Monday, April 30, 2012

MadTosh Grand Opening and a Finished Sock.

This past Saturday was the grand opening of the MadTosh store. I got to the store about half an hour before the 11 a.m. opening, and there were already about 15 people waiting.

The store is gorgeous, with its shelves filled with deliciously-colored yarns, a wall of needles and notions, and a wall of quilting fabrics. There were books, spinning fibers, project bags, and lots of other goodies too.

I ran into my friend Kara from my new knitting group while I was waiting in line and I ran into my friend Mary later once I was in the store. It was a very fun experience being in a big, friendly knitting crowd.

I was good and only made it out with two skeins. The green is Tosh Sock, and the blue/purple is Tosh Merino Light.

In other news, I finished the first sock for my dad! In more important news, I made him try it on today and it fits!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

FO: Aphrodite 2.0

Back in 2007 I knit the Aphrodite tank by Berroco. I didn't know a whole lot about fit and customizing patterns to make them fit me better, so I knit it as written for my size.

The results were a bit awful. The "skirt" part at the bottom was way too wide for my taste, and the top part wasn't long enough so the waistband ended up being almost as high as my bustline. This resulted in a very short "tunic" that would barely reach the top of my jeans. That's three pretty big strikes right there.

Jump to earlier this year, where I found the "tunic" shoved into a large plastic bin. I decided to unravel the whole thing, and because I still liked the pattern, redo it with some heavy modifications.

This was shortly after being introduced to the world of local yarn shops, so I actually used decent yarn for this project. This was, however, either before I was on Ravelry or before I understood how to use Ravelry, so I didn't enter the yarn information the first time around. I needed a lot more yarn for the top portion, so I ended up having to substitute a different yarn than the one I originally used. It's a shame, because I really liked the first yarn, but I found some recycled cotton in my stash that I think works well with this.

Pattern: Aphrodite by Berroco
Yarn: Unknown for skirt and waistband, recycled cotton for top
Needles: Sizes 6, 8, and 13 US
Ravelry Project Page: Link

  • Knit in the round.
  • Knit bottom portion on size 11 US instead of 13 US.
  • Cast on the number of stitches the pattern says to have right before the waistband, instead of the huge number originally called for to cut down on bulk.
  • For the yarn overs, only do one instead of two per stitch.
  • Omit the crossed over neckline, and instead do a plain v-neck.
  • Start the v-neck several inches into the bust portion instead of immediately after the waistband.
Blooper Reel:

Taking photos of yourself is hard, especially without a tripod. I tried to take some with my camera balanced on a chair using the timer on my camera. The timer makes several beeping noises, which always attracted the cats. This was a test shot to see if I was zoomed in enough (I wasn't, obviously).

Monday, April 23, 2012

FO: Ginkgo Shoulderette

I finished knitting this shawl while at my knitting group last Wednesday. It was a very easy knit, and the variegated yarn made it very fun to work on.

The only modification I made was increasing the size by doing 7 pattern repeats per side instead of 5. I saw that several people have done this on Ravelry, and I'm glad I did, because I think it would have been too short had I not.

Pattern: Gingko Shoulderette by Maggie Magali
Yarn: Cakewalk Yarns Footsie in "Cherry Blossom"
Needles: Size 6 US
Ravelry Project Page: Link

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Review: knitscene Summer 2012, a Secret FO, and a Birthday.

Although the digital version has been available for weeks now and I found it in print at my grocery store last week, today is the official newsstand release date for the summer 2012 issue of knitscene.

I was pleasantly surprised with how many of the patterns I liked in this issue. I won't talk about all the ones I liked, but I will highlight a few. The first one is the cover pattern, the Cara Cara Pullover by Amanda Bell. It's a pretty simple design, but I love that the kangaroo pocket in front and the neckline are done in seed stitch. If/when I knit this, the only modification I think I'd make would be to extend the sleeves to full length.

The Westport Shawl by Sarah Wilson was another favorite of mine. I really like the little textured bumps in the stockinette portion of the shawl. This is very high on my to-do list now.

