knitpicking

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

feeling sluggish

Ugh, I don't know why, but I can barely keep my eyes open today. I got plenty of sleep last night, and I've only been at work for about 5 hours (my adviser is out of town so I'm taking it easy), but all I want to do is go home and SLEEP forever. Maybe wake up and knit for a little while, and then go back to sleep. Meanwhile I'll have someone else work on my research, clean my room, go to the gym for me, cook dinner...

Hah, if only. ;) I'm still working on tracking down my package. I've confirmed its existence, and I know that it made it to California at some point, but now the question is whether it made it back to England or not. The seller hasn't responded to my most recent email but I haven't given up hope yet.

I also picked up my chart for the Baltic Sea Stole, so as soon as my new Bryspuns get here I'll be ready to swatch. I'm really excited about it, as it will be my first "proper" lace with laceweight yarn and all that.

Like a whole lot of other knitters out there, I've signed up for Sockapaloooza. My own Pomatomus socks haven't been touched in weeks now, but that doesn't mean I can't start socks for someone else, right? I can't wait to get my pal's preferences and go back to A Good Yarn, because that store has the largest stock of Koigu and Lorna's Laces sock yarn that I've ever seen, including a lot of the solid colors. Or maybe I'll make Kool-Aid dyed socks for her, since I do have some KP sock yarn and a few packets of Kool-Aid just waiting until I have time to try dying. I'll have to see how it turns out first.

And, unlike just about every single knitter, I am not entering the knitting olympics. It is very tempting, but the olympics start at the same time as the spring term, right after I get back from a vacation, and I just don't think I can commit that much knitting time until I know what my schedule will be like. I'll cheer everyone on though! I think I saw a cheerleader button somewhere, I should investigate.

Okay, just 20 more minutes of work, then I'm off to the gym and to shower and eat dinner and knit and clean and basically do everything other than research. If I can stay awake long enough, that is.

Monday, January 23, 2006

I AM A HUGE IDIOT

I just found out why I haven't gotten my Polar yarn.

I never updated my PayPal shipping address.

So it's probably somewhere in California right now.

$(&$@%*)(*%#$%^&*&^%$@#$!!!!!!!!!!

At least I caught the mistake before the needles got sent there as well... though I care a lot more about $65 worth of yarn than $5 worth of needles... sigh. Time to attempt to track down the package.

chart located and needle selection

The good news: I called Woolcott and they found my missing chart! Hopefully I'll be able to get there today, but it's snowing pretty hard so I might have to wait until tomorrow.

The bad news: my first lace swatch was not a success. I didn't make many mistakes, and the tiny yarn wasn't too hard to work with, but I just didn't like the way the fabric was turning out. It was way too loose. (The colors, on the other hand, are GORGEOUS.) Unfortunately that means I'll have to buy more needles, and I don't know what size to get. I swatched on 7s so I'm thinking I should go with either 4s or 5s... but are 4s too small? 5s too big? I also found that the Inox tips, while fairly pointy, were not quite pointy enough. Some online research has led me to Bryspun needles, with their nice tapered tip. I called a few yarn stores in the area but couldn't find any, so I think I'll have to order online: commence major price-check. Wait though, I have one more big decision - straights or circulars? I generally prefer circular needles, but it seems the new Bryspun circs have had some problems breaking at the join. However, while I can probably squish all my stitches for this project onto a 10" or 14" straight, would I ever use straight needles again? Then again, the straight needles are about half the price, so before I commit to something that might break, I should probably buy the straights just to see if I even like the tip.

Heh, writing down every step of my decision process seems to have helped - I think I'm settled. Size 5 10" straight Bryspuns from here, that comes out to $4.79 with shipping. I should be able to get to Woolcott and pick up my chart before the needles get here. I can't wait to start this stole!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

dude, where's my chart?

