Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oh, Puppy Poop

Don't you hate it when life interferes with your knitting?


I was really hoping to get the shoulders seamed yesterday. However, I was beside myself in a tizzy and ripping bad mood for like all damn day and it just didn't happen.

I was going to do a three needle bind off, but since I wasn't firing on all cylinders I tried to just pick up the stitches onto the needle. That quickly got too tight to continue so I abandoned it.

Then I decided I'd be bad and just whip stitch the damn thing. Hey, a three needle bind off would have left an obvious ridge, how would whip stitching be worse? But things slid out of line and the neck didn't line up with my extra shoulder flap thingy so I had to rip that out.

Finally I went back to the three needle bind off by picking up and knitting stitches onto the needle. I only got one done when it was time for dinner. After dinner I gave up all effort at appearing human and went to bed.

Hopefully today will be a better day all around (although it's starting out ugly).

Note: no knitting content ahead. Just a metric ton of whining and sick dogs.

Poor Sick Puppies
My hysteria and general emotional instability yesterday was brought on by extreme fatigue.

We came home from the in-laws' on Saturday surviving a hairy scary ride through the mountains of Vermont in the snow.

Then we ended up staying up until 1 am watching UP off our DVR. What a cute movie. We just loved Dug to pieces. He reminded us of Baru.

I was awoken at 5 or 6 am by the gentile sounds of a dog throwing up. Then Samson started running around whining, so I threw on my PJs and raced outside with him to discover he had diarrhea. The poor thing, no wonder he was frantic. At least we made it outside in time.

Sunday was spent racing outside with Samson so he could go to the bathroom and being in distress about what we could do for him. He was, happily, still in good spirits, which was a good sign it was just an upset belly and not something more serious. To add to our puzzlement, Baru seemed fine despite the fact they eat the same thing.

Until dinner time, that is, when he pooped all over the bathroom. gag! At the time I thought it was because we never walked him properly. Oh, we took him out to pee, but we were so focused on Samson that we didn't really give poor Baru time to do anything else. In hindsight the bathroom incident was an indication Baru had the same stomach bug.

After we went to bed Sunday, Samson woke me up at 2 am and 5 am because he needed to go out. Seriously, he woofed. Hubby slept through all this, but I was delirious all day Monday because I hadn't had a good night's sleep in ages. I was also stressed out about the pups. I knew the combination was setting me up for a migraine, which just added to the stress.


I called the vet and they said it sounded like the pups had just eaten something that didn't agree with them and would take 2 or 3 days to work through their systems. sigh.

By 9 pm I gave up and went to bed. Only to be roused by the gentle sound of a dog puking under the bed. Poor Baru was under there looking displeased. I also discovered that someone had throw up under there earlier in the day without us realizing. So I took them out and then crawled under the bed to clean it up.

By then it was 10 pm and I'd really had it up to here. So I took to aspirin and went to bed again. Hubby had been up at school working since dinner. This morning he said he came home, took Samson out, and didn't get to bed until around 1 am himself. Sounds like today is Hubby's day to be delirious.

Tuesday dawned with a migraine, as I had feared. We'd just been giving the pups rice the last few days, but decided this morning to give them a real meal to try to solidify things for them. Well, Samson was all for it. Actually, Samson has been showing signs of hunger all along, which was comforting. But when I called Baru for breakfast I heard him approaching, then he suddenly retreated. I came looking for him only to discover he'd had an accident on the bedroom floor.


The problem is that unlike Samson Baru doesn't communicate when he needs to go out. He never learned to ring the bell like Samson does. Starting the morning cleaning up puppy poop isn't very fun, but how can you be mad at the poor things when you know they are sick? And can I add that we live in on old place so the windows are really bitchy hard to open. There I am desperatly scrabbling at the sash and storm window to let in some fresh air and the damn thing won't move. Really, it hasn't been pretty around here.

After cleaning that up I took them out. Not that Baru had to go any more....Samson seems on the mend. Baru was in high spirits. Even after I dragged him into the bath tub to rinse his fluffy butt off. eeewww. And he at his breakfast.

