Monday, December 04, 2006

Occupational Hazards...

I sense a long night ahead of me...

****SENSITIVE STOMACHED PERSONS SHOULD NOT READ ANY FARTHER, OR SHOULD SKIP TO THE KNITTING PART OF THIS POST****


I don't think I've stated this before, but I work in an Emergency Room. I draw people's blood. I stick about 20-30 people every day, 5 days a week, on average. That's...say, 130 people a week? And I have to be close enough to them to get their blood. About 1-2 feet from their face.

Probably 8-10 of those sticks every day are people who have nausea or vomiting. Probably 5 of those go home with the new knowledge that they have...a stomach virus.

So that's 25 people a week that I am in close contact with who have a contagious stomach virus.

Guess what I have now? That's right...a stomach virus. For the moment I'm staving off the inevitable puking by gulping emetrol every half hour or so, if for no other reason that when I do vomit, I'd rather not have to vomit up my entire dinner. Bile is just fine with me.


****WE NOW RETURN TO THE KNITTING PART OF THIS BLOG****

I have still made NO progress in any direction. Christmas is coming, my apartment is a mess, My tree remains undecorated and in the wrong place, and my knitting languishes in bags and baskets, waiting to be picked back up and completed, or at least lovingly worked on. I have a feeling that the bunny, the baby sweater, and a few scarves are going to be the extent of my Christmas knitting, unless the knitter fairy decides to humour me and do some work while I'm asleep (or working my way through this stomach virus).

I really wanted to get some other things finished...I may still be able to complete some kitchen towels for my mom and a bib or two for Gracie. Those only take a few hours apiece...one day off and they could all be finished. But my dad and stepmom (dana)? I have no idea...I know what I want to make for my dad, but it will take a week to complete. Maybe though. Maybe.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

"that damn bunny"

So...I still have to sew up what is quickly becoming known as "that damn bunny". I almost feel bad about having such bad vibes about this...i love the bunny, and it's very cute. BUT.

It's a pain in the rear to sew up! I'm just really new to sewing things together, since most of my past repertoire consists of dishcloths, scarves, and a couple of cellphone cozies (which i sewed up the only way i knew, which was, well...poorly. lol) On top of that it's got a lot of inreases and decreases that are just giving me trouble by making it difficult to find the exact edge that i need to guide myself by.

On the other side of the spectrum, I'm about halfway through the baby kimono from "Mason Dixon Knitting", halfway through the isis scarf for Brian, and almost done with that...well, the bunny (which, for anyone interested, is from "First Knits", and is for my adopted sister Grace, for Christmas.)

So far now I've learned to sew up using a mattress stitch, increase by knitting into the front and back of a stitch, and use the backward loop cast-on to make sleeves.

I feel so accomplished! I'm trying new things! I love it!

Monday, November 20, 2006

I learned something new!!!

So after reading and plotting my little heart out this last week, I have come to some conclusions:

1. Mason-Dixon Knitting is an absolute must-have book!! not only for the colorful commentary, but for the brilliant and interesting patterns! (I've already started a baby kimono in red cotton)

2. I knit faster when I am sleep-deprived. I have no idea how this concept works, but I've completed two projects in the last 6 days, and will finish a third by tomorrow afternoon.

3. My friends need to either stop procreating or start spacing out their offpring a little better. Case in point? I currently have 4 friends who are due between january 20th and march 10th. That's just not fair.

4. I have decided what to do with my silk. You will all think I'm crazy, but...I'm going to hone my skills for the next year and make some kind of kimono/onesie/outfit for my sister's baby. See, she's getting married in july, and they're talking about trying to conceive starting next september. I figure I have some time.

