Monday, October 10, 2011

A thing that holds things... and other things!

My apologies for not having posted for a long time!  I've been going to class and working 2 jobs, which makes school/work take up about 55hrs/wk.  However, I have had time to knit, just not to blog about it!

I entered my first HPKCHC last month.  I submitted a bag that I made.  It was originally supposed to be the Grrlfriend Market Bag but I fail at reading patterns.  The bottom is worked flat in the round, so when I got to 100sts, I started on the body.  I *k2tog yo* around and around and around until it got as tall as it is in the picture.  Then I did a few rounds of garter, bound off 40 sts, left 10 live, bound off the next 40 and knit the remaining 10 to make the strap.  Not really the Grrlfriend Market Bag (or any other kind of bag that had a pattern that I found!) but it is certainly a bag.  It's about lunchbag sized, but I more just made it as an "experiment in knitting."

You can kind of see in the photo a hank of yarn sticking out.  I got some Malabrigo Sock from Sandra Singh because it was on sale.  It's lovely and smooshy!  It was my first time ordering yarn online from anywhere.  I ordered two skeins of Malabrigo in Eggplant for me and a friend wanted a skein of yarn too (I can't remember what it was called because I already gave it to him).  The shipping was great ($6, and there were 3 skeins of yarn, the total cost came to around $53 including shipping and everything).  I really wish I could buy locally but to get Malabrigo here it's close to $25 a skein, but I paid ~$15 each from Sandra Singh.  The order shipped really fast too.  I don't remember exactly how long it took but it was definitely less than two weeks.  I'm definitely going to buy from there again, but hopefully I can resist building my stash for a bit (being a poor student and all... you'd think my two jobs would give me enough money for yarn but noooo...)

Anyway, I've started on a new project, Japanese Wave Mittens.  I'm using the leftover Cascade 220 I have from my friend's Fornicating Kangaroo Hat.  I'm almost done up to the thumb on the first hand, so hopefully I can figure out what's going on with the thumb... I also bought the pattern for Trillian that I'm going to be using my Light Brown Hare for.  I'm so excited to cast on new projects but I feel that if I cast on too many I'll never finish.  Kind of like Aidez... *hangs head in shame*

Anyway... why don't you tell me about a WIP you have on the go right now?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

SHAWL we dansu?

Victory!  I finished my shawl for my mom!  I actually finished it a while ago but I forgot to post.  I'm very happy with how it turned out, given that it was my first shawl and first lace.  It was my first time blocking but I have my blocking: before/(during)/after pics so you can see how much better it looks!

I have decided I will participate in the Harry Potter Crochet/Knit House Cup this fall.  I hope I have time for it!  I just applied for a job at a nearby coffee shop and they want me to work mornings >.<  But if I use my time more effectively it should work.  But hopefully that doesn't mean sacrificing any knitting for doing other things!

I quasi-have my projects planned out.  My queue holds a variety of patterns that I intend to make with the yarn I have.  I'm still in the "one project at a time" stage in my knitting.  I need to finish my Aidez before September though or else the HPKCHC will be impossible!  I'm about 2/3 done the second sleeve so hopefully I can finish the sleeve today and start on the yoke/upper part.

 I bought some Berroco DK yarn to match with the green DK I used for this shawl.  I hope to make a stripey shawl or something, hopefully I can work it into the HPKCHC!  Actually I hope I can get all of my projects to fit in with the HPKCHC.
I also got some more !!FREE YARN!! from someone in the city who knits.  She had a bunch of extra so she was destashing, so I picked up a sweater quantity of this really nice cotton sand-coloured thick/thin type yarn.  I'm going to make a swingy/drapey open-front cardigan.  However, I don't want to start it right away because it will definitely be a summer garment and I'm afraid it will be out of style by the time next summer rolls along!
Anyway, as usual thank you for reading and I hope I can get in the habit of posting a little more regularly!  Adios amigos!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

You SHAWL not pass!

