Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lace Shawl I

This one started out as some yarn I got from my LYS. They hand-dye a 50/50 silk/merino and have several gorgeous colorways, but dye lots are hugely different. I got the yarn as a gift from a gift certificate a year ago and have been playing with it but nothing transpired until I started this pattern. Unfortunately, I knew about 3/4 of the way in I wold not have enough yarn. A friend was knitting a sweater with the same yarn, from the same dye lot and I traded her the left overs for my roving and started the border. When you start the border on a shawl like this you think "whew! almost there" and then you realized you have to knit about 40 stitches just to bind off one. I had about 600 stitches on the needles to bind off. The border took as long as the shawl.
Anyway, it ended up being a little less than five feet across, with extensive stretching and blocking. I would have liked it to be larger but there is no way I'm undoing my work. Other than that the shawl is perfect--it's pretty, it's soft and drapey, and has just enough weight to feel substantial.
I have another shawl on the needles. It is in a very fine, threadlike yarn and is on sixe 0 needles. I've one almost 100 rows and the thing would block to about the size of a handkerchief. And every row gets longer. It will be a three year project.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

They're Small and Fast

I discovered I had a large quantity of worsted wool scraps and decided I could knit a couple small sweaters for my boys. They may even be done before the first snow! The brown one is completly original. I used the EZ percentage system and made the hybrid. The green sweater is inspired by a jacket from Dale of Norway. This one was EZ's raglan and then I steeked the front.
I love steeks. It is terrifying to cut your knitting. Yes you take scissors and slice right down into your work. But it makes the knitting so much faster knowing you don't have to purl stranded knitting.

I still need to weave in ends (really?) and block them both. I also think I will knit hems for the sleeves of the green one and I need to add a zipper but I think they're so cute! And I used up lots of my scraps. I did however order too many extra balls of brown and green.
Too bad the cat doesn't look good in brown.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Cursed Yarn

Most knitters have heard of it. Knit long enough and you will become intimate with it.

Cursed yarn.

I was reminded of cursed yarn recently at my SnB. A fairly new knitter had finished her project and had brought in a couple new skeins of yarn. She said her friend had discovered her new hobby and had given her this yarn so she could knit a scarf. These skeins had been purchased "a while ago."

That should have been our first clue.

One was a pom pom yarn. The strand was fine with a large slub every inch. The second yarn was a fat, tweedy bloucle. The intention being to knit both together. It looked promising.

Our knitter, as I said, is relatively new to the hobby. Novelty yarn is not the way for her to go yet. But we assured her we could get her into this. We gave her lots of advice and helped her as best we could. The store wound the two skeins into one chubby ball and the cast-on started. After fighting for five minutes to cast-on 10 stitches we pulled her needles and cast on for her. Then she was having problems pulling the slubby yarn through her needles. Another lady took the needles and tried to help by showing some tricks. After doing about four rows she handed the needles back.

This was when someone stood up and accidently tripped over the trailing yarn and pulled the thing completely off the needles. There was no realistic way to pick up these stitches (the yarn was just that weird) and the only option to start over.

Our new knitter put the yarn back in her bag and decided to go shopping instead. Smart. I'm guessing this yarn misbehaved for the original owner too. It just refuses to be anything and at least it was discovered now.

It was a turquoise color, should you happen to be at a thrift store or a garage sale. You have been warned.

Tension Issues

I have discovered a tension issue with my knitting and I can't figure it out.

The deal is: When I switch from knitting to purling, there is an excess amount of yarn used in the process. It is most noticable in k2p2 ribbing when all the leftmost stiches in each knit column are larger than the others. I'm finding it also shows up in my cables.

I hold my yarn in my right hand and I suspect this has something to do with my trouble.

For now, I am wrapping that first purl stitch tightly in the wrong direction and this helps, but it's annoying.

Does anyone else have this problem?

Aran Swatches

While in the middle of all my other projects--some with minor timelines--I have been swatching for DH's Aran sweater. I got a ball of KnitPicks Cotton/merino blend and it doesn't seem right. It creates a very thick and heavy fabric and the cotton simply doesn't have the "give" that I really want if I'm going to be knitting this.

The problem is the DH preferred the feel of the cotton to pure wool. I may consider and alpaca wool blend for the softness but I am concerned how warm alpaca can be. DH definately won't wear a sweater that will overheat him.

What to do, what to do?
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