I resorted to a powerful migraine pill and we all laid down again. Now I'm finally feeling better and the pups are crashed out on our bed sleeping. Hopefully, for all our sakes, they'll get through this soon.

Monday, November 29, 2010

ASJ: The Hard Part

ASJ w edging Despite my best effort to knit in the ends as I worked I still ended up with about 24 ends to weave in when I was done.

Since I was changing colors every 10 rows I knew I'd have a lot of ends to weave in at the end. Fortunately that realization hit me with the first color change and I immediately too steps to head the ends off at the pass.

Now, I learned how to weave in ends as I knit during a Lucy Neatby class at Knitting Central but I think this blog post shows the technique pretty well. There are a lot of pictures so if you're on dial-up you might get bogged down.

On the row I changed colors I would weave the color I was dropping. I would knit back on the next row normally. Then on the third row from the color change I would weave in the end of the new color. That way I quickly eliminated both ends. ha!

If I was so conscientious how did I end up with 24 ends to contend with? Simple. Things went south when I started running out of yarn. I was changing colors on right (public) side rows, but if I ran out on a wrong (private) side I just rolled with it. I find I can't do the knit-in-ends thing on the wrong side; the yarn is in the wrong place for me.

The Edging
A number of the ends were concentrated at the bottom right (on the body) corner. For some reason I couldn't weave there either.

I don't know if you can tell from the picture but I did end up changing yarn every two rows.

When it is time to work the final edging/border you knit across the last center flap row, then pick up stitches along one side of the flap, knit back down, across the bottom of the flap, and up the other side.

I thought this was going to be a really dreadful process because I don't like picking up stitches, but it turned out to be really easy. When I sat down to do it I reminded myself that it was going to be just like picking up along my beloved garter stitch heel flap, which is really simple. Just go for the strand in between the garter ridges. yippee!

Anyway. Since you go up and down one side before working the other side your stripes could end up uneven. As you know I'm a little neurotic about being matchy-matchy. Therefore I knit up and down the first side, across the flap, up and down the second side, and across the flap, stopping at the bottom corner where the row started. In this manner I got two rows of the color on each side.

Insert happy sigh here.
ASJ neck close
Pick Up Line
Oh, and the other cranky thing I did with the edging was picking up the left hand side (on the body) purlwise.

The right hand side picked up from the public side, which was just fine. But when I knit back around to the left side I was picking up from the private side of the work. This made an icky ridge on the public side.

Now it might have blended in with the garter stitch fabric, and it might have been covered by the button band, but either way I would know it was there! So I pulled that side out and picked it up again purlwise then went back to working garter. This made one little stockinette row so there is a blip in the fabric, but it's going to be covered by the button band. Also, no one should be close enough to the sweater to see it aside from Hubby and the puppies.

And if someone does see it I think it will be more attractive than the blobby edge from the first time around.

My new concern is that I didn't work a deep enough edging. The pattern says to work the button holes after two ridges then to work 4-5 more ridges. Well, I got so caught up in changing colors every two rows that when I worked the Noro Kogarashi rows (which is the yarn I cast on with) I got so excited I cast off. This was actually only three ridges after the button holes.

Part of me says this is going to be fine since it's basically just the button band. The button holes have been placed and that will dictate how much I have to work with when closing it. Still, I'm not going to cut that last yarn until I can try it on.

Which brings us back to another hard part.

Weaving in the ends went very quickly last night. phew. Now I just have to close the arm seams. I'm really happy there are just two seams since I don't like finishing much. I think I'll go with a three needle bind off. I just have to select the color to use.

At this rate I might have finished project pictures to show you tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

ASJ Near Final

ASJ blob This is what my Adult Surprise Jacket looks like as I'm knitting. A strange, amorphous blob.

It's also rather big and heavy, which is kind of OK with the chilly weather arriving. When I'm knitting it I don't need a blanket on me.

I'm in the final push now, but although I'm very close to finishing I'm also still very far away.

Now I have to pick up around the perimeter from one orange stitch holder, down the side to the needle, across the bottom and up the side to the other orange stitch holder.

I shudder to think how many stitches that is going to be.

The two flaps sticking up at the top of the picture are not involved. Those are the sleeves.

