Friday, August 31, 2007

Anatomy of a Log Cabin Square (Adriana)

It’s almost the long weekend (yay!) and I’m doing something exciting this year. Pete and I are heading up to the wilds of cottage country to hike and swim, and visit Gen (also so Pete can have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch a play take place at dawn on a lake, but I’ll be happy sleeping through that). As I was packing I had to make the most important of packing decisions: what knitting to bring. I finished the first Pomatomus sock but I didn’t want to be playing with charts on the drive (although miraculously I do have the pattern mostly memorized). I decided to take the drop stitch lace tank which should keep me busy but, as every knitter knows, you don’t want to run out of yarn or hit an impasse on a trip and not have a back up project. I grabbed the 7th Log Cabin Square to take with me (since fall is around the corner and one of these days my mom will be wanting her blanket). While doing so I realized that I had totally forgotten to blog about the 6th square.
This is the square that I was working on during the craziness of the Fringe show. As such, I have documented the growth of it during that time.

block 6a
The square in all its glory

anatomy of a square

1) backstage of 1st performance
2) rehearsing a particularly tricky scene (the confrontation, for those who've seen it)
3) 2nd performance & 3rd performance
4) chilling on my evening off
5-6) visiting with Jane and Dave after the 4th performance
7) Going to and from a friend's Fringe show
8) The evening after the 5th performance (after everyone had come, eaten ribs and left)
9) Relaxing in front of the tv after everything was done

And that’s the anatomy of a log cabin square :)
I hope everyone has a fantastic and relaxing long weekend!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Socktopia! (Adriana)

(Today’s mantra is: 3 more weeks, 3 more weeks, 3 more weeks.)

This weekend something amazing happened: there was the perfect combination of nice weather and no activities which allowed Pete and I to head out to the courtyard and snap the pictures of various socks which I have been promising to you. These socks are so gorgeous that I want to evolve a few more feet to wear them on :)

Up first, SpillyJane’s Na├»ve sock #1
naive sock5
This was a joint effort as I got frustrated near the beginning. Luckily Spilly was in town and was able to get me past the fiddly part. The sock was a lot of fun to knit and so pretty! It’s a great pattern for getting familiar with cables as you can read where you are by looking at the cables. This was also the sock which taught me that the Kitchener stitch is not to be feared. I grafted that baby at lunch at work!

Pomatomus in progress
fishy3
This is a seriously stretchy pattern. I still think that my YO’s are a little large but the consensus on Ravelry is that it’s not a problem. It’s so much fun to watch the fishy scales develop. I’ve got two more repeats to go on the leg.

And finally the Coupling-At-Sea Socks!!
couplingonedown

couplingtogether1

These socks have been done for a while but then life exploded so there were no pictures.
This was a fun pattern and it is also very stretchy. Unfortunately I couldn’t quite memorize it which made it a little frustrating at times. The Sea Wool was lovely to knit with. I love that sheen!
Pattern: Coupling by Deb Barnhill
Yarn: Fleece Artist Sea Wool (birthday present from Heather and Gen), unknown colourway
Modifications: The pattern calls for a reverse heel flap but I wanted to do it my way so I followed Wendyknits' gusset heel. While not as much fun as the short-row heel it fits very comfortably. I’m using that heel for Pomatomus too and it is really nice.
I also decided to go with a picot edging (everything you wanted to know about picoting here) for the top which is adorable but not quite stretchy enough. I bound off the stitches first (using a sewn bind off which I thought would work) but next time I think I’ll just stitch down the live stitches and see if that’s better.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Fitted Knit? (Adriana)

Back in March my mom bought Fitted Knits for me as a thank you present for helping get the house ready to sell. When I first flipped through it I loved most of the patterns but I didn’t end up casting any on. One of the patterns I had really liked initially was the Drop Stitch Lace Tank however I started to think that it wouldn’t look good on me (despite Heather’s protests to the contrary). Fast forward several months later, I’m pattern browsing on Ravelry and I come across people who have knit this pattern and it looks great on them! I’m back in love with this tank and I want to cast on right away. I decide to be smart about it and I read the comments on Ravelry, posts on the KAL and I check the errata (I can’t link to it because for some reason it’s a forbidden site at work. Go figure). I decide to knit in the round and to knit into the back loops on either side of the drop stitches for stability. Choosing a size was a little tricky. The pattern said that it was stretchy so to choose a size that was at least 6 inches smaller than your normal size. After reading all the people who found it too big I chose to go 10 inches smaller. I cast on using the Classic Elite Classic Silk I’d gotten from WEBS (on the advice of Grumperina) and merrily knit around and around for several evenings, happily dropping stitches every 6 rows (the best part of any drop stitch pattern).
drop stitch tank1
I got to the point where I was going to switch to ribbing and I thought it would be a good time to try it on.

drop stitch tank2
Houston, we have a problem!
This is one HELL of a stretchy pattern! I consulted with my mom and my very fashionable 15 year-old cousin and it was agreed to take out 4 pattern repeats or 16 stitches. Hopefully this new version will fit better. The tank has been frogged and the yarn rewound but I haven’t been able to bring myself to cast on. I guess I still need a bit of distance from this pattern (plus I’ve been working on the fishy socks and a secret Christmas project). I’m hoping to get back to the tank this weekend. One thing does concern me; last time around I did a cable cast-on and I found it a little tight. Recommendations for loose cast-ons would be greatly appreciated.

