Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Update on Last Week's WIPs

All I've been working on is the sweater, so I don't have much new to report. But! I did take more pictures last week. And while I'm not even farther on the sweater (I only have about 10 rounds to go on the body, and then I need to add the hems to the sleeves and weave in 4,000 ends), this one shows an actual sweater starting to form:

Updated Tubey in Progress

As a bonus, the finished mittens from last week are sitting there, as well!

Also, here's a picture of the Cherry Leaf shawl in progress:

Upated Cherry Leaf Shawl in Progress

I haven't touched it in more than a week (it still sits just as you see it in the picture, at 15 repeats of the Cherry Leaf pattern), but it's going to be getting some attention just as soon as I finish the sweater.

For my next sweater, I'm thinking of joining The Loopy Ewe Dream in Color Classy Sweater KAL, but Classy isn't available in any colors that I want right now, so I have to wait until mid-March. I'm still trying to find the perfect sweater pattern-color combination.

And in case you thought I was just going to tell you uninteresting things about projects I've already discussed in detail, here's some new(ish) yarn! The February Yarn Pirate Booty Club shipment arrived two weeks ago:

Yarn Pirate Merino/Tencel in I Want Candy

It's the Merino/Tencel blend, and the color is called I Want Candy, in case you cannot see it. It was totally perfect for February/Valentine's Day, but unexpected all the same!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Various WIPs

I kept meaning last week to post a "here's what I'm working on" entry, but I never got around to it, and not much has changed. I do have one FO to report, but I'll wait until tomorrow on that one. It's the socks I made for the Loopy Ewe Swap, and now that they've been received, I'm in the clear to post about them. I might wait until I get my package from my pal, though, which should come sometime this week (I think - she emailed me to say that she was on vacation last week and would get the package out this week).

Anyhow, most of my attention lately has been devoted to just a handful of projects, all of which I'm trying to pay attention to. The first is a pair of mittens. I used two sources for my mittens - the first was Mittens 101 from Knitty to get the basic formula on what to do. I've used this before and it came out well, so I figured I would stick with it. I didn't want a plain mitten, though, so I flipped through some patterns and finally settled on Stansfield #11 from Sensational Knitted Socks. That gave me this:

Stansfield #11 Mittens in Progress

Yes, the cuffs are incredibly long. I wanted them that way, because I always feel that mitten/glove cuffs are too short - when I move around, there's always exposed skin between where the cuff ends and where the cuff of my coat falls. I'm hoping these long cuffs will prevent that. I used Knit Picks Cadena, by the way, and I think the alpaca will make them nice and warm.

I didn't want just plain mitts, though, and so I had always planned to add a "fancy" cuff (directions given in Mittens 101) with Knit Picks Twirl. I actually picked the pattern stitch based on it going well with the nubby texture of twirl.

Here are the mitts with the cuffs on but not sewn up:

Mittens in Progress

I did take care of sewing them up over the weekend, though, so now they're finished. I'll do a proper FO entry once I have a chance to wash and photograph them.

Once the mittens were near completion, I cast on for another project - another lace shawl! I have a nice little (I stress little and I like it that way) lace yarn collection, so I was itching to try something new. I turned to my favorite lace source, Victorian Lace Today and chose to match some single ply merino laceweight from The Plucky Knitter with the Shoulder Shawl in Cherry Leaf Pattern on page 134. Here it is after the first 44 rows:

Shoulder Shawl in Cherry Leaf Pattern in Progress

I've now completed 15 leaf repeats. Because the pattern starts at the point and works up to the neckline, it doesn't look much different than before, just bigger. The pattern says to work 15 repeats (like I've done) but it looks a little small so I think I'm going to add in 3 more (I'd do 6 but I don't think I have the yardage - I've already put in a lifeline at 15 in case I have to go back) to make it just a little bigger. It will also have a knitted-on border. I just want something I can put over my shoulders and tie, and I think this will be perfect (maybe ready for my trip to Atlanta at the end of March? We'll see).

I've also been working on Tubey, my poor, neglected, oldest WIP. I finished the shrug part of the pattern about a week and a half ago, and it looked a little like this:

Tubey in Progress

Sorry for such a shadowy picture. I'm using Knit Picks Swish Worsted, and I love it. And yes, I'm doing pretty much the same colors as in the pattern because I loved how they looked together so much! On Sunday I picked up the stitches for the body and I'm through about 4 inches. I tried it on and I *think* it's actually going to fit me and look good, which I'm excited about. This will be my first pullover with sleaves, as the other sweaters I've made have been cardigans (that look... okay) or tanks. I'm getting excited about finishing it and having something cute to wear.