Not seeing it? Well, maybe this picture will help. This is what it looks like folded up proper.
ASJ near final
I'll be picking up stitches from one side of the neck opening, all the way down and around to the other side.

Since you have no perspective you probably can't tell the arms are 3/4 length at this point.

I left the body and worked on the sleeves for a while in an effort to get in as many colors as I could. This led to me using up the rest of the rest of the turquoise Mist and the dark green Millias. They will not be reappearing in the body. I'm ok with that. Part of the idea of this jacket is to have uneven stripes. (right? right?) And to me it was more important to have the sleeves tie in.

I might make the sleeves longer depending on how much yarn I have left in the end.

They do fit a little better with the addition of the little flap. Not perfect, but I have faith they will stretch.

The body length is below my butt. The body will get a bit longer because now since I will be picking up around the edge and knitting for a few more rows, which will also close the fronts more.

For all my claims about welcoming uneven stripes I am probably over thinking the edging.

At this point I have the Ella Rae Country Tweed on the needles. I think I'll go ahead and use that for picking up along the edge. For all I know I have such a large territory to cover the Country Tweed will be exhausted on that one row.

If I stay in sequence the next yarn I should use is the blue Araucania Coliumo. On the one hand I like this because it will bring in those bright colors from the top to the bottom. On the other hand, it will also double up on those bright colors at the top.

Part of me is saying I should go back to the Noro Kogarashi that I cast on with. Finish how I started. However, if I make th sleeves longer the Kogarashi is technically the next yarn in line. Of course it might be cool if I could end both the body and the sleeves on the same yarn. Only I don't think I have enough left for that.

Part of me is saying to throw caution to the wind and finish the stripe sequence at the bottom. At this point it would be the blue Coliumo, the bright green Araucania Azapa, and the multi colored Ester Bitran Tirua.

But that is dangerous because the longer I knit the body the longer my final perimiter will be. And boy howdy will I be ticked off if I run out of yarn and have to tear back a bunch of knitting to harvest yarn so I can finish.

I wish there was a way to know how much more I can knit with the yarn I have.

Another part of me, but I'm ignoring it, thinks I should use all the colors in the edging by working just two rows with each of them. For all I know I'll start running out of yarn and have to do that anyway.

It's high drama here. If I'm lucky I'll finish this over the weekend, but I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

KFI: Dazzle Drop Stitch Scarf

First off, I think this totally needs to be a two ball scarf, but I didn't want to hold up your holiday knitting so here it is.

This scarf is a little more complicated than the Athena Garter Stitch Scarf because this one has a pattern stitch rather than just being all garter stitch.

For this scarf you need to be able to cast on, knit, work a drop stitch, cast off, and tie fringe.

Since this scarf is worked on a US 8 needle the fabric is a little denser than the Athena Scarf, which makes this scarf shorter. To make a longer scarf, or for lusher fringe, you will need two balls of yarn.

Feel free to experiment with larger needle sizes. I tried the Drop Stitch on the US 13 needles and didn't see enough of a difference between it and the garter fabric to bother, but you might like it.

Dazzle Drop Stitch Scarf

Size: (one ball) 3" by 35" (excluding fringe)

Materials: Dazzle by Knitting Fever (100% Nylon, 82 yards/25 g). One or two balls

Needles: US 8

Gauge is not important for this project.

Note: Begin by cutting 24 strands each 11" long for fringe. Set aside.

Pattern Stitches:
Drop Stitch (two row repeat): Row 1: knit across row wrapping needle twice for each stitch.
(So go into the stitch the normal way to knit, wrap the yarn twice, then complete the stitch as normal.)
Row 2: knit across row dropping the wrap. (So you'll see what looks like a regular stitch right next to what looks like a yarnover. Knit into the stitch and pull it and the YO off the left needle.)

Long Drop Stitch (two row repeat): Row 1: knit across row wrapping needle three times for each stitch.
Row 2: knit across row dropping two wraps.

The Pattern: Dazzle close
CO 15 sts.
*Work 4 rows in garter stitch (knit every stitch on every row).

Work Drop Stitch: Row 1: knit across, wrapping twice for every stitch. Row 2: Knit across, dropping second wrap.

