Archive for February, 2009

February 27, 2009

Divide stitches evenly . . . sure, whatever you say

When I started the second legwarmer, I divided the 58 stitches between four needles, with 14 on two needles and 15 on the other two. Then I started the cables, and having them divided like that meant that I was doing a cable across two needles, and it really looked like crap, so I adjusted them. I put 10 stitches on the first needle, then I had 19 on the second, 14 on the third, and 15 on the last. It was a little uneven, but it worked.

Now that I’m well into the lozenge pattern, it’s no longer working. I haven’t finished increasing, but soon I will have (if I leave things as they are) 41 stitches on that last needle. I think this might be the reason I’m having trouble keeping the needles in line. It’s getting way too uneven. I am thinking about moving stitches around.

One problem with this is that I don’t really want to have a pattern break. The lozenge pattern, at its widest, is 30 stitches (up from 4 in the original open twist). If I put the lozenge stitches only on one needle, that would leave me with 54 stitches to divide evenly on the other three needles, which would be 18 stitches each. That’s still pretty uneven, but it might work. It means I wouldn’t have my one “selvedge” stitch to either side of the lozenge, which might induce laddering, which I don’t want. There is a 4 stitch copy of the open twist on either side of the lozenge. It doesn’t get involved with the other cabling inside the lozenge. It’s simply a frame. If I put those on the other needles, that would drop it to 22 stitches for the lozenge, with a “selvedge” on each side, because there’s a purl stitch on each end (although the two open twist sections would not have a selvedge anymore). Then I would have 62 stitches to divide on the other needles, giving me 21, 20, and 21. That wouldn’t be bad at all.

I would have to actually start using a marker for the end of the round, because I’d have to move the end of the round to the middle of a needle. Well, maybe not. Using a marker, that is. (I usually use the tail from casting on as my round-end marker, because it’s already there, and I don’t have to worry about it falling off and my good spouse teasing me for leaving it on the kitchen floor again.) Since there are several stitches worth of reverse stockinette between the cable patterns, when I get to the point where I need to worry about where my round starts, I can just count eleven stitches back from the start of the Hauser model on the front of the legwarmer, or ten stitches forward from the Hauser model on the back (after finishing the lozenge pattern, you do the Hauser model for a few repeats).

Okay, I’ve convinced myself. I will split the open twists from the rest of the lozenge, and hope that doesn’t give me a new ladder problem, and then I’ll divide the other stitches onto the needles as 21, 20, 21. Of course, I’ll have to do some more finagling when I get to the end of the lozenge, but I imagine at that point it will mostly be a matter of putting things back almost like they were.

February 26, 2009

I don’t like the looks of this.

I think I’ve got my “panel” for the super secret project figured out, at least the basics. I felted it last night, and it seems to be a good size. Now, the problem is that I have some motifs I would like to add in another color. And I’m doing it in the round.

Intarsia scares me. I know it shouldn’t. I’ve been knitting for about thirty years. I have done intarsia plenty of times. I just have this irrational fear of creating puckered fabric. I have been telling myself for at least the last year that I need to get over it and just do some. I should probably do some Fair Isle, too. But that’s neither here nor there for this. This is intarsia all the way. I could do duplicate stitch, except that I have never managed to get duplicate stitch to actually work. I don’t know what I do wrong, but the duplicate yarn always slides to the side and gets lost or something. It’s very frustrating. Besides, I went through an awful lot of fussing around with geometry to figure out how to make this work so I could easily do the intarsia, and I would be really annoyed with myself if I wasted all that time. I could rework the pattern so it’s flat, but I really think this is something better done in the round. Plus, my goal is to have no seams.

Each motif is at most five stitches wide, and there isn’t a lot of main color inside the contrast color, so I think I will try out the method described at Moth Heaven. I probably don’t need to mention that I, too, like fiddly stuff. If that doesn’t work for me, there are also a few methods described on let me explaiKnit, so I’ll go there next.

