Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I hate blocking

Enough said. On the other hand, I like having blocked lace pieces. One trip to the hardware store later (so much cheaper than buying "blocking wire" from fancy knitting stores), one evening of cursing later, we have this:

Various household items have been enlisted to help. A toolbox. A bookshelf. A dog water bowl.

... and they are all doing a great job. A can of paint. A crate filled with books.

I have to admit that the wire makes the whole process a lot faster and easier. Sure it's a pain to thread it through all the eyelets, but once you have it threaded it's a lot easier to make a straight edge!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Me so cool

I finished the spider web shawl. Or rather, finished making the spider web shawl. Blocking looks like such a pain, and I absolutely MUST get wires. There is no way I will stick a million pins to hold the edge of this thing.

The "thing" still looks like crumpled lace, so there's no reason to take new pictures. It does drape nicely, though, and will be a good size shawl. Not as big as the ones in the book, but huge shawls tend to be impractical.

I am also working away on the Ute socks, progressing at the amazing pace of 8 rows per evening. I am itching to start something easy and portable and mindless (hello Meida socks, why did I finish you so quickly? I'd start another pair if it wasn't so against my principles). Maybe toe-up socks for J? I have a skein of Colinette Jitterbug with his name on it.

Mystery Stole first clue will be posted on Friday. I can't wait. I think I've become addicted to lace.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Socks and shawl

I finished Meida's socks a few days ago, and finally found the time and the camera to post pictures:

Pattern: Meida's socks by Nancy Bush, in Favorite Socks

Yarn: Koigu KPPPM, blue and white, way under 2 skeins

Needles: my trusty #1 bamboo needles; I love the way they curve to the shape of my hands.

Comments: I am very pleased with the pattern and with the fit. The heel is pretty and looks sturdy, and the socks are quite cute. And I am very much in love with the bud toe.

The knitting on the spider web shawl is also completed. I was so excited to finish the last row, and then I looked at the pattern, made a little mental calculation, and realized that I have about 4000 crochet stitches to make for the edging. This is Ok, I can crochet and all, but it will take a little while. The result looks promising, so far:

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Camera, internet, action

I am such a geek. A week without internet at home was not fun. What am I going to do if civilization ends?

Here is the beginning of an Ute sock:

The yarn is Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport, in ash, scarlet, beet red and plumberry. It looks like grape, the color suggested in the pattern instead of plumberry, has been discontinued. Plumberry seems a little too dark, but the socks don't look bad at all. I'm up to the heel flap, which will be knitted entirely in plumberry. Overall a great knit.

I've also joined Mystery Stole 3, and I will try to use the Welsh wool I bought at Maryland Sheep and Wool this year. Now, the mystery stole requires about 1200 yards of laceweight yarn. The Welsh wool, being Welsh, is measured in grams, so I know that I have 300 grams of laceweight wool. What does that mean in yards? I counted the number of loops in one skein (213), measured one typical loop, assumed the typical loop is the average loop, and came up with 402 yards in every skein. Since I have 3 skeins, that gives roughly 1206 yards of yarn.

Would you start a mystery stole with only 6 extra yards of yarn? And how good is my approximation anyway? There's only one way to find out: the mystery stole will now be a double mystery. What will it look like? And will I have enough yarn?

Whether it will be enough or not, the yarn is pretty. It's a 2-ply pure wool, in a natural color, and it's almost golden. The lady that sold it to me said it came from her small flock of sheep; the operation is so small they don't even have a website. Every sheep had a name and was dearly loved. The yarn itself is a little rough, a little rustic, but the sample shawls they had were divine.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Moving on

The pink lace camisole will be frogged tonight. It's one way to reduce the number of projects on needles!

Otherwise, all is going well. Meida's socks are almost done. I have only 15 rows left on the spider web shawl - so that's about one week of knitting. The first of the Ute socks is coming along nicely. I was trying so hard to get the gauge that the socks are coming a little too tight. I had to shorten the leg to compensate for this (and to account for the shape of my legs), and played with colors a little bit. Nothing radical, though.

Faced with two almost-completed projects, what did I do on Friday? I ordered the yarn for Venezia. I've decided I like colorwork and Venezia seems like a well-written pattern, exactly what I need for a first colorwork sweater. Eventually I'd like to move on to some Alice Starmore sweaters from Tudor Roses (I got the book, remember?), but it might be a while before I get there.

