Saturday, November 21, 2015

Glwth Shawl - Finished!

Part 2 went quickly and got me into the next to the last skein.
Part 3 got me into the beaded section.  I used hot pink lined crystal AB beads.  Here is a close up.
And here is the finished shawl blocking.
My yarn amounts came out perfectly.  The dark pink skein from my Tinkerbell set was just the right amount to do the first ruffle.  The 3 yellow ruffles are from the remains of my Lemon Drops set, and the light pink ruffle is remains from Tea Rose.

The main body of the shawl took 384 yards, which includes the dark pink ruffle.  The other ruffles are picked up on garter stitch ridges, so you can use other leftovers and play with colors.  They took another 144 yards.  The pattern is mostly mindless knitting, although the instructions are a bit terse.  The ruffles take some time and are a bit of a pain to work.  I did mine a bit differently than called for in the pattern because I found trying to do it the way the pattern called for too much of a pain.  I did not increase my needle size, I picked up and knit stitches in the garter stitch ridge, then purled back, then did the increase 7 in the k3tog stitches, purled back again, then did the bind off, beading clusters on the bind off in a periodic pattern.  I can see making more shawls using this pattern - it is a quick knit and a great way to use up leftovers and play with color.

Pattern:  Glwth Shawl by Abigail Phelps
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Tinkerbell, Lemon Drops and Tea Rose
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Glwth Shawl - Part 1 Done

Earth Faire is running a little knit along  on Ravelry for the pattern Glwth Shawl by Abigail Phelps and I decided to join in because I like the pattern and it gives me the opportunity to use up some leftovers.  I am starting with the leftovers from my Peter Pan shawl, but will end with some leftovers from some other projects.  This is a photo of Part 1 taken with the last of the daylight.  I like the asymmetrical construction - starting with a single stitch and decreasing on one edge while increasing on the other.  Spirals are just cool.

Pattern:  Glwth Shawl by Abigail Phelps
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Tinkerbell
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Vendange - One Skein Down

I've been mostly working on my cabled sweater.  After working my gauge swatch and doing some math I determined that I needed 230 stitches to get the width called for in the smallest size.  One of the challenges of making adjustments with this pattern is the placement of the side panels and the width of the stockinette sections between them.  I played around with the math for a bit, but then decided to take the easy way out.  I looked at the cast on stitches for the other sizes to see where my 230 stitches fell.  Turns out, it fell between two sizes, the third size at 222 cast on stitches and the fourth size at 238 cast on stitches.  Given my size in relation to the finished measurements I decided to go with the lower number and cast on 222 stitches.  Based on the yarn requirements, this should still give me enough to do the longer coat.

The yarn is okay to work with, not as refined as most of the other yarns that I use.  I suppose you could describe it as rustic, which I think is appropriate for the pattern.  It does have some vegetative matter in it, but not too much, and there are some inconsistencies in the spinning, but overall it is good to work with.  It is odd to be working with size 8 needles.  I am so used to working with the smaller needles that these feel huge.

I'm using knitCompanion on my iPad, but I did manage to crash my app.  I was using smart counters and decided to put in the decrease rows.  I had gotten everything entered and was getting the count back to where I was and when I hit my first decrease row the app crashed and due to the fact that when you go back in it will usually try to go back to your current project I couldn't get back into the app.  So I went to my settings and clicked on the app there and there was an option to bypass the last project, which I clicked, and then I was able to get back in to the app.  It still crashed when I tried to go into the project so I ended up deleting the project and setting it back up again.  A bit of a pain, and it means I lost my cumulative project time (the app keeps track of how long you work on a project), but at least I was able to recover.  Maybe I need to upgrade my tech.  I have an iPad 2.  About a month ago I tried to upgrade to iOS 9 and my iPad locked up.  I was really afraid that I had bricked it, but I left it on until the battery died and when I plugged it back in it rebooted and was fine.  I haven't tried to upgrade my iOS since.  There is a new iPad out, the iPad Pro, that is larger, which I think might be nice for those larger knitting charts...maybe for Christmas...

Pattern:  Vendange by Anne Hanson
Yarn:  Bare Naked Wools Confection Worsted
Needle:  US 8 (5.0 mm)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Eden - Collar started

Back in August I had to travel to California for business and I wanted to take along a knitting project so the weekend before the trip I quickly cast this on and got as far as getting the collar established.  In the end I decided not to take it.  I'm not sure I took any knitting with me, as the trip was a quick one, what I refer to as a Blitzkrieg trip, fly in the night before, go to the morning meeting and take a red-eye back home.  I threw this project into an empty project bag, which quickly became buried in other yarn acquisitions.  This weekend I did some stash cataloging and unearthed it and decided to at least give it the dignity of a project page and a blog post.  It may have to wait a little while before I pick it back up again, but at least it won't get forgotten again.

The yarn is madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted in the color Kilim.  I saw it and fell in love with the color and bought it enough to make a sweater.
The actual name of the pattern is Edin, by Bonne Marie Burns, but when I was setting the pattern up in knitCompanion I misspelled the name and never bothered to fix it, because the yarn feels like paradise.  It features my favorite construction techniques - top down, raglan, collar/front band knitted as you go.

