Monday, January 31, 2011

Another new project: trials and travails

I started another new project-- a lace dress from an old issue of Vogue Knitting! I've been looking at it on Ravelry for a while and I even ordered yarn for it from Knit Picks, but I figured I'd wait till spring to start it. Well, for some reason I felt compelled to begin. But from the start-- even before the start-- I was a little hesitant, for a few reasons:
-I don't really like knitting lace, in general.
-I am really worried about the fit and sizing-- we all know about the sad mishaps that have occurred in my knitting past, fit-wise. And this dress wouldn't be easy to modify for a larger bust, because of the lace pattern. I'm doing the small/medium size (as opposed to the large) because I know the large would be too large, but I am worried about the bust. I want to avoid unseemly stretching/pulling across the chest. Right now the plan is to go up a few needle sizes when I get to the bust.
-The yarn, is eh. I was expecting something a little more... woolen, I guess, just judging from photos online. But it is a cotton blend, and it is a little fuzzy. I don't think it will pill (I hope not anyway) but I don't LOVE the yarn. it is fine to knit with, and plenty soft, plus the color is dynamite, I'm just not sure...

And to top it off I cast on with a smaller needle size than called for, and didn't feel like redoing it... so I hope the cast-on edge doesn't end up being too tight.

Otherwise I am totally enjoying knitting it-- it is actually going pretty fast...

Or WAS, until I cut my finger yesterday...

The cut is on the very tip of my finger, right below the nail. In fact the corner of the nail was shaved off as well. It is painful if there is any pressure on it, so I have bandaged it liberally with gauze, band-aids and medical tape. I might be going a bit overboard, but dammit, it hurts! I need it nicely, firmly cushioned. But the downshot of it is that since this is a very crucial knitting finger-- my left pointer finger, around which I wrap the yarn as I knit-- knitting has become slightly inconvenienced. The yarn catches on my big bandage and my pace is slower. Today I decided to use the situation to practice knitting the English way, with the yarn wrapped around my right pointer finger, looping my finger around to the needle to wrap the yarn instead of just picking it up from my left finger. Ugh, annoying. I did that for one round, but my tension was way tighter and harder to control. Obviously if I practiced for longer it would have gotten easier but I gave up pretty quickly and went back to awkwardly knitting around my bandage.

Haven't worked on the linen scarf since I started the dress-- will go back to that when my finger is more healed.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Linen Skarf is the purtiest thing ever

Love love loving my linen scarf project....


Now that I am knitting it up, I wish I had chosen yarns that covered every element of Roy G. Biv. I'd like some yellow and there isn't any, nor is there any true red, and I wish there was a tad less brown. Nevertheless, the color combinations are beautiful! Spring Break provides indigo, navy, a burnt orange kind of color, gray/green, brown and a little bit of purple. Chocolate Cherry is pretty straightforward-- brown and pink, plus an in-between color. And Eat Your Veggies has got neon lime green, olive green, sea-green and a very light gray. So we have most colors covered. And when it's all knit up together, it looks SO cool!

I started it on Sunday when I got home, winding the yarn and casting on. Over the past few days I have been working on it diligently. A lot of Ravelers said that the project is like pulling teeth, but I find that it is going very quickly! Of course, I still have less than 2", so there's a ways to go, but I am really enjoying the project. I love the fringe. The only thing is that it can be annoying to start a new color. The new yarn is not anchored, so the edge stitches become loose and you have to pull them and hold onto the last few fringes. But it's not a huge deal. I just LOVE the way all of the different colors stripe and mix. I wonder if I'll ever wear it. I'm not a scarf person-- I'm too fidgety. And my body changes temperatures really quickly so I am always fussing with my clothes, hair and accessories. Putting my hair up. Taking my hair down. Putting a sweater on. Taking the sweater off. Pushing up my sleeves. Pushing down my sleeves. Etc. However, this scarf is so pretty!!!!!! And it will match everything! (Not that matching is really a priority of mine.)

Also, here's a picture of Ariel Bailey in the sweater I made him!! It's too big, but he will grow into it:


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vogue Knitting Live!

This weekend I had the pleasure of being part of the very first Vogue Knitting Live event in New York. My friends at Fine Points in Cleveland, OH-- where I interned one day a week over the summer-- traveled to the city for the show, and asked me to help out. It was crazy! I didn't get to go to any classes or attend any lectures, unfortunately-- I was in the marketplace from morning till night. But I did get to see my very first knitting show, and I had a lot of fun working at the booth. It was really, completely crazy-- tons of people lining up to pay BIG bucks for yarn, clothes and jewelry. One woman bought one of our sample garments for $750!!!!!!!!!!! I mean!!!! I know that hand-knit garments are worth a lot-- I mean, tons of hours go into making them, not to mention cost of materials-- but that seems like quite a bit to me!!! I wish I could get someone to pay that much for something I knit!

