Monday, December 24, 2007

Mystery stitch in storebought sweater

Whatever this is, it's not in the Vogue Stitchionary.

Anyone have any ideas?

I had another thought about knitting recently (in the absence of interesting progress, my thoughts are all I've got for you). When I get done with the Hild sweater, I really might like to do some smaller pieces. Christmas got me thinking... despite my innate love of shiny wrapping paper, I've embraced the trend toward cloth bags and other reusable gift packaging like all the other good Cambridge yuppies. Maybe for next Christmas I'll knit up some CD or DVD cozies that are meant as gift wrap. That would be a nice way to swatch while getting something sort of cool and useful out of it. Lace patterns would have to be lined, but that's the only downside I can see.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Space invaders scarf!

Ah, who could fail to love this!?

Honestly, the old-school gaming systems are the only thing that make me AT ALL interested in colorwork. I'd like to ask what this says about me, but, alas, I'm already clear on that. :)

What other games, error messages, etc, would be good for knitting up, I wonder?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Progress, Grumperina style

Knit two, purl two, knit two, purl two... repeat forever. I'm knitting continental, so I find the ribbing pretty easy (and a lot of fun), but progress is slow enough that I can't bring myself to spend rare, precious knitting time on anything besides this. I'm turning out to be a pretty monogamous knitter.

I found it wasn't all that hard to make a schematic to color in, starting with the bitmaps the Sweater Wizard will export and going from there. And so, here's my progress on the Hild pieces!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Blue sleeve for Black Friday

Due largely to my getting sick and spending Thanksgiving knitting on the couch, the first sleeve of Hild is a done deal. I never did have to do any gusset-type sleeve shaping, because the sleeve remained tight enough while I went along; I never really felt the need to slow down the increases.

I wan't sure about the sleeve cap -- the pattern I used was generated by Sweater Wizard 3.0 and looked a lot nicer than the one that came with the original pattern, but still isn't the smoothest sinusoid I can imagine. In particular, WHY would the slope get steeper right before the final rows with all the bind-offs? That basically guarantees a stupid-looking little corner of waste fabric on each side of the sleeve cap. Anyway, I followed the pattern, but because I had suspicions and I am anal, I pinned the sleeve into a sleeveless black shirt I have.

And it does pretty much seem to fit! So that is good. As long as I don't skimp on the measurement between my neck and the point of my shoulder, I'll be fine. Here's a closeup of the cable detail down by the wrist:

I'll be putting the mirror image of that one into the left sleeve.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sleeve shaping for Hild

It's a swatch! It's a blob! It's part of the sleeve of my first sweater!

Having decided to ignore the original pattern (only in two sizes, both way too big), I used a trial download of Sweater Wizard v3.0 to get a pattern based on measuring my favorite sweaters. Imagine my annoyed laughter when I discovered that the generated sleeve instructions were identical to the ones in Viking Knits #9, except for the much more detailed sleeve cap shape.

What I am supposed to do is increase steadily every 8 rows until I get to the cap, which is pretty wide to match the deep armscye. (I'm athletic, and have pecs and lats that make my armpits bigger than you'd think they are, so I want that.) If I do this, though, I'm going to get arms that are quite loose around the upper arms. I notice my commercial ribbed shirts seem to increase pretty regularly up the forearm, but then way more slowly on the upper arm; I also like what I know of armpit gussets, as nicely written up in this Yarn Harlot post. The idea's supposed to be to give men more room around the shoulder joint while not requiring a super-loose sweater... which is exactly what I need.

So, I'm thinking of playing fast and loose with this. Increase fairly regularly up to the elbow, then about half as fast until near the armpit, then do the rest of my increases in the last few rows (as if for a gusset, but continuing to form ribbing in pattern). I don't get many comments here, usually, but I'll ask anyway: does this plan sound reasonable to you sweater knitters out there?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

First, and possibly only, but we'll see

Did anyone wonder what I was swatching for? Probably not, considering that it took me over a month to knit the real thing (despite having lots of time to work on it last week). At any rate, it -- they -- are done, and it is my pleasure to introduce you to My First Socks.

Hello, socks!

