Saturday, April 22, 2006

quick catch-up

Super quick post for today.

My break has been going well although it is now coming to a close. School starts again on Monday! Luckily, I managed to get quite a lot done - although not as much as I fantasized...does anyone else experience this - that when you have a few days off, you picture yourself getting soooooo much done...but you can almost never get that much done - it's impossible!

In knitting news, I finished the shrug! I will post a picture next time. It is fabulous! I love it!!! It's by far my most favorite item that I've knit. I'm very proud of it.

I also got my knitting teacher to teach me how to crochet yesterday. Very exciting. So far so good. It'll take some time to get used to it - it is a new skill, afterall...more on that too next time.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Quasi vacation

Yes! I'm actually on a little break from school now due to the holidays. It's so nice having a little more time to myself - but I say that it's really only a quasi vacation because I'm still trying to get work done during this little break. Specifically, I'm trying to finish up on the last few lectures for one of my classes. So far so good, I have about 3 lectures or so done out of the 5 I need to finish. Plus, I'm in the midst of working on papers (mostly mine for publication - not my students). So, it's a quasi vacation indeed.

However, this break has allowed me to do a little more knitting than usual, check out some of the knitting stores in the area that I've been meaning to get to, and get in some much needed exercise. I'm out of shape a bit because ever since I took up knitting, if I have free time, the free time that used to go towards working out has gone towards knitting. Has anyone figured out how to get that balance? How do you motivate yourself to workout when you'd rather be knitting.? Are there actually people who knit while working out - I've heard rumors that such people exist - but I'm wondering if it's really just a myth...because if you're knitting and working out at the same time, it seems to me that you'll just end up doing a shoddy job on both. However, on my quasi vacation, this is all much easier because there's enough free time to go around for both...but under normal circumstances, I hate that I sometimes have to choose.

So, how about that knitting? Well, the shrug is going quite well. I love knitting it - it's so much fun and I just love that yarn. Here's my current progress:

I'm currently working on the sleeve and have only about 2 inches left on that. After that, I can start decreasing and get on to the collar. So, the end is very much in sight.

Not so for my vintage sweater. I've had some drama with that one. First, it seemed like a lifetime before I finished up with the k1p1 ribbing on size 2 needles. Now, I've switched onto the actual pattern and size 3 needles - and it's just gotten ugly. Yes, this pattern is definitely kicking my butt. But, I shall prevail! Basically, early into the stitch pattern, I forgot one stitch and it threw off the entire pattern - everything seemed a little off. So, I had to rip out several rows back to the ribbing and start over. I'm now respecting the pattern - taking it more seriously and putting in stitch markers at the repeats. What's annoying is that the repeats change with every row - so I have to keep moving the stitch markers after each row. All in all, this is going to take forever. But, I know it will be worth it when it finally is finished. So, here's where I am so far:

It may not look like much - but there's a lot of agony in those few inches. Can you see the stitch pattern at all? Cables AND lace! It's my first time with cables - and although it was a little awkward at first, I've gotten more used to it. So, I'm just taking it slow and steady - a few rows each day. I just would like to finish it by the end of the summer so that I could actually wear it in the appropriate season...but I'm going to try to be patient.

Here's a question for you who may have worked with similar patterns - I'm about to start increasing - the pattern says to increase at the end of every 12th row, working the new stitches into the pattern. I'm concerned though that by adding a stitch it will end up throwing off the entire pattern. How can I add in a stitch properly without throwing everything off? Something tells me that I'll just insert that lifeline already and just try it out and see what happens.

That's it for now - have a great holiday weekend everyone!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Right around the corner

Well, it's a new week, and I must say I'm quite excited about it - despite the fact that I'm exhausted after getting home from the wedding of my brother-in-law's brother at 1 am last night! For one thing, the weather is getting slightly warmer - but the real reason is that I have a little break from school due after Tuesday. I can't wait! I can really use the week and a half off.

Since I last posted, I've made decent progress on both projects. Well, great progress on the shrug not so great progress on the vintage sweater. Did I mention that I'm just loving working on the shrug? Here's why:

1. I looooove the yarn - it's so soft, easy to work with, and its hand-dyed-ness is just lovely.

2. It knits up quickly thanks to size 9 needles

3. These aren't just any ol' 9 needles - it's my first pair of Addi turbos and it's such a pleasure to work with. Before I had been using mostly Bryspun circulars which I also quite like (they are certainly much cheaper) - but the Addis are just magic

4. Easy pattern but I've learned enough along the way to make it interesting (first time with an M1 increase and knitted cast-on)

I haven't made nearly as much progress on the vintage sweater. The size 2 needles and k1p1 ribbing are making me nuts. I think it'll be better once I pass the ribbing part - more challenging but at least a little more interesting plus I can switch to size 3 needles. Not a huge improvement but an improvement nonetheless.

