Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Oh Baby!

More baby showers coming up, so here's the start to the EZ February Baby Sweater, found in the Knitter's Almanac. So far (and that "so far" is meant as foreshadowing....), the sweater has been knit with an acryllic yarn (SORRY EZ!) on US 6 circulars.

Here are the buttons I'm going to use. The choice of button colors is strategic. You see, like BrooklynTweed (now, if only I were just like BT!!), I've run out of yarn. Unlike BT, I don't have anyone to dye me up another batch of matching yarn. So I'm going to have to take drastic measures, which will be to switch to a bright green or lavender color (or both) to finish off the sweater. What do you color experts think I should do? Finish with the fuscia, then move to a lavender, and then edge it off with a bright and fun lime green (all in an attempt to match the buttons and thus save face by making it seem like I wanted that color scheme instead of the reality that I do not know any better than to start a project without enough yarn)? Or will this result in a hideous sweater whereby the beautiful, soft-spoken mother-to-be will exclaim, upon opening the shower gift, "WTF"? Please offer some suggestions, dear readers. Please advise me as to what I should do (keeping in mind that getting more of the same yarn is out given that I picked up this yarn a year ago at a yard sale in a different country....

Please help a girl out...even you lurkers!

Monday, November 20, 2006

"Shiver Me Timbers!" (And No, I'm Not Talking About Freaky Michael "Racist" Richards.)

Just in time for the baby shower this past Sunday, I finished the baby version of Hello Yarn's : We Call Them Pirates hat.

  • Yarn: Kitchen 100% Cotton Yarn (yellow) & 50% Wool/50% Acrylic Norweigan Yarn (Blue): both yarns were sport weight.
  • Needles: Size US 3 dpns and Size US 1 dpns (for inside liner)
  • Mods: As you can see if you compare Hello Yarn's original version to this one, I modified the pattern here and there. Firstly, I cast on 84 stitches, instead of 128. The stripes at the bottom are much plainer, and I took out the four vertical stripes running upwards. I also incorporated 2 less skull patterns going across, and did only two rows of the skulls instead of three. I slightly modified the pattern at the top as well so it would just be some simple diamond shapes at the crown.

  • New techniques learned: THE HEM!

The hem was my favourite part of the entire project, and I can't wait to do the hems now on my beginning EZ hybrid sweater (which, really, has yet to be begun). But I also learned that I have much to learn with respect to finishing techniques. With the finishing, I always tend to rush these final details, and then it dissapoints. I need to stay patient right through to the final step, making sure the entire project is given proper time and care. For, as we are told, "God" is in the details--which, for me, means that true perfection and craftsmanship/handiwork is found there, in the details.

Project Woes and Concerns: I'm a bit worried that the cap will be too small for the wee one, who is due to arrive in a few weeks. It measures a little over 5 inches across, which gives it a circumference of about 15 inches. I think this means that it'll be too tight for the baby, or that the baby will get very little wear out of it. For one thing, the hat stretches very little. It's stiff, in fact. And much too late into the project, I discovered this site, which gives standards for the sizes of babies' heads. I wish I'd known about this site before, because I would have aimed more for the size of a toddler's head, so that the baby could have had much more wear out of the hat. In any case, the Dad at the shower let out a "cool" when he saw the hat. In fact, he proclaimed that this is what the baby would wear home from the hospital. So I guess, in the end, the hat was still somewhat of a success. And I certainly enjoyed making it.

ETA: Since writing this post, I've cast on already for another We Call Them Pirates hat for the same baby. I'm using Rowan Wool/Cotton this time, am making it a bit bigger, and am trying to aim for a more stretchy hat by using a ribbed hem this time, in lieu of the original version which has a provisional cast-on and a fold-over hem. Just so ya know! :)

You're Kidding Me...

From Olga's blog, I decided to take the "Texas Quiz":

You are 71% REAL Texan!!

You're way more Texan than average. You're parents were probably from here too. We're glad to have you. You probably go to the border for Christmas shopping and are well versed in BBQ, Mexican Food and .. well thats pretty much it.

How Texan Are You?

I find my results a bit alarming. I've only lived in Texas for a little more than two years, and I'm already this Texan? An environmental liberal (actually, socialist) Canadian girl like me has become Texan so quickly? I'm not sure the results can be too accurate...

PS: Photos of the completed pirate hat to be posted very soon--

Monday, November 13, 2006

All Work and No Play. All Play and No Work.

It's a hard thing--balancing work & play. Some days I play way too much, and suffer for it. For then the work piles so high that it seems an impossible, unbearable task--not to mention the sense of guilt that comes from all play and no work.

Other times I work too much, and suffer for that too. For the result is a lack of joy, calm, and satisfaction in my life, and this, of course, affects all other aspects & people in my life.

