Friday, November 30, 2007

The vest, at long last, is done!!

So my boyfriend did actually send the yarn and it arrived just yesterday morning. I had to fight the urge to skip class & finish the vest, but of course I ended up being good & going to school. Today, though, I had no classes (college students don't believe in Friday classes, didn't you know?), so I set to work on knitting the last couple rows, learning & working the 3-needle bind-off (a little fiddly at first but SO MUCH better than sewing seams!), weaving in the 6 thousand or so ends, and then sewing up those two little side seams.

Looking at those seams now, they do seem little -- but they took me hours! It didn't help that the yarn (which until then had been perfectly lovely) kept breaking while I was doing it. There was a lot of swearing and by the end I'd concluded that (a) there are not words strong enough in this language to truly express my hatred of sewing seams and (b) any & all garments I make in the future will be knit in the round! My grandma told me over the summer that she actually stopped knitting because she hated sewing seams so much. At the time it seemed like throwing the baby out with the bathwater to me, but now I'm thinking she might've had a point...

Anyway, the seams unfortunately look a bit like they were sewn by a mentally challenged chimpanzee with a drug habit, but I pretty much love it regardless:

Better pictures will come very soon (sorry for the dirty mirror!), but I was excited just to document it. At some point I will probably still crochet the recommended edging around the neck & armholes, but most likely not until after holiday knitting is out of the way. Also I should block it but I can't stand the thought of making my room smell like a wet sheep when it's much too cold to open a window...

I'm very relieved to have this done, because for the next twenty-odd days I need to throw myself in to holiday knitting! I'm pretty sure of everything I need to make, but last night I was talking to one of the few friends for whom I wasn't planning to knit and when I asked him what he wanted his only response was, "Make me something out of yarn!" Sigh. What he really wants is a pair of mittens, so I'm on the hunt for a good (and preferably free) dude's mitten pattern. Recommendations would be appreciated!

Monday, November 26, 2007

I mean, who doesn't love penguins?

Making the second fingerless glove right after the first one seemed a little too boring (such is the danger of doing things in pairs, I suppose), so even though I've cast on & knit a good deal of it, I also decided to cast on for something else yesterday. Not only did it relieve my boredom, but I'm getting started on my absurdly ambitious Holiday Knitting!

I had some doubts as to whether I should post about this here, and I do think I'll keep pictures of most of my holiday gifts under wraps until after they're given, just in case the recipients should stumble across my blog (or Flickr or Ravelry). In this case, though, I think that's exceedingly unlikely, so let me show you what I'm making one of my best friends:

A penguin! From this pattern. Easy & quick & awesome so far (though I'm not looking forward to all the finishing), plus I learned how to do short rows! They're kind of magical, even though I suck at picking up the wraps later, so mine look a little funky. Whatever, I still found it stupidly exciting to create something so 3-dimensional on straight needles. Most importantly, the dude I'm giving this to will love it...or I'm like 99% sure he will, anyway.

Also, I love how my penguin folder is in the background of that first picture. I love that folder. I don't think I'd had a folder with anything on it since like 2nd grade, but somehow now that I'm a junior in college I've started to see the appeal. It makes me smile every day and that is definitely a good thing.

Other than that, I picked up the yarn for my boyfriend's Christmas gift (Dashing) over the weekend and he claims he finally sent me the rest of the yarn for my vest today. I will believe it when I see it, but I'm thinking that my threat worked. :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fetching: One Down!

I cast on for Fetching Thanksgiving evening and finished up my first one just this morning (would've been last night, but the thumbs were driving me NUTS and, after several attempts, I decided to just leave them for the morning). I'm pretty sure I love it:

Magic Looping it was really the way to go! I did appreciate the offers to help me out with DPN's, and I still might take you guys up on that, but for now I'm in love with this Magic Loop thing!

The only thing I really had trouble with was the thumb, like I said. There seemed to be no way to do it that didn't lead to horrible, gaping holes on either side. I kept ripping back & trying again, then eventually decided I would just have to live with the stupid ugly holes. I was assuming sewing them up wouldn't help or look good, but when I wove in my ends I kinda tried to close them up anyway, and what do you know! It worked perfectly and now you can't tell there were ever any holes there at all!

