Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Return

My knitting group usually meets twice a month, on the first and third Wednesdays. Occasionally, if there are five Wednesdays in a month, we'll meet a third time. In spite of this frequency, I had not managed to make it to one meeting since sometime in August -- either the Mister was traveling or had a work event or I had some event to go to. So last night, when I finally had a Wednesday night free, I gladly made the drive, even though I'd had a very long day and probably could have curled up in my bed and passed out early. I'm very glad I went, though, because it was a good opportunity to catch up with some friends I don't usually see otherwise -- and to get in some uninterrupted knitting time.

I left Rainbow's doll at home, because taking it would have also meant taking the giant bag of polyfill I'm using to stuff it, so instead I worked on my sweater and made a lot of progress on the first sleeve.

I think I mentioned the last couple of times I've talked about the sweater that I had more stitches for the sleeve than called for in the pattern (I had to pick up more around the armscye than specified), so I'd been pondering how to deal with those extra stitches. I finally settled on decreasing them all away, so in order to do that and not have a sleeve that was too long, I moved the increases closer together, from every 10th row to every sixth row. I finished all the decreases while I was out last night and tried on the sleeve; the length I had at that point was about at my elbow. I've decided to make these sleeves full length, so I'm adding in some straight rounds before I start the patterned cuff.

There's still a good chunk of knitting to be done on this sweater before it's done, but it's moving a lot more quickly now. It also looks like I may have an entire skein of yarn leftover when I'm done, in spite of the added length to the sleeves, as I only just joined the fourth skein last night (the fifth was used to knit the swatch, which is still attached to it). I can guarantee that this sweater will be worn right away as soon as it's off the needles -- they're calling for snow on Saturday!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Out of Hibernation

Nearly two years ago, in December of 2012, I started knitting a doll for Rainbow out of Susan B. Anderson's book Itty-Bitty Toys. At the time, I think I thought it would be a quick knit that I could get through in a week or two. Clearly, that was a delusion. I was knitting it in worsted weight cotton on size 4 needles -- in other words, it was murder on my hands. I managed to finish the body and half of the head before I stuffed it into a bag and pretty much forgot about it.

In the years since, I've thought about it from time to time, but it's only been in the past couple months that Rainbow started asking about it. Her birthday is coming up in about a month and a half, and when she asked if I could finish it by then, I thought it was high time I pulled it out again and got to work on it seriously. On Sunday afternoon, I finished up the head. By Sunday evening, I'd done the hair and one arm and started the second arm. Last night, I finished the second arm, stuffed and sewed both arms on, knit and attached the thumbs, and knit most of the first leg. It's now really starting to look like a doll.

While the knitting is not difficult (aside from the stiffness of the cotton), this is a really fiddly piece. Almost everything is knit separately and sewn together -- that includes the thumbs, the belly button, and the nose, which are all tiny little bits of knitting. The feet and the legs are worked separately and sewn together, even. So my progress is a bit slower than I'd like, but I am definitely in the home stretch for the doll pieces. I'm hopeful that I'll be able to get through both legs and perhaps start the feet this evening. After that there's only the belly button and nose to knit on the dolls itself before I move on to the accessories (the diaper, the dress, and the hat). If I can keep up the pace I've set the past two days, I'm hopeful that it will all be done by early to mid-November. I doubt that Rainbow will want to wait until her birthday to play with it, though, and I can't say I blame her. Even without legs or facial features, this doll is so stinking cute.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Autumn and Winter Together

Spinning thick yarn can be such a treat -- I really should do it more often. You've seen the two plies of this yarn when they were in progress, but here's the finished yarn:

This was my October Fat Cat Knits shipment, which I got in superwash merino. One colorway, Ruby Truffle, looked very autumnal to me -- reds, greens, browns, and oranges, just like the changing fall leaves. The other colorway, Periwinkle Sky, looked just like the colors of Frozen to me -- blues, purples, white, and dark green. I may have taken the easy way out by simply spinning each colorway up separately and plying them together, but I do like the results.

The finished yarn looks to be about DK weight (though there are some spots that are a little thinner and some that are a little thicker), and it's approximately 256 yards. Rainbow had asked me to spin it for her, so this skein is destined to become a hat and perhaps mittens.

Meanwhile, I started a new project last night with some fiber that a friend brought me back from one of her trips home to Michigan maybe a year or so ago. It was a big bag (8 oz.) of fiber, and I split it roughly into thirds for a traditional three ply. I'm spinning it to match some moorit Shetland fiber I spun up a couple of summers ago with the intention of using them together in a two-color shawl.

It's not spinning up perfectly smooth because it's roving, rather than top, but I think it'll be fine in the long run. I'm still getting a kick out of the label that came attached to the bag:

Apparently I'm spinning 112% fiber!

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!