Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday Travel Section

I really wanted to be able to blog about Print O' the Wave was coming along beautifully, or how I'd started new socks, or how I'd pulled the knitted corset out of my WIP collection and made some nice progress there, but the demands of school and life would have it otherwise - I spent nearly all weekend doing homework. I think the sum total of my knitting for the weekend was two rows on the stole. (By the way, Lorraine, the Kidsilk Haze is shade #633; I think it's called Violetta.)

Now, under normal, non-school-dominated conditions, I really like Sundays. Since Saturdays are for chores, Sundays are for reflection, relaxing, and appreciating the world I live in. I'd like to share that aspect of Sundays with all of you - photographically. So Sundays will be for mini-vacations.

This Sunday, we travel to the Benedictine Abbey in Admont, Austria.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Are you there?

I know I sort of fell off the planet, blog-wise, the past couple weeks. I'm sorry. School's been picking up, so I've been a bit busier, and the weather last weekend was completely lovely, so I spent all weekend outside, instead of blogging.

Let's see, where did I leave off? Oh, yes, I was working on the black ribbed scarf.

I got it finished and wove in all the ends. It's a wonderfully soft scarf in colors I love, but I won't be keeping it. I started it before I knew I had any preferences in scarf thickness and width, and it's rather wider than I'd like to wear. So I'll most likely be donating it this winter.

Nearly two weeks ago, when I went down to D.C., I did make it to a yarn shop. I bought some Addi Natura needles (for lace knitting) and two balls of Mission Falls 1824 wool in a purple that, ironically, is very nearly the same shade as my luggage. On the drive back up from D.C. I started squares for a mitered blanket.

The garter stitch is fantastically mindless, and the squares are delightfully soft and scrunchy. Each square takes maybe three-quarters of a ball, and I've got four of five balls on hand, so I should be okay for a little while. I've got color cards coming in the mail so that I can make some real color choices (instead of buying the only two balls that weren't cream or gray).

In the meantime (and in a minor fit of startitis), I've also cast on this:

It's the Print O' the Wave stole in Kidsilk Haze. So far, I'm enjoying the challenge of knitting lace in actual lace weight. It was also good fun to learn the provisional cast on (a new technique for me).

I'm still planning to start some more socks in the near future. I've still been plugging away (slowly) at the Bayerische Socken, but I want to work on something brighter - springier even. Perhaps next time there'll be new socks on the needles to introduce to the blog...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


That's pretty much how I feel about just about everything right now. The weather? Rainy and cold = blah. Pittsburgh? Hilly and no sidewalks, plus blah weather = more blah. School? Blah, but at least class is some good knitting time.

My knitting? Pretty much blah. I've been knitting a round or two a night on the Bayerische sock, and while I really do like it very much, I really want to work on something faster, less complex, and easier on the hands (the combination of pointy needles and tight stitches leaves my fingers aching after a few rounds). The scarf to match the mittenettes is no longer my class time knitting - there was too much cabling and turning to really be knittable in any class with note taking, and it was getting to be awkwardly long for knitting in class - it kept falling out of my lap. I'll finish it eventually, probably in the next month (or three, let's be realistic). My opinion of my current class knitting? Blah. It's blah for a number of reasons - color, the fact that I had to frog it once, the fact that my test bit for gauge lied to me (what did I expect?), and it turns out that I screw up a lot more when I'm knitting little yarn without looking at it than when I'm knitting big yarn without looking at it.

Ironically, the only piece of knitting I don't feel blah about is definitely my blahest:

The black ribbed scarf is coming along quite nicely, especially considering that I've only been working on it while reading for class. I really like how quickly it's going (gotta love the size 9 needles), and I really, really love the yarn. I'm using Mission Falls 1824 Wool, which is soft, smooth, and delightfully sproingy. Sometimes, instead of knitting on the scarf, I just sit and squeeze it and appreciate the lovely bounce in the yarn.

The blahness, though, has spread even to my consideration of what to cast on next. I got some Kidsilk Haze for Easter, that's destined to become a Print o' the Wave shawl. I've got some Kidsilk Night and some general shawl plans for it. I've got some really nice Artyarns Ultramerino to become a sweater, and some fun looking sock yarns that want to become fun looking socks. The problem though is that I don't feel like knitting anything complicated or doing and design work right now, and all of the above involve one or both. The solution? Garter stitch. Specifically, a blanket of garter stitch miters out of 1824 wool. I did some online shopping, and in a fit of reason, decided not to order several hundred dollars of yarn without knowing what the colors actually looked like, and only ordered color cards (I ordered the one for 1824 Cotton while I was at it). I've been planning to go by a yarn store this weekend in search of needles (for knitting the Kidsilk), though, so I'll probably see if I can pick up some 1824 wool while I'm at it...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Resistance is futile...

We are the Knitting Borg. You will learn to knit. Resistance is futile.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


The grey sweater is finished, and best of all, it fits!

(Sorry about the lousy picture: self-photography is hard)

It doesn't fit perfectly - it could use a little bit more ease across the back, a touch less ease across the front, and the arms could stand to have a slightly bigger circumference. But despite that, it fits well enough. I wore it all day Thursday (it did snow), and I'm pleased with both its warmth and comfort.