Work 4 rows in garter stitch

Work Drop Stitch

Work 4 rows in garter stitch

Work Long Drop Stitch: Row 1: knit across, wrapping three times for each stitch. Row 2: Knit across, dropping two wraps.

Repeat from * until you run out of yarn.

(So it's regular Drop Stitch twice, followed by Long Drop Stitch once, all separated by 4 rows of garter stitch.)

Cast off.

Using one strand for each fringe attach at 12 points along each end of the scarf.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

KFI: Athena Garter Stitch Scarf Pattern

Dazzle Athena close The fun thing about novelty yarns like Athena (left, red) and Dazzle (right, blue) is you can work a very simple pattern but end up with an eye catching project because the yarn does all the work for you.

You also have a lot of flexibility because the yarn will work nicely with a variety of needle sizes allowing you to make either a dense fabric or an airy one.

To start I wanted a simple scarf pattern that would be suitable for an enthusiastic beginner.

To work the pattern you only need to know how to cast on, work the knit stitch, and cast off. Some people find novelty yarn a little tricky to work with when they first get started because it can be hard to see the individual stiches, so I would suggest you already know how to knit before you plunge in with these yarns.

Athena Garter Stitch Scarf

Size: 3" wide by 50" long, including fringe. (Scarf will stretch and get slightly longer with wear.)

Yarn: Athena by Knitting Fever (80% Polyester, 20% Nylon. 82 yds/25 g), 1 ball.
A second ball can be used to make a longer scarf.

Needles: US 13

Gauge is not important for this project.

Note: Begin by cutting 44 strands each 11" long for fringe. Set aside.

The Pattern:
Cast on 15 stitches.

Work in garter stitch (knit every stitch on every row) until almost out of yarn.

Athena scarf startCast off.

Using 2 strands for each fringe, attach at 11 points along each end of the scarf.

If you use only one ball of yarn you might not have to weave in your ends because they will blend in with the fringe. If you use two balls of yarn you'll have to weave in the ends in the center of the scarf where you changed balls (obviously).

I tied my scarf in a loose knot. You could also wear it untied. A longer scarf will give you more wearing options.

Sally forth and prepare to receive compliments.

No Knit Necklace
Another option for using the yarn is to make this simple necklace.

I laid out 10 loops about 25 inches long which gave me 20 strands. Don't cut the loops. Carefully pick them up and give them a few twists to give the bundle stability. Clip them together in the back to close the necklace. You should be able to buy necklace clasps at the craft store.

See? Even non-knitters can enjoy this yarn.

Friday, November 19, 2010

ASJ Leaps and Bounds

ASJ waist Two things to start.

First: I have got to get better about blogging more regularly! When I don't I feel the need to catch up on all that I've missed and that way lies madness and procrastination.

Second: Seriously? I haven't blogged since I swapped the Millais for the Silky Wool XL? That was, like, 116 rows ago. Ok, I checked and it was also almost two weeks ago, which is a lot of knitting time when you are practicing project monogamy and using chunky (3.5 sts/inch) yarn.

But it also brings us back to my first point.

No Issues
Things have been moving along smoothly with my ASJ since I made the yarn swap. Perhaps that is why I haven't been blogging. Who among us would not rather be knitting instead of writing about knitting?

There was one minor moment of ennui after I had increased back up to my original cast on stitch count and put the end stitches on holders. I thought it was going to be time to move on to the center flap, but then re-read the pattern and saw I had to continue increasing.

I had a moment of "uh-oh, that's a lot of garter stitch" but the color changes helped pull me through. And, really, it's just mindless garter stitch. Talk about auto-pilot knitting.

I did waffle a bit over the wording in the pattern at this point. It says to continue working the increases at A & B until you reach the next target number. For some reason I suddenly decided it meant to work only one increase. Fortunately I realized that would be silly before I did any damage. Of course you need to continue making two increases. The outside edge needs to grow because it's making the fronts of the cardigan.

Armed for Trouble
ASJ shoulder When the sweater was a decent size, probably the size in the top photo, I could no longer stand the suspense and had to try it on.

