Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Project Update

Let's keep it short and to the point. It's Friday, and we all have things we'd rather be doing.

I stayed up insanely late seaming together parts of That Damn Sweater and there's still a ton of work to do... like, for example... finishing the second sleeve:

Sweater sez hai

I'm hoping blocking this guy out will cover up a few puckers here and there. And don't worry - those pockets ain't done.

Are you familiar with Pinterest? It will ruin change your life. Lots of beautiful ideas and inspirations that you can collect on a virtual pin board and pretend like you're really going to do them in real life because you are insanely wealthy. The Do It Yourself projects, however, seem so reasonable, so cheep and so fun that they have gotten into my brain and I can't let them go. So, you'll get treated to some of these crazier whims here on Knittery, you luck ducks!

The most recent whim was to make yarn out of old teeshirts. It's pretty simple, but be aware, there will be lint EVERYWHERE once you get started. My first attempt ended up as this:

This is crochet and not knitting, just as an FYI. This will only matter to .05% of people, but it's worth noting in case you're curious. It's not much, but I think with a bit of Rit dye, this could turn into a legit rug. If you'll permit me a small rant, there are some things in life I find to be outrageously overpriced and I get very angry every time I have to shell out hard earned money for them. In particular, the following three annoy me the most: 1) breakfast cereal 2) razor blades and 3) floor rugs. Now, I know one of these things is not like the other, but when you have a stubbern, old, sheddy dog who pees in your house if the weather isn't nice, you go through floor rugs and corn flakes at about the same rate. The rugs start smelling like corn chips or old accidents, which means my home and therefore *I* smell like corn chips and old accidents. I'm blessed with a sensitive nose, so I can nip this oder problem in the bud before anyone can judge me too harshly, but I've gone through my fair share of carpets.

Therefore, I am resolved to find a semi-good looking & cheap alternative to the ol' Ikea special. and this might just do it. If I can just get over my fear of dying fabric, this might be a success. Oh, and get my hands on about a zillion more tee shirts.

In closing, I'm back to work on the Reverse Engineer hat. I dropped a bunch of stitches and got a little mad at it, so it need to be put it aside for a while. But we're back on track and should finish it up soon-ish:

Hat's off
Aaaanyways, that's wassup. Enjoy your weekend! I know I will:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

That Damn Sweater

So, it's been a while.

"Typical", you might think, since I've got quite a checkered past with my blogging.

But it's because I have had nothing but four letter words to say lately because of my latest knitting project, also known as "THIS GODDAMN THING!!!".

It's probably because I took my eye off the prize (making Christmas gifts for friends and family) and decided to be terrible and selfish by making myself a sweater. Karma, it would seem, presented itself in the form of a knitting pattern. Specifically, Vogue Knitting Fall 2011's #25 Ribbed Yolk Topper.

At first, things were moving along just fine. I'd heard warning from knitting guru Allyson over at Sweatshop of Love that the front increases and decreases were written incorrectly. Grateful for the heads up, I decided to knit the ribbed inserts first so I could make sure the front shaping was coming out correctly.

Orange Alert
That ribbed insert was a doozy. When I say I'm a knitter, what I actually mean is that I'm a professional follower-of-directions. Patterns tell you what to do, step by step, and you get the amazing products I've featured on this blog. Seriously, I'm super great at reading directions.

So, when the directions are off... this sends me into a tailspin. And the directions on this ribbed insert? They were off. Row 4 has this funny statement "2 st. incr". This abbreviation stands for "Two stitches increased". Perhaps this is a more advanced pattern than I'm used to, but there is nothing on this line that says I'm supposed to increase the number of stitches on this row. Maybe this pattern is so fancy, it's just telling me "by the way, two rows down, you increased stitches. you'll be knitting into them now - heads up, young lady!" So, that's what I chose to believe. In point of fact, I just flat out ignored that mess because I didn't understand what they were saying. For once, this strategy worked out for me (PRO TIP: usually, it just makes things worse) and I was given a somewhat recognizable insert.

