Monday, April 30, 2012

it's bigger on the inside

Thinking way back in my childhood I can remember my older brother lying under the dining room table ignoring the scratchy texture of the jute rug, to watch Dr. Who on our old B&W TV. I didn't watch. Maybe I was too young to understand it, or maybe it was too odd and too foreign, but he was a fan, even way back when.

So when I saw this pattern for Tardis socks, I thought perfect and hilarious; perfectly hilarious even. While he shakes his head and ponders the unbelievable fact that I have never watched this show, Gavin remarks that the blue yarn should be a bluer, more saturated colour. From what I've seen online he's right, but I chose this more muted blue because it shows the black and white details more clearly. On a darker navy blue yarn the black all but disappeared.

Truthfully, Gavin's really not all that surprised to learn that I've never seen a Dr. Who episode; apparently there are huge gaps in my film and TV viewing that need to be addressed. We've watched Young Frankenstein which was a must after I stared blankly at his impression of Inspector Kemp and his mechanical arm. Blazing Saddles was rented when I failed to recognize any of the memorable scenes or quotes from that classic. And then when I admitted I'd never watched a Clint Eastwood movie, didn't know who Lee Marvin was, or ever watched Cat Ballou ... uh oh. We did watch the American version of The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo on the weekend and concluded that, other than the soundtrack, the original Swedish movies were better in every respect. Sorry Daniel Craig, even you couldn't save that movie.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Year of Projects: Santa Fe 03

Knitting on the Road: Canada • Canal du Midi • Conwy • Dalarna • Denmark • Friday Harbor • Hiiumaa • Huron Mountain • New England • The Road to Oslo • Santa Fe • Spey Valley • Christmas in Tallinn • Traveler's Stockings • Uinta Cabin • Unst • Whitby

Why yes, my toes really are long and pointy. Although, I suspect that the angle from which this photo was taken has exaggerated them somewhat. But never mind about that, let's look at the socks!

These Santa Fe socks - or Canada Post socks as I've come to think of them -  are done. They're not my most-favourite-ever, but I did learn some very handy things with these socks. I really like this double start double thread cast on. It's a nice change from a ribbed cuff. For these socks I knit the colourwork panels on larger needles; I'm very pleased with how that worked out. And I'm pleased with those little bands of colourwork around the feet; they give these socks a little something extra, don't they?

I'll be on the Road to Oslo next. This next pattern is a short pair of boot socks knit on 3.25mm and 3.5mm needles ... shouldn't take any time at all! Maybe later today I'll have a look through the stash to pick yarn for these. Now we're off to enjoy the warmer temps and the sunshine. I'll catch up with everyone later today!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

the Knitter's Frolic

These buttons followed me home from the Knitter's Frolic this morning. Jessie picks up fallen branches at her woodlot in Essex County and creates these fabulous buttons and other treasures. As well as these squarish buttons, I also picked up a handful of round twig buttons. I just love them! I wonder if the branches around here would make nearly as interesting buttons as these?!

I guess you won't be surprised to hear that some yarn followed me home too. From the Knit Café I picked up four different mini-skeins of Koigu PPPM. They're running a contest looking for grand ideas of what to do with mini skeins. I'll have to put on my thinking cap to see what I can come up with! And from Shelridge Farm I picked up 5 skeins of superwash wool in navy blue; I've signed up for a KAL of this (W)rapped pullover starting May 1st, so I'm ready to go on that.

Other than those few things, I kept my wallet in my bag. There was certainly lots of temptation but I didn't want to have to confess to overdoing when I post my update for the Surmount the Stash challenge. Looks like the yarn diet is working pretty well!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

FO: Baby Bobbi Bear

I'm calling him finished, this Baby Bobbi Bear, but I still may go back and embroider that nose. I tried embroidering it twice this morning but ripped out both attempts. Too loose and the embroidery threads hang, too tight and the nose becomes lumpy, and then there's the impossibility of making a perfect triangle ... aargh. I've cut a nose from felt and glued it to his face, figuring if/when I try embroidering again it will give me a template and provide a firmer canvas for the stitches.

