October 28, 2005

Meme clickclick typetype

Yahaira and Mintyfresh have both sent some meme dust my way. I love reading these - I love seeing the variety of answers to one question, and I dig seeing knitters address topics they normally wouldn't go out of their way to discuss (needle talk, yarn talk, disaster talk...).

What is your all time favorite yarn to knit with?
Hmm. I'm going to cheat (gotten off to a great start, haven't we?) and say it depends on the type of project. I like doing a lot of different things (cabling, felting, lacemaking, Fair-Isle-ing), and have my go-to yarns for each of those (Cascade 220, Lamb's Pride Worsted, Jaggerspun Zephyr Wool-Silk, and Dale Baby Ull, respectively). I do think very fondly, though, of one discontinued yarn - Rowan's True 4-ply Botany, a fingering-weight wool that came in vivid, deeply saturated colors, and knit up beautifully into highly-formed texture, or jewel-toned colorwork, or plain, smooth stockinette. It wasn't as buttery-soft as a Merino yarn, but the Botany wool definitely had its own brand of lush richness. I don't know why Rowan discontinued it - it was "replaced" with, I think, 4-ply Soft, which isn't the same thing at all.

Your favorite needles?
Circulars, for sure. Addi Turbos for cables, Addi Naturals for lace and Fair Isle. I keep meaning to try out the ebony and rosewood needles everybody talks about, too. I also have a mild obsession with glove needles - I can't help buying a set whenever I see them, although I only knit maybe three pairs of gloves a year. I love the 5" length - so comfortable. I own birch, bamboo, plastic, and metal sets, with the wee little aluminum ones being my favorite.

The worst thing you've ever knit?
Ahh, I wish I had a picture. It was this pretty thing:

Erin, from Rowan 30, a few years ago. As I knit, I learned that I 1) hated stringy, papery All Seasons Cotton; 2) hated reverse stockinette; and 3) hated myself when I seamed the sucker and then couldn't get my head through the turtleneck. I promptly frogged, and then hid the yarn so well that I just realized that I have no idea where it is.

Your most favorite knit pattern? (maybe you don't like wearing it...but it was the most fun to knit)
The Norwegian Stockings were a lot of fun; a cleverly written pattern with zen-like simple colorwork. Fabulous fireside knitting:

The macho aran was interesting to knit, too - my first from-scratch garment. It was immensely interesting to watch it develop as I went along.

Most valuable knitting technique?
Cabling without a cable needle, hands down. I love cables, but don't think I could bear the fiddliness of working with that short, crooked needle for more than a few stitches at a time.

Best knit book or magazine?
I like to look at Interweave Knits, and occasionally make a project out of it. Best one-subject knitting book would have to be Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting, for the incredible wealth of historical information she presents, the beautiful patterns, and the excellent guidance on developing your own garments.

Your favorite knit-a-long?
I thought the Union Square Market Pullover knitalong was really interesting. Lots of information and discussion.

Your favorite knitblogs?
I'll join the chorus, and say I love the blogs with beautiful photographs: Sweet Georgia and Streets and YOs, of course, but I also smile when I see that Knitfix, Whispering Pine, and Fig and Plum have been updated with my daily dose of yarn porn.

Your favorite knitwear designer?
Kate Gilbert. Teva Durham. Veronik Avery. Kim Hargreaves, though "interesting" usually moves over for "classic" with her stuff. Oodles of others.

The knit item you wear the most? (how about a picture of it!)
My cabled hoodie cardigan. Perfect for throwing on over a swimsuit once the sun goes down at the beach, perfect for fending off high whistling winds in the nosebleed seats of a ball park, perfect for layering in these chilly, sunny days. It sees a lot of wear:

Tag time
How about Kate at Knitlit, Laura, over at the almost brand-spanking-new Soapturtle, and Leah at Use Your Hands?

September 13, 2005

He said

He said it needed a quote thicker, tighter unquote collar.

So I frogged the collar I'd put on there...

