Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Schleppy Sweater: More Whining About Math & Measuring

Worked a few rows last night.

Made it through the ribbing on the left sleeve elbow. Worked at least one increase row.

Not much else.

I've got 52 stitches on this sleeve. The goal is 66. I did some math the other day. I've worked just over 100 rows. I should have around 135 rows total to get to 18 inches long (see what I mean about my measuring? I don't think I have long arms, I don't have a problem with clothes not fitting properly. So why am I knitting these sleeves to be 18 inches long? And that is not including the mitt.)

Oh, speaking of the mitt, those 100 rows are including the mitt. So I've got 70 in the sleeve. Which means have plenty of room to finish my increases, which should take around 56 rows.

I'm tired just thinking about it.

I've never had a problem knitting sleeves in the past. I usually do them two at a time. I knit them, and it's fine, and it doesn't seem to take an unusually long time. But these sleeves. Boy howdy, am I sick of them. Maybe because I've technically knit three sleeves now.

Speaking of which, after I finish this left sleeve I have to figure out where I left off the right sleeve and catch it up.

This was going to be a simple post telling you I have nothing to post about.

What really worries me about this 18 inch sleeve nonsense is that I won't really know if they actually fit until the sweater is done.

Or at least several rows into the yolk so I can try it on.

And I'm not looking forward to ripping that much knitting out of the sleeves are too long.

A "too long" body I can work with. If my aim was off there it will just land lower on my waist, no biggy.

What might save me is that I am trying on the sleeves as I go along. If they seem long enough before they reach 18 inches I'll stop.

Which opens the door to them ending up too short!

ahhhhh! I can't handle the uncertainty. Must. Knit. Faster.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Speaking of Knitting by Candlelight

During the week of the 14th my friends who live near the coast were without power for up to four days because of a wicked storm that ripped through the state.

Four day. Can you even imagine?

I had to brag that during the five years we've lived in our house we've only lost power once for around 15 minutes.

These are statistics that should not be said aloud as it brings you to the attention of the blackout gremlins.

At Least an Hour
Yep, I was playing online last night when "click" everything went dark.

The dogs flipped out. As though barking would help the situation or make the lights turn back on.

I had to use my cellphone as a flashlight to get downstairs to the real flashlight to dig in the drawer for the electric match to light a bunch of candles.

At first Samson was like, "Whatever," and went into the puppy fort. Baru was sticking to my heels. Later on Samson came down, too.

My main concerns were zombies, vampires, and that damn sewer ejector. I was acutely aware that I couldn't run any water since I don't know how big that tank is or how long the power would be out. I tried not to think about what we'd do if it was an extended outage.

Happily, it was only about an hour. It finally occurred to me to call the electric company. The recording said 1 a.m., but five minutes after I hung up the lights came back on. Of course the dogs freaked out again, which was about as helpful as when they flipped out when the lights went out.

I spent most of the time wandering around the house with my five stick candelabra feeling rather gothic. Samson and I peered out the windows to see if the neighbor's had power and saw what we thought was an electric company truck go by.

I got hardly any knitting done. Mainly because I couldn't decide where to settle. I debated hiding in the bedroom, but didn't think I could light myself well. I decided on the living room with the candles lined up on the coffee table.

Turns out the bedroom might have been a better choice. When I gave up and went to bed I put the candelabra on my dresser, which has a big, tri-fold mirror. Of course that caught the light, amplified it, and threw it back into the room.

A girl can't win.

This has potential
I was just reading Pam's blog post about these fancy cable decreases.

I might have to try them on my Schleppy Sweater. If I ever get to the Raglan decreases. I think I saw someone mention these on Ravelry a few days ago. It was intriguing, but there wasn't a good description.

However, my yarn is pretty loud, I mean, colorful so the detail might not show up.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Now I Get It

Or at least I think I do.

I have seen, but not read, blogs with the theme of "I design my first sweater."

I'm always conflicted about this theme, as it doesn't seem broad enough for a whole blog.

How long does it take to design a sweater? I think.

How much detail are you going into? I wonder.

The initial concept. Selecting the yarn. Swatching. The math. Can you really milk it for an entire blog?

How frequently do they blog?

And how long is this blog going to go on? Do they finish the sweater and then stop blogging? Or do they continue blogging, maybe with a new sweater design, but without updating their theme?

I'm sure some of these questions would be answered if I actually read any of these blogs. But there are only so many hours in a day, so I choose to remain ignorant in favor of accomplishing other things in life.

But I'm Starting to Understand
After all, the Schleppy Sweater has consumed my blog since I announced it on March 7. Granted I don't blog on weekends and I don't blog every day. Still, eight out of my 17 posts this month have been about designing this sweater. Which is almost half.

In fact, that post about the dirty dish flow chart doesn't really count, so it is half.

And the posts that weren't about the sweater once I started it were just filler because the sweater was in a calm spot where it was actually working out so there was nothing to report.

Which is another question. What if these other erstwhile designers are better at measuring and math than me and their sweater knits up as anticipated? That must be a boring blog.

Still, the Schleppy Sweater seems to be back on track (again) and once I'm done knitting it I'll work on other projects.

Really, by the end of April (I hope) you won't hear about the Schleppy Sweater again, aside from footnotes as I reference what I learned for other projects.

Which means that if my theme was limited to "I design my first sweater" I would have blogged for about a month and been done.

On the other hand, everyone blogs for different reasons. Not everyone is interested in keeping an on going journal. In fact, a tightly controlled blog on one topic that was informative, useful, and finite would probably be a good thing to have around.

Go out on a high note, they say.

I should probably find of these theme blogs so I can commiserate, or at least find out if they are having as many problems as I am.

And, shoot, if the simple Schleppy Sweater is providing this much fodder (especially considering the excruciating detail I like to share about the most inconsequential things) just imagine what a treat you are in for when I start designing those cabled sweaters I have in mind.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Schleppy Sweater: Sick of Sleeves

Schleppy sleeve left "Are you making gauntlets?" Hubby asked.

No, it's a sweater. These are the sleeves.

"But they cover your hands."

Yes, and if I'm not cold I can fold them back.

"That's neat," he said. "Did you think of that yourself?"

And I had to admit that I saw someone mention the idea on Ravelry.

At which point he lost interest and went back to his video game.

Faster, not better
Pam and Margaret were much more interested when I brought it into Westport Yarns today.

I explained how the first sleeve had felt too tight when I increased every 9th row (right? I worked 8 even then increased on the next row) so on the next sleeve I increased every 4th row (worked 3 even, increased on the following row).

But all the increases all ended up taking place before my elbow. Which was awfully fast. Really, I need a happy medium.

I was trying it on last night and noticed it was bulging strangely near my elbow. I figured it was a combination of the increases and the ribbing colliding. I poked at it and tried to smooth it out.

The part of me that was tired of knitting sleeves said that was just the way it was going to be and I'd have to deal with it.

