up so floppy and loose.  Didn't think about the fact that I made it with alpaca, not wool.  It still works and fits well enough, though.

So, of course, that got me thinking and motivated, which is dangerous when you're making a KnitPicks order and you need to spend some more money to get free shipping.  You start thinking things like: 'Hey,  I can make a hat in less than a week...hey, why don't I make one for another relative I have no clue what I'm going to get for him, and oh, how about one for myself. ' I therefore present hat number one (the present):

...And hat number two (mine, still got to finish it):

Hat number one is Lorne's Hat, from the ever-amusing Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  Simple, straightfoward, nice hat pattern, if it wasn't for the 12in of ribbing in sports weight yarn it requires.  Good thing I like the look of the hat.  All that ribbing got tedious after awhile.  The yarn is KnitPicks Andean Treasure, which I have never used before nor read any reviews before getting.  It's not a bad yarn, but it's KnitPicks, so it's not the highest quality.  It sheds a bit when you're working with it.  However, it is also soft and pet-able, so it has that going for it.  Haven't introduced it to water yet, so I dunno what happens there (I also didn't swatch, so I'll have to make a swatch to test that bit out, he he).

Hat number two is a Bucket and Brims Hat.  I made this hat last year (you can see it here), and screwed it up a bit.  Not only was I still twisting all my knit stitches at the time, but I misinterpreted the pattern.  Which you need to do, since it's not the most straightforward pattern out there.  Doable, but not very clearly written.  It didn't stop me from wearing the first one, but I decided to try my hand at it again and see if I could make a better one.  The yarn is KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Bulky, which I decided to try just to see how the Wool of the Andes line is (the first one was made out of KnitPicks Swish Bulky, but they upped the price on that line and I was trying not to spend too much money).  Not overly impressed with the wool, but it's not bad.  It's not soft, but it's hearty and's hard to explain.

This would have been the end of the KnitPicks yarn buying and hat making, except that I ran out of yarn for hat one before I was done (this is what happens when you pick the pattern out after you buy the yarn and don't look at the yardage required).  That's actually the only reason the second hat got started; I needed another project to take on the bus while I was waiting for the extra skein of yarn to be delivered.  But that also led to this:

More yarn for another hat.  This will be for my brother, though he doesn't know he's getting it, so it's another surprise knit.  The colors are intentional (can you guess what it represents?); but that also lead to me buying a skein of KnitPicks Swish Worsted for the yellow (the main color) skein, and Wool of the Andes Worsted for the other two colors (which will be accent stripes, so the fact that the yarn feels a lot rougher shouldn't be an issue).  I'm planning to use this pattern here.  Hopefully, it doesn't take me as long as the last present hat, and hopefully I won't need another skein of the yellow yarn.  That would suck.  I already had accepted the fact that I had to pay shipping for this order, since there was no way I was hitting $50 on my second order of the month.  Oye.

At least Hanukkah starts December 20th this year.  It would of sucked if it started, say, now.  Or maybe it wouldn't have, since I would have already had a present for said brother, and so wouldn't have had this zany scheme, and since the other present hat is a Christmas present, it would have still worked out.  Or something like that.

And after this?  Baby knitting.  Can't do any more hats or scarves, though I would like to make another short scarf for myself at some point...and a cardigan...and a sweater...and I have way too many projects I want to do...

November 15, 2011

The Milk Maiden Write-and-Dash

Since I can't seem to actually sit down and write something when I have time on the weekends, here's the promised notes from my experience with making the Milk Maiden pullover, plus some other observations.

The Sweater
Well, it was an interesting knit.  It came out nicely, but I ended up winging a lot of little changes, despite the fact that I actually took the time to sit down and plan out how I was going to shorten this sweater.  This is because it has an odd construction in the sleeve area and is shaped.  I don't have much of an issue with shaping.  I was worried about screwing up the sleeve construction, having never done something like it before (it involves doing half the sleeve, and then attaching the sleeve to the sweater by decreases, which creates the sleeve cap.  It also means that the sleeve width is the height of the sleeve, something I figured out a tad too late).  However, I did manage to get the sleeves on mostly right.  Yay me.

Oh, and while I was stupid and didn't write every change I made down, I did get a good chunk of them onto my Raverly for this project (the details may be a little lacking, but heh).  But since I'm being lazy, I'm not linking.  My profile link's on the side bar if you're really interested.

The Yarn Used
Madelinetosh yarn....oh, I love your colors, I love the way the color looks in this sweater, but you bleed, and bleed, and bleed!  I set you in vinegar three times, I put so much into the water that it had to be half vinegar, but every time I took you out of the vinegar, you still bled!  How do I set your pretty colors?  How?  Three times I've had to block projects made out of you, and all three times I couldn't stop the yarn from bleeding. Oye.

