Thursday, September 03, 2015

Slow and Steady Is the Theme

I am continuing to plod away on my two active projects, and sadly there isn't a whole lot of progress to be seen. I've added maybe another two inches to my sock, so I am getting closer to the heel though it doesn't look like much.

And I've added another couple of rounds to my double-knit cowl, which really doesn't seem like much considering that I've actually gotten faster at the technique. I'm about halfway through the second pattern repeat at this point; when I've finished this repeat, I'll weigh my yarn to get a better sense of how many total repeats I'm going to end up doing to maximize my yarn usage and minimize the chance of playing yarn chicken at the end.

I am counting on the long holiday weekend coming up to make some real progress on these projects and to cast on for Rainbow's school sweater. I did manage to type up directions for it the other night, so I just need to wind some more yarn and get started on that. And I am definitely hoping to do some more spinning; I had an eye exam yesterday and couldn't really do much with my pupils dilated, so I spent a bit of time at my wheel yesterday and enjoyed it immensely. But I'll talk more about that on Sunday!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Miss Me?

It's Tuesday, right? Going away for the weekend and taking two day off from work has thrown me for a loop -- I've been forgetting what day it is all day. I had hoped to get a post up on Sunday, but by the time we got home, ate dinner, unpacked, did laundry, and got Rainbow to bed, I was about ready to pass out. It's just as well, because I didn't have much spinning to show anyway.

The weekend away was a lot of fun, even if I didn't get as much knitting done as I'd planned. Though I'd taken an extra skein of sock yarn along just in case, I didn't need it. I managed to finish only one sock (which was already half done when we flew in), and that was done in the car on the way to the airport to get our flight home. I quickly Kitchenered and wove in my ends so that I could stow my little tool bag in my checked bag -- I did not want to risk losing my pretty bird scissors -- and promptly cast on for the second. What you see here is the result of knitting at the gate while waiting to board and during my lunch break today.

It looks like I'll have a decent amount of yarn leftover when the second sock is done. I'll have to weigh the leftovers to see just how much, but it's possible I might get a short pair of socks for Rainbow out of what's left.

I did a bit of knitting on my double-knit cowl last night, and I'm close to finishing up the first pattern repeat. The pattern is finally starting to emerge, and it's exciting to see that it works in yarn as it appeared to work on paper.

I don't know if I mentioned that the yarn I'm using is Yarn Hollow Tango, a luscious blend of 85% Polwarth wool/15% silk. The Ravelry page for this yarn says that it comes in a put-up of 662 yds./605 m per 7.97 oz./226 g, but my skeins are labeled 4 oz. and 330 yards. Considering this is a DK weight, that's still pretty generous yardage. The yarn is really delightful to knit with, too. The silk adds a bit of sparkle, and I'm pretty confident that when I block the cowl I'll be able to get some additional length and drape from it.

Rainbow started kindergarten today (can you believe it?), so on my to-do list tonight is typing up the instructions for her school sweater. It's likely to be a while until she needs it (her only complaint about her first day was that she got all sweaty from playing on the playground), but I'd like to get started. I'm sure it will be sweater weather before I know it.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Double Fun

I officially have a new knitting obsession: double-knitting. I cast on this cowl the other night and I just cannot put it down!

I will admit that it's a slow process, and now that I'm into the pattern I really do need to knit a bit more slowly so that I can be sure not to make a mistake, but it's very addictive. I still think I'm going to leave it at home this weekend because I don't think it will mix well with socializing, but I'm sure I won't be able to wait to get back to it.

What will be coming on the trip with me are my handspun socks, which are moving right along. I'm nearly through the gusset on the first sock.

These will be good and mindless, I think, so they should be good for carrying around. They're being knit on size 0 needles, so they move along fairly slowly, but I suppose it might be possible to finish them. So maybe I'll stick an extra skein of sock yarn in my luggage just in case. If sock yarn doesn't count as stash, one in my suitcase doesn't count as luggage, right?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Mojo Reclaimed

For a while there I seemed to have lost my knitting mojo, but I'm happy to say that it's back in full force. It may be because the weather's been decidedly more fall-like this week, but in any case, I am feeling the urge to Cast On All The Things, just as I knew I would.

For one thing, I picked up the handspun socks again and took them with me to a Disney princess performance thingy we took Rainbow to on Saturday with some friends. Two hours in a dark arena meant quite a lot of sock leg, and now that this project has become my designated lunchtime knitting, I'm already into the heel of the first sock.

I'm still enchanted by the way this yarn is striping, and now I want to spin all my multicolor fiber this way.

Over the weekend I also picked up yarn to make Rainbow's school sweater -- if you can believe it, she starts kindergarten on Tuesday, and as she'll be wearing a uniform every day, she needed a matching sweater. This is Spud & Chloe Sweater, a really lovely 55% wool/45% cotton machine-washable worsted weight, in Pine Needle. I'm going to be knitting a basic top-down raglan cardigan using this book, and I may add some pockets to the front.

