Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Here We Go Again!!!

I want to thank everyone for their sympathy in the loss of my vest-turned-skirt. I have started it again. The old sweater had 204 sts casted on, the new sweater has 172 stitches. I sure hope that this works. The big fat yarn cake is 150 grams of yarn. That is 3 skeins of Jaeger Baby Merino DK. Wish me luck!!!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

When the Knittin' Ain't Fittin'

Hello knitting friends!
I was feeling a little under the weather today, and I figured that since I didn't have the energy to dig my car out of the snow, I wasn't going to go anywhere this weekend. So, I set out to finish my pink vest that I have been working on. I got to the point where I split the front and back, and completed the armhole shaping for the back portion.

So, I had the bright idea to try it on. Look what happened. Now my head is already really foggy from the flu, but that still doesn't stop me from seeing that this is way too big. Gauge problem? Well, let's try to figure this one out.

(Please ignore the smile in the picture. I am really pissed off. My mom made me laugh by calling me knitty shitty, since I messed up)

The pattern specified a gauge of 23 sts/ 4" in the Fair Isle pattern. I decided not to Fair Isle this sweater, and the gauge I measured was 22 sts/ 4". So, I decided to take out a sweatervest that I know fits me very well. Look at the difference.

Even if I went down to the XS size, I will only be losing 12 stitches which would still leave me with a big sweater. Based on the measurement of my sweatervest that I bought from a store, I calculated that I need about 36 less stitches. So, it is time to frog this. Just as I spliced my 3rd ball of yarn. Aarrgghh!!!!

Hmmm... You think I should just make a skirt??? Just an FYI.. my hips are about 39 inches with this junk in my trunk, plus I have on jeans which is adding a little more. How did 35.5 inches from the pattern turn into 39 in my sweatervest????
I am so fed up. I was getting really excited that I got through more than 50% of this sweater, and was looking forward to wearing it when the weekend was over. I also wanted to surprise Deborah who seems to believe that I won't ever finish anything I start. (Well, she just teases me by saying that... I know she loves me, and believes in my abilities) I also wanted to have one FO for the year that wasn't a hat that I agreed to give away. This was going to be all mine, in my favorite color, and fit perfect. Maybe I am just emotional because I am sick and needy right now. But I am sad. There, I said it. I am human, and I have feelings.

I also want to add that Nancy really appreciates having me as a friend because I am always so enthusiastic about my knitting, even if it is pissing me off. Well, Nancy... have fun laughing at this one.

So, if you have any ill-fitting stories, I would love to hear it. You just got my very first one.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I heart "I (Heart) Felt" !!!

I just read this book and I have three words to say...... "GO GET IT"
It comes out today, February 19th. I have had the pleasure of perusing it over the weekend. I liked it so much, look what it made me buy!!!

In this book, Kathleen Taylor takes a new spin on felting. The experimental knitter can have so much fun with this. The projects touch on felting with novelty yarn, cables, intarsia, fair isle, and embellishments. Have a felted project that didn't turn out quite so right? Kathleen even added a solution for those mishaps.

The first thing that I noticed about the layout of this book was the gorgeous use of color. The book uses a mixture of bright and muted tones to keep the eyes interested. The pictures are clear and colorful as well. The projects are laid out one by one, with instructions following each photograph.

The book is sectioned into 4 chapters : the basics, playing with texture, using color, and exploring embellishments.

In the basics section, the author gives a thorough explanation on what felting is, and how to achieve great results. One nice surprise is that she notes the different techniques for different types of yarns, as well as different types of knitting for felting fair isle, intarsia, and cables. I never knew that these differences even existed, and it has truly opened my eyes to the vast possibilities of felting. Personally, I would have never thought to felt alpaca, but there is a great hat and scarf pattern in there. Also, there is a section on what to do if your felting is not quite turning out as expected.

The patterns are laid out very nicely. A thorough explanation of the yarn characteristics for each project are given, with the all important row gauge being included. This also helps when yarn substitutions are necessary. The yarn choices for the projects are a good mix of luxury yarns as well as affordable yarns. The measurements are included to account for the sizes before and after felting. The knitting instructions are very clear and concise, written text instructions. Very simple cable charts are included when needed, and they illustrate one pattern repeat. Color charts are also included for the fair isle and intarsia projects. The patterns include hats, bags, scarves, slippers, decorations, and even a sweater.

