Archive for the 'process' Category

wip: lace ribbon scarf

May 4, 2008

As I previously predicted, this scarf has become my constant travel project. I’ve knit it through all my recent travelling, and on my new commute. For example, here I am knitting it in Tulsa, OK:

Photo 76

(The sun really blasts out the corner there, sorry.)

The fun thing about knitting this scarf (Lace Ribbon by Veronik Avery if you don’t recognize it) as a traveling/KIP project is that people are really drawn to the color saturation of this yarn (Koigu KPM). GFF bought me this yarn for my birthday at the end of March, and the color choice is totally her doing, btw. I brought this scarf with me to work on during our coop work shift last weekend, and everyone who passed through the check out line commented on it. The shift consensus was that this colorway should be named either “Saffron” or “Chrysanthemum.”

pile o' scarf

The color of the yarn is actually pretty accurate there. It’s luminous, for real. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough of it to make the scarf as long as I want it. With two skeins, it’s not long enough to wrap around my neck. I think a third skein would make it wearable, but I’m going to have to put off buying the final skein for a while until I’ve got some more cash flow. And I came to the end of the yarn I have for it yesterday! So I have to find a new travel project for a while.

spread out

Look at that lace pattern, will ya? I can’t get over it, myself. I also can’t tell you how truly enjoyable I’ve found it to be! I memorized the pattern pretty quickly, despite it having a 24 row repeat. It’s simple enough to keep track of as a traveling project, but interesting enough that I can knit it for an hour or so without getting bored, even if I’m not listening to my ipod or whatever. I’m anxious to wear this scarf, but I’m going to be sad when I’m through knitting it.

Speaking of sadness when finishing a project…I did manage to finish my Rusted Root this weekend! It came together very quickly at the end (no seaming, natch), and I’ve already worn it out of the house, although it’s really in need of a good blocking. Not sure when I’m going to get it blocked, but once I do I’ll have GFF take some pics of me wearing it and report back to y’all. It’s not perfect, but it IS my first finished garment and I’m danged proud of it!

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wip: Rusted Root

April 27, 2008

(Not that I’ve been posting that much recently, but things are in danger of slowing down even more because I’m starting a new job and I will actually be in a real office all week long. I thought I’d spread out some posts about my current wips to give you some material for the next week or so. And hopefully at least one of these will become a FO by then! This one is dangerously close.)

So you know how there are some patterns that it seems like basically everyone has knit, and anyone who hasn’t knit it by now probably just doesn’t get their kicks from that pattern and so that’s that, no more of those FOs? It seems to me that Ravelry is changing that, because there are new rashes of Clapotis, Pomatomus, and – yep – Rusted Root all over the place. For myself, I never realized how cute this pattern was until I looked through pages and pages of cute knitters wearing their finished tops! All the different colors and styling really made me see the potential in this simple sweater. Ok, it also helped me to see that this sweater is really simple, and that people knit it really fast.

This is where the sweater was on April 16:

Rusted Root 4/16

(Those are my Pomatomus socks!) This was three days after starting – but keep in mind that the “first day” was just swatching, and the second and third day (April 14 & 15) I was working for a tax preparer all day. At this point, I was almost through the raglan shaping, about to separate the arm stitches.

Five days later, April 21, I had this:

rusted root in progress

At this point, I was through with the waist decreases and starting a straight knitting portion before doing hip increases.  Since then, I’ve completed the hip increases and knit several inches…I just have a little bit more to knit lengthwise, then I’ll do the ribbing, the neck ribbing, and the sleeve finishing!  This is going to be my  first finished garment and it’s so close I can taste it.  (No pictures, sorry!)

Despite my new job and loss of daytime knitting time, I’m being extremely monogamous with my knitting right now (ok, I’m having a sort of on-the-road affair with my lace ribbon scarf, but this sweater could in no way be mistaken for travel knitting during rush hour on the subway in NYC) and making time for this sweater every morning before work and every evening while watching TV or waiting for GFF to come home for us to eat dinner or whatever.  I’m DETERMINED to wear this sweater a lot before it gets too hot for such a heavy (albeit cotton) top this summer.

