Thursday, June 25, 2009

Progress and Unprogress*

Let' start with the bad news first, shall we? The Nine-to-Five socks and I are having some…problems. You see, the pattern says to knit the heel flap for 36 rows- "or about 2.5 inches." My 36 rows were nowhere near 2.5 inches- so I kept knitting until I got there. Then, when I picked up the stitches, of course, I had to pick up way more to accommodate all of those extra rows. So I picked up the stitches, and kept knitting along- I got about to the point where the sock actually starts to look like a sock:

By this point, however, I couldn't deny it- the heel/foot opening was way too huge. See?

I should have just knit the 36 rows and stopped, ignoring the measurement. I have now ripped back to the cuff, but I'm frustrated with the sock, and I think that it and I need to take a break. It is currently sitting in a corner, thinking about what it has done.

And now on to the good news- my St. James sweater has reached the point where it's actually starting to look like a sweater! I love this part of top-down sweaters. It's very rewarding. And, to make matters even better- I tried it on, and so far it fits! No boob stretchage!

*Yes, I know that "unprogress" is not an actual word. But it really seemed the most appropriate way to say "reverse progress" without using two words.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Worst. Knitting Group Meet-up. Ever.

Actually, I'm sure the meet-up was actually quite lovely- the thing is, I never made it there. Instead, I spent two hours looking for it.

You see, I'm fairly new to the DC Metro area. I don't know many people my age here, so I thought that attending a meeting of the DC Metro 20 Somethings group from Ravelry would be a great way to meet people. I'm in my 20s, and I live in DC- I'd fit right in! I still think it was a good idea, but so very many things went wrong.

They said that everyone gets to the meet-up between 6 and 6:30, and googlemaps said that it wasn't very far away, so I figured I'd leave around 5:30, so that I'd have plenty of time to get there within that window. I got delayed because a woman subletting an apartment that I'm interested in called- so I left a little later, around 5:40.

Of course, I'm used to getting on I-295 and heading North, not South- so I got on it in the wrong direction. I quickly got off at the next exit to correct the problem- and my GPS tried to convince me to drive through a fence. I'm not exaggerating. The GPS kept insisting that I needed to go where that fence was. Of course, I decided not to do such a thing to my car- but this certainly slowed us down. As an added "bonus," I got to hear the weary, annoyed voice of my GPS yelling "recalculating…recalculating…" every time that I wouldn't drive through the damn fence.

Finally, I got back on I-295 headed in the right direction (yay!) At this point, my GPS was still informing me that I had plenty of time to get there. So, I was headed in the right direction, excited to go meet knitters my age- and the GPS had me get off at an exit. I followed its directions, and made a loop. Suddenly, however, things started to look really familiar- my GPS was driving me in circles in Northern Virginia. Great. The "estimated arrival time" predictor feature was increasing by the minute, and I was starting to hope that I'd get there by 7:00.

I finally figured out the GPS issue, and got onto I-66, where I was supposed to be. And then I stopped. Not because I wanted to stop, but because everyone else was stopped. It was bumper-to-bumper, only-a-few-miles-an-hour traffic. The arrival numbers were ticking past 7:00 as I inched along. At this point, I thought about turning back- but wasn't even sure my GPS could get me back.

After inching along, I finally arrived at my exit, then drove to my destination: the mall that had the Panera where I was supposed to meet everyone. I found the mall (yay!). I drove past the Panera (double yay!). But, of course, being Arlington, there was no frickin' street parking. I finally found a garage, and then drove around it forever looking for a space. Finally found a space, and breathed a sigh of relief- I thought I was finally good to go.

Then, I couldn't figure out how to get out of the parking garage. There was a sign that said "elevators" with an arrow, but the arrow was pointing in the direction of the car exit- definitely not the place for a pedestrian. I finally found a stairwell and got out of the garage.

I then wandered around the area for awhile, looking for the Panera. I walked and looked and walked and looked- I could not find the Panera in relation to the parking garage exit that I had used. At this point, it was about 7:45ish. I was exhausted (I had only slept 4 hours the night before) and hungry (I was expecting to eat at Panera when I met up with the group). I also had no idea how late the group stayed, but I was already almost two hours late. I figured by the time I'd find them, they'd be leaving. I gave up and headed back.

All in all, it was a two and a half hour round trip. From the Maryland DC suburbs to the Virginia DC suburbs. I really hate driving….

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Marble Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping

I decided to take advantage of the fact that I was going home this weekend and use my parents' nice, huge kitchen. I haven't been able to make much more than pasta or grilled cheese sandwiches lately, so I was really excited to actually be able to bake.

My baked goods are very much in demand by family and friends. The favorite recipe seems to be my oatmeal cookies, but I'm really, really tired of baking oatmeal cookies, so I decided to go with the second most-requested: my marble coffee cake.

The cake has sour cream in it, which makes it really moist. It also has a cocoa-sugar layer in the middle, as well as a butter-flour-sugar-chocolate chip crumb topping. I love this recipe.