The part of me that likes things done right said that was the most ridiculous thing it had hear Samson March 2710considering I was designing this sweater from scratch. The fussy part pointed out that the bulge would always annoy me, especially since it was in my power to fix it.

Fortunately, it was time for bed by then so I didn't have to worry about it any more.

(Random picture of Samson! Tired from a game of fetch.)

Well, when I put both sleeves on Margaret immediately asked what I was going to be wearing under the sweater. I said nothing. She said the left sleeve was too big then.

Pam said the left sleeve really was schleppy while the rest of the sweater wasn't.

In the mean time, the right sleeve has suddenly started fitting better. I guess all the times I've pulled it on and off trying it out have stretched it out and given it a chance to relax.

So, basically, I'm going to stick with my original increases.

As Pam pointed out, I'm not loosing anything since I was intending to rework a sleeve anyway. It's just a different sleeve.

Ribbing Under Attack
They both said the Baru blury March 2710short/15 row ribbing at the elbow was better than the tall/30 row version.

I have to agree with them. I was already starting to suspect that. It ended up being much more, um, more than I had anticipated.

(Random picture of Baru! Who wouldn't sit still so he's blurry.)

However, they also both turned their noses up at it. Didn't like it at all. They said elbows aren't really an area that needs to be highlighted. (Even though I missed the elbow.) And they didn't really "get it" as a design element. Although they were down with the idea of it on the body for waist shaping.

Despite their protests I still like the ribbing. And it's my sweater. So I've chosen to ignore that little piece of advice. ha!

Of course this means I won't be going back and extending the ribbing on the body. The whole point of the ribbing on the sleeves is to match the body.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pretty Project Bags

An appealing aspect of knitting is all the fun gadgets that go along with it.

In my opinion at least.

Stitch markers, point projectors, row counters, and project bags are just some of the fun things you can buy to make the craft manageable.

Either all these things didn't exist when I was just crocheting, or I was totally unaware of them, because I never seemed to need anything beyond a hook and a long piece of scrap yarn when I was a crocheter.
(I would weave the scrap yarn in and out my rows to make them easier to count when I was working in the round. Never had a problem counting rows when I was working flat.)

I'm not a purse addict, or a knitting bag addict, like some women are. But a cute project bag appeals to my greedy little heart. I think I like the smallness of them.

Now, I'm not unbaised about these bags I'm about to wax poetic about because they are made by a friend of mine.

"Giggles" is another staff member at Westport Yarns (nee Knitting Central). (We have to people named Laura and both their last names start with E so we had to get creative.)

Two years ago for Christmas she made all of us unique little project bags, which is what you see above.

We each had a different fabric pattern, so she obviously targeted them toward our tastes. Mine, as you can see, has polka dots with little flowers inside.

Cynthia always took the staff out to dinner at the end of the year. We would get rowdy and exchange our Secret Santa presents. These bags were in addition to the presents (several people do these extra presents, they are very generous and talented).

As you can imagine we all fell all over ourselves praising the cuteness and practicality of these bags. So Cynthia immediately placed an order for the store. She is supportive of our efforts flower project baglike that.

These small ones are about 10.5 inches wide and 12 inches deep. They are a great size for holding a sock in progress or two. The print fabric is cotton and the lining is polyester (although I think it looks like silk). She makes a larger size, but I don't know the dimensions.

They are also durable, as I've been dragging my original Christmas one around for two years and it looks just fine. Currently it's in the dining room credenza, stuffed with the Angora Bed Socks of Power and Fortune! I need to get back to them.

I've been able to resist the other bags that have come through the store. I have some self control. After all, how many project bags does a girl need?

That is until the new batch arrived in time for the grand opening last week.

I lost it. There was one with a lilac print with a lavender lining. One with a big paisley pattern in primary colors on black with a deep blue lining. And this happy flower one with the awesome red lining.

Everyone agreed that is flowered one was very much me, so I had to bring it home with me. Since my original one is busy, I'm using my new one to drag around Hubby's sock.

I was going to get a paisley one in the large size as well, but managed to resist. After all, I bought Shirley's book that night as well.

Anyway, if you like attractive, well made, project bags you should totally look into these.

Right now they are only available from either Westport Yarns or Knitting Central. But we do mail order.

I know Giggles sent some to a yarn store trade show and I think Cynthia had them at Stitches East in the fall as well. So I expect her project bag empire to start expanding very soon.

Schleppy Sweater: Whose Brilliant Idea Was It

Schleppy sleeve bad for me to design a sweater from scratch?

Oh, right, it was mine.

So many nice sweater designs already exist, but no, I had to take the hard way.

If you see me typing crazy talk about designing a sweater again, please lock me in the closet until the impulse passes. (Of course, I reserve the right to revoke that request once this sweater is finished and turns out awesome.)

When I embarked on this project I read somewhere that if you are going to design your own sweater you have to be prepared to rip out and rework parts or all of it.

Well, I thought I was prepared, but actually having to do it still sucks.

Sleeve: Bad at Ease
The sleeve is not working out. It is too snug. To the point of being uncomfortable, if I'm being honest.

Seriously, it looks like an alien skin costume.

Hubby was no help as this crisis was developing.

I put on the body piece and held it up. Then pulled on the sleeve. I asked if the sleeve looked ok.

He said the sleeve looked great. That he liked it and I should leave them detached. As knitting-punk was not the look I was going for with this sweater, I decided to ignore him.

Unfortunately, I could not reach this level of honesty about the sleeve during the first day or two of knitting when it was only up to my elbow. No, I had to live in a state of denial for four knitting days, by which time it reached my upper arm. Which is to say, it's almost done.

I think I know what went wrong.

Part of the problem is that I apparently don't have the least bit of understanding of the concept of ease. This does not surprise me since I don't grasp spacial dimensions in general. You could pluck me from my living room, put me into a new room, and I wouldn't be able to say for sure how they compare. I've lived in my town for five years and can never remember the order of the stores on the main drag (which baffles Hubby and makes his life difficult. He has learned not to ask my opinion on travel directions).

This all translates into a too snug sleeve. It's not a delusional self-image. I measured correctly (I think) and believed the tape measure. I just don't understand how 2 inches of ease relates to what the tape measure told me.

This might have been addressed by keeping in mind the fit standards according to the Craft Yarn Council of America here, which list 1-2 inches of ease as "close fitting. " One printout I have even says "body skimming." For what I had in mind I should have been in the 3-4 inch range.

Measure Twice, Knit Once
The next problem is that I measured my pudgy upperarm and my scrawny wrist and nothing in between. This makes no sense considering I can see that my forearm has a larger circumference than my wrist.

Finally, I learned that just because I can spread my increases out over the entire length of the sleeve doesn't mean I should.

The sleeve is almost at the final length before the Raglan shaping and I still have one increase to work (which probably indicates an error in my math somewhere. I was sure I'd have several inches to work after the final increase before it reached the max length). Because the shaping is so gradual, the sleeve doesn't start fitting nicely until somewhere well above my elbow.

