Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I took out the scale yesterday, and I don't think I'd have enough of the Clasgens for Sesame. I might have just enough, but it would be cutting it really close, and I'm fairly certain I'd be left without enough.

So I swatched for Veste Everest.

Veste Everest swatch

I'm pretty sure that's what I'm going to do with the green yarn. Even though it won't be the most exciting knit, I think I'll be more easily amused with cables every 6 and 8 rows than with color changes (in Sesame) every 20 rows. Plus, I think the yarn works really well with the pattern.

I was just thinking about the original green sweater this morning. I think the last time I wore it was December 30, 2000. We'd just had tons and tons of snow, and I wore it as one of my numerous layers as I trekked across New Haven on foot, from my place on Science Hill, to the train station. (Those of you who've lived in New Haven know how far that is. especially after a blizzard.) It was a really cool walk, with hardly any cars anywhere. Hardly any people, too, as school was on break, and all the undergrads were out of town. I took the Metro North to NYC, where I met a few friends. We went to a restaurant (Chinese, if I remember correctly), then went dancing at Windows on the World, at the top of the World Trade Center. That was the last time I was in the World Trade Center. An important memory for me, as I grew up in NYC, and went to high school just a couple of blocks away from there. I guess it's only appropriate that that sweater that I associate with a very high place will be re-knit into a sweater named after another very high place.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

whine whine whine, celebrate!

1. Thanks for all the comments on the vest! I'm so glad it sounds like a couple of you are going to buy Sweaters From Camp. Have fun with it. :-)

2. It sounds like it may take longer than anticipated for my cone of black yarn to arrive for Ingeborg. As in, I have no idea when it will come. Maybe tomorrow, maybe 2007. So, sorry to anybody in the Norwegian Knitalong coming here looking for Nordic knitting. It may be a while. However, I did knit the hem this weekend. I figured that way I'll at least be able to start on the actual colorwork right away whenever the yarn does arrive. For the record, I didn't do the twisted texture pattern on the hem. I opted for plain stockinette, because I didn't want it to look too busy. Here's an uninformative photo of it, with what exists of the second Retro Rib sock:

Ingeborg hem, second Retro Rib sock

3. I guess this means the only ongoing projects I have at the moment are the socks and the lace scarf. As I don't particularly feel like working on the lace scarf right now, let's make believe I've only got socks, with no idea about when I'll be able to get started on some real meaty knitting. I've been thinking about casting on for something completely different, with stuff sitting around in my stash.

Are you curious about what my stash looks like? If you really want to know, there are photos here, here, here, and here. As you can see, I mostly have leftovers from various projects, plus stash for Ingeborg, the yarn for redoing A's sweater (which really needs to be washed and de-kinked, which I don't feel like doing now), and that green recycled yarn, which is in pretty good shape. (It's from a sweater that was actually mine, but way too big on me. How I could only get 1000-1100 yards of yarn from an aran that was way too big on me is a mystery. Did I lose a piece of it somewhere?)

I've been thinking about using that green yarn for something. One idea is Veste Everest, from Interweave Knits. But I'm not sure about that, as the photos I've seen on blogs make it look not quite as interesting as the one in the magazine. But it's still kind of nice, and would be a nice little knit. I've also been thinking of using it, combined with leftover yarn from Rogue, for Sesame from Magknits. On one hand, that sweater looks really cozy, and like something I'd wear all the time. On the other time, it's not the most interesting knit, and I'm afraid that there is a bit too much of a texture and density difference between the two yarns I want to use. Here is a photo of the yarns for color comparison. I think they'd go well together color-wise.

Yesterday I was leaning toward Sesame, but today I'm thinking not. I'm leaning toward Veste Everest, but am not convinced. Do any of you have pattern suggestions? You know my style and taste, so I trust what you have to say.

4. I have no idea where my Nordic Mittens are. I've been afraid to really turn over the house looking for them, because I'm afraid I still won't find them, and then I'd panic. I hadn't seen them in a while, and assumed they were in my red wool coat, until I put it on last week and found the mittens weren't there, either. Did I leave them somewhere. Should I put up "lost mittens" signs all over town if I upturn the house and can't find them? *sob* I'm such a spaz.

5. Mostly completely off topic, a lot of the knitting I did on the Ingeborg hem and the second RR sock were done while watching the gymnastics world championships during the wee hours of the morning, as it was airing live from Australia. I was working on the hem when Cheng Fei won gold on the vault, with the bestest vaults, ever. In fact, part of the reason I chose to work on that red hem was because red is an auspicious color in China, and I felt like being superstitious. Also, because some of us rabid gymnastics fans have this thing about red yarn, going back to the days (mostly in the 70s and 80s) when the best gymnasts in the world simply wore yarn in their hair (often red), instead of sparkles and glitter and all that junk. So as a tribute to the wonderfulness that was Feifei's vaulting, and to the good memories that will now forever be associated with my Ingeborg, here are a couple of pictures for y'all:

Cheng Fei vaulting

Cheng Fei, after winning Vault

Monday, November 28, 2005

sleeping socks

I got socks in the mail!

advanced_knit socks

They're the socks Christina knit for me, from the LiveJournal advanced_knit sock exchange. The pattern os from Weldon's Book of Practical Knitting, first published in 1897. Old socks! I love it!

