Stacy Knits

Ramblings about knitting and whatever else crosses my mind

Monday, May 30, 2005

The lovely Apricot Jacket and my not so lovely knitting

It's a good thing I love the finished product as much as I do because if I didn't, it would have ended up down the disposal days ago. Everyone and their mother has made this Jacket, and 95% of them have complained about the pattern. Here I am to add to the chorus! It's horribly written. Are all Rebecca patterns like this? This is my first.

As a public service to the self esteem of other knitters, especially those that may be joining the Knit Along at Craftster, here's my Apricot Jacket back timeline.

1. Cast on. Rib, rib, rib for about 7" (I'm shortening it some from the pattern because I'm short). Start knitting from chart.

2. Someone must not get the concept of an edge stitch because if she follows the chart with her ribbing, it's gonna be off center a stitch. For someone so anal about symmetry, at this gauge, that ain't gonna fly.

3. Contemplate ways of increasing or decreasing to get it centered. Determine nothing's saving this. Rip out 7 inches of ribbing.

Ripping in progress
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4. Here we go! Cast on again. We're ribbing, we're ribbing! Start the chart. It works!!! It's even! Pop open a bottle of champagne!

5. Work first 8 rows of pattern. Look down to admire work and see a big uh-oh. Yep, I K2tog instead of Sl1, K1, psso. Too anal to let that go. Rip out almost 8 rows, back to mistake.

See my mistake? More ripping.

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6. Work first row of pattern. Forget to work first row of stitches in stockinette. Did it in pattern. Rip out row.

7. Now we're flying!!! From here on, hopefully no ripping! That's a lofty goal given my past Apricot history but hey, it sounds good! I'd hoped to get a little more done over the long weekend but I didn't spend much knitting time and what I did spend was done rip, rip, ripping. Luckily, it's a quick knit! Here's what I managed to get done (and a great example of "why block").

Pretty in pink...

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I present to you a completed Apricot left front. I finished this last week with fewer big rip outs than the back piece. It took some time to figure out exactly why I was to knit 8cm after the shoulder bind off but once I realized it was for the neckband, I was able to do it and bind off.
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Not so fast! Apricot, we have a problem. See it?
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I purled there when I should have knitted. It's near the beginning of where the pattern begins but I didn't catch it until almost done. Would the average person pick that error out? Nope. If it was on the back piece, would it bother me much? Nope. But where it is on the front, everytime I look down to admire my lovely cardi, that's going to stick out like a sore thumb. I will likely frog the piece to that point and redo it. It only took a couple of evenings and I don't have to rip back all the way so I'm not particularly distraught.

Errata for the pattern is on Rebecca's website. Don't expect it to help all that much, just clear up some crazy numbers! It's really helped me so far to look at other completed Apricots. Becky's is great because she has pictures of each piece. She also gives a tip to place stitch markers around the center 22 stitches because once you reach those after repeating rows 1-8, you'll begin rows 9-10. The pattern's pretty vague on this. Shocking, I know!

Starting with a smaller piece is a good idea too, to get an idea of how it's supposed to look. Karma started with a sleeve.
I started with the left front. On second thought, I'm not so sure it helped because I still had to rip out a ton on the back piece I worked on second!

The moral of the Apricot Jacket story is to go into it knowing you're probably gonna have to do a lot of pattern guesswork on your own. If you're comfortable with that, go for it. Don't get too frustrated with ripping out row after row because it's all part of the process. It's a fun knit and is going to be a great learning experience in doing what feels and looks right rather than blindly following the pattern.

Compared to my last few garment projects, Lucky on size 2 needles and others with size 5's, this on size 7's is flying along so all this ripping back isn't phasing me at all!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Finished Chevron Rib Tank!!!

Other bloggers have photos of their knits modeled with backgrounds of flowers, trees, beaches, and sunsets. But where else do you get knits displayed against a fence and a hint of a heat pump?
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Pattern: Chevron Rib Tank (free pattern from Interweave)
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Malibu Blue, a little less than 2 skeins
Needles: Size 5
Changes to pattern: I knit this at a tighter gauge than the pattern calls for, to size it down some from the schematic. It fits pretty well. It says to crochet around the neck and armhole edges. I did the armholes but decided that the neck looked fine without it. An honest opinion or sheer laziness? You be the judge.