Clever title... really has nothing to do with the post.  Well, "shawl" does but that's about it.  I'm coming along thank you very much Mr Gandalf.

Firstly, I hope all y'all are enjoying the Math for Knitters.  Please share with friends etc. who might be having issues with knitting/fibre arts that my math might help with ;)

I am working on a shawl for my mom for her birthday.  It's the Trinity Shawlette.  I think it will be very nice when it's done!  I'm doing version 1 because I was thinking of version 3 but then I forgot.  I think I have one or two repeats to go.  It will probably be too big if I use all my yarn (~600yds of Misti Alpaca Pima Silk DK in "Eucalyptus Leaf").  I'm going to go to 8 repeats I think and then start the border.

It's my first shawl and my first lace, but it's coming along quite well and I think it will be nice once it's all blocked. 

I also downloaded the "Instagram" app for my phone.  It makes everything I do look hipster and arty!  So this is a closeup of the stitch pattern.  Actually the app did a good job of showing the stitches!  Maybe I'll Instagram everything from now on ... not.  (The app borderline bugs me... it can be used for comedic effect but I really think it doesn't take too much skill to use it.  Real film... now that's skill.)

Well, I've gotta go clean the apartment for guests tonight... Chili cookoff, what fun!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Math for Knitters: Part 2 (the weight)

I have seen this question come up time and time again, "what is the 'standard' mass to yardage for certain yarn weights?"  (Reminder: mass is how many oz or g something has, weight is the kind of yarn (fingering, worsted, etc.)

Section 1: Mass
To find out the information here, I picked the top 10 most popular yarn of each weight on Ravelry.  I found out how many meters were in a skein and how many grams each skein weighed.  I then found out the meters per gram (m/g) of each, and then averaged them (added all 10 together then divided by 10).  I also found the grams per meter (g/m) of each as well.  This is what I found:
weightmeters per gramgrams per meter

I left out some of the less common ones, because you can guess what weight it is if it's in between. Of course, your best bet would be to check what kind of yarn it is to begin with. If you have mystery yarn, you can use Math for Knitters: Part 1 (The Math) to find out more information about the yarn you have.
Not all yarns will fit exactly in with these numbers.  These are guidelines only, and can vary greatly depending on the material used.  If I have a pound of feathers and a pound of bricks, one will take up more space.   If I spun the brick and the feathers into yarn that knits up at the same gauge (so I had 1 lb of brick worsted and 1 lb of feather worsted), their meterages would both be very different.  Your best bet is always to go with the gauge information as prescribed by the CYC (below).

Section 2: Gauge
If you want gauge information, I suggest checking out Craft Yarn Council Standard Yarn Weight System. I won't republish their information, because it's super easy to find (following the link I just gave you).

I hope you find this post useful! Again, any feedback you have, please let me know!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fornicating Kangaroos!

I finished it!  I only have a crappy picture because I didn't have a chance to take a good picture of it before I gave it to my friend.  I used Cascade 220.  I did the ribbing on a size 6 needle, the hat on size 7, then I did the top decreases on size 6 DPN because I don't have size 7 DPN.  The DPNs were a little easier to work with, I had awful trouble when I was trying to do a sock.

In other news... well I'm applying for another job, but just between you and me, it's to supplement my fibre habit.  I want a winder and swift and some new needles (Addis would be great, but I might try some from elsewhere... suggestions?).   I also want to get some really nice yarn for a shawl for my mom for her birthday (I realize I have a month left... so maybe I'll hit up the yarn store tomorrow!).  I'm hoping for something in a leafy-olivey green, preferably solid, in either lace or fingering, I don't really care which because I have patterns in mind for both.