Want an example of my extreme at-home project monogamy?  I’m seriously yearning to cast on for something new (in particular, I’m dreaming of slinky bamboo or silk tank tops – even though these don’t really make that much sense in my wardrobe – and new socks and lace shawls).   Yesterday, I spent over an hour pulling all my yarn out (I really don’t have that much)*, searching Ravelry for patterns to use with my most summer-appropriate choices, and basically just feeling all these different yarns.  I found a partial ball of Cascade Fixation and cast on 40 stitches in the round, knit 4 rounds (just to ease my yearnings) and immediately ripped out and rewound the yarn.  I mean, really, that could hardly be taken to count as cheating on my project!

So I hope to have this done soon, hopefully by next weekend, and I will post a FO report then.  In the meantime, I’ll try to post about my Lace Ribbon Scarf and the socks I’m working on (the second of which will be my traveling project when LRS is finished).  Happy Sunday knitting, y’all!

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*I can tell that GFF finds this extremely odd.  She can tell it makes me happy to look at my box of possibility, but she is a little confused when I also pull out my bag of scraps (you know, all the little leftover balls at the end of projects) and start to look at those, too.  But I’m not alone in this type of behavior, right?

shrug it off

March 25, 2008

After the mini rock camp event on Saturday, I needed a whole weekend to recover my mental wellness. Sunday GFF and I spent the whole day napping, taking walks, watching Harold and Maude, and eating. And then yesterday, I did more of the same, but alone. Minus the napping and Harold and Maude, plus Project Runway. I still have these gift socks I’m working on, but I was feeling the need for a quick-and-dirty, large-gauge project, and I thought I’d give a garment a go.

As you might recall, I was the lucky beneficiary of a large box of odd balls of yarn from Skrillaknits stash, via the Ravely group Stash and Burn Groupies thread “Would you like to try?” Cirillia was getting rid of odd balls left over from projects, as well as some yarns that don’t match her season. Included in the box was three balls of Southwest Trading Company’s Phoenix soysilk in Rose.

When I first pulled those out of the box, I thought I’d make a third Clapotis with the yarn. I made my Mom a clapotis with SWTC’s Oasis yarn (another 100% soysilk yarn, but finer and sort of slinkier) and I love that one. But as soon as I started the set up rows with this yarn, I could tell that I wasn’t going to like the resulting fabric. So I started trawling around on Ravelry, and came up with this little pattern. It called for exactly the amount of the same yarn that I had, so I cast on right away and just started knitting.

IM001705

I sat on the couch and knit away on this baby for several hours, watching Project Runway and listening to podcasts. That picture shows my progress after about 4 hours.

I kept going last night and knit some more this morning and here’s where I am now:

IM001707

This is maybe the most accurate color representation.  I watched an episode of My So Called Life online this morning, and the color reminds me a lot of the kind of lipstick Sharon Cherski would wear.  This is not a color I would normally wear – certainly not in make up, but also not in clothing – but I kind of like this little shrug.  I’ve tried it on over one shoulder while I was knitting to gauge the sizing, and the color is cute.

My birthday is Friday and I’m going to a conference upstate, and then on vacation for a few weeks to warmer climes.  I’m hoping to have this done before I leave so that I have something new to wear for my birthday and my travels!  Shouldn’t be a problem.

this one goes out to my granny

March 24, 2008

So. I’ve been crocheting.

I’ve told you before that I started out crocheting before knitting, and it was sort of disastrous and bad for me and cursed — if you shouldn’t knit your boyfriend a sweater, you REALLY shouldn’t crochet him a slip-stitch acrylic blanket, fergodsake, and that goes double if you are gay. In my experience, it causes pretty bad back pain. I’m just saying.

humble blankie beginnings

This blanket is soooo much better.

I started out making lots of little granny squares that I was going to combine into an afghan at some point down the line.

IM001702

But one of the things that appeals to me about making a danged blanket is being able to see it grow. I want it to be a massive and unwieldy pile of fiber that I can work on while watching Buffy on hulu.com. There’s not much a winter left, but while people are still wearing down coats and my radiator hisses, I want to be buried beneath fiber. Even in the form of cheap crochet thread like I’m using for this.

Plus what if I can’t figure out some good way to get these little squares arranged, let alone attached? What the heck am I going to do with hundreds of squares?

