Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Progress (and Set Backs)

 So the yoke is now 7.5 inches, but I decided it needs to be longer... so a few more rows, a fifth and final buttonhole, and then the yoke will be done. Once it is, I will divide the work into front, sleeve, back, sleeve and front—and will work a few rows of stocking knit before joining the fronts and backs into a single group. The sleeves will done last. Skein 3 is almost done, and will be finished with the yoke.

At the same time (oh those dreaded words!) that I start working in stocking knit, I will start a small V shaped motif. The shell I plan to knit to match this sweater will feature chevron lace pattern, (not sure which chevron lace, but I like chevron lace, and will find one) So a knit and purl V design will be a good go with.

The grey slippers are progressing, too. You can see the boxy design more clearly now. The pattern has 8 (not clearly marked) boxes—and 5 of the 8 are finished. So more than half way done, but not quite 3/4ths done yet. I will need (and have) a 3rd skein to finish them—Since the two skeins I started with are down to the last few yards.

Progress is slowing for the moment—my hands are objecting—my right wrist is the worst, but both are achy at this point. So I will give them a rest, and get busy with other things

One other thing to keep me busy is cleaning. I think back in the days of open fire places, Spring cleaning was a must—Months of shut up tight living resulted in dust and soot every where. For me, Summer is my “Dirty” season. Months of open windows, and bright sunshine results in dust everywhere! So windows (and window sills) need cleaning, and curtains, too. It's time to wash the slip covers on the couch, too.

I have already washed most of the windows, and sills, and gotten a lot of the other washing done (like the bed pillows)—winter coverlets are out, and summer ones are washed and put away. But the there still is the couch cover, and some curtains to get done.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Inching Along

Another inch completed, and the yoke is now 5.5 inches –which is where it was yesterday morning. I am almost finished (just a row or two worth of yarn, left) with skein 2—which is just another way to measure progress. I haven't bothered to take a photo—It really doesn't look very different. Maybe tomorrow, when there is a forth buttonhole to mark progress.

I was out and about yesterday (My schedule has changed—I am home today, ) so I didn't take the Pretty in Pink sweater with me, instead I took a much more portable set of slippers.

They are a large boxy design—95 stitches long, and 38 rows high—followed by 57 stitches long and an other 38 rows. I have completed 22 rows of the first 38—So a bit of math.

95 X 38=3610 Total stitches in first boxy bit
57 X 38=2116 Total stitches in second boxy bit

3610+ 2116 = 5776 Total stitches in 1 slipper

22 X 95=2090 Total number of stitches I have knit so far.

A bit over 1/3rd done—but still pretty far from half way(which is about row 30) Not bad for a days work. I did have a bit of head start, I had cast on and worked a few row Wednesday evening.

Right now the slippers are huge. Giant sized! After, the knitting is completed, a few short seams to sew, and then, off to the washer to be fulled—As they shrink, they will become nice and thick and will make cozy and sturdy slippers. This the largest pair I will make—best to get it done first, every other pair will be smaller and faster to knit. Especially the ones for the girls—they are girls size 8—I could have had a pair and half knit in the same time it took me to knit less than a half extra large adults size!

I had the idea of planning some small portable projects to take with me for a break from Pretty in Pink, but these slippers aren't much of break—except for needle size and tension-- The pink alpaca yarn suggests a size 7 (4.5) needle, which creates a very drapy fabric. I am working the garter stitch yoke on size 5 (3.5) needles because alpaca tend to stretch out, and I wanted a firm yoke. The slippers are being worked with worsted weight wool (Lion Brand Lion Wool-) on a size 10.5 needle make a very loose garter stitch fabric..

But breaking from garter to knit garter isn't much of change!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Another Inch

Yes, just an inch since I last posted. An inch and 3rd button hole. It doesn't seem like much, but the stitch count has doubled since the cast on—so each row now is equal to 2 last week—so inch is steady progress. 

And it is going to get worse (more increases!) before it gets better! There will be increases right on up till I have 7.5 inches of yoke (and now its 4.5) By the end, each row will be 4 times longer than the cast on row..

