Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Casting on...and on...and on

I finished the main portion of Joanne's second cria shawl last night. It was excellent timing too - literally five minutes before the end of the movie I was watching. This morning I wound the remaining skein into two equal balls to start the edging.

The edging for the Haapsalu shawls is worked in 2 pieces, one side plus one end at a time, and there is an actual formula, requiring a calculator, to figure out how many stitches to cast on. According to the notes, the edging is knit in two pieces as more stitches becomes difficult to fit on the needle, and longer needles or circulars are best for this part. After doing the math, I suspect this may be an understatement. My cast on row was 331 stitches for each half of the shawl. It took 20 minutes, by the clock, to cast on for the first half.

I have decided that I am very glad of 2 things. One, that because of my handspun not being as fine as their yarn, that I only had 2 pattern repeats across, rather than the 4-5 I would have needed (and the proportionally larger number of stitches for edging, then). And two, that the edging is written in garter stitch and not stockinette, so at least I don't have to purl back across all those stitches. I know I could do it - I suspect previous shawls have had at least as many edge stitches. It just feels like so much more when you actually count them.

Now to cross my fingers and hope there's enough yarn to finish the edge.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Music to Spin By

I do like music. And I have a good memory for lyrics and tunes, even if the average person doesn't necessarily want to hear me singing them. The only problem with that is if I see or hear something that reminds me of a song, that song will get stuck in my head. Yesterday I had "Age of Aquarius", simply because there was a blog post from Mason-Dixon Knitting titled "When the Moon is in the Seventh Cowl".

Rhythms are the other thing that will bring songs to mind. Walking will do it. Or treadling a spinning wheel. My antique wheel tends to ends up in a rhythm which, appropriately enough, fits the traditional "Spinning Wheel Song" (Merrily, cheerily, noiselessly whirring...)

Because the Hitchhiker has a smaller wheel, though, I need to treadle it faster to spin at the same rate. And the rhythm there tends to produce a few odd songs in my head. Today's session of spinning got me half a bobbin's worth of something from Gilbert and Sullivan's "Gondoliers" - the bit where the Cavalieri brothers, gondoliers-turned-Republican-kings, are describing their daily routine - "...but the privilege and pleasure that we treasure beyond measure/ is to run on little errands for the ministers of state!"

I think I'll have to go watch the video now. Because the only thing worse than having an earworm is having one with half the words missing.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Playing Catch-up

Hmm, no posts since Tuesday. What's my excuse? None really, for Wednesday. But Thursday was baking and groceries and library run coupled with knitting at Knit-Knackers, where I also purchased some roving to dye up.

The baking (chocolate-bottom cupcakes) was aimed at yesterday's session of Fleece Spa. Filled a bobbin with the peacock batt there, added a few inches to the second cria shawl, and watched Shaun the Sheep videos on Youtube. Came home, had a bite to eat, and swung off to the Friday knitting group, to add another few inches to the shawl, enjoy hot cider, and meet Kit and Phae's baby who, having a knitting mother and mother's friends, was naturally well wrapped in knitted stuff.

Today is more about catching up with the stuff that's not quite so glamorous. However, I think I've got a good start on it. Here we are not even noon, and I've got a batch of laundry done and folded, a loaf of bread in the oven, e-mail caught up, and yesterday's spinning plied and skeined. There will be homemade soup with the fresh bread for lunch, and then to deal with washing of dishes and of wool socks. And maybe a bit of time after that for a movie and a chance to finish v2.0 of the bargello tam. The first one blocked out rather larger than expected, so hopefully this version will be less Rasta. Then I'll have to decide whether to frog the first one or try to felt it down a little. Ah, fun.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A Tam on Tuesday

I've had the notion of a tam in a pattern to imitate Bargello needlepoint bugging me for a while. But yesterday it reached the point where I had to sit down and swatch.

Turned out I couldn't find anything in my stitch dictionaries that was really what I wanted, but a few modifications to one stitch pattern helped. One rummage through the stash baskets later, I was casting on.