Also, since I'm ripping the poor sleeve apart, I totally missed on the ribbing. It lands below my elbow rather than on it. On the other hand (sleeve? snicker) I've decided to make the ribbing 30 rows, which should be 4 inches, rather than the current 15 rows, which is 2 inches. It should sit over the elbow area better at that length.

Back to the Calculator
I think I can salvage the mitt and cuff portion of the right sleeve. I like the way they fit. I've actually bound off the sleeve and am preserving it for comparison as I work the left sleeve. Then I'll frog the right one and rework it.

I've measured my arm in more places to have more stitch counts to aim for.

I'm going to increase 4 sts on the row right after the ribbing. Then increase 2 sts every 4th row.

On my first attempt I worked 8 rows even after the ribbing before my first increase. Then increased 2 sts every 8th row. Now I'll be working the same number of increases in half the length.

The right sleeve is tightest in the area just after the cuff, so the quick increase there should help.

Back to the Body
Since I'm revising things, I took another, harder, look at the body.

First off, it shrunk while in my project back. It was 13 inches when I put it in there and now it's 12.5 inches. It would appear I was smoothing it out a little too enthusiastically as I was measuring it.

But I've decided that I'm not happy about how low the corset ribbing is after all. However, instead of ripping out the ribbing and shifting it up two rows or whatever, I'm going to work it for 15 more rows so it matches the sleeves. Problem solved.

The overall fit of the body is acceptable. It is not as obscenely tight as the sleeve, but also not as loose as I had in mind. This makes me wonder if I actually just prefer "body skimming" styles in my knitware and subconsciously defaulted to that as I began the design process.

This all blew up on Sunday. Since I needed time to come to terms with wasting four plus days of knitting, I put the sweater aside and worked on Hubby's socks for a few days until I had quiet time to rework the sweater pattern.

Emergency fallback projects. Why pure project monogamy isn't practical.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Shirley Paden at Westport Yarns

Shirley & Westport Yarns staffLast Thursday, March 18, was the Grand Opening for Westport Yarns.

Yippee! We are officially transitioned. And we have the stationery to prove it.

[Photo l to r: Chloe, Pam, Cynthia, Beth, Shirley, Fanone, me. We tortured the poor woman with several group photos. A customer was nice enough to run through our cameras for us. We aren't even all in my picture, a couple staff members hadn't arrived yet. So there was a second round of pictures after this one!]

Our grand opening event was a talk and book signing by famed knit ware designer Shirley Paden. Her patterns have appeared in all the big knitting magazines and she teaches classes down in New York City. Her new book is Knitware Design Workshop. I was able to flip through it, and it looks really cool, but I don't have a copy as the staff was barred from buying one until all the customers had a shot—and they sold out!

Although that's great, we all had a little pout anyway, even though these are the normal ground rules. So we've all ordered copies and are comforted by the fact Shirley might pass through again in the summer giving us another opportunity to get her autograph.


Fun with Technology
Shirley Paden at Westport Yarns[Photo: Shirley with the lovely patterns featured in her book. They look good in the book, but better in person. We weren't allowed to play with them, which is probably for the best.]

As soon as I waltzed in the back door of the store I hear, "Oh good, Ann's here." Which immediately put me on alert.

Turned out Shirley had a video clip and slide show to go along with her talk. Beth's son-in-law had set the laptop and projector up, but he was leaving so it had been decided I would drive.

I was flattered. Until I couldn't figure out how to turn the volume up, and the dvd skipped ahead, and I couldn't navigate to the full screen option quickly enough. Leaving me muttering about being a Mac in a PC world. But it worked out ok in the end.

Shirley was a little surprised she wasn't going to be advancing the slide show herself, but she took it in stride and I think we managed quite well considering we'd never rehearsed (if I do say so myself).

She explained how she switched from a technology job to designing knitware and becoming a knitting teacher. She talked about the goals for the book. The slide show was images from the book and she explained a little about each section.

The end of the slide show was a "hall of fame" from people who have taken her design class and had their patterns published. Of the maybe dozen patterns highlighted we had four of the people in the room. Including our own Pam, whose sweater was in the Holiday 2009 issue of Vogue Knitting.

Shirley story She also took some questions.

Susan, who took the class and had her pattern published, said now whenever she is finishing a sweater she thinks of Shirley's grandmother.


So Shirley told us about how she was working on that lovely blue coat as the deadline was approaching. It was almost done when she discovered a mistake. She thought about leaving it, but thought of her mother and grandmother and how they would disapprove. She could hear them saying to fix it and do it right. So she did. It was a reminder to us all to take care and not rush through our projects because we want to be happy with them later.

We were at the store until around 9 p.m. what with wandering around nibbling cheese and waiting for people to get their book signed. I doubt Shirley was able to do any knitting that night. Not only did she get home really late, but her hand was probably sore from all that writing!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Schleppy Sweater: Sleeve Time!

Schleppy body You know what that is?

Thirteen inches of sweater body!


Now, I know it looks kind of little, but I will remind you of two things.

First, I'm kinda little. Second, it's squished up on the needles.

Keep in mind, I did put it on a lifeline just after that middle ribbing and tried it on. It does seem to fit. Not sure if it actually fits well....but it wasn't skin tight and it didn't seem to be huge. Hopefully that means it's fitting in the way I envisioned.

Since I still don't trust it, I'm going to go through my sock yarn scraps to put in a long-term lifeline in case I finish all the knitting and the top is all wrong.

I considered using a piece of trusty kite string but it seems harsh and I'm mildly afraid of the kite string damaging the soft Zara.

I also briefly considered using some of the Zara left over from Hubby's Striped Sweater, but that might take up too much room and affect the fit.

Sleeve the First
schleppy cuff I reached the 13" early in my knitting time last night, so I dove right into the first sleeve.

Very exciting.

I only managed 15 rows before bedtime.

Apparently, I'm incapable of casting on in a satisfactory manner on the first try.

Usually I decided the leftover tail is too long and a waist, so I try again.

But then then tail is too short to weave in securely, so I make another attempt.

Sometimes it looks too tight, or sloppy, which requires yet another cast on.

Fortunately multiple complaints can apply to a single attempt. I think went with my third try last night.

I'm using the US5 on the idea it will make the hand part a little bigger so it will be easier to fold back if I want to.

I worked 15 rows of ribbing, which pleased me greatly. Then on the 16th row I bound off two stitches for the thumb hole. On the next row I cast two stitches back on over the bound off stitches.

Then I worked an 18th row so get the needles away from my erstwhile thumb hole so I could try it on.

Yeah, it didn't fit. Waaay to small.

Then I tinked back to the 15th row. Then it was time for bed. sigh.

I think binding off four stitches should do the trick.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Schleppy Sweater: Making Progress

I am pleasantly surprised at how quickly the Schleppy Sweater is working up. In around 10 more rows, give or take, I should be able to put the body aside and start the sleeves.

Since I'm working it in the round I'll have to catch the sleeves up, then I can join the whole mess together and finish it off with no seams.