I used locking stitch markers to clip the arm seams shut and tried it on. At that point it reached my waist. This helped me decide how much longer I had to knit the center flap (I'm aiming for around 23"). The body is going to fit with a nice amount of ease. Sure the fronts were a bit shy at this point, but I'll be adding to them later.

The arms, however, are a different story. They are a bit snug. There are directions in the pattern for increasing the armhole depth, but I didn't follow them because I'm small. This, of course, was ignoring the fact that I have pudgy upper arms. sigh.

Since it was too late to turn back, I decided to jury-rig it. I debated knitting a narrow strip to sew into the sweater, but that would have been an extra seam to worry about. And I wasn't sure what color to use.

Then it suddenly occurred to me I could just pick up along the case on edge and knit the flap from there. I was debating over color still when I realized if I use the Noro Kogarashi I had started with no one would every know.

I'm not sure what this will do to the neck opening. It might make it hang low in the back or it could balance out and be fine. As soon as I was done and laying in bed I realized I should probably have just picked up along the entire length rather than just along the arms, but by then I'd already cut the yarn so I wasn't going to start changing things.

Depleting Resources
ASJ longWhich basically brings us up to date on my progress.

Oops, I told myself I'd break it all up into smaller posts. Oh well. Danger of falling behind.

At this point the length is about 22" or 23". I have used up all the Sandstone, the denim blue Mist, and the purple Millais. The turquoise Mist and the dark green Millais are not long for this world.

Therefore I've put the bottom edge on a holder and jumped to the sleeves.

As it stands the sleeves are only elbow length. Kind of goofy on a jacket that is butt length. Since I don't want to end up with single color sleeves I'm going to knit the 10" needed to get them to my wrists in order to maximize the stripe possibilities then return to the body. The goal is to use up as much of the yarn as possible since I don't want wee scraps laying around.

If I start running out of yarn after knitting the sleeves it will be an easy matter to harvest some of the yarn from the body.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Qina Eyepillow, Jr

Eye pillows I have a massive blogging backlog. I was doing so well for a while (don't disillusion me) and then I fell off the wagon again.

Well, instead of overwhelming you with one of my famously longwinded posts I will try to catch up in more managable, and considered, chunks.

Remember the Qina Eye Pillow I made back in July?

Well, that first one took just over half the skein of yarn. I looked at the remainder and thought, "Huh, I bet I could make a second, smaller one from that."

And, indeed, I could and did. Because the Qina being a mix of bamboo and alpaca was just to yummy to cast aside.

For the second one I stopped increasing at 40 sts and knit even to 5 inches before starting to decrease.

As you can see in the picture, the second pillow is about the same width as the first, but shorter. (And I carefully measured it, but didn't write it down. Drat. I think around 7" compared to 9"?) Anyway, it was a fine size, just not as generous in coverage.

I stuffed the first one with leftover flax and lavender from repairing Rudy. The second one I ended up stuffing with a mix of lavender and mung beans that I bought at Michael's. This makes it heavier than the first, but still comfortable.

I think if was to make more eyepillows, which is something I'm considering, I would divide the ball of yarn in half first to make the two pillows more evenly sized.

But that would require me to start down the slippery slope of gift knitting and that doesn't happen around here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Epic, ASJ: I'm Increasing!

There is no point in trying to get a decent picture because it's a rainy, miserable day here in NH.

I didn't move to NH to get rained on. Where is my snow!? I was promised snow!

Anyway. I finished the decrease section much more quickly than I anticipated. Or maybe it's that I reached the increase section sooner than anticipated. Either way, I'm working my way back out to my original cast on number.

I can't decide if I'm actually progressing as quickly as I think I am or if it is just an optical illusion because of the stripes. "Oh, look, I must be knitting fast because it's time to change colors again!"

Yarn Hurdle Surmounted
I know you're just dieing to hear how I sorted out the issue with the off gauge yarn yesterday.

Well, I did a little bitty swatch with the yarn doubled. Really, it was so small it was an insult to swatches everywhere. For this reason it seemed like I got 3.5 stitches per inch with the yarn doubled. That made no sense at all, but I figured I roll with it. (Or would that be knit with it?)

