Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

My knitting projects have reached the horrible just-get-it-done-and-you-can-move-on phase. Starsky Jr. has a front, and I'm working on the back. It seems a lot harder to do, what with 90 stitches, three repeats, and cabling on every row. Print o' the Wave has a finished center panel, but, despite my best intention, I forgot to take a picture before beginning to pick up stitches around the edge. By the time I remembered, it didn't look like a stole anymore, just a crumpled bag of lace on a too short circular needle. I'm going to finish picking up stitches today, and try to get the inner border eyelet section done before Friday. Starsky Jr. has a goal on one repeat a day.

I'm going home on Friday. Alone. Bradly will be following the next week. I ended up buying new luggage because none of my current ones could fit my wedding dress. I had hoped to have that in my carry-on, so I didn't risk it getting lost, but that's not going to happen. I know what knitting I'm bringing on the plane with me (my pink socks and possibly Mom's stole), but I need to figure out how much yarn I need for about three and a half weeks away from my stash.

Current plans:
Carry on will have one ball and needles for pink sock and Mom's stole.
Checked luggage will have remaining pink sock yarn, yarn for my Dad's other sock, along with the needles, maybe Starsky Jr. I haven't decided yet. Maybe more.

I have to go pack now. And clean up the apartment.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Kool-Aid dyeing

This isn't anything new or original. Many, many people have dyed yarn with Kool-Aid long before I even started knitting. But it was fun. And there isn't enough progress on anything else to justify their blogworthiness.

I had a hank of Knitpicks Bare Sock yarn, the superwash kind. Originally, I was going to try for stripes and make a pair of Feather and Fan socks. I never quite got around to it. When the spring issue of Interweave Knits came in the mail, most of it was pretty "eh." Except for the Spiral Boot Socks. Those I desperately needed. So I dyed my yarn, hoping to get a pretty pink color.
Here we have one skein of the yarn, four packets of Pink Lemonade Kool-Aid, and a pot. A small pot, but the biggest I own. Following the instructions from Knitty, I added the four packets (according to a converter I found online, my 100 grams equaled about 3.5 oz. One packet per ounce, four is a good number), added the yarn, then poured more water on top.

The thing the ladies at Knitty didn't mention: yarn floats. I could not get it down under the water. The other thing they didn't mention: yarn soaks up dye really fast. I was desperately trying to push the yarn down, and the water was getting clearer by the second.

Thinking quickly, I pulled out a mixing bowl. Dropped the yarn into that, pour the Kool-Aid on top, and added more water. The water had gone from a very bright pink, to just a milky tint. Some parts of the yarn were saturated with the pink, and others hadn't even been touched. Not really what I was going for. A little bit of variation would be fine, but not that much.

I added more water to the pot, more Kool-Aid (one packet pink lemonade and one of watermelon cherry, since I wanted to drink some of the pink lemonade, and therefore couldn't use it all for my yarn), stirred that up, dropped the yarn back into the pot, poured the water on top, and turned on the heat. Since the yarn was superwash, I wasn't worried about felting it, but I was concerned about burning it. Just about everything else I make in that pot gets a little bit scorched onto the bottom, and that could not happen with my yarn. I stirred constantly.
The color of the yarn still wasn't even. I scooped a little bit of water out, added another packet of watermelon cherry, and poured it in where the yarn was the lightest. Stir some more, and turn off the heat, and let it sit.

It wasn't until I was getting ready to rinse my yarn that I realized part of my problem. I forgot to soak my yarn prior to dyeing it. Dumb, I know.

Still, the end result?

One skein of slightly-ratty looking flamingo yarn.
What did I learn from this?
1. I need a bigger pot.
2. Always get more Kool-Aid than you think you need. For the yarn I had, four packets should have been plenty. I ended up with seven, and could probably have gone up to eight without any trouble.
3. Tie your hanks in more places than you think you should. I tied in six places. It wasn't enough.
3. Kool-Aid dyeing is frickin' fun.

Did I get what I had originally intended? No. Am I happy with what I did get? Abso-fucking-lutely. Will I be doing this again? Soon as I get more white yarn. And once Kool-Aid goes on sale again. It was 10 cents a pack when I bought all this, so I stocked up. But most of it's for drinking.

