Thursday, December 30, 2010
Monkey! in Austermann Step) to the letter, happy to find that I knit socks tighter after a couple of years of doing it. I thought tighter knitting would mean a better fit. The first time I knit this pattern, the socks were too big. Now tighter has turned into too tight, an unexpected result.
While knitting, I've been thinking about the past year. 2010 was another productive year for me. The past 363 days have given me time to complete more than 30 knitting projects. The number is nothing remarkable. It's even a little below average, considering that about half of them are pairs of socks. Quantitatively, the knitted items were expected. After all, I knit every one of those 363 days. Qualitatively, some were unexpected.
To reacquaint myself with the past year's knitting, I looked over this blog, refreshing my memory of the things I knit and my experience knitting them. At the beginning of the year, I found only one resolution, or, really, just one remark that was even close to a resolution for the coming year. At first read, the one statement I made in this blog in January 2010 as I looked forward to the coming year, now past, seemed reasonable.
What I said in January, 2010 was "Expect the unexpected, laugh when it arrives."
Oh ho. It's good I didn't know how right I was! If I had, I would have approached knitting in 2010 with a lot more hesitancy.
This was certainly a year of unexpected knitting projects. I was happy to hit upon a marketable sock pattern. I didn't expect to knit samples--5 pairs, actually 5 and one-half pairs, in the pattern.
I expected to knit a little something for a wedding at the end of the year. I did not expect to knit a bridal veil, certainly not using very thin silk thread.
I thought I'd be knitting a sweater with some silk yarn I bought in 2009. I didn't expect to knit a stole. I never expected it would block out so large. I had originally hoped I could give it to the bride to wear during the reception. I didn't expect that she would wear it as part of her going-away outfit. (I loved that she did, though.)
I'd say that my resolution for 2010 was right on point. Following it, I somehow should have expected all those unexpected events. In the superstitious fear that the resolve in some strange way might have shaped the year, I'll try to be more careful when I prepare my resolutions for 2011. In these last few days of 2010, I'm preparing for next-year's knitting.
I have all my yarn wound. I have my patterns queued, and have marked a reasonble number to be knit in 2011. I've settled on 15, allowing room for an few unexpected projects.
But before the end of this year, I need to finish that fairly useless fair isle project.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Details: Kaiso Socks from Knitted Socks East and West, Unisono yarn. Ravelry page here.
Yes, things are done, beautiful blue socks for me, a wedding veil for the bride, and my shawl for the wedding.
Details: Tibetan Clouds Beaded Stole from The Knitter's Book of Wool, Louisa Harding Mulberry yarn. Ravelry page here.
I can't believe I considered not blocking this shawl. It is so much better after a full wet block, lighter, smoother, shinier. The beads are more obvious and the drape is enhanced.
What's next? I did start those socks I've been mentally designing for weeks, but they take a bit of thinking. And, honestly, I've got two tv-watching spots. I need a project for each.
Thus, I'm very happy to have settled on a simple project, with pre-wound sock yarn, following a set pattern.
Monkey socks, once again, knit tighter this time. I'm so surprised by this yarn. It's a big skein of Austermann Step (Mit Aloe Vera und JoJoba Ol!) in what I thought was a super-unattractive colorway made tolerable by a sale price. It looks much better knitted.
It's a relief to find that my early failure to knit Monkey socks that fit has been remedied. All it took was a little sock-knitting experience. Smaller yarn, smaller needles, tighter gauge. Simple, of course, but the hard thing to accept is that socks must be knit smaller than your leg. They stretch to fit.
Oh, and the title--Dam Knitting, broken! Broken knitting, Dam! Broken Dam Knitting? (assuming there's a place named Broken Dam) The combinations amuse me.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
and grinned. It certainly did look painful. Ouch, poor head! I wasn't just taking out pent-up frustrations in the blocking, though. I knit the veil to have a shape and couldn't block it flat. It would have puckered. I needed the styrofoam head to round out the top, which I knit to fit similar to a hat (actually, half a hat). Since I limited the increases after the top, the sides didn't come out to a complete semi-circle and needed multiple wires to shape them, as did the line from the head to the board. With a lot of pins, flexible blocking wires and the styrofoam head, I managed it. The head is also great for showing off the result.
What a transformation. After I bound off, it was a crumpled ball that fit in my hand. Even as I knit, I didn't imagine that it would open as much as it did. A quick dip in a sinkful of cool water and a few minutes of pinning was all it took. I credit the combination of 2/30 silk thread from Halcyon Yarn and a size 5 needle, along with the knitted lace patterns. I copied the patterns from the Percy Shawl and Eugen Buegler's Feather and Fan Shawl, improvising the shaping. The middle pattern, a version of Frost Flowers, has yarn overs and decreases on both the knit and purl side. It requires twice as much concentration, but it is worth doing.
