Sunday, February 15, 2009

Baby got back!

Soccer + Martial Arts = Butt Muscles

Which I forgot that I had. The largest measurement of my ass is 37 inches. I'm rather pleased by this number, since it makes a great hip to waist ratio. It also explains why I don't fit size 2 jeans anymore. Or size 4 for that matter. I think I'm okay with this.

The reason I'm suddenly obsessed with measurements is that I took my measurements today. Why bother? Because I really want to make a knitted lace dress by Vogue Knitting. And, as anyone who's ever made a Vogue pattern knows, Vogue does NOT use real people's measurements. Seriously? Who has a 26 inch waist and a 34 inch chest? NOT me. I've sewn Vogue patterns before, I should know better.

So, I took my measurements, and I'm throwing Vogue's measurements OUT the window. Thankfully, the majority of the background on this pattern is stockinette stitch, so it's easy to do increases and decreases and maintain the lace pattern. I don't have that much changing between my waistline and my bustline: about an 1.5 inch increase, or only 6 stitches to increase for 34 rows. For the back bodice, I'm doing 2 sts increased every 10 rows. I think that's right.

I am a little worried how well my chest will fit, since there is a 2 inch difference between my bust and bustline. I'm going to try increasing 2 sts every 3 rows, for 34 rows, which should give me more room in the bust. Thankfully, I'll be meeting with Joy later, who is much better at understanding this gauge and size thing than I am. It's not scary math, but it is alot of algebra. Oh, for those that care, my gauge is 5.5 sts by 7.5 sts per inch. It's been pretty consistent.

As for the yarn, I love Zephyr. I'm using the 2/18 laceweight doubled, and it has forgiven me every time I've frogged the bodice. At this point that's atleast 4 times. Yeah. So the yarn was totally a worthwhile investment. All it's done so far is gained a tiny bit of halo. Hopefully, this will be the last time I need to frog it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Knitting News Bulletin - for me anyways

So, all knitting is on hiatus until the socks are finished. Well, almost all other knitting. I got through most of the cabling on the second fingerless glove, mostly because I didn't have any reinforcing yarn with me to start on the second sock last monday. Oops.

I'm about 3 inches away from turning the heel. Considering that I cast on the second sock on tuesday, I think I'm doing pretty darn good. The first sock... well, it turned out any first project does. It's got quirks here and there from where I was learning how to do stuff. An engineer might call them "design features" like the centimeter wide hole I closed with the end of reinforcing yarn. There's also the half-row on the toe that's not fully reinforced because I ran out of yarn there. Things like that, just all around the sock, that I will ignore when I give the socks to the boyfriend. I've learned alot about how to make a toe up sock and what NOT to do.

Let me say, I hate embroidery floss as reinforcing yarn. It's almost as thick as sock yarn, and knitting with it is a pain! I hate knitting with yarn practically doubled on tiny needles. It made the heel and the toe the slowest part of the sock! Rargh. One thing did go right with these socks, though. I am in love with the ease of EZ's sewn bind off. Well, what I did may not be her bind off, exactly, but it's true to the spirit of it. I looped the long tail of the yarn through the last row twice, once through the front and once through the back of all the stitches so that they lay flat like they were knit. It looks nice and it's oh-so stretchy. I love it.

The goal is to get the socks done by valentine's day. I can totally make it... while trying to study for two midterms. I really have no concept of impossible.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Needles in a haystack

If you were to stick my hands into a hay stack and have me knit like that, then that's how I feel like when I knit on DPNS. Dozens of little tiny sticks constantly poke me while I try to make one single stitch. I realize, that at most, there's really only 5 needles, but with the way they cross and - I swear - tangle with eachother, it might as well be a dozen. If I haven't mentioned it before, I hate double pointed needles with a firey raging passion. The first pair of socks I ever learned, I learned to do on magic loop because I hate DPNs that much.

I was reminded of my passion about DPNs today, when I tried to finish a finger on the celtic knot gloves. Needless to say, I didn't make it through one finger. The poor gloves have been languishing at the bottom of my knitting bag for a reason, I hate hate hate DPNs. It's not even their fault, I had the brilliant idea of adding half fingers to a fingerless glove pattern. Perhaps it's the tiny amount of stitches on tiny yarn that I attempt to do in the round, that make DPNs so difficult. But is it really necessary for one needle holding a mere 4 stitches of fingering weight yarn to twist around completely and then tangle with another needle while I try to knit stitches on the opposite side of the finger? Really? Really?