In other news, I bought the Yarn Harlot's new book: "Knitting Rules".

I wasn't planning on purchasing it just because I feel like I've blown my monthly budget on knitting related objects (KROs) - but on Saturday I was sitting in a book store trying to avoid the rain, saw it on the shelf, picked it up, and couldn't put it down. How's that for advertising?

Well, it's fabulous. I haven't read the whole thing yet but I've read enough of it to get a sense of it. Her personality and voice come through loud and clear - very witty, engaging. It's like having a knitting budding sitting next to you. It's probably one of the few things that I don't mind giving up knitting time for. Aside from having incredible insight into the hearts and minds of us, the knitting-obsessed (and I take the liberty of using the 1st person plural here because if you too are an avid knitting-blog-reader and/or writer, you've most likely crossed the line from from hobby to passion), she provides all sorts of "recipes" for patterns (e.g. hats, shawls, etc.) that I'm sure will be quite useful. So, definitely check it out.

Well, enough procrastinating. I've got to get back to my real job!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

New projects on the horizon

Spring is in the air - well, almost. It actually snowed today. Argh! Just when I was getting used to the warmer weather too.

In knitting news, I started up on the new projects - the shrug and the short-sleeved vintage sweater. The Rio de la Plata is really working out great for the shrug. The yarn is really lovely - it feels so soft and is just a joy to knit with...especially after spending several weeks knitting with 3 strands of Kidsilk Haze held together. So far, I've finished the ribbing on the shrug. Here's a progress picture:

As I mentioned, I also started the vintage sweater. Now, this is going to be much more of a challenge. For one thing, it's knit on size 2 and 3 needles. I'm using Rowan 4 ply cotton in cooking apple. Here's what the color of the yarn looks like:

I'm actually pretty excited about the color - I don't have anything in that color green. It'll be great for spring - that is, provided I can finish it before spring is over!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Sweater #2 in the can!

Well, it's been quite a busy week! First - knitting news: the To Dye For sweater is finished!! All done and blocked too. Here I am modelling it:

So, here it is from the front - again, sorry about el crapola camera. The colors are just horrible - but to get a better sense of the color of the sweater, check out some of the pictures in the previous post (if you haven't already).

Here's also a side view:

So, what do you think? I'm happier with it now that it's all done than before...but I still think it makes me look a little chunky. I think it's a combination of the large gauge (knit on size 13 needles) and that the yarn isn't form fitting. But, I must say that as my second sweater, I'm quite pleased.

So, what's next on the horizon? Oh - there has been such drama on that end. So, I ordered online the yarn for the Streakers Shrug. The thing is that it's a special yarn - Streakers by Lalana Wools. I ordered 5 skeins - which is more than I would need but just to be safe. Anyway, all is fine until the day that I check my bank account and see that about $128 has been deducted. I thought that there had to be some mistake because I had calculated that it would come to around $32 since I thought it was a little over $6 per skein. But, it turns out that I didn't read the fine print. It's actually $6.50 per ounce - not per skein and each skein has 4 oz. Yikes! So, I cancelled my order. Needless to say, I was quite disapppointed with the whole thing.

Well, today I went to one of my favorite LYS and found what I consider to be a very appropriate replacement. It's Rio de la Plata in dusk blue. It's really just lovely and much more reasonable - especially compared to paying $26 a skein. I also tried to purchase Rowan 4 ply cotton for my vintage project, but they were out. Sadly though, no knitting can go on because I ordered my needles through the internet and even though I ordered them on Monday - they're not here yet! Waaaaah! So, my itching fingers will need to wait.

In other news, school has been busy busy busy. That fancy dinner I went to was quite nice. The president of the university is living in quite a nice pad if I do say so. It was catered and allowed me to meet some of the other new faculty. So, that was quite nice. I also started running an experiment this past week so I was very busy with that and had been staying late at school all week.

Tonight, DH is on call in the hospital - so it's just me. It would have been a perfect time to get in some quality knitting - but that won't happen. However, I'll probably take the opportunity to catch up on all of those chick flicks.

Also, I signed up for Secret Pal 8. This will be my first time as a secret pal so I am very excited!!!