Decisions, decisions

Got February’s plain socks done by the end of the month, no problem. Haven’t been able to take any photos of them because the grey, rainy days have been making my apartment too dark to get good shots.

I did get a couple of shawls that I finished awhile ago finally blocked and looking good.

Moon Shadows
Moonshadows shawl

Ashton Shawl
Lace shawl

Meanwhile, I’m not sure what to do about this month’s socks. It’s a pattern and yarn that I cast on about a year and a half ago. It’s toe-up and I stopped just before where I believed I needed to start the gusset (I’m not as schooled in toe-up socks as I am top-down). One of the issues is that the yarn I’m using is knitting up at 9 stitches and 14 rows per inch while the pattern is written at 8 stitches and 10 rows per inch. So, I had originally cast on enough stitches to make the sock fit rather than what the pattern called for and now that I’m beginning to do the increases I have a feeling the difference in gauge is going to be a headache.

I’m seriously considering ripping the sock out and starting over. If I do that I need to decide if I just want to use the same stitch pattern but knit it top-down (it’ll look different from the pattern as it’s a slipped stitch pattern and the stitches will be pointing in the opposite direction), or I could just pick a new pattern. Right now I’m leaning towards just doing it top-down because I do like the stitch pattern.

Personal Stash Sock Club

  1. January: Finish Thujas
  2. February: Plain socks in Yarn Pirate Superwash BFL, Calamity
  3. March: Finish Scylla socks in Dizzy Blonde Studios Mean Girls Yarn Club Ep. 4 – Sock, Baroque’n Hooker
  4. April: Absinthe socks in Dizzy Blonde Studios Mean Girls Yarn Club Ep. 3 – SOCK,
    Hoar Crux
  5. May: Cersei socks in Dizzy Blonde Studios Mean Girls’ Yarn Club Ep. 6 – Fingering, Wineaux
  6. June: Primavera socks in Trekking XXL, 168
  7. July: Ziggy socks in Noro Silk Garden Sock, S87
  8. August: Finish Broken Chair socks in Blue Ridge Yarns Footprints, Wild Cherry
  9. September: Transitions socks in Blackberry Ridge Silk Blend Sport Weight, Campfires
  10. October: Socks for the husband in Dizzy Blonde Studios Mean Girls Yarn Club Ep. 4 – Sock, Hoar’s Yer Buddy
  11. November: Monkey socks in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight, Pink Granite
  12. December: Plain socks in Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester Socks, Marine

End of the Line, Temporarily

My niece’s first birthday is next month, and I had decided to knit her a sweater made from my handspun.  Because my sister knows how to take care of nice things, I decided that I wasn’t restricted to just superwash fibers.  I selected the organic merino I got in the Spunky Eclectic club in March 2011; the colorway is Little Periwinkles, which is pastels — pink, blue, green, purple with some white.  For the pattern, I choose Elizabeth Zimmerman’s February Baby Sweater from The Knitting Almanac.  It’s pretty much seamless, with some lace to make it pretty.

I started by spinning up 4 oz, which gave me approximately 194 yards of light worsted yarn.  I used about 30 yards knitting a swatch to determine which needle size would be best for the yarn and get me the closest to the gauge listed in the pattern (5 sts/inch).  I tested out size 5, 6, and 7 needles.  It was hard waiting for the swatch to dry, but in the end it told me that I could get 5 sts/inch on size 6 needles.  However, I liked the fabric from the size 7 needles better, and the gauge was only 4.8 sts/inch; close enough, and would allow me to err on the bigger size for the sweater since Miss M is growing quickly.

Unfortunately, the 160-ish yards I had left were not enough to complete the sweater. I got through the yoke, the arm separation, and about 3 inches of the body before I ran out. So, it’s back to the spinning wheel for me to get more yarn for finishing up. I’ve gotten the 4 bobbins of singles done and am just waiting for them to rest a little before getting the plying started.

I must say, the organic merino is a dream to spin. I have more of it in different colors from Spunky Eclectic and am now looking forward to spinning and knitting it up. So soft.

