Monthly Archives: June 2012

Stash overflow

Worsted for Wear, 2012-06-18

Another great one from the folks at Worsted for Wear!

PS If you’re a computer geek, you’ll understand why the title of this post makes me giggle. 😉

Gauge. Argh.

So the good news is, I really like the way the twisted slipped stitch pattern looks with the Solemate yarn. It breaks up the pooling a bit and looks pretty neat!

The bad news is, while I was admiring the pattern, I was ignoring the little voice in my head that was whispering, “it’s too big.” I finally got out my ruler, checked my gauge (26 stitches over 3 inches), plugged it into my calculator (8.5 inches times 26 stitches divided by 3 inches, minus about 10% for a snug fit), and came to the painful realization that I’m going to have to frog it and redo. Again.

Waaah.

But isn’t it pretty?

On the brink of frogging....

WIP Wednesday

We’re in the thick of summer here, so this week that means swimming lessons three mornings a week. It also means not as much knitting time. And it’s hot, which means having a lapful of wool while sitting out back watching the kids play in the wading pool isn’t the most appealing option.

I did manage to finish the little baby hoodie sweater (pics to follow, as soon as I can get my camera connected to my laptop again… which will happen if I can kick my son off my laptop for a few minutes!). I picked up the Pinkerton Shawl again and added a few rows, not that you can tell. And I picked up the Twisted Lace Cardigan, frogged it back to the end of the raglan increases (with the help of my new niddy noddy), and soaked the skein to get the yarn to relax.

Clearly what I needed was to cast on for a pair of socks, using the Lorna’s Laces Solemate yarn I picked up in Philly.

However, I am rather picky about my socks, so it wasn’t quite as easy as I’d hoped. I like my socks to be knit at a very firm gauge. I don’t like them to be very lacy. And they have to have some ribbing, so they don’t get baggy around the ankles.

The Solemate yarn is rather fine, so I had to go down to a size 1 needle to get a fabric that felt sturdy enough for socks. At that gauge, I need 68-70 stitches to fit my foot. And the yarn is pretty variegated, so the pattern had to be something that wouldn’t compete with the yarn. I tried a couple of ribbed patterns, but nothing really worked for me. I tried a brioche rib, but that didn’t really show up in the yarn. I finally settled on a slipped-stitch cable that shows off the yarn colors.

Crazy Cable Socks

Now I just need to catch up to all of my frogged yarn!

Yarn bombed in Philly

When we were in Philly last week, we saw this:

Yarn bombed phone

Even my husband laughed. And then he pointed out that it would be kind of hard to use the phone now. I wonder if that knitter has as much trouble adding buttonbands as I do….

The Buttonhole Block

I was scooting along with the Striped Baby Hoodie when I got to the buttonband. After my last debacle with buttonholes, I thought I’d be better off I picked up stitches along the buttonband and knit the buttonholes after the body of the sweater was complete.

Haha. I should know better by now!

I picked up stitches for the buttonband, knit a few rows, and then looked at the buttons and decided I needed a two-stitch buttonhole to accommodate them. Went online, found the instructions for TECHknitter’s Tulips buttonhole (and the Knitting Daily video that helped me figure it out the last time I used this technique), worked the buttonholes, and knit another row. Then it occurred to me that this sweater is for a boy. So the buttonholes should go on the left side, not the right side, where I’d put them (running on autopilot, since most of the sweaters I knit are for me, my daughter, or for girl babies!). I talked myself into just leaving them where they were. (After all, girl buttonholes were traditionally placed on the right, because that’s easier for someone else to do up, and I don’t know many 3-month-olds who are doing up their own buttons, right?!) And then I tried the buttons in the buttonholes. Definitely too tight. Grrr.

So I frogged the buttonhole row, all the way around to the other side. Redid my calculations, knit five of the six three-stitch buttonholes… and realized I’d gotten off by one stitch somewhere. Further investigation revealed it was between the first and second buttonholes. Cursed, frogged back to that point, reassured myself that after blocking, the fuzzy, repeatedly-frogged yarn would still look nice, placed stitch markers at the start and end of each buttonhole, and re-knit the buttonholes. This time, to gain a little extra slack, I used a trick from The Knitters Book of Finishing Techniques by Nancie Wiseman: Cast on two extra stitches along the top of the buttonhole, and on the next row, work a decrease at the start and end of the buttonhole, which will eliminate any gaps. This trick has worked well for me in garter stitch and with stockinette, so I used it here. And discovered that it gave my 2×2 ribbed buttonband a bit of a drunken stagger. Sigh.

I contemplated re-doing the buttonband, or just the rows above the buttonholes, moving the decreases around. but then I decided that a drunken stagger in the ribbing was probably appropriate, since lately my knitting projects keep taking a drive-me-to-drink turn. Plus, the baby it’s intended for is now a month old (he was born a month early), so I need to wrap it up and give it to him before he’s too big to wear it! I’m halfway through the second sleeve now, so when this is done, I just need to sew on the buttons and weave in the ends, then wrap it up and give it away!

Striped Hoodie, in progress

And besides, the yarn I bought in Philly is sitting in front of me, winking and smirking. And the project I haven’t actually started yet is always better than the one I am currently abusing on the needles, right?

Yarn as a souvenir

Last week, my husband and I celebrated our 15th anniversary. We decided that a milestone like this called for something special, so we headed up to Philadelphia, dropped the kids off in the ‘burbs with my parents, and spent 24 hours playing tourist in the city. We stayed at a nice hotel, ate at some incredible restaurants, took in a show at a comedy club (which is what we did on our very first date, mumble mumble years ago), and spent some time just wandering around, taking in the sights.

