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December 29, 2005

Success!

Well, we're back home again! Christmas was celebrated with my family in Seattle this year. Actually, we were in Sammamish, but have you ever heard of Sammamish? Didn't think so. But I digress...remember how I was afraid my Mum's sweater wouldn't fit?

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It fits! And so does Pop's vest. I think we can safely call this a Christmas knitting success.

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And in case you haven't had enough of Christmas yet, here's my entry for Carola's Christmas Excrescences Contest:

Continue reading "Success!" »

December 5, 2005

Finished: Laurent

LaurentFinished.jpg
For Christmas I would like some natural lighting please. [actual color]

The Specs:
-Pattern:Laurent by Sharon Peake from Rowan Vintage Knits
-Yarn: Knit Picks Merino Style in Nutmeg, substituted for Rowan Yorkshire Tweed DK
-Skeins: 11 1/5 @ 50g each
-Needles: size 7 bamboo and size 8 birch for the edging
-Start to finish: November 9 - December 4
-For: My Mum (Christmas)


Sizing: I'm note entirely sure about the sizing. I made the third size (36" bust) as this is the size Mum claims to be, and didn't go down a size as she generally wears things looser than I do. According to the diagrams, that size has 3 inches of ease (is this a lot?). I think it came out pretty close to the 39" measurement, but when I tried it on last night it looked suspiciously large on me. Granted, I don't have a 36" bust, but I do have broader shoulders than Mum. I guess I'll just have to wait until she puts the thing on. Now I'm a little nervous.

Other details: At Mum's request, I left off the intarsia flowers, and the belt. I wet blocked it before sewing up. I thought I did a decent job of sewing up at the time, but it looks a little sloppy to me in the photo. It seems that vast expanses of stockinette are not that forgiving.

Final Verdict: Not the quickest or most exciting knit. I guess the jury is out on this one until Mum tries it on.

**Update**

It fits!

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December 1, 2005

Let there be sleeves

Well, so far things are looking good for the Elliphantom Christmas Countdown. Yesterday I conquered the never-ending sleeves. Not much to report there...I managed to knit them straight through without any mistakes. This could mean one of two things 1) It is a Christmas Miracle (hopefully the first of many) or 2) I just haven't found the fatal error yet.

At this point I consider it a minor Christmas Miracle that anyone keeps coming back to look at more pictures of brown stockinette. To shake things up a bit, and to ensure that I still have a readership in the New Year, I've thrown in my new shoes for interest. Everybody likes shoes.

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(Since when have I been knitting an orange sweater? Oh well, at least the shoe color is correct.)

So here's the plan. Tonight I will block the sleeves and the back of Laurent. We're talking a good wet blocking...none of this Rowan "pin and iron with a damp cloth" nonsense. Also, I need to buy buttons (I always forget about that part) as it might be a good idea to have them on hand when I knit the buttonholes. Saturday I'll knit the button bands and collar, and then block the fronts. Hopefully, with the help of dry winter weather and my great big fan, things will be ready to sew up on Sunday. Hooray! The end is in sight.

The only thing that can thwart me now is that package from Elann with the yarn for Trellis. Heaven help me to be steadfast and true.

November 28, 2005

A little (more) Christmas knitting

On Sleeve Island. Send Hula dancers. I need something to distract me from the Endless Miles of Stockinette.

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On a slightly different tack, remember how I was going to knit just three Christmas gifts this year? How I decided that it was the best way to avoid holiday knitting insanity? Well, apparently I can't take my own good advice because a few other things have crept into the queue.

Thing One: Trellis. For Thunk's niece O. This baby needs a snuggly sweater. Oregon is a cold, cold place and her parents requested something warm for her to wear for Christmas. My knitter's alarm bells went off so I ordered some Jaeger Matchmaker Merino in the color tinsel. The yarn should be here by the end of the week. Justification: It's a small sweater; I should be able to finish it before the 10th of December when I see her, right?

Thing Two: Socks for Lou. Lou deserves some socks. I could give you the 20 or so reasons but I'll keep this short and just give you two. One: he gave me a big beautiful wooden swift last summer (no occasion). I had told him I was saving up for one and within the week he had bought one for me. Turns out that, when he was a little thing, his mother used drag him to yarn shops and then made him hold her skeins while she wound them into balls (see? knitting trauma can result in more thoughtful men). Second reason? His birthday is in December. Besides, I've almost finished the first sock.

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Don't worry, I have huge feet. They'll be large enough.

I’m using the same basic pattern that I did for the Octo socks, and this yarn. I'm guessing that "antibakteriell" is a cognate.

Also, I'm planning two or three smallish mystery knits (I don't even know exactly what they'll be yet). Justification: I am going on a cruise to Mexico in a couple of weeks and need small, mindless things to knit on the plane/ship. As we already know, I can't really bring anything that requires pattern reading if I'm going to be around people. And, as you can see, I seem to have a burning need to knit something for everyone I know.

