Monday, October 31, 2005

blocking and digesting

Endless stockinette has ended! The fields of purple are blocking, and I'm very happy. I really can't believe I knit all of that without a break in the form of a more interesting project.

So it turns out that the Peruvian Highland Wool expands a bit more with washing than my swatch led me to believe. Either my swatch wasn't big enough, I didn't measure accurately, or (most likely, I think) the swatch wasn't thoroughly soaked. It only got a soaking under a faucet, while the sweater soaked for a couple of hours (I almost forgot about it) in the washing machine. This expansion isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. The sweater would have fit me to the size I knit it, but it would have been on the smaller side of my preferred sizing. It should still fit just fine at this slightly larger size. And heck, winter is coming, which means I'm likely to expand a little bit from my preferred size. (One must prepare for hibernation with lots of Halloween chocolate and cookie dough from a tube!)

(EDIT: I just looked at my Flickr photo page, and realized that this photo is almost the same as the one I posted on friday. The only difference is that I happen to know this is post-washing, and that it's pinned out more carefully. Sorry for the boringness.)

Here's the sleeve. You don't get a picture of the rest because it was more than a bit unwieldy to try to get a photo of it all. After I saw the expansion, I didn't bother to think of it as blocking for size. I just pinned out the pieces to the size they wanted to be, so I can seam curl-free.

So the plan is to seam tonight (if stuff is dry), do 87 miles of icord edging tomorrow, and install the zipper on Wednesday. In the meantime, I have a fairly simple hat to design for A. That won't be an exciting knit, either, but I know he wants the hat, and I'm very happy to knit it for him. Plus, the yarn will match Rhapsody in Brown, so he can be all cool and coordinated.

After the hat, I'll probably try to finish up the lace scarf. I can't wait to get back to it, even if I'm sick of blues and purples. I don't think I'm going to order the rest of the Ingeborg yarn for a couple of weeks (when I get my next paycheck), but maybe I'll also swatch for that soonish, so I have something more challenging to work on. I'm really itching to do some fair isle again. I think I actually have enough sock yarn to make the Mamluke socks from the Folk Socks book, so I may work on those, too, to keep me sane during the next couple of weeks.

Of course, I may throw all future knitting plans out the window so I can knit myself my very own digestive system. I seriously want to make one, and hang it from the living room wall as modern art.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Apricot Jacket; YKW rant

I completely forgot to mention my newest obsession. The newest project for my "must do yesterday" list. Thankfully, this is more of a Spring type project, so I'm not even going to worry about putting it in the lineup, yet.

It's the Apricot Jacket (scroll down a tiny bit) from Rebecca 27. Yum. I looked up some of the technical info yesterday, and it looks like Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece could be a good sub for the recommended yarn. The recommended yarn is more expensive (I think), and a cotton/acrylic blend. I definitely choose a cotton/wool blend over that, and have been hoping for an excuse to knit with Cotton Fleece. Plus, my LYS carries it. Even better, the whole thing should only take 4 or 5 skeins, making it a relatively cheap project. So if I haven't started talking about this project again in March or so, please give me a poke.

While I'm here, can I be a little ranty? There are a couple of blogs that snark ugly designs on a fairly regular basis. I don't mind that. Usually they pick really hideous stuff, though I personally prefer the 1972 plaid bodysuit type patterns over the fun fur disasters. (It's just too easy to sneer at fun fur, and the vintage disasters make for better witty commentary, which is 90% of what makes those types of posts worth reading.) But snark the stuff because you think it's ugly, not because you're intimidated by color changes and weaving in ends. My opinion is that there should be encouragement for patterns that challenge knitters to do stuff like lots of color changes, and to tackle projects that may require more than your average dose of patience. Snark the poncho because it's a poncho. Snark the fringe because it's from 1975. But snarking the fact that it would take a lot of workmanship and patience to complete is just lame. In my snobby opinion. :-)

(And I have to admit that if you turned it into a jacket, and took off most of the fringe, I think I'd like that pattern. The colors work well together, and the pattern combines them in interesting ways. For a poncho, it's pretty neat. For a poncho.)

Sleeve; drooling over things made from Heilo

I finished the first Samus sleeve. Even though I had moments of cursing at it (in my head) because I had to do 7 extra rows at the end of the increasing to get it to a proper sleeve length, I had a great time finishing it. Maybe that's because I got to pig out on tons of goodies at the knitting group, and bask in the immeasurable cuteness of C's felted mittens. (Seriously, they were the cutest knitted items I've ever seen in person. All in a row in a little platic baggie! I almosted melted on the spot.) She also read to us from one of Harlot's books - the list comparing parenting to knitting. I couldn't make to any of Harlot's in-person readings, but since C. is a little Harlot-like in appearance and demeanor, she made a good substitution.

(pinned not for blocking, but just to display it without curling)

Jessica just pointed me to this glorious picture of finished fair isle socks, knit from a pattern in the Folk Socks book. I happen to have that book out from the library right now, and those socks I linked to are so much nicer than the ones in the book. Not that I don't like the ones in the book, but seeing them on actual legs makes all the difference. The pattern calls for Heilo. My LYS carries Heilo. That's so tempting. (For the record, C's felted mittens were made of Heilo. It felts amazingly well.)

I want to knit just about every pair of socks from that book. Other socks that have really caught my eye are the Highland Schottische Kilt Hose and the Latvian Socks. The Kilt Hose call for Naturespun Sport, so I think the leftover scarlet NSS I have leftover (first from Elizabeth I, then from Ingeborg) are destined to become those socks. I don't know if my legs can pull them off, but I may knit them for Sockapalooza 3, if there is a Sockapalooza 3. I also notice that the Latvian Socks are knit in yarn from Schoolhouse Press. If I win that gift certificate (I know I'm going to be so disappointed when I don't), I might have to buy a skein of Helmi Vuorelma Oy Satakieli for those, in addition to the J&S I need.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

meme (with photos!)

Felicia from sweetgeorgia just tagged me with a meme. I can always use a short mid-day break.

I must start with a confessional. Although I've been knitting on and off for about a decade, it's only been a year since I've really delved beyond the world of Wool Ease rectangles. Now, I knit some very fancy-schmancy Wool Ease rectangles back in the day. But still, that sort of knitting doesn't give a person a lot of perspective on the variety of fibers, yarns, and patterns out there. I've knit a ton in the past year, and learned a lot of stuff, but I still feel that I have a lot to still experience in terms of yarns and pattern preferences.

In other words, if you're reading this a year from now, don't count on the answers to still be the same.

What's your all time favorite yarn to knit with?

If forced to choose, I think I'd have to pick the butter soft Malabrigo worsted weight merino yarn. The stuff is so soft that you can barely feel it. This would also be my favorite yarn to wind by hand.

In terms of sock yarn (because that's a different category, right?), my favorite to work with so far has been Lorna's Laces. I have a feeling that may change once I cast on for my Cherry Tree Hill socks.

