Stash Audit

May 5, 2008

Chugging away on a minimum of three different projects right now, but somehow I’m managing to make good progress on all of them. Doesn’t hurt that my “At computer” project is one of the speediest things I’ve ever made.

Here’s the first in a set of Filigree gloves from Knitting New Mittens & Gloves. I’m the first on Ravelry to have a picture of the elbow length version up, and I have to say I was a little worried about how they’d turn out. First of all, the directions for that lovely openwork stitch pattern at a bit confusing when you first get a look at them. I remember starting the first glove, finishing the purl row-knit row-purl row cuff, looking at the stitch pattern and literally blinking at it in confusion like a cartoon character. I set the glove down, made a cup of tea, and sat back for a few minutes looking from the glove, to the directions, back to the glove. First few tries were pure failure, but now that I’ve got it right, I feel kinda stupid for not getting it right away. Something about the wording must have set off the “lol wut?” part of my brain.

As to the yarn I’m using (Rowan Handknit cotton) it’s, as usual, a substitution, but the yarn called for is also  100% cotton, so I figured it’d be a justifiable substitute. I was nervous about how well the mitt would hold its shape in the cotton, like if it would stretch out so bad it’d end up around my wrist, but it seems to be gripping nicely. One thing I could do without is that they *really* seem to have overestimated the yarn amount. It took my less than 1 skien to make one elbow length mitt. Whit any luck the nice yarn store will let me return the third skein I know I’m not even going to touch.

Speaking of yarn without a prupose, it’s become a serious issue for me. In terms of wool based yarn, it’s not much of a problem. I’ve got at least a general idea for, I’d say, 90% of it. If there’s no pattern in mind, it’s going to the Babette blanket…but what about all this crappy acrylic? Please note that I said “crappy” acrylic. There is some fine acrylic out there…this isn’t it. It’s old Red Heart Super Saver from at least 8 years ago before they “reformulated.” It’s rough and squeaky. I’m hesitant to even make toys out of some of this stuff. Making a blanket is right out. I’d LOVE to find somewhere to donate it, and there’s a nursing home right in my town that might find use for it in a craft class or just as something for the residents to pass the time with. It’s not useless, I just don’t want it based on the colors and the feel. I can only use so much waste yarn for invisible cast ons and stitch holders. The last thing I want to do is throw it away, but I don’t think anyone would even want to trade for it.

On a final note, I finally found the pattern for the Toujours Pur socks! My mother decided to “clean up” my desk over a month ago meaning I lost about 25 pieces of paper that I needed ranging from several printed out knitting patterns to important flight information about getting to my friend’s wedding in North Carolina. I will never see those things again, but I guess the thickness of the paper on the sock pattern made her hold off on just tossing it out. So now that second sock (which has been languishing since March at least) is getting a little attention again. At this rate I may finish it before August. Weee!


Burny progress

April 30, 2008

Knitting is, in my mind, sitting calmly in one spot and working on your fun little project be it challenging or mindless or in between, but things have just been so crazy lately there was no time for me to sit down and work on the sweater I started *or* the new shawl…

Well my problems with lack of knitting time were solved this weekend after I got a really really bad sunburn on the tops of my feet while I was in Delaware. To give you an idea of how bad, my feet swelled up to twice their normal size, I couldn’t walk so much as stumble flat-footed and in immense pain, and now four days after the initial burn my feet are still deep cherry red with a lovely complement of blisters on the right foot near the toes. It’s pretty gross, but the fact that I was confined to whatever chair I could fall in to means I got a bunch of knitting done.

This is the Flutter Sleeve Cardigan for the Spring Interweave. I’ve actually been working on it since the beginning of the month, but as busy as I’ve been, bloging’s gotten shoved down the priority list. I’m knitting it in Rowan Handknit Cotton, a yarn that doesn’t seem to get much use in full sized sweaters if my skimming of Ravelry is any indication. But so far I’ve got nothing but love for this stuff. It’s got a good hand and shows texture very well. Plus it comes in like a billion colors.  I’m also really enjoying the pattern itself. The “kimono construction” is really neat and I’ve never done anything like it before. I am, however, concerned about how well my short-rows are concealing themselves in this yarn. A good blocking should cover up the little gaps (I’m hesitant to call them holes). Then there’s the ever popular “I sure hope I’m reading this pattern right..” paranoia, but that’s nothing new.

