Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bavarian Tulip Mittens - Finished!

Camp Loopy Project II finished!  Well ahead of the deadline and they even fit.  I am amazed out how quickly I finished the second mitten.  One thing that I have noticed is that my gauge tightens up when I knit the thumbs.  The same thing happened on the Athena fingerless mittens.  I think I also tend to knit tighter when working on these smaller items.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bavarian Tulip Mittens - One Done!

So the second Camp Loopy 2011 project is socks or mittens or gloves with cables, and it has to be knit between July 15 and August 15.  I already have a sock on the needles, and I am not really a fan of knitted gloves, so I went for the mittens.  This pattern is Bavarian Tulip Mittens from Interweave Knits, Fall 2010.  The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted, knit on size 3 needles.  Now knitting a worsted weight yarn on size 3 needles results in a pretty dense fabric, which is actually what I wanted, but this yarn is not very tightly twisted and can be a bit temperamental, especially when I have to make corrections.  I knit most of the mitten last weekend and finished up the tip and the thumb this morning.  The fit is snug, but not tight.  I did make a few slight modifications to the pattern.  I mirrored the side cables, and trailed the cable pattern off at the top rather than just cutting it off after 4 repeats of the pattern.

Papeete Tahiti Pullover - Finished!

I actually finished this sweater up this past Tuesday, but had to block and then get a picture.  I have almost finished the body of the Tiger Lilly Pullover Redux.  I need to skein the yarn for the sleeves and get it soaked and hanging.  I did Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind off on the cuffs and the body, and did a Kitchener rib bind off for the neck.  I knit this one on size 6 needles instead of size 7 (the fabric with the size 7 needles was just a little too open) so it fits a little closer than the other three pullovers that I have knit with this pattern.

I have also been working on cataloging my yarn stash and am almost half way done.  There is still a lot more organizing that I have to do in my studio, but I am steadily chipping away at it.  I also volunteered for a transcription project being done by William and Mary.  I transcribed my first document last night, a letter.  I love history and reading a letter - even a scan of one - from 1866 was just so cool, a little glimpse into a life.  I will be doing more.

3 skeins Fiesta Yarns Boomerang in Papeete Tahiti
size 6 and 7 needles
Sweater Wizard software, top-down raglan knit in the round

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Marigold Pullover - Redux - Finished!

I also finished re-knitting the Marigold Pullover this morning.  Given that it is already 86 degrees out there (on the way to 100) there is no way that I am modeling this on our back deck.  For this sweater, I used a size 7 needle (size 6 for the ribbing).  I have already started re-knitting the Tiger Lilly Pullover.

3 skeins Fiesta Yarns Boomerang in Marigold
Needle size - 7, 6 for the ribbing
Pattern - top down raglan from Sweater Wizard Software

Papeete Tahiti Pullover - Body Done

Here is the body of the first pullover knit in the new Color Cruise colors that Fiesta Yarns is currently issuing.  This one is Papeete, Tahiti.  I will confess that I googled pictures of Tahiti, and I don't really see it in these colors, but I like them just the same.  The needle size recommended on the label is size 8, with a gauge of 20 stitches and 24 rows to 4 inches, but I could not get anything close to the gauge with that needle size.  The resulting fabric was very loose.  To come even close to the gauge I had to go down two needle sizes, to size 6.  I am not a tight knitter, nor am I loose knitter, in fact I typically match gauge with the recommended needle size.  The yarn itself is not nearly as thick as I would expect for its classification as an Aran weight.  It feels more like a DK weight to me, which matches with the size 6 needles.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Marigold Pullover - Redux - Body Done

So, after wearing my Marigold pullover I decided that the gauge was too loose, and so was the sweater.  Having worked with several Fiesta yarns I have now decided that for my knitting, anyway, I need to go down a needle size from the one recommended on the yarn band.  I have also refined the pattern to improve the fit.  Here is the body of the Marigold Pullover, re-knit.  I unraveled the sweater, winding the yarn with my ball winder.  Then I turned the yarn into a skein with my swift, tied it up, soaked it and then hung it up to dry to get the kinks out.  It took this treatment exceedingly well.  This is what it used to look like:
I do miss the pooling a little, but the fabric and the fit are so much better.  I am going to re-knit the Tiger Lilly and Calla Lilly pullovers as well.  In fact I have the Tiger Lilly Pullover sitting here next to me, ready to be unraveled.  I am hoping that they come out less psychedelic.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Phoenix and the Carpet - Clue 1

I think I may be constitutionally unable to have fewer than 10 works in progress going at one time.  I am also hopelessly addicted to The Unique Sheep KALs and clubs.  This is their most recent Knit Along - The Phoenix and the Carpet.  Selecting yarn and colorways without knowing the finished design is never easy, and I don't think that I am very good at it.  Take this KAL, for example.  I order the Fall Goddess colorway because it reminded me of faded Persian carpets, but when I received my yarn there were two skeins, and their color changes did not appear to be spaced the same.  One seemed to have shorter color runs than the other.  It is a little hard to see when they are wound, but I didn't get a picture of the skeins.
And the beads that came with the yarn are orange, and I just wasn't sure they were going to match, but then I saw the first clue.  You see, carpets typically have a border, so I decided to use the skein that had the shorter color runs on the border and other skein for the center portion.  You can just see the difference in the first clue.  I don't know if I will have enough yarn for the center portion, but if I don't, I will figure something out.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fiori Di Sole - Chart E

