Monday, August 27, 2007

Speed Post!

I started my new job today and whew, I'm pooped! But I'm looking forward to going back tomorrow, so that's a good sign. The work is reasonable and interesting, the people are pretty nice, there's fresh coffee whenever I want it, and I can go home for lunch. All in all, very good. The BF resigned today to take a new, better job and soon he will be working at home. All is well here.

And with no further ado, here, please look at where I keep my socks. They make me happy.

sock box

I have to go clean up the kitchen and go to bed. I hope your week is going well!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

V-neck Progress

Sometimes you just have to love stockinette stitch.

V-neck

I have been racing along on my new v-neck pullover and I've gotten to the point of finishing the body. All I have to do now is add the collar and sleeves. Amazingly, there will be no seams whatsoever in this sweater! I'm not even going to bind off at the neck; I'm just going to keep knitting for the collar. The sleeves are all picked up and knit, so when I bind off, all there will be to do is weave in some ends and block it.

While the pattern says the finished size is 39" - and when calculated, that's about what it should be - it's a little snugger than that. I think the reason is because I am knitting it out of wool and the original is in cotton. Here is a lovely headless photo of me wearing a half-finished sweater (these are always the best!)

V-neck

For the first time in weeks, it has been cool enough here to actually open the windows and get some fresh air in the apartment without feeling like we're going to die of heatstroke or horrible, oppressive humidity. I'm enjoying the unseasonably cool 80° weather. But in this swamp, I'm sure it won't last long.

Last but not least, we had some family friends in town for company this week and I received some very early birthday presents. I got one of the little Vogue Knitting on the Go books, the one on shawls, as well as some of the lovely new Kaffe Fassett inspired sock yarn. Thank you so much for thinking of me! What a pleasant surprise!

Kaffe Fassett sock yarn

Can't wait to cast on... must finish something else first....

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Gainful Employment

No knitting today - I have other kinds of good news to share.

I got the job that I've been agonizing for weeks about!

All my history and museum education aside, I'm now going to be working as a technical writer for a very small firm that does research and analysis of intellectual property and patent law for investors. I'll get to write about different inventions all the time, which does kind of fit in with some of the graduate work I did on the history of technology. The business end is not so familiar, but that's okay. And the best part is I can walk to work! My former museum employers will probably be disappointed, but I've discovered I like to eat and I'm halfway decent at writing. So on to a new kind of adventure!

I have two weeks until I start, so my summer vacation is getting extended just a little longer. More time to knit and make cupcakes and get new work clothes!

Don't worry, this will still be a knitting blog. I have no interest in writing about work and I'm sure my employers will have little interest in me discussing it with the world.

Happy weekend -- happy knitting!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Ravelry

I have joined the masses having fun over at Ravelry, and I, too, am having a great time obsessing over getting every last little detail on line. I'm "GoldenIris" over there, so if you haven't yet, look me up and say hi.

Ravelry is also a fabulous way to occupy my mind and time as I wait to hear back from the possible employer. I have to get through today and probably most of tomorrow! But that is okay and I can be patient. And once I get a job I'm springing for a paid flickr account so I can really get the most use out of it as well as Ravelry. No more losing photos!

Here's what I've been working on lately. And by lately, I mean the last three days.

Pullover1

This is a very basic v-neck in-the-round raglan that I am just cruising along on. Well, now I'm cruising. Earlier I was very, very angry with my yarn.

I swatched. There was a knot. So when I ripped out the swatch to start, I left the few yards in front of the knot behind. Then as I cast on and knit a few rows of ribbing, there was another one. And another one. And three more after that! There were six - SIX! - knots in this ball of yarn (I know because I re-balled the whole darn thing), all within the not-quite 2 inches or so of ribbing at the bottom of this sweater. SIX! Let me tell you, I got pretty good at splicing these together with a needle, but I was so mad I could have spit. And all I can say is if the other balls are like this, the yarn company is getting more than a polite complaint. Six knots within the first third of the ball is completely uncalled for.

