I’m Knitting 0 for 3 Today

I spent most of my day bouncing from appointment to appointment. That meant periods of downtime…that I would typically spend knitting and listening to podcasts. Well, I knit the last couple of pre-heel rounds on my WTF, Stripes? socks. Then I looked for some waste yarn to use for the afterthought heel…nope, nothing in fingering weight. So, I figured I’d start my next spa cloth test knit. I pulled up the pattern, dug out my yarn, and looked for my needles…nope, forgot to put my US4s back in the case, so I didn’t have the right needles. Then, I figured I’d rustle up an older WIP and put in some work on that. I pulled out my Feathery Lace Stole and went to look up the pattern…nope, didn’t have it with me. By that time it was time for my next appointment, so all my knitting time was used up!

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My Feathery Lace Stole, still languishing.

I’m planning to drown my sorrows (figuratively) at my LYS in a bit. They’re having a happy hour this evening, complete with “yarn tasting”. Sounds interesting! I’ll be sure to bring all the yarn, needles and patterns I need to actually get something done!

Happy knitting!

PS: If you are thinking about joining the Smooth Operator Socks KAL, the thread is up here!

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Cooler Than Sliced Bread: A Knitting Trick

How did I not post about this when it happened??? All I can think is that I planned to include it on the piece in question’s FO Spotlight post. However, I hit a major stumbling block during the, ahem, blocking, and I never did a spotlight post. There’s no telling when that might happen, so I might as well go ahead and toot my own horn now.

As an aside, I’m what you might call “anxious” at the moment. I was supposed to hear something about the job on the table today, but didn’t. I was also hoping to work on repairing my dropped stitches but had stuff to do all day and couldn’t. So here I am, facing another evening without a knitting project to dig into. Last night I knit a few rows on my Feathery Lace Stole to tide me over, but I really need decent light for that, too.

I digress. A couple of months ago I made a Little Phryne dress for my daughter…out of sock yarn. It’s awesome, but it kind of took me forever. It took a bit to get started and on track. It’s a test knit and there were some numbers and whatnot that needed reworked. I started and frogged a couple of times for various reasons. Well, the third or fourth time I got going on it, I noticed a mistake several rows back. There was no way I was frogging it again, but the mistake was too complicated to fix by just dropping one stitch column down and working it back up. The dress is top down with eyelet raglan increases, and one of the increase sections just didn’t line up.

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Here’s what it’s supposed to look like

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And here’s the wonky one

See how the center spine in the second pic takes a little jog to the right? After the second round of eyelets? And how the eyelets don’t make a nice V shape? Yeah. I don’t know how I made it approximately 14 rows without seeing that, either.

But, hold on a moment here. This is sock yarn. Self-striping sock yarn. I could have added a few random cables and you’d never be able to find them. It’s a little like stripy magic eye. Who would ever notice? Well, what is once seen (by a knitter) can never be unseen and I set about finding a way to fix it. In my last post, I linked to a similar-ish repair job the Yarn Harlot blogged about. If you search back in her archives (sounds a little racy, doesn’t it?) she has another post somewhere about the same kinda deal. I had read both recently and decided to give it a try. So, first I did this:

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Please forgive both the poor lighting and the toddler potty in the background

And then (brace yourself) I did this:

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Aaaaaaghhhh!

I did a couple of things differently than the venerable Harlot. First, I did not label the loops of yarn as I unravelled them. That allowed me to peer painstakingly at each one to figure out which to work next. Second, I didn’t finish it in fifteen minutes of lighthearted knitting. It took me about a half hour of anus-pinchingly detailed work (sorry, Mom) to knit each row back up.

In case you don’t feel like trekking over to the Harlot’s blog (you really should, but I’m not judging. Much.) the idea here is to reknit each row using the unravelled loop. Since it’s attached to live knitting at both ends, that gets a little tricky. I used smaller needles to do this but it still ran pretty tight at the end of each row. If you attempt this, I’d recommend having a couple of small crochet hooks handy and maybe a tasty intoxicating beverage for when you’re done (really…wait until you’re done).