As I mentioned before the fabric is a bit thinner than I would like, and as a result the white stuffing shows through in several places. I'm considering washing and drying this little bear to see if that helps. What do you think? It's superwash wool. Would it felt up a bit? Or shrink a bit? If I knit this bear again I'd definitely use smaller needles than suggested for a denser knit fabric.

It's been an education in picking up stitches, making this little bear. After finishing his arms the first time I peered more closely at the pattern photo to detect that line of selvedge stitches from his armpit to his shoulder. Mine didn't look as tidy as that, so I ripped out to do it again. I wasn't sure how the ears would work, but I'm happy with them now that they're done. Having those columns of decreases at the side of the head certainly helps to keep them lined up squarely!

Hopefully sometime today I'll have a chance to knit this little sweater for him. I think he looks a bit bare (bear?) as is, and I like the idea of adding another colour to break up all that periwinkle blue.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

FO: GAP-tastic Cowl

I've made this GAP-tastic cowl to use up whatever remained of the bulky yarn for Jackie's cowls and headbands - Cascade Yarn's Lana Grande in a mushroom-y brown. It's peruvian highland wool, so it's soft, warm and lofty; perfect for a cowl like this.

The pattern is written for bulky yarn, so using super bulky yarn I decreased the number of stitches to 111 from 131. Besides, Jackie's quite petite and a number of Ravelers found the finished cowl as written too big, so I thought I'd better err on the side of smaller. Now that it's been blocked, I think that's the right decision. The cowl loops twice around the neck; to make it tight at the neck you could tighten up the inner loop.

You should also know that the pattern directions ask you to knit for 15 inches however I knit until the yarn ran out and wound up with a 10 inch cowl. Again, many Ravelers shortened their cowls too because they found it was getting too wide. I'm okay with it as is, but I think I might have liked it a couple of inches wider. If I did it again I'd aim for 12 inches, particularly if it were intended for someone as tall as me.

Overall I'm very happy with this cowl. The simple stitch pattern worked in bulky yarn makes a really pleasing, comforting fabric. Almost makes me nostalgic for winter weather.

Monday, April 23, 2012

FO: Sylvan Star Washcloth

Last night I was in the mood to make something quick and easy. Not socks. And not anything in bulky brown wool. Okay then, a dishcloth I thought. Here's the one I chose: Sylvan Star Washcloth. Boy was that ever quick and easy; I've already made two!

For the first one (shown) I followed the pattern directions exactly. The result is 10" wide from point to point. For the second one I omitted rounds six and seven, to finish with a cloth that's 7" wide from point to point. I think I may make a third omitting just round seven to end up sized between the other two. Then I could gift them as a set of three, right?

It's crocheted from some dishcloth cotton in my stash. A couple of years ago at the tent sale at the Spinrite factory outlet I came across bags of unlabelled natural dishcloth cotton for really cheap and I went a bit overboard. Okay, okay ... a lot overboard. As a result knitting or crocheting dishcloths is a really good idea if I want to work through my stash. Three Sylvan Star dishcloths are a good start.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Year of Projects - 02 Santa Fe

Knitting on the Road: Canada • Canal du Midi • Conwy • Dalarna • Denmark • Friday Harbor • Hiiumaa • Huron Mountain • New England • The Road to Oslo • Santa FeSpey Valley • Christmas in Tallinn • Traveler's Stockings • Uinta Cabin • Unst • Whitby

My first Santa Fe sock fits, and here's why:
  • I increased the number of stitches for the cuff to 70 sts
  • I worked the colourwork section of the cuff on 2.5mm needles and then switched to smaller 2.0mm needles for the rest of the leg and cuff
  • I decreased 1 st at the end of needle 1 and the beginning of needle 4 every 5th round until 60 sts
With those mods the sock fits perfectly, and if I decide to go back and reattempt the Christmas in Tallinn socks I should do all those same things. Looks like I'll complete the last few patterns in the book Knitting on the Road well ahead of my Year of Projects deadline of end of June, so I might just do that. That unfinished, unloved sock is a blot that can now be satisfactorily corrected. 

