Tuesday, April 19, 2011

new site

Hi readers! If you've wondered whether I was still around, I'm here to say, yes, I am! I lost my blogging mojo which was created in part by the loss of my knitting mojo. I have way too many WiPs going, very unlike me! But I'm here to announce that if you'd like to continue following my knitting adventures, or misadventures as the case may be!, you'll find me over at SheepandInk.com. It's the new knitting blog two of my friends and I have finally gotten off the ground. It took many months of planning and work, but we're finally live! So, continue to follow me there if you like. I won't be updating over here anymore.

Hope to see you at Sheep and Ink!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Frankensocks

This month I've been participating in the Frankensocks KAL on Ravelry. The idea: use up some scrap stash yarn and knit yourself some socks! And, if you're into Mary Shelley, read-along in her Frankenstein. Now, for someone who enjoys knitting socks, I don't seem to knit very many of them despite the fact that I have a seemingly endless stash of sock yarn, so this KAL instantly appealed to me. Reading a little Shelley was just a plus. Admittedly, I've completely slacked on reading the novel. There's no excuse. It's right up my street century-wise, and is a very good and interesting read. I just never got around to downloading the Librivox audiobook and couldn't motivate myself to dig out my copy. Some of this has to do with a conference paper I wrote some years ago on an alternate point-of-view novel that was really quite bad (the novel, not my paper, lol), and the rest was being busy with other things. But I had time to knit!

I chose the Hat-heel socks from the Fall 2009 Knitty since I've been wanting to try this construction out and I figured I could use up quite a few of my leftovers in the process.



I used up nearly all of the Patons Kroy sock yarn I still had left in the heels, as well as the Four Seasons Gr√ľndl Hot Socks Othello I have in that blue-green jaquard colorway for the foot and leg. The toe and tip of the cuff I knit in Bernat Sox Multi and still have a bunch leftover.

At first I thought the heel and gusset flaps/hat flaps would look funky in the finished sock, and, admittedly, they did take a bit of getting used to. The heel, though, is very comfortable and form fitting. I wish I'd taken a picture of the little basket of heel and flaps grafted together, but I forgot--it's really cute! My only annoyance with this pattern is the amount of ends I had to weave in, what with all the breaking and rejoining yarn on the heel, leg, and gussets. Of course, I had a few more ends than normal with the different yarns used, but still, many more ends to weave in than I tend to like for socks. That doesn't mean I won't use this pattern again, and I'm going to see if I can find a way to remedy all that end weaving, but otherwise, this is a very nifty way to make socks. I even learned the figure-8 cast on for the heel, though I think I'll see how the magic cast on works out on this heel next time. Might be less fiddly.

Next on the knitting agenda is to finish sewing the sleeves in the Point Gammon (at least I finished knitting those sleeves!), and to get cracking on the baby gifts for my SIL since her baby shower has just been announced .... and I've got til just after Thanksgiving to knock out a baby blanket and hoodie cardy. To keep me sane in all that baby knitting, I'm going to take part in another KAL, this time Woolly Wormhead's Mystery KAL. I've always wanted to do one of these!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

soldier on, dear knitter

Knits, purls, and cable crosses continue here in inkystick land. I'm happy to report that I did figure out the lace decreases on the Leaf Top Kimono with a little help from some scrap yarn and finished the back. But, now it's hibernating again as I try to finish the Point Gammon Pullover which is beginning to feel like The Sleeves That Never End.

