Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Progress? Yes, Progress

First the Hill and Dale lace socks.. almost ready to start the heel—White will be the color of choice. I have lots of left over mini skeins (each about 8 to 10g) but I use the solid color ones up all the time.. as a contrasting cast on, or edging, or little bits of stranded work on the top edge. or.. 

Well in lots of different ways. I had some orange—but it was too orange (and not peach) and I had some green—but again, too green so white it is.

With out being stretched on foam shapers, it becomes clear that the lace pattern is also a rib--so the socks will be nice and snug.

Next—a finished UFO  It was all knit, it just need some seaming to finish, and as I finished it, I remembered why it became a UFO--to heavy, to big, to stretchy.  It was a nice idea--that never worked out.

This is Patons Katrina--a rayon and polyester blend (from about 10 years ago!) this sweater is a ton!  I wanted an over sized cardigan, and this is one but the sheer weight of it drags it out of shape.  I am am hoping a machine washing will help--but I think this sweater will be recycled.  

This scarf—Shag from Lynne Barr'sKnitting New Scarves-- is just ball of Patons Soy wool Stripe yarn... I have an other skein of this yarn. 2 in fact, one a matching solid, and another in the same colorway which is enough to finish it if I want. Since I really think it needs to be at least 2—and maybe 3 times the length it is now to be right –but do I want to finish it? It is a fun design—but I am not sure I like it enough to finish.

Not knitting, but wool related is this Good Wool Witch--a needle felted object.—She needs hand knit leggings (and felted shoes) and clothing and a hat. I really like her—and she will be finished.. soon, I think.

There are some other UFO-- I haven't decided yet to finish or frog—and my queue of things I want to knit keeps growing and growing and growing. I have been good this past year (since Smiley's closed) and have only bought a single skein of yarn--(which has been knit up, and blocked!)--goodness knows I can work my stash for a few years with out running out of projects.

In an embarrassing state of richness, I have about 3 lbs of silk yarn alone to work! Which is right now, in front of me—and looking at it makes me want to work on some!

Some not really in a color I like (red and blue color way) but silk is easy to over dye, and violet and blue violet are an option—one I especially like. I have 3 bolus—One hank 350+ yards, and two cakes that need to be come hanks if I want to over dye, that are each about 325 yards each—or about 1000 yards total! Enough for a summer shell (with very short sleeves).

That not all, there is another 500 yard cake in a multi colored natural/blue/violet—and 900 or so yards in natural... together—a full cardigan worth of silk.

There is more silk than this.. white, natural, blue black...even some peach—lots of silks. Too MUCH! And to be truthful—knitting it all up just moves it from one pile (silk stash) to another (summer tops)--which I also have too many of! Is it hording when it is silk?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Some Very Old UFO's

One—almost finished in this past week—and one awaiting it's turn.

First—the one that is almost a FO—a swing type sweater...about 8 or 9 years old.

As I picked this up to finish (the neck bind off, a sleeve to sew in—plus some ends to weave in) I remembered why I abandon it.
1—this stretchy rayon yarn (Patons Katrina) weighs a ton...The finished garment weighs pounds, and the weight of it has it hanging.. The neck –large to begin with, is so stretchy –and it stretches out. Even with some stay stitching. I really liked the yarn –but not the results.

2--It is too big...I wanted a large oversized sweater, but this is just too big... everywhere. The neck is too big, the sleeves are too long, the width is just way too much. It is oversized every where—except the length—which is OK, not cropped, but not really long either.. I remember knitting this when I was serving grand jury duty which makes it 10 years old or so.

But I finished it up this week —well it still needs buttons and to blocked. —It calls for hand washing, but I machine wash rayon garments all the time, I will machine wash and dry—and see if doing so helps... If not, it will find its way into a donation bag. Someone might like it.

Another UFO (this is I have been thinking about) is this one—the Good Wool Witch—The hard part is done—her face—but she needs clothes--some red stockings, and some felted shoes, a skirt, a top and shawl. She will also get a pair of spectacles. I have wool both fleece and fingering yarn so I can knit or needle felt. She might just be finished—soon.

The plan is to knit stocking, and stuff them, and then felt them to the body—and then knit a skirt and shawl to dress her (a wild hat, too! ) and to make some felted shoes.. Her torso is held stiff with a “spine” (a wooden stick)but her legs and arm will be soft...I am not one for stuffed animals or toys really, but I like the good wool witch. She will watch over my stash.

There are some more UFO's besides these two—some will be finished, some scrapped...

Thursday, April 21, 2016

And Now There is Blue

A full colorway is complete-- And a little bit more. I will likely start the heel, as the second repeat of color way nears completion, (just guessing by the length of the leg as I completed the first color way--which was 3.5 inches)

When, I started, the color way (from pink to peach) was about a half round (30 or so stitches) off from being a perfect match (even though I started each sock close to identical.) And to be honest, being a half round off didn't bother me. But as I worked my way through the colors, things changed. At this point there is a 2.5 round difference.  You can clearly see that--

I wasn't sure when I started what heel I was going to work... but the difference in the stripes has decided for me. I will work a F/T/G flap, in a contrasting color a purple or perhaps a darker blue--or White? Some other color? 

I am not sure—first I will check my huge (2 gallon zip lock bag) of left overs, and see if there is anything handy that works— If not, I will check my stash of sock yarns (I know I have some spring (light) green, and some yellow, and peach—and see which one works best.

The heel flap and turn will be worked in contrasting yarn, and the main yarn (well one of the cakes) will be cut, and I will start out again, with matching stripes. The gussets stripes will be narrower anyway, and this will help reset the color way.

I don't mind stripes a little off, and I do like matching socks...this correction will bring them closer to matching again.


That was yesterday—Pink is completed, and peach is now being worked.

