Friday, December 30, 2011

Its The Berries

I thought and thought and thought and thought while I was knitting the sock. Frog? Just make one? Make the toe a different color? Try to find some of the unlabeled yarn in a similar dye lot (ok, I was delirious at that point). I decided to make a different color toe. Digging thru my stash, I found this yarn that was of similar weight and decidedly dissimilar look. Well, why not take this contrast thing all the way?
The kitchener stitch on the toe was not horrible either, despite what I have read. I guess that means you can't always believe what you read (gasp!). My swatch (yes I really did a swatch) worked out perfectly and consequently, the sock fits. Wow, it does feel quite good as well. I need to get going on the other sock now to make it fair for both feet.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Never Assume Anything

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I received a sock knitting kit from the family. OK, mostly from the hub who thought this would be a great way to stop me from grumbling about seaming my sweater since socks have no seams. He is a pretty smart guy.

So, I picked up the needles and started cranking away, well, knitting slowly is more like it, I am not exactly a speed demon on dps. Since its not a race, I was enjoying myself. Until......I looked at my dwindling ball of yarn. And I am pretty darn sure there is not enough left to finish a sock. Therefore (although I am not a math whiz) I believe there is not enough yarn to make 2 matching socks.

The lesson learned here is to not knit with yarn that has no label and therefore no yardage information. Never assume anything because you know what that does.......

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lessons Learned - Drift

As I learned in my project management class, it is important to end a project with a wrap up called lessons learned. Now, this is not only the bad things that you don't ever ever want to happen again, but also the good things that you definitely want to happen again. I am hoping if I actually write this down, that I just might learn from this latest project. Please note these are not in any particular order, just as they pop into my head and spill out of my fingertips.

  • Calculate and buy the correct amount of yarn to avoid dye lot issues (enough said)
  • Don't be afraid to rip back if you don't like how it looks (did this on the sleeves)
  • Knit the sleeves in the round if you hate seaming (this was a time saver and sanity saver for me)
  • Knit the back and fronts together if you hate seaming (apparently I missed this tip)
  • Read up and learn from the wisdom of others on Ravelry (learn from other people's mistakes)
  • Don't be afraid to deviate from the pattern to make it fit (I made the arms longer and wider)
  • Everything takes longer than you think it will (it just does)
  • Blocking makes your stitches look awesome (weird but true)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Its Over When the Buttons Are On

Well, I finally finished the cardigan. The seams are sewn. I tried it on and I have to admit: 

Thank you Norah for designing such a beautiful sweater and thank you Berroco for sharing this pattern. Once it dries (no, it is not wet in these pictures) and I sew the buttons on, I will share some pix wearing it. What a great addition to my wardrobe for 2012. I am already planning what to wear with it.

We had a wonderful Christmas and my dear husband came up with some very practical gifts with the help of my observant children.

  1. Chocolate - you can never go amiss with chocolate, especially Bliss darks
  2. A tomtom - for the wife who can get lost in a square building, its a shame they don't work indoors
  3. A joy of socks kit - for the wife who has never knit socks and grumbles about seaming
May the magic of Christmas stay in our hearts all year around.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to All

Well, no BIG surprise, but did not finish the sweater. I finished the button bands and I set 1 sleeve and 1/2 of the other sleeve. It is very exciting to get to the end of the project and see the results! I am feeling the itch for a new project coming, but I need to stay focused, focused, focused. That bag of grey wool is calling my name. I bought enough for a sweater (really I added correctly this time). Now I am just searching for the right pattern. I have been scouring Ravelry, but just haven't seen "the sweater" yet.

But I digress....on my current sweater project, I love how the button bands are finished on this sweater, they end with one row of knit, one row of purl and then a cast off in knit. It curls up so nicely and looks quite sharp. I took a close up so you can see just how it looks.

We had a touch of snow Christmas Eve morning so I thought I better get a picture before it totally melted away. It was interesting because on the north side of town, there was no snow, but we kept ours until after noon. It looks like it is going to be a brown/green Christmas for us here in Holland, which is very unusual.

My sister hosted a Christmas party last night at her house (Christmas Eve) so we enjoyed a potluck dinner, dessert and then presents. It is always fun to see the family, laugh and share stories. I am hoping you and yours are enjoying a fabulous Christmas holiday together.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Will She or Won't She?

