Thursday, December 29, 2005

catching up on comments, and some other stuff

1. Thanks for all the comments on the vest and socks! I might wear the "superboobarific" vest to the knitting group today. I even studied the picture in IK, so I can make another attempt at wearing a hip collared shirt underneath, without looking like a dweeb. Some replies to comments:
  • On the bendy needles - I blogged about it because these needles have bent so much more than any others I've used, including bamboo needles of the same size. In the past it hasn't affected how I like the needles, but these were starting to bug me towards the end.
  • definition of tchotchke
  • Kerry asked about what needle size I used for Veste Everest. I used a size 6, with a size 4 for the bottom ribbing and neck/armhole edgings. But as everybody's tension varies, especially if they're using different yarns, I'm not sure how helpful this information is. Good luck with your vest!
  • Grumperina (the Jaywalker designer) asked if I'd like my socks to be included in the gallery. Sure! I didn't even know there was a Jaywalker gallery, as this was one of those rare patterns I didn't extensively research before knitting. I'll have to check it out.
I think that covers it, but if you left a comment that I overlooked, and are waiting for an answer or comment on something, please let me know.

2. I cast on for the Austrian-patterned stockings from the book Socks Socks Socks a couple of days ago. I ripped them out last night. I should have paid more attention to Eunny's problems with trying to knit them in a splitty superwash yarn. I really don't think regular superwash nylon-blend sock yarn is the way to go for these socks. Not only was the splittyness getting to me, but I was also getting a massive headache from trying to follow the charts and pay attention to the teeny tiny stitches. Normally tiny stitches aren't a problem for me, but with that much texture going on, it was difficult. I'm going to wait until I have just the right yarn for this project. And when I do, I'm going to enlarge the charts about 5 times, so I don't kill my eyes trying to read them properly.

3. Ripping out my small amount of progress on those socks means the only active project I have on the needles is the lace scarf. So that's what I'll be working on through the weekend. And maybe, just maybe, I'll have the yarn for Ingeborg by the time I finish it? Probably not, but a girl can hope. If not, I have a few small projects I can start. The only large scale project I have a complete stash for right now is the sweater for the Sweaters From Camp knitalong, which will wait until February.

4. I spent some time yesterday going through the new-to-me blogs nominated for the Knit Blog Awards. I ended up adding a few to my Bloglines listings. The one I really liked, but hadn't heard of before, is Lickety Knit. So go check out her blog, as well as the knit blog awards. I nominated blogs in all 4 categories, and 3 of the 4 of them made it to the "finals", which is nice. And I was able to find a blog that I really like in that 4th category, too, so I'm happy with my votes, though I wish more of the nominated blogs made the final cut. There are some great ones in the lists at the bottom of the voting screen.

5. This is likely my last post until Monday. I'm not feeling great, and I'm cranky because I'm unable to work on the projects I most want to work on, for a variety of reasons. This does not make for great blog updates. So, see you guys next year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

cleaning the slate and the side table

Two finished projects in two days! Wow! And if I really want to be smug about things, it's technically two finished projects in one day, as I grafted the Jaywalker toes this morning, not last night.

Veste Everst - modeled
Where the heck did those breasts come from? I guess that's what happens when I wear an aran weight garment with cables. Instant 2-cup-size bonus! I had photos of me wearing a collared, button down shirt, like in the pattern photo. But I'm such a hopeless fashion idiot that I couldn't figure out what I was supposed to do with the collar. So I trashed the photos, because I'm sure they would have landed me on some sort of fasion-don'ts website, somewhere. Me trying to be hip is a bad idea.

Veste Everest - done
Here's the boobless photo.

Sorry for the darkness of the photos. I took them this evening because it's supposed to be overcast tomorrow, anyway. It's really hard to photograph this super dark green wool. If you're craving slightly nicer photography of this sweater, there's always this post from a few days ago.

Pattern: Veste Everest (34" size)
Designer: Veronik Avery
Source: Fall 2005 Interweave Knits
Yarn: recycled from a sweater that was way too big on me. 100% wool, aran weight, three ply (though they were barely spun together).
modifications: I did one extra pattern repeat in the body to make it a reasonable length. I knit the edgings on smaller needles, which I like a lot.

Finishing up the Jaywalker socks and the vest means I'll be starting the new year with almost a clean knitting slate. The only slightly old WIP I have is the lace scarf, which I'm not in a particular hurry to finish. It's nice somewhat relaxing and interesting knitting when I'm in the mood. I also have the Ingeborg hem, but I can't get past that until the black yarn arrives. With this relatively clean slate, I cast on tonight for some super fancy socks. More in a couple of days, when I have something interesting to show.

On a completely different note, I figured out what to do with one of the tchotchkes I was given this past weekend. Tiny brass watering can? The obvious answer is to fill it with knitting supplies! Such a Martha Stewart moment when I thought this up.


It's so nice to not have my chibi and crochet hooks flinging themselves off of the side table whenever I'm in need of them. Yay for tchotchkes!

I finished socks and my needles got bent.

I think last night was the first time I watched Monday Night Football. As it was the last "episode", it was also the last time. But the Patriots were playing, and it was so easy to stay up way past my bedtime finishing socks. I can't believe how quickly I knit the second Jaywalker. Yesterday evening I had barely started the gusset. (Did the Patriots win? I went to bed partway through the third quarter. The Jets didn't look like they had a chance, but I suppose you never know.)

finished CTH Jaywalkers
This is one of those pairs of socks that looks kind of funny shaped off the foot, but fit like a dream.

finished CTH Jaywalkers - modeled
The second one I knit is on my left foot. Pooling, much? You can't see the full extent of it, because for some reason I'm wearing both socks off center in this photo. But the right side of the left sock is pink pink pink, and the left is stripey. I think that started when I finished the gusset decreases. Don't know why it didn't happen on the first sock. Only me, with my small feet and preference for very snug socks, could make a yarn with such short color segments pool like this. It's a gift!