I knit up a quick swatch on Sunday, so now I just need to sit down with the book and pull out the correct numbers.

Meanwhile, I finished the green shawl sample on Sunday afternoon with just enough yarn to spare. I really thought it wouldn't be as close as it was, but I think my skein was a bit underweight to begin with. Fortunately, I had enough to bind off and weave in the ends, and the shawl has now been blocked. All that remains is a photo shoot and to finish writing up the pattern.

Last night I was feeling a little twitchy, so I decided to cast on yet another project. I've had a double-knit cowl in my plans for quite some time, and seeing as I'd wound up the yarn for it last week, I decided last night was the night to finally start it. I did a two-color long-tail cast on (a pretty nifty trick once you get the hang of it) and just started the first round before I ran out of time.

I'm now trying to decide if I should take this with me when we go away this weekend (a quick trip out of town for our family reunion) or take something else that will be relatively mindless, as I might not want to be juggling the two skeins of yarn. There will be lots of time with the family when I won't be knitting, of course, but there will also be time on the plane and in the car to get there and back that I can't bear to waste.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Small Pleasures

Just a short post tonight, because I only just got Rainbow down for the night and I'm about ready to turn in myself -- but not before this post!

I've barely been at the wheel this week, but I made sure to sit down at it on Friday night for about an hour. I made just a wee bit of progress on my South African superfine/silk, but it was such a delight. The fiber is so dreamy to spin, even if it is taking me forever and a day to make any measurable progress.

I will say that it was a pleasant surprise to take a look at the bobbin on Saturday morning, because the room was dim enough the evening before that I really couldn't tell where the dark green changed over to blue. I'll be working on this some more tonight, but don't expect to see a finished skein anytime soon. I know it'll take a while to get this yarn done, but I'm trying to enjoy the pleasure of spinning it instead of getting impatient for it to be done.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Monotony -- er, Monogamy

My knitting life has been very weird the past week or so. Now, you know I'm not the type of knitter who has a ton of things on the needles at once, but I usually have two or three -- generally a big project at home and a small project to take to work, with an occasional third project thrown in. But this past week, I've only had one thing on the needles and have been working on it exclusively. I know that's not inherently a bad thing -- after all, it means I'm making a lot of progress! But I do wonder why I haven't felt the typical urge to cast on All The Things as I typically do when fall is approaching. Perhaps the urge is just a bit delayed because I've been busy and tired and hot.

As a result of this project monogamy, the shawl is more than halfway done, and I'm delighted with how it's been knitting up. The pattern isn't complicated, but the fact that I'm happily knitting it for the second time without getting bored says a lot.

It's been a while since I last knit with Malabrigo Sock, and I'd forgotten just how lovely it is to work with. I honestly don't think it's the best for socks, but it has a sheen and a drape that make it perfect for shawls. It almost feels like it has some silk in it.

I have not touched the socks since Sunday, but I suspect that they will become lunchtime knitting next week. I think once the shawl is off the needles, I'm going to do something with this pile of Yarn Hollow yarn.

The green and purple are going to become a double-knit cowl, and I think the pink and blue want to become another stranded hat. Hmm, maybe that urge to cast on isn't so far off after all!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Playing with Color

For a while there this past weekend, I was knitting nothing but handspun, and it was a fun thing. I managed to finish up the prototype shawl, which was knit in a handspun gradient spun from a Loop batt several years ago. I really like how the stripes worked out, though if I'm being honest, I'm not completely thrilled with the very top section, where the color got a little murky. The yarn in that section was a bit thicker than the rest, but I can only blame myself for that. The fiber was a blend of merino, bamboo, and silk with some sparkle, and the finished shawl is really delightfully fuzzy and soft.

Now that I've worked out more or less what to do with the pattern, I've started knitting the actual sample that I'll photograph for the pattern itself. This is being knit in Malabrigo Sock in Indiecita, a really lovely hand-painted blue/green/purple colorway. I love how the colors are mixing up just enough to give depth to the stockinette but not so much that there's any ugly pooling (and I certainly hope that will continue). I am working on this at lunch and in the evenings in the hope that I can finish it before we go away next weekend to visit family.

Incidentally, I think I should mention that I'm currently running a contest in my Ravelry group to come up with a name for this new design, so please do check it out.

I realized I needed a small project to tuck in my purse, so I cast on for a new pair of socks on Saturday night. I'm using some handspun Falkland that I spun up earlier in the summer. You may remember that I split and spun the fiber in order to have almost striping yarn. So far it's working out very well.

I'm really enjoying this effect in the yarn, and I think it might be a good way to spin up a lot of the multicolored fiber that's in my stash and suitable for socks (though I suppose it could be used for other items as well). If I have pseudo-self-striping handspun in my stash, perhaps I won't be so tempted to buy self-striping sock yarn!