Getting back to this Santa Fe pattern, the cuff begins with a double-start double thread cast on and then a few rounds of garter stitch. It's a nice change from ribbing and it doesn't seem at all inclined to curl. It might be a nice option for other garment edges, I thought, as I worked it. Maybe I'll try it on a simple vest next. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Finished Object Friday

I've knit a bulky cowl using this pattern. Based on several Ravelers' notes I made my cowl smaller, after all the coworker for whom this is meant is quite petite and I didn't want it too loose around her neck for warmth. I tried it on, it fits me and there's nothing petite about me, so it's definitely not too small. Nicely sized and it's really comfy and warm. Winner!

The pattern is knit as a moebius loop which is something I hadn't tried before. I used this video tutorial from Cat Bordhi to learn the cast on. Magical knitting, indeed! Somehow or another I found myself knitting outside and inside, around and around, to form a Moebius loop. The beauty of this is that I'm able to knit a circular cowl with a half twist in the round without a seam. If you've ever tried seaming bulky wool, you'll know there's nothing subtle about it.
So this is definitely the way to go.

I love this pattern and now I'm thinking about making a smaller and narrower version for a headband. That should work and once again I'd get that half twist without the seam. But at the moment I'm putting the three balls of leftover bulky yarn I have to good use. I'm knitting a GAP-tastic cowl. Why not, right? Then Jackie has two options: a smaller fitted cowl or a big loopy cowl.

Don't miss out on all the great craft blogs linked up at Tami's Amis today. It's finished object Friday and there's lots to see!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday

Happy birthday to my SIL and fellow knitter Elizabeth! The big 4-0!

That's most of Baby Bobbi Bear done - he just needs arms, ears, an embroidered nose and some duplicate stitching to define his neck. Now that his body is stuffed I'm sorry I didn't switch down a needle size; the fabric could have been a little denser I think, so that the stuffing wouldn't have shown through.

Baby Bobbi's knit in sport weight yarn held double so that's why there are so many partial balls around him. The construction is interesting because you knit his body first, then his legs and then turn him over to knit his head. Doing it that way there are no seams and few ends to weave in. Love that! And look how the lines of the decreases that make up the head shaping create his snout. Neat, huh?

As soon as this little bear is finished I think I may go ahead and make him a sweater from this pattern. How cute is that? Besides, I just bet there's some suitable scrap yarn in my stash that could be put to good use for that. Why I am making a stuffed toy, you might ask? A couple of reasons:

What are you up to today? If you've got some time, check out the links at Tami's Amis. I'm constantly amazed by the creativity and productivity!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

moebius knitting

I think I mentioned yesterday that I planned to knit a second cowl, right? Well I've settled on this Bulky Moebius Cowl but now I have to learn about moebius knitting. YouTube and Cat Bordhi to the rescue!

I cast on following along with the online video instructions and worked the first half dozen rows of the pattern. To make a moebius you seem to be knitting around the top of the circle on your needles and then around the bottom. It's very hard to visualize how it'll look finished or to get an idea of size when it's on the needles like this. Mostly it looks like I'm knitting a bird's nest. I had a gut feeling it was knitting up too large - in no small part because of how quickly I was chewing through yarn - so I decided after a half dozen rows to pull the work off the needles, lay it flat and measure it. Yep, my first cowl attempt was way too big; once it was off the needles I could loop it twice around my neck with plenty to spare. I'm glad I stopped and checked. Checking the pattern and my gauge I realized that I was using the recommended size needles for the yarn, but the pattern suggests needles considerably smaller. That's a good place to start. Also the pattern is written for two sizes so on my second attempt I'll cast on for the smaller size. And then we'll see, wont' we?

Once I get the sizing figured out it looks like the cowl's going to take about an hour to knit from start to finish. Cool! Barring anything unforeseen I should have this finished by the end of my work day. It's instant gratification alright, this knitting in super bulky yarn. I'm keen to see how it finishes - if it's fabulous I may need to make a few more in some gorgeous hand-painted handspun. They'd be awesome Christmas gifts!

Monday, April 16, 2012

FO: Drops 134-53 a Cowl

Well that certainly didn't take any time at all! When my circular needles were too large for the circumference of the cowl Jackie wanted, I decided to knit it instead on smaller 10mm dpns. And now that it's finished, I'm glad I opted for smaller needles because it's quite nicely sized.

