Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dreaming of the shawl

I picked up my wedding dress today.

This does have to do with knitting, but in a rather abstract way. For the first time, I got to look at the construction of the veils, and it seems like most of them are semi-circular. I tested a few out, and I think the ideal radius of a finished veil is about the length of my outstretched knuckles to the far side of my neck. I'm still considering using a triangular construction, because I think I like it better, although a circular shape would be less distracting. I'd like something with clean lines and a small, pleasant (but not dominating, or directional) pattern. Perhaps one from Victorian Lace Today?? I'll have to look closely at the beadwork on my dress to see what would work best. It's a very small overall floral pattern, so I don't want to be too busy -- I want it to compliment my dress.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The big goal....

I was looking at other blogs and found this. So here goes:

This summer I am getting married. In addition to the usual knitting, I'm planning on knitting my veil. I'm mulling over a couple of patterns right now. I've gotten ahold of some Zephyr, which I'll be swatching as soon as I finish Isabella & Monkey #1. I'm still thinking about triangular vs. square, and how the draping would be affected.

Cross your fingers for me. Luckily, once school is out I should have more time to concentrate on knitting. Can I manage?

Yesterday I didn't knit the entire day...

I was doing this:
Yes, these are gourds. Very grimy gourds. Soaking in soapy water. (And yes, that is the same bucket as I use to wash my socks in.) See the bubbles on the right that form a diagonal line? That's where the toothbrush is that I used to clean the gourds.
Here they are after some scrubbing. See the yellowish one in the front? It was exactly as dirty as the really gross one in the water before the bath.
I now have 58 clean (if not perfectly scrubbed) gourds in my house. I also have about 1700 yards of nylon string and rope, and 4800 beads. And I'm worried that I need to do some more shopping.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Status Update

I have a tendency to procrastinate when it comes to taking photos. After a tall enough pile builds, then I wait for sunlight, haul out the camera, take the photos, download them and then create a post. Then the procrastination begins again.
I just went through a repeat of this cycle, and hopefully the duration of the upcoming procrastination phase will not be as long as the last one.

Here goes:Pomatomus by Cookie A, knit in Cherry Tree Hill millends from here. That yarn was such a great buy! I love the way it knits up. I'm almost to the toe of the first sock. I don't think I'd like the pooling barberpole in any other pattern, but here it doesn't bother me. And I have so much extra yarn, I'll be able to experiment and find a good gauge for another pair that stripes.

This big blue sock was my first toe-up sock without a short-row heel. Since it was my subway sock that I only knit while commuting, I experimented with the heel. I did a typical heel flap, then turned the heel and did the gusset decreases as I knit the ankle.
Here it is close-up. On the left is the bottom of the foot, which I knit in stockinette. At the bottom of the picture is where I turned the heel. When I did the gusset decreases, I used the heel-stitch pattern. I really liked using this along the gussets, as well. My heels are pretty narrow, and the heel-stitch drew in the sock along that side. When I wear it, it ends up fitting quite well.

Here is the shaping at the top of the sock. As you can see, I haven't woven in the ends. I used the twisted stitch in the middle to mark the seam. In the future, I'll avoid using a twisted stitch in the middle, since it seems to veer to one side. I might, though, use the twisted stitches along the beginning of the ribbing, to hold it in place better. I took this picture along my arm, so it will be significantly more stretched than it is right now. Hopefully a good wash will straighten this up, too.This is my very first knit for a baby! It's Elizabeth Zimmermann's February Sweater from Knitter's Almanac. This is a book that I highly, highly recommend. The sweater was very fun to make. I did have some gauge issues, as you can see on the yoke. It's knit in Knitpicks Shine Sport in Grass, which was very fun to use, on Inox size 4 needles. I needed just under 2 skeins for it, and it took just under a weekend.

This is the Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop. Again, I used Shine Sport. I still need to find buttons to use for this. I did 4-row stripes with both the white and the green, and I really like the wrong side. The stripes merge together and create a variegated look. The other side is more crisp, and is clearly striped.

The Shine Sport knits up beautifully and is quite soft. I'm thinking about making myself a picovili in this.

On to the next work in progress....

Here is what I've been spending a lot of my time on. This is Isabella, knit in CotLin. I'm almost finished. All that's left is finishing the left side and the picot-edging on the arms. It will need a good blocking, and some of the unevenness will probably stay after the first wash because of the linen. I've been working pretty hard on my rowing out, and have gotten much better, believe it or not. I'm not too concerned with it. I'm planning on using this as a casual summer top, and I don't think it will be too obvious once I finish.

A detail of the lace pattern. I really like it, but now I'm beginning to wonder whether it will be practical to wear, or if I'll need a tank underneath it.

