Archive for ‘yarn’

April 14, 2017

It only seemed fair.

I figured, if I’m not going to bake while wearing all black, the least I could do is work on my off-white angora scarf.

Unfortunately, the lovely angora fibers all over my shirt and skirt don’t photograph well.

And now I’m eating pizza, so I’ve put the scarf away.

August 16, 2012

Vive la révolution!

(Another installment in the “Things I’ve Been Meaning to Post About” series.)

Hunter Hammersen’s ‘blog, Violently Domestic, is one that I read, as regularly as I’ve been reading any lately. You might notice it’s over there in the “Blog Roll” in the column on the right. I really like her writing style, and if you’re looking for something else to read — maybe with knitting, and cats, and moths on the mailbox — you should pop on over there and give it a look.

Hunter, as you may know, is the author/designer of Silk Road Socks, and The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet, two books that I don’t have, but, damn it, I want them. She’s just put out a third book, Rabble Rousers, AKA, What to Knit When You’re Up to No Good. This one, I’m happy to say, I do have.

In honor of the book’s launch, Hunter started giving away some of the yarn that was used in some of the patterns. The first one was Briar Rose Wistful, a worsted weight alpaca/merino/silk blend, which was used to make Clamor, a cute hat pattern. Now, if you go look at the Briar Rose website, you might notice the price on a skein of this lovely yarn and think, “Whoa, $40 for a single skein?” But look closer. That’s a half-pound skein. Not as expensive as you thought, huh? It’s so much yarn that Hunter decided to split it in two, to spread the yarn love a little further. This is what a half-skein looks like:

Briar Rose Wistful

Yeah, in other words, I was one of the lucky winners! But isn’t that yarn gorgeous? I don’t think the picture does the colors justice at all.

Anyway, this is all to show off my pretty yarn a lead up to saying that Hunter has one last give away to do, and it’s for three skeins of Malabrigo Aroyo. That is, three different people will each get one skein. It’s another really pretty yarn. So pretty that Hunter bought it, even though this particular colorway is largely pink. All you have to do to be entered in the drawing is read this post, and leave a comment by Friday night. There are already 97 comments, but since there are three skeins, your odds are more like one in 33 than one in 100, right? There is no hard and fast time set for when the comments will be closed, so I’d just say get over there and comment. Then go and read some of her older posts, and put her on your regular reading list.

January 27, 2011

Progress is being made

I usually don’t like knitting plain stockinette or garter stitch. It’s bo-ring. Sometimes, however, it’s nice and relaxing to set my mind on automatic and let it go.

The design I’m working on for the Knit Picks IDP has a scarf that is mostly garter stitch. I’ve received the yarn for the sample, and Thing Two made me a Tinkertoy Swift so I could wind it into a ball, and I started work on the scarf last Friday night.

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August 16, 2010

Socks on Chicks and Chicks on Fox*

*From the song “Socks On” by MC Frontalot — Seuss-inspired nerdcore rap, you gotta hear it)

I finished the first sock, complete with having Grace try it on (so I’m definitely not being sneaky anymore, but she was nice and pretended to be surprised they’re for her), and weaving in the ends.

I put the last 16 stitches on a couple safety pins before she tried it on, so if need be, I could rip out the toe and make it longer or shorter. It fit fine as-is, but when I put the stitches back on the needles to graft them, I apparently put a needle through the yarn, instead of through a stitch. I figured this out when I tried to tighten up the grafting. I wound up ripping out six rows before I got to a point where I could knit it back up.

I don’t think the yarn (KnitPicks Stroll) is really particularly splitty, but since I started working on this sock back in . . . February? And I pulled that skein from the center, the outside of the skein got a little abused. I noticed a lot of problems with splittiness towards the end. I have the skein for the other sock on my wrist-yarn-ball-holder-thingy, and am taking the yarn from the outside. That way the yarn on the outside of the skein should never get too abused, because it’s getting knit into the sock. At least, I hope it works that way.

In other news, it’s been too damned hot to do any hand-felting, which is all I have left to do on the dice bag. It’s nicer out today, so maybe tonight I can take a little time and finally get that DONE. I also need to draw a diagram for the pattern, because I cannot take a picture that shows what I want. I can’t draw, but I think I can handle this. I hope.

March 25, 2010

In the works

But first, wow, someone searched for “sosoclever knits”?

