Friday, March 31, 2006

I see London, I see France

I just read the funniest post in a long time. If you haven't seen it already go visit Crazy Aunt Purl.

You know we're from Los Angeles and yo dats just wut we do ova heerre.

Block Party

I did it. I really did it. Remember my last post? The one where I was kinda freaked out about blocking. Well, I did it. I think I was shaking the entire time, but I did it and it worked. I used the steam method. Though, I still do not have one of these. I managed to do it with my trusty iron. And it worked. To be quite honest I am feeling really good about it.

Here are some pictures:

This is before I did anything. I guess you could call this the before shot.

Here it is after I pinned it down. See my trusty iron over there?

Here it is after I blocked it.

It really did make a difference. Who woulda thunk? I am in the final leg of the Starsky. I have finished the short row section of the collar and now all I have to do is finish the rest of the collar, make the belt, and do the seams. I am hoping that I will have a finished project by Monday. But you know how it is, when you (or should I say, I) are this close. I might not do anything else until it is done. I can practically feel the sweater on me.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

These are my Confessions

I have a confession to make. I am afraid to block. Did you hear me? I am afraid to block. Ok, one more time. I AM AFRAID TO BLOCK. There, I said it. Are you happy now? I don’t know what it is, but there is something about blocking that I cannot seem to perform it correctly or anything. Part of me thinks that it is a waste of time and the other part just can’t seem to get it right.

Let me explain. I have blocked three times in my past. The first time I blocked was for Hopeful and I used the spray bottle method. The one where you put some warm water in a spray bottle, lightly spray the garmet, pin it in place and let dry. When I did that, it did not seem to do anything for it. I was using Rowan Cashsoft DK and to be honest, it really did nothing.

The second time I blocked, it was for something that I had designed using some kid mohair. This time I used the steam method. The method where you can use an iron or a steamer thing thingy. This time I was trying to convince my hubby that I needed a Scunci Steamer because I had just seen Annie Modesitt on Knitty Gritty using one, and I knew that I needed one, too. Long story short, I found a steamer thing that I have had for years, the one people use for travel. It did a little, but not much in terms of a positive blocking experience. Now I don’t have any pics of that one either because after I blocked it, it became 3 sizes too big for me.

The last time I blocked, I did not do so by choice. What happened was my youngest son got bright blue toothpaste all over this. So I don’t know if you would call it blocking or washing. I am calling it blocking though. The soak method. It took 6 days for the jacket to dry. Though I have to admit that the way the yarn looks now is much nicer than before. That is one instance of where blocking has not been so bad.

Why you may be asking I am telling you this? I have decided that I am going to block the back and front panels of Starsky, and I am a little scared to do it.

Oh, by the way look what I bought:

And yes, I am afraid to use them.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Do you remember this from yesterday?

Well, this is what it looks like from a distance:

This is actually made in one piece. The stitch pattern is a [k1, wyif sl1] over an odd number of stiches. The handles were attached while I was binding off. I am thinking that it is going to be a little summer/spring bag that I take with me to the pool or something like that. The yarn is called Groovy. I forgot who makes it, but it was purchased at my LYS. This is the yarn that inspired me to attempt this. Reason being that for the amount that I paid at my LYS, I could get about eight times as much by doing it myself. And you know what, I am thrifty like that.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Blob is Here

I feel like such a blob. I have not done any type of exercise in over two weeks (snowboarding and softball do not count). For some that is fine, but for me I am really feeling it. I need my gym time. It is the one thing, besides knitting, that I do that actually relaxes and relives me from stress. I've noticed that I have been a little wound up lately as a result.

There are two main reasons why I have not gone to the gym. The first being that I have been sick, so sick infact that I could have probably coughed up a lung or two during any portion of a work-out, especially the hard part where you pull into the parking lot. Now that I am at about 85%, I feel I can resume my regular work-out routine. But no, that would bring me to the second reason why I can not go to the gym. Kev, my 2 1/2 year old, has decided that even though he is no longer coughing and the like, is going to continue to let his nose run. I know that some mom's would just say fughetaboutit, but with all of the yucky germs and my luck I would bring home something much worse than what he left here with (which is not easy to do). So one (or two) more days (weeks) at home will not damage me anymore than usual. I will try to go for a run after hubby gets home from work, I just hope I remember how. It's left-right-left-right, breath in-breath out, all at the same time or something like that.