Your favorite needles?
This one is easy. I'm all about S R Kertzer "The Collection" bamboo circs. They're a little smoother and pointier than Clovers, and have a better join and cord. (And since I've had multiple different sets of Crystal Palace needles self destruct in my presence, I'm not even going to bother with a comparison with them.) I only have a few pairs of these, but when I'm rich, I'm going to collect the whole set.

The worst thing you've ever knit?
Does it count if I had the sense to not finish it? If so, I'd have to say my first project ever - the way too wide garter stitch scarf I learned to knit on. The yarn was hideous green and white variegated Red Heart acrylic, and I believe I was using size 4 (i.e. way too small) aluminum straights. It was way too wide, full of mistakes, and just disgusting. Thankfully, this was a decade ago, and I didn't own a camera. No photographic evidence! bwahaha!

Your most favourite knit pattern? (maybe you don't like wearing it...but it was the most fun to knit

I might have to go with Retro Rib socks. Now that I'm on my third pair, they're not as exciting anymore, but I really do love the pattern. It's simple enough to remember without being boring, and it's impossible to lose your spot once you can read your knitting. I don't have to use a row counter to keep track of pattern repeats, and it's one of those patterns where you find yourself saying "just one more repeat...".

But since I've already established that there can be both sock and non-sock answers to one question, my other answer is the Northwest Sunset Fair Isle vest. Once I got comfortable with the whole fair isle thing, I loved knitting it.

(And for those of you keeping track of stuff, no, I still haven't acquired the extra yarn I'll need. I submitted a bunch of photos to the KBTH photo contest. One of the prizes is a $25 gift certificate to Schoolhouse Press. Maybe I'll win! If I do, 2 skeins of J&S, to finish the vest, are definitely on my $25 shopping list.)

Most valuable knitting technique?
My Wendy-esque fair isle technique of knitting continental for both colors, and dropping the one not in use. It took me a while to figure out that that's what works best for me (at the moment). Finding a technique that allows me to knit fair isle with a semblance of skill and confidence has opened up to me a world of knitting I've been wanting to delve into for a long time.

Best knit book or magazine?
There are too many books to choose from, so I'll just say my favorite magazine is Interweave Knits. I like that they publish designs that are simultaneously interesting and wearable.

Your favorite knit-a-long
Definitely Sockapal-2-za, if that counts as a knitalong. Alison's weekly updates provided me with tons of eye candy and sock inspiration. Plus, I got awesome Koigu socks out of the deal. No contest.

Your favorite knitblogs?
I'm destined to leave some greats out of this list, so apologies in advance. But looking through my Bloglines list, I get most excited when I see that the following blogs have new posts:
And that's just for starters. Click the link in my sidebar to see the list of all the blogs I read on a regular basis. None of them would be there if I didn't enjoy them.

Your favorite knitwear designer?

My favorite designer of gorgeous knitted fabric is Alice Starmore. Since so many of her designs are boxes with sleeves, I don't know if it's fair for me to say she's my favorite knitwear designer. (Though she did design the decidedly un-boxy Elizabeth I sweater.) I don't personally mind boxy most of the time, but the wearability factor is not why I love her designs.

That's the best I can do. I haven't knit enough sweaters to have a really good answer, yet.

The item you wear the most?

Besides various socks, I think my BPT Cardigan wins. It was the first sweater I knit for myself, so it has a time advantage in terms of number of wearings. Plus, it's soft as sin, comfortable, and hooded. It may stay in the lead for a while.

Tag time!
Hmm. I don't have a ton of readers, and don't have a very good idea of what other bloggers are reading, so this is tough. I'll just tag Jessica for now. But anybody who wants to be tagged can consider themselves tagged. (Schizospider, a little while ago you mentioned that you were thinking of starting a blog. If you're up for the challenge, consider yourself tagged to start that blog and then do the meme!)

sleeve and socks (and lots of purple)

And onto sleeve number 1. It's amazing how motivating periodic increases can be.

And here is the completely different thing I talked about a couple of days ago. Well, completely different from Samus except for the fact that they're also purple, also knit from Brown Sheep yarn, and both patterns come from Knitty.

It's the socks I knit for the LiveJournal advanced_knit sock exchange. I sent them out a few days ago, so I assume it's safe to post a picture today. They're Jessimuhka's Falling Leaves sock pattern, from the latest Knitty. I knit them cuff-down (instead of toe-up), and use Brown Sheep Wildfoote sock yarn, in a slightly sparkly purple color.

I'm so sick of purple, it's not even funny.

As an aside, I had a dream last night in which I bought a whole lot of Sweetgeorgia's sock yarn, at $3.85 a skein. I was really disappointed when I woke up. I really want some Buffy socks. It will have to wait, I guess.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Samus body; shocking mitten search

1. I finished the Samus body. Photographic proof:

2. I've been contemplating these mitten kits for a while. Yesterday, I tried searching for a couple of them, in the hopes of finding pictures of completed mittens (as opposed to those black and white illustrations), opinions about the yarn and pattern writing, etc. My first search was unsuccessful. My second search, for info on the Frostrosen mittens, was more successful. This blog entry has a picture of finished mittens, plus information suggesting that the fit of my Nordic Mittens may be correct, despite the floppiness at the fingers. However, there were other hits for that search. Why don't I just show you a screenshot of the search results page, which contains all the results:

See anything strange? Just keep looking. You'll see it. (Hint - it's at the bottom.)

Do I even want to know why/how that happened?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

more on Samus; promises of good things to come

Samus is starting to look like something other than a big blob of purple:

I think this means I'll finish the body today, as I did more than half of what was left yesterday. Then I guess I'll do the cabled sleeve cuffs tomorrow, and maybe even push through and finish the sleeves this weekend. At this rate, I could have a finished sweater in a week!

I think the depressing weather is helping. I probably wouldn't be putting as much time into knitting if I had to use mental energy that has gone away, with the sun. Sitting around on cloudy, rainy days and mindlessly plugging along on stockinette seems to be a good combination.

Last night I got a bunch done while watching Nova, and then listening to David Rakoff's latest book, in audiobook form. I love his voice and reading style so much that I could probably get myself to knit stockinette for days, if I just had his voice as motivation.

I know a fairly boring-to-watch project, combined with my rain induced bad mood makes this place not so exciting this week. But I promise to post a picture in a day or two that will be completely different, and new to at least some of you. Oh, and it's a finished project, which adds to the excitement a tiny bit.

And while I'm on the topic of good things, I heard from the lovely recipient of Elizabeth I, and it sounds like it does fit her nicely. I hope she sends pictures soon, because I'm incredibly eager to see it on the person it was knit to fit.

Monday, October 24, 2005

seas of stockinette

Mass quantities of stockinette, it is:

You might not be able to tell from the photo, but that's 360 square inches of stockinette, plus the beginnings of the right front, with armhole shaping. *phew!* I truly didn't think I would get through all of that this weekend. At some point, I swear the more I knit, the shorter the body length got. Some may call it measuring inaccuracies, but I call it hell.