Okay, I'll take a deep breath and step away from the wool, and play with pretty photos instead.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

M&M Surprise

I finally found some great buttons for the Baby Surprise Jacket I finished knitting a little while back, so now I can say it is officially done.

BSJ1

Don't they look just like little M&Ms?

The stats:
Pattern: Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket
Yarn: a little over 3 balls Hobby Kids
Needles: #7?
Buttons: From a nice yarn shop we visited in Bethesda, Knit and Stitch
Modifications: As you can tell, my buttonholes aren't even. Oh well! I think they look fine where they are. I made this on slightly larger yarn and needles, so it's a bit bigger than an ordinary BSJ. Finally, like many people have been doing these days, I did one round of single crochet around the neckline to neaten it up. Otherwise, this is very much the same friendly BSJ that we know and love!

BSJ2

I can't wait to find a small person for this.

In other news, I should be receiving my Ravelry invite this week! I have been watching the list with increasing anticipation and as of right now I'm 43rd in line. I hope it's all what it's cracked up to be, because there are over 15,000 people in line behind me!

I also hope to be able to post some more good news by the end of the week. Job-type news. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Grannie Smith Cardigan

Finally, a finished sweater!

Even though it was almost 90 degrees outside, I threw on my fuzzy little sweater for photos out there. And this was the best I could do for a facial expression -- it was still better than any photo that would have been taken indoors.

Granny Smith Cardigan

The stats:
Pattern: Melissa Wehrle (neoknits)'s Grannie Smith Cardigan
Yarn: Crystal Palace Kid Merino, from Simply Socks Yarn Company (looks like it's no longer available here, but I found it to be a good, economical substitute for Rowan Kidsilk Haze or K1C2 Douceur et Soie - it doesn't have silk, however, but some merino and nylon along with the kid mohair.)
Buttons: Some old lavender-colored shirt buttons from mom's button box
Needles: #3 and #4 nylon circs
Modifications: I decided I wanted more, smaller buttons, so I tried (unsuccessfully the first time) to redo the math for the button bands, screwed up the first time, got upset about ripping out buttonholes in mohair, and eventually fixed it. Otherwise I don't think I changed anything beyond adding some selvedge stitches where I needed them.
Notes: At first I didn't think the mohair was that bad to work with. I had to rip out a major mistake on one of the fronts and it was fine, but ripping out buttonholes was another story entirely. And it's not annoyingly itchy, which is the good thing about kid mohair.

I'm disappointed with my button placement, but that's my own fault entirely. Even though I'd probably never button the very top button, I think it looks kind of silly that there's no button right at the top. So if it annoys me enough, I may remove the very bottom button and sew it onto the top of the button band even though there is no corresponding buttonhole. What do you think? Does it look stupid? Can you even tell?

As for the pattern, it was great -- well written, easy to understand, and definitely worth the price. As I keep worrying about how to design sleeve caps, I noticed these worked very well and I think the sleeves are a good length for a sweater like this. Thanks, Melissa!

For a relatively fine-gauge sweater, this just flew along. I started it in June after graduation, set it aside a few times, and was still finished by the beginning of August. Getting the nerve up to put the seams in probably took the longest, as I knew I didn't want to screw up the sleeve caps and have to rip them out and re-set them. But thankfully those, too, were very well designed and I had no problems easing the sleeves in. I used to really mind laborious seaming but now that I've learned what a difference it can make in the finished garment.

Granny Smith Cardigan

I'm looking forward to wearing this when it cools off this fall (hopefully at work)! It's a good color for fall and very warm for something so lacy.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Unlimited Possibilities?

So whoever told me (which was probably nobody at all and really I'm just making this up) that a 1-lb cone of fingering weight wool yarn offered me infinite possibilities was wrong. What it really offers is unlimited waffling. If you know how hard it is for me to make up my mind about anything, you know this is a bad, bad thing.

Anyway, here I am with my pound of yarn in a color that is not grey or green or blue, but some intermediate, indeterminate color. I thought, hooray! Finally I can make a big pretty lacy thing and not worry about running out of yarn!