5. I learned something new!!!!! Be proud of me! I learned how to do an increase by knitting into the front AND back of a stitch. And it worked! The first try! And I learned it while I was a little bit drunk, at 3am, from a book! And there was nobody around to celebrate with me...so celebrate with me now! :)



I think that's all for now really...I'm going to go back to knitting this rabbit (for my sister Grace) (only 2 more panels to go, and then it's just the sewing up! yay!! And I know I've been promising pictures, and as soon as I find the cable to connect my camera to the computer, I'll make good on that promise!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

New Books and LYS's

So the lengthwise scarf is almost done...a few more rows to go! And I got a few new books in the mail today:

"Wendy Knits" - by Wendy D. Johnson (who I didn't realize was who she is until I got the book in the mail today...even though I've emailed her twice in the last week to ask about a LYS in richmond. Talk about feeling like an ass! So...Wendy, if you're reading this...I really am that clueless and I love your book so far!!)

"The Yarn Harlot" - by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (I used to have a copy of this book...somewhere. I haven't seen it in about a year, so I decided to just buy a new copy. I'm sure that now my old copy will show up within a week. If you have not read this book...you must)

"Mason-Dixon Knitting" - by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne (I haven't read this one yet, but after skimming through their blog a few times, I can't imagine not loving this book!)


Also, two new yarn stores on my list to visit next time my friend Jesi and I get together:

The Yarn Lounge (Richmond)
Knit Happens (Alexandria)


Still haven't figured out what to do with that silk...it's mocking me from my basket.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

hell is not having a ballwinder

do you know what takes over an hour and nearly all of my (remaining) sanity? untangling an entire skein of colinette's isis. you know...that really furry viscose yarn? yeah. but it's wound...in a nice big ball...and within a week it'll be a scarf.

on another note, brian's scarf is no longer brian's scarf, it's deva's scarf. the isis is now for brian. he is most at home in the caribbean, and the colors of the isis just seem meant to be his. (pictures to come soon)

I'm thinking of using this neat diagonal rib pattern i found, but i'm going to test it out on some cheap yarn first to make sure it works. because after last Christmas's fiasco with frogging my sister's isis scarf 4 times...we're just not going there.

anywho...nothing much else to really say for now, other than that i bought some sock yarn today...i'm going to try to figure out this sock thing on my own i think, and if i need help i'll bug my friend kendra to help. (she's always really busy)

what are YOU working on?

Friday, November 10, 2006

still need help, corn yarn, and organic knitting

Still needing help on my question from the last post, in case anyone has pointers or just wants to laugh, or wonder how i could be such a moron and tell me what one dumb way i'm going wrong...any of these would actually be appreciated. :) trust me, i'm completely aware that i can be...challenged, when it comes to coordination or you know, learning stuff.

On an alternate subject, as soon as I get a chance this weekend, I'll post pictures of all current WIP. I ripped out my sister's scarf tonight because I decided that doing the YOs in every row was going to make the lace ribbon too overbearing, so I'm modifying the pattern (can i even call that a pattern?) so new pattern reads:

CO 25 st.

1-6. knit first six rows in garter st.
7. K1, K2Tog, YO, Knit across
8-9. Knit in garter st.
*repeat rows 7-9 until you feel your scarf is either long enough, or you're sick to death of trying to remember whether you just did a row with a YO, or you are getting ready to do one.
10-15. knit last six rows in garter st.

BO all, and add fringe.

choose a black lace ribbon that fits nicely in the YOs and buy enough so that you can weave it through the YOs on both sides and let it hang sexily along with the fringe.



You know...I have been re-reading "Knitting Rules" (by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee) (as if any of you haven't read that book a dozen times. at least) and decided that I almost fully fall into the "organic knitter" category. I'm all about the feel/smell/color of the fibre and if something I knit comes out too big, too small, too...weird; well, it's ok. Someone will probably like it. And if not...I rip it out and start something new.

