Monday, September 29, 2008

One Finished Object and One on the Way

I've been doing some secrete knitting, as it was a gift for my Sister-In-Law. I think she reads every now and again, so I didn't want her getting any peeks at this project I was doing for her little one to come.

My SIL is due to have baby Hunter around October 12. She is seriously close, but anyone who's been in that situation knows it's the worst part. Each day, hour and minute seems like an eternity.

When I was trying to come up with something to make for the Little One... I knew it had to be unique. It had to be something that fit the mom's taste. I then remembered a conversation I had with her about the new Harry Potter movie coming up in November (alas I do know that they've moved the release date - jerks!) and that she was wondering if taking Hunter would be possible.

Since he would be perhaps a month old by then I told her he would most likely sleep right through it. That is when I got this idea. It was brilliant. I was so super psyched about it. I bought me some hunter green and silver (gray) yarn from Knit Picks.

I then cast-on for a Slytherin Baby Bag. Yep, a snake wraps around the body to then rest on the left hand shoulder. Complete with buttons at the bottom to access for changing. I presented the gift in hopes that it would entice labor, but no good.

She was jumping up and down with excitement... or at least as much as a woman who is about to have a baby in two weeks can. If your wondering where I got the pattern... sorry to disappoint you, but I made it up on a whim. I do have the makings in progress for writing up the pattern and I'm hoping to have a free download available soon. Although it will be for a standard baby bag not the HP-Slytherin version. I don't want a certain writer coming after me for copyright violations;)

Saturday, September 27, 2008



The Rockin Sock Club package arrived and the new colorway is called Tide Pooling. The colors are super saturated and I'm totally in love with this yarn. This right here is a another good reason for me to sign up next year. We only get one more package and I'm kinda sad about it.

The pattern that came with it is fairly interesting and I'll most likely knit the sock up in it. What was also cool is the little extra goody in the bag... custom measuring tape!

Oh, and if this doesn't scream Fall I don't know what does:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

One Drop Done

I'm half way done with my pair of Gumdrop socks. I love how quickly one sock is knit up...but then I realize why I do them two at a time. Hopefully if I run home tonight, cast-on for the second sock I wont be left to feel the ill effects of SSS (second sock syndrome).

Pattern is fairly easy to memorize... that is if your not completely engulfed in your SnB conversation like I was last night. Not to bad of a mistake, but sheesh you'd figure I could handle it.

In other knitting news, Ogee has been frogged. Well, at least the back. I will drudge forward and keep my tension tight. I promise.

A package just arrived... OH YEAH BABY!
September's Rockin Sock Club Package!!!! oy... the SSS is killing me right now!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tension = Gauge

I've been hell bent on getting the Ogee Tunic done or at least front and back done before adding another monster of a project. The Pea Coat has been prepped and ready for several days now, but NO! I wanted to get further along before adding another project.

Over the beautiful weekend I got sick... head cold really. Stuffy, achy, sniffle, soar throat kinda sick... kept my weekend thrills down to couch knitting and movies. Monday was the worst of it all and so I stayed home. I slept most of the day away and when it was time to go to bed for real, I couldn't fall asleep. I then thought I should check on my Ogee as I was approaching the shoulder decreases and I wanted to make sure everything matched up.

That was when I got confused. Why is my back larger then my front?

The front would have to seriously stretch out to meet up with the side seems. That's odd. I cast-on the same amount of stitches... the armhole decrease match, but the width of the whole back turns out to be about 5 inches wider then the front. Not Good.

I pull out the ruler and I measure my gauge. My gauge grew. I then slumped onto the bed and cried. I was rows... ROWS away from having the back done. DONE!!! and now I have to rip the whole thing out. Why did I not notice this sooner?

The Knitting Gods have cracked their whips and I bow before them not worthy.

So? what did I do this morning? Well, I did what any bitch-slapped knitter would do... I cast-on for the Pea Coat... ok, the belt at least.

So There. Neener-Neener. I started it anyway.

Friday, September 19, 2008

No Math, I promise.

I do have to apologies for that last post... no more math... at least for a very. very. long. time. It gave me a headache writing it and gosh my eye balls were about to pop out of my skull just rereading it.