I sure hope joining the sleeves makes sense when I come to it. I don't have any underarm bind off, which probably means I did some math or measured something incorrectly. I'll worry about it when I get there.

Try It On
On Saturday evening I got through the corset ribbing and was ready to add my third ball of yarn when I decided it was time to see if I was actually on the right track. It measured about 8", as expected, which means I'm nailing my row gauge.

I'm pleased to report that it actually seems to fit!

I transferred it to my trusty spool of kite string and put it on. I held the cast on edge at my hips, where it's supposed to be landing and held the top up. The corset ribbing could have been a wee bit higher, maybe two rows, so I'm not going to rip back to change it. The circumference around my body seems on target as well.

Outside Encouragement
On Sunday evening I went to a potluck with the other Westport Yarns, nee Knitting Central, staff members to celebrate the transition.

It was a little messed up because the Connecticut coast was walloped by a massive rain and wind storm Saturday. Half the people in attendance were unable to bring their contribution because they lost power and couldn't cook.

My town didn't loose power at all. In fact I didn't realize how bad the storm was until I was on the Merritt Parkway where I could tell trees had been down. There were more downed trees in the area of the store.

But it worked out fine. Giggles made butternut squash soup. I baked a loaf of that Scali bread. The hostess wisely picked up some fancy deli salads. ABB made ambrosia, and there were two types of cheesecake, cookies, and other desserts.

My bread was a big hit and everyone was duly impressed. I actually had to bake two loaves because I knew Hubby wouldn't let me take it out of the house. In fact, when they were out of the oven he tried to run off with both of them, but Samson jumped up and tried to snatch them, causing Hubby to return them to the kitchen island.

I also received a few pats on the head for attempting my first sweater design and the fact that it actually looks like a sweater. People even identified that the center ribbing is intended as waist shaping.

Friday, March 12, 2010

What should I do with my dirty dish?

What should I do with my dirty dish?

Well, that experiment had rather hideous results.
I should just delete this post.
I made this clever flow chart for the office kitchen.
For some reason, everyone immediately knew it was me, even though I was sneaky when I hung it.

Stitch Markers

stitch markers Back in February I wrote a blog post that got lost. The technology ate it. This is a recreation of part of that post.

Mainly because I've settled down with the Schleppy Sweater and I'm just knitting inches and inches of stockinette stitch. I do not expect any more excitement until I start the sleeves.

Well, there will be some fun in about, oh, two more inches when I switch back to the smaller needles and work the ribbing for the corset section.

But I suspect that will be more fun for me than for you.


Never Enough Stitch Markers
Really. You can't have enough of the little suckers. And I added to my collection in early February.

Of course I had to turn it into a whole big to-do.

We'll start from the right hand side of the picture this time, maybe that will bring me good fortune when I hit the "publish" button.

In early February I was making noise about wanting stitch markers that have the various decreases noted on them. Specifically ssk and k2tog for when I'm making socks so I don't have to remember which one to work when. Lazy much?

Pam found these cute StitchDots by PolarKnits for sale at Nobel Knits. Since we didn't carry them at our store the path was clear to buy them online. We each ordered a set to dilute the shipping cost.

They are fun! I didn't take a picture of the little plastic, squeeze change purse style container they come in (Pam did though, but you'll have to scroll her previous posts to find it).

They don't have specific increases and decreases on them like I wanted, but they do have inc, dec, start, end, WS, RS, letters A through F, and a couple with just asterisks. It's nice they are split ring since you can slap them on and off projects. I used one to mark my armhole shaping row on my Girly Top so I would know where to measure from. Currently, I'm using one of the "start" ones on my Schleppy Sweater to mark the beginning of the round.

(I had an "end" one at the other side seam, but it wasn't really the end and since they felt the same it was confusing me if I wasn't looking. Now I have a wee sheep marking the other side.)

Rubber Ring Markers
Oh, hmm, I see the discussion of the little ring markers progresses better from the left side. Apparently I lined them up that way for the picture for a reason.

Red one on the right is from a set I bought during my Glorious Month at Patternworks.

The white one is from a set I bought at Knitting Central.

And the black ones are from a big box hardware store with an H in the name.

Now I'd always heard you could get wee washers at the hardware store that would work well as stitch markers. I always got the impression that is was a free for all of handfuls of washers for pennies.

So when mom came up in early February to hear all about my looming yarn diet in person, I thought I'd finally check it out. We needed rock salt for the driveway anyway. And that was around the time New Jersey was getting walloped by all those snow storms and mom said you couldn't get a snow shovel for love or money.

Anyway. Not the washer bonanza I was expecting.

Instead I was faced with little boxes of 10 washers each for $1.97 (plus tax). And they were all black. I bought two different sizes, but don't remember which (but still have the boxes at home).

The Patternworks website says the red ones come in bags of 21 for $3.99.
I don't remember what I paid for the ones at my LYS.

So, in my opinion, they are a wash pricewise. Well, aside from shipping charges, which might be balanced by gas usage.

However, in the end I'm glad I finally checked it out for myself.

Stalking Other Styles
Sheep markersI am still after ssk and k2tog ones.

I went through a brief phase where I considered buying fimo dough at a craft store and making some. I was able to contain myself, though, since I know I'm not into that type of craft.

So I did a little poking around on esty to see what I could find.

I went straight to the WeeOnes shop. She had contributed the cute sheep markers to that grab bag I won an Rhineback. So cute! Obviously that marketing ploy worked. However, she doesn't have the style I'm after. BUT she has little golden retriever ones. squeee! I'd want lobster claws and wonder if she would do red ones for me since Samson and Baru are red. I know they don't have the decreases notated. I just want them because they are adorable.

I moved along and found a store called DecorNoir who has tombstone shaped markers that do have the specific decreases on them.

Heck, I bet if I kept looking I'd find ones with specific increases, then I wouldn't have to think at all when I knit. Although I do seem to decrease more often.

You might be surprised to hear that I have not rushed out and ordered these. I'm practicing self control. After all I want these markers I don't need them.

Also, my birthday is rapidly approaching. I figure I'll lay low and see if anyone gets them for me. Then if I don't receive them as a gift I have the added excuse of a snit to justify buying them for myself.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Schleppy Sweater: Back to the Calculator

Schleppy ribbingCan you make a mistake while knitting a sweater you designed yourself?

Which is to say, if you alter a published pattern on the fly and it isn't a mistake, doesn't that mean altering a pattern you cooked up yourself isn't a mistake either?

This is the question I was struggling with yesterday when I realized I'd worked my ribbing for 1.5 inches when I meant to work it for 2 inches.

When I first realized my mistake what had happened I figured I should go with it. But then I remembered all the ribbing at the waist and elbows was also planned to be 2 inches, which meant I had to double back to ensure all the ribbing matched.

Fortunately, I'd only worked 5 rows of stockinette stitch, so it wasn't a big loss. I've decided I'm going to work the ribbing for my beloved 15 rows, which is what I always work on my socks. I'm pretty sure 15 rows should end up working out to 2 inches anyway.

