Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Slipping Away

Bias hem Everything I learned while designing the Schleppy Sweater.

I suppose on one level that makes it good that I wrote such exhaustive posts about the process.

But do we really want to live through that again?

The plan had been to design the Schleppy Sweater, then plunge right into the Bias Striped V-Neck Shell, and then launch right into one of the complicated cabled ones I want to make.

Then life got busy.

As I couldn't risk loosing all that knowledge, and despite the fact that I already had socks and fingerless mitts on the go, I went ahead and cast on for the BSVNS.


And it's a good thing I did, too.

The first step was typing up my notes into a comprehensible format. Boy howdy, was that trickier than expected. My notes were probably logical at the time, but a few weeks later I was like, "huh?"

I was able to sort them out quickly. I was also able to edit them a little as I typed them up and finally figured out the armhole length issue. Turned out I had to start the V-neck shaping on the same row I finished the initial armhole shaping.

Hopefully the whole thing won't be a train wreck in the end.

You would think that after doing it once you'd know how to do it again, but turns out that isn't the case. I guess that practice stuff is still necessary. sigh.

Four Project Rotation
Now the BSVNS is part of a four project rotation.

The Trellis Mitts, The Blue Static Socks, and the cropped cardigan I'm supposed to be designing for Westport Yarns are the other three.

I can pull this stunt because I was able to acquire Pam's discarded Denise set. hehehe. This was an important step because the BSVNS and the cropped cardigan are both being worked on US5 needles. Much to much of a pain to keep swapping the tips back and forth. Now I'm unstoppable!

Of course, I talk big, but it's not much of a rotation. I keep stalling either on the socks or the shell since they are both fairly mindless.

The cardigan needs swatching and the mitts have that lace pattern. Both require me to pay attention and that has been incompatible with our recent TV watching. A girl has to make choices.

More Slipping
The other thing that's going to be slipping away is my audience if I don't start blogging regularly again!

I'll try to do better. It's just that there aren't enough hours in the day, blah blah.

However the first hurdle, actually getting knitting done about which I can talk, has been jumped, so I should have some fodder for a few days.

Oh dear. Look at the time. I must go bake cookies now!

See? Busy, busy.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I Have Been That Busy

Finished Rouge stepThat I've barely had time to knit.

And if I didn't have time to knit I definitely didn't have time to blog.

Appalling on both fronts, I know. I have to rebalance that whole work/life thing.

But all was not lost!

Done: Hubby's Rouge Socks
I finally finished Hubby's Rouge Step socks on Saturday. I've been working on them for like two months, which is entirely too much time to be knitting a pair of socks.

He must have forgotten they were for him as he has not been campaigning for them. Also, as I was working the last few rows of the toe decreases I held the sock up in a meaningful way and he said, "Those are for me? They're cool."

He hasn't worn them yet. Probably because after I finished them he put them on the end table and never took them upstairs. Fortunately he doesn't get dressed in the living room in the morning so they missed their chance this weekend.

Standard Hubby sock pattern.
I did mess up calculating my gauge, started with too few stitches, ripped out, and started over.
Heel stitch with garter edge flap.
Austermann Step in Colorway 08.
US 1 needles.

Green Fingerless Mitts Progress
ERLM mitts Swatch 2a Have I mentioned it's hard to take a picture of your own hand?

Well, it is.

Anyway. I worked a third repeat of the Triple Leaf Lace pattern. I has really grown on me (no pun intended). And I thought I should just go with it. And I thought if I'd decided to use it from the get-go the mitts would practically be done by now. Well, aside from all that stockinette stuff flapping around at the beginning.

Still, I can't leave well enough alone. I swatched one of the, uh, mini leaf patterns. Drat, I don't have the book with me. I think its in the first Walker Treasury. There are like three different versions listed together.

Anyway. It's very nice and actually more along the lines of what I had in mind.

But I really liked the first pattern. Hubby also preferred the first pattern.

Of course, I had to take it into Westport Yarns on Sunday for even more votes. As you might expect everyone voted for the first pattern, although one customer did give a half hearted plug for the second pattern, but agreed the first was very nice.

ERLM mitts Swatch 2bSo there you are, the first pattern wins. I worked out my stitch count Sunday night and I've already cast on and knit two rows. It's just a matter of knitting them now since I know what I plan to do.

