Saturday, November 29, 2008

2 FOs and a WIP

The headwear is for my friend Bev's 50th birthday 50 hat/mitten/glovetribution to her favorite children's charity. I'm not sure where it is, but it's a school somewhere in the beleaguered part of Milwaukee. I normally wouldn't contribute to a private school, especially in Milwaukee because of our public school dollars draining out to "choice" schools, but this is for Bev. I know that the students of that school surely need warm things, too. Don't look too closely at the photo of the hat. It'll hurt your eyes because it's a combination of blurry and blending yarn. Despite that, it's accurate, so I put it on anyway. This was a stash yarn.

The ski band is not from stash yarn, though I had it as a WIP long enough that it may qualify as stash. I suppose the leftovers do. It's 2 finer pink yarns from my school stash held together to achieve a nudge over aran weight I'd say. I believe they're both acrylics. Only one yarn had any leftover. I think it turned out just loverly. It looks like a wedding band, no, not the kind that sings. (I sometimes have to defend against puns that form without permission in my mind.)

Here's the pattern:
Cast on 20 stitches.
Odd number rows: Knit 5, purl 2, knit 6, purl 2, knit 5.
Even number rows: Knit 7, purl 6, knit 7.
Every now and then on an odd row: Cross 3 over 3 on the center 6 stitches. (You know, like a cable.) Always cross them in the same direction.
Seam the ends together any way you like when you think the band is the correct circumference. I don't recommend using a provisional cast on and then trying to kitchener the ends together unless you know how to do that in garter stitch, and purls, and knits. You don't want an unhappy ending like this.

The WIP is the back of a baby sweater for my upcoming grandson.* The front is striped in the colors you see between the green. The green is the trim and back color. I am about 1/4 of the way through the armhole. I will be running out of green yarn shortly. (Drat! Another one--this one's at least a little funny. It's not that far off from a Tom Swiftie.)

It's Essential sock yarn from KnitPicks. I am adding the Fair Isle sections to use less green yarn, just in case. You see, I've never run out of yarn on a project before. I didn't use as much less as I thought I would. But then, just before I placed another (fairly rare) KnitPicks order, I "remembered" I had a full skein in addition to the large partial I've been using; It would only be a matter of a deep stash dive to find it. I thought about adding a skein of this to it. But then I reasoned, why add to my stash? "I have way too much yarn already!!!!" shouted that voice in my head. So I didn't add in that ginormous 50 gram skein of really nice, soft, sheeny yarn.

Sometime yesterday I remembered that I've made a pair of infant socks and used it double stranded in 2 previous hats. So, no, I don't have any more. Incidentally, I only remembered when I actually saw one of the hats being worn by its recipient. Now the question is what to do about it. Frog and reknit the back in alternating green stripes with the front colors, rather than Fair Isle? Try to find some other green fingering yarn in my stash that is close enough? (which, indeed, I have, but it is not superwash) Order some from KnitPicks? Try and beg for some on Ravelry and the Knitty board? Go to the LYS and buy some that I will decide later doesn't work?

*Sort of.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I don't have Startitis

This is a post of an odd number different topics or is it a number of odd topics?

Startitis is what many Internet knitters call it when you start a lot, but don't finish a lot of projects. I think the condition (for it's not a disease) is more properly called Stopitis. After all, if all those projects you started got finished, there would be no need to talk about starting too many projects. It's not the starting that's the issue. It's the stopping--not to be confused with stripping, stropping, or shopping. Hi, I'm Kathy Kathy Kathy and I have Stopitis and I have Stopitis and I have Stopitis.