Facing Reality
The second Schleppy Sweater disaster yesterday occurred when I finally sat down and typed up the pattern.

This forced me to come to terms with the fact that the numbers I had for my Raglan shaping were all wrong and were never going to work.

On the bright side, I'm only 10 rows into the sweater. Plenty of time to regroup. At least I wasn't stubborn enough to knit the damn thing before I admitted my error.

I know just what happened.

When I did the math, as instructed, I would have had 24 sts left at the back neck, which is just a hair under 5".

That didn't seem wide enough, so I decided I would leave 30 sts, but didn't also add 6 sts back into the sleeve tops (as instructed).

Then I figured out the interval for my Raglan decreases based on the body numbers. Since the sleeves are supposed to follow the same progression I did not double check them. Nope, big old blind spot of denial.

However, when I was typing up the pattern I had to look at the numbers and say, "Those decreases aren't going to get me to that number on the sleeves." I would have 12 sts left on the sleeves, not 6, and that seemed to wide.

Fudge It
I tried to find ways around it.

I debated binding off more stitches on the sleeve underarm. That seemed silly because then the flat spots wouldn't match up.

I debated just reducing the number of stitches in the sleeve in general. That was bad on two fronts. First, I would have to rework the increases. Second, having 2 inches of ease on the body and 1 inch of ease on the sleeves struck me as goofy.

In the end I had to suck it up and rework the numbers based on 24 sts left at the neck.

The good part is this means my decreases will be every other row, which is apparently traditional. The weird part is now I don't have to bind off any underarm stitches.

Since I was tweaking things, I also redid the front neck shaping. Well, I had to anyway since it originally based on 30 sts. I realized my original numbers would have eaten up all the front stitches and collided with the Raglan shaping. I tried to make it so that I'll have 6 sts left on the front (3 on each side). I won't know for sure whether it worked until I get there.

Neckline Worries
The neck opening will be wide enough.

I hope.

Between the stitches on the back and the stitches on the sleeves it should be fine.


I mean, that's what the math says anyway.

Not that you can trust numbers.

Photo Note: I made The Guy in the Art Department take this picture with his iPhone because Boss Man is out of the office today. It's a pretty gloomy day, which is why it's dark.
And, hello, can you see why I'm concerned about the small circumference?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Possible Tactical Error

On Sunday I was, for unknown reasons, working on a pair of socks I've started for Hubby. As opposed to working on my Schleppy Sweater, but perhaps the sweater math wasn't done at that point.

I waived the completed cuff at Hubby.

He obligingly fingered the yarn, said it felt nice, and asked if they were for myself.

I said, "nooooo."

And he got all excited that I was making him new socks.

I haven't touched the socks since. I'm trying to focus on the sweater. The "socks" are a cuff and three rows of leg.

The reason this might be a problem is that eventually Hubby is going to notice his new socks aren't done. At which point he'll start campaigning on their behalf.

I've got time. I don't think he knows how long it should take me to knit a pair of socks (about two weeks if I'm focused).

Why, you ask, did I show him the sock if I knew how it would all play out?

I wanted to make sure he liked the color. Which is silly because I've shown him the ball of yarn repeatedly and every time he approved it. Maybe I secretly hope he'll reject it so I can have it for myself.

Really, what I should have done is wait until the sock is further along so he can really see the color/pattern. Right now it's just a reddish brown cuff.

Ah, I'm sure it will be fine.

Sweater Update
I'm a few rows into the stockinette portion of the body. When I get a little further along I'm going to check my gauge. I'm sure it won't match my swatch and all my numbers will be invalidated.

I've got the correct number cast on, according to my math, but it sure doesn't look big enough to fit.


And I still have to type the pattern up and stash it in multiple safe places.

Which I think I'll got do right now.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Yarn Diet Diverted

Zara print tweedYou've heard me talk big about yarn diets in the past.

How I was going to save money by just knitting from my stash and not buying new yarn.

And how I've always quickly found some excuse to buy yarn soon after making my declaration.

But this time was going to be different.

This time I was going to stick with it. Mainly because I was going to be forced to.

The Bad News
You see, at the beginning of January Cynthia told us she was closing Knitting Central's physical location and moving to an online only model. This would allow her to spend more time with her family.

I haven't mentioned it before this because it was just too sad to discuss.

You can bet there were a bunch of stunned and sad staff members at that meeting. After all, the store was doing fine despite the economy so we weren't expecting such an announcement. We all understood, of course, since we all have families.

It was the deprivation that would have been the hard part.

No longer would I be able to casually throw a project in my bag and instantly have opinions from other knitters. On the other hand, plans were quickly formed to have a regular knitting night just for the staff so we could keep in touch.

I would no longer have easy access to tons of lovely yarn. On the other hand, I also wouldn't be constantly tempted to buy new yarn. I could think of six sweaters worth of yarn off the top of my head. If a sweater takes me two months, that's a year's worth of projects right there. And let's not discuss all the sock yarn I have squirreled away. I could hunker down with my stash and struggle through.

Cynthia explained she had to give the landlord two month notice, so the doors would close the beginning of March. She encouraged us all to think about our next fiber adventure and said she would help anyway she could.

When I told Hubby the news he was quiet for a bit, then said, "You're habit is about to get more expensive."

Then he said it was lucky he had already asked for a sweater and a new scarf, since my supply was about to be cut off.

When I told mom, she asked, "Can we still go back to Rhinebeck?"

Proving we all react to sad news in different ways.

Stash Enhancement
So we began the process of the going out of business sale. Boy howdy, was the store hopping on those January weekends. Sapphire Juniper

I didn't work the first weekend of the sale. When I was getting ready to work the second weekend I told myself firmly that I wouldn't buy anything. After all, if I hadn't needed the yarn in December I didn't need it in January either.

As you've guessed from the pictures peppering this post it turns out I did need yarn.

The Zara, which is what I'm using for my Schleppy Sweater, is a color we'd never had before. My eyes when straight to its red/black/white glory as soon as I walked in the door and I knew it had to be mine. There is also a wee bit of yellow, just for good measure. Most of my favorite colors rolled into one, how could I resist?

I had, of course, given myself exceptions for various socks yarns, all of which were already gone. Expect this lovely electric blue Alchemy Juniper. I really liked this yarn when I made those purple socks for The Guy in the Art Department last year and had been considering getting a skein for myself.

Shadow metal I also got a little ball of blue and purple Shadow Metal to make another Quicksilver Collar for mom. She really liked that horrid yellow one I made her and had asked for another one at the time. Of course I said no because it was harder to make than it looks. But I figured if my access to yarn was going to be cut off I should strike while I could.

The Good News!
Then in mid-February we received the exciting news that the store had been bought!


A longtime customer named Beth decided that she and other areas knitters could not be deprived of the wonderful resources that was Knitting Central.

