Sunday, February 26, 2006

Last quest for the Gold ...

As of last night I was ready to throw in the towel. I was so upset after knitting up 320 stitches around the front & neckline TWICE and still tearing it out a third time ... I couldn't even take a good picture of the blob I had before me. This is what it looked like thru my river of tears tho.

Disaster had struck!!

Can you see the hole in front of my finger? Well that's not the only one... I won't show you the rest and make myself break down in tears again. This is not good! Got to find a "fix" or I'll have to give up. Throw in the towel ....[But what about my cheering section ... my fans, family & friends? They've had more faith in me that I had in myself. How can I let them down? Never mind the lose of my sanity.]

Okay, be calm and blindly go to the sewing room.... stitch down the steeks so that further unraveling doesn't happen. [I learned my lesson ... next time if the steek is longer than an arm hole, machine stitch before crocheting or just machine stitch. This was also Baby alpaca and not as clingy as Wool. The directions didn't remind me of this. The designer SAID I could crochet the steeks. She lied.]

Like I said ... I learned my lesson.

I must go on for the gold ... So I got up at 4:00 am this morning and completed the bands of 320 stitches along the fronts & neckline before Noon. Here's a pic of the inside back neckline tacked down with the herring bone stitch. Okay... I can do this ...

I rolled the crappy side steeks under and stitched those down with yarn. Can you see what I did in this picture? Any major problem here? No? Okay, good. This is the inside ... who's going to examine it in detail anyway? Well maybe Paula would, but nobody else would right. Well maybe the whole S&B group at M.I.T. But nobody else!~

Okay so here's the finished result.

I had 15 minutes to go and I never sewed buttons on so FAST in my life. Once it's dry, I'll take a picture of me wearing it. I only did a quick block on it for now. I'll do a more complete block later. But I want to wear it tomorrow. Well, if it fits of course.

This is it... I'm done.!! And guess what? If it wasn't for this CRAZY Knitting Olympic idea, I probably would have given up when I ran into this major ordeal that I did last night ....

But NO, I went for the Gold instead! ... Updated 2/27/06 below with my picture.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Getting down to the wire ...

My nerves are on edge. I had to go to work instead of knit ... how horrible. But I've got the vest with me along with my mags. I'm tacking the steeks down using the herring bone stitch. Really a nice look, if I must say so myself.

Both arm holes are done.

And even before I did the armhole bands I had to seam the shoulders. With the advice of an experienced knitter friend, I used the duplicate stitch. [Thanks Tony] My thumb is sitting on the seam. Can you see it?

Okay, here's a closeup. You can almost tell where it is, but with a little work to even the tension on the stitches, I bet I wouldn't even be able to see them.

Now on to the "thorn" in my side ... completing the steeks on the front. I'm going blind doing it, but I have to get this done before I do the final steps of weaving in the ends & blocking ... and even before that, the BIGGY: knitting up and completing 5 knit rows of 320 stitches for the 2 fronts & neck band.

Take my advice ... do the steek stitches in stripes and not speckles if you are doing this pattern.

Whew, I hope I make it to 2:00 pm Sunday!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Scary Steeks!

After studying all the information I could find on the Internet and in my Library of books on the subject of "crochet steeks", I started one of the arm holes to my Andean Treasure Fair Isle Vest from KnitPicks.

Once that was completed ... well I pulled it out and did it again ...
and again ...

and once again. I wanted to be sure that it was done right.

Okay, I'm still a little nervous about this, ssooooo I steeked my original sample from the week before & CUT that first.

Well, not too bad... once my heart stopped pulsating [well not totally stopped, but slowed down, hehe] I took some pictures as you see here and then took the scissors out .... and now for the big test to my nerves.

Okay, not these scissors silly. It was recommended to use small embroidery scissors, which I did. I just thought I'd scare you with these from my sewing room.

Be still my heart!

Once I had a coffee [that's right, coffee ... no wine tonight] I delicately cut up the armhole steek and ...

Whalahoa ...

... a finished salvage edge!

Yippy it didn't fall apart.


[Read about the antics of Team MIT also.]

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bound off the shoulders and ready to ...