Needles: #1 dpns
Yarn: Lang yarns, JaWoll color superwash (75% wool, 18% nylon, 7% acrylic)
Pattern: Wendy's generic toe-up socks, plus the pointelle lace pattern from the first Vogue Stitchionary centered on the top. Lace on socks seems like a nice idea, since the feet will always stretch out the lace -- no time-consuming blocking with every wash.
New skills learned: oh geez. Short rows, lace, provisional cast-on (not that I ever got it right), k1p1 ribbing (very enjoyable, I found), and tubular bindoff.

I modified one row of the lace pattern slightly at the beginning and end so that it wouldn't show any orphaned yarnovers in either place, but rather start and end the diagonal lines of holes gracefully.

The ribbing is p1k1, and the bind-off is the tubular bind-off. On the second sock I even managed to do it rather prettily. It's as if a single, tiny tractor tire had been driven around in a circle, leaving tread marks on top of my sock.

Short-row heel: quite a pain to knit, but they are what I'm used to in cotton. On the first sock, they caused one of my friends to squeal "ooh, it even has a line at the heel, just like REAL SOCKS DO!"

My cat didn't see the big deal, but my husband's cat REALLY didn't see the big deal.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A few new things

It's been summer, it's been lovely outside, and I have been biking like a maniac. (Not today, as my husband managed to make the quick-release skewer holding on my front wheel explode.) Since I'm taking an enforced break until I get to the bike parts store, I thought I'd share a few things with you.

I made a sock out of some lovely sea wool.

I'm glad to say that my mother thinks it would make a lovely sea monster. That's my new emergency backup plan if I succumb to second sock syndrome. (The old plan was to find someone with one very small foot.)

However, my big finished object for the summer thus far is:

my linen phyllo yoked pullover! (Fair warning, anyone planning to knit this: mine is entirely different from the one in Knitting Nature, except having the same yoke stitch pattern. If you want my directions, just ask, they're quite simple.) It's lovely and drapey and soft after a little trip through the washer. On the other hand, it's also biasing around the waist and hips. I have no idea what made it decide to do that (unbalanced yarn? the euroflax didn't look like it had enough energy in it!). It's a small flaw in an otherwise perfect sweater.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Such wonderful socks!

My sock pal, Julia knit me the most wonderful socks!

They make a great use of the Koigu (which is so nice and soft). I'm just thrilled :)

Even on top of that, my sock pal was so sweet. She sent a bunch of little treats along with the socks.

Merino for spinning, a little sock-project purse (which I've really wanted), a little cute book, and some lovely little lemon chocolates (which my husband is about to steal). Thank you so much, Julia!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Could it be?

Baby's very first itty-bitty lace swatch. Everybody say awwwww.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Chialea's beautiful shawl

The lovely shawl that Chialea made for me came home from California with my husband a few weeks ago, and I finally got the chance to block it last night.
None of the pictures I was able to take really show the quality or the lovely colors of Chialea's handspun, but I wanted to post a few quick shots now - will take more later if the sun ever comes out.
(Also in this shot, the back of my super-cute new haircut!)

Thank you so much, dear. It is really nice to have a hug from far away :).

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Swatching for Hild

A while ago I fell in love with Hild by Elsebeth Lavold. I was, at the time, rather furious at the conciseness of the pattern. One swatch later:

I think I'll be changing almost everything anyway.

I'm so damn new that even swatching is still a learning experience for me. Look at this -- you can see exactly where I remembered reading somewhere about slipping the first stitch on every row of something that's knitted flat.

And here's me messing up the beginning of the closed cable on the first pattern repeat:

Yikes, cringeworthy. It wasn't entirely my fault though. The beginning of the closed cable involved two sets of increases on subsequent right sides, with a plain wrong-side row in between; the end of the closed cable involved two sets of increases on subsequent rows -- right side and then wrong side! No wonder it closes up so nice and tight and pretty.

My second attempt is much tighter, as you can see, and also done over only two rows. However, it still has something I don't like: I did it right-side and then wrong-side, forcing me to do an extra plain right-side row before beginning to move the cables around. The better place for that plain right-side row would be between the patterns, so that all cable points can be 2 stitches wide on a wrong-side row and 4 stitches wide on a right-side row.

