Sunday, March 30, 2008

New and Improved

Sorry for the radio silence. This past weekend we painted the bedroom (what was once a dark green is now a nice white) and paint fumes always make me a bit weird. Now that I trust myself to type in complete sentences I can show off all the knitting I have been doing.

First off I decided that since it didn't take all that long to knit the button band the first time I was better off biting the bullet and reknitting it while everything was easy to unravel. I also took some better pictures:

Pattern: Tangled Yoke from Interweave Knits Fall 2007

Yarn: 8.5 balls of New Lanark Donegal Silk Tweed DK in the Apricot

Needles: 2.5 mm

on purpose: I made each sleeve about an inch longer. I also left of the bobbles in the yoke pattern.
mostly on purpose: I made the body an inch longer. This came about partly because I somehow screwed up my decreases and increases and needed to do an extra row of increases.

I really like this sweater, though I am still getting used to the neckline. I have one shirt with a similar neckline that I can wear under it but the other shirts I've tried look a bit odd to me.

No sooner did I finish this sweater than I cast on for my next sweater:

I just feel like I should be knitting sweaters these days. Maybe it is spring in the air. Or maybe I'm just on a crazy knitting jag since I also have a couple of pairs of socks in the works at the moment. I should have a finished pair to show off in the next day or two.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I wanted to wash this and block it before I showed it off which means I spent a lot of time this afternoon checking to see if it was dry yet. I may try to get more pictures of the sweater in natural light but until then this will have to do:

I finished the button bands first things this morning. It wasn't until after I had all of the buttons sewn on that I realized I had only attached 8 buttons and button holes instead of the called for 9. I don't think I will rip out to fix this but I may add some small snaps to keep it from gapping when I've got it buttoned up.
I've also got most of a sock knit but the colours are too subtle for night time photography so it will have to wait until next time.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Nothing to see here (yet)

This is just a quick post to say that I have nothing to post yet. I am working on the button band of my Tangled Yoke pattern so it should be ready to show off some time tomorrow. I have also started to knit a sock because I needed something portable to knit and an almost finished sweater wasn't cutting it.

Back to knitting now.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Longest part

I am at last at the yoke portion, though not yet at the tangled part, of my Tangled Yoke. These rows take the longest because they are working the sweater and both sleeves at the same time. I look forward to decreases and then some interesting cabling.

I like this stage of sweater construction because it looks like a sweater now. The downside is that I always expect this last bit to go faster because, hey it already looks like a sweater why isn't it done yet? It doesn't help that I know that as soon as it is mostly finished I will still have to wait for it to wash and block before I knit on the button bands and can wear the thing.

I wish I had Monday off and nothing to do but knit. Ah well, I'll have a sweater soon enough.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Spring Equinox

In keeping with the day I wish I could say that I was half finished some project (equally finished and unfinished, the night and day of knitting perhaps?) I have just started on the first sleeve of my sweater, though, and I have yet to cast on for my socks, so that's out.

Instead I decided to put winter behind me by finally posting on my finished Pomegranate/Snood scarf.

Pattern: Of my own devising using a brioche stitch found in a 1940s snood pattern.

Yarn: 1 skein of my hand spun white Shetland yarn and 1 skein of Handmaiden Fine Yarn Casbah Sock yarn.

Needles: 3.75 mm straight needles. It was actually nice to knit with straight needles after using circulars and DPNs so often.

Notes: Since the Cashmere sock yarn was so much softer than the Shetland I knew that I would want it around my neck so I made the white stripes big at the two ends and made sure I had a nice long red stripe in the center. When I washed this scarf it became very loose and stretchy because of the loose gauge I used so it was relatively easy to block nice and wide and flat. If I had been more patient I would have a done a proper blocking rather than the vague stretching I settled for but in any event the wash and block got rid of most of the curl in the edges.

While I started out calling this my 'snood' scarf the longer I worked on it the more it reminded me of pomegranates. The rich soft reds and the rougher white are really to blame. Since it is now a pomegranate scarf I think it is the perfect project to mark the end of winter and beginning of spring.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Up to my armpits in sweater

I've knit most of the body of the sweater so now I need to knit my sleeves. I think I screwed up the increases or decreases somewhere because I needed to do an extra increase to get the called for stitch count. The up side is that doing the extra increase let me knit an extra inch onto the sweater. I like my sweaters to come down to the top of my jeans at least and the extra inch should make this do just that. Hurray for serendipitous shaping.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Increasing (screw the socks)

I think that knitting a bunch of socks really prepares you to enjoy sweater knitting. Of course a sweater can't be finished as quickly as a pair of socks but after working on all of that fine gauge, tight knitting a sweater flies along. I've got about 7 inches of sweater done already and I've now finished the waist decreasing and am moving on to the increasing. This excites me.