Better to crochet one ever-increasing square.

I don’t actually have enough crochet thread to make it into an actual blanket at this point, though. I might rip out my little squares when I need more thread for the big square.  And then buy some more at Hobby Lobby in my midwest travels.

I am having such a good time with these crochet projects! I’d forgotten how lovely and sculptural crochet can be. My mother used to crochet afghans some when I was growing up, and she taught me the basic stitches a long time ago. I’ve had to re-learn online for this project, and even though I feel totally lost reading any sort of crochet pattern (is it just me, or do the crochet stitch names seem to have nothing to do with the actual stitch?), I’m feeling the urge to crochet some more. I feel like it might be easier to make things fit well? Is that crazy? I found several projects I want to crochet through Ravelry, like the Victorian Shrug + Wrap on the cover of Crochet Me!, and the Spiraled Flower Shawl from Vogue on the Go Crocheted Shawls (by the same designer, will you look at that?).

Do any of you crochet?  Like, actual garments? Where do you find patterns?  Is there a free online crochet zine, like Knitty for crocheters?  I’m not sure I want to take the plunge buying these books while I’m in my early obsessive stages.

been gone so long

March 17, 2008

Oh my, that was an unintended break in posting. Would you believe it if I told you that I’ve been so busy with some new crafts that I didn’t have time to take any pictures or write out some thoughts? I clearly jumped the gun naming my blog, but I suppose that it’s pretty common for so-called “knit”bloggers to also sew or embroider or bake or or or…

I’m not a knitter that has a big problem with crocheting; I originally learned to crochet and tried to knit an ex a forest green afghan out of dk-weight acrylic yarn. Entirely in rows of slip stitch. (Even you monogamous knitters probably know about the slip stitch – this is what gives stability to some pieces or holds some pieces together.) I had to visit the campus health center for back pain the summer I was working away on that thing, and the doc prescribed me some heavy-duty muscle relaxers. The tension in that thing was so tight, I could barely get the hook through the loops of the previous row, and despite the fact that I didn’t rip out a single stitch and worked on the thing every night for months, at the end of the summer I had a rectangle of dense, stiff fabric that was neither long nor wide enough to be used even as a scarf. I have no idea what happened to it or the leftover yarn during my next semester, but I wish I had it around now to compare to the things I’ve been crocheting this weekend.

“Things?” you are probably thinking. Um. In the past 24 hours I’ve knit 13 granny squares. It all started because I sewed a no-cash wallet last weekend and then wanted to sew again. So I sewed another one. And then I sewed a bunch of triangles of scrap fabric together to make crappy little pyramids. And then I took another scrap of fabric and made a sampler with all the different stitches my cheap-y Singer machine can make (not that many). And it had only been an hour, and I couldn’t think of anything else to make without a pattern.

And the urge just struck me. I suddenly really needed to crochet some granny squares. I have a bunch of DMC Senso wool/cotton and wool/linen yarns my Mom bought and never really used last year, and a set of plastic crochet hooks I added on to a Joann.com purchase to get free shipping. So I just googled “how to make a granny square” and followed the directions in the first link (this really excellent one if you are interested in joining in the madness). And now I have 13 of them.

But I’ll tell you what. The madness does not stop at 13 granny squares. This time around, my crochet tension is nothing like that slipstitch crazy-making afghan. I feel more relaxed looping and scooping my double crochet stitches than I do knitting stockinette in the round. I got on Ravelry this morning and started trolling for crochet patterns to add to my queue. I came up with some beautiful sculptural capes, lacy tops, and tawashi. Tawashi are like fancy, cute dishrags, and although some are slightly more complicated than the infamous ball-band dishrag, they are just so fancy! and cute! Look!

I have a pair of gift socks just languishing on the needles now, because I have become obsessed with knitting teensy granny squares and glorified brillo pads. Forget public knitting — I’ll be on my couch with my hooks for a while.

beginning again

March 5, 2008

Yesterday Ana from snowangels made a good point in my comments – the high cotton content of the Vickie Howell Craft yarn means that the yarn will stretch like crazy, and knitting at an ultra-loose gauge will only compound that. Good thing I have Clara Park’s Knitter’s Book of Yarn waiting for me on the hold shelf of my local library! I forget to take into account the properties of yarn when I’m cooking up projects in my head, but paying attention to what your yarn will do out of the skein and all looped around itself is a huge part of any knitting project.

