20080928

Ghost of Projects Past, Part I

Oh man, guys. Do you remember when I said I'd try to blog three times a week? I'm a TOTAL liar. My pants? They might possibly be on fire.

For those of you who are curious, Beth, the fashion designer, recommended the book New Complete Guide to Sewing by Reader's Digest. Apparently most fashion programs in Philly use this book as a text. That's a good enough rec for me and I plan to buy a copy sometime. I also bought a fat quarters of fabric, but I have no current plans for them. If I manage not to screw up completely, I've got one or two ideas, though.

Now, what is this post all about? I'd thought I'd talk about my knitting history and update you guys on my projects. It turns out that I think I've managed to convert my cousin Talena (the sweetest person on Earth) into a knitter. Since I plan to hang with her once a week now, that means I have a knitting friend! We got together last week and she worked on a really cute scarf made from Lion Brand's Nature's Choice Organic Yarn in a simple two by two rib. I have a feeling that it is going to be her first wearable finished project as she had previously tried to make two stockinette scarves, which you all know just curls and doesn't look nice, out of acrylic yarn. My bad, as I apparently totally did not warn her about that, nor did I teach her to cast off, nor have I explained how to weave in ends. I'm going over next week with tapestry needles and I'm going to show her how to weave in some ends. Luckily, I also got to work on my own anklets a bit since they're simple stockinette and can be chucked to the side every time Nathan decides to put up a major fuss.

I've also been working on Helen's socks quite a bit. Since they're knee high socks, they are slow going, but I'm finally working on the heel flap of the first sock. It's been so long since I've done a heel flap as opposed to a short row heel that I'm kind of intimidated. I've done it before, though, and I can do it again. I did temporarily take them off the needles when I got to the flap to make sure they fit my leg. They looked decent, but my legs are kind of fat (honestly a lot of that is calf muscle) so I'm hoping they look better on Helen. The pattern is gorgeous.

So, what's this about the ghost of projects past?

Oh, lace pattern Saddest Scarf EVER

Basketweave close up


Do you see those? Those are three of my first projects, folks! The bottom one that Nathan is modeling up close and personal is my first ever projects. It's a basketweave scarf done for my mom. As no one warned me, I decided when first knitting to simply forge ahead and do a scarf of ten feet in length. As you can imagine, my knitting tension slowly started to relax from new tight knitter to relaxed looser knitter during the scarf's first three feet. When I examined my scarf, rather than just going with it when I realized this was happening, I tightened my knitting. This means that I made a scarf with a hourglass shape at one part of it. Yeah, that was smooth. Also, the scarf is acrylic and scratchy. Delightful!

The second project is a lacey scarf in blue. Mmm, it was short, it curls, and I knew nothing about the wonders of blocking. It's itchy, too. I hate to look at this scarf though the picture does not make it look as horrible as it really is.

The third is a horrible horrible horrible scarf done with a drop stitch and some fun fur on the ends. Oh man, that is one hideous scarf, and my mom likes it and wears it. I try to pretend she isn't wearing it when I see it on her.

I'm going to leave those projects as my projects past for now. Expect to see some a top and some older socks in the near future, folks!

20080922

FEAR!

As you read in my last post, I got myself a sewing machine. It is pretty. It's shiny. It has lots of different types of stitches or whatnot.

My Precious


I'm frightened of it. I... I just don't know what to do with it. I've gotten some cloth to play with. I've played with stitches. I'm going to take a small class in it at the place where Paul bought it. However, it still scares me. I look at it and feel like I'll never know how to use it well, no matter how much I want to.

I've read some Craftster threads about using sewing machines, but it's not taking the edge off. I want to do stuff now, and it's basically telling me -- wait, look, play with the machine's different functions, and then read about it some more.

I talked to Beth, one of our friends from high school who is also a designer, and she recommended a book to me. I really hope she emails the name of it to Paul like she said she would. She also told me that after I'm done making squares and aprons, I should make a pair of pajama pants as my first real project. Is there anyone out there who sews who can talk me through this terror of my own sewing machine?

