Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wrap up

Between traveling and holiday craziness I've put off blogging too long. Now that the year is at an end I thought I should post my last couple of projects.

I almost finished Vinnie while in Regina. I managed to get everything but his cape knit before leaving. I had to knit his cape and stick it in the mail. Sadly it arrived just after Christmas; but I'm sure my nephew will forgive the tardy wardrobe.

I'm so pleased with how this turned out. It is such a great pattern with lots of nice little details. I think if I knit it again I will knit the clothes on a slightly bigger needle. A bit more positive ease would make it easier to get his pant legs and sleeves on.

I did go up several needle sizes for his cape which required that I adjust the number of stitches so that it would be the correct size. I wanted the cape to have more drape and I also wanted it finished as soon as possible. I also added some elastic suspenders to his pants since they weren't staying up the way I wanted. A heart tattoo on his upper arm was my final modification.

Vinnie was my second to last Christmas knit. At the last minute I cast on for an improvised pair of mittens to 'match' Ken's hat. I ran out of the blue background yarn and had to knit the thumbs in different colours. While not finished when I gave them to Ken, these were done by the end of Christmas day.

On the unfinished knitting front I've run out of yarn for Cliete. I'm trying to decide whether I should rip out two rows of knitting and bind off or sit down and spin enough yarn to give me another repeat of the pattern. I've completed 8 repeats and I'm tempted to try for the suggested 9 repeats before binding off. If it were only one row to be ripped the shawl would be finished by now I'm sure.

Finally, I washed the green shawl/lap blanket and it decided to stretch into something resembling a scarf. Since I'm having doubts as to the softness of the mill spun yarn I'm using I think this project will be frogged. I'm already thinking about using the green hand spun for a hat and mitten set.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A lot of knitting

While I haven't been blogging since I began my trip home I have been knitting. On the plane I cast on for a simple ribbed hat for my brother. I finished more than half of it between knitting on the plane and knitting while waiting for the connecting flight (Winnipeg airport is not a very exciting place to spend a few hours).

I used most of a ball of Cascade 220 Heathers, 3.75 mm needles for the crown and the rolled up knitting, and 3.25 mm needles for the under ribbing. I think it is a bit tighter than I want but I'll wait and see what my brother thinks. If it is too tight I'll knit him another one and find this one a home with someone who likes tight hats or has a small head.

Once the hat was done I concentrated my efforts on knitting the Pirate Mittens for my other brother. I just finished tucking in the ends early this afternoon which is good since I will probably be giving them to him at dinner tonight.

These are also knit with Cascade 220 on 3.75 mm needles. I was trying to get a looser gauge so that the mittens would come out larger and fit a man's hand. Unfortunately I got the exact gauge the pattern called for (I can't believe I just wrote that!). I could have tried again on larger needles but I liked the fabric I was getting so I ripped back to the end of the cuffs and added 12 stitches (2 inches circumference). I knit a white stripe between two black stripes on either side of the patterning on the back of the mitten to use up those 6 stitches and I just knit the extra palm stitches in the palm pattern. Since I also wanted the mitten to be longer I moved the thumb 6 stitches (1 inch) down. Since the mitts have lots of cuff this worked out really well.

Despite all of the ripping back and adjusting these mittens were a quick project. I still have lots of both colours of yarn, too. The black yarn remainders are being pressed into service for Vinnie's cape and shirt. Vinnie is actually the only Christmas knitting that I still have to finish so I'll be working on him exclusively for the next few days.

With all of this knitting I also managed to finish a simple sock (which completed the pair) and embellish the Urchin I knit using my wine coloured hand spun.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Very little knitting

Despite my plans to start a mitten or a hat, the only knitting I did today was to finish the second leg of Vinnie's pants. Most of the day was spent getting ready for a last minute early trip home to Regina. Since I decided to make the trip home the deadline for my much of my Christmas knitting has been moved up. With any luck I will be able to finish (and start) a hat or mitten on the planes tomorrow. It may be a day or two between blog posts for the next few days.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Complete Rooster Monkey

I got distracted last night and didn't post, but tonight I'll make up for it with a finished object. The rooster monkey socks are off the needles and just waiting to be blocked. As you can see they really do need to be blocked to show off the design properly.

I'm so happy with how these came out. The yarn and the pattern work so well together. I'll miss typing "rooster monkey," though.

Now I need to get back to the rest of my Christmas knitting. It is time to cast on some mittens or a hat. I'll see what calls to me tomorrow.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Last night was post-less because I spent my evening at the Plateau knit night. Knitting and pie go so well together. Why can't every night be Plateau knitting night.

All of my current in progress knitting continues. I've finished half of the leg of the second monkey sock. I knit a few rows on my shawl. Vinnie now has two legs and half a pair of pants. The green shawl center is finished and I'm just washing it to see if I can get it to soften up a bit before I knit the border.

