Tuesday, January 30, 2007

How many graduate students does it take to work a copier?

Three. Nothing to do with knitting, just something I learned yesterday.

Exciting times in RhiannonLand! I started my wedding veil last night. You will all recall that I am modifying Knitpick's Rona Lace Shawl to be a half-circle and knitting this out of Zephyr Laceweight yarn. That being said, this is the first time I've ever attempted any lace asides from Branching Out, which was knit with fingering weight yarn. Laceweight is so thin! I knitting with thread! Which means, of course, that I can't knit without paying extremely close attention to the project. This is going to be a project that all I do is knit. I don't surf blogs, I don't watch any movies that I actually care about, I just knit. Which can be good, you know, Zen.

The only bad thing about this has to do with the yarn. Like most laceweights, it was twisted into a hank. My ball-winder was a casualty of the move in August. So far, I've just knit with the hank hanging from the corner of my chair, but it seems to be getting a little tangled. If the yarn was thicker, I would just keep going, but I think I'm going to need to spend some quality time with the yarn and my hand-made balling technique.
In other news, this mess o' knitted yarn is destined to become Norberta. Eventually. When I feel like doing all of the finishing. Possibly never. We'll see.

Monday, January 29, 2007

This weekend was, generally speaking, not good for knitting. Those projects I blogged about on Friday? Once again had created a sense of ennui. I cast on something new (big surprise).

The good news is that I finished the Natalya mitts. The bad news is they are currently at my boyfriend's place of employment and I didn't get a picture of them. Pity, the mitten flap was really nice.

The arr-gyle socks are no more. I didn't want to finish knitting the one sock, I knew that I would never make the second, and even if I did get them done, I couldn't wear them for fear of them just falling apart on my foot. So the navy has been reclaimed and the rest of the sock is sitting on the floor, waiting to be thrown away.

On Saturday, I did start Norberta. That's a really quick knit! I only have to make the spine, and then I can sew it up. I kept holding it up at my boyfriend and making growling noises. Sometimes I made him guess what part of the dragon that piece was supposed to be.
He actually got the wings right.

No pictures today. All that exists are piles of indistinguishable yarn.

I'm going to have to leave for school soon, which was irritating, until they started renovating the office right below me. Now, I'm happy about leaving.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Best Laid Plans...

My knitting has been re-prioritized. I have four things on the needles, and I want them off before I start anything new. Three of the four, I've talked about before, and the fourth, well, that's so close to being done I'll probably just wait for a FO post.

1. Natalya mitts for Wayward Boyfriend's co-worker. I finished up the first one, and sent it to work with WB. Apparently, Lisa really likes it, and is suitably impressed with the cabling, so I'm trying to finish these up first.

These also made me realize just how little WB notices how fast I knit. His comment: "You can get those done in, like, a week or so, right?" Me: Love, I can get those done tomorrow." And I can. So hopefully, tomorrow there'll be a FO post, and everyone can see my clever, clever, mitten flaps added on.

2. World's Most Boring Scarf. Since I'm using the same yarn for this as for the gloves, I don't wnat to knit on this until the gloves are done. My theory is the scarf can be shorter than planned for. I can't run out of yarn for the gloves. So, once the Natalya mitts are finished, this will be started.

3. Arrr-gyle socks. These may never be a matching pair. Remember how blase I was about all the ends to weave in? Too many of them. I ended up doing a really shoddy job, where I weave in a couple of stitches, then just tie it together with the nearest other end. Unforetunatley, this is all super-wash wool, so the knots don't hold as well as I would like. I'm scared to wash these socks, and even more scared to make another one. So this one sock will probably get finished, then I'll put everything I need for the second in a Ziploc bag, and forget about it.

Then, I get to start new stuff.

1. Fools Rush socks. I think I'm going to modify these to be toe-up, so I can get really long socks out of them. It helps that the Keyboard Biologist is doing a tutorial on knee-high socks right now, so I won't have to figure too much out for myself.

2. My wedding veil. I have the yarn, I have the charted out pattern, I'm just waiting for the needles to arrive.

3. Norberta. For my dad, I think. I have enough yarn to make two of them, so the plan is for one to go to my dad, who loves all things dragon, and one to go to a friend's child.