They fit great, and I love the round toe (think that's what it's called). It's narrower than my standard toe, and fits my foot better. I think I'm going to give it a try on my next pair of socks.

Coming tomorrow, I'll probably have an Ingeborg hem picture, as well as some completely off topic pictures, 'cause some celebration of athletic glory (not mine) is in order.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Northwest Sunset Fair Isle is DONE.

The vest is done! Here are gobs of photos (click to make bigger):

NSFI done (flat)

NSFI done (modeled)

NSFI - pattern closeup

NSFI - wrong side closeup

NSFI button band

Pattern: Northwest Sunset Fair Isle Vest
Designer: Betts Lampers
Source: Sweaters From Camp
Yarn: Jamieson & Smith jumper weight shetland (using colors specified in pattern)

changes to pattern: Not much. I picked up more stitches than recommended for the button band (one per row), but knit at a tighter gauge, so it all turned out well in the end. Also, I used a simpler method for the buttonholes - cast off 6 (slipping instead of knitting), then cast on 6 in alternating colors, using the German Twisted method. Also, I didn't sew or crochet the steeks before cutting.

thoughts: This is the project that taught me how to really do fair isle. I started it during the summer, and let the finishing work wait until this month. I figured out a fair isle technique that works for me, and through all that experimentation ended up with a finished product that isn't too wonky, and is of fairly even gauge. A miracle! And if you want more thoughts, read through the archives. There are plenty down there.

Oh, and for the record, I didn't run out of any colors, like I thought I would. I feel so foolish for letting that worry me, now.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Ingeborg advice; tidbits

The fair isle vest is blocked, and just waiting for some buttons, which I bought this morning.

I cast on for the second Retro Rib sock, and it's already a couple of inches long, thanks to some middle of the night knitting while watching live world-class gymnastics online. Life doesn't get much better than that. ;-)

I also bought some gift yarn, along with a pattern and needles this morning. One of the skeins is Malabrigo. Insert Homer Simpson drooly sound here. And while I was at the yarn store, I also picked up the Fibertrends clog pattern. I like the way that one looks better than the free pattern on Knitty. I have gobs of worsted weight wool that I should use for something, and felted clogs seem like a good choice for some of it.

But really, the point of this post is to create a list of links to act as a reference for me as I begin to work on Ingeborg. Wendy Johnson documented some of her alterations to Ingeborg beautifully, and they're mostly things that I was thinking of doing, too. So here's a list of links for me to refer to for technical information and ideas:
I don't know if I'm going to do things exactly as Wendy did, but the quality of her knitting is inspirational, and her advice and pictorial documentation is a great resource.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005



NSFI - chaos

Not Quite Chaos:

NSFI - almost done

I'm not quite ready to soak and block, yet. I've finished the edging and woven in ends, but still have to fix some shoulder funkiness leftover from steeking. I would have done more last night, but compulsively refreshing a web page in the hope of seeing score updates takes up a surprising amount of time.

And I'll leave you with this. Latest search result that led to a hit here: adjusting swatch irony?

Happy Thanksgiving/late November/time of insanity!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

buttonhole and superstition

I still haven't finished the button band. Less than half a row of "frambois" to go, then a row of "bright lilac", and binding off. The end is so close.

For now, here's a closeup shot of a buttonhole. I never made buttonholes before this, so I'm still a bit more excited than I should be about this. Especially since I mostly ignored the actual instructions, and they still came out fine.

My goal for tonight is to finish the button band, fix up some rough spots on the shoulders, and weave in ends. If I have time, I'll also block, but that might be left until morning. Then I'll bring it to Joann on Friday, and waste a 50% off coupon on some temporary buttons. :-)

I really do want to finish stuff up tonight or tomorrow morning because I want to be freed up for simple knitting the rest of the week. When not preparing for or celebrating Thanksgiving, I'm going to be doing silly things like getting up in the middle of the night and staying up way past my bedtime to watch live coverage of the gymnastics world championships online. The few of my readers who know me outside of this blog know how obsessed I am. I will need knitting to keep me calm, but it's going to have to be simple, so I can knit while watching. I'm tempted to cast on for the Cherry Tree Hill socks. They've got some red in them, and in a rare state of superstition, I kind of want to knit something with red in it, to support the 2 Chinese athletes who I depserately want to win gold medals, as red is an auspicious color for the Chinese. On the other hand, if I want to be superstitious, maybe I should cast on for the second Retro Rib sock. They're on size 1 needles, and when Nadia Comaneci got the first 10.0 at an Olympics, they flashed 1.00, because the score board didn't go up to 10. It only seems fitting that I knit "retro" socks on size 1 needles, as this competition is the last big one under that 10.0 scoring system. Of course, I'll probably be so nervous and excited and worked up that I'm likely to snap size 0 or 1 bamboo needles in my jittery little fingers, so maybe I shouldn't knit anything.

