Wednesday, August 31, 2005

if it were a vest, I'd be just about done

The full Rogue body is finished! There were only a few minor blips, and it went by a lot more quickly than I anticipated. (Blips include me foolishly not trusting the pattern for a few minutes, p2 tog through back loop kicking my butt, and discovering a dropped stitch several rows after it was dropped. No real biggies.)

Now I get to read about how this hood thing happens. Seeing the construction of the front of the sweater, I'm sure it will be easier to visualize what the pattern is telling me to do. I've also heard something about incorporating short rows into the hood to get rid of the puckering elf look. I should research that before any major hood construction starts.

So here's the almost wearable Rogue body. I liked the color before, and now it's really starting to grow on me:

Thanks for the comments about the Annie Modesitt jacket. Before the comments, I didn't realize that she was the designer, or that it was a pattern from Vogue Knitting. I'm not sure it's my style (I tend more toward plain vanilla cowardly clothing), but I really like it. I'll have to get my hands on a copy of that issue of Vogue. I'm curious about the construction.

edit: I just tried on Rogue, as well as I could, considering that the shoulders aren't actually joined together yet. I'm really happy I decided to make the 39" size. Besides the length (which looks like it will be just about right, but which I'd have had to adjust for the 35.5" size), I think the smaller size just wouldn't have been sufficient for layering.

Also, what are your thoughts on blogging about the hurricane and its aftermath? I've seen some criticism of people who are not mentioning it, and to me that seems silly. Personally, I'm not blogging about it here (well, except for this) because it doesn't belong here. I've barely talked about it in my personal journal because I don't really know what to say that others haven't already said. Just because someone isn't talking about something in public doesn't mean that it's not affecting them greatly, and that they don't care a great deal about it.

And that's probably the last I'll talk about it here. (I seriously doubt that any of my knitting will intersect with this topic. I've seen the beginnings of knitting related charity efforts, but 1. people in that area are probably not in great need of knitted items, and 2. if it's for fundraising, I'd rather donate directly.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

odds and ends

  • You Knit What?? proves once again that I have no taste. I actually really like that pattern. I could do without the slightly frilly purple edging, and would love to see the pattern from the front, but I generally think that garment is really pretty, really creative, and pretty damn cool.

  • This isn't knitting, but it's artsy and awesome, so I feel justified posting about it here, in this misc. post. isketch is a really cool online pictionary-type game. It also has a studio, where you can just play with the drawing tools, without having to be in a game. Some people are really great with those tools. If you click here, you can see an animation of someone drawing a portrait of Joni Mitchell. It's amazing. (Also check out the rest of the gallery.) I've never been able to draw or paint anywhere close to realistically, so watching that really blew me away.

  • I really, really, want to knit more Retro Rib socks. I have some yarn that might be kind of cool with them, although I'm not sure yet. Of course, I have the lace socks for the swap to do first. But this is a definite knitting urge. I may have to alternate, and do a Retro Rib after the first lace sock is done. (The lace socks aren't due until Halloween, anyway. I have time to not do both of them right away!)



This week's installment of socks that rock my socks. (AKA wishful thinking; AKA planning for future sock mischief)

In stuff not related to socks, I finished the back of Rogue yesterday, and am a few rows into the front. Pictures in a day (or two or three), when there is something interesting to show. There should be something interesting and new fairly soon, as there is some cabling on the front. It should be very pretty.

I have yet to cast on for those sock exchange socks. I kind of wish I had different yarn for them, but I have no money for it, and have perfectly fine and suitable yarn already. I wanted to try variegated with this pattern, but the only somewhat variegated sock yarn I have is completely, totally wrong for this pattern. I may go with a contrasting color for the heels and toes, though. I'm not sure if that would look too sporty for this pattern, but I have a while to decide.

Monday, August 29, 2005

baby got back! (corniest post title, ever)

I can't believe how much I knit this weekend. I guess after working small gauge projects (like socks and the fair isle vest) and all-over cable things (like R.I.B.), something that is large gauge and mostly stockinette will be a quick knit. Plus, the cables on either side of the body really helped keep things interesting. While stockinette isn't always my cup of tea, knowing that after every 73 stitches of it I would get to work on cables kept me going.