Just so this isn't a pictureless post:
My Red Scarves are all ready to go. Worst case scenario, I'll mail these out on Monday. (We don't have a car. It's harder to get to the post office.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right

Similarly, two good things don't outweigh one bad thing.

Good thing #1:

My final Red Scarf is finished. It's drying right now, but then it will be wrapped up in one of the handy-dandy labels, placed in a box with care, and mailed off. Probably Monday. With priority mail, it should get there in plenty of time. By the way, I know that's a bad picture, and there's no real proof that the scarf's actually done, but trust me, it is. Finished around 11 o'clock last night.

Good thing #2:
In order to finish this scarf, I had to figure out how to graft 2x2 ribbing. And I did! It's not perfect by any means, but it's better than if I had just tried the stockinette grafting. You can see the seam line in the picture, but it's really not as noticeable in person. It's not invisible, by any means, but it's not as obvious.
Bad thing (sans picture): I broke a needle. What makes this really bad is that it's all my fault. Well, mostly my fault. My wayward boyfriend helped in its ultimate demise.
I tend to be rather careless with my knitting. whenever I stop, I just drop the WIP on the floor. Makes it easier to pick it back up when I want to. Aside from a few unfortunate DPN incidents (I have a nice, round, 3.75 mm scar on my right thigh), this hasn't caused any problems. Monday, I had to go to school, so I dropped the Red Scarf on the floor next to the computer. I came home, and the boyfriend had moved the chair. ON TOP OF MY NEEDLE. It wasn't completely broken, so I put some Scotch tape around the break, and kept knitting. Wednesday, I went to class. The scenario repeats, with more dire consequences. I come home to find my lovely 4.0 mm bamboo needle, a gift from my father, in two pieces on the floor. There's not enough Scotch tape in the world to fix that. I used what I had and finished the scarf with one and half needles. I'm not entirely sure where to go from here. Throw the broken needle away, I suppose.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


So what was that pile o' yarn destined to become?

Arrr-gyle socks. These socks amuse me to no end. They were borne out of my desire to avoid having half skeins laying around the house. After making my Jaywalkers, I had over half a skein of the yarn used for them. I know from experience that that's not enough to make even a pair of anklets, but I really have no other use for sock yarn aside from, well, socks.

Reading Julia's archives, I was reminded of the Arrr-gyle socks, and remembered that I desperately wanted a pair. Simply stripes has fairly long repeats, and it seemed totally reasonable to use that yarn for the diamonds of color, and the navy sock yarn as the background. A little bit of math later (how much yarn do I have left, how much yarn do I need for each diamond, how many diamonds can I get out of how much yarn I have left, etc) and I was ready to cast on.

The downside to using the striping yarn for the diamonds is that there are a lot of ends to weave in. A lot of ends to weave in. How many?

That's not even all of them. some have already been woven in.
But that's a good thing, since this is my first piece of intarsia (I know. My first piece of intarsia with fingering weight yarn on size 1 needles. Real bright.), so all of the ends allow me to correct my little mistakes.

Just a little bit longer and I'll be finished with the colorwork.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I have something to say

I had written a post earlier today, but it got eaten by Blogger. Since I wasn't saying much of anything, I decided against a re-write.

But now, I have something to say.

Normally, I only block things that need blocking: lace, sweater pieces, that sort of thing. But I decided that it would probably be a good thing if I went ahead and washed the scarves I'm sending to the Red Scarf Project. The Irish Hiking Scarf has been floating around my apartment for a fair number of months now, who knows what it's picked up in the process. I filled up my bathroom sink with some lukewarm water, added some Eucalan wash, and dropped the scarf in. I knew it would bleed. I wasn't expecting the water to turn FUCHSIA. Fuchsia people. Okay, it needs a couple more washes. Two washes later, the water is still fuchsia.

I remembered that Grumperina had this same problem with Hollyberry yarn, although hers was the Merino style, and mine's Wool of the Andes. I went to her blog and searched. She "rinsed and rinsed, and by the time my arms got really tired, and my back started to hurt from hovering over the bathtub and it was about 2 a.m., the water was a light peach color." I am not that patient. I do not want to spend my entire day washing a damn scarf.