I thought that I'd post a picture from something other than what I am working on right now. What do you think of this stitch pattern:

It is actually a FO that has been off the needles for quite sometime now. I'll wait to post the entire picture. Afterall, I know how you all like these little guessing games.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

What Happened to the Knitting

There is a reason why one (Michelle) should not KUI (knit under the influence). I have been fighting a cold for the last week and it sucks! Last week on the morning we had decided to go snowboarding, I had lost my voice. I didn't think anything of it because it happens quite frequently with me (at least twice a year), so it was no biggie. Plus the day before the snowboarding, we had played softball and it was a bit cold. I really did not think that it was a big deal about my voice.

Well low and behold, by Monday I had a full on cold. I was miserable. My head has been so congested, the coughing, and the aching (whine, whine, whine). Anyway, I was finally feeling good yesterday until my softball game. During the game I broke out in a sweat (and not because of physical activity) and I started to feel as though I was breaking a fever (which I didn't even know I had), by the evening I was feeling good. Good enough to have a glass of wine. OMG! You would have thought that I had never had a drink before in my life, but hey, I was feeling good. My knitting though, that is another story. This is what was on the needles last night:

I woke up to it like this this morning. At least I wound it back up into a ball. Right?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Criss-Cross Applesauce

I am officially a member of the Starsky KAL. It is my first KAL and to be honest I am excited. I have the back and about two-thirds of the left front complete. When I was working on it earlier today, look what I noticed:

Do you see it? This should make it a little more clear:

I must have done this a gazillion times so far. I keep crossing the cables the wrong way. Why you may ask. Because I am a moron. Or, it might possibly be because when I am knitting I do things like watch TV, talk on the phone, read blogs, you get the idea. No, it can't be that, it has to be because I am a moron.

When I first noticed that I did this on the back panel, I thought that I could just live with it because I really did not want to frog it back, but I couldn't. Anyway after a couple of rows I had a lightbulb moment. I would just drop the stitch down to the offending row and work it back up. Worked like a charm. Now my criss-crossed cable(s) looks like this:

It's all good now.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I Am So Confused

If you haven't guessed by now, I am new to the blogosphere and everything associated with it. I do know how to read them. But as for rings, KAL's, and the like, I am pretty much clueless.

The reason I started a blog was to possibly meet others who I share a common interest with. In fact, I don't even know if anyone is reading this. But it is good for me, cheaper than therapy.

Anyway, I am not sure what is the proper way to do things if there is a "proper" way. I signed up for a KAL earlier today. The first one ever for me. Now here is where I am confused. I don't know if I should wait until being accepted to continue working on it or if I should just keep on truckin. I know (or at least I think) that the purpose of a KAL is to be working on a project at the same time as the others. Technically I am working on the project at the same time as the others that are part of the KAL, but I am not officially part of the KAL. Does that make me not eligible for it? I just don't know. So this is what I am going to do. I am going to stop work on that particular project until I hear about the status of my submission. Unless someone tells me otherwise.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

May These Two Be Joined Forever

I did it. I finally did it. For most this may seem like no big deal, but for me it is ginormous. I finally did a felted join. You see, I am always on the quest to find the perfect way to join two ends of yarn. I hate the way sloppy ends look. I usually do a Knit In Join (though I didn't know it was called that) which works pretty well, but sometimes the bulk of the double strands of yarn looks a bit funky. I have tried the Russian Join, but to be honest, the way that my ends seemed to fray, it looks a little sloppy, too.

So last night when I was working on Starsky, I was coming to the end of my first skein and was dreading the join. Then I thought that I could try the felted join. I had read about it before, but for some strange reason, never considered doing one myself. Well that ended last night, I had some of the yarn that Knit Picks had used to tie the hanks together and tried it. Now look at the results:

I put them into steps so you could see what I did.

  • Step 1: two ends of yarn.
  • Step 2: I cut half of the plies.
  • Step 3/Finished Results: Add a drop or two of water, rub vigorously between the palms of your hands, and voila, a felted join.

Here is a close up of the stitch pattern.

Here is a pre join photo

After taking the pictures above, I noticed that I goofed on some of the cables, I have since fixed them, and here is a photo of my latest progress, post join.

Can you tell where the join is?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

X Games, Knitting Style

Let me tell you a little something. Generally I am the type of knitter that only has one WIP at a time. Yes, you read me right. I only have ONE project on the needles at a time. I don't know what it is about me, but I can not have multiple projects going on at a time. That was until this past weekend.

I finished the shrug I was working on for my aunt on Saturday evening (finished photos will come soon), and I was all ready on Sunday to start my next project when hubby and I decided to go Snowboarding. See, I have been itching to go for the last 6 years or so, but being pregnant, having a newborn/toddler (twice). It just did not feel right to go. But that is a story for another post. Anyway, my parents agreed to watch K, while we took B with us. I had nothing on the needles and I really wanted to work on Starsky, but I have a tendency to get car sick if I am reading, so following a chart while knitting in the car was out of the question. That is when I had a bright idea. I will be one of those knitters who has a traveling project and a home project.