Auntie Blankie

Hey, look! It’s a Finished Object! Never thought you’d see one of those around here, eh? I finished off the baby blanket for my niece a few weeks ago. This is a grand thing for a couple of reasons: 1) It has been blocked and was handed off at Christmas, 2) I can knit on other things… any thing I want. I finished the blanket with enough time to think about whipping out a pair of socks for The Husband for Christmas (although the last couple inches had to be knit Christmas day after giving him his gift). I also managed to finish a pair of socks for myself, although that’s not as much of an accomplishment because I had finished the first one back in May when I went to Seattle for a conference. I cast on and almost finished the second sock on my trip to New Haven, CT to interview at Yale the second week of this month.

Here’s a shot of the baby blanket in all its glory:

Designing in my sleep

Since I am still only spinning the lace yarn for the shawlette I’d like to design, I have been lying awake in the dark thinking of how to execute said design.  Some things have been hard to figure out just in my head and will need to be put on paper to see how the mechanics will actually work out.  Some things I think of then forget as I drift off to sleep, leaving me only to wake up in the morning knowing I had a solution and it’s gone.

One of the mathematical things I’ve been working on is the fact that the lace pattern I have chosen is an even stitch number stitch pattern.  Most shawls started at the top, as I want to start this one, tend to have an odd number of stitches in between the edge stitches and the center stitch.  Last night, I believe I worked out how to jigger it, now I just need to find out if it’ll look alright.

Meanwhile, the sock design I began working on in June is slowly making progress.  I finished the first sock only to discover that even though I had gotten gauge in my swatch, I lost a whole stitch per inch when knitting the sock.  Eight stitches per inch is quite a bit different that 9 stitches per inch, especially in stretchy 2×2 ribbing.  So, I’m working the second sock on needles that are half a millimeter smaller.  The unfortunate part is I really liked how the color of the yarn worked out in the larger gauge, and in the smaller gauge it’s spiraling.  The little bit of fancy stitch patterning it has is an 11 stitch repeat, so not much I can do there to play with fit.  Just have to live with the change in color patterning.

End of the week

After I finished the Rivendell socks, I was a bit listless over what to knit next.  I had bought some Mountain Lace in a nice navy blue that I want to make Aeolian out of, but the idea just wasn’t getting me excited.  I kept thinking I wanted to knit something out of some of my handspun.  I hadn’t done that in some time.  There’s something really nice about knitting with yarn that you’ve spun yourself.

I had managed to get my hands of some Spunky Ecelectic Corripaca before Amy ran out of it several months ago.  The colorway I chose was Estuary, which was a pretty mix of green, brown, and natural.  I spun it up as a 2-ply lacewight getting approximately 509 yds out of the 4 oz.

I thought with the brown and greens the perfect pattern would be Laminaria.  So, I cast it on last Thursday.  I’ve gotten through the star chart and have completed the first repeat of the blossom chart.  So far, I love the way the colors are stripping up.  I think with the edging it will really look seaweedy.

I should also say thanks to BigAlice and Sandy for their comments on my last post.  Since they’ve given me permission to whinge, here it is, in all its silly glory….

First off, I’m an introvert; being around people can be tiring, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like to be social.  Things in my life got a lot better when I accepted the fact that I am an introvert, that I’ll never be an extrovert, and I learned what I needed to do for myself.  However, knowing and accepting don’t always help when I go through periods of profound loneliness.  I lament that I don’t have many close friends; I pity myself for not being invited out to do things.  It leaves me feeling like there’s a hole in my gut for a few days, then it passes.  I have to remember that I probably don’t present myself as someone who is interested in going out and doing things, and frankly, I’m not sure how to even give that impression.  I don’t know how to make instant friends with people, and I have only a slim number of lasting friendships.

I’m not looking for a pity party, but just explaining where my head was earlier this week.  I’m hoping maybe by putting some of it into words I’ll get a better grasp on what it is that bothers me.

Now, on a lighter note… YARN!

Searching for knitting satisfaction

Imagine photos of cute baby items here.  They are currently trapped on my camera while I wait for the battery to recharge.