And last but not least, I've been working on Roza's Socks. I would have taken another picture, but they look pretty much the same as before, just a little further along, but not to the heel yet. I plan on making nice-sized cuffs since the yardage is good and the pattern is stretchy. Plus I'm not feeling the sock love these days (maybe I did too much?) so it's nice to work on other projects. Socks will always be my portable project of choice, though, so I won't ever give them up completely (and I think they'll make a comeback over the summer when the only thing I can stand to knit made out of wool in the heat is socks!).

Friday, February 08, 2008

My Second Short Row Rib Scarf

It's nice to know that a week of regular blogging was all it would take to get me almost back to up to date on FOs! Maybe I will soon be able to achieve my goal of posting more about what I'm doing NOW rather than what I did a few weeks (or even months in some cases!) ago.

My youngest sister, Emilee, turned 11 on Wednesday. When I was visiting for the holidays, I saw the first scarf I made her two years ago and decided it was time for a new one. After confirming with my mother that Emilee likes purple (her favorite color has recently switched from pink to blue), I dug into the stash and made this:

Short Row Ribbed Scarf #2

Pattern: Magknits
Yarn: Handpaintedyarn.com Merino Bulky, Klematis, 2 skeins
Needles: US 10.5
Project Timeline: 1/22/08 - 1/25/08

I know that I've previously mentioned how much I love this yarn, and it's my default gift scarf yarn of choice. In fact, I don't have anything knit up in this yarn, despite having used to it several times in the past (I do, however, have plans to make this sweater, once I can get my hands on the correct number of skeins).

I also love this pattern - this is the second time I've made this scarf, and it goes by so fast. After 20 repeats of the main section, it feels a little short, but blocking gives it the right amount of length. I do think, however, that fringe is necessary, because otherwise the ends of the scarf don't really match. Luckily, the yardage in 2 skeins of this yarn is enough to do 20 repeats plus a respectable amount of fringe.

The package arrived yesterday, so I hope that my sister enjoys the scarf. If not, I threw a $25 iTunes gift certificate in there, figuring that at least that would please an 11-year-old.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

More Sock FOs

I can't believe I am finally up-to-date enough to post about 2008 FOs! Today there are two pairs of socks, both of which have made their way to their intended homes.

The first pair was originally intended for my friend Kathy as a birthday present. Her birthday is in late November, but when another friend asked if I wanted to go in on something for her birthday, I figured I could put off the socks until Christmas. of course, I didn't exactly finish on time, and then I ran out of yarn 7 rows from completion, but I was able to get more yarn and finish the socks in time for the Lost marathon we had a few weeks ago.

Kathy is a HUGE Pirates of the Caribbean fan, so I knew I had to make her these:

Jack Sparrow's Favorite Socks #2 - 2 of 3

Pattern: Katydid Knits
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, Black Purl, 1 skein; Knit Picks Essential, Black, 1 skein (well, small part of one and small part of another); Louet Gems Fingering, White, 1 skein
Needles: US 1/US 0
Project Timeline: 11/19/07 - 1/22/08

This is the second time I've knit the pattern, so I knew what changes I would want to make. First, it's toe up, and I really love the squishy garter stitch short-row toe and heel, so I used that. Also, the stranding pattern is written for 64 stitches, but I've found that because of the inflexibility of stranding, it's not enough. So I extended it to 72 stitches by making the diamonds between the skulls bigger. The rest of the sock is done over 64 stitches, though - I increased right before the stranding pattern, and decreased right after. I also made sure to start the pattern at the back center, instead of the side, so that the "seam" would be in back. I think these were a little more successful than the first time I knit them (particularly because that time I had to reknit the cuffs since they were too small - oops). Kathy loves them and thinks they give her good luck, so I think I did well!

Ohh, one more thing - I'd forgotten how THIN Lorna's Laces is, which is why I went down slightly in needle size. After some of the other sock yarns I've used, this felt like string! I still love it, and still have lots of it to knit up, but wow does that take some getting used to.