I had been toying with the idea to work on a pair of toe up socks with a broken rib pattern on it. It is a small project and even though I had never done a pair from the toe down, I figured what the heck. So I started on the socks as we pulled out of the driveway. So on the way to the mountains, I completed the toe portion of the sock (wahoo). On the way back I started working the foot portion of the sock. This is what I had by the time we got home:

Not bad for about 2 hours of knitting in the car, half of which was in the dark. But there is a problem, or should I say a couple. First off, the sock is way to loose for my foot, and if it is too big for my foot, there is no way that it would ever fit any person that I could give it to I have big feet). Second look closely at the picture. Do you see it? On the left, the bottom needle, the one that is a different color than the rest. Yes, that one. That needle is oh, only 1mm smaller than all of the others. So you know what I did? I frogged it. Yup, sure did. And now it fits better and all of the stitches are being worked on the same size needles.

I should have listened to that inner voice when I was knitting in the car that was telling me, "Michelle, I thought that this set of double points only came in a set of four". Unfortunately my reply to myself was, "You bought another set so you could have five".

It was dark, I had been snowboarding for about 5 hours, and all common sense was left on top of the mountain.

So anyway the point of the story is this: I am now a knitter that has two projects going at a time. The home project and the traveling project (let see how long this lasts).

*By the way, I only fell 2 times while snowboarding. Not bad for having been gone from the sport for so long.

Monday, March 20, 2006

March Madness

This is such a great idea I just had to post about it. Major Knitter has this March Madness Contest. This is the first thing that I will be participating in and have to admit, that I am a little excited. So in honor of this great idea:

Sunday, March 19, 2006

I Am Such A Biter

Hi, I am Michelle and I am a blogstalker! I read a lot of blogs. So many that hubby swears that is the only reason that I am ever on the computer. On the brightside of that I do get a lot good ideas from them.

Do you remember these?

Well look what I made for them:

I got the idea for the sleeve here. And I did not realize until I was looking up the link, that she even used a Sanrio character too. I am such a copy cat. I can't think up anything on my own.

I really loved the idea of a sleeve for the socks. It gives it a finishing touch that ribbon can not come close to. So in the future, I think all of my gifts of socks will have a sleeve.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

There Has To Be A Better Way

Usually when I am making dinner, I try to have something to do during my down time (the time I am waiting to turn the food, when I really don't have anything else to do). This busy work often included doing the dishes, sweeping, straightening things out, etc. On the occasion when I don't have things like this to do, I will bring my knitting in with me. So last night I decided that I was going to dye some more of the nylon rope. What a mistake.

I don't know what it is, but everytime I unwind this stuff to measure, I always get this:

No, these are not noodles!

I don't know why. I try and try. I am ever so careful, but obviously not careful enough. So after 3.5 hours, I finally have this:

I am not even done yet. I dread undoing it to dye it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I'll Take Knitting for $200 Alex.

Can you guess what this is?

Yes, it is two Light Sabers holding some knitting. But, that is not really what I was asking. Can you guess what the knitting is? I will give you a hint. I was working on something a couple of weeks ago and when my aunt saw it she said that she wanted one, too. The conversation went something like this:

Aunt: Ooohh. What is that you are making?

Me: A ________. Do you like it?

A: Yes.

M: Do you want one?

A: Yes!

M: What color do you want?

A: Purple.

M: What shade of purple?

A: What do you mean?

M: What shade of purple? Like a light purple, medium, or dark kind of color?

A: I don't know what you mean.

M: Would you like something the color of the lavender flowers or something the color of eggplant?

A: Oh (eyes got bit with the, I get it now look). Eggplant. Yes, eggplant (a big smile comes on her face, the I am excited that I am going to get something that I want look).

M: Okay. When I finish what I am working on, I will start on yours.

A: Okay.

I have seen my aunt at least 3 times since this initial conversation took place. The second time I saw her, she noticed that I was knitting something else and mentioned to me that she thought I was going to make her item next. Then I had to explain that I had left my knitting at my grandparents house so I did not have all the supplies that I needed with me, but as soon as I got it back and finished the project on those needles, that I would make her item.

That was 3 objects ago (oops).

Sunday, March 12, 2006

No Wire Hangers!!!!

I finally finished the socks that I was working on. There was such a sense of accomplishment when I was done. I honestly enjoyed working with the little needles. I enjoyed it so much that I am already planning for some more socks in the future. And yes, they will be on tiny little needles.