Funny enough, I think I have it in me to continue with more stockinette today. I finished the right armhole shaping, and only have 30 rows (of 32 stitches each) to go before I do the right shoulder shaping. That's nothing. Plus, the yarn is nice to work with. I've been afraid to do a friction test on my swatch, though, to see about pilling. I have a sneaking suspicion that this sweater will be a pill monster, but if it's not, I'm definitely using this yarn for future projects.

the forecast for this week: stockinette, stockinette, stockinette, cabled sleeve cuffs, stockinette stockinette...

Unless I get sick of it, and need to work on the lace scarf or retro ribs. Or swatch for Ingeborg. 'cause fields of stockinette are boring for both knitter and blog reader.

Friday, October 21, 2005

lunchtime knitting

I picked up stitches to start the Samus body during lunch. Despite my lack of super duper crochet/needle tool (which sounds like it may already exist), it went fairly quickly. Even more important, it looks a lot better than I thought it would . The edges of the cabled section are definitely messy and uneven looking. I managed to completely hide that in how I picked up stitches, and will hide the other messy edge when I add on the icord edging, later. I'm thrilled with how the transition to the main stockinette part of the body looks. Sometimes the simple things can be the hardest to make look nice, and I'm fairly proud of how mine looks. Let's see if I can make the sleeves look as nice.

I also played with my Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn during lunch. I bought it wound in a fairly tight hank, and decided to wind it up, so I could get a better look at how long the color repeats are in the variegation. It was hard to tell, in the hank, whether the repeats were more Koigu like, or longer repeats that would be more likely to pool. It's definitely Koigu-like, with really short strips of color. I'm happy about that. The colors now look even more brilliant and saturated than they did before. I tried to take another photo of the yarn, but I know that, like my other picture, they will do it no justice. I just can't capture the vivacity of it. I'm going to have to figure out how to do that, eventually, because it will one day be socks that will deserve a good photo in my album.

The hank was huge. By that, I mean that the circumference when I unfurled it from its twisted state, it almost maxed out the circumference of my swift! I ended up creating two separate balls, so it's all ready for socks. One ball is a bit lighter than the other, so I guess I'll start with that one. That way, if I don't run out of yarn for the first sock, I can knit the second sock with no worries. I should do toe-up socks, so I can use every last bit of yarn, but I know I'll probably end up doing cuff-down socks. I just like the fit and the process better. I'm leaning toward just doing a plain rib. I wore my Koigu socks yesterday, which was their first outing that involved serious walking. They were perfect, and I might just try to emulate that pattern. I've never done a 3x1 rib before, and I really like it on those. (Those were my Sockapal-2-za socks, so I didn't knit them myself.)

I really want to cast on for those socks this evening, but I won't. I still have the Retro Rib socks going (though I plan to try the CTH yarn on size 0 needles, so that's not an issue), and I should plug away at the stockinette on Samus as long as I can stand it. It's also tempting to swatch for Ingeborg. Now that the mittens are done, I have tons of Naturespun leftover, and will use the mitten colors for my 'Borg swatch. I want to save up every bit of the Naturespun I have in the sweater colors for the sweater, and possibly for making the hat that goes with it. And even though I have a ton of the red (leftover from Elizabeth I), I want to have 2 or 3 skeins of it untouched for a sock pattern that would be perfect for it. I might have more to say on that sock project this winter, if there is a Sockapalooza 3. The socks I have in mind are glorious, but I don't know if my legs have the personality to pull them off.

Okay, back to work. I just had to gush about my lunchtime knitting. Keep your fingers crossed that my Monday photos will include tons of Samus stockinette. After a few inches, I'll probably need some outside motivation or divine intervention to get it all done. :)

The idea that will make me rich. (In my dreams.)

I finished the Samus bottom band this morning. Here is an attempt at an artsy-fartsy shot.

I started to mark it off with stitch markers, so I can attempt to pick up stitches somewhat evenly. I have it divided up into segments in which I'll have to pick up 21 stitches. I think that's more do-able than trying to pick up 168 evenly all around. If I screw up, it's a lot easier to do 21 stitches again than it is to do 168 stitches again.

In regards to picking up stitches, I had a brilliant idea last night. Unfortunately, this brilliant idea won't help me for this sweater. Plus, it's only a brilliant idea for those of us who are complete gimps at picking up stitches.

Okay, it's not true that I'm a complete gimp at picking up stitches. I'm only bad at it when I try to do it with a knitting needle. I just can't physically do it. I've tried and tried and tried, but the only way I can get those suckers is with a crochet hook. That works just fine, and I have a wide enough size selection in crochet hooks that I'm never at a loss for one that will fit the job, but it's kind of annoying. Every 10 or 15 stitches, you have to break your stitch-picking-up rhythm and transfer the stitches from the crochet hook to the needle.

So here's the big idea: one of the companies that manufactures interchangeable needle sets (preferably someone like Boye, since they go all the way down to size 2) needs to come out with crochet hook attachments. That way, pickup gimps like me don't have to stop several times a minute to transfer stitches from hook to needle. We can just go and pick up with our crochet hook attachment to our heart's content, and when we're done, snap/screw off the crochet attachment and put on the regular needle attachment. I know they make those super long crochet hooks with ends on them, for some sort of crochet that I don't know how to do, but those won't do. When I use a regular crochet hook to pick up stitches, the key to it working is being able to slip the stitches off the back end of the hook and onto a needle. You can't do this with those, and if you need to pick up stitches on a circular garment or around an armhole, you couldn't use straight needles for long lengths, anyway.

Does this exist? Is there a market for it? If I write to Boye and Denise and the folks who maske the bamboo WEBS set, will they take my idea and run, or will they give me a commission (preferably consisting of mass quantities of cash and/or weekly Koigu deliveries for life)?

On a completely different note, my knitting karma is high this week. At the knitting group last night, I asked the LYS owner if she had any back issues of Vogue Knitting. She said she had one from last winter. It turns out that it was the one. Ya know - the one I talked about yesterday, with that gorgeous cable/rib cardigan. In fact, I think there were only 2 issues of VK in the store - that issue, and Fall '05. Talk about lucking out! Instant gratification, plus no need to pay for shipping. Woohoo! I hate Vogue's layout, but I'll put up with it for that sweater. I'm thinking it will look nice in a plain vanilla worsted yarn, such as Cascade 220. Maybe it will be my big project for after Ingeborg. Minus the boob pockets, of course.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Samus progress; fun links

Now that the fun fair isle pictures are done, for now, I fear things will be a tad less interesting around here. Hopefully not too uninteresting. I do have cables today, to precede endless stockinette that I suspect will begin this weekend. Here's the bottom band of Samus, at not quite 4 complete pattern repeats:

Look at that lovely patch of sun it's sitting in. Sun! How novel!

I didn't get much knitting done yesterday, as it was a night out with friends and Italian food. I'd love to finish the band today, if I can. Today is work, post office (if I finish work early enough to walk there before it closes), library book sale, then knitting group. Then tons of stockinette. I really like working with this yarn, and love the needles (big fat size 8 Bernat bamboo circs, with nice sharp points), so maybe the stockinette will be a nice knit.

