Friday, August 29, 2008

A Sprint to the Finish

I meant to post yesterday, but an unfortunate stomach bug sent me home from work early and I was not in a very chatty mood. This was not an illness on the level of some, meaning I was still able to knit, and all that time in bed with my yarn meant that I finished the second one of these up in no time.


Pattern: my basic stockinette (2x2 ribbed cuff, slip-stitch heel flap and gusset, wide toe), worked over 64 stitches
Yarn: Online Linie 3 Supersocke (75% superwash wool, 25% nylon), color 838, one skein
Needles: two 12" US 1 (2.5 mm) Addi Turbo circs
Started/Completed: August 25/August 29

This yarn had been marinating in the stash for a long time and seemed best suited to a plain sock when I went stash diving. It's not by any means a luxurious yarn; in all honesty, it's a bit scratchy, but it also feels like it will wear quite well. I did a reasonably good job of matching up the stripes, though I didn't intend them to match initially -- in fact, I wasn't even aware that the yarn would stripe at all but expected it to behave more like the yarn I used for these socks.

You can imagine my shock when, upon showing him the first completed sock, The Mister announced that he'd wear "something like that" -- provided it was in relatively muted shades, of course. So, if I can find this yarn in a black/gray colorway, I may have some more socks like this in my future.

As this weekend is Labor Day, these will be my last socks entered in the Natural Stitches Summer of Socks contest. I don't think I'm going to win, but I'm hoping for a close second or third.

For the time being, sock knitting has bored me a bit, so I don't know that I'll be churning them out as quickly as I have in the past few months. However, I've decided that I'm going to be embarking on a project to knit my way through New Pathways. Care to join me?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Goody Goody Gumdrops!

I realize that last night's photo of my most recent socks was pretty awful; I didn't get the chance to photograph them until after the sun had just about gone down. So tonight I made sure to take advantage of the natural light, and here are a few more shots for your viewing pleasure.





Can you tell I love them?

Monday, August 25, 2008

How I Spent My Summer Vacation*

I got up at 5:30 a.m. on Friday to spend the vast majority of the day in the car, knitting almost the whole way (so I guess it wasn't that bad).

I finished a pair of socks.

Pattern: Gumdrop Socks by JC Briar
Yarn: BFMA Socks That Rock lightweight (100% superwash merino), colorway Goody Goody, one skein
Needles: two 12" US 1 (2.5 mm) Addi Turbo circs
Started/Completed: August 16/August 22
Mods: none

I spent time with my favorite cousin, who gets cuter by the day.

I finished the first part of my secret project and started on the second part (sorry, no pictures of that!).

I saw a license plate on the Ohio Turnpike that made me think of Amy.


I missed my wheel. (We're now getting reacquainted.)



*If you can call it that; does one day off spent in the car count? At least we have a holiday weekend coming up.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Don't Get All Excited

I'm afraid I don't have much in the way of knitting to show you. After finishing up all that lace, I'm back to only one pair of socks and a secret project I can't show you because its recipient might stop by the blog from time to time. We are leaving super early in the morning (6 a.m.!) for Michigan for our third-annual family reunion, however, so that means lots of car knitting time and, I hope, finished objects to show you upon our return.

I hate to leave you without a little something pretty to look at, so why don't you take a gander at the most recent additions to my fiber stash?

Two BMFA Sheep to Shoe kits, in -- I believe; they're not marked -- Fire on the Mountain on the left and Jailhouse Rock on the Right. (Apologies for the reflection of the plastic bags in the picture; I didn't want to risk taking the fiber out of the bags and then being unable to get it back in.) I bought these with my sock club 10% off coupon right after I heard that the prices were going to be going up, only to discover that the price of the kit seems to not have been affect. Oh well.


This arrived today from Kristin at All Spun Up. I'd seen this about a week ago and drooled over it, but clicked away in my Must. Not. Buy. More. Fiber. moment of strength. Then, of course, I couldn't stop thinking about it, so when I looked again on Monday and saw it was still there, I was entering my credit card number before I knew it. It's a 70% superwash merino/30% alpaca blend, and it's actually a lot darker in person than it appears in the picture. I think it would make a lovely laceweight.

I'll do my best to make my next post an FO post, and perhaps if I play my cards right I'll have Michigan fiber acquisitions to show you as well! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Even More Lace

But don't worry -- this lace is in a pair of socks:

Pattern: Merino Lace Socks by Anne Woodbury (summer 2003 Interweave Knits/Favorite Socks)
Yarn: Araucania Rancho Solid (75% superwash wool, 25% nylon), color 119, one skein
Needles: two 16" US 0 (2.0 mm) Addi Turbo circs
Started/Completed: July 31/August 15
Mods: omitted one pattern repeat on leg, substituted my regular toe

I liked these socks, although by the end the pattern got a bit tedious. I don't blame this on the pattern; the fault was entirely on the size 0 needles I had to use to get gauge. Normally small needles don't bother me one bit, but in this case doing all the k2togs and ssks in the pattern made my hands ache.

