Another Christmas Scarf

Even though the first Christmas Scarf (that would be the Irish Hiking Scarf), is still on the needles, I’ve begun a second scarf. I won’t tell who it’s for, as I’m not sure if she reads my blog or not. But suffice it to say she’d better like it. If she doesn’t I’m going to have to insist she return it, because I think it’s the cat’s pajamas.

This is the Willoughby Scarf, pattern by Jared Flood. The pattern calls for cashmere, but I couldn’t find any that was inexpensive enough to afford the 800 yards required. So I’m using Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light. I’m also using size 7 needles rather than the size 8 he suggested, as it looked extra sloppy with the larger needles. Because of these two modifications, I’m quickly realizing I’m going to be doing WAY more than 40 pattern repeats. But that’s ok, because I really like this pattern.

The Fascine Braid Socks are on hold. I’m nearly to the point where I can start decreasing for the toe of the sock, but when I tried it on I noticed that my purls are not even, and the sock looks… not very well done. This may be due to my inadvertent substitution of thin sock yarn for the recommended medium.

I’m going to do a quick swatch using smaller needles and figure out where to add stitches to make the pattern work, then start over. Just as with the Willoughby, I’m not upset about this because the pattern really flies.

Well, back to work!

ps…

Valerie, I did see your comment on my last post voting for the FLS to be the next thing I worked on. However, we went on an adventure (we drove to Julian) and the sweater was too big and hot to work on in the car.

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so….tired

I would really love to be knitting on any of my many projects right now, but instead, I’m sitting here with Max (in his Superman jammies) watching “Curious George” (Max’s commentary is actually more entertaining than the movie) because I am totally, utterly, completely tired. I have to go in to work early tomorrow, so I think that I’m going to go to sleep.

As an experiment, let’s do this.

What should I focus on tomorrow?

1. Fascine Braid Socks

2. Lace Scarf

3. February Lady Sweater

4. Latvian Mittens

Vote as often as you like via the comments.

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.

More Christmas Knitting

I’m onto my third Christmas knitting project: a sweater for my cousin’s daughter. I’m kind of cheating with this one, as I’ve already made a smaller version of this pattern. Here’s a picture of it, although you’ll have to forgive its mis-shaped-ness; it’s been hanging out in my knitting bag for a few days and it got a little wrinkled.

This is Mable (again), this time with Cascade 220 Heathers. The color in the photo isn’t even close… I’m going to blame the green curtains I have on the windows for skewing it. The yarn is actually very dark blue, with a little green & purple mixed in. I’m working on the sleeves now, and have passed the lace at the cuffs and am on to the boring stockinette part.

The thing that’s been distracting me from the sweater is my newest lace project, “A Knitted Veil in Pyreneese Wool” from Victorian Lace Today. I’m using malabrigo lace weight yarn, and that coupled with size 4 needles makes for very slow going. I’m up to row 42, and it’s still only this big:

The only thing keeping me going is the knowledge that it will get bigger when I block it. Well, that and the fact that it’s so much fun to watch the pattern emerge. There is no end to my excitement of finishing a row and holding the piece up to check it out.

Oh yeah. I’m a girl of simple needs!

Summer Knitting

In deference to my good friend Sharon’s protest regarding the viewing of woolie projects during periods of extreme heat, I’ve been indulging in some lightweight knitting. Although my latest project weighs barely more than a feather, it is rather slow going. Here is 24 rows of lace using malabrigo Polar Morn:

Even after 24 rows, it’s so little you can just barely see the pattern. The best thing about this particular bit of lace is that every row is knit, and every row is patterned, so it’s not boring. It did present a problem, however, at the very onset. I cast on 7 times, each time realizing after two rows that I’d miscounted and had 114, or 112, or 116 stitches rather than the 113 that I actually needed. This last time I actually had one extra, but figured out a way to remove it and retain most of my sanity and a tiny bit of my dignity.

I realize now that I should have set a coin on top of this bit of knitting to show just how little it is. That’s just going to have to wait though. My camera’s batteries are dead, and there will be no more photography happening tonight.