Interesting things of note, not related to Samus:
  • Looking through the StatCounter info for who's been visiting this place, I noticed a lot of hits from At my Knits End. It looks like I'm the "NEWK of the Week". I'm not sure what that stands for, but that blog is home to the New England Knitters web ring. My best guess is "New England Wicked Knitter". I hope that's right, because that would be wicked cool. (Even though I lived in CT for 5 years, they don't use "wicked" as a modifier down there. So now that I live in wicked cool NH, I'm trying to incorporate that into my vocabulary.)
  • Happy Mac / Sad Mac sweater!
  • I desperately need to make this sweater. In fact, I'm fairly certain I need to make it before St. Brigid, which I thought might be my next big aran project. I think I'll be scouring the web for more pics of it and places to buy that issue of Vogue Knitting during lunch today. Yum.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

official finished mitten photos below!

The mittens are finished! Here are a couple of pictures:

The blocking worked well, although I think there are a few spots that would have come out a tiny bit better if I blocked them right side up. Will I re-block? Eh, probably not.

The blocking also made them flat, and a bit squished. Also, the blocking made them really big. I think they're the intended size, as the gauge post-blocking is exactly spot on. The thumbs are still a bit small, though I think that they feel that way at least partially because the rest of the mittens are so big.

So what do I do with HUGE mittens with smallish thumbs? Well, I could line them. Or I could find someone with big hands and small thumbs to give them to. I could try re-blocking the thumbs, too.

Things I learned from these mittens:
  • spit splicing is still my friend
  • fair isle likes to be inside out on DPNs.
  • Sometimes it is worth the effort.
  • Space heaters make things dry so much faster!
  • If you take things off the blocking towel too early, they will be slightly less perfect. Sometimes this is worth the instant gratification, because they wouldn't have been perfect, anyway.
Does anybody else get strong but weird associations with bits of their knitting? I don't have stuff like that for most of the mittens, but I have distinct memories associated with knitting both thumbs. The first thumb was knit largely during lunch, when temptation got the best of me, and I watched the Biography on The Facts of Life that my TiVo decided to record for me. (It's it amazing how any show like that makes even the silliest of sitcoms sound groundbreaking and profound? And the sad thing is, I buy it every time. Even for frikin' Facts of Life!) The second thumb was largely knit while watching a Nova about volcanos. That was okay, but it's really my right mitten thumb that will always remind me of Mindy Cohen talking about how she wanted her character to be the first to lose her virginity on the show. Good ol' Mindy!

And while I'm on the subject of mitten thumbs, I have no idea how this happened:

See the loopy thing at the base of the thumb? Beats me how I managed that, but it doesn't seem to affect anything, so I'm not going to tempt fate by cutting it.

Sorry if this post was a bit disjoined. I'm trying to fit in all my mitten pictures and finished project celebrations before work, which has made me a bit frazzled. Up for tomorrow: cardigan I must make; Samus update.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

2 blocking mittens, aah ha ha ha ha!

Blocking! Blocking blocking blocking!

(Sorry for the darkness. No sun today, and I was determined to not use a flash.)

I finished up the second mitten last night, inclusing the weaving in of all ends. As you can see, they're not exactly the same size. I think the right mitten is a tad bigger. Let's make believe this was a design consideration. Nobody is perfectly symmetrical, and I'm fairly sure my right hand is a tiny bit bigger than my left hand. (Also, let's not forget that this may not be the end of the blocking saga. Time will tell.)

The first mitten is still noticeably damp. Darn. I'll try to hold out, and unpin them tomorrow morning.

I was happy that I knitted in the ends on the cuff of the second mitten. Yeah, it would have been neater if I spit spliced those, too. But at least weaving was better than nothing. I was all pessimistic about whether I'd finish weaving in ends last night, but then I remembered that I could just take the scissors to the cuff ends, which felt awesome. Then I was just left with a few ends at the top of the mitten and the thumb ends to weave in. I ended up knotting the ends for the thumb as I was knitting. When I was doing the finishing work, I untied and retied the knots so the yarn lay flat and smooth, then wove in those ends.

As you can see, I also started Samus. I'm halfway through the first pattern repeat for the hem. That knits up more quickly than I anticipated. I guess only having 26 stitches per row helps a lot. I really enjoy working with the yarn (Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool), but I wish the cables were a bit crisper. It will do. I've had this yarn for almost a year, and I need to do something with it.

Hopefully there will be official finished mitten pictures tomorrow, as well as a photo of the super (not-so)secret weirdo mistake that is only visible from the inside. If not that, perhaps photos of me trying to re-block. Keep your fingers crossed that this blocking will work well!

Monday, October 17, 2005

mitten blocking, take 1

The joy of working from home is that I can decide on a whim to throw something in a nice Eucalan bath, and then pin it out during lunch.

I thought it would be nice to see how blocking the first mitten goes, before starting to block the second, which is still in progress. Well, that, and I was impatient. After seeing how much more relaxed and even the stitches looked after a good soaking, I decided to just do a plain old pinning out for blocking, instead of something fancy, like stuffing it with a plastic bag of crumpled newspaper.

As you can see, I pinned it out palm up. I would have preferred to pin it out with the top facing up, as I'm more concerned with how that looks than with how the palm looks. However, since humans are built with thumbs that bend in under, not over our hands, and since mittens are designed to fit these hands, I pinned it out upside down. That way I could also attempt to pin the thumb out, to add a little length to it. So it should be a surprise (hopefully a nice one) when I unpin it tomorrow. I did stretch it a bit widthwise, so hopefully that will erase any puckering, even if I can't see it until I unpin it.

So do I wait until it's dry and unpinned to see if it works, and then block out the second one? That would be the responsible thing to do, but since the palm of the mitten looks so nice and even right now, I'm going to assume the top does, too, and will probably pin the second mitten out tonight. That way I have one day less to wait for a finished pair.

so close

I didn't finish the second mitten this weekend, but I got pretty close. Only a few more rounds to go on the hand, and then the thumb.

This is my first photo with flash in a while. It was an accident, as I didn't realize the camera was set to use a flash. I took a bunch more without flash, but this one turned out to be the best. Not the greatest photo, but one of two that were in focus, and of those the best that showed off the pattern the best. Also, bonus toes! Kind of a shame that I used the flash photo, though, as there was an actual patch of sunlight for the mitten to sit in today. It's been so long, I almost believed the sun was gone forever.

I've been using spit splicing since ending the cuff, until the last color change. I decided that the rounds were getting small enough that spit splicing was no longer a wonderful idea, and I left ends. Actually, I tied a knot, and then left ends. Yeah, my colorwork technique is still very much in the experimental phase. If Wendy Johnson can tie knots, and if Kaffe Fassett can tie knots, so can I! Right?

