Friday, September 13, 2013

Victory is mine. Sorta.

I made it, just barely! I had 2 grams and change remaining. I ended up doing 7 repeats of the wing chart on the right side (1 less than the recommended 8 in the pattern) and 6 repeats on the left side. If I had had just one more gram of yarn, I could've done the whole thing. I averaged roughly 3 grams per repeat.

But, alas, I was just a bit short for that. Part of that is likely owing to the number of knots I had in this skein. I actually ended up just knitting one into the project because I was afraid I didn't have enough spare yardage to untie it and do a Russian join. Oh well. It's gorgeous - or at least it will be, when it's been blocked, and I don't think the asymmetry will be too noticeable.

I'm getting that antsy, Christmas is on it's way, I must knit everything feeling lately. My best friend just got engaged, and something possessed me to decide to knit her new soon-to-be-hubby an accessory set, so I stocked up on some Shepherd's Wool. I asked her what colors he liked (not realizing that she would go ask him, thus ruining the surprise) and it was a typical male answer - dark grey, dark brown, maybe some dark red for interest. shall it be.

I also decided to make them a blanket for a wedding present. Because I am insane. So I got some Lana Grande and started the blanket. Here's what it looks like.

Yeah. I always ask CodeNinja to count stitches for me, and usually ask him to check (or often just do) my math for me. I wanted to do a few extra repeats so I asked him the math question, as I usually do, and he told me how many stitches I was short, I cast on a few more, and off I went, knitting the first 6 rows of seed stitch. Then, I did the first pattern row and - I was off. Grossly off. Four stitches short. I was both flabbergasted and totally furious with myself, because that little voice in my head kept telling me maybe I should count my stitches again and just be sure, and a couple of times I started counting as I knit across the row, but I would inevitably lose count before I got to the end. So, a whole evening's knitting, frogged back into a squishy ball of super bulky yarn. Boo.

I'm almost done with the first Saxifrage socks. I was hoping I would be able to end at a nice place in the pattern, but I measured and it became obvious that I had missed my opportunity to switch to stockinette at a nice place. I ended up fiddling with the pattern a little bit to make the transition work to my liking, but now all I have left on this one is the toe. Then...I have to knit the second one, of course.

In real life it is nowhere near as neon as it looks in this picture.

I will be working on my Desert Peach as my lace project now. I can cast on the scarf/hat set for my BFF's fiancé and that can be my mindless travel project, and the Umaro I can only work on for relatively small chunks of time anyway, as the big needles hurt my hands. I haven't gone too overboard yet, right? It'll be fine. Just fiiiiine.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Knitting on the Edge

So I've been working on Fiori Autunnali, and I'm running into some yarn issues.  I knew when I started that I was taking a bit of a risk.  The original pattern calls for a 1200 yard skein and I only had 1040 in mine.  It's a OOAK color that I bought several years ago, so there's not much chance of getting more if I do run out.  I checked out Teresa's project notes.  She is one of Romi's test knitters and she takes terrific notes on yarn usage.  I looked at what she did and thought I would be okay.

Well.  I started knitting, and as I started the first wing, I noticed that my ball was looking a little smaller than I was expecting.  I had already done a couple of repeats, but I stopped and weighed my yarn and I looked at what Teresa had used at the same point in her project, and I could tell I was several grams ahead of her.  I thought I would still be okay, but when I finished the wing repeats, I weighed again and concluded that I wasn't going to have enough.  I decided to eliminate one wing repeat.  There are 2 charts after the repeats are finished on each wing, so I before I knit the last one, I weighed my yarn so that I would know how much I need to reserve for the last chart and bind off on the second wing.

After I finished the first wing, I have about 30 grams left.  Because I wasn't really careful enough about weighing everything before I started...I'm not really sure whether that's enough or not.  I think I am right on the line of "just enough" or "a few grams short" and there is nothing for it but to soldier on and see what happens!

If it looks like I'm not going to have enough, I will eliminate another repeat on the second wing and have an asymmetrical shawl.  I would rather have it even, but I think after blocking that I will have enough length to wear it comfortably even if it ends up being uneven.  The only other option would be to frog the shawl entirely, and I really don't want to do that - so I'm just going to commit and see what happens!

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Well, my poor little blog has been much neglected - but not for a lack of stuff to talk about, that's for sure.  I'm actually writing this blog from my new iPad. I got me a bluetooth keyboard and I'm raring to go.  My photos may not be as gawgeous as they would be from my big camera, but it's better than nothing, right? 

I have a bajillion finished objects to show, but it's been tradition to do WIP's first, so here's what I'm working on.  Romi had what can only be described as a pattern explosion, and there has been way too much to choose from, so I have been knitting like crazy trying to keep up. (why do I have to keep up? I don't. But I like to.)

