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Archive for March, 2006

…to ripping this all out.

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I discovered today that I am an idiot. I measured my vest and couldn’t figure out why it was so long. I mean, I added extra rows but that was to make up for my short row gauge…yeah, that is when it dawned on me. I completely messed up. My row gauge is 26. The pattern gauge is 30. I was thinking that I needed to add rows in order to make it right. I know…so dumb. I spent a lot of time reworking the pattern and trying to figure out the decreases and increases. When I thought I had it all figured out I got started and got as far as you see above until the moment today when it dawned on me, a smaller row gauge number means a longer length per stitch. If I did the pattern as written, it would already come out longer. So by adding rows, I was adding even more length. I got so turned around. In fact, I still get turned around thinking about it.

For about 3 hours I was thinking I would have to frog it. Three long and sad hours. Then I though that if I just continued with the pattern and played with the spacing of the increases then I could follow the pattern as it is written from here on out, not add any rows, and not be too bad off. I wanted it a little longer anyway. I am just hoping my shaping doesn’t look wonky when I am done.

Now the only other concern I have is that I am pretty sure I am running out of the main color yarn. Perhaps it was the several swatches I did but I am almost at the end of my next to last ball and I have 1/2 of the vest left including the collar and arm holes. So I will be ordering some more�??the question is one or two skeins? It is so annoying when everything doesn’t go according to plan. Vexing.

But I am still liking the vest. The pattern is very fun and easy to get the hang of. I am still nervous about those steeks though. I will cross that bridge when I come to it I guess.

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So here they are. My first real completed pair of socks (I am not counting the Norwegian Stockings�??they are after all, stockings…not socks.)

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I learned so much from these babies. Part of me is surprised that I actually finished. You see, I have tried to knit socks before. Maybe my 4th knitting project ever was a pair of socks. I gave up on them because I had no faith in the sock pattern as they seemed too big and were taking FOREVER. Plus the needles were just so small. Really, I just wasn’t ready. A month or so later I attempted my second pair with different yarn which resulted in one ill-fitting sock. I liked the colors and because the yarn was a nice thick worsted they weren’t as intimidating to me but I was so bummed when I tried it on because it didn’t fit my heel at all. I didn’t understand enough about knitting to figure out what was wrong or how I could fix it so I left the sock to it’s sad single self.

I left socks alone for a while and only in recent months have I again felt the draw of hand knit socks. I have long admired the gorgeous socks made by craftoholic Steph. Look at her gallery and all those awesome socks (I am in love with the Gothic Knee Highs). She offered several of the lace patterns she used for her socks and so I emailed her, got the patterns, and decided on the Orchid socks.

See the back:

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Okay, so here are my notes:

The yarn… Anne from Schaefer Yarn. All their colorways are unique so I don’t know what to call the color but I loved the mix of burgundies, purples, and oranges when I found it at my LYS. A few things surprised me about the yarn. It seemed to knit up darker then the ball looks. Also, it sort of self-stripes in this cool wavy way. I loved the yarn when I bought it and I still really like it. Although, part of me thinks the pattern would have been highlighted better in a lighter, more solid color.

The sock anatomy… I decided to try toe up socks with short row heels. I figured out what to do using a variety of online patterns and helps. I loved knitting the socks toe up�??I think it is so cool to watch it grow from the bottom and also how you can really see how they are going to fit as you knit. I chose a pointed toe because at the time it seemed easiest but I don’t love the pointed toe and probably won’t do one again. I think I will try a short row or rounded toe next. I liked doing the short row heels and will definitely do them again. I think I like them better then heel flaps as they fit my foot well and are much sleeker looking. With the exception of the toe I used this pattern for the basic outline of the sock. The sock is a 60 stitches sock and knit on US 1’s.

The sock pattern… love the pattern. It was so fun to knit and watch develop. See a close up:

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The ribbing… okay, I knit the ribbing on these socks maybe 6 different times. I just couldn’t get it right. I finally ended up increasing 4 stitches on my first row of ribbing and working K2, P2 until the last row when I switched to 2’s and then bound off VERY loosely with the larger needles. This worked better although I wish I would have done more rows of ribbing (I did about 10).