Pattern: Jaywalker socks
Designer: Grumperina
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill supersock
needles: size 1 DPNs
modifications, and other thoughts on the pattern and yarn: this post

bendy! The other two are just as bendy, but it was hard to hold 5 needles and show off the bendiness to its fullest. I swear I'm not a super tight knitter. I think this is partially a symptom of me knitting in front of a hot fire with moisturized hands. My next socks will probably be knit on size 0 DPNs. I hope they don't get bendier than this.

Monday, December 26, 2005

gifts and goals

This weekend was a good one for this knitter. While the truckload of J&S jumper weight I asked Santa for didn't arrive (perhaps because I'm a Jew, and heathen to boot), I did receive a spiffy LL Bean tote bag (perfect for WIP storage, and toting things to the knitting group), as well as Knitting Marvelous Mittens, which you can bet I've been drooling over since I removed the wrapping paper. I want to knit every pattern in that book. It will come as no surprise to those of you who know my knitting tastes that the mitten on the cover is one of my favorite patterns in the book. I'm also quite partial to a two-color mitten that is quite similar to that one (slated, in my head, to be knit for A.), and to the most fabulous pair of socks ever designed. (The book has a couple of hat and sock patterns, in addition to all the mittens.) I probably won't knit any of the mittens for a while, as I have a lot to keep my busy this winter. But I plan to knit some goodies for myself and A., in time for next winter. Believe me, if I had the yarn in my stash, I would have cast on for some mittens or socks last night.

My knitting plan for the next few months is to cast on for some Austrian stockings (more details when that happens, which will be soon), maybe start (or even finish) Ingeborg if the yarn arrives, then to knit the striped pullover along with the Sweaters From Camp knitalong. If my Ingeborg yarn doesn't arrive, I have some other things I can tinker on. I might make a hot water bottle cover (the thing gets super hot), and there's always that grey yarn to be re-knit into a sweater that actually fits A. properly.

Since it's the end of December, I will take part in ritualistic behavior, and put down in writing what I hope to accomplish in the coming year. I've kept my list realistic. It's certainly not complete, but for me I think these are the biggest goals, beyond the general "keep knitting interesting things".

  • Knit at least one large scale lace shawl/stole. I've knit lace socks, and am working on a lace scarf, but I've never done a really large scale lace project. I'm thinking the Song of Hiawatha Stole is in my future, but it would also be nice to do a Faroese or triangular shawl, too.
  • Make something that involves intarsia. I'm not committing to an actual garment, but I should at least play around with swatches. I'm an intarsia virgin. I know how to do it. I've read patterns. I've watched others do it. It just looks so fiddly for what you get, and I like the look of stranded patterns better. But I have got to at least do a swatch or two, just to say I did.
  • Knit the Autumn Color Cardigan from Sweaters From Camp. (This will be post-knitalong, unless there are enough people who want to knit a second pattern, or who are still working on their first pattern. If all goes well, I'll knit it this spring or summer, for the fair.)
  • I want to submit something to the Cheshire County Fair this summer. I think I'm going to force myself to submit something, even if the perfectionist in me will always see dozens of flaws in whatever I knit. If I'm really brave, I'll submit something in every category for which I have a finished project to submit.
  • I want to design something. Not just tinker with an existing design, but really start with a blank piece of paper, and come up with it myself. Right now, I'm so inspired by my new mitten book that I want to design a sweater that is similar in terms of the type of colorwork involved. It's not out of the question that I'd take a motif from one of the mittens and use it for the sweater, though it will take enough tinkering to get it to work in a sweater that this won't be a huge time saver. (I know that there's already Russian Prime, but mine will be different. Also, it will be at a tighter gauge, and perhaps with more than two colors.) I'm not committing to staying with the idea to use this style of colorwork motif, but I think it will be colorwork. I'm also not committing to having a complete design by the end of the year. At the very least, I want there to have been many sheets of crumpled graph paper thrown into the wood stove, and maybe color samples ordered and swatches knit. It's about time I design something, and I want that thing to be a colorwork sweater.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

ribbed neck and pile 'o yarn

1. I was feeling virtuous this morning, so I pulled out Veste Everest and finished the neck edging.

Veste Everest Neck Edging - Dec. 24

I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. After that break of a week or two, I found that the knitting and purling "tbl" wasn't as painful as I remembered, although I think my right ring finger (with its accompanying mondo callous) is ready for a rest again. I knit the edging on size 4 needles (the smaller size, used for the bottom ribbing), even though the pattern didn't instruct me to do so. I think it was a good idea. I also bound off with those needles, not paying any particular attention to trying to do so loosely. I probably could have (maybe should have) gone a big looser. The edging looks absolutely perfect, but it also has no give. It fits just fine, but the scardey cat in me wishes there were a tiny bit of give, just in case my head swells with age or something. (Yes, I know, I'm worrying about nothing.) It's definitely one of those sweaters that requires one to take off their glasses while dressing. But since the look and fit are just fine, I should stop fretting. When I finish the armhole edging will depend on when my finger callous stops throbbing. This yarn hates my fingers.

2. Yesterday evening, after returning home from our trip to see King Kong (which absolutely blew me away), I found a lovely package left for me by our mail carrier. It looked like yarn. It felt like yarn. The sad thing is, it didn't even occur to me that it might just possibly be my Naturespun Sport, for Ingeborg. I knew exactly what it was, even though I wasn't expecting it until at least next Wednesday, based on the method of shipping I chose. It was, of course, my Knitpicks Palette, for the Pullover with Stripes from Sweaters From Camp. Yay!

Yarn for the fair isle pullover with stripes

This yarn fells really soft to me. Definitely a lot softer than traditional Shetland yarn, which I would ordinarily use for this sweater. No way I'm going to not secure the steek before I cut it. If you're curious, the background color is the cream (top row), and the foreground motif colors are in the bottom row, in order. I think. (Should I switch the light blue and purple? The light blue is a bit lighter than the purple, which is why I think it works best in that first position.) Of course, that's only half of the motif color order. It will go in that order (from left to right), then be mirror imaged, so each motif is lighter on the outside, with a row of dark brown in the center. If I decide, I could always change things so it's the opposite, with the dark brown on the edges, and a single row of the lightest blue in the center. But I think it works better this way.