Did I mention that I now have an account on ravelry?

As you can imagine, I still have no internet at my house => no pictures.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Moving sucks. Not having internet (yet) at the new place also sucks. Making a mistake on row a zillion of the spider-web shawl also sucks: I thought I had to rip out the last 40 stitches! I am putting in a life line today - I don't need all that excitement in my life.

I started a pair of Ute Socks from Favorite Socks. I am so bad. Must finish something before... before starting something else!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

3 rows

That's my achievement for the night, on the half-hexagon spider web shawl from Victorian Lace Today.

The shawl starts at the neck with 9 stitches and you increase 6 stitches on every right side row; for simplicity, assume you increase 3 stitches every row. If r_0 = 9 and r_n is the number of stitches you have after knitting n rows (in this simplified model) then r_n = 9 + 3(n-1) = 3n + 6.

Unfortunately I've packed the book with the overall instructions; I am working on the Barege pattern and there is no way I would finish it before moving. But let's make a few guesses:

- the first chart has roughly 100 stitches -> 306 stitches after chart A.
- the second chart is narrow, only 17 rows, so after knitting it you have 357 stitches.
- the barege chart, auch. The first time you knit it you do 14 rows (that's 399 stitches), and then you do 4 more repeats of 12 rows each. These 48 final rows add an extra 144 stitches, so by the last row of the last Barege chart you have... 543 stitches on your needles!

Now, I am not quite there yet. I've just finished the second of the 4 repeats, so subtract 24 rows times 3 stitches... I must have around 471 stitches on my needles right now. I say "around" because there might be mistakes, dropped stitches (subtract one for each), extra random stitches (add one for each).

In any case, the shawl is an enjoyable knit, especially after you learn how to fix your mistakes (damn slippery yarn!). I found one mistake in chart B - but of course I cannot write down what it is, since the book is packed. I think there needs to be an extra yarn over on one of the rows, or something like that.

No pics today. The camera is packed or something.

Gauss would have been so proud of my math. It might be the most meaningful math I've done all week.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

New socks, and a story

Because it's been a while, because you can never have too many pairs of socks, and because they are small and they go so fast (after all the lace): a new pair of socks.

This is the beginning of Meida's socks by Nancy Bush, in Favorite socks. The yarn is Koigu, and I think the colors are subdued enough that they don't obscure this beautiful pattern. It's been a fun knit so far.

The story? I'll write it after I go to the market, and water the garden, and exercise the dog. I love summer weekends.

The Story

It's not even that big of a story. Perhaps it just stems from my sense of insecurity, or from the fact that yarn stores are the only stores where I feel that they are doing me a favor by letting me browse their store (instead of the other way around). Anyway, I wanted to pick up a copy of "Piecework" the other day, from the closest yarn store. The store was not particularly busy, except for a family - daughter, mother and grandmother - who were all fussing about the daughter's knitting project. All staff members were also fussing about this project (a piece of ugly knitting, for all I could tell). I picked up my magazine, set it down next to my bag, and wondered around the store some more. Well, gosh, I guess I was in the way, since the family moved my stuff. I also seemed to be in the staff's way, and there was not a chance I was going to get a word in, like "what kind of yarn is this?" or "can I have this magazine?" or "do you have bla-bla yarn?". I appreciate not being chased around by an employee trying to sell me stuff, but I also appreciate being able to talk to someone if I have questions.

I'm probably being too sensitive, but screw this - I am a customer, and yarn is expensive if you buy it from a store. I can get my stuff in other places, especially since there is another yarn store 5 blocks away (and I'm on a bike). I left the magazine in whatever place the family had set it, picked up my stuff and went shopping at the other yarn store. Unfortunately, they do not carry "PieceWork", so I got the blue Koigu sock yarn and a discounted copy of "America Knits".

Will I go back to the other yarn store? They can be very nice sometimes, rude at other times, and kind of clique-y in between. Maybe I'll subscribe to the magazine, so I don't have to go there much.

On a different note...

I have way too many works in progress. Must finish something, or else I'll never finish any of it.