Stacy Knits

Ramblings about knitting and whatever else crosses my mind

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Lucky and Elly

Here it is, the finished back of Lucky:
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I think it looks pretty good! The yarn (Brown Sheep Cotton Fine) is really soft and it has a nice feel to it, knit up. It's not heavy like a lot of cottons. If you like this pattern but are terrified of the amount of time a sweater on size 3 needles (size 2 in my case) will take, never fear. It moves really quickly. I got another 6 inches or so done on the planes and in the airport Monday and Tuesday.

I'm recovering from the UK loss. In Cleveland, it seemed like everyone I told I was from Kentucky responded with, "did you see that game?" I didn't crawl into a corner and cry, that's a sign I'm on my way to recovery! 199 days until Midnight Madness!

It was a beautiful day here today. It got into the 70's and was sunny. I stuck the dogs outside this evening. Elly is a dog that wants to be where I am at all times and doesn't particularly care for the great outdoors. I came back into the living room to find her staring in the door, practically pleading with me to let her in. Look at that poor face. I'm such a mean Mom!

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Monday, March 28, 2005

And it comes to an end...

Obligatory Knitting Content: I finished the back piece of Lucky. I have to go out of town for a couple of days and hope to make some decent progress on the plane! I'll post pictures when I return.

We lost in double overtime to a hot Michigan State team whose often maligned seniors had a lot to prove. We sent it into OT with one of the most amazing last second 3 pointers I've ever seen. With 12 seconds to go, Patrick got the ball, shot and missed. Kelenna got the ball, quickly dribbled out to the 3 point line, shot and missed. As 3 point shots frequently do, the rebound kicked off long straight into the hands of Patrick who threw it up with 0.5 seconds left on the clock. It bounced around the rim 4 times and looked like it was going to roll out but went in. Then there was an excruciating 6 minute wait while the refs reviewed the video to make sure his toe was behind the line. In overtime, we had some chances but foul trouble on Chuck and MSU's experience versus our mostly freshman lineup took over. Not placing blame on our freshmen since without them, we would have lost by 20 but sometimes, experience matters and this was one of those times.

I'm emotionally drained. Not only was there the crazy, long game, but one of our guys took a really bad hit in the last minute of regulation, and that was scary. Trainers from both teams ran out to assist. He was on the ground for what seemed like forever. The idiots on the UK boards are out in full force. Every loss for some people is reason to fire our coach and bring back that Traitor who is now coaching Louisville (in the Final Four which REALLY stinks but since it's their first time in 19 years to get to the Final Four, that "blind squirrel finds a nut" analogy is particularly fitting). They start all their posts the same way: "I love Tubby but..." Tubby is one of the best in the game and an amazing human being to boot. He's not perfect but we're competitive every year, and we've had some bad breaks with players that don't turn out, injuries, and even the death of a recruit that have hampered him, not to mention how the Traitor left the program empty of young players when he moved off to the Celtics job.

I'm most sad for Chuck Hayes, who never won a national title or got us to the Final Four, but he epitomizes everything college basketball should be about. There are threads dedicated to him on a couple of our rival teams' boards already, and that is saying a lot. Part of why I like Michigan State is the class they showed when Chuck left the game with under a second to go. Their player (Torbert was it?) waiting to shoot free throws walked all the way toward the UK bench to hug him, as did a couple of their other players. Their coach did the same. There was no jersey tugging or taunting, just celebrating their victory (as they should be). The picture that really started the tears flowing for me is MSU's Tom Izzo comforting Chuck postgame.

Not that Chuck is out reading knitting blogs but just in case, Chuck, I love you. You're one of my alltime favorites. You're one of those rare players that I fall in love with from the second you first set foot on the court during March Madness and the more I hear about you, the more I love you. You epitomize what a student athlete should be, and college basketball needs more Chuck Hayeses. You know what Kentucky basketball means, and not a lot of people outside of UK do. You're not a Californian anymore, big guy. You'll always be a Kentuckian from now on.

Go Michigan State! Go Illinois! Go Carolina! (in that order). LOSE Louisville and lose bad.