The answer, as we all know, is trying to balance them. Although right now it's so hard not to become absorbed in Hello Yarn's We Call Them Pirates hat.

The other real, but difficult, answer, of course, is making your play, your work, and your work, your play. But until I figure out how to do this, it seems that I must stick with my trusty egg-timer; set timer and now:

*Work/write for 45 minutes, knit for 15.
Work/write for 45 minutes, knit for 10. Go pee in 5.
Work/write for 45 minutes, knit for 15.
Work/write for 45 minutes, knit for 10. Eat in 5.
Work/write for 45 minutes, knit for 15.
Work/write for 45 minutes, blog for 15.*

*Repeat until you get both a finished baby hat/knee high socks/Kiri shawl/hybrid sweater/, and a paragraph/a chapter/a dissertation/a PhD.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Arrgghhh....Here's What I've Been Up To

Arghh.....matey. This week, I've made my swatch for my baby version of Hello Yarn's We Call Them Pirates hat. It needs to be finished for the baby shower next weekend.

Secondly, as the Buddha can attest to here, I've started swatching for my EZ hybrid sweater. I thank you all for your thoughtful feedback from the last post, and because of that feedback, I decided to start with the hybrid sweater for my second-ever sweater project, then move on to either Raspy or Forecast.

For the EZ hybrid, I'm using some cone yarn--100% New Zealand Wool, DK weight--that I won (for cheap) on ebay a while ago. So far it seems like it'll be lovely wool to knit with.

Lastly, I finished the EZ Ganomy Hat. I used Ella Rae Classic Wool Yarn and knit it on 4 mm circular needles. It wasn't my favourite yarn to work with, but it wasn't terrible. The brown wasn't quite the brown I was looking for [it seems a bit dull, a bit flat in its color], but that's just me being too picky. The pattern, found in EZ's Knitter's Almanac, was crafty/smart and easy to follow, more so because of the guidance of others on the Zimmermaniac KAL.

The overall finished project? I don't love it, but I don't hate it either. Pragmatically, this hat will do what it needs to do: keep my ears warm! And I do like how I can either wear it with the ear flaps pulled down, or easily roll them up if that strong West Texas wind isn't blowing down my neck.

See, Pap Hemmy is demonstrating its versatility here; his other modeling shots are posted on Flickr.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Decisions. Decisions.

This past week, I finished both the clapotis and the EZ ganomy hat. FO photos and project details will be posted in the coming days, just as soon as the sun decides to shine again in these parts. This week of finishing means that I'm ready to cast on for a new project, and thus, tough(!) decisions must be made.

Firstly, I have much baby-knitting to do, as everyone, but me, seems to be pregnant these days. I want to make Hello Yarn's pirate hat in a wee size for a friend who is obsessed with Halloween. I also want to knit a soft, luxury (cashmere?) girly cap for a colleague who knows she is expecting a girl. Then there is the holiday knitting. I want to make a beret, a la Julia (see post of 22 September 06), for someone special. I want to make my father some warm EZ mittens like these because now that he's 70, his hands have poor circulation and so he finds his hands so so cold on his (Canadian) farm.

But what?

But there are also so many beautiful sweaters out there that I want to try, and given I've only ever made one sweater--which failed miserably but was the first thing I had ever knit [I was 25. Why did I start with a fair-isle sweater for pete's sake? What's wrong with starting with a hat or a scarf?? Well, it didn't exactly fail but it turned out to be of a gargantuan size. I actually gave up knitting then, and didn't pick it up again for about five years because I was so disappointed that all my time went into that thing that was essentially useless unless you wanted a sweater to cover your car at night)--Anyways, I'm simply trying to say that I want to cast on for a sweater.

For instance, I want to start knitting Forecast after seeing some beautiful versions show up on the blogs. Consider, for instance, those made by guavaseeds; pinku; moe; and fricknits, just to name a few.

I want to knit an Hourglass Sweater and a Lace Leaf Pullover because I've seen so many nice ones completed. I want to knit Raspy from Rowan Denim People, and an EZ hybrid sweater (one for me and one for my beau), a la BrooklynTweed.

And I want to start knitting this:

The "Aran Sweater" by Michael Kors.
Pattern found in Vogue Knitting, Holiday Issue 2005.

However, I'm not feeling too courageous about the Kors sweater, especially after reading Sandra's two posts about attempting it, who says this: "I am so done with Vogue Knitting International. Their patterns are so miserably written. I have given up on the Michael Kors Aran Top, it's official. In a way, it's almost a relief." Any one else have any problems with VK patterns? (....ah, there are just so many sweaters that I want to knit. How to decide, how to decide. Any suggestions, oh wise knitters?)