Monday, April 18, 2016


Again? Yes, again. Another skein of Meil Magic, (more than a few years old)is working up quickly—well once I finally settled on a cast on, and a stitch pattern!

A crochet cast on, with open picots, and then welting for the cuff. The lace is a simple enough one—I had it memorized in a single repeat—It is one of those that just is so easy.  8 rows, half plain (well knit the knit and purl the purls sort of plain) Row 1 and Row 5 are the same, (and symmetrical) Rows 3 and 7, are mirror images.. One is a left hand set of increases and decreases, the second a set of right hand increases and decreases. The hardest part of this lace pattern is: Every row (well, not rows, but rounds) starts with a purl stitch. This doesn't bother me at all...

I like the spring colors in the color way—Pink, peach, marigold yellow, pure yellow, light green and turquoise--(which I have just started) and then back to pink

I really like the combination of horizontal color stripes, and vertical lace—I think it balances –I tend to like symmetry (and this lace has it) and I love Roy G Biv color ways (which this isn't quite, but close) so I am very happy I took all the time I did to find the right pattern...

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Why? Just why? (The Knitters Dilemma)

I have no idea why I knit the things I do. Really, sometimes knitting is just a compulsive behavior, that I seem to have no control over.

Like scarves, and shawls, and socks--Who needs 60 pairs socks? Who needs an equal number of hats, and half again as many scarves? (and I easily have enough sock yarn in my collection for another 60 pairs!)

Sure I knit hats for friends, and socks for my S-I-L, and I give away shawls, and scarfs as gifts. But, I still knit more—and more, and more and more. I have hardly bought any yarn in the past few years--(there is one up side to not having a car)--thought I still have been gifted yarns, lovely yarns. Shopping bags full of yarn. Even with out buying yarns, I still end with more yarn no matter how fast I knit.

I have been cleaning and organizing, and collected all my silks in one place—350 yards skeins, here, 500 yards skeins there, and suddenly, I have 10 pounds of silk collected in a giant zip lock bag! I can't stop knitting with all that silk waiting to become---What!? (What? Well at least one silk shell—maybe two, though I have enough to make three!)

There is another bag of other luxury yarns... baby alpacas, angoras, hand spun blend of beautiful breed specific yarns, all waiting to be knit up. Some small hands are destine to become hats, and others are crying out to be shawls... and Wait—do I need another shawl? The precious little skeins of angora, (some in peach, some in pale blue and some classic white) will become pretty little muffs for my granddaughters...

And here I am, making a Pi Bi shawl. It is EZ classic pattern, every time the number of rounds doubles, so do the number of stitches, (a binary sequence!( and in a few more rows (well technically rounds—but I am working each segment in a lace pattern measured in row!) I will be ready to double the 256 stitches into 512—and start a new pattern. Here is how it looks now—its about 24 inches across, but it could be blocker larger (if it was wet) and I still have a lot of green yarn left.

I might pause then, Just as I paused after 128 stitches. But this shawl was started this year, and will be finished this year—though it is likely I will run out of the mint green yarn—but I have some creamy white –which could become any color, but won't—it will just be a creamy white frosted ring to finish the shawl.

Meanwhile, I have packed away 2 Ladies February sweaters (that I haven't worn at all this year) and 3 shrugs/vest that haven't been needed this mild winter, (or these past few cold days) And enough yarn, wools and wool blends, synthetics and luxury fibers to knit for the rest of my life...

Then there is the collection of cottons (and some linen, too) I could do nothing but knit cottons --potholders, wash cloths, bathmats, and place matts for a solid year—and still, I think, not exhaust my supple. My friends all have an ample supple of hand knit potholders, too. There is only so much I can foist off on them.

And once again I ask myself: Why?

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

And Now They are Socks.

It didn't take long to finish the toe. Sure there were 4 extra stitches (64) to start. But with 4 decreases every other round, each round was shorter and faster to knit.

The back of the sock has seamless look, with the heel worked in the same color stripes as the leg. The sole has a broken pattern, but no one will notice not even in my backless shoes. It's a small detail, but one I care about.

If you are familiar with Cat Borhdi's New Pathway for socks, its easy to see the resemblence. I use a totally different process, but end up with a very similar result. Each method has advantages, I prefer mine.

For that matter, every knitter has details that matter to them... knitting boards are filled with endless threads on how to make “jogless” stranded work... Or perfect ribbing, or some other detail. I could care less about the jog, (its a nice detail when its well hidden, but it is not something I generally obsess about. )

I do nice ribbing—I learned how to even the tension—not because I minded the wonkiness--(which washes out in a good blocking) but just because I wanted to have all over better, more even tension.

But when it comes to toe up socks, I want the back of sock to look “right”--When I am working with a self striping sock yarn, I like to keep the pattern intact. Or more correctly, I have learned to like this. In the past, I worked heels in place and let the pattern break. But not so much any more.

I will take a break from socks for a day or two--I have several WIP's I want to work on....

Monday, April 04, 2016

Not Sock Yet--

But they will be soon! Instead of a ribbed cuff, I went with garter stitch, --the body of the socks is ribbing—I didn't think a ribbed cuff would make much of difference—I tried out a few patterns for the ribbing, and I didn't like any. I added a picot in line with the purls in the body of the sock, and I think its a nice touch.

So the waste yarn has been removed, and replace with needles. I will knit the heels down, so I am working from the outside of yarn cake, and will start with orange. This will create a double orange stripe on the sole of the sock, but will make the back of the sock look perfect.

Even before I knit the first stitch of the heel, you can see how the little gusset add ease—I will add more ease by adding a few extra stitches before I start the heel—so 30 stitches (half the total number in the sock with become 32 (64 total) stitches, and this will add more ease.. another half inch almost.

So, when next seen, they will be socks!