Thursday, April 20, 2006

Back from vacation

We were in Louisiana for the last week visiting the in-laws. Got a lot done on my socks for the knit-along I'm a member of. Six socks a year--a new pair every two months. Maybe I'll get these finished by the end of May. I'll post a pic later.

Restarted the mittens while I was there. It's wierd trying to figure out the increases myself since the pattern was wrong. It's going a little slower than before, mainly because I'm getting distracted by other projects.

While in Louisiana I decided to do something that I had been contemplating for the past six months. I'm ripping out what I had completed of the Aran-style sweater I was making for myself (started it four years ago). I had the back and half the front complete. Over 1500 yds of yarn...

Started ripping about four hours ago. Ripped out the front and am halfway through the back.

Why am I ripping it out? Because it gives me a headache to look at it. I'm not in love with the pattern anymore. I've found a pattern in one of my other books, also Aran-style, that will look better in that yarn. So once I rip it, I'll put it back on the needles and start over. However, I will be knitting in the round instead of in pieces that have to be sewn together.

I'm going to make myself some strong coffee to get myself through the next few hours of ripping.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Alright. This has been an annoying day! Remember those mittens I was working on? Well, I had to pull every stitch out.

Warning to anyone who has the Folk Mittens book from Interweave Press and who plans to do the Selbu Mittens. There is a major discrepancy between the chart and instructions and the way in which the author intended the mitten to be knitted. Oh, and now I'm supposed to be a mind reader????

Anyway... I got a good piece done on the mitten and started comparing it to the sample photo. Hey! The palm area on my mitten doesn't look at all like the sample. Shot off an e-mail to Interweave last night and got a reply today. At least they're quick.

Turns out that the author intended the knitter to not knit the stitches between the thumb gore and the border. This of course subtracts five stitches which need to be increased in the thumb gore, not in the first pattern row as she states.

The instructions say to cast on 54 stitches, work cuff in 2x1 rib as long as you wish, then increase 6 stitches evenly in first round (60 stitches). This should leave you with 30 stitches for the back of the hand and 30 for the palm, except for the fact you have to leave out those five stitches! So basically at the end of the cuff, you make sure you have 30 for the back of the hand, then add one measly stitch in the first row of the thumb gore and increase the next five as you go up the thumb gore!

Big difference!! So I ripped it all out and I'm starting over. Sheesh, and to think I plan to give these mittens away!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Long time no blog!

Catching up on UFOs sure does take time away from new projects. I'm finishing up some things that I started before the Knitting Olympics. OTN (On the needles): bedsocks for me in worsted weight llama fiber, a sweater for my youngest for next year, and dress socks for my husband.

Last year I got a lot of knitting books for Christmas and I promised my family members mittens. (I got the Folk Mittens book.) I've been going through it and picking out patterns for my brother, SIL and mom. My husband is getting kilt hose from the Folk Socks book. Four fairly complex projects finished by Christmas??? I hope so.

I've started the mittens for my SIL. I'll post a picture of my progress as soon as I have achieved some. Right now all I have is one blue 2" long cuff...

Getting back to the sweater for my youngest. You think you know your kids. His favorite color is green. He picked out a nice leaf green last year that he wanted the sweater made from. I got a sweater complete except for one sleeve; he looked at the pattern and said, "No, Mommy, I wanted a green one like my brother's."

Two years ago I did a sweater for my oldest that looks like the sweater Harry Potter wears for Quidditch matches--burgundy crew neck with a wide gold stripe across the chest. Stephen tells me that he wants a dark green sweater with a silver stripe. "But, honey," I say, "green and silver are the Slytherin colors. They're not the good guys." "That's OK, Mommy," he says, "I'll be the good Slytherin." Oh, dear...

So now I'm knitting a Slytherin Quidditch sweater in a rather nice mohair yarn. Gotta admit that it's a pretty color combination.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Choosing what to do now...

Such a flurry of activity going down to the wire on the Olympic socks. I was left not really knowing what to do next.

Well, I'm not starting a new project, that's for sure. I've got a lot of UFOs to deal with. Socks for my husband in a really sweet feeling gray Silja fingering weight wool, bedsocks for myself in soft brushed alpaca (I'm afraid I'm not going to have enough yarn to finish the foot, so I may have a frog coming my way soon), and socks for my youngest in self-patterning Fortissima Colori. That's only three UFOs!

There are also two sweaters for me, a sweater for my youngest and two scarves which will probably find themselves converted to socks. It continually amazes me how focussed I am on sock-knitting nowadays. I hated doing them with DPNs but, now that I've learned how to do them with two circulars, I love knitting socks.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

I did it!!!!!

The socks are finished!! Before the end of the Olympics!!

I DID IT! I focused on one project for 16 days and got it done!

Woo Hoo! Yay for me! Here is the photo of the finished product.

Now I'm going to choose a new project. Probably the kilt hose I promised to my husband a month ago. I'm off to soak my poor sore hands for a while now.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Delays, delays...

I've not gotten as far on the new sock by now as I'd hoped. I arrived back home yesterday to find that my husband had a "crisis". One of the waist straps on his kilt was coming off and needed to be repaired immediately! 5:00pm on a Sunday and I'm supposed to find someone to mend his kilt... Uh huh...

I did a little knitting last night but today I decided that mending the kilt myself would leave me with more knitting time than driving all over town trying to find someone who could mend it. Bear in mind I've never mended a kilt before... but how hard could it be???

