Monday, February 19, 2007

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Cake Mania Mania!

My embarassment at admitting that I am sometimes addicted to computer games is WAAAAAAY overshadowed by the exhilarating fact that I JUST FINISHED MY CAKE MANIA GAME...ALL LEVELS! DONE!! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!

"What," you may ask, "is Cake Mania?"

Cake Mania is a game I initially found
here and downloaded to my computer for a trial run. (Well, several trial runs...can you say "delete cookies"?) Eventually Keith bought me the full version and made an honest woman out of me.

Poor Jill, the brave heroine in our game, has to save her grandparents bakery by successfully waiting on customers of all types and filling their culinary orders in a timely and efficient manner. Easy? At first. Then there are more customers and grouchy customers and higher goals to meet. If you aren't quick enough for certain customers they just up and leave and then you're stuck with their cake which brings down your final profit. This is serious business! I have actually found my heart racing while I try to beat these levels.

Here's one screen shot of the game. You can see the different customers and the cakes they are ordering in the little thought bubbles.

As you earn more money you can buy faster equipment, super-speedy tennis shoes and a TV to keep your customers happy. You can even buy a microwave that makes cupcakes to give the impatient people in your line. The trick is knowing who is patient (college students with lots of time and little money) and who is not patient (the Cupid and Easter Bunny characters, not to mention the brides!).

So, now I feel all empty inside since I've finished all the levels. But it is nice to have the feeling back in my "mouse hand" and my heart rate has returned to normal. I strongly suggest you try this game! Don't think I haven't searched for a knitting game, but I haven't found one...yet.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Survey says...

If you really want to know if the sleeves will go into the sweater if they're knit in the round...take a sleeve out of an existing sweater and try it!

(Be sure to use as many colors as possible so that it looks ridiculous!)

This is soooooooooooo not like me to try something out to see if it works. I'm a "give me a pattern and I'll follow it really well" kind of person. But...I did it and it seems to work even though I didn't actually finish the sleeve in question.

Since I'm sick to death of Winter (even though we've only had about 2 weeks of real winter weather) I thought this awesome bright pink felted purse kit would give me a nice pick up!

Isn't it great? And yes, it really is that bright. I've never felted anything before so I suppose this could be considered a learning experience and not just therapy knitting.

To be honest, I bought the whole darn kit because I loved these...

Can't wait to sew them on the finished product.

This very pretty picture is a quick look at the before-mentioned ucky Winter.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Good News, Bad News

Well, there's been no more progress on the Fair Isle teddy bear sweater. I have the entire body and one sleeve finished and just don't seem to feel like casting on the second sleeve.

Instead, I've been working on adapting my favorite teddy bear sweater to work it in the round. The good news is that it began beautifully! There are no side seams...

and I sewed up the shoulder seams using the Kitchener Stitch...just lovely.

However, I didn't make the armhole decreases as usual because I didn't think the sleeves would turn out right. So, the bad news is...the neck is way too wide.

If I make the armhole decreases like the pattern states, will I be able to pick up stitches and knit in the sleeves? Seems like they will set in funny. I'm taking the whole thing to my knitting group tomorrow night for some expert advice!

In the meantime, Kate is knitting this awesome iPod cover...she even learned how to change colors. Isn't she amazing?

I also got these lovely orchids for Valentine's Day from my darling hubby.

In Holiday Inn, one of our favorite movies, Bing Crosby's friend orders orchids for one of his performers. He goes into a flower shop late on Christmas Eve and orders "Orchids. Lose. Looking like they don't care." That's what I got! They're so pretty.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Something new

This weekend I started some teddy bear sweaters using a new pattern I saw on Knitty Gritty. I have made 10 or 12 sweaters with a different pattern, (you can see some of them here, here and here), but I have wanted to learn how to make one in the round so that I can cut down on the seam-sewing. I absolutely loathe sewing sweater pieces together (which is funny because I like to sew, but if I'm knitting I want to knit...but I digress) so I couldn't believe it when this pattern fell into my lap! I missed some of the footage from the show because the show is inconveniently scheduled for 11:00 and I need to meet Elliot's bus at 11:20 each morning, but I think I can figure most of it out.

The first thing I had to do was get some yarn that would get my gauge close to the gauge used in the project. Of course everything I had was too heavy or too light, and I really hate to use yarn that doesn't feel nice, so most of my acrylic junk was out of the question. Now I know what you knitters are thinking..."You just HAD to make a trip to the yarn store! Clearly you had no choice!" Well, that may be, but instead I only went as far as the Joann Fabrics in town. As much as I love a good trip to Joann's, their yarn selection leaves much to be desired. I ended up buying the Lion Brand Microspun yarn (which I've never used before) in lavender and lime. It's not exactly what I wanted, but I'm approaching this as a prototype to be perfected later.

Anyhow, (my! she's long-winded) I cast on and got this far the first night...

I'm really happy with the color combination and the yarn is very soft, though it splits easily.

One of the things I liked about the pattern, and had seen before, was this hem facing that will be turned under to make, well, a hem.

Even though I also like the ribbed hem of the previous sweaters, this is a nice alternative.

So, today I finished the body of the sweater. It turned out pretty well.

It's difficult to minimize the ladders (loose stitches) between needles because you have to leave enough ease as you change colors so the sweater will stretch as it should. Perhaps some blocking or a fluff in the dryer will even out some of the rough patches.

There is no neck band as in the other sweater pattern. Rather, the shoulders are sewn and the remaining opening is the neck. Apparantly I'll be using these purl stitches (one round of purling before casting off) to magically sew the shoulder seams together.

It looked like a breeze on the show...we'll see!

What I'm trying to determine is if it is worthwhile to make the sweaters this way even though I am so much more familiar with the other pattern. A deciding factor may be the steeks. I have never (intentionally) cut something I've knit and I'm not really looking forward to it! I'm hoping that it is a technique that gets easier (and less daunting) every time you do it. Seems like you can get such wonderful results!! I'd also like to be able to make textured sweaters with cables and all-over stitch patterns, but I've never done this in the round either. Do I just adapt the pattern as I go since there is no "wrong side"? So much to figure out! I'm going to need to make a nice simple pair of socks after this. And that will definitely require a trip to the yarn store!!!!