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Posts Tagged ‘knitting’

Another WiP Wednesday

Have I mentioned before that my rule is not to have more than 5 WiPs going at a time?  5 project bags, 5 WiPs.  Well, I’m at 4 now, and I’m stretched a bit thin with that…  Still, it’s nice to give myself ‘permission’ to start one more project if I really have to.

1) Mont Royal Socks

Still working on (and loving) these. They’ve  been in progress for nearly two years now – no sock should ever take this long.  Believe me, it’s not an issue with the pattern or the yarn or even the combination.  I’ve just been really distracted.  Still, I’m plugging away, and looking forward to wearing them.  I’m less bothered by my choice in toes than I was.  I just haven’t decided how long to make them, and how much to increase to accommodate canckles…img_2284

2) Ex Libris

I’m not usually that bad in general.  This is my next oldest WiP, and I started it a bit more than two months ago.  Then again, it’s a small project.

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Duplicate stitch is not my strong suit, but I’m comfortable with how this is turning out.  I’m close to done here, but this one, too, keeps getting put aside for other projects.

3) Coming (Back) To America

Abby is coming home in late November.  She’s coming from Senegal, and although November in Baltimore isn’t that cold, I’m worried about the transition from equatorial Africa might be a bit much.  So I’m knitting her a sweater.  Because of the inordinate amount of time some of my recent projects have taken, I’m starting now.  Actually, I started about three weeks ago.

img_2282The pattern is Viva by Signe Strømgaard.  The yarn is Lion Brand Heartland.  I usually go for animal fibers for projects like this one (cables, warmth wanted, not being worn by a small child…) but Abby has an issue with itchiness, so I wanted to go as non reactive as possible.  It’s a stunning pattern, (though it could use tech editing) and I’m making good headway.

4) His Pewter Lair

Not that I haven’t been distracted by the next shiny.  In this case, it’s literally shiny.

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“His Golden Lair” by Kourtney Robinson has been in my Ravelry queue for a long time.  I picked up the yarn for it (Berroco Lustra in colorway 3107) in October 2015.  There’s a ‘designed in Canada’ knitalong running now, with the deadline by the end of September.

So that’s what I’ve got going now.  There have actually been a bunch of FOs since I last posted (three baby+big sister gifts which were done before the baby arrived and a needle felted notions pouch to name a few).

Wish me luck, I’ve got things to get done on time…

 

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This is Not TV Knitting

I Got Cocky

I’ve become a bit arrogant about the Walderton shawl.  It’s an eight row repeat, and there are 36 repeats in t he shawl.  It’s not an overly complex pattern, but there are four parts to it – two distinct borders, a body section (where the increases are) and a cable section.  It took me about 20 repeats to get the whole thing down.

Last night I took the shawl with me to ‘craft night’, which (as it often does) turned into ‘game night’.  I decided I could knit and play Wiz-War at the same time.walderton-boo-boo

I don’t know how I managed it, but I purled rather than knit for the first few stitches of the body section of this row.  That could have happened if I’d just been listening to podcasts, but I didn’t catch the error for another inch and a half (3 centimeters) of knitting.

Keeping Calm and Knitting On

Fortunately, I keep a well stocked notions pouch in each of my project bags.  I had already figured out what the pattern should look like wale-by-wale*, so that saved a step in the repair process.  It was just a matter of dropping the stitches down, then picking them back up the right way round.

 

knit-fix

Knit stitch

purl-fix

Purl stitch

You would think this would teach me a lesson about mindful knitting, but I have to admit that it won’t.  I will just accept that making the occasional repair is part of my process, and allow myself time to do that.  Fortunately, I paced myself well on this month long project, the deadline is six days from now, and I’m about 90% done (with the option to knit extra repeats if I choose to do so).  I’m calling this a win.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Expression Fiber Arts giveaway for August/September, so I entered the September/October giveaway (15 October).  I also didn’t win the Manos giveaway.  I signed up for the Sonic Knits Yarny Bingo (October), and the Sweet Paprika Instagram giveaway (tonight).

*Wale: a single column of stitches in a knitting procect – those stitches which would unravel if you were to drop a specific stitch. (back to top)

 

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Working on It

I’ve still got two older WiPs going, (the Helical Hat and the Mount Gay socks) but I’m going to show you the other two today.

