Thursday, September 26, 2013

Getting Ready to Cast On Again

Before we get started-- I've noted some strange links that popped up in orange after I posted this.  I did not insert these, and I suspect that Blogger has arranged with some entities to get some bucks for picking up on words.  They appear to be innocent-- but annoying.  My links are blue.

Nope-- not finished with the Aranami shawl. It goes on, and on, and on-- my own fault, really, because I wanted it to be larger, and the geometric increase is impressive in terms of time and yarn.  Did I mention that I just ordered MORE yarn so that I can finish it?  Luckily, it's KnitPicks Pallette, which is affordable, and has about a thousand colors which remain consistent through several orders.  The disadvantage is that it has about a thousand colors, so if you can't remember which of the dark browns you need, you end up like me, with enough extra balls in the wrong colors to make several more projects. (In fairness, KnitPicks WILL take them back, but hey--- I can always use more yarn, right?)  I am halfway through the top row, which comprises short-row scallops that flatten out the pointy parts you see on the left half of the picture.  Then to cast off about 300 stitches, followed by a marathon of weaving in hundreds of ends before blocking.  I might have it done before the end of the year.

Nope-- not finished with the DNA scarf either.  I'm making great progress, but it's a surprise Christmas gift for The Daughter (who wouldn't be caught dead looking at my blog), and I need to be working on something else when she's around.  I figure I'm about halfway done-- a few inches past the start of the second skein of yarn. I was able to spend a few hours at Mosaic in Blacksburg last Friday with Gina and her crew.  I purchased the first of the MadelineTosh Vintage for this project at Mosaic and I love to spend time there. Delightful

So, since I have 2 active projects, I clearly need to cast on for a third.  Typical me. The baby's bunting is going to be part of a joint present for The Daughter's Friends' baby from The Daughter and me, so I need to appear to be working on it.

This one is going to require some prep work.  I really need to check gauge, although there is some wiggle room in baby projects-- and this one is expected to be rather large (Mom and Dad are both rather tall).  I also want to make sure I can steek before I start this, because I want to put a full-length zipper in, and steeking seems to be the best way to have clean lines and a minimum of bulk.  So I will swatch, and then steek the swatch, and hope I survive the drama.

Don't want to lose this link to Jogless stripes in circular knitting. It is going to be very important when I start the Bunting.

So a couple of days of trying to get myself together before a work trip to Orlando next week.  Should be fun-- and a guaranteed several hours of knitting time on the plane-- what to take... what to take....

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Great Progress

The Nerd Project
The DNA scarf for The Daughter is chugging right along, and is about 2 feet long.  It's not nearly as stressful this time for several reasons-- not the least of which are paying attention to what I'm doing. The color is a rich, bright maroon (MadelineTosh Vintage Tart) that is a bit washed-out in the pic below.

--> I decided to use larger needles this time. I think I was using 5's before, but everything was so scrunched, that it was just a hassle. So this time around I'm using 8's which makes perfect sense, since it's worsted. The original pattern is done in fingering, but dear heavens-- I'm doing another big project in fingering right now, and as I've mentioned before, life is short.  And I have a few more projects to finish before the end of the decade. (Gauge???  I didn't even think about it-- nor will I.  It's a scarf, for heaven's sake, although a swatch of the cable might have lead me to larger needles for comfort sake.)

-->  I modified the pattern, using  a 5-stitch seed border, and a 2-stitch reverse stockinette separating a single twisted stitch on either side of the cable pattern.

--> Stitch markers!!!!  What on earth made me think I could keep track of what was where without using them?  I've never been opposed to them, but holy cow! What was I thinking?

-> Cable needle.  Many knitters I admire don't use them, and apparently I thought I was that good.  I have cable needles, but can't find them right now, so have been using the needle part of a very expensive ebony circular that separated from its join. It makes me feel good to put it to use-- and I like the feel of the ebony.  I haven't dropped stitches, and it's easier for me to keep track of what I'm doing.