I'm also not sure I'm crazy about the picot bind-off -- might skip that when I make another pair. I've decided I'm making at least one (probably two) more pairs for Christmas gifts.

I do have some sad news, though: my stupid boyfriend came home for Thanksgiving and forgot to bring me the yarn I need to finish my vest! I had a good enough time just seeing him that I almost didn't mind -- but almost is the key word there. He's sending it first thing when he gets back to Montana, he promises. If he doesn't, I won't send him any more baked goods for the rest of the year. Hopefully that's a harsh enough threat...

My little sister is now pretty addicted to knitting. I taught her just a couple weeks ago and she is flying. She seems to pick up new things much more quickly than I did. Just last night I taught her how to purl & how to add new yarn, and in less than 24 hours she's turned out a couple of these. They look really good, too! After mocking me endlessly for going to Knit Nights, now she suddenly wants to come along too. I'm going to bring her once my Winter Break starts. I'm anticipating that when she discovers this blog (which she inevitably will, when she gets her Ravelry invite), she will mock me ferociously about it for a couple days, then ask me to help her set one up. This has been her pattern with all things knitting-related so far.

Also, on Thanksgiving I helped my beloved aunt set up her crochet blog. She hasn't posted yet, but I love the name: Crochet Crusader.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


So it's Thanksgiving and guests are due to arrive in 5 minutes or so, meaning I do not even have time to be on the internet--but that's never stopped me before! I just have to make a quick & triumphant post to tell you that, since I'm still having no luck on the DPN front, I decided to give Magic Loop knitting a try instead (some people on Ravelry have made Fetching using that method, so I figure I can too). I only had to watch the video once to completely get it! I practiced with some random stash yarn and did several rounds quickly and now have something that could almost be a finger to a glove, if it wanted to be.

Don't you love the feeling of learning a new technique? It makes me feel ridiculously brilliant, even if it's something really simple. :)

The only problem I'm having with this is that you have to pull the first & last stitches on each needle super-tight to avoid gaps, but I'm pulling them so tight I'm having trouble sliding them up the needles! I need to work on finding a balance for that, but I think I'm halfway there. I'll just practice a bit more tonight and then cast on for Fetching in the very near future! WOOHOO!

Okay, there's more to say, but I should probably go pay attention to my family or something. I'm really excited for my aunt to get here because I'm going to help her put some pictures on Ravelry + set up her own crocheting blog! Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

Monday, November 19, 2007


I'm eager to get started on Fetching, so I tried learning how to use double-pointed needles last night (primarily from a video at I watched the video a few times before actually attempting to follow along, and I was completely convinced it would be a piece of cake. I was horribly, horribly wrong! The end result was a lot of swearing and being poked by the stupid pointy needles and having to rip out the stitches & try again like 60 times (...or like 5 times, but it felt like 60). It seemed like every time I finished a round (and I never finished more than one whole one without some kind of disaster occurring), I was knitting the tube inside-out, somehow, even though I really couldn't tell where I was going wrong. How do people do this?!? As far as I can tell you need at least 4 hands and a lot more patience than I've got.

I really need to learn, though, because there are so many great patterns out there that demand DPN's. How did you guys learn, then? Are there any really wonderful tutorials out there? (I've looked around a bit, but most of them just seem to contradict each other & only confuse me further.) Or should I just wait & ask my aunt to show me next time I see her, despite how impatient I am to start?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Also, I'm SO relieved this week is just about over!

Hi everyone! This'll just be a quick post, since I'm itching to go actually knit, but here are a few knitting-related things:
  • I started working on this pattern yesterday. I'm using this soft, beautiful mystery yarn from my stash -- I had it wound into a ball at the LYS, & when they do that they put the tag inside the ball. So when I run out I'll know what the hell the stuff is, but for now it could be anything. I do remember that my Aunt Andrea bought it for me, though, so it's gotta be something pretty nice. :)

    You can see the headband as of yesterday here. It's gotten much longer since then, and so far everyone who has commented on the photo thinks it looks like I'm knitting a thong...

    It's worth noting that I'm using this version of the pattern, which is super-easy to follow. I didn't even try to follow the original, since I've heard lots of terrible things about DROPS patterns.

  • My first ever online order of yarn came today from KnitPicks! It's beautiful stuff.