Speaking of organic knitting...I'm dying to try some of SWT Co. yarns! Corn, Soy, all that jazz...amazing. Imagine a sweater that, once you're done wearing it, wear holes in it, can no longer repair it...will actually not just be safe for the earth, but will actually biodegrade and become a part of the earth again itself.

so who wants a corn scarf? anyone else think I should knit a scarf in a bulky seed stitch with yellow "amaizing" by SWT and put decreases at one end and greenish brown at the other end with a stem...

you know...so it looks like an ear of corn?

i may just do that.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Stash repeat and a plea for help

So I dove into my stash last night and found something disturbing. three lavender balls of cashmerino from ac moore. bought about 10 months ago. for a scarf.

Does anyone else do this? Buy yarn and then come home, cast on, and then find nearly identical yarn in the stash?

Am I taking back the new yarn? crap, no! I'm going to figure out something else to make from it. Maybe a matching hat. ooh...I wonder if the color's close enough for a matching hat...

My usual luck says no way. But we shall see.

Although...that aside, all Christmas knitting is well underway. This will be the first Christmas that almost everyone on my list gets hand-knitted goodies, so I'm excited. Probably unrealistic, but excited.

Brian's (my future BIL) scarf has a good 6 rows on it. Before you say, "what?? 6 rows is nothing!", let me explain. This scarf is cast on lengthwise, and has a really cheater way of changing color, namely, finish a row, cut the yarn leaving a 6 inch tail, tie new yarn onto tail, trim to matching length, knit next row, repeat. each row seems to take forever, but somehow i've done 4 today and not felt overwhelmed, consider i probably only need about 30 rows on the scarf, i'm about 1/7 of the way there. which means...ta-da! it should be done in less than a week. then i can concentrate on:

My sister's lavender & lace scarf. While I'm sure I'm not the first person to ever come up with this design, I'm pretty proud of the fact that I came up with it on my own and didn't get it from a book. Basically you CO the desired number of stitches, knit about 3-6 rows straight garter stitch, then start working every row in this fashion: K1, K2Together, YO, Knit Across to end, repeat until scarf is as long as you want it, then knit straight garter stitch to match the rows at the beginning. In my case I'm using the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino described in the budget blog, and size 8 (US) needles, and I cast on 25 stitches. When it's finished I'm going to find some slinky black lacey ribbon to weave through the eyelets made by the yarnovers and add fringe so it's all sexy and feminine. My sister has that kind of side to her. Me, not so much.

All other gifts...A blanket for my niece, mittens for my mother, a hat for my dad, and scarves for him and my stepmom both, and a hat/scarf/possible mitten set for my sister grace (almost 1 yr old).

I may be overdoing it. But Grace has a birthday in january, and so does my mom, so if all else fails...I can extend the deadline on their gifts.

Also, I'm having a major problem with patterns. I want a pretty lacy scarf. Or shawl. Or something! But...every pattern I find, well...won't work. And that can't be the case, so it must be me. I cast on the number it says, start the pattern...and...end up several stitches short of being able to finish the row. Every time. I know I make my yarnovers right, and my knit2togethers, and slip1-knit1-psso is easy, and obviously I know how to knit and purl...

So what in the world is going wrong? Anyone who may have had this problem, please help...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

huh?

So I was looking for some free patterns for that silk I bought yesterday, and came across this website called savethesheep.com. It's all anti-wool and calls for people to only buy alternative fibers, ie-silk, cotton, rayon, acrylic, any of those other natural fibers out there.

Now...I have no problem whatsoever knitting with alternative fibers, including acrylic, probably mostly because I'm a sucker for sparkles, fun fur, and obnoxiously bright yarns. But I also love wool. It felts, it smells wonderful, it can run anywhere from scratchy (felting wool), to softer than butter (merino, mohair, shetland, alpaca...).

What made me laugh was this list they used to convince people to buy alternative fibers:

Some of the consumer problems associated with wool:
It is susceptible to mildew and moth damage.
(well i have to give them that one)

It is not always machine-washable, and cannot be directly ironed.
(well DUH!...that's why God invented care labels for fabrics!)

It often damages easily and is not durable.
(If wool isn't durable, how come I can't rip it with my hands? And how come sheep aren't easily damaged? And why is it so freakin' popular among people who spend hours and hours knitting garments if it's so prone to damage?)