And next year, watch out for the Cats! We lose Chuck but I fully expect Sheray gain his strength back and be a force. He's learned from the best in the business in Chuck. Rondo and Morris will continue to shine, and how can any UK fan not be excited about the progess Crawford and Bradley made at the end of the season? Combine with the leadership of Kelenna, Ravi, and Bobby, and we'll be unstoppable!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Sweater Design for Dummies

At what point does modifying a pattern become your own design? I'm curious. I decided to make the Dreamy Turtleneck from the book Hip to Knit. It's a slim fitting, shaped sweater with a big turtleneck. I got Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool which is a DK yarn. The pattern calls for a worsted so I recalculated it to work with my new gauge, sizing it down about an inch in the chest from the pattern's smallest size. I knit the body on circular needles instead of flat. When I got to the sleeves, I decided that the pattern's sleeves would be too big for that style on my scrawny arms so I had to do some calculations for the sleeve cap.

After all that, I got the first sleeve sewed on and decided that I like the neckline how it is and don't want to add the turtleneck. My feelings could still change but now, it's a wide scoop neck that I really like. I need to put an edging on it, either a few rows of 1x1 rib or single crochet. In the end, it doesn't look a thing like the pattern but I like it a lot.

I haven't knit a lot this week. I did a bit on Lucky this morning and finished up that sleeve but that's all. I need to finish a felted bag for a gift this week (not mentioning who or what it's for in case she's reading this!) so I'll probably cast on for that this afternoon or tomorrow. I think I'm going to do the Sophie bag with doubled up yarn to make it go faster. I have to go out of town for a couple of days this week so I could probably get that done on the plane.

The Cats are in the Elite 8! We had what was to be a tough matchup against Utah last night and their player Andrew Bogut, a 7 foot All American who may be the #1 draft pick in the NBA this year. He's a bigtime scorer but also a great passer. Tubby's gameplan was brilliant. He played Bogut straight up, knowing that there is no way Bogut had faced a team with 3 7 footers, like we have and that he can hurt you most by getting the other players involved if you double or triple team him. Bogut scored 18 and had 11 rebounds but his shooting percentage was way down and no one else scored more than 10. Bogut had no assists.

I have to say that I despise this Utah team. I always liked them when Majerus was at the helm. His team played with a lot of class. Bogut talked smack the whole week, and our inside guys didn't particularly like hearing that he'd "punish" them. This Utah team played thug ball much of the night, and their comments postgame refuse to give UK any credit. They act as though Bogut got a ton of great looks at the basket but his shots weren't falling. They weren't falling much of the time because our big guys were playing great defense and forcing him to alter his shot. Utah didn't hit their free throws but neither did UK. The Utes looked so tired in the second half, and when you are tired, free throw shooting goes downhill.

The so-called analysts (I'm not talking to you Seth Davis. My dogs could give a better game analysis than you) are giving us NO credit, and I love it. No one except Jay Bilas (*swoon* even if he is a Dookie) has picked us to go to the Final Four. Most analysts picked Cincinnati and Utah to win the games over us and most are picking Michigan State in Sunday's games. We're the most overlooked #2 seed in the tournament. All of the other #2's and 2 of the #1's are at home watching the games on TV now.


Friday, March 25, 2005

Knitting Quiz

Stolen from another blog...

Knitting Guru
You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting
and do it all the time. While finishing a piece
is the plan, you still love the process, and
can't imagine a day going by without giving
some time to your yarn. Packing for vacation
involves leaving ample space for the stash and
supplies. It can be hard to tell where the yarn
ends and you begin.

What Kind of Knitter Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

If you've ever wondered why...

My Parkie dog isn't allowed outside unattended in the backyard for long periods of time when it's damp outside, this may give you a clue:
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I offered up a belly rub for the chance to take a picture of his nasty muddy paws and face. Parker would give his left ear for a belly rub. After I washed him, the bathtub was caked with mud, and I had company coming over for dinner. I'm sure if you asked Cairn owners what phrase they said most to their Cairn (that could be repeated in polite company), it would be "you're lucky you're cute."