I wasn't sure what to do with these 2 skeins of Cotton Fleece and really liked how this looked. I wasn't sure how flattering it would be on my hourglass shaped figure and was a bit afraid it would make me look like Dolly. It kind of does in this picture but you short, shortwaisted girls with big boobs know how almost every picture does that to you! In real life, it looks pretty nice. I think I'll wear this a lot, even though I'm a little paranoid about what I'm showing off to the world in the back (it's shorter than the front and doesn't have that point). Just don't walk behind me, and your view will be fine.

This was easy to knit and wouldn't have taken much time at all if I had done it straight through.

Lipbalm Addicts!

Lesley came out of the lipbalm closet in my comments section yesterday. I should have known when I started a blog that there would be at least one post extolling my favorite lipbalm. Lesley likes Kiehl's, and I do too. (BTW, you referred to yourself as an enabler. You aren't by chance a member of MakeupAlley, are you?)

But my very favorite is Smith's Rosebud Salve. I've been using it for a few years now and love it! Unbeknownst to be until a few months ago, my family has used this stuff for many years. This is kind of neat. My grandma was at my house one day and saw my tin of Rosebud Salve on my nightstand. She was shocked that it was still around because it had been years. She told me that they used to use it when they were children. My great-grandfather owned a small country store in eastern Kentucky (where I'm from), and she thinks they sold this there. I gave my grandma a tin (my Rosebud Salve stash is bigger than any yarn stash I have), and she's loving it still too! I use it for lipbalm and even cuticle cream in a pinch.

Obligatory Dog Picture

I leave you with a photo of how to make a boy Terrier very happy. We planted a few bushes in my backyard last week. That equals 4 prime new toilet spots for the Parkie-Man. He spends all his time sticking his head in the new bushes and lifting his leg on them. It takes so little to make him happy. I'll spare you the Parker lifting his leg pic, in favor of "Parker the Investigator."

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Friday, May 27, 2005

A learning experience...

Things I have learned in my first two weeks of working out with my personal trainer (a.k.a. Killa)...

- Killa was on the US National Track team. I didn't ask what he did. Is midget tossing an Olympic event?
- Flintstones Vitamins taste as good as I had remembered. Must remember what Mom always said, "they are not candy."

- Must always have tinted lipbalm since Killa would make fun of me if I wore lipgloss and I'm never without color on my lips.
- I'm a clutz.
- Strike that last one, I already knew that. But it came to a head when I fell off the side of the treadmill, simply stepping onto it. Killa swore he's never seen anyone else do that. I've tripped on the flat carpet, gotten stuck on a machine, rolled off of the exercise ball, you name it, I've managed it. And on the leg press machine, no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to get the whole push the weight out while pulling up on the lever to catch the weight concept.
- Getting Killa to talk about his dog buys a few more seconds of rest in between sets.
- Just when I think I can't hurt anymore, I can.
- I sound like the lead horse at
Keeneland in a stakes race when I run on the treadmill. *clomp, clomp, clomp, clomp*
- 100m sprints when you're 8 are easy and fun. They aren't when you're 30.
- Spinning sucks***. Spinning after a 25 minute intense treadmill interval run and 25 minutes of lifting and core work really sucks. Spinning after a 25 minute intense treadmill interval run and 25 minutes of core training when Killa is all excited to show off his new spinning bikes, well, words cannot fully explain that suckage.
- A way to make planks on the exercise ball feel better. Do the plank the normal way. It hurts. Then have someone roll the ball away a couple of inches, without falling (you, not the person moving the ball). That hurts more. So when you go back to the normal way, it feels almost easy!

And most importantly, I have learned that my soft, non-athletic body is capable of a lot more than I have given it credit for and to push it to the max and to lift the weights I have and run the speeds I have as I have makes me pretty proud.Apricot Jacket update later. Oh boy do I have a lot to say about it.

***This refers to spinning in the riding on an exercise bike until your legs cannot move anymore, not spinning yarn. I have never spun yarn so it may very well be agonizing but given the number of people who blog about it, it seems to be a lovely thing

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Poor poor little neglected blog

I have been ignoring you, poor blog. Mainly because I have been ignoring you, poor knitting projects.

I have been working out with a personal trainer (hereinafter referred to as "The Killa") at the gym (hereinafter, the "Torture Chamber"), starting last Monday. I walked in on Day 2, and he cackled, "you're going to hurt so bad tomorrow." When I came back on Day 3 and told him I didn't hurt that bad, poor guy, he looked so disappointed. On Day 4, he told me he was trying to figure out how hard he could push me until he breaks me. He wants me to lift lots of heavy weights and when I'm too tired to lift anymore, go run on the treadmill. And he thinks all of this is fun! He loves pain! You know it's bad when your parents' neighbors are laughing at you as you walk your dogs down the street because you cannot bend your arms. Perhaps choosing a trainer who doesn't also train a couple of NBA and NFL players and part of the local police force would have made more sense for a weakling like me. I'm already making some good progress, I must admit. I'm lifting more than I thought I would and running pretty fast on the treadmill to boot.

