Thursday, February 7, 2008

Some things are just cursed

The one thing Bradly wanted me to make him, above all others, was the Luchadore ski mask from Son of Stitch 'n' Bitch. Although it had intarsia, which I hate, it would also be practical, given his early morning walk to the bus stop. It would keep him nose warm. So when I got more yarn, I sent about making it.

I consider myself a competent knitter. While I haven't designed anything either large or complicated (and mostly my designs are more modifications to existing patterns), if I have a pattern to follow, there will be a finished product at the end of it. But this one... apparently I forgot how to count. Which I didn't notice until I was halfway up the face, ready to start the colorwork. I had to rip.

An aside here: When I first noticed, I was very upset that I had made such a "beginner mistake." Then I thought about it. Miscounting your stitches, I don't think, is not a beginner mistake. When you're a beginning knitter, you're also a paranoid knitter. You use stitch markers, you count everything four times, then knit a bit and count the stitches again. This was an overconfident, compentent knitter mistake. One from a girl convinced that she knows what she's doing.

Anyway, I reknit every thing (using stitch markers to count this time, asking Bradly to make sure I had counted properly), and continued knitting. At the decreases, I realized I had dropped a stitch about ten rows back. I laddered it up, forcing a new stitch into the space between two perfectly happy stitches, and finished. Then there were ends to weave in... so many ends. Which, while irritating, were not a product of the curse, but the intarsia. Nevertheless, the mask was finished, in time for him to wear it to work on Monday. He reported it to be very warm, and cool, then asked if I had seen where he put it.

I had not. He had left it in the cab. It's lost. Normally I'd be mad, but it's just the curse. I'll make him anouther one soon... once the sting has worn off and the universe had rebalanced itself.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Problems with tension

I finished Mr. Greenjeans. The jury's still out on this, but there'll be pictures... later. While knitting it, I got bored and started another project. A pair of socks, which are going fine, except for my own internal battle of "I'm bored knitting the same thing, I just want to finish it, but I don't want to have half- balles of sock yarn floating about, so I just need to suck it up and add the increases and make the damn knee highs." But I also started a pair of Spiderman hobo gloves for a friend, who saw the mittens I made. (Originally he wanted hobo gloves with his initials on the back, with a lightning bolt between them. Spiderman is good.) But they're not working.

My tension's wonky, which is nothing new with me and fair-isle, and most of it will block out. Except for the finger. There, the tension is so bad that they don't work as fingers. And I don't think blocking will help. I have, as I see it, four options.

1. Rip the fingers and reknit, paying more attention to the tension. Probably the best solution, but potentially an exercise in futility.

2. Rip the fingers and reknit them, only in red. Solves the tension problem, but will stand out from the rest of the glove.

3. Rip the fingers and just make mitts, without the individual fingers. Oh! And I can tack the edges together to give the illusion of very short fingers.

4. Rip the entire glove, order different yarn, in a fingering weight, where the pattern will be smaller, and there will be a better chance at appropriate tension. Okay, that's a bad idea.

Since I had the tacking/very short fingers idea (literally as I was typing), I'm thinkin' that's the best option.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mr Greenjeans is a go!

Having finished the first sleeve, I am feeling much better about the yarn situation. It didn't take two full balls. It took one and a bit, for a sleeve like I want. The astute among you will notice that I altered the sleeve a bit from the pattern. The cabling started earlier and the sleeve is longer overall. On the pattern, the sleeve just looks to be at an awkward length. And I like my sleeves long anyway. In the Boise cold, we have cold and wind, so I tend to wear my cardigans under a jacket, and the sleeves need to be long enough for my to grab and hold while pulling the jacket sleeve on, so it doesn't get pulled up around my elbow.

I tried to get a picture of the sleeve on me, but no amount of twisting and contorting and aid of the bathroom mirror was making that happen.

With the first sleeve finished, I this much yarn left:

Which, according to my calculations, is about 62 yards, using the highly precise and scientific method of drawing out the yarn from my nose across my armspan, and assuming that's a yard. So I should have over a full ball to devote to the body.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Part of the yarn my parents sent me was 9 balls of Reynolds Santana, a cotton/acrylic blend. A sweater's worth, in a self-striping beige yarn that reminds me of sand dunes. (As an aside, not that I would ever be rude enough to ask, but I'm pretty sure my dad got this on sale. He's never sent me a sweater's worth of anything before, and the colors are not what he, who gave me my love of bright colors, would have chosen. My mom, if you're curious, gave me my love of black.) Despite the fact that I still have some knitting for others to do, I started a sweater. The self- striping of the yarn was a concern, since that meant my pattern couldn't be anything too complex. Mr. Greenjeans seemed a good choice. Since the original was knit in a variegated yarn, it should go well with mine, and the end result should be a nice spring/summer night cardigan. So I started knitting.

With nine balls, I technically had enough yarn. The original used 3 balls of 280 yards = 840 yards total. I have nine balls of 102 yards = 918. Unfortunately, there's no way to account for how different yarns act, especially switching a 100% wool for a cotton acrylic blend. I figured if I could get the body out of 4 balls, each sleeve would get 2, leaving me with one for the collar. I still have hopes, but... 4 balls wasn't enough for the body. So I strung it onto waste yarn (which also gave me the opportunity to try it on, look in the mirror and exclaim "Cute!"), and started a sleeve. I think I'll have enough. I really hope I have enough.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Cotton is bad for socks...

