Sunday, October 16, 2016

Liquid Gold Sinua - Cast On

I've been thinking about my Liquid Gold Sinua and how I want to adjust the pattern, because that is just what I do.  I did a swatch, and got gauge right off.  Always a good thing.
The pattern is worked from the top down, a preferred method of mine, and it has a boat neck.  As written, you work the front and back separately, join them at the neckline, then pick up stitches for the sleeves, knit the sleeves and then join the side seams and the sleeve seams in one fell swoop.  I want to join the front and back after I finish up the armhole and work the rest of the body in the round, and then pick up stitches around the armhole and work the sleeves in the round as well.  My first challenge was the neckline.  I want to join the shoulders with as little bulk as possible, and I want I nice edge around the neck as well.  In the end I decided on an I-Cord cast on.  For the size that I am knitting (38 inch) I need 77 stitches each for the front and the back.  The shoulder join is 12 stitches on each shoulder.  Using a 32-inch circular needle I cast on 53 stitches, placed a marker and cast on 53 stitches.  Why 53?  That is how many stitches I need for the neck opening on the front and the back (77-12-12 = 53).
Here is my I-Cord cast on.  If you haven't worked one of these they are pretty easy, work a regular I-Cord, but knit into the back and front of the first stitch, and when you slip your main I-Cord stitches back to your left hand needle, leave that extra stitch on your right hand needle.  I really like the I-Cord cast on because in addition to giving you a nice finish those cast on stitches are locked in place.  You can pull the needle out (once you've finished off your I-Cord) and those stitches will not disappear, which can give you all kinds of options.

Next I had to get the other 24 stitches.  I used 2 24-inch circular needles and two cakes of yarn and cast on 12 stitches on each needle using the long tail cast on.  I took the first needle and slipped 53 of the cast on stitches onto it, then I put away my stitch marker, and using the second needle slipped the other 53 stitches onto it.
Now came the fun part, joining everything together.  I want to pick up the other 12 stitches from the cast on portions, but I realized I actually needed to pull the new stitch through the stitch currently on the needle.  I used the working yarn from the cast on from the opposite needle.  I used a crochet hook to pull a loop through each stitch.  It was a little fiddly, but not too bad.
And here it is all joined together.  I worked a couple of rows on each piece to get things established.
There are a couple of other modifications that I am making.  The top part of the body is worked in a knit 1 purl 1 rib, which I've never liked the look off - it always seems sloppy - so I'm working in a straight stockinette stitch.  The pattern is also worked straight until you get to the bottom of the armhole, at which point I will cast on 9 stitches on each side for the underarm, resulting in a right angle.  I'm going to add shaping.  The sleeves are shaped for a drop shoulder sweater - they are trapezoids with no cap shaping.  I'm going to add cap shaping because I'm going to knit top down set in sleeves.

Pattern:  Sinua by Susanna IC
Yarn:  madelinetosh DK in Liquid Gold
Needle:  US 6 (4 mm)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Watermelon Slice Shawl - Finished!

I had a three day meeting this week, so I took today off.  Meetings always leave me exhausted, especially all day ones, and most especially all day ones that last three days.  I started the bind off last night and finished it up this morning.  I ran out of yarn about 6 inches short of completing the bind off, so I used some of the leftover yarn from my Summer Breeze socks.  I figured it looks like the light patch you get on the watermelon rind where it has been laying on the ground.  This was a fun project, the shawl is a little odd from a wearability perspective, but I did enjoy working with the yarn doubled, and with the larger needles for a change.  I tend to work with small needles a lot, and I think my left hand was beginning to complain a bit.  It definitely feels better now.  I have a couple of other kits that use the yarn doubled to blend the colors, that I will probably pull out sometime in the near future as I like the technique.

I did make this shawl bigger, basically using up each skein as I went along.  Towards the end there are some increase rows where you increase across the row instead of just at the beginning, that I had to adjust, and I actually added an extra increase row just because I felt like it.
I have three more Paintbox yarn sets that I want to make into Traveling Zebra Shrugs.
The colors are, from the top left, Strawberry Shortcake, Twinkle Twinkle and Peacock.  As you may recall, the Traveling Zebra Paintbox sets come with one self-striping skein and 4 coordinating solid skeins.  I ordered the self-striping skeins in the Strawberry Shortcake and the Peacock colors, but I couldn't find a Twinkle Twinkle self-striping skein, so I bought two possible matches.  I also have a skein of Minions in my stash that looks like it could work.  There are 5 skeins in the above sets, but I will probably leave out the center skein in each set.

Project:  Watermelon Slice Shawl by Louise Robert
Yarn:  Watermelon Paintbox Kit from Biscotte Yarns
Needles:  US 7 (4.5 mm)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Watermelon Slice Shawl

This past Friday night I remembered that I had actually bought this set of yarn - Watermelon Paintbox - to work the Watermelon Slice Shawl, instead of Paintbox Shawl.  I have a couple of other Paintbox sets in my stash for that shawl, so Friday I started working the Watermelon Slice Shawl instead.  It starts with the dark red skien, which I hadn't worked yet, so I didn't need to ravel anything right away.  I did weigh all of my skeins and set up a spreadsheet to track the stitch count and yarn usage.  After working a fair bit of the dark red skein I ran the numbers and realized that I would have a fair bit of yarn left over - over 60 grams.  Too much.  so I'm making the shawl bigger.  It increases one stitch on every row through the dark red, medium red, and pink.  There are a couple of increase rows once the green yarn comes into play that increase more, to flare things out at the end.  I'm just going to use up each skein as I go, and make sure I reserve enough to work the picot bind off.

