Thursday, February 15, 2018

Slogging

For some strange reason, I had it in my head that when I reached the end of this week, I'd be done with the sleeves and the body of my sweater and would be ready to start the yoke. I'm not even close to that point. Although it is going a bit faster now that I no long have the awkwardness of being close to the cast on, I'm still in the middle of the brioche at the bottom of the sweater and only a bit past halfway at that.


The upside is that I am past halfway on the brioche, and once I get though the rest, I will be moving up to larger needles and knitting in stockinette, which I can pretty much do in my sleep. I also have a lot of knitting time in the weekend ahead. Tomorrow I am taking the day off to spend the day with Rainbow, whose school is closed for an in-service day. On Saturday, she'll be gone most of the day at a Brownies activity, and then we're taking her to my in-laws' to stay over Saturday and Sunday night (her school is closed on Monday as well). That means that I've got the majority of three days in the weekend ahead to work on the body -- in between all the stuff that has to get done, of course -- and I'm hoping that's sufficient to get me to the joining point. Although the end point for the Olympics and the Ravellenic Games is next Sunday, I really feel like I need to be finished on Friday because I'm headed out of town for a baby shower next Saturday, and despite having hours in the car to get there, I don't think two-color brioche in a crowded car is optimal (though it certainly would be interesting). So please send all your speed-knitting mojo my way this weekend!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

All Sorts of Things

Sometimes when it rains, it pours. After worrying that I wouldn't have much content for the blog because of my monogamous sweater knitting, I find myself with rather an abundance of content instead. I'll try to keep it brief so as not to bore you, but there is a lot to talk about.

First, let's start with the FOs! I did indeed finish up the baby sweater Thursday night after I posted, and I blocked it over the weekend. All that it needs to be an official FO are buttons, which I'm hoping to tackle by the weekend.


Pattern: Hyphen by Lisa Chemery
Yarn: Knit Picks Comfy Worsted (75% cotton, 25% acrylic) in Carrot, approximately 2.3 skeins
Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm) and US 7 (4.5 mm)
Started/Completed: January 30/February 8
Mods: unintentionally made the body an inch longer than called for

This pattern was a pure delight to knit. It was easy to knit, with little need to pay close attention to the pattern (though perhaps I should have paid slightly closer attention or I wouldn't have made my unintentional mod). The stitch pattern around the yoke and the wrists is deceptively easy to do but looks great. I'm very happy with how this turned out. Rainbow is also a fan, so I'd say it's highly likely I'll be making another one in the near future in the largest size.

Also blocked over the weekend was my handspun brioche cowl, which has been done for some time but has had to wait patiently for its spa treatment and photo shoot.


I didn't use a real pattern for this; it's just basic brioche worked in the round over about 250 stitches on size 3 (3.25 mm) needles until I just about ran out of yarn. The colors have been so hard to capture accurately, but I think this photo does a reasonable job.

As far as WIPs are concerned, my Helenium is my main one, and honestly I couldn't be happier with how it's going thus far. After casting on first thing on Friday morning, by the end of the weekend I had one sleeve done and most of the second knit. We woke up yesterday to a surprising snowfall that came with a two-hour delay for Rainbow, so while we were sitting around, I finished the second sleeve. I'm now onto the body, which should be relatively fast once I get past the brioche at the bottom -- it's stockinette in the round, and there is no shaping.


Finally, remember this hat?


This is my Xenolith pattern, which I released last fall as part of a collaboration with my friend Lisa of Fibernymph Dye Works. It was initially available only as part of a kit, but now it's available as a standalone pattern in my Ravelry shop. The hat only uses small amounts of five colors, so if you have a bunch of minis or leftovers sitting around in your stash, this is the perfect way to use them up.

[buy now]

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Possible Hiatus

It's Sunday, and usually that means spinning, but when Sunday falls in the middle of the Ravellenic Games and I'm trying to knit a sweater in two weeks, that means spinning gets largely ignored. I am taking a pause in my spinning for the time being, though it's possible I may find some time to do some if I'm really productive with my sweater knitting. Still, there's been a little more progress since the last time you saw a bobbin shot.


These are the first singles in the final color for my sweater, Sky. I was expecting the yarn to turn out a bit darker than the fiber as the other colors did, but these singles look pretty similar the original fiber. Perhaps the yarn will be a bit darker when plied, though I'll have to wait a while to see if that's the case. All things considered, it feels good to be past the halfway point on this project, and I'm definitely excited to get to the knitting part.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Hard to Contain

It's hard to contain my excitement, that is -- the Olympics start tomorrow, and that means the start of the Ravellenic Games! I have been dying to cast on my Helenium sweater, but I am being very good and not cheating. I have wound all the yarn, however, and have a new pair of needles ready to go (because the ChiaoGoo Red Lace needles in the size I need have gone missing), so all that's left to do before I can cast on tomorrow is to go through the pattern and highlight all the pertinent information for my size.

There actually is one other thing I need to do before I start my sweater, and that's to finish the baby sweater. That should be no problem at all, because all I have left to do is knit half a sleeve (and the bottom half of the sleeve at that). I've even woven in all my ends thus far, so once the sleeve is dealt with, all that will remain to do is to block and sew on some buttons.


