16 October 2006
We interrupt this beige cardigan
Poor beige cardigan. I don't know what's wrong with me. I've finished the sleeves, and there's not all that much that needs to be done. Just cutting off the bottoms of all five pieces and sewing on a new stockinette section that I will subsequently hem. And wet-blocking. And knitting the button band ("cast on 380 - 430 stitches, depending on size"). OK, so there's still a bit to do, and it's not particularly exciting. But it's fall now, and I'm working, and I could use this sweater. Grit teeth, just do it, rinse and repeat.
Instead, I've been playing with the Koigu I won from Imbrium.
Forget everything you're about to read. None of it is valid. :)
I looked for a pattern for ages. It had to be a lace pattern that would show off the colors and look relatively good on both sides. The general goal was to be a narrow "accessory" scarf rather than a thick, wide, keep-your-neck-warm-in-Toronto scarf.
Didn't find anything on the Internet, not even -- *gasp!* a for-sale pattern. Looked in my stitch books, found several candidates, and tried them out. The result of my swatch is below.
The 'decorative arrow' and 'grape vines' didn't excite me. Didn't like the stitch definition, didn't like the way the WS of the work looked, and the patterns were complicated to count. The 'column of arrows' was more interesting and not too difficult to knit, but probably my favorite was the horseshoe lace. I've done a pattern like that before.
Well, I took these photos, and even more closeups of the individual patterns, and had a post pretty much written in my head. Then I got a tip from Die Woll-Ecke pointing to a whole list of scarf patterns at Das Kleine Nadelspiel. There were patterns I hadn't seen yet, and Brooke's Column of Leaves Scarf caught my eye. Wow. It's knit in a variegated colorway, and the leaf pattern is well-defined, not too complicated, and very pretty. The original was knit with worsted weight on US 7 / 5mm needles. Koigu is fingering weight, and I'm going to use 4mm needles, but I think it will be fine. Why yes, I have already cast on, thanks for asking.
10 October 2006
...that voodoo that you do to me....
(With apologies to Cole Porter! When I was growing up and taking piano lessons, my mother bought most of the Readers Digest songbooks. Maybe some of you know what I'm talking about. I played all of those songs and have a lot of the lyrics memorized to this day. And I still have the books.)
Help! I'm adrift on Sleeve Island, doing both sleeves of the Garnstudio cardigan at once. It's slow slogging, but doing it that way somehow sounded better than doing one at a time. Anyway, as a distraction/reward, I made my daughter a pair of Bonne Marie's Voodoo Wrist Warmers. She apparently slept with them on last night, so I guess they were acceptable.
Specs: ONline Linie 155 Supercool, 100% Merino superwash,
in black and olive green, on 3.5mm needles.
Revisions: I made an 8-stitch buttonhole instead of the 6-stitch one suggested by Bonne Marie. Each stripe was 8 rows high, and I avoided a jog using the third method described here. I did the buttonhole on the second round of the last black stripe, and made that stripe 12 rows wide.
It was interesting to see how this yarn knit up on the 3.5mm needles,
which happens to be what the ball band recommends. This is the same
yarn I'm using for my
beige heathered sand cardigan, but I had
to use 4.5's to get gauge. What a difference! The smaller needles produce
a really crisp fabric with excellent stitch definition which would be
really pretty for cables or twisted stitch work. And the yarn really
is soft enough to wear on your wrist.
What else? Oh, I found a new LYS. Not new, actually. It's in Hattingen, and it's been there forever, and I was in there a couple of times years ago before I knew hardly anything about knitting or yarn. My in-laws moved to Hattingen recently, and I went bumming with my MIL last week. We stopped in, and I almost hyperventilated. Rowan! Noro Kureyon! Noro Silk Garden! Didn't buy anything that day, but soon, my pretties, soon......
P.S. Thanks for the compliments on the skull quilt. Actually, it's not finished yet. Needs to be attached to the black fleece blanket, and I haven't decided just how. Maybe a machine-quilted spiderweb pattern? Anyway, she hasn't seen it yet. I'll let you know what she thinks.
1 October 2006
S is for Skull Central
26 September 2006
R is for Arrrr!
Yes, Talk Like a Pirate Day was September 19th, but it's a state of mind, you know?
