Sunday, June 27, 2010

Another one bites the dust

(Tell the truth, did you start singing? Don't be embarrassed, I always do...) Silly blog titles aside though, I finished another project! Never mind that it was the simplest project I had on the needles, and the one most likely to be finished quickly, I finished it. Now there are only seven projects in progress, which is a big improvement on the 10 I had going. Here are my Thrummed Mittens from the pattern that the Yarn Harlot posted in her blog years ago (2004). The pattern starts in the linked posts and goes on for two more posts.


I knit both cuffs at once using magic loop, then the project sat around for 7 months, then I finished both mittens in about 5 days. The pattern is not super precise, it has directions like "knit until the body of the mitten is long enough for your hand" but if you're comfortable with those EZ style directions, then it's a pretty darn good pattern. Here is the obligatory photo of the mitten turned inside out.


I may have been a little overzealous with the size of the thrums on the first mitten, but I calmed down a bit for the second one, this means that one hand is slightly more "poofy" than the other, but I defy you to tell my which one by looking.

The yarn I used is Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool in the color Natural, and the roving is Mountain Top targhee wool from Sweet Grass Wool the color doesn't have a name, but "bubblegum" would be very appropriate. I tried to spin it last summer, and so far have one ply, but it sticks to itself so much that its hard for new-spinner me to draft it. Now that I have used what I need for these mittens, I will go back to trying to spin it.

These are slightly awkward to knit at first because there is wool roving puffing up the mitten and vying for finger space on the needles as you knit, but after the first few rounds it's not too hard to adjust and make accommodations for the roving. This is what it looks like as you knit.


In other fantastic news, I have a job in a yarn shop! It's only weekends, which is a minor bummer, but, um, it's a YARN shop! It's a really funky place, Yarnia, on SE Division St. if anyone from Portland, OR reads my blog. You make your own yarn in our yarn shop. This does not mean you spin it. We have tons and tons of "ingredient" cones in different colors and fibers, and you mix and match them, then we hook it up to a big ol' machine that puts it on a cone for you. If you can't possibly fathom what I'm saying, follow the link and watch the short video. There is also a Yarnia blog where different yarns and projects are showcased. Actually, I have to get out of my PJs and ready for work now. Next post you will see more shameful WIPs, I promise.

Friday, June 25, 2010

WIPs march of shame (part three)

This next project was started last August so there is some slim hope that they may be finished in less than a year. Slim, since for some reason I am extremely slow at sock knitting, but a hope none the less. I actually enjoyed knitting these socks while I was working on them, but problems kept arising. First, the cats chewed through one of my knitting needle cords, then they were too small for the intended recipient, then the intended recipient and I broke up so there didn't seem to be a point to going back and fixing the mistake, then the cats got a hold of one of the balls of yarn and it's a big old tangled mess that needs to be undone... So they sat unworked on.


These are Mojo Socks by Donyale Grant and the pattern is free. Losts of people on Ravelry have done this pattern in bright happy colors and it looks wonderful. Since I knew I would be making man-socks with this yarn, I decided to pick this funky pattern to make my knitting experience less hellish. I think I will attempt to give them to Ryan as he does not own a single pair of dress socks and has smaller man-feet (which means still huge since I'm used to knitting to a women's 7.5 for myself.)

In other news, I've done a little stash enhancing lately. Something about summer always makes me want to spin. Something about knitting with wool is not so pleasant, but touching wool fiber isn't as bad for some reason. My spinning is still very bad, I'd love to take a class but I only have a drop spindle and am afraid that if I rent a spinning wheel I will end up falling in love and buying one. Here is my stash enhancement:


This is 100% Superwash Blue Face Leicester from Woolgatherings. A sign in the knitting shop said it is the easiest wool to spin... This may have been a selling tactic, but it worked. I struggled a bit with the Targhee that I bought at Sock Summit last August. You will see what I produced in a later post.


This may never get spun as I can't stop petting the fiber itself. This is 70% Alpaca 30% silk from Abstract Fibers and it is heaven. (Can you tell there is a certain color family I prefer? The other day, Ryan asked me, "why is all of your yarn pink?" I hadn't exactly realized it, but I seem to have a penchant for buying yarn in the pink/red/orange family.) I hope this is easy-ish to spin because I really want to start, but it would be such a tragedy if I ended up with ugly yarn...


