Thursday, June 26, 2008

Realistic Math

I have found math to be so much easier when you write it out. Right now I need to understand if it's realistic for me to complete this baby blanket before the the due date. First, the raw data:

Using my handy dandy measuring thingy (technical term of course) I found that I'm getting about 5-6 rows per inch in the stockinette section of the pattern. I'm going to round up to 6 because it's better to assume more rows than less in this situation since I'd rather overestimate the time.

6 rows per inch and my final length needed is 35 inches. If I subtract about an inch for the beginning border that leaves me to knit 34 inches total. I've got one inch done already in pattern so now I'm down to 33 inches total to knit. 6 rows per inch multiplied by 33 inches needed means about 198 rows to go.

Tuesday night I was able to knit 6 rows but last night I made a stupid mistake and with all the tinking involved I was only able to knit 3 rows total. So if I use those as my range for knitting 3-6 rows each night . . . that means I need 33-66 days to complete the blanket. Assuming I'm able to knit almost every night on this I should finish sometime in August (leaving out a couple Saturdays for date nights with my sweetie). Baby Jack is due Sept 10th. Score!

Now I have a realistic time frame in mind for completing the blanket. As long as he gets it before he hits one month old I think I'll be happy but it's nice to know that it's possible to send it out before he arrives!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Purpose Knitting

SPOILER ALERT: If you are pregnant with a baby-to-be named Jack please stop reading and let me know so I won't blog about your future present!

A friend of ours is due in September and it took me some time to find the perfect gift to make. I wanted to be inspired with a gift idea that was unique to this family and baby-to-be. I had the chance to go yarn shopping with my sister-in-law this past weekend so it was a great opportunity to spend time in the store feeling each yarn and considering each color option. Normally I have to rush since I'm on lunch break or I have people waiting for me in the car.

Thanks to Ravelry again for another great experience. I used the experimental queue search to view all the blankets that I had previously liked. I saw Yarn Harlot's pattern called Sam's Blanket and it was perfect! I was able to quickly see what other yarn's have been used by other Raveler's for this blanket and thought Lion Brand's Cotton Ease was a economical choice that would be available at the stores I planned to visit.

While I was shopping I thought the yarn was definitely soft enough for a baby and tough enough to be washed often. The color choices were more muted than what I originally wanted but the Lake color was a good fit. It's not a baby blue and it's not a deep navy - I think it will work well.

Reading the other knitters notes about the project let me have a good understanding that this project will take awhile due to the number of stitches (176-181), the weight of the yarn and final length of the blanket. That helped me decide to make this my main project to work on every night. After 3 nights of knitting I've been able to knit 10 rows of garter and 7 rows in the pattern. It takes a long time to complete a row but I like the pattern so it's not that big of a pain right now. Plus the yarn is really nice to work with. I would definitely recommend this yarn to other knitters. It's very soft in your hands but has the durability of cotton.

Now I just need to figure out the math to see if I can get it done in time for Jack's arrival . . .

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fun Summer Knitting

Following up on the completion of my Knit Cotton Rug, I decided to knit a few hand towels and dish cloths to match. I have a ton of yarn left over since it was on sale and I bought way more than enough.

I searched Ravelry for awhile until I found a pattern that I liked, the Basket Rib Hand Towel. It's very easy to memorize and is the perfect project for summer knitting. I knit up the 11" x 17" size but it ended up 13" wide with my gauge so I increased the length to 17". I figure that it's better to be a little too big than too small.

I was planning to make only 2 of these but I may have to reconsider after checking out the size of my stash of this yarn.

I want to keep an even number of items so after I finish the 2nd towel I'm going to make 4 wash cloths. Then I can reassess based on my stash left. I know it's boring but at this time of year my mind can't focus on more detailed patterns like the GAAA project. I need light weight yarn and light weight concentration!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Finished Object - Knit Cotton Rug

I found this pattern on the Knitting 2008 Calendar one day and I thought it would be nice to make for my in-laws since they just purchased a winter home and were in the process of fixing it up. It was an interesting experience to use the gigantic US 13 needles. The most challenging part was using 4 strands of the yarn at one time. They seemed to not want to stay even - even after I wound them into one ball with my ball winder. But it didn't take too long to finish the project so I would count it as a minor annoyance.