I have, I think, finished writing the instructions for the Super Secret Felted Project, and am ready to pass it off to a test-knitter (him being the charming bibliogrrl’s boyfriend, he of the envy-making curly hair — why do guys always get the really good hair?). Hopefully he won’t find any huge problems with it, and then I can pass it on to a tech-editor, and then I can see if anyone is actually willing to pay for it. I’m going to knit a final sample, too, making sure I use the instructions as they’re written.

I said he could post pictures as he’s working on it, but I’m still leery of doing so myself. I really think I’ve got something pretty original, and I’m afraid if I release it too soon, I’ll wind up losing out because of it. Someone will see it and manage to reverse-engineer it, and I’ll lose my edge. Yes, I do realize that I’m a little on the paranoid side.

I’m almost finished with the pattern for She’s Purple!


Not the greatest picture, I know. And the pattern as written uses a different yarn with a different gauge. And now that I’m just about done with it, it turns out I’m not actually knitting at the gauge for which I re-wrote the pattern. It’s closer to the gauge I got with the original yarn. Doesn’t that just figure? I’ve decided I want to get that one test-knit, too, probably in size 2 and 16 (smallest and biggest), to make sure my numbers are right, and then I’ll have that one tech-edited (especially since it’s written for eight sizes), and take it from there.

I’m not done with the Hoover Blanket yet. I’ve been working on those other two, and figure I’ve got plenty of time! Of course, that “plenty of time” is now down to two months, so I should get cracking. Not that the Sea Monkey will care if it isn’t done in time.

The only other project I am working on right now are a pair of Clandestine socks for Grace. It’s kind of a surprise, except I can’t imagine that she sees me knitting something in this dark red (KnitPicks Stroll in Burgundy) and doesn’t know it’s for her. It’s the first Cookie A pattern I’ve made. It’s the first not-totally-plain sock I’ve made. I like it. The pattern isn’t my style (to wear, that is), but I like the way it works.

One note for anyone else who makes them, I don’t have a regular stitch marker at the beginning of my row. I’ve got a safety pin down at the beginning, showing which side is the first. The beginning doesn’t really move, at least not on the leg. It’s just that you’re adding stitches before it, and then at the end of the pattern repeat, you move the stitches you added to the end of the row, instead of the beginning. I’ve found it easier to mark it this way, instead of having to move the marker each time.

I do have another project sitting aside and waiting for me. I finally got my five balls of KnitPicks Palette in Celestial (which is a really pretty blue, and not at all purple, which might surprise some people, seeing as how I’m me), and I’m going to make another Shetland Shorty, this time with long sleeves. I’m forcing myself to wait until I don’t have so many other projects going at once, though.

April 4, 2009

Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I’m delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever.*

You know that scene from The Adventures of Baron Munchausen where they’re coming back from the moon, and they’ve run out of rope at the bottom, so the Baron ties on a new length, and Berthold (I think it’s Berthold) asks where he got it, and the Baron explains, rather huffily, that he cut it off the top, of course? (Insert a similar scene from a Warner Brothers cartoon if you haven’t seen Munchausen, and then go rent the movie.)

I kind of feel like I’ve been doing that.

I was almost finished with the last panel on the Super Secret project, and I ran out of the Bare yarn. So . . . I fished some cut off ends out of my scrap yarn bag, and did spit splices. (My good spouse was in the shower, so he didn’t have to be witness to me “doing something gross.”) Then I ran out of yarn. I cut off the long tails left from casting on and did some more spit splices. I’m finally finished, and I have two little pieces left I could have spliced on if I’d become terribly desperate. They’re about two inches and two and a half inches long. And it was a near thing, too.

I’m going to use the Wool of the Andes I have to join the panels and do whatever else I decide I need to do with wool. It’s a prototype. It doesn’t have to look pretty. Although I think it still will look nice, just not quite how I picture the actual finished project.

I’m pretty sure that a single hank of the Bare will be enough to do the whole project. I have four gauge-type swatches that were necessary for designing, but someone doing the project by itself will probably only need one. We’ll see. I like the idea that it could be a single-ball project. Even though it won’t quite, because it’ll need a ball of non-feltable yarn, too, but it’ll be close.

*From The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

March 8, 2009

Still working

I don’t think I’ve ever knit anything before that made me doubt my abilities as much as these legwarmers.

Not that this will stop me from making another pair. I’ve had a subtle request (“I still say those would look better in this color,” “this color” being her favorite, not mine) for one and the yarn called for in the pattern (Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport) is relatively inexpensive (as is the KnitPicks Gloss, but I want to make it in the yarn used in the original, see if I can get my measurements to come out like theirs) and Brown Sheep is one of the brands The Yarn Exchange (which vaguely resembles a local yarn store, in that it’s only about thirty miles away) has carried since opening. So, I’ll probably be making another pair in the not-too-distant future, and I’ll be able to put all I’ve learned from this pair to the test.

