Monday, January 28, 2013

speaking of socks...

neely o'hara by gradschoolknitter
neely o'hara, a photo by gradschoolknitter on Flickr.

On the needles for some time now (Nov 23, 2012 start date as per rav), these are some slow moving socks. Granted many personal and professional things got in the way, such as Christmas, and exams. But I do like them and hope to get back to them soon.

And will have to get on the knitting of some MOAR socks soon... the next round of the international sock swap will start Feb 1, which means that there are only a couple more days to sign up for this next round! If you haven't already, why not?! You're sure to get a great pair of handknit socks aas well as goodies from almost anywhere in the world! See you there!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

now what do I do with my sock yarn leftovers?

This has been my longest UFO, ever. (Unless you count that vest I started when I was 10 or 11 and is probably still sitting in pieces in my parents' basement... but let's not.) Started May 25, 2009 (according to ravelry, anyway), this blanket has been worked on in multiple countries, and through both good and bad times in my life.

never ending blanket
It is comprised of the ends of many a skein of sock yarn (3 held together at a time on size 7.5mm needles), and is big enough to fit comfortably on our queen sized bed.

Of course, there will always be more ends of more skeins of sock yarn (because I'm definitely not done making socks), so I'll just have to find another never ending project to use them up...

Monday, January 21, 2013

another day, another baby knit

bizzy baby bee by gradschoolknitter
bizzy baby bee, a photo by gradschoolknitter on Flickr.

This time it's the buzzbee hat, from wooly wormhead's wee woolly toppers. This is my third hat from this ebook... I figure if I had to buy the whole thing I might as well get my money's worth out of it.

And yes, that is a measuring cup holding it up... isn't it the cutest? I kid, I kid. I ran around the house trying to find something that would fit, including multiple bowls, none of which were the right size. After four or five trips back and forth to the kitchen I told DH I felt like Goldilocks.

This will head off in a couple of weeks to meet the newest addition to my friends' families... there are so many this year it's getting hard to keep track. But it'll join the zig zag blanket (which, by the way, was finished just under the wire, with "mom" giving birth while it was blocking) and we'll go meet a very dear little boy very soon!

Expect to see more wee woolly toppers this year.. I know enough soon-to-be babies that I may just make it through the rest of the book before 2013 is out!

Friday, January 18, 2013

am I seeing things?

I can't show you much more of what I'm working on right now because I'm thinking about sending in the design for potential publication... but I needed a collective answer to a troubling question. Do you see a line? I recently switched skeins and, as with many handspun yarns, it looks to me like there is a distinct difference between the two. Am I seeing things or does anyone else see a difference?

Monday, January 14, 2013

blocked, waiting for baby

much better border by gradschoolknitter
much better border, a photo by gradschoolknitter on Flickr.

Thank you to those who commented yesterday. I realize I wasn't really clear in how I finished off the border on this thing, so I'm going to try and attempt a better explanation. If you have no interest, feel free to skip the rest of this post!

Knit on border:

Instead of binding off at the end of the project, cut your yarns and choose the one you wish to make the border with. Using a DPN of the same size as your project needle, cast on 5 sts.

Row 1: With a 2nd DPN, knit 4 sts. Slip the last st as if to knit. Slip the first stitch on your bind-off row, also as if to knit. Knit these 2 sts thru-back-loop.

Row 2: (Can be done using project needle): Turn, knit 5.

Although the picture is actually from the other side of the blanket (where I cut off the border and picked up live stitches again), this is what it will look like after a few rows:


Repeat these two rows until there are no live stitches left on the project needle.

Turn corner: Work short rows (Knit 4, w&t, knit to end, knit 3, w&t, knit to end, k2 w&t, knit to end, k1 w&t, knit to end). Then repeat short rows in reverse (knit 2 w&t, etc until you have knit 4 and w&t'd the last stitch).

Now you will work the border along the side. I slipped the first and last stitch on every WS row when working the body of the blanket, so I had a nice space to pick up all the way along.

RS rows: knit 4, sl1-kwise, pick up one stitch, psso
WS rows: k5

Once you have picked up all the stitches along one side, you'll turn a corner again and do the same along the bottom. Or, if you're really smart and thinking ahead, perhaps you'll have cast-on in such a way that you'll have live stitches that you can put back on the needle. Or, if you have no fore-thought, like me, you'll cut off the border that you dislike, pick up the live stitches again and hope for the best from there!