While the feather and fan pattern in the edging is lovely, it is not as open as the Frost Flowers. Though the flowers are pretty, after just two repeats of that pattern, I was happy to begin the edging. It's so much easier to knit. However, since it is an increasing pattern, the edging widens the veil considerably. I hope it will make a nice flounce around the waist, but the drape of the silk may overwhelm it. Either way, it really used a lot of yarn. I knew from previous shipments that Halcyon Yarn delivers quickly. However, when I finally faced the certainty that I needed a second mini-cone, I thought I'd have a break from veil-knitting while I waited for it to arrive. Not a chance. I placed my order on Friday and received it on Monday, before I'd even finished the first cone.
Ravelry page on the project.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Although I long to cast on for something new, I squelch that impulse and work on the same two or three projects. Given that, I shouldn't have been surprised to find that I've finished two more pairs of socks.
I recommend the Wave and Pier pattern from the Little Box of Socks. It makes these striped Schoppel-wolle Admiral socks special. Even though these are 72-stitch socks, I was pleased to find that the yarn overs don't add too much stretch and that the fit is good.
It seems to have been a year of socks. With this last pair, I will have knitted 15 pairs this year.
January -- PhD Socks
February -- Original Burning Stripes (started then, finished later) and Green Envy
March -- Burning Mafeet
April -- Entrelac beats pooling
May -- Crazy BS and Heel First
June -- Favorite Fit
July -- Mini Mochi
August -- Preppy Stripes and Oops, A Sock
September -- Red Socks
October -- Rudolph's Socks
November -- Tiger Socks and Bright Hexagons
December -- Another Kaiso is in progress, scheduled for completion in December
Not that there's any reason to complete my current pair of socks by the end of the year. However, if things go as usual, I will. I do allow that this wasn't an average knitting year for me. There's nothing like knitting pattern samples to increase project output. Between that and pairs I've given away, I've only kept five pairs for myself. Nonetheless, I think this accounting proves that being a bit single-minded pays off. It certainly produces socks.
Not all of the socks are sucess stories. This one isn't.
These Hexagon socks were a funny, frustrating mess. Although I was eager to cast on as soon as I saw them on the cover of Think Outside the Sox, I was impatient with the knitting. I wasn't totally pleased with this Schoppel-wolle colorway and was confused by the pattern. Even though I made mistakes, I'm glad that they are d.o.n.e. and m.i.n.e. They are such attention-getters.
Yes, after having resisted sock knitting for years, I am a dedicated sock knitter. Even now, there is a skein of sock yarn sitting on the table behind me. It doesn't belong there. I keep it and the seven other skeins like it in a basket in the the other room. A couple of weeks ago, I got an idea for a pair of socks. After a few days of thinking about the idea, I selected the yarn. I took out the skein. Every day, I look at it and think about the socks. I look up stitch patterns. I try to mentally work through the heel turn. I think of what I'll write about the socks, and what I'll name them. I've checked the colorway on Ravelry to see how it looks knitted. I'd like to cast on, but I have held back. Even though I don't want to wait, I will. I'll wait until I finish the pair I am currently knitting. Because as much as I love knitting, I am compelled to finish.
It's like this blog post. I've worked on it for several days, but now it is d.o.n.e. I am happy.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
(I finally got the color right in this photo.)
With that, the third of my knitting for others projects is done. This one was particularly tough, since the Posh yarn was not very elastic for wool. I found the straining required to make cable crossings with tiny needles and inelastic yarn really hurt my hands. Once I used my sore hands and forearms to vigorously scrub the sink, the bath, or the usual other household tasks, I had to resort to wearing my braces at night for a while. I've recovered now, thanks to braces and time. Now the only pain I'm suffering is caused by the difficulty of the fourth and final project in my "not for me" series.
Probably that's why I didn't get to post this Sunday as I intended. I missed wishing everyone a Happy Halloween.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
His hair was so nicely combed out that his mane looked about 2-foot long. However, the closer I got to him with the camera, the louder he hummed. When he escalated it to something akin to a growl, I gave up. Really, I've heard alpacas hum during shows and I know it is a sound they make when nervous or distressed. I've never heard a llama make a sound, though. The few I've come in contact with seem eager and friendly, or at least curious and hungry.