Happy Friday everyone!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Knitting Milestones (Adriana)

It’s a dreary day at work and all that is getting me through is the mantra “four more weeks, four more weeks, four more weeks.” Thinking about knitting always makes me feel better and today I have been thinking about knitting milestones. I’m sure most knitters have them, the pattern that you’ve been drooling over but you just don’t feel up to tackling, the one that when you are ready to do it you’ll know that you have arrived as a knitter. For me there are three such challenging patterns: Pomatomus, Peacock Feathers Shawl and an undecided colourwork sweater done with thin yarn and tiny needles (something Eunny has designed like the Venezia Pullover or the stunning Autumn Rose Pullover).

Recently SpillyJane (always one to push the knitting envelope) encouraged Heather and I to start a mini-KAL to knit the first item on my list: the fishy Pomatomus. It looks like such a complicated pattern so I was nervous to being. It didn’t help that I was adding an extra bit of difficulty by wanting to go toe-up. Luckily by blog hopping I managed to find detailed instructions to do just that.
I knit the toe and then dove into the pattern. To my shock and amazement it wasn’t that hard. I didn’t make mistakes and the design actually looks like the one in the pattern. I guess I shouldn’t be to surprised because knitting really is straight forward but I’d built this up to such heights of difficulty in my mind that it was a real surprise to be able to do it. It’s such a thrill to accomplish something that I’ve been a little afraid of for several years.
fishy2

fishy1
Close up of the cute twisted rib
(We've formed a KAL for this pattern on Ravelry if you care to join us. Look for "Something Fishy" in the groups section)

Now I feel like I can knit just about anything! (Except for a colourwork sweater. I need to work up to that and Spilly will be helping me with some mittens this winter).

So what are your knitting milestones and have you accomplished them yet?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Leela Pictures (Adriana)

Leela is done and has been for a while. With the chaos of the Fringe show there wasn't time to get pictures and then once the show was done I knew that I was about to get a fancy new haircut so I wanted to wait to show them both off at the same time.
Well the hair has been cut so the wait is over!

leela5
I love Leela and I love my hair! It's fun to have bangs and wispy layers (in the hair, not the tank :P) I do need to learn how to take care of my new haircut. There was near disaster this morning when my bangs all wanted to clump to one side of my head. I am really happy with my back-to-school haircut!
But enough about the hair, this is a knitting blog after all.

leela6
Close up of the lace portion (and my tummy!)

Details:
Pattern: Lelah Top by Christine Buhagiar (renamed Leela by the Jane)
Yarn: Rowan Calmer in Plum from Redbirdknits (birthday special)
Needles: Denise 5.5mm for the lace, 5mm for the top.
Date started: beginning of July-ish
Date finished: July 29th (I think)
Modifications: I adjusted the pattern for my gauge, made the body a little longer (13 pattern repeats) and added i-cord straps.
It was a fun pattern to make and the Calmer was a dream to knit with, as always. The ribbon had originally been purchased to go with Tempting so it's nice to have a new use for it.

In other knitting news, I'm almost done the Naive sock (I'll be finishing the toe today) which means that I'm going to be casting on a new project! I've also started some Christmas projects which must be done in secret but all will be revealed come January.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Friends... do what? (Heather)

It has been so long (possibly a week?) since I worked on Sizzle, or indeed, any knitting at all. Work is keeping me very busy during the day and pretty darn tired at night, and besides that, it is hard to feel the urge to knit when it is so bloody hot night and day. And when you don't knit, it is hard to get around to blogging.

It was also too warm to be a cat.



When FabricFan was visiting, it was so warm in our apartment that I put a wet washcloth on Phlox... and he stayed there cooling off for quite some time. Neither of the cats ever panted, they were just lethargic and slightly grumpy... just like the humans.

SpillyJane and her husband came to visit the humid wonder that is Toronto in August this past weekend, and she practically FORCED me to take her to the local yarn shops. She then forced me to get some Fleece Artist Merino Silk roving...



And as luck would have it, the day they left, the humidity dropped significantly enough for me to pick up my brand new spindle and give it a whorl. It was fun to spin, less hairy than the Wensleydale-Teeswater that I tackled last, but very very soft with vibrant colours.



I didn't get too much done, just enough to get a taste for it again. This spindle spins like nobody's business! Took some getting used to, I had to up the hand-eye coordination quotient.

