Monday, March 26, 2007

Greetings from the Northern Hemisphere!

One bad thing about spring is that it's no longer wool season, at least not for half of the world. Fortunately, there's a whole other hemisphere to knit for!
These hats (Center Square on the left and Fake Isle on the right) are going to my cousins in New Zealand, who emigrated there last year from the Philippines. They aren't enjoying the colder weather. Well at least they say it's cold there, but I think it may be more a relative term. I did some googling and found that the average temp during their coldest month (July) is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Hmmmm, not what I would consider cold, but I guess if you're coming from constant 90 degree days, that's pretty darn cold.

I also modified a Lion Brand mitten pattern to incorporate the Center Square colorwork:
It worked out pretty well. I added four stitches right after the thumb shaping to accommodate the 8-stitch repeat, which fortunately balanced out the narrowing caused by stranding the two colors. I was so proud of myself that I forgot to decrease by 4 stitches after the motif. This led to a lot of head-scratching when I got the crown decrease: Uh, why are there four extra stitches? (long pause) Doh! I blame the Hoyas. Their come-from-behind antics totally distracted me.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

What Time Is It?

The daylight saving time change had me browsing through my electronic calendar looking for scheduling glitches. My Pocket PC didn't make the transition at all, despite how many patches and updates I tried on it. Anyway, it occurred to me that Jersey Baby's birthday was coming up and maybe just maybe I should get started. You know, get an early start on (and perhaps even finish) a project instead of procrastinating. Maybe. Or maybe I could give you WIP updates instead:

The Broadripples are done:
Two tulips. Two socks. Hooray! The fit's not great, and as I said before, the yarn can be a royal PITA, so I am truly done with this pattern. Also in sock news, my brother's shoe size is smaller than I thought (nah, nah, my feet can almost beat up his feet!)
so his Red Cross socks shouldn't take too long to finish. He's going hiking in some park this summer (yes, I'm completely up to speed on his life). Maybe these socks can go with him.

As promised, here's the camel:
I really love the rich brown color. Spinning it takes some getting used to though, since the fibers are a bit slick and not as fine as wool, so I had to be careful and not let it slip through my fingers and get too thin as I spun.

In "not-knitting-or-spinning-but-still-fiber" news, the doggie got a haircut:
He was looking pretty raggedy (though still cute, in a sad hobo dog kind of way), but after an appointment with his Petco stylist (hah!), he's all shiny and dapper again. I wonder how long this will last?

Monday, March 12, 2007

S is for Sunday (but posted on Monday)


The second shawl is blocked:
Ooooooo, resplendent in its bright bright bright Koolaid glory.
Pattern: Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl
Yarn: Lion Brand Fishermans Wool, dyed with Tropical Punch Koolaid and orange icing dye.
Needles: Boye Needlemaster, Size 6
Preblocking: 48"x24"
Postblocking: 62"x29"

In my eternal (infernal?) impatience, I started looking for a new shawl project a few weeks ago and decided upon the Feather and Fan Triangle Shawl from from Folk Shawls. It's knit with plotulopi, an unspun Icelandic wool. I found a nice Etsy shop, Ammafrida, that offers unspun in a bunch of colors - and they ship straight from Iceland! Who wouldn't want packaging you can almost understand (sort of)
I think this means "Open here. Pull up." Anyway, I did get the box open and handled the roving gingerly while I swatched.
I say "swatch" but really I just knit on the beginning of the shawl, since it starts small and grows. The photo may be crappy but the knitting was too. First of all, the pattern was vague and I'm not sure I understood it completely. It says to cast on 7, but the chart starts with a row 1 composed of something like 41 stitches. Did I miss the setup rows? Were they in another part of the book? Anyway, I tinkered with it until I had enough stitches to start the chart, which was oddly divided over a two page spread. The writer/editor tried to help by providing a two column overlap (two stitches that showed up on both the left and right side pages, but were only knit once), but I think that just confused me more. Oh yeah, and there were increased on both the RS and WS, so the shawl was a foot and a half wide even though it was only maybe 4-5 inches deep. Isn't that odd?

Anyhoo, I wasn't having fun knitting it and it seemed kind of ugly to me. So I ripped and opted for something simpler, basically stocking with 2-st garter border:

Cast on 7.
Row 1: k2, yo, knit to before the center stitch, yo, k1, yo, knit to last two stiches, yo, k2
Row 2: k2, purl to last two stiches, k2

I think this will show off the yarn better. Having no twist, the unspun is very light and sproingy (yes, that's a word to me). The picture makes it look blue-grey but it's actually dark green. The resulting shawl will be dark green, light green and light grey. The unspun isn't as fragile to work with as I thought. True, you can't really yank it out of the plate/wheel that it comes in and you need some care when ripping back. But in regular knitting, kid gloves aren't necessary, and once knit, the fabric is quite strong, since the fiber's staple length is much longer than any single stitch.


