Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fifth Avenue Mile

The weather could not have been more perfect for a road race yesterday! The highs were in the low 70's. This race (Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile) is the shortest race offered by the New York Road Runners Club and it is one of the best. This is the only time runners get to race down Fifth Avenue. The race is only a mile, but there sure is a hill you have to climb and once you reach the top it is all downhill to the finish line. This is the second time I have run this race and I love it because you don't hold back. This is the time to see just how fast you can run a mile. While I can say my finish time was much faster last year, I am not disappointed with my 9:00 minute mile yesterday.

As for the knitting front, I have yet to block CPH. I started to do it yesterday and realized my method of pinning the pieces to towels was not going to work. I need to get a board in which I can push the pins into so the pieces will stay in place. I am disappointed because I really wanted to block, seam and start that hood. Now I am not sure when that is going to happen.

So in the meantime I have been knitting furiously on the Provence Throw. As of yesterday evening I have worked 21.5" of the 55". I just started my fourth skein of yarn and it's starting to get a little weight to it. I'm still planning on lugging it around for my train knitting right now.

Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday. sister's kitten came home on Friday night. She was able to get her from the woods around 10pm. Kitty was out for 11 days and she is very happy to be home where she belongs. Hopefully she learned her lesson. I am so happy for Mary Beth and Kitty.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Taaaa Daaaa!

Lookie lookie! What do we have here? Oh my, I think it is TWO completed CPH sleeves!!! These babies are hot off the needles. I finished them not more than 5 minutes ago. I am so thrilled that I did both sleeves at the same time. There's nothing like knowing you don't have to cast-on for the second sleeve. While I don't mind doing it for socks, because they are alot smaller, sleeves are another story.

So what is happening next with CPH? Well hopefully tomorrow I will find some time to block the body and sleeves. I really want to get that done, stitch everything together and get started on the hoodie part of CPH. The hood will be on my needles this weekend for sure. OoOOoohhhh Shameka (calling out to my darlin' friend)!

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Little Bit Of Everything

I really didn't get much knitting done this weekend. Everytime I sat down to knit on Friday evening, I just felt sick to my tummy. I think it had a lot to do with getting to bed really late and then waking up really late in the day. My system was all out of wack. But, tonight I was able to make some good progress on my CPH sleeves. I have completed 8 increase rounds and only have 2 more to go (that's going to be a total of 16 rows more). After that I will be working on finishing the sleeves up to measure 19" before I attack the sleeve cap.

Today I managed to finally bind-off my first Mustang Sally sock. I used a new technique for this. I completed the sewn bind-off. I am really impressed with how it turned out. I didn't have to worry about it being too tight or too loose. It was just right. I must remember this technique for future socks. I will cast-on for the second sock by the weekend. I'm currently working on another Christmas gift and I want to make some good headway on it before I pick-up Mustang Sally #2. Plus I want to give CPH some TLC this week. As soon as I finished the sleeves I will block everything and seam. I can't wait to start the hood!

So as I said earlier, I didn't get much knitting done this weekend. On Saturday Lisa came over and we did some scrapbooking. Or should I say, Lisa scrapbooked and I printed pictures. I printed enough pictures to create 5 more spreads. I did manage to finish "At The Exhibit" spread on Saturday though. I had everything done last weekend except for the journaling. Now my scrapping count will increase to 2 more completed. This spread is from my visit to the Skyscraper Musuem in Battery Park. It's amazing that there are actually musuems we can go to in the city for $5. In addition to the Burj Dubai building exhibit, they also had a section dedicated to the Twin Towers. It was awesome to see photos from when they were being built.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My Fav's

All this talk the past couple of days about seaming and finishing of our wonderful knitting projects made me think about my favorite knitting techniques books. I thought I would share with you all my 2 all time favorite/reliable books that I have fallen back on many times during my 5 years of knitting. They are "The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques" by Nancie M. Wiseman and "Vogue Knitting Quick Reference".

