Friday, February 29, 2008

Monkey + Cute New Shoes = Bliss

HPIM1118, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

I finished up the second Monkey sock last night while watching La Vie en Rose, the Edith Piaf film. It too, has a miss-matched toe:


but I love them just the same.

Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A. (Who I will soon be test knitting for! W00t!)
Yarn: Panda Cotton Print by Crystal Palace (note: yardage is very short on this one... most of the other Panda sock yarns (Silk, Wool, etc) have 200+ yards... this has 170. If you have a foot at all bigger than 6.5/7 US womens, you will definitely want a third skein or modify the leg to be shorter...)
Needles: US 2 DPNS
Mods: None!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Help! Backwards Sleeve Caps?

darcy blocking, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

I finished up the "Follower Scarf" this morning... I'm not going to take anymore pictures right now, though, since I posted so many yesterday. I am, however, also at a crucial point in the Mrs. Darcy Cardi. I finished up both front pieces last night (doing both at the same time is sooooo much better) and they are now blocking, along with the back (as seen above). Here's what I'm thinking:

The pattern calls for the sleeves to be knit flat, from the cuff - up. There is a sleeve cap worked into the pattern, to fit nicely into the armhole shaping. What I want to do is work the sleeves backwards. So, what I *think* I should do is this: work the sleeves backwards, starting by picking up 10 stitches at the top of the armholes and doing a sort of backwards short row to pick up all of the stitches around the armhole until the sleeve cap is complete and then work in the round. Is this possible? Crazy? Genius? I can't decide.

I'm going to ask around at the yarn store today and see what other people think, but any and all input would be much appreciated!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

when is 100 yards not really 100 yards?

First of all, thanks to everyone who commented both through here and ravelry yesterday. In some ways it is reassuring to know that I'm not the only one who runs into these kinds of difficulties, but on the other hand, shouldn't we be concerned that the post (and not just in the US, but in Canada and various European countries too) is poorly run that these things can happen on a regular basis?

And now back to our regularly scheduled knitting:

Of all the WIPs I showed off the other day, the Follower Scarf (I call it this because it seems that everyone is doing it right now) is growing the fastest. Normally a 1x1 ribbed scarf would seem deathly to me, but watching how the colours change and sometimes merge, sometimes contrast, is absolutely fascinating! I took some pictures this morning, out on our back stairs (which tend to be featured as the background for most of my knitting pictures - there's so much natural light and they provide a pretty neutral backdrop):


I took more pictures, click on the picture above to go to my flickr where you can find more angles, if you are so inclined.

So, now back to my question (in the title, that is). When is 100 yards not really 100 yards? I'm using two different yarns for this scarf; Knit 1 Crochet too Paintbox and Trendsetters Tonalita. Both are Aran/Worsted Weight, both come in 50 gram balls and both claim to have 100 yards. However, I used up the first ball of Tonalita long before the Paintbox ran out. In fact, as I was adding on the second ball of Paintbox I measured how much I had knit since adding the second ball of Tonalita. 16 inches. Not 16 inches of yarn left, not 16 inches to the next edge, I mean there are 16 more inches of scarf in LENGTH from the time I added the 2nd Tonalita until the time the 1st Paintbox ran out. That's a LOT of yardage, people. So, either Tonalita is far short of the 100 yards, or Paintbox is seriously generous.

How can this be? Same "weight" yarn, same weight (in grams) balls, same claims on the label... My only guess is this: the Paintbox is 100% wool, whereas the Tonalita is 52% wool, 48% acrylic. Could it be that the acrylic makes it heavier and therefore the materials used change the weight to yardage ratio? I know that another 100% wool (Cascade 220) of an Aran / Worsted weight comes in 100gm skeins and claims to come with 220 yards (hence the name). Thus, is the Paintbox, actually closer to 110yds/50gms? Unfortunately I don't have one of those cool measuring-thingys that you can strand the yarn through to count the yardage...

Friday, February 22, 2008

a valentine gone awry...

... or why I really hate Valentine's Day.

I used to think that I hated Valentine's Day for ideological reasons - it's too commercial, why force people to treat their loved ones nicely once a year when they should do it every day, etc, etc - but I finally realized that it's much more personal. Valentine's Day doesn't like me either.