I didn’t take any pics as I was working on it because, honestly, if I’d stopped I might never have started back up again. Also, I wasn’t really thinking about pictures so much as about getting all those blasted stitches where I wanted them, for crying out loud. However, when I was done, I ended up with this:

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The tension is weird and there’s a visible ladder on the left edge of the reknitted panel, but the center spine is straight! The tension issues were easily remedied by a few tugs and pulls to get it all evened out. Now, I couldn’t even tell you which increase line was repaired. Success!

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Can’t see the line, can you Russ?

So there it is. Not the easiest thing I ever did, but it beat the alternative. I added a nifty little tool to my knitting arsenal and saved a WIP from its final frogging. I finished knitting the rest of the dress, then proceeded to block it. Unfortunately, disaster struck again! As soon as it hit the water it went from being about a size 4 to somewhere around a size 10. I’ve gotten pretty good about doing decent gauge swatches, but I never bother to wash them. Whoops! And so I never got around to figuring out how to shrink it back down. I plan to dampen it a bit and then throw it in the dryer (it’s made of Cascade Heritage Prints, a sock yarn, so should fare fine) but haven’t gotten around to it.

It’s really stinkin’ cute. I should just do it.

Happy knitting!

Testing All the Things

One of my recent posts included some nonsense about not doing any more test knits for a while. My intentions were good. I keep finding myself up against knitting deadlines and I wanted to be a little more relaxed about it for a while. Also, the test knitting has limited my time to work on other projects. I had this whole plan. I haven’t even been looking at the Testing Pool forum (much).

However. Two of the designers I’ve worked with several times both earburned* me with some new patterns. I held out for a couple of days on the first one, and a couple of seconds on the next batch. I don’t even want to admit how many tests I’ve signed up to do between now and May because it’s a little more than was probably all that smart. They are all really cute designs, though! At least they’re all baby or kid sized, so they should work up pretty quickly.

In the meantime, my Merinda shawl just needs the ends woven in and blocking. My Athena shawl is waiting on more yarn (I decided to buy the skein available fsot on rav, but haven’t heard back from the seller yet). I cast off on Betsey last night, so that one just needs ends woven and blocking. The only thing actually on the needles right now is the Feathery Lace Stole. I am making progress on it…two rows at a time!

I got a massive haul of yarn yesterday (more on that later) so am trying to get all that organized. Once I get things sorted and stored I’ll be able to pull out some of the yarns I need for tests. Then, I will just knit like the wind! Good thing my kid likes the stuff I make for her!

 

*Ravelry’s equivalent of a page. Yes, it’s a verb now. Sort of.

Back to Betsey

I got my US11 40″ cable Addi Rockets yesterday so was able to go back to Betsey and start working on it again (remember?). I’ve gotten through a little more than one skein so far, and it’s working out much better. The actual gauge probably isn’t all that different but it has so much more vertical stretch now. I think the finished dimensions will be much, much better. Even on the needles, you can tell how much less rippling there is now.

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Before, on US9s

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After, on US11s

The second picture was taken a little farther along in the pattern than the first, but not by much. I think I made the right choice. Thanks to everyone for all the guidance!

In regards to my other WIP crisis (catch up here), I am 90% decided on what I’m going to do. I’m going to wait a little longer before going to 100% in order to give it more time to settle first.

In the meantime, I’m doing two or three rows at a time on my Feathery Lace Stole and then working on Betsey. I can’t stand to do much more than that as it’s such slow going. It really does look and feel nice, though. It’ll get done eventually, Mom! I have some other things in mind that I want to get going on soon. Here they are, in no specific order:

  1. Finish weaving in ends on Merinda.
  2. Start working on my six test knits due in March (they should all be fairly quick knits…three of them are hats).
  3. Start a pair of socks. I want to get going on the Thursday sock series again. I’m thinking I might start with a pair for my daughter. They’ll get done faster and it won’t bother me if they’re less than perfect. She’ll grow out of them pretty quickly anyway!
  4. Start my Miller’s Daughter.
  5. Make a poncho for the little.

I mailed my Valentine’s Day swap package a few days ago so I should be able to blog about it soon!