I'm spinning the camel that Autumn sent. It's a long, coarse fiber, with a nice luster to it. Sorry for the lack of photo. I'll have one by the next post

Project Sesame Update: I'm predrafting the rest of the batts, a nice mostly mindless activity that's good for TV watching. There's some veggie matter to pick out, but that just breaks up the monotony.


One Broadripple down:
One to go. The Red Cross sock is taking longer. It's for my brother, whose shoe size is (I think) 10.5. Oh the toe is so aggravatingly far away!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

SP10 Questionnaire

Hi SP! My questionnaire is here.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Socks and Stuff

I gave Jersey Mama the first Forest Canopy Shawl. I tried to hold out until I got a photo of Jersey Girl in her knitted birthday gift in return (I am totally not above woolly blackmail). But she was having technical issues so here's a picture from the birthday girl herself:
See, who needs a camera when you've got markers? I made her a sort of overall-like dress adapted from Family Circle Easy Knits for Kids. The pattern, Bear Necessity, called for an intarsia teddy bear on the front. I left the bear off because I wasn't sure if bears were cool among the almost-tweenager set. (Stephen Colbert has them perpetually on notice, which is not a good sign.) Instead of the recommended Tahki Cotton Classic, I used 5 balls of Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere, which was very pleasant to knit with, despite being splitty.

The second Forest Canopy Shawl is bound off and ready for blocking. This picture doesn't really capture either the color or the nice variegation, but trust me, it's fun to look at!

Sock Update: I moved Broadripple to a long circ, turned the heel and will proceed in magic loop fashion.
It's a bit slower than having a short circular, but the Cascade Fixation is much easier to work with this way. I also started another sock in a friendlier yarn.
This pattern is from the American Red Cross Museum. I found the link on my SP9's site (thanks Veronica!). I don't think one ball of Opal has enough yardage to make the knee length socks described in the pattern (3 inch ribbed cuff plus 8 inch st st ), so I shortened the leg by 4 inches.

Next up....more shawl news, a spinning update and SP10!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Thank you, Spin-to-Knit Pal!

A great big Thank You is in order for my lovely handspun yarn swap pal Autumn! Is this a wonderful package or what? She spun some awesome merino single in a beautiful purple colorway. And she sent lots of other stuff too! Let's see...there's tempting camel fiber, which I simply could not wait to start spinning, two bars of (British!!) candy, two wee turtles for my collection, an adorable elephant tape measure, a funky polka dot cone (Autumn, is this a bobbin for winding yarn onto?) and a postcard of the King himself. I think Autumn must be a bit psychic because I just finished spinning some lilac fleece that I got at Springwater:
It's approx. 175 yards of a fingering-ish weight single spun from 2.6 oz. of fleece. I think if I knit it double stranded, it'll work really well with my pal's merino.

The Thuja socks are done:
Pardon the devil-dog green eyes. My doggie may be a scottie, but I guess he likes celebrating St. Patty's Day too.

I worked on this on the way over the weekend:
It's a Broadripple sock in Cascade Fixation from my stash. The pattern's nice but my hands aren't loving the yarn. The cotton gives it an unpleasant stiff feeling, plus the elastic contracts, making the piece just a bit too small to be comfortably knit with 12" circs. I knit about 5 inches of the leg before taking a break. I may have to knit this sock a bit at a time, or switch to magic loop with really long circulars.

I think I'm going to take the Reversible Cables class at Stitches Midwest. It's a half day class on a subject I like, which will give me a chance to take my time at the Stitches Market. As tempting as that two day sweater class was, it would be just plain wrong to stay cooped up in a convention center when there's family to see and places to visit (and local foods to eat).

Oh my gods, I was pretty stunned at what happened on BSG last night. When that viper exploded, I just about dropped my knitting. I was waiting for a parachute, or a resurrection ship, anything.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


In sock news (wait, I have sock news??), I knit a Thuja sock with the Gypsy Girl Creations yarn that Jinann so kindly sent me. Aren't the colors pretty?
The colorway is called "Goblin" and I love it! Check out the slip stitch heel flap:
Very cushy, no? Well if the picture were better, you might be able to tell. I've turned the heel on the second sock and may be done by tonight. It depends on if there's room on the Metro train to knit. I've gotten pretty good at knitting while standing on a moving train. (Hint to mobile knitters: Remember Inigo Montoya's Scottish fencing guru and use the wall; leaning on it isn't as good as a seat, but it leaves your hands free for swordplay, er, I mean knitting. but that only works when we're not packed in like grumpy sardines.)

Mom and I are going to Chicago in the summer to visit family. I oh-so-cleverly timed the trip to coincide with Stitches Midwest. I can't decide which class to take. Bohus, maybe? Such small needles though. There's also Reversible Cables. I've always liked cables so it should be interesting without being too intimidating. Then again, I could go totally crazy and sign up for the two day Danish unpronounceable sweater class. Flying to another city to knit with strangers for 12 hours seems a bit over the top, doesn't it? Can anyone think of a good way to rationalize this? Hmmmm, I could just call it a family reunion, with an organized knitting component. Yeah, yeah, that sounds good.