As soon as one of these projects is done I'll cast on another. It is actually kind of nice to have such a variety to work on. If I get bored or tired of a needle size I just switch.

I'll post pictures of something tomorrow. The safe money is probably on socks or Vinnie.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Half a rooster monkey

One sock down and one more to go. Then I need to cast on for a couple of pairs of mitts and a hat, and finish the vampire and green shawl. Actually that list doesn't sound so bad.

My Christmas knitting might even be done early enough that it will reach its recipients early. Since most of it is being put in the mail, finishing a bit early is a definite plus.

Maybe I should do some of Meridith's knitting. Wait, she'd probably want the finished pieces back... sigh. There goes another perfectly good stash acquisition plan.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas socks

My Christmas knitting has begun in earnest. Today I cast on for a pair of socks using one of the skeins of Blue Moon Fibers that I got in the mail last month. I started by casting on for the Herringbone socks from the Winter Interweave Knits which arrived in the mail today.

I cast on for the smaller size but soon realized that it was going to be too small to fit over the heel. I could have cast on for the larger size but since I was finding some of the slip stitches fiddly and time consuming I decided to use a different pattern.

Since I have yet to knit a proper pair of Monkey socks I cast on this quick and charming pattern. Second time was the charm. I'm really happy with how the yarn is striping in this pattern and how quickly it is knitting up.

Poor Vinnie didn't get any attention today, though I did add a few more rows to the green shawl. This should be a month of many projects, though the abandoned sweaters will likely not be worked on.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Green Thing

I said that I would post a picture of my green shawl when I was half way through the center section. This evening I finished the third ball and attached the fourth so I guess I have to share a picture:

Despite being a flash picture this pretty accurately captures the colours of the yarn. It still looks like a long strip of knitting but that probably won't change until it is off the needles. At least I think my 6 balls of yarn should be enough for the center section. I'm not sure how far my hand spun border yarn will go though...

In other news I've been offered some black worsted yarn for Vinnie. I've knit one of his legs down to where the black attaches and I'll probably knit the other one tomorrow. Then I can knit the red part of the cape and the white bits of his clothes. By that point I should have the black and be able to finish him off (perhaps with a bamboo DPN through the heart).

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I made it through the month and managed to post every day. I think I will try to keep posting every day or two since I still have a bit of a blog backlog. One of these days I will press gang Ken into being my photographer (unless he wants to be my model instead).

Today's knitting was all about the toy. I now have two arms, a trunk, a head and two ears (not pictured). Thanks to a trip to Fabricland for some stuffing these bits actually look like body parts; for a while they looked like monochromatic deflated balloons.

I've started on the first leg. The only problem I can foresee at this point is a lack of worsted weight black yarn. I will either have to use a few strands of sock yarn held together or I will have to spin up some of my black Alpaca. Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Almost over and newly cast on

Then end of November is upon us. At this point there is no hope of the abandoned sweaters being finished (or even worked on) by the end of the month. I have also failed to post the sweater I finished some time ago but which has yet to be properly photographed. Also the hand spun sweater and the two Urchins deserve proper photos.

Some, but not all of this may be rectified tomorrow. Today I spent a little time working on my green shawl but most of my time on a new project. I bought the pattern and cast on for Vincent the Vampire. I've never knit a toy before and this one has so many charming little details.
The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn and since I have the white Faulklands that didn't get used in the sweater I'm using it. I'm pretty sure that a dig through my stash should yield a black yarn of this weight. I will have to go out and buy some stuffing, though.

So far I have the trunk knit and half of the head. This should be a reasonably quick knit. It should also be a good gift for my nephew (who I'm pretty sure doesn't read my blog). Depending on how long this takes to knit I'm tempted to make an extra sweater for the toy; vampires have casual Fridays too right?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Plugging away

I've not made much progress on my shawl today, though I did manage to snap a photo before the sun set, which was at 4:14pm according to Environment Canada. It is big enough that it is hard to really stretch it out on the circular needle. I had to settle for stretching out half of it.

Mostly I've been knitting away at the green shawl. After 9000 stitches it is 4 inches wide. It has so far used up two of the six skeins I dyed. I may end up dying another skein or two to get the width I'm looking for but I'll wait until I'm closer to the end to decide. I'll also wait until its at least half done before I bother posting a picture. It really only looks like a long green strip of knitting at the moment.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Shawl progress

A quick post after spending an enjoyable evening at the Ariadne knit night.

Today I managed to knit an inch and a half on my green shawl/blanket. Most of this progress was managed while waiting for my number to be called so I could get Quebec plates for my car. (I can't believe how few people bring something to entertain themselves in such situations. Even before I knit I would pack a book to keep myself from dying of boredom and frustration.)

I spent most of this evening working on my Cliete. I've just started the 7th repeat of the chart and looking at the available yarn I'm pretty sure there won't be 9 repeats. If I'm lucky I might get 8 repeats out of my remaining yarn. Judging by its current length that might be enough. I will probably only spin more yarn if I run out mid repeat (or mid row).

