Stacy Knits

Ramblings about knitting and whatever else crosses my mind

Sunday, March 26, 2006

AWOL Knitter

Sorry to have disappeared for awhile! While you may assume that I've been lulled into a basketball induced stupor, that's only partially correct. I'm getting over a nasty stomach flu and speaking in words greater than two syllables has been beyond my capabilities for a few days now. I've curled up on my couch watching a whole lot of basketball though! The Sweet Sixteen was the most amazing Sweet Sixteen in memory. All of the close games and overtimes made it so exciting. I'm thrilled for LSU making it to the Final Four and hoping Florida does too. I always pull for fellow Southeastern Conference teams.

Unfortunately, my beloved Kentucky didn't pull it out against UConn. But I was so proud of the effort they gave. I figured we'd win our first round against UAB. We're Kentucky. We don't lose first round NCAA games (not since 1987 anyway). UConn was a different story. I thought we could be competitive against any of the other #1 seeds but didn't think we could stay on the court with UConn because of the matchup problems they presented us. The only team that can beat UConn is UConn, so they like to say. When we got down by 13 and since UConn was playing a good game, I thought it was going to get ugly.

Our guys fought back and made it close. We lost by 4 but if a couple of bad calls and rebounds had gone our way, I truly think we would have pulled it out. I was so proud!

I'm talking about basketball because there's not much knitting to report! I haven't felt like knitting and haven't done much. I've done a little on Sock #2. I'm almost to the armholes of Salina. I'll probably post a picture of the Baby Blanket soon. It's going to be so nice but pictures aren't going to capture it well at this point.

So hopefully soon I'll have progress to show off!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

She did it...

And you thought I couldn't...

So it wasn't you guys with doubts, it was me! I knew I had the ability to knit a sock and even the patience but was starting to question if I had a sock mental block! But it's done, and the fit is near perfect. If you think I have issues resizing sweaters to fit my 4'11 self, you should see me pondering the fit of a sock to fit my size 5 foot. And I like socks to fit really snug. Most of the standard sock patterns call for casting on 64 at a gauge of 8 st/in. After measuring my foot, I decided to cast on 56. It worked very well. If I want a pair to come up a little higher on my calf, I'll definitely need to start with a few more stitches and decrease down. I've got little feet and big, bulky calves!

I finished this while watching basketball over the weekend. See...

I even cast on for Sock #2, avoiding second sock syndrome and you guys having to yell at me! Meet Sock @#2, watching my basketball love, Jay Bilas, on ESPN.
I don't think I'm going to have a problem finishing Sock #2! I can't wait to wear these. I always wear socks around the house, preferably soft, warm, wool socks, and these are gonna be great. I had trouble taking off Sock #1!

The Cats lost in the semis of the SEC tournament to South Carolina who was playing out of their minds this week. We ended up with a #8 seed in the brackets. I don't remember the last time we were seeded this low. We're usually a 1 or 2! That's how bad this season has been. Oh well, maybe they'll put together a miracle run. Gotta have hope.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Madness Ensues!

Ah, it's here! March Madness is here, and we're ready. It's Conference Tournament week with the Brackets coming out tomorrow night. I'm pumped. It's my favorite time of the year. My beloved Cats won their SEC Quarterfinal game yesterday, playing a miserable first half and getting down by 10 points two different times in the last 7-8 minutes. They showed so much heart and determination to win that game. Heart is something that's been woefully lacking in this team this year.

The NCAA tournament is a relatively solitary thing for me. I love getting together with people to watch regular season games but with so much riding on tournament games (one loss, your season is done), I hate to watch with anyone. I get so into it. I get so stressed when the Cats play. And I love to watch as many games as I can.

That leads to a ton of knitting time! The best UK game projects are simple stockinette with not a lot of counting, something that keeps my hands moving (that calms me) but doesn't require attention. And something that I can put down at any time should cheering (or jeering) necessitate it and pick right back up. For other teams' games, I can do something a little bit more complex but there can be no complicated cable or lace knitting during the games! And I really need to get some projects finished too, especially if I want to wear them before next fall/winter. So here's the March Madness knitting plan...

1. Get the Alphabet Baby Blanket halfway done
2. Finish Salina (half the front and half a cuff remain)
3. Pick up and finish Apricot. For real. (one front and one sleeve remain)
4. Finish my socks (Sock #1 is merely rows from completion!)
5. Cabled bag for my friend Steph
6. Finish "mystery project" I wrote about not long ago. It's not much of a mystery since I decided I won't be giving it away unless it's too small which is entirely possible judging from what I've got done (Odessa from Grumperina).

It's not likely I'll get all this done during March, and that's not really the goal. I do have some projects I'm itching to start like the BSA Cotton Cardigan I almost did during the Knitting Olympics. And the Cabled Turtleneck from Rebecca #30. And I ripped out the Jaywalker socks I had started and want to give them another shot. Of course, the temptation is pretty strong to cast on for them.

But I will not even touch the yarn for any of these until I've accomplished 4 of the 6 things on this list. True story! And feel free to call me on it if I do! :)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Quick Lil FO

Sunday, my friend e-mailed me and told me to pull my nose out of my new "The New Crewel Book" (so cool!) and get to work on making these bags. I quickly figured out the pattern (it's not that complicated, pretty simple actually for a $150 purse!) and got to work on Monday. I happened to have a skein of Brown Sheep Bulky that I bought over a year ago for a project I changed my mind one. I happened to have some really pretty fabric from my learning to sew phase that never took off. And a snap that I ended up never putting into a felted bag. Add in a handle and ribbon, and this is what I got:

Not bad for a couple of evenings, huh? It took me almost as much time to do the lining as it did to knit the thing.