A worsted weight tam is practically an instant gratification project as far as I'm concerned, especially when I'm watching the pattern develop. Very hard to put down, as well. So perhaps it's not surprising that despite having to rip and reknit the ribbing (it was too loose) I finished it today and set it to block. Couldn't wait until then for a picture, though, so what I have is the unblocked photo.

Not quite what I envisioned, but I think I like it. I can see how to do some variations on the pattern also, for different bargello looks. Now I just have to get all the details down on paper/screen while I still remember them.

Monday, 16 January 2012

January Monday

I mean, what else can you say about it? It's bright and sunny and cold! I had to drag myself out for a job interview this morning, but I'm not planning on going out again today. I suppose it could be worse. My sister and her boyfriend called home to let Mom know they and their luggage arrived safely in Whitehorse, and it was -35 there.

Two skeins spun and plied so far for the spinalong (it goes so much faster when it's bulky navaho-plied instead of laceweight 2 ply), and a bit more knitting done on the second cria shawl for Joanne. I am loving the Estonian lace.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Proof of Principle

It has been precipitating all night and all day - freezing rain, ice pellets, and snow. Definitely a few inches on the ground. And it's Friday the 13th. Therefore, today I am hibernating. It's pretty out, but even the cat doesn't want to go for a walk.

Instead, I baked, and had homemade turkey soup and fresh buns for lunch.

While I was waiting for the bread to rise, I pulled out my sock yarn scraps. I had an idea a while ago that a knit version of pysanky would be interesting. I realize that the same level of detail as the real ones would be utterly impractical unless you wanted to use sewing thread to knit with, but it would make a fun change from pastel Easter eggs. So a little bit of yarn and embroidery and stuffing later, I had this:

Rather like a proof of principle experiment in science - not a thorough testing of the subject, but enough to see that the idea is not completely out in left field. Definitely fun, and when my KnitPicks order comes, there will be much more fun and better colors...  

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Another One Bites The Carpet

Which is to say, the first of the cria shawls is done and blocked. And while I'm not particularly fond of carpeting per se, it does make a great base for blocking things.

I plan to get a second one cast on today, same yarn, different pattern. Good excuse to try something out of my new Haapsalu Shawl book. Actually I did cast on, but had to rip out, as it appears my math skills are off today. I figured out I needed 68 stitches. Counted the stitches in the cast-on twice, but ran out of stitches on the first pattern row. Rechecked my knitting against the pattern, couldn't find the problem there. Only then did I realize that I had miscalculated the number of stitches to cast on. 2 repeats of 32 stitches plus 4 edges stitches on each side does not equal 68 - I forgot to add the second edge. Some days, it's hard to believe I have an advanced degree.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Beads and Lace

If you had told me a couple of years ago that my 'mindless' project for hauling around would be a lace shawl, I would probably have thought you were crazy. But, that is currently the case. I'm a skein into the first of the shawls for Joanne out of her cria. It took several tries to find a pattern I thought would work with the yarn, but this one I think will be nice, with a large feather border to finish.

It will come with me to Guild meeting tonight, and it did just fine at yesterday's knit out. Yesterday was a lot of fun. Not only was there knitting, and a big group of us (three tables' worth), but I spent the first half of the day helping with inventory at a friend's store. How is that fun? Well, not only is she a lovely person who fed us (homemade stuff, to boot) AND paid us for our help, but the store happens to be Canada Beading Supply , and counting inventory means that I get to fondle walls full of pretty beads - crystals and carnelian and onyx, and all sorts of things in a rainbow of colors. I love going there, even if I don't buy much - I get very little use out of the jewellery I do have without making more, but still, I like an excuse to drool over the colors there on occasion.  

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Friday's Yarning

Yesterday proved to be a very satisfying sort of yarn-centric day. I got my submissions in the mail for the 101 Lace One-skein Wonders book, and sent a few belated yarn and knitting related Christmas gifts also.

On the way out the door to knit night, I found my new Piecework magazine in the mailbox, and took it along.

