Monday, March 23, 2009

Springy Socks

Spring cleaning has struck hard. I've got a house full of relatives scheduled for next month, and I'm determined to have a garden this year. Between those two events (and of course, my two underage assistants), not much else is getting done. We spent much of yesterday at the hardware and garden store, then at home putting our purchases to immediate use. In honor of all this spring work, I've got socks in blues and greens! The patterns are all variations of my own (still not updated, but on its way).1. House socks for Will. They were deemed to have too many colors to wear out of the house, but I loved the colors. I previously blogged them, but finished them on Friday. 235 yds of essential, no longer bare.

2. Scattered Showers sock blank socks. I realize that the entire point of the blanks is to have symmetrical socks, but I would the skeins in opposite directions. I still like the effect. The thing that I didn't account for was the color variation. Due to an utter lack of patience while Sweet Pea and I were dyeing these, I didn't presoak them. Thus, the dye didn't penetrate totally, and made a lovely, almost heathered effect. I adore them. I finished them Sunday night and wore them immediately (hence the low light photos)! 281 yds.
3. Sarge Socks. These are also essential, but not hand dyed and the color deemed boring enough to wear outside the house. These are officially Will's first hand knit socks, but I hadn't gotten around to blogging them yet.

This brings the total to 3498 yds knit this year! I cast on two new projects, but am not sure how much knitting time all this cleaning and gardening will allow!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Pictorial Clarification

I knit a lot. I knit while playing with my kids, while reading, while we drive to errands at night, playing WoW, while on the phone, while waiting in line (children permitting), while the rest of the family is finishing their dinners. I also knit during the rare quiet nap time, or in the morning with my coffee, or at night while I listen to my husband play guitar.

Because the first set of circumstances occurs much more frequently than the second, I try to always have something mindless on the needles. Prior to the 'spring forward' time changed bemoaned by so many, most of the driving knitting occurred in the dark and necessitated stockinette or plain ribbing. But, I'm not sure that my last post accurately I stressed the stockinette situation. We have...

2nd sock of the House Socks. This is hand dyed knit picks bare, hand dyed. This will be my husband's 2nd pair of hand knit socks, and I love the colors so it's vaguely interesting to knit. The pattern is my own, done from the toe-up, with a gusseted heels that looks a helluva lot like a traditional toe-down sock when you're done. In looking up the link, I can see that I need to update the pattern some. I've knit a half dozen pairs since then and have fine tuned it a bit. The heel is turned in the second sock and now it's just round and round and round until the cuff is done.

2nd sock of the Scattered Showers Sock blank. I usually knit socks on size 3 needles, as I like a looser, less hot fabric. This was my first experiment on smaller needles, and went straight into hibernation after the 1st sock was finished. This is also my own pattern, also dyed by us. The toe is done and it's round and round and round until the heel.

Next up is a sweater that I'm designing. I was considering submitting it somewhere for publication, but I think it's not really original enough. So, I'll publish it here, if there's enough interest. The sleeves are done and we're on to the body. And it's round and round and round (with slight shaping) until the sleeves are attached.

A solution to round and round and round? Cables. Back and forth. I have some more mods stewing around in my brain, and will post them if they work out.

Monday, March 16, 2009

WIP it Good

As I cast about for something to blog, I realized that this weekend was terribly short on FOs. After slaying the Cashmere Beast last week, I have had very few interesting things going on with my needles. In fact, after the kids went to sleep on Friday I looked around and realized that I had nothing I wanted to knit.

Well, nothing that was already going. So, I quietly crept back into my room (where Little Dude had finally fallen asleep) and grabbed the yarn and needles for the Pfeiffer Falls Hooded Scarf. The pattern didn't grab me at first, but the more I've thought about it, the more I've been dying to have this particular... accessory. When I was in elementary school, my best friends mom had a hooded scarf like that one, and it seemed genius to me. Just genius. I was 6, but I was dying for one. So, I cast on yet another project.

This post is light on pictures because the computer that I usually use to archive my pictures currently sounds more like a Cessna than a Sony. It's having a well needed rest. Don't worry, the pictures are all backed up elsewhere, but I hope to bring you more interesting fare soon.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Weighing In

I got one. A scale. Not only do I have it, but it now has batteries, a lovely balsa wood box and it's own dedicated notebook and pen for record keeping. It is a wonderful, fabulous way to quantify how much yarn I actually use. A great way to keep track of how much stash I am actually busting. And I love it.

Now that I have a way to keep track of it, I'm going to set a goal. 12 miles knitted (or spun, if I do get a wheel) this year. That's 21120 yards.

I am co-opting this idea from my fabulous friend Tika, an am also setting a goal of 12 miles. I have no idea how realistic this is, but I'm getting more comfortable setting goals without being 99% sure I can achieve them. I mean, failure is okay sometimes, right? (Hold on, my eye is twitching so hard that I can hardly see).

I've been keeping track of all FOs since 1 jan, 2009 and here are the standings:

I-Cord, No Sew Knucks: 84 yds
Telemark Kids' Mittens: 49 yds
Selbu Cuffed Mitts: 100 yds
Citrus Vines: 431 yds
Telemark Stars Hat, Brown and Blue: 109 yds
Telemark Stars Hat, Purple and Gold: 115 yds
Set In Stars: 475 yds
Manly Silver Scarf: 257 yds
Cashermino Hat, Purple: 84 yds
Sarge Socks: 106 yds
Cashmerino Stashbusting Sweater, Green: 438 yds
Cashmerino Stashbusting Hat, Green: 86 yds
Cashmere Beast: 648 yds

That's 2982 yds. 14% of the way there.