Pattern:  Edin by Bonne Marie Burns
Yarn:  madelintosh Pashmina Worsted in Kilim
Needle:  US 7 (4.5 mm)

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Vendange Gauge Swatch

I did my gauge swatch for my Vendange sweater.  The pattern calls for a gauge of 15 stitches and 21 rows over 4 inches on US size 10.5 (6.5 mm) needles, unblocked and 14 stitches and 22 rows over 4 inches blocked.  This gauge seemed a bit off to me, so I went to a web site that generates graph paper at any gauge you want to confirm my suspicion.  The graph paper had squat, fat, gravity defying stitches.  I also checked the yarn label, which states 3.75 - 4.5 stitches/inch, and recommends US size 8 - 10 needles (5.0 - 6.0 mm).  I decided to use US 8 needles for my gauge swatch.  It seemed to me that with a sweater this substantial a loose gauge was the last thing that I wanted.

I pulled out a tail and started casting on stitches.  I don't bother counting when I do this, I just make sure to get a good number of stitches on the needle and use the length of the tail to help limit the number of stitches.  I knit a couple of rows of garter to keep the edge from curling and work a few stitches of garter at both edges.  At some point when I'm working a wrong side (purl) row I knit the same number of stitches as the needle size.  It is easier and quicker than a tag or label.  To figure out when to cast off I periodically fold one of the bottom corners up towards the opposite top corner, when the swatch is almost square I work a couple more garter and bind off.  My gauge came out at 17 stitches and 24 rows over 4 inches.  I like the fabric, it has good drape, and holds its shape well, so that is what I will go with.

I no longer sweat about matching gauge.  I knit a swatch, get a fabric that I like and if I need to, do the math to adjust the pattern.  In this case, there is math to do, but it really isn't that hard.  To adjust the number of stitches I just take the number called for in the pattern for my size (small) and multiple by my stitch gauge and then divide by the pattern's stitch gauge.  The lengths are given in inches, so I just multiply the number of inches called for in the pattern by the number of rows per inch of my gauge.  Easy as pie.

Pattern:  Vendange by Anne Hanson
Yarn:  Bare Naked Wools Confection Worsted
Needle:  US 8 (5.0 mm)

Carousel Socks

A couple of years ago I caught the sock bug and joined several sock clubs and accumulated a lot of sock yarns.  One of sock yarn producers that I became enamored of is Biscotte & Cie.  Honestly, how could I resist the black cat with the green eyes playing with the yarn?  And the colors!  I recently completely revamped my wardrobe, replacing slacks and plain knit pullover shirts with tunics and leggings, and color, lots and lots of color.  I have long been known for my fun store-bought novelty socks but I decided that I needed some fun hand knit socks.  I also decided that I needed to start bringing a small, portable project to work with me so I would have something to do while on telecons, or rebooting my computer, or uploading files, or reviewing documents.  And so, in a perfect storm of creative possibility, I pulled out some colorful sock yarn and caked it up.

But what kind of sock to knit?  I knew that I wanted to work toe up so I went to my crafting library and looked for a good technique book.  I started with Wendy Johnson's "Toe Up Socks" but it didn't quite go into depth enough for me, so I picked up Kate Atherley's "Custom Socks".  This is a fantastic book for a science type like me.  I read through the front matter quickly, flipped to the Basic Toe-Up Sock pattern, did some measurements, figured out my gauge and got started.
It fits pretty well so far.  I haven't decided how tall they should be yet, I would like to use up as much of my skein as possible, so I weighed the skein before I started and I'll probably just keep knitting the leg until I've used up about half, increasing the number of leg stitches as needed.

Pattern:  Basic Toe-Up Sock from Custom Socks by Kate Atherley
Yarn:  Biscotte & Cie Felix in Carousel
Needle:  US 1 (2.25 mm)

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Lothlorien Cape - Chart 1 Done

I finished up Chart 1 this morning, with 10 grams left of skein 2 (you can see the remains sitting on the shoulder of the dress maker dummy).  I'll switch to skein 1 soon.  I'm not sure when I'll get my additional yarn to finish this, but I already have my next project picked out.  The yarn came last week.
This is Bare Naked Wools Confection Worsted.  Bruce was surprised when I pulled it out of the bag because it is natural (the color is Nougat) and I usually go for color.  I ran across the quintessential over-size cabled sweater - what I think of as a "car coat" - on Ravelry and simply had to make it.  The pattern is Vendange by Anne Hanson and it is just a classic.  I thought about doing it in a Spirit Trail Fiber Works yarn so I could make it in a color, but I think it needs to be done in a natural wool color.

I haven't forsaken color completely.  I also received my yarn for my next test knit.
Pacific Sunset on Tinsel Toes.  But I think I'm going to use this to make another Open Eye Tunic - using the 2 left-most skeins for the panel inserts and the other 4 for the body.  I have a set of Silverlode on Luxe that I think I will use for the test knit.

Pattern:  Lothlorien Cape by Susan Pandorf
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Wild Thing in Summer's End
Needles:  US 6 (4 mm)