I started the first sleeve three times because I, as usual, knit while paying attention to something on TV. First, I knit the pattern repeat incorrectly, then I knit the increases out of pattern, but finally, I got it right and the first sleeve is DONE. Now I'm working on the second sleeve and am really making myself stick with it. The idea is to finish the sweater so it can wing its way to my cousin at the end of October, but now the sweater messenger may not be traveling so I may need to hold on to this til I can travel myself. Unfortch, postal service is out of the question because of the very strange Customs laws in Argentina (recipients have been charged import fees on gifts before, and, from what I can tell from the swaps some Argentine knitters have been involved in on Ravelry, customs officials can be pretty anal about handknits). Still, if I keep at it, I should have the sleeve done by the weekend and can start blocking this bad boy. I am ITCHING to start my scrap yarn Hat Heel socks for the Frankensocks KAL!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

murphy's law

I suppose it was inevitable that the day after I posted about my Fabulous Knitting Lessons Learned, that I got horribly stuck on one of my latest WIPs.

The culprit: Leaf Kimono Top from the summer 2008 IK.
The problem: lace decreases

In my defense, I think my brain is still on hiatus. You know, it hasn't had to really think in a fair few months. Sure, it figured out how to purl correctly and cable without a needle, but teasing out how these decreases work and stay in pattern from written instructions seems to be too much for it right now. Kinda like those word problems in math.

So, what happened? I decided to frog. I didn't do it immediately because I couldn't believe I'd been defeated by lace. So I just took the needles off the cable, and started searching Ravelry for help. And I did find some in an old KAL thread where the designer came in and explained how these worked (good to know I wasn't the only one completely thrown by the decreases!). But still it made no sense, so I just put everything away.

Of course, bad knitting dreams followed. But I woke up, thought about it some more and decided to tink back the decrease rows I've done (thankfully, not many), and practice the decreases on some scrap yarn. Sounds like a plan, no? Haven't done it yet, but at least I changed the project status from the hasty and angry 'FROGGED!' to 'hibernating' on Rav.

In the meantime, I'll just keep at the Point Gammon Pullover, but more on that in another post ....

Monday, September 13, 2010

lessons learned over a long vacation

I can't believe it's been six months since I last updated. A LOT has happened in that time. I successfully defended my dissertation, graduated, and racked up an insane amount of frequent flier miles! First I took myself off to Massachusetts for a conference, popped down to New York for a lightning fast visit to family and a trip to Citi Field to catch a Mets game (they lost, shocking I know, lol), then I had a relaxing three weeks in Hawaii (hey, I deserved some sun and sand!), and finally ended up in Argentina for several months. And I've done a far amount of knitting too!

Maybe it's because I didn't have my head so consumed by writing and research I've been able to learn a lot of things about my knitting.

1) Lace blocking wires are good for blocking non-lace projects too!



I really like how they help straighten out the edges on scarves. I'd used them on the Blooming Cotton Scarf at the beginning of the year to help even out the stockinette, but I really like how they helped the garter stitch edging in the A's Manly Scarf too (and since it was for my dissertation supervisor, I really wanted to make it as perfect as possible). They help straighten out funky joins and any general unevenness in the knitting nicely.

2) (and this is probably the most important thing I learned) I've been purling wrong for the past 4 years! Now, I knit Continental, and I know that when I first learned with the fabulous videos at knittinghelp.com, I was purling correctly when knitting flat, but somewhere along the line, I started wrapping the yarn around the needle around the back of it and over before pulling it off the left needle. The result, one row twisted, one row not!



Ergo the "texture" in my fabric. I'd noticed something was wrong with my knitting before, especially when I had to seam garments (I'd grab the floats in the V's of one row and then couldn't on the next). Ironically, I finally figured out what I was doing when I was knitting the gargantuan hood in the Heather Hoodie Vest (which I deliberately made smaller after seeing so many comments about its hugeness on Ravelry)! I finished the hood the wrong way and then used some of my many in-flight hours to practice purling correctly.

3) Yoked sweaters are pretty fun to make! Unfortunately, I'm not so sure about the finished product around the neck area.



Now, the boat neck style in the Wheat-Ear Cable Yoke Pullover masks it some, but there seems to be a definite tendency to funnel up at the top that I'm not sure I'm digging. But check out the nice and smooth, textureless stockinette! I'm purling now, baby! What's more ....

