Thursday, February 15

In Search Of...

Do you remember that show? I vaguely remember watching it along with the National Geographic specials brought to you by Mutual of Omaha.

So, no pictures of my fair isle progress, as I've been busy with other stuff... I've made it to the second "easter egg" set of rows. At least the changing-patterns-every-row pattern to this band keeps my attention, unlike the 2x2 checkerboard rows, where I want to tear my hair out.

I've been contemplating a top-down raglan lately, with 2 colors of palette held together, in browns. Ben called me this morning, and we met for lunch, with just enough time to be inconvenient to drive home and then back to the highway to get to work, so I searched the shelves of the nearby Barnes & Noble for anything on raglan sweaters, and found... nothing. 45 minutes of browsing through the "10 quick sweaters" or "This Magazine's Favorite Sweaters" or "Knit a Sweater in a Weekend" type books. I found 2 things: drop-shoulder sweaters or sleeveless numbers. I found one raglan, but it was knit from the bottom up. I have broad enough shoulders, people. I don't need to create the illusion of having MORE of them.

So, dejected, I drove to work. Well, I drove almost to work, and ended up at Knitty Cat, where I found "Knitting from the Top", within 10 minutes of beginning my search. While I may not use all of the un-patterns in this book -- no knitted skirts or pants for me, thanks! -- I really like her conversational style, and it will probably make more sense once I have yarn in my hands. Knitting generally does. Sometimes, the directions make no sense until I've actually started working through it, and then it becomes rather clear when I've finally got yarn and needles going.

I love the way Barbara Walker defines knitting fabric as something totally different from sewing fabric, not in the least part because I *hate* seaming with a passion. Asking me to seam is almost, but not quite, like asking me to knit 18 feet of k2p2 ribbing. She's right, of course. Knit fabric has different properties than woven fabric -- for a quick check, compare your jeans to your t-shirt. Which has more drape? Which stretches more with your movements?

So, I'm sitting here, thinking about the color transitions that I want to build into the sweater -- I'm thinking light to dark, from cream blended with tan at the neckline to a deep dark wood hem and cuffs. I'd like it to be as long as my store-bought grey sweater, which sits mid-pants-zipper or a little lower.

Sunday, January 21

Another FO?

Voila! The gauge-less, swatch-less, guess at the size, i-cord fingered photography gloves.

Orange, of course, as they're for Ben. Started and completed while I was at work last night. The whole story begins with the fact I was 45 minutes early for work, and stopped off at Knitty Cat for a while. I ended up picking up 2 balls of Mission Falls 1824 wool in color #533. I didn't know that the Mission Falls was superwash, but it is, and coupled with the fact that it's a worsted weight made it perfect for what I wanted to do.

Armed with the ability to knit, and with Nona's i-cord gloves tutorial/pattern thingy... I came up with these. They're great because the 2 'fiddly fingers' that you need to adjust everything on your schmancy camera are free, but the other fingers are nice and toasty warm in their little finger coverings.

There has been progress on the cardi, as well, as evidenced by this photo.

And I've started some photo gloves for myself this morning... I'm really enjoying the knitting of these. They're a quick knit in worsted weight yarn, too. :D

Tuesday, January 16

Escape from Fair Isle...

These finished objects came about because I didn't have anything to work on that wasn't the same gauge of the fair isle sweater, and because MJ was making sock puppets at me (not really, she was just making socks and putting them on her hands). I decided that her socks looked like the start of mittens, and so yesterday, I sat down with this skein of Silk Garden Lite (50 g, color 2011).

And these tools... waste yarn, crochet hook, size 7 DPN's, crocodile scissors, and bent-tip needle.

I came up with these odd-looking socks.

Ok, ok, these aren't socks for your feet. They're HAND SOCKS (aka mittens).

Weighing in at 38 grams, these lightweight drapey mittens will probably get shoved into my jacket pocket, for use in things like... "Opening Car Doors", and "Holding on to the Freezing Steering Wheel". There was almost-but-not-quite enough for another mitten left from the 50g skein of Silk Garden Lite.

These are the prototype mittens. I'll write a pattern up once I've knit them a few more times. Some of the things I don't like about these mittens: ribbing is too short, thumb looks a little wonky (because I decreased from 12 sts at the bottom to 9 sts in the middle, and then down to 3 at the top, making them pointy). They're plenty roomy, though. I can spread my fingers out rather well in them. I'm thinking that this would be a great project for all of those one-off balls of yarn you just HAD TO HAVE because they were so pretty.

If you'd like to help me out, leave a comment, and I'll email you back with the questionnaire. (I'm looking for glove size S/M/L/XL, and measurements of your hand. Nothing too personal!) I'm planning to have plain mittens, as well as textured and patterned, when all is done. I'm looking to publish the PDF hopefully before the month is through.

Saturday, January 13

Cast-on Party!

I started on the Knit Picks Palette Fair Isle Cardigan last night, joining the ribbing after 2 rows knit 'flat'. I know, it looks like a lot of nothing, but it gets better, really.

This is about as far as I got with it before I went to knit group (which Lisa graciously held this morning).

When I got there, Sabine tried on Ellen's Noro sweater, it's the 48" version, which Sabine thought she'd like the size of...