Spinning Project

I’m still working on the Millers Fire spinning project.  I happen to have a series of progress pics on it, taken and even intervals over August.  It isn’t my fastest spin, but I’m getting better at getting the single even.

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The spindle is a mini Destiny from the wonderful Snyder’s Spindles.

Knitting Project – Test knit

walderton-texture

Most of my crafting time has been going to a test knit for Michelle Stead (of Michelle’s Assortment).  I’m not sure how much I should show, since the shawl project hasn’t been published yet, but here’s a teaser –

This is an incredibly fun pattern to work on.  I set up a spread sheet to figure out how to pace myself (FO pics are due on September 28).  I started on August 29 and I’m about four days ahead of schedule.

I’m using that gorgeous skein of Neighberhood Fiber Company yarn (proceeds to help rebuild Baltimore after last summer’s insurrection).  I have to say that, although it is beautiful and feels yummy in the hands, I don’t love it as much as I thought I would.  The yarn is more of a variegated than a tonal, and there are random cuts throughout the skein.  I’m using a doubleknot to join them, but not 100% thrilled with how that’s going.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Smithsonian tote of cool things.  I entered a drawing for a skein of Manos del Uruguay Marina from Petals to Picots (8 September).

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What was I Thinking?

I’m working on at least four projects with due dates, only three of which I have started, and I’m starting a new craft.  This seems crazy.

Honestly, I wasn’t.  Thinking was something I was unable to do.  Spinning, I could manage.

I couldn’t think for the past few days, because I had a migraine.  Yes, a migraine which lasted (on and off) for about two days, which mine generally do.  So while I wasn’t lying down in a dark room, or scalding my head under pounding hot water, or shuffling around in a haze of uselessness and despair, I still wasn’t in any shape to knit.  True, I’ve got a couple of decent ‘no brain needed’ projects going right now, but even those would have required more ‘cope’ than I could possibly muster.

Alphyn

On the other hand, my drop spindle didn’t require much brain power.  At least, not at my level of expectation.  And the spinning was relaxing, almost hypnotic.  So, basically, my migraine meant that I finished that half ounce of sample yarn which came with the Alphyn spindle very quickly.

Full Spindle

See, that’s  lot of yarn, volume wise.  It’s also (supposedly) a single.  Yup, fuzz brain, needed the round and round, couldn’t make anything thin and fine and delicate, and you know what?  I don’t care in the slightest.  I took this big chunky single and wrapped it around my hand.

andean windThis weird little cat’s cradle looking thing is the beginning of  an Andean Bracelet.  This is a technique which lets you reach both ends of the single at the same time, to easily ply them together without tangling. IAndean bracelett didn’t take very long at all to transfer the whole spindle to my hand.

Then I could have just held the two ends together, and plied them directly.  I was cowardly, however, and didn’t want to be stuck with the bracelet still around my wrist if I couldn’t do it all in one sitting, so I wound the two ends onto my nostepinne as a center pull ball.

Plied SpindleThen I just attached the two ends of the single to the same spindle and spun it in the opposite direction.  Here you can really see how fat the yarn is.

Since I don’t have a niddy noddy to neatly skein and measure my yarn, I set my umbrella swift to a one yard diameter and kept track of how many times I could wrap the plied yarn around it. skeining

As it turns out, I had almost (but not quite) seven yards.  This is from a little less than half an ounce of fiber, that’s a lot of weight for a little length… A quick check counting WPI (wraps per inch) told me it was ‘super bulky’ yarn.  In my migraine fuzzed state I didn’t believe it, so I weighed it, and took a look at the bottom of my Knit Picks yarn scale, which also told me it is super bulky yarn.

So I soaked it, and whacked it a few times to even out the twist.set

Then I hung it up to dry, and wrapped it neatly up.

geode one

So here it is.  Super sloppy, bulky, uneven, not very much of it…  I don’t care.  I think it’s beautiful and I really love it.  I’m pretty sure I’d have had to rip out and reknit any of my ‘on a deadline’ projects, so I don’t begrudge myself the time ‘wasted’….

On the other hand, this Jacob/Alpaca fleece which has been hibernating in my stash for years (not always under a cat) is just going to have to wait.