In knitting news, I have about 9 inches done on the back of the Lucky lace wrap sweater. I'm a little surprised at just how quickly this knits up once you get going. I haven't really worked on it that much.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

SNB Felted Marsupial Tote FO

I finished my SNB Felted Marsupial Tote this weekend. Told ya I would get a lot done during March Madness. I love all the bright colors of the completed ones I've seen and usually am a bright colors fan but wanted this one to be something I could carry with just about everything I wear. I did add a small stripe of purple to get some color in there.

This was a really quick, fun knit! I think I'm going to adapt all my felted bag patterns for bigger needles and doubled yarn! I used size 13 needles since I didn't have 15 as the pattern calls for and really didn't want to buy new ones. I used Cascade 220. The yarn requirements are WAY off in the book. I used way less than 2 skeins of dark gray and about a half skein of black. If you used Brown Sheep Worsted as called for in the book, you'd easily be able to do it in 2 skeins of the main color, 1 skein of the contrasting color.

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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Caution: Dog Content Ahead

Sky says I need to post more dog pics. Never one to be quiet about my dogs, here goes!

This is not long after I got Parker (he was 1, Elly was 3). They were playing. Really. It's their usual, Parker flops onto his back so Elly can crawl over him and bite him. I called up his breeder a few weeks after getting home and asked if it was normal that they growled a lot while playing. She said that's just them being Terriers. They've really never even gotten in a fight, 5 years later. They are a great mesh of personalities. Elly is loving, assertive, and energetic, Parker is very sweet, playful, and laid back.
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Morning hair

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Parker tangled in yarn. He was funny. He was rolling around on his back with the yarn wrapped around his paws, having a great time.

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How are the NCAA brackets, everyone? Needless to say, I won't be winning any pools. I've already lost UConn and Gonzaga from my Final Four. Oops. But the Cats are in the Sweet Sixteen! Woooo! This has been a fun tournament so far. Unless you are a Kansas, Syracuse, UConn, or Wake Forest fan.

Yarn Girls' Guide Summer in the City Tank FO

I'm glad this is done even though it won't get much wear until summer. This tank is just one of those patterns that spoke to me. The recommended yarn wasn't available but Crystal Palace Waikiki was a suggested replacement on the Yarn Girls'website. I'm so glad I used it. I love Waikiki so much I'm tempted to get more of it for this summer top!

Overall, it's a really simple pattern to work up. I ended up knitting straps with 4 stitches and doing a thin crochet edge of only Waikiki around them and the neckline. Waikiki looks great crocheted too. I used size 8 needles, Paton's Grace in Champagne, and Waikiki in #2889 (shades of champage, cream, mauve, lime green, and violet).

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I decided when I blocked it to lay something down over the rolling edges to see if it could hold them down a bit. I finally found a use for some of those old books from law school! Juls and any other lawyers will get a kick out of this. The UCC book even has tabs still in it from my last final.

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Friday, March 18, 2005

Doggie AWWWWW!

Watching the interaction between my two dogs is so sweet. They are the best of friends. Elly is 8, Parker is 6. She's the boss, he's the follower. Wednesday, I took Parker out on a run with me (Elly doesn't care to run, she prefers to sniff everything and socialize with the neighbors). While we were out, my Mom got Elly and took her for a walk. A few minutes later, I saw my Mom and Elly at the end of the block. The dogs hadn't seen each other yet. As we got closer and they spotted one other, both dogs' ears perked up and they dragged us toward each other. It was so cute to see how excited each was to see the other.

In knitting news, I finished most of the Summer in the City Tank from Yarn Girls' Guide to Simple Knits. It looks pretty good but it still needs some finishing. I still need to crochet around one edge and have a bunch of ends to weave in (yuck!). I didn't like the dinky chain stitched straps (and I *have* to wear a bra, no getting around that) so I crocheted up to that point, picked up 3 stitches to add to the loop on the crochet hook and knitted a stockinette strap, joined with a 3 needle bind off at the top. It's taken me some time to figure out the right length for the strap but I think I've got it.