I only have a hastily taken photograph but it gives a vague sense of the length and the way the yarn is producing the occasional stripe. Tomorrow I'll be sure to grab a picture in natural light and with the shawl more stretched out.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Long rows

Today I knit a couple of gauge swatches for my green shawl/blanket. I'm usually a big fan of tight gauge so I assumed I'd be knitting on 4.5 mm needles. I found, though, that the mill spun yarn has no drape and I needed to go up to a 5 mm needle to get a fabric I like. I'm still finding it stiff but I'm hoping that a good soak in some Euclan or hair conditioner will make this yarn more relaxed.

Part of the problem , I think, is that I have gotten used to knitting with handspun which has a lot of drape. Another part of the problem is that this yarn still has some excess dye in it, as I discovered when I washed my swatches. I'm hoping that washing this dye out and adding some conditioner in will give the yarn and the fabric a nicer hand.

Now that I know my gauge (5.5 stitches/inch) I'm facing casting on some 360 stitches. This will be the sort of project that makes you go to bed before finishing one more row. My orange shawl is the same since it is now some 320 stitches wide and growing. I may have to cast on for some mittens or some socks or another hat just to have something that shows progress when I work on it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

In the mail

I always love getting mail and the last two days have been especially good to me. Yesterday I got two skeins of Blue Moon lightweight Socks that Rock (Rooster Rock colourway) in the mail. These skeins are part of my payment for knitting a pair of sample socks for Cookie A's upcoming book. If you look at the PDF my socks are the purple ones that appear on the back cover. I knit the socks back in April but I will wait to post my pictures until the book is actually out (and I know what the socks are named).

This morning the mail man delivered 8 oz of Crown Mountain Farm's Corriedale Pencil roving (Twilight colourway). I won this after donating to Trampled by Fleece. They are raising money to help pay the drug costs of a knitter and philosophy undergraduate who has Lyme disease. This roving is actually an early bird prize; the final raffle will be a t the end of this month.

Sadly I doubt any fiber or yarn will arrive in the mail tomorrow.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Finished, in progress, almost begun

The I finished the wine coloured Urchin first thing this morning and it is now blocking/drying on a dinner plate. I'm pleased with ow it came out but I feel it is missing a little something. I'm going to look for some ribbon or a button or something to jazz it up a bit.

In the meantime I'm plugging away at the shawl. I just finished the fifth repeat which means I'm 30% finished. It also means that the shawl is now more than half its final length and width. It actually looks like a shawl. This is when it pays to remember that half the length is not half the shawl. I will be knitting this for a while yet.

Since Christmas is starting to appear on the horizon, the shawl won't be my only knitting on the needles (and I'm not referring to the two sweaters that are lying abandoned). After doing some swatching with my green hand spun I realized that a) I really like how it look in garter stitch and b) I don't have enough to knit the shawl/lap blanket. My solution was to take some white and green marl yarn (dk weight) that I got at the big NDG destash and dye it to match the hand spun.

In the original version of this shawl the center was hand spun and the border was mill spun. My plan for this version is to have the center mill spun and the border hand spun. Now that I have all of the yarn dyed up and dry I should be casting on any day now.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bulky yarn

The wine coloured Corriedale is dry. I think it qualifies as a bulky yarn. Hurray. I ended up with 134 yards and approximately 6 oz of yarn.

I cast on for another Urchin but found that all of the twist in the yarn was coming out as I knit. I ripped back and put the yarn back through the spinning wheel to give it more twist. It is no longer balanced but it is knitting up really nicely. I should have another hat by tomorrow.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Determining progress

I've spun up the wine coloured yarn and now I'm just waiting for it to dry to see how close to a bulky yarn I managed to get. In the mean time I'm knitting away at my lace shawl (and ignoring the sweaters that still need sewing up). The lace is nice and easy and repetitive so progress has been pretty fast.

The thing about shawls like this, which start out with very short rows and then get longer and longer rows, is that it is hard to tell just how much you have completed. It takes no time to add inches to the length at the start but you know it will take forever by the end. Since I like to know how far I still have to go, I broke out the basic algebra and geometry.

The shawl is a simple equilateral triangle with the base twice the length of the height. All I want is what percentage I have finished at any given point in the knitting. I could have figured it out row by row but I don't need anything that precise so I figured it out based on chart repeats. Assuming I am knitting the shawl with the suggested 9 repeats, after one repeat I'm 1% finished; after two I'm 5%; after three I'm 11%; after four I'm 20%; after five 31%; 44% after 6; 60% after 7; and 79% after 8.