I have the attention span of a gnat on crack…

… or so it would seem. Last night, almost immediately upon publishing my post, the knitting fates gave me a smack up-side the head. I found an error four rows back (yes, those would be the four rows I did yesterday during my meeting and lunch) that was so weird I couldn’t just back up those few stitches and correct it. No, I actually had to remove all four rows.

Did I mention it was four rows? Oh, yeah, I suppose I did.

Anyway, I frogged back to my mistake, then carefully “reloaded’ my needle and knit just enough to ensure I had, in fact, corrected the error and that none of my stitches were twisted around (I simply REFUSE to have any twisted stitches in this sweater).

Then I put it away.

It’s not hibernating… it’s napping!

I swear that this time I’ll pick it back up faster. I promise not to vanquish it to the zip-lock bag of doom, nor to shove it to the bottom of my knitting bag.

But I did get just a teensy bit sidetracked. But it’s a gift for someone who isn’t expecting it. Those are my favorite kinds to give!!

Lace Poncho from Interweave Knits Fall 2005, in malabrigo buscando azul

I should mention that I’m not making it into a “poncho” as the name implies; rather, it will be a scarf. I added two repeats in the middle of the rows to make it wider because I’m using skinnier yarn and smaller needles (size 6). If you’re going to try this, I suggest using a larger needle to cast on. My cast on edge is a little bit scrunchy, but I’m not going to change it unless something tragic happens in the next couple of rows. This pattern is really easy to memorize, and it’s fairly simple to tell if you’ve screwed up (ask me how I know. I dare you) because of the way the little groups line up.

Well, I’m so tired I don’t have the will to knit – my eyes are barely open. Tomorrow, I’m going to work on the FLS again.

Well, that didn’t last long

My focus is, to put it mildly, not so good. I believe it was Wednesday when I said I’d do my best to keep to just the shawl and the sock. Remember? Well.

Last night between work and Knit Night (when I really should have been hunting down something yummy to contribute), I went instead to a new to me yarn store. I really wasn’t looking for anything. I’d just never been to this one, and felt I should try it out. What a frustrating store! None of the yarn had price tags…I eventually stumbled across a price list, organized by the name of the yarn (Malabrigo Lace was under “Lace”) rather than brand, and some weren’t listed at all. Of course, this small inconvenience didn’t stop me from making a purchase. Observe…

malabrigo Lace in Butter

I bought two hanks, and then asked the clerk if she could wind them for me or, if she was too busy, if she’d let me use her winder to do it myself. That’s when it happened…I’ll not be returning to this store. 

Her response to my request was: “I have a swift you can use, but I don’t have a winder. You’ll have to wind it by hand.”

Huh? What kind of yarn store doesn’t have a winder? I’d just bought 940 yards of yarn, and was going to have to wind it by HAND? 

I know, this is kind of a wimpy response. Surely this is how people of yore wound their yarn. But 940 yards? I don’t mind winding some DK or worsted weight yarn by hand. Heck, I’ve even done my RSC yarn by hand. But that’s because I either forgot to have it done at the store or (in the case of the RSC yarn) it was mailed to me and I didn’t feel comfortable asking to use a winder at a store where I hadn’t purchase the yarn. 

After I’d wound one hank and was getting ready to leave, I asked her the question I’d been pondering for the half hour it took me to wind up all that yarn into a non-center pull ball (I lost control of my center pretty early in the process). “Why do you not have a winder? Did yours break?”

Her response:

“I am usually here alone, and can’t help customers if I’m always winding yarn.” OK, this is understandable, if not well thought out. Couldn’t she just have the winder available so if a customer needed some yarn wound they could do it themselves? I’ve used winders at other stores, where there was a single person working who was too busy to do it for me, and it wasn’t rocket science. You put the yarn on the swift, thread the end through the little loops, attach it to the slit of the winder, then turn the handle until there’s no yarn left on the swift. (At some point during our conversation, I even offered, if she had any in stock, to purchase a winder from her and donate it to all of her future customers) Then she gave me a withering look (maybe it wasn’t exactly “withering”…this misinterpretation could very well have been caused by my aching arms and the fact that her store was getting a trifle warm. I wasn’t exactly in my normal wool induced good mood), and said, “There’s nothing wrong with winding a ball of yarn by hand.”

I’m guessing she doesn’t use a lot of lace weight.