What would I do differently?… well, I think I made the sock either too long or too short. It hits in that really awkward spot where my calf starts so the sock doesn’t stay up as tight as I would like. Because of how pretty the pattern is, I would like the socks to have a really close tight fit so you can see it clearly. They don’t sag, but they are looser then I would like. I should have done some increasing (which I need to figure out how to do so if anyone knows of a good formula then please let me know) and made them a few inches longer. Or, I should have made them an inch or two shorter. In my real dream world, I would have made them knee highs but again, I don’t know a good formula for increasing up the leg yet.

In the end, I am very pleased. I am wearing them to work today which makes me happy. I remarked to a co-worker that I don’t think I would ever buy socks in this color scheme or normally wear socks like these but because I made them they automatically become my style. I believe I have a new love here�??sock knitting love. Everyone in blogland has already caught the vision and now I have too. It is like I finally get it.


The following 7 comments were originally left at blogspirit:

Hurray! Another sock addict. They pattern is very cool and looks fabulous on your leg. You learned so much for a first sock. I wear my hand knit socks every day but I’m a bit of a fashion mess. They sure feel good, however.

Posted by: margene | 03/23/2006

I love the pattern, your socks look fabulous!
I love Schaefer’s Anne such a scrumptious yarn
Great job on the socks ; )

Posted by: Amanda Cathleen | 03/23/2006

Awesome awesome socks. I thinks you did a fantastic job.

Necia

Posted by: Necia | 03/24/2006

Oooh, they look really nice. Look at you–your first socks and your doing all this fancy stuff. Go girl!

Posted by: Kim | 03/24/2006

Those look great! Are you sure that is your first pair of socks?! I had to search that yarn and now I want some too.

Posted by: Lauren | 03/26/2006

Those are some good looking socks! I love the leafy pattern, so ready for spring. My first (and only) socks were more slippers, made from bulky wool.

Posted by: erin | 03/26/2006

Simply beautiful!

Posted by: michaele | 04/06/2006

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Guess what arrived in the mail today?

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Gorgeous, gorgeous sock yarn. Kara and I both ordered from Sundara Yarn which is a brand new yarn company selling amazing hand-dyed yarn. Plus it is run by one woman. She is crazy talented and has beautiful yarn. We each got two skeins of the most beautiful colorway cherry blossom and it arrived super fast. I am in love with this stuff. I don’t know yet what I will use it for but I am excited to figure it out. I think I am going through a sock phase. Who knew knitting socks was so fun? I am loving my Orchid socks. I am on the second one and will hopefully be done this weekend. I have learned a lot about knitting socks from this project so I will share all and show how they turned out as soon as I am done.

In the meantime, I also started the Deep-V Argyle Vest. Here is my start:

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I settled on the gauge after several tries swatching. I decided I liked the way it looked knitted up on 4’s best so I am working out all the math to knit it with that gauge. The most difficult part is that I have a shorter row gauge and so re-working all the rows makes my head hurt�??but I think I have it figured out. I am enjoying the pattern so far, it is easy to remember and fun to watch grow. I am glad I learned to knit with a color in each hand when doing my Norwegian stockings because it is making this a lot easier to do. Anyway, I am excited to continue but very nervous about the concept of steeking. Even the word sounds hard doesn’t it?

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to everyone!


The following 6 comments were originally left at blogspirit:

Very pretty! I’m glad you’re having a good time with the socks. Can’t wait to see them.

Posted by: Steph | 03/17/2006

Ok, I am posting a comment regarding an earlier post… Help! I’m trying to get the Panta pattern, but all I can get on Craftster is the forum page. How do I get to the pattern???

Posted by: Amanda | 03/18/2006

mmmm, love the sock yarn! Beautiful color!
your vest is lookin’ good : D

Posted by: Amanda Cathleen | 03/18/2006

Thank you SO much for the panta pattern!!
I am envious of that cherry blossom yarn….