You can probably guess by the photos that I'm not a "cowl person". In the first photo I tried to place the folds of the cowl artfully in a casually asymmetric arrangement, but I'm not sure it's entirely successful. If the cowl were for me, chances are I'd wear as shown in the second photo - folded in half to make a kind of turtleneck. But it's not for me, it's for my coworker and I suspect she'll have no trouble sorting it out just the way she wants it.

The pattern is called "English Rib". That's a new one to me, and I will say I've never worked so many YOs in a ribbed pattern before. I like it though - very bold and strong. For the bind off, a traditional bind off was again too tight, so I worked my hybrid not-so-surprisingly reasonably stretchy bind off and that's done the trick. In fact, seems like a bunch of YOs in the bind off made the perfect complement to the YOs within the main ribbing pattern.

As it turns out the cowl only takes about half the yarn indicated on the pattern, so I'm left with just over 200 grams of leftover. Normally I'd be annoyed by this, but in this case I think there may be enough for another cowl ... possibly a GAP-tastic cowl or even a Bulky Moebius Cowl. Jackie's an avid snowboarder; I'm confident she'll have occasion to put both cowls to good use.

If you've never knit with super bulky yarn, I'd have to recommend trying it. It's pretty fun working with huge needles and huge yarn. Things work up really quickly as you can imagine!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Year of Projects - Santa Fe 01

Knitting on the Road: Canada • Canal du Midi • Conwy • Dalarna • Denmark • Friday Harbor • Hiiumaa • Huron Mountain • New England • The Road to Oslo • Santa Fe Spey Valley • Christmas in Tallinn • Traveler's Stockings • Uinta Cabin • Unst • Whitby

Seems like just a few weeks ago I was knitting a stockinette sock with a colourwork cuff, and as I recall, it didn't turn out too well. The cuff wound up somewhat inflexible and too tight, whereas the vanilla stockinette sections of the sock ended up too loose and baggy. Maybe knitting the colourwork on larger needles and adding some shaping to the leg would fix it? As it turns out I'm putting those ideas to the test with this Santa Fe sock.

The pattern is written for sport weight yarn, but once again I'm knitting fingering weight sock yarn from my stash. With finer yarn on smaller needles I've cast on 70 sts rather than 50-55 as written. And I've knit the colourwork part of the cuff on larger size 1-1/2 (2.5mm) needles, switching to size 0 (2mm) needles after the cuff. In the couple of inches of leg remaining before beginning the heel, I think I'll decrease to 64 stitches. Maybe that will do the trick?

When designer Nancy Bush knit this pattern she chose colours traditional to the Navajo arts and crafts which inspired the chevron motif. But now that I've decided to go with some leftover red and blue in a medium grey field, my sock is more reminiscent of Canada Post's logo than Navajo art. Not the happiest association, but I like my colour choices nonetheless so I'm carrying on! Wish me luck.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Finished Object Friday

No surprise here - yesterday afternoon I finished my second Cat in The Hat sock while watching files upload on my computer at work. File transfer is a lot like watching paint dry, and it makes me a bit stir-crazy unless I have some knitting to do while I wait. That's my secret for how much knitting gets done - travel knitting and knitting through the boredom at work. In fact I had enough time at work to weave in all the ends as well, so these socks are well and truly done, ready for the Warm Hands Network's September shipment to Moosonee.

It's a plain vanilla sock knit toe up with sport weight yarn on 2.75mm needles. That's another reason why these socks were done so quickly - heavier than usual yarn on bigger than usual needles. After completing the second afterthought heel I've got about 3 grams of Regia Nautica left and slightly more of the red alpaca yarn. Maybe there'll be another scrappy sock with wheat and red coloured stripes?

Another scrappy sock; that's what I should do next. But instead I've pulled out some leftover sport weight superwash wool with a plan to make a Baby Bobbi Bear. Years ago my Mom made one and it was really cute. I came across the pattern amongst the things I inherited from her. It's nice feeling as I knit to see her notes and marks in the margin as I go along. Makes me feel a little closer to her.