Other Observations
1) I actually saw someone knitting on the subway a week or so ago.  I've never actually seen someone else knit in public, and here was this woman sitting on the crowded subway, merrily knitting away.  I tried taking a sneaky picture (yeah, I know, it's a little creepy), but the camera in my phone sucks and the subway was too crowded.  (I should note that I don't knit on the subway since I have a very short ride on it).

2) I then finished a hat (it is a present) and a short scarf (probably will be a present) with the alpaca from Rhinebeck.  I now have another hat to do (another present), maybe another project that will also be a present, and a bunch of baby stuff since I now have another relative that's expecting.  I would usually be 'yay' happy about the baby stuff, but I was kind of hoping to start on a cardigan for myself.  You know, so I stop wearing the same store-bought one to work every day.  Oh well.  It'll give me a chance to clear out some of the baby yarn in my stash, given that I'm not over-estimating my knitting abilities again (Which I am.  Can I really do two sweaters after a hat and [retracted] before buying some nicer yarn to make a nicer baby sweater?).

3) I really want to know where the phrase 'sharpen your knitting needles' came from.  My mom said it to me when announcing the baby news.  I've never heard that before, and I've never heard of being able to sharpen your needles.  Probably because I use metal ones.  A web search for another day.

November 6, 2011

Knitting vs Crochet, Part 1: Tools and Notions

For my first serious post, I'm going to start a series comparing knitting (which is what I mostly do now) and crochet (my first love).  This one will be about the tools requires for the trade, and how they compare to each other.  And I have pictures, since earlier today I decided to re-organize all my craft tools.

But first, I would like to announce that I finished this:

I'll go over my final thoughts on it in a write-and-dash post later.  Now, to the comparison.


To knit one simple project, you really only need two needles of the correct size. You may also need something like a stitch marker or a counter, but I won't count those because you need them for both crafts.  That's it.  Simple, right?

Nope.  Not in the slightest.  One of the more shocking things to me about knitting was how may damn needles you need to do all the projects you want to do.  Want to knit a sweater?  Depending on the sweater, you may be able to get away with a set of straight needles in the correct diameter (if knit flat or a cardigan), or you may need one or a couple of circular needles in the correct size and length, and a set of DPNs or longer circular needle to do the sleeves.  If it has ribbing, you usually need another set of needles a size down.  If you do hats, you usually use 16" circulars and DPNs, or a longer circular to Magic Loop the whole hat, presuming the hat's worked in the round.  For socks, you'll need tiny DPNs or long circulars that you most likely wouldn't be using for other projects. I could go on and on.  The thing is, if you knit anything and everything like me (well, not everything. I haven't gotten to socks yet since I don't usually like to wear them, but I will eventually) in any and all yarn weights (I've knitted everything from super bulky to light fingering), you end up needing a lot of different needles.  If you're a person who prefers straight needles (not me), you're going to need a whole set of straights, a whole set of DPNs, and some circulars for those random projects that need to be knitted in large rounds.  If you like circulars like me, you maybe could get away with less needles, assuming you prefer magic loop as well and don't buy a whole set of DPNs before you realize that.

That's the other thing, though.  If you're new, you're usually directed to the straight, cheapo needles and set to go (unless, of course, you learned from someone who preferred differently and/or knew better).  That's what I started on, having learned out of a book bought at a big-box craft store.  Then, if you expand your horizons beyond scarfs, you'll mostly likely find your way to DPNs and circulars when needed.  If you don't hate circulars and/or don't absolutely love and can't deal without straight needles or just prefer circulars, you would be smart to sit back, realize that in order to do all the things you want to do, you'd need to buy not only a different size needle, but 3-5 different lengths for the circulars, so it'd make sense to invest in a interchangeable set now, before you buy all those needles.  You'd be really smart to realize that you prefer magic loop before you buy all the DPNs, but hey, it's the price I pay for learning without another knitter around.

Anyway, here's all my current tools:

I was lucky and realized I preferred circulars and things knitted in the round early, so I went and bought the interchangeable set from KnitPicks, which definitely has saved me money and kept my needle count down.  I chose this one because I prefer metal needles and decent prices, and the other two metal sets in existence didn't fit both criteria (Boye's is cheap, both in price and quality, and the other one (I'm blanking on the brand) was more expensive for less sizes).  I've had a couple of issues with the cables popping out of the metal screw top, and needles becoming unscrewed despite being tightened, but nothing major or constant (and KnitPicks did replace a cable for free when it broke on me the first time I used it.  They're pretty good about that).  And I have to say, I love the sharp points.  My right index finger will beg to differ, but that's all right.