Crochet the steeks!. I've decided to crochet in order to secure them before cutting. What's a steek? Just extra knitted stitches designed to be cut open when a garment is being given the finishing touches. It is similar to the seam allowance around the sewing lines for fabric. This is where I cross my fingers & hold my breath!

When the steeks are cut after crocheting up one side & down the other, it is then turned to the inside and becomes the selvage. I think this is a pretty good discription on how to do the crochet steeks on the web:
"see eunny knit".

Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A trip to NH for the day and a Baby Shower.

No time to work on the Olympics this morning. After shopping we left on our little-more-than-an-hour drive to New Hampshire and the baby shower for my first great-grand child. There was a house full of people when we got there. Had a good time and I took lots of pictures so I can print up a keepsake card for Amber & Ira ... the proud parents-to-be. Amber's my oldest granddaughter and it seems only yesterday that she was climbing into & sitting in a clothes basket or playing "peek-a-boo" with her Grandpa.

It's going to be a girl! Here's the happy mom-to-be, Amber showing off the sweater and the blanket I crocheted for Jayden. Now it's just waiting for Jayden's birthday!

Now it's home to rest and the Olympics .....

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Day 6 of the Knitting Olympics

Hey, I think I'm at the halfway point ... got to the armhole steeks this morning while coming into work on the train. Here's what my vest looks like so far. I really like Fair Isle! It's the first time I've attempted it. Hope the steeks don't change my mind about this project tho. It's another "first" for me -- steeks that is. I would love to be knitting the border by this weekend ... maybe Sunday. But that might be an over-reach for me ... we'll see. I'll be happy with Monday. But I can keep in mind that we have another whole week to finish. As for the MIT Relay team .... Go Team MIT, Go!!

And here's a quick look of the inside!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

No knitting after dinner last night ...

After two glasses of wine, a wonderful dinner at Bella Verona's and splitting a bottle of champaign once we got home ... knitting on the Fair Isle vest was out of the question. Whoa nellie!

Frankly, I couldn't think of doing any kind of stitching at that point. No kidding! The Stitchingnut without a needle in hand ... but we had some laughs and I think I'm the one that finished the bottle, LOL.

Did I mention we just about finished off that box of chocolates?

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone ... I'll be knitting to catch up today. :)

Found this on FemiKnit Mafia's BlogSpot
So here's what my candy heart says. Too funny!!

Your Candy Heart Says "Cutie Pie"

~You always seem to have a hot date, even though you never try to meet anyone.

~A total charmer, you have a natural appeal that keeps you in high demand.

~Your ideal Valentine's Day date: multiple dates with multiple people

~Your flirting style: 100% natural

~What turns you off: serious relationship talks

~Why you're hot: you're totally addicting

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Day Four of the big knitting event ...

It's not just Valentine's Day, it's also day 4 of the 2006 Knitting Olympics. I haven't much time to write about it, but here's a picture of my progress of the Andrean Treasure Vest from KnitPicks.

I don't know why, but I was thinking this was Wednesday ... the first day of our new two day a week schedule for the MIT S&B. See how time is so confussing when you're deep into a knitting project? How can I forget Valentine's Day? After all we're going out for dinner tonight at Bella Verona in Salem, MA. I'll be taking pictures tonight since I'll have my camera with me and I don't know if I can get away with whipping out my knitting while waiting for my dinner. Well not until after the first bottle of wine anyway.

As you see, my DH has supplied me with chocolate fuel in order to keep knitting and get my Olympic challenge done on time. (that's what I tell myself) Only 12 days to go!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

2006 Knitting Olympics begins

Got my new knitting backpack together with all the tools, accesaries and yarn that I needed to start my cast-on after 3:00 pm for the Knitting Olympics while I riding home on the train. As you see, I didn't forget anything. This back pack even includes a place on the side for a "water" bottle and my cell phone. As I said, all the necessary tools. I had 270 stitches to cast on ... and I did it! I had to count at least 3 times to make sure I had 270 stitches..... not an easy feat, I admit. But I knew once I got past the ribbing, it would be easy sailing. Or so I think.... how nieve of me you say, huh?

