Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Taking Care of Business

My flickr uploader tool has decided to hate me so I didn't get pictures uploaded for a blog post yesterday, and only about half the pictures ended up uploaded today. But, whatever, I'm going with what I've got.

I spent this weekend tying up loose ends. I finished the blackrose socks. Pretend there is a picture of the pair here.

I got my sweater seamed and joined so that I could start the yoke knitting. I've done a little bit of work since this picture was taken, but it's gone rather slow.


Part of the problem is that the area where the sleeves are joined is really awkward to work at this point. I think when I get a few more rows away from the join, it will go smoother. I also have some gaping holes where I picked up stitches for the front shaping that I can't explain. I twisted the picked up stitches so those have closed up enough that they're not a big deal, but there is one stitch at the end of the front shaping that is huge. I'm going to have to do something about it at the finishing, though, I don't think there's anything I can do about it just now.

I cast on for the second panda sock, avoiding second sock syndrome which I was somewhat afeared would strike me since I had knit another pair since the first sock. It turns out I am anal enough that I wasn't even tempted to start something else.

Although, I did start another pair of socks for my big-footed man. It's in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock that I bought a long time ago and, frankly...hate. I don't really like it. It's not really a quality issue as it is a preference issue. These are 100% merino and yet the Happy Feet I just worked with, a merino/nylon mix, is softer and more pleasant to work with.

Anyway, pretend there is a picture of two or three measly rows of panda sock here.

I also finished chart 4 on MS4, which I didn't bother to photograph because it would look only a very little bit different from the picture in the last post. I realize this is not really tying up a loose end because I am neither finished nor even at the halfway point, but it makes me happy to check it off and it does count as progress toward tying up a loose end.

And, last but not least, I wove in the ends and blocked my hemlock ring blanket. There is one spot with some wierdly large stitches but you wouldn't notice if you weren't an anal knitter in the midst of blocking. And what really bothers me is, I can't figure out why this problem is there. I can only guess that I had too many yarnovers in that spot, discovered them on a later row, didn't want to tink back two whole rows to get to it (this was quite a ways in and the rows would have been quite long at this point), so I just dropped them and went on my merry way.

Anyway, I shall finish this post with a burst of glory, since those photos did, thankfully, upload.


You can see the blocking wires kgd and family gave me for my birthday in that photo. I did use them to get it stretched out initially, but found that my swoops were so big that they really needed to be individually pinned. However, the stretching process happened much more easily and evenly and if you want my blocking wires you will have to pry them from my cold dead fingers, and I will haunt you for the rest of your life. I'm just saying.


I hadn't snipped the ends yet so there are some threads running underneath the big yarnovers, but know they are not there in the finished project.


I had imagined it draped elegantly over the back of my couch all this time I was knitting it, but it did not occur to me that my couch has big poofy pillows instead of a smooth back, so...not quite so elegant as I had hoped. I did note last night that it looks much better from the front.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

There and Back Again

And knitting the whole way.

I flew to my parents' house last Monday and then drove with my mother for 10 hours to my grandparents' house (I know it doesn't make sense to fly and then drive, but if I had flown directly there my mom would have had to make the trip alone, and I figured, why not keep her company?) and boy were my fingers tired.

I knit almost the entire time I was away, in various situations. I did some work on MS4, and got through almost all of a chart:


(Jaggerspun Zephyr in Marine)

I finished the socks for my beloved sasquatch, and he was kind enough to model them for me:



(Plymouth Happy Feet)

And, I finished a pair of socks for me!

Unfortunately...It was not a pair of MATCHING socks. See, I had planned to work on the panda socks and take along a skein of Casbah as a backup, but it turns out I left the second ball of the panda yarn at home. So, I finished the first sock:


(Crystal Palace Panda Wool Prints in Raindrops on the Window from Pink Lemon Knits)

and then I went onto the Casbah (Hand Maiden Casbah Sock in Topaz). I had looked for a pattern and found the Blackrose pattern from Knittyspin on Ravelry. It seemed perfect, so that's what I used. I centered the pattern because I don't like to have to worry about which sock is the left sock and which sock is the right sock.


I finished one and I'm at the heel flap on the other.


They are gorgeous and this makes me happy because I nearly lost my mind trying to wind this yarn. I don't know if somebody at Fleece Artist or Colorsong was just messing with me or what, but I could not wind this skein to save my life. There it is, 10 p.m. the night before I leave, and I'm trying to untangle the disaster that is this yarn from my swift and winder, and every time I THOUGHT I had it, something else would snag up. Extremely frustrating. On top of which, there are more flaws in this yarn than in the previous skein of Casbah I worked with - fluffy bits sticking out here and there that refuse to lay flat but that you can't pull out without tearing up the neighboring plies. Ah, well - c'est la vie. If I hadn't tried to do it at the last minute I wouldn't have had any problems, I'm sure!