Oh, and I still need more needles if I ever get around to that sock, since the smallest interchangeable head is a US 4, and I don't own a solid US 0, 1, or 2 in a length above 24".

Also note the notions in the right hand corner.  Needle caps, cable needles, stitch holders...all notions unique to knitting.  Even with the interchangeable set keeping some of the cost down, I'd have to say that all those tools in that picture are worth around $200 US dollars (still need to actually tally it).  Not counting the purple holder at the bottom, which has the straights I bought before I went circular and interchangeable:

That's probably another $40-$50 there.


So, what do you need to crochet anything and everything?  This:

That's it.  Well, it's not all the crochet hook sizes you can get (I don't own my own Q or M hook, nor all the 'steel' ones), and I managed to lose my G hook when it fell out of a hole in the plastic bag I had a project it (which, ironically, was a knitting project.  I was carrying it around to pick up stitches if I needed to), but that's all the crochet hooks I've ever used.  I've crocheted everything from super bulky yarn to crochet thread as well, so it's a good range.  That whole thing cost me around $40.  If I got the rest of the set, it would cost me around $60-$70.  Of course, this presumes you get the same hooks I did, which the cheap Boye ones (which are fine since I prefer metal hooks, and all a crochet hook has to do is hook the yarn through a loop.  I also prefer the hook shape on the Boye's; there's another cheap brand that does a different style hook, and I don't like it.  That's probably what the green, extra K hook I have on the left is.  I never use that hook).  If you go to a mid-upper-level style of hook, it may cost more more like $100 (though I just looked, and you can even get a Clover soft set for $40, though you may  need a couple extra sizes).


So, in terms of tools, crochet is pretty good.  Only need a small set of crochet hooks, maybe some shared notions like a stitch marker and/or row counter, and you're set.  Knitting requires way more tools and notions, and that costs money.  Also, due to the way you use knitting needles, quality becomes a lot more important, also upping the cost.  In conclusion, if you're really broke and don't already knit or crochet, learn how to crochet.  Or stick to one area of knitting, so you don't need as many tools.  Or find a knitting friend that will loan you stuff.  They all work. If you're not broke, then just be prepared to spend a lot building up your tool stash if you're learning to knit.  Or ignore how much money you're spending on your hobby.  Either way works.

November 1, 2011

I'm Still Here

It's just that I've been a little busy, and buses have been running a little late recently, so I haven't managed to sit down and write a good post.  I'll do it this weekend, I promise.

Well, not doing it last weekend was all my fault.  I was too busy trying to make progress on the Crazy Cable Blanket:

In which my brother informed me, after I made the point that I had only done 45 rows out of 420, that he thought I'd have it done by the end of November, and was therefore shocked I hadn't made much progress.  I pointed out that I had told him that I wouldn't be done by Hanukkah, so what made him think I would be done by November?  Really?  It's not that I'm a fast, well, anything, and they know that.  It takes me a couple of months at best to crochet an afghan, and that's a not-so-complicated, bulky weight, one.  Knitting crazy cabling in worsted weight?  Yeah, I'll be lucky if I have it done by the end of the cold season.

Anyway, if you ignore the rather icky cable job in one place, and the day I picked it up, proceeded to make 3 mistakes in two rows, hacked fixes for them, and put it down thinking it would only get worse from here, I'm making progress.  Slow progress, but progress.  Though I'm not using lifelines anymore, so if I really screw up I'm back to row 20. Yeah, maybe next year he'll get it as a Hanukkah present.  Maybe.

October 20, 2011

Magic Looping is a Good Hack

I hate DPNs (Double Pointed Needles, for the uninitiated).

Yeah, I said it.  I have never liked working on DPNs.  It's not knitting in the round that I hate; I love doing that.  As long as it's on a long circular needle, that is.  But I dread the point in my sweaters and hats where I have to pull out those crazy pointed things that stick out everywhere, catch on everything, and are a pain in the ass to knit on since you're constantly stopping to adjust the needles, move stitches, and on and on.

They also don't stop anyone from choosing to sit next to me on the bus, even when there's an empty row right in front of me.  But I digress.

This isn't to say I don't use them.  Not to say I haven't used them successfully either. But I don't like them, and more times than not, something ends up looking screwy.

