Sunday, September 30, 2007

Swatching-Gone Wrong/Long

On and off in the past few weeks, I've been swatching. I have many stitch collections, and I still haven't knit them all. And really you don't know what a stitch really looks like till you've knit it up in the yarn you intend to use it for.

I had some fine, fine silk and cotton, and was thinking about what to do with it.. and a sampler of stitches swatch sort of evolved--the plan was for a diagonally shaped scarf, so the swatch is shaped the same.
I tried the simple, tried and true, stocking knit with beading..

And then, I decided I like the textured look of the purl stitch, and started playing with some slip stitch patterns, looking for something where the purl stitch is the right side of the work
along the way I made an mistake--(can you see the 'wrong' row in the center of the image?) and decided I like the mistake so much I'd repeat it for a few rows and see how it looked.

I loved the look—but realize, there was no way I was going to work this fine, fine silk in this stitch. The stitch was interesting, but not for this project. Slip stitches have compressed rows.. (more row to an inch than say stocking knit) I put the swatch aside.

But I like the stitch, and thought about how it would look in a stripe. Slip stitches often change dramatically when striped--So, another swatch, in a different yarn, striped.

Remember, I was looking for an interesting, textured purl stitch.
After a dozen rows of my new swatch, I thought about swapping the relative positions of my yarns.

The purl side was predominately green (the solid colored stripe), and the colored stripe, was too under- expressed. There wasn't enough color there.

But look at the wrong side!

Every other row of this slip stitch pattern is 1X1 ribbing.. and the wrong side does sort of looked ribbed.. but the green row of ribbing is so compressed, it hardly visible. The uneven tension creates waves—And what is not visible is how thick and plush the knitting is.

This is definitely a cold weather scarf. It's like a thermal blanket.. Not tightly knit, but dense, with lots of air-trapping spaces.

It's not what I expected, or even what I wanted, but I like what I got! And this swatch is going long.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Finished (for the most part)

And like most sweaters, it won't look its best till Cyrus tries it on..

The headthingy is, I think about the right size, (and the hood looks to be a bit big) but the headthingy has a longer neck than the average 2 year old—so the shoulders are all wrong.

Oh--it hasn't been blocked! but it looks good enough..
I am still thinking of adding some ties for the hood. (I think I'll cheat.. I'll make ties, and Sonya can and them if she thinks they are needed.

I should take some inside pictures too, and show off the hems and interior zipper bands--even the cables are reversible. so the sweater looks good open and flapping.

I hated sweaters much of my childhood, even cardigans; the sleeves were always too bulky, and sweaters too warm--I still like vests better than cardigans-- and I've always tried to make my kids (when they were younger) and grandchildren, the kind of garments I wanted when I was a kid.. (don't know if it always pleases them, but it pleases me!)

My son is rather like me, (and is happier with cooler weather rather than warmer) and I think Cyrus follows suit. Enough here to keep a kid warm, (and a mom happy) with out being too much clothing to interfere with having fun.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Steeks cut, and facings knit.. the outer one has been pinned down so you can see the striped design. They (both the visible front band and in the interior band) were knit in stocking knit. I will sew the zipper in close to cast off edge, and rely on stocking knits tendency to curl to keep the knitting free of the zipper teeth. (Zipper still needs to be sewn in.)

The hood is shaped like a giant short row sock heel and about half done.

It will lie flat (I hope!) when not on—like a large shawl collar.

The edge will be finished with the same checkerboard motif on hems. I think I am going to add some hidden buttons to help hold the finished edge of the hood neat against the neck line edge.

I have been finishing (weaving in tails, etc) as I go, so the sweater is closer to completions than it other wise might be.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Yes, I have been knitting..

Cyrus's sweater needs to be sewn and steeked, zipper plackets (and zipper) and hood still need to be added..
But the body is done--granted, hood is almost an equal amount of knitting, so it can only fairly be called half done—but there are some nice details already, hems of checkerboard. The checkerboard detail will be added to the hood too.

And there is another pair of socks in the works. These were started (with a picot hem) and frogged, months ago! I decided then I don't like to start socks with a picot hem. This new version has a vague picot from the Channel Island cast on.. The knitting is plain stocking knit (an after thought heel is planned)--I'm letting the self striping pattern do all the work

I almost feel entitled to buy some more sock yarn –seeing how my sock yarn stash is once again shrinking. (There is Rhinebeck coming up, and November will see me in San Francisco, (with a whole new bunch of LYS to explore!)

And I have been swatching.. various yarn--like this new Coat's and Clark's entry-- Bamboo Wool, 55%bamboo rayon, and 45% wool.. Very nice hand, nice stitch definition, and an OK price
It retails for $5.95 –at places like A.C. Moore, but who pays full price? There are once a month moonlight madness sales with 25 to 30% off all purchases, and 40% off coupons (go once a day for a week) or just sales. At $4 or less a skein, it's a value yarn.. too bad there is such a limited range of colors available.

Red, blue, raspberry, green, charcoal where the only shade available at my ACM--the colors are very attractive shades.. The blue, on close inspections, has shades of red, and navy, and a depth of color that is remarkable. But there are not light shades, only one shade of grey (dark) no white, cream, tan or browns.. And it is possible to do pastels blues, greens and even pinks that don't scream “baby”--but none of these colors are available!

And I've learned yet another variation of the Long Tail Cast On.. This brings me up to 36? 37? cast on's that I know. At some point I am going to put together some detailed instructions on some of these cast ons.. (there are some tutorials out there, but some of the cast on's I know don't have tutorials.)

