Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's a Secret

June is a big birthday month in my family. My mother and father both have June birthdays, and I still owe my sister some knits for hers (last November, ungh). So... it's not that I'm not knitting. It's that what I'm knitting is secret.

So, instead of pictures of knitting, have a cat picture. Merlin, sleeping in his bed-turned-into-cat-tunnel. They love the Purr Pad bed!

In not-secret knitting news: Remember this toe? I don't know what it is about toe-up socks, but my gauge gets all weird. I often knit socks with a caston of 60 stitches for myself, and they fit just fine. Sometimes, they're a bit loose, but generally, if I'm using regular (i.e. relatively thin) sock yarn and size 0/2mm needles, they fit. No swatch required. Just knit and go. So... when this toe was done, I decided to use it as a gauge swatch and measure. The pattern calls for 36 sts/4", on US #2 needles. Guess what I got?

You probably didn't guess 26 sts/4". But that's what I got -- giga toe, on US #0 needles. Why? Why???? I don't understand. This is the third or fourth time this has happened to me: cast on toe-up sock, measure gauge/try on, my stitches/rows are enormous. Rip, cast on top down, knit... no problem. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but it's really starting to bug me.
Looks like I'll be knitting toe-up knee-highs on US #00/1.75 mm needles. Hang around for frustration and unladylike language. Or don't. Maybe it's better that way.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Leprechaun-Shooting Princesses and a Vest

We had a great weekend visiting friends. They have a 3-year-old daughter who loves pink, princesses, and jewelry. She also knows what to do if she ever encounters a Leprechaun. She would "Shoot it, take it home, and make Leprechaun stew." Who said princesses were helpless damsels in distress? So here's a sock for the Leprechaun-shooting princess. The second one is still in the works, but I hope she enjoys them.
I guess she may have gotten a little confused between Pilgrims shooting turkeys in the woods around Thanksgiving Day and St. Patrick's Day...

I also finished my Back-to-School U-Neck Vest. Doesn't look like much just lying there, does it?

It transforms miraculously when you put it on, though... fits like a glove. Please excuse the bad hair, dark undereye circles, and rictus grin... it's been a long day at work, and then we'd just finished watching an old Dr. Who episode involving people getting massacred by aliens.

And here's a shot from the back. I love it. Still needs blocking, but I couldn't wait to show it off.

Pattern: Back-to-School U-Neck Vest from Fitted Knits
Size: 34" size; I intentionally didn't get gauge for a snugger fit as I wanted 0 or less positive ease
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca, left over from the Dad Sweater, about 2.5 skeins
Needles: US #6 and #4
Mods/Comments: This was a quick, fun knit. I made the ribbing longer (cast on for 34" size but made length for next size up), and I love the result. The trousers in the picture are low-rise, and the vest reaches all the way down.
The instructions are unclear in one place -- after the ribbing, the pattern says to start the broken rib pattern... except the first couple of rows are stockinette. I started with the broken rib right away, but if I had to do it again, I'd do the stockinette rows first. This looks fine, though -- it's just personal preference.

There is, however, a mistake in the neck shaping. For the front in the 34" size, it says to
knit 46 stitches
put remaining 22 on holder
bind off 28 stitches

This is INCORRECT. It leaves you with 18 stitches on one shoulder and with 22 on the other. And when you’re done with the decreases, you’d end up with too few stitches. But the neck/shoulders work out beautifully if you
knit 48 stitches
put remaining 20 stitches on holder
bind off 28 stitches.
both shoulders will have 20 stitches, and reversing the shaping will be easy.
Do the math for back neck shaping also - I think there's another error.

If you have stuck around this far... here's a cat. Merlin, on top of the fireplace, hamming it up for the camera.

It has yet to get him tuna, but he's not giving up hope.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Too Hot!

I know, I know, I was complaining about the cold, but it's now getting really hot outside. I like warm, but I just finished an alpaca vest, and I'm not putting it on in 80+ degree weather... sorry. Maybe it'll cool down a bit by the time it's washed and blocked.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

FO Sunday

I'm back from Cleveland. We spent 3 days training and stuffing ourselves silly. They fed us 4 times a day at the training center... it's quite the experience, I think I'm still coming off my sugar buzz.