And, in my search for a tracker to put along the side, I decided that this blog needs a major overhaul. More on that to come!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cashmere Beast, Slain

I started a second post about the evils of this sweater, but it was getting long and whinier than a roomful of tired preschoolers. So... I'll sum up!

Ways in which this sweater tried to steal my knitting mojo
1. The body of the sweater was difficult to rip out and constantly catching itself in knots.
2. The yoke, while too big, was beautiful and emotionally difficult to rip out.
3. The sleeves, which were salvaged from the original sweater, no longer fit, and also had to be ripped.
4. There was not actually room to finish the colorwork before starting the neck.
5. After the first time I joined the newly knit sleeves to the body, the body was too short and I had to rip back the yoke again.
6. I started the raglan decreases too soon and had to rip back the yoke. Again.

The last time I joined, I tried this thing on every other row, to make sure it was fitting. I got to the neck, tried it on and loved it. Then I bound off...
7. Too tightly. It didn't fit over my head. I pulled out the bind off, and did the EZ sewn bind off (amidst much swearing).

And the kicker? It fits. Like a dream. And I absolutely luuuurve it.

Size 10 needles
Original Pattern - Raglan type, seamless, no picked up stitches. Laziest pattern evah!
Panache yarn by knit picks (now discontinued, but I have way more left than I expected)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Slaying the Cashmere Beast

Two years ago I wanted to knit an adult sized sweater. As my then-size was measured in trimesters, I did not want to knit for myself. So, I moved on to the next most-forgiving sweater recipient and pestered my husband with questions about what kind of sweater he would love. Then I found this on sale, and knew it would be perfect.

There was some weirdness with the ordering, and I didn't get my order notification within a few days. Within those same days, he changed his mind and and I got the yarn that eventually became this. The other yarn came, too, and I held onto it because it was so yummy.

About a year ago, I wanted a nice, bulky sweater for myself. So I did this:

That's a sweater yoke. A huge, enormous sweater yoke. I cast on some stitches, knit color work based loosely on Veronik Avery's Ski Jacket, then took it off the needles to block and check size. It was slightly in excess of 50 inches, was gave me some positive ease. The yarn is heavy, very heavy, and doesn't have a lot of memory. The drape is great, but it expanded largely after blocking, especially at the size that I had aimed for.

I knit the body most of the way down, then tried to knit the sleeves. The sweater was just to heavy, so I made another bad decision. I knitted the sleeves from the cuff up and tried to graft them on. After my first attempt, it was already too warm to work on it much so I was happy to put it in a box.

Since this stashbusting has been about owning up to all my boxes of yarn an d abandoned projects, however, this Cashmere Beast has been looming on my yarn horizon, a major hurdle standing between me and a spinning wheel. I pulled it out of the box and realized that, between my gauge stretching immensely due to weight of the yarn, and my own weight loss, I had approximately 14 inches of negative ease. In other words, it didn't fit. At all.

Up next? How I conquered this Cashmere Beast.

ETA: Fixing my craptastic ease mistake. Thanks Tika!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Vacation Sweater

I wore this sweater to Panera knit night on Thursday and realized that, not only had I not blogged it, but I hadn't even uploaded decent pictures to ravelry!

I knit the majority of this sweater last fall, during our New England vacation. I cast on while we were driving through NYC (we didn't stop), but that hem isn't actually part of the garment. Apparently I was so dazzled by the lights that I couldn't manage to join without twisting! The plain stockinette was done mostly in the dark, while Will drove.

The yarn is Cascade 220 Tweed in Color 601, which is called Spring Tweed. This was my first time using the yarn, and it really washed up quite well. The pattern is the popular Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. This is a great basic, flattering sweater pattern for worsted weight. I made a couple of modifications. I added slightly more waist shaping based on my actual measurements and added a vaguely successful steeked V neck. I have a 'neck thing' and usually wear V necks to avoid having the fabric touch my throat (which makes my subconscious think that someone is choking me).

I now feel a little less intimidated by steeks, but the main thing that I learned from this sweater is that I don't like turned hems. At least at the waist. No matter what I do, they tend to flare out, giving me a lovely tummy/butt ruffle that I think I will avoid in the future!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Cashmerino Stash Buster, Green

It is rather disheartening to unpack every skein and ball from every nook and cranny of my house, sort it all and put away all the stuff that I love, or for which I have Big Plans. This leaves only the culled out bits, some of which goes to charities or Goodwill. Now what's left is the middle children... Things I like, but don't love, things for which I have vague plans, vague interest, but nothing definite. This is what I've been knitting through for the past couple of months and, for a while, I was worried it would kill my knitting mojo. Until I did this...

I have a box of orphaned balls of Cashmerino Aran and other similar yarns. There was some Knit Picks comfy, and some mystery yarn. Basically, if it was soft, worsted weight and non-felting, I tossed it in here. None of which really was enough for a big, solid color project but felt like too much for a bunch of little projects. So I gathered out the greens, a beige and a gold and started in. The green borders are done in moss stitch and the green is leftover skeins from my graduation sweater (which is still not officially finished). The button bands were knitted at the same time, with buttonholes on both sides and the buttons just sewn over the holes on one side. The colors were worked in single stripes, at whim, with a double or triple thrown in every 2-4 stripes.

If you do try this, the Knit Picks comfy worked up slightly differently than the rest (maybe because of it's lack of wool), so I restricted it to single stripes and left the doubles and triples for the other yarns.

I'm currently halfway through the matching hat and still loving the fun striping. I'm pulling the next set of colors out of the box. We're going for blues or purples next!