I worked two rows and decided it was time to stop lying to myself. I didn't have enough rows to measure the gauge again, but I knew something was wrong. The new rows felt much bulkier than the previous rows. They were also a little more firm. Basically, they stood out like a sore thumb.

Before the situation could escalate to catastrophic proportions I put down my knitting and made a move.

I dragged all the bulky KFI yarn out onto the porch to find an appropriate substitute.

Now, like I said, I had that blue and red Sandstone which would work, but I really prefer it with the red top down sweater yarns. However, I did through the brownish Sandstone into that mix so it could marinate.

I was back to square one.

Then I stumbled across the swatches I'd made from the Louisa Harding Millias which I was going to make into a blanket. Well, I decided several days ago to stop fooling myself on the blanket front. So I frogged those bad boys and reallocated them to the ASJ!

I already knew I liked the yarn since I'd swatched with it. The purple one was a good color sub for the purple Silky Wool XL and the greenish black one works toward the end of the line where the yarns go all blue and green. Things were a bit bright down there anyway.

And the yardage of both balls is about equal to what I lost removing the Silky Wool XL.

Huzzah! Back on track.

As I started knitting I realized another reason the Millias is a better fit is because the construction is similar to the yarns I've already used. It has an open, fluffy feel to it where the SWXL is a dense, crunchy yarn. That might have been another reason it wasn't working for me in this project. Especially coming right on the heels of the Mist yarn.

Which is a good reminder that texture is as important a consideration as color.

More Reallocation
Since I was being all energized and efficient, I also moved the three balls of SWXL to the worsted weight bag AND moved them on my spiffy yardage spreadsheet as well.

There's something to be said for this being organized business.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to my knitting!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Epic, ASJ: Like Potato Chips

ASJ startI can't stop knitting it!

I'm totally obsessed and don't want to stop. In fact the only reason I'm blogging is because I don't want to get to far behind and one of my yarns is giving me gauge issue. (More on that later.)

Changing yarns every 10 rows was totally the right decision. I think that is part of the reason I can't put it down. Another reason, of course, is all the pretty yarn I'm using. Finally, it's a simple enough pattern.

In The Morning Light
I have to admit, I did not feel this way when I started. I lost a little momentum with the stealth knitting I had to do. This caused me to cast on the ASJ and put it aside for two days.

When I finally started knitting on Friday it was a rainy, gloomy day. We were watching TV so the living room wasn't well lit. And I was working with dark yarn and couldn't see the color changes very well.

This combined to cause me to think, "Ho hum. Miles of garter stitch. What have I gotten myself into." I knit around 20 rows, two yarns, before bed.

Saturday morning brought some weak sunshine. The pups and I trooped out to the porch to get a picture of my progress and BAM! I fell in love.
ASJ start close
Look at how well those colors go together. In the dark living room they looked the same, but in the sunlight I could see the contrast.

The sunlight also revealed the color changes in the Noro that are in addition to the color changes I'm making by switching yarn. It all became very exciting.

So in the pictures the outside edge is Noro Kogarashi. This new yarn comes in 10 colors and is a blend of 51% silk and 49% wool. I have #10—Purple, Turquoise, Hot Pink. Like most Noro yarns it has a rustic feel to the structure, which brings out the softness of the silk without out any of the crunchiness. I like soft silk yarn and I like crunchy silk yarn, so this totally works for me. Since it's the start of my Adult Surprise Jacket the rows are longer and are almost drawing each color change out in separate sections.

The second yarn is Queensland Collection Sandstone. Another new yarn, this 53% Wool 47% Acrylic blend comes in eight colors. I'm using #8—Pale Peach, Hunter. This loosely spun yarn is composed of multiple strands of (at least) three different colors plied together. In this case it's green, tan, and brown. Since all three colors are throughout the ball the color has interest and depth without abrupt changes. The yarn structure also goes a little bit thick and thin, but it leveled out nicely in my sweater. The smoothness of it was a nice contrast to the rustic Noro as I was knitting.

Racing Along
As you can see in the first picture, I was already plunging into my third ball of yarn. In fact, as I write this I'm ready to start my fifth ball already.

That isn't the best picture, I took it with my cell phone. Don't worry, I'm sure there will be more pictures before I'm done.