I posted a new, better photo of Lucky below. I still love her!

I've been doing so little knitting. I've been exhausted in the evenings. I finished up the knitting on the Chevron Rib Tank but put off the seaming (simple shoulders and sides!) for awhile and stil haven't done the crochet edging. The good news is that it fits, good because I was working at a smaller gauge to get a smaller size. Here's a pic of the front, just to look like I've done something.
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You'd think a still uncompleted item, a pair of uncompleted socks, and a couple of projects not even on the needles yet would stop me from starting something new. Right? If you answered "no", you might be a knitter.

I found Rebecca #27 at my LYS a couple of weeks ago and decided to start the Apricot Jacket(it's the apricot colored cardi in the far right photo if you can't figure it out). I was torn on yarn to use and ended up with Lion Cotton-Ease in the pale pink color. Yarn snobs are running away in horror but I like how this feels and the color is exactly what I wanted. It's also better for the budget, after having to spring for last month's doggie surgery. My gauge is a little off but I'm wanting it to be a little smaller than the pattern so I'm doing the front left side first to see how that turns out.
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My massive progress so far!
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Using size 7 needles and a gauge of 18 st/4 in feels huge compared to Lucky!

The owner of the LYS was working on the pale blue lace and cable pullover from this issue. The girl in the 2nd pic from the right, sitting at the picnic table is wearing it. It's gorgeous, and the photo doesn't do it justice. I definitely want to make it, probably for winter in merino or something else soft and warm rather than the cotton the LYS was using. She says the pattern repeat isn't complicated and is easy to memorize once you get going.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I got Lucky in Kentucky

Here it is, the long awaited Lucky! The only thing left to be done is to sew in the ribbons on the inside. I need to get ribbon!

Edited to add better pic...
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Pattern: Lucky Lace Clover Wrap from Stitch and Bitch Nation. Designed by Melissa.
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fine in Prairie Lupine, 5 skeins plus a bit of a second.
Needles: Size 2 circulars (knit flat)
Changes to pattern: I made the 32 inch size but didn't do all the increases after the waist shaping. It would be 34" finished, and for something like this, I don't want that much ease. This ended up being about 33" finished, and it's fine. I don't like bell sleeves on me so I cast on 58 and increased to 76 stitches. I also ended up with 3/4 length sleeves by accident (silly measuring mistake!) but I like them. The pattern's sleeve length would be fine for me but others are having to lengthen them.
Notes: I followed the instructions from Winnie's blog on seaming it to get more of a V-neck. Mine's still on the boatneck side of things and a little too big in the back but that's fine and not the fault of the pattern. I just have really small shoulders!

Overall, this was a fun knit! The seaming and knitting the tie went slowly but it was worth it. I think this will be a sweater I wear a lot in the summer.

Caution, doggie content
I commented on Carrieoke's blog that her Bella looks like my Parker in the face. Here's a picture for her of my little badly in need of grooming Parkie-poo (and you thought "schmoo" was bad!)
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I can't leave out my Els-bells. Elly's in her sit up and beg position here. She can sit like this for hours.
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I just started working out with a personal trainer, so my posts for the next few days are likely going to contain only cries of pain and immense whining. You've been warned! His theory on weight lifting is apparently to lift the heaviest weight you can possibly hold up and repeat until it hurts. When you walk in, and he looks at you and says, "you're gonna hurt tomorrow" and laughs, you know you are in for it.

Monday, May 16, 2005

The day is finally here...

Lucky is done! I'll post pictures tomorrow. I loooove her!

Friday, May 13, 2005

No one will believe it...

We have Lucky progress!
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I finished the neckband and started seaming it. It's a long process but so far, so good!

I was browsing
Banana Republic and came across this sweater that I really like.

One of the side effects of learning to knit has been that anytime I see something handknit in a store, I think, "I could do that." Given the $70 sale price of this sweater, I started thinking. And swatching...
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I noticed the sweater's lace pattern looked a little like the lace pattern from the SNB-Nation Om Yoga Mat Bag that I made for my Mom. It's not exact but close enough.