What do you guys think? I think it will work. I hope it will work. If nothing else, it will be my first lesson in how to (or how not to) put together a fairly simple colorway for a fair isle project.

I have a couple of comments to respond to, which I'll do next week. Don't worry, you're not forgotten! Happy Festivus!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Jaywalker 1 - photo and technical stuff

Jaywalker 1

Jaywalker 1 is done. Some preliminary thoughts:
  • I love almost everything about Cherry Tree Hill supersock. I love the sheen, how tightly it's spun (and how sproingy it is), the way it feels running through my hands, the sturdiness of the fabric, and the colors that blow my mind.
  • This colorway turned out to have more orange in it than I thought. Not a problem, but just a lesson that it's hard to tell what these sorts of variegated yarns will really look like until you knit them into something.
  • This pattern hugs my leg and foot.
  • This pattern also eats yarn the way mosquitoes drink my blood. (excessively)
  • The great thing about socks is that they can be an outlet for your wild and crazy side, without making you a complete fashion disaster. My wild and crazy side is about the size of a sock.
Notes to self, so sock 2 can match sock 1:
  • Did gusset decreases past what pattern recommends, until there are only 14 stitches (instead of 16) on needles 2 and 4.
  • Ignore instructions about toe. Knit until correct length, ending on plain row. First row of toe shaping has regular decreases. Second row has no decreases on needles 1 and 4, but decreases on needles 2 and 3, to make up for uneven stitch counts. Next row is like row 1. Then do normal alternation between decrease and non-decrease rows, until 7 stitches left on each needle, ending on that decrease row. Knit stitches from needle 1 onto needle 4. Put 2 and 3 on 1 needles. Kitchener 28 (14 and 14) stitches to make toe. (And if anybody is wondering, yes, this is the shortest toe I've ever knit, with the longest kitchenering I've ever done at the tip. I think I like it. Time will tell.)
I split the 100 gram hank a while ago, and didn't do it quite evenly. I am very relieved to see that I used the slightly lighter half for the first sock, because I had maybe 5 grams leftover (less than I normally have for socks for me). I should have plenty more left after the second sock. Next time, I don't think I'm going to bother splitting 100 gram sock yarn hanks like this. It would have been nice to have all the leftovers in one ball.

Knitpicks sent me an email yesterday to say that my yarn is in the mail. It's been so long since I've had a sweater's worth of yarn arrive on my doorstep. This is very exciting. I'm going to make myself wait to swatch until at least after I've officially announced the knitalong details, and set a start date. It will be difficult.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

and now for something completely different (depending on what you mean by completely and different)

Sparse post today, as they all will probably be until next week. (It's been a frustrating and busy day, and it's not even 3 yet. I've spent most of it on the phone with my insurance company, or crying because I was so frustrated, inbetween calls. I'll stop before this becomes a TMI post, but rest assured I probably won't die. Yet. ;-)

I ordered yarn yesterday! I decided to go with a sweater that I didn't even mention in yesterday's post. It's the Fair Isle Pullover with Vertical Stripes, designed by Jane Hill. A very interesting design, that has both traditional and non-traditional elements. The main motif is worked in a mirror image, and the knitter has to take the very sparse instructions in the pattern, combine them with the chart, and make it work. I worked it out yesterday, and it was a fun little exercise. I think this pattern is a bit uncharacteristic for the book, in that most of the patterns seem to be very complete in terms of directions. This one leaves it up to the knitter to figure out the details of how to use the chart, and how to properly line the whole thing up.

I'm going with a completely different colorway. I wish there were a picture of the sweater out there somewhere, but as I've come to expect, I haven't found any pictures of this sweater other than the ones in the book in front of me. Maybe I'll photo the photo later. The colorway in the book is a background of dark blue, with the main motif (faux-snowflakes, plus some vertical bars) in shades of blue, purple, and pink. I'm not wild about that colorway, and although I bet I'd love it if I saw it in person, in the original J&S, there's no way I could put something together with Palette that isn't gaudy. I'm going for a cream background, with the foreground motif in shades of blue, with a light purple to mix in with the blues, and a dark brown as the middle stripe in each pattern repeat. It will be sandwiched between rows of the darker blue, so it will be about as saturated a color, but just a bit of a difference to add some visual interest. I like the colors together based on playing around with the color card. I hope I'll like them in the sweater. And the faux-snowflake motif is really gorgeous and delicate. You can barely tell what it is in the book photos. I think a light background with less frenetic foreground colors will make it easier to see the motif.

The pattern as written is too big for me, but it's written for 7.5 stitches and 8 rows per inch. I think if I tighten it up to 8 stitches and 8.5ish rows per inch, it will be a great fit for me.

That turned out a little longer, and perhaps a little more interesting than I intended. Good, I guess? I also have a potential new project up my sleeves, which will probably make for interesting blogging, with pretty pictures. I'll probably start it when I finish one or both of the Jaywalker socks. So if you could care less about fair isle, or my blatherings about what I'm going to knit for the KAL, stick around.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

lots and lots of writing about choosing a SFC project

My Knitpicks color cards arrived! I actually spent a good amount of time last night putting together a colorway for the Traditional Fair Isle Jumper I talked about last week. I think I actually put together something pretty nice, but I'm leaning towards not knitting the sweater. The thing is, while my substitute colorway with Knitpicks Palette is okay, I think that this sweater really benefits from the subtleties and heathering found in the original J&S. It's mostly greys and browns, and with those types of colors in the combination found in the pattern, I think the little things like hints of green in a grey or brown make the sweater special. I think it would look good with the plainer Palette colors, and if that were my only option I'd use them, but I think this may be a sweater I'm willing to put off until I can save up for J&S yarns. In other words, a pretty sweater can be made either way, and I don't want to discourage others from using Palette yarns for it if they want to make it. But my personal choice will be to go with a different pattern for the first time I use Palette to substitute a colorway. If anybody is curious about the color subs, drop a comment, and I'll share.