But wait! Didn't she do some experiment about setting the dye? Why, yes she did. Vinegar. Vinegar saved my life. I refilled my sink, added some apple cider vinegar (the only kind we have), and dropped the scarf in. The water is barely pink. I can live with that.

In other news:
Come back Monday to see what this pile of yarn is destined to be!
That's two skeins of Knitpicks Navy Essential, one hank of Knitpicks Bare sock yarn, and a partial skein of Knitpicks Simple Stripes in Tropic (left over from my Jaywalkers). Oh, and two size 1 DPNs.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Man, that's a quick knit

I started these around 9:00 last night. They are almost done. Crazy. These are Natalya by Jody Pirrello. I shortened them considerably and am using a smaller needle (size 6), but I love them. I'm making them for one of my boyfriend's coworkers, but now I'm kind of hoping she won't want them, and I'll have them all to myself. I'm a selfish person, what can I say. I still need to knit about four more rounds, then add the half-fingers, and a mitten shell (not included in the pattern, but I've winged it before on gloves, so I'm not worried), then they're done! I think I'm in love with Jody. These are perfect. Even if Lisa does want these, I'm thinking I'll need to make a pair for myself.
If anyone's curious about why I'm making these for someone, and wondering if they'll want them (since I know most knitters would say "if you're not sure the knitwear will be appreciated, don't knit for the person), I offered to make a pair of fingerless gloves for the person, but, due to time constraints and crazy schedules, I haven't been able to ask exactly what she wants. So I'm guessing. I like them, though.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I Love My Mailman

Most knitters do, I've noticed. That's what happens when you order stuff online. The arrival of the mail is greeted with much joy and a little bit of stalking. In addition to my Knitpicks order (arrived Friday), my wedding dress (Saturday), I checked my mail yesterday (Tuesday), and look what was there:

That is four ounces of Zephyr laceweight yarn (50% wool, 50% silk) that is destined to become my next epic project: My wedding veil. To be perfectly honest, this isn't quite as impressive as it sounds. My wedding is a casual, mid-afternoon summer affair, so I don't need any twelve foot long Princess Di monstrosity.

The pattern I'm using came with my Knitpicks order, the Rona Lace Shawl. The problem is two-fold with this. Number one: I only want a half-circle, not the full circle in the pattern. I have to modify everything for this. Number two: The pattern is written out, not charted. Normally, this wouldn't bother me, but since I'm having to modify everything to accommodate the new shape of the shawl/veil, I have to chart everything out anyway, so I know where I need each row to start. May I say that, in addition to my mailman, I love spreadsheet programs. Everything is much easier that charting this out by hand. Trust me, I've tried it both ways.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Red Yarn = Red Scarf

So the burning question is, since Rhiannon didn't add the hood to her Mariah, what is she going to do with all of the yarn left over? Normally, this would probably get tossed into my yarn Tupperware, but, as I'm sure you've noted, Mariah was red. Therefore, the leftover yarn is red. Right now, there is a charity the needs red scarves. Everyone see where I'm going with this? Good.

The pattern for this came out of Interweave Knits Fall '06. They had a special bonus insert all about scarves. I'm a little surprised that I found this pattern, considering when I first looked at that insert, I gave serious thought to throwing it away. But I didn't, and it is serving me well. If you have a copy of the insert, the pattern is Faux Cable Scarves by Pam Allen, the green version. (That's actually kind of irritating. The red version isn't faux cabling at all. It's real.) I went up a needle size, since I don't have 3.75 mm in bamboo, but I think it works out, because my yarn is thicker. I think. I'm just guessing, really, since my admittedly weak Google-fu found no information about the called-for yarn, Reynolds Destiny.