Here are some gratuitous toddler and kitty pics. Happy knitting!

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My stripey boys

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“Look! We’re getting along!” Photo copyright Callandra S. Cook.

“Hearts, Mr. Collins…Hearts!”

I’m guessing at least one or two people will get the movie reference from the title. It’s one of my very favorites–plenty of interesting historical textiles to look at, great one liners, an abundance of proper English restraint, and it’s long enough to accomplish some serious knitting while watching. In any case, I quoted it because my knitting endeavors over the past couple of days have revolved around hearts and love.

First off, I cast on for a project I’ve been planning for a little while. To be exact, since the last time my mom was in town. We were discussing a certain thrift store yarn find we had made together and I realized that I had a pattern that would suit it. The yarn is Rowan Kidsilk Haze, of which I found over two and a half skeins in a brilliant purple shade named “splendour”.

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The pattern is Feathery Lace Stole from a book I’ve had for years and used many times: Exquisite Little Knits: Knitting with Luxurious Specialty Yarns by Iris Schreier and Laurie J. Kimmelstiel. Now, I have no memory of when or where I acquired this book. I don’t really tend to knit with many of the yarns featured in the book, which tend to be high end novelty yarns. I probably got it on sale somewhere otherwise I honestly don’t think I would have picked it up. However, I’ve knit several patterns from it and one in particular several times (Flying V Scarf). I think the reason I’ve found it so useful is that, being for novelty yarns, the patterns tend to be understated and designed to let the yarn’s texture make the piece. So, there’s a lot of garter and stockinette with simple but effective shaping and not a lot of “extra”. This means that it’s easy to substitute other yarns and have it turn out well.

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Back to the Stole. The pattern is actually written for kidsilk haze and I actually have just a little more than enough. I wondered out loud who would possibly want a stole in that shade (not judging–it was an honest question). My mom spoke up. So, onto the queue it went until I had a moment not consumed with deadline-driven test knitting. For the last several days I’ve been knitting away at my Athena shawl (more on that in a later post) and I ran into a snag. I didn’t have anything else on the needles so, while I was waiting for the designer to get back to me, I cast on for the stole.

What exactly does this have to do with hearts and love, you ask? Well, you can be sure that I wouldn’t knit this for anyone that I didn’t really and truly love. Casting on and getting going was a royal pain. The yarn is slippery and impossible to see. By sheer chance I cast on the right number of stitches, although I don’t think anyone would ever be able to tell if I hadn’t. The lace pattern is an easy two row repeat. But, for the first several rows, I questioned my sanity as I yarned over and skp’ed my way through a slippery, hairy mess. It really seemed like I was knitting with something I might have pulled out of the shower drain in my younger Manic Panic infused days. Then, the pattern was established and it got to be a little easier. So far, I’m pleased with the results!

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My other heart and love related story has to stay under wraps for a few more days. I am participating in a Valentine mini swap over at Carol E. Herman Designs. This one involves a small gift, a small handmade item and a card. I will say that this project has made me realize I need better size US1 dpns as the ones I have are, shall we say, sub-par. I am late sending my package off (thank you, record snowfall) but am planning to send it tomorrow. I’m finishing up the last bit of the handmade portion, and I’m really excited! I hope the recipient likes it. I will post pictures here once it’s been received and no longer needs to be kept secret!

Building a Knitting Community

I had the pleasure of going to a fiber arts group meet up last night. It’s a newly resurrected group of local knitters, crocheters, felters and other fiber artists that meets a couple of times a month. Last night’s theme was show and tell, so I brought a slew of FOs to share. It was really nice both to see what other people had made and to get some lovely feedback on the things I shared. I’m hoping I can go regularly in the future!

I have a few new things to share, starting with one teeny FO. I made an Ear bud pouch to match the River District Toque I made for my SIL. The pattern is free on ravelry and is a great way to use up odds and ends of yarn.

IMG_4288I used about 19 yards of malabrigo Rios. I made a couple of modifications to the pattern, other than using worsted weight yarn. I did one extra decrease row at the bottom and, instead of grafting the bottom edges together with Kitchener stitch, I turned it inside out and did a three needle bind off. It worked really well!