In a frantic, breakneck week she wrote a business plan and secured financing. We were saved and Westport Yarns was born.

It all happened so quickly that she didn't have a sign, stationery, or website. For now information is still on the KC website, but a dedicated site is supposed to be up and running by end of next week.

Beth wisely invited all the current staff to stay on. She recognized that we were an important part of what made the store awesome. Who wouldn't want to keep such a talented and experienced group around?

There was an awkward week between KC's going out of business sale ending and WY stocking up. But our shelves are almost back to full capacity and more yarn is still expected to arrive.

There are old standbys like Zara and Torino, as well as exciting new yarns like Cotton Tail from Classic Elite and a slew of different yarns from Cascade.

In fact, just the other day (in a moment of insanity) I asked Hubby what colors he would want if I was to make him a pair of argyles. He said earth tones. Well, we've got this Heritage Sock yarn from Cascade now that seems just the thing. It's a wool/nylon blend, but very soft, and lots of yardage. The colors Beth selected are all solid and muted without being muddy.

I was petting them all day Saturday, but managed to resist. Of course the arrival of this yarn right after I asked Hubby about argyles seems like fate to me. Also, some of these colors might work for my Landscape socks, which I'm never going to get to make if I don't start collecting yarn already.

See what I mean about constant temptation?

Grand Opening
Which brings us to the final bit of news.

The grand opening for Westport Yarns is on Thursday, March 18, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Renowned knitwear designer Shirley Paden will be doing a book signing and discussion about her new book, "Knitwear Design Workshop."

It should be pretty fun and informative. I might have to get a copy, seeing as I'm all about designing sweaters at the moment.

If you're in the area, you should stop by.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Schleppy Sweater: The Hard Part

All day yesterday was devoted to designing my sweater.

I remember brief breaks. I ate a couple times. I managed to wash the laundry (although it is not folded or put away). I spent some time sitting on the floor measuring sweaters to decide on length.
But that counts as part of the design process even though I wasn't sitting at the dining room table.

Basically 9 to 5 was spent with a bunch of books, a calculator, and a couple of colored pencils.

And I couldn't really tell you why it took so long. But I sure hope it gets easier. And my experience designing socks didn't seem to help at all.

You Got That Number From Where?
If you've read "Sweater Design in Plain English" then you are familiar with the layout.

The first half is a general design discussion. She talks about body types, tells you which bits to measure, discusses how the knit fabric behaves, and introduces color theory. All the kind of background stuff you need to think about first.

The second half is the number crunching part of creating the actual designs.

She starts with a simple drop shoulder sweater, like the striped one I knit for Hubby, then gets more complicated as the book progresses.

However, the chapters also get shorter as you go along. For the first few sweaters she takes you through step-by-step of each part of the sweater. You multiply this measurement by that gauge and it gives you this number which affects that number on the other part. It all looks nice and logical and straight forward. Each sweater also tends to introduce a new element.

But as you get to the later designs she skips the first few steps. Oh, you know how to find the number of stitches to cast on for the body, we'll skip straight to the neck shaping. Which makes sense as you're reading along.

And I was just reading. Since I had no need for the first few sweater shapes she covered I just read the book and did not work my own numbers along with her. This is, of course, a totally different way of engaging with the information.

Then, when I finally reached the chapters on designing Raglans she kind of throws everything previous out the window and tells you to start at the neck/Raglan seams, then jump back down to the bottom and work back up to meet the seam figures.

Pencil to Paper
She also has these nice little charts in the back for recording your project information. So I dutifully made a photocopy of the one that has a little box to draw my sketch. Which of course was much to small for practical purposes. I quickly ended up flipping the paper over and doing all my figuring on the blank back side.

[I should really scan this precious piece of paper and upload it to Google Docs so I can be sure I don't loose it. Actually, I need to write up the information on it into a coherent format and put that in multiple safe places as well. Redundancy can be good.]

Anyway. I figured out how many rows I had in which to work my Raglan decreases.

I figured out how many stitches to cast on. My desired width by my stitch gauge called for 82.5, which isn't possible. I rounded up to 83. That wouldn't work for 2x2 rib. I went with 84, because a little extra ease wouldn't hurt. To double check, I cast on 84 stitches, joined to work in the round, and counted out the pairs of ribbing to make sure it would work. [Note: this is an example of foreshadowing. This information will come into play later in my story.]

I figured how many stitches to have left at the back of the neck.

And things fell apart a little. Mom and I didn't measure the back of my neck. We measured across my back from shoulder to shoulder, but not the actual neck. So I tried to measure it myself. Then I compared the numbers given in SDiPE, my big Vogue Knitting, and "The Knitters Handy Book of Sweater Patterns," which I'd borrowed from the library, and decided on a number, which didn't quite fit the scenarios given in SDiPE because I needed more stitches not less. But I understand fudging is allowed.

[This morning it occurred to me I just had to divide the cross back number in thirds, which ends up being the number I finally settled on.]

I figured out how many to cast on for the sleeves and how many to have at the upper arm, and how many to have left at the top.

And things fell apart again, because I couldn't remember how to figure out the increase frequency.

The entire time I was flipping back to earlier chapters to see the steps for each sweater part, since I hadn't retained any of it since I'd just read it the first time around. I flipped back to where she covers sleeve increases and see I'm supposed to multiply my number of spans by my row gauge.

How the hell do I determine my number of spans again?

Then in the next breath she pulls a number out of the air.

Holy Smokes! How does that help me?!

I decided that if she was just going to make numbers up, so would I! And it worked out rather well. First I decided to increase every seven rows, but I seemed to still have theoretical room, so I changed it to every eight. I might have to fudge that if they don't land on right side rows.

[Note: That is another example of foreshadowing. If you remember from yesterday's post, I'm planning to work the sweater in the round, so every row is a right side row.]

And I sat back proudly and looked at all my notes. I had my lengths in red like she instructs. I had my cast on amount, it was circled in my math and noted in green on my layout. The same with my sleeve cast on, with a notation about my increase frequency.

I was ready to start knitting.

Not So Fast
Except I didn't have my Raglan decreases worked out. I knew the starting and the end numbers, but not how to get there.

How the heck did I manage to miss such an important step?

I reviewed the instructions for the Child's Raglan Turtleneck again. I missed it because she doesn't have math charts. It's an easy formula so she just says it in text.

Only it doesn't work for my gauge. My armholes would end up an inch too short.

So I flip ahead to the adult Raglan. There is no formula! It's a wishy-washy, freeform draw it on graph paper solution, which hadn't made sense at the time. The Vogue Knitting book isn't any better as it just throws around a bunch of mysterious math without a very clear explanation of where the numbers came from or how they were selected.

Rather than try to free hand it (mainly because the graph paper I photocopied out of the Vogue book didn't have enough rows), I fired up Excel. I prefer to work knitting charts in Excel because it's easier to erase mistakes. :-)

But then, when I was sitting there with the (digital) graph paper, Righetti's step by step instructions suddenly made sense because I had something to which to apply them. Once again it would have been helpful if I'd remember that bit about dividing the cross back into thirds sooner because I needed the neck to shoulder tip measurement to make the graph solution work.