This is the third scarf I'm making for the project. I made one last year, and, with all the advanced notice given this year, I had plenty of time to make more.
From left to right: Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf, by Karen Baumer, in Lionbrand Wool-Ease, Autumn Print.
The Faux Cable Scarf featured above.
The ever-popular Irish Hiking Scarf in Knitpicks Wool of the Andes, Hollyberry.
When I say the Irish Hiking Scarf is ever-popular, I mean it. Look at the Red Scarf Project's blog. Everyone is making one of these. I keep joking to my boyfriend that it's going to become the unofficial uniform for orphans here.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Essentially Socks

Last Friday, I had three projects on the needles. All of them were boring me to death. I didn't want to knit them. I wanted to do anything but knit, which is sad and completely unlike me. Each project seemed to take forever and I wanted nothing more than the instant gratification of finishing something. But nothing I was knitting was going to be finished soon, and I knew better than to cast on something new to add to my ennui. I was stuck, uninspired. Then, my Knitpicks order arrived. Still, I tried to be virtuous. There was no point casting on something new, even in new yarn, when I still had three projects draining the life out of me.

I made it to Saturday. Then, I realized I had one UFO that was put on hold until the Knitpicks yarn arrived. I pulled that out and finished.
Pattern: Falling Leaves from Knitty
Yarn: Knitpicks Essential in Navy
Needles: Size 1 Susan Bates (I think)
I started these socks because, having just finished a pair of socks in the same yarn, I had over half of a ball left. Since the first pair, with a decent leg length, had only seemed to take very beyond one ball, I was curious about whether I could get a small pair of anklets out of what was left.
I totally can't. I got one anklet and half a foot (my foot, not the twelve inches foot) on the second. Not a problem. I strung the unfinished sock on spare yarn, reclaimed my needles and made a mental note to order more Essential when I placed another Knitpicks order.
When the Essential arrived, it looked ... different. The ball itself was more compact and cuter, and the yarn seemed softer. Since I have an aversion to ripping back anything, and especially socks, I employed the "galloping horse" rule and went ahead. The new yarn is slightly lighter in color and slightly softer in feel, but, on socks, no one's going to be able to notice. Trust me, no one will ever know.
The good news is these socks did what I needed them to. I pulled out the World's Most Boring Scarf and am happily knitting away.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Since I started keeping this journal/blog thing, I've learned something about myself. Generally, whatever it is that I'm bitching about is never as bad as I think, once I actually sit down and do it. Case in point: re-knitting the shoulders on Mariah. Being completely bored with my other two projects, I grabbed the only spot of color in my knitting spectrum currently: my red Mariah. I re-knit the shoulders, using some short-rows and knit the collar. Tried Mariah on, ripped the collar back and re-knit, including a decrease. Declared "I'm not re-knitting this again!" and tried it on. It's good. I like it.

The picture's too dark, but when I used the flash, it was just a big red blur. At least this way, it's recognizable as a sweater. I just have to weave in a couple of ends, block it and sew in the zipper. I'm counting on blocking to straighten out some wonky stitches on the short-rows. Yeah, blocking fixes everything. Maybe I should block it now and see if blocking will sew in that zipper for me.

Project specs
Pattern: Mariah from Knitty, designed by Jodi Green

Yarn: Pattons Classic Wool in Bright Red

Needles: Size 7 circulars, brand unknown (whatever it is they sell at Wal-Mart)

Gauge: ...no idea. I don't swatch, I just hope. So far, it's worked.

Modifications: None, until I finished the raglan shaping. Then I decided that I didn't want the hood, and, more importantly, I didn't want to knit the hood. So I would make a crew neck, being the simplest of the alternative necklines. I added some short rows on both fronts, to raise the neckline in the front without altering it in the back, then some more short-rows on the shoulders to raise those as well. The I knit 1x1 ribbing for seven rows and bound off. Without blocking and a zipper, it's hard to get an exact idea of what it looks like on me, but I think I like it. Very warm, though. Which is good in Boise, but not so good if I'm just extremely proud of myself and want to parade around my heated apartment in it.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Hat Tribulations

Some people are sock knitters. Others want nothing more than to knit lace. Personally, although I've branched out recently, I am a hat knitter. I have knit more hats than anything else, possibly everything else combined. Hats are the only thing that I don't need a pattern for. I just knit. So why is a boring black hat kicking my ass?