What else might I be changing about the pattern, you wonder? Well, my size doesn't have anything written out for it anyway, so, all stitch counts. The sleeve cap instructions don't make a nice sinusoid, so, the sleeve pattern. I don't want to change to larger needles for the cable section (no boobs), and I don't want to knit plain rib sleeves when a repeat or two of the cable pattern looks so nice on my forearm. And I don't want to roll back my sleeves the way that model is... I'd rather they fit me. I think I'm turning grumpanese I think I'm turning grumpanese I really think so...

I have company though. And like me, my kitty Nala always prefers patterns to written instructions. They make MUCH better pillows.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

FO #2, the disco tee

The disco tee is finished. It didn't take me long to do the yoke... I was doing it to chill out while trying not to think about certain other things.

The fabric, done on #8 needles with about 3 2/3 stitches per inch, is weird. If you hold this thing up and shake it, you get a Long, Skinny Tee that might fit one of those cheesy Spielberg aliens. Then if you hold it sideways, a shake will get you a very Short, Fat Tee that might fit a chubby 4-year-old. I only have one other thing with drape/malleability like this, and it barely qualifies as clothing:

Um, right. Not to get distracted... show them the tee shirt.

I think it came out pretty nice, definitely wearable, but not perfectly according to plan. Most especially, bringing the neck in to normal neck-size definitely pulled the sleeves up. I planned for the sleeve-line to be sort of straight across, but nope... I realize now I could have added short-row shaping to handle the fact that the path up and across my shoulder is longer than the path straight up the front of my body from my armpit-level to my neckline. Not a big deal though; nobody KNOWS I didn't plan it like this. And I'm pleased that my carefully calculated decreases still resulted in a pretty good fit across the top of the shoulders.

Behold the slits in the sleeves: laziness pays off in this case, as the extra ease around the arm circumference was needed and it looks cute.

Oh, and those certain other things I was thinking about? Other people, who might have decided my fate today, won't be deciding it until next week. Bleh. I need to knit something else.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Disco tee in progress

Here's my disco tee, done up to the armpits. I had to knit the sleeves flat -- the very slippery yarn did hideous things when I tried to make little tubes on two circulars. That's okay, I'm planning to turn it into a feature by just NOT sewing them up, and letting each sleeve have a little slit on the outside. It should be cute.

That is, if you believe these pieces are going to become any kind of wearable garment at all. I'm a little dubious. The cat whose paws you can see? He was dubious too, but wanted to lie on the pieces anyway.

I need better equipment if I'm going to be taking a lot of closeups:

I got all the pieces joined last night; not sure when I'll actually keep going with the yoke, but at least now it's all on one needle.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Totally tubualar, man!

It's tube time, over here at the California extension campus of Woolly Mammoths. If you've left a comment and I haven't responded, it's because I'm frankly boggled at how to do so now that they took email addresses off the pages. I've asked nicely for them to find some way to put them back up, but I understand the Blogger team is quite busy. If anyone wants to reach me, try chialea-insertAThere-gmail-insertDOThere-com. It sounds like people would like a bit more about short rows, so just let me know what you're curious about and I'll do my best to help out.

Tube #1: sleeve rendered in coned aqua euroflax sportweight on #3 Stumpi Bluntos.

It's the simplest sleeve you can think of (though there will probably be a deep hem there on the bottom). It's easy to knit while reading The Omnivore's Dilemma (which I highly recommend, btw -- what is more important than what we eat and the ability to keep ourselves nourished now and into the future?). It's easy to knit at the movies. It's easy to knit in the car at night (and not driving). If it were easy to knit on my bike, then I'd have a winner. Luckily I have two more complicated knitting projects for when I want to pay attention. The less complicated of the two:

Tube #2: Sidewinder in Melody sock yarn.

It's a sock! It's a tube! It's for my sockapalooooza pal! I really hope she likes this lovely yarn and fun pattern. Judging from her blog, she's not a patterned sock kind of person. I wanted to make something comfortable (thus a good number of alterations in the pattern) and interesting in a colour she'd like. (Technically she asked for "purple or green", but I figure this falls into that category and didn't see any purple at the shop or in my stash.) I promise better pictures when it doesn't look like someone skinned a sock off of a foot.