Posted by: Amanda | 03/19/2006

I love the colors…and the design. Can’t wait for you to show us the finish product. You are amazing!

Posted by: Posted by: Mom | 03/20/2006

Can’t wait to see those amazing finished projects.
Knit on!

Posted by: Latoya | 03/20/2006

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The Sister/Roommate

If you have been reading my blog, you may have heard me mention my fellow knitter, roommate, and younger sister Kara. For a visual, here is a picture of my Mom and sisters and I shopping in Korea (Kara is on the far right):

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Isn’t my family cute? Kara and I learned knitting around the same time (well, I learned first and then taught her when she decided she wanted to copy me) and have since become roommates. We are both a tad on the OCD side which means that we fit in with all the crazy knitters out there in blogland. And you all are crazy…you know this right?

At the very least Kara and I are crazy. We have a room solely dedicated to our yarn and blocking board. We have matching project bags in the TV room downstairs. We both have to try really hard (and I mean hard) to not think about knitting (aka browse knitting blogs) all day at work. We prefer knitting on a Friday night to most other activities. We envy the girl who we saw knitting during church�??as we know we can never become her as we won’t let ourselves be THAT kind of crazy. We love and heart knitting. Both of us are equally obsessed…granted, I was obsessed first but she soon gained her own independent obsession.

When we discovered blogs we had so much fun learning terms together such as LYS and FO. Kara supported me in starting my blog but refused to join in as she didn’t want the pressure of posting. But I knew it wouldn’t last. She was bound to eventually follow my lead and that day has come.

Visit my talented girl:

Knitting Lemonade

Go see all her cool FO’s and WIP’s. Right now she is working on Gauntlet’s…yes, the same Gauntlets I made a few short month’s ago…I know, the girl can’t stop copying me. It is like I am her idol or something. Honestly though, I can’t think of any groupie I would rather have. I love my sister/roommate.

Serious note to even younger little sister Bri: Please don’t think this post means I love Kara more then you. Although, you refuse to learn to knit so you couldn’t blame me if I did. But I don’t.


The following 8 comments were originally left at blogspirit:

I have no problems being a copy cat. Frankly, it just reflects my impeccable taste.

Posted by: Kara | 03/13/2006

Oh my! You two, what can I say?!? It’s nice to have some one look up to you and have a companion/support in something you enjoy. Oh wait I ALWAYS look up to you two, I’m only 5’3″.

Posted by: Posted by: Cassi | 03/14/2006

You two are adorable. I can’t believe you saw someone knitting in church, that’s too funny. LOL

Posted by: heather | 03/14/2006

Thanks for your lovely compliment on my gloves, Erin! I’m great you get to live and knit with your sis. And a room dedicated to yarn??? I want to move in!

Posted by: Steph | 03/14/2006

I would find it very hard to live with one of my sisters. It’s wonderful you are so close and enjoy doing many of the same things. And YES, we are crazy, passionate for knitting!

Posted by: margene | 03/14/2006

Hi,
Thanks for visiting my blog. Starsky is totally doable, just take your time with it. Do it! Do it! Lol. This story bought tears to my eyes, I think I want to link both of you! Is it ok?

Necia

Posted by: Necia | 03/19/2006

I love it ~I really do Erin it is just too cool the way you knit. I am going to secretly long to be you and I guess Kara too.

Posted by: annzy | 03/20/2006

It’s okay, you can just long to be me. 🙂

Posted by: Erin | 03/20/2006

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Last night I swatched for the Deep-V Argyle Vest. Besides the fact that I messed up the pattern towards the end, I really enjoyed knitting the argyles and feel like my Norwegian Stockings gave me the right experience for a two stranded knitting project like this one.

