Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A stitch in time...something something...

It seems that Ruth, one of the SnB group, hates seaming almost as much as I do. I don't feel so bad that it has taken about 10 times the number of hours spent knitting to seam up the baby shrug. In fairness, most of those were spent procrastinating.

It is rather cute though. Especially when I get it ready for posting with the hat and booties.

Well I'm rather chuffed anyway. It's the first lot of baby clothes I've ever knitted. Darling mother keeps making comments about it being "good practice" for the future.

So as a reward to myself for getting the seaming well under way, I allowed myself to cast on a Calorimetry. I finished seaming yesterday, and sewed the button on to the calori. I think it balances out. I think future projects involving seaming should be partnered with some form of instant gratification project. Or another calori.

I spotted the button in my fab LYS before I cast off. It's made from coconut shell, and it rocks my socks. I love ivy and vines. My advise to anyone who hasn't started a calori yet and is thinking of it - don't buy your buttons til you've cast off. You don't make any buttonholes in the calori, as the holes from turning the short rows suffices. This is quite a large button and I really thought that it wasn't going to work in the end.

Plus, it's an excuse to go to your LYS with an FO, and pick up something shiny for your next project while you're there!

My "bad day swap" package is in the post. Yay.
Postage really is mentally expensive. Still, it's worth it, and I hope my swap partner likes the goodies that eventually wing her way.

Other news today, it being one of those days...the wedding is being postponed til the Spring. We thought that we'd get away with it being this year, but I'd rather have my dad be less rushed and better able for it. I'd have liked December, but it would put too much pressure on people both in terms of time and finance. We have lots of friends who are still studying, and it's exam time for them.

This makes me feel much better about having frogged incarnation 3 of the wedding wraps.

Yes, I am a bad, bad person.

I just fricking hate this yarn. It feels nice, but is a nightmare to knit with. I was almost tempted to substitute the lurid pink baby acrylic, but thought that might be noticed. Also, 10mm needles? Rather heavy when you've been knitting with them a while. They do double as nunchucks though, which is handy when you're wip'ing on the bus in a bad neighbourhood.

OH is downstairs hoovering and sorting laundry. Bless.
He is still sans emploi, as they say. The case of the butthead boss is getting more interesting by the day. Can't say much, just in case, but we are looking forward to his next letter to see how many times he contradicts his previous letters in it.
At least he knows where the washing machine is, and no longer whinges when I tell him that he has to clean up if I cook and work all day.

It's amazing how fast he can run through a whole list of chores when he knows a trip to see Transformers is on the cards this evening!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Light fingers make the most noise

Last week, the fabulous Fairytale Frog donated two balls of Freedom Spirit yarn from her stash to my cause, and now I have enough yarn to finish the moss stitch cardigan of dooooooooom!

Due to large amounts of rain, I've been unable to move in my house for the last fortnight, as there are wet things hanging to dry everywhere there is hanging space available. Last night, I was able to give her a return prezzie. Some of my very own handpainted yarn. Thankfully I had my camera with me, as a picture is worth a thousand words. Or giggles, as the case may be.


Is my yarn. Not your yarn. My yarn.

I can has yarn?


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Baby shrug, interrupted.

First up, a quick hello to everyone, and thanks for the comments of encouragement. I've finished seaming side one of the shrug, and am down as far as the armpit of side two. I still have all my hair and fingernails (bar that one I broke last week) so it's going well.

I also finished the bootees of gorgeousness.

I had a request from the lovely Denise for a bit of a talk through the baby shrug. It's from the Debbie Bliss book Simply Baby, which I adore.
I have deleted my work in progress photos from the previous cthulhu-baby incarnation, so I'll just use this one.

(If you right click and hit open in new window, it'll make life easier!)

This is a bottom up shrug, knitted in one piece. The cast on edge is at the bottom left of the photo, and is basically the start of a t-shaped section for the back and arms. The next section is slightly more involved. On my first attempt, I got a little...how do you say....over-confident, and in the process of being queen of the universe I left out a line of pattern, which resulted in the previously mentioned cthulhu-baby option.

Divide for fronts
As you're on a circ needle for this, it makes things a zillion times easier.
Knit across the required number of stitches, do the casting off in the middle, and knit across the remaining stitches. This is much easier than having to move them before casting off the middle stitches

Congratulations, you now have what looks like one side of a giant buttonhole!

At this point, take your trusty stitch holder, and put all the stitches from the end of the line - the side that's all cut off by its lonesome - on to it. Then ignore them completely.

The next pattern section is worked on the remaining live stitches that you have on your needles. Work the required number of straight rows, then start on your increases. Do not do what I did, and ignore that end of line that says "and the inc row once more". This leads to much frogging and swearing later, as things end up backwards.