The Knitter's book is one my sister Mary Beth turned me onto a few years ago. This is a fabulous book. It gives you detailed step by step instructions and awesome color pictures. It also gives you the "Benefits" and "Drawbacks" to doing the techniques listed in the book.

When I first started knitting in 2003 I sat my butt in Barnes and Noble one day looking through all the knitting books. I was determined to go home with a book that was going to help me in my time of need and despair. I loved the Vogue Knitting Reference book (ya know the big one) but I wanted something smaller that would be portable. That is why I love the Quick Reference guide. Just like the Knitter's book, this one has great colorful pictures and detailed instructions.

I have a third book that I won't even mention it's name here. I bought it because it had some things I needed more detail on at one time. The thing that I truly dislike about this unmentionable book is that the pictures are all in black and white and handrawn. I think I have only referred back to it 1 or 2 times in 5 years.

So anyone who asks me for some reccomendations on reference books to buy, I would quickly tell them these two! What are some of ya'lls favorites?

This is a picture of the Knitter's book TOC. Look at all the great topics!

And here is the Vogue Knitting TOC. What is great about this, is that each Chapter is broken down even more once you turn to it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

CPH Got Sleeves?

As you all can see I completed the body piece of CPH last night! It did not take me long to finish up the two inches I had left to do on the Left Front. I am so excited that the biggest part of this sweater is done. It certainly did not take as long as I had thought it would before I started knitting it. My advice to anyone who has never done a sweater, this is a fantastic "First Timer Sweater". Even with the basic basic basic cabling. I am like Shameka, I have a sneaky feeling that I will defintely be knitting myself another one of these babies! I'm just not going to buy the yarn for it until I have finished this one. (grin)

After putting in some thought to how I wanted to handle knitting the sleeves, my final decision was to not do them in the round. Why? Well, I really wanted to do both at the same time and I did not have more than one set of needles for this project. Some will say that I could have done both with the Magic Loop method. I respond by saying sure but 1) I have never done the Magic Loop and 2) Again I don't have the appropriate length/needles to have done the Magic Loop. So I settled for the ol' fashioned knitting them straight and I am ok with that. I think I can handle the little bit of seaming for them. Maybe for my second hoodie I will do them in the round.

So once that all important decision was made I prepared myself to start the sleeves. I didn't want the two skeins of yarn to get all tangled up together so I pulled out my reliable zip lock baggies. I just cut one of the corners off and fed the yarn through it. This is something I have done before and it really works wonderfully. I also took this one step further, ya know because I am all organized and anal about things, I pulled out my little label maker and labeled my baggies as "Sleeve #1" and "Sleeve #2". I did this because I didn't want to get confused or anything, just in case I had to stop in the middle of working on the same row for the sleeves. So this was really a precautionary measure for me.

I have finished the ribbing on the sleeves and just completed the first row of the pattern. I know these sleeves will fly. I should hopefully have them done by Friday. BTW... Shameka, do you noticed anything in the picture? That's right, when I had to place my marker I thought of your comment to me the other day when we were knitting and I used some of the beautiful stitch markers you made me. Thanks again for them!

I also have another FO! This morning I finished the second baby bootie. I haven't taken a picture of the completed ensemble yet. I will post it soon. Maybe with the new baby modeling them? We'll see. I'm off to bond with my CPH sleeves.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Provence Throw & A Child's Growth Spurt

During my train ride home today I had an interesting thought occur to me. I was knitting away on my Provence Throw. I have been using this as my "Lunch Time Knitting" and "Train Ride Home Knitting" project lately. At lunch if I am lucky I get 2 to 2.5 rows done (we only get a 30 minute lunch break). On the train home, I manage to get at least 4 complete rows done by the time I arrive at my stop. That's pretty good to me considering I work across 204 stitches. While I was packing my knitting up in preparation to de-board the train, I took note that my throw looked noticeably longer. Then for some reason my next thought was, "Hmmm when I looked at it earlier today at lunch it didn't look too much longer than what it had been. Then tonight it had noticeable additional length just by doing 4 more rows. It's like a child's growth spurt! They go to bed one height and then in the morning you just happened to notice they grew." I know I am strange in this thinking, but these are the kinds of things that run through my head.