Instead I do want to show some updates I've been working on. Ogee Tunic is coming along superb! Just look here:

With the front done, I decided to repeat the same design on the back. It's going quick and with only sleeves to really get in my way I can totally see the finished object in my future.

It's sunny in good o'Chicago and if your living in any part of the Midwest your singing a happy tune. No rain and plenty of sun means everyone should get out and enjoy the weekend to the max! We don't get many of these and when they come take advantage.

In other news, I scored some Riverstone yarn the other day and I'm swatching right now...

Guess what for? Most of my SnB gals will be screaming it out as they read the above line. Here is a poor photo taken from the book.

That is a photo of the St. Brigid sweater designed by Alice Starmore in case your not familiar. I accomplished one of her other fabulous designs, Fulmar over this past year and I'm now tempted again with this one. I love cables.. what is a word stronger then love? ...adore? worship? lust? oh yeah... I lust cables;)

I picked up 2 skeins of this yarn, one in the above picture is the Harvest Moon color. I like it. It's a deep yellow, rustic, kinda mustard looking... like the color of fall. I just don't know if this will work well on me. I do wear the fall colors better but not sure if this is the right tone for my complexion.

I think I look good in this color, like it makes my hair even redder some how? But seriously... will I look ridiculous in this yellow sweater? Like a walking Banana?

My other back up color is Emerald green, which is my go-to standard color for anything. I just was thinking something new and different... but not stick out like a giant bumble bee.

Oh, here is a thought...I could modify this sweater to be a cardigan. What do you think?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Knitting Math Part 2

* * * * * * * W A R N I N G * * * * * * *


The last time we talked about knitting math, I covered how to calculate proper yardage for a project. That information can be used to design a new pattern or change a current pattern into a different gauge.

The next step involves plotting the gauge to full scale. Converting an existing pattern will give you exact cast-on, decreases and bind-off stitches to match your new gauge.

(yarn shots thrown in to help you deal with the math overload)

The simplest part of this takes some measuring or pattern checking. For instance, if you have a sweater where the front is 20 inch wide by 22 inches long. Your gauge measures at 4 stitches to the inch and 3 rows to the inch, then the math would look like this:

20 x 4 = 80 stitches to cast-on

22 x 3 = 66 rows will result in proper height.

Most of the time when a pattern tells you to knit until piece measures so many inches, I don't convert that section. You'll just knit to that length whether it's for armholes or necklines.

The trickier part of pattern conversions comes when you have decreases over a defined area. For example on sleeve cap shaping. If the pattern reads decrease at edge 1 stitch every other row. This will have to be examined to your new gauge and as I had to do this just recently I will give you the sample I worked on...

Original pattern calls for this cap sleeve shaping:
BO 5 st at the begin of next 2 rows (50 st remain)
DEC 1 st at each end of every needle every other row 4 times,
Then every row 14 times
BO 14 remaining st

The Shaping of Cap on Sleeves:
Pattern schematic has the width at 17 inch at the point where the shaping begins. Shaping of cap will happen over 7.5 inches ending with a width of 4 inches to bind-off. From the above description of the original shaping we see that the first BO action is dramatic. This quick BO will create a notch on both sides which should match the bind-off for the armholes.

We then have more decreases, but at a slower pace. A total of 8 stitches decreased every other row. You'll need to look for the row gauge of the original, which is 13 rows = 3 inch (or 3.25 rows per inch). Decreasing happens over 8 rows (every other row [2] x 4 dec)... then we calculate over the row gauge (8 rows ÷ 3.25 per inch = 2.46 in). This tells us that the slower pace decrease happen over a 2.46 inch span.

We'll then match this with our row gauge... 13 rows = 3.75 in (or 3.5 rows per inch) – please note I round up when I need to. We take this number (3.5) and find how many rows we'll need to do the slower decreases.

3.5 rows per inch x 2.46 inch = 8.61 rows

This shows not much of a change or difference between the original row gauge and new row gauge. Yet my stitch count is greater and I have to decrease significantly over a shorter distance.