Note: I'm just getting this uploaded after two days of being unable to upload pictures. What fixed it? Plugging in the ethernet instead of using the wireless. Grr.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Tempting emergency!

About two years ago - hmm, maybe 1.5 years ago - I knit the body for Tempting. Then I knit one sleeve, and then I knit the other sleeve, and then I ripped out the first sleeve due to - I don't remember why, actually.

Tonight, I finished reknitting that other sleeve, and pulled the body out of the bottom of my knitting bag where it has been languishing. And found this.This is not moth damage, mercifully. No, it's where someone didn't weave in her ends very well, and then left a project to get tossed around and pulled this way and that, and didn't take care at all.
It's, umm, about 1/4 of the way up from the cast-on edge of the body. It's beyond my repair skills at this time, but I could be convinced to give it a repair try with appropriate tutorials. Or I could be convinced to rip the body out and reknit. It seems a little loose right now anyway.

Suggestions? Sympathy? Help?

Friday, July 06, 2007

A red-letter day

Guess what? I found the cable that connects my camera to my computer! That means I can finally share my exciting news with you: I brought home a little friend.

OK, it's a bigger friend than my old wheel. I got a Majacraft Rose, essentially because I wanted something that goes fast. In this, I followed the advice of the queen of speed demons with the help of someone who knows a heck of a lot about spinning wheels. (I also managed to buy a kate and leave it there, so I think I might have to make another trip sometime soon.)

My first yarn on the Rose is some merino top that I'm going to ply with solid purple merino. I'm still having a bit of trouble getting it completely even and smooth, because I find merino (at least this preparation) sticky. Is everyone's merino sticky?

There has been knitting around here, too. It's the summer of knitting for others; this Sea Silk lace scarf is for my extremely stylish and talented step-grandmother. I hope she's going to like wearing it as much as I'm enjoying the yarn. I think I might need some Sea Silk for myself... Perhaps Sea Silk would make a nice mystery stole 3. (On the other hand, Lucy dyed me some laceweight that is currently in the mail...)

Garments confuse me

I've recklessly cast on for a pattern-free t-shirt made of ladder-style ribbon yarn. It's on #8 needles, not huge ones, but still definitely something to wear over a tank top. This is all IF I can find more of the stuff (I only bought one ball, the LYS is closed for vacation). But I'm enjoying the slippery cool not-remotely-like-wool feel of it. It's basically just for practice.

As I was looking for directions/ideas, I came across this nice striped raglan. It's cute, it's by a good knitter, but these directions for the yoke sort of amazed me:

2. First decrease round: knit 2, knit 2 together all the way around.

3. Knit for about 2.5 inches.

4. Second decrease round: Knit 1, knit 2 together all the way around.

5. Knit for about 2.5 inches.

6. Third decrease round: Knit 2, knit 2 together all the way around.

7. Knit for another inch or so and cast off in picot edging.

Those are some severe decrease rounds! Can anyone explain why it's a good idea to do these 75% decreases every 2.5 inches? Doesn't that cause some ruffling/rippling (yes; I think you can see it in the bottom picture on that page), and couldn't the same decrease be done way more smoothly? Also,why would one finish with an inch of straight knitting?

I also went to my second-most-local yarn store and saw this sweater in the window and kind of fell in love. Bought the book, bought a ball of the yarn. Noted the slightly rounder cable pattern in this other sweater and started thinking about substituting it in.

Worse problem: the pattern is only written for medium (and large), and it's pretty clearly because the designer really wants six (eight) of those cable repeats. So I guess I get to wing it on how to make a small. Four repeats with a couple of extra ribs on each side should work fine; but the designer didn't bother to do the math, and that's annoying. Dear designer, why do you hate me so?

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Almost-finished object: Krista's new shawl

Krista's new shawl is just about finished (I'm making her block it herself), even if I did wimp out for the last few rows and knit unfinished yarn straight off the wheel.