This Friday the 13th I'm linking up with Tami's Amis for Finished Object Friday. Despite the date, despite the black cat that's circling my feet begging to be fed, I feel pretty lucky today. How about you?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday

Maybe it's the wild red stripes, but almost immediately these scrappy socks named themselves "Cat in the Hat" socks in my head. They're kind of fun and not very serious, but hopefully there's a child in Northern Ontario who will appreciate them after I donate them to the Warm Hands Network.

The red yarn is Frog Tree Alpaca - really soft and really warm. I think they'd be perfect inside boots on a wintery day or even as bed socks in a poorly heated home. It's nice to put the red yarn to use, after all there's been just over 180 yards of it in my stash for three years waiting for the right project. And the wheat coloured yarn is Regia Nautica 6-ply. There was just enough leftover from my last pair of socks for heels, toes and a couple of stripes. By the end of this second sock, all the yarn should be pretty much used up.

I've knit the sock toe-up with an afterthought heel. For the bind-off at the cuff I've devised a hybrid of a traditional bind-off and Jeny Staiman's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off (JSSBO) - I like to think of it as my not-so-surprisingly moderately stretchy bind-off. Binding off in K1P1 rib, I process the knit stitches like a traditional bind-off but process the purl stitches like JSSBO. The result is much stretchier than a traditional bind-off but not so loose and wobbly as JSSBO.

For the last few days I've really been in the mood to knit up scrappy socks, so I might just start another pair once these are done. Heaven knows there's no shortage of scrap sock yarn in my stash. And they'll definitely be put to good use in the northern communities in Ontario, Labrador and Nunavut. It's -16° C in Rankin Inlet right now as I type. Brrrrr!

I'm linking up with Tami's Amis today for Work in Progress Wednesday. Check out the links here to see what everyone else is up to!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

FO: Friday Harbor Socks

Thick, comfy, nubbly socks! Knit in a sport weight sock yarn, Regia Nautica 6-ply, these are the thickest and warmest socks I've ever knit. I doubt there'll be many more sport weight socks for me, though; I prefer thinner socks inside my sneakers. Still these would be good inside boots in winter, wouldn't they?

The pattern is Friday Harbor by Nancy Bush - one of seventeen patterns in Knitting on the Road. Since July of last year I've knit most of these patterns, and with these socks completed, there are three patterns remaining to attempt. Each pattern has been a pleasant surprise - I've learned new cast ons, Estonian braid techniques and new heels - and the finished socks have almost always exceeded my expectations. These Friday Harbor socks also turned out better than I hoped, particularly after adding 20% more stitches to make a bigger sock. The fit is perfect.

A special thanks to Gavin for modelling today. When I suggested this pose - one foot flat, one turned and balanced on tiptoes - to show off all the patterning in the sock I got an exaggerated eye roll. And as he stood patiently like this, and while I fumbled with my camera working desperately to change the settings away from SuperMacro, a GO Train passed by. "Everyone's pointing and staring" Gavin complained. I doubt that, we're not that close to the tracks, but point taken. I'm pretty sure I owe him a big favour for this one.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Year of Projects - Friday Harbor 02

Knitting on the Road: Canada • Canal du Midi • Conwy • Dalarna • Denmark • Friday Harbor • Hiiumaa • Huron Mountain • New England • The Road to Oslo • Santa Fe • Spey Valley • Christmas in Tallinn • Traveler's Stockings • Uinta Cabin • Unst • Whitby

It's not quite a finished pair, but with the heel turned and the gusset complete, it won't be long now. For whatever reason, the rest of the foot usually goes very quickly for me. Last week's decision to rip out and restart on 60 stitches has proven to be the right one; the sock is a good size now.

The best part of this Friday Harbor sock is the pattern across the front of the sock that's meant to suggest the wake of a boat. Perhaps you won't see it right away - after all I haven't picked the most watery coloured yarn, have I? - but it's an attractive geometric pattern nonetheless. The leafy cuff is attractive, but it doesn't stretch as well as the rest of the sock so I wouldn't use it again. Looks nice though, doesn't it?

Seems like I'm going to have a fair bit of yarn leftover once the second sock is done, but I have a plan. I figure I can match it up with some raspberry colour alpaca sport weight yarn leftover in my stash - 6-ply sock yarn for the heels and toes, alpaca for the legs and feet. That should make for a nice warm pair of scrappy socks! Perfect for donation to the Warm Hands Network.

