Archive for September, 2006

my experience with sleeves

Here is evidence of my one and only experience attaching sleeves.

Obviously, it didn’t go so well. In fact, it may have scarred me for life. And this sweater may very well be better without sleeves, but just leaving them off of the cabled turtleneck is not an option! I now have all the pieces finished and I just have to block them and then put it all together. I think I mentioned before that I feel like I’m terrible at finishing and also scared of it. It makes me anxious wondering if the pieces are going to actually fit together properly, and if they do, will my seams look like garbage and even if they don’t, will I even like the way the sweater looks in the end??? I also have a sneaking suspicion that I knit the edges of the armholes improperly, which will make for more difficulty and weirdness in seaming. And…they cancelled the finishing class I signed up for. Gah! Guess it’s just me and my Vogue Knitting reference. The two of us will have to have a sit-down and see what we can do.

I think there’s a baby on the way. (Absolutely NOT mine, thank you very much!) But I’m pretty sure a dear friend has her second bun in the oven. I haven’t gotten the official announcement yet, but I decided that I have enough information to start looking ahead at baby patterns! (Of course, I need very little excuse to look ahead at any kind of knitting pattern, no matter how far I am from actually knitting the thing!) I love the look of the Child’s Placket-Neck Pullover from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I love this one. And this one. I don’t own the book, so I was going to borrow it from one of my knitter friends, but then discovered that the pullover pattern is apparently rife with errors and so has been republished for free online! Trellis is another option. I’m not actually sure which one she’d like more.

I also decided that Lady Eleanor will not be sumptuous enough with only 10 skeins of Silk Garden, so I ordered 2 more from School Products. I think that should do it. If I have any left over I can use it for a stripey Noro scarf a la Hello Yarn.

I was so close to casting on for Lucy in the Sky last night. So close.

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knitting spot

I’ve made lots of progress on Lady Eleanor…but it’s pretty dull progress. It’s more of the same, but just…more. I am, however, really starting to love the Silk Garden. Even though I was underwhelmed by the individual colors in #82, as soon as they started repeating themselves I fell in love with it. I just started the 6th skein (out of 10) so it’s getting there. Still looooving the entrelac (or maybe it’s the Noro) so I’ve been working on this one much more than I thought I would.

Laurie at Crazy Aunt Purl is asking her readers to send her pictures of their “knitting spots.” So here’s mine. I’m usually cross-legged in the middle of the couch. And there’s usually yarn everywhere.

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a bit of rambling on "holiday knitting"

I keep coming across knitters (online) who are Working On Their Holiday Knitting. At first I felt pressure to get going on MY “holiday knitting.” Then I remembered: I don’t want to. Been there, done that. Last year I knit something for everyone. Some larger projects, some smaller, but everyone got something. My friends and family were appreciative, and gushed adequately, but I have yet to see one of those knitted gifts in action, out in the real world. Which is somewhat disappointing. I LOVE giving handknit gifts. Love it. But I get WAY more excited about it than the recipient! Of course, one can’t reasonably expect a non-knitter to understand all the time and effort that went into knitting a pair of…fingerless gloves, for example. How could they begin to imagine all the prep work; the pattern-researching, the yarn-shopping, the color-contemplation? How could they possibly fathom the swatching and the knitting and the ripping and the re-knitting and the shaping and the cabling and oh drat I dropped a stitch and for the love of pete where’s that crochet hook the little scoundrel is getting away from me! and…you know, all that. They don’t know. I don’t know if I even want them to know! It’s so much easier to hand over a finished item and hear “(Gasp!) Did you make this?” and feel like you’re a little bit fabulous for making something out of yarn and love.

I guess it’s pretty satisfying when they do seem to like the gift (even if they never wear that lace scarf that took you forever because it was your first lace project AND your first time reading a chart and you thought it was SO pretty but you parted with it anyway on account of the love), but I think I stressed myself out with the lofty goal I set last year. It became un-fun and the rewards did not outweigh the sacrifices and I decided that it was ok to become more of a selfish knitter. For some reason, I think a lot of us feel like we should be knitting for other people (I still feel compelled to knit for baby showers). But I’m trying to let go of that feeling of obligation. That’s the part I get hung up on. It’s MY hobby, for crying out loud! I can do what I want! My father certainly doesn’t give away all the fish he catches. My sister doesn’t feel obligated to play a little personalized tune for each of us on the piano every time we get together. Why do I make myself feel like I have to knit gifts for people? It’s completely my own fault. Obviously I should be knitting for people when I want to knit for them, not because I invented some kind of obligation in my head. And anyway, I came to the realization that (duh) not everyone will want something I knit for them for every single gift-giving occasion, every time! Maybe I’m making them feel obligated to wear the Kidsilk Haze capelet (which is actually a pretty impractical garment, albeit lovely). So maybe if I knit for myself, with the occasional (practical? uber-beautiful?) knitted gift thrown in here and there, everybody wins.