Almost a year ago a friend asked for a basic, black hat. I finally started working on it yesterday, having reached the half-way point of the World's Most Boring Scarf. I looked up my notes for another friend's hat, cast on and knit. The problem is this particular friend is a big guy. We're talking 6 foot tall, 300-pound black belt. This was the person that I was going to call if I ever got into trouble. But, anyway, big guy, proportionately big head. I looked at what I had knit, measured my gauge (no, I didn't swatch. It's a hat.) and worried about it for a while. Despite my Wayward Boyfriend knowing this particular friend longer than I've been alive, he was no help. "Do you think Colt's head is bigger than 22-inches?" "Okay, Colt's got a big head, but so does Drew. Do you think Colt's head is no bigger than one inch bigger than Drew's head?"
Him: "I don't know. I mean, Colt's a big guy, but his head's kinda small for his size." No help at all. I ripped out.

Cast on enough stitches to fit up to a 25-inch head, with the theory that the ribbing around the bottom will snug it in if need be. Zipping merrily, knitting until mid-night, and put it down, having finished the bottom ribbing and eight rows of stockinette. Go to bed, lay down, and the thought occurs to me. "Didn't Colt say he wanted a ribbed hat?" Yeah, I think he did.

So a simple black hat, a perfect counterpoint to the World's Most Boring Scarf, this World's Most Boring Hat, has know been ripped back twice so far. I want nothing more than to toss it in the giant grey Tupperware with the rest of my unused yarn and forget about it. The only thing stopping me is that I don't want to work on either of my other two projects, and I don't want four projects on the needles at one time. So I am valiantly knitting along, hoping to finish by tomorrow and move on to better projects. I have twelve rows.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

No progress on Mariah. She's been sent to Time-Out while I work on other projects and try to figure out how to deal with my issues with her.

The Pirate Mittens... did not work out. I'm just going to pretend I never tried to make those and order some actual sport weight yarn sometime in the future.

The only thing I have been knitting on is the World's Most Boring Scarf. Once I stopped bitching about it and actually started knitting it, it's going pretty quickly. I'm about two feet into it now, I think I want it about six feet when I'm done, so I've got a little bit. No picture, it's just an nondescript black rectangle attached to bamboo needles.

When I started this blog, I don't think I quite understood how everything works. People need to know that it's out there before they'll start reading it. I wondered if I should stop writing until I had gained more of a web presence, then restarted with some readers. But I sat down and thought, and came up with the conclusion that I'm not doing this for other people. I'm doing it for myself, and I enjoy it. So the blog will continue, and if I ever do have people reading it, they'll have archives to go through. Which isn't a bad thing, really.

Monday, January 8, 2007

I managed to finish Mariah this weekend. Of course, then I tried it on and realized the fit was not quite what I wanted. So I frogged back the collar, replaced the stitches on my needle, scratched out a few notes on what I wanted to change and threw it on a pile on the floor. I'll return to that soon.

Basically, the shoulders aren't as close to my neck as I want, so I'll try some tricky short-row bits there, and the front of the neckline has too much material (it can overlap by a couple of inches) and while I could just leave it alone with the knowledge that I'm never going to zip it all the way up, I really want this sweater to fit. So I'm going to do some decreases there.

The picture is lousy. For the record, I safety-pinned the front for the picture, so that's why it's gaping so much and my tailor's dummy has broader shoulders than I do. Really, Mariah fits the dummy much better than it fits me.
So what did I do while the sweater was on the floor? Two things: I worked on the world's most boring scarf (black, Wool-Ease, 1x1 ribbing) and cast on for Pirate Mittens.

The pattern calls for sport-weight yarn. I tried to do it with fingering weight. Needless to say, that did not work. I spent part of last night and this morning recharting the pattern, to accommodate more stitches. I have no idea if this is going to work, but having already cast on and ripped about three times on this project, what's once more?

Saturday, January 6, 2007


Mariah is coming along. Still no pictures, but I decided to omit the hood. Partly because I never wear hoods, so it'd just cause trouble, but mostly because of the line in the instructions: "Work even until work measures 14 inches." I just don't think I have it in me to work for 14 inches on something that I'm never going to wear up. So I'm just going to substitute a small crew neck. My plan for this is to finish the raglan decreases, try it on to see if I need to continue decreasing (I suspect I will), then purl one row to fake a seam, and knit in K1P1 rib for two inches, fold one inch under, and sew that down. That's my current plan. I'm going to be spending some quality time on Google today to see if anyone else has any better ideas.