This does not mean the Sweaters From Camp knitalong won't happen. There are a few other patterns in the book that I think I'd be happier substituting with a Palette colorway. One of them is Snow Sky, designed by Ann Swanson. It's a two color sweater, with one light and one dark color. It's supposd to look like snowflakes, but they don't have the right number of points, so I may have to rename the pattern if I knit it. If I knit this sweater, I'd probably do it at a slightly tighter gauge. The pattern as written is 41" around and 25" long, which is a bit big for me. Gauge is 30 stitches/32 rows per 4", and I can comfortably go a bit tighter than that. I'd also lengthen the sleeves, to make them full length instead of 3/4. Actually, the pattern doesn't say what the sleeve length is, so it's possible her take on 3/4 sleeves will be full length on me.

Of course, I might decide to go a completely different direction. It might be fun to knit one of the tams. If I did that, I'd probably choose to also knit the Bright Color Basketweave Kid's Sweater, designed by Ann Feitelson. I know of a certain almost-toddler who would look really cute in it next winter, and I'd make it in an appropriate size to fit her then.

So yeah, I'm indecisive. The one thing making me shying away from Snow Sky is that if/when my Ingeborg yarn arrives, that will be another colorwork sweater that is bi-color. I've really enjoyed the colorful fair isle projects I've done so far, and worry that this would get a bit boring. Then again, they might fit my wardrobe better. I'm not known to be very adventurous with my clothing, unless I'm knitting it, in which case I'll go more adventurous for the entertainment value. I'm thinking Snow Sky would look nice in dark brown and cream, as opposed to the light and dark grey in the pattern. That would be a little different from the cream and black of Ingeborg, but not much. Hrm...

Monday, December 19, 2005

socks and burns

Finished Retro Rib socks

Retro Rib socks

Retro Rib socks, designed by Evelyn Clark. Pattern from Winter '04 Interweave Knits. The yarn is GGH Marathon. I used size 1 needles, for a tighter gauge. This is the third time I've knit these socks. I knit a pair on size 2 needles in Dale Baby Ull that are cozy, but a bit loose for my tastes. The second pair was knit in Patons Kroy for A., on size 2 needles, and are perfect for him. I wore these socks all day yesterday, and I think they're the best fitting pair of socks I've knit, yet. All my socks fit, but these are quite snug, and didn't shift around one iota. The yarn is really splitty, and really prone to getting overtwisted as you knit, but I love the final product.

Jaywalker socks in progress

My take on the Jaywalker pattern, in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock. I grabbed the camera as a beam of sunlight lit the socks up on Saturday. I think the colors are a bit nicer here than in previous photos I've taken of the yarn, but the photo still doesn't do the yarn justice. It's much more saturated in color than the photo shows. Also, for the record, I'm already working on the gusset. And for my own reference, so I can make the second sock close to identical to the first: The leg before the heel flap is exactly 6", I worked the heel flap exactly as the directions said (16 repeats of the two rows), and picked up 19 gusset stitches instead of 16.

I decided to just go ahead and use my size 1 needles for these socks. I think it would have been smart to use a smaller size for the ribbing at the top, but it will be okay. These needles are really getting bendy. I predict that in another 2 pairs of socks, they'll be full fledged half circles. It's a bit crazy. One of them is so bent it's actually getting a bit awkward to knit with it.

Why I hate plastic clothing

I obviously didn't knit my fleece jacket. This photo displays one of the many reasons I prefer to work with natural fibers. If you're a klutz with a wood stove, you can be pretty sure that your clothing won't @#%#^%@ melt if it's made from wool. I'm pretty sure I did this to my precious fleece last week, but didn't notice until this weekend. Stupid plastic clothing.

4. Susan asked me how I like the Elann Peruvian Highland Wool. I meant to write about it this weekend, but it slipped my mind. I really enjoyed knitting with it. It was soft and fluffy, and even though there were a few knots in the skeins I had, overall the quality was pretty nice. I'm not as happy with how it's wearing, though. This doesn't surprise me. I've been wearing my Samus a lot, and it's getting pilly. Most of the pilling is on the undersides of the arms, but there is also some pilling on the front. I knit it at a looser gauge than I would have chosen for this yarn if I were designing my own pattern for it, and I think that probably made a big difference. I have a feeling that it will pill less at a denser gauge, but I haven't tried it out. I don't think I'll use it again for anything major (like a sweater) until I knit a test swatch at a tight gauge, and do a comparison with my Samus gauge swatch, to see how they react to some friction. I also think that the yarn feels a bit softer while knitting it than when it's knit up. It's still fine for a cardigan, but it's certainly not merino.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Saturday tidbits

1. Amphora - Gorgeous and sophisticated pattern, or just a sweater with wrenches on it? (I love this design until I stare at it for too long, and can then see nothing but wrenches.)

2. Strathglass - Gorgeous and sophisticated pattern, or sonograms of fetuses in utero? (I also love this design. But that's what I see when I stare at it too long.)

3. I almost cast on for these socks last night. In fact, I did start to cast on for them. Then I looked at the frantic, bold colors of my cast on row, and decided that my shade of Cherry Tree Hill, combined with that texture pattern, would have the power to blind people through layers of denim. I chose a simpler pattern. But aren't her socks gorgeous? I never really liked that pattern before, but it works so well with the colorway she chose. I'm a convert.

4. I knit about 30 more stitches on the vest neck edging, then realized that I should have done shaping at the bottom of the V about 20 stitches earlier. I was so determined to work on the thing today, but now it's slumped on the Poang, sticking its tongue out at me.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Pocket Creatures; knitalong musings; I hate twisted stitches

FInished pocket creatures - Dec. 16
(I didn't intend for the green guy to look like he's saluting. I just threw them on the recliner, and that's how they landed. I like it.)

Pocket Creatures, designed by Kate Kuckro, with modifications by me. The green guy is made from Naturespun Worsted (green) and Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool (purple). The blue guy is made from Patons Classic Merino (blue) and Clasgens worsted (red). Pattern modification notes for the blue guy are here. Pattern modification notes for the green guy are here.