  • I have the best friends/enablers EVER. My friend Taryn asked me the other night which knitting magazines I like. She was trying to be all stealthy but it came out that she's getting me a gift subscription for Christmas, which is just too sweet of her! And as if that weren't enough, I also got a package from my friend Kenna, who is studying in Dublin for the semester. This was inside:

    It's wonderful! After much internal debate, I think it's destined to become a pair of these. Your thoughts?

  • Not that long ago, I said I didn't believe in colorwork more complicated than stripes. But then I saw this bag pattern, and now I can't get it out of my head. I'm becoming obsessed with it to the point where I think it's safe to say I'll be attempting Fair Isle pretty soon...
Wow, that got longer than I thought it would! I suspect I could go on about knitting for way too long. On the baking front, I haven't done anything too interesting lately but I did make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies a couple days ago & the classmates I shared them with really loved them, so that was cool.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Jonesin' for a yarn fix.

My history class was canceled today! This is the best news I've heard in a while, since there was no way I was going to get everything done in time for it. So am I using the extra time to catch up? Of course not! I used it to sleep in and now I'm using it to post here and with any luck I might get some real work done before I leave for my other class, but let's not count on it.

So, I'm in a really sad knitting slump at the moment. My main project is this glorious sweater vest from Knitty. I've been working on it for over a month! This is not because I'm a particularly slow knitter, but because I'm bad at math and planning. Meaning I didn't buy quite enough yarn. And I bought the yarn while I was on vacation. Yeah, kind of a disastrous situation--except that my boyfriend happens to live near the LYS where I purchased this (Joseph's Coat in Missoula, Montana), and he kindly went back up there just a couple days after I left and bought me a new skein from the same dye lot and everything. This would be perfect if only he'd just send me the damn thing already. I've been waiting patiently (or not) for weeks now, and at this rate I think he'll just bring it home with him for Thanksgiving (and then, I bet, he'll have the nerve to be upset when I want to knit with it instead of paying attention to him!).

It's not like I can really complain too much, since I'm the worst person in the world at sending packages ever. If you're one of the 9 zillion people I've been promising mail for months on end, you know I'm not kidding. But I've been so good to him! Just last week he got fresh muffins & cookies & roasted pumpkin seeds & pressed leaves & copies of local articles I thought he'd like & a bunch of other crap. And yet I languish without my yarn... :(

Um, anyway, my original 3 skeins took me up to where I needed to break off for the neckline, which is knit from two different balls. I sadly decided to work on holiday scarves for a week or so, but the vest wouldn't stop calling my name and last weekend I split what was left of the 3rd skein into 2 balls & happily knit some of the neckline. This was just a few rows ago:

(The flash really washed out the colors, but you can see the stitches better this way.)

And now, my friends, I am within 2 inches of finishing the front side and I am out of yarn. Woe is me! I seriously miss it (and I bet I'll miss it even more when I'm all the way done). I could probably keep going about how in love I am with this vest (did I mention it's my first garment and my first try at cables and that I love it?), but this is long enough already & I did want to at least glance in the general direction of my homework...

Monday, November 12, 2007

First Post!

Oh, wow, this is exciting. See, I should be working on the two big papers I have due in the next couple days, + getting my massive amounts of history reading out of the way, but instead I (obviously) decided to do this. There are a few reasons I've been considering this blog thing for a while:
  1. Knitting, or more specifically Ravelry! Sweet, sweet, addictive Ravelry. I'm on there as fromblossoms (you should friend me!) and I keep wanting to link journal entries to my projects (rather than filling up the "pattern notes" section with every thought I ever had while working on something).
  2. My 2008 baking project. It's a much more reasonable resolution than the crazy ones I've made (and failed at) in previous years: I'm going to bake all 50 cookies on this list during the year. It'll be fun just to do for myself, but I think I'll enjoy it even more if I have somewhere public to post about it.
Up until now, my only blog-ish experience has been a LiveJournal I've faithfully kept for nearly six years. I love it so and am not planning on abandoning it, but (a) it's completely friends-locked, since I talk about my personal life more than anything else, and (b) my friends over there are getting really sick of hearing about knitting. I'll probably still torture them with discussion of it from time to time, but from now on this is my place for that.

So, welcome!