I'm almost finished my fourth repeat tonight. I'll update my Ravelry progress bar.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Spinning for an Urchin

I really enjoyed knitting the Urchin pattern and I've been wearing the hat when ever I go out, so I've decided to knit another one. This time, though, I want to use yarn I've spun. The pattern calls for a super bulky yarn, maybe thick and thin, which is a good deal thicker than I have made before. So tonight I spun up some small sample skeins to decide how to proceed.

I knew I wanted to use the Louet Corriedale roving in the warm wine colourway. I also wanted to add some Fiddlesticks laceweight in a similar colour (50 % merino, 50% tussah silk).

My first sample (far left) is a thick and thin single plied with a strand of Fiddlesticks. Because I'm not used to thick and thin I think I over felted this in the finishing step fearing that it would come apart otherwise.

Moving right, my second sample is a cabled yarn. I spun a single of Corriedale and then plied it with a strand of laceweight, adding extra twist while plying. I then plied this 2 ply to itself to get a 4 ply cabled yarn. I think I added a bit too much twist but otherwise I like how this sample turned out.

My last sample is another single of Corriedale plied to a single of laceweight only this time I held the laceweight taut and let the Corriedale wrap around it as I plied. I really liked the effect but I'm not sure I could make it as thick as I need.

I finally decided that I would do a cabled yarn to get the desired thickness. I wanted more shine, though, so instead of plying a single strand of laceweight to a strand of Corriedale I decided to use two strands of lace weight. This should also help build up the thickness a bit. I've spun and plied one bobbin's worth of 3 ply. Tomorrow I will spin another such 3 ply and then ply everything together. Hopefully I'll end up with something bulky.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


It is knit night again, so I thought I'd post some quick pictures.

The green is dry and ready to be knit as soon as I decide what it is going to be. I'd like to make it into some sort of wrap but I will probably have to supplement it with some other yarn to get sufficient yardage. There is swatch knitting in my future.

Last night I cast on for the Cliete using my orange hand spun. I'm going to see how large a shawl I can get with my 680 yards of yarn. I'm making a point of not spinning the rest of this orange roving into something until I know if I will need to make myself some more lace weight to finish the shawl. It will be awhile before I get to that point.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nothing much doing

If it weren't for NaBloPoMo I don't think I'd bother posting today. Most of the day was taken up getting my Ontario driver's license converted to a Quebec license and working to get the car licensed in Quebec. Good times.

The green hand spun is currently drying and I should have a nice picture and a good idea of its final weight tomorrow. In the meantime I've been using the Ravelry pattern search as inspiration for what to do with my hand spun. I think I will make something up for the green but I've picked out Cliete to make with my orange lace weight. It's been awhile since I knit a shawl and I'm looking forward to it.

Christmas knitting should get started any time now...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Another day of spinning and now my green yarn just needs to be over dyed.
Everything went pretty much as I predicted. I got about a bobbin and a half of singles from my roving. I skeined them on my niddy noddy and discovered that I had about 1170 yards.

So I divided this number by 2, since my niddy noddy makes 2 yard skeins, and then by 3. This gave me the number of wraps of the skein I needed to get into each ball. I put the skein on my swift and counted off the rotations of my swift as I wound the singles into center pull balls.

Finally I plied my 3 singles together and got 396 yards of finished 3 ply.

Now I just need to give my yarn a good whack or two and stick it in the microwave with a bit more blue dye.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Single focus

I've been spinning away at the yellow/green/blue BFL because I can't wait to knit with the finished result. I was originally thinking of making a baby blanket for some friends but I've changed my mind. Now I'm thinking about a nice lap blanket/shawl. It would make a great Christmas present if I can stand to part with it. It really depends what kind of yardage I end up with.

I've spun up one bobbin full and I've got enough fiber for at least another half bobbin. Once it is all spun up I will wind it off onto the niddy noddy and count my yardage. Then I will divide it into 3 equal balls and ply them together. This is what I did for the sample and I'm pleased with how it worked.

I've really fallen in love with how the hand spun knits up. It is soft and has beautiful drape and is full of character. Commercial yarns just can't compete.

I will set aside the hand spun soon, though. I've still got a couple of sweaters that are a bit of sewing and some knitted edging away from being finished. I've decided that I want to get them both done by the end of this month. We'll see how this goes.

Now back to my spinning.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Some pictures

I've got an evening of babysitting ahead of me so I'll make a quick, picture heavy post.

First a picture of the red/orange lace weight now that it is washed and dry and behaving like balanced yarn:

Next the blue BFL I dyed back in May:

And finally the blue/yellow/green mix of BFL:
(before I over dyed with more blue)

(after I over dyed)

(a swatch knit with the final result)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Spun lace weight

Today was another day without knitting. I mostly spent my time plying a bobbin of the BFL that I dyed red back in May.

I'd spun it up as fine as I could thinking I would make a 3 ply for socks or something. Since I'm having fun spinning a bit thicker at the moment, I decided to just ply this single to itself to make a lace weight 2 ply. The plying seemed to take a really long time, which made sense once I got the finished yarn off the wheel and discovered that it was about 680 yards.

