Saturday, February 24, 2007

new sock day

plain vanilla socks - finished

I've actually had these socks finished for a while, but I never wore them because I cast off the top with extra stitches so they wouldn't be so tight on my leg and apparently I did that way wrong, because the socks had wavy ripply tops that didn't stay up. Sigh. So today I ripped out the cast off row on the socks, researched a good way to make a stretchy cast off and fixed the socks. Hooray! Not too many specs here, I used some left over sockatta yarn from a pair of socks for my husband that I dyed more blue to look less guy-like. Your basic plain vanilla toe up 3 x 3 ribbing socks with a short row heel. good times. and beeter now that I'll actually wear them.


Friday, February 23, 2007

yarn heart

elliott sweater heart

Not too much knitting to show this week since "working" has been taking a lot of my time. As you may deduce then my work does not involve knitting, nor have I schemed a way to make this happen. And that may be for the best really. The little bits of knitting I have done involve a lot of work with seemingly little to show for it. I had ripped out e's sweater due to the fact is was turning out toooooo large - even though I swatched. Plus the garter stitch hem was too large and ripply. Instead I did an invisible cast on of the new number of stitches (according to the new gauge I'm getting) knit 6 rows, purl one row for a fold line, knit 6 more rows and put the stitches from the cast on onto another circular needle. Now I'm going to fold the hem in half (on the purl folding line) and knit each pair of stitches from the top and bottom together to form the hem. I like the way the circulars are forming a heart. awwww!

bobble tart hat in progress

I'm also puttering away at the bobble tart baby hat from knitty. I'm not a big bobble fan as they take a while, and the cotton keeps sliding off of my needles, I'll have to add a 5th needle in the mix since I don't have small enough circulars in that size. But I think it's looking cute enough to eat.

Next week I'll be in St. Louis for work so I'm not sure how much blogging will get done - might be a little slim on the pictures. I'm hoping for a guest post as well - you could get lucky!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

yarn breakfast

So this morning I was having breakfast with Elliott and he said: Do you want to come with me to Northampton while I do a bit of work?

me: What would I do there while you're working?

e: I don't know - don't you want to go to the yarn store?

me: If I go to the yarn store I'll probably come home with yarn.

e: And the problem with that is?

How can I resist such an enabling pro-yarn husband? So I ended up at WEBS, petting the yarn and coming home with a few items:

small booty from webs

I've been wanting to knit that cute baby sweater from the Knitter's Almanac since I've been seeing some beautiful examples on Flickr like this or this. I got a couple of balls of RY Cashsoft Baby dk in a beautiful soft pink to make the sweater. I also got a few balls of Saucy Sport (love the name) in tan and berry to make the baby tart hat from Knitty. The yellow Debbie Bliss cotton needs to be knit into mitered squares. Mitered squares you ask? What mitered squares?

start of mitered square blanket

Umm these mitered squares. I still have a lot of cotton yarn left over from Ella's baby blanket and it somehow got in my head that if knit a square once in a while, I'd have a blanket in no time at all or something like that... At any rate it's a easy way to experiment with different color combinations. We'll see how it goes. For Ella's blanket I had a lot of fun dying the yarn to get some different variations of oranges and reds. I think I'd like to do a little more experimentation with dying for this blanket.

basic recipe baby hat

And last but not least, some of our friends in Boston just had their second son - so I whipped up a tiny tot hat to send along. Happy babies!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

back to the frog pond...

I was working on e's sweater tonight and about 6 rows into the pattern when I had the good sense to check the gauge. Somehow I was getting 7 stitches to the inch, not the 8 stitches the swatch had. Doh! I moved the knitting onto a lifeline of cotton thread and measured it - sure enough the sweater was about 55" around - what I would get for 390 stitches at 7 stitches to an inch. However that is WAY too huge, I only need a 48" diameter sweater to fit mr. e. So sadly away I ripped. The good news is that in visiting with the math again, I now only need 340 stitches (well 336, but 340 works better with the pattern repeats) that's much less knitting overall. Also I had a garter stitch border which in retrospect should have been knit on a smaller needle size to keep it from splaying out a bit. But somehow I didn't have the heart to cast on 330 stitches on a 2.25mm knitting needle tonight. I'll save that fun for tomorrow, especially if we are trapped in the house due to the "significant" snow storm that the media is predicting. I've got food and yarn so I should be okay...

big project break

I feel like I've been working on a lot of big knitting projects lately, the circles yoke sweater and e's sweater and the poetry in stitches floral sweater. Which is good and all but sometimes you just need a break and a quick fix - something that is bright and soft and colorful and knits up in an afternoon. So when my friends informed me that most of baby ella's hats looked more like yamakas on her growing head, I thought it might be time to take a break from big projects and get knitting.

ella baby hat

Here is a little spring number - just a bit bigger than her head out of Valley Yarns - Longmeadow cotton/microfiber blend and Tahki Cotton Classic. More baby goods to follow soon as more of our friends are expecting or have just delivered.

