Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ever have to make up your mind?

Here's a link to the article about making up your mind; its not about choosing a yarn color, but I think there are a lot of transferable concepts. I guess I had this on the brain because on 2.14.07 I was having an NPR binge at work, and this interview came on, and then I went to pick out a yarn color, and had a fairly bad case of option paralysis. So here ya go, Knit Nookers - I did make up my mind to post a link to the article, after all. It's a strange article; I had no idea.

In other knit news, today I took the sweater with me to lunch at Arbies, cuz I'm realizing if I don't start taking advantage of small increments of time, I'll be giving it to myself as a birthday present (mid-summer). I think it was Shizknit who told me she loves to knit in public. I dunno, about it, though. The Arbie's manager came over and started asking me about knitting. Then we swapped war stories about broken ankles; he and I agreed - broken ankles are the freakin' worst pain in the world. Jus' chop my foot off and get it over with, thanks.

Instead of knitting tonight, I did three weeks worth of laundry - folded and put it away,vacuumed my room with the shop vac (it was lifting the carpet off the floor - feel the clean!), boxed up all the books from the past six years of school and put them in the attic, organized and shelved the books I still want to read/re-read (including the Human Development books which make me feel like an emotionally crippled social-retard), washed/dusted all the woodwork and furniture in the room, finally installed the videocamera software so I can video-Skype me pals overseas, flipped the mattress, made the bed, gave Mad Max some attention, fed the fish, and then wrote this blog entry instead of going grocery shopping. All of this was obviously fueled by the three large Diet Dr. Pepper's I had at lunch (it really does taste like regular Dr. Pepper, by the way - flavor: awesome).

Now, I'm gonna read a bit before going to bed. I can't knit before sleeping - I won't put it down. But I can't read about knitting - I won't put that down either.

My first E. Zimmermann book and the yarn for my first sweater.
Choosing the book: easy. Choosing the yarn: RRRGH!! (insert Leo sound here).

Two of my fish in the 55g.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

So far, so good.

In advance, I'll apologize for no pics - there isn't enough of the Cobblestone sweater finished to warrant that at this point. The sweater is coming along; I started it on 2.14.07, and I just used up my first ball of Rowan Scottish Tweed today - only 6 more to go. Like Erin, I had some trouble getting the gauge right - I started with 7's, tried 8's, and then finally went with 7's. What the heck?

Its been some slow knitting lately - Jan. and Feb. haven't been a great time, but I think I've got the nose up - the months almost over anyhow. Yeah, and it feels really good to be accomplishing the goal I had when I started knitting: to be able to make a sweater.

It may sound dumb, but I had a crazy difficult time choosing a color for the Cobblestone - I mean, it was my first sweater, I didn't mind spending the money to get a good yarn, but by golly it had to be the right yarn. Kristin, Cindy, and Jan were a big help... without 'em, I'd probably still be in front of the yarn rack agonizing over it. I wanted to make a green sweater, and it had to be tweed. I had a few good options, but the one I wanted the most was in the wrong weight. There was a really similar green in the right weight, and I literally had to force myself (with plenty of encouragement from others) that it was "okay" to choose that color. Kristin finally got really serious and said, "Kev, there will be other sweaters." That put it in perspective.

I don't think I generally get affected by "option paralysis" a lot... but then again, I probably do. I'm generally a decisive guy - I know what I want, come up with a plan, and work like hell to make it happen. Maybe its just things that involve elements of uncertainty - things I can't control... agh, enuf! I'm going to bed!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I like this hat a lot

I finished the Thorpe hat Monday; what a great hat. It was my first go-around with fair isle and also my first top-down hat. I've got plenty of yarn left and plan on making another hat soon.

thanks for taking the photo Cindy

Thorpe hat by Kirsten Kapur 2.9.08-2.11.08 (slightly modified)
  • cast on 88 (instead of 80) on DB #8 (which means I made the front bind off 33 instead of 30, and each ear flap is 16 wide, not 14).
  • Cascade 220 yarn worsted (dark brown, grey, tan)
  • using my own simple fair isle pattern (thanks to Kristin for telling me to increase to 88; the fair isle knits thicker, I knit tight, and I have a big noggin'. The hat fits great, btw. On the next hat, I'll prolly use 88 even if I don't fair isle it.)

