Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer Mystery Shawlette - Part 2 5.31.11

It is the Tuesday after Memorial Day.  The weekend was full of knitting, laundry, and Aion.  Ok, 2 out of 3 were fun.

I cranked like crazy on my Knit a long Summer Mystery Shawlette Part 2 from WendyKnits and caught up!  Maybe I'm not such a slow knitter after all...

This is completed Part 1:

And here completed through Part 2:

Here is a close up of the pattern so far:

I'm not sure how much of it you can see.  But I felt it was worth a try.

What have I learned so far:
This lace pattern is really easy. It involves

YO (yarn overs) an increase that leaves a hole
K2Tog (knit 2 together) which is a right leaning decrease
SSK (slip as to knit 2 times, pass back to the left needle, then insert the right needle into the back and knit)  A left leaning decrease
Sl1, K2tog, PSSO (Slip one as to purl, knit 2 tog, pass the slipped stitch over the knit2tog )  this is a way to knit 3 stitches together having no "leaning, " but a centered stitch.

These are all easy stitches, yet I am able to forget which one I'm doing and do the wrong one (with the leaning stitches), YO the wrong way!  or completely forget to YO, or even forget to Pass over the slipped stitch.

I hope to never look too closely at the part 1 of this shawlette.  I did better at part 2.  I am getting better at fixing my mistakes, though.  My most common problem is forgetting to YO or YO the wrong direction.  If I forgot, I just pick up the yard from below and put it on the needle as I'm purling back (all the even rows are purled). 

I have found what I'm sure is an error in the pattern for Part 2.  I checked on Wendy's group for this shawl on Ravelry, but didn't see anyone else commenting on it.  In Row 1, the first section is the decrease section.  It ends with 10 stitches on the needle.  This section is repeated after the middle stitch of the shawl.  But, Row 2 needs 11 stitches for the first decrease section.  I wasn't sure what to do.  The problem is that the last "stitch" in the section is a Sl1,K2tog,Psso which needs 3 stitches, but there were only 2 stitches left in that section.  This is also the last "stitch" in the 12 stitch repeating part of the pattern, so I figured that I needed somehow to do this, and not just a K2Tog, which is possible with 2 stitches. 

Is this making sense?  I wish I had some way to show the knitting symbols, as I think it would make more sense.

Anyway, I decided to just pick up a stitch and muscle on.  I am really proud of my self that I found the error.  I would be a bit more secure if Wendy would comment on the error in her blog, validating my find.  She should be posting the next part of the shawlette soon, if not today.  I generally read the blog on my Kindle.  And, I have noticed that the blog shows up on the website earlier than on the Kindle.  So I shall check her website blog, and report back.

I worked only a tiny bit on James's afghan, and not at all on my puppets, as I wanted to catch up on the shawlette.  Also, as I wrote earlier, I played tons of Aion, and did tons of laundry (no photos or links for that, just lots of clean clothes at our house.)

C. A. Losi

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Progress 5.25.11

Although I don't have a new photo to post, I am almost (about 5 rows to go) finished with the center section of the latest square for James's afghan .  I think (knock on wood) that this is my very first error free square.  It is by far the hardest I have attempted.  For me, knitting is like math.  I can only learn by doing.  Often, as I'm reading directions, I am totally confused.  But as I follow them, step by step, stitch by stitch, they become clearer.

I did follow my "schedule"  for the last 2 days.  I am trying to knit each morning for 1 episode of  Buffy. 

I worked on my puppets
I took the 3 finished main bodies.  Stuffed the heads:
then cinched in the necks, and wove in all the threads. :
Wow, that took the whole episode.  Yesterday, I worked on the first arm.  I haven't crocheted in a while, and I kept losing a stitch as I spiraled around.  Also, my yarn is a bit larger than the recommended yarn, so I think the arm is just too big.  The end part seems really big.
It is supposed to look a bit like a hand, and for my puppet, the hand is as big as the arm!  I think I am going to take the hand part out, and alter the pattern a bit to make it smaller.That took a whole episode.  At this rate, I will finish Buffy before I finish these puppets.

Just to make my finishing each project even slower, I have started a 3rd project.  I am totally enjoying reading various knitting blogs.  On Wendy Knits, Wendy has started a "mystery shawl."  I don't really wear shawls.  I am more the jeans and t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweater, type.  But, it looked like fun.  So, I have decided to knit a long. She is releasing the pattern bit by bit. 