Here are some action pics from our booth:

Tons of people, tons of gorgeous yarn and jewelry... and speaking of gorgeous yarn... well you wouldn't expect me to go home without any goodies, would you?!!

In the very few spare moments I grabbed to run around and look at the other booths, I found a great close-out yarn sale-- bags of yarn, steeply discounted. I grabbed a bag of Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool. I only really discovered this yarn on Friday. It's so very soft! I usually avoid wool because of the itchy quotient. But I wore a garment all day made of this stuff and it was super-comfy. They only had yellow left, but it's a nice sunny yellow and I really like it:

I also snatched up a bag of Araucania  Ulmo Multi, which is a variegated cotton Aran weight yarn. There was also a gorgeous purple multi which I really loved, but I think this yarn is a great color for baby blankets. It's not too girly (I don't think) or boyish-- it's just babyish. And with ten skeins a bag, that's over 2000 yards of yarn-- so I'll be able to make a few nice-sized blankies.

My only concern is the fact that it is hand-wash only... that's not really a quality you are looking for in any baby project. But I looked on Ravelry and quite a few people have used this yarn for baby things, so maybe it is not so hard to clean.

I also got some yarn from Fine Points, of course-- they have the most mouth-watering selection of Claudia Hand Painted Yarns, which is one of my ultimate favorite yarn brands, though, until now I had only ever used her Silk Lace, which is like BUTTER (though I never finished that project...). I absolutely LOVE her colorways though, and there were a few that I just had to have:

This is so pretty-- pastel baby colors ("Jonquil") in Short Sport. I could probably make three to five pairs of baby booties for this. (Why am I making all this baby stuff??)

Oooh, SWOON! This is Silk Lace in Collards and Grits. I saw it and fell in love. There was no deliberation whatsoever. It's just. So. Pretty. And I have NEVER felt a softer, smoother yarn in a finished project. Who knows what it will be. But until it becomes anything, I just want to love and pet it.

I also bought three skeins of Claudia Fingering Weight. This stuff was FLYING off the shelves, and the most popular pattern for this yarn was the Linen Stitch Scarf, which I also purchased.

I really didn't know which colors to get, and I didn't have much time to shop-- so I just plucked up a few of my favorite colorways: from the left, Eat Your Veggies, Chocolate Cherry, and Spring Break. I don't even know that they really go together at all, but the point is to make it really wild and crazy and you can't really go wrong with this stuff-- it's ALL so gorgeous.

So I will start the linen scarf soon-- maybe tonight?! I've never used this yarn but I'm so excited. It's really gorgeous. But I do have to wind it. I hate winding this gorgeous yarn into an ugly little ball. I wish I had a swift!!! I want my dad to build a cute little one for me, but he is very busy so who knows when that will be. Until then, winding yarn off my bedpost.

I made a few other purchases too-- I bought a cute little drawstring bag from KnittyCity and a "limited edition" VK Live tote-- I feel like I must have it because I was there!

It was a fun, crazy experience, but I hated staying in the city. It's so difficult and annoying to get anywhere, and it was BRUTALLY cold-- they say a record-breaking weekend of coldness. And there was a LOT of walking. Tonight coming home was a slog, I gotta say-- lugged my backpack, all my yarn, my laptop, purse AND a big bag of Chinese food home on the train. I take my mess everywhere!

And by the way, I am not buying any more yarn for a long time-- until I USE some of my stash. It's ridiculous how much I have.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


My first non-kippa crocheted project!!

It's a hat! I was practicing my crocheting skills, which are rusty since I haven't used them since the last kippa I made last spring, and I just kept going.... so it turned into a hat!
I messed up a little with the increases and decreases around the crown. I wasn't sure about it so I just improvised wildly. So it's a little lumpy but it looks smooth enough when it's being worn.

I think it turned out pretty well, for my first crocheted hat. And it was SO superduper-fast. And fun! I'm giving it to my sister since I already have a hat.


Let me introduce the world to Ariel Bailey, the newest addition to the wonderful Bailey family!!!!! Here he is, wearing the hat I made him!!!! Ok, so it's kinda big, as I really have no idea what size babies' heads are supposed to be, but too big is better than too small-- he'll grow into it.