The yoke pattern is No. 10 from Lett-Lopi No. 16, and it looks almost as good from the reverse as it does from the right side.

I didn't follow the pattern at all for shaping the body and sleeves. I winged it with the help of Elizabeth Zimmermann's seamless sweater guidelines. The challenging aspect of this was completely unexpected. Before I started, I swatched on both size 6 and size 7 needles so I could pick which fabric I liked better. I preferred the fabric knit on size 7 needles (it was a little lighter, and less stiff), so I went to the store and bought size 7 circulars in varying lengths. Or at least I thought I did. As I was finishing the body, I started trying it on the check the length and noticed that it seemed tighter than it ought. Perplexed, I checked the gauge of the sweater and discovered that it was the same as the swatch I'd done on size 6 needles. This seemed odd to me, so I got out my needle size checker and discovered that I'd been knitting on size 6 needles! There was no possibility of mix-up on my end (I simply don't own enough needles), since these had gone straight from the store's package labeled size 7 to my knitting. At that point, I wasn't willing to frog the body, so I adjusted the number of stitches to account for it all being on size 6s and went with it. The lesson? Always double check your needles, even when they're fresh from the store.

There's so much I like about this sweater - I love the dark blue with the grey. I really like the pattern of the yoke. I like the way it fits. I like the blue on the cuffs and hem. The technical detail I'm proudest of, though? The underarm grafts:

When I introduced the sweater to the blog, I mentioned that it was my Knitting Olympics project. Despite my late finish, I think I could have done the sweater in two weeks had I not severely underestimated the amount of time school was going to take. Still, I think I'm at least as happy with it now as I would be had I finished it during the Olympics.

Happy Easter!

May you all have a wonderful, blessed Easter! Even if you aren't Christian, take a moment to appreciate the wonder of the new life coming into the world (if you can see it under the snow). And everyone can appreciate the gift-giving rabbit...

Hiding yarn is way better than hiding eggs!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Wet wool...

... smells remarkably like wet dog. Except cleaner.

My Lopi sweater is blocking. My process? I gave it a bath in cold water with Woolite (it's what I've got), and rinsed it well - I was really surprised at how dirty the wash water was. Maybe it's related to the rather high vegetative content of Lopi... After rinsing it, I folded the sweater up in a towel and walked on it until the towel was as wet as the sweater. Then I carefully laid the sweater out on a different towel and left it to dry. Despite the lack of steam and pins, the blocking has been remarkably successful in removing the imperfections.

I'll post a finished object series of pictures later this week. It's supposed to get cold and maybe snow Thursday and Friday, so I think I'll actually get to wear the sweater. :-)

Now that I'm done with the sweater, I'm trying to decide what to knit next. I really like the Cable-Down Raglan from the spring IK. I also kind of like the Green Tea Raglan - except that I'd knit it in purple. Or maybe I should knit socks... I was thinking of using the Trekking XXL I got to make a variation of these. I've got some Baby Ull I could turn into Jaywalkers... Or maybe lace is really what I want to do next. I've got some black Kidsilk Night and some ideas for a pattern...

Of course, as I'm pondering these possibilities, there are other voices crying for my attention. My collection of WIPs can be pretty vocal when it wants to be. A few weeks ago when I was weighing my stash, I came across my longest neglected WIP - a scarf that I must have started about four years ago. It didn't even have needles stuck in it any more, but its yarn is Mission Falls 1824, a delightfully soft, squishy wool.

I'm still planning to cast on something new this weekend - any recommendations? But in the meantime, I stuck needles back into the neglected scarf and have been working on it as reading knitting (something I can knit while reading). I've also been making pretty good progress on my class knitting - the cabled scarf that matches the mittenettes.

Don't tell the scarf (since I really do like it), but I'm starting to get a little bored with it. It'll be lovely when it's done, but right now I want some excitement in my knitting...

Sunday, April 01, 2007


I can't think of a better way to end a week than last Friday evening. The week was a bit rough - more homework than I would have liked and a less-than-fun test Friday morning. Friday evening, though, one of my roommates was throwing a birthday part for my other roommate, but I skipped out on it. Why?

To see Yarnharlot! Stephanie was giving a talk and signing here in Pittsburgh, and it was a fantastic evening. I got to chat with a bunch of other nice knitters before the talk. I worked on my grey sweater and my Bayerische sock. I loved Stephanie's talk - it was thoughtful and hilarious. After the talk, I milled around the bookstore working on my sock until it was my turn to stand in line, and then, after about a half hour in line, I got to meet Stephanie! I took her some chocolate, showed her my sweater and sock, and I got to hold her sock! It was like touching the Shroud of Turin...

The sock and the sweater thoroughly enjoyed the night, and the sock felt honored to be held by Stephanie. In fact, it's still giddy.

The sweater is coming along nicely. I've got just a few more rows of the neckband to knit, the underarms to graft, the ends to weave in, and then blocking. In fact, it should be finished some time early this week; it'll depend on the school work.

Thanks for all the nice comments here and on Stephanie's page about my sock. It's coming along quite nicely, although there's not really been any noticeable change since the last time I posted pictures.