Monday, September 24, 2012

Blue Moon

Writing my little ode to Norwegian knitting the other day made me long to try those boot socks again. I had a bit of professional news that left me in a funk on Thursday, so it was clearly time to start a new project. Cheap thrills are underrated:

And you know what? It really worked. I'm feeling great and the recent cold snap here in Chicago makes me really excited to finish these up and wear the hell out of them. Insert Norwegian Celebratory Phrase Here!

I fell behind a bit on my Holla Knits KAL work, mostly because I was busy magically transforming my home with the power of paint. My "before" photos didn't make the ol' upload this morning, so you'll have to take my word that my dining room was a subtle, light blue. I've had the idea of using a more saturated, royal blue for a while. I love the white trim around my condo's many (drafty) windows, and wanted to pick a color that would make the white pop. After a visit to Home Depot, I decided Song Bird was the way to go. A gallon was purchased. Paint supplies were carried up from storage. This is where I should offer many thanks to my lovely assistant:

Lovely Assistant shows us coat 1 of 2 while covering profanity on tee-shirt
It's always hard to capture the correct color on your point-and-shoot camera early in the morning, but these are pretty true to what I see when I walk in the room.
BAM! (Excuse the Diet Coke, I have to actually live in this house, you know)
Still working on that photo arrangement, but I'm trying to use existing holes from shelves that were up in the room's previous incarnation. I've been resisting the urge to buy tons of new art on Etsy by salvaging mediocre stuff I have hanging in other rooms/ laying in closets around the house. I'm really happy with it - I'm going to love surprising myself every time I need to walk to the kitchen for something over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I'm trying to get things in order. I spent the weekend organizing, cleaning, sorting and planning - I even went to Home Depot (it was a pretty nice little Saturday). I'm trying to plan ahead and secure my gifts early for an upcoming bridal shower and for Christmas (in a perfect world!)

I also have some friends who are expecting a boy this winter. Baby news automatically makes me want to cast on a project, but knitting for boys can be tough. Knitting World is heavy on the lace and the pink frippery projects. That's why I was excited to find this baby blanket on The Purl Bee a few months ago. It was functional, masculine and could be easy to care for with the correct yarn selection. Sold! I really loved the color palette they showed in the pattern, so I wasn't too creative with my choices.

Casting on was fun:
Making the edging felt like a real accomplishment. So polished-looking!
And since then.... it's just been miles and miles of stockinette stitch:
and miles
and miles
Basically, it's been slow going. But I'm on the sixth color stripe out of nine, so I need to just push on through. The end is in sight, at least! And then I'll get to crochet - IF I can find the one crochet hook I have. Oy. Maybe I'm not as organized as I thought.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Yarn'd: Norway No How

This is Part One of an ongoing series I'm calling YARN'D, in which I discuss falling in love with a project and then not having it work out. THROUGH NO FAULT OF MY OWN (just kidding - it's always my fault).
The meet-cute:
One of the things I love about knitting is that it's a 'traditional' craft and therefore is closely tied to history. Textiles and their creation have important cultural connotations and, frankly, are just plan pretty. The patterns I get most excited about will either be cutting-edge trendy or generations old.

The first so-called 'traditional' pattern I fell in love with was a result of searching for a pattern for cute boot socks during the dead of winter. I came across the free pattern for Norwegian Stockings to Knit at Knitting Daily and fell in love. The colorwork pattern felt familiar - I'm pretty sure I'd seen the Selbu Rose motif on sweaters worn in White Christmas and a few Abercrombie and Fitch sweaters I had in seventh grade. I also was interested to learn that the colorwork pattern is known as the Selbu rose motif - I'd always thought of them as snowflakes. It's just like when I learned that Lady Gaga was singing "Want your bad romance" and not "Watch out for romance!" - aka MINDBLOWING.