If I can finish up the knitting and weaving of ends today, I'll try to also block the mittens before bed. Even so, unless we decide to have a fire tonight (which means the house will be super dry), there's very little chance that I'll have a real finished photo tomorrow morning, as the mittens will still be drying.

So what's up next?
  • I still have the Retro Rib socks on the needles. I'm in no hurry to work on them, and am in fact reluctant to work on them just to finish them. I like having them there, for no-brainer knitting, 'cause you never know when you'll need some.
  • Yeah, the fair isle vest. The thing is, none of my begging requests to trade for or buy scraps of the color(s) I need have been successful. I think I'm going to just buy extras the next time I make a J&S purchase. Part of me is tempted to contact Schoolhouse Press, as I bought the yarn from them in kit form, and shouldn't have run out. Seeing as I did manage to keep my gauge pretty on, what they sent should have lasted for the entire sweater. But I'm not sure if it's okay to ask them to send me more, or to expect it of them. Plus, there's the issue of not knowing whether I'll actually run out of one of the two colors I'm worried about. The other color, I'm fairly certain won't last. So the answer to when I'll work on the vest again is when I get the yarn. For all I know, it may have to wait until I eventually buy yarn for the Autumn Color Cardigan. I just can't stomach paying shipping for just one or two 25 gram balls of yarn, ya know? (But boy, would I die and go to heaven if I could get the stuff locally...)
  • Samus. I've got the yarn and have done the swatch. I predict that I'll cast on for it as soon as I finish the mittens. If I can figure out how to print out the chart on one page. When I tried to print the pattern as a whole, the chart was broken up between two pages. Suck! If I can't figure out how to do it, I may just throw my hands up in the air and buy the pattern for Eris instead. I'm not a very patient person right now. :-)
  • I have leftover Cascade Eco Wool that will become a hat for A. In fact, I think I have enough for several hats. This won't be a huge project, but at some point I should sit down and design it, so I can cast on. I'll probably go with something really simple.
  • Ingeborg. Not until Samus (or Eris) is done.

Friday, October 14, 2005

mitten and scarf pic; things that make me go yum

Obligatory progress picture:

I finished the third pattern repeat on the scarf, and you can see where I am on the mitten. It's supposed to rain all weekend (again), so I may get lots of knitting done. Can I finish the mitten? Well, if I don't get too stir crazy from the weather, maybe it could happen.

A few days ago, someone posted links to some of my mitten pictures on her blog. Woohoo! I felt all special, and have been collecting some stuff for a karma returning good things post:

Thursday, October 13, 2005

hugs to harlot

The one knitting blogger who can consistently make me laugh is also the first one to make me cry.

mitten and scarf updates

Waiting and starting over on the hand of the 2nd mitten was a good idea. I started over again last night, and it's looking much better. I think the fair isle is better than on the first mitten, so far, and the spit splicing is worth it. It's so nice to work with what becomes one long strand of yarn, instead of dealing with ends and weaving or knitting in or whatever. In the picture, the beginning of the round is on the far right. I need to start splicing a few stitches earlier, I think.

But before I picked up the mitten again, I finished the second pattern repeat on the lace scarf. I wanted to see how it looked with two full repeats, and wanted to make sure I wouldn't forget where I was on the chart when I pick it up again. I think it looks much better than with one pattern repeat done, now that the inbetween bits are fully visible. I think shooting it on a dark background works a lot better than a light background. Who knew?

I like how the lace pattern doesn't look quite as angular as yesterday. It's definitely somewhat angular, but there is also a subtle curve to the leaves, which is part of what drew me to this pattern. I'm quite happy with the way the pattern is emerging. I don't anticipate working on this scarf super quickly. It was a very nice break from the mittens, and it will be nice to work on while I'm doing the boring stockinette parts of Samus. Maybe I'll bring it to the knitting group tonight.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

we all know what L stands for!

So I decided that the second mitten wasn't going well, and ripped back to the cuff. Actually, two rows past the cuff, since there was no reason to get rid of two perfectly good rows of single color stockinette. Knitting it right side out wasn't working for me, and I think I'll be okay doing inside out again. It was just that combined with the knitting in ends that was a bit overwhelming, but now that I'm committed to spit splicing or leaving ends again, it will be fine. So why did I rip out what I had?:
  • The way I was weaving end, with putting more than one end in the same row, was bulkier than I'd like.
  • My fair isle was more uneven than I'd like. Also, the gauge in the first few rows was too loose.
  • I did what I originally did with the first mitten last spring - I forgot to start the thumb gusset after row 7. d'oh.
  • I just wasn't feeling it. My fair isle mojo was gone.
I'll start on the hand of the mitten again this week or weekend. But I needed a break from all the problems I was having, so I started something new. I pulled out the Walker pattern book I got from the library, charted the Gothic Leaf lace pattern, and started knitting a wide lace scarf with the lovely Blackberry Ridge wool/silk laceweight that R. got me. I love this yarn, and can't wait to order some lace kits from them in the future. So far I'm a bit over a pattern repeat into the scarf. Here is a kind of blah picture. We haven't had actual sunlight here in forever, and it was hard to really pin it out in a place where I could get a nice photo of it. So you can't see much detail.

The chart was easier to write than I imagined. It guess it helps that this lace pattern only has knits, purls, yarn overs, ssk, and k2tog. Super simple. The only thing is, I had to do some funny stuff to accomodate how the pattern repeats work in the later rows. Here is a shot of the chart:

I included wrong side rows (all purl, except for the garter border, which isn't charted) to make it easier to see the pattern in the chart. The bold lines enclose repeats. Notice on even rows 14-20, things get wonky. Now, this charting method works perfectly fine, but I know there has to be a way to make an actual rectangular chart to represent this. Right now, you can see the repeat has to extend off to the left. The K2, K3, and K4s typed in there just mean that on the last repeat, I do that many knit stitches at the end of the repeat, instead of what is represented in the repeat section.

I'm fine working with this chart, but any ideas on an alternate way to chart this, so it doesn't appear so funny, like this? I admit that I haven't put a ton of thought into it, yet, as I wanted to get knitting, and this method is functional.

By the way, Lou asked about the Nordic Mitten pattern. It's from the Winter '04 Interweave Knits. I'm using the exact colorway specified in the pattern, so any compliments on that should be directed toward the designer, not me!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

mitten 2 is still wee

Knitting has been slow going. I've finished the cuff and 7 rows of the second mitten, but it's been a bit of a struggle. I've stopped knitting in ends, and have started spit splicing. The weaving in was just too bulky - bulkier in my opinion than the method I used to weave in after the fact, as everything was getting woven in in the same row, and every time you change colors, there are 2 ends to weave in at the same time. So I think I'm going to stick with spit splicing, and heck, even do it for the more abrupt color transitions. Maybe I'll leave loose ends when I'm at the smaller circumferences in the thumb and end of the hand, when it would be a pain to do such frequent splicing.