4) I'm finally cabling without a needle! That project helped me finally figure this out in a way I'm comfortable with. It also helped that I didn't have my full arsenal of needles with me while traveling, just my Knit Picks Options set and a stitch holder. I figured out that the whole pinch the base of the stitches and flip 'em around thing? yeah, not for me thanks. Me, I drop the working yarn so I don't add tension and unravel my stitches, slide the stitches off the needle, and pick up the ones to be held in front or in back as called for with the left, pick the others up with the right and then transfer the ones on the right back to the left and then knit them up. I know, it probably sounds more complicated than it is, but it works!

5) Buying yarn by weight as opposed to yardage/meterage is not fun, but it does make you learn about yarn weights and put up! I also got to see a lot of neat yarns in Argentina, though I didn't get to hang out much in the yarn district in Buenos Aires (yes, there is a yarn district, with one LYS next to another, next to brand distribution shops and everything!).

6) Wool can shrink and felt in cold water! I don't think I showed off my Circle Socks over here:



Unfortunately, I can no longer wear these beauties. :( But after all that work, there was no way I was going to throw them out! So, what better than to turn them into fingerless mitts?!



(That's me with the fabulous sea lion, Juan Carlos.) Close-up:



I did save the toe bits so I may eventually turn these into convertible mitts.

So, I guess you could say I had a pretty eventful summer of knitting! Bring on the fall!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

overdue update

So much has been going on since I last posted. Apart from Ravelympics happening last month, I was working furiously to revise and get my dissertation defense draft finished (all done! defense at the end of the month!). I planned two projects for Ravelympics to help me through the writing --knitting helps my sanity (or what's left of it!)--so this seemed like a good idea. I finished one project (Star-Crossed Slouchy Beret) and got about half way through the second one (Blooming Cotton Scarf).




The hat was knit in Garnstudio DROPS Paris and the scarf is being worked in KnitPicks Comfy Sport. I like the way the hat turned out but, despite my love of hats, I don't think these slouchy ones suit me well. This one's going to a cousin for her 18th birthday--she's hip enough to pull the slouchy look off I think. I LOVE the way the scarf's turning out! Can't wait to finish it and start wearing it.

Also on the needles is the Heather Hoodie Vest but, since I'm still working on the scarf, it's hibernating at the mo. Once this scarf's done--which should be in the next few days since I'm not writing!--I'm going to start working on a thank you gift for my dissertation advisor, A's Manly Scarf which I'm planning to make in Cascade's Eco Wool. I think the Blooming Cotton Scarf is actually somewhat good practice for this since they're both knit lengthwise. Here's an early project pic for you:



I thought the colorwork on this would be harder, but since you only work one color at a time, it's not that bad! The only annoyance is having to unwrap whatever color's being worked from the other yarns being carried whenever I need it again. Being a colorwork newbie, I'm sure this is probably wrong, but since I didn't want to cut and rejoin whenever the color was needed again, I decided to carry up at the beginning of the round. I figured this would be ok since that's where the knitting will be cut to unravel and create the fringe. *shrug* So far so good though!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

the long and windy yarn!

In my rambly zeal yesterday, I forgot to mention an exciting piece of knitterly news! I am now the proud owner of this:



I am very excited! It's a medium sized bamboo swift and I got it on ebay so it hasn't arrived yet. I've purchased from this seller (bambooimporter) before though and have been quite happy with their products. I ended up paying less than what Knit Picks charges for theirs, BUT, of course, with shipping it came out to almost as much as Knit Picks charges. I still paid a little less though. I'll let you know what I think of it once it arrives.

The Circle Socks continue to come along. I'm on the leg of the first sock and am, once again, finding purling on small needles a pain. Having several slipped stitches continually slipped for several rounds is also making life interesting. It makes for a visually interesting leg, and I have a feeling they'll help keep the leg of the sock from slouching down when worn, but it makes things tight and fiddly as I knit. Oh well, I think it'll be worth it in the end.