But oh, so good for the soul.

My parents, at a loss with what to get me for Christmas, sent me yarn. (I love my parents.) While talking to my mom, I mentioned that I would need to start knitting cotton socks soon, since I'm planning on moving back to Arkansas, where my stash of wool socks will be pretty useless. My mom relayed this to Dad, who, of his own volition, went to a yarn store and bought me yarn. Some of it's wool, some of its cotton. Two particular balls were Schachenmayr Nomotta Crazy Cotton. 100% cotton, fingering weight. Yarn that I know my parents bought for me to turn into socks. So I am. Otherwise, they may start having doubts about whether they're buying me "good" yarn, and never send me any again. Plus, I love the colors.

The downside to cotton socks is they have no natural stretch. I already plan to string elastic through the top, so they'll stay up, and, the fit is a lot more particular than any other pair I've ever made. Working toe-up, they were getting too tight, so I unvented the toe-up heel flap. (this is nothing new, but all the patterns I saw were size 0, fingering weight, and I couldn't figure out the formula. to apply to my own socks. So I guessed.) If anyone's curious how I did it, increase every other row until you're ready to start the heel, work a short row heel over the original number of stitches, (I had 44, so the heel was over 22), ignoring those that you've increased on. Once you've finished the short row heel, continue working back and forth, and knit the last stitch of the heel onto the added stitches. I like it. It has the added benefit of creating a deeper heel, which may be more aesthetically pleasing.
Feather and fan lace pattern, adopted from Kaibashira from Magknits, without the purl rows. Size 2 needles, 44 sts.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

It may also be the season for hats...

Hat #1:
Fair-Isled argyle hat. I knit this in a night to have it ready by Christmas morning, so all of the details are a little fuzzy. (Somewhere around 95, 96 sts, needles, somewhere between 4 and 6). But it got done, at 1:30 a.m., and the recipient seems to really like it.

Hat #2:
Modified Shedir from Knitty's breast cancer surprise issue. Modified for larger needles and yarn, downsized to 96 sts on size 5 needles.

Hat #3:
Modified from the Ski Beanie from Son of Stitch 'n' Bitch. Let's see... yarn substitution, altered the stitch count, added regular ribbing at the bottom, didn't do the two-color thing, knit it in the round instead of flat... maybe this was more inspired by, rather than modified from. Anyway.
Hat #4:
Not technically a Christmas present, but done nonetheless. Celtic Beanie from Son of Stitch 'n' Bitch. For my husband. This first time I showed him the pattern, he said he didn't like it. That didn't make any sense, since he loves everything Celtic. Further questioning led to the admission that "he wasn't really sure if he didn't like the pattern, or just couldn't see past the god-awful colors it was knit in." (Really. Turquoise and lime green? What guy would wear that?) I started knitting anyway, on the theory that if he didn't like it, I would take it. I had to rip back the top once already, since I modified it for smaller yarn and needles, (incidently, if you want to do that, and knit with a DK weight, you can add another pattern repeat, but you ribbing will be slightly off) and it was too short. Whcih doesn't normally bother me, but when you're talking about a double-knit, and therefore double warm hat, it doesn't make any sense to have it not cover the ears. But it is done once more.

As an aside, this was my first time double knitting. I really like this technique, although it's really only good for hats and scarves, it's much easier to maintain the right tension than regular fair-isle... but it takes for fucking long to get through a row. So maybe not using it again any time soon.

All hats were knit out of Knitpicks Merino Style in Coal, and the reds used were the Strawberry color. The photos were all taken in front of the bathroom mirror, using the mirror to look at the picture. At least one was cropped because it made my eyebrows look like they were eating my face.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

'Tis the Season...

for handcoverings, apparently. Cleverly laid out from left to right in order of done-ness.

First up, on the far left. A pair of spiderman mittens for a friend's four year old. Knit from Knit Picks Merino Style in Strawberry and Black, size 3 needles. Basic mitten pattern, half figured out on my own, half cobbled together from other sources. Spiderman webs taken from the Yarn Harlot's blog, from about three years ago. These are completely done.

Second, a pair of mittens for a friend who gets cold hands while jogging. Since she didn't like my solution to that (stop jogging and you won't get cold hands), she gets mittens. Same yarn as above, size 4 needles. Very clever with the colors in them, I think. Pattern, my own. I don't know if you can see it with the picture, but there's a larger cable running down the center between the two-toned ones. These are also done.
Third, a slight modification of Knitty's Fetching. Again, a friend, this one with medical problems that make her cold all the time. Hopefully, these can give her a little bit more warmth while still letting her do her daily things. Same yarn as above, the Strawberry color, size 4 needles, added a bit more in length. Status: One needing ends woven in , one about halfway done. Deadline: Christmas Eve.

The last two are the ones I'm least worried about. They really don't have deadlines, as one's for my mom, the other for my husband, who should be used to me giving him gifts on the needles. The blue are the Broadstreet gloves from Knitty, minus the mitten flap. Yarn, Knitpicks Sock Memories, I believe, in the Yukon colorway (it no longer exists), leftover from my own Broadstreet Mitts. One glove is done, the other hasn't been started.

Beer gloves from Son of Stitch n' Bitch. One needing ends woven in, the other hasn't been started. More details later, when they're actually done.
By the way, I know the picture is wonky. I tried to lighten it up enough that you could at least see the cable on the beer gloves.