Now that I made it to the back section, I'm in purl heaven. Yeah, I got to purl a bit when working the cables, and obviously got to purl when working in R.I.B. But I've really grown to enjoy the feel of purling across a whole row, without stopping. It's especially nice in my fairly crunchy yarn on bamboo needles. I love the friction of it, and with this yarn, each tug falls in place without any worry. Yay for purling!

So here's the post-weekend picture. Body is done (obviously), and I'm almost done with the back section. The front section will be slower, but more interesting, thanks to lots of pretty cables. mmm...

Sorry about the washed out color. It's overcast here, and even full spectrum lightbulbs didn't help. I wonder if having it on a darker blue background (instead of the taupe floor) made it look more washed out than it otherwise would have.

Oh, and thanks for the suggestions on the lace socks. I think I'm going to go with the pattern I had in mind when I posted about it last week. I realized that altering it will be even easier than I thought. It's not exactly an easy pattern (it's one that took me a while to get used to), but it's something for which I can memorize the pattern fairly quickly. With the Rogue hood coming up in the not too distant future, it will be nice to have a project that it pretty and fancy, but doesn't require me to drag charts around with me everywhere. (More details when I can post pictures elsewhere. I haven't cast on, yet, and want to keep the details secret.)

fyi: Blogger doesn't have the words "lightbulbs" or "taupe" in its dictionary. How weird.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Thinking about St. Brigid

I plan to knit St. Brigid at some point in the not too distant future. I've been thinking about this project for a long time, and already have figured out how I'm altering the pattern to fit me better. (Those of you who had been following along with the knitting stuff I posted on LiveJournal for a while have already heard this spiel.) I've also decided (I think) that I'm going to use Cascade 220, although I'm not sure which shade, yet. I have some general ideas in mind, but I really need to play around with color cards.

And then something eerie happens. Yesterday, Ms. SweetGeorgia posted a picture of the yarn she just bought for her St. Brigid. Not only is it also Cascade 220, but it is almost the exact shade I had floating around in my head for my Brigid. Eerie, eh? So, if I end up knitting a Brigid that looks exactly like hers, please know I'm not copying on purpose. I'm just lucky enough to share some of her fashion sense. ;-)

Of course, I may go with a slightly different shade. If I can find anything that looks like this beautiful shade recently spun up by Ms. BoogaJ, I'd be in heaven. Isn't that lovely? It's got hints of both reds and purples, and I think I'm in love. I jokingly asked her to spun up another 2,000 yards of it for me, but I have a feeling that's not going to happen. ;-)

I have plenty of time to figure out exactly what color Brigid will be. I don't have the money to buy a bag of Cascade 220 right now, and I have at least one major project planned for after Rogue but before Brigid. (Ingeborg!)

And now back to Rogue. I'm up to row 56 of chart A. There's a chance that I may finish that chart (and thus the in-the-round section of the body) this weekend. How exciting!

Friday, August 26, 2005

sock designing woes

Hey, look! My Rogue is as big as a TiVo remote!

I'm almost done with the repeats for the narrow part of the waist. I know a gajillion other knitbloggers have said it already, but I love how waist shaping is accomplished solely through the cables.

In less productive news, I'm starting over again with the sock I'm knitting for a sock exchange. I'll post the picture below. Even though the recipient doesn't want to see it, I'm almost positive that I'm going to choose a different pattern and start again, so this isn't actually her sock.

The first problem with the sock is that it's going to be too big. I didn't build enough negative ease into it. Even though the circumference is a bit less than it needs to be, it's not as much as it should. Secondly, I'm just not wild about the lace pattern, anymore. It looks good on paper, but I don't like how it's turning out. Thirdly, I kinda forgot to account for the fact that stockinette curls. (Yes, I realize the irony, as the motto of advanced_knit is "We know that stockinette curls". Yes, this sock is for an exchange run through that LJ community. *headdesk*) The lace pattern is only on the front of the sock, and there is no ribbing or garter stitch or anything on the back of the sock to keep it from curling down. I'm so stupid.

So what do I do? The dilemma is that the person I'm knitting for has a wider than average calf circumference, and a relatively large decrease from calf to ankle. She wants a sock with a lace leg, and one that is calf length. I think that the solution to this problem is ribbing, but ribbing and lace aren't necessarily good cousins. I feel kind of in a bind. I can think of a commercial pattern that does combine ribbing and lace, although it's not as lacy as I was hoping for. I would still have to alter the pattern to fit her, but that wouldn't be a huge deal. I really had my heart set on designing something for her from scratch, but the constraints are a bit much for this first time sock designer.