My favorite "Must Knit Now" projects are the Cosmos Bag, Sewing Kit, and Autumn Harvest. The Cosmos Bag uses a variegated yarn, which is something I have not tried in felting. I am curious to see how the colors will blend after the felting process is complete. The Sewing Kit and Autumn Harvest are great uses for leftover yarn. There are even a few patterns that are made for kids. The Beaded Tiara and Magic Wand will make any little girl feel like a princess. Personally, my least favorite project would be the child-sized shaggy slippers. It reminds me of a sea anemone. Haha!!

In the embellishment section, the focus is on beading, appliques, and needle felting that occurs after the project has gone through the felting process.

Overall, I would say that this book has a project for knitters of all levels. There is a section for knitting terms and abbreviations, yet there isn't a step-by-step "How to knit" guide. I would suggest that at knitter know the basics before embarking on this fun felting journey. I will begin my journey with the Cosmos Bag, substituting the yarn with the Burly Spun in the picture. My second project will be Autumn Harvest, which involves stuffing the knitted piece with polyester fiberfill before the felting process begins. I will post progress pictures in the next few days.

Run to your nearest bookstore today, and check it out!!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

My Chocolatey Hat Attack Demise

Hello everyone. I received my package yesterday, when I got home from a Valentine's day shindig. How bittersweet. She even gave me some chocolates.

Here is the infamous bathroom mirror shot of me wearing the hat. It's a little small compared to my Chunky MJB hat, but it still looks cute. Thank you Betsie (Thistlechick) for the sweet killing. Lindt is way better than Godiva. Haha!!

In the meantime, knitting has taken a little break just for today, because I am posting Carnival pics on Facebook. Email me if you want the link. Oh, and I am going on a yarn crawl tomorrow. I have a surprise coming up after the weekend. Stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Farewell to my Hat Attack Victim

Hello FloridaMo. I have written you a little poem.

This Mulberry hat is a poisoned treat.
For it's arrival is so bittersweet.
A warm toasty hat to put on your head.
But I am sorry my friend, you are dead.

I shipped it today. USPS says D-day is in 2-3 days. Isn't she lovely?

I must say that I am happy to be back home, in my warm comfy bed. But I hate the fact that every day is less than 20 degrees out, and I had to walk through the snow to get home, while I had on my suede boots. Thank goodness for waterproofing spray. So, my head is still in the clouds in Trinidad, and I am anxuously planning my next trip there. The date has not been set at the moment.

But guess what? I found another knitter in Trinidad. She has a craft tent in Woodford Square, in the country's capital of Port of Spain. I bought a few plastic-canvas decorations from her, and told her that I am very crafty and used to make those when I was small. I told her that I was an avid knitter. She asked "Do you do two bow knitting, or do you use the circular needle". I was taken aback by the "two bow" knitting description, but I caught her drift. I told her that I did both, and she proceeded to show off her skirt that she made using the circular needle, and her tank top. I think both she and the articles of clothing are adorable. She was surprised that I wanted to take her picture.

I told her that I was impressed that there was a knitter in Trinidad. She was even more impressed that I was young, and interested in the craft. When I told her that I was a certified instructor, she almost fell to the floor. I told her that in the States there are many people my age who knit. She said that she was very happy to see that the youth was picking up the craft again. Of course, I had on no makeup that day, so I barely looked a day over 20... but I will take a complement when I get one. I replied that she looked a lot younger than some of the older folks that I see knitting in New York. She blushed at that one. For the life of me, I cannot remember her name (please excuse me... I was running on E from too much partying and no sleep). And I regret that I didn't ask her if she knitted Continetal or English style. Trinidad was a British colony, and gained it's Independence in 1962. So, I really wonder what style she really knew.

On a side note, I spoke to two handsome firefighters who saw my knitting pictures and mentioned to me that they learned to knit and crochet in school growing up. They were very impressed with my talent, and inquired about a sweater. Sorry guys... no ring, no thing. LOL!!! I will not succumb to the sweater curse.

More pics and progress reports later. Have a wonderful day, everyone!!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Guess who I met in Trinidad?

Originally uploaded by shamekaknits
Look at this hottie!!! Yes, the one and only Michael Ealy from Sleeper Cell, Barbershop, and 2 Fast 2 Furious. Isn't he gorgeous???? Oh, and what a nice personality. He was just enjoying himself in Trinidad. This pic was taken on Tuesday during Carnival.... the greatest show in the world. I had so much fun!!!!