The second pair of socks I gifted in January were knit in only a week! This was partly because I only had a week to knit them, but still - they went very fast. Things have been a little rough the past couple of months, and a friend was kind enough to send me a care package to cheer me up. I decided to thank her by sending her a hand-knit pair of socks for her birthday (hence the quick deadline). I chose to use the yarn I received from The Loopy Ewe as a customer appreciation gift when I became a "Loopy Groupie" - Gypsy Knits BFL in Mountain Rain (Cat likes the color blue). What pattern did I choose?

Monkey Socks - 2 of 2

Pattern: Knitty
Yarn: Gypsy Knits BFL Superwash, Mountain Rain, 1 skein
Needles: US 1.5
Project Timeline: 1/9/08 - 1/15/08

Monkey, of course! I'd never knit this pattern, but decided now was the time to give it a go. I did widen it a bit, up to 72 stitches by extending the pattern. I also chose to do a picot cuff instead of a regular ribbed one. While this was fiddly on circular needles, I think the end result is nice.

I was a little worried about yardage on this yarn - it's only 360 yards, and Cat has size 11 feet! Yikes! Turns out I had just enough (few), and I did six pattern repeats on the cuff, which is exactly what the pattern called for.

I did like the yarn overall, though. While I have a few other skeins of BFL sock yarn, this was the first one I'd used, and I enjoyed the experience - soft, sturdy, shiney, good twist. I don't see a lot of Gypsy Knits BFL available, either on Etsy or The Loopy Ewe, but I hope there is more in the future, because I'd definitely buy another skein or two.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Socks, Socks, Sock, S....

I have 2 1/2 pairs of socks to post about today. Why 2 1/2? You'll see later on in the post!

The first pair was knit as a birthday present for a friend of mine, Kim, whose birthday was in early September. I wasn't able to get them done in time, though, because of several birthdays right in the same time period and because of the Italy Sweater (plus the trip to Italy). That wasn't the biggest deterrent, though, because Kim moved to Switzerland for grad school at the end of August! I was waiting until I could mail them with something else, or to give to her boyfriend to give to her, but neither of those things worked out, so I just put them in the mail a fews weeks ago ($11 shipping wasn't terrible and she got them about five days later).

Waving Lace Socks - 1 of 8

Pattern: Favorite Socks
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock, Moody Blues, 1 skein
Needles: US 1.5
Project Timeline: 9/9/07 - 10/21/07

First, I absolutely love CTH Supersock. I love the short color repeats, I love the twist, I love the softness, I love the twist, and since I have a pair of socks of my own knit with this yarn, I love that it wears well, too. This is definitely on a list of my favorite sock yarns. The color, by the way, was chosen especially for Kim, because she loves blue.

Second, I loved the pattern. It was super easy to memorize, and looks great, particularly with this hand-dyed yarn that gives a mottled look. The pattern gives two options - a ribbed cuff or a decorated edge, and I went with the decorative edge, which I think fits with this sock perfectly. I will definitely be making these socks again, maybe in CTH for myself!

Kim says she loved them, and that while I said she could machine wash them, she'll probably handwash them because she's afraid they'll wear out!

Here's another picture, this time of both socks, and maybe you can see the decorative edge a bit better here:

Waving Lace Socks - 7 of 8

The second pair of socks was knit for me. I wound up four balls of sportweight yarn for my trip to Italy, but only got through two of them. For my trip to Chicago for the holidays, I decided I would use one of the leftovers (maybe I'll use the final leftover on my trip to Atlanta next month!) to make myself a quick pair of no-stress socks.

Cable Rib Socks - 2 of 2

Pattern: Favorite Socks
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Heavyweight, Falcon's Eye, 1 skein
Needles: US 3
Project Timeline: 12/21/08 - 12/28/08

Note: I did not realize until I just put in the details that I was posting two FOs from the same book, Favorite Socks! Those are the first two pairs I've knit from the book, but so far so good, I guess!

Anyhow, this was another yarn that I really liked, though unfortunately STR Heavyweight is kinda pricey ($27.50/skein, I believe). The socks are nice and thick, though not too thick, and I like that unlike other STR colorways, this one knit up mottled (I like mottled, in case you couldn't tell). Also, sportweight sock yarn = fast!

There was nothing too special about the pattern (which I had to adjust for the sportweight yarn - I changed the number of stitches cast on and adjusted the placement of the cables, and I think maybe the number of stitches/rows for the cables, as well, but I don't completely remember off the top of my head), but it was easy to remember and execute. I did the cables without a cable needle, which was a little tricky here (it's sort of 2 x 1 x 2 with that middle stitch being a purl stitch) but since it was only 2 cables every 8 rows, not too bad.