My knitting has been experiencing some ennui recently.  i have been unable to get a decent pair of socks started, and have cast on and ripped out 2 different patterns.  Maybe it’s the yarn.  I did get my first Mean Girls Sock Yarn club shipment a couple weeks ago and am now contemplating what kinds of socks it wants to be.

I have also been chugging away on my Miss Lambert’s Shetland Pattern for a Shawl from Victorian Lace Today.  I actually started it over a year ago, did about 10 repeats and promptly got bored with it.  But, I am knitting it out of Jade Sapphire Silk/Cashmere 2-ply that is quite nice and will be a treat for me to finish.  The photo here is from it’s sadly 10 repeats done state.  I’ve got about 13 repeats of the center panel to go before I can begin the border.  Unfornately, the way the pattern is written leads me to believe that I may get to the border and put it down again for many months as the instructions seem to be written in gibberish.

Because of this, and because Purlescence Yarns had assorted lace yarns on sale at 25% this last weekend, I came home with a very pretty ball of Mountain Colors Winter Lace in Deep Blue.  I found the solid color reassuring.  I’ve been doing a lot of variegated projects of late (even Miss Lambert up there has some variegation to it).    I’ve settled on the Aeolian shawl from because I wanted something with nupps.  I’m also considering doing the beading on the edging to give it a little glitz.  Just need to decide on the needle size I want to use.  I swatched on size 3 needles last night, but I think it may still be too closed.  I do tend to use size 4 needles for my laceweight projects, so that may just be the way to go.

Shun the resentment

First, off I’d like to thank Stasia for telling me about the shawl edging info in the Knitter’s Shawls and Scarves book, which I think I have at home. I’ll have to take a look see when I get home. Wendy also graciously answer my question (the question that I felt fell into the stupid question category for sure). So, I think once I’ve gotten Birch off the needles I will recommit to The Third Incarnation. I’ll have to try to figure out how many active stitches I’ll have when I’m done with the body so I can contemplate lace edgings.

Lolly inquired after the most important topic… Fall semester classes. This coming semester (and we’re counting down days now. *gah* Wednesday is going to come too soon…) I am taking Collection Management (I really wanted to take Vocabulary Design, but no go *pooh*) and Advanced Internet Technology Tools: XML (this is a recommended class, along with the prereq XHTML class I took last semester, for the Database Management class I hope to take in the spring, which if it goes as planned will be insane (3 classes?), but that’s a discussion for later). I picked up my book from the book store last week (along with the student edition of Adobe CS 2 Platinum Suite *bogle* $200… I love being a student sometimes). It was a pain to get to the bookstore (summer hours are M-F 8-4:30), but I like to avoid the insanity that is the beginning of the semester, especially when I just need one book.

The Husband did not get home till almost 10 pm last night (remember the overtime pay, remember the overtime pay…). So, I started my evening off with some knitting and a recently Tivo’d episode of Law & Order. I finished the first sleeve to the Ribby Cardi. *And there was much rejoicing…* Of course, that means that I now have to make myself cast on the second sleeve. I really want to finish this sweater, but I think I’m going to need to avoid K2P2 rib for awhile. Good thing I have lace shawls to work on. 😀 Just need to finish the second sleeve, stitch it together, knit on the front bands, and do the collar… it sounds so simple. I’ll probably work on the sleeve tonight… if I don’t I may come to resent the Ribby Cardi, and we can’t have that.

I have relatively few unfinished objects (I’ve only been knitting for 3 years), and I hold a grudge against each of them (if only I had a linen closet to throw them into so I could forget they exist). The worst was the Peace Fleece sweater that never was. It began as a sweater vest (I don’t know what I was thinking… I would never have worn it), then the sweater vest was frogged. I tried to make it into a sweater with sleeves in a different, yet matching, color. I should have known things would go badly after I had to completely redo both the front and the back when I realized that I had knit them on the wrong needles (this is why you should always double check the size of the needles in your hands before casting on). Thus, I knit the front and back again and had even started on a sleeve, when it dawned on me that the flared sleeve looked ridiculous and I would never look good in that color green. The back got frogged and turned into a felted kitty bed for my sister’s cat. Of course, now the left over Peace Fleece is plaguing me… too bad my sister doesn’t have 2 cats.