This has really been a fun and relaxing knit, and I think I could have finished it even faster had I focused on it a bit more. Even though I'll be knitting almost up to the wire to get it done before serious sweater knitting starts, I will have finished it more than two weeks before it needed to be done, so that's an accomplishment.

I suspect there will soon be another one of these on the needles, as Rainbow has really gushed over it and is in need of a new sweater, as the only hand-knit one that currently fits her is a light fingering weight one. But she's really more in need of a new pair of mittens first. If only there were more hours in the day!

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Pattern Release: Non-Euclidian

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, then you surely know I'm a huge fan of hand-knit socks. I almost always have a sock WIP on the go, and I have knit enough of them in my knitting career that I could probably knit one in my sleep.

After knitting hundreds of socks, however, I find myself perpetually curious in new ways to knit them (at least within my usual MO of cuff down). I've tried different methods of doing the gusset decreases, doing a simultaneous heel flap and gusset, and of course many different heels. While knitting my daughter's last couple of pairs of socks, I thought about whether it would be possible to create what is essentially a gusset for the heel and have the snug fit one gets with a traditional flap and gusset decreases. The only way to know for sure was to try, and while it took more than one attempt to get the fit just right, I'm happy to report that it worked as well as I'd hoped.


Non-Euclidian is a twist on the traditional stockinette sock. Rather than working back and forth to make a heel flap, increases create a pocket of fabric to hug the heel. Short rows are then worked under the heel to decrease the extra stitches. The result is two triangular areas of fabric covering a three-dimensional part of the foot -- hence the name.


I've written up the pattern in the form of a stockinette sock, but the beauty of the heel is that, much like many other heels, it can be substituted for any other heel. So you can plop it into any other sock pattern or use it in conjunction with your favorite stitch pattern.


The pattern has been graded to five sizes -- to fit a foot circumference of 6, 7 (8, 9, 10) in./15, 18 (20.5, 23, 25.5) cm -- to fit a wide range of child and adult feet. As you can see, it works well with self-striping yarn, but really any kind of sock yarn is going to place nice. I've suggested a dense gauge of 9 stitches per inch for durability (because the heel has no reinforcement like the slip-stitch method usually used in heel flaps), but if you prefer to work to a different gauge, it's easy to adapt the method to your stitch count.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Good Enticements

As much as I am enjoying my sweater spin, there does come a moment in all large projects when you get a bit sick of spinning the same thing. I've done very little spinning this week, and I'm still in the middle of my first bobbin for the next skein.


This skein will transition from Bay, the medium blue, to Sky, the light blue. I'm excited to finally spin some of the lightest color!

What is certainly not helping me stay focused is the arrival of pretty fiber to distract me. First, my December shipment from the Southern Cross Fibre club finally showed up this past week, and it's a real beauty. I braided it so you could see all the colors:


This is a colorway called Kandinsky, and it's on one of my favorite fiber, Rambouillet. This will be a very fun spin!

I also received a set of batts that I ordered from the FatCatKnits Etsy shop. Although Ginny is no longer dyeing fiber, she's using what she still has to card up some gorgeous batts. I just couldn't resist these.


These are a blend of Merino, Rambouillet, Polwarth, and Targhee (basically all my favorite wools) with silk, flax, silk noil, and angelina.

I am really tempted to spin up these new acquisitions right away, but I think I will leave them as motivation for finishing up my sweater spin.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Onto Smaller Things

Since last I posted, the giant crochet bag has been felted, fully dried, and adorned with handles. Here's the final product (admittedly not the best photo, but the best I could do with the early morning light -- or lack thereof):


The handles were a prize from a KAL last year. The set came with wooden buttons as well, but after I tried a couple, I wasn't completely happy with how they looked (plus the holes in the buttons didn't exactly line up with the holes in the handles), so I took them off. They're sewn on with waxed linen thread that came with the handles and buttons; there wasn't a lot of it, so I could only go through each set of holes twice. Still, the handles feel pretty securely sewn on, and I can always reinforce them at a later date if need be.

I am still working on the handspun cowl, though I'm in the home stretch at this point -- just about five more colorways still to knit. I'm hoping to finish it up before the weekend is out. Here's an obligatory progress shot (please excuse the ugly office floor and furniture in the background):


Meanwhile, in the week or so I have left before the Ravellenic Games start and I cast on for my sweater, I'm attempting to bang out a baby sweater. I have a shower to go to later this month, so naturally I wanted a hand knit to bring. This is yet another terrible photo due to low light; trust me when I say the color is bright and cheerful in real life.


This is the Hyphen cardigan by Lisa Chemery, and I'm knitting it up in Knit Picks Comfy Worsted, a cotton/acrylic blend. The family I'm knitting for lives in southern Florida, so I didn't think wool would get used much, and this yarn is soft and easy care. The color also screams Miami to me:


I'm really enjoying the pattern so far, and I'm also enjoying the fact that it's knitting up very quickly. Tonight I should be able to knit up the last textured section and get to the point were I separate the sleeve and body stitches. The pattern is simple but clever, and I can definitely see myself knitting this again, perhaps even in the largest size for Rainbow.