Monday, February 8, 2010

Mondays can, in fact, be productive

And this Monday is no exception.  Today, I have done many things.  I have made wontons.  I made lunch.  I did three loads (or was it four?  No.  Three.) of laundry.  One of them is still in the drier, but it still counts.  I finished six sets of stitch markers (though I haven't taken pictures of them, or the last few sets either).  I did a few more rows on Erin's Deep V vest.  I guess I didn't mention that I'd started that, did I?  Well, I have now.  Cascade 220 in heathered blue and green.  AND (and this is the amazing part) I actually had to go up a needle size to get gauge.  I know, crazy, hey? It was moderately exciting.  Anyways.  There are no pictures yet of the vest.  It's currently sitting in the corner of the couch, awaiting the next few rows.

So while I have something on the needles, I'm going to keep going in chronological order here.  Seems I did a whack of knitting for other people.  And I managed to do most of it with yarn that I did not buy myself.  Excellent.  After the pair of lace ribbon scarves, there were a pair of hats.

The hats were for an ex-coworker, Matt.  We got together for coffee after not having talked in at least a year, maybe 2.  Anyways, I had the Noro hat on, and he joked about how I was still always knitting.  I think at the time I was working on a hat from the Venezia chart, with the Noro leftovers.  I was at an amazing bright blue section in the Noro.  And so Matt asked if I would knit him a hat.  I jokingly told him that if he went and picked up the yarn, then I would knit a hat for him.  Unlined, unlike the last one, which would apparently do him well in Siberia.

I didn't think much of it until I got a text a few days later, asking where I'd gotten the blue yarn (I gave him a piece to take with, for colour comparison's sake) because Dressew didn't have anything like it.  After a quick laugh, because one should never start at Dressew when looking for good yarn, I sent him up to Three Bags.  The next day, I was informed that he had yarn for me.  And would I please knit a hat for his sister, too?  I acquiesced, and picked up the yarn.  One skein of Malabrigo Chunky in violet, and one skein of Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in Saltwater.

The Malabrigo was turned into a Dean Street Hat (rav link).  There are no pictures.  Not even on my camera.  I'm sorry.  The SweetGeorgia is now a Koolhaas.  There are 47 grams left.  Not quite enough to make another one :(  This is in fact an important fact, because despite my best intentions, the hat is too small.  So either it needs to come back from Australia, where it was sent to, or I need to obtain some more yarn.  The second option, as much of a pain as it is, is probably the way it's going to go.

But enough of me talking.  I may as well show you the pictures.

Apologies for the blurry.  I no longer have a tripod, because I gave it back to Makr.

koolhaas top
This is the top.  I love the way the decreases come together.

Also, I have to teach people that if they are getting me yarn for a specific purpose, and it comes in a skein, then they should get it wound into a ball.  Nevermind that it looks nicer in the skein.  100 grams of sock yarn is a LOT to wind by hand.  Even if it does look alright after winding...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Next in line

So it would appear as though I've already failed at regular blogging; my goal was to have one post every week, and clearly that hasn't happened.  However, I still have a backlog of projects to get through, so I think I'll keep trying anyways.  After the hat, there was in fact some Christmas knitting.  Despite the fact that I'd already decided I wasn't going to knit for anyone this year.  Because mom handed me a ball of yarn and said "this is my Christmas present.  Can you make me a lacy scarf?"  What's a girl to do when her mom asks for handknits?  And then hands over the yarn, to boot?  So then I spent a week trying to find a suitable lace pattern for a high-contrast hand-dyed yarn.  Something where the lace wouldn't be obscured by all the changing colours.  (For reference, this was Fibranatura's "Yummy" in Navajo)  I finally ended up with Lace Ribbon after much searching on Ravelry, and settled in to knit.  I think I memorized the lace pattern after 2 repeats....   Anyways, some time between two weeks and a month later, there was a lacy scarf, desperately in need of blocking.  And so block I did.

Mom's scarf
I'm thinking t-pins would be a good investment...

I used some leftover white broadcloth with a wool blanket (the first aid kind) under it to give me something to pin to.  It actually worked pretty well except for when the scarf grew longer than the blanket...  But the carpet had no complaints about being pinned into.

Mom's scarf
Apologies for the blurry; I was taking no-flash pictures inside.  Colours and pattern turned out well, though, hey?

In any case, I cast off mom's scarf on the bus on my way out to Richmond one day, and was then without a knitting project.  Very unfortunate.  So I stopped in at Wool and Wicker and picked up more yarn.  For another scarf, of course.  Same pattern, same size yarn, same size needles...  But this time it was Handmaiden Casbah.  In a sort of teal and blue variegated.  Topaz, I think.   In any case, I started a scarf for Puzzle.  Who I nearly always get something pink for, but decided against it this time.  Because nobody really needs a pink lacy scarf, and it clashes with more things than teal does :p

Alisha's scarf
I'm only sad that the "inside" YO's didn't open up more, because that would have been neat.  Sort of... bubbly.