And then there is Ravelry.. I haven't really made a dent in adding projects or stash, or all the other features.. and it still eats up time. I've added about 50% of my library.. but many of the knitting books I own aren't in the DataBase yet. But it take time to discover that.

I still have to figure out how to add a Ravelry button to the left margin of the blog.. but I am Oftroy there, too. (as I am on most knitting BB's)

Finally, stealing a good idea from, Jennifer Dickinson, I've been working on a NYC/LI LYS spread sheet.. This is a google document, (read only) every time I think I have finished it, I discover an other half dozen LYS! Still with almost 70 entries, its a good place to start if you are looking for a local yarn store in NYC area (eventually, I'll add the Westchester county stores as well.. but I draw the line a NY--Some one else can do NJ and Conn..

There has also been some mending and cleaning, and there are sewing projects awaiting my time—and a new one.. Have you seen Grossman's Gams? The Tsock Tsarina has once again done the remarkable!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

If you say A...

ACH! It's been 15 day since I've posted..
I could recount all that has been going on.. but..
Do you know the expression, if you say A, you must say B, and if you say B, you must say..

Most of the alphabetic litany would be boring..
A starts with Arthritis.. I have been blessed with 3 kinds! Gout, Osteo and Rheumatic. And yes, it is a blessing of sorts-- there is some (scant, but that's enough for me) evidence that auto immune diseases like arthritis offer some protection against cancers and knock wood, there is lots of arthritis, and relatively little cancer in my family.)
B would be Banishing clutter (clutter is an every present danger! And I was loosing!) which leads into
C--post summer Cleaning... (D- a Dead toaster oven, replaced with one that had a different foot print, (and required rearranging things on the counter top (which refers back to C and B!) )

Most of the litany would be along this dull boring vein.

Let's skip to K-- there has been some knitting.

Cyrus's sweater was put done momentarily--- it is back in the cycle as of today.

One pair of socks, the the Schoeller Stahl Fortissima Colori sock have been completed. (Another pair snuck onto the needles before could pick up Cyrus's sweater, but they are now languishing.)

Worked top down, in a ribbed fagot stitch, worked on a 4 X 1 rib. With the rib continuing into the round heel, and they finished up with a square toe. I rather like the square toe. Its very similar to a flat or french toe, but the decreases have been moved. To work a Square toe, first figure out how many stitches for sole and instep (in my case 60 stitches total so 30 for each)

Then decide on how many stitches you want to decrease—or as I did, how many stitches you want to end with-- in my case, I settled on 10 stitches remaining on each side—at the tip of the toe.
So, starting on one edge of insole, Knit 9, K2tog, (place marker) K8, place marker, SSK, knit 9 --Repeat on sole.
Next round, no decreases.
Then K till 2 before marker, decrease, K to marker, decrease, knit. (repeat pattern on sole.)
(NOTE: in this toe, I used K2tog first, then a SSK, but you can also do a SSK as the first decrease, and K2tog as the second decrease)

Follow this pattern (decreasing every other round), until all the side stitches have be decreased, then kitchener remaining stitches--in my case, the 10 remaining center stitches.

Since I knit my socks on 2 circs, and all the instep (and all the sole) stitches are each all on 1 circ, and it's very easy.. but its not hard to do with DPN's, --since generally stitches are organized with all of the sole of sock on 1 or 2 DPN's, and the instep on the on the other DPN's.

This results in a center group of stitches, and two slanting sides. The end result is toe shaped very similar to the more common flat/french toe... but--just a bit different.
(note (she says pridefully) my lovely ribbing—with out the dreaded stretched out stitch next to the purl.. It's Carnegie Hall quality--from the classic answer to the question How to you get to Carnegie Hall? --Practice, Practice, Practice!)

And a knit necklace..

This is worked on DMC #5 pearl cotton with 24 gm of 6/0 seed beads --mine in a color mix called moonstone, with light grey pearl cotton. But you can choice any color combo that suits your fancy--the choice of color of the pearl cotton and seed beads is entirely up to you.
The entire thing is worked in i-cord.

First, using white glue or nail polish, stiffen the tail of the pearl cotton (about an inch or two)

Thread all of the beads onto pearl cotton (the nail polish stiffened end can be used instead of threading a needle)the single strand of cotton will easily slip through the beads.

With 2 (US size) 2 (or 3) DPN's, cast on 2 (that is 2.5 or 2.75 mm needles)
Work all R's in I-cord.
R1: K2, **bring yarn forward, (as if to purl) slide 1 bead up to last stitch knit, Slip the next stitch on needle, then bring yarn back* (as if to knit.) K2.
** this is the bead stitch*

R2: Start row with a Bead stitch, K2, Bead stitch, K1

R3: K1, Bead stitch, K2, Bead Stitch.

Repeat R's 1 to 3 until all beads have been worked –or till you have reached desired length.

Work 5 R's plain I-cord.
Next row, K1, K2tog, K2tog, (3 stitches)
Work 4 rounds of 3 stitch I-cord.
Next row, K1, K2tog, (2 stitch I-Cord)
Work 1 round, then bind off.

Finish by adding jewelry hardware, or knot tails together with a square knot, and weave tails in. A drop of white glue (a very small drop!) will secure knot and keep it from undoing.

A 24gm tube of beads will yield about 20 to 21 inches of beaded I-cord.--with the unbeaded beginning and ending rows/rounds, this will will result in 24 inch (or so) finished necklace. To make a shorter necklace, work fewer rows of plain I-cord, or fewer rows of Beaded I-cord.

PS--if you haven't done so yet, be sure to link to KnitSonya--she has posted a lovely set of photo's of Miss B modeling her Swirl sweater.