Anyway, what brought it to a head this week was this:

Now, we already know I suck at 1x1 ribbing, but this is a new low.  Everywhere the needles meet, there's a big open gap between the purl and knit stitches.  If you look closely, you can see where I tried the rotating trick (rotating where the joins are is supposed to help hide the ladders, as they aren't lined up in a column.  Maybe for someone else it does, oye.).  To put salt in the wound, this is all I got done in three days of bus trips (though part of that is due to bus crowding and falling asleep on the bus...lets say this is all I got done in 4 bus trips).  3 inches of ribbing.  That's it.

It is now gone.  I got sick of all the gaps and curving ribbing. I ripped it out Wednesday night.  I then sat down and looked up a video on how to magic loop.

I now have this:

Look at it!  3 and a half inches of nice, neat, ribbing; the best 1x1 ribbing I've done so far.  And it was done in two bus trips.  No ladders.  No pointy needles clacking everywhere.  Why didn't I learn how to magic loop before?  Why did I buy every DPN from size 0 to 11 from KnitPicks when I had perfectly good needles and a long cable to knit small rounds?

I can tell you why, actually.  I bought most of the DPNs before I knew there were other ways of knitting small rounds.  And when I did learn of magic looping, most of what I was reading was along the lines of 'Why would you do that?  DPNs are superior.'  I got the idea that magic looping was a Bad Idea, a bad hack.  So I didn't go any further, and I bought more DPNs.

Well, magic looping may be a hack (after all, you are using a circular needle for something it really wasn't meant to be used for), but it's a very good one, at least for me.  I can knit faster, it works up neater, and I'm dealing with less needles.

It serves me right for ignoring the solution and wasting my time.  I shouldn't have cared.  When have I not liked a good hack?  It's like finding out that adding two lines to a stored procedure will make Microsoft Report Viewer generate columns using a stored procedure with a temporary table in it.  No, not my hack, but finding it did save my ass from having to completely destroy someone else's sproc to get rid of the temporary tables that shouldn't have been an issue in the first place (and, for the record, Microsoft Report Viewer is something else I hate.  But that's not knitting related, so I'll drop it).

Oh, and before I go, I guess I should clarify how I usually use the term hack.  A hack is a solution to a problem that doesn't actually fix the problem.  Instead, it works around the problem, and is often not pretty, efficient, or smart, but it works.  If I say I hacked something in my knitting, I usually mean I fixed my knitting mistake by doing something else instead of frogging it back and doing it right.  For example, fixing too many stitches increased by knitting two together on the next row.  That's a hack. Sometimes this is a good thing (who's going to notice an extra increase and decrease in the area under your armpits?).  Sometimes, it isn't, because the problem still exists and leaving it there or even the hack itself can cause other issues (that area where you had extra increase may now be too big, and will sag, making it noticeable anyway).

And by googling the word hack, I just found out the other word for it is kludge.  Anyone else ever hear that word used?  Kludge? Maybe it's because I'm a programmer, but I've always heard it called a hack.  Link here if you're interested.

October 16, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

This is a quick post, since I've been a bit busy this weekend, and still have things to do (like my laundry).  Was in the city Saturday for family driven plans, and then today I went to see this:

That's right.  I got up to Rhinebeck for my first ever Sheep and Wool Festival.  Which is funny, since I live, oh, a little more than an hour away (hence my last minute plans), and I have never heard of the festival in my life until I joined Raverly.  I, of course, also broke several of my rules and left with all of this:

Well, that and a crochet related item for my mom, which will be the surprise part of her Hanukkah present.

The middle two dark-blue skeins are some alpaca for a hat for my mom.  It'll be a Hanukkah present.  She requested that it be alpaca, though I have to get her to pick out a pattern for it.  The others were just 'oooh, pretty' buys, which means I have no clue what I will do with them, and they were the most expensive yarn I've bought so far.  I'm a sucker for jewel tone blue and black combos, and there were a lot of them. Not that I still have a sweater to finish, or at least get to the point where I can take it back on the bus, no suree:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, I need to stop writing about this. 

Next time, I'll plan ahead and take the patterns I want to do to Rhinebeck so I can get yarn to match. 

Anyway, since I'm an idiot and forgot my camera, the sheep and alpaca pictures above are from my knitter-in-crime sister, who I got to come with me last minute, and insisted that since this was the Sheep and Wool Festival, we had to go see the sheep.  And I swear that sheep in the first picture was posing for us.

October 10, 2011

Problems with Vinegar Baths and a Resultion to Ribbing Woes

Ok, so I decided to still do the 1x1 ribbing on the bust of my Milk Maiden sweater:

To keep it tighter, I kept all the stitches I either knitted or purled on the tip of the right hand needle until I did the next one.  It seems to be working as good as the examples of other peoples' work I looked at.

