Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wicked Knitting

We had a 9-hour car ride to Colorado, so in between taking care of the kiddo I had lots of time to knit on Wicked. I'm really happy with how quickly it is going:

I also attended the first of three sessions on Magic Loop knitting at the Studio. So far it's been a great class - I learned an invisible cast-on that's worth the price of the entire class. Other "firsts" for me in the class are: doing socks toe-up (already it's more fun than top-down), and (of course!) Magic Loop. I ended up using some stash Regia for the class that is pink and red variegated. I'm still not a big fan of variegation, but the pinks seem much more girly, and I'm saving the blue sock yarn for a pair of socks for Scott. Another plus: the Regia is much less "splitty" than the Fortisima Socka I started with.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

FO: Seamless Yoke Sweater

Here it is! My Elizabeth Zimmermann seamless yoke sweater. We just got back from our annual family ski trip, so these photos are a bit delayed. It turned out really well, especially for a first sweater. I have to post photos of the underarm to prove that it is truly seamless - these sassy 'pits are courtesy of a *lot* of kitchener stitch!

The details:
Pattern: Seamless Yoke Sweater from Knitting Around by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash

Modifications: None! EZ's sweater "patterns" are always personalized! I did, however, forgo the stranded (fair isle) pattern in favor of the stripes. I was using stash yarn and didn't have enough of any one color to have a solid background with just a bit of fair isle as EZ shows in the book.

Changes for the future: The yoke is a bit deeper than I would have liked, causing a bit of sagging around the armpits. If I do this sweater again I wouldn't do as much of the 4.5" of plain knitting before the first decrease on the yoke.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

EZ Done!!

I cast off of EZ on Wednesday (Valentine's Day!) and have been doing the finishing work. There were a lot of ends to weave in, due to the number of stripes, and I just snipped my last yarn last night. Yesterday I picked up a bottle of Eucalen at The Studio (the woman checking me out says it flies off the shelf, so lucky me I was there at the right time!), and I soaked my sweater this morning. I won't post a photo until it's completely dry and ready to be modelled, though. I read in the Yarn Harlot that superwash (which EZ is made out of) tends to grow when it gets wet, and I think my sweater did a bit of growing as well. I hope it still fits OK when it's dry...

Also while I was at the Studio I signed up for a class on Magic Loop socks and bought some sock yarn. I'm taking the class because I want to try magic loop, but also because I want to learn to do toe-up socks. I think there will be a lot of good techniques in the class - maybe I'll also learn a new bind-off. I am *not* a fan of variegated sock yarns (always looks good on the hank, never looks good knitted), so I wanted some solid-color yarn for the class. They seemed to have a lot of "manly" colors - grey, black, taupe, etc., but no exciting girly colors. The colors I found and loved- pink, red, and purple, they only had one skein each (ie one sock), so no luck. I briefly toyed with the idea of just having two different colored socks, but then just sucked it up and bought a nice-ish blue color. Gosh, I would have *killed* for two balls of the pink, though! Oh well...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My Elizabeth Zimmermann sweater...

It is *almost* done! I started this a long time ago (around Thanksgiving) and got the body and sleeves done, and then took a break for Christmas knitting. I just got back into it about two weeks ago, and I'm hoping to showcase it as a FO soon! It really is a quick knit, I just wasn't devoting much time to it.

We're going skiing next week so I hope to have it done and ready to go for the trip...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Wicked Swatching Done!

I've finished my swatch for Wicked - I've actually washed and blocked it (a first for me!) My gauge is spot-on, which is surprising since usually I need to go down a needle size to get gauge. Good for me - it means I only have to do one swatch!! Now, as soon as my Elizabeth Zimmermann sweater is done I'll cast on.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

SP 10 Questionnaire

I've decided to participate in Secret Pal 10. Here's my questionnaire:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I don't like 100% cotton, although I'd like to try some cotton blends. I usually prefer soft wools or wool blends, or some (soft) acrylics. I'd like to try knitting with bamboo or soysilk.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? I have the folder for the KP Options, while my straight needles are in a rubbermaid bin.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I've been knitting almost three years - I learned from books when I left my corporate job to be a full-time student. I consider myself to be high-intermediate - I'm willing to try anything!

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? I'm working on it and will post a link.

5. What's your favorite scent? I like florals or food scents. Anything except vanilla!

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I'm not really a sweets person.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I crochet but I don't spin.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) Yes I can play MP3s. I like classical or 80's music (weird mix, I know!)

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? I prefer neutrals or purples or oranges, but nothing too bright or neon. I'm not good with colors - I never know what colors look good together.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I am married with a 7-month old son. I also have two cats.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? I wear scarves, hats, mittens, and shawls, but not ponchos.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Small projects like baby sweaters, scarves, mittens, toys, or purses. I like to knit sweaters but they take a long time!

13. What are you knitting right now? I just finished a pair of camo socks for my baby, I (still!) have an Elizabeth Zimmermann sweater on the needles and a pair of fair-isle socks. UPDATE: EZ is done! I've cast on for Wicked. I'm also knitting a pair of fair-isle socks.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? YES!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I prefer cirulars for most things. I use KP's metal circulars but I prefer plastic (Bryspun are my favorites).

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? I have a yarn winder but not a swift.

17. How old is your oldest UFO? 2 years. It will soon be frogged (I hope!)

18. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas and Halloween.

