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Archive for December, 2006

Finished Objects: Shawl and Socks

December 24, 2006 3 comments

Cable-Lace Shawl
Pattern: Light and Lacy Wrap Pattern
Yarn: Knitpicks Merino Style Fog
Needles: Inox US6 circular

Stole Front

What I learned:This was my first shawl, and my first project using both cables and lace, so I learned a great deal. I learned to cable without a cable needle. I learned to use stitch markers to keep my pattern repeats straight. I learned to relax my hands while knitting. I learned that, for me, metal needles work best for lace projects. And, as it was a long term project, if I learned a new technique that could be applied to this shawl, I did. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn’t – and if necessary, ripping back to correct that wouldn’t hurt me or the project.

The most important thing I learned,though, was how to read my knitting so I didn’t have to keep referrring to my pattern or to the chart I made of the lace.

And I like that I can see the progress I’ve made in learning to knit by just looking at the shawl – the beginning is fine, but the end is better.

Toe-up Garter-Rib Socks
Pattern: My own – Figure 8 cast-on and toe for Magic Loop, Charlene Schurch’s garter-rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks, short-row heel and a twisted-rib cuff.
Yarn: Koigu Premium Merino Multi, #532
Needles:Addi Turbo US0 40″ circular.

Sock Front
What I learned: These were the socks where I finally conquered the short-row heel. Something just clicked when I did the heel for the second sock – the first one was beautiful, and when I had to rip it out anyway because I’d balanced the stitches wrong, the second heel was beautiful, too.

Sock Side

I could probably make the foot longer, but this does feel comfortable – they’re the most comfortable socks I’ve made to date.

Notes: The Koigu was a pleasure to work with, and while the colorway was not quite what I’d expected, it was gorgeous – see how it pops against my black tights? I’m also completely sold on the Magic Loop method for socks.

Categories: knitting

Security knitting

December 18, 2006 Leave a comment

I wonder if anyone else does this.

I’m familiar with having a security item with me – I always have something to read, for example. This has gotten a lot easier since I got my pda, since I can and do download books and fanfic there. And my purse is big enough to hold a trade paperback if necessary. If I don’t have something to read, I feel and nervous – even if I never look at the reading material. Jonathan calls this a “security book” and he needs one, too.

But now I have security knitting. When I leave the house, I have my knitting bag and the current sock project. I may not knit a stitch, or I may make significant progress. I never know.

Saturday night was the synagogue Chanukah party, which is centered around kids. This year it was arts and crafts and a magician, plus a skit one of the kids wrote. And therefore there wasn’t much for non-parents. We’re not the only childless couple in the synagogue, of course, but it’s hardly the norm. However, Jonathan is on the board and we’re being…well,that’s another post. So we had to be there.

And we were about a block away when I realized I left my knitting at home. I decided not to go back to get it, since it’s a fifteen minute round trip, which isn’t much with a car, but it’s significant on foot. And within ten minutes, I was all for changing my mind. However, Jonathan was afraid I’d go home and stay there (which I wouldn’t – I’d paid $10 to be there, and the pizza was going to be dinner.) So I stayed. And it wasn’t bad at all. I drew a picture and watched the skit and chatted with people, and the magician was funny enough. I’d have been happier with the sock, but it wasn’t bad not to have it.

Yesterday was the family Chanukah party. And this time I remembered the knitting.

And I never touched it. It was there, under the table with my purse, if I needed it, but every time I thought I’d get it, something else happened. In fact, I nearly forgot it when we left – I had to run back from the car to the house. However, knowing it was there was very calming and I’m glad I brought it.

Categories: knitting

Mastery and yarn snobbery

December 12, 2006 Leave a comment

I have mastered the short -row heel (I suppose the toe, as well, but I’m having good results with the Figure-8 cast-on for Magic Loop and don’t see a need to change.)

I found that out Sunday morning – Saturday night, after I made a truly beautiful heel, I had to rip it out, and when I redid it Sunday morning – it was truly beautiful *again*. I’ve never done two good heels in a row. Which means I can do it.