Well, that's enough of that. Don't want to turn this into a gymnastics blog, though I may have to post something celebratory if a couple of finals turn out the way I hope. If all goes well, there will be a picture of the vest blocking in tomorrow's post, posted right before I go into temporary gymnastics/Thanksgiving hibernation. :-)

Monday, November 21, 2005

my first buttonholes

I got a lot more done on the vest this weekend than I anticipated. I finished the second armhole, picked up the stitches for the button band and main edging, and got through half of the button band! Wow.

Unfortunately, the current state of the vest means no pictures until I finish that button band and edging. Right now, there are probably about 50" of stuff scrunched into a needle half that size, so it's impossible to make it look like anything but a pile of scrunched fabric. I guess I could take a picture of that, but it doesn't seem worth the effort or bandwidth.

I did make changes in how I picked up those stitches and did the buttonholes. First of all, I picked up more stitches than recommended. On Saturday night, I counted the number of rows, and must have miscounted, because it looked like there was a one-to-one correspondance of rows to stitches I was told to pick up. So when I actually picked up stitches on Sunday, I just started out at the bottom, and picked up one stitch per row, until I was most of the way up the right side of the vest and saw that I had miscounted. I decided to leave it that way. I know there's a chance that the bands will flare, but I think I've been knitting them a bit tighter than necessary, and am switching back and forth between a size 1 and a size 0 needle. That means they'll be even tighter. Plus, in the whole scope of things, I didn't end up picking up too many stitches more than recommended. I have faith that it will all work out in the end. And if not, this vest has largely been a learning experience for me. Unless it looks horrid, I'll probably leave it as it comes out.

I also changed how I did the buttonholes because the directions were less than clear, and I really didn't have the patience to try to figure them out and/or search online for clearer explanations or help. Basically, the instructions were having me cast off a bunch of stitches, then cast on a bunch more. But they wanted me to do a bunch of complicated things, and do the cast on in an overly complicated way. I did the cast off as described (slipping from the left needle instead of knitting, so my working yarn stayed at the right side of the buttonhole), and then just used the German Twisted Cast-On to cast on the stitches for the other side of the buttonholes. I alternated colors appropriately, which I've never done before but was incredibly easy to figure out, and it looks just fine. Oh, and I also altered the spacing of the stitches. Because I picked up more stitches than recommended, I needed to space things out a little bit more, so the first and last buttonhole are in the right spots, and so the ones inbetween wouldn't be spaced all funny. It looks like I did a really good job with that, thanks to some basic math, so I'm happy about that. I'm concerned that my tighter gauge means I'll need to use smaller buttons than recommended, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

So that's the news for today. If I knit my fingers off tonight, I might finish the band, which means a picture tomorrow.

Friday, November 18, 2005

just a couple of links

I hardly did any knitting yesterday. I brought the lace scarf to the knitting group, as it's not a good place to do something really intensive, like carefully picking up stitches for the second vest armhole. And even that little bit of knitting wasn't extremely successful. 2 hours, 15 rows, 2 of which are screwed up. Go me!

So today you get little tidbits that I've had set to "keep new" in Bloglines for a few days:
  • Tipper looking very cute in her gorgeous brioche stitch hat. I really need to learn how to do brioche stitch. (I can never learn to have cute flippy blonde hair, so that's the best I can do.)
  • Felicia started Brigid! It looks gorgeous, and I love the color, even though I claim to be sick of purple. She's making it smaller by cutting out the moss stitch on the sides, which is a different method than I was planning to use to decrease the size of it. If I like how hers turns out, I may have to steal her idea.
So, uh, that's it. My goal for the weekend is to finish the second vest armhole and at least pick up the stitches for the button band.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I feel second armhole syndrome coming on.

Ever wake up and have no motivation to do anything? I'm having one of those days. I did manage to take a photo, but folks, I'm feeling really lazy. I have this backlog of things I want to post about, and just am not going to get to it today.

I know this isn't the best photo, as the direct light is too much. But I ended up keeping this one because it's one of the few (only?) pictures of the vest that proves that the main color is indeed a dark green, and not black. As you can see, I finished the first armhole edging. It curls a little bit, but I think blocking will take care of it.

My calculations of yarn amounts were all over the math. (<-- I'm going to keep that typo.) According to my $7 kitchen scale, here are the amounts of each color used for each round. Prepare to laugh:
  • dark green - 1.67 g. (includes round of picked up stitches and bindoff edge, which may be different than regular rounds)
  • pumpkin - 2 g.
  • Apricot - 1.5 g.
  • Coral - 0 g? (I swear the numbers I have written down for before and after knitting two round with this color are both 11 g. It weighs about 11 g. now, after multiple retries, so the pre-knitting weight must be off.)
  • Framboise - .75 - 1 g.
  • Bright Lilac - 0-1 g.
I guess it's possible that my gauge was changing over time, but I really don't think it was. Maybe I'll have a better and more accurate measure after I finish the second armhole. Either that or I'll be more confused. Depending on how things go, it may be possible that I won't run out of any colors for the main button band and edging. It would be close, though. I was pleasantly surprised to see that that will only be about 2.5 as many stitches as on one armhole edging. (Less, in fact.) Not as bad as I thought.