On the other hand, I was helping my mom block a shawl she crocheted today (yay corporate holidays).  I ended up doing most of the work because the yarn she used, Madelinetosh's Tosh Light, bleeds oh so very much, and I dealt with the same problem with my Tosh Light shawl.  Now, for my shawl, I stopped the bleeding with two vinegar washes.  Hers...well, it was still bleeding after soaking it in three vinegar baths.  I just gave up and told her to tell the giftee that if they wash it, not to wash it with anything else.  It at least wasn't as bad as it had been.

Now, from my research, I know that vinegar is supposed to be the best way to stop bleeding yarn.  So I don't get what I'm doing wrong.  Am I diluting the vinegar too much?  Does it not work for some yarn dyes? Was I not using enough vinegar (the shawl was a whole lot bigger than mine, but I can't say I measured the vinegar out any of the times I used it)? I'm confused. 

At least I wasn't as confused as my stepfather, who was questioning my use of the vinegar, saying that he used vinegar as a caustic agent to clean out the coffee pot (that had recently decided to clog up and overflow coffee every time someone made it.  I claim no fault.  It worked fine for me last Friday).  I stupidly replied: 'Well, don't you know that that's how Easter eggs are set?,' completely forgetting that my stepfather has never dyed Easter eggs (explaining this would unfortunately require a whole paragraph, so I'm not).  My mom and I had to explain that vinegar is used in Easter egg dye to set the dye on the egg (for any other folks out there who've never dyed Easter eggs for one reason or another).

Tomorrow, it's back to my actual paying job, and not knitting the crazy cable blanket.  That I just found a mis-crossed cable on.  Ug.

October 9, 2011

Ribbing Woes

I have realized that I suck at 1x1 ribbing. I should have noticed this when I did it at the bottom of the sweater:

I should have thought, hey, this isn't good, I need to learn to fix this.  But no, I conveniently forgot that the bust area of the Milk Maiden sweater is 1x1 ribbing as well.  And when I actually got to that part of the pattern, I forgot that my 1x1 ribbing sucks. So I began ribbing, only to find out that, yeah, having gaping stitches is not conducive to the bust area of a sweater.

So I pulled out 6 rows, and tried again.  I tried twisting the rib, but that just creates huge gaping holes in between the stitches.  I tried twisting the knit stitches only, but that leaves gaping purl stitches.  I tried loosing my tension (this seems counter-intuitive, but according to what I read, trying to pull your stitches tighter makes gaping ribbing worse), but it didn't work either.  I've pulled this part of the sweater out three times already, and I've made no progress since Tuesday (though crowded buses and the idiot that sat next to me with a huge duffel bag in his lap that took up half my seat space didn't help either).

Now I just don't know what to do, other than change it to a 2x2 rib, since I magically don't have this issue when I do any other multiple of ribbing. It'll also mean the bottom won't match, which I'm fine with.  As long as I do the sleeves the same way, I think it'll work.  But I rather do it right.  How the hell do I do 1x1 ribbing without gaping holes?

October 2, 2011

Internal Rules and Current Projects

I know I wrote last time that my next post would be on something different.  That was last week.  I'll get there at some point, I promise.

For now, however, I'll cover something that's currently on my mind, and in the meantime cover what I'm working on now (as well as a couple of past projects).  Therefore, I present the first set of my Internal Rules for Knitting.  These are some rules that help keep my knitting under control, which means they're broken half the time.  Anyway:

1) I will only buy yarn if I have a project in mind for it  After all, this is what I ended up with the first time I didn't do this:

Yeah, that's a current picture of some ugly Lion Brand Swede sitting in my stash

I told myself after that little incident that I would never buy yarn on a whim again.  I would wait until I had picked it for a specific project.  Especially if it was on sale or cost a pretty penny. This would keep my yarn spending under control, and make sure I use what I buy.

However, it also seems that it's quite valid to make an exception when I feel bad about returning yarn to my LYS because I was allergic to it and bought the substitute yarn online.  That's how I ended up with two skeins of this:

The yarn is Madelinetosh's Tosh Light in their Baltic colorway, which I am rather attracted to.  That shawl is the first skein, and came out of the fact that I bought this yarn on a whim.  This, of course, leaves the second skein just sitting there, because while I enjoyed the challenge of learning how to knit lace, I'm not touching it again any time soon. It's this pattern, no modifications. My notes on it here.

It also seems that I'll make an exception I find out some distance relative is having a kid, and I have lofty goals and loads of motivation that I'll make dozens of baby things.  That's how I ended up with all of this:

At least I got a project done for said baby, though it only took one skein of that grey yarn in the back (Bernat's Softee Baby in Gray Marl by the way, though if you can't stand acrylic, don't get it.  It works up like acrylic, though it softens up in the wash)  That sweater is a modified version of this pattern. For notes, go here.

