Friday, January 27, 2006

Fair Isle almost finished

My Fairly Easy Fair Isle is coming along, though the proportions are looking a bit odd. Last night I finished the yoke, which just about completes the knitting for this sweater. All that remains is to add the button/buttonhole bands, sew up seams, weave in ends, and block it into a hopefully wearable shape!

Here's a closeup that shows the colors better:

In other news, I've also been working on the Koigu socks on and off. They're a much more portable project than the FEFI. I'm still on the first sock, but on Wednesday I began the heel flap -- woohoo!

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Fair Isle sleeve

Here's a close-up look at one of the sleeves. The green and purple are pretty subtle against the dark gray, but I think the colors will work once the Fair Isle on the yoke is there to tie it all together.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Plodding along

No pictures today, as we haven't seen the sun much these past few days. I've been knitting as much as I can in the midst of family crises and wedding planning.

The body of the Fairly Easy Fair Isle sweater is complete, and I've gotten past the Fair Isle parts of both sleeves. It's taking me some time to get acclimated to knitting with the Brown Sheep bulky yarn, as well as to get the tension right for the Fair Isle. I've frogged the sleeves several times, but I think I'm on the right track now. I'm pretty happy with how the waist shaping turned out, though the whole thing seems to be a little bigger than it should be. Darn gauge issues! Hopefully it will all work itself out in blocking. I put both sleeves on the same needle so I can work them simultaneously and they should hopefully come out the same. (Actually I did the Fair Isle parts of the sleeves individually because I was too lazy to set aside an extra spool of each color.)

Probably the most invaluable lesson I've learned so far is, when starting a new skein of Brown Sheep yarn, to take the label off the skein. Both ends are wrapped around the outside of the skein, under the label, for easy access. No need to dig around in the middle of the skein, as I so foolishly did the first time, ending up with an "abortion" of red yarn. (You have John to thank for that lovely metaphor.)

Also, I now know why you're not supposed to put two decreases right next to each other: big ugly holes! Fortunately I was able to go back and fix those, even though I had already done all four sets of decreases. How I love looping up the ladder with a crochet hook! (When it's stockinette or ribbing. I hate doing that with garter or seed stitch!)

I've also learned how to M1F and M1B. Fun!


Monday, January 09, 2006

FO: Grandma's vest

Grandma's vest is done! I finished it last night. I'm about the same size as Grandma (she's an inch or two shorter) so I tried it on. It fits pretty well, though perhaps a bit on the short side. I tried to elongate it in blocking. It's still drying, but here are a couple pictures:

I don't think it's actually lopsided -- that's probably just the camera angle. There are a few mistakes, but hopefully I'm the only one who will notice them.

I made a few modifications to the pattern:
  • Used garter stitch, rather than stockinette, between the cables
  • Rounded armholes -- I didn't like the squared-off armholes in the pattern
  • Fewer decreases along the V, so as not to disrupt the cable pattern
  • After the first three twist rows, I switched from twisting every 10 rows to twisting every 8 rows. This started out as an accident, but I liked the way it looked with the cables getting a bit smaller as they go up so I just went with it.
This is the first article of clothing I've knit. (Prior to this it's been all accessories: scarves, hats, and that one pair of mittens.) I learned a lot in the process of making it, including how to make a buttonhole with a yarn over, how to join shoulders with kitchener stitch, and how to make the most of the Denise interchangeable needle set. Kitchener is cool -- I like how the vest came out virtually seamless. Perhaps most importantly, in the process of knitting this vest, I forced myself to relax my tension, so not only was I able to achieve the recommended gauge (by only going up 2 needle sizes!) but there was less wear and tear on my hands. Some of the stitches came out loose and uneven, but blocking seems to have evened it all out splendidly!

The buttons, incidentally, are from a store called Botani around the corner from where I work. They're made of real stone.

Grandma's vest
Started: Jan. 3
Finished: Jan. 8
Pattern: Pretty in Pink
Yarn: Lion's Brand Wool-Ease Worsted in Cranberry, 3 skeins (actually less than 2 1/2)
Needles: US 9, 10.5 circular of varying lengths (hooray for the Denise interchangeables!)

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

FO: Courtney's mittens

The extra-long thumbs were bothering me, so the other day I undid the seams and took off 2 rows from each thumb so they look a little less mutant. I also made an I-cord to connect the mittens. I don't have a picture with the I-cord, but you can at least see the new and improved thumbs.

The mittens didn't seem to need blocking, plus I wanted to send them out ASAP, so I called them done. I hope they're warm enough and the seams aren't uncomfortable for little Courtney!

Courtney's mittens
Started: Dec. 27, 2005
Finished: Jan. 2, 2006
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Blackberry (leftovers from hat)
Needles: US 9 bamboo straights, US 6 bamboo straights, US 6 dpns


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Future project: Fairly Easy Fair Isle sweater

I am not to begin this project until I finish Grandma's vest (which I haven't started yet), but the other day I bought the yarn for a Fairly Easy Fair Isle sweater from Stitch 'N Bitch Nation. School Products has a pretty good selection of Lamb's Pride Bulky. The label is off the cranberry "spice" skein because I started attempting to make gauge. I tried the recommended US 10.5 needles, but of course my stitches came out way too small. (I also messed up the skein in the process -- disemboweled it to locate the end, then tried to stuff the "innards" back in. Now the yarn keeps getting knotted up in itself!) I do love the yarn though. And now that I have the Denise needle set I will be able to gauge my little heart out. This will be my first sweater, and my first venture into Fair Isle.


Koigu socks

After the holidays I treated myself to a couple skeins of Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino. I've been wanting to try a pair of socks, and I've also been itching to knit with some wild multi-colored guilty pleasure yarn. Ultimately I hope to make fair isle socks, but learning to do socks and fair isle at the same time seemed overly ambitious.

I found a pattern for Koigu socks that looks to be just perfect. The pattern calls for US 2 dpns, but since my stitches are so tight, I'm using US 4's.

All is going well, except for a little oopsie the other day. Somehow I ended up knitting with the work pointed away from me instead of towards me. I didn't notice the hole until I had knitted this way for an inch or so. Fortunately I have gotten fairly adept at inserting the needles below the mistake and frogging back to that point. I haven't figured out how not to make the stitches twisted, but untwisting them isn't that big a deal.

It was a small setback, and I'm already past the point I was at before. These socks are going to be crazy-looking, but I'm comfortable with that.


FO: Griffindor scarf

Done! This took more yarn than I expected -- 3 skeins of each color instead of 2, but knitting it wasn't as time-consuming or tedious as I expected either. I ended up not blocking it, since I flattened it out as I knitted, keeping the color changes along the edge. Also, accounts seem to differ as to whether blocking is effective on 100% acrylic yarn.

Griffindor scarf
Started: Dec. 20
Finished: Dec. 31
Yarn: Tolegno Lana Gatto Luxor, 3 skeins scarlet, 3 skeins yellow
Needles: metal circular size 8

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Happy New Year!

On Sunday I celebrated Hanukkah and New Year's Day with my Grandma (and many other family members). You can sort of see the scarf I knit for her in this picture.

The Denise needles arrived today, so I can get started on Grandma's vest tonight! It will be a belated Hanukkah gift. I used Grandma's Hanukkah gelt to purchase the needles, so it all comes around full circle.

I've been reading Elizabeth Zimmerman's "Knitting Without Tears" and she's convinced me I need to try and relax my stitches a bit. This will be one of my New Year's resolutions.

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