Thanks for all the comments. I can take exactly zero credit for the colors. I just used exactly what the pattern said. You can thank Betts Lampers for the colorway, as well as Jamieson & Smith for producing the colors she chose from. Oh, and the pattern is the Northwest Sunset Fair Isle Vest, from Sweaters From Camp, for those who asked. My next sweater from the book will be the one featured on the cover, also designed by Betts Lampers. You can see a picture of it by clicking here. That's slated for next Spring, I think.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

the fair isle vest lives again!

So vest armhole edgings in moss stitch take longer than I anticipated. I'm about halfway through the first one. Lookie!

My fair isle has definitely improved since this summer, but I still think the vest looks okay. It feels really good to be working on it again. As is typical of me, I'm being rather anal about some things. I'm weighing each color before and after it gets used for the armhole, so I can figure out how much it takes to do an armhole. So far, my best guess is that it takes about 2 grams of contrast color per round, which is actually a bit more than I expected. Then again, I'm not sure if I can trust my scale, as one color weighed more after I used it than before the first time I tried weighing it. I eventually jiggled the scale into submission, but I don't completely trust it for such small weight differences. I'll eventually have to get a fancy electric one, if I want to continue being this anal.

Assuming I don't run out of any of the colors I thought I had enough of (which I'm now paranoid about), I think I figured out a solution to the running out of yarn problem. There is one shade of purple that isn't used at all on the edging and button band. It's not very heavily used in the vest body itself, so I have almost a full skein of it. I think I'm just going to use that in place of the color that won't last past the armholes. Clever, eh? Assuming nothing else runs out, this means I should be done with the vest next week, which is awesome.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

fast and dirty today

Short post today, as I'm pressed for time.

I finished a Retro Rib sock last night. Actually, this morning, as I didn't have the patience to graft the toe last night. (Grafting is not hard, but it's the kind of thing I find extremely difficult to undo and fix if I make a stupid mistake. Thus, no late night grafting for me.)

I'll post yarn info and all that other schmutz when I finish the rest of the pair.

I'm going to do some vest armhole band tonight. Keep your fingers crossed that the yarn I'm running short on will at least last both armholes, so I can say I finished that before the vest goes into deep hibernation while I wait to order more. Picture tomorrow if there's anything interesting to show. (How long does it take to pick up 160 stitches and then knit 8 rows of two color seed stitch? It can't take all that long, but that may just be the knitting gremlins talking.)

Monday, November 14, 2005

finished 'borg swatch, fun links, and lots of other stuff

1. I finished the Ingeborg swatch this weekend, and decided not to do a second swatch. I didn't make it a full 4" tall, but that's because I know there's no hope of getting row gauge, anyway. I'm fairly close to stitch gauge, and know that I can block it to what I need. I'm at 30 stitches per 4", and it's supposed to be 28 stitches per 4". I'll eventually block it out to that gauge just to make sure it's possible, but I'm fairly certain it will be okay. My row gauge is 8 stitches per inch, when it's supposed to be 9. Should I be surprised? The gauge I got using the same yarn for the mittens was a square 9x9. I should have known from the beginning that 7x9 in a colorwork pattern wasn't going to happen. It's not a big deal, though. I can knit the body to whatever length I want, with minimal shaping, and re-engineering the sleeves will not be hard. Plus, this means I get to use my 3.0mm SRK bamboo circs, as opposed to Inox Express metal needles. This is a big plus for me.

2. I cast on for the Mamluke socks this weekend. That didn't last long. The color combo just wasn't going to work, in that it hurt my eyes to look at it. Orange on off-white? meh. (There is no photo.)

3. I have a bunch of fun finds to share.
4. I've started to get a lot of hits on the blog from search engines. It's really neat to see what sorts of things people are searching for. Unfortunately, I think the posts of mine they find aren't usually of much help for their specific searches. My favorite search, so far? Picture of people from the hood. That makes me giggle.

5. Thanks for the comments on the two circ method and magic loop. I also asked about it on the livejournal advanced_knit community, and will post a round-up and/or links tomorrow. Lots of great opinions and advice.

6. Coming up this week: I may have a finished Retro Rib sock (remember those) tomorrow, and think I'm going to give the fair isle vest armholes a go this week.

Friday, November 11, 2005

pride and spaghetti

Sorry for spamming your Bloglines lists with another post today, but I just had to. I looked at my earlier post again, and realized something.

Way back, about a year ago, when I was taking up knitting again, one of my inspirations was Wendy's blog. I went through her archives with my jaw on the ground. She knit such gorgeous things. I was really taken by Ingeborg, but remember thinking to myself that a person probably needs to be something approaching a knitting genius to make something that fancy schmancy.