2) I will not spend more on yarn for a project than it would cost me to buy the finished product retail.  This will make my knitting practical, and save me money.  Well, sometimes.  It turns out that an alpaca sweater can retail for $130-140 dollars, which of course is only a little higher than I spent on making this:

However, spending a year and making several projects while twisting your knit stitches is priceless. But that's another post.  This is a modified version of this pattern.  My notes here.

It was also a gift to my mom, so I really didn't care about that one so much.  Given that she's spent more than that making a crochet bedspread that I grew to not like pretty quickly, among other things.  However, it also seems that the rule goes out the window if I like the colorway, which is how I ended up with this:

Project notes are here

This is my current bus project.  The pattern is the Milk Maiden Pullover from Brave New Knits, and it's one of the only reasons I bought the book.  The yarn is Madelintosh's Tosh Sport in their (new?) colorway Fathom. I officially love this colorway. Look at it, my favorite color combination, just slightly variegated enough to be interesting. It's perfect for this pattern too. I had to get it. I don't care if I can get a sweater for $40 bucks and this cost me almost $70, it's worth it. And I'll break rule number 1 if a Madelinetosh Sock onesie pops up in this colorway. Or this colorway gets discontinued. Love, love, love.

And yes, I've modified it, since I modify almost everything.  Why I tend to modify everything is another post, though. Back to the rules.

3) I will use up most of my stash before buying more yarn. Yeah, never managed to follow this one:

Most of my stash. It's a combination of whim yarn and extra skeins from other projects. It lives under my bed and out of my mind for the most part.

The only thing that makes me feel better about that is that it seems that most people I read about online have much larger stashes.  Hey, mine (barely) fits in a Tupperware container. Then again, they seem to have much nicer yarn in their stashes too. Yay?

And now for a rule I'm actually not currently breaking:

4) I should only have one bus project and one at-home project at a time.

First, I'll define what I mean by 'bus project' and 'at-home project'. Bus projects are, obviously, projects that I can do mostly on on the bus. This means that they get worked up faster, but they tend to be simpler. Though 'simpler' is a bit relative, as I have no problem including some sweaters in this pile, as you can see from my bus project above. If it fits in my briefcase and doesn't require either being chained to the pattern or a chart or a lot of color-work, I can usually do it on the bus. Lots of stockinette or very repetitive patterns are a plus here, though I have done drop stitch lace, finishing off projects, and cables on the bus successfully. On the other hand, at home projects are usually things I want to make, but are way too big and/or complicated to work on on the bus. This officially started when I made that lace shawl above, as I realized that in order to make a lace shawl, I was going to need to be chained to the pattern and be able to finish a row in a sitting. I can't do this on the bus without really annoying my fellow passengers. I decided to spare them.

I'm now working on this:

My project notes are here

This is the pattern St. Ciaran from the new and expanded version of Aran Knitting. I'm not really mortifying it (gasp!), though I'm using Berroco's Comfort Worsted to make it instead of a wool-based yarn. This is because I'm making it for my brother, who's still a kid and still trashes things. Therefore, it had to be 1)washable and 2)not too expensive to make. I picked the pattern out, though he approved it. I like torturing myself, though I'm not finding it too hard at this point, just tedious. I should be working on it right now.

I'll go do that.

September 26, 2011

Don't Mind the Changes

I'm playing around with the template, and probably will be for awhile.  I apologize in advance if something changes out in front of you.

September 24, 2011

Obligatory First Post, or How I Learned to Compile Yarn

The obligatory first post of every craft blogger (in my opinion at least) is how exactly you ended up so obsessed with this stuff anyway.  Knitting?  Crocheting?  Don't you have better things to do with your time, like playing Angry Birds on your smartphone?  Isn't that the obligatory bus activity after sleeping?

Well, other than the fact that I currently don't own a smartphone, the answer is that I like making things.  I like making things in ways that only annoy me sometimes.  I like getting to the end of the day, a day where everything could be going to hell, and being able to say: 'Well, I spent my whole day trying to get this program to work and it still doesn't work, but I got part of this sweater done, so I'm not completely useless.' I also like being able to do something during my commute which has tangible results, and keeps me from falling asleep (I don't care how interesting a book can be, when you get up at 4 in the morning, you'll still fall asleep.  If I fall asleep knitting, then there's no hope that day.  Falling asleep on the bus results in more headaches than not for me).

The second part of this is, of course, how did I learn?  Well, my mother taught me to crochet when I was in 2nd grade, and since then I've picked it up on and off depending on if I was motivated enough.  I got good enough to start making up my own crochet patterns when I was in high school.  Crochet kippot, mainly.  I then dropped it all in college, more or less, making only a scarf for a roommate during that time.

