The Yarn Virgin

the adventures of popping my yarn cherry

Thursday, February 23, 2006

finished olympic knitting!

Ok, I'm a horrible blogger. I love reading others' blogs about their progress yet neglect to post any about mine. I love seeing pictures of just cast on, half done, almost done objects yet don't remember to take any myself.

BUT... what counts (or what's supposed to count anyway!) is my finished object post! I attribute the relatively fast finish (and lack of blog updates) to the fact that I completed almost all (I bet at least 95%) of the knitting in front of the TV watching the olympics. I don't want to know how long it took (and how much I've been watching the olympics).

Anyway, the deets:

Pattern: Craftster Circular Shrug
Yarn: 3.5+ balls of Bernat Satin in Mocha (approx 600 yds)
Needles: Size 9 Denise Interchangeables
Size: Small (it's a tad big on me- fits great underneath a long sleeve shirt, but under a tank top it's a bit roomy. I am very skinny and short!)
Modifications: Cast on 194 stitches in k2p2 and decrease to 97 stitches and 19.5" of mock rib (not really though). My gauge swatch came out differently than the actual garment- I'm guessing that a wider width of mock rib will make it rib more than the smaller swatch- so when it laid flat, I was lucky if the width measured 17 or 18". I tried blocking it (not sure ultimately how successful because this is acrylic we're talking about) to make it wider, but it worked out in the end because it tends to stretch out when I'm wearing it anyway. I also probably didn't need the whole 19.5" and measured myself incorrectly too! Used k2tog, p2tog decreases and kfb, pfg increases. 5" k2p2, 20" mock rib, 5" k2p2. I initially remembered the pattern wrong and did 15" of mock rib, moving onto k2p2 after that, but I'm glad I frogged and added the extra length- even as a petite girl, it spans the length of my back and I like it that way! I learned how to mattress stitch, which I initially was intimidated of (care of the videos), after reading the SnB book, and seamed up the k2p2 along with 4" of the mock rib. My yarn needle donated by my boyfriend's grandma came in very handy- after learning how to kitchener stitch without a yarn needle (yeah... don't ask. I tried pulling yarn through with my fingers, and then tried fashioning a paper clip into a yarn needle), I now understand that these little extras (yarn needle, crochet hook, stitch markers, holders, etc.) are life savers!

As for fitting, it fits great due to the fact that you can pin it as tight as you want. It's a bit gapey in the back by the armholes though. I don't know how to fix it, but it doesn't bother me, since I am so in love with the front! I've also found that my cast on and off are very different tensions (my cast on is looser) so the upper collar looks better with the cast on edge- it allows it to splay out more instead of curling like the cast off edge did. Incidentally, the pic was taken with the cast off edge as the collar. I didn't discover this other (better looking) variant til later. But guess what, the laziness has taken over and, yeah, you'll have to live with the first picture.

Also have gotta say that I think mock rib is just so cute! I love the "wrong side" (although have ultimately decided to go with the right side out) and it's quicker than k2p2 since knitting the wrong side doesn't require changing yarn positions (yarn is always held forward) like a conventional rib stitch would.

Monday, February 20, 2006

ok, i'm lazy

gah. I make this blog and then abandon it. But I haven't abandoned my knitting olympics project, the Craftster Circular Shrug!!! It's actually going quite well. It actually went quite peachy until last night when I realized that I was supposed to make 20" of the mock rib section instead of 15". I had already finished the mock rib by then and went on and increased to double my stitch count and done 2 inches of the 2x2 rib. For some reason, I decided to take a look at the pattern and realized my mistake... crap! Was toying with the idea to just keep going, because I'm short anyway and probably don't need all 20 inches... but then decided to frog it because I wanted it a bit longer. I did the extra 5 inches of mock rib and now have started the 2x2 rib again. Hopefully I'll be done on Tuesday so I can block it (don't know how well it'll work with acrylic) on Wednesday/Thursday, and learn how to seam it up after that. So that's my progress... pictures later, it looks quite boring right now.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

my FO's thus far

pre-1) a basketweave knit scarf for my boyfriend in Jo Sharp Aran Tweed in Dusk (I think). Knit 2 years ago. Took 3 months! I had no resolve to finish these things, and was bad at correcting stitches- I had to wait until I saw my mom next to get her to fix my mistakes! My first FO ever.