Then, a good third of the stitches will be set aside for the sleeves, and the body will be worked in stocking knit, with a very simple knit and purl pattern.

Secondly, it is pretty easy to see now the different skeins have different percentages of darker pink—the first skein was the very palest--and later skeins will have a greater percent of the darker pinks. I think this will be quite attractive. It will be as if the dark color is falling.

To take a break—I cast on, and did a few rows of Slippers #1—More garter stitch, but worked in worsted weight wool, on size 10.5 needles. Lion Brand Wool –in a dark grey. Working with the larger needles works different muscles. The fabric is soft and loose and open-- it will be fulled. Fulling is the proper term to use when changing fabric—Felting is done to fibers. Of course, fulling is changing the fibers just the same as felting.. But different—by knitting the fabric into a shape not just molding the fiber.

So the slippers are knit loose (10.5 needle—for worsted!) and large (they look like slippers for giants!) and then sewn into shape, and fulled. The fabric tightens up, and gets thicker, and shrinks a good deal too. The result is a nice dense fabric that makes a nice slipper. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Lots of Progress—No Yoking About It

So I cast on Saturday, October 15th-- and here were are now, 2 days latter, with the better part of 2 skeins knit up!

This translates into 3.5 inches in front, and through the miracle of short rows, a full inch more in back (4.5 inches). There are 2 small button holes, too. I don't think I will continue the button holes past the yoke—but there will  be a third, and maybe a fourth one as well.

The sweater has a scoop neck—because I really don't like things snug about my neck—I like scoop or V necks best, and crew neck are OK—I can tolerate mock turtle necks but I really dislike a real turtle neck. Since is it not a high neck, I think 1 inch of extra length in the back is enough.

The yarn is Araucania Atacama, is 100% alpaca –so this will be a warm sweater—warm enough that a scoop neck, will still be plenty warm enough to ward off any chill. There was, some years ago, a kerfuffle with Knitting Fever Inc, (I forget most of the details except not their fault) but a result was several yarn stores stopped dealing with KFI—and one store, cleared it shelves (at a steep discount) of all of the yarns KFI distributed. I bought this yarn back then.

Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of pink—I have a rosy tone to my skin, and I don't think pink is that flattering a color for me, most often.   But I do like this mottled pink. I had sorted the skeins, and I started with the lightest of the skeins-with more pale pink and less deep rose. As the sweater progresses, the skeins will get a bit darker (rosier) but even the darkest skein still has a lot of the pale pink.

I started with a single skein, but about half way through, I started to alternate 2 skeins—I have just enough for 2 more rows of skein one, and I am about half way through skein 2. I will continue to use 2 skeins at a time—just to keep things mixed up (and make each change a little less obvious.

I intend for the garter portion of the yoke to be about 7 inches (un-stretched) The weight of the sweater will tend to pull the garter stitch open. So 7 inches will over time, will grow to 9 inches.. (if not more). Alpaca is pretty well known for stretching—it just doesn't have the bounce of wool. I don't want the yoke to be too big.

So the design is a variation of the Lady's February sweater—but it deals with all the things I dislike about the original design—Upper body shaping (so it doesn't tend to ride to the front), A slightly stretchy cast on edge (so the cast on doesn't totally stretch out as it carries the full weight of the sweater), a rounded, not a square yoke (so it doesn't look too boxy) and finally a finer, lighter fiber to make it look more tailored.

There will be some more changes at the underarm, (to reduce some of the extra bulk). I love the February sweater for a baby—I think EZ was totally spot on with her design. I just don't think the design scales up to adult (and my case a extra large adult) size with out some changes.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

And Now They Are Socks

Simple socks. A Chinese Long Tail caston, followed by some 1 X 1 ribbing (my favorite), and then, inches and inches of stocking knit. A spade toe with a grafted seam—a few ends to weave in and nothing else.

Pretty yarn is a great base for plain socks.. and that is pretty much my rule... Fancy yarn, plain stitches, plain yarn, fancy stitches.

What is next? Well, lets look at my queue. I have a long list of hats to work on—part of a collection I want to make and document (4 hats are already done--of over a dozen planned hats). Socks? Not to many—I have too many socks at this point and need to stop for a while. I have one pair planned for my S-I-L but no more for me at the moment.