If you’re a knitter, you know that I wasn’t going to leave town without checking out at least one yarn shop, so on our last afternoon, we wandered past Loop. What a lovely shop! I wished I lived close enough to hang out there on a regular basis. There are two yarns that I’ve been wanting to try, and I found both of them at Loop.

Lorna's Laces Solemate yarnThe first is Lorna’s Laces Solemate yarn. This yarn is interesting because it is 30% Outlast, a material developed by NASA that is supposed to keep you warm when it’s cold and keep you cool when it’s warm. Sounds like the perfect material for socks, doesn’t it?! I found a gorgeous one-of-kind color that I scooped up just as quick as I could. I immediately wished I’d brought my sock needles with me, so I could cast on right then and there!

Rowan Kidsilk CreationThe second yarn I found was Rowan Kidsilk Creation (in the “Smoke” colorway). This is similar to their Kidsilk Haze, but it comes in a mesh knitted tube that you knit (or crochet) as you would a self-ruffling novelty yarn. I love the look of the ruffled scarves that are all the rage right now, and with this yarn, I’ve heard it takes less than an hour to whip one up. I have a feeling these scarves could be as addictive as potato chips. Maybe gifts for teachers this winter?

Aside from food, yarn was the only thing I purchased on our trip. Several years ago, I decided that yarn was my favorite souvenir. I enjoy using the yarns that I’ve purchased on my travels, as it brings that destination back in my mind.

So tell me, do you bring home yarn when you travel?

Beer at the Finish Line

I must admit that not much KIP happened for me on WWKIP Day. We rode 12+ miles on the hottest day of the year (so far). And although the scenery was awesome and the ride itself was great fun, I was totally beat by the time we made it to the finish line. Where, mercifully, they had—in addition to more of the cold water and gatorade we’d enjoyed at the rest stop—a couple of kegs of ice-cold, locally-brewed beer. Nothing has ever tasted so good. (Okay, it might have been tied with the store-brand Oreos they had at the rest stop!) We found a shady spot, collapsed in a heap, ate a few hot dogs and hamburgers to go with our beer (the kids got more water, since I was the hydration police), and tried not to think about the fact that we were going to have to get back on our bikes to return to the parking lot. My kids were real troopers, though. My son did his fair share of complaining, but he hung in there until the end (and being a kid, had a lot more energy on the home stretch than I did!), and the little one proclaimed, “I wuv bike wides!” (of course, she didn’t have to do much work, since she’s still in a seat on the back of Daddy’s bike).

I was too tired to even dig out the little WIP bag that I’d stuck in my bicycle basket before setting off, nestled beside extra bottles of sunscreen and water and spare tire inner tubes. At the last minute, I pulled out the sock I’d originally planned to bring and stuck in the Pinkerton Shawl that I’d started a year ago in some lovely Malabrigo sock yarn in Indiecita (which is one of those really awesome variegated colors that I pick up over and over, because it never looks the same, but it always looks gorgeous). I’ve cast on for this four times now. The first couple of times, I wasn’t happy with the needles or the fabric I was getting. Then my little one yanked the needles out, and it was easier just to start over. It’s a stockinette-based pattern, so part of my restartitis was trying to find a way to combat the curl a bit. I finally settled on working the first few rows and the last three stitches on the stockinette side in garter stitch.

This shawl begins with the longest side, and I think that’s part of why it’s been languishing in my WIP basket for so long. Most of the shawls I’ve done have you start in the top center and work down to the bottom hem. The rows get longer as you go along, but it’s so much fun to watch the lace pattern develop that I’m motivated to keep going. But a shawl that starts out on the long edge, in stockinette? Um, not so much. I told myself it was a great traveling project, but that just meant I had a good excuse to leave it in my knitting bag when I wasn’t actually traveling anywhere. As a result, my progress with this project has been pretty infinitesimal, which is a shame, because I think it’s a great combination of yarn and pattern. I did finally get around to adding a few more rows in the car on the way home and again today, as the kids and I celebrated the first official day of summer vacation by hanging out in the backyard by the kiddie pool and the sprinkler.

So I’m thinking that maybe some projects, like long, hot bike rides, need a cold beer at the finish line (or the next entrancing project) to keep me motivated. How about you?

WWKIP Day

What are you doing for World Wide Knit in Public Day this year?

As we did last year, my family is going on a bike tour tomorrow around Baltimore. I took along a pair of socks that I was working on for my husband last year, and did knit on them at the picnic after the ride. (Wish I could knit and ride at the same time!)

This year, I am planning on taking along another pair of socks:

 

This is a pattern of my own that I’ve been playing with for a while. The yarn is Miss Babs Northumbria Fingering BFL in the “Sugilite” colorway.

Today, though, I am working on the second baby sweater:

20120609-121856.jpg

I redid the stripes (using the more subtle green yarn), and am now up to working the ribbed buttonband. This has been a quick, fun knit, and the yarn (KnitPicks Comfy) has been much easier on my hands than the 100% cotton I used for the Scalloped Lace Baby Sweater.

What’s on your needles right now? Are you participating in any activities for WWKIP Day?

FO Friday: Scalloped Lace Baby Sweater

Scalloped Lace Baby Sweater

Pattern:

My own

Yarn:

Knit One Crochet Too Ty-Dy Cotton, Colorway# 332

Notes:

I adore the way this sweater turned out! The scalloped lace pattern was perfect for this yarn, as the color changes really show off the scallops. I have already bought yarn to make another one, this one white with the scallops in various bright colors.

This is a gift for my son’s teacher. She had a baby right before the start of the school year. Her husband got a new job, and she is moving out of state as soon as the school year ends. I wanted to give her something to remember us and know how much she will be missed!

Time to complete:

A little bit over two months, including numerous frogs and the time it spent in Time Out. 🙂