Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Long-suffering Sweater

I generally consider myself a fast knitter. I've been known to crank out a pair of socks in a couple of days, and I once knit a sweater in about 16 days, even while working full time. So I'm starting to wonder if my Sople is cursed, because I started it at the beginning of April and it's still lingering on the needles. Yes, I know that when you leave a project sitting around untouched for long periods of time it has a tendency to not get done -- that's the obvious answer. But I'm in the home stretch now, with just the sleeves left to do, so in theory I should be able to finish it up without too much more effort.

The last time you saw it, it finally had a successful short-row sleeve cap after three attempts. I'm now working my way down the sleeve.

I do have some extra stitches to work with (because I picked up more stitches than specified for the sleeve cap in order to avoid some pretty ugly puckering), and I'm still undecided as to whether I'll decrease them all away or have a slightly wider sleeve. As written, the sleeves are somewhere between three-quarters length and bracelet length, so I may add several more inches of length anyway and that would certainly give me more space to decrease. At least I know that the twisted ribbing at the cuff will not be my undoing this time -- I find it interminable when worked flat but no big deal when worked in the round.

While I'm not going to give myself any unreasonable deadlines on this project, I think it would be really great if I could finish this by the end of the month, freeing me up to perhaps cast on a new sweater for November (which is, of course, National Knit a Sweater Month, with an accompanying knitalong on Ravelry). I have several skeins of Miss Babs Yowza! that I bought at MDSW last year (as in 2013) that are destined to be a Cabletta Cardigan, and I would really like to finally knit it. Fingers crossed, but no promises made!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Well Heeled

The mystery project continues, though I am hopeful that it will be finished up this week and I can return to knitting that I can talk about.

The knitting that isn't a mystery right now is my second Boogaloo sock, which now has a completed heel and a partial foot. I'm hoping that the rest of the foot and the toe won't take any longer than the rest of the week and I can add a new pair of handspun socks to my sock drawer by the weekend.

Unfortunately, we've reached that part of the year when there really isn't good light any time I'm home during the workweek, so take my word for the fact that this are much prettier in real life than it appears to be in this cell phone photo.

I think it's appropriate that I'm close to finishing these up because there's another 4 oz. of Boogaloo ready to go on my wheel very shortly. This time around, I'm going to split up the fiber lengthwise, spin it all as one single, and chain ply to get more distinct stripes. Of course, before I can get to that, I need to ply the singles that are already one my wheel, and that's happening tonight.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I Can't Un-see It

I am nearly done finished spinning up the second half of this month's Fat Cat Knits fiber club shipment, which I started spinning on Friday night. The colorway of this fiber is called Periwinkle Sky, but (and this may just be because I have a 4-year-old girl in the house) I haven't been able to look at it without seeing the colors of Frozen:

This should be finished up and ready to be plied in the next couple of days!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Being Secretive

I've been knitting a bunch the past few days, but I can't show you what I've been knitting or even give much of a clue. I'm sorry to have to tease you with that information, but I at least wanted to give some explanation for why there's not much knitting on the blog this week. I'm about halfway done with that project, though, and hope to maybe have it wrapped up in another week or so, so soon I'll return to my regular projects.

I have continued to work on my handspun socks during my lunch break, and they've made a couple of outings as well. I'm more than halfway through the leg of the second sock now:

These will be coming with me this evening, when the Mister and I are attending a taping of one of my favorite radio shows, Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me! I've been wanting to see a live taping for years now, so I'm thrilled that they've finally come back to Pittsburgh. I bought tickets as soon as I heard about it, but we'll be way back in the top of the balcony area (I keep reminding myself that this is a radio show, so it's okay if I can't see that well).

The weekend coming up is going to be a bit of a whirlwind -- a concert, three kids' birthday parties, and a high school reunion to attend -- so I'm not sure when I'll get back to my wheel and you shouldn't be too surprised if I don't post on Sunday. I think when it's over I'm going to need a vacation! All of you who are going to Rhinebeck, please have a wonderful time and post lots of pictures so that I can be properly envious!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Off Kilter

It's Tuesday today, which is something I've had to keep reminding myself of all day long. This is what happens when you take a Monday off from work and it feels like a Sunday. Today was back to the normal schedule, though I've felt a little off all day.