Now I have a picture of my own (partial) Ingeborg swatch on my own knitting blog. And to tell the truth, after those mittens, and considering some upcoming things on my wishlist, my attitude toward Ingeborg is that it will be a nice, fun, relatively easy colorwork knit. After all, I don't even have to change background of foreground colors at all, and the drop sleeves mean there's no fancy shaping. I don't know whether to be proud of myself, or angry at my past self for being so close minded about her abilities.

Of course, I may forever give up knitting and spend the rest of my life crocheting Spaghetti Monster hats. Think it would go well with Ingeborg?

colorwork that may burn the retinas

Thank you SO MUCH to the wonderful people who left comments about buying Naturespun. (And to Jessimuhka, who actually checked a store for me!) I ended up calling Alpaca Fleece. Their prices for NSS are amazing! They thought they were going to be able to send me a cone or 9 skeins for the price of a cone, but I just got an email that they are out of the color I need in sport. But they said that Brown Sheep does have cones of it in stock, and that I can get the stuff in a couple of weeks. I'm going to do that. Even though I'd prefer to not do the backorder thing, I trust them based on recommendations, I don't know if I can get it elsewhere quicker, and their price is far and away the best I've seen.

I decided to start swatching. This was before I got the email that I still have to wait, but that's okay. The gauge is supposed to be 28 stitches and 36 rows per 4" on 3.0 mm needles. I seem to be on track for 28 or 29 stitches but 32 rows. Eek. I bet my gauge would be more on if it weren't for the colorwork. Of course, I'm going to finish this full swatch and wash it before I really make the final call on the gauge I got with these needles. I might decide to do another swatch on 2.75 needles. I know from experience that sometimes a change in needle size can affect row gauge much differently than stitch gauge, so ther's a chance I could tighten only (or mostly) row gauge by going down a size. We'll see. If not, I think I could live with this looser row gauge, as it's not that important to the pattern, really. Here's a picture:

I "enhanced" the photo in iPhoto, so it's easier to see the pattern. These are not the colors I'll be using for the sweater. They're just leftovers from the Nordic mittens. I think enhancing the colors like that also enhanced flaws. It looks nicer and more even in person.

We talked about 2 circs vs. DPNs vs. magic loop at the knitting group last night. C. had the same reaction to the 2 circ method as me - that the danglingn ends of the other circ really get in the way. Then we had a revelation. We noticed that the people there who really like the 2 circ method have been using Addi Turbos. Those needles are heavier than bamboo needles, and the cords are very flexible. That means they hang straighter down than bamboo circs, and are probably less likely to get in the way. C. borrowed S's size 2 Addis to try out this theory, and I may borrow them in the future to see if I like the 2 circ method better on them. The one problem I see with this is that I don't want to do colorwork on slippery Addis. But maybe I can be convinced otherwise. If I find the money, I may buy a pair of 40" Addi circs to try out magic loop. Less dangly stuff to get in the way, right?

Oh, and here is a scarf picture. I wasn't happy with any of the laid out progress pictures I took, so here's a closeup of the lace pattern.

Here's to a weekend of swatching and colorwork! And maybe I will still cast on for the Mamlukes, since I'll have to wait for the 'borg yarn, anyway.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


The theme of my life right now is ANGST ANGST ANGST, so no big knitting news today. (I finished one measly repeat on the scarf yesterday, and my right shoulder was in major pain when I went to bed. Stress? Yeah, I think so.)

My next paycheck should be appearing in my bank account today. For some reason I was a week off, and thought it was next week, not this week. Plus, it contains a teeny tiny bit more than I thought it would, due to something I forgot to take into account. So even though I still feel poor, I feel justified in finally buying the rest of the Ingeborg yarn. (That extra unexpected bit is the perfect amount to pay for that yarn.) Now I just have to find a retailer on the face of the planet who has 7 skeins of Brown Sheep Naturespun sport in Pepper (601). This is easier said than done. I'd take a cone instead of those skeins. In fact, I may prefer it. I called Woodland Woolcraft yesterday, all ready to order, and they don't have any. I emailed 2 other retailers from whom I've bought NSS in the past. One of which I swore to not buy from again, because of the runaround they gave me with backorders (as in, not telling me stuff was backordered up front, and then continually promising one more week, when it turned into months). They have 6 skeins, which is probably enough. The other one hasn't gotten back to me yet. I know they only have 1 skein, because they actually let you know on their site. But I'm hoping they're execting some more, soon, because I like supporting them.

Do any of you happen to know of a place that is honest about backorders and carries NSS? There are a lot of hits in Google, but I haven't ordered from or even heard of many of the places, so personal recommendations are welcome. (For the record, the retailer that I don't want to order from is The one I do want to order from, if they are expecting any to come in, is

Also, I have to share the news that the Winter IK preview is finally up! Yay! This has made my morning a lot better. Annie Modesitt's cabled sweater looks really neat, and I can't wait to see the pattern in person. I really like Veronique Avery's little cabled thing, though I don't know if I would wear it. And Kate Gilbert's Jacket looks like it has the potential to be awesome, though I really want to see it from the front. No surprise that the three designs in the preview that really jumped out at me are from those three designers.