I had such a fun day today - I visited not one, not two, but THREE crafty-type stores. First stop was Beadworks in Harvard Square for some pearly-white seed beads and a "big eye" needle. They're for a design project I'm working on... I think it would look great with a beaded edge, and I'm thinking about crocheting it on even though (1) I've never crocheted with beads at all and (2) I hate to crochet. But, I think it will work. I hope.

Stop #2 was Woolcott and Co., also in Harvard Square. I'd never been there before, so I went partly to see what their selection is like, and partly because I was on a pattern search. I have some gorgeous blue-green variegated laceweight merino that I got in a swap on the knitty board that is just screaming "knit me now! knit me now!" so I've been on a pattern search for about a week. The colors remind me of the ocean, so I wanted something with waves or ripples. I also knew I wanted a rectangular shawl (or stole I guess) with straight edges. The two that I found online were the Baltic Sea Stole and the Lead or Follow scarf - I couldn't decide from the pictures, but the store only had the Baltic Sea Stole, so that's what I ended up with.

Then stop #3 was A Good Yarn in Brookline. I've been there once before and knew that they had Inox circular needles, which are my new favorites. Just a touch more grip than Addi's, but still much smoother than Denise's or wood or bamboo. I picked up a 7 for the stole and an 8 for the secret design project. I was incredibly tempted to just buy everything in the store - I don't know if it's the way they display the yarn, or what, but it makes everything SO TEMPTING - but I figured I should wait at least until I get my next secret pal match. I don't need more yarn for myself at the moment but I'd love to buy for someone else!

So I came home, took out my stole pattern and new needle, and got ready to swatch. It says, "Work pattern from the following written instructions or from the enclosed chart." Um... well, the written instructions are rather intense, as it's a 32 row repeat, and the chart is... not enclosed. The chart is nowhere to be seen, actually. Argh! I'll probably go back to the store tomorrow to ask about it, but I want to swatch NOW, so we'll see if I can read 32 rows without my eyes bleeding.

Oh yeah, also, my new sweater is blocked and dry and FABULOUS. :D The sleeves are a touch too long, but if I had made them one stripe shorter, they'd be too short, so I'm okay with it. I'll try to borrow a camera just because I want to show it off.

Wish me lacey luck!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

how do i manage to lose EVERYTHING?

I'm back at school - been here a week and a half at this point - and I think I've resigned myself to the fact that my camera has gone from missing to lost. I'm not too happy about it. I just bought it in July, and while it certainly wasn't the fanciest camera out there, it cost a signficant amount of money... especially given my current struggling-grad-student status. I am trying to plan an impropmtu trip to California because I miss all my friends out there and I'm sick of winter and plane fares are really cheap, but there's no way I can both go on the trip and also buy a new camera.

I don't know what that means for this blog... I'm sure I'll still update it, but without pictures it will be much less exciting. I don't have a camera phone or webcam or anything like that, so I can't even show you crappy blurry pictures. I can say this - my striped raglan sweater is finished, it just needs to be washed and blocked. I think it will fit but the yarn expands in the wash so it's hard to judge right now. I haven't made any progress on my other knitting projects, I think I'm kind of in a knitting slump right now. I really want to start working on Penryn but my purple Polar yarn STILL hasn't gotten here - stupid post office. At first I blamed it on holiday delays, but it's been a month since it was shipped so that might be lost as well.

I'm not in the best mood right now. Sorry.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

trip to smiley's

With my handy new GPS unit strapped into my car, me and my sister went on a yarn adventure into Queens earlier today. She wanted to stock up while I just wanted to "look around" (like that ever works!) so we went to Smiley's, where you can buy lots of yarn without spending lots of money. Good combo. :) When we were ready to check out, one of the women at the front looked at our yarn and then looked at the other woman: "You should give them a Big Bag." Apparently, their Big Bag looks very similar to my trash bags:

yarn from smiley's

And look what it held!

yarn from smiley's

I came away with 2 balls of brown sock yarn (Cervinia Calzetteria) and 6 balls of Filatura Lanarota Luxor DK in a deep teal-greenish color. Also in the picture are 2 balls of Plymouth Foxy that I bought at my LYS yesterday - less than $10 for both, when the retail price seems to be over $25 for one ball. I'm probably going to swap it but I couldn't pass up such a good deal!

yarn purchases from the last 2 days

My sister's purchases:

my sister's purchases

Paton's Decor in black and cream for her first sweater (we picked Sesame from Magknits), some pink Cotton-Ease for a lacy top from Elann that I can't find the link to right now, bronzey Paton's Brilliant for... something or other... and a needle and row counter.