I did enjoy working with the yarn, which jumped into my hands at Natural Stitches a few weeks ago and begged to be knitted almost right away. It's not the softest of wools, but it's a sturdy, well spun sock yarn. I love the semisolid colorway and its subtle almost-pooling effect -- enough to give a little interest to the knit fabric but not so much that it disguises the pattern.

My favorite thing about these socks has to be the way the stitch pattern carries down the back of the leg all the way through the heel flap. This isn't likely to hold up as well as a traditional slip-stitch pattern, but it sure looks pretty.


A word of warning to those of you considering knitting this pattern out of Favorite Socks: There's a mistake in the foot chart. You'd probably notice it right away, but the purl stitches appear as knits. It's pretty apparent if you compare it to the leg and heel flap charts, but, doubting myself as I often do, I had to look it up to see if there were errata. Just something to keep in mind!

Tomorrow: Hurricane Knitters, 7 p.m., Waterworks Barnes and Noble. I'll be there, (new) sock in hand.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My Piece of the Pi

It seems this was my week for finishing lace.

Pattern: Goddess Knits Anniversary Mystery Shawl by Renee Leverington, clues 1D, 2C, 3A, 4C
Yarn: Knit Picks Gossamer (100% merino; discontinued), colorway Caribbean, approximately 3.16 skeins (1,390 yards)
Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm) 32" Addi Turbo circs and Crystal Palace bamboo dpns
Started/Completed: June 13/August 15
Mods: none

Based on the principle of Elizabeth Zimmerman's pi shawl, this shawl is knit in the round and separated into four sections. For each section, we had four charted clues from which to choose, followed by an increase round after the first three sections. It is finished with a simple border knit perpedicularly around the entire outside.

This is the first time I'd ever knit a shawl in the round, and it was an enjoyable experience. The beginning is a bit awkward, but it's very pleasant once those first few rows are past. I really liked that the "even" rows were knit rather than purled, which allowed me to knit more in the same amount of time because there was no turning the shawl back and forth.

This also was the first time I'd knit on a border perpendicular to the rest of the knitting. After one false start (caused entirely by my skimming the directions rather than reading them properly), I found it to be very easy albeit a bit time consuming. By the time I reached the end of the fourth clue, I had 576 stitches on my needle. Because the border is attached by purling a border stitch with a body stitch at the end of every wrong-side row, that means there are twice as many rows of border as there are stitches in the body. Needless to say, the border clue took me longer than any other.

My only concern about this shawl is that perhaps the colorway of the yarn I selected (because I had enough of it in stash) obscures the pattern a bit. I think that if I knit another version of this shawl -- using different clues, of course -- I'll choose a solid or mostly solid colorway.


I took this to Natural Stitches yesterday to show it off, guessing that other knitters would appreciate it more than The Mister did, and I was "forced" to enter it in the Summer of Lace contest. I certainly won't win, but I'm proud of the accomplishment even so.

I've definitely been bitten by the mystery lace bug: Before this shawl was even finished, I signed up for Mystery Stole 4 and picked out my yarn:


Aisling Yarns superwash merino laceweight, colorway Perfect Storm. Now to find the perfect beads!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back to the Status Quo

Now that the shawl is off the needles (and thank you all for your very nice comments!), I am back to working on the usual: a pair of socks, which I hope to have finished up by this weekend, and the mystery shawl, which is not very much different from the last time you saw it. I am anxious to finish it up in the next few days, too, in part because I'm more than ready to be done, but also because I need the needles for another project.

I pulled my spinning wheel out again on Monday (it'd gone into hiding in my fiber room for a bit to stay safe and clean while we had a new sliding glass door installed right next to where I usually spin). I'm trying to spin at least half an hour every day, and it's definitely helping that I using some dreamy fiber.

This is some of the Crown Mountain Farms superwash merino I scored in their summer sale. It's incredibly soft and so well prepped that I didn't need to predraft at all. I'm doing a traditional three ply, aiming for fingering weight, with this fiber. I can't wait to see how this turns out when it's plied.

I don't have much else in the way of fibery stuff, but perhaps you'd like to see the visitor I had in my garden today. Notice how carefully he's checking me out to make sure I photograph him from his good side.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I Made It!

I am so, so proud of this shawl, so I hope you'll all forgive my indulging in a photo-heavy post.