We are supposed to use sock yarn and, of course, I couldn't find sock yarn in a color I liked at my local Jo Ann's.  I don't have a close LYS (Local Yarn Shop). So I chose some yarn that is almost sock yarn. I'm using Patons Silk Bamboo in Orchid.  Wow, it is soft and lovely to the touch.  I have finished the set up (casting on 241 stitches, and knitting 2 rows), and 1 row of the pattern. 
I will have to knit like crazy to catch up because I started a week late.  I will try to not be worried about that, though.  There is also a group for this shawl on Ravelry.com Ravelry:Forums.

Enough said.  Back to Buffy, and row 2.

C. A. Losi

Monday, May 23, 2011

Daily Schedule 5.23.11

I have resisted putting a schedule on this blog because
1. this is a knitting blog, and therefore my schedule should be about knitting
2. I will then be embarrassed at how little of my schedule I accomplish

But, my family will be changing hugely in about 1 month when school gets out.  Our 3 foster children will be going home to live with their dad.  Luke will head off to dance in Pittsburgh with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School.  James will be all over, dancing in Utah then traveling through France with Olivier, his best friend from kindergarten who has moved to France.  We will go from a family of 10 with 9 living at home, to a family of 7 with 4 at home.  Weird Weird Weird!  Summer has not always meant a slower pace for me, especially when the kids were all home and we were doing swim team and tennis lessons.  But lately, my pace almost grinds to a halt.

(I am throwing in a photo here because I have decided that I like blogs with photos, and my first poppy has bloomed.) 

So, I was thinking of the perfect daily schedule for my summer:

1 hour of knitting
1/2 ish hour of walking (expanded on park/trail days)
1 hour of writing
30 min of cleaning/housework except for laundry which can be weaved in
30 min of dinner set up/cooking (I like to get this done in the morning)
Rest of the day spent playing on-line games and knitting

Wow, what decadence.  I had thought to start my day with walking, but sometimes I wake up quite early, and I don't always want to walk that early, especially if I plan to walk one of our many city park trails.  We shall see if I stick to this schedule at all.

Right now my schedule is more:
6am wake kids (repeat this for the next 45 minutes with various kids who just won't get up)
change the laundry
make coffee and breakfast for James (who is trying to eat protein so needs a cooked breakfast)
often drive kids to school who have missed their bus
Grocery shop (this happens EVERY day with this giant family of ours)
at about 8:30- 9:00 return home and clean the kitchen, make dinner, change the laundry/fold/deliver laundry
9 - 12 knitting/housework/computer/finances/etc.
12 - 1:30pm Aion http://na.aiononline.com/
1:45 - 8 Drive kids around (I am not kidding)  knit while waiting for kids to be done with what ever I just drove them to.
8:30 - midnight Aion!

With the midnight Aion (which is an on-line multi-player game http://na.aiononline.com/) I am always sooooo tired at 6 am, but I need the points I am getting from the group instance we are doing.  And we can only get enough people up to do that instance at about 10 pm every night.  It's crazy.  You can only understand these things if you are a gamer.

So, Today I hope my schedule can be:
1 hour  (or one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Netflix) of Knitting
grocery shopping
dinner set up/cooking
Driving kids (knitting interspersed)
more Aion

You will notice that there is no walking, or writing.  Well maybe I will sneak in some writing.  I already snuck in 30 min of blogging =)

C. A. Losi

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Great-Nephew 5.19.11

Just a quick post to say that my niece, Katie, has announced that she is pregnant with her 2nd son!  I am so excited.  I will admit here that I started a really cool baby blanket for her first son (who is now 2) and never finished it...  But I vow to make booties at least for this new one.

Honest.  And maybe I will find that 3/4 finished baby blanket and actually 100% finish it =)

C. A. Losi

3rd Time is the Charm! 5.19.11

Or is it the 4th time?  But, I DID IT.  Wow, I was really struggling with my newest square for James's Aran Afghan.  It is designed by Betty Salpekar.  It starts with a very complicated celtic knot central square, then there is a cool braided cable border, then finally the garter border.  Having mastered cables and chart reading, I thought the center square would be a breeze.  Oh contraire!  There are cable parts that must go sideways.  The directions call for a separate yarn, dpn, and an invisible cast on.  Well I just couldn't understand them.  I tried 3 times before I figured out that I needed to make a completely separate little 3 stitch cable and attach it to the square.  I was ready to check the Ravelery boards because I am sure that I can't be the only person who had trouble with these directions.  Right?  I can't be the only one?  Anyway, I did figure it out, and am about 1/3 through the center square, and, if I say so, it looks awesome!