Continue down through the sleeve shaping lines, and then you're home free for the shape front section. These are the small sail-shaped bits right up at the top.
Do not let your brain tell you that the right side is anything other than the nice side with the little v's on it. That way lies madness. And cthulhu-baby arms, and no fronts.

Once you get done with that,and have your stitches moved to a holder, it's time to work on the right front. Again, ignore the stitch holder entirely. Join the yarn to the live stitches as you would if you were changing to a new ball, or changing colours, and off you go.

When she says sleeve edge, she means where the cuff will be, and the side edge is the bit at the U-shaped piece in the middle that you're creating. You'll see these on the photo pretty easily.
On this section, you're basically doing exactly the same as on the other side, just in reverse, so instead of casting off at the start of a row, you'll be doing it at the end.
Work down through the shape front section, and you should end up with a mirror image of the other side, and very few stitches left on your needle.

Here's where I cheated though. Instead of going from there, I moved the live stitches straight to a 4.5mm circ, K1 and then picked up stitches the whole way around. That's the stage the photo is at, and why one of my fronts looks deformed. I didn't, however, use her number of pickups, as it wasn't working for me when I tried. I just picked up every stitch. Yup, all of em. Then worked 5 lines of 2x2 rib, and cast off.

Bottom edge, where the original cast on was, and with the cuffs, I did the same thing.

When that's all done, flip it in half with the wrong side out, and line up the edges.
You'll end up with something that looks like this

You then have the joyous task of seaming. On the plus side, the book gives great info on that.

I hope that helps!
If anything is unclear, or you have any questions, feel free to holler. I like feeling useful :)

Monday, July 23, 2007

I must not knit while sleepy

This really should be my mantra at this stage. Too, too often I continue knitting when I really should be getting sleep or doing something that doesn't involve moving, thinking or counting.

This little bundle of cuteness is the first of a pair of booties that I cast on last week. It's a simple, fast knit, and I love it.

I thought I'd be clever and get the second one done on the train to Cork. That was my first mistake. Sure, I have a pair of cute bootees now, but one is newborn-sized, and the other is baby-sized. Once more teh blonde strikes. At the moment, I'm ignoring my inbox and knitting up bootee number 3. After that, I'll have to do bootie number 4. No idea who I will give the second pair to, but I guess they'll always come in handy, what with everyone in the world having babies and all.

It was my mothers birthday on Friday, so present was bought on behalf of myself and dad, and cake was baked on Thursday night. She cried. Bless her cotton socks.
(Note to self: get off the pot and cast on her socks!)

I finished the ribbing on the shrug, and have it all pinned together, and have started the seaming. I fricking hate seaming.

It will probably take me the rest of the week to get it done, as I can only sit still to do a few inches at a time. Anything more, and I start getting that strange restless sensation in my legs that normally only comes after 3 hours in a train with my legs jammed up against someones suitcase.

Tonight, though, will be bootie city.
Hrm...that sounded less sordid in my head....

I want to cast on a Calorimetry tomorrow night, and get it finished on Wednesday. I even have a button for it, and it's going to be made from my nice Purple Iris yarn that just arrived.

Ain't I a good little stashbuster?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Faster kittycat, kill kill!

Stitch and Bitch today, and not a teal sock in sight.

No, I haven't actually managed to fix the thing. The thought of frogging it makes me want to cry or throw up or both. I was not built for picking up close on a hundred 2mm stitches in dark yarn. Not without lots of chocolate.

Work on the baby outfit has progressed well since last post. Hat is done, and shrug is going to be done tonight, I hope.

I've picked up the stitches for the ribbing, and it's going well so far. Will be bringing it with me to Starbucks, where I hope to get the ribbing finished, and the stitching started. Optimistic, aren't I?

Some yarn may or may not have arrived in the post today.....

On that note, I'm gonna go and grab some food, as I have yet to eat today, and somehow I don't think that 15 caramel machiatos and 4 slices of lemon cake counts as a balanced diet.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Busy, busy bees.

Another weekend flies by.
I always loved that Douglas Adams quote about liking deadlines and the whooshing sound they make as they go by. Kind of like my weekends.

Still, it was a busy one, and I have photos to prove it!

I got a little shopping done this weekend. Am now the proud owner of a black and jade silk top by Ghost. It was on sale, and had 75% off, and I am weak like a little girl.
While walking through Dunnes, I spotted these beauties

They're bamboo trainer liners. I know that the sock versions of these have been blogged previously, but these are in black, and I'm mostly a black sock girl. The socks are 72% bamboo, and I got this pack for 5 euro...or about 8 dollars. They're so soft and squishy and wonderful.