The socks below are not a result of incompetence or residual over-sugaring, though. They are yet-to-be-felted Fuzzy Feet made out of some leftover Christmas yarn. Lamb's Pride in Pine and some other festive colorway. I've never felted anything in our frontloader, so I'm curious to see how it goes.

On my way to the airport, I finished my Sockadelic socks. They were so much fun to knit! An easy chevron/lace pattern that knits up quickly, and yarn that spirals and nearly glows in the dark because it's so bright... a winning combo.

I've been on a bright-as-all-getout kick lately. Must be the desire to see flowers bloom, the sun shine, and the gray weather go away. Yes, I'm goth, but my moods are very weather-dependent, and bright, sunny weather makes me happy and bouncy. Go figure. Sometimes, you just can't fight biology.

Pattern: Sockadelic
Yarn: Politically Incorrect sock yarn, got it in my shipment for the Sugarbee Studios sock club last fall.
Needles: US #0 (what else?)
Mods: None. The color is incredibly bright, and I really enjoyed knitting these socks. It's an easy lace pattern that looks awesome when you combine it with the yarn. Loved it.

In other news, I'm almost done with my Back to School U-Neck Vest from Fitted Knits. I only have one armhole to go, and it'll be done. Pictures and pattern errata coming up as soon as I'm done!

Monday, May 11, 2009


Once again, it's time for a trip to Cleveland. So, of course, two decisions had to be made: what to wear (can't really just throw on something random with bats on it in a business type of setting), and what to knit.
I'm finishing my Sockadelic socks today, probably on the train to work. I'm also bringing some wooden DPNs, some Tofutsies, and a pattern for a sock with twisted stitches and a separate big toe. Pictures when I get back. For now, I've got to run to work. See you when I get back!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Kitty Update

It's been 4 days since the surgery, and Morgana is doing much better - as are Mr. Batty and I. The first evening and morning we had to give her meds, she struggled something awful. She's such a small kitty, you'd never think she had the ability to turn into a little squirming whirlwind of teeth and claws. I was worried people at work were going to see the scratches on my arms and think I'd tried to end it all with a fork...

Her brother kept hissing at her. Usually, it's just a day or so until the vet smell comes out of her fur. This time, it lasted longer. He'd come up to her, get a whiff of bloody tooth extraction mouth, and hiss/smack her. It was sad. But now, they're almost back to normal, and Morgana must have figured out the grab-and-squirt helps with the pain, because Mr. Batty can medicate her without my help. Only 3 more squirts and she's done!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Vest... and Kitty Surgery

First, the knitting. This is the Back-to-School U-Neck Vest from Stefanie Japel's Fitted Knits. I only have to do the right-hand back "strap" and knit around the neck and armholes, then it'll be done.

On the one hand, this has been an easy and enjoyable knit. I really like the way it's turning out, and I can't wait to wear it. On the other hand, the editing in this book is atrocious. I had heard that Fitted Knits was full of errors. I checked the errata, found two, thought that would cover it... but no, I found two more mistakes. Urgh.
And I'm not happy about it. See, I paid almost $23 for the book. Sure, mistakes happen, editors are only human like the rest of us. But why publish a poorly edited book that clearly needs more work? Some of these mistakes could have been caught with simple proofreading... no need to knit, just have to do basic arithmetic.

Because of these mistakes, the book is now being re-edited. Yay!
For the people who didn't buy the error-riddled edition, that is. And it's not like the publisher is going to maintain errata for people who already own a copy.
I am not going to blame the author for this. She maintains the errata on her website, and if she doesn't catch all the errors, well, it's not really her job.
The patterns are lovely. I own both Fitted Knits and Glam Knits. It's just sad that an otherwise great knitting experience turned frustrating because of careless editing.

The other thing that's sad? Morgana. As you can see, her left front leg has been shaved so they could put an IV in. A few weeks ago, my little kitty girl was making a rather clumsy descent from the window sill to the floor. She made an unscheduled stop on the fireplace, mouth first, and today, the veterinary dentist removed her broken tooth.

We have to medicate her three times a day, which she doesn't like one bit. Her brother is mean to her because she looks like his sister, but he just knows she's an evil impostor. This cat smells nothing like her. He hisses at the changeling and even swatted her in the head once, so now they're separated. It's going to be a long couple of days.