But work it seemed to. Rather than print the resulting graph, I just wrote down the decrease frequency.

Remember that Foreshadowing?
Finally, I had all the numbers I would need to knit the sweater. However, by then it was 5 p.m. and I was really tired. Probably since I'd been up since 5 a.m.. Possibly because all that math wore me out.

I was snuggled down in bed, feeling all accomplished and ignoring the basket of unfolded laundry at the foot of the bed, when I thought about the 84 stitches I'd cast on earlier in the day.

I thought, "Boy, that little circle didn't look big enough to fit around my entire body. Maybe it is just squished up on the needle."

That idea sunk in.

Then I had a second of complete panic when I realized I'd worked my numbers for flat pieces and I was going to work the sweater in the round. I was afraid I'd have to start over.

It was just a second, though. I just as quickly realized the sleeves were fine because they just fold in half and I just had to double the body cast on. phew.

Then I had another second of panic about how my gauge might change when I work the yolks flat after dividing for the armholes. But I remembered the point of working it in the round is that I can join the sleeves and continue working it all in the round. phew, again.

I'm Still Convinced It Won't Fit
I'm sure mom and I must have measured wrong. Either we measured one part when the book meant another, or we just weren't accurate, or some other disaster. I mean, do I really need 18 inch long sleeves?

I'm sure it won't be the right length. We measured me from neck to waist. The book keeps calling for underarm to waist. I don't remember us measuring that. I tried to measure it myself. It seems that number is just used as a double check, but if I'm wrong my armholes won't be correct. Although the numbers I have seem to double check properly.

I'm really sure I'm going to mess up this whole "ribbing as a corset" idea I have. I'm sure it will end up landing at the wrong place on my body. I might have to try to cheat and try the sweater on when I reach that point.

I'm really trying to be open minded about this. It's my first design attempt. I'm trying to accept that if I finish and it doesn't fit properly I'll have to rework the numbers, rip back, and reknit it. Hopefully it won't come to that. I'm thinking lots of lifelines might get installed.

At the same time, I'm also being a rebel.
I'm working the ribbing on a smaller needle, but threw caution to the wind and didn't account for the slightly different gauge.

I also didn't chart the fingerless mitts. The sleeves will be worked in the round, I'll just try them on as I go. And the numbers for the hand and wrist are close enough. Although I might work the mitts on the US5 to make them a little bigger, then switch to the US3 when it's time for the real cuff.

Down to Business
I was able to cast on and work five rows of ribbing before bedtime.

I was surprised that I wasn't more excited about casting on. I kind of thought it would be more magical. Casting on for my first self designed sweater...oooohh.

Maybe it's because I don't really trust the numbers yet.

Now my question is: If it took me all day to design a simple Raglan how long is it going to take to design those cabled sweaters I have in mind?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Schleppy Sweater: Plunging In

Zara print tweed Wish me luck.

Goodness knows I'm gonna need it as I plunge into designing my first sweater.

I understand designing sweaters involves a lot of math. I haven't had a math class since high school.

Have I mentioned I was a Literature major in college? No math needed for that degree.

Really, you should have seen this coming.

After all, you don't read a book like "Sweater Design in Plain English" by Maggie Righetti for fun.

Well, you might, but I don't. Pure textbook means to an end reading.

The Vision
What I want is a warm, snuggly sweater for those blah winter days when you would rather stay in your pajamas, but you can't because you have to go out in public.

At the same time, the sweater has to be attractive enough so people don't realize it is a pajama substitute.

I'm thinking a simple waist length, no, hip length raglan mock turtle neck. I have some commercial sweaters in this style that I like very much so it seemed the way to go.

The high collar will allow me to draw down into it like a cranky little turtle as I glower at the foul weather.

I am also hoping it might be a little easier shape for a first design than a set in sleeve.

Of course I realize a drop shoulder sweater would be the easiest, but where is the challenge in that? And a drop shoulder won't be very flattering.

So I'm going to have 3 inches of ribbing at the bottom, then stockinette, then more ribbing in the rib cage area like a corset to give it some shaping, then the collar will be ribbing again.

I'm also planning ribbing at the elbows to continue the theme.

But the really clever bit is that I'm going to make the ribbing on the sleeves long enough to be integrated fingerless mitts!

How cool is that going to be?

I'll be able to pull the sleeves down to keep my hands warm without having to stretch the sleeves out. I think I won't make a full thumb. I'll just do a slit for the thumb. Wouldn't want to fold the ribbing back and have the thumb sticking out of my wrist like a little mutant flag.

Reinventing the Wheel
"But, Ann," you say, "there are plenty of free raglan patterns in the world. There is even a modular one in the back of your big Vogue Knitting book. Why go to the trouble of designing one from scratch?"

And I would reply, A girl's got to start somewhere.

I've already mentioned my ambition to design a cabled pullover like the sweater from that movie The Holiday.

You are aware of the stunning progress I've made on that.

And I bought all that yarn at Rhinebeck to design a cabled cardigan for a transition piece in the fall and spring.

You know, because I've made such good progress with designing my pullover.

Now there are many things holding me back from these projects.

Mainly excuses.

I needed my measurements. But mom helped me with that a few months ago.

I've had so many other projects on the needles that I haven't devoted time to all the time swatching necessary to design a sweater from scratch.

But my needles are clear except for the Angora Bedsocks of Power and Fortune! Oh, and the plain socks I started for Hubby last night.

And I've finally admitted that starting with a cabled monstrosity for my first design might have been a little ambitious.

So I will get over the design fear with a more straight forward sweater.

Then I will be unstoppable!

First, I have to go finish swatching for my ribbing. And read the rest of this chapter for the "Timeless Adult Raglan Cardigan."

Friday, March 5, 2010

Done: Tartan Argyles AND Green Step Socks

Tartan Green socks It's a good thing I've had this job for a few years, and I apparently do it well, and Boss Man has a good sense of humor.

Because I just ran into his office and demanded he use his iPhone to take a picture of my socks and e-mail it to me for my blog. Which is totally not work related.

Hubby has run off with our camera for some final yearbook related activities. Regardless, I finished the Tartan Argyles around 9:30 last night so it would have been too dark to take a picture anyway.

I'm so excited that I finished two pairs in one evening that I felt a super massive picture was in order.

Green Step Socks
You haven't heard a terrible amount about them, because they were my mindless knitting project, which meant there was very little exciting to report about them.

Yarn: Austermann Step in colorway 44.
Needles: US1
Pattern: my personal, plain stockinette stitch sock formula sized to fit my wee feet.

I forgot to weigh the leftover yarn last night. I'm sort of thinking maybe fingerless mitts with it. This is the yarn that is impregnated with aloe and jojoba so that might be good for mitts.

