Putting in Time

Now that my WIPs have been whittled down a bit, I’ve got two main things on my needles right now. First is my restarted Color Dipped Hat. An overwhelming majority of you advised frogging the first one, and I’m glad I did. I cast on again, one and a half sizes smaller. So far, so good! It’s even going a bit quicker now because I have a good handle on how to do it.

IMG_4264Now that it’s set up, the name of the game is just slogging away at it until it’s done.

My other WIP is my second take on Lacy Loo. So, for this, I have to confess that I broke my yarn diet. I really wanted to make this top and I really didn’t have any appropriate yarn for it. I suppose I could have used a different weight yarn and done the math to modify the pattern, but…there’s a reason I don’t write my own patterns! In any case, I was at my LYS the other day just to hang out and I cruised the sale shelves. I found six skeins of purple Jil Eaton Minnow Merino for half price. I would have liked a little more yardage, but I knew I liked the yarn and it was the right weight. Also, the color is really lush and beautiful. I used the same yarn in different colors to make my Valentine Helix Hat and Mittens. So, I decided to go for it!

IMG_4239See what I mean? So, I cast on again and, a couple of days later, I’m past the sleeve divide and just chipping away at lots of stockinette. It’s aran weight and I’m making the 4T size so it’s not too bad, but it is a little boring. The lace panel keeps it interesting enough, though.

IMG_4265 IMG_4266There are a few short rows on the top of the back. I’ve done short rows before, but never in a setting where a wrap and turn was necessary. So, I learned something new! I actually watched a free class on craftsy about short rows and found it really helpful. My first attempt isn’t perfect, but I’m definitely happy with it. I think blocking will help with the little bit of unevenness there:

IMG_4267I’m really happy with how it’s turning out!

Last for today, I do have an FO to share. I’m not giving it a full post because It was really not a fun project and I don’t love the finished product. I’m of course talking about my garter yoke baby cardi that I FINALLY put the buttons on and washed.

IMG_4247 IMG_4245 IMG_4248See? Buttons. Done. I used Caron Simply Soft Tweed and made the 6-12 month size. It came out a little bigger than the pattern dimensions but I think it will be fine. I opted for ribbing at the bottom and the cuffs instead of garter stitch and I did I cord button loops. For all my complaining about it, I’m happy with how the buttons turned out. It’s so hard to get buttons on knitwear even, but I got pretty close. I even added a yarn “shank” a la TECHknitter so that the loops would actually work.

I didn’t like this project for a few reasons. First, I just do not like the yarn. It’s soft, but in a weird way, and it’s sort of squeaky and weird to work with. I was knitting it at a snug gauge, which probably had something to do with it. Second, I did the sleeves with the crappiest dpns known to man, which just made it painful. Third, black yarn is just hard to see! In any case, I think the finished product has everything I set out to do. It’ll look cute on the kid, it’s machine washable, and it’s a handmade gift. I just won’t be sorry to see it go!

Happy knitting!

Splitty Yarn, Splitty…Needles??

I am working on the project from hell right now. Many people say that life is too short to knit things you don’t like. In theory, I agree. However, I’m doing this for the greater good! Here are my reasons for forging ahead, despite the fact that every stitch is agony on some level.

  1. The stash. I have a lot of yarn. Not as much as I’ve seen on some people’s ravelry accounts, but still a lot. A good portion of it is beautiful, high quality fiber, a pleasure to work with. A much larger portion is stuff that I acquired before I really knew about LYSes or that there was such a thing as soft wool. Some of it was given to me. Some of it was thrifted and just seemed like too good a deal to pass up. In any case, I have a really hard time getting rid of yarn because I always think that maybe someday it would be useful. So, I want to use up as much of my stash that I don’t love as I can so that I can get it out into the world and out of my basement.
  2. The project and its intended recipient. I’m making a baby sweater for a little one who’s just a few months old. His parents are first timers and non-knitters. The last thing they need is to be saddled with something they have to hand wash, dry flat, and worry about ruining. Even superwash wool has its issues, so in this case I think acrylic is the best bet.
  3. I’m almost done. It didn’t get really bad until I started knitting the sleeves (I will explain further). At that point, I wasn’t willing to sacrifice all the work I’d already done.

So, some details about the project. I’m using this garter yoke baby cardi pattern with only a couple of modifications. I put ribbing at the bottom of the body and the sleeves instead of garter stitch and some of my measurements are a little different (I got stitch gauge but not row gauge…story of my knitting life). I’m using Caron Simply Soft Tweed in black. It is pretty soft for acrylic, but when it’s knitted at a tight-ish gauge, it doesn’t feel as great. I don’t love the yarn and I don’t love the color, but it’s what I ended up with so I’m going for it.

When I started, it was okay. It went pretty quickly. The pattern is nice enough and pretty easy. I was using a set of my new Addi Sock Rockets. Let me back up a little…in a previous post, I discussed a little about knitting needles and my preferences. Fogknits left me a very useful comment:

I LOVE Addi Rockets! I’m not a fan of the brass coating on the lace. The Rockets are the perfect compromise for me 🙂

Sadly, I don’t like the Addi Click set at all. The join is not smooth at all. The ‘click’ bit works perfect…I have never once had a tip fall off and leave me in a panic but it’s really had to get beyond that join. Addis are so perfect otherwise. It’s a disappointment to me.

I highly recommend trying it out before buying, maybe a local friend or even a shop will let you try them out first. I’ve just accepted it and buy the fixed sets.

Shortly after that, I stumbled across a serious deal on ebay for some Addis. I might have bought a lot of them (like, ten). The ones I got are essentially sock rockets but they are the kind that were only available in Europe, I think. In any case, they have the long pointy lace tips, the super slick nickel coating and red cables. I love them. They are absolutely perfect.

So, I started the baby cardi on a set of my new needles. Even though the yarn is a bit splitty, and a bit squeaky when knitted tightly (I’m a rather snug knitter), having it on the Addis made it tolerable. Then came time to knit the sleeves, so I dug out my size 6 dpns. Well, the set I used are Surina brand. I got a bunch of them on sale online somewhere and hadn’t used any of them yet. Well, they did not work out well for me at all. They’re not completely uniform in width, the points are weirdly extra sharp yet have a very short taper, and worst of all…the tips are splitty. Yes, splitty. Don’t ask me how knitting needles can be splitty, but these are. The tips are just too pointy and sharp to hold up to actual use. Splitty yarn combined with splitty needles makes for some tedious knitting! So, doing the sleeves was akin to absolute torture. The good news? The sleeves are done so I can go back to my Addis for the button bands!

Here’s an in progress pic:

IMG_3520

And a close up of the knitting:

IMG_3507And the current state of afffairs:

IMG_3542It probably won’t get finished for a couple more days as I haven’t picked out buttons yet. That will involve a foray into the basement which, honestly, could take hours! So I get to cast on for something else in the meantime. Unfortunately, I can’t share details on my next project yet as it’s a test knit that I need to keep under wraps until the pattern is published. I can divulge one thing: I am planning (as long as gauge cooperates) to use this yarn from my Goodwill windfall. That will help with my efforts to keep my stash moving and put things to good use!

In other knitting news, I have my first pic featured on a pattern page on ravelry! I owe this much more to the cuteness of my daughter and the photography skills of my wife than my own knitting prowess, but I’m still pretty psyched about it. The project is my Valentine Helix Hat and this is the pic (photo credit to the wifey):

IMG_2053Pretty cute, right?