Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I'm such a delinquent...

...delinquent blogger, that is... I'm so sorry I've been bad about posting and commenting; the bf was working out of town, and coupling that with my own crazy workload had me taking much longer at getting things done around here (I had come the realization that my coffee does not, in actuallity, "magically appear" before me every morning. There is no such thing as the Coffee Genie. Repeat to self.)

So, I finished the baby blanket I was working on. I had originally planned for 12 squares excerpted from Barbara Walker's Learn-to-Knit Afghan Book, but had to settle for 9, because the blanket would've been huge.
Yarn used: Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Cotton (no dyes, bleaches, etc.) in colors Sand (5 skeins MC), Bone (2 skeins CC1) and Nut (1 skein CC2).
Needles: size #9 & Crochet Hook: size "J"

I went with this yarn because it's eco-friendly and also because my expectant friend wanted something gender neutral (and, she's from California, so the organic yarn thing was too cool to pass up). In the book, it calls for crochetting 20 sts per side of each square, but I increased it to 26; however, it still looks a bit "pinched" in places. I'm hoping washing and blocking will fix that.

With the leftover yarn, I made the Baby Bolero from One Skein, which happens to call for one skein of this yarn. HOWEVER, it took me a little more than one skein to make this sweater. Also, there are errata in the pattern.
Here is the back view with the optional eyelet pattern. The way it's written is not symmetrical; I had to change the second set of K2togs in to SSKs in each line of the pattern. Finally, because I must have OCD or something, I refused to do the K3tog at the top, and opted for: slip 2sts at once, knit 1, pass the 2 slipped sts over the knit st. This way, the center of those 3 sts is in the middle. (Oh, and I increased a stitch in the ribbing up top so it would be symmetrical over the center of the eyelet motif. I need help. Seriously. But in my defense, you who have this book, go look at the pictures and you'll see how un-centered it'll look if you don't fix it.)

This is my new Golding Spindle. I love it, love it, love it! I haven't been tempted to buy any more spindles because I like this one far more than anything I've ever seen.

I finally got around to plying that Spunky corriedale wool I was spinning. It's only 77 yds because I threw away some earlier botched attempts. I spun with the Spindlewood (left) and the Bosworth (right), and plied with my huge Cascabeles (center).

Ren tagged me for a meme, so I hope I'll be able to get to that soon.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

knitting book sale at knitpicks!

Quick heads up-- Knitpicks is having a 40% off sale on all their books. It's cheaper than Amazon now. I just stocked up on some things I've been coveting like this and this and this!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

...When it's time to dump a pattern...

...but first,

I just found out that Hakucho has nominated me as a Rockin' Girl Blogger! I'm so excited and honored! Thank you, Hakucho!!!

Hakucho has a really fun and informative blog; she always comes up with the most ingenious and creative ways to improve patterns - sometimes even taking them to another level and using the stitch pattern to create a whole new knitted object (you should see what she's done with the famous "Ballband Dishcloth"!) Anyway, she's currently working on a fantastic piece-by-piece fish afghan - please go take a look!

Well apparently, it's now my job to nominate another 5 Rockin' Girl Bloggers:

Monika, at Smokin' Hot Needles- This girl is a Rockin' master knitter. Period. And she knits super-fast! She's got a great flair for design and colors, and her projects and her own patterns always inspire me to challenge myself. She also shares the antics of her two gorgeous white german shepherds: Sam and Biko.

Dipsy, at Dipsy Doodle- Blogging all the way from Austria, Dipsy gives me a glimpse into her picturesque home town of Innsbruck while churning out beautiful sock patterns and other wildly beautiful knits. I especially love seeing her knit from patterns that aren't available here in the U.S.; I appreciate being able to see the different knits out there!

Kate, at Miss Ewe Knits- A fellow violinist, Kate always shares hilarious knit-related pictures on her blog (running sheep with stuffed sheep animals tied on their backs being the most recent pic). She's always in the know about the great new yarns out there, and I like hearing her reviews and seeing her gorgeous knits!

Courtney, at Yarn Tootin'- Another fellow musician (violist) who's up on the best sock yarns available; especially indie! The only blogger I've ever met in real life (went to school together, played quartets with, and went to Tanglewood with), I never knew she was into knitting until I happened upon her blog one day. She always knows what the hot projects are, and knits them up beautifully; she's a real inspiration!

Ren, at Ren Knits- A grad student (accounting major!), Ren somehow manages to find the time to knit really cute socks, house projects, and she SEWS! Makes her own needle cases and everything!

Okay, on to the griping....
I present to you this innocent looking, cute, clearly easy and fast knit (size 11's)

I knit and frogged a good chunk of this blanket 3 times because I couldn't figure out why it looked so weird. The blanket has two rows of staggered eyelets separated by some stockinette rows. I really wanted to believe in this pattern, you know...I mean, it looked so professionally printed, and I paid money for it and everything...

Here is my low-tech charting of the pattern. See the problems?
Not only are the eyelets totally not centered on the blanket body, but they don't even line up symmetrically when staggered!!! WTF??? Oh, and there was an errata page on Blue Sky Alpaca's website. However, it only mentions some major boo-boos about the ruffle (which I hadn't even got to), and nothing about the messed up asymmetrical body. Oh yeah, by the way, the errata page did mention it takes 7 skeins of yarn, not 6. Nothing major, right? (grits teeth).
Anyone doing this pattern out there - unless you're willing to rewrite the main pattern and deal with the errata and lacking skein of yarn - I highly suggest you dump it. It is soooooo not worth the trouble!!! Shame on you, Blue Sky Alpaca! I will always love your yarn, but I'll never buy one of your patterns again!

Anyhoo, Barbara Walker to the rescue:
This is a great book! I've learned to do some things I never knew how to do like LT, RT and purling through the back loop. I'm planning on knitting 12 squares from the book to make a baby-sized afghan.

Squares #7: Garter and Rib Pattern and #25: Wave

Squares #3: Basketweave and #48: Vine Leaf Panel (my fave)
Finally, I leave you with the debut haul of my market bag. Eat your greens!