Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cool Runnings

Almost a week late with a post, but I'm on track with the daily knitting!  I'm on to the real patterned part of Harvest Dew now, I made it passed the ribbing.

Maybe difficult to see at this point in the project, but I've got slipped stitches every third stitch.  You can see it in the picture above - the dark blue stitches on my current row are the ones I slipped.  After three rows of this, I get to shift the pattern over and repeat for three more rows.  With the very strong striping of this yarn, I'm thinking this will be a nice effect.  We'll see as things progress!

In my last post, I shared all my new upcoming projects to be done with my latest Knit Picks order, and I'm already making solid progress on my Polar Bear Chullo for Slim Jim.

Here is an earflap:

And in fact, I have two of them!  And they're attached together in the very beginnings of a hat!

After making each earflap separately (and doing the colourwork back and forth on a FLAT piece, changing one or both colours every row, UGH), I cast on the additional in-between stitches and started making a hat.

I'm about an inch into the brim of the hat, and the colourwork isn't tricky or difficult or anything, because it's worked in the round, the way it should be.

I definitely made a goof on the foundation round of the pattern, where the placement of the white stitches would help me with all future rows of pattern.  I thought I had it right, then when I came back around on the next row to the last 1/3 of the foundation row I realized I was off with my colours, so I painstakingly unknit and fixed my colour mistakes as I came up to them, then knitted the next things I needed.  And on the third time around, thinking I had fixed it, I realized there were still errors.  Rather than rip it all back and start again, I trucked on and accepted the few little slip-ups of white stitches on the light purple.  They're subtle and I've fixed it now with the major pattern placement, so I'm leaving it.

I've also discovered that my hat is turning out a touch bigger than I was hoping.  I'm tempted to rip everything out and try again, but I might just try slipping down a needle size and see if that tightens things up.  I've only done about an inch, so maybe that would fix it?

I've kind of set this one aside as a backburner project when I'm in the mood for something fiddley, so I've picked up my hexipuff quilt pieces a lot in the last week as an easy no-brainer project.  What's that you ask?  What's a hexipuff blanket?

It's this!

Tons and tons of little puffy hexagons all knitted separately and tacked together to form a knitted quilt.  This is the Beekeeper's Quilt by TinyOwlKnits, and I love it.

I always keep those little micro balls of leftover sock yarn after a project, and until now, I've just been stashing them in a clear glass jar as decoration.  Now I can do something useful with them, so every pair of socks I've ever made can be represented in blanket form.  I have enough of some yarns to make multiple little puffs, and some will only make one, but this is going to a project that keeps going for a long time.

This is my progress so far:

I'm up to about 4 or 5 now, but it's a far cry from what I'm guessing will be the hundreds I need to finish a blanket.

Today is Wednesday and this is last week's update, so maybe I'll get my act together and share this week's update tomorrow.  If you believe in me, I'm sure I can make it happen.



Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sections of couch everywhere!

I think a Wednesday blog deadline might be a bit of a stretch for me, readers.  I definitely finished my required knitting for the week yesterday, but fitting in the blog time didn't quite happen this week, and it didn't happen last week.  I'll aim for Wednesday, but I think I'm more likely to set aside time on Thursday night.  Either way, here's what I've been working on this week:

The sock has another 7 rows on it, and I'm still not even at the end of the ribbing.  The ribbing calls for 1.5" and I'm about a week away from moving beyond the k3 p1.  A handy thing about Week 2 is that the blue-er blue worked out to be exactly 7 rows, which made it super easy for counting my rows.  The grey-blue continues on for a bit more, so it won't be an easy marker for Week 3 unfortunately.

Last week, I also introduced my Home Alone hat idea.  I was struggling to find a pattern that I could rework to fit my needs, and no chart seemed to exist to make Kevin McAllister's signature moose hat.  The best I got on Ravelry was this:


Moose Camouflage Hat

It had the trees along the crown, and the repeating moose pattern, but it wasn't close enough in my opinion. 