I'm also having some tension issues I didn't have on the first mitten. I think a lot of it was my tension going all wonky from trying to pay attention to knitting in ends at the same time as doing fair isle. Also, I'm trying out keeping the DPNs in a more traditional configuration, with the knitting not inside out. This means more potential for tension problems at the needle transitions. It may mean that this mitten is not as nice as the first one, but I want to figure out how to do fair isle on DPNs this way, because I strongly prefer it to knitting on the far side of the DPNs, with the knitting inside out. If I can get decent on it with this sacrificial mitten, I'll be much happier when it comes time to do sleeves in fair isle.

Also, here is a photo of my pretty new beaded stitchmarkers. Using them feels like wearing a pair of pretty earrings or something. I'm not used to wearing or using fancy stuff, and it makes everything feel special. Much nicer than ugly, pain in the butt plastic stitch markers.

That's it, folks. I'm going to concentrate on finishing up the mittens this week, if I can. I'm still brainstorming ways to block them, so if you have any bright ideas, please do share.

I'm getting a bit depressed about upcoming stuff. Samus is definitely going to be one of those projects I'm knitting more for the finished product than for the process. The cables will be fun, but it's mostly plain stockinette, and I'll want to poke my eyes out from the boredom, I'm sure. I'm thinking of casting on for a lace or cabled sock when I start Samus, which may be next week, so I have something more exciting to work on when the cables are done.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

suicidal DPNs; mitten cuff; yarn porn; food and porn (no, really!)

DPN tragedy, order of events:
  • Snap size 1 DPN while knitting socks.
  • Search for other set of size 1 DPNs. Only find aluminum set, which may be all I had. Don't use them as 1. they're aluminum (old yard sale find), and 2. I think they're mislabeled and actually size 2 DPNs.
  • Go to LYS and buy new set of size 1 bamboo DPNs. yay!
  • Come home and start using the new set to knit the socks. I'm a bit anal about using a matching set, so set all 4 surviving needles from the old set aside, and use all 5 new ones for the socks.
  • Realize that if I want to start the second mitten, I need size 1 DPNs for the cuff. Knit sock onto the 4 surviving old size 1 DPNs, so I can use my matching set of 5 new needles for the mitten cuffs.
  • Cast on for the second mitten, using my full set of new size 1 DPNs. My pristine set of DPNs. My virginal set of DPNs. Beautiful and smooth and ignorant of the evils of the world.
  • About 1/3 of the way through the cuff, I fail to put down the free needle as I tug at a strand of yarn to break if off. I hear a crack. As my hand rebounded from pulling apart the yarn, it caused the needle I was holding to slam into my leg. It cracked.


Yes, I managed to break my second needle in 2 days, less than 12 hours after it emerged from its shiny new package. So now I have two sets of 4. Seeing as how I consider using 4 DPNs instead of 5 akin to picking my nose with a screwdriver (in other words, damn unpleasant), I am 1. forced to use a mismatched set to knit with (not the end of the world), 2. unable to work on the socks again until I'm done with the mitten cuff (also not the end of the world, but frustrating). Worst of all, I'm just plain furious at myself for doing something so damned stupid. Part of the reason why I'm so upset is that I also bought sock yarn yesterday. That, plus the needles, means I spent a bunch more than I had hoping to spend. So what do I do? I ruin my purchase in the same day. I'm so stupid and foolish.

Well, the good news is that I'm more than halfway done with the cuff. Soon I'll move onto my size 2 DPNs, which should be able to come through their time in my cursed hands more intact. I hope. Here is a picture. Notice the stitch marker! I don't really need a stitch marker to tell me where the end of the round is, but it's one of my new beaded markers, and I was eager to use it.

I love corrugated ribbing with an irrational passion. Sure, it's a bit more fiddly than regular fair isle knitting. But it looks so very pretty, and the more I knit, the more I like purling. Knitting may be faster, but I think purling is more relaxing.

I am knitting in my ends. It's a bit wonky now, as I have to skip stitches due to the corrugated ribbing. (Can't weave in on the purl bits.) But I think it's working just fine. I'm going to play with my technique when I get to the fair isle bits, in an effort to get something that will hold the yarn a bit more securely. My technique now is okay, but I think I can make it better.

Here is the Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn I bought yesterday. I don't even know if I should bother posting this, as I found it impossible to get a photo that really shows the colors off nicely. They look really muted and almost pastel here, compared to how vibrant and saturated they are in real life. The colorway is "Champlain Sunset". I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the yarn, yet. Obviously socks, but not sure what pattern. I may just go with a plain ribbed pattern, to show off the yarn.

Oh, and all of this talk of new stuff obviously means that I finished weaving in ends on the first mitten. I still need to block it, and will probably wait until both mittens are done and blocked before posting a "finished" picture. I'm a bit unsatisfied with the thumb - it's a tad short (will block out, I hope), and there are some mistakes. There are colorwork mistakes at the bottom that nobody will probably ever notice. I also flubbed the tip a bit, and it looks slightly ugly. I don't know how to fix it, so I will live with it, and hope the second one comes out better. The top of the hand of the mitten could also be better. It's just so hard to knit with decent tension when doing those tiny circumferences.

This post has been slightly depressing, at least for me, so I'm going to brighten it up with completely off topic stuff. As I was typing this, I was listening to public radio. I think the show might have been On the Media. I didn't hear the beginning of the interview, but from what I gather, they were interviewing a guy who was trying really hard to make a point about how food television is like porn. He talked about how filming food is much harder than it looks, kind of like oral sex. Then he went on to clarify, I think, that it's difficult to film oral sex, so I don't think the comment was on the difficulty of actually performing oral sex. Some other quotes:
  • (On having multiple takes of finished pies or whatever, to make the final product look nicer and easier than it might otherwise): "This comes right out of porn ... You make your sex slop, instead of your food slop."
  • "Iron Chef is the classic fetish porn film."
I'd die of laughter if laughing didn't make me cough uncontrollably, which might make me literally die of laughter. Yes, it has nothing to do with knitting. But this brilliant food-porn analogy, from public radio, had to be shared with the masses. Can't wait to see what sorts of search results lead to my blog, now! ;-)

Friday, October 07, 2005

oh the pain; weaving in info

I was going to knit a couple of rounds on the sock before lunch. Then it happened.


Those used to be my favorite DPNs. I have more size 1 DPNs, but I think they're slightly thicker. I guess they'll do.

Thanks so much for the comments about weaving in ends as I go. It's not something I've done before, and before I did some searching, not something I'd seen instructions or pictures of before. I found a couple of sites with instructions or tips:
It seems like a great idea, but I do worry a bit about weaving them in tightly enough using that method. Do any of you know of sites that have more detailed pictures or instructions? I should be more than fine with what I have, but more information is always better. I'm not 100% sure I'll use the method for the second mitten, but it's definitely something I'll think about, and will definitely try in the future.

mitten guts

The thumb is done, and I've started to weave in ends.

The whole weaving in ends thing is going to take longer than I thought. Jessimuhka suggested a photo of all of the ends to weave in, so here it is:

Sorry for the slight fuzziness, but I guess you get the point. Yesterday A. said it looked like a furry fish. Or maybe a fish with a beard. I've been in a snot induced stupor for a few days, so I can't count on myself to remember anything correctly.