Does anybody have advice? I can think of one lace/ribbing pattern, which I alluded to above. (I won't mention it by name, because the sock recipient might be reading this, and doesn't want to know what she's getting.) Do any of you have patterns that you think might fit the bill? I have a feeling I might get suggestions for the pattern I'm already thinking of, but that's okay.

edit: I forgot to add that I saw the most amazing socks at the knitting group last night. They were made from a pattern from Classics in Kroy. Moss stitch, twisted stitch ribbing, gorgeous wavy shaping. It's hard to describe them, but get your hands on that book, and you'll know which ones I'm talking about. Half the people there were all over the book, so I think our LYS owner is planning on ordering a bunch of copies.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

brief Rogue update

I'm doing a bit of lunchtime knitting, and am just about to finish page 1 of chart A. (row 32).

I can't believe how quickly this is flying by. I still have an extremely long way to go, but 4.5 stitches per inch sure is a refresher. The yarn (Clasgens) feels so thick to me. It's definitely on the heavy side for a worsted, and really dense. As weird as it sounds, I am enjoying picking the bits of vegetable matter out, as I knit. It's one of those more rustic, less processed yarns, and I like the bits of evidence that this wool was once on the back of a sheep, who rolled in a bed of prickers. Not something I'd want on every project, but it's fun for now.

I will post an updated picture tomorrow. I'm hoping to get through the waist shaping cables tonight at the knitting group.

I just realized one downside to Blogger vs. LJ. Replying to comments isn't as easy. Oh, well. All a part of growing pains, I guess.

(Interesting tidbit of the day: Blogger's spellcheck does not know the word "Blogger".)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

socks and Rogue

I've got more knitting pictures, today: the finished socks, and the beginning of Rogue.
Here are the socks. You can see that the color patterning is slightly different between the socks. Also, one is a smidge shorter than the other. Close enough. They fit wonderfully!

pattern - Wendy's Toe-Up Sock Pattern
yarn - Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, color "Iris Garden"
thoughts - The next time I use short row shaping in socks, I'm going to explore other techniques. Wendy's method is functional enough, but I've heard that other techniques produce nicer looking results.

And here is the beginning of Rogue. I have just begun row 16 of chart A. The cables are starting to settle more into place. When I began them, I thought they looked pretty bad. I think it's going to be okay, though. Seeing how much this yarn relaxed after a bath, I'm fairly confident that any funkyness caused by stiffness will sort itself out in the end. (For reference, the curling slanty part at the bottom is the hem. It will be folded under and sewn in place, eventually.) The method of closing off the cables (on row 16 of Chart A) is fabulous. 7 lines of instructions were surprisingly easy to follow and figure out, and produced a beautiful result. I'm so excited when I get to do something new!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

sockapal-2-za lust

And now for my weekly "Socks I Want" post. (In which I meta-blog, and post links to swoon-worthy socks from Alison's weekly sockapal-2-za update.) None of these socks will ever be mine (okay, maybe one pair), but I want to wear/knit them all!

Rogue begins!

I knit way too much yesterday. What I did:

1. I finished the Lorna's Laces socks. Actually, I just realized that I may have left the holes formed when I finished the short row heels and started knitting the leg. I should close those up today.

2. worked on the swap socks (For the LJ "advanced_knit" sock swap) a little bit

2. knit a swatch for Rogue

3. started Rogue.

I really lucked out with the swatch. I needed to actually do 2 swatches, because part of Rogue is knit in the round, and part is knit back and forth. I know that my purl rows are usually looser than my knit rows in stockinette, which meant that I would probably have to use different needle sizes for those sections. I swatched for the back-and-forth parts first, since that is easier to do. I pulled a needle size out of thin air (have never knit with the yarn I'm using - Clasgens), and cast on. It was poifect! Both stitch and row gauge were exactly what they were supposed to be, which is something I don't achieve very often. I cast off. The swatch ended up not being anywhere near a full 4" tall, but it was enough for me to see that my row gauge was on. And if it turns out to be a tiny bit off, that's something easy to futz with. At least, I have experience with it.