I decided I’m not going to wait to actually get the other yarn. I’m going to substitute something else I already have, and if that works reasonably well, then I will buy more yarn. If it doesn’t, I’ll have saved myself time and money, and I need all of both of those I can get. Can’t everyone?

February 25, 2009

Before I kill you, Mr. Bond . . .

No, never mind. I’m not going to monologue and tell you all about my dastardly plans for this super secret project which will allow me to completely take over the knitting world.

Well, no, it probably won’t do that, but it is going to be very cool, as long as it works.

I will, however, say that I’ve figured out, I think, how to use the differences in how much the knitted fabric shrinks in length and width during felting to my advantage. I even got to use my mad math skills, which included poking Google until it finally coughed up the formula I needed. I’ve knitted a . . . panel, for lack of a better word and felted it, and it came out looking pretty good, except it’s too small. I kind of knew it would be, but I’m worried if I make it bigger it will be too big and thus unwieldy, but I’ve already started knitting a larger one, so we’ll see. I managed to find some comfort this morning by thinking of other similar things which are much larger, and which seem to work just fine.

I have yet to try dyeing the yarn. I want to make sure my idea will work, at least in general. I have to get more yarn, of a different kind, to make sure that the whole idea will come together as planned, and I should probably wait to do the dyeing until I have it.

Overall, I am very pleased with my progress thus far.

In other words, I love it when a plan comes together. (George Pepard as Hannibal, in The A-Team)

February 23, 2009

Loose tights. Tight slacks.

I’m having tension problems. I thought I might, with all the slippy/non-slippy stuff going on with the DPNs. I checked the second legwarmer against the first this afternoon, and the second one looks to be coming up a little short. I’ve had so many problems with these that I’d really like to be able to blame the pattern, but as I’ve faithfully documented all of my screw-ups, it would be really obvious that it wasn’t the pattern’s fault.

Since I’m much happier with how the second one is turning out, I’m going to keep going with it. I’ll try it on in a couple inches — once the bottom of the calf shaping is done — and make sure it fits properly around, and that the calf shaping doesn’t start too far down. As long as that all seems to be okay, I’ll finish it. Maybe I’ll change my mind, again, and rip out the first one and re-do it. I’ll have to see what I think when I get to that point.

In happier knitting news, I did wear (am still wearing) my Shetland Shorty today. I still really, really like it. I’m not so thrilled with how it looked with my camisole tucked into my elastic waistband skirt, but it looks okay with the shirt not tucked in, and it looked great with the shirt tucked into jeans. Elastic waistbands are nice and easy to wear, but they can look really crappy.

February 22, 2009

Finished! And started.

I finished the Shetland Shorty last night, and I am pleased as punch with it. It’s just about perfect. I want another one. Now. With long sleeves. In purple.

I started swatching for the re-do of my feathered arrow vest. The original design used up some of my Rio, but it had problems. It was the first thing I ever designed for myself, so I’m not complaining. This time I thought I’d do it with wool, because I want it to keep its shape nicely, so I tried KnitPicks’s Wool of the Andes. I don’t know if it’s working.

The original plan with the vest was that it would be a tank top that could also serve as a layering piece. I think the wool might be too heavy for it to be really comfortable as a tank. It looks like the gauge would be okay, so I don’t know that I really want to go down to a DK or sportweight. Maybe a wool-cotton blend, if I could find one I like . . . I don’t know.

So, right now my choices seem to be, do it with the wool and see what I think or find a cotton or cotton-blend I like and use that instead. Then I’ll have eight skeins of Wool of the Andes to play with for something else. I’m going to finish my gauge swatch, then think about seeing what it’s like with size 5 needles instead (maybe), and then I’ll try to decide what I’m going to do.

I’ve started on the lozenge pattern for the second legwarmer! I don’t know what happened, but when I was working on it last night, I kept dropping stitches again, and I couldn’t get the needles to behave. Hopefully it was just a temporary thing.

