Monday, July 30, 2007

I'm back....

I didn't realize, again, that it had been so long! I think every year goes by faster than the one before it. I can remember being six and seven years old and thinking that a year was such a long time. First grade lasted a millenium. Now in my 30's weeks go by and I feel like it's only been a few days.

And even though it's been more than three weeks, I have nothing finished to show you. I've started many things though:

I am quite a bit farther on this now but I haven't taken an updated photo. This is the Luna Moth Shawl, a free pattern from I love Shui Kuen Kozinski's designs, and there are several other free ones on Elann. I am using Elann Callista in the linen colorway (which appears to be sold out), and I am loving everything about this knit - the pattern and the yarn are a good match, the yarn feels good and knits up quickly, and the pattern is just complicated enough that I can't quite memorize it so I don't get bored. Also, you can't beat $15 for a project of this size.

Next up is a summer top from Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2005:

Yeah, I know, it doesn't look like much at this point. I can't find a photo of the finished top outside of Ravelry. If you are on Ravelry already, you can see it here. It has a deep V neck that ends in what appears to be a twist, with one side of the front twisted through the other side, and a crochet edging all the way around. The original pattern calls for Karabella Empire Silk, which would be lovely and drapey, but oh so impractical and expensive. I am using King Tut mercerized cotton, which is still shiny and drapey, and less than half the cost. I am getting exact gauge, but I am kind of thinking this design would be better overall in a lighter DK or sport weight rather than the 18 st/4" worsted weight. It just seems overly chunky for a warm weather top that is supposed to be light and drapey. We'll see how it looks when it's done though.

I also cast on this bolero last night, because I've been obsessed with it since I first saw it on Ravelry. I'm using the exact yarn, same color even, because it's just too perfect to change. Only one store in my town sells Cotton Ease, and it couldn't be any farther away from my house than it is, so I'd been avoiding making the trip out there for some time. I finally broke down and went yesterday though and got the cotton ease for this plus two balls of light gray for another one, some taupe Paton's Grace for a camisole and cream kitchen cotton for a shopping tote. It was a very colorless and cottony yarn haul, but nice. I think those are the only craft store yarns I ever buy, and I do have to admit I love the Cotton Ease. It's so round and squishy! I wish it came in more colors, because it would be perfect for kid sweaters but the girlie very definitely looks better in jewel tones than in the muted shades of Cotton Ease.

There have been other projects over the last few weeks. I had a brief fling with Mystery Stole 3, until I made a mistake I couldn't recover from and decided I didn't love it enough to continue (i.e. start over). I was doing it solely for the experience, because I don't think I'd ever wear lace of that kind and I don't know anyone else who would either. I love lace shawls (hence Kiri and the Luna Moth), but of a different kind. I like them to be substantial and more casual, as much as lace can be casual. Actually, I think it can, in the same way that I pair ballet flats and little camisoles with army green cargo pants. I like that girlie/tough mixture. The Luna Moth would be perfect for that kind of thing. The floaty and delicate Mystery Stole, not so much.

I also tried to cast on, well, did cast on, my Hourglass Sweater using Dream in Color Classy, which I love love love unreasonably. Well, not unreasonably - it's amazingly soft and bouncy and incredibly subtly colored. Love it! Anyway, I swatched on 6's and got gauge knitting flat. The Hourglass is knit in the round. Since gauge tends to be tighter in the round than flat, I decided 6's were the way to go because I'd like mine to be slightly smaller than the smallest size. So, I cast on and had gone about eight rounds when I started noticing that it was really, really bunched up on the 29" circular needle and obviously had to be bigger than 32" or 33" around. So, I took it off. FORTY-FOUR inches around! I have no idea how my gauge can differ so much, and why it would be so much bigger in the round, which is supposed to be tighter. I guess that tells me that my purls are tighter than my knits, unlike most English style knitters. Yikes. I bought a size 5 needle, but I think this one will go on hold until I finish a few other things first.

