Friday, November 28, 2014

Give-away winner

Congrats! Stitchy McFloss! You have won the 2014 Thanksgiving Give-away grand prize! Please email me (knittingupastormATgmailDOTcom) with your name and an address to send this package to. 

Sorry for the suspense. I got home much later than anticipated...10pm and was too tired to announce yesterday. 

However, I have a Black Friday sale going on at Ravelry that will take 50% any or all KUAS patterns that you purchase today. Yowza! That's like .99 or $1.99 for almost all patterns! Was there something that you've been meaning to try out?

Coupon code:  Blacksheepfriday14

Sweater update later. I have finished it in time for my second Thanksgiving meal of the day yesterday. Meet you back here later? 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  
Don't forget to enter in the Thanksgiving GRAND PRIZE give-away that ends at 8pm (CT).

I've been keeping so busy baking and doing holiday things with the boys and practicing like mad for piano accompaniments that finishing this sweater on the day of my deadline is cutting it a little too close! I did a couple more garter border rows this morning and as we speak, I am working on the I-Cord edging on this sweater. Then I have to sew in this last pocket (and technically block, but I think I will do a quick steam on the sleeves if I can and do some real blocking after the holidays). I will make my Thanksgiving lunch & dinner deadline! Good thing I don't have to cook today!
Photos of the finished sweater, and winner of the prize hopefully tomorrow. Catch you then.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

2014 KUAS Thanksgiving Grand Prize (ends 11/27 @ 8pm!)

Hi there! Happy Thanksgiving!
I've decided to flip-flop the place to win the grand prize and have it end here, on the blog rather than the facebook group page. So? Who wants to win this generous grand prize? This one will be won differently than the previous prizes. I will choose at random the winner from the comments from this post. Read below how to win.

How to win: 1 winner will be chosen at random. Please comment below answering this question to enter:
Who is the most influential person in your life? 
This is someone who has shaped or nudged you to be who you are today. This person doesn't have to be your parent or sibling.  This could be a teacher or even someone who hasn't even been in your life long...or at all. This could be a famous person, a person from a Youtube video, etc. REALLY, think about it... who do you owe some "thanks" to?
Deadline: Thursday, November 27th at 8pm (Central Time)
When announced: sometime after 8pm or 9pm! (Remember, it's Thanksgiving...)
If you win, email me your human name and an address to send your package...and thank that person who you mentioned!

Thank YOU for being part of this blog. Otherwise, I'm just talking to myself like a crazy yarn lady! :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Let the give-aways begin

I just wanted to let you know that the week leading up to Thanksgiving is a week filled with give-aways. It's my "thank you" to my readers who are an active part of this blog. I appreciate you and your continued support of my blog and work.

I won't post on this blog every time there is a give-away, so make sure you join the group so that you can receive a notification via Facebook. You have to be a member to win anyways. I'll try to do give-aways at various times of day due to different time-zones and work schedules.

To win is simple: just be the first person to answer the question in the post! That's it.

The final give-away (on Thanksgiving) is big! It' a secret though!

To my knowledge, no one has commented yet to the give-away as I write hurry up!

Just do me a favor if you win: pay it forward by thanking someone in your life who has helped make you who you are today (family, friend, teacher, etc.). 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Spinning Blue

My Ashford Elizabeth II has been sitting in my craft room, and then in my bed room collecting dust longer than I feel comfortable sharing. After the boys were born, I barely spun. They just turned 4, and I feel more able to get back into the swing of things again (yay for crafting and blogging regularly again). I've been watching a ton of knitting podcasts lately, trying to entertain myself and not feel so lonely while knitting up my Pumpkin Ale Sweater. One of the podcasts is from my friend from high school called Rain Drop Knits. She recently got herself a spinning wheel and watching her sheer happiness has made me reminisce and feel that urge to spin again. So hurray to making yarn again. Thanks Sarah! This is my second bobbin of blue merino (?) wool. I bought 8oz, and unfortunately did not keep the tag for the colorway name. I believe it was Old Barn (something like that, I will check the other roving label that I bought together with this). Ain't she a beaut? There are flecks of storm grey and pink. I plan on double plying, so when that happens, I believe it will come out to about sport weight once soaked. We'll see.
I'm running a "right here, right now, post what you are crafting on" in my "Knitting up a storm, the blog" group page on facebook. Make sure to post a pic on the post. Now's a good time to join the group if you haven't already, as I plan on starting up more of my random give-aways on the group page to the first member to respond to the post(s). Thanksgiving will be a very giving-y time for me :)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

You've gotta pick a pocket or two

Hi there! This Pumpkin Ale Sweater is getting so close to completion, I can taste it! I've been keeping you in the loop about every single adventure along the way in this sweater, so I hope you aren't bored to tears seeing photos of this orange object!