The other really active project is the Victorian Lace Today Melon Shawl. I really need to get trucking on this one since I want to be able to wear it to a wedding in early June. Sure the wedding is in North Carolina and the last thing I’m going to want is some fuzzy whatever stuck to my shoulders, but it’s always good to have something like a shawl on hand just in case. This is a gorgeous pattern and deserves all the raves it’s gotten. Super easy to memorize and execute, it’s surprisingly good TV knitting.


Soft but pointy

April 14, 2008

Lace is really something. You work and work and work on this thing that’s basically just a bunch of holes held tenuiously together by a substance as thin as dental floss. When you’re done it looks sad and crumpled like pantyhose thrown in the hamper.

But dunk it in some water and magically…

…you have a lovely, opework scarf with discernable points around the border!

Now that it’s all done, I’m super excited to do more. I think I’ll get a ton of mileage out of Victorian Lace Today before I need to go around looking for more lace books. And there’s plenty of materials in my stash! Let’s see, I have the bright green Kidsilk Haze, the ultra-lightweight Cashwool, that malbrigo I bought once-upon-a-time ago…


The simplest things…

April 9, 2008

…often turn out to be the biggest pains in the ass.

Okay. Purl Beret. About as easy as a hat can be without being a roll-bottom beanie, right? Apparently I can’t do simple right now because I’ve had to rip the thing back to the end of the body THREE TIMES. One was me being completely stupid and trying to mess with the decrease pattern. Resulting hat didn’t fit at all and looked dumb, so I ripped it back to a three inch body (as stated in the pattern), and then proceeded to screw up the decrease order another two times. What the hell is the matter with me? I’d just say “screw it” and move on at this point but the Koigu is so pretty and so expensive and I’m SO stubborn. But now the hat just feels like it’s in the way sicne I swore I would not start the Flutter Cardigan until it was finished.

On the other hand, the knitted lace border is going shockingly well. My numbers are a little off on the side loops, but if I fudge the numbers I should get what I need out of it. And if the first corner is a bit off, that’s okay. I’ve never done anything like this before, so imperfection is to be expected and accepted. But now that I’m doing the border it’s hit me that this lace thing is really really fun! I picked up some Kidsilk Haze for the extremely popular “Melon Shawl” in a nice bright green that I think will go well with a dress I have for wearing to a wedding this summer. Sadly it took me two trips to get all the yarn for it. Victorian Lace Today apparently has a history of being a bit short on it’s yardage calculations and thanks to Ravelry I found that I needed 4 balls of KSH, not 3. I should have been able to figure that out with basic math (3 balls of KSH does not add up to 700 yard).

Speaking of Ravelry, I gotta say it’s a bit sad to see that the Drama Llamas have managed to make some of the more general boards a bit….well, dramariffic. But frankly, I still feel that there’s no one on that board trying to pull the kind of schoolgirl style Mean Girl Games most of us went through not too long ago. Seriously, all these people who are saying that the Ravboards have turned in to little vitriol fountains should absolutely NEVER go look at other bbs systems like Fark or Something Awful. The internet is predominantly for Haters, but Ravelry seems to manage a variety of sweet to balance the sour and even outweigh it to a point. Sure we like to focus on the bad, but seriously if you go anywhere off the big general boards you start tripping over good vibes. Maybe I’m just jaded from all the Fark reading, but I’m hesitant to all this any kind of apocalypse.


Long term strategy

April 3, 2008

MAJOR dropoff in posts here, I know but I just haven’t had anything new to post about. I’m still making things of course, but the thing is they’re all rather long term and difficult to really see progress on.

 I started the Clashtastic Log Cabin blanket so long ago I feel like I can use the phrase “once upon a time” to describe when it began. The good news is that the end is finally in sight! This blanket will be done when I no longer have usable amounts of Lion Brand Homespun taking up space in my stash. I started with 8 colors and am now down to 6, which doesn’t sound like much of an improvement until you learn that the rest of the colors only have maybe about one stripe left in them. So, amazingly, the knit blanket is almost done! And what have I learned from this? That knitting blankets is inefficient and nowhere near as speedy and fun as crocheting them!

