Monday, July 28, 2014

Au Revoir Green Sweater..

I sent off the green sweater to a new home over the weekend. I've been debating if I try and throw it in the dryer or what I could do besides ripping it all out to get the sizing closer to where I wanted it. Fortunately, the Incredible Patient Mother has slightly broader shoulders than I do, though we're of a similar build/size. She tried it on and, with a pin/button in the front, it fits her far better than it does me.  A part of me is a little bummed, but mostly I'm glad she'll wear it.

To quote something from the YarnHarlot during one of her tours, knitters have artificial generosity. We give so much stuff away because it does not fit.

It's looking doubtful that I'll make the 5K goal by next week, which is the official KnitGirllls deadline. This summer has been too stressful and full of too many other obligations. It's very frustrating. I look at all of the yarn, all of the potential and I want to do all of the knitting. But knitting, particularly anything I can't do on almost entire autopilot, requires thought and energy and that's been in short surplus this summer. And I know that in the next week I have deadlines, the Philosopher's birthday, friend obligations, and a couple of other things bleeding on the radar.

I'm going to take a solid whack at trying to finish the second sweater by next week so I break the 3K mark but I think that's as far as I may get. And even if it takes me a little longer than that, by tailgate season this fall I'll have two new warm sweaters that I've knit myself. Nothing to sneeze at there...


Sunday, July 20, 2014

At last...

I am officially done knitting with this yarn. After six years in the stash and having started three projects with it (and finished two actually), I have consigned the remainders to the leftover bin and am moving on...

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Keskitys turned out to be the perfect pattern for this yarn, turning the pooling into something interesting. I think the pattern, despite being free, hasn't gotten as much traction as it might because it calls for two alternating skeins of yarn and I don't know that I would have wanted to slog through that much garter stitch with it (though the preponderance of Jared Flood scarves a couple of years ago would seem to suggest that others might). For a highly variegated single yarn, though, I believe it works very nicely.

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I knit the center triangle a little larger than the pattern called for and ended up picking up 72 stitches on each side. This meant longer wings.  In retrospect, I probably didn't need to do that. The Philosopher was surprised to see that the full length is over 6' when gently blocked (can you imagine if I'd seriously blocked it?) but he'll wrap it around his neck this fall and just be nice and toasty. He really likes the colors.

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It's another 450 yards towards my stash dash goal, which is now at 2825 yards. I'm at 51%! Woohoo! Only...it's late July and stash dash ends on August 7. Can I finish up another 49% of projects before then? I've made some sock progress recently but we shall see...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ready for Cozy Weather

The polar vortex of July that we've been having this week has prompted me to wear light sweaters, it seems very strange to me. However,  it has also meant that when I did finish and block my new sweater, I could try it on without instantly getting heat stroke.

I finished my Cozy Flax! I was so annoyed with myself when I actually sat down with the second sleeve and remembered that one of the major instructions is "knit straight for 8""  Autopilot knitting anyone?

Tada!
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To give you an idea of how the body changed once I put in 4" of shaping, here's the picture from before I ripped back to just below the bra line.

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Again, that isn't a complaint about the pattern. Tin Can Knits wrote an excellent and very easy to follow pattern and the sweater in it's straight format would have looked just fine over a pair of jeans.

The other modifications I made were to the amount of ribbing. This sweater is ending around my hips and I didn't want it to roll or just stretch out a bit at the bottom, so I went with about 4" of ribbing instead of the pattern called for 1.5"

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I did something similar with the sleeves--switching to ribbing at the bottom of the sleeve while still maintaining the garter decorative part instead of going down to ribbing at the bottom of the sleeve.

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I wet blocked it, though not aggressively. I didn't see a need for pins here, just mostly to soak it and see what would happen.  As I expected, the sleeves grew a little in length. That actually turned out for the best, I'd finished the sleeves just a hair shorter that I wanted, so now they're a good length. They'll be shoved up to 3/4 length most of the time anyway, where that ribbing will come in handy, or I'll want the longer sleeves because I'm outside. I think I might go back and put in a couple of lines of crochet anchoring between the shoulders, ala Yarn Harlot, because I could see it stretching out there as well.

Overall, though, it's ready for tailgates and walks to the farmer's market this fall.  It's a very casual sweater, I don't see myself wearing it with much beyond jeans, but I like that about it.  My only other complaint is that it only took about 800 yards of yarn. Normally, that'd be a point of celebration, but with stash dash, I was seriously hoping for closer to 1000 yards.  Must knit other things faster...


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sock Show Thursday: New Socks and a Loss

The weekend before last I flew to Las Vegas to attend a conference. No other city prompts people to ask if I got out and went crazy or to be quite so disappointed when I say, no, I was really in meetings the better part of 9 hours a day, yes, I really had meetings starting at 8:30 a.m., and no, neither the Philosopher or I hit jackpot.

I also managed to lose a skein of yarn before ever stepping foot in Vegas. Probably still somewhere in an American Airlines overhead bin, is this skein. 

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The Acadian yarn from Fleur de Fiber didn't make it to the hotel room.  I'm bummed about that. I only see that dyer infrequently and she doesn't have an online store so getting more will be a bit of a challenge.  