I believe it is my most involved-not largest, but most tricky-knitting project thus far, and I feel incredibly slow at it, even though I've been putting in hours a day. But it's worth it.

You'll have to excuse the inconsistent color of the sweater in the next photos because I took them at different times of the day (it gets so dark so quickly now!), but I'm convinced that orange, even heathered, is non-photogenic under most lighting conditions. My colorway is almost exactly the same as Ysolda's.

I am just about at the second cuff, so let's get talking about the pockets!
I made sure that I did not confuse the ends of my provisional cast-on by making several extra crochet chains and securing it with a knot. This helped me find the end that unziped all of those live stitches.

Oh, by the way. I was a little rebellious. Nothing too serious, but in the pattern, the pockets were the last thing to complete, and I decided to get a head-start on the more fussy things so that I have less work by the end. I also decided to make the knitted portion of the pocket a little bit longer, in hopes that the liner will sit further down, making it more hidden. Rebel. Mwa ha ha.
A long while back, I bought these circular needle stitch holders on clearance from Hobby Lobby, and I am finally using them. I do have every variety of stitch holders known to man, but who can help themselves with a 75% off knitting notion? I had no idea what the little white contraption at the end was for until I got a closer look at it. It locks the needle and the end together. Cool.
Anyways, this is what the knitted potion of the pocket looks like. You don't knit the full pocket. You start knitting a couple of inches, and then bind off. You sew yourself a liner and attach it to the bind-off area of the pocket in the end. Ysolda instructs you to make a faux-seam of purling a stitch on the sides. I think the reason was for it to match the edge seams in the liner easier.
Next, I picked out my liner. I had this leftover from a purse liner from the Fake-a-gamo purse many years back. Just in case you are curious, the second purse is my cute modified clutch version.
Now here's when things went a little sour. My sewing machine decided last night that it would rather eat fabric than sew. I took that thing apart as far as I was comfortable with, but couldn't find the problem. I found lint (which I removed), but couldn't find out why it would work fine without fabric, but once you but feed the cloth through, the needle would tangle inside with the thread underneath and chew through the fabric. I re-threaded many times, re-adjusted the needle, the footer, the bobbin, etc. I'm not a seamstress, so I haven't a clue.

So, I also got to use this portable Singer sewing machine for the first time. Now, let's be real. Sewing actually scares the crud out of me. I have nightmares about my finger getting in the way of the needle. Now, this machine is like that nightmare on crack. Once you bring the needle up, you have to physically lift the metal footer up to slide the fabric under... and quick frankly, I almost ran my finger over with the needle a couple of times in the process. The sewer would turn on if I bumped/pushed down slightly on the red top portion which lifting the footer. Yikes. The sewing isn't as neat as the real machine, and I couldn't zig-zag to have a nice border, but it did the job. I went over it 2-3 times just in case. Sorry, I'm not hand-sewing the whole thing:
"Ain't nobody got time for that."
After my sewing fiasco, I was further disappointed that I had no idea on how to attach this thing. Like I said, I don't sew. I can do basic, basic things and this knowledge does not come naturally.

