Bombs Away

I mentioned I really want to get my new shawl done by May 7, right? Well, I’ve been making pretty awesome progress on it. The thing consists of five striped sections and five lace sections. Earlier this afternoon, I was purling away on my last row of the third lace section. I might have been congratulating myself a little on having gotten so much done while simultaneously anticipating the welcome boredom of approximately 15 million miles of garter stitch looming on the horizon.

You can probably see where this is heading.

I’ve been very careful with the lace bits. Usually with lace I separate the repeats with stitch markers, but in this pattern the repeats are offset (so it’s a little trickier). Instead, I added a stitch marker on each RS row to separate every five or six repeats. Then, on the WS row, I’d count the number of stitches between each of the markers to make sure it was a multiple of six, and remove the markers as I went. So, I knew at the end of each WS row if I was on track or not. If my count came up wrong, I could more easily pinpoint where the error was. I inserted lifelines every six or eight rows, which I’m guessing is a lot compared to other knitters. I just figured it would make things faster if I did need to rip back at all.

So, maybe I lulled myself into a sense of lace security. I had lots of fallbacks in place in case I made a mistake by miscounting, forgetting where I was in the pattern, forgetting what row I was on, etc. It never dawned on me that I would drop stitches. Well, on that last purl row, I looked down just in time to see one little highlighter yellow stitch dropped, pulling out of the stitch below it in slow motion. I made a quick grab for a teeny crochet hook I had nearby and scooped the sucker up. I reknit it and put it back on the needle, then futzed around with the neighboring stitches to make sure everything looked right. It did and I carried on my merry way.

For about two stitches. Then, looking at the rows below the previously dropped stitch, I saw this:

FullSizeRender 244

Eeek! The three stitch markers in the background are securing other unravelled stitches that showed up as I stretched the piece a bit. Somehow I must have dropped more than one, or caught it later than I thought. Either way, a good bit of damage was done.

What to do? I ran another set of needles through the knitting where my last lifeline was (eight rows back, sob). You can sort of see it in the pic. I’m debating on using the Yarn Harlot’s nifty repair technique versus just ripping eight rows out. Thoughts?

Whatever I decide, even I’m not crazy enough to try it until I have a chunk of toddler-free time combined with full daylight. In other words, I’m losing a ton of knitting time tonight, which seriously bums me out. Time to cast on something new, perhaps?

On an unrelated note, the stripeys are enjoying the sunshine:

Happy knitting!

FO Spotlight: Boot Cuffs for V Day

Okay, folks, I’m not big on Valentine’s Day. I’m not trying to be a scrooge or to rain on anyone’s love parade or anything. I’m pro-love and pro-expression-of-said-love. I’m just not on board with a more or less commercially born holiday that dictates when I must do this. However, I do live in this world and I am married to someone more fond of Valentine’s Day than I am*. So, since I love the wifey, I mustered up a little participation this year. She asked for some boot cuffs so I found a couple of patterns I thought looked good, matched up some yarn possibilities, and put my test knitting on a brief hold and made the woman some boot cuffs.

The rundown

Pattern: UGG HUG Boot Toppers by Alexandra Davidoff

Yarn: Just under one skein of Cascade 220. This particular color reeeeeally looks like Quatro, but isn’t. The label doesn’t say one thing about Quatro, just 220. I half wonder if it predates Quatro as the label looks like one of the old ones. The yarn came to me as part of my recent freecycle haul.

Size made: One (adult)

Needles: US8s for the body and 11s for the bind off

Techniques used: Longtail cast on, standard cast off, cabling

Modifications: Omitted one row in the initial ribbing (by mistake on the first one, noticed it on the second) and omitted one row in the final ribbing (on purpose to come in under 220 yards).

Ravelled: here

The Pretty

The close up pic shows the colors more accurately. I do like how these turned out, however they are a little on the loose side. I didn’t check gauge as I figured there’d be enough stretch to the pattern that it wouldn’t matter a ton if it wasn’t exactly right. There is stretch to it, but not a ton of recoil. The ribbing/cable pattern is 4×4 so there’s not as much recoil as there would be with a 1×1 or 2×2 rib and I didn’t take that into account. I will try to block them again and see if I can scrunch the ends up a bit and convince them to be a little stretchier.