1) Irish Hiking Scarf

1.5+ skeins of Patons Classic Wool Merino in Dark Grey Mix /65" x 5" / size 8 needles / Xmas gift for dad
My first cables attempt- without a cable needle at that! Cables are definitely not as hard as they look, but the scarf took a long time (around 20-30 mins per 8-row repeat) because I am still a slow knitter! Because Patons isn't as bulky, it took more pattern repeats than other wools and thus even longer (I'm willing to bet over 20 hours)! But it was worth it in the end!

2) My So-Called Scarf

3 skeins of Lion Brand Landscapes in Rose Garden / 65" x 5" / size 13 needles /Xmas gift for sis
The is the scarf that's notoriously done in Manos Del Uruguay. Problem: I don't think I like any of their colourways! Enter the people that completed it in LB Landscapes. Fell in love with Rose Garden (off their FO's). Ordered it online because I couldn't find it in Canada. Was somewhat disappointed in person (too much brown, not enough pink) but it grew on me. I decided it looks better from far away. I still love the scarf, don't get me wrong. Plus it took "only" 7 hours or so!

3) Curly Whirly Scarf

1 skein of Patons Divine in Icicle White, part of a skein of this no-name chenille stuff from abroad that I was given- white/khaki/light brown mix / 72" x 5" curly diameter (quite large!) / size 11 needles / Xmas gift for mom
Mohair blended stuff is a pain to work with, I've figured out. But I fought with this and it's so pretty now. You don't see the curliness until you bind off, and it was hard to wait that long! I also didn't know how long it would get in the end, and probably casted on 20 extra stitches (which means an extra 1000 stitches that I did in total!), but I guess a too-long scarf is better than a too-short one. I really like the contrasting colour edges, it really makes the curl stand out. I cast on 120, knit, increased to 240, knit, increased to 480, knit, knit, increased to 960, knit, knit, bound off. Don't know how long this took, but would have been faster with easier yarns! I'm guessing it took me at least 13 hours.


After getting a curly whirly (details/pics to be posted later- I know, I keep procrastinating) off my needles, I decided that I'd swatch the mock rib pattern in the circular shrug for the upcoming Knitting Olympics. It took me a while to get the mock rib figured out, mainly because I didn't cast on an odd number. so every time I turned over the yarn to the other side, I'd purl when I should have been slipping and slipped when I should have purled. But eventually got it figured out, got everything measured (even though I don't have a ruler with me... I had to come up with my own sneaky devices) and know that I will be casting on 194 stitches on size 9 needles this friday!

Monday, January 30, 2006

first knitalong!

I finally want to branch out beyond scarves. I've been reading Craftster for ideas and happened upon the Craftster-originated Circular Shrug intented to be an Urban Outfitters knockoff. I thought it was so cute (though I usually am not one for shrugs- I guess they're growing on me!) that I went out to buy some yarn this weekend! The cheapie standby that people have been using is Caron Simply Soft, but I've never seen this yarn. I bought 4 balls (664 yards) of brown Bernat Satin, which is apparently comparable to the simply soft.

I also recently found out about the Yarn Harlot's
where we're only supposed to cast on AFTER the flame is lit, and supposed to finish BEFORE the flame is extinguished. Which is nice, because it gives me a deadline. But I don't know if I can wait that long before getting a start on this project! Oh well, at least I know I'll have a spiffy little shrug by Feb 26th if things go as I'm planning.

I also have 2 balls of this white Patons Divine which I don't exactly know what to do with (it was originally intended for a scarf for my mom, but I could never decide on a pattern), so maybe I'll use that to keep me occupied until then.

I also finally got pictures of some of my past creations, so I'll post them up here in the next little while for posterity and completeness sake.

Friday, January 27, 2006

blog name

maybe I'll start off by explaining the title. I'm new to knitting (though learning quickly) and recently took a trip to one of the most popular LYS' in town. There, my equally virginal friend and I were touching everything and exclaiming, "ooh feel this one! this one's so soft!" "no, feel this one! it's sooo nice!" "omigod, I want to buy out this whole store!". We were overwhelmed with all our choices and didn't know which yarn to use for what. All this while the employees and regulars passing us by, I'm sure, were lauging inside (at us, not with us!) at our (yarn) virginity.

so, I'm pleased to present a foray into my knitting life- the adventures of popping my yarn cherry, if you will...