I have also finished the 2-at-a-time Sheep Puppets I am making main bodies.  All I need to do is close the tops of the heads, stuff the heads, then cinch in the necks.
Then I will finish up 3 puppets simultaneously:
Why haven't i closed the 2?  Why haven't I stuffed them all?  Why haven't I started the arms (the next part)?  I can't find my tapestry needle.  I need to buy fiberfill.

I have decided that my tools are in ridiculous disarray.  I need to organize.  I bought these really cool double pointed needles, and am afraid to take them out of the package, because I know I'll just lose them one at a time...  Also, I really need some way to keep track of my circular needles.  Then of course, I know I bought a gauge thingy.  Where is it?  Also, how many tapestry needles have I bought over the years?

I have the urge to look for some cool patterns to sew for needle cases, etc., but I really think I should just BUY some good needle cases.  I will start doing some research and report back.

Here's to Organization, and Knitting Success!

C. A. Losi

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Quick Update 5.13.11

Just a quick post to say I finished the 11th square of James's afghan!  and LOL, when I checked it, i found an error way way at the beginning.  I was thinking it was error free. Oh well.  I will take and post a photo tomorrow.  Also, I laid out the squares I have finished so far, and they had better stretch while blocking because there are a few very small squares, and some giant ones.

I have finished the neck decreases on the sheep puppets, and am half-way through the heads.

Also, I finished Luke's Giselle shirt and altered James's Giselle shirt.  Both boys need to try the shirts on so I can see where to put the waist elastic.  I really wanted them to just cinch in the waist with a belt. But D-had wants everyone to see their manly physiques...

I am very very tired after a really fun AS Boss run.  Big day tomorrow with haircuts for Holly and Scott.


C. A. Losi

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Progress 5.10.11

Although I had to drive way too much yesterday (Luke's Physic's AP Exam was noon - 4), when I was supposed to be parked outside the Moore Center waiting for Eva, I still managed to reach the 5/6 point on the new square for James's afghan.  I'm so excited.  One of the best things about this square, other than the cool reversible part, is that the simplicity of it is allowing me to just knit it, knowing what comes next by looking at the actual knitting, and not having to constantly refer to the pattern.  This is one of the things recommended in Knitting for Dummies 

but I have found it difficult to do.  Obviously, being able to SEE the pattern in the knitted piece will make me a much faster knitter. =)

I just want to say, as far as figuring out how to "monetize" this blog, I just learned now to make that link for the Knitting for Dummies book. 

And on the Sheep Puppet WIP, I have finished the first part of the single sides, broken the yarns, reattached to the other sides, and am half-way up those.  I was looking ahead a bit in the pattern, and the ram's horns are to be stitched flat, then sewn together around the pipe cleaners.  I know how to make a simple cord, and I'm wondering if that would be faster/easier/look better?  For some reason, I hate the final stitching part of construction.  Samantha's afghan sat in completed squares in a bag in my room for 3 years before I got around to stitching it together.  I don't know why I just can't follow the pattern's instructions, though.  It's like with cooking, I am far from an expert, but I just have to monkey around with the directions/recipe. 

Another work in progress is the Giselle shirt for Luke.  I have it cut out and on the sewing machine.  When I finish this post, I have to get started sewing it.  James's was deemed too big, so it must be altered.  I will try a simple alter of the shoulders/arms.  If it looks horrible, I might just buy more material and make James a new one.  Honestly, tearing it apart will take forever with all that gathering...

I just don't know what I will do next year if I have to actually get a job.  I am loving this life of knitting, writing, walking and playing Aion.  If only it paid.

C. A. Losi

Sunday, May 8, 2011

2-at-a-Time Sheep 5.8.11

I'm making good progress on my sheep puppets.  I have finished the first part of the bodies, and am separating the knit-in-the-round, to make finger holes.  The 2-at-a-time socks books has me do this one sock at a time.  Since I have such trouble counting, and therefore making heels, heel cups, etc the same length, I am trying to knit both puppets simultaneously.  Since these are knit in stockinette stitch, this means that the first puppet starts with a knit side followed by a purl side.  The second puppet starts with a purl side and then the knit side. 

Of course, I am dying to make some socks, but I am making myself not start another project until I finish one of the two I am currently on (afghan or puppets).  But I can't wait to see if I can translate this to socks.  I would have to seriously look at how the sock heels are knit and then do some practicing since one sock would be opposite.  The easy thing to do would be to have one sock with one extra row of purls.  I doubt that would make a big difference in the sock, but maybe it would.  Again, I will have to experiment. I sense that my 2 great nephews, and my NE nephews/nieces will have lots of practice socks with weird heels.