When yarn has been sitting on a bobbin for a day or two you can describe it as "rested." This single had been on the bobbin for months so I think it should be described as "hibernating." I had to make a guess about how much twist to put in the ply because the single no longer really twisted up on itself. When the plying was done and I took the finished yarn off the niddy noddy it really wanted to twist up on itself in strange ways:

I have since given the skein a good soaking in hot water and a whack or two and now it is behaving like nicely balance yarn. I'm thinking of knitting myself a nice lacy stole with this. I'm so excited to be spinning yarn in yardages that allow me to knit more than simple hats and scarves.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Spinning my wheels

Today I did absolutely no knitting. This morning I tucked in the ends of yesterday's hat then washed it and blocked it on a dinner plate to stretch it out a bit (I'll have to get some modeled pictures in the next couple of days). This was as close to knitting as it got, though.

Instead I played around with my spinning wheel. First I spun the blue BFL that I dyed last May. It came out to about 170 yards of sock weight yarn. Then I spun up a sample of some BFL that I dyed blue/yellow/green a couple of days ago. The result has a bit too much contrast so I think I will try over dying with some more blue to eliminate the bright yellow and produce a more even green.

Of course a few pictures would go a long way to explaining what I mean but my camera batteries died so they will have to wait until tomorrow. Sigh. I'm going to end up having to do a post that is nothing but a collection of photos: the hat being worn, the sweater in natural daylight, the other sweater I haven't shown yet, the yarn I'm spinning... I'm going have to press gang Ken in the next few days to help me take all these photos. But first I will have to wait for my camera batteries to recharge.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A warm hat

After joking a couple of days ago about knitting a new project in a day, late this afternoon I cast on for a simple hat in bulky wool and now I have a new finished object.

Pattern: Ysolda's Urchin

Yarn: Malabrigo Aquarella. I had 2 skein in the same colourway but differnt dye lots so I alternated wedges. I'm not sure if I ended up using more than one skein total, but I do have leftovers.

Needles: 8 mm. I could easily have gone up a needle size (and technically I should have because I didn't get gauge with the 8mm) but 8mm was the largest sized needle I have.

This is a great little project. It is knit on straight needles, which I love but don't use enough, and is simple garter stitch. So pretty and so quick.

Tomorrow I'll tuck in my ends and neat up the top and then it should be ready to wear.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fall Shawl

Since I didn't get any good pictures of my sweaters in progress, which are actually in a state better described as 'in purgatory', and I didn't cast on anything new, I'll use today's post to show off an old project.

This is a shawl that I knit as a (late) birthday present for one of my best friends. She wanted a warm shawl to curl up with at home that would cover her arms and not fall off. I thought about doing something fancy but decided that something simple would work better.

I had been thinking of spinning up yarn for this simple shawl and I had some Shetland roving that had been fighting my attempts to spin it fine and worsted. Playing around with spinning thicker, looser yarns, I ended up with about 430 yards of woolen spun Shetland. I did a little swatch to figure out how many square inches of knitting this yardage would get me and then played around with the math to decide how best to use the available square inchage.

I decided that long rows would be best for evening out my somewhat uneven yarn. This also resulted in some nice subtle striping. It is nice when things work out like that.

After I'd knit the center of the shawl I picked up along the edges and knit a garder stitch border using 2 skeins of Harrisville Designs Flax & Wool Blend. The border is much firmer and denser than the center of the shawl which causes it to really hold the shawl on your shoulders. Another happy accident.

As you can tell by the summery photograph, this shawl has been off the needles for some time. In fact I finished it before I left London, though it didn't get in the mail to my friend until I was settled in Montreal. I am really pleased with how this project came together and I was even planning on making myself a similar shawl. The Dark Welsh that makes up half my new sweater was going to be a version of this shawl. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to spin up some more yarn.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One 3 wool sweater

The sweater is all done (the ends are even all tucked in). I didn't, however, get it finished in time to take a picture in daylight. Indoor light just isn't as nice and it doesn't favour dark colours. With a little fiddling I managed to get a picture that almost captures the actual appearance of the sweater.
3 wool front

In the end I used up all of the two green/blue yarns but I still have a couple of small balls of the brown left over. I guess this means that I can knit a simple sweater out of a pound of fiber, more or less. This is nice to know for future projects. After knitting this I really want to knit more sweaters with hand spun. It is wonderful to knit with.

Project details:

Yarn: 4 oz each of blue/green Coopworth and dark BFL from Ariadne Knits and 8 oz Dark Welsh

Needles: 4.5mm with 3.75mm and 3.25 mm for the neckline.

Pattern: A modified version of Walker's top down raglan. I fiddled with the rate of increase at the shoulders to make more of a scoop neckline. I increased every row for about an inch and then every third row (instead of increasing every second row as the pattern instructs). If I tried this again I would not increase every row at the front and I would make the neckline deeper. Knit and learn.