I have some knitting (big and small) planned for me. Like a pink shell (light weight, lace) made from Lion Brand Sock Ease—I made one shell 4 years ago, (in an olive green)  and I really like it. The next will be different (lace) but mostly the same.

To go with, I have a huge bag (20 50g skeins) of alpaca in a “kettle dyed” pink—the colors range from a pale baby pink to a deep dark rose—It is DK weight--(5 stitches to the inch on size 5 needles)—I have already made a swatch—7 inches by 4—I am more concerned about stitch gauge than row gauge.

No pattern for the sweater; just a simple cardigan knit from the top, with raglan sleeves. A variation of the Ladies February sweater—but finer. Garter stitch yoke (which will be shorter, and will feature short rows for a better fit, and staggered increases to make the yoke rounder rather than squarer. I think the there will be a very simple pattern below the yoke—a mostly stocking knit body—with just a simple knit and purl pattern.

Not quite the conventional sweater set—Since it is a rare day indeed that is cold enough for me to wear 2 sweaters! Besides, I am not the kind of gal who wears sweater sets--But I do need a warm light weight sweater –I have one (a dozen of years old). It is a cinnamon brown (a really beautiful color) done in a soft mohair-so fine, I knit it 2 strands held together and still only needed a size 5 needle. I also have 2 Lady's February sweaters (made from worsted wool) --but they feel bulky--

I also have some small knits (hats, mittens and such) planned for my grand daughters—Soft yarns will come into play—some angora, some cashmere, some mohair—pretty little things. The girls, have 3 sets of 4 grandparents--(Plus me, but I don't come as a set)--so they are inundated with things. It is fun to shop for kids, too. They are, at times, girly girls, but they are also out and about girls—They are eager to share the new word they learned for jeans—Dungarees! And when they go to Nature School (which has a motto of “no bad weather, just inappropriate clothes”) jean or dungarees are what they wear. And with grandparents buying clothes—they have a wardrobe of outer wear. Why knit an out doors sweater when a sweater will be competing with fancy coats, and fleece jackets, ponchos and puffy down (style) jackets.

This is about half my fall queue. So now the socks are finished, I have made a swatch for my sweater, and found a skein of suede(just one) so Little Ms K will end up with a pair of boots to match her big sisters Ugg style boots... (to give my self a break from miles of pink yarn) I pulled out some yarn for a quick pair of slippers, too. There are a few pairs to be knit. A few quick and easy projects to off set a large and detailed project.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Gusseted and a Bit More.

When last seen, the heel was turned. Now, the gussets are done—and the sole of the sock measures 4.5 inches. This is just about the half way point of the sock—So about 75% done. The gussets have more than average stitches, but in a few inches, I will be decreasing for the toe—and being working few than average stitches--(for this sock 60 stitches are average.)

I am pleases that the yarn continues not to pool—not even in an attractive way. It remains a heathery tweed with shades of purple and green.

I have a lot of color in my wardrobe—there is hardly a color I don't have (well yellow is often in short supply) in my wardrobe--and the same goes for my stash—but--I do need to go shopping and buy—sock yarn!

I have been knitting socks for my son-in-law(about 2 pairs a year). He is a hunter (bow and arrow!) and wool socks are a must for hunters. But since he walks close to a mile to the subway each morning on the way to work, he likes dressy wool socks too. (by dressy read—Dull, nondescript socks suitable to wear to a NYC business office.) This year, I decided to knit him a pair of football socks. Mostly dull boring (I hate to knit) black—and to make them fun for me, with red stripes—They will have a bit of stranded work, too. UGA—socks. Good for work (since they are mostly black) good for hunting (mostly wool) and good fun for a football fan (my grandchildren learned early on to cheer “Yay Georgia!”)

I have had black sock yarn in the past, and have 3 partial skeins of black, but no two the same shade, and each skein is under an ounce—so not enough to be the main color in a pair of striped socks.

I need some red yarn too—but if push comes to shove, I can dye some yarn red. I have been busy with other things, too. Knitting some hats, (documenting the details, too) home improvements, culling the things I don't need, cleaning the things I do, making some details (throw pillow, bolsters and shams) and I have become active in a civic association, too.