The remaining 5 inches would have to accommodate a larger decrease amount compared to the original gauge. Instead I take a look at an overall decrease of the full sleeve. If I calculate so see how many times per row I would need to decrease my stitch count from 70 stitches to 20 over the full cap... 50 stitches ÷ 2 (for each edge of cap) = 25. Then divide that times our row gauge: 25 ÷ 3.5 = 7.14 inches. That puts us closer to the length of cap shaping we need verses planning out each row of decrease.

To make up for the .35 remaining I'll do a non-decrease row in the beginning which will give us plenty of length on the cap.

My pattern conversion:
BO 6 st at the begin of next 2 rows (70 st remain)
K 2 row in pattern. Ending on WS row.
DEC 1 st at each end of every needle until 20 stitches remain
BO 20 remaining st

Pattern converting can become a challenge. If you break it down section by section and have your calculator, pencil and paper handy it can work out just fine. Always take notes and jot numbers down. It's a process and if you need a break, take one.

Just knowing that it is possible to end up with a garment worth knitting is huge to me. I'm sure most people would say it's just not worth it. That is totally fine too. I would rather know that it's possible then to feel like there is nothing I can do about it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Something Different

If your reading this off of Bloglines or a Google Reader... you might want to click over just to take a gander.

Upon turning another blog-year older and having my b-day on Sunday, I wanted something new and fresh for the blog. I've been working on getting this together for months now and I don't think I'm done just yet.

Still trying to figure this whole html crap out, but I'm digging the new look.

How was everyone's weekend? Mine was wet. soaked. drizzly. The only good thing is that we didn't get any water damage. Friday started out fabulous at Nana’s Knitting Shop's Open House with my three favorite F's... food, friends and fiber! I was completely thrown off by winning a raffle prize. I never win!!

In fact enough yarn for a whole sweater!! How fabulous! and a perfect way to start my birthday weekend. Saturday lead to an afternoon at the DMV because my licence was almost expired. It wasn't half bad sitting and knitting while waiting for my number to be called. I love how knitting makes things not so painful;)

Sunday was pretty lazy with a matinee of Babylon AD. The movie was choppy and could have given more background information. It kind of left me thinking I was missing something, but lets get serious. I didn't go to see an award winning's all about Vinny!! yum

Even though I started writing this on Sunday night...Tuesday has got to be the worst. I wont get into it just yet as I haven't even made it through to the end. So, I'm passing out kisses and cookies for everyone;)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Winner

I first what to express many thanks to everyone who participated in the contest. Love the blog listings and my Bloglines has grown because of it.

I was also so amazed to see that in the middle of everyone sending me cool blogs I had been given an award by A:). [blush] awwww, thanks.

The rules seem to be as follows:
1. Post the award on your blog.
2. Ad a link to the person who gave you the award
3. Nominate at least 4 others
4. Leave a comment on their blog so they can pass it on

Now... coming up with blogs that haven't already received this award is tricky but I'll give it a go.

Tales from the Den of Chaos is a funny, witty and makes me feel like I'm not the only one in this crazy world.

So, the thing is a new great find and felt instantly connected to her new relocation to a new state.

Adventures of Old Bean is a spinner and knitter and how can you not love gratuitous baby photos.

RoseLea Spins a Yarn is spinning and knitting all the way from New Zealand.

Now for what you've all been waiting for. Hubby picked the Winner of the contest out of the hat.

And without further ado....the winner is ikkinlala!

Congratulations and thanks again to everyone for playing along.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Progress on Ogee

The front of the Ogee Tunic is off the needles.

I've done some major modifications. When reading the pattern it tells you to start the neck shaping when the slit finally measures 9.25 inches. What? So, I go looking through Ravelry and I see all the projects have very low dipping slits. I really didn't want this... it would mean I would have to wear something under it. Needless to say my slit is not that deep.

Now I have concerns about the sleeves matching up with the armholes. I will have to make some adjustments I'm sure. I have been taking notes, so if I cross my fingers everything will work out fine.

Yay Me!
It's My Blogiversary today and if you post a comment containing 3 unique blogs you'll be in for a chance to win sock yarn! Deadline is midnight tonight!! I'm hoping to draw winners over the weekend. Thank you all for everyone's list of blog entries... have been discovering new ones and loving it!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Knitting Math

* * * * * * W A R N I N G * * * * * *



[mic: tap. tap.] Are you still with me? Okay then, you asked for it.