This really started 3 Valentine's Days ago (including this recently past one). I was living in Spain at the time, and Dr. BF, of course, was living in Canada - still PhD-Candidate-BF at that time. I decided to send him a card, since it would be extremely expensive to ship any kind of gift bigger than that. Of course, being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until the week before to do anything about it. I bite the bullet and paid extra for priority post, so that it would get to Canada in 5 or 6 days, rather than 3 or 4 weeks. However, 5 or 6 weeks went by and Dr. BF still hadn't mentioned getting anything. I finally asked "Did you get the card I sent you for Valentine's Day?" Nope. Nada. Finally, a few days later, he received the card. When we spoke that day he asked me "What does 'Correos de Columbia' mean?" There was a big sticker across the back of the envelope with 'Correos de Columbia' on it. For those of you not fluent in Spanish, it means "Post Office of Columbia". Somehow, my priority letter to CANADA got sent to COLUMBIA before anyone realized the mistake.

Flash forward one year. I'm living in Baltimore, Dr. BF (still PhD-Candidate-BF but much closer to completion...) in Canada. Feb 13, Baltimore gets some kind of freak snow storm overnight. Not in the Canadian sense of a freak snow storm, but enough snow that Hopkins cancels classes for the day. Dr. BF is informed that the trucks to deliver flowers will not go out for Valentine's Day. I did eventually get flowers, but it was several days later.

And finally, exhibit C. This year. Still in Baltimore, Dr. BF (now really Dr. BF) still in Canada. I decide to make a little knitted heart to send along with a card:

heart in heart

I love this heart. (For anyone interested, the original pattern can be found here... I didn't felt mine due to the materials used.) I made it with 50% alpaca, 50% silk. It's soft and cute and I made it for HIM, damnit. I packaged it all up and stuck it in the mailbox downstairs to be taken away by our post-person. Last week I asked and asked and asked and he still hadn't gotten it. I gave up asking this week, 1, because I didn't want to get annoyingly repetitive and 2, because there were other, more important things that needed discussion recently.

Finally, last night, he called and said "I got your Valentine". YAY! "But I don't get it." "Well, sweetie, I made it from Alpaca/Silk. It's nice and soft..." "No, what I'm looking at are 2 receipts from Circuit City, wrapped around some cardboard and a child's card that says 'Mawmaw, pawpaw, Love, Fatima'". This is when I commenced using the bad words. What the...?! So I got the info from Dr. BF as to whose receipts they were - which included full name, home address and phone number and at least a partial credit card #. He also lives in MD but not in Bmore City. I called Mr. Circuit City Receipts and explained the situation. Apparently this is not the first time that this has happened to Mr. CCR, and he has now missed the deadline to get his rebate from Circuit City. As for the child's card, he is not related to, nor does he know anyone named Fatima.

So, Dr. BF's card and heart are... well, anyone's guess as to where they are. Dr. BF has Mr. CCR's receipts and will bring them when he comes to visit next week and we will mail them back to CCR, in the hopes that he will actually receive them. And this poor kid will never see her Valentine's card arrive for her parents, because there was no envelope or address included for us to pass it on to.

What really bothers me is that a day or two after I sent this, I also sent out all of my tax information. Both to the Federal Government and to my dad in Canada so he could work out my Canadian taxes. Does this mean, now, that I have to worry that the Fed. Gov will not receive my forms?? I tried calling the "Inspector General's Office of the USPS" but they're only open Monday to Friday 11am-3pm. You can bet that I will be calling again today, just as soon as they open.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

and now for something completely different....

A WIPs update! It's been a while, I know... it seems like things just magically come off the needles fully formed around here, with some kind of time warp between skein and FO. So here's what I'm currently working on:

Mrs. Darcy Cardi
Mrs. Darcy Cardigan. I loved the yarn when I first saw it. The colour. The soft merino / alpaca blend... however, every skein so far (4 of 9) has had a knot in it. I left them alone on the back, hoping they would blend in (a decision I'll be sure to curse later on...) and on the front I cut and tried to spit splice, but to no avail. Unsure why that is, since it's 70 merino 30 alpaca... so it should be feltable, but nothing. So I'll have to go back later and weave in ends, which is pretty much my least fav thing to do, especially since they then always tend to poke out on the right side of my sweater. Any suggestions on how to weave in ends so that they remain invisible??

Monkeys. Always infallible. I still love this pattern, second go around. Sadly the panda cotton ran out just before the end of the toe. I decided to add some random bamboo I had left over, instead of buying a 3rd ball for what will be maybe 20 rounds over both socks... no one sees the toes anyway, right?? If you have bigger feet (I wear a 6.5/7 usually) and want to use the panda cotton, you'll definitely need a third ball, unless you want half your foot to be a different colour.

