Saturday, August 27, 2011

A whole lotta knitting

under construction

I've been knitting like crazy lately. It seems like the sensible thing to do, given that it was 111 degrees yesterday, and walking outside makes you feel like your skin is on fire. Instead I sat inside placidly with the AC cranking, knitting.

I finished this pink baby hat 2 weekends ago. I started with the stripe pattern from my first hat ever, then did my own stripe pattern on the main part of the hat:
pink baby hat
I feel pretty meh about it. I like it so-so.

If you're wondering about the little orange guy above, he's from the Big Book of Knitted Monsters. My friend gave me the book and it was sitting on the coffee table where my niece saw it. She asked for the teeniest little monster on the cover.

My niece is kind of a sweetheart, so although I had no clue if I'd do it right, I had to try it...
little monster

I must say he came out pretty cute, and he was a pretty quick stitch on double pointed needles. I winged it with the little legs, though - the pattern called for a basic heel on the feet to create a sort of sock shape. I just made them long and skinny instead.

Of course that little monster made me want to make a bigger one, so I started on Hugo:
monster feet

He's a couch potato, like yours truly! :) Naturally, I bit off more than I could chew - I'd never tried a knit front and back increase before, which was necessary on the little feet, which are knit from the bottom up. Those first 3 rows were the most frustrating knitting experience of my life. I am not kidding when I say I spent 3 hours alone trying to knit one foot. But after a billion mess-ups, slipped stitches, and so much cursing my mom shut her bedroom door, I prevailed and had 2 stitched feet. I do think it's kind of funny that knitting a monster turned me into a total monster. :)

Next up, was transferring the 2 feet to large circular needles and joining them together to form the body. Eep. That was super frustrating, too. I spent another 3 hours or so trying to get that right. I'd never done Magic Loop knitting in the round before, and I couldn't understand why it was so hard for me. I grasped the concept but I felt like I was wrestling with the needles.

I had picked up Boye interchangeable needles at the local Hobby Lobby because I was so impatient to begin:

They're really pretty to look at, but I had no luck with them. The cord was really stiff, there was a hard join in the plastic, there's a funky slant at the edge of the needles that my stitches would get caught on, and best of all, with all the wrangling and wrestling I had to do to slide my stitches around, the tips came unscrewed and I sat there, staring at about 10 unraveled rows of knitting. Maybe these needles are good for some other types of knitting? But for Magic Loop knitting, and me, forget it.

I read a lot of blog posts, forums, etc. and the only needles that were mentioned over and over again were Addi Turbos. So I put an online order in and let Hugo sit for a few days. And Addis are every bit as amazing as everyone says they are. The cord is super light, thin, and flexible, so there's no wrestling and wrangling. The join where the cord meets the needle edge is smooth, so your stitches don't get caught. The tips are just blunt enough that they don't split your yarn, and just sharp enough to pick up your stitches.

They're so easy to knit with that I found myself knitting happily for hours:
monster in progress
I'm not kidding, if you're at all considering learning the Magic Loop technique, or even just regular knitting in the round, get yourself some Addi Turbos, they are worth the extra 10 bucks.

As if that wasn't enough knitting, I decided to make a knitted tie for a special person:
knitted tie

I used this free pattern from Lion Brand yarn, but try as I might, I couldn't get seed stitch to work for me. But I've seen plenty of nice versions in garter stitch, so I did that instead, and was very happy with it.

I've also been working on my Watson scarf, which is almost finished! What about you guys? How's the end of summer treating you? Any bit as scorching as it is here in south Texas?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A brief history of my knitting

a brief flashback: my first hat

I've been knitting a lot lately, so I decided to pull out the old behemoth monster that was my first hat (above). The thing could freaking double as a tube top on me (and no, I won't demonstrate!) :)

I was amused because, without even intending to, I chose almost the exact three colors of yarn the last time I went yarn shopping:

Those 3 are Patons Beehive Baby Sport yarns, by the way. What can I say, I guess I'm a sucker for teal and pink. I hope it's not the mauve of this generation. Because boy, do I hate mauve.

Anyhow, since I was never happy with that big, lumpy, HUGE first hat I'm gonna re-do it as a baby hat (pictures soon!)

In the meantime, here's my third baby hat:

Here it is unrolled, looking kind of like a PacMan ghost:

And here's a brief summary of my recent baby hat knitting:
three baby hats

Do I like this color palette? Of course I do!
saturday palette

Here's a few Flickr faves on that pink and teal theme:
Jellyfish (pattern by Penguin & Fish)
Mint w Pink2
August Stitchalong Fabric