Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I buckled down and zoomed through several inches on mom's vest. I now have everything from the bottom to the split for the underarms in one fuzzy, variegated rectangle. Like I said before, I've been following a diagram she gave me, measured from an existing vest. But at the armholes, the math goes funny. It's much wider around at the bottom, and then it suddenly loses about ten inches, right where the armholes come in. And armholes aren't normally five inches wide, right? Anyway, progress has stopped until we can re-measure.

Meanwhile, because that knitting energy has to go somewhere, I picked up butterfly again. I was farther along when I stopped than I thought I was, so it really wasn't much work. I finished the body today, and now all I have left is the trim around the top edges and the straps. And blocking, of course. Of course. Pictures soon.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Recently, admiring things on Smitten Kitchen

has turned to making things on Smitten Kitchen. That started on Sunday, when the boy accompanied me to a restaurant supply store, or the only place I could find high gluten flour. I started making bagels that night and had them finished Monday. I was a little anxious about the whole thing, mostly because it was my first experience with yeast and kneading, but the bagels turned out rather well. The skins weren't as tough as I like, though, so I think I'll boil for two minutes if I make them again. Pictures soon.

And last night, I used the last of the high gluten flour to surprise the boy with homemade pizza for dinner. I had to start making dinner three hours early so the dough could rise, though the total work involved was probably a little over an hour. Impractical, but a nice little treat. Plus the boy was thrilled and it was delicious.

Also, I generally don't worry too much about what I eat. I know that's bad, and sometimes I feel guilty about what I'm putting into my body, but really, paying attention to all that stuff would be exhausting. All the same, making my pizza and bagels meant I know there was nothing funny in them. And they tasted so fresh! (Um...duh.)

In case you were wondering, and you probably weren't, I haven't knit much lately. I stopped work on everything but my mom's birthday vest so it wouldn't be terribly late, and then work tapered off on that out of ennui. Perhaps after the cooking fun dies down.

Monday, November 10, 2008

As promised,

I bring you blocked pictures of Print O' the Wave.

Print o' the Wave blocked, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

blocked pattern detail, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

blocked border detail, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

I had to re-work the graft on the border a few times to make it more seamless. It's a little noticible now, but I think I did pretty well.

the graft, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

After Print O' the Wave, I immediately started work on Butterfly. I really took my time with Butterfly, rather than the mad dash through Print O' the Wave. I originally thought beads would be nice for Butterfly, but I decided that if I didn't find some I liked, the yarn would be pretty without them. I was able to find some cheap clear iridescent beads at Michael's, though, so that decision was easily made.

Rather than try to seam in lace, I decided early to knit it in the round. To that end, I knit both hem frills in one long strip, and grafted them even before picking up stitches for the body, to minimize finishing later. Work went quickly on the body, and I am now working the last few inches before dividing at the underarms. Pictures soon.

My mom's birthday was in mid-October, and she commissioned another birthday vest. We didn't pick out yarn until Saturday, though, so my deadline is really just however fast I can knit it. My mom has an existing vest that she likes and she measured it and gave me a complete diagram, so the designing work is mostly done for me. Butterfly will probably go on hold or mostly on hold until her vest is done. It will be mostly stockinette, very teevee knitting, so I expect it will be a breeze. Pictures of that later too.

I tried to make a tie for Giselle, but I tried to compensate for knitting it too small by over-blocking. Now it's too stretched and too big. I'll block again sometime soon to fix it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

While I waited for my yarn to arrive in the mail,

I improvised a case for my Nintendo DS. This was my first intarsia, and it was easy, even though I didn't make bobbins and my yarns tangled a little. Keeping my tension even was a bit of a problem, but it really flew by.

Triforce DS Case - Front, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Triforce DS Case - Closed, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Triforce DS Case - Open, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

And then the yarn came. I settled on white for Print O' the Wave, and I knit it at top speed, impatient and counting repeats the whole time. It was a breeze, my only real problem was picking up all those tiny stitches for the inner border and I had to redo the graft on the border a couple times to make it a bit more invisible. Blocked pictures later.

Print O the Wave in progress, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Unblocked pattern detail, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Unblocked border detail, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

In other news, the boy sweater and Giselle both got blocked. My mom ended up having to unpin them and dry all the sheets and towels on the bed where they were blocking, and completely re-block because they were so wet. She didn't do it quite like I would have, but I would probably have been fighting with mold otherwise. The boy sweater got some buttons as well, but we haven't managed to take any modeled pictures yet, so the bed/floor will have to do for now.