I have a lot of green and blue yarnOn that note, I finally decided what to do with my outcast natural fiber yarns: Babette blanket. It’s huge but the squares are super fast to make and the modular construction makes me really happy. Like I can put together squares based on color sequences and then find a way to make them fit in the big picture. For example, the purple-black-blue square in the picture looks nice and all, but I don’t think it looks so good next to the big prime square (the blue-green concoction), so I’ll just save it for later! I’ve never been particularly good at seaming crochet, but I guess I have to learn sometime and the crazy resulting blanket will be totally worth it. The trick to this blanket is that I *will not* buy yarn specifically for it. This will be made slowly over time of my leftover worsted bits, and maybe if I figure out some voodoo with the DK that can get rolled in too.  Considering I almost always over-buy yarn for a project, the materials shouldn’t be too hard to get 🙂

Lastly, the color cycle of Project Spectrum have changed over to EARTH. I am so all over this one. I have green yarn like you would not believe, with brown also heavily represented in my stash. Like Fire before it, this new cycle gets kicked off with a new beret (maybe even one to replace my sadly felted tweed one 😦  ) It’s the most basic beret pattern on the internet, but the specialness comes from the Koigu I’m using to make it. First of all, I can totally understand the hype over this yarn now. It makes a really bouncy fabric and the colors are amazing. This colorway reminds me of the very beginnings of spring when everything around here is, to be honest, more yellow than green.



March 20, 2008

After a partying related hiatus from my knitting (there are worse things in the world. Happy belated St. Pat’s), Slouchy Gretel is done.

 I am neither as orange or as surly as this photo wouls suggest

And man alive is it slooooouuuuchy. It’s huge! I forgot that Ysolda’s “regular” berets are pretty slouchy, so the shoulchy version is practically a dreadlock tam. I could, in fact, fit all of my hair in there with no struggle. But I really do like the way it turned out. Rowan Kid classic cables up…uniquely. The cables themselves are much more subtle than they would have been in something like, say, Malabrigo. Less of a contrast between the raised stitches and the background stitches. The halo around the hat is also very nice. It’s interesting (at least to me) to see how this wool/mohair blend produced such a different fabric than the Lamb’s Pride I used for Estella. The fuzziness of Estella just makes it seem more sturdy and warm, but the Kid Classic Gretel is a soft little poof with lattice work on it.

 There is, however, some tragic news. My nice light brown tweed Le Slouch, the hat I wear so often it’s practically a part of my hair…has met with misfortune. It went the entire St. Patrick’s Day weekend without a mishap…but then my mom decided that I was taking too long to unpack my overnight bag and threw the contents in to….


 …If it’s any consolation, Classic Elite Skye Tweed felts very nicely in to a soft fabric…but more to the point my favorite hat has now shrunk and turned to a loose felt…I really just don’t know what to do? I know I could make another one, and if I were willing to cannibalize another project, I could even make it from the same yarn…but it won’t be *that* hat…

The poor thing is currently being stretched across a dinner plate…maybe it’s salvagable.


A need for focus

March 11, 2008

I was so proud of myself for finishing the Wishbone sweater. It’s big, it’s warm, I can tuck my legs in to it if need be…it’s exactly what I wanted out of this sweater! Since I finished it a few days ago, it’s been serving as  nice alternative to freezing my butt off in the basement. No “in action” shots yet because I was such a mess this morning when I took the pictures. No one needs to see medusa hair and red eyes on a knitting blog.

My guilty bit comes from the fact that, instead of finishing the sweater and buckling down on the lace scarf or the second sock that has been languishing, I cast on for (surprise surprise) another hat. But in all fairness it’s a really really cute one. The pattern for Gretel is, as usual for an Ysolda pattern, phenominally well written. It’s amazing just how much quicker a project goes when you have a detailed set of instructions to work with. I’m already lapping the “regular sized” version and headed in to the slouchy.  Moreover, this project lead me to learn an all new tublar cast on that I’ll probably be subbing in on any future hats. It makes a great edge that looks very clean. The yarn is also new to me: Rowan Kid Classic in a stormy blue that I love. It’s also much softer than I expected.

So there we go. This hat will be a happy diversion at which point I will devote time in front of the TV to that lace scarf (not even halfway through the center panel and the edging is nowhere in sight), and the sock will get done on the usual schedule of “when I’m on the go/away from my TV project.” Kinda sad, though. I haven’t had SSS this bad in a long time…