A half a year of knitting progress. . . Sunday, Nov 23 2008 


I fail at keeping up this blog! But, I’m good at keeping up my Ravelry, so, there you go.

What I’ve done since last posting. . .

Make a bumblee toy for my kitty, Halloween:

Started some 18th century knitted mitts:

Started a scarf for my Kirsten doll:

Made a tiny version of the SnB Nation “catwarming” mouse for my friend’s kitty, Sophie:

And also, made a something for a friend that was going to be a birthday present but is now better timed to be a Christmas present, found a pattern to use for an early 1800s knitted pineapple reticule (and translated and began swatching it), and did a little more work on that cropped hoodie (and abandonned it again).

Next up, after finishing the mitts and dolls scarf, I have a doll sweater to make in purple, a “something” for an annual Christmas ornament swap, and knitted garters.

Yay, knitting!

Because everything is cuter on a small scale! Thursday, May 15 2008 

Since I last posted, I’ve kind of gone on a slight detour as far as all my projects for me go. . . (Well, I did purchase handles for that bag I mentioned in my last post – but have yet to order the yarn!) Anyhow. The reason for this diversion? I got a new American Girl doll: Mia! She is my first “modern” AG doll, so naturally, my brain is just overflowing with ideas of things to make for her!

Some brilliant person sized down the ever-popular Anthropologie-inspired shrug pattern to fit the American Girl dolls, and so that was my first project. Unfortunately, I got lost in it, so had to frog it, but have since gone back and re-done it – more on that later. . .

Next up, I decided to do something small, quick, and simple, to pass the time while I waited for Mia to be shipped. I went with a little pair of mittens and beret from some leftover yarn I had, and used a free pattern found online. These projects, I’m pleased to say, went very well, and I think the results are super cute! I’m going to have to make more of these, for sure. . . And sew a cute coat to wear with them. . . *plots*

I also decided to try and make up my own pattern, much like the Hollister-ish sweater I was babbling about in the last post. I am using DK weight yarn and size two needles, so it is mental! I also stupidly wasn’t really thinking about the fact that the neck would probably roll. And, I am doubting my cable-making prowess that I was so excited about in my last post, because I just feel like these don’t look quite right. Even though it’s not perfect, I’m going to keep going and try to finish it. Next time I decide to try and draft a pattern, I think I will start with something a little less complicated!

In the meantime, (because you know I like to have fifty things going on at once, of course!) I started another Mia project: the “Miniature Cowichan Cardigan,” in some bright purple yarn. You know, I want to love this pattern. I certainly love the outcome, as I’ve seen it in pictures on Ravelry, but I am struggling. For starters, I have a really hard time following directions when they are scrambled up within paragraphs. I’m one of those folks who likes each direction to have it’s own line. So, I carefully rewrote the pattern in this way. Then I set about knitting it. Those first few rows took me forever! I can’t say I’m a fan of working into the back leg of a stitch. It’s really tedious and takes forever, and I didn’t feel that the results were really any more impressive than what regular ribbon would have looked like. And then, after getting through all that, I started on the stockinette, had to unknit an entire row, picked it back up – and then realized, several rows in, that I had missed the part of the directions where it says to continue with the garter stitch at the start and end of each row. *sigh* So I knew I’d have to tear back all the stockinette rows and try to pick back up at the end of the ribbing – which I’ve never successfully done, so it would probably mean frogging the whole thing. For the record, here was the “before ripping back rows” picture:

If I’d had to frog it, you can bet the chances are pretty good that I’d never bother with this pattern again. Fortunately, I never even had to risk that because my awesome friend Gloria, who is an amazing knitter, did the dirty work of pulling back my rows and picking up the stitches for me last weekend when she was over for a sewing meet-up! So, it’s sitting on the needle again all ready to go. I ♥ Gloria so much! :)

But in the meantime, I got back to the Anthropologie shrug. I’ve now gone back and re-done it, and OMG I love it!

I liked it so much, I thought, maybe I’ll make another. Then I found the PERFECT yarn. . . The same yarn I used for my own shrug, but the worsted instead of chunky wait! Perfect!

LOL! I know I’m such a dork – but when I found the same yarn I used for my shrug, but in the weight necessary for the AG size shrug, I just HAD to do it! ;)

I’m not sure what is next up (beyond finishing that cowichan cardigan and the coral cabled number, of course!) I have an outrageous queue of AG-related patterns now! ;P I’ve been able to find a few free patterns online that I’d like to try (a basic button-up cardigan, for one, and another cardigan which is copied from a pattern published in 1904 – perfect for Samantha!), but I also just bought a couple of booklets. One is a Bernat booklet called “Best Friends,” from which I’ll be knitting a skating skirt and sweater set (very appropriate for an ice-skating themed doll, no?) and the other is called “Knits For Girls & Dolls,” but I haven’t quite decided what all I want to make from that one. . . And I’ve got more ideas floating around my head that I hope to make up my own patterns for. . . And this is all in addition to the sewing projects I’ve got going on for several of my dolls. . .