The only thing that I did not realize, was that I was going to have to block the socks. Now instead of going out to buy one of those sock blocking things, I decided to make my own. I read in SnB Nation that you could make them out of wire hangers. This you have to understand was not an easy feat considering I don't use wire hangers, in fact as soon as we get them in the house, I will go and take the dry-cleaning off the wire hangers and place them back on plastic hangers and put the plastic back on them and then throw the wire hangers out (I think I watched Mommy Dearest too many times.) After searching my house I only found one.

Now me being me, I needed to make a pair and not just one, so when I was at my parents house I scoured their house as well and only found one. You would think that between two households, there would be more than just 2 wire hangers (I guess the apple doesn't fall far.) But, I now had two whole wire hangers. So this is what happened:

Lone wire hanger.

I pulled the center down to form a diamond.

Next I pushed the side in to form the shape of a foot.

Voila! A sock blocking thingy.

Ta Da!!! A pair of socks.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Thank You My Friend

It has been a very interesting week for me and my family. In fact I was unsure if I was even going to post about this. You see, my grandfather who was 93 passed away over the weekend. Though I am generally a private person when it comes to these types of matters, I realize that everything is somehow linked.

My grandfather was very dear to me, though there was a language barrier. He was born in China and after immigrating to the United States, he never really learned to speak English. Me being of mixed heritage, never learned to speak fluent Chinese. The last finished object that I made was Wack the duck. I gave this to my grandfather while he was in the hospital hoping to lift his spirits and never imagining that would be the last gift that I ever gave him. On subsequent visits to the hospital, he would tell me how he would sit there and just touch and feel Wack when he was there alone. At the time I felt that the goal I had set out in knitting and giving him Wack was accomplished. I wanted my grandfather to know I was there to love and care for him, even if I was not physically there.

After I received the news of his passing, I sat and knit. For the first time I realized exactly how much knitting meant to me. Though I had known that I enjoy knitting, I do not think that I really ever knew how much I needed it. Knitting was the perfect thing for me to do at that time and I did not even know it. At first I was hesitant to knit. I was unsure if I was going to be able to concentrate enough to accomplish even a few stitches, but as I sit knitting that evening a certain amount of calm came over me with each and every stitch. The stitches seemed to glide off of the needles so effortlessly almost as if I was not even the one knitting. I had always been able to sit and relax while I knit, but this time it was so different. I can not really explain it, but it was just different.

Knitting is my friend. My friend that was there when I really needed someone. I am her friend. She listened, calmed, and soothed me when I needed it the most. I will forever be grateful to her for that.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Can We Drink It

I went to visit my grandfather twice last week. After getting home the second time, I realized that I forgot my current WIP (work in progress) at my uncle's house. Not only was my wip there, there were also some beads that I had purchased to attempt some bead work. That will have to wait until I go and visit again, which will not happen for a little while because everyone who had visited my grandfather has become ill with some funky stomach virus. I am one of the lucky few who has recovered rather quickly. Everyone else has been out for at least 4+ days.

So having left my Mia Shrug and the beads for a future project, I had no choice but to start on this:

They are the Rib and Cable Socks by Nancy Bush from the Fall '05 Interweave Knits. Though they are not my first attempt at making socks, they are my first attempt using the wee little size 1/2.25 mm needles. Up until this point the smallest needle that I had used was a size 4. It is almost like knitting with toothpicks, but I am actually enjoying the process. I am enjoying it so much that I have already started to make mental notes about who will be receiving handknit socks for Christmas. So far the count is up to 6.

I also have my first attempt at Kool-Aid dying under my belt. I was a little skeptical at first, because for starters, I was not dying a natural fiber. I was dying nylon, and from what I had read, you can only dye "natural" fibers using the Kool-Aid method. I did not want to have to purchase another set of pots for this (I wanted to be non-toxic and all), so I did it anyway. I used 4 packets of black cherry and it took about 1.5 hours rather than the 30 minutes that was suggested here, but this is what it looked like:

When I first put the cord into the pot.

After 30 minutes.

After 1 hour

About this time is when hubby called home to tell me he was on his way. During the conversation, I was telling him about the Kool-Aid and the next thing he asked was, "Can we drink it after you are done with it?" Now I am not completely sure if he was serious or not, but let's just hope he wasn't.

The water never actually got as clear as I thought it would, so after 1.5 hours, it was a little clearer than the picture above. (I forgot to take a picture of it because I had to start dinner, and well, you know how that goes.) The next thing I did after taking it out of the pot was to rinse it and to my amazement, there was no color that bled or ran. I really have to say that I was really impressed. I then let it dry overnight and spent way too much time winding it (there has to be a better way, if you know any ways that would prevent ten gazillion knots, advice would greatly be appreciated.) Finally, this is what I ended up with:

The color is showing pretty true on my monitor. Not bad for my first attempt at dying.