Pattern: Made it up as I went along (I later learned that there was a thread on Craftster awhile back, I'm not sure if a pattern was ever posted there)
Brown Sheep Bulky in Aztec Turquoise, a little less than 1 skein
Size 10.5 Circular
Very simple. The original is a super cute bag but incredibly easy for anyone who's been knitting for anytime at all to "knock off." I can't believe a $150 is that easy to replicate. I'm making one for my friend and another for myself in cotton, making a few minor changes. It would be a great summer bag. I think the thing I like about it most is that it looks like something I would buy in a store, not like a handknit. Not that looking handknit is a bad thing, of course!
I did 2 new things with this project, pretty amazing for such a simple knit:

1. Sewed in a lining. I'm not a seamstress but it doesn't look too bad.

2. Cabled without a cable needle. To be honest, I've always wondered why bother, it's not like a cable needle is difficult. I had practiced it on swatches. But in a project with 6 cables like this, it did go faster. I'm a definite convert!

I'm not officially in Project Spectrum but since I am the queen of pink, it's pretty obvious that I'd be touching something that fits this month's theme. One thing about being a single woman is that you can have all the pink in your house that you want. See my bright pink guest bedroom wall in the picture of the bag above! And my bed below...

I don't believe in spoiling my dogs

If I took pictures of all the pink in my house, you'd be stuck here forever!

Monday, March 06, 2006

I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit...

I will write it on the chalkboard 500 times...

I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks.
I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks. I will knit a pair of socks.

My blog friends have almost all knit socks. Lolly seems to have a new sock done every time I visit her blog! But for some inexplicable reason, I seem incapable of finishing a pair. We're not talking about second sock syndrome here. I don't even get that far. Let's review my previous attempts. There was the Cabled Sock from IK Spring '05 in Brown Sheep Cotton Fine leftover from Lucky. I made it about 3". There was the next attempt in Knit Picks Sock Garden, a simple ribbed sock. Another 2". I ripped that out in favor of the raved about Jaywalkers. Those haven't been ripped out yet but they have stalled out at about 2".

One sad little failed attempt

Why is this? I have no clue. Small needles don't bother me. DPN's don't bother me. I love warm, soft socks, and everyone claims handknit ones are the best. I've always told myself that if I don't enjoy knitting a project for myself, I have no need to suffer through so I don't feel pressure to finish a pair if I hate knitting them. But I can't say I don't enjoy knitting them! I do like them. Part of it may be bad timing. With the Cotton Fine socks, I wasn't knitting a lot in the summer anyway and may have been tired of the yarn after finishing Lucky. The Knit Picks yarn feels nice but may be suffering from a color selection. You see, I'm not a bold color, stripey socks kind of girl. I tend to wear only dark/neutral/white socks. When picking out the Knit Picks yarn, I chose a color that best fit this but had some color. The shades are nice, don't get me wrong, just not my favorite colors to knit with. I like bright or light colors for knitting! Mostly pink of course.

Never one to give up that easily, I left my LYS the other day with 2 skeins of Lang Jawoll sock yarn in colors that I love (shades of pink, gray and white) and decided to have another go at it. The result:

It's not done yet but I have turned the heel! I'm getting ready to pick up stitches for the gusset. I'm about 1/4 of the way toward a finished pair of socks!

The yarn's forming a really nice, subtle striping pattern. I thought it would be more variegated but this is even better than expected. It's a nice yarn to work with. It comes with reinforcing thread for the heels and toes. I may not need it but more than likely, my handknit socks will be worn around the house a lot so I figure it can't hurt to use it.

It looks like I should finish Sock #1. If I even hesitate to cast on for sock #2, you guys have to yell at me, threaten me, do whatever it takes to make me do it! :)

And a question for you sock knitters. I am using Size 1 bamboo needles which I do like a lot. However, I've already broken one and another looks like it's about ready to go. I have some Size 0 Pony Pearl needles that I like a lot but my LYS is always out of the Size 1. Is there any type of DPN that you guys like best?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Aftermath

Thanks so much for the compliments on my Not-So-Ruffly Rebecca Wrap Cardi. I really appreciate it! Karma asked if GGH Soft Kid was soft enough to wear against the skin. It is! It's so soft, and I just want to snuggle into it. Even though I'm not overly sensitive to itchy yarn, mohair is the one that tends to bug me but I'd use this again in a heartbeat. I love it that much!

From what I'm reading, it doesn't sound like I'm the only one suffering from a little post-Olympics fatigue. I've knit a little bit this week but have very little to show for it! I didn't touch Salina. I did a couple of rows on the Baby Blanket. I decided to knit a quick hat but ran out of yarn near the top so ripped back in order to make a couple of alterations. On the agenda for the near future includes, in order, finishing Salina (1/2 of the front and one cuff remains to knit), the Baby Blanket, and the Apricot Jacket (1 sleeve and 1 front remain, I want to wear this in the spring!).

Finishing any project on the list entitles me to a trip to the yarn shop for a new project. Right? I have several bigger things going on so picked up yarn for a pair of socks and for a secret project. It's only secret because it may end up being gifted away to someone that may or may not read this blog. I'm not sure yet if the color is more suited to me or said person.

I'm a relatively fearless knitter. My first project was a ribbed hat. Project #3 was a hat knit in the round. Sweater #2 was at a different gauge than the pattern's. Sweater #3 was cabled. Sweater #4 was lace on size 2 needles. You get the point! I don't really understand why people are afraid to undertake certain projects. I figure that if it doesn't work out, I can rip it out and use the yarn for something that will.

That said, there is one technique out there that, while not exactly intimidated by it, I haven't been able to talk myself into attempting even though I'm crazy about it. Secret project is just that!