Some of you who have been reading my blog for awhile may recall that my 14-yo daughter has a thing about skulls. Obsession, maybe. Last year I knit her a pair of skull socks and felted her a coordinating skull purse. And bought her a computer mouse with a skull. She also has tons of jewelry and various other knicknacks, and the attraction has not dimmed.
The urge to create a patchwork skull has been brewing around in my fevered brain for awhile, and this is what I've come up with:
This is just one 12" square -- there will be more. And crossbones!
I've got a master plan... All the pieces are cut out and I just had
whether my addlepated idea would work at all how it would
look. It took an inordinate amount of time, but I think it'll be okay.
25 September 2006
This is the 25th anniversary of The American Library Association's Banned Books week.
Let that sink in a bit, folks. The 25th. America. Banned books. In America. This is not about raving radicals thousands of miles away who bomb schools where girls are trying to obtain an education, or who heap "evil" "Western" books onto piles and burn them, or who ban websites and persecute those who want to read or write them. This is not about something that happened 300 years ago or 70 years ago. We're talking about Freedom-of-Speech-With-Liberty-and-Justice-for-All Americans who continue to attempt to impose their opinion on fellow Americans by restricting what they can read. And that makes me angry.
I can understand having issues with books or other sources of information. Concerns about content, presentation, etc. are legitimate and should be expressed! But the last thing we need is to restrict information access, believe me. Haven't we had enough lessons from history about all this?
"History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times
urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure."
-Thurgood Marshall, US Supreme Court Justice (1908-1993) (via A.Word.A.Day)
Thanks to Gwen for the heads-up.
23 September 2006
I have been knitting, although I've got no pictures to show for it. It's been a crazy week and a half, with more work than usual (yay!), insane amounts of driving in big cities with traffic jams and construction sites (boo!) and some car trouble (double boo!). However, I somehow managed to finish the left front of my cardigan. This morning, as a matter of fact.
I was sitting at the dining room table, knitting and drinking a second cup of coffee, and my son (nearly 12) joined me. "What's that, another scarf?" he asked.
Me: No, it's a sweater.
Him: ANOTHER one??!? How many do you have, four??? (heh.)
Me: What's the problem?
Him: Isn't that enough?
Me: Umm, what do you think I should be doing instead?
Him: Knitting SOCKS!
For him, of course. He needn't worry, I've got some rpm's planned in Regia 5388, his favorite football/soccer team's colors. (Inch-wide alternating red and blue stripes. Gah. This will be a labor of love!) Oh, and to keep things fair, I'm going to knit my daughter a pair of Voodoo Wrist Warmers in her chosen color combo of black and olive green stripes.
Enjoy your weekend, everyone!
13 September 2006
Sooo Much Better
On the left you see the bottom edge of the cardigan back, with the badly rolling four rows of garter stitch prescribed by the pattern. On the right is my pathetic attempt at a better, non-rolling alternative, a 4x1 rib on the left front piece. My theory was that the purl columns would (somehow) stabilize the knitting in a way that neither garter stitch nor seed stitch did.
Obviously I do not understand the physics of rolling. Do you? Do you have any explanations or ideas for non-rolling hems?
FWIW, here are the two bottom edges next to each other.
And here is the completed back:
To tell you the truth, I'm starting to get a bit nervous about this whole project. The ribbing at the top pulls in quite a bit, and I'm wondering if the finished sweater is going to be snug at top and floppy at the bottom. (Wool baby-dolls! Hey, that'd be flattering on anyone!) The yarn suggested for the project, Garnstudio's Silke-Tweed, is a wool-silk mix, and I'm using 100% merino to get gauge. Guess gauge isn't everything, hmm? The sweater pictured in the model looks anything but stretchy and clingy; it looks like it's lightweight, but hangs nicely. Will blocking save the day? Perverse though it sounds, I think my angst is going to make me knit faster, just to find out.
*whimper* Keep your fingers crossed, 'k?
Ich hatte versucht, das Rollen am unteren Rand meiner Strickjacke zu vermeiden, aber es sieht nicht so aus als hätte ich Erfolg gehabt. Was verursacht dieses Rollen überhaupt?? Gibt es alternative Saum-Möglichkeiten? Bin für jede Erklärung, jeden Vorschlag dankbar! Das mittlere Bild zeigt meine beide Versuche. Das untere Bild zeigt die Rückseite der Strickjacke. Mir wird insgesamt mulmig, weil sich die Rippen im oberen Teil so sehr einziehen. Ich mache mir Sorgen, dass die Jacke keine vorteilhafte Paßform haben wird, im Gegensatz zum Photo in der Anleitung. Vielleicht war mein Wolltausch doch nicht so das wahre. Hilfe!!