I washed the swatch (and the new socks, while I was at the sink with my wool wash), to see if the yarn would bloom and make the swatch grow at all. It didn't! Well, the yarn did bloom a bit, and fill out the spaces in the swatch. But my gauge did not change one iota. Even better, the fabric relaxed a lot. Before washing, it was very stiff and rough. Now, this is a fairly rough yarn, so it was still rough after washing, but not nearly as much as before. Even better, the drape of the fabric was much nicer post-washing. It's amazing how much it relaxed. When I finish the sweater, I'm definitely going to try washing it with some hair conditioner. That might soften up the feel of the fabric even more. It's never going to be suitable for anything but outerwear, but that's what Rogue is, and was planned to be.

Seeing that the pre-work swatch (yeah, I sometimes get up and knit early in the morning...) was drying without wrecking my gauge, I decided to try out a faux-circular swatch for the body section. I did the i-cord swatch trick, where you keep on sliding the knitting back to the right needle, and strand the excess behind it. Not a problem with this, as I had 5 stitches of garter stitch as buffer on either side of the actual stockinette. No looseness problems whatsoever. While the back and forth swatch hit gauge on size 6 needles, I tried these on size 7, as I wouldn't have purl rows to loosen up my gauge. I didn't do a full swatch, but enough to see that I was going to hit gauge with size 7 needles. I didn't bother to wash it, since I already knew it wouldn't change the size of things.

And so I cast on. I had already printed the 19 page (!) pattern and highlighted the appropriate numbers weeks ago. (39" size, by the way. If it's outerwear, I need ease. Plus, there's no way for a 34" woman to get the recommended 2"-4" of ease in this pattern without playing around with gauge and/or rewriting the pattern. I'm in a straightforward mood lately, and I was to have none of that nonsense! 5" of ease, or bust! Pun intended!) I went with a Twisted German (or German Twisted?) cast on, and the twisted stockinette hem facing.

I was at about row 5 (of 12) of the wretched hem facing when I decided to Google it, to see if others had found it as wretched as I. I mean, it was pure torture. It didn't help that I went down to a size 5 needle, which is just plain too small for this yarn, which was only exacerbated by my combination of sticky yarn on Clover bamboo needles. (I went down 2 sizes and not 1 because it was an option given, and I heard that others have had problems with flaring hems. In fact, I've seen pictures. I think it looks bad, and I'm not risking it on my Rogue.) It turns out that a bunch of other people hated knitting the hem. I don't know how any knitter who accidentally ends up knitting twisted can ever possibly continue with the craft, assuming they aren't corrected right away. It's so hard! I'm not saying that because I'm used to knitting into the front loop (because I'm sure combined knitting isn't nearly this hard), but because the stitches pull so tight that it must be torture for a new knitter to make this mistake, on top of the tight knitting that I've seen most new knitters do, even when they are knitting in the traditional way. Also, I don't know about what happens to others, but the bias in the fabric was a ton more pronounced than I expected. It's super obvious in my hem (which is just fine), but I don't know how someone could look at that fabric and not see that something might not be off. It's totally diagonal.

Despite the torturous nature of the twisted stockinette hem, I pushed through. I read parts of through Jenna's (the designer's) site again, and she said that she preferred this hem over the ribbing option. I figured that I want the best result possible, and that trust in the designer was a good thing. I was so eager to get the stupid hem done, and to get on to the good parts, that I just pushed myself through as fast as possible. It was product knitting at its most torturesome, but I set a goal of 10:30, and made it with 5 minutes to spare. Then I gleefully pulled out my magnet board and chart A, and got on with the actual fun part (i.e. the rest of!) the pattern. For reference, I decided not to do a "turning row". Jenna mentioned that she doesn't do one because she doesn't like the look of the purl bumps on the bottom. I recently saw a picture of a Rogue where you could see those bumps from the turning row, and I agree. I much prefer the look of a smooth hem, so I left out the optional turning row. I suspect it will make properly tacking down the hem a bit more difficult later on, but I prefer that to the risk of bumps on my hem.

I have finished 4 rows of the actual non-hem body, and it feels so nice. 4.5 stitches per inch is huge for me, so even though each round is really long, it's so much shorter than I know it could be. The yarn is much nicer to work with now that I'm on proper sized needles and regular, untwisted stitches. And on row 5, I get to work my first cables. Whee! I've decided to not make the kangaroo pocket, so it will be fairly straightforward but fun knitting for a long while. I thought the kangaroo pocket would look unflattering and perhaps stretch out if I ever used it (which would be the only point of having it), so no pocket for me. If I want a droopy belly, I'd prefer to do it via ice cream, not knitting needles.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Rhapsody in Brown - finished!