After finishing up my first Camp Loopy Project, well under the deadline, I returned to the knitting I think that I love best - lace.  I love how lace is a squidgy mess until it is blocked and then it is transformed into something amazing.  This photo shows about two repeats of Chart E.  I have since completed another two repeats, bringing the count up to four out of the five repeats called for.  I cast on for this shawl on New Year's Day, but it has been taking a back seat to some of my other projects.  I am very happy to be getting back to it.  My works in progress pile is steadily shrinking...I may have to cast on something new...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Camp Loopy Project I - Starry Night

This past year I discovered The Loopy Ewe, and quickly became a Loopy Groupy, so how could I resist going to Camp Loopy.  The first project is to be knit between June 15 and July 15 and had to be a two color cape, scarf, or shawl - something to keep you warm while you are sitting around the camp fire.

The first project that I cast on was the Catkin Shawl, but I was really struggling with it.  My hormones were messing with my brain and my mental focus was not up to the task.  It was really frustrating me and I even considered just giving up and dropping out of the camp, thinking that maybe the knit alongs with hard deadlines just wasn't my thing, too much pressure, not enough fun.  So I ripped out and put the yarn aside and went back to Lacy Angles and the Moving Cables Pullover.  But I just couldn't walk away.  After finishing up the pullover I started cruising Ravelry and doing pattern searches.

At first I thought about doing Taygete, from Romi's 7 Small Shawls.  I even printed out the directions and started knitting, but it just wasn't right.  The colors were wrong for that shawl.  The 7 Small Shawls were inspired by the Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters, and Taygete was a lovely nymph pursued by Zeus who was turned into a doe by Artemis to elude capture.  It didn't work, and Taygete later bore Zeus a son, Lacedaemon, the founder of Sparta.  The colors just didn't go with the whole nymph, woodland theme.  So I ripped again and went back to the computer.

Then I found Over the Moon.  It looked like a quick and easy knit.  It was a small shawl, but in one of my favorite shapes, and the name fit with the yarn.  The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy.  The colors are Lunar Zazzle and Night Watch.  The knitting was easy, and the stockinette stitch lets the wonderful subtle variations in the Lunar Zazzle show themselves off.  The feather and fan lace border is dead simple and easily memorized.  And it was indeed a quick knit.  I cast on Sunday night and finished it up Wednesday evening, blocking it before I went to bed.

Here are a couple of beauty shots:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Moving Cable Pullover - Finished!...As a Tank Top

So, after finishing the body of this pullover I went back and started the finishing work on the sleeves, but the more I looked at the body, the more I liked it just as it was, so I decided to turn it into a tank top.  I had already accidentally made one change to the pattern - I had started the front neck shaping early, giving it more scoop.  To finish the armholes I improvised a crochet edging.  I did a round of single crochet and then a round of scallops - (1 half-double crochet, 1 double crochet, 1 half-double crochet), single crochet, single crochet.

I had one horrifying moment however.  I had just finished my first try at the first armhole edging (it took two tries to get it looking the way I wanted) and I had the piece spread out in my lap and was looking it over when what should I discover but a mistake!  Horror of horrors!  Now, I am something of a perfectionist when it comes to my crafting and there was no way that I was going to wear this top with a mistake, especially as that mistake was on the front.
Ripping out was not an option, I might as well just start over again.  As I saw it I had two choices, fix it, somehow, or cut off the top portion above the armholes and turn it into a pillow.  Well, obviously I fixed it, with a little careful surgery.
It was only two stitches in one row that needed to be fixed.  So I carefully cut the yarn and pulled those two stitches out, catching the loops of the stitches above and below.  I pulled those loops to the back of the work and carefully darned them back together, tying everything off.  The only giveaway is the fact that the cable is a little flatter than the others.  But that is a lot less noticeable than a cable crossing the wrong way.

And here is a beauty shot of Lacy Angles, off the blocking wires:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Lacy Angles - Finished

I spent most of last week fighting off a migraine (successfully) with caffeine and salt (kind of nice to have an excuse to eat chips) and doing some mindless knitting - a summer top - but finally returned to this project last night.  I never did post clue 3 because my mind was occupied figuring out when to start the knit on border.  You see, the pattern instructions called for 5 rows of stockinette and specified that you had to increase the stitches to 240 on the last right side row.  Now this just bothered me.  According to the designer she had come close to running out of yarn and so she had removed a couple of rows and it suddenly occurred to me that maybe she had that final stitch count in her head, and when she removed those rows that number stayed.  Now 240 stitches does give you 40 repeats of the border, but I didn't see anything magical about that number.  But what really annoyed me about those increases in the last row was that you had to do an odd number of them (15 stitches), so they wouldn't be symmetric.

The first thing that I decided was that I wanted to finish with a complete repeat of the central pattern, so that dictated the number of rows of stockinette that I wanted to do (I think it was 7).  Looking at the stitch count I saw that this would result in 231 stitches, but the border pattern is 12 rows, with 6 live stitches being used up with each repeat, and 231 divided by 6 is 38.5.  So, on the last row I only did 2 increases at the outer edges and omitted the 2 increases on either side of the central panel, resulting in 38 repeats, with 1 stitch left over, which I needed for the very first row, which was not part of the border pattern (the border pattern started with a right side row, but the cast on leaves you with a wrong side row as your first row).  The border pattern was easy, and quickly memorized.