See how pretty (I am loving the colors):

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Don’t mind the mistakes at the top. Eunny strongly suggests in her pattern that we should wash and block out gauge just like we would the final sweater so we really know what our gauge is. I usually knit up a gauge but I have never before done such a serious gauge…a bound off, hand washed, pinned to the blocking board gauge. I like to dive into a project and not spend too much time on a gauge. I know…bad me. So this time I listened and actually really enjoyed the process of blocking the swatch until this morning when I found out I was off. You mean I have to do it again??!? I got 24 stitches and 26 rows when I need 22 and 30. Looks like I will be swatching again tonight. Grrr.

My Orchid socks are coming along nicely. Now I am just trying to figure out how long to make them and what that means about shaping. I am thinking of making them around mid to upper calf length. Does that mean I need to increase stitches? I just want them to fit perfectly you know?

Okay, I am off to swatch.


The following 1 comment was originally left at blogspirit:

Good luck with your swatching! Your norwegian stockings look awesome!

Posted by: karrie | 03/10/2006

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I got yarn!

I love new yarn purchases don’t you? I don’t know about all you yarn dieters and stash-busters. I just don’t get it. First up…I know I said that this weekend I was going to work on finishing my intarsia sweater…but…I just wasn’t feeling it this weekend okay? On Thursday night I was cruising knit blogs for project ideas and remembered how much I like all of craftoholic’s socks and was inspired to knit some socks while waiting for a couple of online yarn purchases. I emailed craftoholic to get some of her patterns and she sent them to me the next day so on Friday I went to my LYS and found this…

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Gorgeous sock yarn�??the picture doesn’t really do it justice but the yarn is a subtle mix of pink, purple, burgundy, orange, and a heathered green. Seriously, I think I pet it for most of the night. It is Schaefer Yarn’s Anne which is 60% merino wool superwash, 25% mohair, and 15% nylon. One skein is quite large at about 560 yards and it took forever to wind but each second was worth it. This yarn is beautiful. I love love love it.

I decided that socks are a perfect side project�??you can take it with you anywhere and they are fun to knit up. Today I did something I have never before done…I brought my sock to work and knit during my lunch break with my co-workers. It relaxed me from work drama and my co-workers didn’t seem to mind so I might do this regularly. I was accused of having a dorky hobby from another co-worker who saw me but I kind of like being a dork so it didn’t bother me.

So about my socks…I decided on Steph’s Orchid socks and cast on this weekend. It has been slow moving at first because I decided to learn toe up socks and short row heels and have been making up that part of the pattern on my own. It has been a bit of a learning experience and I used several web helps to figure it out but now I am on the leg of the sock and will hopefully be done with my first soon. Here is a progress pic:

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I love the lace pattern and love watching it grow. I have been enjoying my socks so much that I almost forgot that I had two orders of yarn on their way to me. The first arrived today. It is my first order from Knit Picks. I have been curious about this yarn for a while but to be honest I am a bit of a yarn snob and I thought for sure a yarn this cheap can’t be all that. A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across Eunny’s Deep-V Argyle Vest and fell in love. Isn’t it pretty? I bought her incredibly detailed pattern and started looking into yarn for the project and saw that a lot of people over at craftster.org are using Merino Style from Knit Picks. So I took a look at their site, couldn’t argue with the price, and figured I should try it out. Today I got my order and am very pleased with the yarn. Obviously I haven’t started knitting with it yet but I am excited to get started.

Here is a picture of my yarn for the vest, Merino Style in Tide Pool and Storm:

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I will swatch this week and hopefully cast on this weekend. Since I wanted free shipping on my order (need $40 dollars to do it…yes, my vest yarn only cost about $20!) I also ordered a book (Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks ) and some gorgeously soft yarn for Grumperina’s Dad’s Sharfik :

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This is the Andean Silk line from Knit Picks in Slate and I am very pleased with how pretty and soft it is. So far I am extremely impressed with Knit Picks.

So kind of a long entry but I wanted to share joy of new yarn with you all. I only hope everyone can be as happy with their yarn as I am with mine.


The following 4 comments were originally left at blogspirit:

I can attest! As her sister/roommate I will go on the record as stating her sock is oh so fab. The orchid pattern is darling. And the yarn makes me jealous…so you know that is a good sign.