It's done! I finished Rhapsody in Brown this weekend. Seaming the sides was easy as pie. (Who knew that seaming reverse stockinette would be so easy?) I'm also about 10 minutes from finishing the Lorna's Laces socks, but alas, the camera is again joining its owner on a camping and hiking trip, so no pictures until tomorrow or Wednesday. (This time it's a work related camping and hiking trip. That's what you get for living and working in New Hampshire. ;)

Here it is on the person it was made for. Perfect fit! Seriously, it really it is as close to perfect as I could have imagined. The sleeves are the exact right length, and the body length looks great on him. For some reason, the collar looks loose and floppy in all the pics I took of him. It must be a trick of the camera, and/or his posture, because it looked just fine in person when he tried it on yesterday. I'm so proud of myself for making a sweater that fits him so well, and so happy for him that he has one he can wear. And it's actually a sweater he will wear, so this isn't a pipe dream, or anything. (Head cropped to protect the innocent.)

Mmm... cables...

Pattern source - Rhapsody in Tweed, Fall 2004 Interweave Knits

Yarn - Cascade Eco Wool, just over 3 skeins. I love this stuff!

general notes - Would have been just under 3 full skeins, I suspect, if my gauge were on. My row gauge was definitely tight, so I ended up adjusting the pattern to account for this. I had an additional pattern repeat on the body sections, and had to completely redesign the sleeve increases to get a satisfactory shape. I also did an extra cable crossing on the collar, to get it to a good length. I'm really happy I went with a solid color of yarn. I think it looks better than the tweed version in IK. I'm also happy I went with a slimmer fit. It suits A's body better than a baggy sack of a sweater would. Plus, that's what he requested, and he really likes how it feels on him.

What I'd do differently next time - Not much, really. I think I could have gotten away with making the neck even longer, but I'm happy with it as it is, too. I did make some judgment calls with how to continue the cabling pattern when doing the neck shaping on the front and back pieces. I stopped patterning a bit earlier than I needed to, in the fear that cables at the very top of those sections would make the shoulders too bumpy and bulky. I'm not sure if this was the right decision. It might have been, but it's something I'd consider again if I were to make the sweater again.

Now I have a whole bunch of yarn leftover. When I say I used just over 3 skeins, those are 3 amazingly huge skeins. That means I have most of a 4th amazingly huge skein leftover. A. definitely wants a hat to go with the sweater. I just have to decide how to pattern it. I may go with plain stockinette or ribbing, but may decide to use that small cable (the one running down the sides of the body and the arms) to make it match. I'm really sick of that cable, but I won't make the hat right away, so I'll probably be ready to do more of it in a few weeks. I might also make a scarf, but given how seldomly A. wears scarves, I might be better off making a few hats. (A couple for him, and one for me.) He likes hats.

Now for the weather to get colder, so he can wear it. It already feels like Autumn is coming. The mornings are getting chilly, and the leaves on the cherry tree are turning yellow. In a month or so, I bet it will be cool enough for him to wear it on one of our walks around Goose Pond. I made the sweater in a darker color specifically so he wouldn't be afraid of wearing it on walks like that. It can get a bit dusty. The perfect New Hampshire sweater. :-)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

It's like running a marathon!

Well, the good knitting news is that sewing sleeves onto a drop shoulder sweater is easy as pie. it went very smoothly, and looks damn fine, if I'm allowed to make that judgment.

The bad knitting news is that seaming is just plain draining. There's something about it that just tires me out, even when it's going smoothly. It must be the intense concentration required. I was completely beat after attaching both sleeves, so I guess I'm leaving the rest (seaming up both sleeves, seaming up both sides of the body, weaving in ends, and other little tweaks) until this weekend. No finished sweater to await A. when he gets home tomorrow, but I suppose we'll both live. He wasn't expecting it, anyway, so the disappointment will only be my own.

Time for bed. I'll get pictures up as soon as I can. The camera and its owner return tomorrow! Yay!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Remember how today was supposed to be the day for seaming R.I.B.? Well, yeah, that's kind of not happening. I got seduced by the call of lace.