Jacob Alpaca

 

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the tea from Lisa Bogart.  She’s not doing any December giveaways, but please check out her blog, she’s putting up wonderful Christmas album covers you won’t want to miss. I entered the Phat Fiber Drawing (20 December) for a skein of handspun hand dyed yarn from Willow Fairy Wool.

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Anatomy of the Flag

MD Flag banners

Vexilogical note: The Maryland flag is the (heraldrically correct) fusion of two English family banners.  The banners themselves date to pre-colonial times, and Maryland’s original Governor (George Calvert, 1st Baron of Baltimore) had the rights to use both.  The Calvert was used by Maryland since it became a state, and confederate sympathizers adopted the Crossland banner during the civil war.

The current flag, which includes both, was first adopted by Maryland veterans from both side, as a gesture of reconciliation.

Calvert Chart

Well, I think the charting is done now.  As you can see, I ended up going with gray grid lines (because otherwise the black was lost), and both thicker and darker indices every five stitches.

Since the chart is 37 38 stitches across, and the socks are 84 stitches around, there is a border between the front and back repeat of the chart.  At first I thought I’d just stripe the two colors, which was way too busy.  The next thought was to use just one color for the field.  This would be doable for the Calvert, but Crossland would be totally lost.  So now I’m going to play with one color, textured background.

Only had to frog back four and a half rounds this time…  For those who are keeping count, the frogging part was done with much less sighing and invection than the graphic design part.

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Well, the tomato hat seems to be a success (hopefully I’ll get a picture of the child wearing it), and the tomato heels turned beautifully. Back to sock design.

I’d forgotten what my graphics arts ‘process’ is. Apparently it involves a lot of sighing and gibbering, and telling the computer to do what I want it to do. No, seriously, I have to send my family out of the room so they don’t keep asking if I’m all right, and suggesting that I have a nice cup of tea and a sit down.

I ended up downloading a macro for GIMP which let me put a grid over an image.  I layered it upon each of the banners, then copied grid sized squares from the underlying image, and pasting them to make a more pixilated image.  Exported the whole thing to .png file, imported it into a spreadsheet to add numbering… and it just occurs to me that I need to add heavier lines to mark off every fifth space (for ease of use).  Yeah, it’s enough trouble to fiddle with that I should really consider making it available for purchase when done.  Fortunately, Open Office exports to .pdf, so I could do the whole thing as a Ravelry download (fiddly charts and all).

Unfortunately, I miscalculated the number of stitches in the flag chart.  I had noted it as 37, but it works out to 38, so there should be 84 stitches in a round rather than 82 (given decisions I’d made earlier).  This is actually a *much* better number to design with, especially when it comes to the Sweet Tomato heel, but it left my actual socks a couple of stitches off.  Easy enough to fix, and the final pattern will be much friendlier.

No pictures this time, but I think I’m more or less on track.

In other news, I’m thinking of entering the Carina shawl in the Howard County fair.  Need to decide pretty soon, since the deadline is the end of July!

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The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is coming up.  Last year at the festival I bought a beautiful skein of Dark Horse Leicester Longwool from Hill Farm, specifically because I wanted to make something with native Maryland wool to enter in this year’s competition.

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I was thinking of holding it together with some Queensland Collection Soft Comfort Mohair, and was planning on knitting Tubey by Cassi Rovetti, published inKnitty.  Well, I got it home and swatched and, lovely as it was, decided it would be a bit itchy for a tube top.  So, instead I knit a felted, cabled tote bag.  I used a bead I’d picked up from an Ocean City shop as a button.  The pattern is by Amanda Silvera, and it’s the Braided Cable Handle Tote. I think it’s fabulous, and will be proud to enter it in this year’s festival.

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My other entry will be After Summer Merrily socks, and I’ll post about them later.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

One of today’s giveaways (yarn and a Namaste bag from Expression Fiber Arts, drawing April 30) asked me to state three things which make me happy.  I came up with

What makes me happy?
The people I love and who love me.
Learning new things, especially things which make my ‘brain all ‘splody like’.
Making things.

Craftlit’s April giveaway is for Knitted Mitts and Mittens.  Also closes April 30.  The mereknits blog’s “Chocolate Yarn” giveaway (closes April 10).  The Musk Ox blood is giving away Qiviut!!!  Drawing April 30.

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