But these socks are coming along are almost done.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Some Socks, Some Other Stuff

I finally finished socks started in August were finally finished mid September—These are pretty generic socks, with a narrow cable down both sides front—the yarn? Label less sock yarn bought for $5 at a garage sale—I think is might be one of the German sock yarns—I like the soft muted colors—even though soft muted colors usually aren't my favorite. But I think these age good to go with washed out denim, and taupe, and some other colors that exist in my wardrobe.

Immediately—I started another pair (one on my Queue!)--Some beautiful home dyed yarn—They were started on September 21—by last week--Monday September 26th, they reached 25% done—about 4.5 inches. I tend to like the leg portion of my socks to be about 9 or so inches from bottom of the heel flap to cuff.

So now I am half done—flap is finished and the turn –now it is time to pick up stitches for the gusset and get them finished.

The yarn is Lion Brand Sock Ease—xx% wool/xx% nylon. The color way was marshmallow—but I dyed it to one of my favorite colorways—purple (several shades) and green—the green tend to a bluish teal in places. McCormick food coloring—but with a trick.

Many dyes work better (better color up take) with a mordant. Problem is, most mordants are toxic, and generally not safe at home. But there are some exceptions. I used mouth wash as a mordant. One of those “super healthy for your teeth”ones. These mouthwashes contain Stannish Floride—a salt made from tin (stannish), and florine—It is toxic--(no one should drink mouth wash, or toothpaste) but not so toxic (after all, I along with the rest of world, brush my teeth twice a day). So I first soaked the yarn in a blend of mouthwash and water—and then put the yarn in acidulated water, and added the food coloring.

The results, as you see are deep dark purples and deep dark greens. The purple “broke” and there are several different colors --- The green did, too, but not as much. I wanted clean color transitions—and as a result, I did have a narrow band of undyed yarn at places between the colors.

What I like best about this yarn is: It fails, to “spiral”--many space dyed yarns end up with a strong spiral pattern –which can be attractive—but it is not my favorite look. Somehow, I succeeded in created a color way that is mottled, with almost no pooling and no spiraling!

Sock aren't the only thing that I have been knitting. First a second copy of the Leaf Me Alone hat--(and a pattern 90% completed)—the pattern is complex—and it's a bear to write! I think it is easy to knit—the leaves increase, stabilize, then as one set decreases, a new set is established...(and then stabilized, and finally decreased—but all this increasing and decreasing means almost every row is different—there are a few repeated rows when the leaves are stabilized.—but.... It's a hat, and like all hats, a fast knit.

There is another hat-- for my new grand daughter too—a pretty little melon head hat. Notes on details on how this hat was knit also exist—it's a pretty simple pattern. I am not sure about writing it up—I am going to wait and see.

House keeping ate up a lot of my time as well—a small slow leak finally repaired, and the ceiling repaired too.
Repairing the ceiling mend taking everything--(except the fixtures!) out of the bath room—even the shower curtain rod!

Phase 2 (half done) is cleaning everything—and deciding what I want to keep--and what is being replaced. I have already tossed dozens of things. I have already replaced the shower curtain rod and put up a shower curtain (well a liner curtain) The Ugly black square is heat vent—I removed the cover, and I am striping it of layers of paint—It was a mess—paint drips painted over- and the paint glopped on. I will also clean the vent, too.--years and years of dust are collected. 5 layers of paint have already been removed—but there are still some layers to go. (I use hot water and vinegar to remove the paint—the process is slow, but safe)

Before I replace most everything else, I need the ceiling to be painted--(well actually, the whole bath room!) But for right now, getting a primer coat of paint on the ceiling above the shower is the next step. The walls and ceiling will turn a soft cream color (to match the wall tiles)--and eventually, all the painting will be done.

I have already tossed a bunch of stuff—but some wall mounted storage units will go up..and a bunch of hooks, too. I like to hang things like nail brushes and stuff-- this will help keep clutter of the small sink (lav basin for those of you who know plumbing). It will keep things handy, with out cluttering.