Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Master Knitter - Part 1

Well, the Master Knitter packet Level 1 arrived the other day, and I tore into it.
It's pretty serious. There are sixteen essay style questions, a one-page report on blocking, and 16 swatches to knit. So far.....I have one swatch knit and the questions mostly answered in my head. The questions cover gauge, casting on, binding off, increases, decreases, cables, yarn size and type, and joining. Two swatches involve ribbing and basic stitches, one has seed stitch, three kinds of increases, three kinds of decreases, three with yarn overs and decreases, three with cables (including one you pick), and one using two colors.
Suprisingly, I'm having a really hard time with ribbing. I hate ribbing. I've hated ribbing for some time now. Not only is it irritating, it's not coming out neatly. No matter what I do, it still winds up coming loose between the ribs. Normally I would let this go, but I know they're going to be scrutinizing it, in exactly the way that a baby throwing off a hat I'd made them wouldn't.
Then, all of this has to be organized in a binder with page protectors and sent off to them.
And this is all only level one. It could take a while. Then add 4 - 6 weeks for review, possibly sending more than a few items back to be reworked.
Just as well. I can't afford level two yet anyway.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Marathon Lace Knitting

So I finished Cassie's wedding shawl a few posts back. Oh, I thought to myself, now I need a shawl too. And since I have more time, I can make something more interesting, in a yarn that really shows off the stitch pattern.
What the hell was I thinking?
Intricate = looking at the pattern every row
Shows off the stitch pattern = rip out every mistake
Luckily, I realized in time that I was going to have to finish it today to block and dry it before the wedding on Saturday. And when I thought I couldn't do another pattern repeat without throwing the shawl out the window, I took a break and made a little matching purse. Stockinette stitch in the round has never felt so good.
The shawl is soaking wet in these pictures, the purse is the color it will be when dry. And more importantly, it matches the amazing dress and shoes. The dress could look more flattering in that picture, but it's hard to take a picture of something while wearing it. It's actually strapless, those are the just the hanger straps. Just wait two more days before you start critiqueing. I'll post better pics from the event itself, including the wedding shawl in action.

At any rate, I'm incredibly glad to be done with it. I probably could have squeezed one more pattern repeat out of the yarn, but I'd hate to run out, and I'm too tired. I want to give this bad boy as much time to dry as possible.

The next time I plan to do something like this 1) slap me upside the head, and 2) make sure I give myself a little longer to do it.

In summary:

Pattern: Free Lacey Stole from Lion Brand

Needles: Size 7, in the collection

Yarn: Karabella Vintage Cotton (100% mercerized cotton), 6 skeins for shawl and purse at $6.75 a skein.

Total investment: $40.56 plus tax (the dress was only $9.99 from Ann Taylor)

Time: Two weeks of fairly hard core knitting, especially the last few days

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Master Knitter

Did you know you can be certified to be a Master Knitter? Well I didn't, but I do now. I was hanging out at the local knit shop talking to people, and it turns out The Knitting Guild Association has a program to do just that. You join, pay a lot of money, then they send you instructions. You follow the instructions, mail back your samples, and get critiqued. When you pass each level, you get certified. And when you pass Level III, which involves designing your own Aran sweater and hat (and paying even more money), you get certified as a Master Knitter.
Now, I like a challenge. Especially a challenge that doesn't have a time limit and involves me doing something I'd do for fun anyway. I have offcially embarked down the path to becoming a Master Knitter. I also get to be a member of TKGA and get all four yearly issues of Cast On magazine to boot. Marvel at my newfound coolness. Part of me wants to recommend this to people, but I realize that's not realistic. It's just an absurd amount of money to be spending to have someone give you a pat of the back for knitting. While I know this logically, I'm still also really excited.
I have no delusions about passing easily. I know full well how capable I am of screwing up a garter stitch. Well, I know reasonably well. I'm sure I'll continue to amaze even myself with my own ability to mess things up in new and interesting ways. However, I do think this will make me pay a lot more attention to detail (something I have a problem with in all areas of my life) and think critically about my knitting. (Is knitting something you should think critically about? This is one of the critical issues to consider.)
Don't mind those screams you hear coming from the direction of my apartment. That's called progress.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Cute Overload

Go forth and discover the aptly named www.cuteoverload.com .
Warning: do not look at this in the office as people will wonder why you're cooing and speaking in a squeaky voice.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Inspired by Kristine's country quiz, I wandered over to bluepyramid.org myself. They didn't really get the country thing right for me, I'm so not Vatican City. (Anyone who knows me will laugh until they get stigmata from that one. ) However, it did totally nail the book quiz.

