Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Knit-serverance Pays Off... Maybe

I have been knitting the same "quick" project for what seems like for. ev. er.

It's a baby sweater for a friend. The baby was born a while ago and I am still knitting this sweater. In all fairness to the sweater, this particular version is not the first of it's kind here. This one is actually my third, third attempt.

The first time I cast on too many stitches. Okay, that was my fault for trying to cast on, watch TV, and prevent a cranky two-year-old from destroying the world as we know it  house, all at the same time.

The second time I cast on the right number of stitches, but I neglected to swatch. The dreadful thing was nearly 7 inches long before I realized that my gauge was horribly off, and that sweater would probably have fit a preschooler. I'm all for making baby knits that babies can grow into, but I like for that to happen before they start kindergarten.

I have finally finished the body...

It's a little wonky, I know... but it is knit beginning at the bottom of the front side, up, over the shoulders, and down the back side.

And I picked up the stitches for the sleeve:
This was no easy task, since even though I swatched and got gauge, it lied as gauge swatches tend to do because they are pointless and evil my gauge is off anyway. This sweater is still too big, which made the measurements for the picking up of the sleeve stitches way off.

Argh! I did a little knitmath (ugh...) and I think it's going to work. Of course, it did involve math, so there is a chance that this sweater will only fit a baby that is shaped like a bowling ball with pencils for arms. Whether it does or does not, I will finish this stupid precious sweater soon. I need to get this thing off the needles. Need.

In my frustration, and with a road trip coming up this weekend, I might have caught a small case of startitis. There is a chance that I might have sort of cast on a pair of socks...
This was another risky move. This particular yarn has been started into four other pairs of socks, and has been ripped back each and every time.
 The colorway is lovely, but the changes come up so quickly that I'm having a hard time finding a pattern to compliment it. So, the four failed attempts were really due to my own pickiness. That, or this yarn is cursed.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

In Which Keowdie Dreams...

Since I finished the Bible in 90 Days (...in 143 days... ahem.) I've been looking through my book shelves for books to read. I've got a couple of new ones to read, but they are all pretty long, and... well, I just don't think I'm ready to commit to another long read yet.

So. I'm re-reading some of my favorites. Last night, I spen about an hour reading this book before bed:
Don't "click to look inside," by the way. That came with the image I copied & pasted from Amazon.com

Anyway, the past part I read was her brief story about the woman who knitted plastic grocery bag strips into bags.

And then I had vivid, colorful dreams about knitting bags from bags all night long.

I really must be more careful about what I read before bed. Maybe I'll crack open that new Stephen King novel after all.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Happy Summer!

Summer vacation is finally here. This means homeschooling with the boys, a (hopefully) large garden and lots (& lots & lots) of time for knitting! Also, it means that a few of my creative monkeys can be used for writing blogposts.

It's an odd paradox for me. When I was self employed & had much more time on my hands, my knitting tended to drop off in the summer months. If you've ever been to St. Louis in July, you know why. It's hot. It's humid. It''s not at all uncommon to have many consecutive days with highs in the upper 90's and humidity at 80%. That doesn't exactly make one long for wool. Or cotton. The only thing those conditions make a person long for is a pool (we don't have one) and a cold, fruity drink (alcohol optional).

But now that I am employed by a local school district, just about the only time I have for knitting is during the summer. There's no stress from work. There is a lot more free time. These are things that make me want to knit! Even if the air conditioner has been running all day and the shingles on my roof are melting.

In this last week alone I've made more progress on the baby vest I'm knitting that I did in the last month of school. It's a gift. A gift for a baby. A gift for a baby who is now nearly a month old. That's okay. It's never too late to welcome someone to the world! Here's what I've got so far:
I know. It doesn't look like much right now. I had the hardest time figuring out this completely wonky pattern wrapping my brain around the general workings of this unique pattern. This is my third attempt at this pattern. The first problem I had was that the pattern called for "Number 10 needles." So, although this seemed awfully big for a baby sweater, I hauled out my US 10's. Three quarters of the way up the front I realized that this sweater would fit my baby. My baby is two years old.  So, I hit Ravelry & found that most people had knit this pattern on 4's and 3's. I ended up on US 5's. Then there were other issues. I couldn't find the instructions for knitting the back. I couldn't figure out how I was supposed to attach the left front yolk. I wasn't really understanding the sleeves from just skimming over the pattern.

Then, yesterday, the light bulb went on, the heavens opened and angelic choirs sang a perfect G-major chord. I realized that I knit up the front, cast on a bunch of stitches for the back neck, attached the two sides at the shoulders, and am now knitting down the back. I think the sleeves start with picked up stitches & are knit down from the shoulder as well, although I'm not there yet, so I'm not entirely sure.

This is what it looks like if I fold it at the shoulders:
It still looks like an amoeba. But an amoeba that resembles a sweater. Sort of. If you squint at it. A lot.

This is what it is supposed to look like:

Of course, if I get frustrated with this wonky pattern, I can always work on a sand dollar for Riley's blanket that was supposed to be done by Christmas...
I'll be posting much more frequently now that I'm knitting more. And now that all my creative monkeys aren't completely preoccupied with writing songs about money, letter sounds and toilet training. It's hard to write blog posts when all your creative resources are focused on work.