Monday Mishaps: It Never Rains…

I have finished knitting the body for my Stripes Gone Crazy Cardigan. The end result looked a little… asymmetric. However! In the pattern itself, the designer wrote that this is totally normal and it will bock to look like a regular cardigan. I thought nothing of this and threw it in the washer to wet block.

Stripe Gone Crazy

I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but I use my ‘damages’ to knit samples from my own yarn. A ‘damage’ is a skein of yarn that had something wrong with it and I deemed it not fit to sell. This could mean anything from a knot in the skein to the colour not looking quite right. The skeins I had designated for this sweater looked fine, so I assumed there were knots in them or something. Little did I actually know, when I had dyed the purple, I had used too much dye. The yarn was very saturated and I was having trouble rinsing it out. I was afraid the colour would bleed and this would equal my whole business failing horribly.

Stripes Gone Crazy 2

I am really glad I didn’t sell those skeins because they bled onto the yellow and turned it a weird purple yellowish colour. Which I was totally not impressed with, so I washed it again. When I say I washed it, I mean I threw it in the washer on the wool cycle with some soak. There is no agitation and the soak is actually rinsed out. After the second wash the yellow was still a gross colour and then a light bulb went on in my brain. This is made entirely of superwash yarn, it doesn’t need to be on the wool cycle.

Stripes Gone Crazy 3

I put the sweater in again with the regular cycle and detergent to see what happened. Most of the purple came out of the yellow, but it still wasn’t the sunshine yellow that it was.
The yellow is now the exact same colour as the gold yarn in Gilt Leaf and Rule the Night; so that is what I will market it as. The sweater itself doesn’t look bad, but I am a little bit sad the really bright yellow didn’t stay bright. Perhaps I will have to make another one…

Monday Mishaps: Needs More Coffee

If there is a huge problem with you knitting, the answer is obviously that you need more coffee, right? I mentioned before that I had spilled my coffee all over when I was knitting on the Crazy Striped Cardi, but that was perhaps an example of too much coffee. I am going to lay out a couple shorter stories about time when I could have used more, or less, coffee for my knitting.
With the Crazy Striped Cardi, I was sitting in the morning, next to computer with my knitting and pattern. This is a familiar morning ritual for me; some quiet time before I start my day. It was going as well as a pattern full of short rows and an early morning can go when I reached for my cup of coffee and knocked it over. It spilled everywhere, luckily missing the top of my computer. I jumped up and got a towel to wipe off the bottom of my computer case and picked up my pattern. The pattern was still legible, but obviously ruined; I will tell you with complete honesty that the pattern marker didn’t move an inch through all the coffee and rough handling as I tried to dry it off.

Coffee Issue

I didn’t notice until later that I had actually gotten some of the coffee on the sweater itself. I can’t exactly wash it when I am half way through knitting it, so whenever someone commented on the stain, I just told them that I could block that out with any sweater problems.
A couple examples of when I could have used more coffee include when I have been blocking. My washing machine has a wool cycle, so when I am blocking things, which are super wash, I put them on the wool cycle of the washer with a little bit of soak. This works perfectly for me because the cycle doesn’t agitate it at all, the drum simply fills with water and it slowly rocks from side to side. There is even a section of this wash cycle where it allows the garment to soak in the water before it drains the water out.

Shawl

After the cycle is done, I will get my garment and pin it out on a towel to block. The last TWO TIMES I have blocked anything, I completely forgot I had a knitted garment soaking. I left my green shawl in there for a good few hours. Luckily it was all balled up and scrunched so it didn’t start to dry while in the washer. If I had to guess, I would say I forgot about it for about five hours; just left it there. Knitters everywhere had a collective aneurism at the thought.
One more example of a need for coffee, or perhaps just more sleep, is when I started the Crazy Striped Cardi ribbing on the hem. You have to knit along a stripe of about 27 stitches then pick up 120 then continue knitting along other stitches that were held. As complex as this sounds, it really wasn’t too bad. It was just a hell of a lot of stitches. Knit one round plain, purl one round plain, then start the ribbing. It is a 1X1 ribbing done on size 3.25mm needles; needless to say it took me a second to pick up the rhythm of it. I was also using the Addi needles I have because I didn’t have a circular needle with a cord long enough and a gauge small enough to pick up the hem. Using unfamiliar needles and 1X1 ribbing a hundred billion stitches, it was not the most fun I’ve ever had in knitting. Along the second row of the ribbing I noticed that I had a seed stitch going instead of a ribbing. Smacking myself in the head I started looking back to see where I had gone wrong, I had actually messed up my foundation row and put two purls together instead of a knit and a purl. This was an easy fix though; I un-knitted back to those two purls and just purled two together and kept going like it was nothing at all.