I didn't do much knitting while we were in Vegas, mostly working on the Philosopher's purple triangle as I Madame DeFarge'd my way through a rather tense meeting. On the flight home, however, I did begin a new pair of socks, much to the consternation of the guy in the seat next to me. 

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This is another independent dyer near me: Emily Parsons of Sophie's Toes. The colorway is called Good Earth, but I think it looks more like Pumpkin Patch. It's all the warm and fuzzy fall colors squished into a single skein.  

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They'll be beautiful socks and very squishy--as the yarn base has cashmere in it.  

This pair is listed as Pair 8 for 2014.  Of course, that counts my second pair of emergency work socks as pair 7 and they haven't been touched in probably 2 weeks. I'm hoping to have a few more webinars to listen to in the near future so that I can work down the foot of sock 1 and move on to sock 2.  These fall socks though are going into the train rotation pretty soon though and that will hopefully move them along.  


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Team Purple

Look, it's another Philosopher Triangle! If anyone was concerned that he doesn't get enough knitting done for him or for those who'd like to verify their current count: this is triangle 5 since March. At this rate he should have a nice selection for the 9 months out of the year that one needs some kind of warming neck garment.

This one is intended for the tailgates that we start going to in August and September. While he might not wear it in August, as the temperatures drop, this one I expect to be in regular Saturday rotation for 8 a.m. tailgating for Northwestern University.

In a vague and general way, this is based on the Yvaine pattern. That is to say, I knit Yvaine a couple of years ago, remembered a little about the pattern, borrowed the increases from Brass and Steam, grabbed the needle size that seemed most appropriate for the yarn and have been making things up as I go.

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It's a mostly stockinette triangle with stripes of garter and seed stitch to keep it laying flat and to keep me from being entirely bored.  I'm increasing 4 stitches every right side row, 2 stitches every wrong side row.  I've got a count of 50 (75? --something I counted 2x) so that I don't have to count quite as many stitches each time I need to verify that I'm close.

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I've got another 4" (10cm) to add to the center point before I'm done. This is being knit out of The Loopy Ewe Solids. I've used most of one skein so far, I expect to use up a half skein that was loitering in the stash to finish it.  I still have one skein left so I'm thinking about short fingerless mitts or some such for one of the other tailgating fans. Or maybe just a raft of baby hats as many of those people have recently familial additions.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hope is a Thing with Sweaters

If I have any hope of finishing my Stash Dash 5K this summer, I'm going to have to get these two sweaters done. They'll knocked out about 40% of my goal and I am going to need that kind of progress very soon, having only reached just over 25% completed.

When last we saw the brown sweater, wow, that's been a month ago already, anyway I was describing my ripping out of the body to reknit. I finished the body again, adding 4" of decreases over 5 inches and then increasing 1" for the ribbing at the bottom, and doing much longer ribbing. I used up the majority of the yarn that I'd originally used for the body, there's about a third of a skein that didn't get reused. Extra ribbing helped to eat up the yarn.

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All that's left now is one sleeve. This will require a bit of fiddliness, some attention actually being paid, possibly some row counting, and so it's been stuffed in a bag and left.  I was lamenting before of how many of these projects need just one thing to turn the corner to done and apparently the sleeve is it on this one.

I have made some progress on the Harvest Sky blue sweater. I'm most of the way down the body.

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I need to put it onto a 2nd needle so I can figure out exactly where it's sitting on me currently so I can decide how much longer to go before knitting the 4" of garter bottom edging. I have a long body, so I know I want more length than the body calls for. I could have done a bit of shaping here as well and, my luck, I may rip it back and do some doctoring but I think I'll mind a little shapelessness less in the cardigan than in a pullover.  I am already thinking about the possible need for a belt.

Here's the bottom half:

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And you can see I have one of my Wee Ones Stitch markers keeping me company. It's in the model of my nephew, the Bichon Frise--who has asked for a purple sweater this year for his birthday. Which is in 6 weeks. As I don't think I'll get the knitting I'd planned for his mother done by then, I should at least get his sweater turned out.

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Can't See the Forest

Last year I pulled a slightly less than loved skein out of the stash and decided it would make a good Sockhead hat.  The result was a hat that in reality I wasn't entirely in love with and it sat in the gift bin for quite a while. Of course, the Philosopher had noted how pretty he found the yarn one rummage through the leftovers and, in the interest of getting the yarn worn, used, and loved, I ripped out the hat.

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That's actually not the yarn I started the new project with, I began with the leftovers (read, the other half of the skein). On Ravelry, I'm calling this project "For the Trees"

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I'm using the pattern Keskitys by Emma Karvonen.  It's a free pattern on Ravelry.  You knit the center triangle as deep as you'd like it to be--I think I added one or two extra repeats--and then pick up and knit identical wings.  I ran out of wool on wing 1 with a half dozen or so rows left. I think I should have enough to do wing 2. The pattern calls for 2 colors of yarn, I'm only using one but the pooling in this skein is making it plenty interesting.  The Philosopher is pleased with how it's coming along and looking forward to temperatures that allow for more regular triangle wearing.

The yarn is Dizzy Blonde Studios and she is still dying. Her colors tend to be a little more subtle rather than in your face, if a muted variegated is what you're looking for.

And now, there is a hungry cat announcing to me that it has gone MINUTES past 5 p.m. and she'll obviously waste to nothing if I do not produce gooshyfood right now.