Picked up two thirds the original number of stitches and worked it twice as long...

Picked up the corresponding stitches at the base of the neckband on the inside...

And worked a three-needle bindoff for a double-thickness collar.

I used to hate after-the-fact adjustments like this - I'd consider a project done as soon as the last end was woven in. But this thing was such a big project (literally; the finished garment has a 57" chest measurement) - such a labor of demented obsession - that it seemed worth it.

And damned if he wasn't right.

<3 <3 <3

Done: Macho Aran

Pattern: My own pattern
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in color 150-Antique Lace
Yardage: Approximately 2000 yards
Yarn Source: Webs Online
Needles: 4mm (US6) Addi Turbo circular
Gauge: 20 stitches/10 cm over seed stitch
Modifications: ---

See all entries on this project

September 06, 2005


Goodbye, albatross!

I am in love with Martha:

All right, all right, maybe it's lust.

September 03, 2005

At last...

At last.

I really like the shoulder strap method I used here - at first, I tried Wendy's saddle shoulder technique, but the slipped stitch chain was too loose for my taste:

So instead, I played around and decided to work the full saddle, bind off all my pieces, and pick up the left side of the stitches in the body piece:

and knit them together, one by one, with the purlwise selvedge strands of the saddle piece and bind off:

The join is smooth, tight, and seems very strong (a real concern - this is a 2lb garment we're talking about!)

Just a little seaming to go, and this fucker'll be done.

August 31, 2005

Sooo close

I'm at that point on both Butterfly and on Jeff's sweater where the thing is sooooo close to being done that it's driving me insane that it's not yet.

The main knitting for butterfly is done. I must admit, crazy-making though it is, it's always interesting to see crumply, egg-cartony lace go from this

to this

to this.

I reblocked the front stacked with the back to ensure a perfect matchup for seaming. Aligning all those little diamonds - that was a party, let me tell you.

I was asked how I block items - I do the standard soak in wool wash and lukewarm water, then stretch to shape and pin with quilter's T-pins. I think, though, for my next lace project, I'll use this's such a forehead-slappingly obvious, elegant solution to maintaining straight lines without paying $27 for those packets of glorified coat hanger wire they sell for blocking.

I love how the frill is turning out - the pattern is very clear, but the overall effect is soft and ruffly.

I'm in the middle of seaming the second long seam right now. The fact that the lace goes right! Up! To! The! Edge! makes this whole business kind of a bitch - I gave up on mattress seam after three or four stitches, and am now doing a very inexact, shutting-my-eyes-and-stabbing backstitch that (hopefully) stays just a stitch in from the edge. And the directions for joining the frill, as written, are ridiculous...there's no real reason why you couldn't do a straight caston and castoff, and just sew them. Sure, it's a teensy bit clumsier to have a narrow seam there, but if it saves your eyesight, your fingertips, and your sanity, I think the tradeoff is acceptable.

The neglected macho Aran is humming along, too. The sleeves are about four inches from starting the shoulder strap - then I'll have just knitting and attaching the saddle and some seaming to do. Is it done yet, or what?

August 26, 2005

The Executive Summary

Jeff's sweater is on the homestretch -

I'm going to knit both sleeves at once; that way, once they're off the needle, the main knitting is done. I have an idea for the actual construction of this garment (the shoulder straps, particularly), but I have to think about it. If I know me, it will probably turn out to be a ridiculous, unwieldly method that manages to actually be worse than the sewing I was trying to avoid in the first place.

Martha's clipping along at a nice pace, too:">

The pattern in the forming fabric is a series of groovy interlocking waves, but the stitches should open up to almost perfect squares when blocked. To tell the truth, I'm not sure which I like better:

And Butterfly, slut that she is, is actually becoming easier the less time I spend on her. I'd guess I'm about 30% through the back now. No, wait...make that 50 or 60 if you count the frill.

I apologize. I know...there are only so many pictures one can take of crumpled lace-in-progress.

