Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

First, some lovely flowers from a friend:
From MoreMadHowls
When I thanked him for the flowers and other kindnesses of the day, he said it was all part of the package. What a sweetie!

I opened my VD swap package from Gypsygirl today - and what a lovely bunch of goodies!

From MoreMadHowls
Lots of chocolates - including chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, which will pass as protein on my diet list. Yummy valentine-red yarns, heart-shaped ice cube tray (which, weirdly enough, is perfect for my overcrowded freezer), a gorgeous candle (in case I can't afford to pay the light bills anymore, heh), chocolate liqueur, silly putty, and that wonderful book on Orenberg shawls that I've been eyeing but didn't have! I've been lusting after it for quite some time, so I'm really, really happy to have gotten that one in my package! Gypsygirl has been a great swap partner over the last year - I consider myself very lucky to have gotten paired up with her on Rav last Valentine's Day! We're close enough in age and life experiences where we can grouse about things, and sympathize, and warn each other about which yarn folks to stay away from.

Anyway, here are more photos of what I got from GG:

I want to thank Gypsygirl for the great prezzies, and another fun Valentine's Day!
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Friday, February 13, 2009

March 7 is for Bikers

I'm knitting a version of March is for Bikers from Hank's Yarn. I saw the picture, and really liked the design; it's great for bicyclists (which I am when there's less ice on the ground than we currently seem to be having), or anytime you want a collar rather than a scarf.

Nice looking pattern, I thought. Looks nice with the hand-painted yarn. So I ordered a bit of dk from Yarni Girl on Etsy - Soothing Blue Violet:

I thought this would be a nice yarn - and it is! I would certainly purchase from her again. And in spite of the way the yarn looks in a ball, even my friend-who-hates-multicolor-things thought the effect, once knitted, was nice and didn't offend his monochromatic sensibilities very much.

So, excited to use this pretty new yarn on something that would be much quicker than a scarf on #4 needles, I cast on. I knitted 4 rows of moss st. Then I started the pattern rows. For any of this to make sense, fellow knitters, you must understand that there is k2-p2 ribbing at the center back, so when I talk about halves of the collar I'm referring to the sections on either side of the ribbing. Row 1 was not the same on both sides, and I'm not referring to the buttonhole; so when you get to the row where you cable the slip sts for that crossed st look, one side had doubles and the other singles on the slipped sts. And then, when I got to Row 7, I couldn't get the stitch numbers to add up to what they should have been.

My first thought was, I screwed up. So I frogged, cast on and tried again; stuck on Row 7, with some weirdness still happening in Rows 1-3, I went to the projects on Ravelry and read up on what other folks had done. I wasn't the only one to encounter this difficulty, apparently. But I wanted to make this pattern out of this yarn. I was not to be deterred.

First step (for me - I'm studip) was to chart out the pattern as written - done. Then I compared the chart with the two halves - one which seemed to be working the way intended, and one which definitely was doing something weird. I modified the chart to match the effect I desired, and corrected the strange first row to make it consistent all the way across - done. However, the chart was two pages of graph paper - so I translated it back into written instructions for brevity.

I frogged the second try, and cast on using my instructions. I found a section where they didn't seem to work, so I made changes as I knitted and wrote up corrections. The pattern calls for three repeats of the st pattern, so I'll get to test knit my instructions three more times (my memory isn't good enough to remember 10 rows of 82 sts, so I will indeed be following my own instructions).

I'm sure it sounds as if I'm attacking the designer - and I'm not. It's a free pattern, after all. I suspect that some of the difficulties may simply have been cut and paste errors. Since it's a collar and not a sweater, the problems were easy enough for me to work out; if I'd trusted myself more, I would have done this after the first attempt, when things didn't make sense. I am posting this on the chance that some other knitter is going nuts trying to figure out what they are doing wrong.

Anyway, I am liking the way it's coming out for me - crappy photos below tell the story.

If anyone else working on this pattern is having difficulties and likes the way my version turns out, let me know and I'll send you my corrected rows once I've finished knitting the design. I really like the design, and plan to knit up a couple more. Hopefully I can get some photos that are not so overexposed (it's a digital camera, how does it do this?).