For the sizing, I ended up doing it on circulars with the small size but not subtracting the seam allowance stitches which adds about an inch total to the chest size. Trying it on, I wish I had just made the smaller size. It's pretty stretchy. I also wish I'd done a few rows of ribbing or garter stitch at the bottom. I'm not so sure the crochet around the bottom is going to entirely remove how the stockinette rolls up.

Thanks for all the comments you guys have left. I will get around to responding later tonight!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Knitting and the Big Dance

This is a knitting blog but basketball is my love, and it's that time of year for college basketball fans! The NCAA Tournament, March Madness, the Big Dance! I'm excited once again! How many exclamation marks can I use??? It starts Thursday at noon (we play the first game at 12:20!) and it is pure, unadulterated basketball action until after midnight, only to start again on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for the same thing. It's by far the most emotional time in sports (and this is said by someone who cries everytime the National Anthem is played at the Olympics). I am always cheering for the underdog, unless they are playing us. :)

Knowing this is coming up, I have a lot of knitting projects going on right now which is kind of funny because only a week ago, I just had a thing or two going. I like to have a project while I'm watching games, even while watching our games. It calms me. I only put it down if the game gets close at the end, and I'm shaking too hard to knit. The only time I've thrown it at the TV in disgust was during this year's Louisville game (which we won, maybe I should throw things more often).

Right now on the needles, I have:
*Hip to Knit Dreamy Turtleneck (Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool)
*Yarn Girls' Summer in the City Tank (Paton's Grace and Crystal Palace Waikiki)
*SNB Nation Lucky Wrap sweater (Brown Sheep Cotton Fine)
*SNB Felted Marsupial Tote (Cascade 220)
My So-Called Scarf (in wool my Mom brought back from a trip to Ireland)

I also have 2 skeins of Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille for more flower washcloths that I can't seem to get up to doing (these are for ME, the rest have been gifts) and some pink Plymouth Fantasy Naturale that will be a great bucket hat. I think I'll have plenty to do during those days of watching basketball.

Onto my bracket talk! We are the #2 seed in the Austin region with Duke as the #1. I figured that would happen. An NCAA committee member said on TV that we would have been a #1 had we won our conference. That means we may have been flipflopped with Duke, so I'm not too upset given that I like our half of the bracket better. Louisville got completely totally screwed with the 4 seed. Gotta love that (as long as it doesn't give them motivation to play hard to prove people wrong, that would be v. bad). There is no player in basketball I dislike more than Francisco Garcia, not even JJ Redick. And my dislike of Traitor Pitino is obvious.

My Final Four picks (subject to change before Thursday at noon!):

With Kentucky to win it all.

I pick us to win every year, as part of my rule about never betting against the Cats. Can we really? I don't know. We have some glaring weaknesses but so does almost every other team this year. We are young and inconsistent but display a lot of heart. We'll see. That's what makes March Madness so fun!

I'm Feelin' "Lucky"

I got this desire to start the Lucky Wrap Sweater from SNB-Nation which is a bit scary because it's lace with fingering weight yarn on tiny needles. I ordered the yarn, Brown Sheep Cotton Fine, in the shade Prairie Lupine, a medium violet color. I got it Saturday and got to work almost immediately.

Note: do NOT swatch for this during a close basketball game. I had to rip my swatch several times after getting distracted and at one point near the end, I said, "forget it, it won't affect my gauge." Obviously I can't do that with the sweater!

This is gonna be interesting! It's by far the most complicated project I've done, with the lace and needle size. I joined the
Lucky Knit Along to keep me motivated to work on it. I don't expect to get this one done before the summer but it is moving more quickly than I thought it would. I've got about 3 inches done. I've resigned myself to having to rip out rows from time to time but as I got a bit further in, it's been easier to read the lace pattern. So perhaps my frustration will be lessened as I go along! I've managed to figure out and get through how to decrease in the lace pattern so I've won one battle in the war.

