Friday, December 29, 2006
The "gull" pattern is really my first attempt to knit lace, and after a few botched attempts (forgetting yarn overs, mostly) I am finally getting the hang of it. I understand the structure of the pattern now, how all the stitches line up, so I know immediately if I've made a mistake. For me, the key to executing any pattern is really understanding how it works from the inside out. Until I understand it, it never comes out right. But it's funny because in order to understand it, I have to mess it up and then piece it back together.
The only thing I'm not so sure about are my ssk's. I checked Knitting Help again to make sure I am doing it correctly, and I am. But the diagnol looks slightly jagged compared to the K2tog's.
I'm doing one pattern modification and I'm pretty sure it will work out: I'm knitting the sleeves in the round rather than flat. I thought the overall effect would be neater, especially since I have no idea how I would seam the lace work. The only question is if knitting the sleeves in the round will be a problem later when I return to the body and have to pick up the cast on stitches on each sleeve. I have thought about it, and it seems that won't make any difference--but I will update when I get to the sweater body.
I'm also placing the buttonholes every 16 rows rather than 8, since I did not want them so close together.
ETA: More modifications: I made the sleeve 6 inches (rather than 5)so it will fit Elsa better, and I knit the garter stitch cuff with size 6 needles to make it a little tighter. I find the sleeves a bit too wide, although I think that is the intended style.
Plymouth's Suri Merino (barley color)
Size 7 needles
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Later that day.....
Elsa's bunny (upside down!):
(to be added--Dad's hat--when I get a picture)
Everything fit well and the recipients look pleased, don't you think? I have always loved giving presents, but it is even more fulfilling when it is something handmade that is appreciated.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Here's my hubby, modeling the hat for me. Hmmmm...he looks good in it--look at how it brings out his eyes. I think I'll have to make one for him too.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I attempted to use the Fetching pattern to create the thumb hole, but then I realized that it was not going to work for gloves with fingers, so I had to frog a few rounds and make a thumb gusset. The glove is maybe a little longer than I'd like it to be, but when I try it on the extra length actually works quite well and makes the glove feel a bit luxurious.
By the third finger, I finally figured out how to pick up the stitches between the fingers without leaving any gaps. I pick up 3, even if the pattern says 1 or 2, and then twist the stiches when I knit them. On the next round, I decrease so I have the correct number of stitches for each finger. Unfortunately, I didn't do such a good job on the first finger, so I'll have to do a little mending at the end. Still, I'm pleased that I finally figure this out.
Two to go...I hope to have an update by the end of the day.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
This is the first of a pair of gloves for my sister. I am using the Fetching pattern for fingerless gloves from Knitty, but I plan to make them with fingers using the Handy Book of Patterns as my guide (hoping and praying I'll be able to figure this out). As a knitter, I love fingerless gloves because they are cool and easier to make, but since these are a gift I want to make sure the recipient's extremities stay warm. That's the longwinded explanation for why I am willing to put myself through the ordeal of knitting up those little fingers.
This pattern is great fun, by the way. I have only tried cables for swatches, so this is my first attempt incorporating them into a real piece, and so far so good. I can't say I really enjoy doing them, especially when I'm working with dpn's, but the effect is so pretty and the cable rows so few, I've decided it's worth the effort. Also loving the the 4X1 rib pattern.
Plymouth's Suri Merino (red) and size 5 dpn's (went down a needle size to make the fit a little smaller for my sister's hands)
To be continued....
Saturday, December 9, 2006
Thursday, December 7, 2006
The hat reminded me of our trip to Scotland last August, which was the last time we went to Europe since having Elsa. At the time, I was not quite as obsessed with knitting as I am these days, or I probably would have stuffed my suitcases with some more of this beautiful yarn.
Here is where I found the wool (these hanks were hanging out to dry):
This picture was inspired by Andy Goldsworthy:
After looking at some comments on the Mason Dixon KAL, I've decided that these could be used as washcloths too, so I'm going to knit up a few more for holiday gifts and wrap them around luxurious bars of soap. Yesterday I went to Michael's and enhanced my Sugar and Cream stash, so now I have many color combination possibilities. I also got some colored pencils so I can plan out my designs on graph paper.
The latest WIP is Elsa's holiday present: a little white bunny (knit with a double strand of Blue Sky Alpaca DK White) with pink angora ears. The pattern is from Hoverson's book (again!), and it's been really fun to watch it take shape. I am changing the pattern a bit and knitting with DPN's rather than two circular needles, as she suggests. This allowed me to knit more pieces in the round, so there will be fewer seams at the end. The only snag I came across was the transition from the two legs (knit separately) to the body. I was able to solve the problem by knitting the last round of each leg as if they were on straight needles to open up the circle. Then I was able to join both legs together on dpn's and close up the circle again, but it did leave a gap in the crotch area, which I sewed together this morning.
