Thursday, February 16, 2006

Knitter Down! Knitter Down!

After many mathematical calculations, numerous cast ons and frogs, I have to admit the agony of defeat. Ene's has whupped me. Big time. I thought I had it figured out. I really did. Actually, I almost did. One side was right. The other was off causing me to want to pound my head against the wall in frustration. What the heck was I thinking when I decided to tackle that? However, in the spirit of those athletes who fail to take home a medal, I've come up with a game plan to prepare for my next round with Ene. I signed up with Needlecraft University for an online lace shawl knitting tutorial. I'm also planning on buying a couple of lace knitting books. Lace knitters of the world, if you know some good ones, let me know. I'll have another go at Ene. She hasn't beat me entirely, only temporarily. Until then, I'm scaling back. I'm going to cast on for a lace scarf from Lavish Lace called Ocean Moods. It's a smaller project with a much simpler design. I think I can finish this in time for the end of the KO. It just won't be the same though. *Sigh.* Oh, Sandy J, you caught me! I'm too cheap to buy a skein winder as well!! I'm always meaning to but it takes away from the yarn budget. Which is crazy because I'm up to my elbows in yarn right now. Funny, I'm always wanting more. I know, I'll ask my Mom to get me one for my birthday!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Lace Knitting: The Battle Begins

Gyaaahhhhh! That's how I feel right now after casting on last night and struggling through Ene's scarf. I patiently wound my yarn (knitpicks Alpaca Cloud in midnight) into balls two nights ago. This task took me over two hours and I am convinced I need a skein winder. The night before the knitting olympics began, I checked my gauge. Good thing since I was a size 4 needle. Note to knitters all around, buying cheap needles is like throwing away good money. I didn't happen to have a nice pair of size 4 needles that are circular so I thought I'd just get the boye knitmaster ones where I could change out the cords and needles. They were inexpensive and my only option locally. Pieces of crap. They snag the yarn at the joins and come unscrewed. So today in complete frustration, I visited the scarf style kal blog for tips. One recommendation for a more suitable substitute was Knitpicks pallette or other fingering weight yarn. As it happens, I have some knitpicks essential in a nice fawn color. Now, this is actually a sock yarn but I believe it will work fine. Why am I switching yarns? Because I can' t continue to knit on those crap butt needles and have no LYS near me. The knitting olympics would be over by the time I got new needles in. So, in the interest of continuing my lace battle and competing in the knitting olympics, I am going to change yarn and check gauge again. I think I'll be able to use my size 6 circulars (the nice bamboo ones) with this yarn. Okay, they're 29 inches instead of 32 inches but I think I can make do. Note to self, buy some more nice circular needles in smaller gauge. I'll use the Alpaca Cloud later on the branching out scarf if Ene's doesn't drive me completely mad. My stitch count is off already and I'm definitely going to have my work cut out for me. Is there some secret to lace knitting that I don't know about? What in the heck am I doing wrong? Does anyone know of a lace knitting book or dvd that can help a complete lace doofus? It's like I follow the chart and end up with not enough stitches for the chart. Acck. Back to the drawing board for me. Wish me luck as I cast on with the new yarn and give this another go. I just refuse to believe that this is beyond me.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Recycle bargain time baby!

Thrift stores are wonderful things. If you're willing to pick through the cruddy stuff, you can find some real bargains. Big bargains. I've taken a keen interest in recycling yarn lately. I mean, hey, my monthly blow money allowance only goes so far. So on payday, I took my bargain hunting behind to the thrift store on post. Oh joy of joys! I found some real gems. An XL sweater of 100% supersoft merino wool; a vest of shetland wool; a cardigan of lambswool, and another cashmere cardigan. My total price spent was less than $15.00. Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' 'bout! I could never buy that quantity of yarn anywhere else for such a small price. Not sure what my plans are for the fiber but I'm mulling over some ideas. I will definitely be dyeing the merino and may even try my hand at hand painting it and turn it into a wrap or shawl. We'll see. I definitely see a trip back to the thrift store in my future. Some other great potential was there but I had the strong suspicion that those sweaters were slightly felted from improper washing. Dang. Hate it when that happens.

Picovoli, How do I love thee, let me count the ways...

Ah the joy of a finished object. What began as yarn recycled from a previous knitting disaster has been molded into a really really great shirt that is quite flattering if I do say so myself. This is one of the few things I can see myself knitting more than one of. I'm thinking Luna yarn next go round for a nice color change. sells it in a pretty pink color I like. I'm very into pink lately. Picot edging is highly recommended as I see myself having several more goes with the steam setting of my iron for the hem of this. I chose not to do picot with this one because for some reason it seemed intimidating to me. So, in the interest of not overcomplicating my knitting life, I chose the straight edging which, like all good stockinette stitch, is quite adament about its' desire to curl. Okay, I also got overly excited and should have blocked more thoroughly and carefully but I wanted to wear my Picovoli like now. Serves me right for lacking patience! I added length to mine since I happen to prefer a good amount of belly cover. Actually, this accomdated the curl of the hem quite nicely and even the curl didn't look so bad because of that. Grumperina created a real winner with this pattern. It fits like a dream. It knits up fairly quickly and you can even do it while watching TV. I know because that's how I knit it. You seriously do not want to know how up to date I am on The Flavor of Love on VH1. Seriously.