Sleeve Joy and Yarn Worries

Starsky Jr. is coming along swimmingly. I've finished the first sleeve and have decided to take a break from the stockinette boredom and have just started on the left front. It's pretty complex ribbing, made more so by the fact that my yarn is black. I don't have any sort of lamp in my computer area, so I'm having to squint for the first few rows to determine whether I should be knitting or purling. It's kind of annoying, but less so than paying attention only to the knitting and counting "Knit 2, purl 4, knit 3, purl 3" aloud.

The sleeve isn't blocking yet, I'm going to wait until I have both done, then block them one on top of the other so they're exactly the same size. I'm thinking I got this idea from Juno, but I'm not sure. It's just roughly pinned down on the backside of my moose quilt so I could take a picture of something that vaguely resembles a sleeve, instead of a stockinette roll.

Finishing this sleeve has got me incredibly worried about running out of yarn. This is the first time I bought yarn for a sweater, then switched projects, so I'm worried. Theoretically, I should have enough. The original pattern called for 9 balls of Reynold's Revue, which has 112 yards in it. I'm swapping in Knitpicks Merino Style, which has 123 yards. So I should need 8 full balls and a little bit on a ninth. I have six full balls, plus three partial balls that added up to about one full ball, plus everything I've knit into the abandoned sweater, which should be about a ball and a half? Maybe? I originally ordered nine balls, and I know I didn't throw any away, so I should be fine. I think. I hope.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

New knitting!

I generally try to have two projects on the needles at one time (that's two projects that I'm actively working on. Those that I've dropped into my stash don't count.) With the completion of both the knee-high stripey socks and the MOH shrug, I needed two new projects, one for TV knitting, and one for computer knitting.

TV knitting: Eunny Jang's Print o' the Wave Stole

Knit on a size 4 circular with Zephyr Silk/Wool in Juniper. This will be for my mom when I finish it.

Currently, I've finished one half of the center panel, and am about three repeats into the second.

The original stole is something like 80" long. Seeing as how my mom's pretty short, I didn't want this to overwhelm her, so I'm shortening it, just by a couple of repeats. I also plan on ending with a half repeat, as per suggested on another knitting blog.

Computer knitting: Knitty's Starsky Jr.

There are advantages to being a small person. For example, you can make the largest size of a kidswear pattern and reasonably expect it to fit.

That's most of one sleeve (also known as a gauge swatch.)

The yarn for this is Knitpicks Merino Style in Coal. Funnily enough, it's the same yarn I was using for another sweater. But I gave that sweater a long, hard look, and came to one very important conclusion.

I hated it. Too lazy to do proper intarsia, the back side was a mess of crossed yarns and unwoven ends. The idea of knitting more on that was... not well received. So, I started another sweater. There should be just enough of the black to complete this (although it is a shame to have such a complex cable pattern on black yarn).

I also have about four balls of bright red that I need to do something with.

Monday, May 21, 2007

MOH Shrug

The MOH shrug is finished. After I finished sewing it up last night, I asked my boyfriend to take a picture of me in it, for the blog. I told him, "Focus on the shrug, not on me." After a little big of generous cropping, this is what we have:

This was cobbled together from a couple of patterns. The general shape was taken from the I Do shrug from Knitty, and the lace patterns were taken from Evelyn Clark's Swallowtail Shawl. It's a little bit snug around the upper arms right now. Without the intended recipient around to check for proper fit, I think I'll unpick the mattress stitch and knit in an additional repeat. Or two. But I think it's really cute.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


In my stash, I had the leftovers from two sock projects. The almost full ball of Knitpicks Essential in Petunia from my Fools Rush socks, and the ball and a half leftover from my finishing the Falling Leaves socks. I could probably get a decent-length socks from the navy, and a pair of anklets from the pink, but I thought it would be really nifty to use the two together for a pair of really long socks. And that's what I did.

