100th Post!

Welcome, one and all, to my 100th post! Today, I have tales to tell, some devastating, some encouraging, but all true.

First let me tell you about the sock (this would be the first of two Raven Swirl Socks). Do you remember last year when I kept hitting knots in my Jitterbug sock yarn? And when I ran out of yarn with just a few short toe rows to go on the gold Fascine Braid socks? Or, just the other day, when I broke my yarn (totally my fault, that) just as I was finishing one of the Rogue Roses socks? Well, can you believe it happened again? I had 20 toe-rows to go (that’s a convenient little poem, don’t you think?) when I hit a knot. I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever knit a sock out of a continuous piece of string… The silver lining in this little cloud is that I somehow, without paying any particular attention to anything more than ensuring I had a long enough tail to secure the ends, managed to stop knitting and then start again at the same place (give or take a bit) in the color repeat.

Next, and related to the story above, is that I did indeed finish the sock during lunch. I even got the ends woven in. Then, once back at the office, I found a person whose foot should (theoretically) fit said sock and asked her to try it on. Hallelujah! The design does indeed twist around the leg rather magically, even though when the sock is off the design travels straight up from toe to cuff. YAY!

So with the completion of this sock, my Christmas knitting stands at….1 scarf/shawlette and 4 socks (although only one pair) completed. I still have a long way to go, but it’s only July, and the sock above only took about three days to knit.

My final story is a combination of victory and tragedy. Helena at Clever Knits announced the August Knit-a-Long, a triangle scarf/shawl, and I decided to go for it. I’ve been looking for a project that would fit the Organic Wool I bought last year, and this seemed to be just right. The pattern calls for Aran weight, and the yarn I was planning to use is DK, which translates to a needle size adjustment.

I’ve knit a couple of swatches with this yarn already in an attempt to figure out what it wants to be, so I could see pretty easily that size 8 needles made nice, neat, pleasantly sized stitches; and I knew that I owned size 8 needles (I checked on Ravelry and found several projects where they were used). Of course, even after searching through my knitting bag, my needle case, and my wool chest, I could only find the 16″ circulars (although I did find two sets. Please don’t ask…). According to Ravelry, I’ve knit two sweaters on needles of this size, and I’m quite sure I didn’t use the needles I’d located – at least not for anything but the sleeves. So, somewhere, still buried in the yarn chest, possibly stuck in the middle of a long forgotten (and not Ravelried) project, are my long size 8 circulars. I know that the only way to find them is to go purchase another set (this is why, in my needle case, I have 4 sets of size 10, and 3 sets of 10.5 needles). But for now, I started in on the KaL, and here’s what I’ve got so far.

Springtime Bandit in O-Wool Legacy DK

According to the pattern, I have two more body repeats to go, then I get to do the edging. But I’m afraid that I won’t be happy with the length if I do it this way, not to mention I’ll still have a lot of this green yarn left over. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll find my other needles so I can figure out what to do. For now though, I’m loving this pattern so much that I might just make a couple!

I’ve had a great time with my first 100 posts, and I’m looking forward to the next couple of thousand 😉 . To anyone who comes around just to see what’s up, and to those who leave comments for me, thank you! Have a good day!

Happy Anniversary Clever Knits!

On Monday, the fifth of July, my favorite Local Yarn Store – Clever Knits – will celebrate its first year of business. And today, at 11:55, when I showed up to partake in the BOGO sale they are having, I was only slightly surprised to find a large gaggle of knitters waiting to get in. It was very exciting, and I got to hear some accounts of how, just last year, they were waiting on this very same sidewalk for CK to open their doors for the first time. I missed the grand opening, but I’m really glad I had an opportunity to be there for this event.

I made a few purchases – mostly really great yarn that’s too darn expensive to buy just , but also a skein of alpaca DK weight that I need to finish my Eastlake sweater – and left happy. One of the yarns I purchased was Hand Maiden Sea Silk in a lovely pewter-y color. I bought it with a specific project in mind… the July KAL at CK, which is the Annis shawl.

When I got home from the sale Alex and the girls left for the bookstore and to do some errands. While I was out, Max had decided that it was a good do-nothing sort of day and changed into some PJs, so the two of us stayed home to play. I set up my swift and ball winder in the kitchen, and began the process of preparing the Sea Silk to be knit. Max joined me and watched with eyes wide as the yarn moved from swift to winder, both tools spinning wildly, the ball growing fatter and fatter. Then he said: “Ooooh, yarn. Very very cool.” Oh yeah. That’s my boy.

Well, that’s where the good times ended. The Annis pattern starts out with the horrible, horrible direction “Cast on 363 stitches…” Zoinks! Every shawl I’ve done have been started from the point so I, as a weak hearted kind of knitter, can be eased in to the fact that a row will eventually span that many stitches. Not this time. I suppose an optimist would say that it’s all downhill from here.