When I graduated and started working full time, I found myself back home with nothing much to do, and more time to do things.  Needing a hat and scarf to wear to work, I picked up my crochet hook again and BS'ed a hat and scarf set.  I then set out to prove I could do something bigger, found a afghan pattern I liked, and completed it (that afghan is the Demented Squares Afghan, by the way).  From then on, I always had a project going, though I didn't devote much time to them.  Part of the reason is that I never found crochet patterns I loved, and I wasn't good enough to make anything amazing on my own.  My mom also scared me away from making wearables, as she has trouble with them, though I started getting over that.

Then, one weekend, my mom decided that she would try to learn how to knit.  I decided that I would try to learn with her.  We went out, bought a learn-to-knit book, needles, and yarn.  My mom ended up getting frustrated and dropped it.  I, however, learned to knit.  (In a completely unplanned step, so did my youngest sister, who never got the hang of crochet and so had spent much time ignoring yarn crafts (she, however, cross-stitches amazingly well.  It's a craft I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole.  I hate sewing and anything like it)).

I then learned that despite spending all that time wondering why the hell someone would do a craft that involved more than one active loop at at time, I loved to knit.  It made a fabric I liked the look of better and that worked much better for wearables.  There were tons of patterns out there than I liked, and I then found Raverly.  Enough said. It was new to me, and I was motivated.  I also learned to knit just at the time I was looking into getting more into crocheting, and it took me right off that track and applied my motivation to another one.

So now it's a little over a year later, and I now mostly knit.  I still crochet, and I think there are still some things that are better crocheted (another topic for another day).  Its all gotten me though hard times at work, gave me gifts to give people, gave me something that I could do on the bus and stay awake, and let me get shirts that actually fit (when I do it right, of course).

And now I should go to bed.  To come, I'll cover some of the issues I had learning to knit, talk about some of my thoughts on both crafts and where I stand with them, as well as mention why I named the blog what I did (it's more embarrassing than exciting, so don't get your hopes up).


Ok, So I've Decided to Actually Blog on This Thing

Originally, I created this blog for the sole purpose of putting my first original pattern somewhere online.  It was easier for me to stick the patterns on a blog and link back to it on Raverly, than trying to create a Raverly download.  I was also naive enough to think that I'd have more time and willpower than I do, and that I'd have a ton of patterns to share with the world.

Yeah, didn't happen.  What a surprise. 

Anyway, I've been thinking.  I've been putting all my trials and tribulations with my projects under my Ravelry entry for them.  While this allows issues and other changes associated with the pattern to be easily found, some of my have been lost under some random project that ended up associated with it.  As well, I've been inspired by reading a couple of established knitting bloggers in that maybe, just maybe, by posting my adventures in knitting and crocheting that someone will not make the mistakes I did, or at least be entertained.

Or it'll just give me an avenue to gab over where no one will really be listening.  One or the other.

So I'm going to try and actually blog on this thing.  I will try not to rant (I have a habit of rant-blogging; it killed another blog of mine).  I will try to help.  I'll try to post once a week.  I will do my first post after this one.  Worst case, I stop and this blog will again just be for my patterns.  Best case, maybe someone will be educated, I'll make more patterns, and also find the time to edit this blog's layout.  In between my long commute, 8-hour work days, my current apartment search, and the projects I'm working on.  Yeah, that's it.

July 9, 2011

Reversible Eyelet Hat

My first written down knitting pattern, so enjoy!

Reversible Eyelet Hat
A ribbed hat with a simple eyelet pattern that can be worn inside out for a funkier look.

Craft Type:

Skill Level:
Easy+ (you'll need to know (or learn!) how to do a yarn over increase and knit and purl together decrease, as well as knit and purl).

Finished Size:
Adult One-Fits-Most. It's about 20 in circumference at bottom un-stretched and can stretch to about 30 in circumference for the original 100 stitch version. About 8 in in length, but you can make it longer by completing more repeats in the body of the hat, if you prefer.

If you wish to make the hat smaller or larger, the pattern is done over a multiple of 4.

5.5 stitches = 1" in k2, p2 ribbing.

1 skein of any worsted weight wool (I used Patons Classic Wool for the hat in the photo, but while it's not bad, I don't suggest that yarn unless you're looking for something convenient and cheap).  Make sure the skein is around 120 yds or longer, or else you may need 2 skeins.
1 US 8 16” circular needle (or whatever size you need to get gauge)
1 set of US 8 DPNs (or whatever the needle size you used above is)
1 stitch marker

CO – Cast on
K – Knit
P – Purl
YO – Yarn over
P2tog – Purl two stitches together
K2tog – Knit two stitches together

CO 92 on circular needle. Join in round, making sure not to twist stitches. Place row marker at beginning of round.

