It has been since I last bought yarn!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

MEDIC!!

My Olympic glory could be in jeopardy.  I spent the day in the virtual "medic" tent trying to salvage a knitting fail.

Things started out very well... I cast on at 2:00 pm and the bambino had a SUPER nap allowing me lots of uninterrupted knitting time.  By the time I had viewed the opening ceremonies, I was doing pretty great.  (These pics are from my Ravelry page- reminder there's a link in the sidebar {----->} so you can monitor my Olympic progress.)

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Saturday, buoyed by some good napping again, I was able to really make progress.

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This photo was taken at 8:00 pm.  The tragedy happened somewhere around 10:30.  I finished the cuff section and I had three nagging issues:

1) The picot cuff looked crooked
2) The white yarn seems to be too thin to stand up against the beige yarn and the stitches were looking a little off.  (Beyond blocking help, off)
3) I could barely, BARELY get the cuff over my hand and it fit tight on my wrist.

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I decided to admit the false start and start again.

I recast on this afternoon making a few adjustments.  I went up a needle size, because even though I knit a GAUGE swatch, that swatch LIED to me.  (I can't even bring myself to look at the gauge swatch right now I'm so mad at it.)  Secondly, I changed the contrast color yarn.  I had a creamy color knitpicks in my stash that had more "heft" and "loft" to it, and I think it will stand up better to the stitches in the beige.

So far, I'm right.

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(MUCH better)

It hurts to have lost two days of knitting to this failure- but I'm hoping that I can "deal with this injury" early on and that it won't destroy my Olympic gold medal dreams.  I've told myself if I can knit the entire hand by Thursday, I'll still be in good shape to finish.  Wish me luck!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Parisian Triumph (Hopefully)

As promised we can now start talking about bigger and better things- like the Olympics around the corner.  (Although thanks to those of you who commented about your disappointment in your 3rd place finishes too... we should start a club... and I see the competition for next year being MEGA fierce with just us to contend with!)

For the last two Olympic games I have participated in the Rav-[REDACTED] (see here for context*) "games" wherein we commit to knitting some kind of project(s) for the duration of the Olympic games in order to "medal".  In 2008 I knit a pair of challenging Cookie A socks and in 2010 I committed to two pairs of socks and in both cases I was successful.

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(My Ravelry "gold" medals for finishing)

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do this year.  I want a challenge, I also am kind of "socked out" (I'm sure you've noticed...) at the moment and I couldn't just get excited about knitting another pair of socks or multiple pairs. I also need to be realistic, I have a little one that takes away the knitting time and I want to challenge myself but not over-reach.  And so- I've decided to mix it up this year and compete in the MITTEN MEDLEY for Team Canada.

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(I am ridiculously proud of my crappy photoshop skillz in making this icon and was giggling furiously at my clever-ness.)

I've chosen a lovely Faire Isle (eek!) mitten pattern to match my winter coat.  (That's not the designer, just someone who has already been successful knitting these.)  I have a serious soft spot for Paris- I know they're the "London Games" but I couldn't resist these mittens any longer.  I picked up the right yarn at the Pudding Stampede sale and have completed my "Olympic training" by swatching for the project.

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(This allowed in the context of the games... you wouldn't run the marathon without training and I wouldn't dream of casting on my challenge without knowing what tool I would require to knit it with.  In this case it's a US 2 DPN.)

Starting on Friday I will cast on.  Blogging progress everyday would be tough (and take away from the time I'll need to complete these), but I have made my Ravelry page public and thanks to a lovely photo app on my phone, I will post an update picture every night for you to track my progress.   (I also have created a quick link in the sidebar there so you don't have to go looking for this post each time to see how I've progressed.  -------> check it out!)

I'm excited to get started on my Olympic knitting, but in the mean time, I'm quickly making progress on the Cupcake set.  I need to make a run over to Pudding today to pick up some buttons to finish this off.  (I'm also seriously thinking about knitting a little set of mittens too... we'll see.)  I LOVE this baby sweater pattern- and would highly recommend it to those needing something simple.  It's a GREAT pattern!

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So yes, feeling full of hope and promise over here and looking forward to the next two weeks.  I'm going to need a cheering section because I'm nervous I may have bitten off more than I can chew with  these mittens.  But- that's the point.  I'm doing this because I'm going to try my best and see if I can win, kind of like an Olympic Athlete.  Wish me luck?

*someone over at the US Olympic Committee takes themselves WAAAAAY too seriously...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Moving On

See you later Snowflake socks!  After getting far-ish into the leg pattern I noticed a problem- it was baggy.  Really baggy.  BUT, the cast on was so small it had to be bigger to get on your foot in the first place.  I decided instead of agonizing how to get the right cast on and figuring out how many stitches to drop down, or needle sizes to drop down to get the leg to fit I was just going to let it go.  And I did.  I frogged the whole thing and it's over with.

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Lest you should worry I haven't done anything- I still have had a couple of productive days here.  The Sheep hat is finished- and oh man is it cute!