On the positive side, I went to my mom's house and started going through my mom-mom's (great grandmom on my dad's father's side) old sewing machine (a Singer) looking for various things I could pilfer from my mom. SCORE! I found an excellent pair of pinking shears that probably just need a bit of WD-40, and I found a lot of bias ribbon, zippers, and a seam ripper. Things I'd like to get after more experience include: rotary blade, self-healing cutting mat, several patterns, see-through ruler, and sewing chalk.

20080917

Perhaps A New Blog Name

I might have to rename my blog very soon! For my birthday, yesterday, I received a new sewing machine! When you combine that with the fact that I want to try my hand at card-making, and the fact that I already cross-stitch, I'm not sure how accurate "Ninja Kitten Knits" is. Perhaps, "Ninja Kitten Has Too Many Crafting Hobbies" would be better.

Anyway, I'm actually going to start this entry with my plans for future entries, which is weird, but helpful to me. One, Kitten, get pictures of your sewing machine, and your card-making supplies, and post them in Flickr, and in here! Two, find out what a Bernette 66 is capable of and figure out what I need to get started with sewing some pillows. Three, find out what I need to get started with my card-making that I do not already have.

Now, on to my knitting content which shall be fairly lengthy. I am *only* covering two things today, podcast reviews will come later this week. Let's start with the most important thing, what I am knitting and how is it coming along...

I'm still working on socks, socks, socks... My latest pair of short row anklets are still coming along. I'm working on the heel of the second anklet now and it is moving fast. This is the pair of socks I drag around with me everywhere in case I have an extra ten minutes to knit somewhere, so they obviously get worked on as time permits. I have to say that I love the Koigu colorway when I see it in the sunlight, but not so much indoors. Koigu KPPPM knits up much nicer than I recall from my previous venture, and I definitely plan to make some more anklet socks out of it for myself. I'd also consider using it for friends or family if I find out if I can wash it in the washer and dryer. For those who are curious, I test this out by simply tossing the pair of handknit socks into my washer and dryer after I wear them. This has led to some heartbreak in the past, but I have no time in my life for handwash socks normally. It's why I refuse to buy many 100% merino sock yarns.

I'm also working on Helen's Knee Socks. Whew. They take a long time to knit, which makes sense since it is the first time I've ever knit patterned socks and the first time I've ever knit knee socks. I'm only on the seventh repeat of the leg spiral pattern. This sock is being knit with Lorna's Laces, and I'm not loving Lorna's sock yarn as much as I have in the past. I think I'm used to softer sock yarn nowadays, but I'm still going to continue to knit with LL. Why? Because I know that softness matters less to me when I'm actually wearing the socks, and because I know they machine wash and dry beautifully.

So, the second thing I'm going to blog about? I'm going to Rhinebeck!! OH EM GEE, folks! I'm so excited. A few weeks ago, slightly depressed due to the fact that I was giving up work to stay at home with Nathan, I asked Christy if she'd want to go. Christy, who is an awesome awesome awesome friend, said, 'Let's do it.' She managed to get us a place to stay, and now we're headed up for the weekend. I'm excited to be spending time with Christy, to be seeing a lot of the yarns I've only heard or read about, and to see what goes on at this huge fiber festival.

I have no idea what vendors will be there, but some things I'd like to purchase include: US #8 straight needles (Montego Bay), US #10 1/2 double points (Feeling Fuzzy), US #11 straight needles (My So Called Scarf), US #1 sock needles (all kinds of socks!), US #7 16-inch circulars (Harry Potter Scarf), Malabrigo worsted weight yarn (My So-Called Scarf), Handmaiden Fine Yarn Sea Silk (Montego Bay), Dream in Color Smooshy, Shibui Knits Sock Yarn, Schaefer Yarns Heather, and eight billion other sock yarns! I obviously will not be buying all of this, no matter how tempted I am, but I hope to get at least some of it. I might even have to add more to this list so I don't forget what I want when I get there. The worst part is that I plan to make sure that all new needles I buy are Lantern Moon and any new circulars are Addi Turbos. I know... What is up with that?