I’m not very good at optimism. I’m working on it, but I’ve a long way to go.

I bravely began casting on, only to find at stitch 210 or so that there was no way I’d allowed a long enough “tail” to finish the last 153 stitches.

Rip!

I started again, and actually got all of the stitches onto my needles. But I had to count once more to verify I wasn’t going to be 3 short. This was done 5 times, because I kept losing count. In the end, I found that my initial count was correct, and I was able to move to Row 1 with confidence.

And move on I did. I knit well and fearlessly. I was surprised when I looked at my left hand needle and found only about 20 stitches left. That’s when it happened.

“It” has a name. And “its” name is “Max”. He came over to sit on my lap, as he often does while I knit. But this time, the yarn was silk, not wool (very slick). And the needles were metal, not bamboo (very slippery). And before I could move the string and sticks out of his way, his little leg got tangled and woosh!

Only about 10 stitches fell off. But they were the first row, and I have no idea how to reclaim cast on stitches that have escaped the needle. So I put it all away.

I’ve cast on again. Here’s my proof.

Now that el Boyo is in bed, I’ll try Row 1 again. Wish me luck!!

Actually getting somewhere

My Christmas knitting is coming along, although it would help a lot if I could finish a few things rather than continually casting on. I suppose this is why I started in August… I need all the lead time I can get!

I did manage to get one item done. Kaylie’s sweater is

Mabel sweater in Cascade 220 Heathers

It even has a button!

Pewter Celtic Knot button from Clever Knits in Vista, CA

Last night at Knit Night I bought two skeins of white malabrigo sock yarn, which I quite intended to turn into the Willoughby scarf. Alas, after six or seven attempts at getting past the first repeat, the yarn finally got its point across that it didn’t want to be a scarf, it wanted to be socks (hence the name). So, Willoughby has been put on hold until I can find some more cooperative string, and instead the malabrigo is being turned into these:

Fascine Braid Socks by Tiennie in malabrigo Sock yarn (who knew?)

I love how the picot hem turns out, but I really, really hate knitting it. I murmured, “It’s only one row. It’s only one row,” to myself thru the entire ordeal. It was totally worth it.

Check out the braids. Aren’t they clever? The best part is that they’re not cables. And the second best part is that because they’re not cables, this pattern moves really fast. I’m not sure who these are for yet, and I won’t have to make that decision until I get to the foot length, so it’s anyone’s guess, really.

I’m going to spare you more pictures of my uncle’s scarf. Suffice it to say, it’s six feet long, and still not long enough (according to the several big-chested men who indulged me and tried it on). I ordered two more balls of yarn from Knit Picks, which should add another 16-24 inches to the length. If it’s still not long enough at that point, the scarf is going to someone littler, and my uncle is getting a book.

Busy, busy, busy

This week has been crazy busy. I had a bunch of stuff to take care of at work, and the girlies were here so I had to shuttle them from hither to yon, I attended a new knit night out in Vista at Clever Knits, and Max was especially energetic (translation: he wouldn’t go to bed until very, VERY late). All of these events conspired to make writing a blog entry nearly impossible.

However, today is my day. Max is playing, the girls are upstairs (either sleeping or playing on their computers, I can’t tell), so I have time to sit and type.

Here is what I’ve been knitting on this week:

The Irish Hiking Scarf is up to about 3.5 feet in length, and I have 2.5 skeins of yarn left. I find it amusing, in an ironic sort of way, how quickly the first skeins of a scarf knit up and then at the halfway mark progress slows, no matter how much time I dedicate to it. In this photo you can see the front pattern (on the left) and the back pattern (obviously on the right). I really like this pattern, and the resulting “material” is thick and plush. A perfect Wisconsin scarf!

As I said earlier, I’ve also been spinning. Mostly I’ve been trying to get my technique consistently right. I’ve been pretty hit-and-miss with it up to this point. It seems like my singles are too tight, and my plying is even more too tight, so what I end up with is a big squiggly mess. I knit up a swatch of the pink-and-grey yarn I was spinning earlier in the week.

I’m not thrilled with the result as far as the colors go, but the resulting “material” is super soft and smooth. I’m thinking a skinny scarf in a lacy pattern would be ideal, but I’m still debating.

Finally, my friend Sharon asked about the sheep in the picture at the top-right of the page.

Those are some stitch markers I made out of Fimo clay. The funny thing about them is that they glow in the dark. When I bought the clay I grabbed glow in the dark white rather than plain white. I could say that this is a feature, except that it totally freaked me out when I noticed a bunch of little green dots sitting on my kitchen table in the middle of the night. I know… they’re sheep from San Onofre!