I'm sending this shawl out to Krista in lieu of the hugs I can't give her from CA. She's working very hard this summer for a very good cause, in a different city from her husband and dog. Let me correct that: her very sick, elderly dog. Norton has been a sweet, friendly dog as long as I've known him, and I'll be very sad when it's his time to go. Krista has known him for a heck of a lot longer; I think she would benefit for any sympathy you have for a knitblogger whose dog is slipping away.

Krista, I'm so sorry. I hope the shawl helps a little.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

FO: celtic cap

My first finished object is done. It took me a long time. Clearly this is the least efficient way in the world to obtain a hat. But hey, here it is!

This picture has been contrast-enhanced to get the top stitches to be more visible:

Seen from the side, the cap is clearly gumdrop-shaped. It's basically a cone almost all the way up before the serious decreases start. I'm a bit disappointed in that, because I like hats to be a bit more human-head-shaped, but it's not for me anyway... it was meant to be cable practice, and as that it was a complete success.

Yarn: Jo Sharp DK weight
Needles: circular US 6

I didn't make any changes to the pattern, and for those who have it already, I used Chart B. The only decision I really had was what to do when the hat got too small to keep on my original 16" circular needle: DPNs, two circulars or magic loop. I used two circulars, and after a couple of rows was really really wishing I had used magic loop -- same idea really, and every time I switched needles I was sliding the old needle down until all the stitches were on the cable anyway (that's how I was keeping an even gauge when switching needles). Ah well... next time.

The next thing I'm going to do is finish up those sweater pieces I showed you in my intro post. I bought pretty buttons already.

Ahoy, intrepid summer sailors!

Yarr! Here at moving central, we be swabbing the decks.

(There has been literal swabbing of the carpets. Blame the cat for that one.)

We also be running out of yarn, spun from the finest wool from the colonies. We won't be producing any more until we unpack ye olde spinning wheel.

(More on this shawl later; the poor quality picture is entirely on purpose. (for once))

Some monstrous creature be eatin' me blocked swatches, so my new sweater must wait until laundry day be come and gone again'. Jaunty new socks may console my peg leg, though, for a time.

(I swear there must be a land of misfit swatches right next door to the land of misfit pens. I'm offering a reward to anyone who patches the wormhole in my apartment.)

An' if ye black-hearted scalliwags mutiny, it's down to the watery depths with ye!

(Kitty is actually taking a bath, if you look closely. I think he's defective. Aren't cats supposed to hate water?)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hail to Purple ...

Sometime last summer, a small LYS in Pittsburgh was going out of business, and was selling their sock yarn for ... I don't remember, very cheap. I was just about to head off to law school, and I picked up a skein of purple and a skein of black, which are my law school's colors. I thought to myself "this will make a nice Christmas present for whomever turns out to be my closest friend at law school!".
And indeed, by Christmas I had a very good friend at the law school, someone who helped me survive finals and ... the whole first year experience, really. I finished the first of these socks in the winter, and then was crazily busy, and working on a few other knitting projects, and didn't finish the second one until a few days ago.

So they were supposed to be a Christmas present, and weren't, and then were supposed to be a "we finished our big legal writing project" present, and weren't, and then were supposed to be a "end of finals" present, and weren't. So now they are an early fall-interviewing and football season present. They're not terribly impressive, but they're done, and I hope they'll mean a lot to someone who means a whole lot to me.

Yarn: Mystery wool. Definitely 100% wool, a bit splitty on the needles.
Pattern: General top-down sock pattern with heel flap. Size 2 bamboo needles, 76 stitches around. Nothing fancy here.

Next plan for the summer: finish Tempting! Really! I bought ribbon for it and everything.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Moving: the other end of the story

Well, I've survived the start of my new (and rather fabulous) job, my sister's (four day long) wedding, and the preliminary stages of the move. If you remember my Boston apartment, my California apartment will look rather familiar.

Until we manage to obtain some furniture, we've been staying with my parents and their impressively underfoot dog.

I've been having fun at work, though. I swear it's not (just) because of our trip kayaking and to the aquarium just after I started working. Does anyone know if these jellyfish tangle irreparably like this in the wild?

I have been knitting, which I'll show you later, but I must have felt very insecure without my stash. I ran right out to my new LYS for some sock yarn and Pieces of String for some aqua flax.

I'm in a colour rut and I'm loving it!