It tends to be expensive.
(um...define expensive. Because I've seen corn/hemp/acrylic/silk yarns all over the place more expensive than the wool I buy)

It causes allergies and/or extreme itching for many people.
(Many? I know one person in my life that a true wool allergy/irritation applies to. And I know a lot of people. These people just aren't wearing the right wool. lol)

It's very water-absorbent, and doesn't dry quickly.
(So don't wash it and use an umbrella. At least it stays warm when it gets wet)

It stains easily, but doesn't clean well.
(Have these people never heard of dry-cleaning? Or, you know, not wearing a wool sweater to do messy tasks?)

It's prone to retaining foul odors.
(I'm not even dignifying this statement. Let's just say I have a cheap acrylic couch that I got from a house full of smokers, and after two years, repeated washings, and 3 bottles of febreze, it still reeks of smoke)

It shrinks with every wash.
(Not if you wash it CORRECTLY)



Mainly, they claim that shearing sheep is cruel. Ok...Isn't there a breed of sheep out there that actually suffocates and dies if they AREN'T sheared, due to the incredible thickness and abundance of their fleece? And also, at least wool isn't hell on the environment like acrylic yarns that will never biodegrade and melt when burned, making acrylic not very recommended for children's garments or blankets.

Anywho...anyone else wants to comment, feel free. I just couldn't believe people having such an objection against something as good and wholesome as wool.

budget?...what budget?

I was very bad yesterday. Well, I guess that really depends on your definition, but I spent $157 on yarn last night. I got a book for a sock knitting class, a set of #8 needles (US) (addi turbos), a very lonely looking skein of Isis yarn in the most beautiful caribbean colors...turqoise, lime green, pale green, light blue...ocean colors. and I also had a major lapse of budgetary judgment when I saw two skeins of Tao silk in the most brilliant colors (colourway: florentina) and bought them too.

And then of course I also got what I originally stopped by the shop for: 4 balls of lavender Cashmerino by Debbie Bliss. Heaven...I want to knit gloves out of this yarn just so I can touch it all the time. But alas, it's for a scarf I'm knitting my sister for Christmas. (Should be very pretty)

I'm pretty sure I put myself on an $80 budget when I walked in there.

Monday, November 06, 2006

bad katie...

so the blanket has no real progress, and since i didn't think to take it to work with me sunday (yesterday), i ended up with a chunk of time on my hands where i could have been knitting while my friend was in the ER. also i'm thinking more and more that this whole blanket is a mistake, because i'm an idiot who decided to knit something utterly repetitive that not only gets BIG, but takes one stitch more on every row i knit. which means each row takes longer than the last. which can't be a good omen.

the up side? i still think it's cute. this will prove to be important when i get so sick of "knit two, yarnover, knit across" that i want to puke.

and on a completely separate note, i'm thinking of making my first socks. God help me.

Friday, November 03, 2006

In the beginning...

In the beginning there was knitting. Later came blogging. Eventually the two met. Years later...I jumped on the bandwagon, and now here I am. Starting a knitblog.

I feel unworthy.

My most prestigious accomplishment to date? Knitting 3 dishcloths in one day. Or outfitting my family in scarves with matching hats last winter.

So here I embark on bigger better knitting projects, to which you shall all bear witness. Beginning (there's that word again) with the baby blanket for my friend Angie's baby. Still simple...but bigger than anything I've done so far.

On the upside, I broke down today and ordered the set of KnitPicks Options needles tonight, plus a couple attachments that didn't come with the set, but I will use fairly often, knowing me. Is it wrong that I paid through my nose for 2 day shipping just because I CAN'T stand to be off work on tuesday and not have those new needles? I didn't think so.

So...onto the blanket. Angie finally hit 20 weeks, which is the point at which I cast on. (same point that I start buying cute pacifiers. personal line that I draw)

Anyway...I guess...welcome! comment! inspire! share stories about your own knitting projects! please?