Once I got home, I had to use my magnifiers [now doesn't that make me look like a SpaceShot?] to be able to see that I didn't split the stitches while I did the Knit 2, Purl 2 for the ribbing on ten rows with Knitpick's Andean Treasure [a dark color called "Mystery"]..... Okay, that's done, now on to the serious Fair Isles knitting... the fun part!

Knit on to victory!!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Pink Baby ...

Well it came down to the wire ... and I HAD to get the baby sweater set done for my first great grandchild before today ended. Weaved all the ends in and blocked it very early this morning. In fact, you might notice the wet spots on my blocking board in the picture. Only my name tags need to be stitched in now before I have to wrap it up. Oh by the way, these are crocheted ... just a short break from knitting.

The baby shower is the Saturday after next ... not this weekend ... but the next [while we're still in the middle of the Knitting Olympics.] The pressure of the Olympics is why the concern for getting the baby gift done before the lighting of the torch tomorrow after 2:00 pm. I'm planning to do my cast-on while on the train returning home after work. Got to get whatever moments I can to work the fair isle vest, right? M-m-m-m, now if my DH cooks dinner ... there's a few more minutes of stitching time. It's a Friday, so I can go to bed late ... maybe I'll only need 4 hours sleep instead of 6 hours ... get up early and knit while I do laundry ... and I'll keep the grocery shopping list SHORT ... I'm on a diet anyway. So what kind of finger food can I get that won't mess with my knitting?

So the planning for stitching success goes on ... go team MIT!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Oh my gosh, ...

I NEED to start a "Wish List." I got my Patternworks Catalog in yesterday and found something I would LOVE, love, love to have ... a knitter's backpack! Well do I really need it? Probably not. I pointed it out to my DH and he looked at me over his paper and then at the item I was pointing to in the catalog (ignoring my excitement) and rolled his eyes. Rolled his eyes mind you! Ah, what does he know about knitting and the things I need to keep it all organized? What does he know about how I want to carry what I'm working on to where ever I go and in a stylish way at that? What does he know about keeping my knitting close at hand so I can whip out a work in progress with the correct needles to do knitting magic at a moments notice?

Well, I guess I don't really need it ....

But I will continue to dream about all that yarn I still plan to buy and hiding it away, hehe.

No, no wait, no more wishing .... I went ahead and bought the backpack. Was there any doubt that I would?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Swatching Saga ...

Finally found the time to sit down and swatch a small piece of the sweater vest. This is a Fair Isle pattern, which I've never down before and will now attempt for The Knitting Olympics.

I'm an English style knitter (I've linked to someone who does it very much like I do), but a month ago I started practicing to knit Continental style. It was a way of preparing myself for fair isle knitting since I'll be holding yarn in each hand as I knit across. I'm getting pretty good at it I think.

My first swatch was really too small but I did discover a mistake in the pattern from KnitPicks. It says to check the gauge using the size 3 needle in the pattern stitch .... but listen guys, it's suppose to be worked in the size 5 needle. Only the ribbing is worked in the smaller size 3 needle. I discovered this when I checked out the additional extra patterns they included at the end of the pamphlet for the left over yarn.

Well I then swatched in the 5 and then the 6 and then back to 5 again. The difference between the 1st & 2nd time I used the size 5 needle was the fact that I did a bigger swatch and I got better at the fair isle technique. Practice makes perfect! The top half of the swatch in the picture to the right is done in the correct gauge using the size 5 needle. Hurray, I'm ready for them to light of the torch!

I'm even happy with the back... well maybe it could be better, but I'm going to have to practice with some old yarn from my stash in order to perfect my skills in fair isle before the games. Maybe this weekend, if I can get both of the baby blankets done. I have to start at least ONE of the baby sweaters as well.... so when will I have time? Goodness, the pressure....

Does anyone have a trick in finding the yarn end to start a pull-out skein?

As you see in this batch of yarn balls here, I had trouble finding the end on a few. Gosh, I hate that!! I like my yarn coming neatly out of the center, don't you? But it either takes forever to find the end or I get frustrated and pull out the whole center trying to find it. Does it happen to you?

There must be a trick to this that no one has told me about yet!