This is actually part of something bigger that I’m trying to focus on in my knitting this year. For the past year and a little more, I have been knitting pretty obsessively. Mostly I have used yarn that has been given to me or bought on the cheap to make free patterns. I have knit most of my projects while also watching TV or movies or — occasionally — while reading a book or magazine. My attitude towards mistakes has been to get things back to the right stitch count or to close up holes as quickly as possible and damn the craziness this often causes. So my alpaca Fetching mitts have some ribs out of alignment, the toes of the Hedera socks I made for my girlfriend do not match at all, and I spent most of last summer knitting Orangina in complete denial that the top and arm holes were going to be way too large and the ribbing ridiculously tight. (I’ve since ripped out Orangina and started knitting the Josephine top from IK, and I’m now in denial about the fact that the back is two inches wider than it should be to fit properly.)

I’ve yet to make a garment that I can wear, and before I invest more time and money into making one, I’ve promised myself that I will start to be more mindful and careful with my knitting. I am dealing with the fact that I need to rip out the whole back of my Josephine top (all the knitting I’ve done on it) and start over; likewise I need to rip out the entire first sleeve of my Must Have Cardigan (my “gauge swatch” which has already been ripped multiple times) and begin again.

Begin again. Begin again. This is something I’m trying to incorporate into all parts of my life, actually. Approaching life as a beginner, and not persisting in past thoughts or actions, but looking at things afresh…over and over again. It’s hard, obviously, but also – dare I say it? – transformative.

So it’s back to the drawing board with both sweaters currently on my needles. As I think about it, when I began the Josephine top I decided to make it almost tunic length, which I’m no longer convinced is the best thing for this 100% cotton top. With my Must Have Cardigan, the needle size I used caused the fabric to be quite tight, not nearly drapey enough. I’m not just trying to get through these projects, I’m trying to create wearable garments that I will love. It’s time to rip; it’s time to begin again.

And I’m going to go back to my swatch, and begin again with it, too. In No Sheep for You, Amy Singer tells us to not just knit the darn thing and measure the stitches, but to wash it, pin it up to test for sagginess, carry it around to see how the fabric will wear, and really find out what that yarn is going to do while you’re at it. My swatches are partly for teaching myself new stitch patterns and techniques, but there is much to learn about the yarn itself, too.

yarn review: Vickie Howell Craft

March 4, 2008

I recently had the good luck to receive a large box of leftover balls of yarn from Cirilia and left over skeins from a few others via the Stash and Burn Ravelry Group.  Because I don’t have a large yarn budget these days, and I’ve been wanting to improve my techniques and abilities, I’m taking these wayward skeins as an opportunity to try new yarns and knit swatches of new stitch patterns at the same time.  I hope to do a series of posts reviewing the yarns, stitch patterns, and techniques I try, and to also post ideas for future knitting projects that these little adventures give me.

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This yarn is a-mah-zing.

In the Ravelry Stash and Burn group, we have a thread Nicole started called “Would you like to try…?” People post about leftover or partial skeins they have, and send them to other people who want to feel it, swatch it, basically give it a try.

Lynnewio sent me a partial skein of Vickie Howell Craft yarn from South West Trading Company a few weeks ago and I’m just now swatching it up.

craft swatch

This yarn is luuuuussssshhhh. Seriously. 70% cotton and 30% milk fiber, dk weight. It feels like buttah between my fingers, and this swatch is so slinky. (I’m learning that I love swatches. Now I just have this soft piece of knitting I can touch whenever! And I don’t have to worry about whether or not it fits or if the color looks good on me!)

I’ve read a few posts on Ravelry where people didn’t enjoy knitting with this yarn because of significant pilling.  I didn’t have any pilling while knitting with it, but I also haven’t washed my swatch yet.  I plan to wash it and put in my bag for a while to see how it holds up.   I would like to knit Imogen in this yarn on larger needles for a very drapey, Habu-esque layering piece.

(BTW, have you looked at the kits at Perl Grey?!  I want to knit so many of these pieces!)