knitpicking

Friday, May 20, 2005

success!

Exciting news item #1: My sister really likes her scarf. This makes me happy, but of course it isn't terribly surprising since she picked out the yarn and then sat and watched as I tried a bunch of stitch patterns. She picked the seed stitch that I ended up with and by the time I left home I had already knit over a foot of it. So if she didn't like it after all that, I would have been pretty pissed. :P

But! Then there is exciting news item #2: My mom loves her socks! She called me yesterday to thank me - they fit perfectly, she loves the colors, and she even wore them to work! I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. :)

Also, I am loving spring fling. My original plan was to finish the back and then go back to the raglan tansy tee, maybe alternating pieces of each project, but the tee just doesn't hold the appeal that spring fling does right now. I finished the back two days ago and cast on for the two front pieces, I'm now about 1.5" through the ribbing. The yarn is starting to get to me a little - the mohair doesn't seem to shed, and it isn't turning my lap pink or anything like that, but it must release little hairs into the air because I get this horrible dry feeling in my throat whenever I knit with it. Luckily keeping a glass of water next to me helps so it's still worth it.

I've also been frantically searching for a good pattern to use my purple cotton fleece for. Thought about a cropped cardigan, but that's what spring fling is, so I'll probably stick with a tanktop of some sort. At first I thought I'd try something simple like this, but everything I've read about the yarn says that it has great stitch definition so then I started looking for patterns with some texture. I found three from Berroco (ribby, cabled, ribby and cabled) and another from Spun magazine - but what I'm leaning towards right now is the shell here. Except the turtleneck isn't really for me, so I might try making it a v-neck, with the cable pattern splitting in half and running up each side, then down the back as straps. It seems complicated though, so I'll have to play around with it. In the meantime, I'll just keep knitting spring fling and fondling the cotton fleece.

Friday, May 13, 2005

i am wearing pink pants

One of my housemates has about 10 times the amount of clothes of any normal, sane person - college students in particular - and has decided to give a lot of them away before she moves in a few months. Turns out we wear exactly the same size, so I am now the proud owner of 2 pairs of corduroys, 1 pair of nice black pants, and a pair of weird pink cargo pants that I'm wearing right now because they're pretty comfy (read: I'm too lazy to get up and change).

The past few days have been super intense and stressful, which should generally mean that I didn't have any time to knit, but instead I kept the knitting right next to my computer and any time I had a spare minute or two, I would pick it up to try and relieve some stress. So the back of spring fling is coming along:

spring fling

As usual, the colors didn't come out very well, but they're a little better in this pic of my swatch (though the pink isn't quite so vibrant):

spring fling swatch

So, yeah. The yarn has a nice hand but those 3 strands keep giving me issues. They aren't even as much of a problem when knitting as they are when tinking... the lace is going much faster and more smoothly now, but I have still made my fair share of mistakes. Undoing a decrease with 3 strands, one of which is mohair, well... it's not so much fun. But the thought of how great the finished sweater will be keeps me going! I think I might modify it a bit, making it a little shorter and putting the clasp right at the top of the ribbing in the front, and maybe a second clasp partway down the ribbing. I'd use less yarn that way too, which would be really good because I have no idea if I'll have enough and I don't think I'd be able to get more.

This is random, but it weirded me out so I took a picture... I painted my nails on Monday night and then went rock climbing Tuesday night, and I was totally worried that my nailpolish would chip, but 9/10 of my nails were still almost perfect afterwards. The 10th nail though? The polish just fell off! No traces of it anywhere! (And no, I did not just forget to paint it in the first place. So many people have asked me about that. :P)

nailpolish weirdness

Whew - after this crazy stressful week I am off to shower and then try to relax tonight! Yay!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

lace is hard, dammit!

Why does something so pretty have to be so tricky? :P Instead of working more on my raglan tee, I decided to start Spring Fling out of my mysterious eBay combo yarn. That picture doesn't do the yarn justice, it looks a little better in the front right of the pic here. It knits up nicely at 21 sts / 4", so I have to do a little math to get it to work for the pattern, but so far it seems to be working well. I got through the ribbing on the back really quickly, but now that I've hit the lace part I've slowed down considerably.

I always knew that lace would be complicated, but I figured a 4-stitch repeat should be nothing, right? Um, not so much. First of all, negotiating 3 strands of yarn through p2tog's is not the most fun thing ever. Second, I keep forgetting to count. I've already messed up twice in 3 rows. Twice! I almost want to use stitch markers but I would need 21 of them to separate 4-stitch repeats over 82 stitches and that seems awfully excessive. Maybe I'll see if I can just get a little farther, I have a feeling that it'll be easier to see mistakes once I can see the actual pattern.

On the plus side, at least I'm knitting a little more loosely through this mess...

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Sara's summer scarf

Sara's summer scarf

pattern: not really
yarn: 1 ball Lana Grossa Lucido (60% polyester, 40% cotton / 131 yds per ball)
needles: Denises size 15
gauge: no idea
date finished: May 6, 2005

When Sara came to the LYS with me to buy the yarn for my mom's socks, she found a lone ball of this really interesting ribbon yarn and asked me if I could make a scarf for her if she bought it. I had never worked with ribbon yarn before, and wanted to try, so I said sure.

Discovery: I don't really like ribbon yarn. I didn't mind the twisting as I knit it, but I found that if I just let it unroll off the ball it would get super twisty. So I resorted to unwrapping a section off the ball, knitting it, unwrapping more, etc. and it made the process kind of tedious.

