Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sweater-shaped Object

Though the calendar says spring here, Mother Nature clearly has other plans, because it's been in the 30s and 40s all week. As much as I hate the fact that tomorrow is April and I'm still wearing my winter coat, the chilly weather is conducive to sweater knitting. My Acer Cardigan is starting to resemble a sweater! I finished the back the other night and did the three-needle bind offs needed to join the shoulders.

(Yes, I'm aware that this is the worst picture ever. Have I mentioned it's also been snowing and therefore there's pretty much no sunlight?)

Now that the body is done, the rest of the knitting is pretty much smooth sailing. There's no patterning on the sleeves at all save for some ribbing at the cuffs, and they're knit in the round up to the sleeve cap, so I don't have to pay much attention. I managed to get about five inches knit in an hour and a half last night at knit night.

Assuming I can pull myself away from my spinning and some secret knitting, these sleeves should get knit up pretty quickly. I have about five weeks until Maryland Sheep and Wool, and I'm pretty confident this sweater will be done by then.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Half Spun

My spinning has been extremely slow going because of how thin the singles are, but I managed to finish the first of my two bobbins the other day.

Every time I look at these colors I like them more. I hope that I'm able to get some good yardage out of this so I can knit something spectacular with it!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stealth Shedir

I believe this is the last of the unblogged projects, and you haven't even seen a peak of this one because it was a stealth project.

Pattern: Shedir (Ravelry link) by Jenna Wilson, Knitty Fall 2004
Yarn: Universal Yarns Cotton Supreme, less than one skein
Needles: US 3 (3.25 mm)
Started/Completed: January 15/January 29
Mods: omitted one round of the ribbing at the brim and two repeats of the cable pattern

I couldn't show you this project until now because it was a surprise: Several months ago, a friend's mother was diagnosed with cancer and began undergoing treatment. I felt like I needed to do something, so naturally I pulled out my knitting needles. My LYS didn't have the Rowan Calmer called for in the pattern, so in the interest in staying with a fiber that would be non-irritating, I selected a cotton. Unfortunately, this yarn -- while smooth and very soft -- was a little thicker than the Calmer, so my gauge went a bit wonky. I made a few adjustments to make up for the gauge issue, namely omitting a hefty number of rows, but I'm counting on the cotton yarn to shrink a bit when it's washed.

To be completely honest, working all these cables with a cotton yarn was not much fun for my hands, but I found the pattern to be completely enchanting and enjoyable. Maybe someday I find a skein of Calmer and knit one that will actually fit my head!

Many thanks to my friends at Natural Stitches, who allowed me to use their head to model this hat!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Still Enchanted

The speed at which I was able to spin up the yarn for my sweater made me forget how long my spinning usually takes me, especially when I spin laceweight. Nevertheless, I am still thoroughly enjoying this spinalong fiber. I'm approaching the end of the first bobbin.

I don't think I could have designed this colorway to be any more me. Blues and greens? So my colors. The alpaca in the fiber gives this a slightly different look and feel than I'm used to, but the silk still gives the same amazing shine. I'm looking forward to seeing this yarn when it's finished!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Marching Forward

Just a quick post for tonight, because my Mac and I are still getting to know each other and it took me 25 minutes to find the pictures I wanted to upload.

My Acer Cardigan is moving right along. I have a few more rows to do before I split for the fronts and back.

I'm currently on my fourth skein of yarn and already starting to freak out that I'll run out, even though I know I have more than the yardage specified. I have a feeling this sweater will start to move a lot faster once I do the split -- it's very slow going when you're doing the entire width of the sweater in each row.

Although I didn't get a chance to post yesterday, I do have a little bit of spinning to show you -- also slow going, because I'm spinning for lace. I absolutely love love love this fiber, though.

This is the alpaca/merino/silk from All Spun Up that is the February/March spinalong fiber. The colorway is called Enchanted, and it's certainly enchanted me! It's been a while since I spun anything with alpaca in it, so it took me a little while to get the hang of it. After all that dark brown, it's pure pleasure to spin my favorite colors again!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Plain and Simple

Continuing in the backlog of projects, I have a very simple pair of socks that took an unreasonable amount of time to finish.

Pattern: a variation on my standard stockinette sock (see below)
Yarn: Knit Picks Bare (fingering weight), dyed with Kool Aid nearly five years ago, in a colorway I like to call Caribbean Amphibian or, alternatively, Robin*
Needles: two 12" US 1.5 (2.5 mm) Addi Turbo circs
Started/Completed: December 24, 2010/February 21, 2011

My regular stockinette sock recipe is 64 stitches around; for these socks, I cast on 65 stitches so I could work the cuff in 3x2 rib. I worked the ribbing for 3.5 inches and then switched over to stockinette, decreasing the extra stitch on the first stockinette round.

The heel was worked over half of the stitches, and I decided to jazz things up by working an Eye of Partridge heel rather than the usual slip stitch pattern. Something I've taken to doing lately with my heels is carrying the slipped stitches through the heel turn. It adds some extra durability to the heel, an area that often wears out faster than the rest of the sock, and I rather like how it looks.

I really like how the yarn ended up striping, and amazingly it didn't pool in the gussets. It appears that my first and only attempt at dyeing yarn was a success!

* If you're wondering where the colorway name came from, this video might illuminate you!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Celtic Glow

After three solid plying sessions, I finished my January Crown Mountain Farms fiber shipment earlier this week. This particular shipment was South African wool in a stunning colorway called Celtic Glow.

Like fine merino, this wool seemed to like to be spun very fine, so I went for a three-ply fingering weight with this one. I ended up with approximately 377 yards.

I would have had more, but apparently I didn't do a great job of splitting my fiber because I had a significant amount leftover on two of my bobbins. I could have done some transferring and gotten more yardage out of what was left, but instead I decided to move the extra singles onto my leftovers bobbin, which is rapidly filling up. When it's full, I'll chain ply everything on it for a fun, scrappy yarn.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Just a Peek

It's been an interesting week, and not very productive as far as knitting is concerned. Rainbow has been sick with croup, which in addition to making her sound like a barking seal also caused a rather high fever that had us up with her and on the phone with a nurse at Children's Hospital until very late Monday night (or very early Tuesday morning, depending on how you look at it). I've been dragging since then, so I haven't made much progress on anything. My Kool Aid socks are complete and taking a bath right now, and I made a little headway on my Acer Cardigan last night (but I'll wait until I can get some decent lighting to take a progress picture).

Meanwhile, during my lunchtime knitting, I've been working on a little design of my own invention. I may potentially try to publish it if I can get it to work out to my satisfaction, so for now all I can show you is a little cuff action.

I loves me some corrugated ribbing! I'm using up some more of the Knit Picks Palette from the stash for the test knit, though I have some nice yarn picked out for the real thing once I work out all the kinks.

I don't know about you, but I am ready for the weekend! One of my best friends, who I haven't seen since my wedding, is coming in for a visit this weekend, so I'm looking forward to catching up with her -- and, with any luck, on my sleep!