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March, 2008:

A major repair challenge

Looking through back issues of various knitting magazines I came across a lovely bag I will make one day. The pattern is called “Vina Bag” and was written by Lucinda Guy. It’s gorgeous. I saw it in Rowan Magazine 39.
Why not make it now? Well … the colors and basic style reminded me that I already have a lovely bag. In the “needs fixing” bin.
Beaded bag and coin purse
I wish I could direct you to the pattern for this bag. I did this project maybe three years ago. I looked for the magazine it was published in last night but couldn’t find it. I do know it’s called “Snapper” and was written by Jeanette Trotman … and I believe it was published in a Rowan magazine. I had made some modifications to her pattern: I customized the side panels, and made a full lining for it, added zippered pockets and a top zipper. But basically my bag looks very similar to her original pattern. And I love it.
Unfortunately, though, I loved the bag so much I consistently overloaded it, and eventually a thread in one of the handles broke. And of course it’s fraying out.
Broken Strap Lining
I didn’t see an obvious fix for the frayed handle, and decided I’d rather have one sturdy strap than two narrow ones. So yesterday I took it all apart. My plan is to use what was originally the side panels for a single wider handle to replace the double handles. I’ll try kitchener the two side panels together to get a long enough strap. Once I have the handle replaced, I’ll resize the lining so it fits the bag sans side panels, and sew it back in.
In Pieces
Are you wondering if it might be easier to just start over? More on this project later.

Bobble Blister Bonanza

Internet, meet my Show-Off Ruffle Skirt:



, originally uploaded by AMK.

I’ve finished a few more rows than this picture shows, which means I’ve arrived at the point where I’ll be knitting the next bobble row. The bobble rows each take a minimum of an hour – closer to an hour and a half, as my knitting gets slower and slower throughout the row. I’m hovering on the edge of a blister on my pinkie finger, though I’m hoping I’m taking enough breaks from knitting this that I’ll just develop a lovely little callous instead.
I can’t say I’m loving knitting this. Cotton yarn, metal needles, almost 400 stitches, and an interminable number of bobbles. It all starts to get pretty hard on the hands. But I keep going because I just know I’m going to love the finished product. And despite the long, long bobble rows, this thing really is knitting up more quickly than I would have thought.
Things I have watched while knitting this project, mostly while I was home sick yesterday:
- Matlock. Oh, Matlock. How many times have I been home sick throughout my life and been strangely sucked into this show? It’s shameful, really. I never intend to watch it, and then it comes on and I am riveted despite all my instincts to turn away.
- How I Met Your Mother. Yes, I’m afraid to say I watched this online because Britney Spears was in the episode. Not a great actress, that Britney. But I was reminded of how much I like this show. It’s clever. I like clever.
- Every available episode of Quarterlife on NBC. Eh. I wouldn’t have watched this if I hadn’t been home sick and bored out of my mind. My impression was that it tried a bit too hard. Also, I really wanted to identify with the main character Dylan, but in the end I thought I probably was more like the sort of pathetic Debra, which was kind of depressing.
Good thing I’m starting to get over this cold. I’m running out of stuff to watch.

Influenza …

For the record, I don’t get sick. Ever. Don’t have time for it. Don’t have patience for it. In fact, even though everyone else at work has been getting sick, when I was out last week it didn’t occur to people that I would be home sick … because that just never happens. (And I don’t get snowed in, either.)
But I had a f-e-v-e-r and it flattened me! And a cough-til-you-think-you’re gonna-die hack. So four days into it, I’d had enough and saw the doctor. She said “influenza … should we test to see if it’s A or B?” I said, “does it matter which I have?” She said, “not really but some people want to know ….” I said, “don’t care, just wanna feel better.”
So I got my prescription for Robitussin with codeine, went home and knocked myself out with the drugs. (Okay, enough whimpering … I’m over it.)
Moving on, Andrea’s mother-in-law hosted Easter dinner. As in previous years, I brought a big vegetable tray … the ceramic bunny holds the dip. Aw, fur cute!
Veggies and dip
The tray and the simple hydrangea …
Easter bouquet
… were a huge contrast with the snow we’d gotten the day before, and the day before that, and Easter Sunday, and the snow scheduled for tomorrow and next weekend … will it every end??
Easter 2008
I really, really, really need it to be Spring!
(Knitting update: I still haven’t started a knitting project so there’s nothing to report on that front. Sorry.)