By early next week there'll be just three sock patterns left to knit in my year of projects. That's very do-able! I suspect it'll be Santa Fe socks I'm blogging about this time next week; I've already sorted out the yarns from my stash with that pattern in mind.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Finished Object Friday

Last week one of my coworkers gave notice; she's young, early twenties and I guess she decided this business wasn't what she wanted to do with her life. Better to cut her losses now and move on. When I spoke to her to ask about her plans she meekly enquired whether it was too late to get a handknit headband.

It's just as well she sent me pictures of what she wanted because this wouldn't have been the pattern or the yarn I chose for myself. There's no doubt though, she sent me two different photos from the web of this same headband and then picked out the pattern from the Ravelry database. The pattern is a ribbed pattern knitted flat in super bulky yarn on 12mm needles. A single twist is added before seaming at the back. I was just about to say that the whole thing took no time at all, but that's not true. After knitting and finishing the headband according to the pattern directions, Jackie tried it on and it turned out to be miles too big. So I pulled out the seams, unpicked the bind off and tinked back a couple of inches and then refinished it. Much better!

The yarn is Lana Grande from Cascade and it's lovely -very soft and very lofty. I wasn't sure about the colour but I was under some strict instructions - not black, definitely not white, not off white or cream (she particularly hates those colours), more of a beige-y neutral or even a mushroomy colour please. After trying on the headband she seemed very happy with it, so I think I chose well. In fact, she then asked about the chances of getting a matching cowl - she wasn't sure what they were called, those neck thingies but she seen some for hundreds of dollars in the shops of Queen West and she'd like one. At a gauge of 7 sts per inch, I think that can also be done in short order.

Today is the Good Friday holiday but for me the day is tinged with sadness as it's the three year anniversary of my Mom's passing. We're heading out to spend the day with friends at their lakeside cottage. The weather is perfect - bright, mild and sunny - just as it was three years ago. We will miss her every day of our lives.

Check out the links at Tami's Amis to see more finished objects today and have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Friday Harbor sock one

You'll have to take my word for it; it's a much nicer sock than it looks in the photo. At various occasions I've complained about the photography in the book, which I don't find shows these sock patterns to best advantage. In this case, my photo doesn't do the Friday Harbor pattern any favours either. Because the most interesting part of the pattern is the central motif where rows of eyelets mimic the wake of a boat on a smooth lake. Maybe once the second sock is done, I'll find someone to model the socks and show off the pattern properly.

The wool is 6 ply Regia Nautica, so it's much thicker than my usual sock yarn. And knit on 2.75mm needles, this sock pattern takes no time at all. Looks like I'll have a finished pair in time for my Year of Projects update on Sunday. Not surprisingly the finished socks are also very thick. I'll use them as boot socks or socks for around the house - they're too thick to wear inside shoes I think. I guess I still prefer socks from light fingering on size 0 needles! The colour of the yarn - red splotches and all - is starting to grow on me. As I knit I think of Raspberry Cobbler, although more cobbler and not so much raspberry.

Mostly these days I'm trying to decide what to knit next. I've got a quick project to knit at the request of a coworker - a headband and a cowl from super bulky yarn - but after that, then what? Maybe a couple more baby hats to work through a bit more of the yarn in my stash?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

FO: Rib & Braid Pullover

Yippee! I finished it in time to wear it! And - surprise, surprise, it looks like we'll have at least a few more weeks of vest wearing weather.

The pattern is Rib & Braid Pullover, which I knit as a tunic length sleeveless vest. The pattern is very well written and extremely comprehensive. After choosing my size, the pattern included options for a waist length vest, a hip length tunic or a longer jumper, as well as options for a sleeveless style or optional cap sleeves. I worried about whether I could "pick up stitches evenly along the neck edge" for the neck band, but reading further the designer instructs to pick up two stitches for each column in the ribbing, so that was easy enough. It all turned out just fine and it fits exactly as the pattern chart suggests it would. If I knit this pattern again, the only thing I'd change would be to add to the centre front for a higher neckline.

