Monday, April 30, 2007
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
I do rather adore knitting socks and I've been admiring patterns and just generally looking at sock related things lately. Here are some super-awesome links I've found. I'm putting them here so I'll always be able to find them as I frequently reformat my hard drive.
Sock Size Analysis - gives average foot measurments for the different US shoe sizes. This is really handy if your recipient is not available for sizing sessions. I've linked to women's sizing, but you'll find links to men's & children's sizes at the bottom of the page.Don't feel like paying $25 for sock blockers? Here is a simple and cheap alternative.
Snowflake Lace Socks
Work has been pretty crazy (but rewarding) lately, so I've not made much progress on the Green Gable. I still photographed it this morning since it was good picture-taking weather (i.e. sunny enough that even my dark apartment had vaguely natural light).
So far the most impressive thing about this sweater is the drape of the bamboo yarn. I had my first bamboo spinning trial this morning and I've decided that it is the most difficult fiber to work with EVER! The fibers have no elasticity, nor do they have any affinity for each other. I'd just be twirling away, minding my own business, and my unworked fiber would just keep sliding until it broke under its own weight. Once I finished I realized that my black shirt was absolutely covered in little white bamboo hairs. It looked like I live with a very stressed out cat. I'll be content to purchase bamboo yarns rather than make my own. Totally not worth the trouble or the pethair rollers.
I also finally got around to photographing the incredibly thoughtful birthday gift Laurie gave me Wednesday night. The yarn is a superwash jacquard from a German company, ON LINE Yarns. They show all the colorways on the ballband, and Laurie totally picked the same one I would have - because she's awesome like that! She also included little goodies like foot soak tablets and cuticle balm (this will be especially handy in winter when my fingers are so dry that they snag the yarn as I knit). The little circles I've attached to the ball band are actually magnets designed to keep your knitting in place when you set your project aside. Now I can toss my WIPs (That's Works In Progress for those of you back at home ^_~) into my bag with impunity! Thanks so much, Laurie!
Monday, April 23, 2007
Note the even-ness. Note the thin-ness. Note the exceptional left-handed photography!
I did ply it, and it is my first yarn that resembles real yarn. It's so even! I'm in love. I took my other 3 yarns to work with me today and showed everyone (totally not kidding). This beauty will definately be coming tomorrow so I can demonstrate my slub-free prowess!
Note the lack of slubs!!! I can't believe that this is only the 4th sample I've spun. Your fingers just learn so quickly. I really want to switch to a wheel eventually, though. On a spindle I can't really keep the spin and draft well at the same time. My spindle spinning method is not at all correct, but it works for me. I want to switch to a wheel to free up both hands for quicker spinning.
I will spend tomorrow daydreaming about which fiber to try tomorrow night. I really want to do another tonight, but I must make these samples last! Hopefully Jan will attend open knit night on Wednesday so I can ask her where she gets her fibers. I've been eyeing some blends at Paradise Fibers, but I don't know how much to get as a beginner!
Sunday, April 22, 2007
I have a theory that every knit blogger eventually trys spinning yarn. I took a spinning class down at Knit Picky on Saturday and created my first 2 yarns. The first is from combed merino, and the second is a dyed soysilk blend. The class was very informative and you could tell that Jan (the instructor) was someone who was passionate about her craft and loved to share it with others. She gave us samples of almost every kind of fiber available so we could play around and see what we like most. We even got to try our hand at a spinning wheel. She got so genuinely excited about our yarns - the whole experience was really encouraging and thrilling. Thank you Jan & Helper (whose name I have forgotten - I met a lot of new people that afternoon)!!
When I started I was a little frustrated with my corkscrews and slubs, but by the end of the 2 hours I was free of the corkscrews and I'd learned to love my slubs. Someday I'll spin an even yarn, but until then I'll pet the slubs because really they're much softer than the rest of the yarn. It just brings you back to the fiber used to spin it.
My favorite part is plying to create a balanced yarn (one that won't unspin). You take this wirey beast of a single, twist the ends in the opposite direction and suddenly it's yarn. Truly a magical moment.
I am so proud of them! Tonight I will be trying another fiber type and really working on spinning a thin single. I know spinning evenly comes with practice, my biggest questions now are more technical. For example - how does one create a 3-ply? Do you have to keep the third strand separate? And how would one ply on a spinning wheel? I expect I'll be purchasing one by the end of the year!
Friday, April 20, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Pattern: Adrienne Vittadini's Allegra Twist-Front Top (Spring '05)
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine (worsted) in Green Apple (this was pretty heavy for a worsted weight yarn)
Needles: US 6
Modifications: I performed the mitered decreases in the front at a steeper angle
I finally got some pictures of the completed twist-front top. It just keeps growing! I'm going to remove the side seams and take out some of the extra ease. I definately recommend knitting one size down from your actual measurements, but unfortunately that wasn't an option for me. If I do this again I'll probably try it in a DK or sport weight yarn. The finished product is very lovely and I am proud of it, I'm just going to be modifying it to get the fit I want.
Tonight at Knit Picky's open knit night I cast on for Zephyr Style's Green Gable using Bonsai (a bamboo tape yarn by berroco). It's going really quickly - I'm already 2 inches into it even though I was distracted by conversation and cookies! I can tell it's going to be a quick knit which means I'll get to wear it lots this spring and summer! Hooray. The bonsai is so shiny and has a wonderful drape. Just look at that shimmer!
The project I'm really looking forward to is another Zephyr Style pattern; Wicked. I ordered the yarn from the ladies at kpixie (the bundle is on sale!) and it arrived today (Superfast shipping!). This is the closest representation of the color I could get. I'm really excited about this yarn. It's just too reflective to photograph well. No wonder the pictures on the 'net are so varied! Believe it or not, this is the same colorway shown in the pattern photos!