My swatch (it was hard to get a good picture)

Friday, March 11, 2005

To Rip or Not to Rip

College basketball postseason begins for the Cats tonight! Wooooo!

I got Crystal Palace Waikiki and Paton's Grace for use in the
Summer in the City Tank from the Yarn Girls' Guide to Simple Knits. I fell in love with this tank the first time I saw it in the book and since their recommended yarn is discontinued or else I just had trouble finding it, I used Waikiki which was suggested on their website. It's held together with a DK cotton yarn, and Paton's Grace was a perfect compliment to Waikiki. These two yarns together are so pretty! The picture doesn't do it justice. Waikiki has shades of white, champagne, grayed lavender, mauve, and light lime green and both have a bit of a sheen.

I'm changing my mind on the sizing. The small in the pattern calls for a 29 inch chest size, the medium a size 32. I'm about a 32.5 so I decided to make the medium. In the two other patterns I've made from this book, I've made smalls (and even adapted one of them to fit smaller than the books pattern. I'm short and look horrible in sweaters with more than a couple of inches of ease!). The photo above is the back, before beginning the armhole shaping. Measuring what I've done so far, after seaming, it will be about the same as my chest size. But maybe I'd rather it be a bit smaller to stretch. I'm just not sure. I'm debating whether to rip out what I've done or take my chances and finish it up. I think I'm going to answer my own question and say go on. This didn't take all that long to do, a few hours over a couple of evenings, so it may be worth my time to finish it and try it on. I've measured some other tanks I have and still am not sure how I want this one to fit!

Darn, the mail just came, and my Brown Sheep Cotton Fine for the Lucky Wrap from
Stitch and Bitch Nation didn't come. I was hoping it would arrive today. It was only mailed Wednesday from across the country so it was doubtful but a girl can dream, right???

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Short Rows and New Yarn!!! New Yarn!!!

I thought I'd post how to do these since Juls commented about it. I'm getting this from Nancy Wiseman's sweater book. I borrowed it from the library since it was the name that came up when I was trying to figure out how to do short row shaping myself. The idea behind adding short row shaping to the shoulders of a sweater is that the neck end of a sweater slopes toward the shoulder end. Most patterns say to do this by binding off stitches at the shoulder edge but those can be bulky. Short rows add the shaping without the bulk.

It's easier done than explained. My pattern said to bind off 4 stitches at the shoulder edge two times then bind off 5 stitches once. So instead of binding off, on the first row, you would knit to that edge, stopping 4 stitches before the edge. Wrap the 4th stitch and turn, purling back to the other edge. The book
Stitch and Bitch has instructions on how to wrap and turn in the Pinup Queen pattern, if you don't know how to do this. Then knit back to 4 stitches before the last wrap (8 stitches from the end), wrap that stitch, turn, and purl back to the neck edge. At this point, knit the remaining stitches, picking up the wraps. Picking up the wraps is easy, just stick your needle in them (you can see them below the stitch) and then into the main stitch then knit. It's almost like a K2tog. Then you place these stitches on scrap yarn and when the other side is done, join the shoulders using a 3 needle bind off.

If you would be binding off the stitches on a purl row, you do the same as above but do them while purling.

Like I said, this is harder to explain than it is to do, especially coming from someone as wordy as I am!

I went to a
LYS this evening. I like this shop. It's small but very friendly and they have the Brown Sheep line as well as some others. It's a little out of my way since it's in a neighboring town but it's not too bad of a drive (except today, where I got stuck waiting on the same train twice and behind a wreck that had just happened!). I had some Brown Sheep Bulky to exchange. I got some Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece for a shell, Crystal Palace Waikiki for the Summer in the City tank from Yarn Girls' Guide to Simple Knits, and the newest Interweave Knits. I am coveting the Vintage Pink Cardigan! I'll post pictures tomorrow if I remember to take some!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Fun New Scarf

I came across this thread a few weeks ago while searching for photos of the spiral scarf from the book Scarf Style. I thought this was so fun and judging from the thread, it would be quick. I finished it up while watching basketball games this afternoon, for about 4 hours.