Suddenly, I understand why people knit completely fingerless gloves. I ripped out the half finger I'd made and then proceeded to rip out the one complete half finger remaining on the glove. The glove is now happily finished, thumb gusset and all, patiently waiting for me to weave in the ends. I don't know why it never occured to me to try knitting the fingers on magic loop. I might not have such a passionate loathing against DPNs if I had thought of trying magic loop first. I've even started on the second glove, with the lovely wooden harmony circs. So perhaps I will have a second pair of fingerless gloves before winter ends.

I've also noticed that the cable on knitpicks needle is 100X better than the cable on my addis. The addi's I have get kinks in the cable, and acquire a certain amount of twist to them after I've used them for a month or so at a time. I can relax the addi cable again with a dip in boiling water, but I haven't had any problems with the knitpicks cable at all. I'm a convert. I may start slowly collecting every needle size Knitpicks has to offer.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may"

Old time is still a flyin'.
For that same flower which blooms today,
Tomorrow may be dying.
-Herrick, Robert "To the Virgins, to make much of Time."

Yay! Today, I woke up and there was no pain in my left hand. Curling it was a little stiff, but no shooting pains. Much love to yoel for her cat sweater project which cheered me up. I crafted maybe a whole hour yesterday, and took it very easy on my left hand. By crafting, I mean I bound off on the front waistband of the vogue dress, and started on a crochet rose. It's loosely based off of A Rose By Any Other Yarn. By loosely, I mean inspired to think with yarn in 3D. I constantly forget that I am way better at crochet than knitting. The woman who taught me how to crochet taught me how to look at an object and determine how it was made - aka patternless crafting. I forget that I have that skill alot.

So, the "gather ye rosebuds" flower was born - or the Georgia O'Keefe rose. Once you see it assembled, you'll understand the reference. I didn't intend for the center of the bud to look so... well, similar to certain parts of female anatomy. Humor aside, it's a lovely reminder to take things easy. Aging sucks, my joints hate me, and I haven't hit thirty yet. It's to remind me that beautiful things bloom over time, and if I want to keep these skills, I have to work within my limitations. And probably pick up a regular exercise regime, that includes more than walking a mile around campus.

I haven't decided whether or not I will write the pattern for the rose. It's interesting to see it shape up to resemble our more modern rose, the hybrid tea rose. It's why I'm making up the pattern as I go along - the old Irish crocheted roses don't look like roses to me. When I thought about it, though, I realized that it wasn't modeled after the tea rose at all. The pointed bud shape of the tea rose is the product of much more modern breeding that only came about within the last century or so. The Irish rose was most likely modeled after the older varieties, like the floribunda. Actually, now that I've looked at one, I definitely see the resemblance. It makes sense, since the floribunda is a much hardier rose than the tea rose, and would have been much more common two centuries ago.

As for the rest of my projects, I think I bit off far more than I could chew with the f'ing deer socks. Colorwork and patternless socks? Ooops. The nail in the coffin was having him try on the first finished sock. Well, he tried to get it on, to no success. There simply wasn't enough stretch in the colorwork to fit his heel. I was sort of dreading making the color on the second sock anyways. Now that I know it doesn't fit, I think I might make a pair of normal socks first, before going back to these socks. The deer will have to be saved for another special occasion.

That, and I want to do reinforced heels on his socks. I don't learn, do I? Hmm, let's see - let's try a technique I've never done before in a pattern I've never done before. To make it more interesting, let's try it in fingering weight yarn! On magic loop! Brilliant! Sounds like fun to me. I needed to stop by a craft store today anyways.
Welcome to Crazytown, where my friends have proclaimed me queen. Why did they do that you ask? For some reason, there's very little that I fear about knitting. Hmm, a dress in laceweight done in lace knitting written by vogue? Sounds great! I have very few inhibitions when it comes to knitting, and that sometimes ends disasteriously. Apparently, other people think this signifies a level of crazy that only the royalty can attain. Follow along with my escapades as I dive head first into all sorts of insane techniques and projects without much more than an "Oh! That looks pretty, I can make it!"

Those will probably be my famous last words.