There was a fellow (the keeper or owner of this animal, I assumed)standing by the stall who found it very funny. He and I were both laughing, but really, I didn't want to provoke the beast further. Llamas can be nasty mean if they want. I certainly didn't want to get spit on. Maybe he's the reason I didn't buy any llama yarn.
There was plenty to be had.
Here's what I did buy. There's Elsa Wool, which is cormo, a single hank of single-spun natural alpaca I couldn't pass by, and a pile of yarn from Cat Mountain, a vendor I first found during the wet, very wet, Fiber Festival at Pagosa Springs, Co. My success in finding Kimberly landed me another hank of sock yarn, as well as a more luxurious hank of sock yarn with cashmere in it, and a loop of Hand Painted Fusion, 100 yards each of 7 different yarns, all hand dyed in a single batch.
This should be very fun to play with. I tried to pick one with only three colors in it, so the pooling will be more controlled. The last bit I bought was pure fun. I picked a variety of colors from the odds and ends baskets at Lisa Joyce Designs. I've wanted some of these locks ever since I first saw them at MDSW.
I skipped buying them then because I had no idea how I use them. I'm still not sure, but these are spun a bit into lengths of curly yarn. Perhaps I'll find them easier to use. I was also tickled to get the Ravelry pin.
One final link--I saw a wonderful shawl at the Brooks Farm booth. There was a tremendous line. I didn't want to use up shopping time waiting to buy one pattern (and maybe a little yarn), but I've found it on line. It's by the Knitting Fairy, the Triple S shawl. I think it would be a great way to mix up sock or lace weight yarns.
Monday, October 4, 2010
I settled on a yellow sock yarn, Sunlight in the Simply Socks Simply Solids for yet another (how generous) prize in Elinor's Socks Revived Contest. I couldn't be more pleased with it. It's a match for my latest sweater, it's incredibly soft, it's calling me to knit. Too bad I have so much else going on. It will be knit soon, though. Thanks, Allison! I love it. In fact, I'll likely look there for my next solid sock yarn purchase, especially since I got the color card in my order.
Snuggled next to it is the latest, least-techy row counter ever. I was absolutely set on buying a counter for multiple-chart projects, expecting I'd settle on an electronic gadget of some type. Then I read the reviews. I decided that IF I'm knitting a complex cabled item, one that usually has me using 3 different row counters (and struggling to remember if the red one is for the first chart and the green one for the third, or vice-versa), I don't need to worry about how to use a complex electronic gadget as well. Not that I couldn't handle it, really. But the kicker is that I'm not sure how I'd mark which chart goes with which count, and the gadgets don't hold a count very well if they get bumped in a tote bag.
Then I found this basic, simple, easy-to-use counter. It's designed, I think, for machine knitters, but I've already found it easily adaptable. With this goody, I might even be able to dispense with my pages of hand-written row counts I use to track increases and decreases.
That's the commercial break for this month. Knitting will resume with the next post. I hope.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, a coal-fired, narrow-gauge train that travels through the Toltec Gorge and over the Cumbres pass to Chama, New Mexico. We'd planned to drive through this isolated area in southern Colorado to get a final glimpse of fall color.
Make that a final pow of fall color. The river valley was gorgeous.
The entire Conjeos Canyon was filled with gorgeous-ness. Then, while we were stopped near the pass (to admire yet one more breath-taking view), I heard a faint whistle in the wind.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
If Marshall Pass (off Highway 50 in southeastern Colorado) is not convenient to you, I can also recommend Ohio Creek road from north of Gunnison to Crested Butte. Nearer to Denver, I hear that Guanella Pass is pretty, but I'm not sure how the color is there this year. It's on my list of places to go.
Meanwhile on my list of yarn to knit is this gorgeous pile I recently ordered.
It's funny how the golds, browns, and greens echo the fall colors. I ordered this a few weeks ago, though, when I went on a spending spree with some of my paypal-pattern funds. It's primarily Enya sock yarn from Saffron Dye Works. I haven't knit it yet, just put it in my "to-be-wound" box. However, I'm very pleased with the look and feel of it so far. The colors look as great in person as they did on line. I'm letting myself dream of a shawl combining colors from the three leftmost hanks, but not ruling out just knitting pretty socks. The lavender hank is laceweight, just enough for a small shawl. I can't say why I bought it exactly, but it and the sale-priced sock yarn hank on the right put this order into the free shipping category. I think I'll go back to Saffron Dye Works whenever I want a treat.