So I did what any dedicated Home Alone fan would do, and I made my own chart in Excel.  Fun fact: knitting stitch height and width ratios can be recreated in Excel by setting the column width to 1.67 and the row height to 13.2.  I did this, and then got to work with the best picture of the hat I could find, which showed very clear stitch definition:

Once I had one moose sketched out on the chart, it was easy!  One chart repeat is 24 stitches across from nose to tail, and the diamonds and trees work out nicely.  Just now, as I was typing that last sentence, I realized I goofed on the pine trees in my chart.  It appears that they are in two different styles - one branchy bare tree style, and one solid filled-in tree style.  Shoot. 

Problem solved, I just went back in and fixed it.  But I also realized I can't add a pdf file to my blog post, so my plan to share the chart is not going to happen right now.  I'll get back to you about that.

In other moose hat news, I also need to figure out the rest of the hat pattern so I can actually make it.  I figure the hat circumference would be six moose around, for a total of 144 stitches.  With a head circumference of roughly 23", that means I need a yarn that gives me 6 stitches per inch.  I'm thinking something DK for this one.  Worsted just seems like it would be too bulky and thick for the hat. 

I made a quick swatch in some worsted yarn I had lying around, and it confirmed my suspicions; I want a denser, tighter looking fabric, but with finer stitches.  Make sense?  My swatch was also done flat, so I had to do my colourwork on the purl side.  BALLS.  My first swatch was mostly to confirm that my knitters' graph paper dimensions in Excel were right, and that my moose wouldn't look too squat or stretched out.  The moose look perfectly in-proportion, they just need to be done in the round so I can get a sense of what they will really look like, and so I can do it in the right weight of yarn.  All in good time, lovelies.  I'm in no rush to get this project off the ground, because I have bigger fish to fry right now.

And here are my bigger fish:

This is my progress on the Nordic Mittens I mentioned last week.  I'm on a knitting roll and I threw this right mitten together in a few nights.  The Swish DK was a really nice choice for these.  It's soft and smooth, but completely machine washable, and these are a gift for a non-knitter so that's a definite must.  The left mitten is on my knitting to-do list this weekend so I can present them to my student on Monday when she's back at work.

It's a nice colourwork pattern, my only complaint is that there are some sections with longer floats between colours, and I would prefer a nice neat every 3 or 4 stitches goings back and forth between two colours.  I suppose this challenges me though, so you've won this round Nordic Mittens.

I also received a box full of yarn from Knit Picks last week, and I had every intention of taking pictures of all of my purchases to show you, but then my basement flooded and all my craft stuff had to be emergency evacuated into the laundry room.  The basement is fine, the most annoying thing is that we had to tear up our laminate flooring (which was just put down in September, but can be used again because we acted quickly to get it up off the floor), and all of our basement stuff is currently relocated around the house and it's going to be crowded and overwhelming at my house for a while.  We probably won't put the basement back together until all the snow is gone outside, just to make sure that the fixes for the cracks worked.  In the meantime, here is the gist of what I bought, with pictures courtesy of Knit Picks.

Palette fingering yarn in Cream and Hollyberry for my reindeer legwarmers:

Palette Yarn
Palette Yarn

Palette yarn in White, Ice Lily, Mulberry, Hare Heather, and Grizzly Heather for Slim Jim's polar bear hat:

Palette Yarn
Palette Yarn
Palette Yarn
Palette Yarn
Palette Yarn

And Wool of the Andes worsted for my lined nordic mittens in Garnet Heather, Gosling, and Pumice Heather:

Wool of the Andes Worsted Yarn

Wool of the Andes Worsted Yarn

Wool of the Andes Worsted Yarn

Feast your eyes on my yarns, and I'll catch you up next week with my progress.



Thursday, January 9, 2014

Winter holiday decor is a let down

Week one has already come, and while I'm technically a day late (shhh, don't tell anyone), here's my update on the One Row at a Time socks for 2014:

That's 7 little rows, reader.  Seven adorable little rows, each knit (more or less) on each of seven different days.  I mostly kept to the one row per day part of the agreement, although there was one day where I had to catch up on 3 rows.  It's not a perfect system, and I think nailing myself down to sitting down and doing exactly one row per day is unrealistic, and just setting myself up for failure.  I'm happy with the Wednesday deadline, and I'll keep letting you know how it goes.  Okay?  Deal.

