My Favorite Things: April

fair_isle_tube_scarf-592_medium2

So I haven’t been working on this as much as I should, but since I knew from the start this would be a long haul type project I’m not too worried.  Anyway, I missed last month, but I have remembered to post this month with some progress.

This month’s motif is from a cowl pattern called Toast Wrap and it is a very fun and easy chart to remember.  Sometimes there is something to be said for simple geometric motifs.  I also had similar colors to the original pattern, but really any color combination would be easy to do.

toast mft

And there is my latest panel added to my scarf.  I only did about 3 repeats of the chart.  For some reason I seem to be making all of the sections about the same length, but that will change as I get into some of my bigger pictures that I want to include.  Since the pattern isn’t mine, you’ll have to click through the link to grab the motif for yourself.

 

Happy Knitting!

Sushi Charts

I am pretty proud of myself I must admit.

Since I have to take it easy on the knitting for awhile for the sake of my wrists and arms, I have been cultivating my fair isle chart collection for my My Favorite Things scarf.  In the process of looking for a chart on Tricksy Knitter I stumbled onto this chart:  Sushi Chart.

And I thought to myself, “There is nothing you love more than sushi.”  And since this is supposed to be a scarf all about your favorite things I absolutely have to have a sushi section in my scarf now.

The only problem with the chart is that the motifs are stacked on top of each other, and since I am working in the round I need them more in a row.  So I adapted the chart to my needs.  Then I made up two of my own using the other chart as a base which I thought I would share here.

sushi chart 1This first one is like the sushi they make with roe on top.  I was pretty proud of my ability to convey tiny little round fish eggs in blocky box form.  Granted I have not actually knit this so it may look terrible when it’s done.  I also plan on knitting the base in black but if I fill in black on the chart in Excel you can’t really tell where your stitches are anymore.

sushi chart 2This one is a tamagoyaki sushi which is egg on top of a mound of rice with some sushi wrapper going around the middle.  Again proud of my ability to add some three dimensionality and perspective to a flat graphic chart.  I am a nerd.  Also as a note, the big middle line that wraps around the rice and the egg i tried to make a darker gray; that will probably also be knit using black.

I sort of wanted one more but it would have to be a round one since I am too lazy to rearrange them.  Okay, if I really want a fifth motif I would probably have to do another nigiri sushi like the tamagoyaki, but that would leave me doing like shrimp….and I am allergic to shrimp so not exactly something you want on a my favorite things type item.  Also these will essentially be my first attempts at instarsia because I do want to try to incorporate colors so that will most likely be a pain in the ass.

I am not going to lie, I was ridiculously happy working on these.  I wish I had a more effective way to do it beyond Excel, but we use the tools we have at our disposal.

I hope you find these as cute as I do.

 

Happy Knitting!

 

Running Socks

Not too long ago after graduating from college I was unemployed for a very long stretch of time (almost 2 years really) and it was sort of a bleak black hole of a time in my life.  It wasn’t really my fault, the economy was still reeling and I was generally competing against people with masters for a job I didn’t even really want, but was kind of desperate for in order to cover my finances.  I really don’t like thinking about it, because let’s just say I did not handle it very gracefully.  I was frustrated and angry all of the time, and I hit a point where I just didn’t really care a whole lot about anything anymore–including whether or not I got out of bed for the day.

Then I took a long hard look at myself and got angry at me.  I was basically destroying my body for not very good reasons and I decided that everything needed to change.  So I picked myself up of the ground and made myself go outside again.  Eventually I moved on to running and I have been trying to get better at it every since.  Last year my Christmas gift to myself was a treadmill and now that the weather is FINALLY nice out I am going to be hitting the park a lot more.  Which means I need me some fancy new socks.  Fancy knit running socks that is:

run socks

This pattern was featured on the front page of Ravelry and when I realized it would only cost me about $3 I went ahead and bought it.  You can find the pattern here:  Runner’s Socks.

This is the first color combination I did.  I also have some started that will be green and pink, and then I purchased a red and a yellow, but the red is more like burnt orange and the yellow is pretty much high-lighter colored, so they don’t necessarily go well together.  That is why I was so excited when KnitPicks had their new line of Stroll Sock Yarn come out.  I have been knitting these up with the Stroll which is a superwash Merino wool and nylon blend.  That means they are both washable and should retain most of their shape thanks to the nylon.

Chevron detail

Chevron detail

I took these bad boys for a spin on the treadmill the other day and they worked beautifully.  I wish I could knit faster so that I could have a dozen pair of these.  They will be even more flashy with my highlighter colors.