Six weeks ago I was confident - beyond confident that I could finish my planned sweater in time for Christmas. Those words are coming back to haunt me....the new found freedom I experienced mid last week (driving) has put a bit of a crimp on my knitting. Tomorrow is the home stretch. Does it count that it is done if it is sewn together but not dry? I will say yes. I am working on the button band currently, so that is the last of the knitting.

The sleeves seemed to take F-O-R-E-V-E-R...... I kept measuring and they kept staying the same length. I ended up making them 19" instead of 18" as the pattern called out, I must have monkey arms or something.

 I picked up the buttons from Jo Ann's. They are dark purple with a ring that is light purple.

On another completely different topic, I came downstairs the other morning and found these lovely roses on my doorstep. What a lovely surprise! When you are first ill, you sort of expect flowers and that sort of thing, so to receive a bouquet weeks afterward was very refreshing. And you are wondering who is the thoughtful giver? It was my sister-in-law and brother-in-law.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Avoiding the Sleeve Seam

I hate the finishing that comes with making sweaters. Did I mention I hate sewing? I do. I really do. So, you may be thinking to yourself, well why the heck does she make sweaters if she hates to sew? Well, the answer is, I like to make sweaters.

I thought carefully about this one and decided to take the advice of some of the other Ravelry patrons and make them in the round. Now, I am not much more fond of knitting with dps, but it seemed the lesser of the two evils. I think my next sweater will be in the round raglan, ha ha!

I have been feeling MUCH better this week, what I refer to as week 3 (the 3rd week after surgery). I went out to lunch 2 times this week. I also had to go out to the doctor since my son was sick and required some antibiotics. Not nearly as fun of an outing, but hey, when you have been in the house for almost 3 weeks, anything seems like an adventure.

Christmas shopping is just about wrapped up, I guess it should be since we are about a week away now from the big day. The snow we had melted, but we are getting a dusting now. Wonder if it will be a white Christmas this year?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Now Another One, Just Like the Other One

I finished the left side of the cardigan yesterday evening, but I was too pooped to start on the right side. Tired both physically and mentally. I think when I saw the pattern state 'make right side just like left but reverse shaping' I just sighed and put it down for the night. Sometimes I am just not in the right frame of mind  (no pun intended) to figure the math out. Last night was one of those moments. This morning I was feeling in a more analytical frame of mind, so I cast on 60 and started on the right side.

Yesterday we received our 1st snow of the season, which amounted to about 3". It was a big thrill for the kiddos, who are always up for sledding in the back yard. With a little more snow, we will be dragging out the cross country skis.

My internet shopping has been going well this season and Mr. UPS and Mr. Fed X have been making regular stops at my house. Next comes, the wrapping.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Left Side, No Your Other Left

I finished the back of my cardigan yesterday and started on the left front. I am always confused when a pattern tells me the left front. Is that the left side when I am wearing it or the left side when I am looking at it? Either way, I am making my way up the waist decreases. I am pleased with my decision to use the separate dye lot on the double seed stitch portion. Yes, it is a bit pinkier (if that is a word), but at least it looks like I meant it to be that way.

Well, almost time for my afternoon nap. What will I do after I have to go back to work? Sneak a nap in the bathroom? Perhaps schedule a 2 hour meeting every afternoon in the room with a couch?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Dye Lot Gamble

I have been slowly knitting every day this week on the back of my cardigan. All week I have been thinking about what I am going to do with the 3 balls that do not match my dye lot. It appeared that I had 3 options:

1. Ignore my problem and just knit as far as I could. This would likely result in a color change in a very strange and unwanted place.

2. Knit both of the sleeves at the same time with the different dye lot and if I started to get too low, do some alternating rows to blend it. If I had extra, use it on the ribbed button band.

3. Knit the lower ribbed portions of the back and fronts in the regular dye lot and the upper double seed stitch portions of the back and fronts in the different dye lot. This would look like I did it on purpose.

After much deliberating, I decided to go with option 3. So far, I think I am ok with this choice.

I am healing nicely from my surgery but still can't go out and about. The nice thing is that we have the internet. I can do all of my Christmas shopping from the comfort of my chair. Even cooler is the fact that most websites offer free shipping. That makes me first in line whatever store I go to. No crowds or fighting for a parking place. And that is most excellent.