What mistake did I make that I had to rip out a beautiful heel? I accidentally knit the foot too long (as compared to the first sock of the pair) and had to frog back. And put two insole stitches on the needle I was using for the heel. Which put the entire sock out of balance. I thought I could compensate by careful counting but I couldn’t. So I ripped.

I think I know what changed – I was very careful in my yarn placement when I wrapped and turned and I’ve learned how to read my work. I also made it a practice to pick up the wraps before I knitted/purled them, and then took care to make the stitches go in the right direction.

This means I’m now able to knit socks for gifts. Until I mastered the heel, I couldn’t do that.

As for the yarn snobbery – I’m one, as it turns out. Good yarn feels good as you knit and makes beautiful, wearable projects. While I’m getting faster, I’m still spending a lot of time on my projects, and I don’t want to spend that time with yarn that doesn’t feel nice, or that makes something unattractive? Or uncomfortable – it was perfectly fine working with the Encore for my Harry Potter scarf, but it’s a tad harsh on my neck.

Categories: knitting

Blocking and socks

December 11, 2006 Leave a comment

My cable-lace shawl is finally blocking. I didn’t do the best job – it was exhausting sticking in all those pins. I thought about doing the thing where you thread cord though the straight edges, and it’s a rectangle, so it’s all straight edges, but I should have done that before soaking the thing in Soak and lukewarm water. Threading the crochet cotton was damp and uncomfortable, and even one narrow edge was hard.

Fortunately, I have lots of pins. Still not enough to stop pucking at the edges, but it is stretched out.
And it’s a long, long, long trapezoid. This is because I relaxed my knitting part way through. And it shows in so many ways – the latter knitting is better, for example. But none of this will show on me, not when I add fringe, so it’s all good.

And the other day, my husband asked me “When are you going to knit *me* a pair of socks?” He hadn’t wanted socks before, but as soon as I finish the current pair, I’m knitting a pair of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd socks (in Watercolor) for a friend of ours. We’ve already found him a nice dark tweedy grey yarn, and I’ll have him look over ribbing patterns.

It’s also that he’s been enjoying the hat I made him, and the little hat I made our niece. This is all to the good.

I’ll post pictures, b”n, when I get the fringe on the shawl.

Categories: Jonathan, knitting

Almost finished

December 5, 2006 Leave a comment

I bound off my cable-lace wrap last night. Tonight, I block it.

From a distance and to a non-knitter, it will look fine, I’m sure. Unblocked, it’s a bit short, especially since it’s maybe 58″ and the pattern called for 72″, but I’m down to less than one skein, and that’s because I bought an extra, and there’s fringe involved. It should block a few inches longer, especially since it’s merino. It’s more like a stole now, which is actually fine (my husband says it looks like a tallis, a Jewish prayer shawl, without the specially tied ritual fringes, and that if I were a man, I’d have to tie those fringes. But I’m not a man and there’s pretty much no way he’s going to wear it, so. :))

It’s short because I used the needle size called for in the pattern, and even then (back in July) I should have known better. I knit loosely, and need to go down at least two needle sizes. So, I used up too much wool that way. However, I did knit too tightly in the beginning and it looks it. It’s also riddled with errors as I learned how to knit lace and keep count. Some are invisible, some are quite visible as holes – but I’m not going to worry about it.

I’m going to block it out and fringe it and wear it proudly as my first even mildly complex pattern, one which taught me a huge amount.

Meanwhile, I’m already swatching for my next project. Since that will be a sweater and I know I have gauge problems, I’ve gone down the two needles sizes, and I’m going to make the full four inch plus square – this way I can check my row gauge as well. I’m also knitting the gauge in combined – twisting the purls, untwisting with the knits because the sweater is knit flat in stockinette and that’s the easiest way for me to do it.

Pictures on Thursday, Gd willing.

Categories: knitting