I'm getting geared up to make my first sweater. So far, everyone I've asked has unanimously (and independently from each other) suggested the Cobblestone, so, I'm gonna make Jared Flood's Cobblestone sweater. I gotta admit, when I first saw it, I immediately thought, "that is a kick ass sweater." Soon, I too shall have a kick ass sweater. I just need to get some yarn; more on this later.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

"I'm Fair Isle-ing!"

Last night I retouched my original fair isle idea while watching the Science of Sleep (for the 3rd time - I actually own it, its that good). Once I got the pattern down (see below), I started trying to get the top of the hat going: it was work (I'm not gonna say how many tries it took - I kept losing sticks!). I stayed up until I was sure I had it down, but then frogged what I had and went to bed. All the practice paid off today, though; the cast on and increases were a cinch, and I have a respectable hat going. I'm not doing it on the #8 circulars though - I tried it out, but didn't like it - I think I knit too tight for 'em, because the loops don't slide very well; I'm back on the double-points and liking it a lot better. Also, because I knit tight, I increased to 88 (instead of 80) 'just in case'.

I've tried to learn something new with every project: the scarf was a good foundation for the basics; the hats were good for learning to use double points, decreasing, double-stitching, and purling; with the gloves I learned how to cable, create additional increases/decreases, and how to stick to a pattern (with the result being matching gloves!). For this project, I learned to fair isle (dur) - but we'll have to wait and see how good I am at it...

And hey! I got the pics of the above projects posted - just see my first blog entry below. Oh yeah, if you all have any ideas about sweaters I might knit, lemme know.

not too shabbymy first fair isle pattern

Friday, February 8, 2008

I got the K.T.'s...

I did not sleep on Wens. night. I had gone over to the Knit Nook to get started on this blog (CINDY helped me decide on the name - i like it a lot, it has just the right amount of knituendo), and ended up getting a 'decaf' espresso blended freeze, but I think the guy making it put some liquid crack in it instead. Like Margie, I'm swearing em off.

Or else maybe I got the Kniterium Tremors. I finished the gloves, and have been kinda out of it ever since, not sure about what to get started on next. Last night, Kristin said, "I think you should do a sweater." Whoa. I think I'm ready... but I need to find a pattern; suggestions are welcome.

In the meantime, to shake the K.T.'s, I'm gonna work on some hats. I saw the Thorpe hat on Erin's blog and my knit fit was assuaged. Ear flap hats have been on my brain for a while, to the point I was seeing them everywhere (like here). At SnB last night, CINDY helped me choose another Cascade yarn, and CINDY also helped me sketch up my first fair isle pattern for a modified Thorpe hat. Sorry no pics of my own yet - here's one from the Science of Sleep (I like the hat):

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Here goes...

I'm a beginner knitter; here's how I got started:

A good while ago (maybe 6 years?), I was visiting some friends; Deb was knitting a sweater. I didn't know she was a knitter, and had never seen it done before. Deb gave me a crash course, but since she didn't have extra sticks, she gave me a crochet hook, taught me to cast on, and I started making mistakes/crocheting.

Shortly after that, I bought a hook and a large skein of bright yellow acrylic yarn and crocheted a crude hat and a scarf (which was about three inches wider at one end than the other). I gave the hat and scarf to Alex, Deb's young son. A while after this, I made a blue scarf, which I gave to Em, Deb's daughter. My friend Mark 'busted me' while working on the blue scarf, which kinda made me angry at the time. I wasn't always the balls out yarn man I am now. I mean, look at me back then - no spine about it at all; pathetic:

Fast forward to October 2007, the day I gimped into the Knit Nook. I was on crutches at the time (I'm already telling one long story, so I'm not gonna start another). So anyhow, I'm in the Knit Nook, on crutches, and I'm not looking for coffee (that's next door). Whitney was teaching a lesson. I got a few weird glances from Whit's students as I hobbled around. When I left, I had a copy of Stitch N' Bitch, some bulky yarn, and #11 needles (which I've not used yet). I went back the next night, which was the Thursday night SnB, exchanged the bulky yarn for worsted, bought #8 16" circular needles, and went home and stayed up really late teaching myself to knit. I was back again on Saturday; Kristin patiently helped me get decisive about yarn and got me going on the K.S.B.N.R.A.H.P. scarf (see below).

