Thursday, May 29, 2014

You're NOT my Pal...

Not exactly knitting related, but it is related to a knitting order I did.  The client suggested I use PayPal to pay for a shipping label on her package.  She said she usually saves $3-$4 on packages.  I thought it seemed handy, to be able to print my own postage and not have to wait at the post office outlet.  I went through the process, and my savings were going to be $1.20.  Yeah, not much.

However, when I tried to print the label, it was SO tiny, it was unreadable.  I tried Chrome and IE.  Nothing worked.  I finally gave up and cancelled it, and filled out the form for a refund, on March 25.  I went to the PayPal community forums, and found out others had been having this issue.  PayPal said it should take 15 days for a refund.  Many waited longer than that.

Well, I'm still waiting.  I've sent in complaints, and I got this wonderful letter back:
 You'll have to click on it to get the Picture Viewer to open.

Yeah.  Really, PayPal?!  I sent an email back shortly after, but no answer.  So, I sent another one today:
How lovely for PayPal that it can hide behind the screen and just give lip service.  I'm sticking with etransfers as much as possible now.  My other big peeve with PayPal is that if you have a balance in your account, and want to buy something, you have to use your account balance.  I just had a purchase, and I didn't have enough.  I clicked the button to say to charge it all to my Visa, but it still took the option of taking all funds first and putting the rest on Visa.  However, my account page shows a negative balance?!  I have in the past, signed in as a guest so I could pay by Visa, but I remember there was some difficulty...I had to use a different email or something.  Sigh.

Friday, May 23, 2014


I KNEW something was off.  I couldn't quite figure it out because I was sure I had followed the pattern, and I had done the pattern before, so surely, it must be right.  I couldn't put my finger on the problem, so that must mean there is no problem...I looked this way, I looked that way.  I kept knitting. I was thinking of sewing up the sleeve seam, and if I had done so, I would've spotted my error.  Instead, I just happened to lay it out in such a way to see my mistake.

It's had to explain.  You're working sideways, starting at the front edge.  To make the sleeve, you leave some body stitches on a holder and cast on the same number.  It connects up at the yoke, that continues around at the shoulder.  To finish the sleeve, you cast off the stitches that were cast on, and pick up the body stitches that were left on a holder.

  I kept looking at the back and thinking it was short, since I was sure I was making this a bit bigger than the pattern.  I looked closely.  Previously, I had only examined the front, which was right, so I had ignored the back, where the problem was.  Ugh.

When I casted off, I casted off all the sleeve and lower part of the yoke, right up to the purple part.  That meant the stitches that were supposed to be over the shoulder, in the multi yarn, were now from the body, meaning the body was suddenly about 10 sts too short across the back.   You can see how the front part, underneath, is longer than the back part (the lower edges at matched up).

I had to rip back to the arm.  I was already disappointed by the multi coloured yarn...the colour runs were much shorter than I expected so the stripes were a little too blended.  I almost ditched the whole thing.  But no.  I'm plugging on.  Baby is getting bigger every day, I must get it done!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Too Long!

It's taking me tooooo long to get things finished, photographed, weighed and blogged!  It's been rather busy here, lots of little things that take up small chunks of the day but stop me from really getting into projects.

I had a comment from a high school friend, one of those "I'll have to get you to make something for a new baby..." types of comments that usually don't pan out.  However, this time, it did!  She sent me some photos of what she'd like (thanks, Pinterest!), and I got to work.  First up, the baseball hat and high top bootees.  The big issue with this is that the baby is due in July, so she wanted 3month bootees, and 6 month hat.  The bootee pattern gave measurements, not sizes, and well, I never bothered to figure out what the length meant in months....and I didn't even check my gauge, though I did check the finished length and it was what it was supposed to be.  The hat...look up 5 size charts for 6 months, and you'll get 5 answers.  Then, there's negative ease vs actual headsize.  Knitters tend to use negative ease (knit it smaller than the head measurement), and crocheters tend to use actual head measurement (maybe cause crochet is not as stretchy?).  So, I tried to take an average.  Plus, this isn't really a "winter" hat, so it could really be worn from fall to late spring (this year....May....).  Then I thought, really, there should be bootees to match the hat size!  So I had to make another pair.  She requested blue for the original pair and I opted for red for the larger pair, to match the hat.

Lucy says I have to add black stars to the white circles.  The pattern doesn't show that, but most on Ravelry do.  108gr.

The other item was a cream coloured blanket in an Aran pattern.  Very chunky; my zoomed in picture revealed only about 44stitches wide.  The info with the picture said it used several strands of an organic cotton.  I knew that would be heavy.  It turned out to be much harder than I thought to find a bulky cotton blend.  Even a worsted blend was hard to find.  Even a DK blend....I knew I could use a cone/super ball of Handicrafter (Peaches n Cream), but knew that'd weigh a lot.   Finally, at a LYS, I found Sirdar "Click", an aran weight, in cream.  It was part wool, part acrylic, and the right colour.  I was tired of looking around.  The price was higher than I wanted, but I bought 8 balls and got started.  I could copy the original pattern quite easily, swatched it out and cast on 48 stitches...4 strands on 12mm needles.