5 September 2006
Mein Kopf Runneth Over
Thanks so much for the compliments on my pink TrekkingXXL socks. I really enjoyed the pattern; it was easy to memorize, and I think it jazzes up the stripes nicely. This could have been done toe-up and/or with a short-row heel just as easily.
Speaking of pretty socks, have you seen the September edition of Magknits? Wow, there are some beautiful textures there! Interesting focus on things to do with plain or heathered yarn.
And speaking of online fiber magazines, check out Black Purl Magazine, "the online magazine for needlecraft artists featuring ethnic-inspired stitches and stories." I stumbled upon this totally by accident, and am so glad I did! Very interesting.
I'm kind of bouncing around all over the place, mentally anyway (no one would suspect it to look at me at the moment, wearing my handknit shawl and socks). I've got lots of ideas for knitting projects, but it's hard settling down to any one thing. Probably the next thing will be a long narrow scarf using the Koigu that Imbrium sent me. I've been perusing my stitch books, and have narrowed things down to four candidates. I want a lace pattern that looks presentable on both sides, but that doesn't have too many holes, because I don't want those gorgeous colors to get lost. After I translate the German* patterns into English and write them in larger print for my own convenience, there's going to be some major swatching. I'll take pictures, it will be interesting to see what you guys think.
Oh, and Erica? Thanks for the tip on cutting the bottom off of my Garnstudio cardi (and the confirmation I'm not alone in my experience with garter stitch rolling). I'll see how a 4x1 rib looks when I cast on for one of the front pieces and let you know.
*Das große Strickmuster Lexikon," bei Weltbild extrem günstig erworben, aka "The Harmony Guide to Knitting Stitches (Vols. 2 & 3)."
3 September 2006
Why I Knit
One word says a lot: Stockinette. The look of stockinette has always fascinated me for some reason. I like its neatness and the way it drapes. The stockinette stitch is quintessential knitting. Although I've knit and enjoyed many other stitches and styles, my benchmark, if you will, has always been to be able to knit plain stockinette neatly and evenly.
Well, my long cardigan from Garnstudio is certainly giving me a lot of practice. So far it's knitting up pretty quickly, and the superwash merino feels nice. Despite its length, I think the sweater will be pretty light in weight. Actually, the light weight of the yarn is worrying me a bit. In the picture above, I used two heavy books and a stretched-out circular needle to get this baby to lie flat. It's rolling like the dickens, and I'm worried about whether it will block flat.
The instructions call for 4 rows of garter stitch at the bottom, and at first I thought that might be the problem (that's where the rolling is worst). So after googling around a bit, I discovered that the classic answer to prevent rolling edges is .... garter stitch. hahahahahahaha! I have another top with garter stitch at the bottom, and it rolls up and looks dorky. Something tells me something like a 4x1 rib would be better but I've gone so far now that ripping would hurt. Thoughts, anyone??
A couple of FO's (or nearly so) to begin the month.
Specs: Top-down socks in TrekkingXXL, Color 133.
Size -- mine! (Uh, let's say Ladies' Medium).
Needles -- 2.5mm dpn
Stitch -- "Melanie's Twist", first seen at Knittin' Mama.
Remarks -- This was the first time I've knit with TrekkingXXL, and I really liked the feel of it. This colorway was totally predictable, which I understand isn't necessarily always the case. I sort of tried to make an Eye of Partridge heel, but think I may have missed an essential part of the directions, 'cause mine doesn't look like Erica's, more like normal reinforced. Oh, well.
And as I mentioned, my sewing machine is back in business, and I finished the Garden Path quilt top. What should I do with it? I am seriously thinking of sewing/quilting this onto a fleece throw instead of doing the traditional 'backing fabric + batting + quilt top' construction. I did something similar to make a coverlet for my bed in my grad school apartment, and it turned out quite well. This would also be a technique I'm likely to actually do instead of procrastinate about. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, the quilting bug continues to bite. IKEA has some material that's caught my imagination AND that has met with my daughter's approval, so there may be a project for her in the near future, not to mention the scraps that I've cut but haven't pieced yet....