Now, the pattern tells me "Do all that stuff, but reverse it. I will not write it out for you, because I am in Vogue and am too chic and busy to hold your hand through these pitiful details." It says it to me in this REALLY condescending accent that I do not appreciate. Screw you, Vogue. So, I press on:

Dude, you're gettin' a Dell (box in your picture)

More poor photography, comin' at ya
Now, that thing on the right... that 2 inch strip hovering above the top of that insert... that shouldn't be like that. I need to rip all that down and re-bind off the shoulder seams. And then start making some sleeves. And some button bands. And some pockets. Oh, and then I ran out of yarn, because I NEVER order enough the first time.

So that's what I've been up to. Ripping out and re-making piece after piece of this damn sweater. It better look cute or, more likely, you all BETTER tell me it looks cute even if it ends up being a pile of thread I tape onto my torso. For I WILL not have it, Bert. You hear me Vogue Knitting? I will NOT. HAVE. IT.

Mad props to Allyson for all the heads up and help via Twitter. And for mentioning me in her post today. Take her classes and buy her patterns, ya'll!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Yarn!!

I came home from work yesterday to some mail.

Mail Time
This only means one thing:
New Yarn!!
I am STOKED. Now, this pile o' string (if all goes according to plan) will eventually become:

- A sweater
- A cardigan
- A hat
- A dress for a two year old

So exciting... I couldn' t just LEAVE it sitting there. I had to cast on something I've had in my head for a while.

Fall Topper
Ribbed Yolk Topper
I'll keep working on the hat, probably on the commute, but I want to be wearing this sweater in the next few weeks. Fall is so fleeting - I'd hate to miss it, especially with something that's 'on trend'. Stay tuned!

Monday, September 19, 2011


Well, it was turning out to be a good weekend... until I settled in for some Sunday afternoon football. My dear Colts lost to the... I can't even type it without wincing... Cleveland Browns. That the BENGALS just beat, for heaven's sake. I mean, I love Ohio. I really do, but ouch. OH-IO = OU-CH.

Simultaneously, I was treated to watching the Bears weak Offensive line blow chance after chance in New Orleans. It was not a proud day for the Midwest, you know?

But some knitting finally happened this week, so there's always a silver lining! The theme for last week and this week is "experimentation".

Up first, I tried to take a fingerless mitt pattern and turn it into mittens.

The original:
The DoogMod version:

So, it looks... ok? I guess? But I have some problems with it. One: I wimped out on the thumb. I was going to continue the pattern up the thumb until the about the thumbnail, but it was getting too tedious, so I just went for solid blue. Two: the mitts are supposed to fit snugly, so the mitten feels pretty constricting. I'm not sure my mom would love wearing these, no matter how much Thought I put into them. Third: Doesn't it just kind of look like a sock I jammed a thumb into? Maybe I should keep it simple and use an *actual* mitten pattern. Crazy thought, I know.

My next trick project seems to be going a bit smoother. I'm attempting to reverse engineer a hat that I saw on the website Nerd Boyfriend. The hat in question is as follows:

This baby costs 39 British Pounds. I'm sure shipping would tip that price well into Super Fancy territory. Meanwhile, I have some grey sock yarn lying around and leftover yellow sport-weight yarn from another project. I'm totally going to reverse engineer this puppy for PENNIES on the pound. (Is that a saying?)

So, here's the start. A few things I decided on from the beginning:
  • The original is knitted flat and then seamed up the back. I want to go for seamless construction (I hate sewing up knitting - I think I'm allergic to the metal in my tapestry needles #firstworldproblems)
  • The bottom band seems to be knitted separately and then attached after the hat is seamed together. Again, I'm going for all one piece. 
  • The original looks like it's made with fairly course wool. The yarn I had on hand is 70% wool and 30% silk, because I'm CLASSY AS HELL. It creates a smooth fabric, but it's pretty lightweight. I hope it's warm enough for a Chicago winter!
 In other news, I have a shipment of yarn coming that I'm extremely excited about. I know I SAID I was trying to use up the yarn I already have... but I swear, half of it's for gifts. Promise. Don't look at me like that.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I had to head home from work with a migraine yesterday, so progress has been slow in the knitting department. Now that I'm bouncing back, I made a pact with a dear friend of mind who is currently doing amazing things in India to become accountability work out/ weight loss partners. This is good news for you, because you won't have to read much about it here (she'll have to listen to my whining, poor dear) and it will probably lead to increased knittery, as one does not eat when one's hands are busy knitting!