Finished Boy Sweater!, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

I think the buttons are my favorite part. We found some nice wood ones, and they have a great texture and feel.

Boy sweater button detail, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

This was a definite disappointment to discover, but I plan to fix it in the next few days. I think I nipped one of these strands when I was cutting one of the last loose ends after weaving them in.

Boy sweater: oops., originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Here's the inside of the sweater, complete with a spare button sewn onto the seam facing.

Inside of the boy sweater, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

No modeled pictures of Giselle yet, mostly because I haven't made a tie. I'll probably do that within the next few days too.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Giselle is finished and I am in the process of weaving in ends now. I am a little worried about it, because it is knit completely in stockinette and the crochet doesn't seem to be stopping it from curling. I'm hoping that gets better with blocking. It's a little too small, mostly because I used needles a size too small rather than go out and buy new ones, and when I tried to compensate by knitting looser, I just made my knitting really uneven. Which will also get better in blocking. I hope.

Somewhere in the middle of knitting the sleeve flares, I realized that they are huge. On, they reach about to my wrist at the lowest point. I guess they didn't look so big in the pictures, but, impractical as they are, I like them. I wanted romantic and dramatic, and that's exactly what I got.

Giselle: hot off the needles, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

And after Giselle, the obvious question is what next? The boy sweater is now officially done. I buckled down and finished those little seams, and now it is waiting for a good blocking and some buttons. I still want to knit Print 'O the Wave, but I got side tracked. I broke down and bought a color card for KnitPicks' Shadow, and the color I liked on the internet looked terrible in person, so I am now trying to settle on a color.

Meanwhile, I had always had my eye on Butterfly, ever since I saw Eunny's. I looked into knitting it a long time ago, but the idea of spending roughly $20 for a magazine that I would only use for one pattern just didn't seem worth it. Well I recently stumbled across a book on Knit Picks that has the same pattern. It's roughly the same financial situation, but there's a chance I might knit other things from the same book. And anyway, if I still want to knit it three years later, it's worth knitting.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

4000+ words

Knitting: Finished!, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Goddess: Front, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Goddess: Weird Gapey Armhole, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Goddess: Back, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

I took pictures. During daylight. Something must be wrong.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A brief update:

Well, I honestly never(!) thought I would say this, but the knitting on the boy sweater is all finished. (By the way, any knitter can tell you about the sweater curse, so I am pleased to report: we are still quite happily together, and likely will be for a long time to come.) I started weaving in ends and tacking down the seam facings during a lovely little chick flick, and managed to finish all but a few inches on one seam facing and the underarm seams. I have since put off those two items, mostly out of ennui (I have spent so much time knitting (and re-knitting!!) this sweater, I am seriously in need of a little time apart). Which is a little sad, really, because all I have to do is those two little things, and then the blocking (dread!) and the buttons, and, then, dare I say it, it will be finished! This has been such a journey it's a little hard to believe that the end is in sight.

Meanwhile, I've got a few other things hovering around the horizon. I have always itched to make a Print o' the Wave stole, and I just bought this pattern to repurpose the yarn from Goddess, and there's a black shrug I started a year ago that I promised myself I would finish (besides god knows how much more that has been lost in UFO oblivion). I did a little work on the black shrug last night, which was refreshing (no more wool, twisted stitches, or cables, just nice, easy stockinette on small needles), and right now I think I am actually going to finish it before moving on to greener pastures. Meanwhile, since I have been needing to do something with Goddess, and since I have no yarn for Print o' the Wave, Giselle is next in the endless "to knit" line. I should also point out that Giselle is my reward for being good and finishing a UFO. And Print o' the Wave is my reward for finally figuring something out for Goddess. Whatever works, right?

Oh and good news: I finally invested in a ball winder. Of my roommate's two cats, Tony is only interested in my knitting as long as it makes a good bed. But Bear can't stay away from it. It has been heartbreaking to have nice, pretty, factory-wound (or even more depressing - hand-made center-pull) yarn balls, only to come home from work and find a nest of knots. And there is probably very little of the boy sweater that Bear has not played with or chewed on at some point. Part of me feels compelled to point out that Bear has adopted me and the boy, misses us when we are gone, and insists on being held and cuddled. But do not be fooled by this apparently sweet exterior. He is the devil. And the ball winder, besides being very helpful and a big time-saver, is my revenge.