In other news, I received my yarn from Light Brown Hare in Nebula.  It's gorgeous and I can't wait to knit with it!  But I want to wait until I get a ball winder so I can wind it properly ;)  Photos will come later, when my camera returns.  I want to make Magrathea with it.  I've been in love with Magrathea since I joined Rav (it was one of the top shawls for a while, which is how I stumbled upon it).  It's gorgeous and I think it will look great in this yarn!  And if not... frog and make something better :P  (I also think that Nebula is fitting for Magrathea... or maybe I'm just a nerd)  I really hope I have to do 42 of something in that pattern!  I haven't downloaded it yet because I don't have the money (I know, it's only $6)... but that will be my gift to myself once I get that second job!

And my Aidez is coming along nicely.  I'm done the body up to the armpits and one sleeve (and the first 5" of the other one).  I'm so excited to see this come together!  Hopefully I'll have it finished by the end of summer.

Well that's all folks, I hope you enjoyed my Math For Knitters posts, let me know your feedback!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Math for Knitters (Introduction)

I'm going to preface this with a disclaimer: I am not a math person.  Actually, my personal math nerd is away, so I'm basically pulling what I remember out of high school math.  (In case you were curious, I did do calculus in high school and again for credit in university, but I could not have passed either without the help of my friends who actually knew what they were doing!)  I am training to be a teacher, so this series is an exercise for me in a) teaching things that most people don't understand and b) learning something well enough so I can teach it to others.

If you got to grade 10 math, or have done physics or chemistry in high school, this should be simple enough for you to understand.  Math for Knitters is simply rearranging equations.  You don't necessarily have to understand how it works but you do need to be able to take my examples and apply them yourself.

If you want to know why you'd want to do this math, I'm going to tell you.  If you have mystery yarn and want to know how much you have (or if you have enough to make something), you could unwind it, run it through a yardage counter, then wind it back up again.  Or, you could save yourself the money on the counter, do a bit of quick and easy math, and get the same result.  If you need to substitute yarns, but only the meterage or only the mass of the yarn are given, then you can change more easily.  Some yarns are denser than others, so using meters makes sense in that context.  But if a pattern tells you "400 meters of Cascade 220", how much of that nice cotton from your stash would you need?
I'm going to ask you a silly question: "what weighs more: a pound of feathers or a pound of bricks?"  Think of yarn like that.  Laceweight is feathers, and bulky is bricks.  You could have 50g of each, but you would have a lot more laceweight (meterage-wise) than you would of bulky in that 50g.  Also, not all fibres are created equal.  Some are heavier/denser and others are lighter.  The heavier and denser it is, the more it will weigh.  You could have a string of lead at the same gauge as laceweight silk.  The lead will be much heavier than the silk.
Note: when meterage/grams are given for yarn, it is often from a controlled environment in a factory.  Weighing at home always has a margin of error because your scale probably isn't professional trade-quality.  If you need an exact measurement, like to the inch, a yard counter is your best bet.  Or, just to be on the safe side, get an extra skein of yarn, and hopefully you can return it (or use it for something else).

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to comment or contact me otherwise (my name on Ravelry is andreabrightside).

Last thing: I have created this document through my hard work and fiddling with LaTeX builders online.  (It hopefully looks effortless but it took quite a lot of thought) Please don't reproduce this or use it as your own.  If you would like to use it for commercial purposes or spread it elsewhere, either link straight to this entry or contact me for more information.

Thank you and I hope you enjoy this post!

Math for Knitters Part 1: The Math
Math for Knitters Part 2: The Weight

PS: this math is for crocheters too, anyone who likes yarn, and anyone who likes math!!

Math for Knitters: Part 1 (the math)

One of the most common questions I see on Ravelry is something to this extent: "I have/need yarn.  How much do I have/need?"  Another frequent question that has the same answer is "Should I buy a scale or a yardage counter?" Either way, the solution to your problem comes from converting between mass and meterage.  **NOTE: I use the term "mass" to talk about how heavy a yarn is (i.e. what I read on the scale in oz or g).  "Weight" refers to the fibre weight or density, such as laceweight or worsted.

