Thursday, October 27, 2016

All the Knits, All the Time

It seems that my knitting mojo, which had been waning a bit, has come back in full force, and I'm fully taking advantage of it.

Over the weekend, I finished the hat for my father-in-law to go along with the mittens.

Trust me, it looks better when worn.

Pattern: Two by Two by Anne Gagnon
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Targhee Worsted (100% Targhee wool) in Deep Unrelenting Gray, approximately 212 yards
Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm) circs, magic loop
Started/Completed: October 18/October 22
Mods: none

This was a quick knit and really very straightforward. There was a point in the middle where all that 2x2 ribbing started to get a bit boring, but I was spurred on by the excitement of the crown decreases to come to get through it. I really thought I was going to run out of yarn, and I had my swatches and small bit of leftover yarn from my Evenlight right there and ready to be used when the time came, but I actually finished with about a yard to spare. Although I would have felt very virtuous for having kept and used those swatches, it was still quite thrilling to win at yarn chicken.

Almost as soon as the hat was done, I went and had a dig in my stash for a skein of Malabrigo Worsted that I was pretty certain I still had. It's been in the stash for probably a decade (I'd bought two skeins in that purchase, and I eventually used one of them for a hat last year). It was where I'd thought it would be, and I promptly cast on another pair of Waiting for Winter Mittens with it. I haven't decided yet if these will go to my mother-in-law or my sister-in-law, but I'm making them in a ladies' size, so one of them will get them.

These have been my lunchtime knitting this week, and I've gotten through them very quickly as a result, but I did have a bit of a mishap with them on Tuesday. I was able to get the yarn and needles in my project bag, but I completely forgot that I'd need stitch markers, a tapestry needle, and some scrap yarn to do the thumb gusset, and as luck would have it, I got to the point where I needed to put those thumb stitches on waste yarn right at the beginning of my lunch break. At one point I think I had a piece of string in my desk, but I suppose I threw it away in a cleaning purge some time ago. So I did what any resourceful knitter will do when faced with a problem like this and time to knit: I used what I had on hand. In this case, that meant paperclips in place of stitch markers (which worked fine) and a cut rubber band in place of the scrap yarn. The rubber band was not a great choice, I know, but it was my only option (save cutting a bit of yarn off the other end of the skein, which wouldn't have worked so well either given the stickiness of the yarn). It worked well in terms of not losing or dropping the live stitches until I could get home to actual scrap yarn, but it was a major pain in the butt to get out of those stitches -- I ended up cutting it into a few smaller pieces. A couple of years ago I'd made myself a tiny notions pouch with essentials (darning needles, stitch markers, measuring tape, little scissors), and clearly I'm going to have to find it and keep it in my desk in case of any future emergencies like this.

Amid all the gift knitting, I've still been working on Rainbow's school sweater (her second Gramps Cardigan), and I'm quickly approaching the end. I'm in the middle of the yoke and am decreasing 10 stitches on every right-side row, so the rows are quickly getting shorter and faster. The button bands and shawl collar are worked simultaneously, so they will be a fast last step.

This project has not been without its hiccups, however. I realized right after finishing the joining row of the yoke (when you join the body and the sleeves together) that I'm pretty sure I knit the entirety of the second sleeve using the smaller needle I was supposed to use only for the ribbing at the cuff. Perhaps at another time I would have tinked back that joining row and ripped the sleeve back to the cuff, but I just didn't care. The sleeves looked more or less the same size, and it's only a matter of one size of needle (a 0.25 mm difference in diameter). The yarn I'm using is also half acrylic, so if the one sleeve is a tad snug, I figure I can hit it with some steam and hope it relaxes. Frankly, this sweater is going to get shoved in Rainbow's backpack, dropped on the floor, and dragged through leaves and dirt on the playground, and given that it's been actually cold this week, I'd rather get it done with a few imperfections so she can wear it than worry about it being right. She certainly won't know the difference.

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