The Devil, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Edit: The shrug is finished, it is now in the process of being seamed, and the ends are being woven in. Blocking soon. I should also add that I have used the winder a few times now and it works great. Bear likes it too - he chewed on some of the metal parts. Sigh.

And bonus: the devil in action. He was in the middle of kneading the yarn, so it was hard to get a clear picture.

The Devil in action., originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I mentioned a sweater for my boy a long time ago,

and that's what I've mostly been working on. I finished the body and both sleeves up to the underarm, and joined body and sleeves together. I got about two or three inches into the yoke (total yoke depth is seven and a half inches) and ran out of yarn. That's fifteen balls of yarn, 1650 yards, 750 grams, that I've already knit. More yarn is already in the mail, and I'm letting myself rest before making that last mad dash for the finish line.

Meanwhile, a little look at my planning process. Here's the map I made up, complete with calculations (worked and re-worked) and stitch counts, a lot of which I ultimately changed in the final product. I originally intended the steek to be five stitches, but I miscalculated somewhere along the way and rather than re-knit what I had done (which was about two or three inches of the body, a whopping 295 stitches) I repurposed six stitches into the steek. It's now eleven stitches wide, which actually makes me pretty happy, since I have never steeked and I am terrified of cutting into my knitting.

The map, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

And here is the finished, washed, blocked gauge swatch. It looks cleaner, crisper and much better defined than any of the pictures (I'm sorry to say) you are going to see of the sweater.

The boy's sweater swatch, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Here is the sweater in progress as it is now. It doesn't look like much, but it's well on its way to becoming what the boy asked for. The gauge swatch is included at the bottom for scale.

Front, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

And here is the back.

Back, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

And a close up of the back.

Back/bottom back, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

And, as a special treat, something you probably never thought you would see. A pair of Bayerische socks! I finished that first sock way back in November, and I got to the bottom of the ribbing, started the pattern stitches and realized I had miscalculated somehow and had too few stitches. And that was where it stood, until I started taking it to work with me. Between evenings at home and my breaks at work, I finished the mate in roughly a week. The toe still needs to be grafted shut and the ends need to be woven in, but the lion's share of the work is done.

Gasp TWO Bayerische socks!, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Well, boys and girls,

Goddess didn't work out like I hoped. The drape wasn't as dramatic as I wanted it to be, the armholes bag out at a weird angle, and it wasn't as broad across the back as I thought it should be. There were parts of the fit that I really liked, and some of the neckline issues could have been solved with a looser tubular cast on (although that would require re-knitting the whole piece), but the reality is that there were some elements that were inherent to the design and they are, ultimately, flat out deal-breakers for me. I intend to take it apart and re-purpose the yarn elsewhere (it is, after all, soft, high-quality cotton in a nice sagey green color) but I lost momentum when I thought of ripping out all those long hours of stockinette. Perhaps another day. Also, a modeled photo to come (so you can see what I'm talking about).

There are other things on my needles, but they have mostly fallen into that abyss of knitting oblivion that, if I'm not careful, just about everything I work on goes to. But that's not why I'm here, and that's not why we're talking.

I've mostly been too busy to knit (between school and work, I'm essentially working two full-time jobs), but the semester is winding down and I'll soon only have work occupying my time (and I'll also have more money). Besides, a close friend asked me to teach her to knit recently, so the factors really came together nicely (a nice pattern sitting in the back of my mind, a fella to knit for, and the time and opportunity to put into it).
I showed Tweed's example of the pattern to my fella when he asked me to make something, and he really liked it. Next, I searched for wool that the boy might deem soft enough, and that would, hopefully, be cheap enough for a knitter on a budget. Knit Picks' Wool of the Andes comes in the right weight, in a color the boy liked, so I bought a ball and knitted up a swatch. It passed all the tests, so I have been working on a new swatch with the cable patterns (almost all of which I have to figure out myself). The charts are unclear in the paper pattern I bought, and the back center cable I'm using doesn't seem to have a chart anywhere in the internet ether. Meanwhile a sweater's worth of yarn is in the mail.