I'm Canadian so for the purposes of this entry, I will be using the metric system.  It's not scary and it makes a lot more sense than the imperial system.  However, not all manufacturers use the metric system, so that's OK.  If, everywhere you see "g" (grams) you substitute oz (ounces), and for "m" (meters) you substitute yards, everything will work out fine.  If you need to change units, you can either use a converter tool (I usually just Google something like "50m to yards" and it gives me the answer I'm looking for).

Anyway, I'm going to cut to the chase.  Read the introduction if you want to know why on earth you would want to do this.  You'll need a scale, a ruler or meter stick, and a calculator.

Step 1: Find out the weight of your yarn.  You can do this by:
a) Looking at the ball band or the yarn page on Ravelry
a.1) My yarn has a mass of 70g and each ball should have 110m of yarn.  I want to find out how much one meter of yarn will weigh.  We do this by dividing meters by grams.

b) Finding out your grams per meter using a scale and ruler
b.1) You find this out by measuring some yarn out using a ruler or meter stick (I would go with 3m of yarn at least, maybe more for laceweight or lighter).  The more yarn you measure out, the more accurate your reading will be.  Home scales may be sensitive to air currents and are not always sensitive to the last decimal point.  Unfortunately this may mean that your final number could be off by a bit, so that's why it's important to invest in a good scale (or work in a deli or post office!).  You use the exact same formula as above, substituting the numbers for the ones you measured.

Step 2: Find out the mass of your yarn.  Put the yarn on the scale and weigh it.  I have 55g of yarn.  I know some of this ball has been used but I don't know how much, and I'd like to make something that calls for 100m.  Will I have enough?

This is the easy part.  We have our magic number from above (1.571m/g).  We just have to multiply the grams to find out meters.  If you remember from school, what you do to the bottom, you do to the top.  So if we multiply the entire number by grams, the grams on the bottom will cancel out, leaving us with meters (and, more importantly, a number you can use!).

... whoa, was it really that easy?  I'm kind of bummed that I only have 86m, but I guess I can go buy more yarn!

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fornicating Kangaroos!

I went to Ewe Asked For It, a nearby LYS.  It's a great store and the staff are always super-friendly!   I'd paid for a bus fare home from the dentist and I figured I'd swing by the LYS since $2.85 to ride the bus is a ripoff, so I usually try to make more than one stop.  It was pouring rain so I intelligently boarded the bus, got off the bus, walked 3 blocks to the LYS.  Once I got there I realized I didn't want to walk back to the bus in this rain (and I didn't know when the next bus would come) so I texted my mum to see if she would pick me up on her way home from work.  The timing worked out perfectly!  And the point of this little story was that the lady in the shop was so nice to let me stay out of the rain, and she let me know when my parents arrived (since I was squishing yarn and couldn't see the window).
Anyway, the point of that whole previous paragraph was for me to tell you about the goodies I got!  I got two hanks of Cascade 220 (one in black (8555) and one in a lilac-ish colour (7808).  They will be for a gift for my friend.  She is coming back from Australia for the summer (or winter?  I never know) and I want to make her a Fornicating Kangaroo hat.  I found the pattern on Rav and I nearly killed myself laughing.  It's a Canadian-Australian motif, because the other designs are very toque-like.
I don't know why I picked these colours, to be honest.  I might go get some other colours, but I think having a gaudy hat in gaudy colours makes it better, don't you think?  I designed the pattern, but I now realize I need a ballwinder so I can knit with this yarn (yes I need one...).
Also I've been watching too many David Attenborough documentaries because to me the pic looks a bit like mating seals.  I definitely have mental problems.
Well, I'm feeling a little heat-drunk (3 hours of having an oven at 350 degrees when it's already at least 25 outside is not a good thing).  At least I have delicious brownies and banana bread (x2).
Now I'll try to be all web 2.0 and ask you a question: what's your go-to treat on a hot day?

Saturday, June 11, 2011


As Charlie Sheen would say, WINNING!  I won a contest from Light Brown Hare (such a cute name... I dream of Jeannie she's a light brown hare...).  I'm so excited because the yarn looks beautiful!!!

