Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tank top stand still

All I need to do is seam the sides and weave in the ends and I CAN'T DO IT!!!

There was an incident when knitting the edge of the neckline. It said 'knit loosely' which I didn't take too seriously. I realised why they said that when after the first attempt, I could not get the top over my head.

On the second attempt, I knitted very loosely and it goes over my head just fine. I just think the issue now is that it's all messy from being pulled the first time and it's just so damn hard to pick up stitches along that neckline with stitches bound off in both directions! So the neckline is kinda depressing me, but I think I can tidy it up a bit.

But that SEAM! Ugh. It just curls up and I can't see very well what it is I'm supposed to do and I can just see myself missing stitches and making a malung out of it. A malung (pronounced mal-loong) is a Sri Lankan dish, supposedly cabbage based, but it's a bunch of things messily tossed together. So if something is a mess, you can call it a malung. I think my seam is going to be a malung.

So I kinda can't cope right now. Any advice? Breathe?

The pattern says to use the invisible seam stitch. I found this example online (the one at the bottom of the page) but I am still freaking out about it. Partly because I can't lay my work out nicely to line it up. And the edge throws me off. I think I'll pass the needle through different rows each time. I was thinking of running a small piece of different coloured yarn along with it to help me see what I am doing better. Maybe next weekend...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Vegan Pal Questionnaire

So, I guess I'm going to participate in one of these "secret pal" things that E is always raving about where you have to send a secret package to someone and you get one from someone else. Sounds like fun! This one is vegan, which I am not, but I love vegans and their chocolate.

Vegan Pal

1.) What is your craft, & how long have you been doing it?

Knitting. I've known how for about 20 years, but have only become more serious about it since earlier this year. I've recently started sewing purses but I'm still getting the hang of that.

2.) Are you a vegan, vegetarian, veg-curious, veg-friendly or other?

Vegetarian. Married to a vegan. Love vegans. Also love cheese. Sorry.

3.) What is your favorite color(s)? Do you particularly dislike a color(s)?

Dark purple and red. Earthy and fall colours are good too. I really don't like any pastels. In fact, I hate them.

4.) Do you have any allergies (such as pets, foods or cigarette smoke)?

I'm not allergic to cigarette smoke, but I don't like it. Supposedly, I am allergic to the medicine Bactrim, which hasn't been tested since I was 1 year old, but just to be safe, please don't grind it up and then roll the yarn in it. Thanks.

5.) Do you have any companion animals? If so, names and types?

I have a future beagle named Ralph, but he hasn't been born yet. I don't think his parents have either.

6.) Do you collect anything?

I collect cans of fake Dr Pepper. Like Dr. Perky, Dr. Skipper, Dr. Starr and so on. I have about 50 knock offs!

7.) Do you have a favorite vegan food, snack or dish? If no fav that's vegan (for those who aren't vegan), what's your favorite food? (Hopefully your pal can find a vegan version!)

I love dark chocolate. Not the super bitter ones, but maybe the next level up. My favourite dish in the whole world is a vegan yellow tofu and spinach curry but it is only found in Melbourne, Australia. I like sweets. Not fruity sweets so much, but sugary sweets. I don't licorice or anything anise tasting.

8.) What tools/supplies/accessories for your craft(s) are you wishing you had but don't? Also, what do you have TOO many of? (basically a wish and anti-wish list)

I don't have too much stuff, so I'll tell you what I DO have. Size 9 29" circs, size 9 DPNs, size 8 16" circs, size 8 long flexible needles, size 8 DPN, size 7 16" circs, size 7 DPNs, size 6 16" circs, size 6 DPNs, Chibi needles, row counter, tape measure, crochet hook, stitch markers, stitch holders and those things you stick on the end to stop the knitting from falling off. Again that's stuff I DO have.

9.) What type of handmade item would tickle your fancy? What don't you like? (Keep in mind this swap is open to all types of crafters.)

Um, I can't think of anything in particular! I'm sure I'll like anything as long as it's not in pastels. Oh! And I hate teddy bears. Not the actual bears as much as things with pictures of bears.

10.) Is there anything else you would like your pal to know about you?

Not really!

I think this shirt is about being against 'anti this' and 'anti that', but whatever. There's a universal "no" symbol on a bear. I think my point is clear.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I have sensitive ears

Most of that tank top was done in Australia and across the Pacific Ocean. I brought paperwork with me from the airport security website to say that my knitting needles were allowed, but I didn't even need it! I was actually a bit annoyed, I mean, with the x-ray, they should see some sharp looking pointed things in my bag. Since they were circulars, they don't even look like ordinary knitting needles, so they should have searched my bag! But no, they just sent me on my way.

Anyway, tank top aside, when I got to Melbourne I realised I had forgotten to pack a scarf, hat and ear muffs! I was SCREWED! It was so cold they day I arrived that I feared for my ears. They ache terribly with the slightest gust. Even in the summer time, if my ears are wet from a pool or something, a breeze will make them ache. So with this fear in mind, I found the nearest yarn store to my parents house and set out to make the hat I was already planning to make, just not so soon! It was a bit hard because the needle sizes are different and yarn weight is also different, but I showed the woman in the store the pattern and she helped me out.

It's supposed to be the Kitty Hat from Stitch N' Bitch, but since I did it in red, it looks more like a devil hat which is just fine with me. I had my first taste of seed stitch which I was skeptical about, but actually quite liked. It was a bit of an effort to find the correct placement for the ears/horns, but I think I did okay with it. I bought size 7 DPNs for this, but I was thinking about the size 9s I was using for the tank and thought I was going down to size 8s, when in fact I was using a bigger needle. Duh! Oh well, it looks fine. In fact, it looks great! I do have a small problem with weaving in the ends because I can see on the outside where the yarn has been pulled from the weaving! Whoops!