You're The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!by Douglas AdamsConsidered by many to be one of the funniest people around, you are quite an entertainer. You've also traveled to the far reaches of what you deem possible, often confused and unsure of yourself. Life continues to jostle you around like a marble, but it's shown you so much of the world that you don't care. Wacky adventures continue to lie ahead. Your favorite number is 42.

I am, in fact, right now, wearing my high school volleyball jersey. My number is 42.

I love internet quizzes. They make my insomnia worthwhile.

Gifts delivered

This weekend both my mom and Cassie got their respective gifts. My mom wore the T to work Monday. She put it on inside out at first and didn't realize it. I'm just not even going to comment further on that.
Now I'm working on a shawl for myself for the wedding to match my pretty turquoise dress (from Ann Taylor, originally $129.00, purchased for $9.99. I think I deserve a pat on the back for that one). I'm using a random lace pattern that I found online, but it's looking pretty cute. Íf I'm lucky, I'll have enough yarn to make a little bag too.
In the meantime, everyone should go see these patterns, because they're ridiculously cute. Hello Kitty has just the kind of cuteness that posseses my body like a demon and makes me speak in a high pitched voice and mispronounce words. You know what kind of cute I mean. The little kid in the sweaterset totally qualifies.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Mom, Don't Look

I mean it. Stop reading, and don't look at this picture. You'll get it soon enough. I had been planning on making this for my mom's birthday for a while, but this weekend I needed a break from tiny lace weight and made this tee in two strands of worsted. Ah, instant gratification. Out of curiousity, I timed myself, and I made this shirt in exactly three hours. And since it's knit from the top down with no seams, that included all the finishing, which just meant weaving in ends.
It's the ballet tee from Loop-d-Loop, which is an odd book, but entirely worth it for this pattern alone. This is the third incarnation I've made of this tee, and now that I realize I can do it 3 hours with a mere 400 yards of worsted weight yarn (see here in Classic Elite Provence Egyptian cotton), they will probably start mulitplying like rabbits. Or at least chinchillas. I've also made it in hot pink for myself (and wear it all the time) and a shiny beige for my mom before (so I know it fits). I also ordered her some matching flip flops from Teva, one of her favorite brands. Strange coincidence, actually. The book is by Teva Durham and the sandals are from the brand Teva. I totally didn't plan that, but should try to pass it off as if I did.
Anyway, in summary:

Pattern: From the book Loop-d-Loop, already owned
Needles: Size 15 circular needles, already owned
Yarn: Classic Elite Provence, two skeins at $8.50 each
Total investment: $17
Time: 3 hours

Wedding Shawl Finished!

So after some hard work and recorded TV shows this weekend, I finished Cassie's wedding shawl.
Even though it's not very wide, I'm still proud that it's thin enough to fit through a wedding band. Admittedly, it's a man's wedding band (my grandfather's, which I wear on a necklace), but I can still say I did it. Hopefully I'll be able to see her this weekend and drop it off. The finished product is a foot and a half wide and four and half feet long. I tried it on to see how it fit, I might have pranced around a little, and it wraps nicely around the shoulders. It's not so short that it falls off, but it's not so long as to get in the way of things.

In summary:
Pattern: Feather and fan lace, free from Sheep's Clothing, and a little bit of math
Needle: Size 10 circular, already owned
Yarn: Two skeins of Kid Silk Haze (75% mohair, 25% silk) at $15
Total cost: $30, but totally worth it for a good friend's wedding
Time: About two weeks, including the time I was moving apartments