Wednesday, September 28, 2011

THREE posts? Wow. Here's Reuben's afghan as promised

I started a tradition when I was pregnant with Rachel of making an afghan after finding out the gender of my baby. Rachel's took forever to make, and I almost didn't finish it in time, but it turned out really quite nicely. I started Reuben's about the same week as my ultrasound and was nervous about being able to finish. I finished it in like 2 months hehe :D So here 'tis:

2 posts in one day? I think yes.

Well now that my fabulous update about Rachel's dress is out of the way, I read through some old posts and figured I was due for an update about my grey cardigan, so here goes.

I started this a loooong time ago, and was hoping to have it finished by fall 2010. Well, I found out I was pregnant in fall 2010, so I put this project aside since I knew it wouldn't fit/I wouldn't be wearing it for at least a year. In the meantime I worked on baby Reuben's afghan and Rachel's dress when my circulation would let me. Which reminds me, I never posted pics of Reuben's afghan. That will be next. Anyway. Once I finished Rachel's dress as far as knitting goes I pulled out my grey cardi again. And here's what happened.

First of all, this pattern is weird. I decided not to do the goofy vest insert thing, and decided to just do a straight stockinette stitch for both front panels. This gets complicated, though, because the vest insert thing is knitted separately AND sideways and then sewn on, so to change the pattern I had to do quite a bit of figuring. I tried out my re-worked pattern on the left front panel, and all seemed to go well, so I'm really excited. I then moved on to the right front panel and got about 8 inches up before noticing I had counted wrong on the waist shaping and had to almost start over. No biggie, it was only a few inches. But as I was unpicking it I realized that I should probably make sure the front shaping matches the back shaping. When I pulled out the back piece I finished about a year ago I realized a stupid thing I had done.

The pattern has you stockinette up about 10 inches and then switch to garter, so that's what I had done on the back. But when I changed the front to be straight stockinette all the way up I had forgotten this tidbit. Also when I worked the back I increased in a weird way that made it poof out, and was thinking of re-doing it anyway. So I spent the other day undoing a good 50 rows or so of my cardi back piece. :( I'm okay with it though, I can fix the poof problem at the same time as making a normal looking sweater.

So that's my update. I now have a front panel, about 1/4 of the other front panel, and I'm down to probably 1/6 of the back piece. I'm still planning on seeing how it looks as just a vest, so it might still be done by about Christmas if my kids let me knit every now and then.

I finished something!! This rarely happens anymore...

Having two babies makes knitting very unlikely. Lately I've been getting my kids to bed and then planning an hour or two of The Big Bang Theory while knitting, but Reuben has other plans. He goes down at 8, gets up at 8:30, down again by 9, up again by 9:30, and then down for good around 10. Tonight he actually went down permanently after his initial waking at 8:30, so I did end up with an hour BEFORE 10 pm, which was lovely.

And what did I do with that hour, you may ask? Well. I added buttons to Rachel's dress. That's right people, it's FINISHED!!

I don't think the blocking worked quite as well as I had hoped (or maybe I just used crappy yarn) and the pattern creator seems to think 2 yr olds are a lot fatter than mine is, but overall I'm happy with how it turned out :D

Friday, January 28, 2011

L2 Sleeves

I mentioned earlier that I failed at one of the sleeves on this dress. I wanted to explain that a little further.

Basically I totally misread the pattern for the first sleeve I did. I was supposed to decrease every third round, and once I got to the right amount of stitches I was to continue stockinette for a few more inches until it reached the desired length. As I worked on the sleeve, I noticed it was not getting smaller very quickly. I measured, and I had reached the final length of the sleeve before I had finished decreasing. This was confusing, but whatever. I just finished it as I was supposed to and called it good.

When I got to the second sleeve I read the directions more carefully and realized my previous mistake. I was supposed to decrease TWO stitches every third round, and I had only done one. This not only made the sleeve extra poofy, but the line that showed where I decreased was twisting around the sleeve to the backside and looked really funny. Here are some pics:

This first is to show the comparison of the two sleeves. As you can see, the one on the right is correct, as it gradually decreases in poofiness and comes to kind of a point. The one on the left is poofy all the way to the ribbed cuff, which it's not supposed to be.