Rows 1–5: * K2, P2 *, repeat from * to * in this step as well as in rest of pattern.
Row 6: * K2, YO, P2tog *
Row 7: * K2, P2 *
Row 8: * K2, P2tog, YO *
Row 9: * K2, P2 *
Row 10: * K2, YO, P2tog *
Rows 11-14: * K2, P2 *

Repeat rows 6 through 14 three more times (or more or less depending on your desired length of the hat). For the last repeat, complete up to row 13.

Decrease section (switch to DPNs when needed):
Row 1: * K2tog, P2 *
Row 2: * K, YO, P2tog *
Row 3: * K, P2 *
Row 4: * K, P2tog, YO *
Row 5: * K, P2 *
Row 6: * K, YO, P2tog *
Row 7: * K, P2tog *
Row 8: * K, P *
Row 9: * K2tog *
Row 10-11: * K *
Row 12: * K2tog*, K

Repeat row 12 until you only have 4 or 5 stitches on the needle. Cut yarn and thread end through the remaining live stitches, then pull closed.

Weave in ends, making sure to hide them well.

* * *

If you find any errors in this project, please e-mail: CompileYarn[at]gmail[dot]com, or leave a comment  here or on Ravelry.  Copyright (c) invisican/CompileYarn(). 

January 22, 2011

Criss-Cross Scarf

Edit: If you would prefer a pdf version of this pattern, it can be found here: Criss-Cross Scarf

For now, here is the pattern:

Criss-Cross Scarf
A simple pattern that creates a surprisingly versatile scarf. 
Craft Type:

Skill Level:

Finished Size:
7.5 in wide by 62in long (tasseled version, not including tassels)  One without tassels should be longer and is dependent on amount of yarn in skein.

It's a scarf, so not important.

1 skein of Canon Simply Soft (or a similar worsted weight yarn) in any color
1 skein of Canon Simply Soft (or similar) in an complementary color to first
N-9.00mm crochet hook
Something to weave in the ends (but you knew that already, didn't you?)

Abbreviations (US terms are used):
Ch – Chain stitch
SC – Single Crochet
DC – Double Crochet

This pattern is worked double stranded (holding the yarn from both skeins together and working them like one strand) throughout.  Always Ch 1 at the beginning of the row. Work all stitches in the back loops of the row you're working on.  If you want tassels, work pattern for 101 rows.  If you don't want tassels, work until you have no more yarn.

Two variations of this pattern are listed below.

Instructions (for scarf pictured):
Ch 24
Row 1: SC in second and third Ch from hook. * Skip next Ch.  DC in Ch after.  DC in skipped Ch, SC *.  Rep from * to *  6 more times (7 total).   SC.
Row 2: DC 2.  * SC 2, DC *.  Rep from * to * 6 more times (7 total).  DC
Row 3: SC 2.  * Skip next SC.  DC in SC after.  DC in skipped SC.  SC *.  Rep from * to * 6 more times (7 total).  SC.
Row 4 to end: Rep Rows 2-3, ending with Row 3.

Weave in ends.  If you want tassels, make 14 of them (7 for each end) out of rest of yarn.  I'll leave the style and length of tassels up to your taste.  Attach tassels, lining them up with the criss-cross stitches.

* * *

Alternate Instructions :
(This variation doesn't have the SC/DC 'border' along the side, but starts straight into the criss-cross, giving a slightly different look.  Same notes and finishing instructions apply).

Ch 24
Row 1: DC in third Ch from hook.  DC in second Ch.  * SC.  Skip next Ch.  DC in Ch after.  DC in skipped Ch*  Rep * to * until at end of row.
Row 2: SC 2.  * DS, SC 2 * to end of row
Row 3: DC in second SC.  DC in first SC.  * SC. Skip next SC.  DC in SC after.  DC in skipped SC*.  Rep * to * until end of row.
Row 4 to end: Rep Rows 2-3, ending with Row 3.

* * *

If you find any errors in this project, please e-mail: CompileYarn[at]gmail[dot]com, or leave a comment  here or on Raverly.  Copyright (c) invisican/CompileYarn(). 

Patterns Will Go on This Blog

CreatePattern(projectType); GetYarn(type); GetTools(projectType); CompileYarn(projectType); WritePattern();

When I actually run this, the output goes here (and Raverly).

Pattern list key: C = Crochet, K = Knitting