Sunday, March 30, 2008

Happy Blogiversary to Me! (and 2 FOs)

To read my first ever blog post of 3 years here. It's pretty boring...not much to it...and no pictures. But, to me, it was utterly exciting at the time. I'd just heard of the things called "blogs" and, after years and years of writing in a diary/journal, thought this was a wonderful idea. I'd just gotten one of those blue iMac iBooks (after saving money from a year or two of substitute teaching) and thought I was finally catching up on the real world...ha!...I was pretty much computer illiterate before that. (Though I did take Pascal, Fortran and C in high school/college - and, for those of you who ARE technical, please don't laugh at me.)

I wrote pretty often then...since Ben was only a little one then and would pretty much just sit with me and play while I blogged....and I never posted pictures. Not because I didn't have any, but more, well, because I didn't know how to add them. Sad, huh?

But, now I know a lot about HTML (or more than the average person off the street) and blogging and can do some things here and there. I don't blog as often, but I think my content is better, knitting is more complicated and pictures are least I think so. I can't believe it's been 3 years and I've really loved hearing from old friends and new...finding out who agrees with me on certain issues or who has the same taste as I do in knitting. It's an amazing cyberworld!

Well, enough blabbering and wanna see those FOs, don't you???

FO NUMBER 1: The Dragon Scarf

Pattern: Morehouse Merino's Critter Kit- Dragon Scarf
Yarn: 2 skeins of Morehouse Merino 3 Strand (worsted)
Needles: Size 7 Clover Bamboo straights and one dpn
Time: 7 days
Fun: A (super fun, quick, interesting on every level and the final scarf is ultra warm, fuzzy and soft)

Since that overall pic is kinda lame, here are a couple more:

The scarf BEFORE adding any details-

The dragon head up close -

Now, if you notice, I did away with using the white laceweight for the nostrils that the pattern called for and used my own crazy handspun. I spun up Sereknity's "Smouldering Embers" batt (handcarded and dyed by the lovely Heather) and added (after inspiration from Lexie Boger's "Intertwined" book) gold thread and gauzy red scarf pieces while spinning. Perfect for the nostril "flames".

Upclose of the handspun-

Also, I didn't use the white, felt circles for the eyes and, instead, substituted plastic yellow buttons instead.

Tim was thrilled with his new scarf and has worn it a bunch of times already. It's soo warm and velvety...I can't describe to you how wonderful this yarn feels. You'll just have to order some yourself, I guess....he he.

The ONE thing that didn't work out the way I wanted it to was the length/gauge. The scarf was supposed to be 62" long when finished, but mine was only 48". I went over and over the directions (they are very detailed and listed with numbers-which I crossed off when finished) and I didn't miss anything. But, there is no row gauge, only stitch gauge. My stitch gauge was right on for the whole thing (I checked a few times), but I think my row gauge must have been off for it to come out so much shorter. I DID have a good amount of the second skein leftover, so it should have gone into the scarf. I wish the pattern had listed how many "spines" the dragon should have, because then I could've checked on that. I had 27 in the end.

Besides that, I would knit another one of these scarves in a second....probably in a color for me (pink, perhaps???). REALLY great knitting!

FO Number 2: The Phiaro Scarf

Modeled here by the beautiful Jackie

Pattern: The Phiaro Scarf in KnitScene Winter 07/Spring 08 by Katie Himmelberg
Yarn: 3 skeins of SWTC Oasis in Bistro colorway
Needles: Addi Turbo size 7, 24" circular
Time: From mid December to March 28 (though not knitting regularly)
Fun: C+ (Though the scarf is very stylish, soft and drapes beautifully, I had a couple problems with it...see below)

*I had a hard time keeping my interest in this project because of the endless stockinette in the round for 22". Blogless Amanda was an angel and took it for a little bit and knit one whole skein for me into the scarf. It was kind of boring, but it's something you could easily do while watching tv or at the movies.