It's a grey day and it's also one of those days where the city of Chicago smells like brownies (this is a real phenomenon - I'm not hallucinating on Diet Day 1). It's clear that I need some inspiration.

Missoni for Target Collection
I am so, so excited for collection for Target. So are most other women, it would seem. Many items online are already out of stock.

Embracing Lace
I'm coming around on lace, especially when it's a detail and not the whole garment.

Color Blocking

I want to keep the bright colors of summer going into fall. We'll need them now more than ever, ya'll.


I need to step up my bracelets game, and I'm loving these from Chain & Charm. Mega on sale, too.

 More to come, I'm sure!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pretty Great

I'm a big fan of this lady. She's delightful.

Well done, Madame. You and your pink Elvis turban are pretty great!

via Advanced Style

Remembering & Planning

It was kind of a rough weekend. I watched too many 9/11 documentaries and saw the Colts' disastrous season opener while the Bears simultaneously were rocking Solider Field. Therefore, I was not as productive as last weekend. I didn't have a clear idea about what I would make next, so I did a little too much pattern selection and reading and not much knitting.

To give myself some time to think, I pulled out some yarn I received as a birthday present - wool from Ireland! The original plan was a sweater, but I've got yards and yards to spare. I came across this pattern for the Hemlock Ring Blanket and thought it would be a nice challenge. Some lace to keep it interesting and knit from the center out. Good thinking work, at any rate.

Here's what it will/ should look like:

And here's my progress so far:

It's a fair start. I've enjoyed it so far and only had to rip back once.

During this little side project, I thought through my yarn selection and my various Christmas needs. I decided to try a pattern I've had my eye on for a while: Endpaper Mitts. I have colors that my mom would love, but I'm trying to figure out if I can convert the pattern into mittens for her. It might not be too hard if I can stand the slow progress. After a day and a night, this is what I have:

I'm having fun with it, so maybe the slow pace won't put me off that much. I also bound of a sock for the boyfriend that I was working on, but it's just one of two plain black socks and isn't super exciting - really, I just needed to free up the small needles for the mitts. We'll see how they knit up before I try to modify anything...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ballad of the Green Beret

The holidays are far down the line. I want to make that clear because these posts are in no way meant to guilt you into doing your holiday shopping in the first week of September.

I'm changing up my Christmas routine  for the first time in my life and will not be traveling to Florida with my nuclear family. I'll be staying in Illinois and visiting my boyfriend's family on Christmas day. He has more people in his family than I do, so it put me in a bit of a panic.

Then, during a Hoarders-marathon-induced cleaning frenzy, I realized just how much yarn is in my home and how it needs to be put to good use. With football season starting, I can cheer on the Colts while knocking out a few projects each weekend.

So here's another finished object (FO) from the weekend: the Green Beret from the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret pattern.

Green Beret
100 Men We'll Test Today
Slouchy Green Beret
But Only Three
Slouchy Green Beret
Win the Green Beret
I'm not sure who this is for quite yet or if I'm going to make some kind of companion piece to go with it. But it's done and it feels good to add to the gift 'arsenal', if you will.

For your toe-tappin', America lovin' pleasure:

Fashion Plait and Poor Photography

I had a marathon evening of Dance Moms and Toddlers and Tiaras last night. I am not proud of this but this is what I have been reduced to watching as I start more and more knitting projects. But who isn't on pins and needles wondering if Candy Apples Dance Studio is going to steal Abby Lee's 'national titles'? We all are, I'm sure.

Such mind-numbing television is served well by very fast projects. This can only mean one thing: Big Needles and Thick Yarn! The pattern Anthropologie Inspired Braided Headwrap was perfectly suited for this purpose. I started off with some alpaca yarn that was just too thin and switched to some ancient Lion Brand Think & Quick I had laying around from the first ugly beret I ever attempted.