Last of all (I really go overboard with these things, don't I!):
Handknits soaking in the basin. This is how I wash all of my handknits, and many of my delicates. Here you can see faux-cable socks in hand-dyed indigo (left), my trekking clock stockings (center), my Koigu monkey socks(right center), socketta socks (top right), shedir in Harrisville Shetland (top left) and Jaywalkers in dyed-with-kool-aid yarn (bottom right). Proof that I actually do use almost everything I make! I'm washing them with dishwashing liquid, and I'll probably put some conditioner in the rinsewater.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

My First Meme

This actually has to do with knitting! I borrowed it from here.

If You Knit Long Enough… Bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down

Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting

Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with bananafiber yarn
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items

Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffitti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting

Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colours
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items)on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting two socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting (I'm taking this to be like shibori....)
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Entrelac Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with selfpatterning/selfstriping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mits/armwarmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Cotton, Linen and Superwash Wool

I must say, I surprised myself. When I first started knitting, I couldn't distinguish between wool and cotton. For a while, I even enjoyed knitting with cotton more because a lot of the wool sweaters I had in my wardrobe caused me to break out. My very first cable project was a gorgeous scarf, hat & mitten set, knit completely out of cotton yarn. For the past year and a half, the only yarn I used was 100% animal fibers -- mostly wool, with a bit of alpaca and silk blends thrown in. I love the elasticity of the yarn, the lightweight warmth.

Then I found out I had babies to knit for. Not just one baby, but many. I wondered what to do -- I love the idea of gifting a quality handmade object, and wanted it to be wool, I really did. The soon-to-be-parents, though: they would not appreciate a hand-wash only sweater. I looked for alternatives. I'm still dubious about superwash wool because I have never experimented with washing it by machine. My superwash wool socks go right in the handwash with my other hand-knit socks. Then I saw Knitpicks Shine Sport. I bought 8 balls to make the February Baby Sweater and a Baby Surprise Jacket. The yarn was so soft, and so smooth. I had no trouble knitting with it. Whatever bulk and hardship I remembered from dishcloth cotton was replaced by the forgiving nature of dk cotton. As I knit, I thought to myself, "I should make myself a sweater out of this stuff." We'll see if that happens, but it was wonderful.

The two baby sweaters are adorable. I love the February Baby Sweater -- it is such a simple and timeless pattern. I'm not as thrilled with the way my Baby Surprise Jacket turned out. It is pretty, but I had a little bit of trouble with the striping. I chose to do regular stripes to accentuate the form, but I'm not sure if that was such a great idea. There are a few spots where I picked up stitches that show up much better than they would if I didn't stripe.... The sweater is in the laundry right now, so I'll see once it comes out.

I also have been working on Isabella, and am about 1/4 of the way through the front. The back is completed. The vast stretches of stockinette have been a struggle, because in the CotLin (same order from Knitpicks) my gauge in the knit rounds and purl rounds varies drastically. I tried a number of solutions, and found that the best way to avoid this is to pull the yarn a little bit tighter on each purl stitch. No wonder it's such slow going. I think it will be beautiful at the end, though.

All of this plant fiber knitting got to be a little much, and as the weather warmed up I found myself longing for a commuter project. I can finally knit on the train without losing circulation in my hands, and so I picked up some Regia I found on clearance from Webs and began to fiddle. I used Cookie A's toe from Baudelaire, and then began to knit in the round for the foot. I experimented with a heel flap, and like what I ended up doing. I don't know if I "unvented" it as many before me have done, or if it is something new. Basically, I did this:

1. Knit a heel flap across 2 needles as follows: Row A: Sl 1, k across Row B: Sl 1, p across; repeat until flap is square

2. Turn heel as follows: Row A: K half the stitches. K4, ssk, k1, turn. Row B: Sl 1, P7, p2tog, p1, turn. Row C: Sl 1, K to 1 st before gap, ssk, k1, turn. Row D: Sl1, P to 1 st before gap, p2tog, p1, turn. Repeat row C & D until all stitches are used.

3. Gusset: Pick up stitches for gusset, and decrease each side by 1 st every other row. On the heel and gusset stitches, use the heel-stitch pattern: Row A: (Sl 1, k1) across. Row B: k across.
Put decreases into Row B, and decrease until heel stitches return to the number on needles before heel flap.

The heel looks a little bit funky on, but it really seems to fit well. The heel-stitch section also covers more of the foot than a top-down heel flap, so it might be a wee bit sturdier. Right now I'm still working in plain stockinette, but I plan to do the calf-shaping in ribbing once I get there. It looks like I'll have enough yarn to play with.

Once I begin one sock, I can't stop. So I hauled out my Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn that I bought on ebay (it's a mill-end and I have gobs of the stuff) to make Pomatomus. What a great pattern! I love the way the heel fits the shape of my heel. I'm a little concerned about the stretching that the ribbing will undergo after a day on the foot, but it seems tight enough that it will be ok. I'm working down the foot of sock #1.

No pictures today -- I didn't have a chance to get everything together while the sun was out. Maybe I'll manage a photoshoot soon.