All you do is cast stitches onto a larger than normal needle. First row you knit, then the second row, you knit into the front and back of every stitch. You do seven rows total, alternating between these, ending on a knit row. I used Paton's Classic Merino (that I'd Kool Aid dyed) and started with 100 stitches and a size 10 1/2 needle. By the time you are done, you end up with 8 times the stitches you cast on. I had 800 (or should have, I didn't dare count). Be sure to use a long circular needle! I used a 29 inch, and the stitches were still smushed on. I used way less than a skein, maybe 125 yards or so. It's about 45 inches long.

This is probably going to a friend of mine for a birthday gift. You can't beat this for a gift. It can be done in an evening or two, uses only a skein or two of yarn so it's cheap, is unique and looks a lot more complicated than it really is.

Crazy day in basketball and a bad day to be ranked in the top 7 in the country. Numbers 1, 3, 6, and 7 all lost, all by small margins. Unfortunately we were one of the losers, perhaps playing ourself out of the #1 NCAA seed. Maybe. We'll see.

But it was the last game of the regular season which means...


Saturday, March 05, 2005

So tough!

The hardest thing in knitting has to be ripping out something you've made, even if it doesn't fit. I made a beret for my grandmother using this Pattern Generator, and it came out huge. Hi, if you're reading, Mamaw! My gauge was on, and my measurements were correct so who knows what happened? It didn't take long to knit so I don't feel bad about frogging it and I would like to get it to her so she can wear it a time or two during March. I found this pattern which I think will work better since I can double up my yarn for a quicker knit. But I still can't seem to frog it. Maybe tomorrow.

I've finished the back of my Dreamy Turtleneck. The other sweaters I've done have been with worsted or bulky yarn so knitting this with DK yarn on size 5 needles seems like it's taken forever. In reality, it was only a week of working on it every evening. It probably would have taken longer if I'd knit it flat. The pattern calls for worsted on size 7's but with the close fitting shape, I really like how the DK is working up. I love the shape of the pattern. I'm concerned about getting the adapted sleevecap to fit into the armholes but so far, it's been smooth. I measured it, and the measurements are exactly what I wanted.

I learned a new technique! I heard that short row shaping instead of binding off at the shoulders will reduce bulk so I set out to figure it out. It was really simple. Now the stitches are on holders, waiting for the 3-needle bind off.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Saying Goodbye

I'm one who hates to see a man cry in public. There are two situations when it's okay: funerals and UK Senior Night. The last home game of the season is always a tear jerker, and it's been called one of the greatest moments in college sports. The two seniors this year happen to be unlikely best friends, the California guy versus small town Kentucky guy, the face of the program and star versus a bench warmer, and the tears started early with tributes each wrote to the other in the paper, Chuck on Josh and Josh on Chuck

I'm rambling on because Chuck is one of my alltime favorites, and I am going to miss him a lot. He's a great player but even better person (with the best smile in the sport). I knew I'd cry. I had no idea he'd cry, and I can't remember a player getting more emotional. He cried during the pre-game ceremony. With about a minute to go, Tennessee had the ball and UK fouled so that they'd be able to pull Chuck and Josh out of the game to a rousing standing ovation. He and Tubby (the coach) embraced for what seemed like forever. After the game, Tubby kept the team out there while the band played My Old Kentucky Home, and Chuck lost it. I lost it. I cried again this morning looking at the photos. There's just nothing like seeing this 6'6 big tough guy crying like a baby in front of a crowd singing My Old Kentucky Home. I'm in tears just typing this because I'll never see Chuck at Rupp again.

I'll miss you Chuck! But we have some more games with ya baby. Final Four, here we come!

Obligatory knitting content: I love Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool! It has such a nice feel to knit with, even though at DK weight on size 5 needles, it's taking forever! I'm using it for the Dreamy Turtleneck in the book Hip to Knit. The pattern calls for worsted but I thought Silky Wool would work really nicely so I'm adapting it for the thinner wool. I'm also doing the body on circulars so I can avoid some seaming and more importantly, use my new Addi's!