You can see the cables open a bit more in this picture:

Cable Rib Socks - 1 of 2

The third pair of socks is not really a pair, it's just a single sock. I keep all of my projects organized in a spreadsheet on my computer (which I started pre-Ravelry, but contains a lot of the same information). And because I'm a bit of a geek, I assign them all numbers, with the first project I ever did (a scarf made out of fun fur) as #1 and my latest project (a pair of mittens) as #106. The Cable Rib Socks above were project #99, and I wanted #100 to be special, but I've also been trying to minimize WIPs, so I didn't want to cast on for anything big.

Enter Loopy's Red Sock. This was a mini kit that I got from The Loopy Ewe after my fifth order, I believe. It contained a small amount a CTH Supersock (which you know I love, after I raved about it a few paragraphs ago) and a pattern for a mini sock. I decided it would make a good decoration for my car, made the mini sock in one evening, and hung it from my review mirror!

Loopy's Red Sock

Pattern: The Loopy Ewe
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock, Wild Cherry (I think), way less than 1 skein
Needles: US 1.5
Project Timeline: 12/28/07

I think it's really cute and special, and it makes my car recognizable to my friends. :-)

That pretty much wraps up the projects I finished in 2007. I have two more, and will hopefully get to them soon, but while I technically consider them to be FOs, they need a little bit more work (blocking for one, a button for another). Tomorrow (I hope!) I will start posting about projects completed in 2008!

As an indication that I have been knitting this year (even though this blog really hasn't helped show that lately), here's picture of one of my current projects, Roza's Socks from the Spring 2007 issue of Interweave Knits, knit in Dream in Color Smooshy (colorway is Petal Shower):

Roza's Socks in Progress

Yum! I started these last week, and have been focusing my attention on some other projects in the meantime, but these are great to have for when I'm bored or stuck in line. I knit on them while waiting to buy a parking permit last week and while waiting in line to vote yesterday!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Rockin' Sock Club 2007 - The End, uhh, Was Near

Work has finally died down, after a month plus of chaos, and hopefully that means I can post more often. This is very good, because I have a SERIOUS backlog of projects to write about. Also, it's either that I'm actually knitting faster or project monogamy makes it SEEM like I'm knitting faster, but I seem to be finishing projects a whole lot faster these days. I knit a pair of socks (on a deadline) in a week in the middle of January! Yikes!

Anyhow, in continuing the last post about sock clubs, I will today post about the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club for 2007. As you might remember, I did not re-up my membership. But, I have since last talking about it finished pair #5 from 2007 and received the last club shipment.

First, my Lenore socks, since I finished them before receiving the last kit (which I did 4 out of 5 times during 2007):

Lenore - 2 of 2

Pattern: Blue Moon Fiber Arts (Rockin' Sock Club October pattern)
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight, Lenore, 1 skein
Needles: US 1.5
Project Timeline: 11/8/07 - 11/27/07

These had me cast on only 63 stitches, and I was unsure if this was going to be enough, but the Yarn Harlot (author of the pattern) assured us in the pattern that it would be fine. And she was right! I really like how these fit, since they are snug (not too snug) and stay up well on my leg. Also, I love the color - I can wear these with almost anything.

Both the color and the pattern were inspired by Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven," which I also enjoy.

Here's another shot, this time with both feet:

Lenore - 1 of 2

Now onto the December package! Speculation started before everyone started to receive the kits that it would be a Cat Bordhi pattern, and we were not let down!

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Mediumweight - Bella Coola / Nuxalk

This one is the Mediumweight version of the yarn, and the color is Bella Coola / Nuxalk, and the color and the pattern (Salish Sea Socks) are related to each other, though I don't remember how. The pattern uses one of Cat Bordhi's new constructions from her new book. I can't wait to try these, and hopefully get the book at some point, because I'm really intrigued by a challenge. The color is very blue - I don't navigate towards blues usually, but I like this well enough. Hopefully I'll be able to knit these up soon (probably after the current pair of socks I have on the needles, which are being done in Dream in Color Smooshy!).

I'm sad the club is over, particularly because 2008 participants have already received their first kit, and it's very red, which is my favorite color. But I keep reminding myself that I have plenty of sock yarn, and that I can always buy that color sometime next year. :-P