I gotta admit, the first few times at the Knit Nook were awkward, but it wore off quick. It was cool when I showed up at my second SnB to hear Cindy say, "Hey - you came back!" Heck yeah I came back - learning to knit has gotta be one of the coolest things I've ever done. My 'Comrades in Yarn' at the Knit Nook are really generous with their know-how and they're highly prone to encourage. Kristin was really patient helping me understand just what I was gettin' into. Whitney taught me to drop down to a mistake, fix it, and then pick it back up. Marge actually put an in-progress hat back on the needles for me because I got pissed off, couldn't think straight and yanked the circular needle out (uh, I don't do this anymore, by the way). Erin and Whitney helped me get going on the Michigan hat, too (see below). Liz actually made me promise that I wouldn't let anyone but her teach me to knit socks - how cool is that?

Below are the projects I've completed so far since I began knitting, in the order that I completed them:

Kinda Sorta But Not Really A Harry Potter Scarf - 11.27.07 - 12.6.07 approx. 45hrs total

  • *based on an atypicallyknit.com pattern
  • 400yds Lamb's Pride Superwash cornflower (blue) SW57 lot 017
  • 400yds Lamb's Pride Superwash charcoal heather (grey) SW04 lot 016
  • approx. 6' long, 8"wide, 19 strips, knit in the round on #8 16" circular (cast on 80, 22 rows/stripe)
fun times 'But it looks like it was made by a machine!' Kristin modeling the KSBNRAHP scarf

Since I was on crutches for 1/3 of the year in 2007, my aunt Ruthann was good to me and kept me supplied with movies. A couple weeks before I happened upon the Knit Nook, I watched all the Harry Potter movies back-to-back. Have you noticed how many knitted goods there are in those movies?? Loads! So, I guess I was unwittingly conditioned into this being my first knitting project. It's happened a few times that when a friend has asked and found out that I hand-knit the scarf, they've said, "But it looks like it was made by a machine." Each time I've responded with, "It was." Man, does it feel good to say that.

Knit Nook Hat - completed 12.07.07

  • 200 yds Rowan Scottish Tweed Aran
  • cast on 80 using #8 16" circulars, rib 1" (k2, p2)
  • k 6" of stockinette, pm, then close top by k2t/8stiches for 1 row, then k 1 row; then decr. by k2t/7 stitches for 1 row, k 1 row; etc. etc.

Michigan State Hat - completed 1.1.08

  • based on Ski Beanie hat in Son of Stitch N' Bitch pg.55 - the only alteration was I created a stockinette area to double stitch the logo. I used #3 double pts.
  • 50g Debbie Bliss Rialto Merino extrafine superwash blue color 23017 lot 60
  • 50g Debbie Bliss Rialto Merino extrafine superwash yellow color 23007 lot 60
he's actually stoked about the hatit's an M

Erin and Whitney helped me get this going. My friend Aaron, who drove me around a lot this past summer, is proud to be from Michigan and is a college football fan. I stayed up on New Years until 4am working on this hat (I found out later I wasn't the only one who did this). After I woke up, I finished it in time to walk the hat over to the house where Aaron was watching the first half of the Michigan/Florida game. When I showed up at the door, the Florida fan said, "Agh! not another Michigan fan!" Aaron jumped up to see who it was, says, "Hey, nice hat!," does a double take, points at himself and asks, "Is that for me?" Michigan won, and Aaron is wearing the hell out of his hat.

Beer Gloves from Son of Stitch N' Bitch - completed 2.3.08
The goal was to complete these things while it was still winter. Kind of an ambitious 4th project, but what the hell - I saw the ones Kristin made and went for it.

some bad ass glovesif the gloves fit...

This past weekend I drove up north to visit my friends Tom and Deb; it was awesome - there was lots of snow, barn chores, chainsaws, beer, and an awesome steak dinner. I finished the gloves on Super Bowl Sunday, and started wearing the hell out those gloves right away. At a party later that night, Tom, Deb, and Em thought it was gross that I was eating nachos and cheese while wearing the gloves - so I took them off. But I put em right back on again when I had me a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and a couple of Grolsch's to boot.

I could use more weekends like this...

Get this: during my visit, Deb got motivated to finally complete the sweater which got me interested in knitting in the first place (go back to the beginning of this post). Deb said this sweater has been ten years in the making, and she's going to finish it! She dug through her cedar chest and got all the peices out; turns out only 1/4 of the front needs to be completed, but one of the sleeves was too short and need to be fixed. Deb unbound the sleeve and started pulling; 5 minutes later, that short sleeve was getting longer. What's more, Deb and I went hunting for LYSs, and found two. Recently Deb knit herself a great hat out of handspun wool sent to her from her friend Martha Owen, a resident artist at the Folk School.