Enter Exhibit A: The Print O' The Wave Stole.

At first I thought I was going to make this up as a gift at the end of the school year, and guess what? Of course it didn't get finished. In the interim I'd made a few things from Victorian Lace Today and subsequently decided I didn't care for the construction of the stole.

As you can see, this was after I'd begun applying the border.



Well, interesting. Once I took the needles out, I could actually see what the darn thing looked like! Kind of nice, even. Oh well. It wasn't making me happy, so now it's gone.

I then had another, brilliant idea -- how about a nice cardigan sweater?

Enter Exhibit B: Ridiculously tiny swatch of doom.

I've been seeing a lot of doom-y swatches these days. Mine is a different sort. I decided to try some eyelet patterns over a stockinette stitch fabric, which would make a nice sweater, don't you think? I decided to be a good knitter and make a nice, big swatch that I could measure easily, and I washed it and blocked it before I even looked at the tape measure. So far, so good, right? Except I got the bright idea to knit it up on #1 needles.

I'm not scared of fine-gauge knitting and I know it's been done by lots of other people (and heck, I've knit one sweater on #2s and another on #3s and lived to tell the tale), but really, 8.5 stitches to the inch? 13.5 rows to the inch? This is madness!



The eyelets don't even look that good.

So here I am, seized with a fit of misdirected creativity. What do you think? Should I try again on #2s, block the eyelets out a little more and try to make the gauge slightly less ridiculous? I only have Barbara Walker #1 on hand right now... do you know a better eyelet pattern hanging around? Should I give up and cry for mercy, hoping that the yarn will make itself into something spectacular and amazing while I go back to making more and more socks, which are evidently the only things I've knit all year? Help!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Sidewinder Socks

Evidently I was terribly mistaken and let the computer confuse me. I can indeed take photos off my camera, edit, and upload them. Guess I've been a fool these past weeks. But now there's no stopping me!

Without further ado, let's ring in the new incarnation of the blog with a bright and sassy FO.

Sidewinder2

These are my new Sidewinder socks.

I'm not sure if it was the novelty of the project or what, but when I sat down to knit these they seemed to go very quickly. Even the 100+ stitches of grafting weren't that bad (but it does help if there's a movie in the background).

Sidewinder3

The stats:
Pattern: nonaKnits' Sidewinders, which were put up serially in her blog starting here.
Yarn: 2 skeins Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Bittersweet (see notes).
Needles: #2 circulars
Modifications: I couldn't get the recommended gauge on #2 needles for my size and didn't like the thinner fabric on #3s, so I made the largest size in length and fudged the width to be wider than medium but not really wide. The socks ended up fitting pretty well, although my fudging was inexact and caused some problems on the short horizontal graft.
Notes: I think the increases look awful because I didn't knit them loosely enough. If I were to make these again, I would not use the raised bar increase but probably something that doesn't take extra yarn out of surrounding stitches, something like Elizabeth Zimmermann's M1, which is just twisting an extra wrap onto the right hand needle to make a new stitch without the YO hole. I think that would take care of any distortion. Also, the pattern is accurate -- these use very little yarn! One ball of the Lorna's Laces went all the way through the first sock and more than halfway through the second, even for the largest size. I have lots of yarn left over.

And I never thought I'd say it, but I love love love this fine-gauge garter stitch. Beautiful!

Sidewinder4

This (above) is also probably the best photo for color.

Sidewinders

I love the colors, I love the vertical striping, I love the smoothness of the fabric. Would I make them again (keeping in mind I almost never make anything twice)? Probably not. It's a fabulous novelty and they were fun but they don't fit as well, particularly in the heel, as I would like. But I have wide feet and high arches and heels are always kind of a pain to fit properly.

What's next? Possibly the evil swatch of doom, or maybe some new socks, or maybe I'll get off my butt and sew up that sweater once and for all. Today's about the last day I want a lap full of sweater, though. Maybe I'll just lay here and hope someone brings me some nice cold lemonade....