I went to pick up some strong thread to sew the leather strap back on. Did you know that the hand sewing needles called sharps can actually be pushed through leather with a thimble? I know that now. And if your finger's in the way they'll go through that too.

So now I sit here with a band-aid on my finger wondering if the pain has subsided enough to knit. Can you say glutton for punishment? I already rubbed a callous on my finger from knitting so long the other night. Didn't know I could do that either...

As promised here's the pic of the finished sock. I have gotten far enough with the next one that I've finished the ribbing and started the lace. I think I'm going to make it.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

One down and one to go...

I finished sock number one. I was up wayyyy too late last night trying to finish too. There was a point when I realized I had to quit for the night. It was when I fell asleep sitting up and bumped my head on the wall behind me.

I had to change the toe a bit because it didn't quite look like I wanted it too. I'll post a pic to prove it's finished tomorrow. Right now I'm updating this from my mom's computer and she doesn't have the photo program I need.

Off to cast on sock number two! I just might do this knitting olympics thing after all.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I'm My Own Worst Enemy

No post yesterday because I spent most of the evening trying to recover from a huge mistake I made Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning. I was such an idiot!

I had the heel flap done and the heel turned, all the gusset stitches picked up and was getting ready to decrease the gusset when I looked at the heel and thought, "That will never fit my foot." The pattern suggested using a smaller needle than the US 2 for the foot so that the heel would wear longer and be denser. I could have sworn the pattern said to use a US 1. Unfortunately I was so sure I didn't read the pattern to find out. That heel was better suited to a Barbie doll than me! Oh, it was tiny! Read the pattern, people! I can't say it enough.

When I finally checked the pattern, it said US1.5. Well, I didn't have that one and my local yarn shop didn't either so to heck with it. I decided to just use the US 2 I'd been using all along. Yep, I ripped it out! 35 rows of knitting back to the end of the lace leg.

I did it the bold way too. Pulled the needles out and tugged the yarn; then went in and had to pick up all those little stitches. First time I've ever done that and hopefully the last...

If this sock doesn't kill me, at least I will have experienced every mistake that it's possible to make with a sock I believe. FYI, the sock is being knit on US2 circular needles, two of them, with Brown Sheep Nature Spun fingering weight. The color is Mountain Purple.

Sock progress pictures side and back view. As you can see, I've made up all lost ground and I'm on my way toward knitting the foot. Whether I'll get two finished by next Sunday's closing ceremonies remains to be seen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Yarn Overs and Other Oddities

Yep, Lara, you gave me the idea for the previous post. What's a yarn over (YO in pattern speak)?

A yarn over is when you wrap the yarn around the needle before making the next stitch. Visualize looking at your needles. You're in the middle of a knit row (works with purl too). Before you knit the next stitch, you wrap the yarn from back to front around the needle, insert the needle in the next loop and make your stitch. This adds a stitch to the row. (Usually YOs are combined with decreases to maintain an even stitch count. I'll talk about those another time.) When you come back with the next row and purl or knit the yarn over you end up with a hole in your work because this is a loose stitch. You've made lace!

Sometimes beginning knitters make yarn overs unintentionally when they forget to move the yarn to the back after finishing purl stitches and starting knits again. This is why sometimes you suddenly have more stitches than you started with.

As far as beginning and ending stitches on the purl side of a piece (this assumes you're knitting flat stockinette). I usually just purl them but this can make the edges curl in. No biggie if you're planning to seam pieces together, but not so pretty on a scarf. If you knit the first and last stitches of a purl row, you make a very narrow garter stitch edge. This doesn't curl up as easily. Another possible method is to slip the first stitch of the purl row as if to purl (transfer it from the left needle to the right without purling) then purl the row. At the beginning of the next knit row, slip the first stitch as if to purl (keep yarn in back though!) as well then knit the row. I've never tried this on a scarf or blanket, but this is the way to put the edge on the heel flap of a sock, more or less!

A Knitter is a Knitter!

If you know how to knit and purl, that's it! You already know every stitch you need to become an accomplished knitter!

What separates beginning knitters from advanced knitters? The advanced knitters know how to put those two simple stitches into more complex patterns, or maybe they're just less afraid to try. The beginning knitter looks at an Aran sweater and thinks, "Gosh, I could never do that!" Well, the knitter of that Aran was once a beginner like you.

So what if you have a frog a project a few times? Everybody does.

My sock got ripped out because (as usual) I found myself neglecting my yarn overs. That's what makes the little holes in lace. Sheesh... What a mess! Back to square one!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Joining the Knitting Olympics

OK, so I'm dense... Three days late but I finally got around to looking up this thing called the Knitting Olympics. Wouldn't you know the first site returned would be the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. I love her site.

Well, I'm going to try this Knitting Olympics thing. By the end of the closing ceremonies I have to finish my project--lace socks. As it happens I did cast on a new project during the opening ceremony so I'm OK with the rules that far.

Anyone who knows me knows that finishing a project in a set amount of time will be quite a challenge for me. I am severely focus-challenged when it comes to knitting. With upwards of 12 UFOs in my knitting corner, I usually work on something different every time I sit down.

The sock I'm knitting is the February pattern for the Yahoo message group Six Socks a Year. I'll post my progress pic here as it changes.

Here's my progress as of today:

One partial leg done. Off to do some more.