Lastly, I have a super secret project (have I mentioned that I’m so old school I still spell it correctly?) I need to start working on. I’m designing something that’s going to be felted and dyed (first dyeing project!), and will be totally cool. Really. Everyone will want one. Of course, after I got the yarn, I decided to see if I could find anything similar already out there, and there is something, but it’s only similar. I looked at pictures of it, but not the pattern, so I won’t be influenced by it. And of course, I think my idea is much better.;-)

February 20, 2009

Great. Sensational. That’s your plan, is it?*

I have a plan for the legwarmers.

I’m at thirty rows of the Hauser model on the second one. I’ve compared the two, and it looks like they’re on track with each other. Not using the stitch markers seems to have solved my ladder-after-cable problem, and backwards wrapping the last stitch on the needle seems to have solved the between-needles-ladder problem. Everything looks good.

I am going to finish the second one on the DPNs. I don’t know what I’m doing differently now, but I’m not dropping stitches and losing needles as much. Maybe I’ve just gotten the hang of DPNs again. Anyway, when I’ve finished the second one, I will finish the first, probably with the two circs, with the stitch markers removed.

I want to wait until I’m done with the second in case I have yarn left over, rather than opening up that third hank. I don’t want to rip out the first one, because the yarn — while lovely and soft and a pleasure to work — has gotten awfully fuzzy. Even on the second one, I can tell already that it’s fuzzier than when I started it. Some people say it still knits up nicely after being ripped out, but I’d rather not chance it. Plus, I think the ladders are not going to be an issue, because people will have to stoop down to look at my legs and see them, and they’ll hopefully even out after a washing or two.

Besides, I’m impatient to wear these.

I really, really need a camera soon, because when I set the legwarmer down at work, I usually put the needles down on the desk. Sometimes they’ll spread out, and the legwarmer will stand straight up from them. It’s really funny looking, and I’m sure after a few more inches (especially as I start increasing in five rows), it won’t do that anymore.

*From The Road to El Dorado. Not at all about knitting, but still a great movie.

February 20, 2009

Does this yarn come in “The Colour out of Space”?

Amigurumi seems to have really caught on in the western world. There is some really cute stuff out there. Triskellian has found quite a bit that she’s put on her favorites list over on Ravelry, including a couple of Cthulhus (this one and the one from Creepy Cute Crochet).

They really are cute.

I just have one problem with this. There are a few things in this world (or out of it) that are really never supposed to be cute. Cthulhu is one of them. Trolls are another (I have never liked those Norfin things). I think nuclear warheads would fit well on that list, also. (Oh, but now I have a great urge to write a pattern for one.)

I suppose you could try to argue that Knithulhu is cute, too, but it’s just not the same.

I do think I need a copy of Creepy Cute Crochet, though. And I added needlenoodle’s ‘blog to my Google Reader. And then I spent way too much time toodling around in Ravelry, finding neat things like a pattern for a cuttlefish, which I feel it is a moral imperative I make.

ETA: Oh my . . . I’m sure someone else has come up with this, and I’m not actually coining a term but . . . are the amigurumi Cthulhus . . . cutehulhus? I think I’ve just turned my own stomach.

February 17, 2009

Another short update

I’m almost finished with the Shetland Shorty! All I have left are the bands around the front/neck edges and the armholes.

One problem I have had with this pattern is that I absolutely hate weaving in ends, and it seems like there are a lot of places where the pattern has you break yarn where it’s unnecessary. Maybe it was less clunky to write the pattern that way, but I think in practice it could be done differently. If I decide I like it as much as I think I will, and I make another (my good spouse even suggested a color — purple! — he thought would look good on me), I will try that.

I had also thought maybe it could be done nicely top-down. I’m not sure about the ties, though. Casting on a few stitches in the middle of a garment isn’t bad, but I don’t know that I’d like to be casting on 120 stitches (60 for each tie) like that. I’m sure you’d want to do it ten at a time, to mirror the “short” row shaping (have I already complained that when the smallest number of stitches being worked is 180, it’s just plain wrong to call it “short row shaping”?!?), so that wouldn’t be completely horrific, but I still don’t know that I’d like it. Maybe I’ll try it someday.