Now that I'm done this sweater I'll have to find something else to blog about tomorrow. I'll have to choose between old finished objects and current unfinished. Or maybe I should start and finish something before I blog tomorrow...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Inches away

The 3 wool sweater should be finished by tomorrow. I finished the last sleeve and ripped out the ribbing at the hem and neck. I reknit the hem and then almost finished the neckline.

The sweater might even have been finished if I hadn't run out of Coopworth trying to finish off. I've solved this by ripping out the hem again. I will reknit it with fewer rows of each colour in the garder stitch. Gah.

Actually, since I'm already ripping back I think I might rip further back and add some short row shaping to the back of the sweater. I really don't like my sweaters gaping at the back and a few extra rows of reknitting are worth it to fix this problem (at least if I'm already having to rip back).

It is a good thing I estimated this would be done by Tuesday, otherwise I might feel more frustrated with all of the backtracking. Tomorrow there will be finished photos. I promise. (I really hope this is a promise I will be keeping).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sleeve and a half

It was just as well that I blogged before dinner last night. Had I waited until I got home I would probably have technically missed posting every day. I'm posting early again today in part because I managed to snag a picture before the daylight disappeared and in part because dinner plans are once again threatening my late night posts.

This morning I finished one sleeve (with inches of the Coopworth and BFL left over) and now I'm about half done the second sleeve. You may notice that I used corrugated ribbing at the neckline and hemline. I decided that I'm not crazy about this in part because it seems to be curling. I could probably fix the curling by ripping out my cast off row and redoing it with a smaller needle but I think I will just rip it entirely.

The sleeve I finished using garter stitch and I'm much happier with how that worked out. So the plan is now to finish the second sleeve and then go back and redo the neckline and hemline to match the sleeves. such are the joys of designing on the fly.

The reason I wanted to do corregated ribbing in the first place was that I liked how the two blue/green yarns blended into each other in the swatch. Since I needed to have a stripe of brown between them in the body of the sweater I wanted to at least put them next to each other for the edgings. The corrugated ribbing just didn't fit this sweater though. I'm still putting them next to each other since I have made the garter stitch progress from a brown stripe to BFL stripe and finally to a Coopworth stripe.

And now back to knitting.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Very quick post

We've been invited out to dinner so I'll post quickly now in case I don't have a chance later. The left sleeve is all but done on the sweater and it looks like I will have yarn to spare. Not a lot of yarn to spare but enough that I won't have to arrange my edgings just to fit the left over yarn. The way things are going I should have a new sweater to wear by Tuesday at the latest.

Pictures to follow (maybe later tonight).

Friday, November 7, 2008

Splitting for the arms

This sweater is just flying off the needles. By the end of knit night yesterday it was more or less the length I was looking for. I added another stripe just to be sure and then put on a fancy ribbing. I also picked up and knit the neck band because I wanted to have the whole body done before I split the yarn for the sleeves.

So tonight a wound the yarn back onto my niddy noddy and learned that I have 96 yards of Coopworth, 86 yards of BFL, and 216 yards of Dark Welsh left. I split each type of yarn into two equal balls and I can now start on the sleeves. I'm really not sure what length of sleeve this yardage will get me. Oh the excitement of a mystery.

Trying the sweater on I find it a bit loose. Comparing it to my Tangled Yoke, which I like the fit of, I find it is just about right. Part of the difference is that the hand spun has way more drape. I think another part of the difference is that sweaters in progress never fit like finished sweaters. One of the benefits of knitting top down is that it is easy to try on as you go. One of the downsides is that trying on as you go only gives you a general sense of how well it fits. This can lead to a lot of second guessing and thoughts of ripping back.

I am going to persevere and knit the sleeves before I decide if the body is too long. The way this sweater is going it should only be a couple of days before I know if I need to rip back. Hurray for quick projects.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Off to knit night

Since my evening will be consumed by coffee and chatting with other knitters, I'm actually posting during the day. I've added a couple more stripes to the body of the sweater and I'm sure I'll add a few more by the end of the day. This is not the most portable project to take to a knit night but I can't imagine working on something else tonight.

It will be nice to be working on something other than socks at a Montreal knitting get together. Last time I went I actually cast on a new pair of simple socks since I only had sweaters that needed sewing on the go. (Yes those sweaters still need to be sewed up and finished. Just as soon as I'm finished this sweater... and maybe all of my Christmas knitting.)

I have to say that I am very grateful for welcoming knitting groups. It is so nice to have an easy way to get out and meet people in a new city. Montreal has several knitting groups that meet about once every two weeks. So far I have been to the NDG knitting night (it is the closest to me) and the Plateau knitting night. There is also a Sunday downtown knitting night that I'd like to go to and one at Ariadne knits. It is nice to have so much choice; if you want to go out knitting on any given week there is somewhere to go.