I haven't had much time to knit since my last post, but the five minutes I did knit were very eventful.  I went camping to Devon (about half an hour from where I live) with my Pathfinders (like Girl Guides but older, 12-14yrs).  It was FREEZING so we spent the day in front of the fire.  It warmed up enough so I could take my hands out of my pockets.  The fire was very tame so there weren't many sparks, so I pulled out my knitting.  All of a sudden, there was a thunderous crack (well a little noise) and a burning chunk of ash flew into the air and landed on my Aidez!  I managed to get it off quickly without too much damage.  It just landed on the ribbing, and I can't find the spot where it landed, so I think it's OK.  It was a bit dark in that spot but I think it rubbed/came off (so it was just ash that transferred rather than the wool itself burning).

Other than that... I don't have much else to share.  I'm going back to Devon today (going from only having gone one before in my life to going twice in two weeks!) to the Devonian Botanical Gardens.  If you're ever in/near Edmonton, I think it's highly worth a visit (I loved it last time but I was speeding through on a golf cart because I was late for a wedding).  Have a great weekend everybody!  Hope the weather is as fabulous for you as it is for me here!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Birthday Gifts!

I didn't post earlier (sorry!) but I wanted to gush about the awesome birthday gifts I got!  My boyfriend (and his mum) are awesome people and I'm super stoked :)  Sorry the picture isn't the best but you can see most of what's there.
 (Clockwise from top left)

Knit Kit from his mum.  It's amazing because it's got everything I could ever need in one little convenient thing (you can't see it really well, it's the red thing).  It's even got a row counter and a measuring tape!
Ruler/Needle sizer/thing also from his mum.  This thing is also super useful, I'll actually be able to check gauge now!  Do you know how much of a pain it is to use a CLEAR ruler?
Charted Knitting Designs: A Third Treasury of Knitting Patterns is an amazing stitch dictionary, I can't wait to use it!  I wasn't expecting to get into designing stuff so fast but that's how it looks like things are going!
Mirasol Collection Book 14: Akapana  has some lovely cabled sweaters.  The yarn itself is super soft (squished it at my LYS yesterday).  I really like the white v-neck cardigan (about halfway down the page) and I hope to make it as soon as I'm done my Aidez!
Pints and Purls: Portable Projects for the Social Knitter has a lot of simple fun projects, easy to do on-the-go that don't take up much space.  Super cool!

In other news, I'm still knitting away at my Aidez cardigan.  I fixed the error from before (such a pain in the ass, thank god Muppets Treasure Island was on or I would have killed myself).  It looks better now and will hopefully be done soon (har har).  I'm done about 9" of the body... so I'm maybe 1/3 of the way done that (ish) and then the sleeves and putting it all together... oh dear.  I'll hopefully post again soon with more pics from the sweater!  Enjoy your weekend :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Knit Happens

So I was looking for a terrible pun on something knitting related and hopefully this one is bad enough :D Anyway this is my first post and I'm testing out. Every time I want to do a blog I make like 3 posts then I stop... hopefully this one will be different! If people read the blog then I'd write more... so we'll see how that works.

Anyway, I have two projects on the needles right now. One is a pair of toe-up socks in some Bernat acrylic. I'm not a fan but I wanted to try toe-up socks, so we'll see how they turn out! The other one is the Aidez Cardigan which is coming along swimmingly. I'm knitting in Cascade Eco+. I like the yarn, it's soft and easy to work with. I am knitting seamless which might prove to have been a stupid idea given that this is my first big project and first cardigan.

However, there are some problems with the cabling which I must fix, so we'll see how that goes. I read an article from Yarn Harolot that said how to fix cables, so I'm basically dropping down like 10 stitches and seeing what happens.  You can see how the cable is supposed to travel up diagonally in the same pattern as the rest of the cable but it seems to be in some strange moss stitch so I'm going to work on fixing that.