Thursday, February 16, 2017

Morphology - Take Two

I knit a few more rows on this project on Tuesday and found myself growing more and more concerned with what I perceived as a mis-match between the yarn thickness and the needle size.  I found myself playing with the knitting, pulling it and stretching it and worrying about the stability of the resulting fabric.
What really worried me was the size of the purl bumps.  That is a lot of yarn sitting there, and a lot of potential for stretching.  There were a couple of statements in the pattern directions that I found particularly disturbing:

"Linen stitch pulls in dramatically as the work progresses".

This would be due to the bar of the slipped stitch, and would be exacerbated by a tight knitter.  I found myself working tighter than I typically do, just because of my psychological discomfort with the larger needles.

"You will find that the resulting fabric is stable when dry, but quite flexible when wet. You may find that with wear, the fabric may grow in circumference; with wet-blocking you can shape the fabric back to its original proportions."

These statements really got me wondering, so I dug through my stash for more "emergency" sock yarn skeins and knit another swatch on US 6 (4 mm) needles.  My needle size choice was driven by a simple consideration of the linen stitch - each stitch has to span two rows, so I used a needle size that was twice the size of what I might have used in a normal stockinette stitch garment.

The original swatch is on the left, the new swatch is on the right.  The original swatch is 32 stitches by 44 rows, binding off on row 45.  For the new swatch I cast on 32 stitches but bound off on row 44 because I didn't feel like cracking open a new "emergency" skein to finish off row 44 and bind off.  The new swatch was blocked to 5.5" wide by 4" tall, but it rebounded to 5" wide by 3.75" tall.  The original swatch was blocked to 6.5" wide by 4" tall.  The width rebounded to 6".  The new swatch still has some stretch, but not to the extent of the original swatch, which has considerable stretch, especially in the width.  Both have nice drape - so despite going down on the needle size, my new swatch is not stiff as a board.  You could get it there, if you went down even further on the needle size, but that was not my goal - I just wanted a garment that would have some stability.
If you look at the back side, you can again see the extra fiber in the purl bumps in the original swatch.  The other advantage of going down on the needle size is that I don't need to work a super stretchy cast on and bind off.

So, I'm going to frog what I've got and cast on again on the US 6 needles.  I've got to say, I love the colors.  They just make me smile.

Pattern:  Morphology by A. Karen Alfke
Yarn:  Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks the Rock Lightweight in Sprinkles and Shannanogins
Needle:  US 6 (4 mm)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Hale-Bopp MKAL - Clue 1 Redone

After fixing the slip stitch section in Clue 1, I finally got around to re-knitting the lace section to finish up Clue 1.  I can now redo the garter stitch section, which I'm looking forward to as I can read as I knit and I'm in the middle of a thumping good read.  I'm glad I ripped this back and fixed it.  Now I just have to decide what to do on my test knit.

Pattern:  Hale-Bopp MKAL by Ambah O'Brien
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Morphology - Cast On

Some years back I caught the Sock Club bug that was going around and joined several - CookieA, Janel Laidman, and the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club.  I dropped the clubs for a while, although I did rejoin Janel's and actually kept up with the projects until the last one, when she disappeared due to a family emergency.  I tried to rejoin CookieA's sock club, but then she took off for a trip around the world.  Last year I rejoined the Rockin' Sock Club on something of a whim.  I didn't knit any of the shipments from last year, but decided to rejoin again this year - after pulling out all of the shipments and patterns from last year.  This is one of the patterns from last year's first shipment and is a Linen stitch cowl using two variegated skeins.
I had never done Linen stitch, so I swatched using the miniature "emergency" skeins that they include with each of their big skeins.  I really liked the resulting fabric.  And the colors, well.  That is one of the reasons that you join the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club.  I think they should start an ad campaign - "The Most Interesting Knitter in the World" - and the tag line would be "I don't always knit socks, but when I do, I knit Socks That Rock.  Keep knitting my friends."  I started this as something that would be mostly mindless to work on when I didn't have Hale-Bopp to work on, but then, well, things happened, so I haven't made much progress on it.  The needle size threw me - a US 9 with fingering weight yarn?  I did do a little research to see if I could find anything on picking the right needle size for Linen stitch, but had no luck.  I even played around with smaller needles while I was swatching, but decided that the fabric looked best with the larger needle.