Latest new project: Packer socks. I broke down and bought the expensive Artyarns sock yarn at Ruhama's. It's not their most expensive sock yarn, but I think it may be the most I ever paid for socks with the exception of some Koigu I bought in Sun Prairie on my way to the last Last Saturday Knitting in Madison. (I only bought 2 of those!) Here's a picture of the Packer socks in progress. I may knit them only during football games. I got the stitch pattern from Ravelry. I can't for the life of me remember the name of the pattern, so I can't give you a link. I was very impressed by the way the yarn pooled in the pattern stitch, which is really just a 3 x 2 rib with a slipped stitch and a twisted stitch in the knits. It's early yet for my socks, but they just may do it. See the white bars? That's hopeful. The original yarn in the pattern was a 3 color variegate of red, black and white. It looked all checkery and poolish. There weren't a lot of examples, but not all of them demonstrated the same effects. I'll get back to you when I find the pattern again.
And yes, I have started keeping my dpn's in a shoe. Don't ask me why, because I don't know. It just seems to work for now.
The latest finished baby object is a set that includes a jumper (American jumper=sleeveless dress to be worn with a blouse under it) and two slippers. Let's look at those first. Unfortunately, they came out different sizes in the same needles and yarn. The second one was quite a bit smaller even though I consciously (thought I) tried to knit more loosely. After less than the usual amount of pondering, I decided to knit another one. I figured if I knit a third one it would match one of the others. I was hoping to match the larger of the two, but I didn't bother trying to loosen my gauge anymore and I didn't dare change needle size. That would have been tempting those sweetly malicious knitting sprites. That reminds me of a little story from work today. A child pointed out to me that a piece of electronics had the word "Sprite" on it. "But that is a kind of soda," he said. Well I told him it was a word with other meanings as well. For instance it is a small creature like a fairy or pixie or brownie who dances in the woods. "Hmm . . .," said he. By the time I started in on how a sprite might also refer to a water creature I could tell he just wanted to escape. I promise I did not say"might also refer to." I managed to overexplain without any fancy vocabulary. It's probably a good thing I managed to stop before I started to tell about a color of Cotton Fleece yarn by Brown Sheep called Sprite. OK, so it's spelled differently. I can't help it if the Brown Sheep Yarn Company has an Old Englyshe affectatione.
I think you can see that slipper number 3 turned out smallish. But this was not the end of the journey. There was felting still to do. These are before pictures. Here is the before of the jumper.

I was expecting shrinkage of about 2 inches in length on the jumper because, people, if I may call you people, and even if I mayn't, I had done a swatch, measured it, washed it and remeasured it. No brag, just fack. OK, brag and fact. I don't know why the most pleasantly proportioned and beautifully balanced items insist on appearing wonky in my photographs. Let me assure you that the hem was even.
Here is the after.
I got it right on the dress though not the slippers. I washed all three and the big one ended up matching one of the little ones in size. Go figure. I sewed white buttons on the booties as one would see on a man's dress shirt. Those are straps, not thumbs.
Technically, I don't think this was a felted project since the yarn is 95 percent cotton, but it did shrink nicely. It went through the washer and the dryer. It needed a small amount of defuzzing, but I know from my swatch and from the lint screen that it defuzzed quite a bit in that first wash. I'd say the texture now is between a sweater and a towel. I'd wear it. This yarn was one of my earlier stash purchases and was my first from the fabulous Little Knits. I've got a lot left. I think I might have to consider it for some sort of luxury drying item, like a handknit bath mat. It would be an excellent blanket, but I don't have that much.
Jumper set details
Pattern: Rainbow Dress by Georgie Hallam I managed to make the top smaller on my own before I saw that there was a smaller version. Really a fun, quick, eminently customizable pattern to knit.
Yarn: Cascade Rainbow. 2 skeins and maybe a titch of a 3rd.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Hee Hee Hee

This one goes to Nancy from work's first grandchild born Sunday at 1 a.m. It's a girl. Ava.

The hat and sweater together only used one ball of Lana Grossa Something or Other Sock yarn. The collar and cuffs are out of Paton's Kroy Socks, which I find that I like very much. I used a free top-down pattern from the web to get the number of stitches to cast on and where to put the markers. I knit quite a bit before I decided that it really was too big. Then I ripped and started over. Originally I know I cast on 90. I went down to 78 and that was just right, except maybe I'd change the sleeve stitches from 8 to 10. I had trouble with the collar. It just wouldn't lay right. So I snipped a stitch, pulled the old one off, and reknit it from the neckline using a two by two by two basket pattern. The original was stockinette with a wide garter border. I used size 2 needles. Gauge? Maybe 8 per inch; I don't know exactly, but the sweater came out as about a 6 month size. I will make this again. In fact, that's why I put the needle size and number of cast on stitches in this post.