Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It Begins

I started a sock using the No-Purl Monkey pattern, with Thank Ewe sock yarn. This poor yarn has had a few false starts already, but I think this combination is a keeper.

In other news, it's baking time.
I'll see you on the other side...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mostly Matching

The stripy socks are done.It's just a generic top-down stocking stitch sock. The yarn is Red Heart Heart & Sole, a self-patterning wool/nylon fingering with aloe. It's nice to knit with and the price is right (around $4 per ball at the local big box craft place, even less if you have a coupon). I was quite disappointed by the inconsistent dye job though. Compare the two heels:
These were knit from two separate balls from the same dyelot, but one ball has long sections that were fainter in color. Because I really like the matchy look with such busy color patterns, I'm careful to get the color sections to line up. It's usually easy enough with machine-dyed yarns. Imagine my surprise to find the colors varying from ball to ball, and even within each ball! That's an *ARGH* followed by a *sigh.* I'll stick to Garnstudio Fabel. It's about the same price, without the non-matchy heartbreak. *sniffle*

In happier knitting news, here are some tassel-less earflap hats:
This is Katia Nordic, with odds and ends I had lying around used for the single crochet trim. I would have put tassels on (yay tassels!), but there wasn't much yarn left in either skein. I have another full skein left in each color, so mittens maybe?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Two by Two

I made a scarf with some bargain Noro I snagged on the last day of the Stitches market. Remember the twined knitting cuff on the wee little Stitches sweater? Well I couldn't get enough so there's a twined edge on this too.
Mmmm, squishy... There is the twist problem with this twining technique though, and I was especially wary of it given that Kureyon is a single without all that much twist. There was the very real possibility that the portion of the strand I was working with would become untwisted and break. As I knit the row, the yarn would feel a little bit looser, so after each row, I'd untwist by pulling each of the strands in opposite directions with the work dangling in between. The scarf (for the end of the scarf, I pinned it up into a bundle with my circs) would spin and release that built up twist.

I'm also working on some self-patterning socks. I knit on the first sock while waiting to voteIt took more than two hours to get through the line, so I got a lot done. The sock also went to Stitches with me.
Now my sock knows how to vote and how to escape from a flaming marc train. Clever sock!

After the first sock, my much loved 9" Hiya Hiya circs were drafted into service for the Stitches Bohus class. Now that the colorwork portion is done, I get my needle back.For the Bohus, I'm trying to decide whether to just do some ribbing and call it a cuff, or join a different fingering yarn and make a sock. What do you think? Socks or wrist warmers?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Secret Pal 13

Hi Secret Pal! Here's my questionnaire.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stitches East

I was in Baltimore for Stitches East this past weekend. I usually only go for a day or two. This year, I went a little overboard and signed up for 4 days worth of yarny goodness. I took three classes. The first was the Danish night shirt with Vivian Hoxbro. The nightshirt is a single-color undershirt, where texture stitches are used to create motifs much like color is used in stranded knitting. Here's my sample star.
There are purls, twisted stitches, and 2 stitch (one by one) cables worked without a cable needle. If you look at the first set of left-leaning cables (the left side of the bottom right point of the star), you'll see I had some problems at the beginning. There's texture work on both sides, which was both a little confusing and kinda tiring (no rest rows for you!). But I figured it out eventually and the next set of points were much better. I especially like the tight vertical columns of twisted stitches. I'm not a big fan of twisted rib in general, but I think here it's a nice effect.

On Friday, I had an all-day Bohus class with Susanna Hansson. A million strands of thin yarn? On tiny needles? With the odd purl thrown in for fun? Hell yeah, you bet I'm in!
I had some concerns initially about gauge, or more accurately, needle size. I knit loose and usually go down two needle sizes automatically. So in general, for me, fingering is size 0 US for 7-8 st/in. I heard Bohus was teeny, so I wondered what that meant (my teeny? normal people's teeny?), cuz I own 4/0 needles, but I don't really wanna use 'em, ya know? (That's mostly the double point aversion talking, but there's also some fear of multiple finger pricks.) But I shouldn't have worried. I ended up using double zeros for the ribbed cuff and zeros for the colorwork. It helped that the yarn was a fine fingering weight, plus stranding causes tightening anyway. The toughest part of the exercise turned out to be purling continental, something I don't do very often. I usually do fair isle two handed, so I can actually pick knit stitches when I have to. There's no purling in fair isle, though, hence the rough times working on some of the purl rows.

Susanna brought Bohus garments from her collection and lent us white gloves so we could handle them.
They were all beautiful, and in great condition too. That shouldn't be surprising, considering both the craftsmanship that went into them and the high prices they were sold for. Here's some detail of the colorwork and label.
The depth you get from the purl stitches is really amazing. Now I'm really itching for my own bohus sweater. But no, I should finish the little Blue Shimmer wristlet/sock top kit first. Then I can think about a bigger kit.

On Saturday and Sunday, I was in the Danish Skra-Trojer (no, I can't pronounce it) sweater workshop with Beth Brown Reinsel. The sweater in question is a bit of an oddity. It was knit in two colors and in two drastically different weights, a white fingering and a blue worsted. Beth said it was most likely a matter of necessity; the knitter used whatever she had on hand. She also pointed out that yarn dominance in stranding could be used to your advantage to make one yarn more pronounced. The star pattern is Norwegian influence. In terms of construction, the body is knit in the round from the bottom and then split into separate front and back for the tops, which are then knit flat (more continental purling ugh). Here's as far as I got in two days.
Pretty cool, huh? My progress would be a bit more impressive if these pieces weren't so small. They're about right for a smallish teddy bear. Check out the cuff on the sleeve on the right. It's done in twined (aka two-end) knitting, which I really took too. It's somehow both stretchy and solid. The downside is the strands get twisty as hell while you're working.

Between classes, there was the Stitches market. Let's just say I was at the door when it opened on Thursday and had to be shooed out when it closed on Sunday. You can probably fill in the rest.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thank You Sharon!

A very very very belated THANK YOU to my lovely secret pal, Sharon, who showered me with yarn and candy and made me feel super special! Her was the awesome reveal package she sent:
I promptly ate the chocolate and decided to use the pretty red Moira yarn - along with a skein of handpainted mohair excavated from the depths of my stash (I'm guessing it's from MDSW '07) - for an fuzzy autumn scarf with badly woven-in ends:
Thank you so much, Sharon!