I had to make two cakes- one for my aunt and grandparents, and one for the guy I'm dating. Otherwise, someone would have ended up feeling left out!

Here's a picture of the cake in the pan:

Anyone drooling yet?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I am not a yarn snob.

Yarn snob (yärn snôb): n. Someone who will only use yarn from the fanciest brands made of all natural (and generally expensive) fibers.

I can't afford to be a yarn snob. It's expensive! Besides, there are some perfectly nice, less expensive yarns out there too. I even (*gasp*) like working with some acrylic blends! Which is why I'm currently knitting with this:

Yarn snobs, avert your eyes: This is TLC Cotton Plus in medium blue, which I bought at A.C. Moore for the nice, cheap price of $3.99 a skein, and it's 49% acrylic. I'm using it to knit the St. James Sweater:

The pattern calls for Cascade 220, but there is absolutely no way I'm knitting a shirt that I intend to wear in the summer out of 100% wool. This seems like a nice alternative, and so far it's working up well. I've finished knitting the yoke, but I still have a ways to go.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Look what I won!

A couple of weeks ago, I won a pendant from Crystal over at Bead Happily Ever After. (If you haven't looked at her blog, I strongly suggest that you do- she does gorgeous jewelry giveaways every Monday.) When I entered, I wasn't expecting to actually win- it was such a nice surprise! After I sent her my address, she mailed me this necklace very quickly:

I love it. It's a gorgeous purple-y color, and is great for dressing up a solid-colored outfit. I wore it out the other night with a black shirt, and it looked great. The quality is really good (the photo doesn't do it justice), and I love my new necklace!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Frogging and Re-knitting

I got gauge with size 0 needles for the 9-to-5 socks, but once I finished the cuff of the first one and went to try it on, I discovered that I couldn't get it over my heel. I was frustrated enough that I actually stopped sock knitting for a few weeks.

Now, however, I am back into it. I frogged the sock, and am now re-knitting it on size 1s. The fit is much better. I'm about four inches into the leg now. Here is a picture of my progress (alright, so I know it looks an awful lot like the last picture of this sock, but this one is on a bigger needle):

Monday, June 15, 2009

FO: Celestial Mitts

Way back in January, I won a Dye Dreams Celestial Mitt Kit from The Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm Blog. I finally got these gorgeous fingerless mitts all knit up.

I loved working with this yarn. It's a blend of Alpaca, Merino Wool, and Silk, and is absolutely heavenly. It's not splitty at all, and it frogs well. I'll definitely be buying this yarn again; however, I'm going to have to wait a bit until I manage to actually get a job and have money to spend on nice luxury yarns. If only someone would pay me to knit…

The pattern was great for the right mitt. After I wove in all of the loose ends and tried on the left mitt, however, I realized that the thumb gusset (which I had knit exactly where the pattern told me to) was in the wrong place, making the cabled panel off-center. I had tried on the right mitt before weaving in the ends, and figured that since that one worked, the left one should too- I need to stop making assumptions, apparently. Look at that cable pulling way towards the thumb:

Luckily, I had enough yarn left over (this was a fairly generous amount for the gloves) to knit a third mitt. On this third one, instead of putting the thumb at three stitches into the round, I instead put it one stitch before the end- and it was perfect. Look how much more centered it is:

Overall, I'm very happy with the finished product. Although I have to say that I was frustrated with the thumb problem for the left mitt, they knit up so fast and the yarn was so yummy that I didn't mind making an extra one too much. I loved the cables- turning them in towards each other was a nice touch in the pattern, and because there are only two cables (as opposed to cables all the way around), they aren't a pain to do. And aren't they pretty?

Summer Knitting Goals

Ali, over at Skeins Her Way, is encouraging everyone to set summer knitting goals! Seeing as I suck at getting around to setting goals by myself, it seems like a good idea to participate at someone else's behest. Plus, there are a ton of really awesome prizes- and I am all about the prizes. So, onward to the goals:

  1. I want to knit a sweater that FITS me. I was heartbroken once I got my Broken Rib Tank all seamed up, and it was too small! It fits my mother perfectly, though, so at least someone is wearing it. I think I'm mostly going to concentrate on in-the-round, top-down patterns in order to achieve this goal, and I have my eye on this one.
  2. I'd like to get going on some Christmas knitting. Sure, all of my non-knitting friends think I'm frickin' crazy to be thinking about Christmas in the summer, but knitting for Christmas takes time, and I don't want to be rushed and unhappy with the finished products.
  3. I want to post here more regularly. On the off-chance that people do follow a link and get here, I'd like to provide them with some content that's not two weeks old.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Puppy Playtime!

So what have I been doing lately? I've been taking my little white fluffball..

over to see her best friend, The Yorkie:

They always start out by grazing. For some reason, Mia really likes this particular type of grass, and she has shared this love with The Yorkie:

Later, of course, it's time to play:

Don't worry, no one was injured- well, none of the dogs, anyway. I got a few scratches when The Yorkie lunched for a frisbee and missed.

Even after all that hard playfighting, though, in the end they're still best friends: