Friday, June 29, 2007

We interrupt this program...

...while I frantically clean the house. Last night, my father-in-law called to let us know that he and his wife are in Providence, and we're having them over for dinner. We've been putting off spring cleaning, the husband is at work, and I'm turning into a veritable white tornado.

I'm not even going to try to hide the yarn that's overflowed the yarn closet. There's no point.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Knitting and Spinning and Socks!

There has been knitting progress on most (though not all) fronts. The first is literally a front, the front piece of my dad's sweater. The ends need to be sewn in, but I'll do that later, when everything is done and I'm ready to block.

Why is it upside down? Because the photo editing software that comes with my camera doesn't have a way to flip pictures around easily. I kind of like it, though. Inadvertently defying convention, that's me!

My sister's socks are also finished. I loved working with the Opal Hundertwasser. Not only are the colors pretty, not only is it fun to watch them change, but the stitch definition on this yarn is incredible. Had I known how good it was, I might have chosen a more interesting pattern to show it off, in spite of the busy colors.

Pattern Details:
Pattern: Lichen Ribbed Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks
Yarn: Opal Hundertwasser in Der Blaue Mond (what a pretty name!)
Needles: US 0
Comments: This variation on the star toe is a pain in the neck. To keep holes from forming, I had to pull the stitches around the purls very tight, and it's painful! My fingers hurt for a while after the exercise. It's very pretty, though. I like it.

Lastly, there has been some spinning progress. The roving is some purple no-name stuff of unknown origin. Although I'm still having some thick/thin issues, I'm very pleased overall. Why?

Because I've figured out how to draft while the spindle is spinning, that's why! Very exciting. One moment, I was all confused and producing crap, and the next, something clicked. It's a huge step in the right direction.

Friday, June 22, 2007

WIP Friday (yes, again!)

We have progress! My right hand no longer hurts. I fell down the stairs the other day and caught my hand on the banister, and now my left thumb is giving me trouble. Can you say klutz? Fortunately, I'm not a lefty, so I can crochet and even knit.

The knitting has been going well. The front of the dad sweater is almost done, and for once, it doesn't look like it's tomato red. I love the way the colors are working out. In the original pattern, the body of the sweater is gray, the stripe with the cables red, and the edge black. I reversed red and gray and am using a dark navy instead of the black, and I think it was a good choice.

The Baltic Sea Stole has been frogged and re-started. I didn't get around to casting on until today, which explains the "progress": 3 rows of seed stitch. 141 stitches instead of 171 in my previous attempt, and I'm using size 3 needles. I already like the fabric a lot better. Because of the smaller needles, I can knit more loosely, which will make the k2tog's and ssk's easier. I'm glad I had the guts to rip it out.

My sister's socks are also progressing. As you can see, I just turned the heel on sock #2. At first, I wasn't crazy about the little holes the YO's on the Welsh Heel are producing, but once they're all there, it's actually kind of pretty.
The Opal Hundertwasser is a blast to knit with, and even though I didn't decide to make the socks radically different from each other, I like the subtle differences in striping.

And now, because it is Friday and because I don't want to strain convention to the breaking point: STR prOn!

I got my Socks That Rock package and it contains this gorgeous colorway. You'll hear more about it when I'm done with my sister's socks and get started on this project.

Coming up: Tangerine Twist, which, in my case, is more a dawny pink color. Also coming up: spinning and more sock knitting. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

SP Goodies!

Today, I got my package from JellySlug, my upstream from the knitty Harry Potter SP round! I'm extremely excited about this. Everything about this package rocks, including the packaging itself. I mean, a velvet pouch, a shiny pouch with velvet on it, and a little package tied with string? That's already darn wizardly, no doubt about it!
And yes, that's a Ravenclaw bookmark. Because you know, us Ravenclaw types need lots of those, so they're always appreciated. This one is special, though, on account of being knit!

What's inside the pouches, you ask? OK, no fair making you wait (I know I couldn't).

Yum. Harry Potter-themed candy. I'm still a little suspicious of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, but I'll try them eventually. There's sock yarn for my very own pair of Ravenclaw socks, and... gasp... Mountain Colors sock yarn, complete with a beautiful pattern. You have no idea how often I've petted this stuff! I've always wanted to try it but kept putting it back for financial reasons. Now I get to knit my very own socks in that gorgeous colorway.

Thank you so much, Slug!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Wide load

Thank you for all the kind words about my Baltic Sea Stole! Unfortunately, I decided it had to be frogged. Let me explain.

Do you see the extremely long thing on the floor? That's the lace taken off the needles. It was 37" wide unblocked. I'm looking for a finished width of 30" or so, maybe a little more, but that's after blocking.

I've decided to make another attempt, this time on US3 needles with 141 stitches instead of the 171 of the previous attempt. Once blocked, it would have been... wide. Very wide. And to make things worse, I probably would have run out of yarn. Not a good thing!

So, for the fourth time or so, the Baltic Lace Stole is a ball of yarn. But I'm casting on again tomorrow because if I don't, this is never going to happen. And I wouldn't want that, because it's such a pretty pattern.

Friday, June 15, 2007

WIP Friday ('cause I'm different!)

Thank you for all the nice comments on the Conwy socks! The pattern is in Knitting on the Road, one of my favorite sock books. The pattern for the Hundertwasser socks is essentially a simple k3 p1 rib, which I found in Knitting Vintage Socks. Why do math when someone has already designed the exact sock I want to knit?

There has been some progress on the Baltic Sea Stole. I'm using US5 needles, and the solid portions are turning out to be not much more solid than the lacy bits. I'm not sure if I'm happy with this and have even thought about frogging.

Here's a closeup. This is the fabric laid out flat, a little scrunched together. If I block it, the stitches will get even bigger. It looks like a hot mess, but then, lace always does until you block it. So... is this fugly? To frog or not to frog? What do you think?

A little progress on the sister socks, but not much. I'm loving the yarn, and I'm waiting for my sister to send me her foot measurements. I know I took them when I was in Germany, but I forgot to write them down. Duh!

And that's it for knitting progress this week. Why? Well, here's the reason (please excuse the frumpy nightie shot, it isn't even 7 am over here):

Some form of RSI induced by knitting with cotton. If you're going to knit with cotton, you need to take frequent breaks, or it'll hurt to knit. It's a bad thing.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Weekend knitting

I finished them! My Conwy socks, the Second Pair Syndrome socks are done!
It's surprisingly hard to get a shot that shows the color properly. It looks lighter with flash, but brings out the purples nicely,

whereas the no flash version shows off the cables and the blue tones.

If you haven't knit Conwys yet, give them a try. The cable pattern is interesting enough to occupy the brain without making TV-watching or talking impossible. It was a fun knit.

There has also been some progress on the WIP front. My dad's sweater (remember, it's burgundy, not bright tomato red!) has gained an inch or two, and I've started on the cables. Granted, they aren't recognizable as such in this shot, but trust me, they're there.

And then, there are my sister's socks. Knit in Opal Hundertwasser, regarding which I have a confession to make.

Just a few days ago, I was reading the Yarn Harlot's blog and chuckling to myself. She was talking about loving a baby sweater pattern so much that she bought several, kept thinking about them obsessively, and even had urges to go back and buy the rest of the kits so she could just keep knitting them. There may have been something self-righteous about my chuckle, just a little bit. I mean, I'm bad, but clearly, this proved that the Yarn Harlot had it much, much worse. I wouldn't go back and just keep buying the same kit over and over again, no, not me.

Until now. In my case, it isn't the pattern, it's the yarn. I confess that I am a process knitter and that I get lots of pleasure out of watching yarn stripe, pool, change colors. But where a normal yarn has a regular pattern, the Hundertwasser keeps surprising you. Because the socks aren't supposed to come out identical, there are all sorts of different patterns and colors in a skein. You just start knitting and keep knitting because you want to know what color or pattern comes next, or how long the section you're working on will be when it turns into something else...
I haven't been able to put them down. Literally. I must have knit 4" just this morning.

And now for something a little less uncommon: the Baltic Sea Stole. What you see here is the seed stitch border. I cast on 171 stitches instead of 111, and unless I thoroughly misunderstood the math involved, I should get either 9 or 10 pattern repeats out of this. I have the pattern and the chart in front of me.

Now all I have to do is math. We'll see how it goes!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Dice bag, socks and lace

The second sock is progressing apace, I just turned the heel. But let me take this opportunity to address a little-known condition, Second Pair Syndrome. It's what happens when you knit a pattern once and like it so much, you decide to knit it again right away. And then you get tired of it. Halfway through, possibly before you even have time to get Second Sock Syndrome. So: this is my last pair of Conwy socks for a while. If you haven't knit them yet, give 'em a try, they're fun.

And now, my crocheted dice bag, all felted up. Thank you for all the nice things you said about it. I am so freaking proud of this thing. It's not a misshapen dishrag, I only added 3 stitches while I was making the single crochet bottom. Then, all the way up, not another accidental increase. Yay!

Here's the bottom. This thing used to be big enough to put on my head, hat-like. Now, it fits into my hand.

And now, the dice bag in action. I have way too many dice. The bag is just big enough to hold all of my d10. That's what happens when you spend years playing White Wolf games and Ars Magica, both systems that exclusively use 10-siders.

There's an even bigger bag full of assorted other dice. Ahem.

My dad's sweater, on the other hand, is no nearer completion than it was the last time I posted. The warm weather is not exactly helping me want to knit with 100% alpaca. I'm constantly fingering my laceweight, I think it's time for either a shawl or a summery lace garment. And a crocheted shawl. I've checked out some patterns, and I think I understand them.
Yes, I want to make lace!

Monday, June 04, 2007

All sorts of stuff (Lots of pictures)

There is so much, where to start?
How about a package. To be more exact, the last SP package I got from Jo, my knitty SP 8 secret pal. I was out of the country so she sent it after I got back. The summer issue of IK, which I love, yarn that's soft and cushy and eminently pettable, some cards and envelopes, and soap that smells like lemon drops. I swear I'm having the hardest time not biting into that bar!

But that wasn't all. I also received two balls of SWTC Karaoke in a pretty rainbow colorway. I took one look at it and immediately had to start crocheting a cute little bag. Here it is, all done and ready to be felted. It's my first ever successful crochet project and I'm immensely proud of myself.

And here's a shot of it from the bottom. It's going to be my hippie rainbow dice bag because I'm a gaming geek with too many dice. It's in the washing machine and felting as we speak.
Jo, thank you for sending me yarn that resulted in crocheting success after over 20 years of trying! You've been a wonderful SP.

Thanks to tendinitis in my right hand, the sock hasn't progressed much. I'm done with the decreases, now another 2.5" of pattern, and I can turn the heel.

And now, another shot of Monica, all done and blocked and ready to go. I used Poops' modifications because knitting the whole thing in the round made sense. As she said, it's a tube, so why seam? I also added 3 to 4 rows of ribbing in places to keep the whole thing from rolling. It worked great!
It took only a few days of knitting, Sunday through Wednesday.

Pattern details
Pattern: Monica (from knitty)
Yarn: Tahki Cotton Classic, 100% mercerized cotton
Needles: US #5 and US #6
Mods: Body and ruffle knit in the round, ribbing added to body and ruffle to prevent rolling

Friday, June 01, 2007

Syracuse, Knitting, Yarn and a FO! (Image heavy)

This is what happens when I don't post for an entire week. Lots of pictures, lots of catching up to do.
Last Friday, I met Carrie, aka carrieknits from knitty. She was in Boston for a wedding and we went on a yarn crawl. It was so much fun! We went to Newbury Yarns, Windsor Button, and Woolcott's in Cambridge. I mean, it would be so wrong if a knittyhead came to visit Boston and left without souvenir yarn! Fortunately, she found some real beauties. And I bought some sock yarn. But let's not talk about the sock yarn...
I didn't think to take my camera, but Carrie did. A picture of us at Woolcott's is here!

Sunday, Andrew and I went to Syracuse. I tried to take a picture of the tiny blue sign between the red brick building and the traffic pole, just under the green awning, but couldn't get a closeup that wasn't blurry. This is Syracuse's version of Little Italy, and the sign simply reads Catholic Shop. If you ever need Catholic paraphernalia, you'll know where to go!

In spite of the 6 hour drive, my second Conwy sock did not progress much. But, in my defense, I have to say that's because a spontaneous knit jumped onto my needles.

One of our friends has a daughter who is a year and a half old. Monica looked just like the perfect little tank for a little girl, so I cast on Sunday morning and finished yesterday. I didn't get it done on time to hand it to Olivia's dad on Tuesday, but at least I now have an opportunity to block properly.

My dad's sweater is still where it was the last time, no progress whatsoever. It will be the only thing on my needles once the sock is done, so what's next?
This is the yarn my sister picked out for a pair of socks. It's one of Opal's Hundertwasser line, sock yarn dyed to look like the happy colors used by the German artist Hundertwasser in his paintings.

And I had a little accident when I went to buy yarn for Monica: Jitterbug sock yarn in Fruit Coulis. I think of it as the pixieriot yarn because it's all bright blacks, pinks, purples, fuchsias. It's even brighter than it looks in this picture!

That's it for now. I'm off to knit while listening to Tanz der Vampire. It's a fantastic musical, cracks me up every time, and the music is amazing.