Monday, September 28, 2009

Big Gray Blob

I'm working on a wedding gift for my nephew. He is getting married to his Anna on October 17. I'm about 2 days from finishing the edging, can then block it, and hopefully by the end of this weekend, will have a complete afghan ready to go. Currently it looks like this.
Hard to get a good picture of it, but it is Jared Flood's design of Girasole. Very nice pattern and very nice afghan. It is unique in that it is round, has a nice pattern to it so it isn't boring and amazingly fast. I will say I'm a bit tired of the border, but hopefully will finish it in the next couple of days. In any event, it will be finished before the wedding and after all isn't that the goal? And the joy of knowing my nephew and his Anna appreciate a gift made from my hands and heart make me happy as well.
I also finished sock one of the blue Japanese sock. Actually, I knit it enough times to have a pair of socks, they wouldn't have fit any human I know, so as you know from the previous entry, it was rip it, rip it, rip it....but I now have one good fitting sock. I will cast on soon for the second sock.
I've been on a bit of a spinning binge though. I'll try and take photos soon of everything I've spun up in the last few months. My wheel is one of the best gifts I've given myself in a really long time.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sock 2, Me 0

The sock I'm working on is kicking my butt. I rarely worry about gage on socks, (bad me), perhaps because I never had to. However, this time, I should have paid attention. I knew casting on 60 stitches using size 1 needles was smaller than the comfy 72 stitches I normally cast on. But heh, I figured there must be a lot of stretch/give in the pattern, it does have a lot of yarn overs, so I'm sure that is why they cast on a smaller amount. I dive in, knitting away, just loving how the pattern and texture look. As each row grows, I'm eyeing the sock, hmmmm, it does look a bit small, but I'm sure if I keep going it will work out fine. I keep knitting, the bumpy texture looking marvelous in the Cherry Tree Hill yarn...still it does look a bit smallish....never mind, keep knitting! I knit.....I try it on, hmmmmm that is really a bit tight, but I have an idea. See how much in denial I was? I will give it as a Christmas gift, I know just the family member, she is petite and this will surely fit her....yup, I'm sure you can see where this is going....why I couldn't see it or more likely admit it, is beyond me. I complete the patterned section of the cuff and before I even start the heel flap I have my oldest daughter who is 12 try it on, sure it is going to slide gracefully on her foot. Nope, she struggled to get it past her heel.....and this was without a heel on it at all. That did it, I numbly realize if I want ANY normal human to be able to wear this sock I'd have to succumb to the screaming inner knitter in me and rip it out. So I did, I ripped a beautifully albeit too small sock completely out. Sock 1, me 0.
I started again, this time, figuring out with the pattern stitch what I would need to increase the count to an amount that will fit over my foot, and cast on, this time I cast on 80, yes a little bigger than my normal 72 when working work size 1 needles, but I'm confident (from experience) that the cuff pattern is very snug so sure the 80 will not result in a stretchy floppy mess wrinkling into a puddle around my ankle. I still love knitting the pattern and am very happy I can keep these now socks for me. So much for my thought of completing a Christmas present! They are all MINE. I knit along and whip through the cuff. Follow the pattern directions for the heel flap, hmmm, the inner knitter in me starts ringing those warning bells again, this pattern calls for a shorter heel flap than I normally do. You would think that I would remember the reason I had to restart this sock, but no....I again, blindly follow the directions, even though holding it up I keep thinking, that is a pretty short heel flap....somewhere my brain stopped after hearing the "pretty" part and ignored the "short" part. I kept knitting, turned the heel and started flying on the foot which is in stockinette....hmmm, because the heel flap was short, there was very little decreasing required on the gussets to get back to the 80 stitches.....inner knitter by now is up and screaming in my brain, jabbing with knitting needles....but sadly yes...I keep knitting, watching each stitch fly off my needle, chortling in delight as it grows...and grows....and grows....not just length wise...width wise as well.....I finally bow to the screaming inner knitter who is clearly hoarse now and I pull on the sock....and it is the saddest ill fitting sock I've knit (other than my first pair which I refuse to discuss). I again look at it and grimly realize if I want to wear these socks, it must be done....and I rip it out AGAIN, but at least only to the heel flap....where I proceed to add nearly 3/4 of an inch to the heel flap....I turn the heel and I'm now seeing the normal gusset amount and I'm also going to reduce to 72 stitches for the foot instead of the 80....and this is what this sock looks like as of can see the crinkly used yarn waiting to be reknit...I will vanquish this sock pattern...and I will relish wearing them....and hopefully my inner knitter will figure out a way to yank my yarn high knitting fingers back to reality next time so I don't waste so much time and effort into clearly wrong directions

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Spinning continues

I got my wheel several months ago and I'm finding it is one of my favorite things to do. Now I'm not very good yet, but I'm getting what I feel are respectable sets of yarn. I'm still working on my consistency but I'm getting there. The newest batch I'm working on is a white and black wool and mohair combination.

This is what the remnants of my roving look like. I started with a pound of wool/mohair. And after several nights of spinning, this is all that remains. I found the wool and mohair is very slippery compared to the straight wool I spun previously. But this feels lovely sliding between my fingers...

My singles look like this...a tweedy blend with one section of solid white....I'm going to ply this tonight...waiting the 24 hours after filling the bobbin with singles is hard, but what I'm finding is that I spin first each night when I go upstairs, then after filling a bobbin, I knit the rest of the night. This keeps me from getting bored with either part of the process. and if I can keep myself off the computer perusing Ravelry or sigh, playing mindless computer games, I actually get quite a bit accomplished each night. After plying the two singles together, I'm left with this.....

Two hanks of beautifully blended tweedy yarn that should be warm and is very soft. I'm hoping to do a scarf/hat/mitten set....I'm going to look through my books to see what I can find.

I also completed a pair of socks for my mom last night. They are just plain vanilla socks, but with fall fast approaching, it won't be long before I will have my toes inside my handknit socks for the duration of winter. And I eagerly started a new pair of socks for me last night...remember I said I wanted to make 12 socks this year? Well I've only completed 4 complete pairs and still have 2 singles, so even giving me the lee way of counting mismatched socks as a pair, I'm only on 5. Hmmmm and it is September? Oh well, I'll push on.

For my birthday, I used gift money to purchase books, one of them I've just poured over... it is the first Japanese inspired pattern book I have. I think I will be getting more. I LOVE these socks and patterns. I can see making many of them in my future. I also would like to try and put some of the patterns into other things like mittens. The patterns are very textural and interesting. I've done so many plain vanilla socks lately, this is just what I needed to spark my sock knitting mojo again. So last night I cast on and here is what I have...

The color is spot on, Cherry Tree Hill yarn, but I don't remember the colorway. This color blue just makes me happy...and after spinning so much black and white yarn, this blue just sings to me.

And finally tonight will start the beginning of school year activities. I signed up both girls to be in a gymnastics class, once a week. It is good for them to be active and I hope they enjoy this. It is only for 8 weeks, but I see some prime knitting time as I wait for them each Tuesday night.