Friday, November 30, 2007

The "A" Projects

This post is brought to you by the letter A and the number 2, which is how many A projects I've got on the needles. I started the Anastasia Socks for my grandmother last weekend: I haven't done too much yet, but I'm plugging away. The pattern is simple but as usual I haven't bothered to memorize it. It really doesn't bother me to carry the chart around and keep track, plus I hate fixing things, and if I don't get all cocky about knowing the pattern I'm much less likely to screw it up. Dave was unhappy that I exploited Oliver for that photo, but I've seen much worse stuff on cats. Here's a close-up of the sock: The yarn is Socks that Rock Lightweight in Lucy, after Wendy's cat. The picture isn't the best, but the yarn color is pretty accurate.
As promised I also started the Ana Hat, from Perl Grey. I should take a photo of the diagram that came with the pattern - it's quite confusing, and just reading through the pattern makes me wish I'd taken some engineering classes. I'll try to take progress shots as I go so I can show you how this thing comes together. So far I'm knitting a giant rectangle. The yarn is quite nice to work with - it's Fleece Artist Woolie Silk, a 65/35 wool/silk blend. I love the colors (teal - go figure!). But what really should be mentioned here is the row counter, which is vital for this project. I'm one of those people who would rather keep track as I go instead of counting later, and I'd rather not have to carry around something to keep track with (pen and paper), and for this (131 rows) a counter is key. I have an identical one somewhere in the ether of my apartment, but I can't find it for the life of me. I even checked in the sweater-that-shall-not-be-named's bag, but it wasn't in there. So, and this is the good part, Dave offered to go buy me another one yesterday. Of his own free will. I should probably keep him.
Speaking of Dave, we're off to Portland for the weekend. The hat is coming along, as is the sock and the sleeves. I suspect the hat will receive the most attention. It looks like it's going to be cold/snowy/windy/rainy/miserable. I'm looking forward to it. Cyclocross is ALL ABOUT the suffering and bad weather!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Another one bites the dust

I've finished another Christmas gift! This brings me to 6 of 7 completed, with almost a month to go. If you're thinking you don't recall seeing six finished gifts, that's because you haven't. At least two of them haven't made an appearance on the blog and won't make one until after Christmas. This scarf will be going to my little cousin Andie, and I really hope she likes it. She's very girly, and I'm not sure it's pink enough for her, but we'll see.
Project Stats: Drop-stitch Scarf
Yarn: One skein of Knit Picks Memories, colorway Rocky Mountain Dusk.. The scarf is ~6x60" unblocked.
Needles: Size 8 Clover Bamboo straights
Time on the needles: October 5-November 27, 2007. This was my work project or it would've been finished much more quickly.
Impressions: I like it. The pattern is simple and easy to memorize, and the yarn, although not really my colors, was nice to work with. It seems heavier than sockweight, but that could be because I used much bigger needles than one would normally use with this yarn and thus it was able to really puff out and bloom. Drop-stitch patterns are always fun because it's exciting to drop stitches on purpose! I think this needs a good blocking to stretch out the drop-stitch panels, but that can wait until closer to gifting time...

Now that I've finished this, I only have two "active" projects on the needles - the Drops swing cardigan w/ huge sleeves and the socks for my grandmother (more on those soon). This is a problem. I like to have a lot of things going because I tend to flit from project to project. And, let's face it, two stockinette sleeves at once? That is some boring knitting. So, to break up the monotony I've decided I need to cast on something new and exciting. I'm still waiting for my new colors of Palette before I start the Ivy League Vest, so that's out. Plus I'm thinking that will be good Christmas knitting. I'm planning a gift that I can't talk about here, but it's not really a rush and it's not for me, so I'm going to put it off a bit (also a good project for Christmas - better actually, because it'll be much simpler). So, that leaves me in a quandary. What am I going to do? I'll think I'll make this: It's pretty simple, it's a hat, which is useful since it's getting on towards winter, and it's teal, and you know how I love the teal. Anne-Marie also bought this kit, so we're thinking of doing our own little knitalong. I also need a simple work project, which I haven't thought through yet. I'll keep you posted.
Oh, speaking of winter, tomorrow is opening day at Mt. Baker! I'm really excited to go skiing, although it'll have to wait a bit as we're going to Portland for some bike races this weekend...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Technical Question

So I'm having some issues with my Drops Swing Cardigan. The issue is that the sleeves are ginormous. Huge. And my gauge is correct. Well, maybe a tad off, but not enough that it's the problem. Let me explain. I'm making the worsted weight version of the sweater, and so I cast on 50 stitches for the sleeve, and then I'm supposed to do a total of seven increase rounds (one stitch per side each time), for a total of 64 stitches, and then I would do the armpit decreases, which I bet have a more technical name. From the get-go I thought my sleeves (since I'm knitting them together) seemed a bit on the wide side. As I started the increases I became more nervous, so last night, after four increase rounds (58 stitches total), I broke out the measuring tape and concluded that my sleeve is currently 13.6" in circumference, which is already larger than my upper arm, and if I continue increasing in this fashion I'm going to have a sleeve in the range of 15.5" around by the top, and that is just way too big. So, here is the dilemma. I've decided to just forgo the rest of the increases and proceed with my 13.6" sleeve all the way up. The problem, of course, is that this is a set-in sleeve, and it needs to match the armhole shaping on the front and back of the sweater. That shaping is done as follows on the sleeves. The first decrease round involves casting off three stitches on each side one time, then two stitches twice, etc. I figure, since I'm skipping three increases and thus six total stitches, I'll just not do the first three stitch bind-off. This will be hidden in the armpit and so I'm hoping it won't be too obvious. Please let me know if you think this is exceedingly ill-advised before I get too far into it. Dave suggested (bless him - he sat through 10 minutes of math and analysis of this last night) starting over (gasp) with smaller needles, but I think that would mess up my row gauge and create even bigger armhole/sleeve matching issues. Any ideas? From examining at the pattern photos it appears the sleeves are fairly wide on the model, but no one on Ravelry seems to have such huge sleeves, nor has anyone mentioned it being a problem...

Another swap package!

Ravelry tea swap package
Originally uploaded by
Emily E.M.
I recently participated in a Ravelry tea swap (technically I'm still participating, since I have yet to send my package...but let's not talk about that). I received a lovely package yesterday from Cindi (ravelry: Cindiknits). She sent me two lovely shades of Zephyr - peacock (the greener one) and a beautiful blue. Both are plenty for a fairly large project, and she recommended the Print o' the Wave stole, which I have in my Ravelry queue. As some might recall I recently ripped out my first incarnation of that stole after deciding that yarn wasn't right for it, so this might be just the ticket. She also sent three types of tea. I've tried the vanilla rooibis (very good) and the Ceylon (very smooth) so far, and enjoyed both of them. The other is Georgia Peach Rooibis, which I'll probably try tomorrow. There is also scone mix, Cadbury's (gone), shortbread, and tea-flavored gum (which I'm quite intrigued by). AND, there is a notepad and some nifty tea bags with a holder. I have some similar bags for brewing loose leaf tea without a strainer, but they like to fall in the cup instead of sticking to the side as intended. These are brilliant because they have holes in the top that you put a stick through, and the stick then sits on the top of the mug. Excellent invention. I'm really happy with my package, thank you Cindi! Now to get back on the lace bandwagon again...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Promised Progress...

Well, this post took me a bit later to get online than I intended, but I've had a difficult time finding the motivation to take sweater photos. This baby is tough to photograph with any accuracy whatsoever. Either the color is good or the pattern is good - I went with the latter: This is the back with the two completed fronts. I meant to take a close-up of the shoulder seams (three-needle bind-off is my friend), but that can wait. My concern is that it seems quite wide - I pinned it together before sewing the shoulder seams so that I could try it on, and the fit through the chest is fine, but it's a bit swingy through the back. I'm not sure if that was my rough pinning or an effect of the "swing" in the name. I think only time will tell, and as I'm about 1/3 finished with both sleeves (knitting them at the same time) hopefully it will tell soon. While I was off updating Ravelry, this bit of hilarity ensued: Apparently Oliver was curious about the sweater and when Dave removed him from it, the sweater came along for the ride. Dave called me in with the camera, and another great "Oliver with the knitting" shot was born.
I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! I lounged around quite a bit over the last four days, accomplished a tiny bit of Christmas shopping, and watched many Netflix movies. I also cast on the final (I think) Christmas present on Friday and it's moving along nicely. I'm making Anastasia Socks for my grandmother, which I'll post photos of once they're past the mid-foot...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Another pair of unfelted clogs...

John's Slippers, top
Originally uploaded by
Emily E.M.

I've been neglecting my blog. You might have noticed, but with Thanksgiving impending perhaps everyone is too busy to care that I've not written a peep for two weeks? And I was doing so well there for a bit...Anyway, I have multiple excuses. The main one is that my parents were visiting for a week, but they left last Wednesday night, so that really only explains the first week. And it's not that I haven't been knitting - I have been, and not all on secret unbloggable projects either. In fact, just Sunday I finished the second front of my Drops cardigan and dealt with the shoulder seams. I think I'll talk about that tomorrow though, so I have something else to entertain you with. Plus I haven't taken any pictures yet, so I'd just be blathering on without evidence...I did, however, finish the clogs for my Uncle John, which had to be done while my parents were in Seattle so they could take them back to be gifted over Thanksgiving.

I was going to do my standard write-up about the clogs, but frankly, I'm bored with that, since this is (I think) my hundreth seventh pair of these babies. This particular pair is a men's medium (felted size 10.5), knit with Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Grass and some leftover yellow Cascade 220. I used size 13 needles and knit these in about a week. I didn't have time to felt them, but I think it's worthwhile to see the expression on the recipient's face when they open a gift that they can't fathom the purpose of. Of course, in this instance I won't be there to see that, but hopefully my parents will enjoy it.

Okay, I'm off. I have to give lab meeting tomorrow and I need a good nine hour sleep to contemplate how I will explain my moderately-uninterpretable-but-potentially-interesting data. I'll try to take some sweater photos and talk about the Drops swing cardigan tomorrow. Hope you're all well, I'll try not to vanish again until Christmas!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tea Swap Package!

Today I received a lovely package from Wendy, my Knitters Tea Swap 4 pal: She really did a great job figuring out what to send me - I love everything in it, especially the yarn, which is just my colors! There was so much stuff in the box that I had a tough time getting a good photo - a cute sheep notepad, candle, a yarny nail file, a tape measure, and tea and chocolate galore! I haven't had much chai tea, so I'm excited about the tin of that, as well as the vanilla tea (one of my favorites) and the assam (another favorite). And how great is that card? I definitely do my level best to prevent the buying of acrylic by anyone, even those not really in my acquaintance but fortunate enough to be near me in the LYS. All in all Wendy did a great job spoiling me! Thank you Wendy!!! Here's a close-up of the yarn, which is from Storm Moon Knits. It's sockweight, but I'm thinking of a scarf, so that it lasts longer and more people get to see it. It fades from almost black to a lovely blue-turquoise, which is just perfect for me. It's actually less blue and more turquoise, but there were camera issues. Dark yarn is always a bit tough to photograph, especially without some good natural light, which we are generally lacking in Seattle, and which we are even more deficient of in my apartment...

Clog watch: Finished the first clog except for the outer sole. Hope to accomplish that this evening after washing the kitchen floor (Exciting!).

Excitement: While riding to work this morning I discovered that I can indeed ride my bike with no hands, which is very exciting for me. I've probably been able to do this for ages, but lacked the confidence. I've realized it's something you really need to go for - if you're wishy-washy it just doesn't work. And you have to moving with some speed. I know this is a bit silly but I was way too excited about it and thought I'd share...

Thank you for all of your comments on my mittens! I really appreciated every one of them, even though I can't figure out to make Blogger record email addresses so I can respond to you : )

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Fair Isle is my friend

Look what I made, look what I made! Not to be immodest, but I'm so impressed with myself. Well, actually I wasn't that impressed until Dave was really impressed, and then I thought, "Wow, these really are pretty damn cool mittens!" I have decided that the fair isle and I are friends - of the types of knitting I've done, it is by far my favorite. Why? Because you can see the project developing in real-time as you're knitting. None of this waiting for the blocking magic you have with lace, or the fear of overshrinkage you have with felting or the risk of your sweater growing upon blocking. Nosiree, just the pattern smiling at you as you go. Plus, fair isle is built for being knit in the round, and in my limited experience has not involved purling, and these are both concepts I can get behind.
Project Stats: Selbuvotter Mittens (NHM #7)
Pattern: NHM #7, from Selbuvotter, by Terri Shea
Yarn: Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift, Stonewash and Surf. One skein of the dark and just a tad over one of the main color. I got the yarn at Weaving Works.
Needles: Crystal Palace bamboo DPNs, size 1.5. Really worth the extra $$$.
Time to knit: October 7-November 4, 2007.
Impressions: I love them. Really. One of my favorite knits. The pattern was very clear (being a chart, of course it's clear, but the instructions were also quite good). I didn't really understand what I was doing with the decreases, so mine are a bit different from the photo (I followed the pattern colors, instead of doing all the decreases in the main color, which I think is what I was supposed to do.), but that is part of the beauty of these mittens. They are handmade and thus they aren't perfect (although I didn't make any actual mistakes, far as I know). They fit perfectly and aren't overly bulky. I think they'll be plenty warm enough for Seattle, but perhaps not for Alaska. I really enjoyed the Shetland Spindrift - it's not the softest yarn but it gives the impression that it will stand up to some abuse and last for a long time, and it's certainly soft enough for me, not having very sensitive skin. I knit these mittens quite quickly by my standards, only stopping to procrastinate a bit about the thumbs, which ended up being much easier than I feared. A bit fiddly due to the small number of stitches, but nothing unmanageable. The Crystal Palace needles are a bit spendy, but they're really worth it because they don't bend/break/chip/snag/split or any of the other problems I've had with my little Brittney birch needles, plus they're shorter than the Clover bamboo needles. All in all, this project was a great success!
So, what now? I finished the secret gift project on Friday (no photos), and these today, so that is my two projects finished before casting on the Ivy League Vest. However, as I mentioned last week, I'd like to finish the clogs I'm making my uncle for Christmas while my parents are visiting (starting on Wednesday night), so those will come first. I started them yesterday and I'm about half done with the first clog. They go really quickly so it shouldn't be a problem to whip them out in the next week and a half. I also have yarn to make my cousin Andie some pink/ivory Selbuvotters, so I'll probably make those before starting the vest, just to keep the Christmas knitting on target for early completion. Best to not be stressed about that! I also knit about five inches of the Drops Swing Cardigan on Friday, so progress is being made on many fronts. And the house is clean. We even washed the slipcover. It was a very productive weekend!

Friday, November 02, 2007

New Yarn!

The yarn for my Ivy League Vest arrived yesterday, and the colors, while not necessary a palette I would normally go for (even though there's teal in there) are quite close to those in the model. I like the model version, so I think that even though some of the colors aren't my favorites together they will all work well. My dark teal is backordered until late November, but I can swatch and maybe start the bottom ribbing - I don't think the dark blue is needed for a bit. I've decided I want to finish at least two projects before I start this, including some felted clogs for my uncle, which need to be finished while my parents are visiting so they can take them home with them for gifting. The yarn (Knit Picks Wool of the Andes) for those arrived yesterday as well, so no delays. I finished the second Selbuvotter mitten last night, so I just have the thumbs to tackle, which I'll hopefully do this evening. I'm afraid of the thumbs, but, well, they won't knit themselves. I bought some yarn to make my cousin a pair of Selbuvotter for Christmas, and I might as well practice on mittens for me if I'm going to be screwing things up. I'm this close to finishing a secret gift project, so that will probably also be done tonight. So, after I finish my mittens, and the gift, and the clogs, I will swatch for the vest.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