August 23, 2005

Lovely and amazing

So sometimes I have these really vivid dreams about knitting - once I dreamt that a drop spindle was whirling my hair around and inching slowly, inexorably, towards my scalp, and once I dreamt that a giant knitting needle was lunging at me, epee style. Still, I think I've never dreamt of anything quite like this:

417 stitches. In moss stitch (anyone with me on the k1, p1 hate?). In stringy cotton. Crammed on a way-too-small needle, necessitating a major stitch redistribution every 20 stitches or so. Four hundred and seventeen stitches. I have five and half rows done...only seven more to go. The really perverse part, of course, is that none of this is called for in the pattern for a simple pullover - I blundered into this merrily, quite of my own accord.

In other news, I finally cast on for Martha:

I'm planning on doing split sides, with some corner shaping, so I'm knitting into a foundation row of contrasting cotton and hoping to do the garter edging later, after this thing is seamed (want to make something of it?) Too bad I totally failed to notice this little issue:

One of my needles was a 3.25mm needle, where all my others were a 2.75mm. Aughhh. I was at Jeff's house, and didn't see any way I could cram the stitches onto two needles and knit with the remaining needle of the correct I had to cry uncle on this for the night.

On the other hand, it meant I got to work on Jeff's sweater a little more - I'm a solid 3/4 of a way into the front panel before the neck shaping:

The safety pins are my incredibly sophisticated row-counting method...a pin every ten rows means I never lose my place and can match shapings (not that there are any in this piece) for opposing sections. In fact, I'm so sophisticated, this is how I fix mistakes I don't notice until almost too late:

To cement my amazingly, astonishingly fancy refinement in your minds forever, and win your knitting awe and respect for time immemorial, I offer you my very elegant row-counting method for Butterfly:

August 19, 2005

In progress now...

Like everyone else, I have a couple things on the needles right now and a bunch I can't wait to get started on. The main thing I'm working on is a sweater for my boyfriend - promised to him for his birthday two months ago, it's been lingering in various stages of half-completion for a long time. I'm bound and determined to get it done now, as quickly as possible - it's a worsted-weight cotton sweater with traditional motifs; a summer sweater if I ever saw one. I had these vague ideas that he'd wear it with shorts and flipflops walking on a boardwalk...and now August is more than half gone.

I have to say, though, it's kind of fun to see this thing go from a vague sketch:

To a fully fleshed-out, detailed and swatched and calculated blueprint:

To this.

Here's a detail of the motifs: it's going to be a proper old-school aran, drop-shouldered and saddle strapped, with an arrangement of moss stitch, split cables, and a braided cable around a traveling-stitch lattice.

I'm already a day behind - I've been trying to knit a skein a day, working on the assumption that this thing will take about ten skeins. I'm done with the back and halfway through the front panel now, since casting on Sunday.

The Cotton Fleece I'm using is nice enough, but despite its wool content, it's pretty unforgiving when it comes to heavy cabling. It's absolute murder on my hands - so I'm breaking with this lovely thing:

Butterfly, from Rowan 37. I'm using delicious wool/silk Jaggerspun Zephyr in a warm toffee kind of shade. Despite the fineness of the yarn and the size of the garment, the lace pattern really cranks the pattern along - there are only 87 stitches on the needle at the widest point. I've done the double ruffle for the front, and am about halfway done with the panel itself:

And a detail that shows the true color much better than the awful photo above:

Blocked out, this one is going to be an absolute winner.

I can't wait to get started on Martha from the same magazine -

In fingering wool, I think, instead of cotton. Maybe in a dull sage color, with iridescent black or silver beads. Besides that, I have at least ten thousand baby sweaters to knit (I'm thinking fairisle stranded each stitch), and Christmas gifting to get a jump on...and I have a bunch of ideas that I haven't gotten around to patterning or working up yet: a felted jaquard knitting bag; a pullover quilted with knotwork cables; a shawl with a pattern of cherry blossoms...