--> I photocopied and cut out the chart and chart legend, mounted and laminated them. I was using a Post-It note to keep track, which worked well until yesterday, when the sticky failed, but I found a really good solution.  In the stationery section at Five Below, I found a very lightweight magnetic board for $4.  Now I have another magnetic board that I purchased at a needlework store many moons ago (originally I used it for counted cross-stitch).  The pattern was too large for the board, so it didn't work.  This is great, and there's room for extra notes (and I can write directly on the board, as well.) I keep track of my rows with a magnet from my refrigerator, which reminds me of happy vacations in Missouri with my family. (RIP, Ryan's Resort-- we had a great time there for several FolkFests.)

--> LOOK AT THE CHART!!! I can't go on my merry way, because I'm not that smart. This is not a simple 4-row cable (but it's not difficult or complicated, either).  It's not rocket science (or even Biochemistry), but the pattern traverses many rows.  When I look at the chart, and keep track of what row I'm on, the pattern looks like it's supposed to-- duh!!!! People with ADD need structure.

So, I'm mostly done with the first skein of Madelintosh Vintage (Tart), and will wind another ball tonight (and I have a spare).  Meanwhile, I have two more skeins in the Sequoia colorway-- a tad duller and less blue.  Hmmm.... wonder what I'll do with that????

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Back in the saddle--- Again

It's been nearly a year. And the bottom line was that I lost my knitting mojo.

I did one project-- a takeoff on "Age of Brass and Steam" scarf that included beads and a picot bindoff.  After finishing it, I wasn't happy with the size-- just too small to be useful for me.  So I plan to pick up stitches under the picots and keep adding on to it.

Then, The Husband and I took a much-needed vacation, and wonderful it was indeed. We had 17 glorious days aboard Norwegian Jewel, leaving New York, transiting the Panama Canal, and arriving in Los Angeles, with a night in Los Angeles followed by a 3-day cross-country train trip back to the DC area. Knitting opportunities galore!

The cruise was such fun, and what contributed in no small part was the knitting group that met on at-sea days in Malting's Bar. We were a diverse group. Knitters and crocheters from across the country and Canada. As happens with fiber addicts, we followed each other's progress, got ideas, and shared our stories. On the zip-line excursion in Costa Rica, we discovered that three of us were in the group.

My onboard project was the Aranami shawl designed by my friend Olga. I started it many moons ago, and then when packing for the trip, there it was!!! I made the dubious decision to make it a few sections larger. Warning! It geometrically increases the time and yarn commitment. I ran out of one color during the cruise, but since it is done in sections, I could carry on with the darker color.

It's done in KnitPicks Pallette- a fingering weight that comes in a bazillion colors.  This is a problem only because I needed to get the same colors I was using.  There are about 15 shades of medium brown, and as many in dark brown.  In order to finish the shawl, I ended up purchasing enough skeins in different colors to do a couple more small projects (mittens?) in many shades of brown.

I'm in the final phase, doing the top tier, short-row scallops. Then to handle the loose ends and block. I hope to have it finished next week.

Will I make another? Probably. But rather than knitting with fingering on 3's, I'll probably use a worsted on 7's. Life's too short...

Also on the needles...

Yes, I'm a Nerd, and I raise them.

The Daughter is a biochemist, and I'm knitting a scarf for her that has the DNA helices made in cables.  I started IT quite awhile ago, and then misplaced it.  When I relocated it, I remembered that I'd made an error or two, and ripped down those rows, so I could fix them.  I tried.  But darn it, it looked awful.  Despite having about a foot done already, I decided to frog the whole thing and start over.  Good decision.  While on the road to Hokie football games, I hope to get it done within a few weeks, and give it to her for Christmas.  I'm knitting it with Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage, and already made a hat with helices.  Realizing that I don't have enough to make the scarf a respectable length, I ordered what I thought was the right color from Loopy Ewe, and then discovered it was a different colorway-- close but no cigar.  So I found the right stuff online at Imaginknit in San Francisco-- and it should arrive tomorrow!!!

Hopefully, there will be pictues soon.

Life is good