Sunday, October 29, 2006

October projects-in-progress.

One reason this blog has suffered somewhat is that I haven't had quite as much time for knitting this semester--not as much of the kind of reading that I can knit while doing, only one class I'm comfortable knitting in, and frankly just not enough downtime overall. Fortunately my craft-y urges are kept somewhat satisfied by my job in the theater costume shop, but for a while there my only knitting project was a slow-moving pair of socks. However, last week was Fall break, and I started a couple of new (inexpensive! but also, alas, fairly quick) projects, to wit:

Mitered square rug. Watch me try to take interesting photos of a bunch of squares!

And the close-up:

This one is on hold until I get over to Bi-Mart and get some more dishcloth cotton. I'm almost out of a couple of colors I need more of. I should actually get in gear and do that, though, because it will be nice to have something between my stocking feet and the linoleum when I'm washing dishes.

And, hey, it's dishcloth cotton, making this one of the few knitting projects out there that is almost as cheap as a comparable storebought [whatever]. Sigh.

Fuzzyfeet, from Knitty. Weirdly enough, I bought the exact color of Lamb's Pride specified in the pattern, completely unintentionally. I had it in my head that the originals were green...

These are actually all done except for one toe graft and the felting. I've never fulled knitting before, except for the swatch for these. Adventure time! Maybe I'll do that this afternoon.

And the very-slow-moving socks: Laila's socks, from Folk Knitting in Estonia.

After finishing the second sock, and before frogging half the foot of the first one. My gauge is a bit smaller than the original, so I had to add some extra repeats of the stripe pattern; I decided halfway through the second sock (the upper one in the photo) that it might look better if I worked an extra repeat of the stripe pattern on the foot before doing the larger motif. This turned out to be the case (well, in my opinion), so after comparing them I ripped out a good bit of the first sock and began again:

I'm now quite close to the toe shaping on the re-done sock. I've been working on these since before we moved in September, but I'm not really that slow; I mostly work on them in one particular class, which only meets for three hours a week. They're a good portable project, so I've been trying to make them last.

Also in progress: some kind of flu-with-fever thing that knocked me flat yesterday and isn't much better today. Pretty much all I've been good for is reading/dozing on the couch and, well, making blog posts (with way more typos than usual, though I think I've caught most of them). Thank goodness the paper I thought was due tomorrow is actually due Wednesday...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Oh. Hello again, craftblog.

...long time no see (by the way, I was excited/amused to find out that this idiom has an almost exact counterpart in Chinese. I never used to use it before, but now for some reason it keeps slipping in to my mental dialogue).

I have many excuses I could offer for almost immediately wandering away from this thing, including travel, dead computer, moving (arg), and the start of school with accompanying Big Thesis Project, but I won't try; this is after all a hobby about a hobby and I've only got so much mental energy. That said, I'd rather manage at least a couple of posts a month after this. We shall see.

When we last left our heroes, the Austrian Patterned Knee Socks had made it through a rough patch and were on their way to getting finished. By the time I had grafted both sets of toes, however, my computer had expired (thankfully not for good--a new part set it right again a month later). Yesterday was one of the first days so far to be cool and rainy enough for thick wool kneesocks, and after I'd been wearing them all day it ocurred to me to take some pics.

Cable-y foot.

They are long. I wanted to get a picture of the picot tops, but it's hard to photograph one's own knees in any way that doesn't make them look funny.
Funny-looking knees.

They do sort of make my calves look chunkier, being pretty thick (I suspect the yarn for the originals was thinner than Kroy, but even they seem to have the same effect in the photos in the book). The coy pose is partly because after wearing them all day, I discovered that one of my shoes had got soaked through and bled brown dye on the left sock! The bright side is that my feet stayed so warm I didn't notice the wet. The dye will probably come out--I've had this happen to cotton socks and they came out white again--but grr!

Here's a close-up of the back shaping:
Clearly I need better lighting.


Pattern: "Austrian-Patterned Knee Socks" from Socks, Socks, Socks

Yarn: Patons Kroy, color "Muslin," four balls (well, three and a half)

Needles: Size 0 Inox aluminum DPs

Mods: Two pretty minor things. Instead of sewing the picot hems down after the socks were done, I knitted the cast-on edge together with the stitches of the last plain stockinette row. I left about a 6-stitch section un-joined in case I wanted to turn the hem into a casing for elastic, but so far the socks seem to stay up all right on their own.

I did about half an inch of plain stockinette before starting the toe shaping--I thought the proportions looked better that way.

Notes: There's a mistake in the center back chart (B) of this pattern, a pretty obvious one--the first row of the chart is given as all purls. Fortunately it's pretty easy to intuit what it should be, based on the other three rows of the chart. I also added a row of k2, p2, k2, p2, k2 at the end of chart E (making it 12 rows instead of 11), because it seemed to make more sense to have it there--if you have the book, look at the chart and you'll see what I mean.

I had never done twisted-stitch cabling like this before--this was the first knitting project I'd been intimidated by in a long time, and the first couple of inches were pretty frustrating. By the time I was halfway down the leg of the first sock, I was doing 6-stitch, three-way crosses without a cable needle. So I'm pretty proud of this project, on the whole.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I haven't been swimming yet, but my yarn has. No fair.

I haven't been getting a vast amount of knitting done since the events of the last post--one foot of the twisted-stitch knee socks is awaiting grafting (pity about that lost darning needle, grr) and the second one is a bit past where the first one was when I did the repairs I wrote about below.

I did wash some coned yarn from webs, which I bought along with the Cascade 220 for my Rogue cardi in January (yep, I knit one of those too, like everyone ever...), because it was awfully cheap and I had sweaters on the brain. I got just under 1700 yards, which ought to be more than enough for a densely cabled cardigan/jacket to fill the temperature gap between my light canvas jacket and my winter pea coat.