Yarn: Knitpicks Simple Stripes in, well, according to the number on the ballband, this is Tropics, but it really looks like Sunset to me. The yarn's discontinued, so I guess it's kind of moot.

Needles: Size 1 DPNs.

Modifications: Even though the chevron patterning is what's relatively inelastic, I was worried about the ribbing being to tight to go over my (ahem) shapely calves, so I started the ribbing on 84 stitches, and then decreased to 76 for the rest of the leg. And I did a short row heel instead of the heel flap (I always do a short row heel. I hate picking up gusset stitches.)

Comments: I really love these socks. I love them so much I had to be really careful when taking the pictures not to show the bottom of my feet, 'cause I've been wearing these a lot. They're not exactly identical (look carefully at the heel), but they're the closest I've ever gotten with socks, so I'm incredibly happy. Is anyone else out there wondering when Grumperina's going to make the knitting world a better place and design another sock? Or is that just me?

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Mariah has been joined together. It's huge and heavy, and considerably harder to knit on when I'm at the computer (which is when I usually do most of my knitting.) I'm seriously considering just ripping back the four rows I've knit since I joined it together and knitting the raglan shaping into each piece separately. I probably won't though, pattern slave that I am. I was going to take a picture of it, but it just looks like a red knitted blob on a too-short needle. Once the number of stitches is down to a reasonable number, there will be pictures.

Recently, I've been doing a lot of knitting, and have a fair number of FOs to show off. Lacking any knitting to talk about except for Mariah, these will be showcased.

First, Branching Out, from Knitty.

This is the second time I've made this pattern. It's blocking in the picture, and I didn't manage to get the edges even remotely straight. But that's okay, because the wavyness of the edges ... accentuates the leafyness of the lace pattern. Yeah. That's totally believable.
Stats: This was knit on size 7 (4.5 mm) needles with Knitpicks Palette in Pool, I think. This first one looks exactly like this, only the blue was slightly lighter (Knitpicks Palette in Sky). This is a gift for a very dear friend of mine. In addition to being the sweetest person in the world, and my maid-of-honor (and anyone who willingly puts up with me while planning a wedding deserves all of the hand knits I can force upon them), but her military husband just got shipped overseas to Afghanistan, so she's going through a bit of a rough patch. Hopefully, this will cheer her up a bit.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Just so we know where we stand...

Currently, I only have one project on the needles. This is unusual for me. While I'm not up to the Yarn Harlot's status in terms of UFOs, I do normally have about two to four porjects on the needles at any given time. Now, not so much. Just the one, Mariah from Knitty.

Most knitters discovered this during the Olympics, but it's really amazing just how fast I can knit when it's the only thing I'm doing. Not only do I not have any other projects to distract me, but I'm home on Christmas break. There's nothing stopping me from completely devoting all of my time to knitting this cardigan.

Currently, I'm zooming along. I have both sleeves finished (I worked on those first, two on one long circular needle), the back (which reminded me that stockinette stitch is really, really boring), the left front, and have almost finished the cable portion for the right front. Hopefully, that'll get done today, then I can join everything together and maybe have a new cardigan by the time school starts up again.

It should be noted that when I finished a section, I left the ball of yarn attached. Looking at this now, I'm not quite sure why I did that. It should also be noted that I have a cheap digital camera, and my photography skills are mediocre at best. With any luck, as this blog continues, I'll get better. I also have a fair number of finished objects that I'll showcase as the week goes on.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Look who's blogging now!

New Year's Resolutions:

1. Start a knitting blog.
Hey, look. Already done.

2. Keep up with the knitting blog.
Umm, we'll see how this goes. Given my criminally short attention span, this may be a bit harder than number 1.

I had been toying with the idea of starting a knitting blog for a while, but I kept putting it off for various reasons. Sometime in November, I realized I was composing blog entries in my head for various WIPs, and realized that this had gone too far, and I needed to start a blog soon, like after finals were over, when I would have plenty of time. Finals were over, and I kept telling myself that I would start this blog the next day, and wax lyrical about whatever I was working on at that time. Three weeks and a surprising number of finished objects later, I have this.

I've never really done a blog before, so this is a bit of a learning process. We'll see how it goes.