Thanks to the folks who replied about the Sweaters From Camp knitalong. It's nice to know that there are some interested people out there. Do any of you have thoughts on format? I like the method used for the Norwegian knitalong and for Sockapalooza, where the knitalong host posts once a week with updates and links to blog posts. It's such a treat to have all those links in one place, and is a great way to encourage blogging on the projects. On the other hand, something like Yahoo groups is nice for people who may have a lot of questions. I'm not a fan of Blogger hosted knitalongs. I prefer to see things on individual blogs, and Blogger comments are not a great forum for discussions. I'm thinking a combination of a yahoo group and weekly updates/links here is what I'll do, but at this point deciding on anything would be putting the cart on a different continent than the horse. Opinions welcome!

I started on the neck edging for Veste Everest. It's not fun at all. 1x1 ribbing, with all stitches twisted. With thick yarn on needles that are way too small for it. Yay? I'm more likely to finish the second Retro Rib sock this weekend.

To the person who found my blog through this search, my sincere apologies. ;-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

massive Veste Everest progress; thinking about Sweaters From Camp knitalong

I finished the main knitting on Veste Everest last night.

Veste Everest
(Sorry for the darkness. Not a lot of light today, and this photo was even enhanced.)

That tangled mess over, under, and around the back piece is because a couple of the skeins I used had a lot of knots in it, and I preferred to rip out the knots and reattach the yarn, rather than risk the knots migrate to the right side of the knitting and show. (I just didn't feel like keeping a cup of water around for spit splicing. Probably my bad.) The knots were probably all my fault, as this is recycled yarn. It is in pretty good shape, in that it's not fuzzy or pilly or anything. But it's also a bit dry, and knitting with it has reminded me how relatively brittle it was when I was frogging it. I think conditioner will help it out a lot.

I'm going to weave in all of my ends before soaking and blocking it. There are just so many that I want to get things nice and neat ASAP. As you can see, I already joined the shoulders, using 3 needle bindoffs. The pattern says to do that after blocking, but binding off the shoulders now means four less bits that have to be on scrap yarn while it's washed and spun out. The center back stitches will still have to be put on scrap, but that's it.

On a completely different note, do any of you know of another blogger (or even non-blogger) who has ever made something from Sweaters From Camp, or who has serious plans to knit something from the book in the near future? I was doing some searching yesterday, and am frankly astounded at how few knitting bloggers ever knit anything from that fabulous book. There are many references to the book, and to camp itself, including many folks who have mentioned which designs they might like to knit. But I'm having the hardest time finding people who have actually followed through and knit any of the designs. I know of one other blogger who is working on a project from the book, but since she's keeping the exact project a secret on the KBTH mailing list, I won't go into details. But that's it.

I'm thinking that it might be fun to try to start a Sweaters From Camp knitalong. I'm not sure I'll do it right away, even if I end up knitting the Traditional Fair Isle Jumper (boy, that sweater needs a shorter, snappier nickname, if I'm going to keep on talking about it) this winter. It's a bit soon (as I plan to cast on for the sucker as soon as I get the yarn, if I decide to get the yarn, assuming my Ingeborg yarn doesn't arrive), and there are a couple of other knitalongs taking up the time of many of the people who I think may be interested in participating in something like this. But I still hope to knit the Autumn Color Cardigan from SFC during the first half of 2006, and maybe I'll try to start up a SFC knitalong when I'm closer to that point. I just think the book deserves more attention, and the designs in the book deserve to be knit way more frequently. There are some gems in there, and even the designs that I don't find to be gemlike can probably be salvaged, to great effect, with colorway alterations.

Would any of you be potentially interested in a Sweaters From Camp knitalong, starting several months from now? Consider this post my effort to officially put feelers out there. If you're intimidated by the designs, just remember that it's just 2 colors per row. That's it. 2 colors per row. You can do that! And if you don't own the book, it might not be too late to add it to your holiday wishlist. :-)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Yesterday evening I almost made a few really silly purchases. Okay, some of the purchases I almost made weren't quite that silly, but perhaps a bit unthought out. (For example, I almost bought a mitten kit from Nordic Fiber Arts. It would have been a good purchase, but I'm not sure that would fulfill my colorwork cravings, so I'm glad I didn't buy it.) One of the really stupid things I almost did was buy yarn from Knitpicks for a sweater from Sweaters From Camp, trying to guess what colors would be the best approximation for J&S substitutes. Hah! I know from many online sources to not trust the colors on the screen from the Knitpicks site. I eventually calmed down from this colorwork craving frenzy, and decided to just order a few Knitpicks color cards. I found a free shipping code, because otherwise I don't think I'd be able to stomach paying shipping for a few $1.50 color cards. I ordered the cards for Palette, Wool of the Andes, and Merino Style. Palette is the yarn I'll use if I decide to order the yarn for the sweater, but I thought it might be nice to have those other color cards for future reference.

Traditional Fair Isle Jumper (Joyce Williams)

The yarn I'm thinking of ordering the Palette for, assuming my NSS doesn't come any time soon, is the Traditional Fair Isle Jumper, designed by Joyce Williams, found in Sweaters From Camp. I think it's one of the nicest designs in the book. I already have some preliminary gauge and sizing concerns (will I get close to 7 stitches but 9 rows per inch? Who wears a 39" drop sleeve sweater with 20" sleeves, besides a baby orangutan?), but I'm trying not to let them get to me too much. If nothing else, ordering those color cards might make my cone of Naturespun magically appear. Or perhaps that will wait until I actually order the yarn for this sweater, assuming I can create a colorway I like with Palette's relatively limited palette. There are actually a few other sweaters in the book, and some in another book, that I may consider ordering yarn for if I can't get together a good colorway for this sweater. But if I don't stop talking about possibilities, this post will be about 10 pages long in no time.

This is all a big gamble, of course. I really don't know if I'll like Palette enough to use it for a sweater I love. But I suppose that's part of the reason I'm thinking of using it for a sweater I merely love, as opposed to a sweater I'm fanatically obsessed with. It doesn't matter if Palette turns out to be God's magical pubic hair. I'm still going to use J&S for the Autumn Color Cardigan. :-)

P.S. Check out this knitted tree cozy. Brings a whole new meaning to tree hugger!

