Gray Velvet Coat

A special place for nothin' special.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Au revoir, Fifi . . . but not for long.

Well, I don't really know what happened - maybe I wasn't able to correctly pick up all my stitches after the needle mishap. Who knows? But I reached a point where the sweater was completely off pattern.

Although I am a new knitter, I am no stranger to frogging. I am one of those people who can't just let a mistake go - it nags at me. I would rather just frog it and start over than let it go uncorrected. So, I said goodbye to Fifi and frogged the whole thing (3 balls of yarn worth).

I tried to thread a safety line at a point where I could see things were still on track, but once the frogging began I realized that the line wasn't in the right spot either. This was important lesson - frogging is much easier when knitting on straight needles than it is on circulars.

In any case, I have only cast on my stitches - I haven't yet had the opportunity to begin knitting again. I want to do it when I have time and patience to do it correctly - I am committed to making this sweater work!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Fifi Frustration!

Ok, I guess I shouldn't really blame Fifi - that's not the issue. The problem is the old adage that if it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all.

I was knitting away happily on my first row of the bodice for my Fifi sweater when I noticed that all of my stitches were lying in my lap - off the circular needle! The plastic cable on my Options circular needle snapped right at the point where it meets the metal fitting. I never noticed it, and all but a few of my stitches and all my carefully placed stitch markers were lying in my lap.

The picture isn't great, since I snapped it with the camera on my cell phone, but you can see the problem well enough.

I did the best I could to get all of the stitches picked up on a needle and thread before they began to unravel, but I know that I didn't get them all picked up properly (in the 2 by 2 rib pattern). Hopefully it won't be too big a problem. Thankfully, I do have a backup 24" cable, so I should be able to get the stitches back on the needles and get going again.

Oh, and I finally got my yarn for the Red Carpet Convertible, too. I had originally chosen a beautiful, deep jewel-tone blue, but due to stock levels settled on a brighter teal green instead. So, once Fifi and I are on better terms and can reach a successful end, I'll move on to the RCC and let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My First Knit Along

Well, I had hoped to be able to say that I was making incredible progress on my Red Carpet Convertible, but I have yet to even receive my yarn! So, I decided to start on the other project that the group is knitting - the Fifi sweater by French Girl Knits.

I had a little bit of a rough start with Fifi, mostly with trying to get my gauge correct. The pattern calls for size seven needles, but I am using size nine (and I still think I am just a little off). After a few false starts, I was on my way, and things are going rather smoothly. The sweater is knit using Rowan's Calmer - a slightly stretchy cotton blend - and it's great. The yarn is knitting up smoothly and is probably my favorite yarn I have knit with so far. I even ordered more in another color to make a second sweater!

I had back surgery earlier today, so I will be off my feet for awhile - perfect for knitting! I hope to make a dent in my already significant stash while I am home. (It's amazing how quickly a person can accumulate so much yarn!) After I finish Fifi, I hope to be able to start on the Red Carpet Convertible and maybe even knock out my first pair of socks. There is so much I would love to do - I'll just have to see how much I can really accomplish over the next few weeks. And, if I am able to locate my digital camera without to much effort, I will try to post a progress photo or two.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

A spirited beginning!

I grew up in Washington, D.C., a truly amazing place to be on the Fourth of July. Watching the fireworks from the grounds of the Washington Monument, amidst all of the spectacular sights the city has to offer, has to be one of the greatest experiences ever. So, this day has always been a day of celebration and excitement for me. What a great day to begin a new adventure - my first blog!

Like others, I don't pretend to have anything really important (or even interesting) to share with anyone. Sometimes it's just enough to get a peek at someone else's perspective. If you are able to take something away from this, great. If not, then please just move on without ruining this for anyone else.

A friend of mine asked me what kind of blog this was going to be. The long and the short of it is that I don't really know. I suppose that I will probably write about the new things that I am doing. That is, the subject will probably evolve as time goes on, but I have a feeling that I will devote quite a bit of bandwith to discussing my knitting.

This year, instead of making a new year's resolution to lose weight or save money, I decided to resolve to learn something new. My husband and I were feeling very under the weather over new year's, so we ended up spending the night at home with Dick Clark. I was flipping through one of my magazines (In Style, I think), and I came across a blurb about knitting. So, I decided then and there that the thing I would learn in the new year was how to knit.

As a kid, my Mom had taught me to crochet, but I hadn't picked up a hook or any yarn in a VERY long time. Nonetheless, I visited a site mentioned in the magazine and I bought my "Cup of Yarn." It came with two bamboo needles and enough yarn to make a scarf. I was hooked. I've made a few "practice" projects so far - things with inexpensive yarn and pretty ho-hum designs, just to get a ton of practice before picking up something that will take too big a bite out of my wallet if I mess it up. Right now I am working on finishing up a wrap-style sweater. It's nothing too challenging - some shaping, a little moss stitch instead of ribbing - but it is the first project that I've made that makes me feel like a knitter.

My daily commute to work is about and hour and a half each way, so it leaves me plenty of time to work on my knitting if I am riding the subway or riding in with my husband. I actually don't get to spend alot of time knitting outside of the time that I spend commuting. One day while I was on the Metro (the D.C. subway system), I was knitting away happily on a project when a gentlemen I had seen before yelled over to me, "Hey, Metro knitter! What're ya working on?" I spent a minute explaining the project to him, and he said, "Alright then. Y'all keep knittin'." From that day, I was the MetroKnitter. I still occasionally see him, and he will ask how I'm doing and what I'm working on. In fact, my knitting has sparked more than few conversations with friendly folks on the Metro - it's a great icebreaker.

Anyway, now that you know a little bit about me, I hope that you will check in with me every once in awhile to see if I have anything new to share. I recently joined the Sexy Knitters Club and will be participating in the upcoming knit along (KAL), so I'm sure you'll read a little something about that as it progresses. The project will be the Red Carpet Convertible dress by Annie Modesitt. If you have seen Annie's designs before, you know that she designs some gorgeous stuff! The current pattern for the KAL is available on Annie's website ( for a small donation. Annie's husband, Gerry, has been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, and the donation will help offset some of the expenses that go along for caring for a loved one who is ill.

So, that's it for now. More here soon!