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!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

It's real easy for you to play the victim here, yarnball.

Everyone who knits/crochets and has a cat should read this comic strip.

Go, click, you will like it!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Adventures in midair cabling

I just flew to Atlanta and back, and while doing so decided to start an actual Object to justify all the knitting-related reading I've been doing. I had the pattern for this nice celtic cap and had read what all the stitches in the pattern meant (hey, I even practiced the first crazy double increase while making a small increase/decrease sampler) so I grabbed it, and some yarn and some needles, on the way out the door.

What it may someday look like:

What it looks like:

The sad thing about flying is that you are far from any knitting book or possible help when the moments of confusion inevitably hit. For example, this is the first time I ever knitted in the round. I cast on 96 stitches as nicely as I could and then...? "Join the work and knit 9 rounds of stockinette." Um, but I have a line and not a circle, how do I join? I stared at it for a while. Finally I cast on one extra stitch, nudged the first stitch across from right to left needle, knit these two together, stared at that for a while, and proceeded. It worked.

Also interesting is that now I know my preference for cabling / twisting. The closed cables on the cap start with just increases, but to my surprise I got to the first row calling for swapped-order stitches while still in the air over the east coast. All right, said I, I have no extra needle so I guess I will do this the no-cable-needle way. And I tried doing it the way in which you rearrange all the stitches on the left-hand needle before knitting and purling them. And lo, the stitches tried hard to slip down into the fabric and sneak through each other while I did so.

Ouch, said I, maybe I can find something to use for a cable needle. And I figured out that my Palm stylus is not so far from a US 6 needle. And I used my cable needle, and lo, the stylus when holding only 1 stitch fell this way and that way and I didn't have enough fingers.

Sigh, said I, it is time to try that other thing I mostly remember from Chapter 1 of Cables Untangled. In this one you transfer the first batch of stitches involved in the cable/twist from left to right needle, actually knit or purl the second batch and THEN swap their order in the manner directed. Finally you knit or purl the first batch. And lo, order was restored to my knitting, because the only batch of live stitches you leave hanging in the air this way is the second batch, the batch that just got a nice, loose extra row added to it and is thus much more accomodating. Thank goodness. The only hard part about this is figuring out where to hold the yarn while transferring that first batch over to the right-hand needle, and I'd rather do that than deal with the squirmy stitches of the first two attempted methods.

New knitter

New knitta on the block! chialea and krista were nice enough to let me come in, despite the HUGE gamble that I might turn out to be the kind of person who makes buttonholes really badly or something. Thanks to them for being so nice.

It felt appropriate to start with a picture of my stash, so... this is my stash. See the book of Aran stitch patterns, and those two giant cones of very sheepy aran-weight wool? Yes, I thought you did. :)

If you wonder how it is that I even have a stash already, it's because chialea gave me basically everything (the yarn, not the books). And that same event explains the sweater pieces -- this has some sort of tragedy behind it involving a person discovering she is pointy person, and not tubular person. And so now pointy person makes beautifully tailored pieces and tubular person gets to practice the finishing stages of a sweater without making all the stockinette. Tubular person is selfishly happy about this.