Friday, September 28, 2007

Yarn Crawl!

I was able to visit my favorite "local" yarn shop yesterday. Needleworks is located in Champaign. I've been a customer of Sharon's since 1986, when I purchased a couple of cross-stitch patterns. Needleworks was primarily a needlepoint/cross-stitch shop then. Now it's mostly a knitting shop. Completely coincidentally they're having an anniversary party and giving discounts on purchases. W00t!

I hadn't intended to purchase any yarn at all, but then I found the stash of Mountain Colors yarns and saw a skein of Weaver's Wool Quarters in the Bitterroot Rainbow colorway that really wants to become my favorite pair of socks this winter. I'll probably use my usual pattern for this yarn--Braided Toeholder by 3 Trails Knitting Designs. There was a similar colorway in another yarn, but it would have ended up requiring three skeins to get a pair of socks and I didn't want to mess with that hassle.

That was going to be the end of the purchases, until I saw a lovely skein of lace weight yarn. It's 1200 yards of superfine alpaca from J. Knits in a pale sage green color called Pueblo. I tried to resist it, but it told me it wants to become the Print O' the Wave shawl.

I'll head back over there today so I can hang out and knit with my yarn buddies. W00t!

Friday, September 21, 2007

An Argument in Favor of a Knitting Journal

Remember the rip in the Kiri? I attempted to mend it today. I decided it was beyond my abilities. Part of the problem is that part of one row was ripped out and while I could fix a simple rip, I don't know how to recreate the missing row from nothing. So I ripped back about six repeats of the Kiri pattern. What does this have to do with a knitting journal? I don't know what needle size I used for the silly shawl. I think it was a size 3. The pattern calls for a 5mm needle, but I'm certain I used a smaller one than that. I have a size 4 out right now, but that seems too big. I'll pick up the stitches in the morning with a size 3 and see how that goes.

This weekend I will work on the Mystery Stole and see if I can get up to the wing section. I haven't got too much house/yard work to do this weekend so I should be able to manage some serious knitting (unless I get bored and too fussy to sit still).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Knitting Night!

I cleaned data until I was brain dead at work today. Now I'm going to brew a pot of lime-ginger tea, plant myself in the comfy chair and knit the night away. If there's nothing good on TV this evening, I have several audio books on my computer to keep me company.

I cannot think of anything I have to do this coming weekend, except mow the lawn and perhaps wash my car. Perhaps I can get the Mystery Stole up to the beginning of the wing....

Re-starting the charity knitting
While the Dulaan Project was running I spent at least a couple of hours every other Sunday knitting on charity items. I haven't done that in a while. I think it's time to resurrect that custom. I have plenty of yarn which would be suitable for hats, mittens, sweaters, scarves and socks. I just need to pick a charity and the relevant projects, then get started!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bad Gauge

Well, I have unraveled Fawkes. They were going to be huge. Way too big for me. I could probably make them in Claudia's Handpaint if I went down a needle size. (I had started them on size 2 needles.) I might try them again on size 1s. Or I might make myself some ribbed lace socks from Sensational Knitted Socks instead.

So I spent last night with the blue Trekking socks. I don't know if I'll work on them again tonight or if I'll go back to the Mystery Stole. Decisions, decisions....

Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's almost border time!

The Mystery Stole is presently at Row 327. The end of Melanie's cat's paw section is at Row 329. Beading Banshee's pattern adds some extra cat's paw sections (she estimates an extra 11 inches, but I suspect that will be shorter at my gauge). I'm printing out the modification now. I don't think I'll be ready to knit the wing by the end of today, but I should be fairly close.

I have found an extra yarn over in one of the cat's paws at the edge of the body, but I'm not going to drop the two involved stitches back and fix it. I might notice the error, but nobody else will. Ordinarily this sort of thing would bug me (I always have to fix lace errors in socks, for example), but apparently it's not an issue with a scarf/stole.

Which brings me to the size of the stole. Unblocked, I have a gauge of about 10 sts per inch in stockinette stitch. I don't think this will be so much as stole as a scarf, which is just fine with me. I seem to be developing a collection of knitted scarves. When I get enough of them, I'll start giving them away.

New Yarn
I decided a road trip was in order and visited a couple of yarn shops yesterday. I almost bought some Mountain Colors yarn at the first shop, but the colorways they had I already own or wasn't thrilled with. The next shop was crowded, but didn't have much in the way of anything in which I was interested. There was a bit of Koigu and some self-striping sock yarn, but I'm not a huge fan of self-striping and never have been bitten by the Koigu bug. I think the Koigu colors are wonderful, but it holds no magic for me. Had I been interested in sweaters of DK to worsted weight yarn, I would have found many things to buy, but that's not what I wanted.

At the third yarn shop, I did pick up a skein of cobweb weight wool (FaRe by Baruffa 1350 meters in 100 grams). I have already picked the project for this yarn--the Cheshire Cat Stole. I won't start it soon, but it's on the list now and the skein is labeled with its intended project.

Today's Knitting

I'd like to get the Mystery Stole done to the wing, but I'll settle for getting the cat's paw section finished and be ready to start the border. I could probably get more done, but yard work and housework need to be done. Much as I hate to do it, I will have to do some laundry and FOLD it today. The pile of clean clothes at the end of the bed just needs to go away.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ahhhh, the soothing rhythm of the knitting....

Despite being frazzled the past couple of days, I managed to work on the MS3 without making mistakes. I am now about to start Row 303. At Row 335 I start the border that Beading Banshee designed to go between the wing and the body of the stole. I'm getting closer!!!!

Yeah, still haven't frogged that one back. I have, however, printed out the pattern so I can keep track of what row I'm on. Checking things off on the laptop screen just doesn't work very well.

