totally bummed

I'm have a bad knitting week. First of all, I'm having more problems with the Angel Top pattern than I've ever had with any pattern ever. Partly because it's a poorly written pattern, partly because I don't have enough lace experience, and partly because I'm just not paying enough attention.

Like I've said before, it's a 4 row pattern, with wrong sides purled, and the 2 right side rows are exactly the same, just one stitch off from each other. And since I don't keep track of rows while I knit, I kept forgetting whether to do row 1 or row 3 of the pattern. I thought I could tell by just looking at my last right side row, but apparently one time I couldn't, and so the pattern got off by half a repeat. In the photo above it's about an inch down from the top. You can't see it, can you? Didn't think so. Thank you. I'm just going to pretend like I meant to do that.

But then I got to the decreasing for the raglan sleeves. First I had to cast off 2 stitches at the beginning of the next two rows. No problem. Then I needed to decrease one stitch at the beginning and end of row 3, and then every 4th row after that. I messed up wrapping my head around decreasing while in the lace pattern (which itself has decreases and increases). Plus, I got mixed up and thought I needed to decrease 2 stitches at the beginning and end of row 3, rather than just one stitch. Needless to say, I totally screwed up the armhole shaping. Hopefully it won't be noticeable once I sew the sleeves in. If I ever get that far.

Something totally bummed me out even more than my lace errors, though. I put the cute purple hoodie on Baby the other day. The one I was so proud of and totally love as one of my favourite finished objects. It was fine (though a little dirty, never having been washed) when I put it on her. Then a few hours later I noticed a hole cut right in the middle of the front. Wah! She must have gotten it caught on something. But it's a very clean cut, so totally strange. And now I'll have to figure out someway to stop it from all unraveling. And then I guess I'll sew a pocket over it or something. :(

After all that, I needed a bit of mindless knitting. I wanted to use one of the skeins of Fleece Artist Country Mohair I got recently. So I decided to make a spiral scarf, aka curly whirly. Of course, with the knitting funk I've been in, I managed to even screw that up. I started with needles much too small (size 10.5) and it's just so dense. I've switched to size 13, hopefully that'll help.


angel top in progress

This is the pattern of the lace angel top I'm knitting for Baby. The bottom one. The term 'angel top' is not common here in the US, but it seems fairly well-used in New Zealand. It could be a British thing. As far as I can tell, angel tops have the shape of an a-line dress, but they're just to the waist, like a sweater. Like I mentioned in a previous post, New Zealand (and most likely Australia and the UK and maybe other countries) have a type of yarn called 'baby wool' and I'm using a lovely lavender baby wool for this project.

It's been awhile since I knit lace, and I'm really enjoying it, though my hands are starting to cramp up and get sore from the fine detail. The lace pattern is easy, but I still managed to mess it up at one point. I accidentally added a few stitches as the end of a right side row, and didn't realize until I had purled a row, and then knit another whole right side lace row. I don't know how I managed to screw it up so bad. Normally when I make mistakes I un-knit to get back to the problem area. I don't knit with any kind of life line. And even when I'm knitting just stocking stitch I won't ever pull out the needle, rip out the knitting to past the mistake and put the stitches back on the needles. I always un-knit. Meaning I go backwards through each stitch individually to take it off and put the lower stitch back on the left needle. A waste of time I'm sure, but it stems from the days when I was a novice knitter and didn't trust that I'd be able to figure out how the stitches went back on the needle.

My method of going back to mistakes causes a big problem when I've knit past the mistake so far. Especially on lace, with 103 stitches per row. I debated for several minutes whether or not to go back. I've read several places that if you catch a mistake, always go back to fix it, or else you'll always wish you had, and that every time you look at the finished piece you'll regret not fixing it when you had the chance. What would you do?

Well, I decided not to go back and fix it. I k2tog a few times to get the stitch count right, and I just kept on going. And actually, as I look back at the mistake area, I'm really really happy I didn't go back to fix it. First off, since it's right at the edge, it will most likely disappear once I seam the finished pieces together. Secondly, I could easily have made MORE mistakes, more glaring errors, had I tried to take out two whole rows. And then of course there's the theory that every hand knit piece NEEDS a mistake or two, to make it unique. Otherwise you might as well buy the sweater from the store.

So here it is so far, in all its imperfect glory. Knit on a long circular, so very difficult to straighten out for a photo, even with the help of my 3 year old.


new layout

I thought I'd try out some of the new features available with the new Blogger, so I updated my layout a bit. New photos across the top with close ups of various finished projects. Links on the right side now. I kinda like it.

I went back and added labels to some of the more recent posts. Took awhile deciding if the plural of 'scarf' is 'scarfs' or 'scarves'. I looked it up, and both are right. In the meantime, I said both so many times that both sound wrong.


the pictures are here

The problem apparently is with using Safari on Blogger. Not fixed yet, but Firefox works fine.