Here's a closeup of the good sleeve. You can see the line of decreases, and you can see that it goes smoothly up the bottom of the sleeve to the cuff as a normal sleeve should do.

And here's the backside of the bad sleeve. You can see the line of decreases going diagonally across the back of the sleeve, which shouldn't be happening. It should be along the bottom as with the other. You can also again see the poofiness factor, and that the decreases go all the way to the cuff. On the other sleeve they stop a few inches before.

Needless to say, this was a good learning experience. I have since unpicked the left sleeve and redone it, so now it looks just like the right sleeve. I even painstakingly counted stitches so they are EXACTLY the same.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dress Update

This story sucks, but as it happened several weeks ago I finally feel I can share it without crying.

Let me start by explaining once again that I basically taught myself how to knit. One night for mutual in high school a neighbor showed us all the basics, but as any of you who have tried and then given up at least once for a period of at least 3 years know, it takes A LOT of practice to really KNOW how to knit. And I put that knitting project away basically for good after not getting very far at all on it. I only just recently started knitting again, and I've had to look up EVERYTHING on Youtube, so yeah, I'm giving myself the credit for being a self-learner here.

Anyway, I learned how to read crocheting patterns, so I just picked up a knitting pattern and went at it. As I went, if there were instructions I didn't understand, I looked up instructional videos for them. HOWEVER: if there were instructions I DID understand, I didn't look up videos. Herein lies my downfall.

How many of you know how to "pick up and knit" stitches along a finished edge? Doesn't that sound kind of self-explanatory? You pick up so many stitches, then you knit them. So that's what I did on every project. It would say, for example, "pick up 36 stitches along the neckline" so I would string through the stitches until I was holding 36 on my needle. This made PERFECT sense to me. I have learned now that that is NOT how it is done.

So here is my story.

I'm working on a sweater dress for Rachel, as you may have noticed below. This will be my crowning achievement as a knitter, because it will have taken me the longest and will have employed the most techniques, patience, and pain. I started it a few months ago, and recently put it away to finish Christmas presents and to start on an afghan for my forthcoming son. Besides, Rachel turns 2 in 2 months, and there is NO WAY this thing will fit my tiny child by then, so I'm not really in a hurry.


The dress is made by first knitting the bodice and back, then adding sleeves. Then the top is basically finished, aside from the buttons, and one must "pick up and knit" lots of stitches around the waistline. The dress is knit with size 6 circular needles, which are pretty small. My mom bought mine for me, but I managed to break it through an act of impatience and had to go buy a new one for $10. I was doing just fine picking up stitches, although it was pretty tight. We were playing Monopoly at the same time, so the tightness wasn't stressing me out too much because I was distracted. Once I got the proper amount of stitches on the needles I began to knit around. Again, this is how I've always done this, because this has been my interpretation of the instructions. It never occurred to me that I was doing it wrong, because it had worked on every other piece I'd knitted. But I digress.

As I began to knit it became apparent that this was not going to work. A portion of the stitches I had picked up were doubled, being the section where the back pieces overlap for the buttons. So this area was EXTRA tight. When that area of stitches got to the end of the cable where it joins with the wooden needle part, it got stuck. There was no way to get it up onto the wooden part. I tried for quite a while, and nothing doing. Eventually I thought, oh well I'll go the other way, and pulled it backwards. This, folks, is when my needle broke. I had pulled the cable out of the wooden part. I had already lost at Monopoly, so I just ran downstairs and cried. Oh, did I mention I'm pregnant?

I gave it several weeks before I felt up to venturing to the knitting genius world of Heindsman's for advice and a new needle. I was still upset that I might have to buy a new needle, because the way it broke was just idiotic and pretty much my fault for being stupid. Luckily the people there are SUPER nice and replaced the needle for free. I showed the checker my problem and he gave me the needle, saying I could just knit off my piece onto the new needle and give him the old one. Easier said than done. For some reason I hadn't anticipated this problem, but now I was back where I had started when I broke the needle in the first place.