I can almost promise a new picture tomorrow. I have knitting group tonight, so I should get a decent amount done there on the lace scarf. And I'm thinking this weekend is going to be all about Ingeborg swatching, so potentially very fun picture on Monday. I hope.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

scarf picture and lots of other stuff

1. I wasn't going to post a picture today, but the lace scarf looked so appealing sitting lumplike on the coffee table that I couldn't resist.

2. I have a new button in the sidebar. It's for the Norwegian Knitalong. Y'all should join, and knit something with snowflakes on it. I guess I'm just a poseur for now, until I cast on for Ingeborg next month.

3. Thanks for all the comments on Samus! They did help me forget about the flaws and really appreciate the parts of it I like.

4. Yesterday the Woodland Woolworks catalog showed up in the mail. I've never received this catalog before. It is the best catalog I've ever received. Every page was full of designs I want to knit, and yarns I want to use. They sell Brown Sheep Naturespun! They sell J&S jumper weight! I'm so sick of seeing catalogs full of ugly designs in yarns I don't want to use. This catalog made my knees weak. This catalog actually made me dizzy. (That's not an exaggeration. I actually felt dizzy with delight when reading it. Either that or dizzy because I got up too fast to get the mail. But either way, totally, completely dizzy.) Too bad their prices are so high. Some of them are on par with what I've seen elsewhere, but other prices are definitely more expensive. I might end up ordering the Naturespun Sport I need for Ingeborg. Even though I know I can get cheaper shipping elsewhere, that elsewhere doesn't have enough of the color I need. Maybe I'll also order a skein of J&S for the vest, and hope I only need extra of one color. Their price for that is super high, but it would be convenient.

5. Back to the scarf, I've been trying to calculate how many pattern repeats I'll be able to get out of the skein, and I think it will be about 20. I'm at 6 right now. It's going to take longer than I thought. I think I'm going to start the Mamluke socks next week, regardless of where I am on the scarf. I love working on it, but I itch for fair isle, and am thoroughly sick of purple.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Samus is done?

Samus is finished. Kinda.

I finished the icord edging around the body. I sewed in the zipper, in my own wonky no-sewing-skills fashion. I skipped the icord edging around the cuffs, because I don't want the sleeves any longer. I think the sleeves look okay, but maybe I'll convince myself to add a crochet chain edging or something. For now, they're as-is, 'cause I like them that way.

The zipper was somewhat of an ordeal. First, I left out the ribbon. I had this ridge on the back from the back of the icord and the edge of the fabric, where I picked up stitches, and it just wasn't going to work well with ribbon. I sewed the zipper directly to that ridge. I don't know if I used the best stitching, but as all I know about sewing is what I need to seam two pieces of knitting together, this isn't surprising. I had to redo part of it, as it was very out of line. It's still not perfectly lined up, as you can see, but it will do for now. I hate working with thread, and I hate sewing anything but seams. This may be a case for a tailor, or maybe a swap with someone at the knitting group. (I'll set in those sleeves for you if you re-sew my zipper for me?) But I'm calling Samus done. I'm ready to be done with it, I'm wearing it, I want to work on other things.

It does fit pretty nicely. The length is good, the sleeve length is good, and it's really comfortable. I also love the neckline. Here are a couple of photos:

I like that modeled shot. I remembered that there is a mirror in the guest room, which makes for a much nicer background than the bathroom. (And no head today because I'm unshowered, unbrushed, and unfed. I'm grimy and hungry and still in a little bit of a fight with dear Samus for daring to have a zipper.)

Now that Samus is "done", I can work on less boring things. Things without zippers. Things like the lace scarf. I worked on it a bit last night, in fact. It felt so good.

Now to go groom myself and eat. And I'm going to wear Samus today. As frustrated as I am with it, I still like it a lot. It's flattering and pretty and soft.

Monday, November 07, 2005

hat reveal and tons of other stuff

1. I finished A's hat. For the record, it's Cascade Eco Wool, knit at 5.5 stitches and 7 rows per inch on size 7 needles. Knit with some shaping advice from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.

2. Saturday night I had a dream about plastic canvas. (Ya know, the awful stuff used to make decorative toilet paper roll and tissue box cozies.) I've never worked with it before, and have absolutely no desire to, so it was really weird that I was using it in a dream. The next day, Alison posts about plastic canvas. This coincidence thoroughly spooks me.

3. I was inspired by Jessimuhka to try the 2 circs method for knitting small circumferences in the round. I used the instructions from Sweaters From Camp, and 2 different sized circs. It worked on my first try! I did find it quite fiddly to deal with dangly yarn and dangly circ ends. I knit a tube about an inch long, and it got a bit easier towards the end, which I suspect was for the same reasons using DPNs gets easier a few rows past the cast on. I'm not convinced that I'm going to rely on this method in the future, but I'm going to consider it. On one hand, it's nice to have a longer stretch of knitting between needle transitions - especially for something like fair isle, I'd imagine. But I do have a fear that this method will make me more likely to get laddering, which I don't get at all with DPNs. Also, with all the dangly bits, I imagine that adding in a second color for fair isle will make things even more tangled. But I do think it will be worth a try for more than a swatch at some point.