Anyways, that was probably one of the fastest things I've ever knit.  I love fast knitting :)  It's also been blocked, but is still waiting to be gifted, because I fail at actually seeing people over the holidays... But it might come with me this weekend and go to its rightful owner.

Project notes for anyone still reading, and wanting the condensed version:
Pattern: Lace Ribbon (Knitty, spring 2008)
Yarn: Fibranatura Yummy in Navajo, approx 70 grams, and Handmaiden Casbah in Topaz, approx 70 grams
Needles: 3.5 mm
Notes: Fastest. Project. Ever.  The pattern is easy to memorize, and works up quickly.  I worked three repeats of the lace pattern (45 sts) instead of the 4 repeats dictated by the pattern because mom asked for a narrow scarf (it ended up being about 6.5 inches after blocking)  I really need to remember to swatch and block for lace things though because they grow so unpredictably...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A pretty little hat

And so begins the catch-up progress on the Great Backlog of projects since October.  It may or may not be a good thing; you decide :)

So after knitting the grey hat for Marksman, I decided I wanted a geometric hat of my own.  I'd looked through a bunch of the patterns in Mostly Mittens, and there were a large number that wouldn't work at a worsted-to-bulky gauge, like the grey hat, but that would be great knit in a finer gauge.  Say, fingering weight.  (If you think about it, this does make sense.  They are, after all, mitten patterns, and colourwork mittens at that.)  So I pulled out some of the sock yarn stash (because it is massive) and realized that I had a really nice ball of Noro Kureyon sock that I didn't really want to make socks with (would you?) and proceeded to procrastinate.  A few days later, armed with my printer/scanner, some scissors and some tape, I came to the conclusion that the pattern in the book wasn't a continuous repeat; there was no way for me to line up the chart as-printed so that I would have continuous patterning all the way around.  So I almost gave up.  Which would have been sad.  But then I remembered that I have a fabulous tool at my disposal for charting.  And it's not graph paper.  Graph paper is a great thing, but when you're working on a 36-stitch, 70-some odd row chart, it;s not going to happen.  Instead, I use a program called Pixen.  It's a bitmap graphics application (it's apparently excellent for sprite creation) but it comes in handy when I want to make colour charts, too, because I can display the pixel grid (and zoom as close as required).  Even if it always reminds me of the stamp tool in KidPix...  In any case, an hour or so later, armed with a now-complete-and-repeating chart, I cast on.  And ignored the chart for a few days.  I've now fallen in love with corrugated ribbing; I love the way that the colours pop against each other.  No matter that it's not as stretchy/clingy as plain ribbing.  It looks prettier.  After the ribbing was long enough, I started in on my chart.  And it worked beautifully.

mmm, Noro...
I love the way the colours change, all by themselves...

I need to find another ball or two of this Kureyon Sock colorway; I'm a child of the 80's and as such I am subject to rainbow-attraction. 

I love me some bright colours...  

I think the hardest part of the whole hat-making process was when I discovered that I wasn't going to use the entire chart; even in sock yarn, 70 rows is quite a lot.  I adjusted the chart on the fly, and finished it a few days later.  This was back in November, and it's quickly become my very favourite hat.  I'm smitten.  I even love the way the inside looks.

#20 on the insides
This is the inside.

I almost want to knit it in reverse now.

The way things go

It would seem as though I'm an absentee blogger; I don't remember the last time I actually checked up on blog traffic (because I like knowing if anybody comes to read this thing), and while it's not so much that I don't care, I haven't found the time to put into it.  Or something like that.  Marksman and I were talking about what we want to do or be last night, and this thing came up.  I was talking about how I think it would be kind of nice to actually use my etsy store, and post knitting and fiber-related things.  Or sell things directly from here (though it'd require a POS.) I have a stash of things for making pretty stitch markers, which I know is an overdeveloped market, but there are a few patterns kicking around on my computer, that I've never published.  There's also all of the fingerweaving stuff that's lain dormant, that I could probably turn into a micro tutorial for the blog, and expand more on in some kind of PDF document.  Those are all things I would love to do (because, well, I am still lacking in the full-time work dept) but I have to actually sit down and schedule them into my life.  And then remember to take pictures of them.  THat seems to be the hard part; I have a bunch of (finished) projects up on Ravelry right now with no pictures.  Because I just haven't gotten around to it, it seems.  Sort of unfortunate.  Anyways, what this may come to mean is that instead of posting 6 projects at once, whatever was done since the last post, I might end up posting things in bits and pieces.  Like, one project at a time sort of thing, so that the knitting and finishing times don't necessarily align with when it goes on the blog.  I'm not sure I like the concept (I'm definitely a fan of the real-time progress postings) but I might give it a shot, at least for now, while I am working on a few projects that may prove to be photo-worthy, but I'm not sure.  We'll see how it goes.