Posted by: Kara | 03/07/2006

Oh, yeah, you can’t beat knitpicks. You should check out their sock yarn! Very good stuff–my favorite that I’ve used.

Posted by: Kim | 03/08/2006

i am jealous! I wish I could be that ambitious! I can barely get in 5 minutes to work on my projects. i have too many projects goingon at once too. the socks do look awesome. they are so you! I LOVE IT!

Posted by: Posted by: Cassi | 03/08/2006

Very pretty yarn, I can’t believe how fast you are with that sock! It took me so long to get the short-row toe-up sock down.
The vest is on my list too, but I haven’t found the right colors yet. The blues you picked are beautiful.

Posted by: Steph | 03/08/2006

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First off…I must say thank you for all the nice comments on my stockings. I wish I had a way to email everyone who leaves a comment…but I don’t. So thank you.

I have decided that I am really pleased with how they turned out. I think my problem is that I get a little attached to the things I knit. We spend so much time together and I have images in my head of what they are supposed to look like and when something does not go exactly as envisioned then I get a little bummed out. I need to get over it.

One example of a project that has suffered from my issues is Paula. Paula is a sweater I worked on in the fall of 2005. I finished it a while ago�??well, I was like 96% finished. I put Paula aside because after I seemed it, I tried it on and it just didn’t look right to me. All I had left was to knit the tie but I got frustrated and decided we needed some time off from each other. As these things go, Paula was left forgotten. Once the Knitting Olympics were over, I become consumed with a desire to finish up some loose knitting ends that I have…starting with Paula. So I tried her on again and was cringing as I walked to the mirror to see the damage. Oddly, when I looked in the mirror, it didn’t look half bad. In fact, it looked pretty good. I thought, “surely, there had to be something wrong with it for me to cast it aside in despair.” The only thing I could really see was that the collar was seamed a little funny (giving me a slight Elizabethan look) but even that didn’t look bad. Honestly, what is my problem? So last night I knit the ties and now I present Paula:

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I wore it to work today and got several…”you didn’t knit that did you?” comments which are always satisfying. All in all I think Paula turned out really well. Here are some notes:

Pattern : Paula

Source : Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Collection

Yarn : Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk (Plum), 20 skeins

Needle Size : US 8

Modifications : I lengthened the arms and overall length and I knit the tie instead of using ribbon like the pattern suggested.

Comments : The only comment I have is about the yarn. This yarn is beautiful and soft. Really I love the way it feels and it was nice to knit with but I can already see (after only wearing it once) that it has a tendency to pill. I think that will age the sweater sooner then I would like and because of it I probably won’t use this yarn in the future.

So there you go. This weekend I am going to tackle my long forgotten intarsia sweater and see what I can salvage from that so check back with me. Also, I am waiting on some great online yarn purchases. Plus, I have some exciting news about my sister/roommate that I will share soon. All I am going to say now is, my little girl is growing up!


The following 6 comments were originally left at blogspirit:

Looks great! I have a sweater I’m trying to finish up now (the first one I’ve made), knit on size 2s. If it doesn’t look right there will be much swearing involved! Anyway, I’m glad yours turned out! Maybe the yarn needed time to settle or something.

Posted by: Kim | 03/03/2006

It looks fabulous! Sometimes a little break is the best thing when a knit acts up. She settled down nicely;-)

Posted by: margene | 03/03/2006

Gorgeous! I love wrap sweaters.

Posted by: heather | 03/03/2006

a little time away is a good thing sometimes in many areas of life! it looks great and the fit is fabulous!

Posted by: bonnie | 03/03/2006

It turned out beautifully and I like how the collar lightly hugs the neck! I’m just sad to hear the yarn is so fragile. I’ve been wanting to use some for a sweater, but this is the second time I read it’s not holding up 😦

Posted by: Steph | 03/03/2006

Paula is beautiful and well worth the wait, I’m sure. She came about when it was necessary and so it was.
Intarsia! Can’t wait to see it.
Knit on!

Posted by: Latoya | 03/07/2006

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