A few rows later and I determine it's going to be too wide, so I dropped down to 42 and start again.  One thing I did was a crochet cast on, I like how it looks (but I couldn't find a matching cast off).

I knit almost all 8 balls, and could see, I was really going to need 2 more.  At least.  And that would put me over budget.  And, I didn't like how the edge curled in, and I didn't want to use up yarn trying to steam it out.  If I was going to crochet around the edge, I'd need even more yarn.  And, I was missing a cottony feel.  So, I begged my husband to take me (and the girls) to Len's Mill in Toronto.  I used to go to the one in Guelph (Ontario) all the time when we lived in Orangeville, but this Toronto location---the drive totally scared me, and indeed, it was tricky getting there (and back!).  I knew they carried Bernat Denim Style, which had an appropriate colour.  I picked up 6 balls...cheaper than the 8 of the Sirdar.  I casted on before we had even left the parking lot, LOL.

This is a super quick way to knit a blanket.  I would have liked circular needles though, and not such "sticky" needles, but still, it was over quickly.  And I loved the new version.  I would totally make this again.  I had a fair bit of two balls left over (I was using two balls at a time, both ends of each ball), so it could have been bigger even (okay, maybe by only two stitches wide...but still, at that gauge, two stitches is a lot!). 525gr.
I'm not sure why I took this picture, but I kind of like it:
I think the sideways shots of the details is neat too.  Non-Knitters don't know the knitting is "supposed" to be vertical.
Mmmm.  Why didn't that turn up sideways? trying to find a way to rotate it (how many times has Blogger rotated pictures that weren't supposed to be sideways?!), I see a way to add info to the properties of the picture.  I had, at that moment, the idea of calling this the Charmaine Blanket!  That's the name of the friend!  Anyway, turn your head sideways to see  the effect I was intending :)

I didn't really want to be left with two partial balls of Denim Style.  I was going to knit a simple teddy, but I have that complex teddy pattern I love, and I just can't do simple now.  I dug out a free pattern for a stuffed star toy and got started.  Then thought, why do we knit two sides and sew them together?  Can't the points be made with short rows?  Tried that, and it didn't really work.  So, I cast on the width of one point, times two (both sides) with waste yarn, and knit the point circularly, from the tip.  Repeated for all five points, joined one side and knitted the centre portion. 
Which looked terrible.  It was so pouffy!  It didn't lay flat at all.  I thought a bit of roundness would be acceptable, to make it stuff nicely, but this was crazy.  Ripped the centre back and did the decreases on every round (except for the first couple rounds where I kept them at every other round).  I don't know if it was doing it all as knit, instead of one row knit, one row purl, or what.  I also didn't really like doing the decrease as a purl stitch, so I changed that.

While doing this meant no sewing, just the ends, it was fiddly (I expected that though).  50gr. I had to stuff it before finishing, and I noticed there seemed to be a crease where the points met the centre. I didn't want to stuff it too much though, I like floppy stuffies for babies.  I also forgot to put in a squeaker :(  And, I still have quite a bit left.  Guess I'll have to knit a ball now.  I was thinking of doing a mini blanket, so that on those days the big blanket is being washed, or is missing, or not practical, baby could still have the same feel.  But I think I'm blanketed out now :)

Yarn In: 4463gr
Yarn Out: 683gr + 1068gr = 1751gr
Balance:  2712gr more brought IN than out
Cost:  $264.92/136 days = $1.95/day

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Come Back Soon!

I still have nothing  to show.  If you follow my facebook page, you've been seeing sneak peeks of the projects I'm working on.  If you follow my pinterest page, you've been seeing what else has been keeping me busy.  I'm working like crazy to finish up a large custom order and also small set for my neighbour that had a baby last week.  No, the baby wasn't a surprise.  I have no excuse.  Scary thing is, I thought, according to my gauge swatch (yes, I did one), that the sweater would be about 3-6 month size...but yet, it looks tiny.  Could be because I live in the land of giant kids, I don't know.  And, it's not turning out quite like I expected and I have to really refrain from ripping it out.  It's getting done, slowly but surely. 

I have bought yarn though.  Three balls of Patons Lace (85gr x 3=255gr)  in the pink/brown was on clearance (almost all the colours were) for $3.99/ball ($13.53) .  I have plans for a waterfall cardi for myself, but I don't know if it's too sweet and delicate.  I also bought 10 balls of Sirdar Snuggly DK ($62.15) for a custom order.  I have no plans to buy more yarn for awhile, and am staying out of the stores! 
Oh, good grief.  I'm trying to update my totals, and I see in my last post I suddenly started using yards.  I was wondering why I was doing that when the red cardi I have to show (and reknit) is from a yarn with no yardage...

Yarn In: 755gr + 3708gr = 4463gr
Yarn Out: 1068gr
Balance:  3395gr more brought IN than out
Cost: $75.70 + $264.92/128days = $2.07/day