The third yarn, right after the green Sandstone, is Noro Kochoran in color #83—
Black, Purple, Burgandy. You might be familiar with this 50% Wool, 30% Angora, and 20% Silk blend yarn since it is already on the market. My color is one of six new colors introduced this season. It introduced a sudden bright spot to lighten up the jacket. The fuzz of the angora also livened it up with a new texture. Once again, the length of my rows brought the colors up in blocks, adding more variety to my stripes.

I like the black stripe, which I wasn't expecting, and think it and the following salt-and-pepper stripe make and interesting segue into the Queensland Collection Mist, which is the last yarn I knit. This new yarn is a 60% Wool, 40% Acrylic blend that comes in eight colors. I'm using color #2-Denim. Later in this sweater I'll be using
#7 - Soft Turquoise and I have a ball of #5 - Tropical Brights squirreled away for the top-down sweater I'm going to make in shades of red.

Anyway. Mist is another softly spun yarn with a thick and thin texture. The size variation is much more than that found in the Sandstone. In fact, working with them side by side like this, I'd call the Mist slubby. The color variation that you see is caused by two strands—a shiny one and a matte one—that both shade from white to dark blue. It's very pretty and makes me curious to see what the other colorways are going to do. Because of the greater difference in the size between the thick and thin portions, and the shortening length of my rows, there is an interesting texture to the Mist section. The thick/thin portions lined up in little parallelograms.
Happily, it's not effecting my gauge.

Change Is The Spice of Knitting?
I instituted changing yarns every tenth row in order to blend the colors a little better and not end up with sleeves a totally different color from the body of the sweater. The unforeseen benefit is the excitement this adds to the process.

Before I have a chance to even think about getting tired of a yarn it's time to change! At this point every yarn is new and interesting. As I continue and they start repeating they will remain fresh. It's totally keeping me awake.

The shaping in the pattern is helping as well. This pattern is making me realize I really like those visual clues about my progress. That is probably one of the reasons I like socks so much and get bored with scarves so quickly.

A scarf is just one endless continuation of the same pattern with little indication of how far you've come and how much further you need to go. A sock, however, has all those turns and bends. This many rows of ribbing, this length for the leg, then on to the exciting heel flap and turn, and finally coast down the gusset to the toe. Socks are just riddled with landmarks.

Well, so is the ASJ, so far. I have to decrease at each marked point until I've decreased away 80 sts total. Combined with my color changes every 10 rows it's fairly easy to track my progress. wheeee!

Check back on me in a few days when all the decreasing and increasing is done and I'm just knitting straight on the central flap. We'll see how quickly my tune has changed.

But I have to over come a little hurdle before I get there.

The next yarn in line is Elsebeth Lavold's new Silky Wool XL. I was looking forward to using this 80% Wool and 20% Silk blend since I have some of the original DK version. Also, the deep purple color, which is #11 out of 12, was going to return me to the darker shades I'd started with.

But my gauge is off. The ball band says you can get from 3.75 to 4.5 stitches per inch depending on your needle. I'm sticking with the US10 I've been using all along and got 4 sts/inch. The only reason I stopped to swatch was because the yarn felt thinner than the others I'd been using. On it's own I think the yarn at this gauge would be fine, although I personally would probably go for a little smaller gauge for a straight sweater. However, in combination with my other yarns I'm afraid it will make a thin spot in my ASJ.

If I drop it entirely I'll be down 100 yards of yarn, which could cause issues later on. Well, I guess I'd have to make the body and sleeves a little shorter. My other option is to review my other sample balls and substitute one of them in it's place. I have a Sandstone in #4—Blue, Red, which I had allocated to the top-down sweater. I could use it here instead, but it has less yardage.

Decisions, decisions. I think I'll swatch with the Silky Wool held doubled to see if I get gauge. If it works it will reduce my yardage, but it will also cause less disruption to my plans.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Epic, ASJ: Sleeve Considerations

Yesterday I said I was just going to knit every ball of yarn with out fussing about distributing the stripes in any special way.

However, I'm backtracking on that statement.

