Posted in Knitting, Work in progress

Progress on Mom’s sweater

The Delsea Pullover is knit side to side, and will be grafted together in the center.  I finished the left half, and cast on for the right half.  Although it’s not pictured, I’m currently working on the increase section of the sleeve.

100_5181 (2)

I think it’s going to turn out well.  So much stockinette…I’m actually bored with it and itching to cast on something new. But I promised my mother I would have this done for her birthday.  That’s in November.  Since rehearsal for my next play starts in two days, my knitting time will soon be severely limited, so I must exercise (gasp!) self-discipline.

Posted in Finished object, Knitting, Technique

Socks! And a shawl.

While I was off work in January recovering from surgery, I went on a bit of a sock binge.  Results below.

temperance-2 First up, the Temperance socks (Ravelry project page).

Pattern: Temperance by Liz Abinante

Yarn:  Footprints by Blue Ridge Yarn, colorway Secret Garden.  Per Webs, this yarn’s total weight for the full put-up is 108 grams. That means it’s 81 grams for the 300 yard skein and 27 grams for the 100 yard skein. When I was finished, I had 18 grams and 8 grams left, respectively.

Total yardage used: 304 yds.

temperance-1Needles:  US size 2 DPNS.  Pattern calls for using US size 1 1/2 needles. I need size 2 to achieve gauge.

New techniques? Yes!  First toe up socks, first short row heel, first time using different colors for different parts of the sock.  I discovered  I don’t like toe up socks.  The cast on and first couple of rows are really REALLY fiddly and annoying.  That was with DPNs.  I may try again using two circs.  Maybe.

Satisfaction with end product:  Pleased!  They fit pretty well, and I’ve worn them several times since completing them.  In fact, I’m wearing them as I type this blog entry. The yarn is soft and warm and comfy, especially after having been washed a couple of times.  The socks come through the washer and dryer just fine; I wash them inside a mesh bag so they’re protected from rubbing against other clothing, and I use the gentle/delicate cold water wash cycle and a low heat dry cycle.

Next, Hummingbird Spring (Ravelry project page).

hummingbird-4Pattern:  Hummingbird by Sandi Rosner

Yarn: Stardust by Magic & Moonshine, colorway “Crocus”. I love this yarn. It’s soft on the hands, comfy on the feet, and has a hint of sparkle when the light catches it just right.

Total yardage used: Roughly 293 yards

Needles: US size 1 1/2 DPNs

hummingbird-1New techniques? Short heel sock #2.  Progress, not perfection.

Satisfaction with end product:  Good enough, even with the following hiccup.  According to the pattern blurb in the book (The Knitter’s Book of Socks), this pattern was written specifically for a “highly-variegated colorway”. They must not have meant THIS highly-variegated because the lace pattern is virtually invisible.  Still, it’s a nicely written pattern, and fun to make. I may try it again in yarn with less contrast in color values.  The completed socks are machine washable (on gentle, in a mesh bag, as explained above) for ease of care.

Finally, Dragonfly and Rosebud (Ravelry project page).

dragonfly-rosebuds-1
You may notice that this photo employs sock blockers.  Yes, I finally bought some.

Pattern:  Veil of Rosebuds by Anne Hanson

Size: Medium

Yarn:  Skinny Bugga! by Cephalopod Yarns, colorway “Dragonfly Tattoo”.  This yarn is amazing. It’s too bad Cephalopod Yarns closed up shop and took down its shingle.

Total yardage used:  274 yds.

Needles:  US Size 1 DPNs

Mods: Medium size called for casting on 56 stitches at the cuff. That’s too small for me, so I cast on 64, knit the ribbed cuff, and then decreased by 8 stitches in the first row of the lace.

New techniques? Still working on perfecting that short row heel.  This technique has entailed a bit of a learning curve but I’m getting better.

pussy-hat-1Satisfaction with end product:  I love how these turned out!  Excellent match of yarn and pattern.  The lace pattern is gorgeous and highly visible in this colorway.  The only issue has to do with the short row heel.  I need to remember to knit the foot a teensy bit longer than I do with a flap-and-gusset heel to make sure the heel turn fits on my actual heel instead of getting pulled under.

Somewhere in the middle of all the sock knitting, I made three PussyHats. Two were dropped off at a collection point for the January 21st march that took place in Atlanta and worldwide, and one I kept for myself for future marches.  You can visit my Ravelry project page here.  Bet you can guess my politics now!

I finished the Cadence Shawlette (Ravelry project page) a couple of weeks before surgery in December.

cadence-4Pattern:  Cadence Shawlette by Emily Straw; 5 full repeats and 1 partial repeat (up to row 21) before the garter stitch edging and the bind off.