So what does this do for my Christmas knitting schedule? Well here's the plan:
-December 4: Finish Laurent (doable, if I stay on task).
-December 9: Have most of Trellis finished. I figure I could do some finishing on the boat, if needed.
-December 10-17 (on cruise): Knit Lou's second sock and get one or two more small gifts knitted.
-December 18-20: Finish any remaining small gifts.
-December 21-28 (in Washington) Wrap up lose ends and finish Thunk's sweater.

I know I'm just asking for trouble, but there's no harm in trying, right?

November 27, 2005

Home Again

We're back! Michigan was fab.

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It was lovely. I woke up early every morning and drank tea while I knitted and basked in the light of the Christmas tree. It sure beat going to work. I was able to finish the Laurent fronts (sans button bands) and make some headway on the sleeves. I would have gotten more done if I hadn't been frogging every five minutes. Knitting with people around equals me ignoring the pattern and making whole sections up. Maybe it's good that I don't knit socially very often.

Saturday afternoon the three sisters were observed crafting in their natural habitat. Kricket crocheted her boyfriend scarf, I knitted...

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and Rae prepared lessons for her physics class. While this is not a traditional needlecraft, she gets extra points for doing work over a holiday weekend while the rest of us were having fun. Yay teachers!

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What else did we do?

Continue reading "Home Again" »

November 22, 2005

Off to Michigan!

Yay! I love long holiday weekends. Thunk and I are packing it up and heading off to the land of my youth to see my sisters. My parents have thoughtlessly moved to the west coast, thereby rendering themselves inaccessible for turkey-based holidays, so we will be celebrating without them.

We're staying with Rae (my older, shorter sister) and her husband Nate for a few days at their house in Plymouth. Saturday Kricket (my younger, also shorter sister) will get into town. Plans have been made involving a turkey, Moscow mules, Christmas decorating, Harry Potter movie going, and shopping. There might even be needlecrafts of varying types. I will definitely knit. 11-12 hours of driving time round trip is enough time to put a significant dent in Laurent (I do surely hope, anyway). Throw in traffic and snow and I might even have more knitting time than I would like.


At any rate, progress on Mum's Laurent continues. See?

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See the gaps in the middle? I'm supposed to continue the textured stitches up the edge of the sweater and sew them into place later. I'm just wondering how one does this neatly and nicely. The pattern specifies slipstitching. Note to self: buy a comprehensive knitting reference that gives instructions regarding slipstitching (any suggestions?).

Also, on a side note...those little Clover locking stitch markers are my favorite knitting accessory ever. I've used them more as tiny stitch holders than as stitch markers, and they thoughtfully put two colors in a package so that you can mark port and starboard on your sweater.


And because I know I've shown you way too many pictures of brown stockinette lately, here is a bonus shot of our favorite autumnal snack (and my favorite primitive appliance) here at Chez Elliphantom.

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Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

November 21, 2005

Weekend Knitting

There wasn't as much weekend knitting as originally anticipated...but I bought yarn!

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Funky colors, eh?

On Saturday, Thunk and I went to see the LOTR exhibit with our friends Jason and Wendie. It was v. cool, though the museum wouldn't let us take any pictures. You'll just have to use your imagination...lots of costumes and props and one very creepy wax body double of dead Boromir in a boat. Wendie is a knitter too (yay!) so we hit Mass Ave. Knits in Indy after the museum. I was v. restrained and bought only the Regia sock yarn (which was on sale) and a pair of long size 6 Brittanies.


Sunday I resisted casting on for the socks and finished the back of Mum's Laurent instead. I really hope it doesn't grow much when I block it. It is the perfect size right now.

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I started on both Laurent fronts last night. I'm working both at the same time so it feels like things are moving pretty slowly, but it's just mental. I'm past the fancy edge bits now, and on to the miles and miles of stocking stitch. Provided I remember to read the pattern (not always as easy as it sounds) things should be fairly zippy from here on out.

November 15, 2005

We're not in Kansas...

...but we sure are having more than our fair share of fall tornados in the Midwest. On the bright side, I was able to get in a few rows at work yesterday afternoon while waiting for the sirens to stop. Some of my coworkers reported seeing roofing materials swirling high up in the air above the building, but no funnel clouds. Me? I was in (what I considered) the safest room in the building. First floor. No windows. I'm a big tornado chicken I am. It was nice though--rather like a big impromptu work party. There was even a cute baby in attendance.

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Last night (during another tornado warning) I laid into Laurent and cranked out a nice patch of stockinette. I'm at the half-way point on the back now. If the rest of the sweater goes as quickly, this should be a relatively fast knit. The collar instructions don't even look that complicated...nary a short row to be seen. Of course, skipping the intarsia speeds things up considerably.


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Here's a better detail shot of the edging. It pretty much looks like gussied up garter stitch.

As for the yarn, I’m enjoying the Merino Style more than I expected. I've heard mixed reviews--that it doesn't hold up well when frogged. However, I ripped that slip-stitch edging more that once and the yarn seemed to come out ok. Maybe I'm a gentle knitter? We'll see how it holds up when actually worn though.