Part of that might be due to the fact that I keep bouncing from project to project. I started the sleeve decreases on my Sople on Saturday, but I put it down as soon as I find out that our neighbors finally had their baby because that meant I had to knit a hat in a hurry -- it's my opinion that any baby born in October is required to have a pumpkin hat. I dug out some leftovers of Cascade 220 superwash and whipped up a Berry Baby Hat in a matter of hours. The Mister didn't believe that I could knit a hat that fast, but this is 64 stitches in worsted weight -- easy peasy. I cast on Saturday evening and had it finished by Sunday morning.

I made no mods to the pattern, and you can see why this is one of my go-to patterns when I need a quick baby knit. It's easy to do, requires very little yarn (I had only a partial skein of the orange when I started and probably have enough to make another one), and is always cute. It was a big hit with the new mom and dad, too.

I spent a good portion of my down time yesterday spinning and was able to finish up the first bobbin of singles from my most recent Fat Cat Knits club shipment (it's amazing how fast spinning will go when you're not spinning frog hair!).

And I also finished a sock:

I don't think these have made their blog debut before, but these are being knit from some yarn I spun during this year's Tour de Fleece. It looks like I should have enough leftover to make Rainbow a pair of socks as well, and I have another braid of fiber in the colorway to spin into a self-striping yarn -- as much as I like the blended look here, I also want a pair of socks where the colors stay as bright as they were in the original fiber.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Nearly Instant Gratification

After the last spinning project, I needed to spin up something thick and quick, so I took this braid of fiber from Fat Cat Knits (superwash merino in Wayfarer):

I split it into thirds and very quickly spun up three bobbins' worth of singles. Today and yesterday, in maybe two hours total, I plied it all. Here it is in progress:

and on the niddy noddy:

It's currently soaking in the tub, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to see what the final yardage is.

Meanwhile, my October club shipment from FCK arrived earlier in the week -- 5 oz. of superwash merino in two colors, Ruby Truffle and Periwinkle Sky. Rainbow promptly claimed it for herself, so I'm spinning up each color separately and will ply them together, with the plan to make her a hat and/or mittens (or "middens," as she calls them).

I started spinning up the Ruby Truffle already. This fiber practically spins itself!

I'm off from work tomorrow to stay home with Rainbow (her preschool is closed) so I'm hoping to spend at least a little of it behind the wheel.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Well That Was Most Unfortunate

In the past year, I've gotten used to hand-knit socks wearing out on me. After all, I've been knitting socks for quite a few years, and I wear hand-knit socks pretty much every day of the fall, winter, and spring, so they get a lot of use. Yesterday, though, I got a surprise that I was not expecting -- and it was not a pleasant surprise. I was getting changed after work to go for a run, and I took off the socks I'd been wearing all day (my Rubus suberectus socks, which were finished just last spring) only to discover that I had a soon-to-be hole on the heel flap on one of them, and close inspection of the other sock revealed some thinning in the same area.

This was such a surprise to me because usually I wear out socks under the ball of my foot or even under the heel, but the heel flap is usually a safe area. Granted, these socks have a ribbed heel flap without any reinforcement, and the yarn I used also might not have been ideal for socks, but I didn't expect these to wear out as quickly as they did given that I haven't worn them that many times (maybe a dozen times or fewer). I'm going to have to go stash diving to see if I have any of the yarn leftover that could be used to reinforce the heel flaps, but I'll be honest -- I'm more than a bit bummed. These socks were not an especially fast knit because of the stitch pattern, and other than the heel, they still look brand new. But I suppose I have to accept that if I'm going to wear hand-knit socks, they are eventually going to wear out.

Meanwhile, last night I sat down to rectify the sleeve situation on my Sople. I ripped out everything I had done, picked up stitches again, and started working the short-row sleeve cap -- only to discover when I was nearly done that I'd completely misread the directions and had to rip back again. (You know how they always say to read through the pattern before you start knitting? It's really not a bad idea.) Fortunately, what I'd missed made the process a lot faster, so by the time I put it down for the night, I'd finished all the short rows and was ready to start decreasing. I have about 12 extra stitches, due to having to pick up more than specified, but I actually like the extra space in the arm, especially considering I almost always wear a shirt under my sweaters. I need to sit down and ponder the rest of the arm instructions to figure out if I want to decrease all the extra stitches away or if I want to adapt the cuff to be slightly wider. One can only hope that when it comes time to do the second sleeve, I'll be able to get it right on the first try.