The original inspiration:
Expert Photography
The result of an evening tuned to Lifetime:
Poor Photography
A note about my photos: I did a horrible job trying to take a picture of this thing. You can't really see the braid unless I make it black and white. Maybe if I took two seconds to take my earphones out and set a timer, things would be more aesthetically pleasing for you. Instead, I took a series of awkward photographs that poorly illustrate an evening's worth of work:

Fashion Plait
Exhibit A
A delightfully half-assed smile, out of focus and no detail whatsoever on the headband. What a pro!

Exhibit B
Out of focus, in a MIRROR, random closet items in the background and troll-like posture due to the fact that I'm taller than the aforementioned mirror. What is this, a mail-order bride posting on Craigslist? Way to class up the internet, Doog!

And always the headphones - believe it or not, I forgot I was wearing them. Delightful, polished presentation from start to finish. That's why you click these hallowed links - I've got your number, reader.

Aaaaanyway, this is another potential Christmas gift. Is this still considered cute? Would you wear it?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

FOs: Labor Day's Labor

I hope you had an excellent holiday weekend. I did - some chores, some study prep with the ol' boyfriend, Coin Star-ing some pocket change.

And a head start on Holiday Knitting!

First, I finished the knitting portion of the Maile Sweater for bf's goddaughter. It looks a little something like this:

Maile Sweater
Baby Love
This guy took two days to finish up and I'm pretty happy with it! I just need to find some buttons that might cheer up this bruise-colored yarn.

Maile Sweater - Raglan sleeve
Raglan Detail
Maile Sweater
Baby Sweater in the wild! (closer to the actual color)
I've never knitted clothing for a baby before, so I kept checking and re-checking the pattern measurements. The sleeves were only supposed to be 4 1/2 inches long - that seemed so tiny, I couldn't get past it! But once I decided to just go with it, it all looked right in the end.

I also finished up a beret that is currently blocking (aka dunked in water and had a plate shoved in it to give it that 'beret' shape), so I haven't photographed it quite yet. It's a lovely green: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport weight in Grass. Sport weight is thinner than the bulky yarn the pattern calls for, so I doubled up the yarn on nice big needles which made the fabric much thicker than previous versions I've whipped up. It's really nice to go from a tiiiny lace project to big ol' Done In A Day needles. The only downside to doubling up my yarn is that it made me run out of yarn faster than I should have, but I think the blocking will still make it pretty and wearable. I'm not sure who this is going to quite yet, but it should keep someone pretty warm and stylin'.

This is an early version of the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret pattern that I made last year:

Prototype of Ballad of the Green Beret
So that's two gifts in one weekend! Not too shabby. I cast on the beginnings of a braided cable headwrap and another Make Up Your Mind tank for my little sister at her request - in green, in order to "make my eyes pop". This is a direct quote. No embellishment.

I also studied-by-extension for a teaching certification exam, played some tennis, made some Barefoot Contessa mac & cheese, got to turn off the AC and open the windows while watching a great deal of television. All in all, pretty great.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

FO: Make Up Your Mind Tank

I finished something! It's been a rare for me to finish something larger than a dishcloth lately, so I'm pretty excited to share my finished Make Up Your Mind Tank:

The result isn't 100% perfect (there are some mistakes in the lace pattern that I didn't notice until I'd joined the straps) but this is the first wearable FO (Finished Object) that I've made. That is - I might actually wear this. Maybe.

All the mistakes are, sadly, in the front, so let me show you the back! It turned out great!

Forgive the styling here and the few strings you might see - I was excited to show a finished project and still have to weave in a few ends. Now it's time to start Holiday Knittery 2011. I know you're excited.

First up is a cardigan for the Boyfriend's darling goddaughter. The pattern is the Maile Sweater and it looks like this:
Cute, right?
Part of the joy of holiday knittingis getting rid of the yarn I've over-indulged in during the year. That is the case with this sweater - I ordered the wrong color of yarn for the endless cardigan project I never finished and just held onto it.

Mine looks like this. Well, actually, that's a misstatement. This is the worst possible picture of the project at the moment, but I have to have SOMETHING to show you:

Pretty? Ugly? or Pretty Ugly?
The yarn is way less obnoxious than that, even though I'm still not 100% sold on it. I need more than just the border to know for sure... Jingle Bellz,  ya'll.