I did find a hand towel pattern that I like and it looks nice with the rug so my plans are to make an entire bath set as a Christmas present. No clue how many hand towels and wash cloths will be included but I have a ton of this yarn (I have no will power when there's a sale).

I do like the color changes in this yarn and the other colors available are very attractive. Specifically I like the green, pink and peach-ish colors. I hope they continue to make this variation in the future since I love dish cloth knitting in the summer when it's just too hot for wool.

Pattern: Knit Rug
Yarn: Sugar'n Cream Twists in denim
Needles: US size 13 bamboo straight needles
Notions: none
Time frame: 5/28/08 to 6/11/08

Friday, June 6, 2008

International Scarf Exchange 6

I participated in my first ever swap when I joined the 6th International Scarf Exchange. I was nervous about finishing my scarf in time to meet the deadline and it just so happened that I had recently finished a scarf that matched my persons likes very well.

Then I waited. I kept seeing every one's packages on the site and I was so jealous. Absolutely beautiful scarves and amazing goodies. Let me tell you, I'm no longer jealous! I received my package earlier this week - I think I squealed with delight but it was more of a SQUEEE sound. That Crafty Librarian sure did spoil me!

Let's start with the scarf - cables, lots of cool cables knit with super soft dark chocolate brown yarn. She must have done her homework because I absolutely love it! I have a barn coat that I can finally fit into again and it will look great with it. I tried so hard to get good pictures:

This scarf will definitely get worn and my only regret is that I can't wear it now. It's going to be 90 degrees today and humid. Let's get on to the goodies!

I don't even know where to start.

The chocolate is already gone, that lasted a full two days which is impressive in this house. Gracie found the "kitty mints" immediately and just sat there waiting for me to give her one. It was like she knew it was hers and she was trying to be patient. The knit turtle and ladybug toys are somewhere downstairs now. Samson is partial to the ladybug while Gracie keeps sitting on the turtle to "hide" it.

The Botanical lotion set smells just wonderful! I've already started using the hand lotion but I'm saving the rest for my next flight as a treat. They're all under 3 ounces each so I'll be able to pamper myself in the hotel.

I've been dying to try the Debbie Bliss cashmerino for awhile now. Even my husband recognized the name and remembered me drooling over it at my LYS. It's so soft. Everything was so nice but I think my favorite goodie is the ladybug stitch markers. I've never had any nice stitch markers before - I just use the plastic rings - so it will definitely be cool to have these dangling from my next project!

Thanks to my pal so much for such a great scarf and all of the thoughtful goodies! I can't even believe that she was able to do all of this while remodeling their home AND learning that she's PREGNANT for the first time! All those hormones would have made it impossible for me to do anything! Thanks again for making my first swap such a memorable experience!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Catching Up

I love how people say "life gets in the way of knitting". That rarely happens to me! I recently took a great road trip vacation for the first time as a family and I was able to knit so much more than I had planned. I got done 7 rectangles for the Homemade Afghan Project for wounded veterans using just one full skein from my stash. It was great mindless knitting for a great cause and I am glad that I did it. Of course, no pictures because I got them in the mail as soon as we got home.

I don't have the mental strength right now to finish the GAAA square I've been working on so I put it aside to work on a fun project. A Knit Rug made with 4 strands of Lily Sugar'n Cream Twists in Denim. It's for my in-laws summer home and I hope to make matching hand towels and dish cloths for them as well. The yarn is on sale right now at AC Moore so I stocked up by purchasing every ball in the denim color, a whopping $11 for 10 balls. Love it! Here's a shot of my progress as of yesterday:

I this this picture is the best representation of the actual colors:

This one shows the stitch definition with the 4 strands together:

This project has been a welcomed break for me and I think when I finish it I still might not start up on the GAAA again. I've got some cashmere/silk blend yarn that keeps calling my name!