Pattern:  Morphology by A. Karen Alfke
Yarn:  Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks the Rock Lightweight in Sprinkles and Shannanogins
Needle:  US 9 (5.5 mm)

Hale-Bopp MKAL - Slip Stitch Section Clue 1 - Slight Redo

As I was working on Clue 2 I realized that I had a mistake in the slip stitch section of Clue 1.  The floats from my last 3 rows of slipped stitches were lining up instead of being staggered.  This morning (after working the garter stitch and lace section of Clue 2) I spotted the mistake.  It had been bugging me all weekend and there was nothing for it but to rip back and fix it.  At least I only had to redo the last 4 rows of the slipped stitch section.  The first time I knit it I had the floats on the wrong side, literally.  But that is one of the things that I like about knitting, you can rip back and fix things, even if it takes multiple tries to do it (so long as your yarn holds up - but I don't usually knit with fibers that don't hold up to some handling).  There are so few things in life where you can get a do-over.

Here is the before picture - see those last couple of rows?
Yeah, they just bugged the heck out of me.  But things are all better now.  Well, except for the cast on of my test knit.  I was an idiot and did a long tail cast on, instead of a knitted cast on, or some other looser cast on.  I'm still trying to decide if I should rip it back and start over.  Knowing me, I probably will.

Pattern:  Hale-Bopp MKAL by Ambah O'Brien
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Hale-Bopp MKAL - Clue 1 Done

I've been getting Ambah O'Brien's newsletter for a while now.  I really like her designs although I haven't knit any of them, until now.  I couldn't resist this one.  It is named for a comet, and my MS in Physics was in Observational Astronomy, and it called for 3 skeins and I happened to have a 3 skein set in my stash, and the pattern was on sale for newsletter subscribers.

The yarn I am using is from Zen Yarn Garden and is one of their Inspiration sets - Monument Valley.
From right to left, the colors are:  Truffle, Arctic and Black Mousse.

The cast on was a challenge - Turkish Cast On, which I've never done before but definitely will use again in the future.  I also like the I-Cord edging, definitely something I'll use again.  It did take me several tries to get the cast on correct, and then I got about half way through the second section and discovered that my stitch count was off.  I tinked back for a while and then just ripped.  It turns out that my stitch count was off at the end of the first section, but somehow I had miscounted (twice) because I thought I was good.  I had also made a really stupid mistake in the second section, which I'm not saying any more about, cause it was just that stupid.  When I restarted I took the time to figure out the stitch counts and then I made sure to check myself after every increase.  I also decided to add beads to the lace section, just cause.  I used stash beads.  Stash yarn, stash beads.  I feel very virtuous.  I'm trying to be better this year about adding to my stash because I'm seriously running out of room to put things.

Pattern:  Hale-Bopp MKAL by Ambah O'Brien
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Watermelon Shrug - One Side Done

I finished up one side of my Watermelon Shrug last night.  When I got to the last color stripe I continued working garter rows until I ran out of the light pink and then worked short rows with the remaining colors, working from the center out, until I ran them out as well.  I had to finish the row with a stretch of green from the self-striping skein.

I've already picked up the stitches for the other side, and also ordered another set of the Watermelon, and two sets of the Charivari to make more shrugs.  This one will be a gift, and so will one of the Charivari shrugs.

Pattern:  Traveling Zebra by Louise Robert modified to be a shrug
Yarn:  Bis-sock by Biscotte & Cie
Needle:  US 2.5 (3 mm) & US 4 (3.5 mm)

Dreamy Adalia - One Skein Done (Almost)

I am almost through my first skein, and I have completed one repeat of the front charts.  I am using the KC Design version of the pattern now.  Once I got used to it I like it.  I am glad that I have an iPad Pro, with the size of the back charts I need the real estate.  I did find a glitch in my pattern size.  The Left Front Chart didn't go to the proper row when I got to the end.  I compared the set up with the set up for the Right Chart and discovered that the Smart Counters weren't quite set up right - the number of repeats was zero instead of 99.  Once I fixed that everything worked fine.

It is so hard to get good photos in natural light this time of year so I've set up down in my studio, which has daylight spectrum LED light bulbs.  I hung a back drop up on the book shelf so I wouldn't have the random colors and shapes in the background.

Pattern:  Adalia by Jennifer Wood
Yarn:  Spirit Trail Fiberworks Verdande in Daydream
Needles:  US 6 (4 mm)