My blog about knitting, teaching, and being a mother to two energetic young boys.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gold Medalist!!!

I've done it! I've earned the Gold Medal in the Yarn Harlot sponsored Knitting Olympics! According to the rules, I had to cast on a project that would be somewhat of a challenge during the opening ceremonies. I then had to finish the project before the Olympic flame was extinguished during the closing ceremonies.

My friends - I have done it. When I opted to join the Knitting Olympics, I knew it would be work. When I finished the sleeves ahead of my "schedule", I thought - no sweat. When I wasn't even halfway through the body as of Tuesday, I began to sweat bullets & doubt I'd make it. I was sure I'd "trip & fall" as the finish line approached.

But - I'm happy to report that as of 5:00 AST, during my finishing class (how apropos!) I wove in my last end & tried on my new sweater.

Introducing my "Olympic Eastlake"

Pattern: "Eastlake" by Norah Gaughan - **Errata available**

Yarn: Dream in Color, Classy - "Happy Forest". A great, superwash 100% Merino wool. Oh how I love this yarn! I first met this yarn when I knit the Baby Tulip sweater. So soft & sproingy.

Needles: US5 for the ribbing & neck; US7 for the body...

Mods: I took a leap & transferred the pattern to be knit in the round rather than in pieces so I could A) Avoid as much purling as possible & B) Avoid seaming as much as possible. I just knit in the round to one row past the eyelet row. The pattern includes a funky neckband extension - I'd certainly leave that out if I were to knit this again. I'd also learn how to use short rows to knit the sleeve caps for a better fit.

Happy to be done - perhaps now I can get my house back in order. At least the dilemma of what to wear to work tomorrow is solved! :0)


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tickled Pink!

That is how I feel about my latest FO: My February Lady Sweater.

Please forgive me if this post is especially photo laden. I'm absolutely ecstatic about my latest finished object.


Pattern: February Lady Sweater - an adult version of Elizabeth Zimmerman's February Sweater.

Yarn: Tahki Yarns New Tweed (60% Merino Wool, 14% silk, 26% Viscose) Great yarn, small balls - 50grams/92 yards per ball, so you feel like you fly through this yarn. I was cutting it close at the end.

Needles: US 8

Size: Medium - I have the newer version of the pattern. Apparently the earlier versions were a bit sketchy when it came to determining the correct size, so several knitters knit sizes XS when they normally knit a size M. No way in the world am I an XS!

Modifications: Left out the eyelet row before the start of the lace. I think the eyelet row was originally intended for weaving a piece of ribbon, but that's not my style at all. The color pink is already pushing the envelope. 15 lace repeats on the sleeves, 19 lace repeats on the body.

Let's admire the buttons, shall we? What a great find! Sometimes details just fall into place.

The lace pattern is the famous "Gull Lace" pattern - very simple to memorize, so this project was perfect Sunday English Premier League knitting. What I didn't like was having to purl back a gazillion stitches (perhaps just a slight exaggeration). The yoke is straight garter stitch w/increases at the shoulders. I did a kfb for the increases - very simple, blends in well with the garter stitch & leaves no holes.

The back fits just perfectly. I was worried the neckline would sag, or maybe even ride up. But nope - all sits as it should. I think perhaps the hard blocking I gave the sweater last week helped out a bit. Last year when I was at Madrona Fiber Arts retreat I met a woman wearing a FLS & it sagged all over the place. The ravelry forum for the FLS warns against how the lace grows. I haven't noticed this happening yet & the sweater has been hanging for several days while it waited the adornment of buttons. I'm going to fold it neatly rather than hanging it in the closet, just to be safe.

This week is "Spirit Week" at our school & today's theme was "Girls in Pearls & Guys in Ties". A perfect day for my sweater's Maiden Voyage. My friends, colleagues, and students all admired with lots of 'oohs and ahhs'. You know you've done a good job when students say they want one (wear something that a teacher wears? Highest praise from teenagers!) & that it looks like something they might find at Nordstroms. Several conversations today went something like this:

Colleague: "You Made That?!?"
Me: "Yup, Why yes I did..."
Colleague: "Nu-uh!" (how do you spell that?!?)
Me: "Uh-huh!!"

Anyhow - I was very pleased with the responses & complements my sweater & I received today. If I'd known earlier how well this would turn out, I would have finished it much, much sooner!I leave you with my "Bio" photo I'll use in the engineering notebooks of my FTC robotics teams (we all have to add photos + biography). I'd like to think that my role on the FTC teams is that of kind, yet effective, Project Manager. After having to ask a couple of students not to return since they were hindering progress & my constant (yet gentle) reminders for the teams to focus & stay on task (I can even say it in ASL as one of my students is hearing impaired), the students on the teams have dubbed me, "The Hammer".

The smile and the pink kind of softens it, don't you think? :0)


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Still Knitting....

Okay - another month has passed & no blogging. I don't know why I can't seem to develop a habit or schedule to sit down & blog a bit. Perhaps it's because I feel that the daily happenings such as "Today I graded homework & taught teenagers that electron configuration really is exciting, really!" are too mundane to write about. I guess the science teacher in me isn't well versed in word-smithing the mundane to sound exciting. And then there's the fact that I don't have any finished objects to share. Until now....

To quote a famous elephant (or perhaps paraphrase), "A finished object is a finished object, no matter how small". May I present the latest FO at chez Arcticknitter: More 10 cabled baby hats!

Pattern: Cabled Baby Hats
Yarn: Classic Elite Jil eaton minnow-merino; 100% super fine merino.
Needles: US 8, 16" circular
Time to knit: 1 afternoon each; very, very quick knit!

The recipient is a much awaited baby (gender TBA) of a former colleague. The parents also happen to be Green Bay Packers fans, so I figured I couldn't go wrong with yellow & green. I just adore the yellow, although I don't know if I'd ever wear it. Perhaps the gray days of winter have left me longing for bright colors. The hats are so cute - I added the pom-pom as a little embellishment. Of course I was frantically casting off on the yellow hat while getting ready to go to the baby shower, so no pom-pom.
While not a knitting FO, I also made a no-sew fleece blanket using some fleece originally destined for Iain's pre-school blanket. I didn't use overhand knots, but think it should work just fine. Of course, after cutting & tying, I noticed that every other row of letters were backwards/upside down. What kind of fabric is that? Perhaps it was designed so that you'd always see some letter in the correct orientation, no matter which side of the blanket you're on. Oh well - if their child has dyslexia, I guess we know who they can blame.

I was an utter failure at NaKniMitMo - failing to finish even one pair of mittens during the month of January. How sad considering that I knit 3 pairs over Christmas vacation. Oh well - I'm finishing a pair right now, but in all fairness they are lined, so finishing one pair is like knitting 2 pairs. Yeah - that's my story & I'm sticking with it! At least when I finish it'll be more fodder for the blog.

Other than knitting, robotics is in full swing. The Alaska FTC championship is in 2 weeks up at UAF. My team won last year & are very excited to defend their title. I've added an additional team & they're doing quite well. I hope both teams are proud of all they've accomplished. For more info on the FTC robotics program, go here. I'll be sure to post about their results when we return from competition.

Okay - that's all for now. I hope everyone enjoys the big game tomorrow, and by big game I know you all are tuning in to watch Chelsea take on Arsenal in the English Premiere League. I've heard rumor there's some other game going on here in the states, but I don't have much to say about that.... Go Blues!