4. Of course, I'm shooting myself in the foot for the 2 circ method for upcoming projects, as I've just agreed to trade some of my duplicate sized circs. It's okay, though, because they're Crystal Palace. I dislike the joins on Crystal Palace circs (though Lauren says they've recently re-engineered them!), so I'm happy to get rid of the needles. Hopefully the person I'm giving them to will like them better than me, as many people seem to adore them. In return, I'm getting 2 skeins of Lorna's Laces sock yarn in this colorway.

5. I think I may start the Mamluke socks next week. They're from Folks Socks. I found a picture of them on Harlot's blog. (I know I've seen a picture of her completed pair somewhere, but this hit came up first in google, and I'm feeling slightly lazy.) I was planning on knitting them in an off-white and blue. The pattern calls for 2 skeins of Wendy Guernsey, which is 245 yards a skein. I have Patons Kroy, which has less yardage. I have 3 skeins of the lighter color, and thought I had more than 1 skein of the blue - a complete skein and some leftoever from A's Retro Ribs. Then I searched, and could only find one skein of blue, and it felt a bit wimpy. I weighed it, and then remembered that I used 2 full skeins plus a bit of this extra one for those previous socks. d'oh. So it's extremely unlikely that this skein of blue will be enough for the Mamlukes. As the point of this project was to use yarn I already have, I have one option - off white and orange. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I'm afraid there isn't enough contrast. What do you think? (I think there is more contrast in this photo than in real life, unfortunately.):

6. The Feral Knitter just posted a lot of really useful information about fair isle knitting. You should definitely go read that post. Most surprising to me was her claim that dye lot doesn't really matter. I was so surprised by this that I left her a comment, and we've been emailing back and forth this weekend. She said that in her experience, the difference between dye lots in Shetland jumper weight isn't that great, and that because of the complicated color combinations, not noticeable. This is great to hear. I'm no longer worried about dye lot issues with the vest. Also, it means I'm going to order less yarn than I thought I would have to order when I eventually knit the Autumn Color Cardigan. (The pattern was written when J&S jumperweight was sold in 1 oz. skeins. Now it's sold in slightly smaller 25 g. balls, which means you can never be sure if you'll have enough if you order the number of skeins a pattern suggests.) This will save me a lot of money. The pattern calls for 18 different colors, and ordering an extra ball for even half of them would add a lot to the cost of the project. Also, she told me that she's seen the sweater in person, and it's even nicer than in the book. I can't wait to knit it! It probably won't get started until the Spring, though. I think my goal is to knit it in time for the Cheshire County Fair next summer.

Friday, November 04, 2005

icord edging, flickr, my "pet"

  • My LYS finally got the Malabrigo in. I happened to be wearing my Malabrigo sweater yesterday, so I was a great walking advertisement. As soon as we heard that it was in, several folks sprinted toward it, for some good yarn fondling. I held back, but got up a bit later to look at the colors, and smell the vinegar, which I find strangely appealing. The colors are fabulous. As much as I've been moaning about how sick I am of purple, there was a purple colorway that made my knees week. Oh dear. (I think I'll resist the temptation - making a new purple hat to go with my red coat would be a bit too Flowers in the Attic for me.)

  • I worked on the icord edging and the hat a bit at the knitting group last night. The icord is looking good, but going very slowly. And the hat... well, at 5.5 stitches and 7 rows per inch, it's not anywhere near done. Here is a photo in which I've tried to show the difference between a finished and unfinished edge on Samus. I took the picture from the wrong side, because that's where it's easiest to see the difference.

  • I've been using Flickr for my photo hosting for a while. It's a lot nicer than trying to deal with Blogger's photo upload issues. Plus, it has a community aspect to it. Yesterday I started a new group there for knitting colorwork. If any of you readers out there are Flickr members, please consider joining and contributing your photos. While I'm at it, Jessimuhka also just started a group for sock knitting. You should join that one, too. I think the main knitting group there was just becoming a bit crowded and repetitive for some of us, and while I'm still a member of it, I like the idea of more focused groups for more advanced topics.

  • Some knitters have cats. Some knitters with cats post lots of cat photos. I don't have a cat. I don't have a dog. I don't have a hamster. I don't have any furry creatures. I do, however, have a spider. It's more of a visitor than a pet, but I figured I should be a good knit blogger and post a photo of my animal. I promise there won't be daily spider pictures, though. ;-)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

hat; whine

110 stitches, 3x2 ribbing, and a bit of stockinette:


It's the hat for A., as I left it on the couch before bed last night. A square, a circle, and a DPN skewered in the middle. Artistic?