Yarn:  Brisbane by Queensland Collection, colorway “Coral Trout”.  This colorway name tickles me:  I can’t see it without thinking of Pete Dexter’s novel, Paris Trout.

cadence-5Total yardage:  288 yds, plus a little extra (see notes below)

Needles: US 9 circs

Satisfaction with end product:  Love it.  It’s warm and cozy and colorful, just right to brighten up drab winter days.

Notes: I wanted to use every inch of the Brisbane, so I essentially played yarn chicken and kept knitting until I thought I had just enough for the bind off. As it turned out, I got 3/4 of the way through the bind off before I ran out of yarn. Luckily, I had remnants of another worsted wool (Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted) in a colorway similar to the color section of Brisbane at the bound edge, so I was able to finish the bind off instead of tinking back 200+ stitches.

I’m knitting my library.  Well, mostly.  Maybe you can join us!

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Posted in Blog Week, Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Technique, Year in review

5KCBWDay7 — Looking Back, Looking Forward

Blog Week 2014 Banner

Blog prompt: Look back on last year’s Day Seven post. Did any of the techniques, ideas and hopes for the last 12 months that you wrote about ever make it onto the hook or needles? Did anyone cast on and complete the project researched in last year’s Day 2 post? One year from now, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried?


 
Last year I discussed several things:

  • Making the cardigan worn by the little girl in the movie The Fall.
  • Organizing my craft room
  • Attempting Fair Isle
  • Attempting Tunisian
  • Making sock puppets for my friend based on a photograph

Success rate? 60%. I achieved three out of the five goals. Behold the craft room:

Craft Room 1

And the Tunisian:

Mom's Tunisian 9

And those sock puppets, which got their own dating profile in this year’s Blog Week Extravaganza:

Avatars 1

For next year, I’m putting Fair Isle and The Fall Cardigan back on this list. Also, I want to finally write up and publish the pattern for a pair of fingerless mitts I designed as a gift several years ago.

San Luis Mitts

I’ve gotten multiple requests for this pattern, but have procrastinated writing it up for so long that I may have lost my initial notes on the project. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because I originally designed the mitts in a bulky yarn and have since decided a lesser-weight yarn is a better choice.

Magazine Review: Vogue Knitting, Spring/Summer 2009Blog content-wise, I’m considering a return to magazine reviews. I pared my knit and crochet magazine subscriptions down to two (from a high of seven), Rowan and Vogue Knitting. Back when I had so many subscriptions, I was trying to review each magazine as it came in. That meant upwards of 30 magazine reviews per year, which resulted in a stack of unread issues sitting next to the computer, giving me guilt. I don’t need more guilt, thank you very much, so I stopped the reviews. Vogue and Rowan only may be manageable: Rowan publishes two issues per year, and Vogue publishes five (six if you count the special crochet issue, but that’s not included in the subscription). Rowan CoverWriting timely reviews will require a certain amount of self-discipline. I’m not good with self-discipline, and I need to be, because the next step for this blog — not next year, but within the next five — is to turn it into something that generates a little income. That means content other than me running my mouth about my latest project or the last book I read. It means patterns and tutorials mainly; perhaps little stuffies, if I ever design any. I don’t expect to make excessive bank here, just enough to cover the domain fees.

And that’s quite enough ambition for my little corner of the interwebz.

As Blog Week draws to a close, I just want to say I appreciate each and every one of you who’ve dropped by during this past week. I found a few new bloggers to follow and hope at least one or two of you enjoyed my articles as much as I’ve enjoyed yours. See you around! And y’all come back now, y’hear?

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Life in general, Miscellaneous, Technique, Yarn stash

Stitches South 2014

What’s new about Stitches South this year? New venue! New classes! New transportation options! New yarn! Well, the new yarn and the new classes are a given, but the rest? All new!

I never particularly liked the Cobb Galleria Centre, so I wasn’t displeased when I heard several months ago that Stitches had changed locations this year, especially when I heard it moved closer to the airport. The chief thing I disliked about the Galleria was the lack of easy public transportation options and the PITA of parking. Okay, parking was free, which is always a plus, but the Centre itself isn’t all that easy to drive to: exit here; no, here!; turn right, then left, then right, then omg I’m totally lost inside this corporate office park and just where the hell is the parking garage, anyway? And the conference center itself, for all its high ceilings and large rooms, felt claustrophobic because there are so few walkways with windows, and those few it has are all overhung with huge verandas, so not much natural light actually reaches the interior.

GICC 2The new location at the Georgia International Conference Center is everything the Galleria is not: easy access to and from the interstate, easy parking (you pay for it but the Stitches discounted parking rate is $5, the same as a round-trip MARTA ticket; either way, the best deal in town, or darn close), easy public transit options by taking MARTA to the Airport Station and the Sky Train from the airport to GICC. The center’s concourse is bright and airy, with lots and lots of windows all the way around the building, and art installations in almost any direction you look. You can’t really see them in this photo, but scattered throughout the curved concourse are round leather ottomans of varying sizes, perfect for sitting and knitting alone or in groups. Some are even big enough for three adults to lie down across them — which is what I saw one giggling group of women do while having their picture taken.