Then I got to thinking that it could be really tough to do the armhole and waist shapings in this particular lace pattern. But it shouldn't be too bad. It's a 4 stitch repeat, and I'll just have to make sure I don't lose or add stitches in a row. It's a simple repeat once you get going.

The edgings are just ribbing, and I think I'd use a thin ribbon around the waist rather than a knit tie. It looks like the buttonbands are ribbed and then sewn on rather than stitches being picked up and ribbed from there. It has a little lace edging at the neckline, and I'm sure I could replicate that or leave it out. The overall shape looks like nothing more than a basic cardigan pattern.

I did the above swatch in some leftover Paton's Grace yarn. I like how it came out a lot so I may use that for the full thing. I haven't knit anything pink in awhile which bothers the pink lover in me but I'm seeing this in light blue. I kind of like the white one too.

Am I crazy?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Amazing Race Finale!

Yay Uchenna and Joyce! I love them and am so happy they won!!! What a great couple they are. Uchenna is such a sweetie. He should be a motivational speaker. He was keeping ME going through the show! I was so afraid they were going to be out of it.

I wasn't a Rob and Amber fan at all through Survivor but I came through this show liking them. I didn't want them to win but they are really sweet together, and both seem like they'd be fun to hang out with.

In my hours of American Idol and Amazing Race watching (and don't forget, Law and Order SVU taping), I sucked it up and worked on my Lucky neckband. I have 43 of 62 inches done. Woohoo! There may be a completed Lucky in the near future!

I'm getting ready to head out for an eye doctor appointment. The yarn shop is right across the street. Can I resist slipping in for a little looksie? Nope, can't, gotta get some other things done first. Hehehe.

Without heading into too much of a rant, I HATE the NBA. They have to do something to control the early entry of high school and college players that have no business going. They are so busy caring about "potential" that they ignore actual performance. And kids who have no business going are declaring and some are ruining their lives because of bad advice from people without the player's best interest. Randolph Morris, I hope to see you back at UK. I really hope you're doing this to test your status and what you need to do before declaring next year (like we all expected you to do, just not this year). And it's not just Randolph, there are players all over making the same move, some of them hiring an agent so they can't come back. Every year it gets more ridiculous.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Can I trick them?

If I post lots of yarn and project pictures, maybe no one will notice the lack of a completed Lucky.

I was across town the other day to pick up a Mother's Day gift for my grandma and decided to give this one little LYS another shot. I wasn't looking to really buy anything, just check it out again. The deal is that it intimidates me. The owner is a sweet lady but the other two times I've been in, a couple of her friends have been sitting around knitting in the tiny shop, making me feel like I'm intruding on some private family gathering. And she doesn't list prices anywhere so if I want something, I have to ask how much it is. For more common yarns, I have an idea but she carries a lot of European yarns that I am not familiar with so I have no clue.

But I had a great experience Friday! There weren't any other people in the shop, and she and I had a nice chat about knitting. The lady is really sweet and really encouraged me to not be afraid to try more complicated projects. I told her about Lucky on size 2 needles, and she said I would be really pleased with it in the end. I agree with her that while bulky knits give great quick satisfaction, the smaller yarns and needles look better (at least on me). I really hadn't planned on buying anything but I came across a great pinky coral shade of Berroco Cotton Twist and lo and behold, I'll be doing another Honeymoon Cami. I'll see if I can make it fit better than the first one.
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I started on my first pair of socks! A smart person would probably start with a basic stockinette pattern on slightly bigger needles. Not me! I go for cables and ribbing! I love the Cable Rib socks from the Spring IK so that's what I'm doing. I got gauge with the Brown Sheep Cotton Fine leftover from Lucky on size 0 needles. I barely knit at all over the weekend so most of what you see below is from Thursday and Sunday nights. This is stretched out over my foot. You really can't see the cable otherwise.

Double pointed needles aren't nearly as scary as some people make them out to be!
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Whew, all this on my knitting plate. What do I do? Start something new, of course! I came across the Chevron Rib Tank pattern while browsing blogs and had to try it. I have some Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece I'd bought to make a shell to go under a suit but decided it was meant for this tank instead. I couldn't quite get the pattern's gauge but the pattern's smallest size is a little bigger than I want it to be so that work out great.

I just had to start with the front first because it looked more interesting than the back. This couple of inches took almost no time to do last night so this should be a really fast project. Gotta love simple knits and purls and increases/decreases that make something look a lot more complicated than it is!

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After working on size 2 and size 0 needles for the socks and Lucky, the size 5 needles of the tank feel like logs in my hands.

