Thursday, April 26, 2012

Knit Night Results

Having a regular knit night is great for productivity. I was FINALLY able to join the sleeves to the toddler dress I'm working on and it now actually looks like recognizable clothing:

I also cast on the Dollar and a Half cardigan for a mini Knit Along with Magical Grammar and Adaly Myles Place using Knit Picks CotLin in Sprout, a light green. Not photos yet, since it's just 2x2 rib, but hopefully I'll start the fun part soon.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Heartland

Back from a weekend in the Crossroads of America. Spent a thrilling Friday cheering on my sister in the Indiana University Little 500 Race. Her team came in a close second. She had ten family members there, so at the very least, she wins some kind of Supreme title like on Toddlers & Tiaras, no? Miss Best Family Supreme?

Anyway, I'm very proud of her, she's super cool. Only a sophomore and lead the race for two whole laps! I mean, just check this out:
Taken by my cousin

As my brother said in a text message to her: "that's pretty badass".

The rest of my weekend was spent warming up after standing in the rain for an hour and a half in 40 degree weather, visiting with family and starting a new project with my beautiful new madelinetosh sock yarn:

I just LOVE the color and forgot how calming it is to just knit and knit and knit a basic pattern. It's always great to visit the family and have companions for the long car ride. Great way to kick off a new week! Hope you had a fun and relaxing weekend, too. Take it away, Jim!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dog Post

Progress is slow and steady this week, but the good news is, I do have sleeves!

I'm ignoring the half a million ends this project has created and am just enjoying the color changes and praising the heavens that little kids have such tiny arms.

Mid-week is always a bit scant in the inspiration department, so I took some pictures of my dog! Because that's not dull at all!

This is Droopy. He spent a good 15 minutes arranging those blankets *just so*

Droopy is a real sport, but he's afraid of almost everything. This makes him very snuggly (my kind of dog) but also really nervous when cameras are around. And umbrellas. And balloons. And Starbucks coffee cups rolling around on a sidewalk. And all manner of cleaning equipment. You get the idea. 

Nicely Nested
Silently Annoyed
 He was looking pretty dignified and tolerated me taking some pictures, but I of course captured one of his more unflattering moment for posterity. Sometimes, Droopy gets his jowls caught in his teeth giving him a quasi Elvis/ Bitter Beer Face.

Pucker up!
Happy Wednesday - may your day be more creatively productive than mine!

This movie Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog is officially my pick to win every Oscar ever and made me tear up at lunch. Let's all go see this ASAP, right?

Based on a true story?!?! I can't even...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Loose Ends

As previously mentioned, I'm drowning in yarn and plans for future projects.

Yarntopia by KnitPicks
This is a great feeling and it's good to know I'll have plenty to do in the coming weeks. It's important to me, however, to finish up a few things before getting too wrapped up in new fun. That's why I'm revisiting this stripped toddler dress I started at Christmas time. Remember?
Tiiiiny sleeves
I abandoned this little project when I got too overwhelmed with Christmas stuff. Now, it's going to be too small for my boyfriend's nieces, but I know a 3-month-old who will grow into it one day. Problem solved! Plus, after working on those socks for ever, this feels like it's almost done - why not go for it?

Additionally, I've made some progress on the Umaro blanket I began a few weeks ago. It's such a fast project, I love working on it when all of the sock weight yarn and tiny stitches are making me go cross-eyed.
Here's to a productive Spring!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Weekend FOs

I went a little nuts this month with yarn shopping. I bought more yarn at one time than ever before and, while this was really fun, it also made me anxious. I hadn't actually finished something in a long time! Finished the Delancey, however was like removing a road block and I had a really productive weekend!

First, I improvised a cotton sweater based on the pattern Kelly by Jean Moss in a book called Contemporary Knits I picked up at a Borders closing sale. I really liked the neck and had wanted to make something out of Shine Worsted since I made that Christmas hat for my brother.

I modified the pattern so much that the only thing that really remains is the construction of the neck. Still, I'm pretty pleased with the result:

Stripey Sue
I reworked the sleeves three separate times, and still they're not 100 perfect, but I reached a point where I was ready to be finished with the Beachy Summer Sweater and move on to bigger and better things.