I've always been good at math and geometry. I get the concepts, shapes and love that everything fits perfect. Where as the English language has always stumped me. I remember having an intense discussion in the 3rd grade with my teacher about the word knife, but I digress.

So it all started a long long time ago with a project that screamed KNIT ME! The New Pea Coat from Interweave Magazine Fall 08. The pattern calls for two yarns to be knit with each other in this woven stitch pattern. Fabulous for the fall. After looking at some yarn choices I decided that a bulky weight yarn could substitute for the pattern.

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed Chuncky

I swatched on 10.5's, 11's and 13's... and I suppose if I was actually doing the woven stitch pattern correctly I would have gotten a more accurate stitch count. Either way my gauge was off and not by one stitch. It was off by a lot.

Still my vision of doing the coat was not diminished. Having the coat knit up with this yarn presented some issues. First off is having enough yarn to complete the project and second figuring out new measurements for all the components.

For the time being we'll stick with the first task of yardage.

What you'll need to start with is producing a gauge swatch. You might need to do several and you'll always want to wash/block your swatch. Chose the swatch you most desire your finished texture to resemble. That is if you prefer a dense fabric or something more lofty then this is where you'll make those decisions.

With your swatch done you'll need to measure the width and height. Say for this demo we've produced a 4 x 4 inch square swatch. Take note of the stitch count and row count of the swatch. Measure several random areas to get an average.

What you've just done is produced a 8 square inch area of your future project. If your swatch was 3.5 x 3.5 then you get a 7 square inch area. Nothing more then multiplying the two together, kinda like finding the square foot of a room.

I then take a clasp stitch markers and place one at the beginning of the cast-on row through the tail by splitting the yarn. This marks the beginning of the work. I then place another one at the end of the bind-off row splitting the tail again. These markers now represent the length and yardage of yarn used to produce a 4 x 4 inch square.

Are you with me so far? Need a break... here:

Having marked the swatch from end to end you'll then need to unravel the swatch. With your swatch all undone you'll then measure the length between both markers. There are 36 inches in a yard. I started with a tape measure on the floor and measured out 36 inches sections wrapping the yarn back and forth until you've come the end stitch marker. Count the number of lengths the yarn traveled and you'll have the number of yards used to knit your swatch. If you end up an uneven amount... don't worry. You can always round up or just count it as a fraction (.25, .5, .75). For this demo we'll say we ended up with 10 yards.

The next part deals with finding the full square inch area of the project at hand. It will be helpful if there is a diagram labeling the dimensions of the piece. For this demo we'll say it's a sweater. This sweaters finished measurements are labeled (backs and fronts are separate) at 20 inches for the width and 22 inches for the length. Sleeves are labeled at 12 inch at wrist with a length at 19 inches.

You might start to wonder about increase or decreases interfering with your measurements. There is about a 10 percent margin that you need to take into consideration when making your final yardage decision. If your project has a lot of shaping and your concerned... take the widest measurement as your base and you wont have to worry about being off.

With the numbers above you'll need to multiply the widths times the lengths. Like this:

Back: 20 x 22 = 440
Front: 20 x 22 = 440
Right Sleeve: 12 x 19 = 228
Left Sleeve: 12 x 19 = 228

Added all up: 1,336

You will then take this number and divide it by the square inch area from your swatch and you have this:

1,336 ÷ 8 = 167

You then multiply this times the number of yards found in your swatch and you have this:

167 x 10 = 1,670 yards

This is the total yardage needed to complete the project at the gauge you've chosen and if your skein is labeled at 110 yards per ball then you'll need 16 skeins for the project.

Not only does this knitting math help in re-gauging an existing pattern, but helps a lot for design knitting. The down side is this is just the beginning of converting a pattern to a different gauge. Part two entails changing the numbers in the pattern to fit the changed stitch count. For example the cast-on, decreases and bind-off will all have to be adjusted. sigh. I hope I haven't scared you off but perhaps enlightened you.

If this has at all helped or you'd like more on this topic please leave a comment and I'll see what I can do.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Spinning Up Color

Saturday was a special treat, as I got to spin with the gals. A:) was a fabulous host and Knitterary joined us with her Catherine Parr.