So hurray for knit nights and hurray for Ravelry which makes finding them easy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

3 wool sweater

I really need to stop posting at night if I want to take nice pictures of my darker projects. After playing around with flashes and various sources of indoor light I think I have managed to capture the colours. Actual daylight would have been easier.

I'm knitting this sweater from the top just like the last sweater. I've modified the neckline, though, so that it is scoop necked. My favorite sweaters have scoop necks so I decided that was the way to go. I used the Autumn Rose's neckline as a rough guide and from some preliminary fittings I think it will work. It is hard to tell, though, when the needles are still in the thing and the neckband is absent.

I think I will have enough yarn, but I'm really glad to be knitting from the top. When I get the sweater as long as I want I plan to device my balls of yarn evenly and knit the sleeves until I run out of yarn or they hit my wrists. I can live with 3/4 sleeves if it turns out I'm short. Based on how much yarn I used for my Fonn I'm pretty sure I will have enough for full sleeves.

If this all works out then I will know that I can get a simple sweater out of a pound of fiber. Sweaters may actually become cheaper to spin and knit than to buy. At least if I am making them for myself and don't need to take production time into account.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Now it's finished

The sweater is official done. All of the ends are tucked it and it only need to dry before it can be worn. Hurrah.


Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Superwash. 7 skeins of Truffle and 6 of Fired Brick.

Needles: Mostly knit on a 4.5 mm circular and 4.5 mm DPNs for the sleeves. The cuffs and bottom ribbing are knit using size 3.75 mm needles, and the neckband was knit using 4.5 mm, 3.75 mm and 3.5 mm needles.

Pattern: This is a version of Barbara Walker's Top-down Raglan sweater. It is heavily influenced by Brooklyn Tweed's version. About the only differences are that my sweater uses a slightly different red and is longer and less wide.

This is the first sweater I have knit for someone else. I wanted to make Ken a sweater and having shown him several different patterns he chose this one. Brooklyn Tweed's stuff is always so nicely knit and beautifully photographed that it is really no surprise that anyone should want a copy of it.

The sleeves were the only real tricky part of knitting this. It took several rips and reknits to get a nice even rate of decrease. Looking at it off the needles and on the recipient I think next time I would decrease faster at the top of the sleeve and leave the bottom a bit wider. Knit and learn.

Tomorrow I will probably show off the handspun sweater that I started as soon as this sweater was off the needles.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Endless End

I always forget just how long it takes to get a sweater off the needles. Last night I was sure that I would have this sweater done sometime this morning. But then there was some ripping out and reknitting to get the cuffs the right length and look. Then picking up and knitting the neck sucked up a bunch of time.

So now I just need to finish up the bottom so that it matches the rest. Then there's the tucking in of ends. So much for finishing in the morning; it is a good thing I wasn't tempted to try to finish up before going to bed last night. It doesn't look like it will be finished tonight before I go to bed.

Tomorrow I'll finish it for sure and have a chance to wash and block it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the super wash wool doesn't make it stretch out too much. I did knit a swatch and wash it but the weight of the whole sweater will probably make it inaccurate. At least this sweater is knit from the top so if it gets too long it is easier to rip out and adjust. Needless to say I'd still rather not have to rip anything out.

I'll post pictures tomorrow when its finished and there's decent light.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

6 random things

Last Thursday OzB tagged me to do the 6 random things meme. Since I used up many of my current pictures in my last post, it seemed like a good idea to do the picture-less post today.

The rules:

Link to the person who tagged you [check]. Post the following rules on your blog [check]. Write six random things about yourself [check]. Tag six people at the end of your post [skipped]. Let each person know he or she has been tagged. Let the tagger know when your entry is up [I'm sure she'll spot this].

Random Facts About Me:

1. I have a pet snake named Slithergadee (from a Shel Silverstein poem). She is currently pretty active because she is trying to pick out the perfect spot to hibernate (and probably looking for some fellow snake to spend the winter with). I know that she is a she because most springs she lays a bunch of unfertilized eggs. [edited to change 'fertilized' to 'unfertilized'. Wishful thinking got the better of my typing I guess.]

2. I spent the summer of 2003 looking for Meteorites as part of the Prairie Meteorite Search. Thanks to this I have handled a variety of meteorites and know that most meteorites are magnetic.

3. I learned to crochet well before I learned to knit. I was 12 or 13 when I started to crochet hats. I was 25 when I asked my mother to teach me to knit so that I could make a baby blanket for the best friend of one of my brothers. I have never followed a written crochet pattern, though.

4. I love making (and eating) rice flour waffles. They are lighter than their wheat flour counterparts and there is really no danger of over stirring the batter. A waffle iron was one of the first things I bought for my kitchen when I moved away from home. The best waffles have toasted pecans in the batter and are served with real maple syrup. Mmmm. Now I'm hungry for waffles.