I’m trying to decide what to do about my sock. It’s long enough that I could finish it off any time now, but…(sigh)…the ankle still doesn’t fit like it should. I don’t want to bother knitting another if, when all is said and done, I have not one, but TWO ill-fitting socks. I’m leaning toward ripping it out and starting over with another pattern. At least I’ll have a better idea of what I’m doing this time. Anyone know if there’s anything to this short row vs. heel flap thing? Will doing a heel flap improve the fit of my sock? Does top-down vs. toe-up have any bearing on the matter?

I am determined to finish this pair of socks, since I’m suddenly finding sock patterns and yarns significantly more tempting than I used to. And after all, a handknit pair of socks would make such a lovely Christmas gift.

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sick knitting

I wish I could say that my knitting was “sick.” As in, mad-wicked-crazy-cool. But I’m the one that’s sick. And I’m not very cool, but I do have a cold. The cold hit me hard on the way home from the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival Saturday afternoon. I had never been to a fiber festival before. It was like a yarn mall! I had no idea that we actually have all these small businesses in our area. We pet the yarn and the angora rabbits, and I purchased some alpaca roving that I plan to use for thrummed mittens. Despite the mud and the worms, it was a lovely day! But by that evening, I was sacked out on the couch, just me and my cold and my knitting. I was stuck in the house all weekend, but I made some progress on Lady Eleanor! I also started the second sleeve for the cabled turtleneck. I finished the first one last week, in no time at all. If the entrelac wasn’t so much fun, I’d have both sleeves done by now!

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I was really making some serious headway on the cabled turtleneck at the end of the summer. I flew through the front and back pieces, even though I wanted to punch the cable chart (because it was stupid) and had to rip back several times (because I couldn’t count). Then I got into other stuff (because I have Knitting ADD) and nearly stopped working on this sweater that I used to be so excited about! The only thing I’ve done to it in nearly 2 weeks is knit one cuff of one sleeve! But this morning I got my supply list and homework assignment for the finishing class I signed up for. (This sweater is the reason I signed up for the class.) My homework is to make 5 small swatches, which I figured I would have to do. But it also sounds like there will be an opportunity to actually seam one of our own projects! This information has lit a fire under me to knit those swatches and finish those sleeves, because if there’s one thing better than getting hands-on instruction from a pro, it’s having the pro sitting next to you to make sure you don’t screw it up on your own.

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right(er) yarn

I restarted Lady Eleanor with Noro Silk Garden, using color #82. This yarn shows off the pattern MUCH better, but now I’m questioning my color choice. I didn’t want a sudden burst of acid green or something in the middle of the stole, so I played it safe. After going through one skein, it seems to have a little of every color, but there really aren’t any colors in there that I’m in love with. I only hope that #82 starts to come together after a few more pattern repeats and that it won’t look too dull in the end. I’m still amazed by the entrelac pattern with all it’s math and clever construction and simplicity, to boot.

My first sock is still coming along (many thanks to magic loop). I just have to decide if it’s long enough. Then knit him a buddy. And I WILL knit a second sock!! Even though I’m less than thrilled with the fit of the sock (word on the street is that it has something to do with knitting a short row heel instead of a heel flap) and what I really want to do is get my hands on some Frog Tree Alpaca and try the Hedera socks instead.