Happy Vernal Equinox!

It’s the first day of spring. YAY!



, originally uploaded by AMK.

I have little to report, knitting-wise. I’ve been working on my Show-Off Ruffle Skirt, but haven’t gotten far on it at all. I’ve had to take a few days off from knitting because I hurt my hands cutting a bunch of thick plastic at work the other day (no, I didn’t cut my hands – just wore out the old muskles).
And mostly I’ve just been sleeping at every available opportunity, trying to fight off this chest cold that everyone seems to be getting. I know Mom has been knocked out by it for the past couple of days. I hope you feel better soon, Mom!
Anyway, I plan on taking photos of these flowers as they grow and bloom. Since nothing is really growing outside yet, despite the technical arrival of spring, I’m looking forward to seeing these green things grow.

Digging into the stash

Well, my stash contains absolutely nothing of interest to me. I totally frogged the socks I started from yarn in my stash. Once I learned how to do the magic loop, that was it, no further interest, bored to death.
On the subject of stash, if you’re a Girl Scout supporter and charity knitter, looking for stash-busting opportunities, you might be interested in this. It’s the blog of a young lady in Florida who is hoping to get donations of caps for kids in need, preemies to teens. Kaitlyn has also started a Ravelry group called Knitted Cap Knitwork.
I think the only answer for me right now is to find an exciting summer knitting project … and that probably means I’ll need to yarn-shop. Honesty, seriously, believe me, I just don’t have a thing in my stash that screams “summer project.” Or maybe I need to take a little break from knitting and do some spinning. Now there’s an idea….

Magic loop

I’ve been working on socks, learning the magic loop technique (definition is from Knit Wiki … I didn’t know Knit Wiki existed until just a little bit ago … but it could be useful). Anyway, after having some problems with the needles whipping around and threatening to take an eye out, I no longer need to use my teeth as a third hand. Actually, it’s pretty slick once you get the hang of it. But I think the project needs to be frogged.
socks
I was working an easy lace pattern in a multicolored yarn, and the lace gets lost. I don’t like the look at all. So out it comes. I think I’ll use this project as my relatively low-involvement pick-it-up-between-other-projects project. I need one of those, so it’s all good. I think I’ll keep on with the magic loop technique and just do a simple k3p1 rib on the top of the foot and leg … that will work better with this yarn.

I think part of what’s going on is that I’m ripe for spring colors. Like these gorgeous yellows, oranges and golds. How delicious are they?
If you learn by watching how something is done, see The Knit Witch. In addition to a video on magic loop, there are videos on kitchener, measuring gauge … everything from how to do a yarn over to knitting backwards (which really intimidates me!).

New project Wednesday

Last night, Mom and I got together for a bit of coffee and knitting. We both had new projects we were attempting to get started.

Mom was trying out the magic loop technique on a toe-up sock. At various points, I observed the needle in her mouth, flipping through the air, and almost poking her eye out. Magic, indeed.
I was wrangling something a bit different: casting on 307 stitches using a grabby cotton yarn and a not-at-all slippery Denise circular needle (I see some Addi Turbos in my future). At one point the stitches were so bunched up and stuck on my needle that when I went to tug on them to move them, I ended up yanking a whole gaggle of stitches off the ends of my needles by accident.
This is what I was casting on for:



Show-off Ruffle Skirt, originally uploaded by kat coyle.