My mother actually said she would like a pair of fingerless mitts to keep her fingers warm while typing, so I'm thinking that I will make her a pair of the Blackrose mitts from the leftover yarn when I have finished my socks. Casbah is beautiful, velvety soft, washable, and durable (though my other pair of Casbah socks is sadly faded), and she will hopefully remember our trip when she looks at them.

I also worked on the lace shawl I started from A Gathering of Lace waaaaay back at least two years ago, the year I learned to knit. I made a mistake on it a while back and I didn't get around to fixing it until just a few days before this trip, so I took it with me. I started that shawl (Beginner's Lace Triangle) on my way to my parents' for Christmas the year I learned to knit and I have picked it up off and on since. It's astonishing how much easier it is now. I had so much trouble when I first started and now it's all so easy! I zipped along, hit the halfway point and on the flight home, I started the decreases (this shawl is knit from tip to tip, so you increase until "you are halfway out of yarn, or you are bored" and then decrease.

I don't think I will work on it much at home - I'm thinking it may become my game night knitting. It's a little complicated, but not so much that I think it will be a problem. We'll see. I'll probably take the topaz blackrose socks and see if I can finish them this week.

My aunt was excited by my knitting, so we found a LYS and went shopping. Souvenir yarn does not count against the yarn diet so I didn't feel too badly. Besides, technically my mother bought it for me since she gave me the money.


LSU sock yarn. I have no particular attachment to LSU, but it was dyed specially for the shop and I like to have something local to remind me of the trip, so that was my selection. If you're ever in Baton Rouge, I recommend Knits by Nana, they were very helpful to my aunt and they have a great selection of yarns, and Nana was careful to make sure we didn't feel rushed even though we arrived only half an hour before closing. Very nice. Go there!

Thus endeth my trip, and I'm now back home and exhausted thanks to a very late flight back. I should be in bed as we speak. Yes. Bed. Just one more row.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Extreme Knitting

This weekend, I lived on the edge. I finished the hemlock ring blanket with hardly any yarn to spare. I got through the second pattern row on the extended chart but was able to eke out only one plain row after that and before binding off. I'm kind of afraid to block this thing - and I'm really not sure that I have enough pins.

I also completed the first sock in a pair I am making for the SO in Plymouth Happy Feet (part of my Christmas score). The SO wears size 12EEE shoes. I ran out of yarn two rows from where I would have normally stopped, but a quick try-on proved that they fit, so I kitchenered where I was and had almost no yarn left over. It was intense, man. I was especially afraid that through some horrible trick of the sock-knitting universe, the sock would not fist post-kitchener, but my fears proved unfounded. All this good juju is making me nervous - something is bound to go wrong. I forgot, however, in my wibbling over my chronic bad luck, that the SO has supernaturally good luck, so I am not TOO worried that they will shrink in the wash and no longer fit. It would happen to me, but hopefully his good luck will prevail over my not-so-good luck.

I didn't get anywhere on the sweater or the lace, though. Too much running around, not enough quiet at-home time. But! Last night I had enough quiet time to get the front of the sweater blocked. Tonight I will unpin it and, if I am very lucky, get the back blocked.

I've gotten through the cuff of the second mansock and am an inch or two into the leg. I'm not sure how these socks are going so quickly, actually. I'm also working on a pair of socks for me out of Panda Silk (also Christmas score) but progress is slow as I'm only working a couple of rows at the time. The pattern is Raindrops on the Window from Pink Lemon Twist's Water sock collection.

The SO trying to explain to me how he liked the socks last night was rather hilarious. "It's like...the difference between a brand new sock and an old sock, only more so." "So, you're saying I knit you old socks?!" "No! I mean a new sock is better than an old sock, and these are better than new socks, and the gap between the two is greater."

I'm still trying to figure that one out, but I think that he likes them and I guess that's all that matters.

The hemlock ring will have to wait for blocking, since I would really like to get the sweater blocked so I can seam it.

I'm going next week to visit my parents and grandparents, so next week will be all about portable knitting. I'm thinking about starting the Icarus Shawl to take with me, since lace is very portable (especially newly begun lace) but the Icarus is not crazy-detailed or difficult. I would love to get some time on Swan Lake but beads are a bit of an issue on airplanes, and the charts are kind of huge. Icarus is smaller and will hopefully be a little more doable. I will most likely pack both, plus some sock materials and a couple other odds & ends. My family is not particularly craft-friendly and will not be impressed by intricate lace (and will, in fact, most likely consider their suspicions regarding my sanity confirmed). They may be more understanding of smaller, easier, and more practical items. I'm not sure. They still think I am crazy with the socks.