In other knitting news, I started and finished a whole project in just a few days.  I made an entire fingerless mitt, Beer Gloves by Kurt Fausset, featured in Son of Stitch 'n Bitch, in one afternoon/evening (read about it here), and then I cranked out its partner a short while later, also in one afternoon/evening.  And while the first post about these mitts had my girlish red-nailed hand modeling the man mitts, here they are on a genuine, bonafide man:

So rugged and manly.

I don't know how many of you received Christmas money as youngster (or if you still do, as an oldster), but that was never a thing in my house.  I had two great-aunts who would each send $10-20 every Christmas from England (and sometimes they couldn't be bothered to get Canadian dollars, so I got pounds), but that was it, and it was hardly something to write home about (although I always wrote a hand-written and thoughtful thank you note, because my Momma raised me right).  Once I joined Fuzzyhead's family and started making regular appearances at his family Christmas gatherings, I was brought into the inner circle and I started receiving Christmas money from his grandparents, just like he did.  It's weird and different.  I've read/heard that even after all the thoughtful people in the world put great care into choosing a gift that you would love and appreciate, receiving cash is still the number one gift choice of recipients everywhere.  Isn't that sad?  Well, the point of the story is that I received Christmas money this year, and it came in the form of a MasterCard gift card.  I had $100 dollars burning a hole in my wallet, and since it was in credit card form, it was only natural that I do a little online shopping.

I've been queuing colourwork projects like the dickens since just before Christmas, when I watched Home Alone (as part of our annual holiday tradition of watching all the best Christmas movies, obviously) and was hit with a sudden NEED to knit Kevin's moose hat:

I went searching high and low on Ravelry for a pattern, and one doesn't seem to exist (I'll tell you more about that next week).  But while I was there, I found a bunch of other colourwork things I want to make:


Mitten with Nordic Pattern


Polar Bear Chullo


Northman Mittens


Reindeer Socks



And there's even more in my favourites list, this is just what I actually plan to make in the near future.  So I merrily logged on to KnitPicks and bought myself a bunch of yarn for colourwork projects, and it just arrived this week!

There's nothing like getting a package in the mail.  It's like baby Christmas.  I ordered a bunch of similar colours, and it took me longer than it should have to sort them out from each other for the projects they will one day become.  Sitting on top of the pile are a few balls of Swish DK for the Mitten with Nordic Pattern.  These will be for one of my co-op students from work.  She's only working with us for one more semester, so I've given myself a March 1st deadline to get them done.  The rest of the box can remain a mystery to you until next week, it's good for you.  Delayed gratification is the definition of maturity.



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One is the lonliest number

Happy New Year, my darling readers!  As promised, here is the first of what will hopefully be weekly posts about my progress on the One Row Per Day Socks.  It's already been difficult to just cast on and not go any further.

To begin, I cast on 60 stitches for the small ladies sized, because for every sock I've ever made for myself, 60 stitches is my Goldilocks porridge.  I've never done a gauge swatch for socks (although I do them for anything else that matters), and I always use 2.25mm needles.  For this particular set of socks, I'll be using 2.5mm needles (gasp!) because my two other sets of 2.25 needles are currently in use, and will likely be in use at some point during 2014.  Oh well.  I'm sure it will be fine.

The pattern called for a twisted German cast on, so step one was to look up what that was.  I used this tutorial to get it going, and for anyone who hasn't ever done this cast on before, it's essentially long-tail cast on with an extra flick of the wrist.

Here are my 60 stitches. 

And here they are neatly arranged on 4 needles, with 29 stitches for instep and 31 stitches for the sole. 

And that's all I can do today.  Hmm.  I realize my rules are self-imposed (Fuzzyhead pointed that out to me), but I've decided I will only knit one row per day without working ahead.  I can catch up if I miss a day, but I will not work ahead.  Every Wednesday is my deadline to have completed 7 rows, and to post about my progress. 

As another fun bonus to share with you, I got to start a new folder for all of my 2014 knit pictures.  What a good start to the year.