Friday, February 09, 2007

one inch down...

start of elliott's sweater

start of e's sweater - detail

and 25 more inches to go... but we're off to the races.

I've been pretty busy at work all week and not much time for knitting, so hopefully this weekend will include some more time for the knitting fun. I'm teaching my friend's daughters how to knit tomorrow in exchange for lunch. I think that's a pretty good deal!

bakelite mitten point protectors

Did you the see the cute bakelite mitten shaped point protectors? I got them from my grandmother along with a big pile of metal needles and crochet hooks.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

finished object: circles seamless yoke sweater

circles yoke sweater frontside

circles yoke sweater backside

circles yoke sweater side

it's finished!
pattern: my own
yarn: main body - scottish wool from WEBS (if I remember correctly mill ends from JCrew)
yoke: various colors of Lopi Light and one ball of Mission Falls wool (pinky red)
needles: knit picks options circular 8's and 6's for the hems
gauge: 16 sts. and 28 rows to 4"
started: January 16th 2007
finished: February 4th 2007

notes: This is my first adult-sized sweater design - and look it fits me! While I've been known to alter and adjust designs freely, this is my first attempt at making a sweater without some sort of pattern safety net. I did get some help from Elizabeth Zimmerman's EPS system and by meticulously pulling measurements from my favorite fitting Gap sweater. It was great fun to develop the chart for the yoke design and to ply with color combinations and stash yarn. This is my first seamless yoke sweater and currently I'm swooning with the construction. It seems to combine a great fit without any of the underarm bagginess of the drop-shoulder sweaters with what feels like "natural happy" knitting. No shaping and trying to wrangle set in sleeves into their armholes.

Plus the sweater is toasty warm which is a real plus right now. I actually had Elliott take these shots inside our apartment since I couldn't imagine standing outside in the snow without a coat on. The fun thing is that you can see our mantle and a beautiful painting by my friend Rachel. She also make incredible frames included the one for that painting and has a framing business in Portland Oregon. If you need anything framed you should visit her website.

See all posts on this project.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

blocking in session and math

circles sweater during blocking

As much as I can't wait to wear it, the seamless yoke sweater definitely requires some washing and blocking. The main body is knit from a big cone of yarn that is slightly oiled to work well on knitting machines. What that translates to is that when its soaked in Eucalan, all the oil washes away, and the yarn literally blooms, expands and becomes even more excellent. A proper photo shoot as soon as its dry to come.

In other knitting news, I did some math and cast on for Elliott's sweater. I had to adjust the large body repeat pattern to work with my gauge and the size needed. What you ask? Well, I need to end up with about a 48 inch diameter sweater to fit mr. e. My gauge from the swatch is mostly 8 stitches/inch, in a few places 8 1/2 stitches/inch. Let's call that 8 stitches to an inch for now. 48 inches times 8 stitches per inch is 384 stitches. I had a 34 stitch design repeat for the main body. I really want to get an equal number of repeats, well, because that would look the best. So 34 stitches (in one repeat) times 11 repeats = 374 (not quite enough - especially if my gauge is sometimes 8 1/2 stitches/inch) 34 times 12 repeats is 408 (too many - that's two inches extra - adds up to a lot of extra knitting!).

body pattern adjustments

So what do I do? I figure out that I can take out four stitches per repeat and still keep the pattern almost exactly the same. The photo above shows which stitches I deleted. That gives me 30 stitches to the repeat. 30 stitches times 13 repeats is 390. Perfect - just 6 stitches over 384.

body pattern adjusted

Here is the adjusted pattern with 30 stitches.

The hem repeat is 20 stitches. 20 stitches times 19 repeats is 380. Unfortunately I have a left over section of 10 stitches. This design is a lot harder to modify in the same way so I worked out a "filler" design for those ten stitches that blends in with the overall design. I'll put that part at the end of the round on the side of the sweater. It won't be that obvious and you can't win them all.

hem pattern filler

I'm still sorting through a few other options - crew-neck or v-neck?, drop shoulder sleeves or slightly set in sleeves? I figure I've got miles of knitting to go before I have to make these decisions.