Hat number 2 has been cast off and (and!!!) finished since my last update, and I have photographic evidence to prove it.

Yay! 2 down!

Ravelry is doing my WIPs the world of good. Nothing like needing to show photographic evidence to get a knitter motivated!

Which brings me to what I'm up to this morning. Working. Yup, working hard.
Here you can see my laptop:

Yup......working hard......

Friday, July 13, 2007

Raindrops keep falling on my head...and everywhere else

Another weekend rolls in, and it rains.

There's a saying in Dublin - if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes.

Yesterday rained on and off, but the afternoon was warm and sunny, and I nearly passed out on the bus it was so hot and uncomfortable.

Today, it's mostly raining. I suspect that my jeans will dry out in just enough time for me to walk to the train.

So, what have I been up to this week?
I was measured for my wedding dress on Tuesday, which involved several large chai lattes, a warm goats cheese salad and some berry crumble. Cos, ya know, having that much stuff in my stomach was going to help when it came to calculating those inches.

My dress is being made by my friend Debbie. Debbie works a normal job during the day, and is the most amazing corsetiere ever in her spare time. She's hoping that her obsession with costume and corsets will allow her to turn her sideline business into a full time affair. I really hope this happens for her, and that's not entirely because I've negotiated a deal where if I get to go to the Oscars someday, I'll wear one of her creations.

The knitting has suffered slightly this week, due in no small part to my general feeling of dispondancy. The heel of sock 2 must be ripped again, as having gotten over the first frogging experience, I completed the heel to discover that it in no way, shape or form matched the other sock. My first sock mojo was pretty amazing. I seem to have lost it down behind the sofa or something though.

I'll get baby hat 2 finished on the train this weekend, and hat 1 sewn up on Sunday night, now that I've been reunited with my little tin o' bits. I really missed that tin. So much so that I may reward it by taking up decoupage again.

On Monday I'll get another chunk of the baby shrug done. This time reading the pattern the right way around, and not making mutant arms for some Cthulhu-baby like last time. I want to be able to bring something other than a teal sock to stitch and bitch as well. I fear boring people.

By the end of the week, then, I should have quite a few things done, which means that I can move on and start another project. I have an ever-expanding queue on Ravelry. Being able to search patterns by yarn weight is fan-fecking-tastic, as I can find patterns that use some of those too good to resist eBay bargains that have no purpose other than looking pretty right now.

Not that looking pretty isn't a perfectly valid reason for owning yarn/lifestyle choice.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Well I brought my camera this week, but I also brought the dead batteries instead of, you know, the ones I put on to charge especially.

I am teh blonde.

Last night I started turning the heel on my second teal sock. I realised after about 10 rows that I'd had a brainstorm and ignored the "and turn" part of w&t. Frogging and swearing ensued. Lots of swearing. Picking up 2mm stitches in dark yarn is not my idea of a fun Monday night.

On the plus side, cos there has to be one, I managed to get the ripped section reknitted on the bus journey this morning, instead of dozing off and jumping to attention as I almost miss my stop.
The plan now is to knit like a woman possessed, and get sock 2 done on Thursday, so that I can cast on sock one of pair 2 on Thursday evening at Knit Night.

Anyone think that I'll actually manage it without pulling out my hair or trying to strangle myself with my addis?

So no piccies again today.

I've spent a chunk of today at work (sssh!) updating my Ravelry page. It is a wonderously fabulous site, with a wonderously fabulous queue for membership. So totally worth the wait though. I have friends on it now as well, so I don't feel so lonely.
Conclusion: if you're not already on the list, sign up. Go on, clicky linky. There's no time like the present.

I've signed up for a bloglines account recently as well. I read rather a huge amount of blogs on a regular basis. Blogging is considered a valid use of the net connection here for some bizarre reason that I won't question. Anyway, bloglines is wonderful for dealing with those times when you realise that you have eleventybillion blogs bookmarked, and that you're signing up with all the blog sites in an attempt to keep up with them. Instead of that, sign up for bloglines. It takes five minutes, and you're left with a page that shows you all recent entries for your chosen reading material. Faaaaaabulous.

My username on both Ravelry and Bloglines is, surprise surprise, GaietyGirl.
Feel free to friend me :)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Dear Office cleaning lady,

We spend a large amount of money on renting this office space every month. We also spend a chunk to allow us to have your services.

On several occasions, a member of staff has arrived in early to see you sitting in our conference room, drinking our coffee and enjoying our view. Given that you're the only one who drinks instant coffee and we had an industrial tin that's now empty, I'm guessing this is a pretty regular thing.