Maybe I'll finish this weekend. I'm working from the cuff up, and am up to the first row of orange on the hand. I'm sick sick sick, and didn't even go to the knitting group last night. But I think I'm finally starting to feel better.

With all of these ends, I've been thinking about using spit splicing for the second mitten. Why didn't I use it for the first? I guess I thought it would be too much trouble, and I was concerned about color changes that were somewhat abrupt. There's no steek in which to hide color change blips, and unlike a sweater, a few stitches of twisted or incorrect background color is a significant percentage of a row. I think I'm going to compromise on the second mitten and only spit splice for the color changes that are more subtle. There are two very similar reds, a brown and tan that are fairly similar, and I think I can get away with spit splicing the blue/green transitions. The others I'll still leave hanging ends on. I think another reason I decided not to spit splice the first mitten was because it decreases portability (I use water, not spit), but I've seen reality, and this project is not portable even without spit splicing.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

more mitten pics and some housekeeping

I finished the hand of the mitten yesterday. I still have to do the thumb, though. Here are a couple of pictures:

Boy, was the top fiddly. Working with so few stitches on the needles, in fair isle, while doing decreases. I like how it looks, though. After I go inside again to tighten up stuff and weave in ends, it should all look nicer.

I measured gauge again last night, and now the ruler says I'm spot on (9 spi and spr). I'm obviously going a bit batty, eh? The thing is, it's really hard to measure at the same time as I'm stretching the mittens a bit, to see what things will be like post-blocking. So I don't trust the stitch gauge.

On a housekeeping note, I edited my blogger template so the post area is wider, allowing me to post wider photos without having them creep over the edge and interfering with the sidebar. Not such an issue for vertical photos, like today, but it's nice for when I have horizontal photos. I know little about CSS, so I haven't yet been able to fix the appearance of the title bar or the curvy thingies at the ends of the area boxes, but I'm not super concerned with that. However, if any of you are CSS geeks, any advice would be welcome.

Also, if any of you care, I've converted to Flickr for my photo hosting needs. Uploading directly through Blogger was just too much of a pain, and Flickr is really, really neat. At some point I'm going to move my finished project gallery from Photobucket to Flickr. It might have to move a little at a time, though, if I keep uploading new pics at this rate, since Flickr has a monthly upload limit. (A very generous one for my needs, but I'm on a photo kick this month!)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

on gauge (or not)

I think I started the mittens in March. Back then, I did swatch for them. The funny thing is, it didn't even occur to me to re-swatch when I picked them up again this week, 7 months later. It probably would have been a smart thing to do, seeing as I've completely changed my fair isle technique since then. (Not that I actually had technique back then, as much as flailing and frustration.)

I just whipped out my ruler, and my gauge is off. I'm supposed to be getting 9 stitches and 9 rows per inch, but I'm getting something between 7.5 and 8 stitches per inch. Row gauge, surprisingly, is spot on. (Actually, maybe not so surprisingly. If anything, my row gauge tends to be tighter than it "should" be in relation to stitch gauge, for most patterns.)

The mittens seem to fit well enough, and I'm not completely set on keeping them for myself, anyway. I actually think my stitch gauge my shrink (grow?) to be more like 7-7.5 SPI with blocking. There is definitely some stitch unevenness and puckering, so it's hard to get a super accurate measurement. Plus, I only measured across one inch, instead of 2 or 3 or 4. My measurements might not be 100% accurate.

Why this talk of gauge, anyway? I want to use the same yarn (Brown Sheep Naturespun sport) for Ingeborg, and was curious to see if the gauge I'm getting on the mittens is anything like the gauge I'll want to get for Ingeborg. For Ingeborg, I should get 9 rows per inch and 7 stitches per inch. That's pretty close to what I'm getting now. Not surprisingly, they suggest size 3 needles, and I'm using size 2. I'm not going to use the mittens as a gauge swatch for Ingeborg, but it is reassuring to see that the yarn will work for 'Borg. I've been really set on using this yarn as I like it, I have half of what I'll need, and I can afford it. I've been a bit worried that the Naturespun sport would be a bit too light, as it has more yardage per 50g. than a lot of sportweight yarns. I am no longer worried.

What will I do if I get the same gauge (7.5spi, 9rpi) when I swatch for Ingeborg? Well, I could go up a needle size to get closer to stitch gauge, as row gauge doesn't seem to matter much at all for the pattern. I have only read through it quickly, but it looks like you stop knitting when you get the body and sleeve lengths that you want, not when you're up to a specific point in the pattern repeats. If my row gauge is off, I'd just have to recalculate the sleeve increases, which is fairly trivial. On the other hand, a slightly tight gauge and a good, sturdy blocking is also appealing. In my limited experience, fair isle looks best after it's been tugged around a bunch, and having to block 7.5spi to be 7spi might be good for it. I guess I'll cross this bridge when I come to it.

By the way, for those of you with more fair isle experience, what are your experiences in swatching in pattern? I always see fair isle patterns that tell you to swatch in the pattern being used. Does the pattern you're using actually affect gauge? Maybe one day, when I'm really bored, I'll play around with this.

Oh, and Tipper asked about the yarn I'm using for the retro rib socks, whose heel flap is in the previous post. The yarn is GGH Marathon. I don't know the name of the colorway, as the label is either hiding or lost. I wasn't sure whether I'd like the yarn, but it's fairly nice to knit with, and the colors are more interesting and nicer than I thought. I got it in a trade, and it was somewhat of a gamble for me. It isn't that well suited for fancy patterning, but as this is my third pair of retro ribs, I don't much care that the pattern isn't as apparant as it would be in a solid color.

fringed mittens?

1. I can't begin to express how insanely jealous I am of this. 88 skeins of Koigu. 88 skeins of Koigu. It makes me lightheaded just to think about it. My eyes got misty when I thought of how much money it would take to buy 88 skeins of Koigu.

2. Thanks for the abundance of comments on yesterday's post! Y'all are great.
  • Looking at the final Rogue pictures, I'm really happy. When I look at it in person, it's hard not to see the tiny little flaws in it. But looking at the pictures, I can be much prouder of it. Eventually I'll forget about the little flaws, but it's hard not to see them so soon after I made them.
  • Yes, I really am happy I'm doing the mittens in full color. It is worth it, and having people confirm that is a good thing. (See "fringe" picture below for why encouragement is good.)
  • Tipper - are you thinking about using Clasgens yarn for your Rogue? Let me know if you want a sample to swatch with. I have plenty leftover, and would be happy to send some your way. Also, I think Koigu and black Baby Ull mittens sound fabulous. R., who visisted last weekend, was working on a fair isle hat with (doubled) Koigu and Cascade 220. I love the look of variegated knit with solid colors like that. Are you going to use the Koigu as the background or foreground? I think it would look good either way.
3. I have mitten progress pictures. I am one row away from beginning the toe fingertip decreases. I was all happy about how close I am to finishing the first mitten, when I remembered that I will also have to knit a thumb. Not that thumbs are big or anything, but I really don't like knitting small circumferences like that in the round. Only having a few stitches on each DPN is a pain.