But it's almost a dress on her! She decided to rip out her sweater front (which was about 6" long, and wrapped almost all the way around her), and to knit a smaller size after trying the sweater on.

Liesel showed off her (pre-felted) bag that she knitted in Patons SWS. We're waiting for the final result... it's gotta be fabulous! (That's MJ, Sabine, part of Ellen's head, and Jake, the large dog-rug on the floor, looking on with pride.)

Anne finally successfully joined her ribbing in the round around 5pm, 7 hours from the beginning of the knit group today. She cast on, ripped, re-cast on, re-calcuated, and finally joined this sweater in the round.

Anne finally joining her knitting in the round -- 7 hours later

And my final sweater...

Sunday, December 31

Looking Forward...

2006 was a rough year, and while some knitting got done, not enough of it did.

2007 will have more knitting, and less drama. The knit group's going to do a knit-along for the Knitpicks Fair Isle Cardigan. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to participate because of extenuating circumstances, but my adorable husband made sure that I'd be able to knit along with everyone.

Along with another lens for my camera, Christmas brought the Barbara Walker Treasuries of Knitting Patterns (all 4), and a larger hard drive for my ibook. Mom sent us Home Depot giftcards and we had 2 of my brothers for Christmas. They were argumentative, as usual, but it was mostly verbal. I think because they're now the same height (at 23 and 18, it's been a long time coming), they're less prone to duking it out. It was fun, though, and we went to the zoo with my brothers for the lights on the 23rd. We were snowed in for much of their visit, but all went pretty well (until our trip to Best Buy, where my brothers followed me through a 7" deep puddle (when I was wearing my 8" tall boots)).

I spent Thursday night at work, then was in a hotel Friday morning and Saturday morning (which work paid for). I went home early last night, and slept in my own bed --and slept IN this morning, otherwise I'd have woken up in time for knit group this morning. We're meeting again tomorrow (first meet of the new year) , and I'm looking forward to the new year.

What I want to get accomplished this year: the cardigan, a top-down raglan for me, and maybe another sweater for the husband. Oh, and more socks. I have a pair on the needles for Ben that need to be finished.

Tuesday, December 12

Norberta -- Knitty Winter '06

So, when Knitty came out with the winter issue, I knew I wanted to knit norberta, the little dragon. Here's the first one, that I followed the exact pattern (although with 1 strand of worsted versus 2 strands of dk -- any time I can deal with one strand versus 2, I'll do it). I had a few problems. Her eyes are a bit big (but I like them), and the bump on her head's not very pronounced, although I shoved some extra batting there.

The belly is VERY VERY Round. There's not really much direction to match pieces together -- there's not any obvious "corners" to match, except the neck decreases. On this piece, I hadn't figured out to use mattress stitch, and my stitching's rather crude...

And then there's the spikes. I didn't really think much about the sewing, and she's got crooked scales. The scales are REALLY long compared to her body. These came to her nose, which is one reason they look somewhat gathered.


This is NorOberta. She's made with Noro Kureyon, and made in this order: head/tail, arms, belly, spikes, wings, legs. The last leg was made with the end of the skein, using the "other end" of the skein (so it went to the red at the end of the leg, to half-match the other leg). I assembled her stockinette side out (although that's just a personal decision), and sewed both sides of her belly to her head/back/tail at the same time, making a few stitches on one side, then a few on the other.

Some of the changes I made include: extending the tail, working only ONE set of short rows (skipping the knit rows and short rows), and shortening the spikes. Even though I shortened the set of spikes by 2 large spikes, I ended up having to pull out a LOT of them. This one has NO tail spike, and only 4 large spikes, 1 'mini spike' on the small of the back, and one small spike. I pulled out the 2 large and 2 small spikes along with the tail spike and re-knit one small spike when I was assembling her, as the first modification I had made STILL made her spikes too long.

I ended up sewing a running stitch of cotton up the back (taken out when I was done), which made positioning the spikes straight MUCH easier. I also chose a garter ridge on which to start sewing the arms down, and only half-sewed the wings down, to make them look 'flappier'. Oh, and I made the knees better-defined by changing the rows from k7, kfb 4x, k7 to k6, kfb, kfb, k2, kfb, kfb, k6, etc. until I got to the decreases, which I left the same. I think this gives her more pronounced knees. The eyes on this one are safety eyes.

On both dragons, I had issues with stuffing showing through the garter-stitch leg bits. Noroberta wasn't even stuffed as much as the original Norberta. Next up, doubling the stitch count, and going down to a 3 for the body, and maybe a 2 for the spikes, which is the needle size that Brie suggested -- she was knitting Norberta with worsted on 3's, and had a babier-dragon than I had. We'll see how well that goes... some arrangements will have to be made to stretch the body while keeping the proportions the same, although I have a feeling I won't see ANY stuffing through those stitches!

If I were to knit another Norberta on 6's, I'd make the same considerations, but probably start the tail with 2-3 rows of 3-stitch i-cord, increase every stitch to get 6 sts, 2-3 rows of knitting 6 sts flat (or maybe in the round on dpn's or 2 circs), then increasing every other stitch to 9 sts, work for 1-2 rows, and then k2, kfb (or something similar) to get 12 sts, knit 2-3 rows. Then, if I had decided to work in the round until now, I'd start knitting flat. This would give the tail some stability, and give you somewhere to better attach the belly.