Just for good measure, and because I want to start right away and my other spindle is occupied, I bought a new one. It's heavier than my other one so we'll see what kind of yarn it produces.

Back to the WIP grind...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

WIPs march of shame (part two)

OK, so I completed my Pioneer, and showed it to you last post, taking one WIP out of the list, a very good thing. I have made a deal with myself that for every TWO projects I get off the needles, I can cast on ONE new project. Theoretically, this should help me get all the old projects off the needles because even if I start and finish a new project, I'll have to finish an old project as well to begin another new project... This is what I tell myself. Because I finished my clapotis and my pioneer, I got to cast on for something new. I chose something quick so that I would be forced to return to the old WIPs... aren't you proud of me?


These are Aran Isle Slippers (rav link) by Jennifer Lang. I made them from Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in the color Calypso Heather. I used just over one 50g ball, so they don't take much yarn at all. The pattern is a bit fiddly because of all of the picking up stitches and seaming. The Wool of the Andes is pretty fuzzy for plain wool (no mohair) so the cable pattern doesn't really pop out, but they do keep my feet pretty warm in my cold apartment. They are sized pretty small I think. The women's size says it fits a 7.5 shoe size, which is what I am, but they are very snug.

That project was finished very quickly, and now I am forced to turn my attention back to the old WIPs. The next-oldest one I have to show you is mind-numbing and may break my will.


This is my OpArt Blanket and it's only about 20% finished. It's done completely in garter stitch and it gets bigger every round until there are 888 stitches in the last round. Right now, it's taking me about 25 minutes to knit one round... It's not even made out of good yarn. It's made of cheap Caron One Pound acrylic that I wanted to use up. I love how this blanket looks, but the inanity of it may push me over the edge. Needless to say, this is not the WIP I am currently working on... More WIP shame to come soon.

Friday, June 11, 2010

One less WIP!

OK, I know I said I would be updating you regularly on all the WIPs I have on the needles, but I got a wee bit distracted. You see, I got super focused on knitting this:


It is Pioneer by K-bomb from the Spring 2009 issue of knitty. I started it back in October and kint through the v-neck increases (it's knit in the round from the top down) but once I got to the torso I lost all hope and the project went on a long hiatus. It's knit in sport-weight yarn on size 5 needles making it a good light-weight spring garment, but also meaning you need about 200 stitches for every single round. I used Knit Picks new sport-weight version of their sock yarn Stroll. The color is called Hot Rod Heather. The yarn is 75% wool 25% nylon and, best of all, is machine washable. I find the yarn very soft and have no problem with it touching my skin.

One of the things that makes this sweater a bit tedious to knit is that every other row there are itty bitty two-stitch cables that form columns down the back, down the sleeves, and under the arms. They look pretty cool and break up the plain stockinette, but they also mean that this sweater falls into a weird realm of not-quite being mindless take-anywhere knitting, but not really being that intriguing to work on. Here are the columns:


The neck edge is a shell crochet pattern. My crochet skills are by no means advanced, limited mostly to the few amigurumi I have made, but I did not find this very difficult to execute. I have found that even with the crocheting, the neck edge tends to roll under a bit and I have to keep straightening it and patting it flat... I'm hoping this will magically go away otherwise I may have to take the crocheting out and do the v-neck in moss stitch which is how the arms and bottom of the sweater are finished.


That is intended to be a close up of the crochet edging around the neck, not a close up of my chest... The reason it took me 10 days to get back to the blog is because I really wanted to finish this so that I could show you another FO instead of marching through my shameful number of WIPs. Unfortunately this didn't want to be finished on the time line I had in mind. First I knit it to the length called for in the pattern, did the moss stitch, bound off, and tried it on. (Don't remind me that I could have tried it on before doing the moss stitch and binding off, I know!) Anyway, it was too short. Not actually too short in the way that people would look at it and go, "that sweater is too short for her" but too short in the way that when standing normally it looked fine but when I raised my arms above my shoulders suddenly large swaths of my belly were exposed... Not my favorite look. So I added the crochet neck edging and knit the sleeves (I could bear to rip back just then) and after "finishing" the sweater I went back, frogged the moss stitch, knit an extra three inches of body, and re-knit the moss stitch. This meant that I finished a few days later than anticipated, and delayed my blog post. Good excuse, no?