And here is what the inside of the mitten looks like. No, it doesn't have a fringe. Those are ends to weave in. Weep for me.

4. When I want to knit, but can't pay attention to fair isle, I'm working on socks. Remember the Retro Ribs I started back when I was having lace troubles? I'm back to working on them again. Isn't this a lovely heel flap? I certainly like it.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

finished Rogue pics, pretty fair isle pics

EDIT: Please let me know if the pictures appear stretched in weird ways. For some reason they look weird in Safari, but not in Firefox. Comments on this appreciated. Thanks!

Here are the Rogue pictures!

Those are the best modeled shots I could manage on my own. It's really hard to take a good photo of myself in this sweater that actually shows off the sweater well. Those of you who have been following the progress already know that the first picture is the most color accurate. The bathroom lighting completely washed out the color on the modeled shots.

  • pattern: Rogue hooded pullover, from the girl from auntie, 39" size
  • yarn: Clasgens worsted weight wool (though I'd definitely classify it more as an aran weight). I think the color I used was "delft blue".
  • pattern alterations: I followed the pattern to the word, for the most part. I chose the twisted stockinette hem option, although I shortened the hem length to just 1" for the sleeves. I also added a few rows to each sleeve, right before the caps, since I think my row gauge was a tiny big tight by then. Other than that, I can't think of anything I did differently.
The seaming process was the smoothest I've done, so far. It helps that this is the largest gauge sweater I've knit, I think. (Actually, the gauge may be the same as the BPT cardigan, but that required no seaming.) Even doing the set in sleeves was pretty easy. I followed the pattern and made sure that things were sized correctly while blocking, and it all fit together perfectly. There was no need to "ease" things into place. I just started pinning in the sleeves, and lo and behold, everything fit and lined up perfectly. This was the first time I seamed the sleeves together before attaching them to the body, instead of after. I think it's only a coincidence that the setting in process was so easy this time, as having the sleeves in tube form did make it more awkward to pin and sew them into place. I'm not sure that I'll use that order of operations again.

The hems were much less trouble than I thought they might be. I decided to just go ahead and try the Clasgens for them, and it wasn't too thick to do the job well. I just whip stitched the hems, going through the back loops on the wrong side of the sweater. It looks just fine, and like it does in the picture, so I suppose that was a good way to do it.

And now for the fair isle. Since I'm still searching for extra yarn for the vest, I started working on the mittens first. I've been knitting them "inside out", to make sure the floats between the needles don't get pulled too tight. It's kind of a pain compared to the way I usually knit with DPNs, but I'm starting to get used to it. My tension isn't perfect, but it will block out to be beautiful, if I can figure out how to block mittens well. Note that in the picture below, I'm wearing the right mitten on my left hand. That way I could show off the presence of a thumb hole and still take a picture with my right hand. I tried to take a shot with my left hand, with the mitten properly on my right hand, but that just wasn't going to happen.

Also notice how I'm actually using all the background colors in the pattern, instead of going the lazy route and just doing the background in one color. I asked A. for his opinion, and he thought that two different colored mittens (as I'd probably have to use two separate colors for solid backgrounds if I did that) would look silly, and if I was really doing them for the process of doing them, I should go all the way. While I don't think fraternal mittens would look all that funny, I do think that multicolored cuffs with monochrome background hands would look a bit weird. Plus, I started to feel bad about taking the easy route for the background. So I bit the bullet and am doing all of the background color changes. This makes the project less portable, but more pretty.

Monday, October 03, 2005

My head weighs 75 grams

But before I talk about lightheadedness, I have a finished project to announce. Yesterday I finished the second sock for the LiveJournal advanced_knit sock exchange. I'm not going to give a lot of details here, as the recipient wants to be surprised. However, you can click here to see a picture and specs.

In addition to finishing the socks, I finished Rogue! Yes, it was definitely a banner day. I don't have completed Rogue pictures, yet, as I'm in the process of re-blocking the hood. I was going to try pinning it into shape on a flat surface, but that was before I encountered a wonderful yard sale. On the way back from the library on Saturday (where I picked up Folk Socks, which is already covered in a thick layer of drool) I spied a yard sale. There was lots of super cool stuff, including an old ringer washer. Another interesting find was a plastic garbage bag full of heads. Don't worry - they were all styrofoam. I found the least dirty and banged up head, and brought it home for all of 50 cents. In retrospect, I should have just bought the whole bag.

The head was an even luckier find because it turned about to be almost exactly the same circumference as my own head. I don't have a very big head, so I consider this fairly lucky. Last night, after I was done with the socks and with all of the Rogue seaming and hemming, I pinned the hood to my new head. I think this form of blocking will work beautifully. It necessitated many, many pins, and a lot of tugging, but I think it will be great when it's done. I spritzed it with a bunch of water, and will leave it until at least tonight before I unpin. Here are some photos. (Doesn't the first one look eerily like the scene at the end of the first Harry Potter movie, where the Voldemort ghosty thingy flies away in a cloak? That's certainly what it reminds me of.)

I'll post more images of Rogue, as well as notes on finishing and the yarn, tomorrow.

I do have one more picture, today. My friend R. came to visit this weekend, and she brought me a gift! I now possess a skein of Blackberry Ridge lace weight wool/silk yarn, in a gorgeous blueish-purplish color. The skein is 2.3 oz., and more than 350 yards. (It would be 350 yards if it were 2 oz, I think.) I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it, yet, but I can't wait to knit with it. I've been wanting to try their yarn, and R. picked the absolutely perfect yarn for me. (She was right in guessing that I'd prefer the silk blend over the mohair blend.) I'd heard that their lace weight was thick for a lace weight, and that's certainly true. I'd be tempted to call it a light fingering weight yarn. It would be perfect, I think, for the Flower Basket Shawl. However, I'm not sure that I want to knit the Flower Basket Shawl. I think I'm going to look for a different small shawl pattern, or maybe a lace scarf pattern. I want something relatively advanced. Do any of you have suggestions for patterns? (No, I don't want to knit Branching Out.)

As you can see, R. also gave me chicken buttons. bwok! I have no idea what I'll use them on, but I'm sure that I'll knit something good enough for chicken buttons one day.

I think that's it for today. I'm so happy to have a post with interesting updates, as I feel this blog has been rather blah for the past couple of weeks. Tomorrow should be fun, too, as there will be more Rogue pictures. There will also be new fair isle pictures. Yup, I picked up one of the two fair isle projects again last night. I'll let you wonder about which one until tomorrow.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

complete and total teaser

Why you need to check back in on Monday:


This makes me irrationally happy. And, yes, it does have something to do with knitting.

If you were hoping for actual knitting content, I told you this post was a teaser. Nothing's been done since my last post. I was too busy buying artificial body parts! (Okay, just one.)