Speaking of art installations, take a gander at this mobile. It’s huge! And fascinating! I stood and studied it for quite some time. It’s too bad there wasn’t a convenient bench or giant round ottoman in the vicinity, because I could have sat and studied it for at least a good 30 minutes.

Mobile 1

(And now that I say that, I see in the first picture above there was in fact a giant round green ottoman that was behind me when I took the second picture. *sigh* Next year. Actually, I just found on the GICC website that an audio art tour is available, so I may do that next year, too.)

If GICC has a drawback, it’s that the only food available within the convention center is the one concession stand inside the exhibit hall and various vending machines scattered throughout the building. The closest real restaurant isn’t within an easy walking distance — it’s close to a mile away, and you’d have to know where you were going in the first place, something that many Stitches attendees, including me, won’t necessarily know. XRX provided a remedy to that situation with a free shuttle to local restaurants at mid-day and during early evening hours. I didn’t take advantage of the shuttle — with only one day at Stitches this year, classes morning and afternoon, AND a ticket to the banquet that evening, the only time I had available to shop the market was mid-day. Again, maybe next year.

This year I took two classes: Secrets of the Sleeve Cap with Patty Lyons; and Mix-It-Up Miters with Edie Eckman. Both are utterly delightful, and I highly recommend anyone to take one of their classes.

ClassroomClassrooms were spacious, if a little dim. “Secrets of the Sleeve Cap” was in the morning, with no knitting involved, just math, making it a good class to take first thing in the morning. But it was cool math: algebra and geometry and engineering combined. I mean, who knew the Pythagorean theorem and the point of inflection were crucial to making a sleeve cap, right? Anyway, the gist of the class was to teach us how to design a well-fitting sleeve cap as part of designing or altering a sweater pattern; and also how to adjust the pattern for an already-designed sleeve cap when row gauge isn’t quite on track. Very informative and not as difficult as one might expect! I also learned about a thing I didn’t know existed: a bendable ruler. I will be stopping by my local office supply store soon to pick up one of these nifty tools.

Between classes, I shopped the market, but that story will have to wait until I get all the pretty yarn and button pics edited and organized.

Classmates“Mix-It-Up Miters” took up the afternoon, and this class was hands-on and practical, so we did bring out our yarn and needles. By the way, those two lovely ladies on the right are Becca and Lori, who flew in from the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the sole purpose of attending Stitches South. I didn’t know them before, but I’m glad to know them now. Girls, if you’re reading this, make sure you come back next year, y’hear?

EdieI took this mitered squares class because the remnants of many skeins of sock yarn are floating around my craft room — well, technically, they’re not “floating”; they’re stored in a plastic box — and I just can’t bring myself to toss them out because there’s still so much yardage left on each. Some of them may have up to 25 or 30 yards left. (Even if there were only three or four yards left of each, I wouldn’t get rid of them, but that’s beside the point.) I’ve looked at several patterns specifically for sock yarn remnants, like The Beekeeper’s Quilt, but it turns out the patterns I liked best that suited my parameters — (A) free and (B) relatively non-fussy — involved either entrelac or mitered squares. I learned entrelac last year or the year before, but hadn’t learned mitered squares. Thusly, a need and a class that suited said need! Edie (to the left) was most helpful in talking us through the anatomy of the square, or rectangle as the case may be. I can now safely say I understand the whys and wherefores of the mitered square and feel confident about creating my own “crazy quilt” type blanket with all that leftover sock yarn. (The practice swatches below were made with worsted weight, BTW.)

Mitered Squares 1

At the banquet, the menu was as follows:

  • Mixed Field Greens with Fresh Raspberries, Candied Pecans, Crumbled Goat Cheese and a Champagne Vinaigrette
  • Blue cheese crusted beef tenderloin with truffled mashed potatoes and a port demi-glace
  • Fresh fruit tart with sliced seasonal fruit and berries on French pastry cream in a fresh baked tart shell

All of it was delicious.

I entered the Student Fashion Show and modeled my “Rose in Winter” cardigan (see this blog entry, and this one, too). Lots of amazing projects were entered, including one by a woman who, although not a professional knitwear designer, teaches fashion design and merchandising at a local university. She created the most intricately designed colorwork tunic-length cardigan I have ever seen. I wish I had a picture. Keep watching the Stitches website because I can almost guarantee that one will make the grade for publicity shots.

And, in other news, I kept the four-year winning streak going and got a door prize!

Cowgirl Bandana 1

I don’t know that I’ll use the yarn to make the intended pattern, but we’ll see. It’s lovely yarn, though: a fingering-weight merino/bison blend with a tight twist. With 400 yards of each color, I have lots of options.

There’s yarn booty from the market to show you, and buttons, too, but that’s another blog entry. Watch this space!