Currently on my needles is Desert Peach in Iridaceae Colorworks um...something.  I think it's a BFL silk blend, but I can't remember. The colorway is Figgers, I know that much.  I started working on this one and then cast on a second project, and though my intention was to alternate between them, well...this one hasn't gotten much love this week.  Turns out I am being forced into knitting monogamy by time constraints.  I just can't manage to make progress on two projects at once at the moment.



I am also working on Fiori Autunnali, which is a beautiful combination of Madrona and Fiori di Sole.  Romi's offering this pattern through Craftsy.  It's the first Craftsy class I've ever taken and it's kinda neat.  

For this one, I am using 100% silk from No Two Snowflakes in a OOAK colorway called Palomino.  I actually bought it for Madrona, but when I ended up making Madrona in white for my wedding shawl, it went back in the closet.  This seemed like a great time to get it out again.  It's a beautiful coppery color with lighter areas in it, though it looks a little orange in pictures, so you'll have to use your imagination.


This shawl has beads!  I chose Silver-Lined Smokey Topaz.


Like Madrona, this one is V-shaped and starts in the round, and then you bind off half of the shawl and divide the remaining stitches to knit stole-like wings.  I took the pictures below right after binding off the lower edge.




More beads, yay!  I've actually knit most of one wing, but I came to the conclusion that I was going to run out of yarn, so I ripped back one wing repeat.  It's still going to be a nail-biter.  I'll let you  know how it goes.

I also have a Saxifrage sock on the needles, because sometimes you just need something small but all-absorbing.  This is Allison's yarn as well in Rhuberry, and it's lovely.  Shows the pattern really nicely.


This sock reminds me of something.  Now that I have an iPad, I have experienced the wonder of Knit Companion.  I love it very deeply.  As with all software programs, there are little things that I wish were different, but overall I am convinced that I will knit things I otherwise would never knit because of fiddly (or even just poorly done) patterns.  I am notorious for losing 1 pattern page and then coming to a screeching halt on a project because I need that page, and then having to go print another one (or worse, being stuck in a situation where there is no option to go print it and being unable to knit at all).  No more problems with that!

But, the thing I like the most about knitCompanion is the ability to combine chart patterns.  Often, a large lace pattern will spread across several pages that you  have to print and tape together.  Or, as with this sock, you have 3 or 4 charts and you have to knit pieces of them in a separate order - knit row 1 from chart A, row 1 from Chart B, row 1 from Chart C, and row 1 from Chart A again.  knitCompanion let me set up the charts for this sock so that everything was lined up and in the correct order, and I could put my legend into a bar at the bottom, which is such a blessing - I love having the symbols and stitches right down there where I can check on them (oh, how many times has that 1 page lost been the one with the pattern key on it....)

Anyway, I love it and you should take it out, and definitely take one of the free webinars offered, which is very helpful in de-steeping the learning curve.  Back to the knitting.

So, those are the for the FO parade. There's a lot here, and I have a shamefully large pile of shawls awaiting blocking.

When last we met, I was knitting the Mystery Shawl, ultimately revealed as Cactus Flower.  This one was Iridaceae Colorworks Crocosmia (merino/silk and one of my favs) in Emerald Isle and an exceptionally black version of Crow - usually you see more blue in the Crow colorway but I liked that this one was really thoroughly black with some hints of bluish purple in it.


I finally blocked Zephyr Cove, just recently, which is sad given how long ago I finished this one!  This was Dye for Yarn in two colors that I can't quite remember (next time I will know what I used a little better, but I don't want to go look it all up just now).




Next up is River Walk, a recent release, in Sanguine Gryphon/Verdant Gryphon Eidos.  I am amused at myself on this one, because I had a skein of blue (polimarchus) and I thought I was being virtuous by using stash.  Then I couldn't decide what color to get to go with it, and then ended up ordering two skeins, and it didn't even hit me until days later that I had very effectively negated my virtue.  Darnit.  I ended up going with iSkein as the second color.


I've been dying to knit Misselthwaite for ages, and here it is in beautifully squishy (and thematically appropriate) moss stitch.   I owe Allison an apology for these terrible pictures that show her yarn off so badly...sigh....but it really is exactly what I wanted it to be, a misty grey-green that calls to mind the passage where Dicken and Mary are in the garden and Mary sees that a green mist is creeping over the grey vines that she thought were dead.  I believe I did this one in her Ferraria base.  Love it.




This shawl is finished but not blocked - it is my Yosemite shawl that I knit during our vacation this year.  I chose a half-circle shawl to pay homage to Yosemite's Half Dome, and after looking at a bunch of (much too fancy) options, I chose the Half-Circle Shawl as a good, simple, mindless pattern.  Then I went to Iridaceae Colorworks (you may be noticing a pattern here) because Allison is a lovely person and good friend, and she lives in California, and Yosemite is in California, and that was all the justification I needed.  I picked Marine Layer (a nice blue-grey for the sky and the granite formations), Emerald Isle (for the grassy meadows), Turnip (the color of the lupine flowers that were blooming when we were there), and....I forget what I used for the last one.  Hmm.  Anyway, it's a great color for capturing the various other flowers that we saw, and I used it for the shawl edging.