I was seriously tanking on this project

Turns out I didn't mess up the tank top after all, at least not like I thought I had. I just misread the directions, but it turned out the finishing is more work than I thought. I was eager to do the three-needle bind off because I knew it was simple, yet so effective. I love learning a new little trick! But I was so excited to do the three-needle bind off that I had one piece facing the wrong way! I completely attached the left shoulder when I went to admire my work and saw what I had done. After an initial panic, yelp, and wondering how I was going to un-knit a three-needle bind off, I boldly unraveled the row, slipped the needles back on and then exhaled. I did it again properly and it's all going well from here on.

I bought size 9 double pointeds, but I can't find them anywhere, so I finishing this off with size 8s. I've heard tell that this can be good to prevent holes and stuff, so I'm sure it's not a problem.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


For several weeks I've been working on this Blue Sky pattern for a fitted tank top. I sure do love that soft cotton! I almost went for a different colour, but in the end, I was taken with the 'Poppy' as seen in the pattern.

Well, I started it a few times because my gauge made me think I was knitting it too loose with size 9 needles. So I switched to 8s and then I thought it was too small, so I started it again (third time's a charm, right?) and it's been smooth sailing ever since. The thing with ribbing is that it doesn't look like much when you start, but you just have to give it a red hot go and plug away and then it starts to look GREAT. After I'd past the mid section on the front piece, I got a bit worried thinking the completed piece wouldn't get around my belly loosely, since the front piece just made it half way, but then I remembered that I don't have a little pouch of fat protruding from my lower back, so it should even out just fine.

I'm probably just a couple of hours away, but the fear of seaming the two pieces together which I haven't done before, coupled with my annoyance that I knitted too many rows on the back have me putting writing about it instead of knitting it! Looking at the picture, I presumed the back neckline (which you can't see in the picture) would be higher up than the front. So I knitted away only to find I went two inches too far. So now the back is the same height as the front. Frankly, I don't think I like the lower neckline in the back, so I'm glad, but I feel a bit defeated for not referring to the directions sooner. I could have saved myself about 8 rows too!

So, I shall get back to it now. Hopefully, I will have it completed by the end of the night. Ooooh, now that I've said it, I'm motivated. To the needles!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Pumpkin patch

Back in July, my friend was due to give birth, so I was eager to whip something up for the baby. I found a pattern online which I used for this adorable pumpkin hat. I'm so proud of myself! I used Blue Sky Cotton yarn in what other colour, but pumpkin, of course! The stem was made with a three stitch I-cord with some green acrylic that I swiped off E. Well, she knew I was taking it, so it wasn't exactly swiping. I reduced it to two stitches and then one right at the end to get it to a nice little point.

The pattern said to purl every 8th stitch for the rib effect, but instead, I purled every 1st stitch so that when it came time to decrease, I'd just be working with the knit stitches and the purls could sit tight until the end. I think it worked out rather well!

I mailed off the hat which Marianne loved and proceeded to refer to her unborn baby as a pumpkin from then on. Soon after Tristan was born, matching booties were on the way! I learned another lesson here. As this was the first time I made a pair of anything, I hadn't thought that I needed to keep count of how many stitches I did on the first bootie! I'm kinda bad at counting on knitted rows, so one bootie is a little bigger than the other, but it's probably only a row or two different. Wont happen again!

And here's Tristan decked out in his pumpkin gear! He doesn't seem as amused as his mum and I are.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The ill fated cabled hat

After making the cabled scarf for my mum, I was determined to make her the matching hat before winter really got going in Melbourne.

Just before making the basket weave hats, I embarked on this little number. E claimed to have the pattern for Irish Hiking Hat to match the scarf, but because I was a dope a used the wrong yarn and the wrong needles, alterations had to be made which saw to this project taking a while to get off the ground.

Finally, E found an alternative. Make a cable band to go around the head, then just stockinette to the top. Sweet!

And I didn't have to restart this one because by making the band first, we could tell when it was long enough to go around the head. E came up with this idea from Coronet to deal with my bulky yarn problem. Ack! It would have looked so much nicer with the smaller yarn! I guess when I first got back into knitting, I was of the mind set of using thick yarn to get the job done faster! Now that I'm a knitter, and not just someone who knitted a scarf, I don't mind small needles and light yarn!

But alas, E, who oversaw this project and Edan's hat as we went on our road trip to Arizona in what I dubbed 'The Knitmobile', may be losing her much loved role as my "knitting mentor". One would think that as they knitted away with their knitting mentor by their side for eight hours, they could relax. The mentor would catch them if they fell. As I knitted in stockinette and wanted to keep going, E said "Five and a half inches? That's long enough! Start decreasing!" Yes, mentor. Whatever you say mentor. Who am I to argue with your expertise?

So I finished it and it looked very nice. But look how small it is on my mum's head!

So, when I was back in Australia, I took it back from her and now I am going to do it again. I'd rather do that than have her not wear it at all because it's too small! I have a while though. It's spring there, so I have until next June to get it done! Woo-hoo!

Thanks a lot E! Some mentor your cracked up to be! You just wanted to humiliate me so you could make the perfect Irish hiking hat and flaunt it all over your blog while I look like a FOOL! Well, it's not going to work! I've got some plans for the new hat and it'll be great because it wont involve YOU!

So er...I'll be calling you soon with some other questions soon...

If you don't know me, you might think I'm an ungrateful and crazy bitch. E knows I'm kidding and not at all ungrateful, but possibly still a crazy bitch.