In exchange for our providing you with free beverages and not enough work to fill 2 hours a week, could you please please please put a new bottle of handwash in each of the bathrooms when the current bottle is empty. The current tactic of filling the empty one up with water because there's 1/10th of a teaspoon left in the bottle is not amusing. Not only does the bottle then squirt water all over the place, it doesn't actually, you know, work as handwash.

Many thanks,
4th floor employee with watered down handwash stains on her non-black tshirt.

In other news, I may have slipped while browsing ebay and bought some sock yarn.
I'm not obsessed. I can quit any time!

...I just don't wanna.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Precision planning.

Tomorrow, I make my weekly trek to Cork to spend the weekend. Sunday I'll be back to Dublin, where I'll be staying for a week. Partly this is so that I can get some archiving and stuff done at work, and partly because I have to be measured for my wedding dress.

I'm dreading it. I've been comfort eating bigtime since dad was diagnosed, and the few pounds I've lost have all come back with a vengence. The joy of a corset though - even if I don't manage to get down to my proper weight again, I'll have the possibility of being sucked in by a couple of inches. Though at that point, my cleavage may have to be registered as a WMD.

This evening I have to pack. Usually I just bring my laptop rucksack with my work stuff, and my rather large handbag with everything else. Not this time.
With a week of knitting to plan, what should I bring?

It's not like I don't have enough projects to work on. There's the baby shrug, but I can't bring that as mother or MIL will make those "oh dear" noises that translate as "would it not be easier to buy one at this stage?".

There's no way in hell I'm bringing the black mohair stole on public transport. One bump in the wrong direction, and I'll be needing valium with my overpriced and underbrewed train-tea. As I type, it's staring at me from its perch on top of some folded laundry.

The taunting!!!! I just can't take it anymore!!!!!


This is always the option of the second teal sock. It's a couple of inches off the heel-turning stage, and I could really use the time on it. I don't have second sock syndrome or anything, it's just that I have 2 skeins of Shepherd Sock which I am dying to cast on. So far I'm being strong though.

Option 3 is to take this along this lovely...er....square

Those of you who read on a regular basis (ha! I have subscribers now! wahoo!) will possibly recognise the yarn in question. This square is none other than Sleevie One from the neverending moss stitch cardigan. I'm reckoning I could easily get sleeve one finished by tomorrow evening. Then I'd most likely run out of yarn...

Which brings me to option 4, baby hat/bannister warmer number two. This one in a shade that actually matches the now frogged (sob!) baby shrug. Again, it's something that I could have finished over the weekend, once I don't just snore my way through 6 hours of train time.

Do you want to know the really funny thing? I'm so busy trying to decide what/which project(s) to bring and leave, that I missed the fact that I was outbid on a skein of Opal sock yarn in a colourway I've been lusting after for a year.
I'll have plenty of yarn next week, but not enough clean socks - I'm down to 3 pairs - as the weather has been wet, I don't have a drier, and there are only so many surfaces in a house that laundry can be safely hung on.

Maybe I could justify casting on with the shepherd sock if I got them done in less than a week....hrm....

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Yellow fingers and not a cigarette in sight.

I was a busy little bee yesterday. Not only did I get my bake on for the first time in this house.....

(Yes, half got eaten by the time I got my camera out. It's sundried tomato and parmesan bread)

but I also got my first ball of Lime N Violet finished!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, I got the first sleeve for the moss stitch cardigan cast on, and cast off the baby shrug...though I'll confess, I'm having problems working out what bit fits where for sewing up purposes. I'm guessing that if I join the ribbing edges properly, then the other seams will make themselves known to me. Either that, or this may be the most kimono-style shrug in history.

I love knitting, I just suck at finishing. Not suck, ok. I get bored with finishing. When I cast off, I want to be able to wash, block and wear an item, not spend a week going blind doing kitchener with black laceweight or something similar.

Those small, instant gratification projects? Love them. The world needs more instant gratification projects that are both lovely to look at and still functional. The world does not need another toilet roll cover in pink and white acrylic with a pound shop (or dollar store) Barbie knock-off perched precariously in the middle.

Really, I think I want those elves from the Elves and the Shoemaker to invade my house at night, turning my CO items into wonderful FO's. I'll even do the blocking myself.


Monday, July 02, 2007

Swappity doo dah

When I finally crawled out of bed this morning, my inbox held an email with details of my "having a bad day" swap partner. I'm not saying who it is, at least not yet, but I'm delighted that I got this person, and am going to have so much fun spoiling them rotten. They deserve it.

One big downside is that I'm going to have to use every bit of willpower that I have not to post photos of the goodies as I get them. I've picked up the first couple of little bits already, and will get more sorted later in the week when I get into town properly.

A little hint though, because I suck at trying to be cool, calm and collected.

So I've been a busy little bee today.
Watch me neglect all my work this week in favour of knitting...