Well, I'm going to knit a few more rounds on the green gable before bed. Goodnight, and happy knitting!
Sunday, April 15, 2007
First up is the Koigu KPPM I mentioned earlier. I finally got a shot that captured the true nature of this glorious colorway (P141). I've had this yarn in the stash for about 2 years, but was not confident enough for socks. Now, I am a new, empowered, knitter and will be making a pair for myself out of this gorgeous yarn.
Next there is some lovely Bonsai. I have 8 balls of this and I believe it will become the Green Gable from Zephyr Style. The yarn is so cool and shiny and slick. Actually, it may be too slick. I was having wee yarn explosions when I tried to wind it into balls by hand. I'll probably take it up to Knit Picky this week and ask to borrow their swift and ball winder to make the process a little less slippery.
1. Pattern: Crusoe
Yarn: Cascade Fixation 1 ball (color 9816)
Needles: US 1
Modifications: Converted to an anklet with a 2x2 ribbing instead of a rolled cuff.
Thoughts on the project: These were my first socks! I did attempt this pattern once with the recommended Koigu but found that the yarn just didn't have enough stretch for the stranded stitch pattern. So, I opted for an elastic yarn. They knit up pretty quickly, and I'm glad that I did finish the second sock despite not being in love with the colorway. I don't want to start single sock syndrome with my first pair of socks! Hopefully I will continue to be diligent with my knitting of the second sock. See that little ball between my feet? That's what was left from the ball when I finished. I'm so excited that I got 2 socks out of a single ball! I expect that un-used Koigu will become a pair of Jaywalkers.
2. Pattern: Danica
Yarn: Paton's SWS in Natural Earth (3.5 balls)
Needles: US 8
Thoughts on the Project: I admit I was being a sheep with this pattern. I saw some absolutely gorgeous Danicas on Craftster using SWS (particularly those by fragolina_piccolina and tragicheroine) and had to make one of my own. But wow, this scarf is gorgeous! I was actually in a self-forced knitting lull thinking I needed to focus on graduate school rather than my hobbies. But when I saw all those gorgeous scarves. . .my inner wooly knittingbeast broke free and I picked up my needles for the first time in a year. Thanks to all you wonderful knitters on Craftster for bringing me back. For a while I debated about blocking the scarf, and finally decided that I love the texture of entrelac and that I would proudly wear it bumpy! Fortunately, shortly after finishing the scarf our weather took a nosedive and I actually got to wear it! This will be a special scarf for me becuase it reminded me how happy I am to knit.
Sunday, April 8, 2007
I spent much of the afternoon Saturday weaving in the ends on the twist-front top and doing the armhole finishing. Today I gave it a bath (it turned the water green). And laid it out to block before seaming. It's pretty wet, but with the cold weather my heat has been running pretty frequently so that should speed up the drying process. Hopefully it will help to humidify my house over the next day! It took surprisingly long to get the top into the desired dimensions - the yarn became super stretchy when wet and the lace just kept getting bigger and bigger. I finally tamed the beast into something manageable, though.
I wish the weather were more pleasant - I'd hoped to wear it to open knitting night on Wednesday, but I don't think it will be warm enough.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
I'm glad to have my knitting this weekend. I got a care package from the family today, and in it was a letter reminding me that this weekend is Easter weekend, and that this will be the first time I don't get to see my family around this time of year. I've got my work to keep me preoccupied, and when I'm done with that work on Saturday I'll head down to Knit Picky since all my classmates are visiting their families this weekend. I'm the only one whose home is really too far away for that sort of thing. At least I can be a help to them by pet-sitting (and mouse-sitting in some cases).
I intend to use the weekend to finish some things and start some others. I'll be finishing the twist-front top and the second Crusoe sock. Meanwhile' I'm going to sit down and really start the push to write my candidacy proposal. I've been jotting down experiments and questions for the last couple of months. It is time to make an organized push for this thing to happen. I hope to have my first draft done by the end of May. For right now I'll still try to think of it in segments because an entire grant proposal seems daunting. I've never done anything like this before - this will be a trial to see if I could do this sort of thing for a living. Scary.
I just finished watching the film "Pursuit of Happyness." While everyone I've spoken to thought it was a really heartwarming and wonderful film I can't entirely agree. It is a good movie, but it was painful to watch. It was even more painful knowing it was based on a true story. When the credits rolled I was left with an overwhelming sense of emptiness. It pains me to see such misfortune. The last movie that left me so uneasy was Dancer in the Dark. If it weren't so late I'd watch some uplifting film to get over it.
Be thankful that you know where you will sleep tonight, and that your loved ones love you in return.
I'm sorry I can't be there this year, guys. I'll be thinking about you the whole time (and getting fat from all the dark chocolate you sent!).
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
It's still looking quite rough, but I'll tidy it up for a final photo shoot sometime soon!
Sunday, April 1, 2007
There was a setback in the twist-front top. I had nearly completed the mitering on the front, but I realized that I really wasn't happy with the way it was shaping up. So Friday, after much procrastination, I took a deep breath and frogged back to the point where I cast on for the mitered panels. I'm so relieved that I did. I've nearly completed that section now, and I'm really pleased with the results. I could potentially finish this top in a few days if work goes smoothly.
Yesterday, I met Karen for lunch and some knitting in public. She was working on a cropped cardigan in Berocco's Bonsai. That yarn is gorgeous. I'm excited about working with it myself. I have several hanks of it in Red Maple, I'm just trying to decide what I'll be making with it. It could potentially turn into another twist-front top.