Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two Reliable Solutions To Share

Solution #1
I failed to mention in my previous post that the TV remote got iced tea spilled on it at the same time as my Tangled Yoke Cardigan. For the second time, I used rice to save the remote. Since this has worked twice, I thought I'd mention it here. If your remote loses functionality on some buttons due to some liquid being spilled on it, you can fill a bowl with uncooked rice and bury the remote facedown in the rice. I usually leave it overnight. Magically, the rice absorbs the moisture from the remote. I'm talking about the moisture inside the remote! Before the latest attempt at saving our remote, the left side buttons didn't work. After sitting in rice facedown all night, those buttons now work. I'm not sure that this would work with pop or anything else sugary, though, since the high fructose corn syrup usually destroys everything it touches as it dries and gets sticky. Ask me how I know (pop on a computer keyboard...).

Solution #2
A useful diaper rash concoction that I recently had to make for Ian:

Balmex (or any other zinc oxide product)
generic Clotrimazole (anti-fungal found in the foot care section)
generic hydrocortisone

Mix together all three ingredients in a small sealable container, using more of the Balmex and less of the hydrocortisone than the Clotrimazole. Does that make sense? Listed in order of ingredient amounts: Balmex, Clotrimazole, hydrocortisone. This works for extremely bad diaper rashes when hydrocortisone is required because regular diaper rash creams won't adhere (ouch!) to the skin. The anti-fungal is optional. It's for "meaty" rashes. I got this recipe from a pediatric nurse practitioner. She said that some pharmacies sell a similar concoction that's supposedly really expensive. That was nice of her to save me some money. Anyway, hope I didn't gross anyone out too much!

Knitting News?
None today, other than I'm working on the sleeves of my TYC :-)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Whew, That Was Close!

I seriously wonder sometimes if my kids are killing off my brain cells little by little. I was already put-a-fork-in-me D-O-N-E when my youngest spilled my iced tea all over some finished pieces of my Tangled Yoke Cardigan and the couch. They were the completed body and one completed sleeve on holders. I ran them downstairs and soaked them in room temperature water, then spun them out in the washer. I can't believe I spun them out in the washer because the body was on a Knit Picks cable with end caps, and the sleeve was on scrap yarn holders secured with square knots! Both pieces dried overnight, and they turned out OK. Thank goodness!

I'm currently on the second sleeve. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to go back and frog half the first sleeve because I just realized that I did 8 rounds too many of the garter rib. In theory, 8 rounds in sport yarn doesn't seem like enough to frog at first. But with my short arms, it just doesn't look right. The garter rib would be longer than the stockinette portion as well as the length of the garter rib on the body. So, off to tinkland I go!

Speaking of the sleeves, good thing I kept track of the length while knitting. The increases are every 14th round, with the last increase on the 16th round followed by some extra rounds of even stockinette. In my case, I made the last increase on the 14th round and stopped there without knitting the extra stockinette rounds because I had 17.5 inches.

Now for some really good news to make up for my knitting near catastrophe: I'M ONE OF THE KNITPICKS YARN GIVEAWAY CONTEST WINNERS!!!!! Oh yeah!!!!! I submitted my Ravelry ID and blog URL in the comments section of the giveaway annoucement, along with my choice and reason behind my choice for one of three new Knitty patterns: Amused, Surface, and Knowbody Knows. Not thinking that I'd win, I didn't check back until 4 days after I'd received word that I was one of the three Amused yarn winners. They chose three winners for Amused and one winner each for the other two patterns. I got to choose between three colors of Swish worsted. Since I already had one of the color choices (Marine Heather) and am currently knitting a Telemark colorway similar to a second choice (Copper), I went with the third color: Lawn. Can't wait to get my yarn and make Amused! Although, I plan on finishing my TYC first.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Finally Got My Mojo For TYC

Though I don't have any pics at the moment, I've been actually getting somewhere on my Tangled Yoke Cardigan. I'm on the waist increases as we speak with two more to go. The long garter rib wore me out and was rough on my fingertips. I had to stop and knit some dishcloths to give my fingertips some time to recover, especially my left index fingertip. There was the beginning of a small hole in it! Yikes! I'm using rough yarn and sharp needle tips, which is why my fingertips have suffered so much abuse. Now that I'm done with the garter rib and doing stockinette, things are back to normal. Although, I've been using more hand lotion ;-)
Speaking of dishcloths, I have some pics to show of those. I made three total: Chinese Waves, Bamboo Cloth Variation 2, and Blissful Moss Rib. All were made from Lily Sugar'n'Cream. I thought I'd try various bind offs for fun. For the Chinese Waves pattern, I used the traditional BO. With Blissful Moss Rib, I used the suspended BO I learned from Stitch Diva on You Tube. For the Bamboo Cloth Variation 2, I used what I was told (on Ravelry) was the Lucy Neatby modified conventional BO (?). Of the latter two, I think I liked the suspended BO best because it wasn't too loose or too tight.