Monday, December 12, 2005

my hands hurt and I'm cranky

I knit a lot on the front of Veste Everest this weekend, and am almost done with the bottom part of the body. 11 rows until I get to start armhole shaping. The thing is, the combination of the yarn and the cables is really hard on my hands. I think I need to give it a rest today. I'm building the mother of all callouses on my right middle finger, and I also have some minor numbness there. I've had similar pinched nerve stuff from other activities (such as playing various musical instruments), so that doesn't bother me so much. But my hands are just tired, so the combination of it all means it's break time.

Of course I have to say, yet again, that my black NSS is still not here. I'm starting to think of picking up a different colorwork project, because maybe it really will be months. I'm half tempted to cancel the order and try to get it elsewhere, or just order a dark grey, if I can find enough of that somewhere. But I feel bad because I know they ordered it just for me, and I also doubt that I'd have more luck trying to order elsewhere.

So yeah. I'm really bummed. I might try to wait a couple of weeks before starting a different colorwork project, just because I had a bunch of colorwork books on my Amazon wishlist, and there's a chance I'll get one or two as a gift. I might as well wait until I have all my choices in front of me before making a project decision.

I might try to do some sewing tonight, if I'm not going to knit. I really don't know what I'm doing, but I have to make those rice pouches for the Pocket Creatures, and I picked up some fun fabrics this weekend:

fabric for pocket creatures

I also bought the Winter IK, and couldn't even get myself to read the article about Brown Sheep yarn. I'm not angry with the people I ordered my yarn from. I'm angry at Brown Sheep. Last I heard from the people I placed my order with, they can't get a response from B.S. about what's up with yarn production. An answer, even if it's bad news, is better than not knowing. grr.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Pocket Creature 2 - my modifications to the pattern

I've got most of the second Pocket Creature done. I did the short row "cup", like I talked about, then used a combination of picking up stitches and casting on to start on the body. I liked that a lot better than all the sewing. Using these alterations, I didn't have to do any seaming at all. I ended up with a fatter body than on the first one, which I also like better. (I think the pattern calls for 24 stitches around. I had 32, and 24 around the fattest part of the head.) I ended up doing the neck as the pattern says, though I kind of fudged how and when I decreased and increased, because it wasn't worth the trouble to look up the pattern again. I used the same idea, anyway. The hair was made by threading 9 pieces of yarn through the little hole, where I cinched the remaining stitches together at the top of the head. Then I just tied them into a knot on the inside of the head, so they wouldn't come loose. The arms were made just like the tail, by threading through 3 strands of yarn (doubled to 6), then braiding. I like these arms a lot, and will probably use them as my default if I make more little creatures. I think the little braids will make it easier to really get your hands around the creature than fat icords will, and they're a lot less fiddly to make.

Pocket Creature 2 - shortrows to create cup
The flap, with short rows to create the cup. The flap is about 1.5" of 1x1 ribbing, as the pattern suggests. I did the short row turn just like on your standard sock heel, doing ssk k1 on RS rows, and p2 tog p1 on WS rows. I started out the short rows leaving 4 unworked stitches on either side of those first turns. That seemed to work fairly well.

Pocket Creature 2's bottom
Here is the finished bottom of the creature. After doing the above short row shaping, I knit a couple of rows, then did some decreases to create the ovalish thing. Nothing too exacting. I just did what seemed right.

Pocket Creature 2's buttflap
Here's how the whole bottom setup looks, with the buttflap out. Plans for this weekend include stuffing the creature's butt like a Thanksgiving turkey. (I have a feeling this is going to be one of those posts that generates lots of "interesting" hits from unfortunate Google searches.)

Pocket Creature 2, sans face

Another reason I really like my method of creating the butt base is that this creature stands up a lot better than the other one. Not that it matters that much if it's just going to live in a pocket, but this feature means I will consider making some purely for decoration.

Any great face ideas? I'm still undecided for this little guy. I'm thinking it might be fun to see if I can find little pieces of felt for face parts. That would be less fiddly than buttons and embroidery, I think.

And as if this post weren't already picture heavy enough, I just need to show you how buried in snow we are:

December 9 snow - out front
Don't worry. We have bushes out front, so the snow really isn't up to the windows.

December 9 snow - backyard

Thursday, December 08, 2005

most of a pocket creature (plus alteration ideas)

Look what I did yesterday!

Pocket Creature

It's the beginnings of a Pocket Creature. I didn't mean to do it in such similar colors to the Uni creature in the pattern pictures, but I just happened to grab the blue yarn for the body, and the red was then an obvious good contrast color. (If anybody really cares, the blue is Patons Classic Wool, and the red is from the original sample of Clasgens wool I got many moons ago. Finally a use for it!)

It's actually almost done. I still have to get the buttons for the eye, and figure out how to embroider a mouth. (I've never embroidered, but I'm sure I can figure something out.) I also have to make the stuffing. But the knitting stuff is done.

I found a small error in the pattern, though it's small enough that you'll find it and figure out how to fudge around it if you make it. I did the arms a bit differently, in that I knit the icords separately, then sewed them in. I think that was a lot easier than trying to pick up 6 stitches around a little yarnover hole, and then turn those into a neat icord. Oh, and I didn't do all of the sewing called for on the base, because it seemed a bit much. We'll see how well the baggie of rice stays in there. If it's not secure enough as-is, I'll do more sewing later.

For the hair, I poked a bunch of lengths of yarn through, poked the other ends through, tied them in knots to secure, then unplied the yarn to create the little creature 'fro.

