Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Suzy Rick Socks




Pattern: Rick by Cookie A from her Sock Innovation book
Started/Finished:  Sock one was knit while traveling in May 2012 
and sock two was knit during the month of Februrary 2013
Yarn: Koigu Premium Merino (100% merino bliss in bright, bold, red)

I love Cookie A patterns!  The intricate designs sometimes make my head spin are beautiful and actually a lot of fun to knit.  This particular pattern was actually really easy.  Once you set it up it was really easy to figure out the pattern and just knit away without looking at the pattern.


As for the yarn... I'm a fan of expensive Koigu.  Is it overpriced?  Yes.  But sometimes a girl has to splurge!  And when I saw this bright red colorway I had to have it.  I noticed a number of people have made comments about the yarn bleeding and stretching after washing so I was really careful to handwash and pin to dry.  We'll see how long this lasts because I'm notorious for throwing my hand knit socks into a laundry garment bag and into the washer and line dry.

However, I did notice that the toe area came out a little wonky.  In fact, I've noticed this on my last two pairs of socks.  I'm thinking I need to take a crash course and re-learn how to properly finish a sock toe.  Funny how after years of knitting you become so comfortable with something and then start to slack a little.  The toe finishing on this sock are just not my best work and it peeves me off!  It's not the pattern -- it's absolutely me being sloppy and taking short cuts.  I'm debating how to correct this issue.  If this was something with work I know I'd seek advice/help from a colleague, find some online tutorials and brush up on current information.  So I'm thinking about doing the same in this situation.  I've never taken a knitting class... maybe there should be one in my future?  I'll evaluate the problem (me!) and find the solution(s) and maybe soon I'll have an update... and socks with better knit toes!




Friday, March 22, 2013

Social Networking



Photo credit: Logo for Meetup.com

A while back a dear friend mentioned Meetup, a Website that facilitates social networking based on interests.  I searched my region and was pleased to find a number of groups related to many of my interests! Even for an extrovert like me it did take some guts to join a group (virtually) and then to attend an actually meetup.  But I did it and I'm so glad I did!

One meetup is a small dog meetup which is perfect for Rosie.  We are currently enrolled in obedience and Rally-O classes but Rosie is very shy and scared during class.  Granted she is the smallest dog in class (and we are the biggest people!) but we also know she was neglected in her previous life, and we speculate that she might have been abused, so she is really shy around people and other dogs.  So we've joined this particular meetup because the events are geared to playtime for small dogs and small dogs only.  We've gone to two meetups thus far.  The first class was tough, Rosie would hide between our legs and whine to sit on our laps.  She even started drooling and showing other signs of stress.  Luckily this month was better.  Within five minutes of arriving Rosie actually started running around the place!  She would run behind the other dogs and chase them, although as soon as a dog started chasing her she ran back to us all scared.  But overall it was better and she didn't drool as much!  So we are thinking this small dog social hour was a great step towards getting her socialized.  (Sorry for the blurry pictures but it's really hard to get pictures of dogs in motion).






The other meetup I joined involves knitting!  I have had plenty of knitting peeps in the past but I've never really knit with other people.  Right now I can't knit at home because both Rosie and Gwen Bean both think they are cats and will chase and chew on my yarn while I'm knitting.  And being (relatively new) to the area, I thought it'd be nice to meet some new peeps.  So I found a couple knitting meetups and joined one of them chosen semi-randomly, that is, mostly based on the yarn and martini glass logo.  The first few meetups have been successful and I'm really liking the group of ladies.  I haven't been brave enough to take pics of the group, but maybe I will later.  :)   But for now, I'm really enjoying new ways of being social - with my dog and with my knitting!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Doggie Sweater - Part IV (Final sweater - for now)


 
Pattern: Heavy modifications to the Hoodie Dog Coat
Started: December 2012
Finished: December 2012 (quick knit again - maybe took me 4-5 days of knitting here and there). 
YarnKnit Picks Palette Yarn in Fog, held double-stranded
Needles: I think 4.5mm

I love pullover hoodies.  My hubby loves pullover hoodies.  If we could dress like college undergrads for life, I think we would.  So why not stick Rosie into a pullover hoodie too?!


Again I took a couple of different patterns and modified it to my liking.  And because by this time Rosie had started to gain some weight, I no longer felt like I would break her little legs, so I decided to try knitting front sleeves.  Actually I have to be honest, I really messed up this pattern and the front had to be sewn together and taken in a little to fit her properly.  And the hood -- oye!  I've always prided myself on my talents with geometry but oye I had a tough time wrapping my head around how to knit the dang hood!  Two of the knitting days involved me starting and ripping back failed attempts.  I probably could have easily looked up knitting patterns for regular sized (adult or kid) hoodies, but I like to make things difficult and figure it out myself.