So as you can see, I have now completed 13 inches. I only have 42 more inches to go until it's done. I feel I am definitely making progress with this even with only knitting about 8 rows a day. If I keep this pace everyday, I do not see why I won't have this done by December!

As for my CPH, I did manage to complete the 6 inches of the Left Front. For some reason, about a half hour into my knitting I got extremely tired. Hmmm I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that I get up at 4:30am to be at work for 6am to work a 10 hour day???? Nawwww, it couldn't be. So I stopped on CPH and crawled into bed to read a couple more chapters in the book "Good Guy" by Dean Koontz before I went off to snooze land. Tonight I will finish up the Left Front for sure. Will post an updated pick on that hopefully tomorrow.

BTW, I thank those of you who have shown such great interest in the knitting of CPH. I didn't realize it and since you want to really see the inch-by-inch blow of it I will continue to post updates no matter how minute they are. As to answer Sophanne's question in her comment yesterday, I haven't decided if I am going to do the sleeves in the round or not. I will look at the pattern instructions tonight and make a decision. I would really love to do it because I am one individual who really dislikes seaming. I do it when I have to, but if I can work a way around it, I am down for it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Moving Right Along

I have made some great progress on my CPH. After running around on Friday and finishing up some chores, I spent the evening curled up on my couch knitting CPH. I managed to finish all of the Back on Friday night and completed the Front on late Saturday morning. It really looks like a sweater to me now and I am so excited. I told my sister the other day that this is the first sweater I have made that I can actually see me wearing!! Tonight I am going to spend time on the Left Front. I should be able to knock it out in no time since I worked out the kinks and row math already for the other sections. After that I've decided I am going to knit both sleeves at the same time. I've never done that so any words of wisdom to those who have would be welcome.

So what else did I do? Oh yes, I casted-on for the second baby bootie sock on Sunday during my train ride to Long Island. Between an hour knitting on the train yesterday and about an hour this morning at work, I managed to complete all the way through to the heel. After I work on CPH, I am hoping to finish this little baby up. BTW, Mary Beth, I can understand your pain in regards to knitting your Traveler's Socks. These booties are on size zero needles and I always feel like one is going to snap in half when I k3tog or p3tog on this project. However, I figure there isn't much to these socks that I could deal with the dpns. I surprise myself sometimes!

Here is the completed, or almost completed, Mustang Sally socks. I actually finished them on Thursday at work but I couldn't take them off the needles. First, I had forgotten to bring my little thing of notions so I had no needles to do the sewn bind-off. Second, if I had had my notions I still wouldn't have been able to bind-off because about 17 rows down the back of the sock I noticed I purled a stitch instead of knitting it. And it's not like I carry crochet hooks with me all the time because since I am a knitter, I don't expect to be needing a crochet hook. But alas, on Thursday I did. There was no way I was going to frog back 17 rows. Nope. Wasn't going to happen. I wanted to drop the one stitch down 17 rows and crochet the stitch back up to the top. So, I managed to fix the sock on Saturday but I still haven't done the bind-off. Simply because I have never done a sewn bind-off and am not too sure about it. It reminds me of seaming and I suck, ooops I mean stink, at that. If I'm not too tired I'll get to it tonight, if I am then it can wait another day.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. On Saturday my girlfriend Lisa came over and I taught her how to knit. We covered the long-tail cast-on, knit stitch and purl stitch. This is actually the second time I've sat down with her. Back in the spring she started knitting and practiced but then stopped. Now she has seen all the great stuff we create and it perked her interest back up. I sent her home with a homework assignment and I can't wait to see how she does with it. I had pics to post but unfortunately I accidentally left my camera in Long Island, so sorry Lisa, I will get them to you as soon as I can.