I guess I have to talk about Lucky, don't I? I've got 24 inches of the 62" tie done. 1x1 ribbing on size 2 needles bores me to tears. I'll get it finished and seamed by the end of the week.

Um, didn't I say that last week?

Friday, May 06, 2005

I'm soooo tired of seaming

I didn't mind knitting a sweater on size 2 needles but seaming hasn't been fun. I still haven't gotten to the neckband/tie but here's an extra special sneak peak of Lucky.

Lucky basking in the glow of a sunny Kentucky spring evening...
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It looks much better minus the black t-shirt underneath. I didn't feel like changing into something slinkier for this pic.

The good news is that it fits perfectly! It's really wide at the shoulders in this pic but the neckband will cinch that in to make it a nice v-neck. I love it! There is no telling when I'll get it done but it should be soon enough. I can't wait to wear it.

When trying this bad boy on, I realized that one of my shoulders (my left one) is smaller than and slopes a lot more than the other one. I never noticed this before. How could I have gone through life never noticing this? I can see a zit popping up 3 days before it makes its appearance but never saw this deformity?

Up next after Lucky: Cable Ribbed socks from the Spring '05 Interweave Knits and a cardi/shell that I know what I want it to look like and can't find any patterns that look just like that. This could be interesting...

If you haven't seen this yet, for your laugh of the day. If you've knit Martha's Poncho, you can now knit the Runaway Bride's Blanket. Hilarious.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Let the seaming begin...

Woo! All the pieces of Lucky are finished and blocked (except the 62" tie, I'll work on that off and on) and seaming has begun! Seaming this baby isn't going to be fun. I'm trying to go slowly to make sure it's very well done. I have to say, raglan sleeves are sooo much easier to seam than set-in sleeves.

I went to the library last night and while there, checked out the selection of knitting books. I came across Vintage Knits. I almost bought this from Amazon a couple of months ago. I love vintage inspired clothing and was taken in by the lovely lacy camisole on the front. After looking through it that I'm think I'm glad I didn't buy it. I'm not sure I'd wear many of the things in the book. Some of the details are very vintage but the shaping really wasn't. I do still love the lace camisole (but again am not sure I'd wear it) and a couple of the cardigans were nice. Sometimes with books though, I don't like a lot on the first go through but they grow on me. Maybe that will be the case with this one.

Since there are no knitting pictures tonight, here's one of the act of animal cruelty I commited earlier in the week. Bathtime makes for two very pathetic Cairn Terriers.
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Off to watch the American Idol results show and to work on seaming. Please let it be Scott voted off tonight.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Not a lot of progress

I really hoped to get started seaming Lucky this weekend but that didn't happen! I didn't even get the last sleeve done. I worked on it some last night and got almost to shaping the sleeve cap. I should get it done tonight watching Tuesday night TV (American Idol, the Amazing Race, Law and Order SVU, and I thought I watched too much TV?). I got the first sleeve done in just a couple of days but haven't had the time to work on this one as much.

No pictures, who really wants to see a half completed Lucky sleeve?

Sunday, I went hiking at Natural Bridge in southeastern Kentucky, about an hour from my house. It was really nice to get away from the world a little and get some exercise. My calves are still killing me! Seems I managed to take the steepest, most difficult trail up, and climbed all over everything on the way down. I told my Mom we'd go running tonight, so that could be interesting. At least it's not my knitting hands.

But isn't it gorgeous? You get the greatest view from the top of the arch.

I'm thinking ahead to my next project. For my birthday in February, Juls, the Wayward Blogger, sent me this yarn,
Schachenmayr Solero. It's a DK microfiber yarn that is so soft and drapey but feels a little like suede too.

I love the color, it's a minty green but not a baby pastel mint green. I don't own anything that's this color. I've been searching for patterns, and nothing has screamed at me. I would love a cute summer cardi and tank to go underneath so decided to do a cardi from Ann Budd's Knitter's Guide to Sweater Patterns and will do a little lace edging instead of ribbing. I have an idea in mind about how I want it to look so we'll see if it works out that way!

I will have 2 skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Fine leftover from my Lucky. I am going to use it to make a bold step into the wonderful world of sock knitting with the Cable Rib Sock from the Spring Interweave Knits. I'm really wanting to find out what the big deal about sock knitting and handknit sock wearing is, and I thought these looked great. They probably aren't the best pattern for a first pair of socks but oh well, you are reading the words of a person whose very first knit project was a 2x2 ribbed hat.