I was drooling over that Frog Tree Alpaca at the yarn store today when I went back for more Debbie Bliss. I did. I caved. I think I may have said something recently about “not being much of a stasher.” Well, there goes all that. After I went there last week with Kelly, I haven’t been able to get the yarn out of my mind! They’re practically giving the stuff away! There are a few rumors as to why the yarn is on sale, but I gotta say, I couldn’t care less. After 2 trips downtown, I wound up with 11 balls of Cashmerino Aran for the Lucy in the Sky cardigan, 7 balls of Merino DK for Diamonique, and 2 different balls of Cashmerino Aran for two pairs of the Fetching fingerless gloves. I’m not nearly ready to start either of those sweaters, since I still want to finish the cabled turtleneck first, and I have no reason to make a couple pairs of fingerless gloves since I’ve got Lady Eleanor and the socks to work on, but some of you more serious yarn addicts may even appreciate my restraint! The Debbie Bliss was everywhere and Noro was on sale too. You should have been there.

Work on the cabled turtleneck has definitely slowed down with all the entrelac and sock knitting and yarn shopping, but I do have a cuff done!

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the lure of the yarn sale

Boy, this working thing really cuts into my knitting time! I’m telling myself I’m working to get the paycheck to get the yarn, but curiously, the yarn just seems to appear, paycheck or not! Like yesterday, when Kelly and I bolted into the city for a whirlwind yarn sale raid. I told myself I was going in for “Noro and nothing else”…and came out with 11 balls of Cashmerino Aran. But these things happen. I just love the colors of the Debbie Bliss yarns. And at 50% off, it was out of my hands. The yarn I bought is a dark, muted plum color, and I intend to use it for Cosmicpluto’s new “Lucy in the Sky” diamond cardigan pattern. But I’m not ready to start on it yet. I want to get the pieces of my cabled turtleneck finished first, and get going on Lady Eleanor again as soon as the yarn guy brings my order from School Products. Meanwhile, I will resist the urge to go back and get every Debbie Bliss Yarn in every color for all the other projects I’m not ready to knit yet!

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wrong yarn

For some reason, I thought Handpainted Yarn would be perfect for Lady Eleanor. I adore the yarn itself, but it’s variegated, not self-striping. After getting a couple repeats into it, I believe Lady Eleanor really needs a self-striping yarn to bring out the best in this pattern. Individually, the rectangles look beautiful, but the entrelac pattern won’t have the right overall impact if I continue with the variegated yarn. For a project this big, I want to get it right. After much research on Flickr, I jumped on the bandwagon and ordered 10 balls of Noro Silk Garden. It just seemed like the right thing to do. Fortunately, I found it on sale at School Products! I’ve never used Noro before and this yarn seems to have surprises inside, which scares me just a bit. I needed more color changes that were in the Handpainted yarn, but I think some of the Noro colorways can look a bit garish. School Products only had 2 colors available, and I decided to play it safe and chose the one that looked subtler (#82), expecting that there will be some bursts of color in there, anyway. Now I have to try to return the Handpainted Yarn. I’m not a big yarn stasher and I don’t have much use for chunky variegated yarn. If anyone out there in Blogland wants it, let me know!

On the bright side, I’m definitely enjoying the entrelac pattern. The directions in Scarf Style seemed very clear to me, so it’s not difficult at all, and it’s pretty fascinating to see this thing knit itself up! I’m sure it will take me a while to finish, but it will be a great fall/winter project.

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back to school time

The yarn guy—I mean, the mail carrier came yesterday. And he brought me this:

…9 hanks of Handpainted Yarn bulky wool in Velvet Grapes. The colors are similar to the colors I’m using in my sock, but have a much greater range. Apparently I’m going through a purple phase. I ordered this yarn to make Lady Eleanor from Scarf Style. Since I’m so close to finishing the sweater, I thought I’d go ahead and start a brand new project!! It really makes no sense, but it happens every time. As soon as I’m this close to finishing a project, I start spending all my time searching for new patterns and comparing yarns and then casting on for the new thing. I actually did start one of the sleeves for the cabled turtleneck, and it shouldn’t take me any longer than a mindless (yet addictive) reality show marathon to finish both of them, so I don’t feel too bad starting Lady Eleanor.

Well, I learned magic loop the other night and it Changed My Life. It’s absolutely my favorite tricky knitting technique yet. I get what everyone’s raving about now and it will definitely result in more socks down the road.

Overall, it was quite a productive summer of knitting for me. I completed the lace panel cardi that I’d had on the needles for a while, finished the Prairie Tunic, knit 2 Odessa hats, learned how to knit socks, and put a big dent in the cabled turtleneck sweater. Unfortunately, I have to resume my position as a responsible, contributing member of society next week. The knitting will slow down, but before that happens I’m going to try to add “Taught Myself Entrelac” to the list!

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