The relationship begins:
Having been properly schooled by a free pattern, I looked around on Ravelry and decided to cast on using Knit Picks Palette:

This pattern is FUN, guys. Look how pretty - it just sucks you in. Even though I wasn't creative in my color choices, I'm loving every second of this sock.

Noticing things are a little... 'off':
This is where I admit that I'd never knitted using Magic Loop before. I'd always used three or four Double Pointed Needles (DPNs) to knit in the round. This is also where I should admit that I'd only worked stranded colorwork in the round one other time and the results were... well, you can just read this See where I mention that the fit felt a little "constricting"? LIES. It was way too tight! I'm a tight knitter and knitting in the round just makes it worse (even though my gauge was fine). Oh, and also? I have monster sized calves. Boots were n'er constructed that could fit these Scotch-Irish-Germanic power legs. I was genetically created to spawn and carry milk up hills, not cross country ski to my viking chalet. These are just the facts.

Of course, I just continue on because IT'S SO PRETTY:
 But clearly, things aren't going well. That's the calf part on display. The attempted try-on was semi painful. Tighter than a blood-pressure cuff, that was. The other major problem I ignored was the massive, noticable gap I left at the beginning of each new row. My dear boyfriend demonstrates for the camera:

Remember, this is how the sock looks when stretched to capacity across my Thunder Calf. That ugly seam-next-to-the-fake-seam is just not chic, I'm sad to say.

The break up:
Well, that one hurt. A weekend's worth of work down the drain and nothing but the slight numbness in my toes after trying to remove an extra tight calf-sock to show for it. Sometimes, a knitter will hang on to a project and see if they can pick it up later and fix it. This was beyond repair, so I ripped it all out and put the yarn away.

The rebound:
Clearly, I needed to master knitting in the round and stranded color work. I worked on a pair of Endpaper Mitts again with the correct length of circular needle and things worked out mo' betta:
Something that fits? HOW ODD.
 Of course, I never knit the second one (oops) but for the record, the mitt did fit (so you must acquit!) Then, I realized I had another Selbu rose motif pattern laying around - on the front cover of the Fall 2011 Vogue Knitting, to be exact. So the Palette found its Norwegian home:

And all was right with the world! But I'm still not over it. Sport weight yarn has been ordered and I'll be moving up a needle size with the hope that one day, I shall have my Selbu rose boot socks fairy tale romance I've always dreamed of (since February 2012, that is). I'll keep you posted.

Verdict: Still Pining Away

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Hi! It's me, again!

Even though I haven't been writing about it, I've been doing quite a bit of knitting over the summer. It's been such a long time, that I don't even know where to start again. I guess I'll just begin with what I'm up to now and then do a few retrospective posts as we move into the fall aka Prime Knitting Season.

While I'm moving along on some Christmas gifts, I'm still taking the time to be selfish, like a good American. We're in the middle of another awesome Knit Along, this time for Holla Knits' Holla Back Tank. It's a nice summery pattern with some visual interest at the back. I'm hoping to add some 3/4 length sleeves, and transition this through the fall. I've chosen a SPARKLY yarn (Knit Picks Stroll Glimmer in Potion), which is so fun to work with, but may not prove to look that great as a whole top. We'll have to see....

For your reference, it's always hard to capture color accurately because I take pictures when I have time and that could be under ANY weather/ lighting circumstances. This is as close to an accurate representation of the yarn color as I can get (From the KnitPicks website):

Here's the progress from the last few weeks:

Sparkle Swatch!

The first few weeks zoomed along faster than I thought they would. It's fingering weight yarn, but not knitting in the round helps you move faster than you'd think!

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Which brings us to this week's goal: finish the waist decreases on the back.
Zig + Zag
Blocking will open up the lace more than you see here. I made the back a size smaller because the front has a lot more stretch (negative ease) than I was expecting. I like to avoid what my mother calls "sucky gut" in my clothing, if possible. Other project updates coming shortly. I guarantee it!