(Right before posting this I discovered that webs still has some of this yarn on its Garage Sale page. See what I mean about Very Cheap? Their photos are also a better illustration than mine of the rather string-like texture it has pre-washing.)

I know you don't have to wash coned yarn before using it, but I also know that this stuff smelled like petroleum and felt about the way you'd expect petroleum-scented yarn to feel.

I tried to document the twine-y, wiry texture, but it didn't really come across, due, apparently, to my inability to focus a damn camera. (Take my word on it?) The color in that photo seems about right, at least on my monitor--a bright-ish burgundy tweed, with neps in various almost-crayon colors. (The label calls it "cardinal.")

I wound it off into three huge skeins of very approximately equal size, which I washed one at a time in dish detergent. The dish detergent was because I wasn't sure Woolite would be tough enough to strip out most of the spinning oil (not to mention that my Woolite seems to have vanished during the move out of student housing in May). The one-at-a-time business was because my washtub is a small Rubbermaid-type storage box that only holds a couple of gallons, and these were *big* skeins and i didn't want to crowd them.

This house does have a soaking tub in the laundry room (I live in a house! with a laundry room! bliss!), but it, conversely, is huge and would waste a ton of water to fill. It's also awkwardly placed, and is full of dust and at least one large spider. My little plastic tub balanced comfortably on one corner of it.

I dried the skeins over a broomstick in the back yard

which took less than a day, since it was hot (though humid)--the last one to come out of the bath was dry by the next morning. The little pink flecks all over the concrete patio are insulating foam scraps from the cosplay sword my housemates are building, by the way (long story, kind of). The puddle, obviously, is because wet yarn drips.

I wound it all up on my ball winder, because I wanted to check for damp bits before I put it away. My three monster skeins should probably have been four; I had to wind really carefully toward the end of each one because they were actually too big for the winder. I'll be very sad if I've shortened the lifespan of that marvellous toy....

The yarn did fluff up nicely. It still feels a little oily, but now smells like a combination of sheep, dish soap, and just a wee bit of petroleum--so I'm hoping the oil I can feel now is partly or mostly lanolin. It'll be tolerable to knit with, when I get around to it, and the finished product will be washed again once it's done anyway.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sock retcon.

As I wrote earlier, Knitting Adventures Were Had this past weekend. The first one involved the Austrian Patterned Knee Socks from this book.

These have already taught me one knitting lesson, which is that even when substituting something as seemingly interchangeable as sock yarn it's important to pay some attention to *all* the little numbers associated with the pattern. I bought 150g of a yarn that gave me the same gauge specified in the pattern, on the same size needles, and only noticed partway into the project that my first ball definitely hadn't lasted as long as it should have... then I compared the ball band to my book.

Heh. Oops. The book doesn't give the brands of yarn used (maybe to avoid dating itself?), but this particular pattern calls for 150g/650yds of yarn. The yarn I bought was Kroy Socks, with 203 yards/50g. Doesn't take a math genius to figure out that three balls of Kroy =/= 650 yards. So I knit to about halfway through the instep decreases on both socks, then set them aside for around a month to wait for more yarn. (I was a bit tight for yarn money, and waiting for to have a free shipping coupon. It seemed silly to pay more than the yarn was worth to ship it, when I had other things to work on.)

At any rate, the yarn arrived last week. Fortunately dyelots don't seem to matter too much when the yarn's a commercially dyed off-white, and I cheerfully finished the instep decreases on one sock.

Too bad about those two big cable crosses on the upper left, eh? They're supposed to parallel the two-stitch cable running up the center of the panel, not cross the other way. Grr.

Normally I'm both very picky about mistakes, and pretty bold about laddering down to fix them. This time the former held true, but the latter--not so much. I quailed. I grumbled to myself. 24 rows at about 12 rows to the inch, on 2mm needles, with twisted stitches and the most annoying cable cross in the pattern (twice!). I didn't really doubt I'd do it, but I had to work myself up to it, which is unusual for me. Hence the pictures, which I took as part of the talking-myself-through-it process.

After laddering down. In retrospect, it was pretty clever of me to buy some more tiny dpns along with the yarn to finish these. Heh. (Actually, I needed something to get me up to the bottom limit for the free shipping.)

[Naturally, while I was hauling the sock around in search of well-lit spots to photograph it, I managed to lose my last sock-sized darning needle. Curses. Or 'darn it,' if you please.]

It was really fairly uneventful, though I had to brave the ungodly heat a few times in search of better light (as opposed to lurking in the cool but dim basement like a sane person). And the final repair was kind of lumpy at the edges. But I pulled at it a bit with a needle tip, and hopefully it will smooth out the rest of the way when the socks get washed.

Final steps of repair: knit a few rounds as a victory lap. Pour self a cool glass of Thai iced tea. Take blurry photos of tea, for some reason.

First post!

This weekend I got into a few yarn-related adventures which, for some reason, I felt moved to document and share with the internets. Maybe it was the heat wave getting to my brain, I don't know. At any rate, I had already been thinking for a while about having a place to consolidate photos of stuff I've knitted/made, progress on projects, and various other stats vital to the process of Makin' Stuff, but which I tend to keep track of haphazardly at best once the projects in question are finished or otherwise out of sight. I do have a knitting notebook, but my notebooks tend to get misplaced, stomped on, and have things fall out of them at inopportune moments--plus, it's easier to show people one's digital knitting journal. With amateur pictures, no less!

Yes, I am a sheep, but at least knitters are inclined to be kind to sheep, right?

Actual content to follow.