The pattern has surprisingly few projects on Ravelry, which I'm entirely at a loss to explain. The only thing I can figure is perhaps there isn't much of a market for a worsted weight vest? I will say that  I am considering making another vest for myself,  but I've already decided that it will be knit in much lighter yarn - maybe a fingering or sport weight instead.

For this vest I used Briggs & Little Heritage wool in Sheep's Grey. It's my all time favourite yarn, because it's got an interesting tweedy texture, it's a lovely warm grey and it's so-lanolin rich that I think my hands are actually being moisturized as I knit with it. Truth be told the cables within the pattern might be more dramatic with a smoother yarn, but I wanted a comfy, casual vest just like this. I couldn't be happier. I LOVE this vest.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Surmount the Stash April Update

Typically after three months of a year long resolution yarn diet motivation starts to fade, but not so! Things really clicked for me this month.

Monthly budget of $50 for all knitting related expenses: I ended last month $46.14 over budget and  pledged not to spent one more cent in March. I didn't quite manage that, but I did manage to sell a stack of old craft magazines on Kijiji for $35.00. I spent $12 mailing monsters to Isaida and mailing a SIBOL square to the UK. As well, I spent $6.00 for the Daphne and Delilah pattern, plus $6.50 for the Rib and Braid Pullover pattern. Tallying it all up, I end March with a smaller deficit of $35.64.

It's going to be a challenge to stay in budget this month though - there's always major temptation at the Knitter's Frolic marketplace. There's little chance that I'll leave empty-handed, so I'm planning projects for which I could buy a small amount of yarn to combine with yarn I already have on hand. That feels a bit like stash-busting doesn't it?

Manage my WIPs: Last month I started and finished one charity square, one dishcloth, one Barbie outfit, one pair of fingerless gloves, two pairs of monsters, one pullover and one pair of socks. Here we are on the second of April  - I plan to cast on a pair of socks this morning because there's nothing else on my needles. Unbelievable!

Plan projects to work through my inventory of yarns in my Stash: Lots of projects started and finished but no yarn purchased, so obviously I've done well here. At a guess I'd say I've knit through about 2500-2600 yards. About half of that was worsted weight used in monsters and my pullover so now my stash LOOKS noticeably smaller. How nice is that?

And if you're wondering, it IS vest weather today and I AM wearing a new vest, but more on that tomorrow!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Year of Projects - Friday Harbor 01

Knitting on the Road: Canada • Canal du Midi • Conwy • Dalarna • Denmark • Friday Harbor • Hiiumaa • Huron Mountain • New England • The Road to Oslo • Santa Fe • Spey Valley • Christmas in Tallinn • Traveler's Stockings • Uinta Cabin • Unst • Whitby

I've marked the pattern Christmas in Tallinn as done. It's written as a pattern for a Christmas stocking - that's something I'm not particularly interested in knitting. I tried knitting it as a wearable sock but the result was disappointing. There are lots of modifications I could try for a better result, but I'm just not feeling it. It's in time out for now, and possible forever.

Moving along, I've cast on for a pair of Friday Harbor socks. This sock is knit across 49 stitches so I had to look for a heavier sock yarn that would work on 2.75mm needles. My LYS has just started carrying a 5-ply sock yarn from Regia that fits the bill, so I thought I'd give it a try. So far, I'd have to say I'm underwhelmed by it. It's sturdy and somewhat scratchy rather than soft. And what's with the red splotches?

After knitting just a couple of inches, I've decided this sock is also too small; it certainly won't fit around my heel. Nooooo! A number of Ravelers reported the same issue in their project notes - even those using the recommended yarn - so I think I'll cut my losses now and start again with 60 stitches as some of the others have done. I don't think I could stand putting in all the time and effort for another sock that doesn't fit. Barring anything unforeseen I should manage to restart and reknit the sock to about the same point on my train ride to work tomorrow.

In her introduction to the pattern, Nancy Bush says the inspiration for these socks comes from many visits to the Pacific Northwest. The cuff features a leaf pattern and then the leg features a lace pattern that evokes the wake of a sailboat which carries on down the top of the foot. For just a few minutes I considered continuing the leaf pattern all the way down the sock, but I doubt it's stretchy enough for a good fit. But it's really cute! Now let's hope things go a bit more smoothly starting tomorrow!