At first I was going to do an argyle pattern on the leg, but even after increasing the number of stitches, and switching to larger needles, I could not get it past my ankle. So I gave up, and am incredibly happy with the stripes. Knit on size one needles, beginning with 64 sts for the foot, increased to 72 after the heel, and at some point on the leg, I began increasing so it would fit over my shapely calves, all the way up to 112 sts. That's a lot, by the way. I haven't woven in the ends yet, but I have months to do that before I could even possibly need knee-high wool stockings.

You know what I like best about these socks? Aside from the long stripey goodness? That all most people will ever see of them is this:
They look like the most boring socks in the world, and only I shall know of their hot pink stripey-ness.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

'Cause I just don't have enough to do

My wedding, as of today, is exactly one month away. I still have a couple of more weeks before I fly down to Arkansas to fully immerse myself in last minute, pre-wedding stuff to do, but for now, I seem bound and determined to maintain a certain level of stress pertaining to the wedding.

The veil is finished, the MOH shrug is down to about thirty rows left (approximately), and now, I have decided that I should knit little purses as bridesmaids' gifts. It's entirely selfish, because this is just so they can carry stuff for me at the ceremony (ring, tissues, breath mints, etc.).

The knitting on the first one is done:
Pattern: Knitpicks Generation Purse
Yarn: I don't know the name... it's a polyester, linen, silk blend I got really frickin' cheap online. It's the same yarn that my MOH shrug is made out of.
Needles: Size 4 bamboo straights.
Modifications: Omitted the second eyelet repeat, instead adding a turning row and knitting for six rows in stockinette.

This is blocking right now (anything weird you see on my sheets is just water, I promise), but once it's dry, I plan to line it, sew it up, and find some ribbon to go through the top.

Since the yarn is not terribly elastic, I didn't see much point to blocking it severely. Mostly I just wanted it to soften up a bit, since it has the linen in there.

One down, three to go.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bridal Veil

Finals are over, I'm just waiting for my grades. I've spent the past week knitting and recuperating and making pathetic attempts to clean my apartment.

I did manage to finish the project that's been looming over my head for the past few months. Yes, that's right, the wedding veil is done.

It still needs to be blocked, rather desperately, but I think I'll just wait until I get to Arkansas for the wedding. Otherwise, I'd just have to block it twice.

Pattern: Ingrid's Bridal Knot Shawl by Bridget Rorem from A Gathering of Lace.

Yarn: Zephyr laceweight, 50%wool, 50% tussah silk. Color, white, I guess.

Needles: Size 4 cheapo-Wal-Mart brand.

Modifications: I didn't need a full circle, so I only knit until row 194 (I think) of the middle section, bound off using the purl 2, slip stitches back on left needles, p2tog approach. I didn't like the crown and heart border, so I omitted it, instead inserting a small eyelet section, before knitting on the braid and sawtooth edging, which may be my favorite part of the entire thing.
All in all, I'm really frickin' pleased with this. Once it's blocked into a better semi-circular shape, and attached to a comb, it'll be really nice for my wedding.
Unfortunately, the wedding knitting is not over yet. My Maid of Honor needs a shrug to go over her dress to make her stand out from the other bridesmaids, so I'm working on that now. Shouldn't take too much longer.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Finals are bad.

At this point in the semester, I am functioning on too little sleep and way too much coffee. I look forward to May 8, when all my papers will be turned in, and I can just spend the day curled up in bed, and possibly dealing with some of the wedding stuff that's been creeping up and I've been studiously ignoring.

Because of these circumstances, knitting is kept simple. The veil is on hiatus until I don't have a constant feeling of puffyness from lack of sleep. Projects that I want to start, I don't, because I have doubts as to my counting abilities right now. About the only thing I can manage is socks, not becasue they're easy (although that helps), but because when I have to rip them back, it's not such a big deal.

My current socks have had the leg ripped back... about five times, for various fit reasons. All in all, I'm happy that I did it, both because they now fit, but also because their current incarnation is just stockinette. Which is mindless, so I can do it while scanning through articles on my computer.

I may or may not be posting for a bit. While I don't mind the extra writing from this, I can't drag myself over to a clean spot on the floor to take a picture of anything. In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that clean spots on the floor are rather rare right now. Books and papers cover everything. May 8, I'll clean.