Well finally I got it and here is the finished result.  Overall a huge success and it looks uber cute on her.  I don't think Rosie diggs the hood too much, but I think she appreciates the warmth on cold days!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Doggie Sweater - Part III




Rosie Blarple Button-up (or the Blarple Sweater)
Started: Sometime in December 2012
Finished: Sometime in December 2012 (quick knit during a weekend)
Yarn: Gianna (South West Trading Company), a 50% Soysilk + 50% Wool blend.
One ball each of black and purple.  
Needles: 6.0mm

I decided to go back to the original and not get all fancy with the design.  For this attempt I used some yarn that I received in a yarn swap years ago.  I only had one ball of the black and one ball of the purple so I never really knew what to do with such a small amount.  Initially I wanted to knit a black sweater but quickly found out that I was going to run out (she's such a huge dog, ya know?).  So I tried to get clever and used the purple yarn on the collar, bottom (ventral) body flap, and buttons.  And I used the black yarn on the main (ventral) body part.  We've started calling this one her Blarple (black n' purple) sweater.




This third try was actually a success.  The yarn is heavy duty and does a nice job in keeping her warm, and especially perfect for wintry NH.  And I've had many people complement the sweater asking where I bought it (or the pattern) so I find that as a huge success!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Evermore

Recently I took a day trip Baltimore for a work-related site visit.  The professional development portion of the trip went well but I thought I'd share the pics of something I saw on our walking tour of the area:




Yep, we were taken to a graveyard?!  But it was pretty cool because we saw the burial place the famous poet Edgar Allen Poe.  I am kicking myself for not getting pictures of Westminster Hall, a gorgeous old building (formerly a church) on the cemetery grounds.  I might go back sometime and take a tour of the catacombs (ew, but oddly intriguing!).  Nonetheless, for all you literature fans I thought you might like seeing the grave site of the poet.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Doggie Sweater - Part II

And then my second attempt at a doggie sweater....





Started: Sometime in October 2012
Finished: Sometime in October 2012
Cable Pattern: Cabled Argyle Pattern from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary, Vol 2: Cables
YarnSouth West Trading Company Pure, a soysilk blend, in Cabernet colorway
Needles: Maybe a 4.0 mm (?)

After the weird teal-blue thing I made this beautiful sweater.  I used what I learned from the first attempt, and looked at some additional patterns (from this search query).  I also utilized my knitting library and found a cute cable argyle pattern from the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary.  I think this cable pattern is what gives the sweater more appeal.

What I love about this project -  again, the ease in putting the garment on/off Rosie, the pretty and simple(!) cabled pattern, and softness of the yarn.  While knitting I loved the yarn!  In fact I had originally purchased the yarn for a sweater for myself.  It is a beautiful soy-silk blend, so soft and light.

But what I hate about this project - after just an hour or so of Rosie wearing it (even while sleeping) the sweater stretches beyond belief!  Such a huge disappointment.  I am debating if I should just throw it into the washer and dryer to see if it'll felt.  Yes I'll lose that beautiful stitch pattern - but at least then Rosie might be able to wear it!  I am glad that I knit a small garment and noticed the droopiness and stretching of the fabric before spending a lot of time knitting a sweater for myself.

Overall, so-so.  I think it is a pretty sweater.  But the fact that it stretches and doesn't keep her warm makes it not functional and thus a fail.  Ah well....

Monday, March 4, 2013

Doggie Sweaters - Part I

In addition to a doggie poop bag dispenser, I've also knit a couple sweaters for Rosie and the next four posts will feature the sweaters.

After searching Ravelry I discovered plenty of really cute (FREE) doggie sweater patterns.  And don't worry, I'll support my knit designers later... but at this time I needed easy and free patterns to get back into knitting.

I was a little hesitant to knit a sweater with sleeves because (at that time) Rosie's legs were so frail and I was really afraid of breaking a leg when putting it through.  Seriously her legs were so frail!

Chicken legs.
I ended up finding a really cute pattern (Francesca/Sharkey) that buttoned up on the sides.  But of course I cannot simply follow a pattern as is....

Rosie has a pretty long neck and body that are surprisingly long for her small stature, so I ended up knitting a collar that could be folded or kept up and longer body length.  Also, I wanted something simple with the buttons because I had fears of her chewing and eating plastic buttons.  Yes I know this was irrational because really fabric buttons wouldn't be any less worrisome... nonetheless, I ended knitting bobble-like buttons for the sweater.

My first attempt was with a really weird yarn I had in my stash.  Not the prettiest yarn.  Not a great color for Rosie.  But I figured this first attempt could become my own pattern that I could then modify and learn from.



Overall, not too bad.  Just ugly!  But for a first sweater, and first "major" knitting project for me in a while, a success.