It was a pretty fun little pattern to knit, because it keeps on changing. Also, when I started, I wasn't quite sure why I was doing what I was doing. I just blindly (mostly) followed the pattern, and soon enough it became clear what was what. Now that I have a better idea of how the little creature is constructed, I have some ideas for further changes to the pattern for the next one. (I've got to knit them in pairs, 'cause people have two hands!) One thing I'm going to try to do is shape the bottom at least partially with short rows, like a sock heel flap/heel cup. This one has you do shaping with increasing and decreasing, then sew stuff together to create that cup shape. I think short rows will be easier and nicer looking. I'm also thinking about doing fewer decreases for the neck, but putting in eyelets, through which I'll string a piece of yarn or ribbon. Then I can cinch it closed when all of the head/face details are done, and make a little bow tie. You can see in both my picture and the pattern picture that the neck is a bit mess looking with all that decreasing and increasing, so I think this will be a cute way to 1. get rid of some of the messiness, and 2. hide the rest of the messiness. I might also make the arms out of braids instead of icord. The icord arms are cute, and I'll do them again, but I think that braids will be cute, too. And a bit less work, if I'm feeling lazy.

Any other ideas for pattern alterations? I can't wait to play around with it. It's so small and such a quick knit that even if my alterations are a disaster, there won't be much lost in terms of time, materials, or patience. I love it!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

half a vest

According to Blogger, this is my 100th post. Woohoo!

To celebrate, I have half a vest to display:

Veste Everest - back completed

This has been one of those projects that didn't start off that thrilling, but managed to get more pleasant as I went along. I think it might actually be because my size 6 needles got seasoned and smoother. I don't think I've used them for a lot in the past.

Wanna see the view I had while working on it last night?

wood stove in action

I love our wood stove. Warm and crackly and glowy. Perfect to knit in front of on a cold New Hampshire night.

I've decided that I'm not casting on for the front of the vest tonight. A. is getting home very late tonight, and I think I'm going to work on some Pocket Creatures for him. I'm actually really tempted to pull out my 3 mm circs to play around with the two circ technique with colorwork, using the Ingeborg sleeve pattern. But this is my chance to get some secret knitting done, so I should take advantage of it. (Though I think A. is usually fairly oblivious to what I'm working on, anyway.)

Other things:
  • I forgot to mention that I found my Nordic Mittens! I knew I wouldn't have been so irresponsible as to lose my precious mittens, but I did slightly panic when they weren't where I thought they'd be. It turns out they were in my black pocketbook. The last time I wore them was the last time I used that bag, when I went to New England Fabrics to buy the zipper for Samus. And of course my Samus swatch was also in the bag. I couldn't find that, either, but didn't care as much. I should have put two and two together, eh?
  • I now know for sure that nylon doesn't block. (Thank you Schizospider.) I really am still tempted to knit a Clapotis scarf out of the stuff, just because I think it will drape really nicely, and it will be a fun scarf to play with. But I wouldn't want to wear it, I don't think. It wouldn't suit me, and I just wouldn't want it. Should I make one and give it away? Hmm. Even if I do, I'll have tons of nylon yarn leftover.
  • DeeAnn wants me to let her know if I start a knitalong for Bristow. It's ever so tempting, but 1. I shouldn't spend the money on the yarn right now, and 2. Buying yarn to start a new project (as opposed to using stash) feels like giving up on my Ingeborg yarn ever arriving. But still, it's really tempting. (I also don't know that I'm the best person to host a knitalong, as not that many people read my blog, I don't think. But I probably wouldn't let that stop me.)
  • This shawl is gorgeous. Take a peek! I've wanted to knit that one for a while, and now I want to order the kit today. I won't, but boy is that inspirational.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

What do I do with this yarn?

Yarn porn!

Okay, perhaps not. One looks like yarn porn, but would probably only qualify as such if it were silk and not nylon. The other is more like yarn teasing, because it's gorgeous, but there isn't enough for a sweater. I got this yarn at the lunch get together our knitting group had this weekend. We did a yarn swap, where I got rid of my extra Lamb's Pride, and tried to get someone to try my leftover Clasgens. I ended up taking more than I brought, but mostly because I was strongly urged to take the nylon stuff by someone who was really trying to get rid of it.

slubby nylon

This yarn is just described as "slubby nylon", though it's not really slubby. There was also some weaving designation, but as I don't know what any of those numbers stand for, I didn't happen to memorize it. It was on a cone, but I spun it off to get a better idea of how much there was, and because I wanted to see what condition it was in. The outer layer was a little ratty looking, probably from the cone hanging out and banging around in boxes for years and years. Underneath, it's all shiny and brilliant. I have 5 big skeins of it, plus a smaller skein. I didn't weigh it very carefully, but based on what one average skein weighs, I think I have about 900 grams of it. Lots and lots. The colorway is really pretty, and if it were silk, I'd be in heaven. But it's nylon, and I'm kind of regretting taking it. (There's another smaller cone that I didn't take, but could have if I ask.)

Harrisville Yarn

This is the good stuff. I know that the reddish stuff (more orangey in real life than the pinkish red in the photo) is Harrisville Highland wool, worsted weight. It was also coned, but I wound it off to see how much there is. I'm trying to remember how much there is of it - I think it was 200 or 250 grams. I don't remember what the smaller skeins are. I know they're 100% wool, and I think they may actually be Harrisville Highland, also. They look a lot fluffier, but I think they're also 2-ply (like the coned yarn), and the difference in loft might just be because the coned yarn was tightly wound on there, and most likely oiled for machine knitting. The light grey skein is about 50 grams, and the blue one is more like 25 grams.

So what do I do with this stuff? I was actually thinking that the nylon would look great in a Clapotis. But would I ever use one? Maybe, but not a nylon one. What about other shawl type things? Does nylon even block? My cursory googling hasn't told me, yet, but I'm guessing not. I'm leaning towards giving this to A's mom for Christmas. I don't mean that to sound like I'm offing junk yarn on her, but I know that she likes bright colors, and I have faith that she'd find something really cool to do with this yarn. I'm a yarn snob. She's not.

I'm also not sure what to do with the Harrisville yarn, though I'm definitely keeping it. If I were a virtuous knitter, I'd use it to swatch for various projects that I may want to eventually knit in that yarn. I don't want to felt it, because it's too nice for felting. I've been thinking of making a hot water bottle cover, because I actually need one. Maybe I should use half of it for that, and half of it for swatching. And the scraps of the other colors could probably be used for those little Knitty handwarmer creatures that I fell in love with yesterday. Whatever I use it for, I'm happy to have this instead of the Lamb's Pride.