I also hit a small snag when I shaped the shoulders because it was my first time doing an ssk (a left slanting decrease)combined with a k2tog (right slanting decrease). It took me a while to figure out how the pattern was working, but with this handy visual aid I was able to pull it off:
Here's an unintentionally eerie picture of the bunny in progress:
I decided to stuff the legs and belly this morning before I get too far along on the head. Oh boy, that was fun...and now it's really starting to look and feel like a toy. Can't wait to give this to Elsa.
Sunday, December 3, 2006
It's the Ballband Dishcloth from Mason Dixon Knitting. It's a ton of fun and looks much more complicated than it is. Think I might make a bunch of these with the Sugar and Cream cotton. Gotta love those $1 skeins, a much needed compensation for my excesses at Purl.
As I slowly construct the Ballband Dishcloth brick by brick, I can't but help notice that it's the kitschy equivalent of a modernist grid. I feel like Agnes Martin as I knit, though she would probably never use such bright colors. The colors are Mondrian, but the pattern is Martin.
The beauty of the dishcloth, though, is that it approaches abstraction, but is still grounded in reality. It is meant to be wiped along the back of a wet plate.
Saturday, December 2, 2006
It was worth it to make a trip to the city and really look at the yarn. The thing about Manos is that they don't have dye lots so the colors vary. I looked at the yarn closely and tried to pick skeins that had a similar striated pattern. And I must say that I loved going to Purl, even though they're a bit pricey. I wanted to buy so many yarns, but controlled myself and stuck to the Manos plus one skein of pink angora for Elsa's bunny.
Friday, December 1, 2006
Frustrated, but take it as a sign that I need to slow down and relax. The holidays whipped me into a knitting frenzy and I wanted to give everyone a special gift. I will persist--but tonight I will take a rest. When I get obsessive like this, nothing comes out right.
Frogging is depressing, but part of the learning process. I see no point in continuing to work on something that is dissatisfying or incorrect. Frogging helps me to view what I knit as a process rather than an end product, and after having a good cry I realize that the next time I will build it again even better. This is part of the zen of knitting, which I am only starting to understand.
Plus, there's a certain thrill in the popping of those unravelling stitches:
Excited to say that tomorrow we will go to the city and I will lay my eyes and hands on some fresh yarn. I've decided that getting certain yarn on the internet is a bad idea. The whole point of buying yarn is the tactile and visual sensation, and it's very hard to replicate that experience online unless you know exactly what you're getting. But with the Manos, there is too much variation in the dye and it's necessary to handpick the skeins. Hopefully I will find what I need tomorrow.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I must admit that I do find it difficult to work with lace-weight yarn. Everything feels so slippery and when I do drop a stitch the mending requires micro-surgery. I'm also finding that it's important to keep the stitches loose because when I pull too tight the piece twists as I knit. So I feel like I'm knitting on the edge with this one, and not completely happy with the results. But I do like the challenge.
I'm also venturing into the delightful but very tangled web of fair isle knitting. Last night, I made a swatch for a baby-sized cardigan with a diamond pattern:
At first, I found it difficult to manage both colors, but once I understood the structure of the pattern, I was switching between them pretty easily. I did have a lot of tangling, and I'm not sure if that is something I'm doing wrong, or just one of the messy side effects of fair isle knitting. [eta: I received some generous guidance from a fellow knitter at the Angel Yarns Knitting Forum who recommended looking at http://nonaknits.typepad.com/nonaknits/2006/01/yarn_dominance.html. Now I think I know why my yarns were tangling. Hopefully this will solve the problem, if I can follow the instructions.]
I'm really excited to knit this one for Elsa.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
The scarf was knit with 2 skeins of Debbie Bliss superchunky cashmerino (red), 1 skein of Rowan Kidsilk Haze Mohair (marmelade), 1 skein of Rowan Kidsilk Haze Mohair (candy) on size 11 straight needles. The whole scarf is knit in an easy rib pattern (ki, p1), and all three yarns are twisted together to create a luxurious, textured effect. I am tempted to keep this one for myself, but I will part with it and give it to my mother for a holiday gift.
The gloves were knit with Koigu merino wool on size 3 double pointed needles. The pattern is a bit tricky; it's actually a k2, p2 rib pattern that gets pushed over one every four stitches, creating a coiling effect. Almost looks like cables, without the sweat. This yarn was very thin and sometimes difficult to work with, especially on the dp needles, but the effort was worth it. These gloves will be perfect for driving, or typing on a cold winter's night. Plus they're practical for mamas who need all of their fingers available.