The only downside to these is that they are knit on size 1 needles, so you may as well be knitting with toothpicks.  It takes me about 4 or 5 days of non stop knitting to finish one sock.  So they aren’t exactly a fast little project.

My feet are so dumb looking.  Feet are weird.

My feet are so dumb looking. Feet are weird.

 

Since it was my first time knitting them one of them turned out slightly bigger than the other (I must have had a tighter tension on the second one), but they still both fit really well.  Though it would be nice if my feet were less flat so that the pattern looked a little nicer when they were actually on my feet, although honestly, the only people that will ever see it is me.

Anyway, wool is far superior to cotton for wicking moisture away from your body, and since I now know how many repeats of the pattern are needed to fit my foot I can knit subsequent pairs much more quickly than the first time.  I only ever wear ankle socks anyway, so I’m excited to finally have a pair that really fit my foot that I made myself.

 

Happy Knitting!

L.A. League Sweater Wrap Up

This is one of those projects that shows me why I like knitting so much, because there is always room to learn.  This was a project that required more patience than I was prepared for but I’m glad I was able to take the extra time necessary to make the sweater as I wanted it.

rs1

Unfortunately being a curvier gal, this sweater is not quite as over-sized as I would have liked it to be, but the open ladders are fun and the yarn is soft, comfortable, and warm.  It will be a perfect transition garment as we move from spring to summer.

Here’s a closeup of the stitch pattern:

rs2

The best thing about having made this sweater once is that I think I have the pattern figured out enough to recreate it in a slightly larger size if I am ever inclined to.  The pattern seems to work in multiples of fours.  The dropped stitches are easy to do and in my opinion a simple way to add a cool detail to what would otherwise be a pretty plain sweater.  The only downside is that all of the panels are knit in rib, which is one of my least favorite things to knit and unfortunately so necessary on most projects that require it.

If you saw my last post you know that I was having some issues with the sweater.  One panel I had to rip out twice near the end (after I had dropped stitches) so that both panels would be the same size.  After I started over I realized I hadn’t ripped out far enough eliminating the bind off set up, so I had an awkward row of purl stitches in the middle of my neckline.  If it had been on the wrong side I could have lived with it, but since it wasn’t I ripped out again to make it look nice all the while cursing my perfectionist soul.

Anyway, the only other issue I ran into was with the arms.  I sort of had a sinking suspicion as I was knitting the arm pieces that they weren’t going to fit me, only I thought it would be the cuffs that were too small.  Nope turns out it was the shoulder area that gave me problems.  I have pretty broad shoulders and this seems to be a common problem with set in sleeves.  So after some searching I stumbled onto gussets.  Usually if you knit a gusset it’s designed to give you more room in the chest (ladies pay attention) and negates having to rip out to add short rows, or incorporating short rows to begin with (ps, I also hate short rows).  You would usually knit a diamond and insert it vertically, but in my case I needed one that worked width wise (horizontally) on the sleeve to give me a little extra circumference around my arm.

rsgusswt

Of course given that I was running out of yarn this was pretty nerve wracking.  I needed to be able to knit a gusset and then still have enough yarn to sew it in and sew up the rest of the sleeve.  For the sleeve I had already sewn up I had to unravel some of my seaming, weave in the leftover ends, and then still have enough yarn to sew a gusset into it.  It was a process and it took longer than I was expecting it too.  It was in the end very worth it though.

Since this is an alpaca/wool blend and is designed to be loose and open I have yet to decide if I want to block it.  For alpaca it’s usually best to steam, but I’m kind of lazy for that.  I may just hang it up when I take a shower a couple of times and let it loosen up that way.  :D

Anyway, I am taking a short break for a couple of reasons: 1) I have a job interview next week that I need to prepare for 2) I am going to South Korea in basically a week and 3) If I don’t stop knitting for such long periods of time I am going to seriously injure my wrists and shoulder.  I need to just regulate my knitting to one or two days a week for awhile even if it is annoying to me.

*Sigh*

I don’t really know how it happened (okay I do, I remeasured my front and back panels and they are about an inch more than they should be lengthwise), but I have run out of yarn for my L.A. League Sweater, which means that I have a couple options:

1) Sit and cry (really this is a given since I’m already doing it as I try to finish up the last sleeve).

2) Buy more yarn (more on that later)

3) Unravel some of the front and back pieces and hope I have enough yarn to sew everything together.

or

4) Use another type of yarn to sew it together.

 

Since I now know that my front and back are too tall or whatever, I obviously have to go with option 3 to fix this.  This is incredibly annoying however because I already screwed up one of the front/back panels, and even RIPPED OUT TWICE after DROPPING STITCHES (on purpose for the pattern) to make sure that both pieces matched each other.  The prospect of ripping out again makes me want to curl up in a ball and weep.