I had better knit fast. Danni, at least , is going to be stalking these gloves. Possibly Pam as well.

Turns out they both have skeins of Ella Rae Lace Merino at home that they haven't assigned to a project.

This surprised me since we don't carry it at WY. However, it confirms your suspicions that even LYS staff shop at other stores on occasion.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Green Fingerless Mitts: Swatch 1

ERM Swatch 1 Here is the first pattern I'm considering for the mitts.

I think I have four to test all together.

Actually, there's quite a bit going on in this picture.

At the top you see my plain stockinette stitch portion when I was just getting a feel for the yarn and a baseline gauge.

Then there is some smocking. I do like the smocking stitch. My idea is to have the lace framed by the smocking stitch.

Then finally the lace. It's the Triple Leaf Lace from the second Barbara Walker book.

I only worked two repeats. And I made a mistake in the first one. sigh. I'm thinking I should work a third repeat to get a better idea of how it looks.

I'm also thinking I shouldn't try to take pictures inside on rainy days as they just come out looking icky.

Looks like tonight's knitting will be this pattern again. Must give them a fair shake and all.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Divided Priorities

Ella Rae lace merino #16 I only missed yesterday, but I feel like I haven't blogged in forever.

I also feel like I haven't knit in forever, but I'm sure that can't be correct.

Hubby's sock is limping along. (snicker. I crack myself up.) I'm through the gusset shaping. Now it's just 40 odd rows of plain knitting before I start the toe shaping.

Piece of cake.

But still taking longer than anticipated.

In Swatching News
There is a ton of swatching going on still. Which explains the slow down in production on Hubby's sock.

I was given that lovely skein of yarn you see above to review. Very exciting.

It's Lace Merino from Ella Rae. This is a fingering weight, 100 percent merino yarn. The skein is a whopping 460 yards. Plenty for a pair of socks, small shawl, or fingerless mitts.

I have that nice green one (color 16) and a red/blue variegated (color 123). You can see the color card here but I'm pretty sure my samples are so new they aren't listed yet. (See, I told you it was exciting!)

I've been swatching with the green, but haven't made enough progress to bother taking a picture to show you. I think I'll used the red/blue to make an existing shawl pattern, but haven't decided which one.

What I can tell you is it is very soft and springy. It feels normal during the knitting progress, but the resulting fabric is really soft and petable.

For a while now I've wanted to make a pair of green fingerless mitts with a leaf motif. Probably a lace pattern. But didn't have the right yarn and had the project on a back burner so didn't feel the need to buy any.

Of course, now that this yarn has dropped into my lap it's go time!

Stitch Dictionaries are Black Holes of Knitting Time
Let me tell you, it's a good thing I only have the first two Barbara Walker books. The amount of time I spend pouring over them, mooning over the patterns, and adding bookmarks is just ridiculous.

I think I have at least four patterns flagged for the gloves.

Since the pattern will only cover the back of my hand I'm restricted in number of stitches I'll have available. This really helped eliminate a lot of patterns as I needed a low repeat number. I tried to stick to 6 st repeats, or panels of 15 stitches.

Cropped Cardigan
At the same time, I have several cable patterns flagged for a cardigan I'm working on.

Beth got samples of Woodstock Knits Yarn which she is considering stocking at Westport Yarns. The trick is the yarn doesn't have much direct pattern support. She told the staff we could take a skein if we feel inspired.

I don't have a picture of it, but I took a massive hank of a light blue alpaca blend (which I don't see on their website). We were all surprised to see some darker blue varigation when I started knitting it up. It's lovely yarn, but my needles were too big so I had to frog the swatch and start over on a smaller size. Actually, that first swatch was all lace options that weren't working.

Again, I don't have anything to show you yet. Mainly because I've only reworked the St st swatch so far.

It's hard work having all these planning stage projects on the go.

If only life could always be so hard. Right?

Friday, May 7, 2010

That's a Heel

Rouge step heel Hubby's socks are moving a long swiftly.

Last night I was able to knit and turn the heel flap during my evening knitting time.

And, of course, getting the heel turned is half the battle.

Working the foot is basically all down hill.

In a few more days these socks will be off the needles and on Hubby's feet!