My parents are coming to visit next week, which always means a thorough cleaning of the apartment, lest my mother find dust on the baseboards. It's also a good opportunity to purge clutter, and with that in mind I attacked the region surrounding my side of the sofa, aka the den o' knitting. I have two knitting "baskets." One is next to the couch in front of the end table where I can get at it, and is where the projects I'm actually working on are meant to reside. I say meant to because in reality it's like the Bermuda Triangle in there. The second container lives behind the end table, where I can, in theory, reach it. In reality that container has projects long since abandoned and enough needle protectors and stitch markers to open a small LYS. The cat loves to knock them off the table into the basket.
The organizing process was quite successful. I knew I had a lot of projects that had been cast on and promptly abandoned because the yarn wasn't right, or the pattern confused me, or I just got distracted. They remained on the needles because I didn't have another use for the needles (I also discovered I have four pairs of size 9 straight needles, and three sets of 10.5s. I think they're all from the learning-to-knit-make-many-fun-scarves-at-once phase. I rarely use them, so if you need size 9 needles you know who to call!). Now, for the grand list of what was jettisoned, what was saved for another day, and the projects I'm actually working on regularly enough that they might, some day, be finished...

Sent back to the stash:
1. Twisted Flower socks - Two skeins red Gems Pearl salvaged. This pattern is way too time-consuming for me. I started these for my Sockapalooza Four pal and abandoned them one repeat in. Rest in peace.
2. Print o' the Wave stole - Lovely turquoise/teal kid mohair gets a new life (hopefully soon, I love this yarn). This just wasn't the right pattern for this yarn, or at least not the right needle size. Now that I feel more confident in lace I might try this again, but I think I prefer patterns without patterning on both sides, for both speed and sanity.
3. Random green lace - I'd only knit four rows of this before deciding the yarn and pattern competed too much. RIPPPP!
4. Malabrigo scarf - The pattern I chose was too lacy for this yarn, which would really rather be cozy, not elegant. I think this will be recycled into a Foliage hat.
5. "Large Red Rectangle" from Victorian Lace Today - Yes, one can rip out Kid Silk Haze! I actually intend to restart this project, but I hadn't gotten far enough to make this worth keeping, plus I couldn't remember where I was in the pattern. I think I'd done about 5 rows. Better to start over than to restart in the wrong place! Plus I think I was using needles at least one size too small. No harm no foul.

Salvaged for another day:
1. Mystery Stole 3 (aka Swan Lake) - I was really going to rip this out because I didn't end up being that fond of the pattern, but when I looked at it again tonight I just couldn't do it. It was my first real lace project, and I'd made it almost halfway, and the beads looked so pretty, so I think I'll let it incubate awhile and then make the symmetrical non-winged version.
2. Elfine Socks - I'm on the leg of the first sock and I don't know why I'm not working on these, I still really like them.
3. Toe of pretty sock - Not sure if this should be counted, but to be fair I have cast it on and it's still on the needles, but it's truly in its infancy. Socks that Rock Lightweight, generic toe-up pattern I think, but I could change my mind, since there are only about 20 stitches so far!

Still on the needles, in a somewhat more active fashion:
Ravelry links, sorry if you can't see them - if I was a better blogger I'd have documented this process, but I was on a mission!
1. Drops Swing Cardigan - We've discussed this fairly recently, and I'm still working on it, when I'm not working on #2
2. Selbuvotter Mittens - I'm on the decreases of the second mitten. I intended to finish these tonight but then I got a wild hare to clean the living room, which was probably more productive and not much less entertaining.
3. $1.50 cardigan - I love this sweater. Why am I not working on iy? I think I got confused about when to do the neck and armhole shaping when I tried to make the sweater shorter, so it got put down and it has been sadly neglected. Of course it will now take me much longer to figure out what I was planning to do than had I just done it when I first figured it out, but there you are. Live and learn.
4. Ruffled Tuxedo Tank - Miles of stockinette in the round are usually good for me, so I have no real excuse here aside from distraction to start something else, coupled with cold weather on the horizon.
5. Socks - These are a gift, and you'll not see them here. Just finishing up the ribbing of the second sock. 85% finished I'd say.
6. Drop-stitch scarf - My work project. Also a gift, recipient as-yet-undetermined, so you probably won't see this again either, just in case the giftee is reading! About 50% finished, steady progress made every weekday from about 12:45-1:30.

That my friends is a lot of projects. This list would imply that I had 14 projects on the needles. I guess I like to multi-task : )