I love Eco Wool to death. I especially love it knit at a much tighter gauge than the band says. Eco Wool at 5.5 stitches per inch is heaven. I may have to make a hat for myself, too.

I've been whiney this week. I'm going to whine some more. I never, ever win anything. I had a chance to win prizes in 2 contests, and didn't win either. Now, I would have participated anyway. Both were for small online communities that were trying to increase member participation, and my contributions to both groups were useful and interesting. I hope. But still, money is really tight, the winter doldrums are setting in, and I really wanted the random number generators to be on my side for at least one of the contests. Bah. I'll take the fact that I never win anything as a sign that one day I will win the Powerball jackpot, even though I don't play the lottery. All that not winning stuff throughout my life has got to catch up to me eventually, right?

(Let's ignore the fact that I'm fortunate enough to have been born where I was, when I was, to have a roof over my head, etc. etc. etc. I sure won out on the life lottery by being a female born in the United States in 1977 instead of a female born, well, almost any time in the past, almost anywhere. But I want to pout today, so I will.)

I don't anticipate any thrilling updates tomorrow, unfortunately. I may or may not finish the hat, and I definitely won't finish Samus. But that means there will probably be two finished projects to show off on Monday. Woohoo! And you guys know it's just a matter of time before I break down and cast on for something fair isle (swatch? socks?) soon, so excitement is not far away.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

BPT edging (photographic addendum to previous post)

I just realized that I have a photo of the icord edging on BPT. It's a bit out of focus, but it's all I have. I guess I could have taken a new photo, but with time the yarn has become quite fuzzy, so it's all a matter of whether I prefer camera fuzz or merino fuzz.

I've always been fond of and proud of how that edging looks. Here's to similar results for Samus!

That photo also reminds me of how sick I am of blues and purples. Here's to A's hat, which will be a lovely shade of NOT PURPLE!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

talking about icord edging

I have complete knitting angst. (Or at least had complete knitting angst when I wrote the first draft of this post last night. It's a much more rational sounding post this morning, after a major edit.)

I was all content finishing the seaming, and actually found weaving in ends to be soothing. Then I started the icord edging. It just wasn't turning out well. The method described in the pattern is a lot bulkier than I'd like, and I frankly think it looks sloppy. I did some searching and found the method I used for the BPT cardigan. I'm going to use that method, instead. I was wearing BPT last night, and comparing that icord edging to what I was getting on Samus was very convincing.

What's the difference between the two methods? The method described for Samus is a 4 stitch icord, and you attach it to the body by slipping the last stitch, picking up a stitch from the body, and psso. I found that that left a weird indentation, was prone to weird lumps, and that the nicer looking part of the icord ended up being on the inside of the sweater. (But not nice enough to do it inside out, so that part ended up on the outside.) I'm going to go back to this method. I'm fairly certain that's what I used for BPT. It's a 3 stitch icord, and you k2 tog tbl to attach the icord to the sweater. With the BPT, I was working with live stitches, since it was a top-down raglan. Since the Samus doesn't have live stitches to work with, I think I'm going to go and pick up large groups of stitches before I start the edging. Maybe an 8" DPN worth of stitches at a time. That should make things a bit less tedious than picking up stitches one by one. (And for the record, I actually got a bit better at picking up stitches with needles last night. I just didn't want to bother with a crochet hook. It was a bit of a pain, but I'm not as hopeless at it as I used to be. I think the very springy yarn and relatively loose knit helped a lot.)

I actually tried doing a plain single crochet edging on Samus after I pulled out the 4 stitch icord, but that looked a little wimpy, and it seems to be very unforgiving if I did't get exactly the right proportion of single crochet stitches to rows of knitting.

Do any of you have other preferred icord edging methods? I'm happy with the method I linked above, but I'm curious to hear about others, if you have any.

Whether there will be actual progress on Samus to report on tomorrow is up in the air. Last night, I was prepared to toss the poor thing across the room and not speak to it again until this weekend. I was all set to cast on for A's hat today. Now I feel more at peace with Samus and its theoretical future icord, but I may still at least swatch for the hat today. It would be nice to bring Samus to the knitting group tomorrow to work on the edging. I have a feeling a lot of my knitting groupies haven't done that sort of edging before, so it would be a cool educational experience for me to show it to them. Plus, they might ask about how I did it when I show off the finished sweater, and it's the kind of thing that's easier to demonstrate than to explain.

still life with donkey and sleeve

I didn't do any Halloween-themed knitting, so I thought I'd let the donkey have some fun with the seaming I did on Halloween. Doesn't he look thrilled?

All the seaming is done except for attaching that sleeve to the body. If it weren't for small children dressed like chickens and cowgirls coming to my door every 5 minutes in search of our chocolate stash, I might have finished the seaming.

I do love the feel of this yarn post-washing and blocking. And it seems like the sweater will fit okay, although I think the armhole depth may be a bit much for me. But that's nothing new with me and sweaters.

Now off to do work, and not think about exactly how many inches of icord edging I have to do in the next day or two. Icky plastic DPNs, here I come...