I thought the Halesia Hat by Catherine Shields was pretty clever. Leaf motifs are very trendy right now in the knitting world, but a lot of times they are done using lace. This hat has large leaves created with knit stitches on a purl background instead and is very cute.

The last pattern I wanted to show is the Ginkgo Camisole by Andrea Babb. Finally, something in here I could possibly wear in the summer! It's pretty simple, but I like how light and airy it looks and the bits of lace detail at the bottom.

There were some patterns I didn't like, as is the case with every knitting magazine. There is a section called "Just Slightly Askew," which features asymmetrical designs. I think asymmetrical patterns can be quite interesting, but in my opinion, when the patterns are "just slightly askew" like these are, they look more like they were made incorrectly rather than intentionally off-balance. The tank with the twisted strap drove me absolutely crazy, because while it looked cute, that one strap looks like it got twisted by accident. In this past Sunday's TheKnitGirllls podcast, I laughed when Leslie talked about this pattern, because she said if she saw someone wearing this and didn't know it was intentional, she'd probably try to twist the strap back around for her.

In other news, I have a finished project, but I can't post it here. It's for my mom's birthday, and since she reads my blog, I can't go blowing the surprise. Her birthday isn't until mid-December, so it will be a while until I post about it on the blog with (hopefully) some modeled shots, but for now I'll give you a Ravelry link since my mom's not on Ravelry: link

Finally, I'd like to wish a happy birthday to my little guy Othello. He's the oldest of the two kitties, and he turns two years old today! Here's a picture of him when he was just seven weeks old:


Friday, April 13, 2012

Man Things.

Knitting patterns for men are normally no fun to knit. They take longer than an equivalent pattern for me, because of the size difference. They're almost always some sort of very plain stitch, normally stockinette, which again wouldn't be so bad if they weren't so big.

That being said, I have some men in my life that deserve some hand knit goodness, so I cast on a couple projects this week (yes, I already know I have a lot of things on the needles).

The first project is a pair of socks for my dad. I've only knit socks for him once before, but they ended up being way too small. I decided the next pair I knit for him had to be all sorts of awesome. I'm using the Java socks pattern from Knitty, which is a conservative-looking pattern, but a bit more interesting than average because of the tiny cables.

The second thing I cast on this week is a sweater for Jose. Now that he's Husband Jose and not Boyfriend Jose, I no longer have to worry about the infamous sweater curse. I'm using a DROPS pattern that I chose because (1) it's free, (2) it's a bit fitted, and (3) is done on size 4 needles. Being in Texas, I don't think Jose would get much use out of a sweater knit with aran weight yarn, so I thought a nice sport-weight yarn would get a lot more wear.

Being on size 4 needles means it is going to take forever, though. As you can see in the picture above, I changed the pattern to be knit in the round, and I'm still only on the ribbing (which is done on size 2 needles). It's my goal to get this done by November-ish, but it might not happen.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Knitting in Texas.

I just got back from a run about half an hour ago. It was on this run that I realized that it is already hot this year. Well, I suppose at a measly 80-something degrees it's cool in comparison to what this state is capable of delivering, but it is definitely not knitwear weather.

There really isn't such a thing as knitwear for spring/summer (same thing) in Texas. I find myself collecting spring and summer issues of my favorite knitwear magazines because most of the patterns would work well for Texas's winter. Are there really places where I "summer cardigan" would even work?

There have been a few patterns that I've deemed worthy for both Texas's spring/summer and my taste. Not necessarily for wearing all day, but maybe one night if I'm going out and don't plan on being outside too long.

Last year's Knitty introduced the popular Make Up Your Mind Racerback. Even though it has to be layered over another tank, all of the eyelets make it a bit cooler.

Photo by Amanda Michael

Another pattern that I'm liking is Aphrodite by Berroco. 

 Source: Berroco

Cute, right? Well, I actually already knit this pattern up near the beginning of my knitting career (maybe 2006 or 2007). This was before I could look at a pattern and tell if it would fit me as well as it does the model. If you'll note the photo of me above, you can see I'm not shaped exactly like the model. Needless to say, the bust portion didn't fit well and was very unflattering.