November 14, 2005

Results may vary

I didn't get as much knitting done this weekend as I was hoping (I haven't touched Demi) but I did make some progress on the Christmas knitting.

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After many swatches and much futzing around, I decided to knit the edging for Mum's Laurent on size 8 needles. The knitting itself is still narrower than I’d like but when I went up to size 9s the stitch pattern lost its structure and got all floppy on me. At this point I'm trusting that a stiff blocking will solve all my problems. I have that bad feeling that I'll come to regret my decision...going up 5 needle sizes seems like a knitting sin punishable by something bad. Like moths descending on my stash. Or arthritis.


I knitted like a fiend on Sunday and managed to finish the front of Thunk's sweater. I decided to block the front and back just to make sure things are going as they should. Before blocking things were looking a bit narrow (like mini-dress for me narrow) but the ribbing relaxed nicely when it got wet.

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Can you see where I joined in new skeins? Yeah, me too. I think I did a better job on the front though.

Unfortunately, things got a bit longer in the blocking as well. Both pieces grew, but now the back is longer than the front. How do these things happen? I think I'll have to take out the bottom, rip it back a bit, and reknit the yellow edge. This, of course, is my punishment for not blocking my swatch.

November 10, 2005

Twisted

Last night, feeling the knitalong spirit, I cast on for Demi. Well, I cast on twice. The first time I cast on for the 36" bust (medium) thinking "hmm...I'm would normally make the 32" but I'm a little under gauge so I should go with the 34" just to be safe...and it looks nice with a little bit of ease on the waify model there so I think I'll try the 36 inch." I knit about four rows before noticing something looked a bit odd (as in oddly huge) so I finally bothered to look at the sizing diagram and wouldn't you know that the smallest size (32" bust) actually measures 36"? So I'm making that one. Yes indeed. You'd think by now I would have learned how to read a pattern.

This is as far as I got on the back before bed. I'm just about to start the cables:
Demi1.jpg
All those twisted stitches! Ai-yai!

In other news: progress continues on Thunk's Christmas sweater (can I rename it? I just can't bring myself to type "hidden agenda sweater"). I'm finished with the back and about a third of the way into the front. Lots and lots of k2p2 ribbing. It's a wee bit mind numbing, actually.

I also cast on for Mum's Christmas Laurent but I already have issues with the slip-stitch edging. The Rowan people want me to knit it on size 3 needles but on size 4s it's coming out way tighter than it should (it's actually a little too tight on size 8s as well). If anybody knows someone who has knit this one, send them my way. Otherwise the edging will be knitted on size 9s (bizarre, I know. This all just seems a little too wrong).

October 25, 2005

Christmas is coming...

So I've been pretty gung-ho about the whole Christmas-is-coming thing here for a few weeks now. Last year I tried knitting something for everyone I know and it got to be a bit much. This year (as I am older and wiser) I am choosing my battles. I will be waging 3 major Christmas offensives this year.

#1 Thunk's Sweater:

Thunk hasn't gotten much in the way of knitted gifts...ever. I made him a hat once. The time has come.

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The pattern is the Hidden Agenda sweater from Knit Wit. I'm subbing 12 skeins of Handspun Bulky Wool from handpaintedyarn.com for the Manos the pattern calls for. My only complaint with the yarn so far is that a couple of the skeins are a little more thick and thin than the rest of it. I don't think anyone will be able to tell, but I'm a little afraid that some of the thinnest parts might snap. It's soft and nice though, and the colors are yummy. As for the pattern, so far it's miles of easy-peasy ribbing with no shaping.

#2 Pop's Sweater Vest:

I haven't knitted much for Dad either. More than for Thunk though-- I can recall one scarf and a pair of socks. So he's a bit overdue for something nice too. Enter the Skye Tweed Vest from Spring 2005 Interweave. I'm using plain old Cascade 220 from the LYS for this one.

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This is as far as I got before I was struck down by the knitting angel of death (aka the big C.T.) and I haven't knitted a stitch since Saturday night. I'm taking it easy on the wrists for now but hopefully I'll be able to get back to it tomorrow. The goal is to finish the last bit on the front and block it (not too strenuous, hopefully) and then all I'll have left is to do is pick up a whole whack of stitches for the ribbing. Should be done by the end of the week I think.

#3 Mum's Cardi:

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Strangely enough, Mum has also been a bit neglected when it comes to knitted stuffus (I'm seeing a pattern here). She does win the prize for being the only person I know of who actually uses (and requests) knitted dishcloths though. Mum picked out this sweater (Laurent) from the Rowan Vintage Knits book which I love, love, love. She requested no flowers (that's ok...I avoid intarsia like the plague) and no belt, so that should make things go quite a bit faster. I haven't started this one yet. If I'm really on top of things I'll order the yarn in the next couple of days.

So what have I been doing if I haven’t knitted since Saturday? Sewing! I bet you'll never guess what I'm going to be for Halloween.

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