Sunday, April 29, 2007

A new obsession

I cannot post any new knitting pictures today, as the camera is on vacation. However, I must mention a new (as of tonight) obsession:

Oh my. This will be interesting. One of the patterns in the book was mentioned by the Mason-Dixon ladies as the most difficult pattern around.. how could I resist the challenge?

The first challenge, of course, is getting the book. It sells for over $130 at amazon, it's even over $200 in some places (and the original retail price? a mere $23.95 !!).

Added May 2nd: I am now a proud owner of the book, found on eBay for a "mere" $80. I guess I can always sell it back...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Pink scarf done

I've never blogged about the pink lace scarf, and for good reason. It was the first project I started when I picked up knitting again this year, and when I realized that if I wanted to make beautiful things I'd better get tools, yarn and patterns. When I subscribed to IK, I received a free pattern for an "Oren scarf", and I was so anxious to make something that I ran to the yarn store the next day and bought yarn and needles.

Unfortunately, while the pattern was interesting and the scarf was turning out soft and lacey and all, it wasn't exactly the most exciting knitting. I also hated working with the Kidsilk Haze; it is very thin and fluffy and kind of annoying. It didn't help that the Beast got into the yarn and chewed up part of one skein. In any case, "pink lace scarf" lingered at the end of my "on the needles" list for a long time.

The pattern called for 3 balls' worth of yarn. I've already sold two of the 3 on eBay, and if I could have frogged the mohair, I would have. As you cannot frog mohair very well, there was only one thing left to do. Put the scarf under the bed, for mindless evening knitting. And it got done. It is way shorter than the pattern writers envisioned, but it's long enough to wrap around my neck, make a pretty bow and hang a little bit. Any longer and it would have been a pain to wear and carry around.

The dog also approves of the result, especially since it matches his tongue:

Pattern: Oren Scarf from Interweave
Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze, 1 skein, color "Fondant"
Needles: size 5 circulars (of course I use circulars)
Comments: It's a fluffy and pretty yarn that makes nice lacey knitting even from a simple pattern. After struggling to complete this scarf, it's kind of ironic that I almost ran out of yarn at the end!

I don't want to give the impression that this is a bad pattern. It's cleverly constructed, very well explained and the pattern is cute. I would say it's a great beginners' scarf.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Knitting my roots

Armed with lori's insight, and with a set of steel size 0 dpns, I proceeded to work on the Eastern European footlets. Here is the seamless intarsia in progress (with some stranded action at the same time):

Once again I am amazed and awed by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' techniques and precise instructions. I've never worked intarsia, I've never done this particular type of toe and heel, and yet her words carried me through just fine. And best of all, this is just a versatile pattern! I'm thinking of putting a traditional Romanian design (red and black X's on white background) on the instep of a pair... Anyway, I finished one of the footlets:

I realize that the result looks more like "African Pride" than "Eastern European", but the colors are bright, and the pattern is pretty, and the result is simply so cute! I worked the pattern band in green and yellow, then added the black in duplicate stitch.

Pattern: Eastern European footlets from Favorite Socks
Yarn: KnitPicks Merino Style in Charcoal, Pine and Honey
Needles: steel 0's
Comments: the gauge! the tension! It really is supposed to be 7 st / in, in DK yarn. The result is a tight but interesting fabric, and I am now conviced that the pattern looks best in this tension.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Strange events

The first Embossed Leaves sock is done. It came out a little too long, so I decided to leave out the last half-repeat of the pattern. The leg is also on the long side. Curiously, my row gauge seems to be fine... Very strange.

I was also puzzled by the black hole nested in the cable-down raglan sweater. I thought I cast on six extra stitches, but somehow one of them vanished by the time I got to the decreases. Ok, fine, maybe I miscounted that one time. But the same thing happened on the second sleeve! Obviously, a graduate degree in Mathematics does not guarantee that the owner can count.

Despite all this, the hole closes up nicely. I can't wait to finish this sleeve.

There has also been a lot of pain with the Eastern European footlets. As I posted on the "favorite socks kal", the beginning instructions must be wrong. 7st / in gauge with a worsted weight yarn, on size 4 needles? No way. I bought more of the Knitpicks Merino Style for the footlets, and I will use it. I can get gauge with size 1 needles, but the resulting fabric is tight and lifeless and thick. This yarn really wants size 3 needles, and the fabric looks beautiful, but the socks turn out too big! Solution? I will have to rework the pattern on 46 or 50 stitches instead of the suggested 58. Shouldn't be too difficult (again, that graduate degree should come in handy), but boy, am I sick and tired of knitting this toe! (3 times in Lorna's laces shepherd worsted, two times in Knitpicks so far, looking at one more...). These had better turn out gorgeous!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The magic socks

They are done, washed, blocked and cords tied.

Here's another picture, with the light on; it's difficult to say which pic is more true to the colors:

They are a bit big for my feet, but I still like them (how could one not?). They might be donated to an auction, or I might wear them around the house anyway. The merino yarn is very warm and cushy knit like this, and I love the colors. I can't wait to start another pattern by this designer. In fact, I might go and do so right now!

Friday, April 6, 2007

One more row, one more row

Progress might be slow sometimes, but one more row and one more row do add up:

I will try knitting the second sleeve on circular needles. The dpn's were a pain and left three "ladders" that I will need to block the soul out of. In any case, the sweater goes on... I think this might be my last sweater for a while.