Noro striped scarf. Gawd I'm such a follower. I'm using Brooklyn Tweed's version of events, 1X1 rib over 39 stitches. However, I'm not actually using Noro. Rather, I'm using K1 Crochet Too Paint Box for the background-y purplish colour and Trendsetters Tonalita in purple to orange to hot pink to teal green to... you get the picture for the more stripey / colourful part.

More pictures of each on my flickr / in my rav.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Cinnabar Scarf: finally an FO!

After literally months, the Cinnabar Scarf is FINISHED. I actually started calling it the Never Ending Scarf on Ravelry, 'cause I truly thought I'd never finish it. Even after it was all done I still put it aside for a couple of days before I actually wove in the ends and blocked it. I've ever been a huge fan of blocking - it's a pain, it needs a lot of room, it takes too long to dry, etc, etc - but this time it was truly a necessity. The scarf you see below looked NOTHING like that when it came off the needles. If you're interested in pre / during blocking pictures you can find a whole bunch in my flickr account or my ravelry project page.

So, finally, here it is:

Pattern: Cinnabar Scarf by Angela Hahn. (Originally in MagKnits but apparently the version on her blog is "corrected".)
Yarn: Blue Skies Alpacas Alpaca Silk 2.5 skeins (I still have a skein and a 1/2 left over... I'll have to find something else to do with...)
Needles: US 5 / 3.75mm

As for the rest of my day... well, let's just call the above picture "before", and below "after":

I couldn't help myself...

silky merino malabrigo, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

So, clearly I already had enough pink/red/orange yarn for the Fire segment of PS3.... however, seven skeins of this jumped straight out of the box (I was at my lys when the delivery guy showed up) and into my arms. And then I could not put it down. So, I used up the rest of my store credit (and then some) and brought it home with me. As soon as I finish up the Mrs. Darcy Cardi (which I cast on yesterday and already have the back done... hooray for worsted weight on size 10s!) this will be cast on for a Chinese Lace Pullover. I cannot wait to work with this yarn. It is totally luscious!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!


The professors in our dept. had their baby this morning! And it's somewhat sunny (but really cold) out so I got this picture of the hat that matches the booties this morning, in my room, with the sun coming in the window.

Pattern: My own, same as this hat to be written up soon, I swear!
Yarn: Generic Rayon from Lovelyarns
Needles: US 2 DPNS

I also made a little V-day prezzie for Dr. BF but he hasn't received it yet, so I'll wait to share. You can find it in my ravelry notebook if you're interested (and on ravelry).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

rain rain go away...

It's rainy and grey and icky out, so no good pictures of the baby hat... however, I had forgotten that I had an FO from last weekend that went undocumented. My friend Doug came down to visit on his way home from UPenn for a PhD interview. I really hope he gets in and chooses Penn 'cause it would be cool to have someone from home only an hour away!

So, for good luck, and warm hands, I made him these:



And added a special tag:


I got the tags from etsy a while ago... they're little hands in silver and copper and say "hand made" on them.

Pattern: Convertible Cabled Mittens from my etsy shop.
Size: Large
Yarn: Jubilee
Needles: 2 US 3 circs

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

fun with ravelry

I love ravelry. Almost obsessively, really. Which is what I hear most knitters say, at least, those who have gotten their invites. Those who haven't grumble whenever they hear me gush over it.

One of the cool things is that it gives me a great forum to share my designs with other knitters. I have 3 free designs so far (all of which can be accessed in the side bar of my blog, whether you are a ravelrer or not) available as a free pdf download through ravelry. They host and deliver the pdfs for me (and all designers, obviously!). I look forward to the day that they are ready to hold pdfs for sale too... it means no more worrying if I go away for a day or two, someone is angry at me 'cause I haven't sent them the pdf yet once they've bought it on etsy. (Don't get me wrong, etsy is also a great forum, but they don't take care of the shipping/emailing, whereas ravelry does.)

I can also see all kinds of cool stats about my designs. People can leave me little hearts if they like them, or comments, and I can see how many people have "queued" my project for the future. (Personally my queue is like 5 pages long and I probably won't get to half of them anytime soon... but still, it's nice to see people like something that I designed enough to say "if I had time in the future, this is something I would make"...) And, as demonstrated below, the great Code Monkey of ravelry has set up a page where I can view how many times my patterns in a day:

This is just a shot of the last 3 days, since I uploaded my socks on fire pattern. The orange shows how many Cindy Lou Who Mitten patterns have been download, the lighter yellowy green is for my Lacey Rib Anklets and the teal is for the Socks on Fire! pattern. I'm super psyched about how popular the socks on fire! are, probably in part due to Project Spectrum: Elements.