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Pattern: Sheep Hat by Renee Lorion (I seriously love this book- I really want part 2!)
Yarn: Leftover Berrocco Vintage from Parker's Blanket
Needle: US 7
Thoughts: There is no way this could be cuter.  There's a little part of me that wants to make a matching sweater in the trinity stitch.... but for now I just keep coming back to look at this and "squee" over the cute.  Contrary to my concerns this is the right sizing for a 6+ month old head.  I would LOVE to show you an adorable model wearing this, but he would not wear this for even 5 seconds for me to take a picture.  (Someone hates hats... it's depressing to have a kid who could be covered in cute knit hats but hates them.)

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I also had one of those weird "must knit this out of the stash NOW" moments with some yarn I've had in the stash forever.  And so I was inspired to make a cute little newborn outfit with it.  The yarn colors makes me think of cupcakes- so I've been calling this the cupcake set.  The hat pattern is the Easy Peasy hat pattern, the booties are the famous Saartje's Booties and the All Buttoned Up sweater is a great little pattern found on Ravelry.

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It's been fun to knit this and it feels good to get the yarn out of my stash- hopefully we'll have a big reveal on this little set for you soon.  (Hopefully someone has a little girl this year... everyone I know is having boys.)  I've been really enjoying the freedom to just pick up and knit small projects.  It's great to feel free to do this again.  I do need to cast on another blanket eventually, but I'm thinking July and August are still all about "small things".  


Lastly, I need to tell you how I did at the Stampede this year.  


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I don't know how to say this without sounding ungreatful/whiney, because I'm not, I'm just very, very competitive and so I'm a little disappointed.  My socks placed 3rd in their category and the blanket did not ribbon.  People have been so kind to send in their congratulations on my ribbon, and thank you for that, but I was hoping for a little better.  That being said I will not dwell on this for long- as my sister pointed out "if you won every year it wouldn't be a challenge for you".  She's right.  And so I have been scouring Ravelry for the right entry for next year and trying to come up with something that challenges me and shows really well.  So... in the theme of this post- I'm moving on!


In the meantime, I have this cute little cowboy to comfort me- this picture never fails to make me smile.


Mama's Cowboy

*next blog we discuss the "Ravellenic Games" I promise.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

IT. IS. FINISHED.

Let's get right to the chase today- THE FIRESIDE SWEATER IS DONE.

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Pattern: Fireside Sweater by Amber Allison (Ravelry link) size small
Yarn: Valley Yarns Berkshire in "Oatmeal 02"
Needles: US 10
Notes: I added an additional 4 inches to this sweater because I like them long.  The sleeves are also pretty long- which I also like, because I have these ridiculously gangly long arms and very few sweaters ever fit in the arms right.  I also left the stitches live on the shoulder and bound them off together using 3 needle bind off.  NOTE TO SELF: ALWAYS do this, the shoulder seams look FANTASTIC.  I copped out and also used 3 needle bind off on the neck- if I had attempted to kitchner it, I'm not sure we'd have a finished sweater today.  I'm 90% happy with the way this turned out, my only disappointments are a) I should have knit the smaller size because this still fits big and b) I don't love the side seams- the left side, for whatever reason, has this noticeable jog that just doesn't look right.

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This sweater is thick- and bulky... and not exactly right for the current heat wave we're experiencing. I couldn't even bring myself to do a photo shoot outside because I would have melted into a puddle of alpaca and wool.  In fact this sweater is bulky and warm it might be perfect AS A COAT in -25 weather!  I probably will wear this more for fall outdoor weather truthfully than an "inside" sweater because even on the inside, in the AC, I was SWEATING like crazy in this thing.

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I will say this.  It's good to have this albatross off my neck.  The guilt is gone on working on other items because this is officially, 100% finito!

This, people, is a PRODUCTIVE blog post because the sweater isn't the only thing that's finished... check out these Kai Mai socks!

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Pattern: Kai Mei by Cookie A
Yarn: Wollmeise Pure 100% Merino Superwash in "Hollerstaud'n"
Needles: US 1
Notes: These are a great "mindless" knit.  As long as you have stitch markers reminding you to make decrease and make 1, you should be golden.  I love the slant in the pattern and the way it comes accross the toe.  My only disappointment here is that once I blocked these, they became baggy in the leg.  I should have left the 3x3 ribbing unblocked... oh well, that shouldn't be too hard to go back to.

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As usual, the Wollmeise was a pleasure to knit with, I love the color saturation and the yardage- I have a TONNE of leftovers.  Maybe even enough for another simple sock!

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Finishing these two items meant I got to continue on with the "Summer of Socks" (and/or, small items).  I immediately cast on the Snowflake Lace Socks that I have been admiring for years.  I'm a making a few mod's on the pattern, including adding a picot cuff.  I'm mildly worried about the stretchy-ness of the lace pattern... and may decide to rip out everything I've done and drop down a needle size.  But for now, they are cast on and the "project du jour".

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The only other thing sitting in the hopper is the adorable "sheep hat" which is all knit, it just needs to be sewn up.  Hopefully I'll be inspired to sew on the pieces soon.  It would be such a shame to not sew it in time and miss out on the super cute model, WHO IS NOW CRAWLING (OMG!!!!!), I've got "in residence".

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I've also committed to knitting in the "Ravellenic Games" during the Olympics but let's discuss that a little later.  For now- we celebrate that this blog has become a place where I talk about FINISHING things again!