New Shawl Pattern!
My mom e-mailed me a free shawl pattern today. A friend or co-worker of hers knits and had mentioned this freebie yarn company pattern. So she gave Mom a copy, Mom scanned it and sent me the .jpg. I haven't looked at it terribly closely. I don't want to risk becoming distracted.

Last winter's lace scarf
Remember this? It's one of the Elizabethan Scarves from KnitPicks that I knit in their laceweight alpaca yarn. It's a heathered green color. Anyway, the scarf is about two feet too long, a couple inches too narrow and a bit floppy in gauge. The loose gauge actually helps the scarf grow in length and shrink in width as I wear it. I absolutely love the color, but cannot stand the execution of the pattern.

So I am seriously considering frogging the whole thing and re-knitting it at a tighter gauge and adding another repeat to the width. I'll keep pondering that for a while. I have another ball of KnitPicks lace weight yarn in my stash, so I could even knit a new scarf before frogging this one, not that I expect it to be scarf weather before February and possibly not even then. (Let's remember that I've spent the past 20 years living in a place where the high temperature doesn't get above freezing for days to weeks at a time and snow lasts longer than a few hours.)

But first I need to get my current socks in progress done. No new projects started until the Trekking socks, the red lace socks and the Mountain Colors socks are done. But I can plan while I knit. Oh boy, can I plan. :-)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Well, that worked out well


So, the Fawkes socks were started. I got up to Row 10 fairly quickly. Probably because I completely skipped Row 5 (and corresponding plain row 6). I *swear* there was no Row 5 in the chart when I was knitting. Sigh.

I finished the night with a couple of rounds on the blue Trekking socks, then two rows of the Mystery Stole (now on Row 278).

So I'll rip out the Fawkes socks to Row 4 and start again. I will print out the pattern too so I can mark rows off instead of knitting from the computer screen.

Maybe working on the Mystery Stole isn't such a bad idea after all. I certainly don't seem to be less prone to mistakes working on other projects!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I couldn't help myself

I started a new pair of socks. It's the Fawkes socks from Socktopia using my Poppy yarn from Claudia Handpaints. This was part of my purchase from the Garden District Needlework Shop in New Orleans. I'm not entirely certain that I have quite enough yarn for the full pair, but fortunately I have some plain orange sock yarn that can be used for heels and toes. I did change the cuff to K2, P2 from K1, P1, but I'm debating changing it back. I'm not a big fan of K1, P1 cuffs, but that will blend more smoothly into the pattern than K2, P2.

As for the Mystery Stole....
I'm still early on Chart F. The reason I set it aside yesterday is that I ended up knitting the first row of Chart F twice. I had failed to mark it off the list, so I knit it again. I noticed this two rows later. Sigh. I carefully tinked back to the first Row 271 and set it down. I wasn't interested in starting up again and making another mistake, so I started Fawkes.

Of course, I ended up talking in the phone and unable to concentrate on the unfamiliar stitch pattern, so I knit the blue Trekking socks while I was on the phone. It's my usual beaded rib sock and essentially mindless.

I'll see about getting back to the stole in the next few days. I'd like to think I can finish Chart F in a week, but suspect that real life might intrude if I definitely set that goal.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Still Starting Chart F!!!

Yeah, so I haven't done any knitting since I finished Chart E. I got busy and then I got hooked on a book (A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez) and then people kept calling me on the phone and this stole is NOT something I can knit while talking.

But tonight. Tonight I'm going to knit two rows on my stole. Really. I am.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Starting Chart F!!!

Yay! I'm currently on Row 270. Clue 4 ends with row 335 with the pattern as written. I'm not a big fan of the transition between the main body of the stole and the wing portion as the pattern was originally written. A friend of mine, The Beading Banshee, wrote a different transition that brings the border of the rest of the shawl around the end of the cat's paw area before the wing is started. I think this makes for a more elegant join and I've chosen to use BB's modification for my stole.

I need to pin out the stole soon and figure out if I want to add more length to it or not. Right now, the stole appears to be more of a scarf than a shawl. This is perfectly ok with me, but it would be good to know what sort of finished size I might expect.

The Next Project
Now I'll have to figure out what to do next. Several weeks ago I proposed using a calendar system to get projects finished. Then I started the Mystery Stole where the clues were given out once a week and there was some pressure to get things done on schedule so as to not get too far behind everybody else. I discovered that by working regularly on a SINGLE project I can make visible progress over the course of a week and thus stay motivated. The more motivated I stay, the more progress I make. I also made a point of limiting my other evening activities (excessive web surfing and blogging) so that I can have 30 minutes or more of knitting time.

With the Mystery Stole, the wing section will go fairly quickly since the rows are short. I could have the stole finished in the next two weeks. I have some socks awaiting me. The red lace sock has been hanging out either abandoned or ignored for several years now. There are two second socks I need to start: the blue Trekking socks and the red Mountain colors socks. And then there are the toes which need to be re-knit due to wear or being too short.

Right now I have chosen the blue Trekking sock as the next target. Once the blue sock is done, I'll finish the toes to a pair of socks. Then I'll go back to the red lace sock and another pair of toes. Perhaps by the end of October I'll have one pair of new socks and one pair of mended socks. The red lace will take a bit longer.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Holiday Knitting

Oddly enough, I haven't done much knitting. Isn't that funny? I have an extra day to get things done and/or to knit or otherwise goof-off, but I get even less done. This isn't doing much to improve my mood or attitude. It seems like a colossal waste of the weekend to me.

Anyway, I'm up to Row 259 now. I did get a bit of knitting done while on travel. Maybe I'll do more this evening. Maybe I won't. blah.