I sat down and tried, by the same method, to knit the stitches I had picked up onto the new needle. I was met with the same resistance as before, and didn't know what to do. After I had been there for a while, the expert knitting lady came over and asked if I needed help. I explained what I was doing, and she looked really confused. She started trying to work it for me, and we were both obviously not on the same page about anything. After explaining it over and over, and after her staring at it for about 20 minutes, she finally saw what I had done and explained what was wrong with it. Being the expert that she is, she was able to figure out a way to get it off of the broken needle and onto the new needle. Unfortunately, this involved cutting the piece and basically starting the whole "pick up and knit" process all over again. I told her to do what she had to, and I sat back and watched. Eventually it got to be too much for Rachel, so the lady said I should go take care of her and come back later for my repaired dress. So that's what I did.

I felt okay going home, but a little foolish. I put Rachel down for a nap and headed back out to get my dress and learn how to "pick up and knit" stitches once and for all. When I got there, the store was pretty empty. The expert lady was still working on my dress, and a new woman was there working on a glove or something. As I walked in, the expert lady was explaining to the other woman what she was working on. I'll give her credit, she did not say anything about how stupid I was. The other lady did, though, and let me tell you how great THAT felt. I sat down with her, and she showed me how one is ACTUALLY supposed to "pick up and knit" stitches. She showed me how she had started, and where the seven ends of my yarn were since she had to cut it right at the waist, and how I needed to undo complicated knots because I was starting at the beginning, not the end, where it would just pull apart, and also she made some comments about how cheap the yarn was that I was using. I'm not trying to say she was being mean, because she really wasn't meaning to. But everything that day had been going terribly, so that's just how things came across to me. Plus I felt like a fool, and there was this other lady there just staring at me like what on earth was I doing pretending I know how to knit.

Anyway. I started crying again on the way home. BUT I had a new needle, and I knew how to "pick up and knit" in a way that would save me from this sort of headache in the future. Also the expert lady told me I should bring in the dress when I finish it so I can show everyone how it turns out. I don't know if that's actually going to happen, because I'm not sure how comfortable I feel showing my face there again after this fiasco. But we'll see. I'm going to be terribly proud of the dress when it is finished, so I might :D

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I finished something, woohoo!

Ok I made up a headband pattern and I actually finished it!

Close-up so you can see the ribbing.

This really didn't take too long to make, maybe like a day or two, but then it sat around waiting for a button for like a month.

It ended up being too big for my head, but that's really fine because headbands have never worked for me. I'm going to try to sell this one and see what happens. Maybe someday I really will get an Etsy shop going, we'll see :D

I'm also including pictures of the white cardigan I finished back in May that I haven't posted yet because I hadn't taken yet. No reason, really, just never got around to it. Here they are:

I do like this cardigan, but next time I'll make the sleeves longer and I'm not sure how much I like the button so I would probably change that a bit. With this I learned that you REALLY need to be careful to bind off VERY LOOSELY when doing the edging. It ended up curling funny because I didn't do it loosely enough. I was able to undo it and redo it just fine, though.

Also an update: I am still working on Rachel's dress. I finished one sleeve, but when I started on the next I realized I had read the pattern wrong and made the first sleeve skeewompus. It made sense after I read it, because I wasn't done decreasing by the time the sleeve was to its end and I was wondering how that happened. I'll post pics later so you can see what I mean.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Current projects

I have three.

I am making a grey cardigan, as previously mentioned, but I'm thinking of just making it a vest instead. I finished the back the other day, wooha!

I am trying to come up with a cute headband/earwarmer pattern. I need to add a button to my first attempt and then it will be finished.

I have been very slow in working on Rachel's dress, because I figured it won't fit her until she's at least two. Well, she's almost two, so I'm back to working on that. I'm getting close to finishing the first sleeve, so maybe this week I can start on the other. At the rate I'm going, I might end up giving it to my next child lol.