1X1 Ribbing

It’s the small mistakes that happen the most and there is usually something that can be done about them, but the huge mistakes that involve very elaborate corrections are usually better to write about. I think I will end up trying to do a small anthology of stories like this once a month. Otherwise I might lose my mind trying to think of huge mistakes I’ve done. Let’s be honest too, if I had a huge mistake once a week, I would probably put all my knitting in time out, cover my ears and rock in a corner.

Vampire Barbie Socks

I realize that I may have mentioned before but I have completed the Vampire Barbie socks! I have good photos to share with you now as well as an update of the Stripes Gone Crazy Cardigan.

Vamp Socks 1

The Vampire Barbie socks were knit entirely in tiny little pieces. Paul and I carpool to work because we work at the same company. It’s not a particularly long drive to work, but instead of just sitting there, I started working on my socks. I got a shocking amount done while making the seven to ten minute commute to work. I’ve decided any time I am a passenger in a car, I am going to knit I’ve accomplished so much while knitting during a wait time, like at the doctors office or the passport office.

Vamp Socks 2

Since I’ve finished my Vampire Barbie socks and the K/W Knitters Fair is over, there is not a while lot of pressure to finish anything with my own yarn. I cast on a sock from the Knit Circus yarns; the Greatest of Ease base in the colour Over the Rainbow. This was a special colour that was only available for about a month or two? But I heard about it on the Knit Circus podcast Jalaa and Amy do and immediately ordered a couple for myself. I am so in love with this colour way!
It’s a rainbow gradient that goes through all seven colours, yellow to green. There aren’t distinct stripes for each colour either, they are blended together so the sock slowly goes through each colour and starts into the next.

Vamp Socks 3

I am doing them from the cuff down because that is the style I am used to, but I think I might to the next pair from the toe up. It is a great yarn to knit from the toe up and I should really learn how; I’ve been putting it off for far too long. This means I will have to give things a try and figure out which one works the best for me! The gradient yarns from the Knit Circus are the perfect yarn to attempt these on. You always want to use every inch of the yarn and I have some sock yarn I bought from VKL Chicago 2013 that I haven’t used yet. I better get them knitted before the show this year.

Stripes 2

I have been trying to make it out the Purple Purl’s social knitting night because I really miss having a group of knitters to talk to. It’s like reading a really excellent book and having no one to talk about it with. I went for the first time last week and they happened to have the perfect buttons for my Stripes Gone Crazy Cardigan; I’ve never seen bright yellow mother of pearl buttons, but they are PEREFECT for this sweater. I was so happy about finding them.
I managed to get some knitting done on the Crazy Stripe Cardi; it felt like I was on the very end of the left side forever. I think I actually knit it a little too long, but I have faith I can block that out… along with the coffee stains. I did manage to spill my coffee all over the place once while working on this, on the pattern and the sweater itself.

Stripes 2

Since I am close to done the Crazy Stripe Cardi I am looking for my next project. I think I am going to knit something from the Shibui Baby Alpaca yarn I got from VKL Chicago 2013. I would really love to have most of the things I bought there all knit up for this time. That way I can go to the booths I visited last year and show them my awesomeness. I think I want to find some kind of drapey cardigan pattern. The yarn is mostly alpaca which means it is soooooo soft, but it will stretch as I wear it. I can’t do anything form fitting because it won’t stay that way. I am thinking some kind of comfy sweater that will be amazingly soft to wear. I am still searching for a good pattern so all advice is welcome. The yarn is a DK weight so a pattern calling for that size yarn would be preferable, but if there is a pattern that is perfect, I’ll do the math to sub in this yarn! Send it to me regardless!!