So, if you are in the same boat, let me gift you with my discoveries to save you some time and frustration! In the photo above, notice how I pinned the knit pocket fabric. I only folded the side that is closest to the garter border. 
First, do your necessary sewing for the liner's edging. Do yourself a favor and iron the top where you are going to pin (unlike me) and then pin the fabric to the knitting as such, right at the bind-off edge of the knit pocket.
Now listen up! You want a nice, clean, invisible sewing job, right? Make sure you do a sneaky-sneaky "slip-stitch" job around the fabric. Youtube it, if you've never done the stitch (that's what I did). Trust me, you don't want to see a visible sewing job because the top portion of the liner is visible to the public. Like in the photo, do your slip-stitching just behind (but not too far behind) the edge of the liner and then do your sewing into the knit fabric right around the same area and it should HIDE all that sewing. Neat, huh?
You'll probably want to sew behind where the fold in the knit pocket was, but I haven't finished this yet. Don't judge my liner's edging...remember, my sewing machine was broken and I couldn't zig-zag it!
The result? A beautiful and well-invisible sewing job.
Like I said, I haven't knit the garter border yet, but when I do the pockets, the liner will be fully hidden, and I will sew the liner edge to the border so it doesn't "flop" around. :) Almost done, people! Yay!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bell bottoms should stay in the 70's.

I spent the better part of today working the right shoulder and cuff. I was so proud to have finished the right side until I bound off and got a closer look at the cuff fit.

Bell bottoms. Yuck.

(This is going to be a little bit of a vent, and I apologize if this offends anyone. To each their own, right?)

Now, in the 90's, I have to admit that bell bottoms were a staple in my wardrobe, but after entering the 21st century and the world of straights and skinny jeans, I believe that nothing, nothing should flare out in places that are normally skinny. (Now there may be a few exceptions like skirts and such, but I mean ankles and forearms, people.)

Bell bottoms can just stay in the 70's where it belongs for all I'm concerned, and that is why I-with some tears in my eyes-frogged out a couple hours worth of work of my precious crafting time during my boys preschool and nap time so that I don't defile this wonderful sweater.

This is a decade of form-fitting clothing, so it's a re-do on needles two sizes smaller for this fella.

Meet ya back here between the last shoulder and garter border, or...err...carpel tunnel?

Did you know that I post on my Facebook group page "Knitting Up A Storm, the blog" updates on projects between posts, polls, random give-aways (if you are the first to see a give-away on that group page, comment below that post (on Facebook) and you WIN the pattern prize automatically for being so awesome for checking up on me!) and knitting parties? Since it's a group page, feel free to post your own knitting photos as well! I'd love it to be a communal thing!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Let's just say it's cheaper than therapy

I've been dealing with a lot of stress lately from various things in life and I've been trying to pour my energies into this Pumpkin Ale Sweater to redirect my spirits. Usually, knitting doesn't soothe me as much as some knitters, but after a real bad day Thursday, it was really helping to distract me from my woes and worries. And I appreciate that. This sweater will mean all that more to me when it's finished.

And let's just say, knitting away depression is much cheaper than therapy!

When we last talked, I was under the impression that I wouldn't be able to get this sweater done in time for Thanksgiving, but I think I can safely safe that I will! I am half way through the second front side.

I'm so excited to see how the pockets pan out. It's my first pocket project. :)
 I've gotten a lot done since Monday. I love seeing aerial views on how it's growing.
Project Posts:
Catch you back right here somewhere between sleeves and pockets!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Sideways and Onward!

The back paneling of my Pumpkin Ale Sweater has finally been completed! Yay! On to faster-paced knits. I am now approaching the pockets on the front right panel as we speak, but let me show you some progress from yesterday and today:
I have been making mistakes left and right, and I don't know if I should chalk it up to being tired or being too utterly distracted while knitting. I'm sure it's mostly the latter, but most definitely a combination. I'm talking rookie mistakes people. If you look closely in person, you might spot a few already. It can almost be like one of those magazine games..."how many differences from this original picture?"
I-cords on sweater edgings are a MUST. They just look so clean.
I was a little apprehensive starting the front paneling of the sweater because I knew there were a few new techniques that I would have to learn on the go. One of them is wrap-less short rows. I've done short rows, but hardly, and not the wrap-less kind. I watched Ysolda's video tutorial on it, and it just made so much sense that I don't see why people even choose to do the wrapped version. This wrap-less technique is actually pretty simple and virtually INVISIBLE. All it involves is a spare bit of waste yarn to save a stitch that you will use to close up the gap.
This last photo really shows the shaping that the short rows take on for the waist in the pattern. At this particular point, the sweater looks off, almost unattractive until the rest of the paneling is completed. When worn, this should sit nicely and figure-friendly (slimming, with the combination of the waist decreases on the back panel with the increases on the front panel) at the hips/waist. Her design is actually very clever.