Thursday, January 22, 2009

death of my size 1 harmony circulars.

Thanks for the positive sock feedback, all. Sadly, last night I managed to snap one of the birch needle tips of my size 1 circ in two. You would think I'd know better than to put my weight on top of the project bag (which concealed my wee sock project) as I hopped on to the bed to look at finishing my cashmere cowl, but no. SNAP! I had just turned the heel earlier this week and the sock actually fit, though I'm still aware it should be knit on smaller needles. Of course I lent my set of size 1 dpns to another new sock knitter friend, so I don't have that backup. I won't be buying small wooden circs anymore, for sure, I shouldn't have spent the (tiny bit) extra on the Harmony ones over Christmas. It's so sad when tools get busted before they've even produced one finishing project.

Anyway. Sock is on hold, cowl is very nearly finished (What with me running out of yarn any minute) and the lady sweater has a completed body and the first sleeve is being worked on. I'm a bit dull for pictures right now, but here is the cowl as it was last weekend or so:

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Oh, and I forgot! Signing into Flickr just reminded me - over a few days around New Years while in Ottawa I picked up some cotton and knit a couple of dishcloths for a friend in Halifax who had been lamenting the worn out state of her current ones. Not a knitter herself, she relies on others to periodically replenish her supply. I think I might have crocheted a few dishcloths back in the day, but I'm not sure if I've ever knit any. It was no big thing to come up with a couple of simple patterns thanks to Ravelry and to do these in a couple of days:

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I thought that having the color of one be the accent of the other was both a good use of yarn and a nice way to present a gift.

May your weekend knitting be free from snapped needles and full of happy clicking.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

WIP: stripey sock redux

Last summer while on holiday in North Carolina I attempted my first sock. I used KP harmony dpns in a size too large for the yarn 2.25 mm, possibly:

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Although I was pleased that I learned how to do a toe using short rows and a provisional cast on, I knew it was way too loose to be wearable.

This past Sunday a group of fellow students and I got together for some craftiness - and four of us were knitting socks. I picked up a couple of pairs of smaller circular needles from KP over the holidays, having just learned how to do the magic loop in December. I'm using a size 1 circ now and although things are still a bit loose, overall we're doing much better.

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The only smaller needles I have (a set of sock needles from Joann's at some point in different shades of "0") are dpns, but I still might have to try this yarn (ONline Supersocke cotton) with a set of those, for research purposes. I haven't taken a new picture, but I've reached the heel of the first sock and am working on turning it!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

better bucket hat surgery

A few weeks ago I posted about my wonderful malabrigo velvet grapes bucket hat.

It didn't take long before I realized that I hadn't knit this hat long enough -- the wind she was a'blowin here by the ocean and my ears just weren't cozy enough. I had plenty of yarn left over; ripping back from the brim was not an option, and frogging back from the top to before the decreases started would just result in super fuzzy yarn and a whole lot of extra work.

I had to perform surgery.

Luckily I love kitchener stitch. I used a smaller cable needle (size 3, I think) to pick up a row of stitches all the way around the hat, in the straight knitting section somewhere in the middle of the length.

I made a quick snip in one stitch and pulled out a single row of knitting one stitch at a time, picking up the lower row of stitches as I went along, with a size 7 cable needle, the same as used for the actual hat knitting in the first place.

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My favorite wee crochet hook helped to pull out the row I wanted to undo:
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In case you can't see the gap that is forming...
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It took a bit of patience, which totally paid off in the end. I basically cut the hat into two pieces and then knit up another inch or so on the straight lower part, before grafting it back together with the top.

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It took an evening's work but it is much more practical now, and as it was 23 below CELSIUS yesterday, well worth the trouble.

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If I were to knit this pattern again, which I would, because it's well written, I would pay attention when told to knit 6.5 inches straight - because I tried it on as I was working on it and thought it was long enough at about 5.5 inches - and I was wrong.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

WIP: February Lady Sweater

I planned ahead and ordered the yarn for this pattern (My Ravelry project link) so that it would be waiting for me in the mile high city before I arrived there for Christmas. Part of the plan was also that I knit a couple of things that got left behind in the form of gifts, thus creating magic space in my suitcase for the adoption of more wooly goodness.