*I had gauge problems as well. I was only able to get 5.5 or 5.75 stitches per inch using the needle recommended, not the 5 stitches/inch that it called for. And, again, I'm a loose knitter. This yarn is not very thick and I'm not sure how the designer got this gauge. So, what I had to do (in order to only use the 3 skeins of Oasis it calls for) was to knit only until it measures 21" instead of 22". I would definitely use a bamboo or wood needle next time and also use a bigger needle, though I think it would really make the stitches look sloppy.

*The last row of alternately dropping the stitches and binding them off wasn't clear in the pattern and I didn't end up using the crochet hook, as indicated, but my needles instead. The constant cutting and reattatching of the yarn became tedious as well. After dropping all the stitches, I could NOT for the life of me get the "rows" to look neat and even. They were just all slippy and sloppy and here and there. No matter how much I pulled, tugged and ironed them. That really made the final scarf lose some of its beauty. Later, I learned that you can twist the first and last stitch of each end and that eliminates the problem. Wish I'd known that sooner, though.

*Last thing....braiding the what-seemed-like-thousands of loose strands at each end of the scarf at the end was like hell. I tried to position the scarf in a way so that I wouldn't have to bend over like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, but it was almost impossible. The scarf is soo slippery. So, I spent hours...I think 3 straight...just endlessly braiding those ends. The final look is wonderful, though, but wish I'd had a "knitting slave" to do such things for me. (anyone up for the job??)

Here's a close up of those evil braids-

Well, I'm pooped out from all this writing and I'm sure you've either skimmed through all this babble or will come back to it later (maybe?) Let me know what you think of all my productivity.

Happy Knitting! ; )


Sonya said...

Happy Blogiversary to you!!
The finfished product is very beautiful.
I hate it when they are a pain on the ass to knit.
Knitting slave...hmm....I could use one myself.

Yes, I am on Ravlery at 2:57 AM, dogs woke me up.

KSee said...

Happy Blogiversary!
Thank you for all the notes about kntting up the Phiaro Scarf. I have that booked marked but now I will think long and hard. I don't wear shawls so it would be a gift, if made. It is beautiful and glad you persevered.

yarnophiliac said...

happy blogiversary! i love that dragon! (Jacob was rather impressed, too).

Jackie said...

I love the fire breathing dragon! Need to knit one.

The scarf/shawl came out gorgeous.

Kathleen C. said...

I made a Phiaro too and discovered some of the same things you did.
I too hated the way the non-twisted stitches let everything get loose and sloppy... so I ended up, *before* dropping the wide columns, dropping down each edge stitch first and picking it back up twisted, and *then* dropping the dropped columns.
Talk about your interminable!
I decided not to cut the yarn in the binding off. I just bound off the NOT-to-be-dropped stitches knotting each edge stitch, and knit the to-be-dropped stitches. So when I dropped, I dropped from the top down.
Also, I had a limited amount of yarn (I didn't use the called for one) and so I made a scarf not a shawl.
Curious... I notice that my scarf is rolling, as stockinette will... does the wider width prevent that?

cayli said...

Happy Blogiversary!

Very cool dragon scarf! The flames are really great looking with the handspun.

The other Phiaro shawl is cool too but I can see the boredom factor being high.

Gigi said...

Happy 3 Year Blogiversary! LOVE the dragon scarf. So, cool. Amazing how silly we can get with our stitching - so much fun (carefully not mentioning the other FO - which is also beautiful)!

Heide said...

Happy blogiversary. I love both of your knits, but the dragon scarf is da bomb!

Amy Boogie said...

Happy Blogiversary!

Fantastic FO's as always.

Anonymous said...

Happy Blogiversary! I'd be afraid to go back and look at my first post - scary.

Love the dragon scarf; the mother of a coworker made one for Betty towards the end of her life and she loved it.

Lora said...

Happy Blogiversary!!
Great FO's Gina.
I like the dragon scarf, and MAN Jackie's workin' that Phiaro Scarf!!!! Looks good!