Friday, September 14, 2007

It's Official

Some of you know that I graduated from college back on May 31, 2007. I put in nine long years of part-time schooling while working a full-time job. I took anywhere from 2-3 classes a semester and I never thought I would ever graduate. So when graduation day came it felt very surreal to me. While sitting in the ceremony, listening to our Dean state all that we may have been through to get to this day, I became somewhat emotional. Something I never thought I would feel. At that moment I realized that all my hard work paid off and I finally was a college graduate! What makes this degree even more special to me is that I am the first of six children in my family to have a Bachelors Degree. I know I made my family, especially my parents, proud. I received my BA in Business Communication with a Specialization in Graphic Communication (fancy way of saying Graphic Design).

I finally received my letter from school a few weeks ago letting me know I could stop by the Registrar's office and pick up my diploma and stop by the ID center and get my Alumni ID. It feels a little weird to actually be an alumni to something other than my high school. So I couldn't resist snapping a pick of my diploma. I am so proud of it. I can't wait to frame it and hang it on my wall.

Now I just need to start working in my field. I plan on doing some freelance work to build my portfolio up before I try getting a job within a design firm. I eventually want to work just for myself one day.

I would also like to send a big huge thank you to a special friend of mine. This week I received a very special package in the mail. When I opened it I couldn't believe my eyes. My friend had bought me Adobe Creative Suite 3 Premium as a graduation gift. A note was attached congratulating me and telling me that I now could start earning money with my new degree. I was so very touched and this person is totally amazing to have done this for me. He is someone who has always supported me and continues to believe in me and my ability. I told him that I was going to take him out to dinner with money from my first paying freelance job.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

CPH - More Than A Rectangle

Ok all you CPH "Wanna-See-Inch-By-Inch-Knit" fans! Here you are. My Hoodie no longer looks like a cabled rectangle. Today I started working on the Right Front independently from the rest of the piece. After knitting up to the 14" I was ready to do the bind-off for the armholes.

At first I was perplexed on how this was going to be done. I had read ahead in the directions (I always like to know what I have coming up) and noticed that the armhole shaping started on the "Wrong Side" for the Right Front and on the "Right Side" for the Left Front and Back. After coming across this, I immediately posted to the CPH KAL asking anyone who had done this in one piece how they handled it. I received a couple of good responses and I decided to mix what I had been guided to do and what I thought would be easiest (at least for me).

So what did I do? Well after I completed a "Wrong Side" Row of getting me to the 14", I separated all the stitches among three cables. Fortunately I was very smart when I casted on for this sweater and had use blue stitch markers to indicate the "seams" of each piece. By doing this I didn't have to count out all the stitches to make sure I got them on the right needle. Since I decided to start with the Right Front, I needed to knit one more "Right Side" row to get to the"Wrong Side". However, once I got to the last stitch of the "Right Side" I turned my worked to start the binding off for the armhole. Right now I have worked up to the 6" on the Right Front. I am now going to stop there and worked on the Back section because the Right Front and Left Front have to be as long as the back piece when all is said and done. The Back is done a little differently, so to make sure all pieces match up in the end, I am going to do the Back now. Once I am done with the Back I will finish the Right Front and the work the Left Front.

To start the Back I am going to add another skein of yarn and immediately work as the pattern instructs. Since I had ended my 14" working a Wrong Side row, I am ready to do the armhole bind-off. Now some of you may be thinking that the Right Front will have one more row than the Back and Left. You are correct but I figured that it wouldn't be noticable and it has to be done this way to keep the cabling rows intact. Besides, who is really gonna get down with my sweater and count the rows just to tell me I have one more row around the armholes on the Right Front when compared to the rest of the sweater?

I'm sure this all sounds complex and confusing, but in reality once you have the basic idea of what needs to happen it becomes clearer. All I have to say to those of you who want to do this sweater in one piece is "Do Not Be Afraid". It's easier than it appears!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Can You Say...