Once you've completed all four edges, you'll be back to where you ended the body of your blanket and cast-on for the border. My suggestion: Turn another corner, then turn the whole blanket over. Pick up stitches in the cast-on edge of the border (5 total) and work a 3 needle bind-off to connect them together. Unless you're absolutely staring at it, I don't think you can tell the difference between that and the other corners at all:

baby blanket the eleventy-millionth
can you tell which corner has the cast-on edge?

It still furls out a bit on the corners, but that's a function of the pattern and unless I wanted to be super-agressive in my blocking, I don't think it can much be helped. I still think it's much better than the original border I knit.

Please note: none of this is new or made-up by me. I read about knitting the edge on in EZ's Knitter's Almanac and the corners and side borders are adapted from the 10 stitch blanket. Credit where credit is due! I'm not sure if or where I might have seen the corner turn to 3 needle bind off before, but I am sure I cannot be the first.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

the border is the hardest part

Apparently, much like in writing, my finishing of a project (in this case knitted) is the most time consuming. I started this blanket on the 2nd of January (my first full project of the year!) and immediately disliked the way that the border was sitting. I had already modified it to remove the side border stitches so that they could be picked up and knit later on, and I was starting to wish I had done the same for the bottom border too.

And yet I knit on. I knit on to the point of no return and when at knit group last week, I asked a few people what they thought of it and one woman cried out "but you can't rip all that back!"... so I didn't.

Instead, I knit on. I knit until it came time to bind off... but instead I did this:


And then continued around the corner and down the side... and when I got back to the cast on edge I did this:


(If you can't tell, there's a needle in that first row... and if you don't know what comes next, well, it's not for the faint of heart. In fact, it's so dastardly, I didn't take any pics... I cut off the bottom edge.)

So, how did it turn out? Well, I'll tell you this: it's currently blocking, which I'm calling a good sign. You'll have to wait until tomorrow to see the full effect though!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

WWFY Sweater finished!

I sent off the WWFY sweater a couple of days ago and it should (hopefully) be getting to its final destination today!

Pattern: Shiraz
Yarn: Cascade 220
Needles: US 6 and 5 (just for the collar)
Mods: None.

Fingers crossed that it fits the intended recipient well and she's happy with our "exchange"!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

spoiled rotten

swap package #8 by gradschoolknitter
swap package #8, a photo by gradschoolknitter on Flickr.

The last swap is over and the new one is open for business, and I feel like a spoiled child after a rather exuberant Christmas. Above is the first package I received, from an angel swapper who was just supposed to knit me socks! Instead, I got a lovely pair of asymmetrical socks (my fave type of sock pattern, truth be told), a wonderful project bag, hot chocolate mix, holiday cards that look like fair isle designs, a skein of sock yarn, a mini skein of the leftovers from the sock that will go into my never ending blanket and a pedicure kit.

I figured that my "angel" had become my new swapper and that was that. But only a few days later the doorbell rang and...


My original partner sent me another whole package minus the socks. She had hurt her shoulder earlier on in the swap and asked the other moderator to find an angel for me, but still put together a package nonetheless.

I don't think you need any further proof what a fantastic group this is, but even so, I'll give you the close-up on my gorgeous new socks:

swap #8 socks

Really, does not do them justice at all.

Come join us! You know you wanna.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

2012 was full of ups and downs for me. In ups: I finished my thesis, defended it successfully, and completed my PhD program. I also became an Aunt for the first time, which is a joy that will keep on giving! I fulfilled an academic dream: to take students to Spain and teach them about the place, it's people, history, and culture. As for downs, well, the job market is still scarily competitive and the next six months or so (fingers crossed for something more permanent for the next academic year) are going to be hard. I'm lucky to have a very supportive family, and great friends, and I know I won't want for anything financially or emotionally, but that doesn't mean it won't be strange. I'm going to work on research and probably knit a LOT, so expect more posts for the foreseeable future!

Above is a screen shot of the last week of 2012/ this morning's stats for the blog. This past week I offered a holiday deal and it is the first post that has ever surpassed the baby leg warmers pattern (only available on this blog, not as a download on ravelry) in number of page views per week. Never has another post appeared above it. I know it sounds small, but it was super exciting to me, so thanks for that!

Onwards and upwards to 2013, I say. The first sock swap of the year is now open for sign-ups and I do hope you'll all join us. We have such fun! Speaking of which, I'll save it for tomorrow, but I did get some AMAZING packages (yes, packages) this past time round. Stay tuned for their reveal!