And a ridiculously cute photo of Ariel's older sister and brother, Leah and Sauly, marching hand-in-hand while wearing their awesome matching hats.
I love these kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It feels good to be finished... but now what?!

I finished the skirt, people:

It's beautiful. I was a little worried about the hem curling, but it barely does- maybe a tiny bit, but not enough to warrant adding a garter band. Besides, I didn't have enough yarn anyway. I worked right down to the last yard of the last ball of yarn. I really like the length-- precisely 19" from the waistband. Here's a picture of the waistband:

I altered it-- added buttonholes and an extra inch of length. I would provide the exact mod, but I never wrote it down. I used a cast off/cast on buttonhole because the buttons would have been too big for a traditional yarn over, and cast off 2 stitches, but turns out I should have only cast off one stitch per buttonhole. I may sew the buttonholes closed a bit, just so you don't see those little gaps. Otherwise, it fits well-- even snugly. I like the high-waistedness. That's very in right now, and it's a flattering look if you can do it. I wore it last week out in the city and my friends were very impressed. (I love telling people, "Thanks! I made it." Non-knitters are so amazed by what we can do!)

Now that I've finished all my major projects, I really have nothing going on. I have no projects. My sister wants me to make her a hat, but she's been very vague on her preferred color and style so I haven't cast on. And I had four balls of the Shine Worsted in Robot to make a baby blanket for a friend's baby in Israel. Um, except I didn't do ANY research and somehow assumed that less than 400 yards of yarn would make a sufficient baby blanket. Not. Turns out you need upwards of 1000y, and I have no intention of purchasing that much, so that project's in the dustbin and I have four balls of Shine Worsted. You know what, I could probably make a few cute hats with it, send them to my friends in Tzfat. (Two of them just had baby boys.) My wonderful South African friend Heather, mother to the children for whom I knit those striped hats, also had a beautiful baby boy about a week ago-- so exciting! I'm waiting for a picture of the baby in his hat and sweater, but wrangling the infant into hand-knits is probably not first priority when you've got three kids under the age of five.

However-- I did get a picture of Saulie in his hat! And it's gorgeous!

Look at my favorite little South African/Israeli boy-- kissing his new baby brother!

Here is a direct quote from his mother: "Saul does not leave the house without his hat-- he loves it!" There is no greater reward for a knitter than hearing this.

Meanwhile-- I've got no projects! Okay, there are the two WIPs that haven't been touched for months-- the gloves... weh! I would really wear them, too. I'll never finish them. It's second glove syndrome-- I've never once finished a pair of gloves. I really should. Dammit. They're so pretty and in the silk and everything. Yet seaming all those fingers is so annoying! If I ever do finish them I will knit the fingers in the round this time with two circulars instead of flat, because the seaming is just urrrghhhh-- very frustrating.

And there are the socks I'm knitting for Shannon-- I decided to experiment with the Magic Loop for the first time-- knit a few rounds last night on Sock 2 and my eyes started hurting from the tiny stitches so I stopped. When you don't have a deadline it's pretty easy to let things slide. When I actually get going on those, I'll tell you all about my feelings on Magic Loop. So far it doesn't seem tremendously different from two circs.

If anyone has any great ideas about my next knitting project, I'm open. I want a nice complicated project that preferably uses yarn from my stash, and which I will be excited about. I just made a sweater and a skirt, and a hat, so now what?? I don't like knitting for other people because they never appreciate it and I'm never motivated to finish it. That sounds pretty bad. I should be a better friend and knit stuff for others, but I swear, they never actually use the things I make! -- Well, not totally true. My mom and dad both wear their Knotty but Nice Malabrigo hats-- and they are gorgeous, if I do say so myself. I love that pattern. But the thing is about knitting for others is that I don't like buying nice yarn for those kinds of projects because it's so expensive, so I end up using acrylic stuff from my stash, which is good for most people because it's machine washable, but when I use crappy yarn I'm not excited about the project. Plus I'm just not motivated to finish anything because there's no reward. Man, I really am selfish. I've got to work on this in the new year. Maybe I should resolve to knit more stuff for other people.

On those rare occasions when I DO make things for other people, I now have absolutely beautiful personalized labels to sew into them!!

A Hanukkah present from my sister (though she gives credit for the idea to my mom). Amazing!!! Now I just need to make some stuff to put them in. I could retroactively add them to my parents' hats-- maybe on the outside so they won't be scratchy.

Anyway, that's my knitting life. Unless I'm hit by some inspiration soon I probably won't be posting again for a while.