I tried a few different stitch patterns, at first I was thinking about doing a drop-stitch pattern because the yardage wasn't great but she didn't really like that. I ended up just working seed stitch over 13 stitches on big needles. The finished scarf was about 3.5" wide and 60" long, plus fringe. Here's how it looks on (ignore how it looks with my clothes, I didn't feel like changing just to model a scarf :P).

Sara's summer scarf

As annoying as it was to work with the ribbon yarn, I really did like the finished product. The seed stitch created a fabric that was really soft and squooshy, and I think it highlighted the yarn well too (which was an orange ribbon with red threads running through it, sort of). Closeup:

stitch closeup

Had almost a marblized effect. I sent the scarf away along with the socks a few days ago, so I'm just waiting to hear back from my sister about whether she got it, whether she likes it, etc. I'm all about the etc today for some reason. And now that I have 2 FOs I need to decide what else to work on... decisions decisions...

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Mother's Day socks

two finished socks!

pattern: Wendy's Generic Toe-up Sock Pattern
yarn: 2 balls Lang Jawoll Jacquard sock yarn (75% wool, 18% nylon, 7% acrylic / 208 yds per ball) - only used a small amount of the second ball though
needles: Inox size 3 dpns
gauge: 8 sts / 1"
date finished: May 5, 2005

I am sooo happy that my first real pair of socks came out well! But I'm also a little sad that I don't get to keep them for myself, they're a Mother's Day present for my mom. Right now they are in the mail on the way to my sister, who's going to wrap them and take care of making a card, and she'll deliver them to our mom in person when she gets home from college in a week.

I really liked making socks toe-up, and I like how similar the toe and heel are - fewer numbers and directions to worry about! The short rows took a little getting used to, but by the second heel I think I got the seam to look really neat and tidy. One of those things that just takes practice I guess. I had some problems with holes at the ankles, but the holes actually seemed to get smaller with time as the stitches evened out so I'm not too worried about it anymore.

Can't really compare the yarn to any other sock yarn, but I liked it well enough. I love watching the patterns form, and the stripeyness made it easier to keep track of where I was and to match the socks to each other, which I did a little obsessively:

Mother's day socks on my feet

Now I just hope my mom likes them as much as I do! (And I hope they fit - eep!)

Thursday, May 05, 2005

i got a package!

Yay, I got a package from my secret pal today, and I have to say THANK YOU SO MUCH!! Turns out that getting it was quite the ordeal... I noticed the package slip in my mailbox while I was on campus, got excited, and started digging around in my bag for my keys - only to discover that I didn't have them with me! So I had to walk all the way home (about a 15 minute walk) to get the keys, then back to campus again, all in the rain. Luckily I had my trusty umbrella. But I finally got home and opened the package, and it's so perfect! First, the yarn:

cotton fleece

Three skeins of deep purple cotton fleece! Of course now I have to decide what to do with it - another honeymoon cami? Soleil? A tank of my own design? (I'm thinking maybe thick straps, a v-neck, and some sort of cabling?) A cap-sleeve cardigan? So many ideas!

And then, proof that my SP knows what I like:

Stitch 'N Bitch Nation

Yes, that would be two copies of SnB Nation. The first I bought myself at Borders exactly 3 days ago, and the second (autographed!) copy just came from my SP! Luckily I still have the receipt, so I'll go return the copy I bought tomorrow and keep the autographed one. ;)

So once again, THANK YOU SECRET PAL! :) :) :)

being a senior is great...

... because in between the big assignments, I have a lot of free time for knitting. :) Right now I have two projects on the needles (the raglan tansy tee is "in progress" but not "on the needles" because I'm in between pieces of it, you can see a pic of the front here) and they are making me realize I'm a middle-of-the-road kind of girl. I'm working on the socks for my mom on size 3s, and a ribbon scarf for my sister on size 15s. And I'm sick of both! I need a project on a nice pair of 7s or 8s, because these tiny needles and big needles just don't do it for me. Actually I guess they have their benefits - I don't mind working on the toothpicks but I just hate how slowly I make progress, and I really don't like holding the giant poles but at least the knitting goes quickly. Either way, both projects are almost done and that makes me really happy.

I get a bit of a breather on the socks as well, because I'm not going to try to actually get them to my mom by Mother's Day. In fact it's probably already too late for that! But my sister gets home from college in a week, and the socks are supposed to be from both of us (she paid for the yarn, I'm knitting them, everyone ends up happy :)) so I'm going to send them to her when I'm done, and she can give them to our mom in person (albeit a week late). But, this still means I need to finish the socks soon! And I'm hoping to finish Sara's scarf really soon as well so I can send it all to her together. But the scarf will be done as soon as I knit a few more inches, bind off, and add fringe.

For the socks, I'm really pleased with how they're turning out. This is only my second pair of socks, and the first was done in wool-ease on size 6 dpns, so this is really my first experience with sock yarn and little needles. I really wanted them to turn out well, so I made sure I was prepared. First I knit a teeny little gauge swatch in the round:

teeny tiny gauge swatch

Then, I practiced the toe, because I wanted to make the socks toe-up with a short row toe and I had never tried short rows before.

giant practice toe

And then, I got bored and the acrylic toe got hungry.

giant practice toe eating teeny tiny gauge swatch

A few days and loooooots of knitting hours later, I had a sock!

finished sock!

I'm still working on the second one, I'm maybe 1/3 of the way through the cuff. My goal is to get the sock and the scarf done tonight so I can send them out tomorrow. But we shall see.