Basically, I’m really obsessed with doing everything on a small scale right now! It will be a real miracle if I can get all my sewing of costumes done in time for Costume College in August this year, what with all these miniature distractions! But, at least it’s lots of fun. :)

More knitting, and a tiny bit of crochet. . . Friday, Feb 22 2008 

This whole knitting thing is really growing on me. I mean, I’ve been knitting off and on for about five years now (if one counts from my adult start of knitting, as opposed to messing around with it when Grammy taught me many moons ago) and it’s always fun, but I tend to go through moods for it, and then I kind of forget about it for a while. Well this time, I think it’s here to stay. Instead of being something I suddenly remember one day and play around with for a week or so, it’s really integrated now with the way I think about fashion – both modern and historic – on the whole. So, I feel like it’s no longer a completely seperate “hobby” than the sewing. Interesting.

The latest development is that I’m going to try my hand at making up my own patterns. I get frustrated having something in my head or seeing a garment I like, and then trying to find a similar pattern, and not finding quite the right thing. And my brain is just filling up with ideas. I’ve woken up twice this week in the middle of the night from dreams where I was knitting something and have had to sketch out my idea so I can remember it, and maybe try to make it for real at some point! I figured, I can make my own sewing patterns, so why couldn’t I just apply my pattern-making skills to knitted garments as well? So I decided to begin with a sweater inspired by one my sister has that I am madly jealous of. She got it in Hollister, but by the time I went to buy one for myself, all they had left was extra-small. *sadness* They originally had several different variations on the theme, and I’d really have been happy with any of them. I just liked the empire waist and super long narrow sleeves. So, I decided to make up my own variation on the theme, and the other day, I got down to the business of trying to make a pattern. My thought was that I would drape a pattern in fabric, then do a knitted swatch of my chosen yarn, and then do some math to figure out how many stitches and rows it would take to create the shape I made in fabric. These seemed like a good plan until I realized that I wasn’t sure how I was going to replace things like darts that I would use in a fabric version of the top. I looked at a couple of sweater patterns I have in books to see what the pieces looked like flat, and I was dismayed to find that most of them are pretty much a rectangle. I really wanted more of a fitted look than that! It turns out this knitting pattern making thing is trickier than I thought. . .

So I gave the patterning a rest and decided to move on to teaching myself to do cables, since my design involves cables, but I have extremely limited experience with them. (As in, I tried them once under the guidance of my sister-in-law, but just on a scrap of yarn, and that was a couple of years ago, so of course, I’ve long since forgotten!) I referred to Debbie Stoller’s excellant books and sure enough, I was able to pick up cables without a problem. I even messed around with switching things up a little, and really had some fun with it. Since I’d already started knitting a swatch to figure out the gauge for my yarn, I just used that to make the cables, and realized that I think I might be able to do some of the shaping of my sweater design just with the way the cabled bit of the swatch is much narrower than the stockinette bit. Exciting!

It also dawned on me that if I keep a circular needle handy, whenever I felt like I wanted to check the size/shape of an item, I could just knit the next row onto the circular, and that would allow me the flexibility to try the piece on. I have to tell you, I’m just getting so excited about this whole thing! I feel like a detective of sorts, and I’m having a ball finding “clues” and putting all the pieces together. I absolutely can’t wait to see how this turns out!

Back on the topic of cables. . . Now that I feel confidant I know how to do them, it opens up doors to so many things! And for starters, I LOVE this bag (the link is to Ravelry – you’ll need to be logged in to see – and if you haven’t signed up yet, then a. you’re insane, and b. what the heck are you waiting for?!?!?) and think that I need to make one as soon as possible! I also immediately thought, what a cute gift for my Mom this would make! I don’t have to worry about fit, and it’s a small enough project that I wouldn’t die of heartbreak if it turned out to not be her style exactly. Conveniently, her birthday is less than two months away, so it looks like she’ll be getting a super cute hand-knitted bag this year. ;) Well, provided I can find the handles. If I can’t find them in my usual nearby shops, then I may be “forced” to visit some knitting shops in town. What a shame that would be, eh? Yeah.

Anyhoo. . .

Crochet: It used to hate me, but this past weekend, a tiny little lightbulb over my head fizzled just enough that I managed to make a small swatch and it actually looks correct! Imagine that! For a laugh, I’ve photographed my two most recent crochet attempts.

They are both supposed to be nice neat little rectangles. The first one, I was missing a critical step in the process (this is what I get from trying to learn from just the pictures, and refusing to try to read the words, LOL!) and so I ended up with “five rows,” which actually took the form of a tight little mess, which looks more like a rope than a rectangle! And below, I’m on the right track, but it looks like the Big Dipper because I was excited/impatient and so decided to shorten the length of my row so I could more hastily arrive at the knowledge of whether I’d managed to unlock the mysteries of crochet at long last or not!