The yarns that I had the hardest time resisting were Cervinia Londra and Cervinia Fiamma. I couldn't come up with a project for the Londra off the top of my head, and it is somewhat similar to Polar (both are single-ply wool/alpaca/acrylic blends, and I have a bag of Polar waiting for me in Massachusetts), so I left it on the shelf. And the Fiamma is soooooooo soft, but the colors are just not my thing. If you're looking for a soft variegated thick and thin yarn, I'd definitely recommend it - as long as I get to pet whatever you make with it!

I felt justified in buying more yarn because I've been knitting up a storm. I finished my first Pomatomus sock, but I have to frog and reknit the foot, so it's been sitting in the corner while I worked on this:

classy stripe sweater

I'm calling it my "Classy Stripe" sweater - it's a top down raglan in Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran. The yarn is really nice, and it knits up so quickly! I'm actually a little sad that it's going so fast, because that means less knitting time... I guess I'll have to find other yarns to pass the time with instead. ;)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Sherbert Swirls

My first post of the new year is also my first self-designed complete sweater!

sherbert swirls sherbert swirls

The specs:
pattern: my own
yarn: 3 half-pound balls of worsted-weight wool from Mystical Creation Yarns in a custom colorway (note: this is their "old" yarn in the pictures here)
needles: Susan Bates 32" circular, size 9
gauge: 16 sts x 23 rows / 4"
date finished: December 29, 2005

I bought this yarn on sale a while back, and through a series of setbacks (the yarn going to California when I was in New York, my sister accidentally taking my needle to school with her) a lot of time passed before I was able to start working on it. I didn't have a pattern in mind when I bought it, and I soon found that there aren't many patterns out there for variegated yarn... so I made my own. And it fits!

sherbert swirls - mirror shot sherbert swirls - view from the back

I knew that I wanted a cardigan, but I didn't want to bother with buttons or a zipper, so I settled on a hip-length open cardigan with a belt. I had a lot of time to plan this out - originally I was thinking about doing it all in separate pieces, using standard waist shaping, and giving it a shawl collar. The shawl collar idea went out the window when I realized that I'd have plenty of yarn leftover, so I opted for a hood instead. I winged it and it came out a little too small to actually wear, but it did turn out very hood-shaped.

sherbert swirls

I changed the waist shaping after seeing someone walking around with a sweater almost exactly like the picture I had in my head. Hers had a few inches of ribbing at the waist and I decided to see if I could replicate the effect. The nice thing about doing the shaping this way is that there are no increases and decreases in the body until the armholes. As for knitting it in pieces, well, I'm not that masochistic. I still did the arms separate from the body, but I knit the back and both fronts in one piece. To create a fake seam, I slipped the side stitch every other row, which really pops in the variegated yarn.

sherbert swirls

The belt loops are I-cord, and the belt is double-knit, with a row of 1x1 ribbing thrown in every few inches to keep it lying flat. I don't know if that's a standard technique or not - I sort of discovered it by accident - but it seemed to work.

One more closeup:

sherbert swirls

Would I make this again? I'm not sure. As much as I like the finished garment, knitting a whole sweater with variegated yarn is a PITA - my 3 balls were slightly different colors from each other, so I had to carry them all and alternate every 2 rows throughout. The ribbing going all the way around the front took forever and bored me to tears, as did the belt. But with that said, I think it was a perfect use of the yarn I had and it does show the colors off very well. I could see a Malabrigo version of this sweater being heavenly.