I'm enjoying the stripping pattern in this yarn. The one section with the pink surrounded by white makes me think of sock monkeys. Especially the way it's right next to the gray section.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Swatch Success

Lt green cotton classicI see my need to make the stripes in self patterning yarn match resonates with several people.

This makes me happy.

It reinforces the fact that I'm not alone. :-)

To be fair, I've met people who don't share my matchy-matchy passion.

No, they finish the first sock and cast right on for the second without feeling the need to reel out great expanses of yarn to locate just the right part of the color change.

They are happy with the resulting"related socks."

I admire their free spirit.

And then I go hug some of my matching socks to dispel any lingering contamination I might have picked up. HA!

KK203, conquered
Oh? Perhaps you have forgotten about the cabled sweater I was trying to beat into submission at the end of April?

Well I haven't.

Over the weekend Pam left me some Cotton Classic in the Westport Yarns backroom as promised.

There was some nice chocolate brown and a dark, grassy green.

As soon as I got home I plunge in with my US5 and started swatching.

I worked at least two repeats, measured, and said "By Jove, I think I've got it."

Just to cover all my bases I also swatched on a US4. It wasn't as pleasant and seemed too small.

When I got to the store on Sunday I had Danni measure it for me as well to ensure my wishful thinking wasn't adversely affecting my ability to measure.

She agreed I got it and that the US5 was better.

Color, colorLt green CC close
Then it was just a matter of selecting a color.

The cable looked very nice in the brown, but we didn't have it in stock and I shy away from wearing brown because I have brown hair. Don't want to be too monochromatic.

There was a nice pale blue. But I recently finished my Stella sweater in pale blue. And, although a nice blue, it didn't have the pop of the ice blue S&C Sweater I had started with.

There were other pretty blues and some reds as well. But if you haven't noticed I do a lot in red and blue and I thought I should mix things up a bit.

Which landed me on the lovely green you see.

Everyone in the store agreed it looked lovely when I held it up to my face.

The pattern calls for eight balls at 98 yards each, which is 784 total.
The Cotton Classic is 108 yards each.
784 divided by 108 = 7.2.

So I snatched up eight balls and figure I'll be fine.

Delaying Gratification
You will be stunned to hear that I have NOT yet cast on for the sweater.

I'm practicing self control.

I want to focus on finishing Hubby's socks before I start a new project. (And before he starts asking about them!)

Also, after all that fruitless swatching I did the first time around, I need a little space to come to terms with the rocky relationship this pattern and I have had so far before I can start.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cuff Enough

First red stepMy knitting over the weekend was devoted to working on Hubby's socks. After finishing the first one I'm motivated to get the pair done.

The problem is my conflicted relationship with self patterning sock yarn.

(I don't have an updated picture because the camera is being very uncooperative and refusing to do its job!)

I love these yarns because they do all the work for you. You can just sit there and knit mindless, relaxing stockinette stitch but you'll end up with really attractive socks in the end.

I hate these yarns because I have to make the patterns match. Now, maybe it's not fair of me to blame the yarn for my own neurotic impulses, but really, the yarn started it.

In my defense, I'd like to point out that Hubby also wants the pattern to match.

On one of the early pairs of socks I made him I asked if he wanted it to match.

His reaction was something along these lines, "Of course they have to match. Are you out of your ever loving mind, woman?!"

Apparently, I am.
Because I have to try to make them match as closely as possible.

I thought it would be sooo easy on these socks.

They started solidly in the brownish part and had just barely turned to the dark rose color at the end of the 15 rows of ribbing.

I took four tries to get them to match.

The first time just let me orient myself to the pattern.

The second time the rose came in a couple rows too late.

The third time it came in a couple rows to early.

When I was starting to cast on the fourth time I said to myself, "Are you out of your ever loving mind, woman?"

Because by then I'd knit (and ripped out) 45 rows of knitting. The leg of the sock is only 76 rows total. I had knit (and ripped out) over half the leg already.

And so I let it go. I decided the last attempt was close enough. The only living thing who should be close enough to Hubby's socks to see they don't match should be Samson (because he has a foot fetish). Well, unless the toes don't match.

Anyway. I'm back up to row 41 on the leg. Moving right along.

Now I just have to maintain my focus.