Technical Tuesday: Short Rows

The Stripes Gone Crazy Cardigan is one that uses a lot of short rows to get the effect of leaning stripes. I will not lie to you, my short row skills were a bit rusty before I started knitting this cardigan. It also took me a while to remember how to do them properly. Through the trial and error that is my knitting style and a couple well- that-doesn’t –look-right’s I managed to figure it out, so I am going to try to help everyone here understand them better and save yourself the horror of really ugly short rows…I am hoping I can block that out.

I took a short row class during Vogue Knitting Live New York 2014, that was really the second experience I had with short rows, but the first time didn’t count because I didn’t know I was attempting to do short rows. The VKL class was very comprehensive and covered the basics of short rows and a little bit beyond. For the class, each person had to knit their own swatch and put a few short rows in it. The end effect was a curved swatch. After this class, I would say I have a basic knowledge of short rows; I can follow a pattern with short rows and maybe figure out a short row heel for socks. I would definitely not be able to success fully add short rows to a sweater. I am sure if I knit a few sweaters with short row shaping in them, I would be able to pick it up. For now, I feel like I would probably put them in backwards.

Adding shape to any garment is usually something I highly recommend, so if I can give any advice on this subject, it would be to learn as much as you can about short rows and shaping in general. I will go over another shaping technique next week so short rows are not the only option!

Home Stretch

With the Kitchener/Waterloo show coming up, I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get things finished. Overall, there has not been much time for knitting, but I do have a FO!

Helpful

I managed to finish the Vampire Barbie sock. I was really close in the last car ride I took on Saturday, so I polished it off that night. I grafted the toe and weaved in the ends so I could immediately put the sock on. I think I am going to wash one of them because the question I get all the time is, will the colours stay when I wash it. Of course the colours will stay, why wouldn’t they? How would I ever be able to share this yarn with anyone if it washed white? It reminds me of those orchids at the grocery store that are bright blue or purple; after you go through the trouble of NOT killing it, it blooms white the next year. This way, people will be able to see real evidence that when the yarn is washed in a washing machine, it doesn’t hurt it and it doesn’t lose any colour!
I was really concerned about the amount of re-skeining that needed to be done. It was one of those things that kept getting put off indefinitely. Luckily I had a lot of friends helping me out! I’m sorry to be such a high maintenance friend! Please don’t un-friend me from life! As of Monday there was only a small box left.

Yarnsplosion

This past two weeks it has looked like there was some kind of yarn explosion went off; there were no survivors, it was tragic. I have a huge mountain of odds and ends that have been used to tie the skeins together or tie the tags on the skeins to label them. It is really monstrous, but I feel like keeping it as a conversation piece. I could put it in a truffle bowl and keep it on the counter. Yarn décor is the best décor.

We have also been working on the stitch markers. Usually booths have a little extra couple things here and there. Stitch Please will have stitch markers and a few pattern markers. The pattern markers were Sara’s idea because we constantly use post-it notes or craft tape. The problem with these things, is when you’re constantly moving them, they lose the stickiness and fall off. At which point you are completely bamboozled, because I never keep track of where I am. I can attest to how well they work because on the weekend, I was using one for a test run. I managed to knock over my cup of coffee onto the pattern and when I yanked the pattern up and away from the stain, the pattern marker stayed where it was. It is currently air drying with the magnet still attached and marking my place. On one hand I am upset I wrecked my pattern (of which I can simply print off another page) but on the other hand I was really pleased the pattern markers worked so well.

Pattern Markers

That is about all that I have been up to lately, I can’t wait until this show is over and I can semi relax before the wedding. I really hope this show goes well because it is the first step along what I hope is a very fulfilling and successful path! Wish me luck and if you’re attending you can find us at booth 60!