I've never worked with doubled yarn before, but this has been pretty easy and I'm enjoying the fabric. I don't work that often in straight garter stitch.

Project:  Watermelon Slice Shawl by Louise Robert
Yarn:  Watermelon Paintbox Kit from Biscotte Yarns
Needles:  US 7 (4.5 mm)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Tudor Roses - Margaret Beaufort - Body Shaping

I have also been working on my Margaret Beaufort, which I haven't worked since early summer.  I have started my test knit, but it requires a bit more focus than I am sometimes capable of after a long day at work, so I am mostly working that on the weekends, and this during the week.  This is a very awkward photo, although it shows the color and the stitch details well.  I had to pin it to the dummy, so it appears to fit closer than it really would.  I have one more increase to work and then I need to figure out where to start the upper body shaping.

Pattern:  Margaret Beaufort, by Alice Starmore from Tudor Roses (2013 edition)
Yarn:  Alice Starmore Hebridean 3 Ply (517 g in Lapwing)
Needles:  US 4 (3.5 mm)

Practically Anything - Finished!

I finished this up this past Monday, but haven't been able to get a picture until today.  We had rain most of the week, but today we actually had some sun.
The pictures were a little awkward to take.  Usually I kneel on the futon, which gets me at a good height and gives me some stability, but Jasmine was stretched out in a sunbeam and I couldn't disturb her.

This is the yarn that I dyed at the retreat this past April.  This was basically an experiment, so I stuck with basic colors - no mixing.  Next year I really need to play with some other colors and try a subtle gradiance.

Pattern:  Practically by Kelly Herdrich
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Wild Thing
Needles:  US 6 (4.0 mm)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Practically Anything - Five Skeins Done

I spent most of yesterday working on this, listening to classical radio (WETA) and reading Electra by Kerry Greenwood.  Kerry wrote the Phryne Fisher mysteries, which I thoroughly enjoyed and the Corinna Chapman mysteries, which I also enjoyed although I still don't understand how a bakery can survive if it isn't open on weekends, especially when it is supplying local restaurants.  Electra is the third book in the Delphic Woman series, which has been a lot of fun to read.  The three books are Medea, Cassandra and Electra.  Three iconic women.  I like how she has told their stories, and I like the fact that she does her homework.

I came home early from work - only worked a half day - so we could mow the lawn before it started raining.  It is forecast to start raining tonight and rain for most of the rest of the week.  We've been experimenting with our yard, which was taken over by an invasive ground cover that thrives in the woods around here.  We like it because we are not big on yard work, but it had gotten a little out of hand in the sunny spots.

Pattern:  Practically by Kelly Herdrich
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Wild Thing
Needles:  US 6 (4.0 mm)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Practically Anything - Four Skeins Done

For the past 20 days I've been working on a test knit, but before I had started that project I had almost gotten through the fourth skein of my vest.  I have another test knit I need to get started on, but I decided to take a little break today and work on some of my other projects.  This morning I finished up the last few rows of the blue-green skein and joined the blue skein.

I can't share any details of the test knit that I just finished up, as it is for a club and must remain a surprise.  I will say that I really like the colorway.  I can share my yarn choice for the next test knit I need to work on - The Velveteen Rabbit, which is the next Unique Sheep Mystery Knit Along.  Ellen of Earthfaire has been working with Kelly of The Unique Sheep on some wonderful circle colorways made up of 12 skeins.  I offered to do my test knit in one of those circles so we would be able to provide the transition points for those sets as well as the traditional 6-skein sets.  This is the colorway that I chose - Enchanted Garden.
I still haven't decided on the bead color yet, but I have several options in my bead stash.  I spent some of last night grooming the charts and setting up the project in my knitCompanion, and putting together my Excel spreadsheet to calculate the stitch count and transition points.  I even cast on and worked a few rows, but I think I'm going to restart and go up a needle size before I really get going on the first clue.

I also got some new yarn in over the last few weeks - as if I need any more yarn in this house.  I did successfully complete all three projects this past summer for Camp Loopy, so I had to select my reward.  I ended up picking the skein on the left in the picture below.
I then had to pick a coordinating color to go with it as I have really been wanting to make Sivia's Layer Cake Shawl.  This is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Color in the Clouds and Grapevine.  And of course while I was at the The Loopy Ewe web site some other yarn found its way into my cart.
This is madelinetosh Tosh DK in Liquid Gold and I bought it to make Sinua, from the Fall 2016 Twist Collective.

I also had some Jimmy Beans Bucks that were set to expire at the end of this month, so of course I had to find something there to spend them on and ended up with this yarn, which is also madelinetosh Tosh DK, in Havana.  I'm going to use this to make Caledonia, from the Fall 2014 Twist Collective.

Pattern:  Practically by Kelly Herdrich
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Wild Thing
Needles:  US 6 (4.0 mm)