The Show-Off Ruffle Skirt by Kat Coyle, published in the book Lace Style (my current favorite knitting book). I’m making it in a red cotton/nylon blend (Cascade Yarns Cotton Rich DK). I hear that the bobble rows take eons to knit, but I’m so motivated to have this skirt and wear it, that I can endure the pain. I know I can.
My mom gave me a good piece of advice before I started casting on for this. Because there were so many stitches to cast on, she suggested using two balls of yarn instead of one. I just tied the ends together and cast on as though it was a regular long-tail cast on, but I never had to worry about running out of my yarn. It took a lot of the anxiety out of casting on that many stitches.
And after an evening’s work, I’m only four rows into the thing (and that doesn’t include one of the infamous bobble rows). This is going to take a while! I’m leaving for a business trip tomorrow and I usually only take sock projects with me on planes, but this one is definitely coming with me.

I want to marry my Koolhaas hat

I have to admit I’ve been in a bit of a knitting slump the past month or two. The St. Mawes sweater was sort of hanging over my head, nagging at me every time I tried to pick up something else. My knitting confidence was shaken and I began to amass a collection of unfinished objects. But I think that finishing St. Mawes and finding out that it was indeed FINALLY right freed up the old creative juices.
So as I waited for St. Mawes to dry (took a good three days, laid out on towels, for that thing to dry and block), I knitted the Koolhaas Hat by Jared Flood. I used this Noro Silk Garden that I’d bought as a complete impulse buy. This hat pattern really is as great as everyone says it is. It’s quick to knit and so much fun to watch the cris-crossing cables develop. I really like the end product of cables, but I don’t usually like the process. But because the cables only cross one stitch, it’s very easy to knit without a cable needle, which makes the endeavor much less painful for me.
And here it is:


Pattern: Koolhaas Hat by Jared Flood. From Interweave Knits Gifts, Winter 2007, but I bought it on the Knitting Daily website (Ravelry Link)
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden (Ravelry Link). My first time using any Noro yarn after hearing so much about it. I doubted its appeal, with the scratchiness and the bits of hay. I have to say, though, that I’m sold on Noro now. At least Silk Garden. It’s soft enough and the yarn just has so much character. And of course, the colors are fantastic.
Modifications: Because I didn’t get gauge with Noro Silk Garden, I decreased the number of stitch pattern repeats by one. I also cut out one full row repeat (8 rows), but I wish I hadn’t because the decreases happened more quickly than I thought and the hat ended up not covering my ears all the way.
Overall thoughts: This was really fun to knit, I loved watching the colors come out, and I’m looking for excuses to make more of them. One of the best patterns I’ve come across in a long time.

Victory at the Battle of St. Mawes

I can hardly believe this, but over two years after starting the St. Mawes sweater for Brad, I am finally finished.


And he likes it.
VICTORY.
Pattern: St. Mawes (XL) from Rowan Magazine #39 (Ravelry Link)
Yarn: Rowan All Season’s Cotton, in Dusk. This was the recommended yarn and it was perfect for the job. It was a joy to work with, and Brad will like it because it’s not as warm as wool.
Modifications: I did a reverse stockinette tubular cast-on for the sleeves and body instead of rolled stockinette, which I think looks pretty great (see Techknitter for an explanation of what this is). I modified the neck into a v-neck, per Brad’s request. And I had to shorten the sleeves. I also had to perform surgery, but that wasn’t really a modification. I just had to mention it again because it was so traumatic.
Overall thoughts: Despite all my bellyaching about this project, I love this sweater and I loved knitting it. It was just the finishing it that killed me. I would do it all over again if given the choice (but I wouldn’t make as many mistakes!)

Just a quick post to share a pattern

It’s funny how something as insignificant as wrist warmers can affect your life. (Well, that might be an overstatement … your life.) Some areas of our office can feel chilly so I’ve been knitting wrist warmers to keep around for anyone who’s feeling the need for a little something cozy. They’re pretty quick and easy to do once you get the hang of entrelac, and they’re a great way to use up scraps of odds and ends of yarn. They’ve become quite the rage around the office! (Well, that might be an overstatement, too!)