Spent an enjoyable few hours absorbing coffee and chatter with the knitters. And discovering the surprising fact that it seems we have been hanging out there long enough to have groupies. Part way through the evening, two (rather good-looking) guys on their way out stopped to chat, ask what we were all working on that night, etc. And after they left, one of the other knitters said people notice if we're not there for a few weeks (in the 'where were you' versus the 'oh good, they're gone' sense, even). Huh.

I got so close to the end of my socks during the evening, that I stayed up and finished them when I got home. Second project of the KAL, done - after being on the needles for the better part of a year. They will wait until after summer to get worn, though - I want to keep them nice to show off at the fair.  Pattern is Pamina by Caoua Coffee, yarn Berocco Ultra Alpaca. I love the look of the twisted-stitch patterning (just it's so slow!), and the yarn feels very nice on the feet.

So that's some yarn out of stash. Only - someone was destashing last night, so I came home with 2 balls of Paton's Classic and 4 balls of Tilli Tomas raw silk (Thanks, Sarah!) Um, yeah, this is why my stash keeps growing faster than I can knit it up. Can't say no to free, good-quality yarn (or fiber).

Thursday, 5 January 2012

KAL Item 1? Check.

Look at that. The KAL is only a few days old and item the first is done. And blocked.

Not that I think the rest of the projects will be that fast. And spending a day or two of solid quality time with the scarf in hand helped. It was just the right degree of mindless knitting while I had a marathon watching of the BBC miniseries version of 'Pride And Prejudice' (got the DVD for Christmas). The one where Colin Firth, as Mr. Darcy, spends a good deal of time cultivating a brooding look.

Next up: my socks in progress, and maybe one of the lace shawls. But I have promised part of my time today to my drum carder, now that it is working again. It was slipping and screeching, even with the new belt, and a bit of oil. Took my brother 2 minutes to fix it - I hadn't realized the cross-piece that was slipping was supposed to be in the groove rather than floating above it. He lined it up and whacked it a few times, and voila, it settled in. So apparently sometimes for fixing things it is a case of knowing what to hit and how hard.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year, New KAL

The beginning of the year is always a good time, traditionally, to set goals and challenges for the year ahead. A lot of knitalongs seem to start about now, often for the same reasons. I've gone and signed up for one.

Elizabeth, one of the knitters I know, suggested a 12 in 2012 KAL, complete 12 projects from stash or WIPS. Obviously a lot of us have stash, because a pile of people besides me jumped on the plan. At least one already has the list of projects planned. I'm not quite that far ahead, but I thought I ought to at least record a list of possibilities.

1: Myrosia's scarf. Currently at 3 feet long, it will probably be my first complete project of the KAL.
Another week, and she will be able to wear it this winter.
2: My gold Pamina socks. About 3/4 done.
3: My Autumn Rose sweater, which I had hoped to finish last spring. It's been on hold, but maybe it will be done for THIS spring.

Stash Projects:
4 and 5: A lace shawl and a lace scarf from Joanne's cria. She didn't think she could do justice to her share of the spun yarn, so she requested that I make something.
6: The lace shawl from my handspun for the Guild challenge. I got the stitch patterns figured out, I just need to do some math. May knit a sample scarf first (I've some laceweight alpaca in stash), so I could get two projects out of this.
7: A textured stripe cardigan/jacket in Briggs and Little I got from a destash. Pattern is called Marsh, it's in a magazine I have but not on Rav yet. Maybe I can enter it when I get to needing it.
8: Socks in the grey alpaca I bought at Rhinebeck year before last. Pattern "Alpha" in last winter's Interweave Knits.
9: More handspun - the Borealis sweater in my peacock 3-ply. Someone I know made the sweater, and it looked so good I went to find the pattern. It's a bulky weight cowl-necked fitted tunic sort of sweater, and ought to go comparatively fast.

So that's 3/4 of the projects settled. I've got possibilities for some others, we'll have to see how things go...!