Apologies for the photo quality. It was taken back when I finished this.
 I never even took a picture with me wearing this because I didn't like it. It sat in my closet for a few years, and then finally I decided to unravel it. A few weeks ago, I was looking at my projects page on Ravelry and saw this project. I started thinking about how I liked the pattern, and I found the yarn in my stash. I decided to knit it up again using the knowledge I have now to make it awesome.

So here are the mods I'm making:

1. Knit in the round because seaming isn't fun.

2. Knit the bottom portion on size 11s instead of 13s, and only yarn over once instead of twice for the dropped stitches so it won't be so open and snag as easily on things.

3. Knit the bottom portion longer.

4. Change up the bust portion by knitting for a few inches before splitting the front for the V-neck. I will probably also not knit the crossover section, and instead just make it a traditional V-neck.

5. Change the yarn for the top. As much as I love the yarn I originally used, with my modifications I won't have enough. Sadly, I don't know what yarn I used the first time, so I can't track it down to get more. I'm going to hopefully find something in my stash that will work well as a replacement.

I'm about to start the waist section on this top. I can't wait to get this finished, because it's just getting warmer over here and I'd like to wear it this year.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Works In Progress: April 9, 2012

WIP #1:

You might remember a bit back when I had to unravel almost all of my work on the Tempest Cardigan. Well, I finally finished the back. Now I just have to do the front left and right, and two sleeves.

WIP #2:

My Gingko Shoulderette is a little over 20 rows from being done! I can't wait to see what this one looks like blocked.

WIP #3:

Back in 2006 or 2007 I knit the Aphrodite pattern from the Berroco website. This was near the beginning of my knitting career, so I wasn't too good at adapting patterns to make them fit me better. Anyway, I was never fond of it after it was done, and it sat waiting for me to unravel it for several years. I am going back now and completely redoing it, making some big modifications. I have the skirt part of the tunic done, but I'm waiting on one of my sets of size 6 circulars to be free so I can do the waist portion.

WIP #4:

This one is a secret, so no photos of this one!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

FO: Lulu Kerchief.

I needed a simple, but interesting pattern to work on this weekend at Fiber Fest using my own yarn. I settled on this kerchief, which ended up being a super quick pattern that I finished on the morning of the second morning.

Pattern: The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief by Orange Flower (free Ravelry download) 
Yarn: Gynx DK in the colorway "Lulu"
Needles: Size 8 US
Ravelry Project Page: Link

Monday, April 2, 2012

DFW Fiber Fest 2012 Recap.

This past weekend was spent selling my yarns in Grapevine for the annual DFW Fiber Fest. I had never been a vendor at a fiber-specific show before, so I didn't really know what to expect.

 Picture courtesy of Mom

It ended up being a lot of fun! I set up on Thursday, and the vendor hall was open Friday through Sunday. I met a lot of great people, learned a ton of things (both business and knitting-wise) and sold several skeins of yarn. I met Abby Franquemont, who is the author of Respect the Spindle. This is the book that taught me how to spin, so I was very excited to be able to exchange a few words with her. She also told me I had lovely yarns :)

Picture courtesy of Mom

This year, there was a special Friday night event with Mary-Heather and Sarah from Ravelry! It was an interesting talk, and on Saturday when they were walking around the event, they came by my booth and chatted for a bit.

 Picture courtesy of Mom

My mom and brother came to visit on Sunday, and my mom brought her camera to take some pictures of my booth. A lot of yarn was already gone, so it looks a bit empty in these photos, but you can get the general idea.

Picture courtesy of Mom
Me and my brother when he came to visit.

Now, for the acquisitions! I ended up coming home with four skeins of yarn. Two were from Gritty Knits, who was in the booth across from me. I got a skein from Western Sky Knits, who was the booth next to me. That skein is going to eventually become a Hitchhiker Shawl. The last skein was actually purchased by my mom. We found The Fiber Lady's booth, which was nothing but bamboo and bamboo blends. My mom can't wear animal fibers, so she picked out a skein of lace-weight for me to make a shawl for her.

There was one other purchase from Two If By Hand, but that is not in my possession yet. My mom let me pick out some spinning fiber for my birthday (which is a month and a half away), so I'll post pictures when I get it!