My poor scarf is finished and hastily blocked and photographed but it will have to wait for another day when I'm not so in love with my sweater. Similarly the socks which I wanted to cast on this weekend have been put to the side for a bit longer. All I want to do is knit sweater.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I want to knit sweaters (and socks)

I didn't post yesterday because I anticipated actually getting something on the needles today. It was strange going without knitting for a few days. I watched television shows and didn't knit. I attended class and I didn't knit. I drank coffee and didn't knit. I read knitting blogs and didn't knit. Very strange.

I did get some spinning done, though:

I think I now have enough yarn of the same weight spun for socks. I was going to cast on today but then I cast on for a sweater for some easy knitting. The socks may have to wait a couple of days to get started.

The sweater I cast on for is Eunny Jang's Tangled Yoke Cardigan. It should be straight forward knitting until I get to the cabled yoke. I've wanted to knit this sweater since it came out but now I have the yarn and the weather is starting to change. I feel like I need to get a move on my sweater knitting while it is still cool enough to wear them. I also have my bright red sweater/jacket that I want to knit but have yet to fully design. Once these two sweaters are done I will still have a couple more sweaters waiting in the wings. Remind me, when does the summer weather kick in?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Busy, busy

Things are busier than usual this week (and probably will be next week as well). I have had time to do a bit of spinning. I've got a two ply of white BFL that is waiting for me to spin another two ply of white BFL to ply it to. Once I've got that spun I will be on my way to hand spun socks.

I've also managed to get the scarf finished. I still need to wash it and see if I can get some of the curl out of it with a bit of blocking. I used up all of the cashmere sock yarn and my little skein of hand spun Shetland and got a scarf a bit less than 6 feet long. I'm really pleased with how this scarf turned out, though now it is finished I don't actually have anything on the needles. I will try to remedy this in the next day or two, time permitting.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spinning mohair

Yesterday was pretty busy what with one thing and another and I didn't even think about posting on my blog. In fact I didn't realise I'd missed a day until I checked just now. My knitting is pretty uninteresting at the moment. I am still working away at my scarf but it is really the only thing on the needles at the moment. It should be done in the next couple of days, though. After the scarf is done there are sweaters and socks waiting to be knit.

I spent Sunday playing with my wheel. I've had a 50 gram braid of kid mohair dyed by Fleece Artist sitting around since the KW fair last year. Since most of my other available fleece is white or brown and I felt like playing with colour the mohair was a natural choice. I spun it into the fine singles that I favour and then decided to ply it to something else. I happened to have a bobbin of white Blue Faced Leicester sitting around so I pressed it into service.

I was aiming for a fingering weight and the 2 ply wasn't going to be thick enough so I tried adding a bit more twist and the plying the two two plies together to get a 4 ply cabled yarn.

Unfortunately I didn't add enough twist and the resulting yarn was too loose. Today I unplied the 4 ply, added more twist to the pair of 2 plies and then spun them back together. I am much happier with the yarn the second time round.

I used the full 50 grams of mohair and an unknown amount of BFL and got about 130 yards of yarn. I think I will spin up more plain BFL and make some socks.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Hat details

At long last I have tracked down the missing ball bands and can now post the pattern details for the Overdue hat. Again, it is kind of appropriate that this has taken a while to get finished since the original plan had me knitting the hat for Christmas and we know how that turned out.

Pattern: Ragamuffin Ear flap Hat from Teva Durham's Loop-d-Loop

Yarn: 2.5 balls of Jo Sharp's Silkroad DK Tweed for the main colour and then bits of my Shetland hand spun (white), Jo Sharp's Pure wool DK (dark blue), a mystery merino (burgundy) and some wool that I experimented dyeing with coffee (gold).

Needles: 4 mm DPNs for the majority of the hat and 3.25 mm needles for the crown and ear flaps.

Errors in the pattern: There are two mistakes in the pattern:
1. Round 5 should read: knit 3, *C6B, repeat from * to last 3 sts; work C6B over last 3 and first 3 sts of round.
2. The pattern says: " will discover that by adding color to the first or second set of 3 sts of the cable, the contrast color will appear to be woven to the right or to the left..." This isn't quite right. If you add it to the wrong set of stitches it ends up being cabled under and so mostly invisible. It is the row that you add the color on that determines which way it leans.

Modifications: The main modification was to turn this child's hat into a large adult's hat. Instead of casting on the 132 stitches I cast on 180, which is the main reason it took so long to knit this hat. Because I was knitting a larger hat and wanted to forgo the fringes on top I needed to modify the way the top of the hat decreased. When I was finished cabling the body of the hat I switched to smaller needles (to maintain the stitch density and keep the fabric from ballooning out) and decreased 8 times every row until I had only a handful of stitches left and could draw the yarn through. I kept adding bits of colour so that the top would match the body. The ear flaps I Knit as written only I chose to do them in the round rather than knitting the insides and outsides separately.