The yarn is Knitpicks kettle-dyed Wool of the Andes in Wine. Despite getting all the same dyelot there is a huge difference between skeins. Two or three of the eight I bought have almost no variation in the color, while the rest are lovely. So toward the bottom of the body lace section I alternated skeins for a few inches. Mildly annoying, but I don't think anyone will really notice when all's said and done. Size 8 needles, my trusty KP Options, as per usual.

Here's the garter stitch collar (it's knit top down) as it looked in late December...
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And it has grown up quite a bit since then! The lace pattern is lovely and simple to memorize.
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The color in that last picture appears slightly more saturated than the yarn really is, but it's lovely in real life too.

You may also be thinking, but girl, wasn't your last cardigan dark red? Yes, yes it was. But the yarn was heathered and not a semi-solid, and also I thought this yarn might be slightly pinker. What can I say? I like red.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

WIP: spiral cowl in cashmere

Cast on for this yummy cowl on Wednesday in order to have a small project to work on in a big lecture Thursday - this yarn is soooo soft to work with! The pattern is simple, though I think it should be a multiple of 6 sts plus one so that once you get the first round done you can just k6, k2tog, yo without needing a st marker to tell you where the row ends and you have to muddle with the number of sts very briefly. I think that would work. Anyway it was icy and frosty cold this week so I want a super cozy, non-bulky piece to wear with my winter coat!

In my previous post I showed the yarn and mentioned where it came from, so all that remains is to show a picture of my progress so far!

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Close up:

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I like the picot edge, which gives some nice structure to the hem, though it was tricksy to work because I didn't read far enough into the instructions to realize a provisional cast on would have been a good idea. I just knit five rows, then did one row of k2tog, yo, then knit five more rows - and only then realized that I would have to now knit the current row together with the cast on edge. Kind of a pain but it worked out in the end and this is going to be a lovely piece. Plus it will be done in a jiff, if I just ignore my schoolwork and watch a movie tonight :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

ice storm turns into cozy softness

A nasty icy storm is raging outside. Ewwww. It started up mid-afternoon, and it wasn't long at all before the sidewalks were all slick. I popped into the bank and heard a man say he'd seen three people fall. I hadn't been looking at anyone while walking, only at my own feet, and taking much smaller steps than usual. I even hopped on the bus though I wasn't sure how the traction would be in a vehicle either - I just wanted to get home faster!!

I had thought I might go out to a trivia night tonight but I have a feeling there won't be a big showing. I need a small project in any case to take to a large lecture tomorrow, and I am fresh out of simple small projects, so I went for a lovely stash-dive instead!

I came up with the single skein of cashmere I have ever purchased:

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From Cashmeres by Kate, which I could afford because it was going wholesale at the time.

And isn't that nice, I took a picture of it in the sunshine following the day spent at the NH Sheep and Wool Festival! Much cheerier than today's weather, I can tell you.

This skein is 200 yards of sexy softness. A scarf would be too short; a cowl it is. I checked my Ravelry queue and didn't come up with anything in quite the right weight; laceweight and bulkier stuff seems to populate the accessories section at the moment. Luckily the pattern search function is dead handy. I decided on the spiral cowl, a free pattern from Knitty Gritty Thoughts, because it's simple, but can be funkified with a chunky button and adjusted to be cozy on a really chilly day, or looser when desired.

No light for pictures at present - and I've only done up to the picot edge in any case, so 6 rows in or so - but hopefully the storm will let up overnight and there will be some brighter skies before we know it. Stay warm!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Knitters without borders

In tangential knitting news...

With continued news coverage of the air strikes in the Gaza strip, I've finally done something I've been meaning to do for some time - made a donation to Doctors Without Borders - inspired by the YarnHarlot's tally for Knitters Without Borders (currently at over half a million dollars; she has just set a new crazy goal of a million dollars and I bet we can do it). You can click the button below to find out more. There's just way too much hurting going on out there, and DWB are a big help to people who need it most.

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Next time, news of holiday knitting and more than a couple of pictures of new yarn. Might have to try out the Flickr mosaic maker for those!