This is my second pair of socks with Step yarn (I made a pair for Hubby in 2006 from the Blue colorway 04). I didn't notice a big benefit to my fingers while knitting with it. Hubby didn't report any foot benefit, but I don't remember if I told him about the aloe.

I have a third ball in Red/08 that I plan to use for another pair of socks for Hubby.

Also, I've had a fingerless mitt spree building for a while now. My knitting plate is basically clear now, so I could jump into it. I have two complicated pairs in mind and maybe some plain ones from fancy yarn like this leftover Step.

Tartan Argyles
Ah, my beautiful Tartan Argyles.

I started them in August 2009 and you have seen every excruciating stitch of them.

Where you starting to doubt I would every finish them? I know I was.

But there they are in all their Yellow, Red, and Black glory.


Yarn: Dale of Norway Baby Ull.
Used almost all the Yellow and at least half each of the Red and Black, if not more. Again, I forgot to weight the leftovers. But I will be soon as they are key in one of the complicated pairs of fingerless mitts I want to make.

Needles: US1
Yes, two pairs of socks on US1 needles at the same time. Good thing I have two sets. Still, poor planning. A variety of needle sizes is much healthier.

Pattern: mine, mine, mine. But I might share the chart if you ask nicely. 60 st sock.

What can I tell you that I haven't already? Not much, they have their own tag so it will be easy to find all the posts if you really want to know.

I used traditional argyle construction for them. I attempted Elizabeth Zimmerman's Moccasin Sock sole and failed miserably.

Now that these are out of the way, I mean done, I suppose I can plunge into those polka dot socks I was planning around the same time.

Despite the fact that I finished both socks last night, with the final end on the Tartan Argyles woven in around 9:30, which should have been bedtime since I have a cold, I felt the overwhelming need to line up my next project.

This was not so easy.

Of course I have the Angora Bed Socks of Power and Fortune! hanging over my head. I should be good and focus on them. However they are complicated cabled socks so I need a rest pattern as well.

So I thought I'd finally make the mate to my Cubes and Cables Anklet so I could actually wear them. (The first sock was on display at the store for the longest time, which was kind of a demotivator.) However, they are worked on US3 dpns and those needles are tied up in the ABSoPF.

I briefly considered plunging into the fingerless mitts, but I need to make charts, and I need to measure my hands more accurately, and etc.

I ended up fishing out the Red/08 Step to start Hubby's socks, which are back to the US1 dpns, but at least still mindless St st.

Then this morning I grabbed yarn and needles to swatch for a sweater as well. But that story can wait until another day.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Smile Pretty!

Mmm, my teeth are so clean and shiny.

I will spare you a picture.

They are so smooth and happy because I got them cleaned today. But, of course, I have to make everything more difficult than it needs to be. Instead of a quick trip to the dentist, I went to the Fones School of Dental Hygiene.

I figure the students need victims, uh I mean, patients to practice on.

The upside: It only costs $20.

The down side: It takes. all. day. (Or two half day visits.)

Fortunately, I'm lucky enough to have a job with paid time off. One personal day, gone!

The cleaning takes so long because they are, you know, students. So they have to do a very careful and thorough job. They have to stop at certain points and have their instructor check their work.

At one point the instructor said I was a good case study because I have so many fillings and two crowns already. I suppose I should be flattered?

I let my student talk me into a full set of x-rays too, but that was only $15.

Really, the prices can't be beat. And since they are seniors they are one step removed from the cleaning you'd get at a dentist's office, so why not?

This was the second time I went. The first time was about two years ago (I know you're supposed to get your teeth cleaned every six months, but when it takes all day it kinds of puts you off. Despite all my righteous bragging.)

Last time the clinic was in a different location. All the chairs were just in one big room with green tile. Since then they moved to a spiffy new location across the street from the old one. They have a really nice waiting room now and the treatment area is broken up by walls and cabinets, so you have a little more privacy when you're in the chair.

Both times my students were careful and polite and it didn't hurt at all. She even did a fluoride treatment this time.

Unfortunately she also found some spots that might be cavities starting to form. I forgot to tell her not to find any problems. ha! Guess I have to find a real dentist to get things double checked. sigh.

Sock Toes
Another nice thing is that there is plenty of downtime during which you can knit. I worked on my Green Step Socks in the waiting room and also a couple times in the chair when she wasn't working on me.

I'm into the toe decreases! They are calling to me.

Yesterday I was home sick, which is why I didn't blog. Bit of a head cold. I slept until noon! Hubby was surprised. I was like, "I told you I'm sick!" He agreed sleeping all day was a good indication of that.

After I dragged myself out of bed I got some work done on the Tartan Argyles. Sewed all three seams up. So not fun when your head is foggy. They are also about ready for the toe shaping.

Wouldn't it be cool if I could finish both pairs tonight?!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tartan Socks: Yawn

I finished the heel flap, turned the heel, and picked up the gusset last night.

Very exciting.

Oh, and the Green Step Socks are through the gusset decreases. Straight on for 50 or so rows to the toe shaping now.

Equally exciting.

It would seem that if I intend to blog this week I'll either have to start making stuff up or drop some stitches.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tartan Socks: Triumphant Return

Tartan Argyle leg The pretty lace socks I was test knitting for P are squared away and for sale on her blog.

Which is good because I needed to harvest the US1 dpns for the next phase of my Tartan Argyle Socks.

Since I've been knitting flat all this time I was able to use the other three needles from the set along with a spare Brittany to work P's sock.

But now the instep is done and it's time to work the heel flap, which meant I needed at least one more needle.

Ravelympic Aftermath
Of course it also helped that I wrapped up my Girly Top on Thursday.

I will admit to some brief Post-Project Depression on Friday.

Sweaters are such big projects, with such a time investment, that I find I deflate a little after the initial high of finishing it.

Kind of like the end of a good book. I end up a little sad to see it go and need to spend some time savoring it before plunging into a new one.

In this case it wasn't a matter of plunging into a new project but returning to some active one.

So the Tartan sock and I spent quality time together during the Olympic closing ceremonies.

Be Woven Already
A great deal of time Sunday was spent weaving in the ends on the instep. That seemed to take forever and was really tedious. I was quite happy I had already done the leg. I'm sure the sock was still be languishing if I'd had to weave in all the ends on the leg and instep.

In fact, on Friday I couldn't bear to face all those ends and worked on my Green Step Socks instead. Amazingly, I'm still not done the gusset decreases on them.

Weaving the ends on the Tartan Argyles probably didn't take as long as I thought. And I was able to get the stitches for the heel flap joined and work about five rows before bedtime.

I'm well on my way now. I expect the rest of the sock to fly along.

However, there is the hurdle of seaming the back of the leg and the two foot seams. But I'm nowhere near ready for the foot seams.

Oh, while I was in end weaving mode I also took the time to poke in the ends that had squirmed out of my Pirate Arrgyle Socks. yawn!

Photo Disclaimer: The picture is actually of the first sock. Fortunately the second sock looks the same and I couldn't see the point of taking a new picture.