DISASTER!?! As you can see from the picture below, I have a bit of an issue. Isn't it a beauty? I think so. This past weekend I borrowed Shameka's yarn winder because I wanted to reball all the Provence yarn that I had. About half of the skeins I had bought for a previous afghan project that I took apart last summer needed to be rewound into center pulling balls. Now, I had four skeins that were still in the original state and thought since I had the winder I would go ahead and ball them too. Since I didn't have the swift, I improvised. I've done it before and had no problem. My method is simple. Place the skein of yarn around my neck and unravel some and wind, unravel some and wind. It really does work. However, on this skein I had it hanging off my arm as I wound it and before I knew it, there was a knot. As I was trying to work the knot out, the other end of the skein got all twisted in with it. Next thing I knew, I had two separate balls of knots on the floor. You can see that I attempted to wind the ball from the other end so I could maybe untangle it. Such a BIG mess! I'm just so proud of myself.

After reading responses from my post yesterday, I decided that some of you do want to see my blow by blow, inch by inch progress on my projects. So here is the first one. My Provence Throw. I just started the second skein of yarn last night. Even though I am knitting across 204 stitches it is actually knitting up pretty quickly. I am up to 6.5" right now. I'll be knitting to 55" in length. I'm really happy with it.
...and here is my Central Park Hoodie. As you can see, it doesn't look too different from my last post. When I took it to bed last night to work on it, I only got a couple of rows done before I had to put it to the side. My apartment has no air condition and last night my apartment was pretty humid. Even with my fan blowing on me, it was hard knitting on this. Tonight I am planning on devoting more time to it. The good news is that I measured it last night and I am up to 11.5". That means I am 3.5" away from starting the armholes. This is where I'll be knitting each part separately because of the armhole shaping. There isn't a way around it. That's ok though because knitting the body as one piece saves me from having to seam the sides and that it fantastic to me.

Finally, here is the link to the "Better-Than-Booties Baby Socks" pattern. Enjoy!!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's Bootie Time

So it's been a few days since I have posted. I really haven't had too much knitting content to add since Thursday. I mean, do you really want to see every inch I add to my CPH or Provence Throw? I didn't think so.

However, as of today, I have made some knitting progress. First, I completed Christmas Gift #2 and I am 50% done with Gift #3! I actually feel like I am finally making headway on my Christmas knitting. I'll be casting on in the next couple of days for Gift #4. BTW, I plan on posting pictures of all the gifts after Christmas. It will be a suprise for everyone. It wouldn't be fair of me to talk about these gifts without showing them to you in the end. Right?

Remember that Baby Hat and Booties I am knitting for my girlfriend who was expecting? Ya know, how I finished the hat but was on a quest for a new bootie pattern? Well, I took Kim's suggestion and searched the world of patterns on Ravelry. I struck gold! When I found Anne Bud's "Better-Than-Booties Baby Socks" patterns, I knew instantly this was what I was going to use. Ann wrote five bootie sock patterns for the Fall 2000 Interweave Knits. Three of these patterns were compiled into a PDF which I was able to download. I can't remember from where, but I can go find out if anyone wants to know.

As of August 30th my girlfriend had her baby. Now I need to go visit them real soon and I can't go empty handed so on Sunday I kicked my butt in gear and casted-on for the "Ruffle Ribs" baby sock. I finished it this morning at work. Even though I'm not too crazy about the yarn I used for this, I think it turned out cute. I had fun knitting it and the construction of this sock was pretty knifty. I'll be knitting up its mate starting tonight! Can't you just imagine how adorable this will look on a little baby foot?

On Friday night Shameka came over to my place after work for a little knitting. Even though she got to my place late (darn traffic), we had fun knitting until midnight! I devoted the whole evening to working on Christmas Gift #2 and Shameka split her time between working on her CPH and making me some stich markers! Aren't they pretty?

Now that I made some progress on my other projects, CPH will be picked back up again this week. I have about 5 or so inches before I start the armhole shaping. I hope to have some updated photos of it by the end of this week.