Here's the jacket. I didn't buy a ribbon specifically for it, I just searched around in my mother's sewing table. I found three options - a cream silk, a pistachio silk, and this cream gauzy one. I liked this one because it's airier feeling - kind of light and fluffy. Plus, it's got the little wires in the edges, that make it keep it's shape. That might cause problems in the long run, but I can always sew a different ribbon on later. Below is a photo of my older daughter trying to tie the bow.


what's the point?

I've been trying to post and update with my finished project, but blogger doesn't seem to want to let me upload any photos. :( And what's the point of a knitting blog entry with no pictures of knitting?

Oh well, I'll just tell you about it then. I finished the ribbon tie jacket. It's cute, but not quite as cute as I was expecting. Probably because it just barely fits Big Sister, and she tried it on over a long sleeve dress, which bunched up the sleeves unattractively. If it still fits her in spring (just one week away!) she could wear it over a tank top shirt or dress, and it will probably look a lot better. And then of course Baby will fit it in a year or so.

So now I'm back to working the little lavender lace angel top for Baby. I was crazy, and had stopped working on it in the middle of a row! What was I thinking? I had to count 3 or 4 times to make sure I still had the 103 stitches that I started with. Not the easiest thing with baby weight yarn, and babies running around making all sorts of distracting noises. Again, this should be a nice spring sweater, so I hope it doesn't take too long. The lace pattern is and easy to remember 4 rows (yf, k2, sl1, k1, psso, k2tog, k2, yf, k1 - purl wrong sides, and right sides are 1 stitch off of each other). It has a cute little scalloped bottom edge, which I would show you if I could upload pictures.


Napier yarn tour

Last week I returned home from a 3 week vacation in New Zealand. I basically spent the whole time in Napier, where a bunch of my husband's family live, but we went to Wellington for a long weekend as well. I was planning on hitting all the yarn stores in both areas, but ran out of time in Wellington, so was only able to make a tour of the yarn shops in Napier. No worries, I still managed to pick up enough yarn to fill a whole suitcase. :)

My mother-in-law led the unofficial tour, and we started in Hastings at Knit World. Since it was our first stop, I only browsed, wanting to get a better feel of the offerings before purchasing. Next we went to the Design Spun factory shop in Onekawa. They're commercial spinners, and have a large, fairly unorganized room of seconds, discontinued lines and some premium yarn. The prices were great, so I bought 10 balls of a standard DK 100% wool in a dark dark purple, 10 balls of a magenta DK angora/wool blend, and the last 7 balls of a merino/silk blend in a rusty color. All this for about US$30. Amazing.

Then we went to JJ's Crafts, where Jan Gilray handpaints her own line called JJ's Specialty Yarn. Lovely stuff. I got 2 skeins of the Mystique mohair and 1 of the Kaleidoscope 100% wool. Funny thing, I had never heard of this yarn before, but when I returned home last week and looked through the lastest issue of Interweave Knits that was here waiting for me, I saw that the Merry Maiden's Dress pattern calls for JJ's Specialty Yarn. Small knitting world.

My mother-in-law has been knitting for a very very long time, so she has accumulated a lot of patterns. I went through many of them, and she let me take a bunch that interested me. She had an old Women's Weekly magazine with a pattern for a Fireman Sam doll that looked fun and different, as I've never knit any toys or dolls before. She also had another old issue with a Pingu doll pattern. So at our last stop on the tour, Wool 'n' Things in Onekawa, Napier, I picked up a bunch of really cheap acrylic yarn for making these toys. I've never knit with acrylic before, preferring natural fibers, but decided for my first toy efforts it would pay to be a bit economical. I also got some lovely looking multicolored Ashford Tekapo 100% wool. And then I got some lilac 100% superwash wool in a light weight, called "baby wool" down under. This is specifically for another borrowed mother-in-law pattern, a cute little lace baby angel top. I actually bought 4 balls, one isn't pictured because I've already started that project. Lastly here I bought a Patons book of toddler patterns which are really cute and utilize an eyelash type polyester yarn called Feathers. These patterns will help me with ideas to use the 9 balls of similar yarn that my mother-in-law gave me.

Then I decided to go back to the first shop to make a last few purchases. First off was another Patons book of adorable kids patterns. It features their Zhivago yarn which is 50% tencel, 50% acrylic, and I figured I'd actually get the called for yarn, which I virtually never do. So I got 7 balls of this nice shimmery denim color (only 4 shown since I've already started this project as well). And they had some more of the Ashford Tekapo in their discount bin (discontinuted colors) so I got 3 more balls. They're 100g balls, so I should be able to get a baby sweater, or a few soakers at least, out of them.

And that's it! Now to knit it all. Like I said, I've already started the lacey purple sweater for baby, but that took too much concentration to work on while catching up on all my missed TV shows, so I started this jacket from the Zhivago book. My first time knitting with synthetic yarn. It's very soft. I've only got the trim left, so I'll be updating soon with the finished project. Originally it was meant to be for Big Sister, but I might have picked a size too small, in which case it will be for Baby. :)