If the yarn wasn’t nearly $10 a skein and shipped from the UK (which then costs me $10 to ship + surprise customs fees) I would seriously just order another skein of yarn.  However, it’s not really worth $20.  I mean, I’m lazy but not that lazy.

I may have fervently wished that I lost a skein of yarn somewhere.  Alas, the yarn gods are not with me on that one today.

Anyway, moving forward!  I want to try to fix the front and back panels and have this sewn up tonight, unless I decide to block the pieces first in which case I will then definitely finish it by tomorrow.

 

Happy Knitting!

I remember one time

I may or may not have said something along the lines of, “I will not buy any more yarn until I use up what I have.”  And I’m sure all the knitters and crafty people around the world had some kind of crafting sense that someone just said something stupid and  just laughed and laughed and laughed.

Because KnitPicks may or may not have come out with highlighter colored sock yarn.

 

Main-Feature_strollbrights

…………………….And I may or may not have bought a skein of every single glorious highlighter color.

 

IT WAS LIMITED OKAY?!?!?!

To be fair this is for a project.  I have been knitting running socks and I just knew that these would be perfect for that.  Everyone knows you run faster when you are wearing bright blinding colors.  Okay I made that up, but still, I can never resist the siren call of neon colors especially if it’s for workout gear.  XD

PS If you click on the picture you can take a look yourself.

PPS I would pretend this is the last time I will try to save money instead of buy yarn…but let’s be serious here.  We all know that won’t happen.

Happy Knitting!

Knitting Chart Software

I used to think that charts were the scariest things on the planet.  I mean they had all of those weird symbols and you had to read them right to left, and worst of all you had to remember to invert them for your wrong side rows if you weren’t knitting in the round.  Now, I absolutely love charts and frankly prefer them over written instructions 90% of the time.  Of course I have moved into more adventurous knitting–colorwork, cables, etc.  Those types of knitting definitely benefit from having some kind of chart to them.

However, I don’t always have the best means of converting a written pattern to a chart, unless I want to make my own graph paper.  (PS I am really surprised by how hard it is to find graph paper where I live.  Maybe I am looking in the wrong places, or I need to shop during school supply season.)  Anyway, I know people have made special knitting paper that looks like stitches to better accommodate the medium and I know there are printable versions on the internet but sometimes you just want an easier way to work.

Enter KnitBird.  I have a sweater that I want to make someday, however the pattern is one of those “more of a recipe less of a pattern” type patterns that can be fun if you have the experience or frustrating if you are lazy like me.  :D  The way the pattern is written would require me to remember when to cable on certain rows, and also has a chevron (aka flying geese) pattern that has a small chart included by not within context of the overall sweater pattern.  Not to mention if I have to doctor the pattern to make the sweater bigger or smaller to fit me, which requires inserting extra stitches into the pattern.  You know what helps with that?  Being able to visualize the pattern…and maybe better math skills than I have.

I started searching for knitting software for Macs (since that is what I currently have, however, most knitting programs are for Windows).  I stumbled onto this application, and I have been testing KnitBird with their free trial version on the sweater pattern I want a chart for:

 

I uh, I actually screwed up the test....*facepalm*

I uh, I actually screwed up the test….*facepalm*

 

So far working with the program is very simple.  You have options on the left such as stitch type, coloring certain squares different colors, selecting certain sections so you can copy/paste them, and even creating repeats.  Pretty cool.  You can also import images directly and add text to create some pretty professional looking patterns.  It even has a calculator right there in the right column to help you with your aforementioned knitting math.  I haven’t played with all of the features, and since I only have the trial version it will shut down every thirty minutes and I can’t save anything I makes so it’s a little hard to determine how useful it can be.

There are some cons to this program, namely the fact that it is such a simple program.  This type of software definitely seems geared more towards color charts, since the included stitch symbols are pretty limited in scope.  For instance, there is a knit 2 together option, but no purl, and while you can doctor up the symbols by writing new meanings for them, most knitters are accustomed to certain symbols and their meanings, so that’s not as practical as it initially seems.  This program is probably not designed for intricate patterns like lace, however, at a nicely priced $40 I am seriously considering purchasing the program.  It seems to fit my current needs and cuts out the added work trying to make charts in Excel or Word invovles.  For instance, on top of wanting to chart out my sweater if you’ve seen my one afghan wip I may have mentioned that the center panel chart is seriously wrong.  I had to write on it but it looks sloppy, this software would be a great way to rewrite the chart if I was so inclined, and possibly print it at a size that doesn’t require squinting and/or using a magnifying glass.  If I take the plunge and purchase the program I will let you know how I feel about it as I use it more.