C. A. Losi

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sewing for Ballet 5.6.11

I have not posted in a few days because I have been busy sewing a shirt for James to wear while dancing in Giselle.  His teacher, D-Had, wanted a white peasant shirt, to be worn with black tights and black shoes.  I have made 3 different color peasant shirts for different dances and variations before, and I wanted to try a new pattern. 

I really like this look, though James thinks the sleeves are too "puffy."  I will take it to class today, and let D-Had decide.  I can take in the sleeves a bit if she doesn't like them.  If the shirt is approved, I get to spend the weekend, making a similar shirt for Luke.

I plan to make some simple black elastic belts to cinch in the waists for the 2 boys.

As for knitting, I am now half way finished with the new afghan square.  It is the reversible cable square.  Each cable consists of 8 stitches alternating 2K 2P 2K 2P.  This has the effect of letting the cable appear on both sides of the square.  It is really cool.  The parts that are purled, disappear on the purl side, and appear as knit cables on the back.  And Vice versa.  The knit cables are purls on the back, and somehow disappear into the cable. 

I have been using my knit while I sit (in the bathroom) plan for 3 days now, and am happy to say that I am making steady progress on the sheep puppets. 

Mother's Day is this weekend.  Of course I have nothing for Mom, but I did download a bunch of fun dishcloth patters from the KnitPicks website http://www.knitpicks.com/cfyarns/yarn_display.cfm?ID=5420207&media=BE110502&elink=1--Dishie&utm_source=media&utm_medium=bem&utm_campaign=BE110502&utm_content=1--Dishie.   Perhaps next year!

C. A. Losi

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New Square 5.3.11

I have finished the first 1/6 of the new square of James's afghan.  It is a reversible cable square.  Totally cool.  It will be very repetitive, so easy for me to make mistakes!  I must be sure to count on the cables, because my MO is to randomly make the crosses...

On a completely different note, I am trying to make these sheep puppets  http://malabrigoyarn.com/patterns.php?id=1

but with also having a deadline for James's afghan, I am not making very much progress.  I am knitting 2 at a time, practicing that cool technique, and it is VERY SLOW.  So, I am thinking of putting them in the bathroom in a safe bag and knitting every time I sit down...  Is that gross?  Not sure, but I think I will make better progress on them, and the yarn is washable. =)

C. A. Losi


Monday, May 2, 2011

Volleyball and Knitting

Saturday, I went to Holly's volleyball tournament south of Tacoma.  It is about a 1 hour drive down, and the tournament, a 2 day one, was to go from 9 - 4 both Saturday and Sunday.  Since it was the team's last tournament of the season, I planned to stay to watch and (more importantly) get in some serious knitting.  Knitting is one of those wonderful things I can do WHILE DOING OTHER THINGS!  I can watch TV and knit.  I can chat with friends and knit.  I can watch ballet class and knit.  And yes, I can watch a volleyball game and knit.  So with all that time sitting in the stands  before me, I planned on finishing the square for James's afghan, and starting another.  O! the best laid plans of mice and knitters...

Of course, it did not happen.  Firstly, Holly lost her black spandex volleyball shorts and had brought in their place, Eva's dark blue running shorts.  Well, these volleyball people are serious, and if every single member of the 13 and under team is not wearing the EXACT SAME UNIFORM, they are disqualified.  So, Holly sat on the side, her team played their games against the first opponent in their bracket, and I followed my gps to the nearest Sports Authority in search of new black spandex shorts.  Linda D. kept me apprised of the team's progress with texts (3 horrible losses), as I drove through the streets of University Place.

I returned in time for the 2nd series of horrible losses against the 2nd team in the bracket.  I sat in the stands, knitting furiously, while Holly got in some nice bumps.  During the 3rd game of the series, our team got into their groove a bit, and had some nice volleys going.  But now faced with 2 losses, we were done for the day except for the team members doing their turn at line judges.  I was able to finish about half of what I had planned.  ARRGH!  Why isn't the team better?

So I drove Holly and her teammate buddy, Emily, back to our house where they watched The Sound of Music.  Once home was I able to knit?  Of course not!  This is exactly why I was so happy to go to the tournament.  I cleaned the kitchen, did laundry, then played with Scott (ok, that last part was fun).  I drove Holly and Emily to Emily's house where they spent the night.  The very very helpful Linda D. drove both girls to the Sunday part of the tournament and home again.

I finally finished the square Sunday night.  I have cast on the stitches for my next square.  I am more than half way finished with this afghan.  And am very excited about that.

C. A. Losi