I also picked up a ball of Lion Brand Fun Fur, for A's mom (she likes the fuzzies), and a ~40 gram ball of leftover Cherry Tree Hill supersock, that could be used for contrasting color toes/heels in some pair of socks. As soon as I saw that little ball of CTH, I knew exactly who brought it. It was while M. was knitting her CTH socks in that colorway that I really started drooling over the stuff. Now I have her leftovers. Yay! (She was not at all surprised that I ended up with that ball, either.)

And my lesson learned at the lunch: if you wear Dale Baby Ull socks, everybody will pet your feet. This is a good thing. Free foot massage!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Knitty stuff; my slow progress

Patterns from the new Knitty that caught my eye in a good way:
  • Tubey - It's a bit hipper than I'd generally go with my knitting, but I think it's a really clever and really cute design. The colors she used are wonderful, and really suit the design. Plus, I have a soft spot for Brooklynites. I know I'd look good in this sweater, but whether I'll have the fashion bravery to knit it for myself is another question.
  • Bristow might as well be renamed for me. I don't think I could pull of the jeans and high heels look, but the sweater is me, almost exactly. The color, the fit, the texture. This is a design I'd expect to see in Interweave Knits. Not to put down Knitty, but it tends to have less fancy looking stuff. This sweater may be a reason for me to eventually order from Knitpicks. I'll have to do some research into how Andean Silk wears, though. I hope it's not pilly.
  • Chaos is a cute sweater, using a cute idea. Though maybe a bit contrived. I'd be happy knitting the sweater as-is in the photos. It's a neat effect, and as I've heard that toddlers tend to leave paths of chaos and destruction wherever they go, quite appropriate.
  • Pomatomus - I can't decide whether I like the sock or the disembodied leg better. I like them both, though mannequins always creep me out a bit. I'm going to knit those socks, and I also really want the model's dress.
  • Toasty Pocket Creatures - I love them to death. I see many of them in my future. I think they'll be a more fun use of my leftover yarns than felted clogs, though I'll make the clogs eventually. I really need something fun to fill in the time before my Ingeborg yarn arrives. If I find the time and motivation, which shouldn't be too hard, I can see many of these making their way to mailboxes of friends across the country. I still miss the days in college when I would do random silly things like put chestnuts in the mailboxes of my friends, for a little surprise. Sending people little knitted monsters might fill that random silly gift craving that I get from time to time. I think I'll also make one or two for A.
And as a bonus, while it's not my style, I think Tempting II is a vast improvement over the original Tempting. I've never been a huge Tempting fan, and thought the ribbon on top looked silly on just about every finished Tempting I saw. I think the smaller ribbing and buckle are a great improvement to the general design of the sweater. I have a feeling there will be knitalongs popping up all over the place.

I hear the new Interweave Knits is out, too, but I haven't picked it up yet. I've actually heard a bit of whining about the quality of the patterns, which surprises me, as there were a few that I really liked in the preview pictures. And it sounds like there will be one or two interesting articles in there, too. Which reminds me that I should check out the new Knitty articles. It's so easy to forget about them while obsessing over the new patterns.

Wondering about how my actual knitting is going? Well, I'm not too far from starting the armhole shaping on the back of the vest. It's not the most exciting looking project, so I'm going to hold off on pictures until I really have something to show. I also worked a bit more on the second retro rib sock, and realized that the heel flap, and thus number of gusset stitches picked up, is shorter than on the first sock. I also wasn't exactly even in my gusset decreases. I blame all of this on the fact that I did all of the above stuff while hanging out and chatting with other knitters, which can be quite distracting. I think the sock will fit fine, though.

I picked up some new yarn at the knitter's lunch I went to yesterday, since we did a stash exchange. I got some cool stuff, and might post about that tomorrow, as I probably won't have significant progress on actual projects to report on.

Friday, December 02, 2005


I'm feeling uninspired. I know a lot of people get the knitting blahs during the warm summer months, when it's not as pleasant to work with big wooly things, and hard to imagine ever wanting to wear them.

I'm getting uncharacteristic knitting blahs in December. I think it's mostly because I was all psyched up to start on Ingeborg, and am now in indefinite backorder purgatory. I crave colorwork, and can't do it until my yarn arrives. Anything else I knit just reminds me how much it isn't colorwork, and I don't feel like working on it anymore.

Maybe a slight exaggeration. I have gotten some knitting done, and some of it was enjoyable. I cast on for Veste Everest, and am 1.5 pattern repeats in:

Veste Everest - Dec. 1, 2005

I like how the altnerating 6 and 8 row lengths between cable crosses looks. I wasn't sure about it before, but at least so far, it's kind of cool. The fabric is really, really stiff. It's a tight gauge for it, and the yarn isn't the softest or most supple in the world to begin with. I know from the swatch that it will soften up a bit, and I plan to use hair conditioner to help it out even more. This is all kind of funny because, I must have washed this sweater before, right? But maybe I wore it so seldomly that I really didn't. Hmm.

It's funny how short my memory can be. Yesterday I remembered that last winter, when I first frogged that old sweater, I started to knit a cabled scarf with the yarn. It was the Irish Hiking Scarf, which has a cable pattern that is very similar to the one on Veste Everest. I frogged it because it was way too stiff and harsh to make a good scarf. Kind of funny how I ended coming back to a very similar pattern for the yarn this year.

I have some 32" Addi Turbos on the way to me, and may play around with them this weekend. They might be long enough to try magic loop, and even if they're not, I'm tempted to use them for my next pair of socks, using the two circ technique. I believe that size 1 Addis are the same millimeter size as size 1 Inox Express needles, and even though I had been planning on using size 0 needles for my next socks, I am going to want to play with my new Addis. I'm also excited about this because it's a trade, which means it only costs me the postage it will take to send my trade partner the needles I've promised her.

So, that's it for today. Any of you live in Nebraska? If so, can you get a long pointy stick to poke Brown Sheep with? I want my yarn I want my yarn I want my yarn!