19. Is there anything that you collect? No.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? I subscribe to Interweave and Vogue Knitting. I wouldn't mind a book on lace knitting - I've been wanting to make a lace shawl but haven't gotten the courage to try it yet. I've also been wanting either volume 1 or volume 3 of the Vogue Stitchionary. Actually, any stitch dictionary would be nice. I've also been craving Knitpicks Chartkeeper - or any chartkeeper!

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? Entrelac or socks on two circs.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? Yes! My size is 7

23. When is your birthday? July 15

Second Sock Done!

I finished Lincoln's second camo sock, and am just finishing up Super Secret Project (super secret because it is a very special gift for a very special arrival!). After I'm done weaving in all the ends, I will take a break from acrylics and start on Wicket in earnest. I'm currently finishing my gauge swatch and hope to wash and block it today.

In the econ world, before we can talk about whether or not a deficit is a bad thing, we need to discuss the two things a government can do that ordinary people can't. After all, if you or I run up a debt we eventually have to pay it, right? Things aren't so simple for a government. The two things a government can do are: 1) Tax and 2)Print Money. *All* of our money originates from the Central Bank, and when the government taxes us they require that we pay them in the same currency that they've provided to us to begin with...

Shucks, I've given away too much already. Stay tuned for the next exciting chapter of our deficit story...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I'm in!!

I've just joined my first Knitalong - it's Knitters of Avalon, and we'll be reading "Mists of Avalon" and knitting something inspired by the book. I haven't read the book yet, but I am definitely intrigued. I wonder what it will inspire me to knit?

Yes, yes, I know you're all worried that this will take precious time away from my dissertation. Don't worry! I *must* read non-economics related books or I will go absolutely insane! Besides, at some point in the (hopefully not-so-distant) future my dissertation will be done, and I hope to have some vestiges of a life left when that happens. So I must maintain what few hobbies I have left. If anyone is interested in my dissertation topic, it is "The World Bank and Poverty - Practices, Policies, and Outcomes". It's really a fascinating read, at least in my opinion.

Since this blog is all my own, I will probably include some interesting Economics-related material from time to time. After all, who doesn't want a bit of Econ mixed with their knitting? Since Bush just submitted his budget proposal to Congress, I'll start off with the difference between "deficit" and "debt". "Deficit" is how much expenditures exceed income (or taxes) for a given year - it's a flow. "Debt" is the acculmulation of all of the deficits and is a stock.

For example: If I make $10 a week (hey, I'm a grad student!), and in week 1 I spend $15 in yarn, my deficit for week one is $5.
If I spend $20 on yarn in week 2, my deficit for week 2 is $10, and my debt is $15 ($10 + $5).

Next time I'll talk about where money comes from, and whether a national deficit is a bad thing.

The Importance of Blocking...

Today I discovered the importance of blocking. Observe exhibit A:

These are my Fetching mitts pre- and post- blocking. Note how badly they curl at the top before they're blocked. I had read on some forums that people were casting off using itty bitty needles to avoid the curl, and was worried that I would have to rip out my cast-off and re-try. Witness the miracle of blocking! No more curling, and the Cascade 220 softened up quite a bit. The color of the yarn is more purplish like the picture at left.

Even the cat likes them now!!

The scoop:
Pattern: Fetching from Knitty
Yarn: Cascade 220 (don't know the color as I bought it ages ago)
Mods: Changed the yarn, used size 5 needles. If I made them again, I'd use DK-weight and even smaller needles since I have very small hands.
Completed: January 2006

Monday, February 05, 2007

Status Update

I'm still working on the second sock for LT's camo socks. I'm trying to decide what to do with the rest of the ball. It may become a matching hat, or maybe a pair of camo socks for a lucky cousin? My next project is going to be Wicked, and I'm really excited about it. It will be my first top-down sweater, and only the third sweater I've attempted. Wish me luck! I'll have more project photos shortly.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I don't often make things for myself, so this was a welcome change. I've worn this scarf a couple of times, and it's actually a bit scratchier than I expected given how soft the yarn felt on the skein and while knitting. Due to yarn limitations I narrowed the scarf a bit, and I wish I would have kept it wider. The baby alpaca is *very* warm, even with the lace pattern!

The details:
Pattern: Dimple Shale Scarffrom Knitpicks.
Yarn: 2 balls Andean Treasure in Sunset Heather.
Mods: I only had 2 balls of AT, so I eliminated one repeat of the lace pattern (2 repeats instead of three).

Where's the Sock?

Here is my most recent FO: A camo sock for LT (the second sock is currently on the needles!) It's a bit big for LT now, but don't worry - he'll grow into it! t kniting up really fast in a worsted weight yarn. I didn't much like knitting with the acrylic, but the only camouflage yarn I could find was either 100% wool or acrylic, and washability won out over natural fiber in this case.

Here's the details:
Pattern: Generic Sock Pattern from Knit Simple Winter 2006/2007
Yarn: Bernat Camouflage (100% acrylic, worsted weight)
Modifications: None - I just used the directions for the worsted weight baby sock
**A very fast and easy knit!!**

Thursday, February 01, 2007

New Knitting Blog!!

I've decided to start using this blog more regularly as my knitting repository. That way I can post all of my knitting stuff without worrying that I'm taking blog space away from Lincoln. Enjoy!!