So while R.I.B. is still sitting in pieces on the couch (it has the luxury of splaying itself about in such an untidy manner, as I have the house to myself this week), I have picked the lace pattern(s), dug out my other size 1 DPNs, swatched, and written out the pattern.

I'm trying to decide whether to chart out the lace patterns. I'm using the Flemish braid and accompanying left and right "cable" twists from the Walker book. The one downpoint of her book is the lack of charts. Gah. The good thing is that both patterns are purl on odd rows (well, knit for me, since it's in the round), which means I only have to worry myself with even rows. But the Flemish Braid is a total of 16 rows, which is kind of long to follow in non-charted form. Even worse, the twists are 10 rows each, so the patterns don't repeat in sync with each other. This means it won't be as simple to use a row counter to keep my place. The question is whether I want to take the time and effort to char them out in Excel. It might make things easier, but it would be tedious, and if I made an error (which I'd be unlikely to catch right away, as I'm not very experienced with lace), it would be a royal pain in the bottom.

Well, regardless of the charting issue, I am quite pleased with my general progress in the planning of these socks. Here is my extensive pattern writeup. It's mostly for my own benefit, but if any of you feel like taking a gander at it, let me know if you catch anything that looks out of whack. I changed my mind multiple times about stitch number (how much ease to have in various parts), how many stitches to put on the heel flap, and the best way to divide stitches between needles. So it's quite possible that my numbers are off somewhere, from all of those change. But I'm pretty sure I got it all straightened out.

using twisted German cast-on, loosely cast on 109 stitches
distribute stitches over 4 needles, and join in the round

knit one row, redistributing the stitches as follows:
n1 - 29
n2 - 29
n3 - 29
n4 - 22

start lace and stockinette pattern:
n1: k22, left twist
n2: k2, flemish braid, k2
n3: right twist, k22
n4: k22

continue following the lace and stockinette pattern for about 1"

decrease section:
decrease two stitches every other row 6 times (12 sts decreased in total) Do so by doing a k2tog or ssk on either side of the twists, leaving 2 stitches of stockinette buffer.

continue knitting the lace and stockinette pattern until the leg is about 6"

knit across the first 10 sts of n1; put the remainder of n1 stitches on n2; turn

heel flap - purl back across those 10 sts, across all of n4 (slip first insted of purling), and then across 10 sts of n3 (put remaining n3 sts onto n2)

k1 sl1 (knitwise) across

continue as set across 48 heel flap stitches until flap is about 2"

turn heel -
knit across 28 sts, ssk, k1, turn
sl1 purlwise, knit to 1 st. before gap, ssk, k1 turn
sl 1 purlwise, purl to 1 st. before gap, p2 tog, p1, turn
continue until all sts have been worked, ending with p-side row, and 28 sts remaining

gusset - pick up and knit an appropriate number of stitches along side of gusset, continuing only center part of lace pattern when you get to the instep stitches.

do gusset decreases every other round (k2tog or ssk 1 stitch in from end of needle) until there are about 77 stitches in total

continue with foot until it is about 7.5" long. Figure out toe shaping from there, based on stockinette row gauge.

project round-up

I thought it would be a good idea to do a projects-in-progress recap here, in case there are any new readers who may be lost.

To begin with, I just added a link to an album for my finished projects. You can find it in the sidebar. If it's before mid-October when you are reading this, you can also click the sidebar link to my pre-August posts on LiveJournal. That contains more pictures, including a link to my LJ knitting gallery. All of those photos will go *poof* in October, so click soon if you are curious. If you have any questions about any of those projects, feel free to ask them in a comment.

Projects in Progress
  • Rhapsody in Tweed, from the Fall 2004 issue of Interweave Knits. I'm calling it Rhapsody in Brown, or more likely, just abbreviating it R.I.B. I'm using Cascade Eco wool in a dark chocolate brown color. I'm quite close to finishing it. I finished the collar yesterday, and all that's left is the finishing work. In fact, I'm hoping to finish it today or tomorrow, time permitting. Here is a photo from a while back:

  • Northwest Sunset Fair Isle Vest, from the book Sweaters From Camp. This project is also nearing completion, although I may set it aside for a while. I finished knitting the body, and got as far as cutting the steeks before I set it aside to work on R.I.B. I'm using the yarn and colors called for in the pattern (7? different shades of Jamieson & Smith jumper weight Shetland wool), and while I've loved working on this project, the harsh yarn and frequent color changes have worn me out a bit. The next steps for the vest are to knit the armhole borders and the button bands. I think it's going to be more work than I'd like to believe. It's something I know I'll get the urge to complete some time in the next couple of months, so am happy setting aside until that urge hits. Here is a picture, from immediately post-steeking:

  • various socks - I am in the process of finishing up a fairly plain pair of socks out of Lorna's Laces, and am in the planning stages for some lace socks for a sock exchange. I'll post pictures of the LL socks fairly soon, as I'll probably want to go and finish them up soon after I finish R.I.B. this week.
  • I have the cuff of one Nordic Mitten (pattern from the Winter '04 IK). I am unsure about whether I want to finish these. On one hand, I have all of the yarn, which was not easy to acquire. On the other hand, I'm beginning to think that the busy colorway is not really my thing, and that for something like mittens (where frequent color changes are hard to hide and, because of the small circumference, so damn frequent), doing them in a 2 color variation might be smarter. Maybe I'll just rip them out and let the yarn sit around until I'm inspired to use it for something else. I'm so undecided about these.
Upcoming Projects
  • Rogue - Yup, the famous pattern from the Girl From Auntie. I have the yarn (Clasgens, in a light-ish blue) and pattern, and may swatch for it when I'm done with R.I.B. and the LL sock. Whether I start this next week depends on how guilty I feel about setting aside the fair isle vest.
  • Ingeborg - Pattern from Dale of Norway book #126. I still have yet to buy the pattern, but luckily have most of the yarn. I am going to use Brown Sheep Naturespun sportweight yarn. This is the same yarn I used for Elizabeth I, and I really love it. I happen to have a ton of the scarlet colorway leftover from Liz, along with a 14 oz. cone of a cream color I bought on a whim from eBay. (At the time I thought I'd knit a version of Liz for myself, as the red one you can see in my finished projects gallery was a wedding gift. Unfortunately, I'm completely worn out on that pattern. It was a marathon and a half.) I plan on buying more of the same kind of yarn in black (or "pepper") to round things out, and closely match the suggested colorway I like best. I'll probably start this some time in October. There are a few people on the Yahoo group knitalong who are interested in a round-2 of the knitalong. We decided on October-ish as the starting time, so that's what I'll stick to. I can't wait to start, as it's a gorgeous sweater, and looks like a really fun project. I adore Nature Spun!

Please let me know if you're interested in seeing any higher-res photos of any of the above projects. I just uploaded a couple of fairly low-quality photos, as I currently have better photos hosted elsewhere. I'm going to try to post nicer photos in my actual knitting updates, but figured I didn't want to waste much space on these little demos for a catch-up post.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

about bowerbirds

Welcome to bowerbird knits! This is the new incarnation of my old LiveJournal blog. I'm going to try to cross-post things to LiveJournal and here at blogger for the next few weeks.

I suppose I should explain how I chose the name for this place. A few weeks ago I saw an episode of Nova about bowerbirds. I was completely amazed. I had heard of them before, but had no idea the extent to which they create gorgeous structures and patterns. The structures they build aren't for protection, or for raising chicks. They're solely for decoration. More specifically, the males build them to impress the females.

While I don't think of my knitting as an attempt to attract anybody of the opposite sex, I do acknowledge that one aspect of blogging (and an arguably big one, at that) is showing off. But on a less selfish level, blogging about my knitting is writing about the (hopefully) beautiful things I create for the love of creating them, not just because they may serve a practical purpose. While I'm sure I'm anthropomorphisizing the bower birds to some extent, it was hard not to get the impression that some of what they do is because of the art of it, and the pleasure that art gives them. While I may never decide to incorporate huge beetle carcasses or stolen army-issued waterbottle caps into my knitting, I totally appreciate the sentiment that drives the bowerbirds to do so in their own creations. I want to be able to appreciate beauty of the spontaneous kind, as well as the more well thought out forms of beauty.

So that's the story of the blog name. I am easily swayed by PBS programs. And believe me, this blog came very close to be named "hippoknits". Unfortunately, I couldn't think of a way in which knitting earnestly reminds me of hippos. But if you ever have the opportunity to see the episode of Nature about hippos, I couldn't recommend it more highly.

So there's that. Read, comment (if you feel you have anything to say), and enjoy. All are welcome!