Oh and before I forget again, I want to give a great big huge thank you to Kim for tagging me as a "Rockin' Girl Blogger"!!! You are so sweet! I will wear the badge proudly!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Mustang Sally Has A Heel Up On CPH

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend! It's a pity we can't have holiday weekends all the time. Can you imagine just how much knitting we would all get done???

So how did I spend my day off on Monday? Well, I spent the day with my boyfriend and he decided he had wanted to really clean out his house. Ya know, organize alot of things. I was rearing and ready to help him and when I asked what I could do he told me, "Nothing. Why don't you sit and knit?"! Wow. So, I positioned myself on his couch armed with my knitting projects. I sat and enjoyed knitting while feeling the wonderful cross breezes coming through the windows in his house and, of course, watching him clean. He really is a great boyfriend!

Saturday I finished up the 4" of ribbing on CPH. While I was on the Long Island Railroad heading out to my boyfriends, I managed to complete about 20 rows of the pattern. By the end of Monday I completed another 12 rows of the cabling (I also worked on my Provence Throw). The picture below shows what CPH looked like after working on it last night. I need to work the pattern until the piece measures 14" before starting the armholes. Right now I am at almost 11.5". I am absolutely enjoying knitting CPH. This is such a quick knit!

Mustang Sally sat to this side all weekend. Last night I worked about 5 rounds of the foot. I didn't progress any further after that because I needed to figure out the math for the gussett/heel. I decided I wanted to do the one I did for Falling In Love socks but the stitch count was differnt so that is why I had to do some math. During some downtime I had at work today I figured it all out. Instead of knitting on CPH tonight, I wanted to get through the gussett/heel on Mustang Sally. So thus, Mustang Sally has a heel up on my CPH!

I must say that I am really liking how the 2x2 rib pattern is coming out on this sock. I am very happy that I chose this simple pattern to showcase this beautiful yarn. Isn't it funny though how this pattern is making my sock look really long in the foot? Believe it or not, it's not any longer than any of my other socks. It fits perfectly! Thank goodness because I was a little worried. Whew!

Now I am ready to complete the cuff which will all be in the rib pattern. I'm aiming to have sock #1 completed by sometime Friday!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Central Park Hoodie Underway

Today it all began! After knitting my gauge for the Central Park Hoodie yesterday, I decided to start it today. At first I didn't think I would be able to start the hoodie until I freed up what was on my size 6 needles. These needles were being occupied by a Christmas present that I am knitting. After taking Shameka's suggestion into consideration, I decided to take the needles from this project so I could do the ribbing on the sweater and then put the 6's back on this project. After the ribbing I change up to a size 8 needle. This is one great thing about working with Boyle interchangeable needles.

Now, did I think I would complete the four inches ribbing today? Nope. But guess what? I did! Here it is. As stated in my last post, I am knitting the front pieces and the back piece together all in one piece. I thought this was going to be confusing but after knitting the first couple of rows I found it to be easy. When casting on, you cast on 1 less stitch from the right front, 2 less stitches from the back and 1 less stitch from the left front. I have just started the cable pattern (not in photo).

Since I had finished my Monkey socks this week, I was anxious to begin another pair. After me not being such a sock knitter, I have gone to being one that feels weird when I don't have a pair going! I decided to finally knit with my Blue Moon Fiber Arts "Socks that Rock" yarn, colorway Mustang Sally. I am absolutely loving the color in this yarn. It is so rich and beautiful. I wanted to do a simple pattern to show off this yarn. I decided on doing a toe-up sock with a simple 2x2 Rib pattern. I am currently up to the point where I need to do my increases for the gussett/heel. Before I do this I snapped Mustang Sally's photo today chillin' in the flowers in my front yard.

On a final note tonight, I completed one of my Christamas gifts! So that leaves me with two in progress right now. Of course, this isn't everything that I am knitting for the holidays. Hmmmm, gotta look at my list and see what is next!