So, there's the knit update for the day. Hopefully later this week I'll have progress of another sort to show - my first quilt in 20 years!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Just one of the good things about Ravelry is that it motivates me to take pictures of my projects. Here, finally, are my Wyvern socks, finished quite awhile ago, although I left them sitting on the desk with the ends needing woven in for a month or so. I do that all the time. I have an entire baby sweater in the stash trunk that just needs seaming up. Its original intended recipient is far too big for it now. There's a scarf in there too that just needs some beads sewn on the ends. It's been in that state for nearly two years. (Does this make me a process knitter, or just lazy? I'll go with process knitter, thanks.)

Pattern: Wyvern, by Marnie Maclean
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug, Marble, 1 skein
Needles: KA Bamboo dpns, sizes US 1 and 2

I didn't realize I had my camera on some weird setting that made the background black. It was actually bright in the room, but I liked how it looked this way. You can see the pattern better.

I don't have any other recent knitting FO's to show you, although I've brought a lot of older projects out of storage to take Ravelry photos. Mina's tiny baby sweaters and hats made me so nostalgic, until I saw all my beginner mistakes in them. Why is it that mistakes show up so much better in pictures?

I knitted this two years ago, during the summer I was pregnant. It was one of my first finished projects. Look at that horrendous ribbing! I couldn't figure out how to do the buttonholes, so I just sort of shoved the buttons through the ribbing where the buttonholes should have been. And that sleeve folded over like that? It's hiding an entire row of twisted stitches that looked so embarrassing I didn't want them to be seen! I think I was getting bored with the stockinette and tried to switch to continental for a bit, which used to make me twist stitches. I vaguely remember that. Why I didn't fix the twisted stitches I have no idea. And I put this on Mina all the time! She wore it everywhere and got tons of compliments. Ha ha ha ha ha! Yeah, funny.

So, yesterday I think I had a moment of insanity - I signed up for Mystery Stole 3. You know, deadline pressure, if I didn't do it rightnow then I'd miss out and have to wait a whole year, everyone else is doing it, yada yada. So, I signed up. I knew I had four skeins of Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in pale gray (Mist?) in the stash trunk and a pretty good bead stash, so I figured it would be fine since I wouldn't have to buy anything. I swatched last night on 2's and my swatch looks like vomit. It's awful. I know lace must be blocked. But still. So I took it with me to the LYS that is closing to ask their opinion, dig around for any other suitable laceweight (their supplies are dwindling what with everything 25% off, but the alpaca is just so slippery it drives me crazy) and to grab some Addi lace needles that just came in and they so kindly emailed me about yesterday. There were only bright colors of Jaggerspun Zephyr left, and nothing else that called to me. I did bring home sizes 1 and 2 47" Addi Lace needles (yay!) and the last seven balls of some dark teal Cascade Pima Tencel (Sahara, perhaps?). The lady working thought my swatch was fine on 2's but I might go down to the 1 anyway - I think the stockinette portions look weird. I was swatching on the only size 2 straights I have, which are Inox and so they're slippery. My gauge may change on the new Addis. So I dug through the bead stash and the color I was thinking of is far too small, but I have clear and clear with silver centers in the right size. Only one more problem - I don't have a crochet hook small enough! I have a size 7 steel hook, which looks like it should work, but it won't fit through the beads. And the beads look almost too big for the yarn to me; I'd go down a bead size if I could. How small do steel hooks come? (Why did I sign up to do this again?)

I need to find my kitty so I can relax and knit for the rest of the night. She goes outside once it begins to get dark - she's too scared during the day for some reason - and when it is warm I typically leave the door open until she comes back inside. We live in a relatively small town (around 90,000 people) in what has always seemed like a nice neighborhood. We had a scare last night though. I was sleeping and J was sitting here in the living room after work (he works until about 1:00 a.m. at the newspaper), and some random guy walked up onto our front porch and tried the door. Thank goodness it was locked, or he would have just walked right in! I woke up to J's voice, loud, and footsteps leaving. I came down to see what was going on, and J explained what had happened and said the guy asked to use the phone. J told him (through the closed door, which is all glass unfortunately) to walk the seven blocks to the grocery store and use theirs. Hopefully that was just an isolated case, some guy who'd had too much to drink (or something). Our next door neighbors had their house burglarized while they were sleeping a couple of months ago, though, so it creeps me out. And my kitty isn't sitting at the edge of the front porch like she usually does. I think MS3 is not a good knit for tonight, since I'll keep jumping up to look for her through the closed and locked door.