I wish I wasn't suffering from maternal mush brain so that I could also think and write about other topics. It's one of those days where I'm SO looking forward to knit night to regain some sanity! Oh wait, I though of one thing I could mention... Yesterday, I took Marie and Ian to a friend's to paint baked Christmas ornaments and have lunch. The night before, I stayed up late creating our ornaments from salt dough. Let me just say that I'm definitely no artist when it comes to molding and shaping. But, I did have fun attempting to make Tasha (from Backyardigans on Nick Jr.)! Too bad I made Tasha and a few other ornaments too big and too thick. They didn't harden completely and cracked when removing from the cookie sheet. I think they might be too heavy to hang on the tree LOL. Though my first salt dough ornament making wasn't too successful, I'm looking forward to making some more now. Marie really had fun painting!

Oh wait, now I know something else to mention. Sunday night when it was almost balmy here (mid-40s), the family went to Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo. We're members, so we got in free and didn't end up spending a dime, not even for parking. We went after dinner and spent about three hours there. Near the end of our visit, we took Marie and Ian to see Santa. When it was their turn, both of them stared up at Santa and then at the photographer. But Marie remembered to turn and tell Santa, "It's Wall-E!!!!" before being whisked off his lap. Santa said, "Oh, OK." I got video of it with our digital camera, although you can't hear Marie. I think what made me laugh was being reminded of the scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie remembers at the last second what he wants for Christmas. Marie was so overwhelmed from being in Santa's presence that she didn't think until the last second to tell Santa what she wanted for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Intarsia ITR EZ Hybrid Shirt-Yoke

Yesterday I came across a new and crass acronym on Ravelry: JFGI. While the F part is a bit much, it is good advice because, truly, that's the only way to learn things is to do it yourself. In the spirit of do-it-yourself learning, let me entertain you by divulging what a glutton for punishment I must be...

I'm working on a toddler version of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Hybrid Shirt-Yoke Sweater. Now enters my dilemma. I've made the sleeves in a different color since I didn't have enough of one color. So... intarsia in the round. I'd never done intarsia ITR and naively decided to knit the first two rounds of the yoke without looking into it (not to mention the fact that I didn't separate each skein into separate balls for each of the four sections -- ha ha ha ha ha). Uh, yeah. Since you work right to left every round, I discovered that the working yarn strands all end up on the left. So when you get to the next round, there aren't any working strands to pick up. Um, duh. At this point, I decided to JFGI. Oh crappola, that took a while. There are many methods of intarsia ITR, and the one that suits my dilemma turns out to not be that bad for my situation, thank goodness. However, all methods have one similarity: you must work back and forth. Ack! That sorta defeats my purpose in making a seamless sweater. But, hey I'm the ignoramus who chose to make the sleeves in two colors. I'm not turning back now!

OK, so I had to frog back to the beginning of the yoke, luckily only 3 rounds. After that, I went to sleep and woke up planning how to gel together the intarsia ITR method I chose with the principles of the EZ Seamless Hybrid pattern, not to mention customizing the saddles and neck opening for a toddler-sized head. After some consideration, I came to the conclusion that I can only do my double raglan decreases on the RS rather than every 3rd round. Crap. OK, so I did the math and figured that I can do a combination of every 4th round at first, followed by every other round which will bring the raglan seam in faster at the top. I'll still be able to do the decreases in the same number of rounds as the original pattern. Yay, score one for me. Next, instead of eating up 1/3 of the front and back stitches when doing the saddles, I'll be changing that fraction to 1/4 so as to leave 50% open for the neck. Due to this change, I'll have to work 3/4 of the back sts rather than 2/3 for the first saddle.

Since I can't be doing double decreases and dealing with yarnovers at the same time, I decided to move the location of the beginning of the round to the back: now it's going to be where I'll end my first saddle, which is close to the back left shoulder. When I've finished the raglan decreases and reached the end of the round, I'll turn, YO, and purl back toward the right shoulder to begin the saddle short rows on the WS. When the short rows and back portion of the right saddle are complete, I'll work the YO together with the first of the remaining back stitches reserved for left saddle consumption. The rest shouldn't be as difficult from there.

Oh wait. Back up. Did I mention that I haven't decided exactly how to follow the directions for the double decreases without screwing up the division of the two colors or the marked stitch? There are three sts involved, two white body sts and one sleeve st. I'm considering using a s1k2togpsso (left-slanting) and ssk-return-pass-return (right-slanting). The trick will be to keep the marked sts the same color, preferably red since that's what will happen on the saddles. This is one of those things where you just have to "do" to find out what works. Knit and learn.

Despite the increasing lack of simplicity in following my first EZ pattern due to my use of intarsia ITR and making it have a larger head opening, I did discover some nice things along this latest learning curve. I'll still be able to mimic the original pattern. I've been introduced to more techniques concerning intarsia (I didn't even know that you could do intarsia ITR!). The best thing I discovered is that EZ knows her math. When I was determining how many sts to pick up in the front and back for the neckline, I used EZ's 2-for-every-3 rule and discovered that these sts together with the front saddle sts add up exactly to 50%. For example: I'll have 27 sts each for the front/back and 9 sts each for the saddles. 2/3 of 27 = 18, so 18+18+9+9=54 which is 50% of the chest circumference for this sweater. Sheer genius that woman :-)

OK, done now. My head hurts!