5. I love writing with fountain pens. Since high school I've primarily written with a fountain pen. I only really use a ball point when I have to fill out a form that uses carbon copies. My current pen is a black Lamy Safari with an extra fine nib. I had an identical red Lamy but I lost it (the black pen is its replacement).

6. I started my undergraduate program in Pre-med because I was interested in becoming a forensic pathologist. I didn't enjoy doing all the first year science courses all at once, though, so I switched to a double degree in philosophy and mathematics with a minor in classics.

I don't know who to pass this on to so I will skip the tagging of 6 others.

The way things are going I should have a finished, or almost so, sweater to show off tomorrow. I really want to cast on for my hand spun sweater which has motivated me to finish the one already on the needles (though not the two which need to be sewn up).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

NaBloPoMo 2

It's November and I want to get back into the habit of blogging so I've decided to do NaBloPoMo again. I think this should actually make me write about all of the projects I'm working on or have finished since this summer. Hurray for motivation!

I was going to start with the random 5 meme that OzB tagged me for but I think I will leave that until tomorrow. Tonight I'm obsessed with the idea of knitting myself a sweater out of my own handspun. That I knit a swatch, washed it and am now waiting for it to dry is one of the only reasons I haven't cast on already.

It all started back in September while I was trying to get a sense of my new neighbourhood. I discovered that Ariadne Knits was within walking distance and that it advertised some spinning supplies. I picked out a 4 oz braid of dark BFL dyed with blues and greens. As I was spinning it up I decided that it would be nice as part of an argyle sweater.

I went back to Ariadne and got another 4 oz braid of Coopworth dyed in the same blues and greens. Because it was a white fleece the colours were much clearer and I hoped that they would make the colours in the dark fleece show up a bit more.

I then spun some of the 2 lbs of Falkland wool that I bought some time ago from Hello Yarn.

The yarns then sat around for several weeks while I debated whether I really wanted to knit an argyle vest or whether I wanted to go with something simpler like stripes. Then the other day I happened to move things around and ended up setting the dark BFL next to some Dark Welsh that I spun up on a whim while trying to spin loosely. The yarns looked so good together that I decided that the Dark Welsh needed to be part of whatever I knit up.

So today I finally took pictures of all this yarn and decided that I have enough for a sweater instead of just a vest. I knit up a swatch using 3 different needle sizes and a variety of stripes. Although I spun the white Falkland especially for this project I think I will leave it out. Looking at the swatch I think the 3 darker wools look really good together but the white just doesn't fit. I have about 590 yards of Dark Welsh, 290 yards of the blue/green BFL and 290 yards of the blue/green Coopworth; all three yarns are somewhere between a DK and a Worsted weight. I think I will alternate Dark Welsh stripes with blue/green stripes.

I really hope that I have enough yarn to complete this project because I don't think I can easily get more of any of it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A trip, a finished object, and a nasty surprise

Last weekend Ken and I made a return trip to London for the wedding of some great friends of ours (one of whom I am inducting into the secret cabal of knitters). The drive was lovely; lots of trees in various states of fall grandeur. It was also really nice to hang out with my school friends again, though, I didn't manage to make it to a knitting get together. Next time.

My camera made the trip with me but I failed to take any pictures. Sorry. Driving is just not conducive to taking nice pictures of the countryside and I was driving the whole way. In fact we were both driving the whole way since we needed two cars to carry all of the stuff we left behind when we moved in August. All of my yarn and fleece is now in Montreal and I really need to work out how I want it all put away. While I'm at it I now have all of my books to house too.

Anyway there was very little knitting over the weekend, but I made up for it by knitting up a quick neck warmer yesterday.

I used some black merino that I spun up last fall (I think). It was about a DK weight 3 ply (navajo plied) but I wanted something chunkier so I added more twist and plied the resulting yarn to itself. I don't think I'd try to make yarn this way again but it worked well enough for my purposes. You can't really tell from the photo (thanks to the lack of light and presence of black yarn) but the scarf is knit in a zig-zag 2x2 ribbing.

I intended to use loops to button it up but Ken asked for button holes. Since I hadn't knit the button holes in and I didn't want to rip back I just stuck my finger in the scarf and pulled at it until I'd made a hole. Then I wrapped some yarn around the hole to keep it open. This is by no means a sophisticated pattern but it sure way quick. Since all of my other knitting seems to be sweaters at the moment, quick is a welcome change of pace.

Between making the neck warmer and managing some progress on a sweater I'd count yesterday a success. It doesn't, however, make up for discovering that someone knocked off our car's side mirror sometime last night/early this morning.

Needless to say there was no note claiming responsibility. Grrr. We now get to find somewhere that will fix this for us (hopefully without charging an arm and a leg). Maybe we can find a mechanic with a strong desire to exchange hand knits for car repair...