Having successfully made a tiny little somewhat-of-a-rectangle in crochet, I am already planning all kinds of mental, delicate projects in tiny scale. Because of course, why would I want to knit something like a simple scarf, when I could go straight for a delicate lacey doily, or making lacey trims for my chemises from antique patterns? Duh! And come to find out, my sister in law, who I knew to have crocheted things on a worsted weight scale, has recently begun doing edgings and doily-type-stuff. Yay! I immediately enlisted her as my point person for questions that may arise as I try to tackle more complicated projects than the one little barely-a-swatch I’ve produced so far. How lovely to have an accomplished crocheter less than a half an hour’s drive away!

So that’s what I’m up to, and I feel like great things may be ahead for me, as far as yarny crafts go. Or maybe just a “string” (ha ha ha! Dork!) of train wrecks. Time will tell! ;)

Catching up. . . Saturday, Feb 16 2008 

Well, even though I’ve been bad about posting, I did get the turtle done.  Not exactly for Christmas, but he was close enough that a few safety pins and he was able to go in the top of my husband’s stocking, as intended, and looked really cute!  And he’s totally finished now.  Well, except the crochet bit. . .

So cute!  But, I have come to discover that the crochet bit may actually be rather important, because his shell is starting to pull apart a bit.  The problem is, crochet hates me.  Seriously.  I tried to learn again, just a couple of weeks ago.  Pulled out Debbie Stoller’s crochet book, and instead of making a nice flat rectangle of crocheted work, what I ended up with was a blog.  An elongated blob.  Like a very fat little rope, in to which I could not even find the space to shove my hook again.  Crochet hates me.

Back to the knitting. . .  I’ve done quite a bit more on the cropped shrug/hoodie:

It’s actually even a little further along now than this, but I confess, I’ve lost steam in it.  Not unusual for me – I have projectitis! – but in this case, it’s not like I just am in the mood for something else, it’s that I have a feeling I will never wear this article of clothing, when finished.  I still think it’s super cute, but I’m just not sure it’s “me.”  I recently went through my list of 100s of “queued” projects in Ravelry (yes, I know, I know!) and switched them to favorites, leaving only the things I really want to do behind, and I now have a much clearer idea of what I want to make – and to be honest, much of it doesn’t seem to have a pattern already!  So, maybe I need to make my own knitting patterns. . .

In other news, I am desperately seeking Phildar #431, from summer of 2005.  For my readers who read my other internet locations, I apologize for the constant bringing up of this, but seriously, it has a PERFECT pattern in there for something that was in my head!  I am really longing for it!

It’s starting to look like something! Thursday, Dec 20 2007 

Hooray! It’s starting to look like a little creature instead of an oddly shaped blob of green yarn. . .

Now, if I could just figure out how to apply safety eyes, I could get back to work on it!

Turtle progress. . . Wednesday, Dec 19 2007 

Just a quick post since I have a picture of the state of the turtle by the end of the weekend. . .

I’ve done a few more rows, but not too much. . . Hopefully, I’ll get a bunch of time this weekend!

Secret present for Glenn! Tuesday, Dec 18 2007 

So I’ve made a start to a surprise present for my husband for Christmas. I’m making him Sheldon from Knitty, because he loves turtles! I was a bit worried about using the double pointed needles, because, while I’ve successfully used them once before (for part of my “kittyville” hat), I had tried them a second time and been very confused. I was referred to KnittingHelp.com as a good place for knitting tutorial videos, and I was indeed able to find one on double pointed needles, and after a few watchings, I was all set, and I’m not having trouble with it at all! Hooray!

I started the turtle on Saturday, and here is how much I got done that day:

Not too shabby! I’ve since made much more progress on it, and now he has a neck and part of a head as well. I am sure I’ll have at least a nekkid turtle for Glenn for Christmas. Whether or not I’ll be able to manage the shell is another story, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it! ;)

Progress! Friday, Dec 14 2007 

Despite having a rather insane end of the semester, I managed to slip in a little knitting time here and there (bribery, to get myself to finish things I didn’t want to, LOL!) and managed to therefore make some progress on my cropped shrug/hoodie:

A belated post. . . Saturday, Dec 8 2007 

The booties are now a thing of the past (and not all that pleasant a thing either, as I made an obvious mistake in one so they don’t match) and I’ve moved on to a cropped shrug/hoodie that I found patterned at Craftster.

First, the booties, which don’t look bad from the side, but I assure you, on little feet, they do not look like a pair!

And then we have my cropped hoodie, which is actually even further along now, but this picture was already on my computer:

In other news. . . I’m on Ravelry! I’m JenniL there! And I am so in love with it! Yay! :)

Bootie #1 Monday, Nov 5 2007 

I’m working on a pair of baby booties for Jim’s sister, who is due in January. On Saturday, I took what was only like a quarter of a bootie, and spent several hours finishing it (except seams)!

Then I got the first few rows of #2 started, had to frog it, and got those rows re-done. I’m so not in the mood for knitting these right now, but I really want them done, and I really want to start other projects, so I’m forcing myself to keep at them. I hope to finish them by the time the week is out. . .

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