This was one of my purchases from Stitches Midwest a couple of weeks ago... Mountain Colors Targree Top in the Indian colorway. It seemed so perfect to start this fall off with a bang! It's spongy and lofty and can't wait to spin the rest up. I would love to keep the colors together, so most likely a Navajo 3-ply. Unless I can get the bobbins to line up with the same colors.

Don't Forget!
My Blogiversary is this Friday and if you post a comment containing 3 unique blogs you'll be in for a chance to win sock yarn!

Wednesday Nights are Stitch 'n Bitch Nights
If your in the South Suburbs of Chicago join us at Panera Bread at 7pm till close for tons of laughs.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Blogiversary 2.0

Just take a moment and think about this... 2 years. 730 days. 17,520 hours... okay, I'm getting out of hand. But people. dudes. I've been blogging since 2006, gosh that seems like forever! wow. I feel like I haven't even really started, yet here we are.

So, in honor of the special day, I'm having a contest. I love to discover new blogs. I even read ones that don't have any fiber related topics, if you can believe that. Peeking into the lives of others has enriched my life and amazingly brought me closer to family and friends by blogging too.

Contest Rules: You have until Friday, September 12, 2008 at midnight to leave me a comment containing 3 different, unique or fantastic blogs you've discovered and enjoy.

The blogs don't have be fiber related, or highly popular but perhaps funny, artistic, witty, and entertaining... that is always good. Anyone can enter, but only one name will be but in for the drawing. Once midnight comes I will pick a winner at random and one lucky winner will get to choose between these two yarns:

Yarn: Aussi Sock (Ravelry Link)
Fiber: Merino, Nylon
Yards: 400
Color: Winner gets to pick between the color Oak Moss or Plum Rosie.

I look forward to reading up on some cool blogs and blogging some too. Thank you all for reading, participating and being apart of this great big world... you make life easier to manage;)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Monday Rant

Is there any reason for there not to be a huge media release on the Metra Electric fowl up last Friday? Besides for A:)'s great description of that adventure, I haven't seen much in the news or blogs.

We're talking about thousands of people getting disrupted by this event. I think we all have chalked it up to "shit happens" but why have we settled for this? Why aren't there more people saying "That it just not right!"... With increased ridership (less seats) and increased ticket prices... it makes you wonder why not more of an upset.

Done with ranting.

Friday, September 05, 2008

On Track

After ripping out the 24 or so rows of cable work, it's back on track and looking so much better.

The pattern has you build this traveling cable on a stockinette background which doesn't work with this yarn. My modification has added purl stitches in along the edge of the traveling cable and also on the inside sections.

Here is a little story to hopefully brighten your day...

Last night as I was talking with my mum on the phone, Miss Mac suddenly is pleading for my attention.

MM: I was wiping my butt.

Me: Excuse me mum, MM has accomplished the act of wiping. (It's the Big Issue in our house)

MM: It wont go down the hole.

Me: Wait... what was that?

MM: I was going potty. I wipe my butt. It wont go down.

Me: Mom, I have a poo situation at hand and have to go... (hang up phone)... Now, MM what is this all about. (as I walk towards the bathroom).

MM: See it wont go in the hole. (as she points her finger at the ever increasing water level in the toilet then proceeds to flush again)

Me: Oh Crap (yes literally) Where the Hell is the Plunger?????

Total hysteria hits the house as Eric and I frantically search for the plunger that should be right. there. next. to. toilet. Yes, my evening was then left with sanitizing the bathroom and running a load of funky bathmats. sigh. My plans of going to bed early were tossed out with the toilet water. So when in doubt knit.

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Ogee goes Ugee

After checking and rechecking my blocked swatch, I'm on point and gauge is cool. I picked up the Ogee Tunic once again and was able to start some of the cable action for the front. And now that I think about this, I might even repeat the cable on the back so I don't get bored.

Anyway... the yarn is super dreamy to work with, but it doesn't hold up on cables. See here:

The tight twist and superwash fiber looks sloppy. After doing the Fulmar and having those cables scream at me, I'm a little disappointed in this project. I'm still going forward with it as planned but making some modifications to the pattern. Nothin' you've never heard before, right?

I know in the end it will work out and be super squishy and fabulous... just less structured then the photo sample. I'm okay with that... so far.