I was almost done with the lozenge pattern and I counted my stitches to make sure everything was going as planned. Somehow I’d come up with an extra stitch. I followed it down, and it was ten rows back. So I dropped two stitches — the extra one and the one next to it that looked like the parent stitch — and followed them down. Of course, the one that I thought was the parent, wasn’t. In the course of finding that out, I figured out what happened, though. I’m pretty sure I wrapped the yarn around the needle to make a stitch, and then didn’t actually pull it through like I should have, so essentially, I slipped a stitch and did a yarn over. Then the next row I knit (well, purled) each of them. So, I dropped the parent stitch, picked up the yarn where I’d just slipped it, and worked it back up.

At some point in there, I started figuratively smacking my forehead because I really could have just purled two of those stitches together and left it at that. Now, I have a bit of a ladder problem there. Me, the person with the ladder paranoia, just gave myself ladders. Grr.

I have a quibble with the pattern. I don’t know if it’s just the way I read it, but it says:

The 8 sts rem from the Lozenge chart will look very similar to Rnd 3 of the Hauser Model chart, which is the rnd you are about to work on the front of the leg. Move the rnd marker exactly halfway around (31 sts each side of marker) and count the beg of the rnd from that point. . . . Work 6 rnds even in patt cont Hauser Model as established on front leg and Hauser Model above Lozenge on back of leg.

It goes on from there to explain the increases, which, after all is said and done, should leave you at rnd 10 of the Hauser Model chart.

I read the part quoted above as saying you move the marker halfway around and finish that round. Then you do 6 rnds in patt. That didn’t seem like it would leave you at rnd 10 after doing all the increasing, so I checked, and it wouldn’t. If you take the rnd where you move the marker as being the first of the 6 rnds in patt, that has you finishing the increases at rnd 10.

It’s not a big deal, but it just seems like it could have been better written (read, “how I would have written it”). And I still don’t understand why you have to move the rnd marker. I really think they could have added a row between the Open Twist chart and the Lozenge, or changed the Open Twist chart . . . something so that the front and back would have coincided at the end of the Lozenge chart, without the rigamarole of moving the marker. Not that I had a marker to move, as I’ve mentioned before.

Also, I checked the length of this one against the first, when I was finished with the Lozenge chart (which is where I left off with the first one), and they seem to be just about even, so that’s good. I am not going to rip out the first one. Even with the ladders, and the cables that go the wrong way (by the way, I did it with the second one, too, but I caught it after only a couple repeats this time), I think it will be fine. Besides, if I don’t rip it out and start over, I have a better chance of being able to wear these before it gets too warm.

Speaking of which, if I weren’t sitting at the computer, I could be knitting, and they’d be done that much faster.

March 3, 2009

Double the fun.

Or half? I did a panel of the super secret project with the motifs. I used the intarsia in the round method from Moth Heaven, which at first was awful because I thought my charts were simple enough I didn’t need to keep track. Ha! I know better now. I also knit it way too loose. So I ripped it all out and started over, keeping track of my charts, and it was lovely. I’m not exactly ready to do anything major in intarsia in the round, but for my purposes, this was perfect.

Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I hadn’t come up with something to change before I’d finished the panel. What if I made the motifs half the size? As I was finishing them, I started thinking they might be too big. They’d probably work, but they were kind of a pain to fit in with the shaping.

Thankfully, I did not cast on for a whole new panel. I’ve got brains hidden away somewhere, and occasionally I actually dust them off and use them. I did a a test swatch, which I will felt tonight, and see what I think. If they look okay width-wise, but too stumpy, I can easily lengthen them. If they don’t look good at all, I’ll stick with the originals. If I don’t stick with the originals, I’ll rip out the panel I’ve already done so I can knit it with the new motifs and then rip it out so I can measure it. At least I thought of making the motifs smaller before I ripped out the old one and measured. Not that measuring would take that long, but I need to feel good about something.

In other news, I’ve decided not to do the feathered arrow vest redux with the Wool of the Andes. It was just too heavy. I have to find a different yarn, and I have to find something to do with all the yarn I’ve got.

Also, work continues on the legwarmers. I’m almost done with the increases on the lozenge. I think two more rows, and then I’ll try them on. Changing around the stitches to get them evenly divided again has done wonders, although I really wish I had longer dpns. I think I’ll have to put the stitches on a spare cable before trying them on.

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.