The most valuable lesson I learned in knitting this hat is that not everyone wants a hat to fit in the same way. Bumming around on line I learned that hats should have about 10% negative ease to fit properly. I decided that this was the flaw in the other hats that I had made and that didn't fit. It turns out that this was just one flaw. The other major problem was the way I was making the hats fit at the top of the head. I like hats that are snug at the top so that the top of my head is touching the top the hat when the brim is over my ears. After some trial fittings I leaned that this type of hat feels too tight on some people and that some hats need to be knit so that there is some clearance at the top. This was a valuable lesson and one that I will try to remember next time I knit a hat for someone who isn't me.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Hurray it is still winter!

With so many people tired of winter and ready for spring I just thought I'd be contrary and celebrate the continuing cold. It helps that I just finished my mittens and look forward to wearing them a few times before the seasons change. It also helps that I keep meaning to knit a spring coat but I haven't gotten started yet. Anyway, mitten details:

Pattern: 'Mittens with bird pattern' from Knitting in the Nordic Tradition by Vibeke Lind. I found this book at the local library and there is a ton of stuff in it that I want to knit. Maybe I should start looking around for my own copy.

Yarn: Gauja (100% wool) from Headwater Wool. I used about half a skein of the black and a bit more than that of the white.

Needles: 2.25 mm DPNs for the ribbing and 2.75 mm DPNs for the rest. The pattern suggests using 3 mm needles but from past experience with this particular wool I knew that would be too loose for my liking.

Modifications: I made the ribbing longer because I wanted it to tuck well into my coat. Other than that I made the birds' tails longer and added some white to the bird on the thumb to make them look more like magpies. I also changed the pattern that runs along the edges of the mittens to accommodate my changes to the birds.

Since the black yarn made my hands look like they had been rubbing up against newspaper, I was worried that a lot of colour would come out when I washed them. The water did turn a bit dark but not nearly as much as I was expecting. I was pleasantly surprised, though I do think I will wash the remaining black yarn so that I can knit with it without changing the colour of my skin.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Half finished

It fits well and looks pretty much how I want it to look. A day or two should be enough time to finish off the pair. Since we got a bunch of snow last night and there is more snow still to come I will probably even have a chance to wear them.

Before I wear them, though, they will need a couple of rinses at least to get rid of extra black dye. There is enough extra dye in the wool that it is coming off on my hand as I knit. I think as long as I wash the mittens in cool water I can get rid of the black without having it settle into the white.

I'll worry about it when the time comes, though. For now I'm just happy to have a nice mitten that fits and its mate in progress.

Monday, March 3, 2008

New mittens

Yes I will eventually post about the scarf and hat (maybe tomorrow) but tonight I want to post about the mittens I just started.

The only down side to my trip to Toronto last weekend was that somewhere along the way I lost one of my hand knit mittens. This is not a huge tragedy but it has left me mitten-less. My solution was to cast on for a pair of Nordic two colour mittens and hope that it is still winter by the time I've got them finished.

So far progress is good. I am working on a modification of the bird mittens in the book Knitting in the Nordic Tradition, which I got out of the library. When I first saw these mittens I thought the birds looked a bit like magpies and I love magpies and miss seeing them now I'm in Southern Ontario. I've tried to tweak the pattern a bit to make them look even more like magpies and I'm waiting to see how it turns out. So far so good I think:
magpie mittens 1

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Making the socks of two toes

afterthought finished
A quick post because it is late and I'm ready for bed. This afternoon I finished my Afterthought Socks. These are knit from a single skein of Koigu and a part of a skein of Zwergergarn Opal on 2.75 mm needles. I worked these toe-up on 64 stitches and I think I would have been better off with 60 stitches instead. I worked each to where I thought the heel should go (I compared them to one of the other pair of toe-up socks I had laying around) knit in a bit of scrap yarn and then kept knitting until I ran out of yarn.

The first heel I knit as a standard toe, by which I mean I decreased 4 stitches every two rounds until I had 16 stitches left then I used kitchener stitch to close things up. When I put this sock on, though I didn't really like how it fit. It seems less deep than a short row heel and some of the decreases produce gaps:
afterthought heel detail
The second sock I picked up and knit a short row heel instead. Depending how these wash up I may or may not go back and reknit the heel on the first sock Since these socks don't represent a huge investment of time I might be content to have them not match exactly in the heel.

I'm not going to make this sort of heel one I use often but I like it well enough as long as I stick to short rows. I can see this would be a good heel to knit if you thought that your sock heel might wear out and that you might want to reknit it. Since I'm just finishing darning a number of socks that wore out in the hell perhaps I should rethink my plan not to knit more of these...