Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mitered square knit towel

I finished the towel I knit with the slip-stitch mitered square edgings. (I explained the pattern I devised here, and I used the "& cream" yarns.) I'm enamoured of the center of this towel, with its alternating stockinette and garter stripes, much like joined swatches. It puckers up in little sections just perfect for drying hands. Knitting the middle went very quickly, then I grabbed my reversed version of the chart for the edging.

I was able to flip the chart so that the second edging was reversed, producing symmetry. I find if quite reassuring when something I think will work out in knitting does work out exactly as I expected. It is nice to have predictability in at least one area of my life.

Not that I often come across the unexpected, but sometimes, just sometimes, I see something that makes me drop my knitting mid-stitch, turn off the ipod, grab my camera and say--

"Are there dogs on that roof? Quick, turn around and go back!"

Yep, dogs on the roof. Happy, smiling people, cats in the yard and dogs on the roof.

They waved at me after I took the picture.

For the curious, I took these pictures in north Texas, sometime after leaving the yarn shop. What a day that was.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Seamless mitered squares

Yes, Virginia, it is possible to knit mitered squares by the hundreds and not have to sew them together. It is even possible to stripe those mitered squares, but that does mean you have ends to weave in--unless, well, I'll tell you about that later.
I found a slip stitch that resembles mitered squares very much like, you know, the ones made famous by Mason-Dixon Knitting.
When I first saw this pattern in 250 Beautiful Knitting Patterns by Gisela Klopper, I couldn't execute it. First off, the entire book is beautiful color charts, which is great for chart lovers, but there are no row by row instructions. Second, most of the charts only have the odd rows. The even rows are sometimes patterned, but then the even row instructions are included by using different symbols on the odd rows, symbols that include the instructions for both rows--in one symbol. Confused? I was, but I've got it now.

The pattern is a 10 stitch, 20-row repeat, with garter stitch forming the horizontal stripes to the left of the right angle turn, and stockinette slipped stitches forming the vertical stripes to the right.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Green lace scarf down

One green lace scarf, from the same pattern as the red lace scarf, is done. And that is it, the last of the lingering scarves that I will pick up and finish. I didn't expect to finish this one...

I just pulled it out of my knitting bag one day last week when I thought it might make a good gift for a friend who had back surgery a couple of months ago. I thought it might feel comforting around her neck. It is quite nice, since it is the softest merino wool I've found--Baruffa Aerobic. I bought several balls of this, some green and some lavender, a couple of years ago at Tuesday Morning. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, in fact, I didn't have a clear idea then of what it was, I just knew it was wool and it was on sale. After a few months, I figured out that it is fingering weight.

I used a couple of balls of the lavender to make a flower basket shawl, which I've worn once. Besides the fact that it is scratchy, (The lavender is scratchy, the green is not--it is so strange.) it is light, lacy and fragile. Other than ornamentation, I see no need for wearing something so light. It is pretty but is hard to coordinate with my usual wardrobe of jeans and shirt. I guess I'm just not the lace shawl type.

You'd think, since I'm not using the lace shawl, I wouldn't knit lace scarves, huh? However, I really like the red lace scarf I just finished, so I thought a green one would be fine.

There were two things I didn't take into account--the weight and the nature of the yarn. Both combined to produce a large, filmy scarf after blocking, which is nothing like the red scarf, since it is knit with a lightweight worsted wool.

Once again, I was surprised at how quickly I completed this abandoned project. I had knitted half of the scarf and about a third of the second half before I put it away. Since the first half had 12 repeats and then a few inches of ribbing, I replicated it in the second half. The photo below is closest to the true color, a deep emerald green...

Grafted together and blocked, the scarf is over 6 feet long.
I suppose that is the real advantage to lace knitted on larger needles (size 7) with fingering weight yarn. It really grows when you block it.
That's the end of this scarf project, and also the end of my frustrated attempts to photograph the true color of this yarn. Never fear, I don't have to do it all on my own. I've got help. It is sooo nice to have the community of knitters in Ravelry to fall back on when you just can't do it on you own. Here is a finished object in the very same shade of the very same yarn, properly photographed.

Not only have I seen the end of this scarf, I've seen an end to my abandoned scarves. The only one left is my Chevron Scarf, which I've decided to frog. I'll put the Koigu back in my stash. Last night I dreamed I knitted it into a sweater.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Fool's Yarn

I've applied an honest assessment to the yarn I have. I did sort through my stash and take out the yarn I didn't want to knit. I did knit up some of the odd bits I had. I did set some aside for swapping. As a result, I now have less than 8,000 yards of yarn in what I consider my "stash." That is, if I define stash as yarn without a project; yarn I haven't decided how to use. Unpurposed yarn, perhaps that is the true Fool's Yarn. 8,000 yarns of yarn that I don't have any reason to own, except that I like it.

That's not too much, I think, until I admit that I have other yarn. Since I've got my knitting room, I've looked at almost all the yarn I own. Yarn for sweaters, about 7,500 yards. Yarn for afghans, around 5,500 yards. Plus the bag of yarn I need to take to Goodwill, and the box of yarn I plan to take to the swap this summer. None of which counts the yarn for the projects I'm currently knitting, but all of which is detailed in my spreadsheet (which you can see by clicking the link to My Stash in the sidebar). In other words, I'm organized, but I still have more yarn than before I started going through the stash. So I'm very glad I don't have more yarn coming to me. I suppose.

I'm also glad that I've completed my final, truly the last, Christmas present for 2007. The recipient of this one went away for Christmas and just got home last week, so I had extra time, and I took it. Now they are done, and the hat and neckwarmer will be mailed today.

The hat is from Hip Knit Hats. I can't model it because it is too small for me.

The neck wrap is the ever-popular smidge, or knock-off neck warmer. This one was loomed, which produces a slimmer double-knit stitch than needle knitting. Both are made with Permaquid yarn from The Fibre Co. The beige yarn is Jaeger Extra Fine Merino Chunky.

In the meantime, I've been wandering around Ravelry, searching for nice sweaters and such. For those who don't have the time or access to do the same, here are some nice photos I've found:

There's the intriguing gap scarf, with much discussion on how one would knit it. I found this one fairly quickly after it was posted. I usually miss out on the good patterns, like the Cloud Bolero
and the Mustard Cloud Bolero, and a longer cloud bolero.

I also think this is Quite the Jacket, although it had to go through multiple feltings to get there.

I have tried to find links to these that don't lead to Ravelry. That way, they are accessible to everyone, not just to Ravelry users. Of course, the photos are in Flickr. One thing I found interesting to do is to look at a user's photos in Flickr, using the slideshow option. Not a lot of info, but lovely photos of knitting. Here's two:

(Don't miss her Radial Collar sweater, on page 7 if you're impatient. It's my favorite)

(She's a designer, so some of these patterns are for sale.)
Have fun getting lost in the photos!