As for the legwarmers, I still don’t understand why you have to move the end-of-round marker after you’ve finished the lozenge pattern. Why didn’t they just write it so that there was one more round of the lozenge? Or have two setup rounds for the open twist chart, or move the fifth row down to be the first . . . I just think it’s silly to change where you start keeping track of rounds when you’ve only got about five more inches to knit.

I added a whole bunch of stuff that I’ve knitted over the years, and some yarn, to my Ravelry notebook. Of course, I don’t have pictures, but bibliogrrl has offered to give me an old digital camera of hers, so I may be able to take and post pictures sometime soon! I’m going to have to add some of the patterns myself, but I think I can handle that.

February 16, 2009

Needle Nirvana?!?

I almost forgot! I saw in the latest Interweave Knits (I think) that Addi Turbo is making an interchangable set, Addi Turbo Click!!! Have some more exclamation points!!! It’s all Turbos, but the little blurb said they’ll add needle and cable sizes eventually, so maybe they’ll add the Naturas, too! Oooh!!! Oooooh!!!

It sounded, from the blurb, like the connections might be similar to those on Denise needles. It said you don’t need tools to change needles, which is nice. (I have a slight overtightening problem, so a couple of the points on my aluminum interchangables have slightly flanged connecting ends. Not enough to cause a problem while knitting, but I still wince when I think how bad it could have been.) I’ve only ever heard one bad thing about the Denise set. Of course, it’s a bit of a doozy. I’m pretty sure it was Spricey who said she was making something and using her Denise needles, and one of the needles came off in the middle of a row. At least my overtightened screw-on points aren’t likely to come off (until I’ve overtightened them so often that they don’t screw on at all).

But, if Addi does add (heh) the Naturas line to their interchangable set . . . I might have to start saving pennies. A lot of pennies.

February 16, 2009

This yarn has gone to meet its maker!

(I put this in the Ravelry notes for my Broken Down Tara sweater, but I think it’s a little long and more post-like for that. So I moved it here.)

This is the sweater that made me decide I never want to let another person make yarn substitutions for me. My friend Heather really liked this sweater, but she’s allergic to wool. And she wanted dove grey, when dove grey was not an easy color to find. No one was using dove grey yarn. I went to the yarn shop (Jefferson Stitches in Naperville, Illinois) and asked for help finding a cotton replacement.

That’s how I came to have a bunch of dove grey Brunswick Rio in my stash.

I was almost finished with the front. It was gorgeous. It was beautiful. It had been a joy to work.

I had used almost half the yarn.

In the meantime, Brunswick went out of business. I searched and searched for Rio in that dove grey, going through closeout bins, asking people I knew to ask people they knew. The sweater is knit with two strands, so I didn’t even care what the dye lot was. No such animal as extra skeins of Brunswick Rio in dove grey existed. It was not pining for the fjords. It was an ex-yarn.

By the time I gave up, Heather had moved to Indiana, so I just picked another sweater (from a Vogue Knitting magazine I’m sure I have lying around so I’ll post it later) without her input and made it for her. I wound up with quite a bit of the yarn left.

One of these days I want to rebuild Tara. Maybe for myself, maybe for Thing One. For someone. But I’ll either use the yarn called for, or I’ll make my own substitution.

I should add that I don’t really blame the woman who made the suggestion to use Rio, and figured out how much I should have needed. Substituting yarns, especially when you’re using completely different fibers and looking for a little-used color, isn’t easy. I just would prefer that if something like that should happen again, I have only myself to blame.

Of course, a few years later, my mom bought me the yarn to make this absolutely gorgeous sweater (another VK find that I’ll have to add to Ravelry eventually), and my brother (who knits) found a substitute. I do blame him for that sweater not turning out right. How much of that is sibling rivalry and how much is deserved, I don’t know, and don’t particularly care.;-)