I'm afraid that most of my yarn purchases are either treats or bargains. I buy yarn because I like the color, the texture or the price. Lately, I've thought more about planning my purchases. Today, as I held a single yellow leaf in my hand, I thought it would be fun, and perhaps a little smart, to take a handful of leaves on my next yarn shop visit.Aspen-yoke sweater. It would be fun to knit in yarn that matched the actual yellows, reds and golds of the leaves, with a dark green for contrast. Uh-oh, I feel a stranded knitting urge coming on. I need to finish that lace shawl first, though. At least it's gold.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
As it turned out, my yarn choice worked out well, leading me to select different patterns than I would have with a lighter-weight yarn. Three years later, once I finally decided that these gloves had sat unworn long enough, I began to look for a scarf pattern. Actually, it was my quest for a simple project to knit in the late evenings that motivated me. I didn't originally think of the gloves. Then I came across a nicely striped scarf knit in a heavy worsted weight yarn, a good choice for the yarn left from my glove project. I bought additional yarn, dug out some from the stash, and began.
As usual, as I knit first, thought later. I wasn't sure that the solid gloves with a cabled, beaded accent would match a striped scarf, one that included two additional colors and types of yarn, knit in a different (though more appropriate) gauge. Also as usual, I continued knitting the scarf.
I read other knitters' blogs, one who discussed the propensity of knitters to avoid knitting matching accessories. I agree with this, and think there are several reasons for not knitting matching sets. First, there's the boredom factor. Same yarn, same pattern, different shape. Ho hum. Then, there's the yarn issue. I bought a few balls of yarn with no pattern and no project in mind. I chose one project, knit it up, then put it aside for years, (the boredom factor again) until the yarn had been discontinued. As a result, I didn't have (and couldn't buy) enough yarn to knit a matching set. Then, there's the lack of matching patterns. The book I found the glove pattern in provides a matching sweater pattern, but no matching hat or scarf. Not that I couldn't have devised one. I simply didn't want to.
Another blogger wrote about how her determination to knit a matching set lead her to design patterns for a perfectly matched fair-isle hat, scarf and gloves. I considered her point. Surely knitting items in the same yarn, using the same pattern is a sure way to produce something that is undeniably a match. It would be easy enough.
However, I was having too much fun with the striped scarf, choosing the color and length for each stripe, knitting the super-soft yarn, planning to finally have a scarf long enough to wrap any which way I chose. When I picked up the scarf a couple of weeks ago and saw that it was nearly done, I became excited. I grew more excited when I realized I had a couple of balls of yarn left. I imagined beginning the fall with a new scarf, the old, never worn gloves, and (here I grew really reckless), a hat. Even though I didn't have a hat pattern, I became enthusiastic about knitting a hat.
I'd found a possible pattern a few weeks ago and added to my queue. I thought it would be flattering to my narrow face, since it is a loose hat that is gathered with a drawstring. I like loose hats and I think I have a rather large head. Jumping from those two opinions, I cast on for the largest size. It wasn't until I finished the crown that I finally admitted it was just too big. Since it was also too blue, I ripped out the entire hat. OUCH.
At least the first try made me realize that I didn't want all that light blue around my face. Because I didn't have enough of the green to stripe the entire hat (as per the pattern) I had knit the bulk of the hat with the light blue yarn. Not liking the fit or the color, I decided I needed a more "mature" stripe pattern, one that would use more than two colors, allowing me to incorporate more of the yarn I used in the scarf. I began to look through Ravelry for a hat that reminded me of the scarf. Once I found one, I couldn't give up the beautiful crown pattern that looked so good in the green and light blue yarn. Neither could I rip out the drawstring I had knit for the first hat.
Keeping both the crown and the drawstring and casting on for the next smallest size, which was coincidentally the size I needed for the second hat pattern, I reknit the hat.
At first, I was preoccupied with the prime question: "Does it look like a set?" Is it a set?
No, wait, it's 65 degrees out there, don't go out dressed like that. Not yet.
Project details: (Clicking on links below will take you to Ravelry projects, which have more details.)
Gloves from Knitting with Beads by Jane Davis;
Scarf, a simple 2x2 rib shamelessly copied from other Ravelry projects without consulting a pattern;
Hat, a hybrid of Minty (for the crown) and the Bay of Fundy Hat on Ravelry (for the stripes).
Yarn used: JoAnn Tesoro, Malabrigo (the darker colors) and bits of Wooly Stripes Tweed.
I'm a little vague on the other knit blogger's posts, but there was some mention of the matching items issue by Stephanie in her Yarn Harlot blog in this post, down toward the bottom. I can't find the other ones, so if you know of any relevant discussions of knitted sets, matching or not, feel free to link to them in a comment.