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IMG_4282If I make this out of worsted weight yarn again, I would cast on fewer stitches and add one increase row to make the neck a little snugger.

The increases used in the pattern were new to me. It calls for raised increases (RRI and LRI). See my project notes for explanations. I found them a little tricky at first and couldn’t find much online to help. However, they’re really easy once you get it down.

I think this will be a great addition to my SIL’s present!

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IMG_4285My previous WIPs are coming along well. Lacy Loo is done except for weaving in a couple of ends and blocking it. I had the little try it on and she immediately starting rolling around on the floor, so I couldn’t get a good picture. I’m happy with how it turned out. More on that when it’s blocked and properly photographed!

My Color Dipped Hat is also coming along well. I’m so glad I ripped it out and restarted. It looks just right size-wise now. It’s probably close to halfway done. I haven’t been hurrying on it since it doesn’t need to be done until Christmas.

I’ve cast on two new projects in the past couple of days. One is done and blocking but I can’t share it yet–it’s a test knit for a pattern that’s not released yet. It is a baby hat in super bulky yarn so it went really, really fast. The other is my Pretty Crabby hat for my daughter’s bestie. The pattern is Jumbo Crab Cap from Baby Beasties: Monster mittens, hats & other knits for babies and toddlers, a book the wifey got me from the library. It doesn’t seem to be in ravelry yet. I don’t love the pattern so far so I’m making a lot of modifications. The idea is so cute, though, that I want to make it. Mods so far are doing 2×2 ribbing instead of a rolled stockinette brim and casting on 75% of the called for stitch count, then increasing on the first round after the ribbing. So far I’ve finished the hat portion. It’s washed and is currently blocking/drying. I’m using stash acrylic as I doubt it will get a ton of wear. Also, it was the only yarn I had on hand that was the right weight and color (and it’s a good stash buster).

After looking over the directions for the claws, I think I’m going to make some more modifications. The pattern says to make a total of four claw shapes and then sew two together to make each claw. However, the edges are all rough and uneven in the pictures so I’m going to try to figure out a way to knit them in the round instead. Shouldn’t be too hard. The eyes are designed similarly so I’m going to have to figure something out for those, too.

I have lots of projects in the planning stages. I want to make a car blanket for my FIL for Christmas. I’m going to base it loosely on this pattern, but instead of knitting it in one contiguous piece, I want to do garter squares in alternating directions a la Mason Dixon Knitting. I’m planning on using up as much of my Caron Simply Soft as I can on it. I have black, black tweed and a dark red. I’m going to throw some other random grey acrylic in there too so it will have Ohio colors. I need to start swatching so I have an idea of how to divvy up the colors based on the yardage I have.

Another project that’s percolating is a chevron blanket using two different shades of an acrylic/wool blend I have in my stash. I have enough yardage to make a decent size blanket, I think. Not sure what it will be for, but it’ll be useful to someone at some point. It might actually end up being a car blanket for me.

At some point, I will start working on a Feathery Lace Stole for my mom using the purple Rowan Kidsilk Haze I scored at Goodwill a while ago. The wifey requested a Drachenfels so we’re in the process of selecting yarn for that. I’ll make another shawl for my MIL, but I don’t know what pattern or yarn that one will be. Also, I have a couple more Christmas presents to figure out, but they shouldn’t be anything that’s too huge or time consuming.

Last, but not least, I was lucky enough to win another pattern from the weekly chat giveaway on Melanie Berg’s ravelry group. This time, I chose The Miller’s Daughter. It’s a shawl knit in three colors of lace weight yarn. I have tentatively selected yarns, and I’m super excited about it. I am planning on using The Fibre Company Road to China Lace in Sapphire and Cherry Tree Hill Superlace Ragg in Ocean for the main colors and madelinetosh tosh lace in Edison Bulb for the accent color.

I think it’s going to look AWESOME. I don’t know that I’ll get to it while it’s still cold enough to wear it, but I’ll try! I have my work cut out for me!