I've started a series of Knit Alongs with good friend The Owl and The Bee during our Wednesday (and sometimes Monday) Knit Nights. A few weeks ago, we cast on two-at-a-time toe-up socks to try a new technique. I'm totally sold! I am a sufferer of "second sock syndrome", meaning when it's time to make the second item of a pair, I'm usually over it and ready to move on. Two-at-a-time means you'll have socks the same length without all the counting (BIG plus in my book!) My boyfriend, a wrestling assistant coach from a family of wrestling enthusiasts, wanted a pair of socks in the colors of Oak Park River Forest High School because of an inspiring coach working there. So he picked the colors and the yarn and I made my interpretation of what he requested.

Wrastlin' Socks
 I still have a ton of ends to weave in, but after weaving in a TON of ends in both the Delancey and the summer sweater this weekend, I'm giving myself a break for a day or two.
The curse of loving stripes - so many ends! Ugh!
Finally, I finished up work on a little hat design I've been working on. Nothing fancy, but a fast, fun knit with added pom-pom realness.
Werq That Pom!
During photography this morning, I realize that what I actually made this weekend was a pretty decent Smee costume from Disney's Peter Pan.Time to join the real world for a while, I think!
Aye, aye, cap'n!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fancy Delancey - Part 2

Picking up where we left off yesterday, here's the rest of the Delancey Cardigan.

The sleeves were a real test of my patience. Lots of counting and re-counting, it's enough to make you abandon a project for something new and exciting! But the Knit Along group were great motivators and I carried on.

Progress (and photography) was blurry and slow. By the time I finished the first sleeve it was time to visit my grandparents and cousins in Florida. I packed up the ol' sweater and a variety of needles and spent four hours in various planes and airports finishing the second sleeve. This photo was taken right as I got home:

I then got lazy in terms of photography and just went on ahead and did the part that excited me the most about the pattern: THAT SWEET COLLAR!

When I bound off the last stitch, I attempted to take and arty photo to share with the group. The results were...kind of lame, but my did that sweater look fancy, even with all the ends hanging out everywhere.

 Today was the Final Step. I wove in all those ends (UGH. That part of knitting never gets fun) and bought buttons from Loopy Yarns in the South Loop. I then couldn't concel how happy I was with the results and took some photos of me resembling a sweater-clad cheerleader. So, yay! Rah! Delacey!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fancy Delancey - Part 1

Eight weeks ago, Sweatshop of Love hosted a Knit Along for Alexis Winslow's Delancey Cardigan. I was sad to miss out on this one - it has been in my project 'to do' list forever - but I'd just put in a yarn order and that was going to be it for the month. Then, a knitting friend The Owl and The Bee took two minutes to convince me it was worth another purchase, and my mind was made up! It was cardigan time.

Trying to stay somewhat budget conscious and knowing that summer is just around the corner, I decided to make the sweater in cotton instead of wool. I went with Knit Picks Comfy Worsted in Planetarium (blue) and Macaw (a bright green).

This is the second project that I actually sat down and swatched. This doesn't seem like a big deal to the average reader, but trust me, when you have a pile of brand new yarn and a freshly printed pattern, the urge to just dive right in is strong.

Swatchin' the day away
My gauge turned out to be what the pattern called for: size 8 needles. It was officially time to get started. My fellow KAL-ers agreed, the best part of this project was two-fold: 1) the construction was really interesting- you start by casting on just three stitches! 2) STRIPES!

The beginning weeks flew by:

Stripe mania!

Blue and green

And the tons and tons of stockinette stitch was easily tackled because of the increases/ decreases every few stitches and getting to change color just when you think you've had enough!

The binding off for arm holes also went pretty smoothly. I think this is where using cotton is a bit problematic, the one side is a lot saggier than the other due to the diagonal stitches. I had to make some adjustments when I seamed the shoulders together.
Dividing for armholes

Starting the first sleeve
The sleeves were the biggest challenge for me. My picked up stitches left some holes along the seam and when I sewed the front and the back of the body together, I needed to make an adjustment on the left side to make sure both sides were even. This has left me with a little flap next to the seam. I think I've figured out a solution, but I won't worry about it until the rest of the sweater is completely finished.

Tomorrow: The Rest of the Delancey Story!