Something else I have been working away at is sewing. I picked this summery cotton twill ( I think) out with FabricFan when she was here and am attempting to tackle it on my own.



Armed with my new Stylish Skirts book, my Vogue Sewing Quick Reference, and my speeddial, I am turning two yards of fabric into a cute zippered, fitted skirt with four pleats. This has been a slow process so far. I managed to wash, iron, fold, and press the yardage, then cut out one piece before I realized that I needed some way to actually get the pattern lines onto the wrong side of the fabric. I somehow managed to accumulate three tracing wheels without actually knowing how they were used. A phone call to my mother sent me to Fabricland where I became the proud owner of tracing paper (so smudgy!), dressmaker's chalk pencils, and a year's membership. For some reason, this seems like a much steeper learning curve than knitting.

One interesting difference in sewing versus knitting is the yardage... with knitting you can always joing on another ball, but with sewing the fabric has to obviously be continuous. When we were buying the fabric for this skirt, Fabricfan and the cutting table girl had a great debate over whether I needed 1.5 yards or 1.75 yards. I said to just give me an even two, and they both looked so surprised! The fabric was only 4 bucks a yard, and I can't see how it would hurt to have a little more than I need. I wonder if this is a result of me being a knitter first?

And finally, a shout out to Bertha, who named Adriana and me 'Rocking Girl Bloggers'.



I have swayed more than rocked in the last few weeks, but Bertha seems to be one of those superwomen who work, knit, AND manage to make and raise one of the cutest babies in Blogland (Sorry your gums hurt, June! You looked SO MAD in your latest picture...), so I am very very puffed up that she nominated us. Thanks Bertha! I am sure that June's teeth will be as cute and formindable as June herself.

Ciao everyone... wish me low humidity and high energy levels!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Secret Revealed (Adriana)

You might remember (though you probably don't) that last February I got really secretive. I was working on a mystery project and I only showed off a hint of what I was making. Well, the cat is out of the bag and has been gifted to the recipient.
Heather socks1
Yes, my friends, I was making socks for Heather! The first one was knit in February and the second in June/July (finished two weeks AFTER her birthday so it's a good thing I didn't see her until this weekend).

The yarn is Deegu which in the skein looked like this:
Heather socks2
I was aiming for shades of blue which I knew Heather would like but it ended up being too blue for my tastes so I tossed in the splash of pink.
I'm really please with how the yarn swirled when knit up. This is an example of the good kind of pooling :)

When Jane was up this weekend she got me back on track with the Naive socks and even took me through the harder set-up bits. This is a really fun pattern to knit, very intuitive once you get past the fiddly bits at the beginning, and I am really enjoying working on it.
naive heel flap
Sock with heel flap (I haven't done heel flaps in about a year and a half. I'm not looking forward to the gusset)

naive unstretched
Cables unstretched

naive cable close up
Cables stretched!!

I think it's time to get back to the Naive sock now. I'm almost done the heel flap and eager to turn that heel!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Sock-thing(Adriana)

As I was sitting at the computer resizing pictures I kept hearing a rustling sound reminiscent of Cleo playing in a grocery bag. Since Cleo is happily sleeping in her cup I was starting to get a little freaked out. A quiet wander around the apartment revealed the source of the sound, a fly trying in vain to break through the window to the outside world. Now that I know what the sound is it's hard to imagine that I mistook it for Cleo in a bag. It's funny the games the mind plays.
But enough about that. On to the knitting!

Life's been very hectic and very stressful recently so I haven't had time for much knitting, and that which has been accomplished is not ready to show off yet, but I do have a couple of goodies for your viewing pleasure.

Thing #1:
regiasilk
Regia Silk sock yarn in colour Roma. Any guesses what these might be? Think who I've knit for in the past with Regia Silk. If you guessed my granny you'd be right! This yarn was deeply discounted which is why I got it even though I'm not sure if I like the colours. It's a good thing Granny can't see and can just feel the luscious silkiness of this truly luxurious but well-wearing sock yarn.

Thing #2:
naive sock1

naive sock2
This is the start of the a Naive sock, designed by the one and only Spillyjane! She asked me to test knit it, which I was glad to do until I remembered how much I hate dpns (Addi circs all the way, baby!). Also, I encountered the hazard of the test knitter, incorrect instructions. I did one too many repeats for the cuff and was too discouraged to tink back 5 rounds on the smelly dpns. Luckily it's Spillyjane to the rescue and she will do the tinking for me when she's in town tomorrow. Thus work will resume of these lovely socks which are being knit up in my own Deegu.

Well, that's enough silliness for now. The long weekend beckons and with it the promise of more performances and more friends (Spilly and Mr. Spilly on Friday and Heather, Mike and Gen on Sunday!). If you are having a long weekend where you are, enjoy it. If not, a two day weekend is still pretty great :)