Now for a real post

I did indeed cast on for Birch last night. I even swatched first… and I’m not entirely sure I was getting gauge because Birch is one of those patterns that gives you gauge in pattern instead of stockinette stitch. It looked like it was right, and this is a shawl, so I don’t need to be bang on. Of course, now I’m worrying that my gauge might be a little on the big side. Of course, I’ve only knit 4 rows so far, and the cast on edge is really loopy, so it’s hard to tell if things are a bit loose or not. It could just be that I haven’t knit enough yet. When I was swatching for Ribby Cardi, I got a gauge of 8 sts/inch after knitting about an inch… my gauge changed to 9.5 sts/inch after I knit another inch. I think I’m just going to have to cross my fingers and hope that the stitches work things out amongst themselves… ripping this out would be beyond a pain in the ass. I tried to rip back my gauge swatch and ended up breaking the yarn. *sigh*

Thankfully, I have all these knitting problems to worry about cause otherwise I’d be worrying about the fact that my manager is on a 2 week vacation to Europe. This is worrisome because there are certain things that have to be done on a daily and weekly basis… and it’s end of quarter, so I have to take care of that report, too. Of course, one of the automated scripts we have broke on Friday night, which meant I had to run a whole bunch of things manually when I came in on Monday. Boy, did I have an argument with that computer… I had to reboot 3 times. *gah* And now people are coming to my cube and asking me questions about projects I have no clue about because I’m not working on them.

Other manager: Can you tell me when we’re planning for this search tool project to go live?
Me: No, but I can tell you that it’s being tested* at the moment.
OM: Can you tell me which server it’s set up on?
Me: Nope.

Hopefully, this won’t drive me crazy… I just have to make it to the 12th.

*And that’s only cause I’m included in the alias my manager sent an email out to.

Nifty Goodies

I’ve been working on the shawl slowly, concentrating more on my Ribby Cardi. But, the shawl is growing nonetheless.

Yesterday, I came home and found a package just for me. My secret pal sent me 2 skeins of Araucania Nature Wool Chunky in a gradiated purple (pretty), a size 5 24″ Clover circular needle, a set of three soaps scented like angel food cake, chocolate, and strawberry, and a really cute card.

Speaking (writing?) of Secret Pal 5, I have received the last of the orders I placed for things to send to the secret pal I’m sending to. Now, I just need to go pick up chocolate-y goodies to put in the package, and I should be able to send it off on Saturday. Yea!

A Third Incarnation

Friday night began the third incarnation of the Brooks Farm Duet shawl. I had to run the yarn through my ball winder twice to get a manageable ball, but it was well mollified. I discovered looking through my shawl books that the Gracie shawl from Stahman’s Shawls and Scarves is the Elfin lace pattern, so I’m using the swatch chart for my shawl. I didn’t want to make a Farosee shawl, and the swatch chart is just the lace pattern in a triangle. Reading the chart is a lot easier than using the written directions from Barbara Walker’s Treasury. I’ve actually gotten a few repeats done, and of course, I’ve forgotten to take a picture.

But that’s okay, because I cast on for another project on Sunday. I got the needles I needed for Ribby Cardi on Saturday. The yarn convinced me to get started, reminding me how cold my cube has been lately (I don’t care what the facilities guys says he’s done, it’s still cold), and how a nice sweater would help to keep me from turning into an icicle at my desk. It’s going really fast… I’ve gotten about 9 inches done so far (I’m knitting the body as a whole), and I’m going to make the underarm length 15 instead of the 13.5 the pattern calls for cause shorter shirts always ride up when I sit down.

I have broken down and purchased Rowan 34 and 3 balls of Kidsilk Haze in Majasty to make Birch. I would blame people, but Cate has already done a fine job. :) I’m trying to look at this as a good thing… it’s my reward for having lost 23 lbs so far on my diet. While I am quite happy to have gotten my 20 lb star at my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday, I needed something a bit more substantial to celebrate, so of course, I bought yarn.