Otherwise, I really like how the yarn and the pattern work together. It’s one of those situations where you don’t know how it’s going to turn out until you try it. The cables look much more complicated than they are. This would be a great first cable project! If I used this pattern again, I would probably omit one of the cable repeats for a slightly snugger fit.

When I asked the wifey what color she wanted, she gave me two answers. So, I decided that meant two pairs of boot cuffs. I was hoping to have the second pair done sometime on the 14th but I didn’t quite make it (haha…get it? Didn’t quite make it?). I did, however, manage to get one cast off so maybe tomorrow (technically today as it’s past midnight here) sometime I’ll get the second one done. Here’s Sammy helping to display the first one:

FullSizeRender 201

This one is a heavily modified version of Helmikuu Boot Toppers. I’m not as happy with this pattern but I’m happy with what I came up with. If I had looked ahead a little more thoroughly, I would have done some things differently from the start. The pattern produces a cuff that is about 5″ tall, which I don’t think is long enough to be able to fold over and have stay in place reliably. I’ll go into more detail on the changes I made when I get this pair finished.

Other updates: I gave Betsey to my MIL. I think she liked it, but it’s hard to tell. I’m still working on the current test knit (Lancashire Dream) but since I’m just knocking out what seems like miles of stockinette for the body, there’s not a ton to report there. What I was thinking when I signed up to knit a cardigan (read: lots more purling than I really want to do) out of fingering weight yarn on US2s, I will never really know. At least it’s cute. I ordered the one skein I could find of madelinetosh tosh merino light in Filigree so that I can finish up my Athena shawl. And, I may or may not have two incorrectly sized attempts at a hat for Z on the needles. In two different yarns. I can neither confirm nor deny.**

Happy knitting!

*For the record, she had some very nice things for me, too.

**Well, I could…but I won’t.


A Plug and Some Random Knitting Thoughts

First and foremost, I need to share this with you: if you are not familiar with GG of then please, take a moment and go check her site out. She’s a knitter/crocheter, blogger and etsy shop owner who has just launched her own comprehensive site. I SHOULD wait until after her swag bag giveaway so I don’t decrease my own chances of winning, but I won’t do that (I like you guys too much). I think her blog speaks to me because she talks about how yarn and knitting have changed her life and helped her get through some hard stuff, and that’s pretty much what I’m all about. So yes, go look and give her some love if you feel so inclined. I promise I won’t delete this post while you’re gone*.

Okay, on to the random knitting thoughts. While sitting at a coffee shop this morning, having a coffee and doing some knitting, the person at the table next to me commented and we started chatting a little bit. She did some casual knitting for a while and, being European, first learned continental knitting. We talked a little about the differences and I remembered how in college I switched to continental for a while. I got pretty quick with it but then went through a little knitting hiatus. When I picked the needles back up, I went back to my old throwing ways. Since then I’ve become more of a flicker than a thrower, mostly because I tend to work with smaller needles and yarn these days and it’s just easier. 

I looked at the project on my lap, my Sunshine Shawl, and realized it would be an easy, forgiving project to try switching on. Fogknits, I read on your blog the other day that you successfully made the switch so I know it’s possible. I just don’t know if it’s practical, especially now when I have a holiday knitting list a mile long. I’ll probably be going back to work soonish and my knitting time will be limited. Would it make sense to slow myself down so much while getting used to a new style?

Also, I read a post a while ago (sorry, have forgotten the blogger) about someone who switched from continental to cottage style (search that and “yarn harlot” on YouTube for some fascinating videos) due to pain from repetitive stress injury. If I switched to continental would I later have to switch to something else? How many people develop strain from continental style? More importantly, how exactly do you consistently tension the yarn with your left hand? Need to know, knitters…need to know. 

I tried a few knit stitches. My left hand flopped around awkwardly and my right needle stabbed at the working yarn like a budding serial killer. I could get better at it but it would probably be a long path. 

So what do you all think? Switch, or don’t mess with a decent thing? Switch now or after gift knitting is done (if it’s ever done)?

*Disclaimer about this and all plugs on my blog: my opinion has not been solicited or coerced in any way, and I’m not receiving any compensation unless I happen to be lucky enough to win the giveaway!