Pattern: Shetland Triangle by Evelyn Clark in Wrap Style
Yarn: my own handspun (merino/corriedale), approximately 400 yards
Needles: 32" US 6 (4.0 mm) Addi Turbo circular
Started/Completed: August 8, 8 a.m. est/August 10, 4 p.m. est
Mods: added one body chart repeat, for a total of nine repeats
Dimensions: 57" x 29"

Knitting with my own handspun was truly an incredible experience. On the one hand, I got a very good look at how inconsistent my spinning was (this yarn was only, I think, the third I finished on my wheel), but I love the rustic look it has knitted up. There was definitely a different feeling to the process of knitting this shawl knowing that I made not only the finished garment but the yarn I was using. I can see why spinners often wind up knitting with nothing but their own handspun.

And yes, this is the fastest I've ever knit a shawl -- although keep in mind that (a) it's a very easy pattern, (b) it's a smaller shawl than others I've knit, and (c) I did knit for about eight solid hours on Saturday. Had the Olympics started on a Monday, it would have taken me much longer. Still, I'm thrilled with the results and kind of amazed that I was the third person to finish in my Ravelympics event, the Shawl Relay. (I guess that makes me a bronze medalist?)






Sunday, August 10, 2008

Miscalculation

I may have overestimated the time it would take me to knit my Shetland Triangle.

Yep, just a bit.


Blocked pictures soon.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Bordering on Obsession

With approximately 12 hours to go until the Ravelympics begin, I am in a mad dash to get as much as I can get done on the border of my mystery shawl. Here it is after a couple hours of work last night (yes, I knit lace at the meeting of the Hurricane Knitters!):

It's really starting to look huge, but the sad thing is that I'm not even halfway done yet. I'm under no illusions that I will finish this tonight, so this shawl will go into hibernation starting at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning, when I will be casting on for my Olympic project.

Speaking of the Shetland Triangle, it looks like I'm not going to be the only one knitting it -- Jen cast on for hers (in a gorgeous color of DIC Smooshy) at knit night last night. I'm trying to convince her that it's easier to knit lace from a chart than from written directions (at least I find it to be so). I was getting quite jealous and wanted to cast on my own last night, in spite of the fact that I had a lap full of lace already. In any case, I have everything ready to go, and I will be casting on at 8 a.m. sharp tomorrow.

Those of you who did not make it to Hurricane Knitting last night missed a visit from a special guest: Rufus the wonder dog! He's a lot bigger in person than I thought he'd be. I wish I'd had the foresight to get out my camera and take some pictures with something for scale, but I was too busy giving him scritches. Thank you to The MWP for facilitating the canine visit!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Pr0n

Finally, Blogger is cooperating and I can share my latest yarns with you. Make no mistake, this post is all about the pr0n.

On Saturday, I was on a mission to find sweater yarn, and I visited not one but two LYSes. First up was Natural Stitches, where I hoped to find a good bulky-weight yarn for the Big Thaw Pullover. Miraculously, I was able to convince The Mister to let me knit him a sweater in a color that wasn't some shade of gray or black; knowing that he had several store-bought sweaters in a taupe-y oatmeal-y color, that was what I suggested. This Cascade Eco Wool got his seal of approval:

In reality, it's a little lighter; in my excitement to photograph it, I did not get the best lighting for the job. In any case, I know this will be a winner for him, as he's quite used to wearing Cascade 220. I'm not really looking forward to winding center-pull balls, though -- 478 yards per skein is going to take quite a while.

Next, I was off to Knit One to attempt to use up my remaining gift card on a sweater's worth of yarn for my father (of the EZ seamless variety, to be completed for his birthday in October). I decided to go with the tried-and-true Cascade 220, and a very man-friendly shade of navy blue.

And just so you know I'm not at all consistent in my poor photography, these skeins are actually a lot darker in person!

I couldn't leave without a little something for myself, and these two lonely skeins of Rown 4-ply in a steely gray just begged for me to rescue them from the sale bin. At 15% off, it didn't take much convincing. Would you believe this is my first Rowan? Don't worry, I don't plan to make a habit out of it.

My last new yarn for the weekend is probably my favorite, and I'm sure you won't be surprised at all that it's because it's my latest handspun.

I had intended this for Spinning Sunday, but this darn skein took so long to ply that I didn't get around to finishing it until about 9:30 Sunday night. This is 4 oz. of DragonFibers BFL (here's what it looked like as fiber, if you need a reminder) turned into a laceweight two ply. At approximately 485 yards, it's less yardage than I was hoping for, but it still should be enough for a Swallowtail Shawl [Ravelry link], which is what I'd been intending it for.


The colors blended just as I'd hoped -- very subtle barberpoling in some areas, nearly solid in others.

I'm off to post this before Blogger decides to get fussy again. Tomorrow night: Hurricane Knitters, 7 p.m., Waterworks Barnes & Noble, where I will attempt to knit lace while at the S&B.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Technical Difficulties

I had a blog post full of yummy yarn pr0n ready for you this evening, but Blogger is not cooperating. It's refusing to upload my pictures due to "internal error," whatever that might be. So watch this space for a real post, I hope within the next day.