In other news, I finished up the Cinnabar Scarf and it just needs some light blocking and the ends woven in. Hopefully I'll be able to take some nice FO pics soon... and I'm going to need all the scarves I can get if this cold snap continues... does it freak anyone else out that it was 21C/72F a week ago and now it's well below freezing?? I also finished up a hat to go with the booties and will take pictures in the light tomorrow (assuming there's some good light that is...).

Monday, February 11, 2008

it's baby time again...

Another professor is having a baby, probably sometime this week. (Due date is Wed, I believe.) Both parents work in the department and I already sort of set the precedent last October, so I've been madly knitting this weekend to make baby presents.

So far I've got a pair of the infamous Saartje's booties done:

And I'm starting a hat in the same yarn to match. There is so little done on the hat so far that it's not even worth picturing.

I'm also so close to being done the never-ending scarf that I should be able to post fo pics within the next couple of days. Except that I feel guilty working on it, when I should be finishing up the baby set for someone who is delivering this week...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

feel the heat!

Both socks are finished and the pattern for Socks on Fire! is now available as a free download through Ravelry.

Friday, February 8, 2008

PS3: Fire

I was worried about the Fire Element more than any. Pink is my favourite colour (I did not become girly until well into my 20s... if you knew me as a teenager you'd be surprised to see me in any colour other than blue) but I haven't knit all that many pink things. I just got a great pink knitting bag from etsy, which I still have to document. Anyways, so I guess I've been sort of stocking up on pink/red/orange yarns in order to make up for the "lack" of these colours in my stash. Yesterday I went through took all of the appropriate yarns out of the stash and took photos of everything that I could use for the next two months. Turns out I didn't need to be hording pink/red yarns quite as much as I thought:

PS3: Fire Yarn

From Left to Right:
Top Row: Crash Into Ewe's Jewel Collection (Link is to her etsy shop although I think it might only be available at Lovelyarnscurrently); Interlacements Rick Rack II from Stitches East '06; Crystal Palace Yarns Panda Cotton Print, also from Lovelyarns, Marra Inca Gold, from Needles and Pins

Bottom Row: Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk, from Webs, Crazy thick/thin orange/pink yarn from my SP10 pal (I used a little to make an Urchin, of which I need to make another on smaller needles/doubled yarn); Phildar Licorne, also from SP10; Knit Picks Telemark in Aubergine (yes I know that Aubergine's are purple, but this looked more reddish to me), also from SP10.

Most of it I have NO idea what I would do with, but I definitely have ideas for some. the Crash Into Ewe Jewel yarn is going to become the Cleopatra Wrap from Sensual Knits and the Marra Inca Gold will become a Mrs. Darcy Cardigan.

I also picked up some scraps from a paper shop near by. Many reds and pinks to start my ATC cards for the exchange! More on that as they progress...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Socks on Fire

Socks on Fire, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

One of my goals for PS3: Elements is to come up with a pattern that incorporates both the colours and the theme of each element. This is the first sock that will be (eventually) written down into a pattern that I'm (so far) calling Socks on Fire. I'm more than 1/2 way through the second one and I've made some adjustments to my original pattern, so I *may* rip back this one and work them both the same. Then again, I'm not sure how many people will notice once it's on my foot and under a shoe, so I'm still debating the whole ripping out a whole, finished sock thing.

Pattern: Socks on Fire! by me.... available soon, I promise!
Needles: US 2 (2.75 mm) dpns
Yarn: Araucanía Ranco Solid (cannot find the tag, but I will check colour, etc. next time I go by the LYS... which will probably be later today)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

never again

will I allow FedEx to ship a package for me. I'm not going to rant and rave, but I'm not happy with their service at all. Still, I have my mac back (who knew how completely attached I was??) and it's all pretty and no long cracked. (The wrist pad had cracked along the edge... fortunately it's a known defect in this generation and is free to have fixed.)

I don't have any pictures, but I do have the day off tomorrow so I will be taking pictures of all the fun stuff I've been working on, and perhaps even finish up the second sock and write up the pattern for Project Spectrum: Fire. I'm calling them "Socks on Fire" and you'll (hopefully) see why tomorrow!

Right now, me and the mac are gonna get reacquainted!

Monday, February 4, 2008

covert blogging

Just a quick note from school: had to send in my macbook last week 'cause the wrist-rester was cracked. Should get it back in the next couple of days (possibly even today?? that would be greaaaat.) and will update with LOTS of knitting (I did work too, I swear!) and plans for Project Spectrum Elements!