Also not blocked is Winter's Moon, and I finally bit the bullet, bought another stinkin' skein of yarn, and finished Galadriel's Mirror.  It's not blocked yet either, though.  Oh! One more!  Romi's Dusk into Twilight in - well, guess.  Yep.  Colors are Irisberry, Turnip, and the breathtaking Blue Charlotte.  Not blocked yet either.


Whew!  Catching up is exhausting!  Hopefully I won't let it go so long next time.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Can't Keep Up!

With anything, it seems these days.  I give up trying to predict when my life is going to normalize.  I did just finish a big project at work, and we're going on vacation in a couple of weeks.  And, oh look, there's someone new in my life!



Her name is Callie, she's an 8 year old Maltese rescue and she is fluffy and adorable and we love her to death.  I could gush for hours, but I'll try to restrain myself.  Know that she is as snuggly as she looks and then some.  Spunky, too!

Okay, I said I would stop.

I said last time I would show you Firebird and Zephyr Cove.


....Yeah, let's just move on.  The only WIP I'm even remotely on schedule with is Winter's Moon.  I'm on the edging, and about a third of the way across the shawl.  My goal is to finish this one before Romi releases the next Pins and Lace installment...which should be any day now.


I only made it through clue 3 of the Mystery Shawl, but I think that's working out in my favor, since the next clue can be repeated to enlarge the shawl and I have plenty of yarn, so I may do so.  The next clue introduces the second color, which I have to wind before I can start.  (I hate this picture. Ali's yarn is so gorgeous and my pics are so inadequate.)


I'd feel like I was in good shape, except I am determined to knit Misselthwaite, which currently looks like this.


Romi's next shawl in the Home is Where the Heart Is series is rapidly approaching as well, and I have no doubt it will be out as soon as the test knitters fling it off their needles.  I have no more time to blog! I must go knit!

Friday, March 1, 2013

I'm not dead yet!

Look for posts coming back soon, folks.  I have been up to plenty in the past few weeks and I have a ton of stuff to show, as soon as I can take some pictures of it all!

I had an awesome whirlwind trip out to Stitches West last weekend, where I helped the divine (and tragically injured) Romi and the ever-energetic Jeanne out in the booth Romi shared with A Verb for Keeping Warm.  I also got to meet Allison  and she is just as nice in person as she is online!  It was just like meeting an old friend and we had such a good time.  There were many others from Romi's group that made it to the show, like Dana (who was so gracious) and Caroline (who did a great job with the raffle at our Rominette dinner), and many more who were missed, and I didn't meet a single person from the group I didn't like.

Of course, there was loot...I thought I was exercising marvelous restraint, but I certainly didn't come home with any of my budget intact.  What can I say...I have expensive taste.  Sadly, my iPhone pics in hotel lighting didn't come out that well, but it's enough to give you an idea.


I only bought two skeins of yarn, but they were both 100% silk.  Yum.  One is Handmaiden Swiss Silk in fingering weight in a dark blue that will make a really pretty shawl, and the other is silk laceweight from Miss Babs in a lovely steel blue.

To the right is an interchangeable needle case from Chicken Boots, big enough to hold my two hiyahiya sets, for which I also bought some additional cables and connectors.  I also picked up a few more Puppy Snips, which are outrageously convenient to have.  I would love to put one on all of my project bags, but I didn't go that wild.

And, of course, a Jordana Paige Cezanne purse.  I'm afraid I went on a bit of an enabling spree and several of us walked away with a new bag!  I am not normally a fan of the messenger style bag, but when I saw the bag up close I found that the flap (and the bag) were not nearly so large as I was thinking, and it was actually a really good size to pass for a regular purse but hold a lot of knitting.  It can be carried cross-body, too, which can be handy for those of us whose shoulders seem determined to dump any bag we try to wear on the ground.  I also love that it has a couple of pockets in the front that are easily accessed, since I am constantly losing my phone and other little necessaries in the depths of my bag.  I'm a big fan of the handle on top, too, so it can grabbed and carried on the metro or getting in and out of a car without dragging on the ground.


Spending my budget didn't stop me from ordering more yarn when I got home.  Allison has come up with this gorgeous green color (the color of the year, naturally) and I ordered some crow to go along with it, to work Romi's new mystery shawl pattern. I love mystery shawls!