The pattern, as written, apparently makes a short sleeve coat. To make the sleeves longer, after you've knit and cast off the body, you pick up stitches along the edges of the sleeves and knit down.

I occurred to me that if I just knit through every ball by the time I get to working the sleeves the only yarn I might have left are the two straight green ones.

It will be very jarring to have a mostly purple coat with green sleeves.

I'm debating how to get around this problem.

One option would be to knit half, or some portion, of each of the large balls into the body and retain the remainder for the sleeves. The issue there might be that I leave too much yarn for the sleeves and then end up with leftovers.

Another option is to work full on stripes. Maybe 10 rows or so in each color in the order I had settled on. This would make an even distribution of the colors and I wouldn't have to worry so much about leftovers.

It's not really an issue yet since all I managed to do last night is cast on. And I don't foresee getting to work on it tonight because I have some stealth knitting that has to take priority.

This all means I have some time to ruminate on it. But, after seeing it in black and white, I think I'm leaning toward stripes.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Post In Which I Confirm My (Knitting) Insanity

BPG ASJ As though you still have any doubt regarding that matter.

I'm going knit an Elizabeth Zimmermann Adult Surprise Jacket.

I don't know anyone in person who has knit one, but I'm not going to let that stop me.

I do know people who have knit a Baby Surprise Jacket, but I've never knit one myself.

The pattern booklet I have that includes directions for the Adult, Baby, and Child versions suggests you knit a BSJ first to get the hang of it. But that seems awfully sensible and smacks of swatching, so I'm not going to.

Since May
This is not a decision I've come to lightly, and I don't think it should be approached on a whim.

For those people not surprised with the pattern...you cast on and knit it in one piece. As you work, it is an amorphous, amoeba-like blob that doesn't remotely resemble a sweater. Not until you are done and do a little "origami magic" does the sweater appear. It's a leap of faith pattern because you can't really try it on as you go along.

No, I didn't think of this idea last night. I've had this idea in mind since I received that massive box of KFI sample yarn back in May.

Once I realized it was mostly single balls I thought, "What the heck am I going to do with it all?" Because, really, I was only fooling myself with that whole swatch blanket idea. I don't make afghans. And I don't like working single sampler blocks. Which is why that project has died a horrible death.

Really, don't we all prefer to be actually making something? To have a finished item as the goal? I thought so.

It seems to me the ASJ is the ultimate Hoard busting project. Indeed, the pattern booklet even says, "As true knitters you may have boxes of leftover wools of about the same weight."

Prep Work
Hubby was shocked to see me vacuuming last night. However, it was a necessary first step before I could sort my yarn out on the floor.

I spent a couple hours last night sorting all my yarn by weight according to the recommended gauge on the ball band.

Then I made myself a little spread sheet of gauge, yardage, and how many balls I had. I've entered most, but not all, of this yarn into my Ravelry stash, but didn't think I'd be able to get the info I needed easily because I forgot about the export feature until just this very moment.

Oh well, I would have had to clean it up and delete stuff to get to what I wanted.


I discovered that I can make several crazy colored sweaters in DK, worsted, and chunky weight. And by that I mean, I can probably make at least two sweaters in each weight.


I decided to go with the chunky yarn for the ASJ, which required sorting the pile of chunky yarn by color to see if I can really pull this off.
Red topdown
The pile in the top picture is composed of purple, blue, and green yarn that seemed to harmonize. I have a second pile of red and orange yarn. That might become just a top down cardigan in the traditional try it on as you go style. A third, much, much smaller pile is browns and greys. Not sure what I'll do with those. Maybe the swatch blanket will be revived after all.

If things go well with the ASJ I'm thinking I might sort the DK yarns and make myself and crazy striped Schleppy Sweater.

I've organized the yarn into the color sequence I want. I think I'll just work through each ball and not try to do stripes by using part of it and saving part of it for further in the jacket.

Charged Up
For some reason I am so excited about this project that I couldn't sleep last night!

I spent time this morning adding suggested needle sizes to my spreadsheet, because I didn't think of it last night. Then I had to fuss with the order I'll use the yarn.

It's going to be Epic!

Now I have to wind the hanks that need to be wound. I should probably also swatch. grr. Then I can do the math and get started.