Just in time for stitches, I finished what was, at the time, Romi's latest pattern, Coyote Trail, so that I could wear it with pride.  Appropriately, I made it out of A Verb For Keeping Warm Creating, which some sweet group members sent me from Stitches West last year when I couldn't make it.


I did alter the pattern just a teensy bit.  Originally, I just intended to omit the two contrast color stripes right above the little flap edging, and do that whole section in the main color.  Unfortunately, I'm afraid years of being a super tight knitter had made me a bit overconfident that I would be fine on the yardage front even though the labeled yardage is a little short of what the pattern calls for, and this little "modification" caused me to have to get a bit more creative.  I ran out of the MC and had to do the flap in the CC.  I saved enough of the MC to do the bind off on the flap so that it would still stand out against the lace.  And since I used the CC to do the flap, I ran short in the lace as well.  That was no big deal, I just did 2.5 repeats of the lace instead of 3 full repeats. 


I'm very happy with it, though, I really like it, and though I wish I had been able to do the flap in MC as I'd planned.  Still came out great!  Major love to the hubby who stayed up way late with me to help me block, so I'd have the shawl in time to wear.

Anyway, I'm planning another update later this weekend with some better photos and, hopefully, a blocked Firebird (possibly a blocked Zephyr Cove too if I can manage it), so stay tuned!  I have a new fancy ultrabook that makes me much more mobile, so I'm hoping I can do a better job with the blog updates from now on. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Oh, hi 2013, barely noticed you!

I feel like I barrelled into 2013 with barely a wave goodbye to 2012.  Perhaps it's the absence of my usual trip home at this time of year, or maybe it's just because we've been a terrible combination of busy and sick, but there was definitely no pause for reflection this year for either of us!  This weekend is the first in a long time where we haven't been committed to something.

So, I can now finally catch you up on what I've been up to.  Which, due to aforementioned busyness, is less than I liked.  I finished, but have not blocked, my Zephyr Cove shawl. 


To my dismay, Romi released not one but TWO new designs, "Heavenly," which is a "mashup." It's a stole that combines stitch patterns from her Pins and Lace designs, all in a single pattern, and it's a gorgeous way to cap off the year of knitting her beautiful P&L designs.  It's genious and I haven't had time to touch it.

The second design is Coyote Trail, the next in her 7 Small Shawls Year 3 series.  I have wound my yarn...


But haven't yet cast on.

I did manage to pick up Firebird and start working again.  It's a little hard to photograph, because I never actually put the second wing on waist yarn to hold, it's just sitting on the cable - which works perfectly fine, but makes it nearly impossible to spread out the project for pictures.  Also, the recessed light right over my couch is out, so I couldn't get enough light to show detail.


Primarily I have been working on Romi's Poinsettia Tam and Cuffs, a super cute little set that I want to make for my BFF.  Because she is my BFF and I know she will not forsake me forever because her Christmas present is late, I didn't even attempt to get them done in the chaos that was my life in the last few months.  Instead, I just waited until the fuss was over, wound the skein of Shalimar Breathless I had purchased just for this, and cast on.  After a few days of knitting (sadly interspersed with a number of days of non-knitting), I have a tam and a pair of cuffs waiting for me to pick up the sittches and knit the lining on each.



Except I had one little problem.


The yarn rubbed off on my fingers while kintting, and since the yarn for the lining is this tan Kid Seta...


I decided I had better wash the things and give the dye a chance to bleed off. 


There wasn't much color in the water, so I'm hoping I'll be okay.  A more patient woman would go ahead and soak them a second time to see if any more rinsed off, but, alas, I am not that woman. 

There's no scarf pattern with the set, but I wanted to make one to match, and as I was looking at the yarn, I noticed one of the sample knits hanging next to the shelf.  It was the Kid-Seta Gathered Scarf pattern by Skacel.  It was pretty, so I made a note of the pattern name on the tag, got enough yarn to knit the scarf, and when I got home, I downloaded the free pattern.  It's pretty simple, except that it requires you to change needle sizes, which is a little annoying for those of us challenged with chronic impatience (every time someone tells me I must be so  patient to knit the things I do, I laugh so hard, because that is deeply, deeply untrue).  So, while I wait for the tam and cuffs to dry enough for me to knit the linings, I started the scarf.


It's pretty, although it's chafing my tensioning fingers a bit.  Nexcare bandages are my best friend in this situation. It doesn't show in the picture, but there's a gold metallic thread, so it's also a little sparkly.

The only other Christmas present I made was this Permafrost Shawl I gave CodeMama for Christmas, done in Loft, colorway Snowbound.  I've never used a yarn like Loft before.  I found it a bit delicate for my tastes, but once knit, it blocked very crisply.  I don't think I'll be in a hurry to knit with it again, though.  My end result was quite a bit smaller than the pattern measurements, and I had a lot of yarn left over - SKS (supatight knitta syndrome) strikes again!