Monday, September 24, 2007


A few details:The collar, because I spent much time looking for and at collar close-ups before knitting this one three times:

And the whole shebang:

Once we're out of the 90 degree forecast, I'll try and take some action shots, if I can get the DH to stand still for long enough.

I spent the weekend in NJ at my parent's house--I went down solo, as DH had too much to do. And besides, that way I could laze around and not feel guilty. :) My aunt's in the hospital, so the main purpose was to go down and visit her. I also got to go to Champions of the Grill at the Sussex County Fair Grounds, right down the street from my folks, and a pig roast. Other weekend highlights included a flea market, where my dad scored 2400 baseball cards for $3--I have fond memories of opening and organizing baseball cards with my dad. It's even more fun with a vodka tonic in hand! I also got to play with the nephew, who was (as always) a charmer, and to hang out with my brother and SIL for a bit.

I got some knitting done, too--a small hat (unphotographed) for a woman my mom knows--done in less than 3 hours--and I've turned the heel and finished the gussets on the SIP (sock-in-progress). No photos of that, either, but since that's still in my possession, there will be some eventually. ETA: The hat was for a baby--a week old--which is why the hat was small. I made an umbilical cord hat from the first Stitch 'n Bitch book.) And knittable in less than 3 hours. (I just re-read this through bloglines and realized that "a small hat" was fairly unclear and lacking in detail.)

All-in-all, a pretty good weekend. I could have done without the 5-hours-each-way drive, though!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Almost There! (Stay on Target!)

The husband sweater has been reknit from the first saddle, the back has been grafted, and all that's left is picking up the stitches on the back and knitting the collar! I'm thrilled with the way it's turning out--and, evidently, so the husband, who looked at it this morning and asked if he could wear it today. Given the pointy ends sticking out, I thought it was better he didn't, but I think it bodes well for the future use this sweater will get.

Elizabeth Zimmerman is a genius--this pattern is fantastic. I can't wait to finish the collar and see what it looks like on--I should be done just in time for the 80 degree weather we're expecting this weekend. Perfect wool-sweater weather, naturally.

The Snicket socks are in a time-out; I knit the cuff of the second sock and then realized that the pattern is purl 2, knit one through back leg and not purl 1, knit two through the back legs. So I frogged them completely and cast on for a new sock. Using new yarn.

I'm using the Harlot's basic sock recipe, from Knitting Rules!, in Socks that Rock lightweight (color: Nodding Violet). I cast on 64 stitches on size 1 needles--so far so good! The yarn is nice and squishy--this is my first time using STR, and I'm starting to see what all the fuss is about.

I'm not terribly fond of DPNs, although I am fond of handknit socks. So I've decided that if I'm going to all the trouble of knitting on the, I should only use great yarn (or a great pattern). STR definitely qualifies. Also--their color names? Awesome.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

How I learned to stop worrying and love the spit splice

I finished the husband sweater last night. Well, all except for sewing the collar hem down, and weaving in a few ends.

And then I made him try it on.

And then I realized it was a boatneck sweater. Good for the French Navy, perhaps, but not really the most flattering look with saddle shoulders.

So I ripped it back to the first saddle, and am now adding more rows to that.

That's the bad news.

The good news:

I'm reknitting using these.

The new Knitpicks Harmony Options set. Yum! They arrived yesterday morning, and I immediately started playing. The colors are beautiful--more subdued than they look on the Knitpicks site--and the joins are smooth. The needles are, too--a little bit of grab, which will be nice for lace, but no problems at all with the joins. This is my first set of interchangeable needles--the first set that I thought had everything I wanted in an interchangeable needle. I mainly knit flat, but I'm slowly starting to see the light on knitting in the round. (I'm a bit late to this party, I know!)

So I'm joining the growing chorus of thumbs up for the Harmony Options. My only complaints (and they're very small) echo the ones that Amy Singer mentioned in her review on Knitty (scroll down about a third of the way for the review): the sizes aren't on the tips, so I'll probably get another needle-sizer to keep in the Options bag. The sizes aren't on the bag, either, so I may keep them on the card until I figure out a way to put the sizes on the bag.

I would have also liked it if the length was on the cards that came in the bags with the cables--I know I'll wind up taking them all out, but it would be nice if initially I could have seen that I had all the sizes I'd ordered. (I order the 40", 47", and 60" cables to go with the ones included in the set.)

One thing that I particularly loved: When I ripped the sweater back, I picked up the stitches using a size 4 tip, to make it easier to grab the live stitches. Once they were on the cable, I switched back to the size (7) I'm using for the sweater, and voila! I was good to go.

I know this last is a feature of all interchangeable needles, and not specific to the Harmony Options, but it's a new one for me, and I really really like it.

I think that--now that I'm properly outfitted!--there will be at least one more seamless hybrid on the needles soon; maybe a Christmas sweater for my brother. And I've got the Tangled Yoke sweater from the Fall 07 IK in my queue, and the yarn I need for it in the stash. I've even got some great buttons for it!

A few balls of Knit Picks Shine also came home with me, but I haven't taken a picture yet. Apple Green, and destined to be a baby sweater.

It's not easy being green

Kristi at Fiber Fool is doing a very cool series on how color works. She's also doing some research on colors:

1. What is your current favorite color?

Green. No, wait, Blue. No, wait. Dark Red.

2. Had your favorite color changed over the years?

Yes. In fact, sometimes it changes day-to-day. Or even minute-to-minute. When I was younger, I loved yellow--bright and sunny. Now, I tend to favor richer jewel tones.

3. Is your current favorite color one that is currently trendy? (Do you see it in the fashion rags or on the clothes rack or in the linen aisle right now? How about 5 years ago?)

According to Fashion Trendsetter, I won't be trendy for Fall 2007. Next summer looks a little better, though.

4. What is your favorite color combination?

That depends on what I'm doing, I suppose. I've got a necklace that has blue topaz and peridot in it; lately that's been my favorite.

5. Is that combination a popular one? (Is it use in prints you see in the stores and catalogs and magazines now? How about 5 years ago?)

Somewhat. I think it's a little more retro than trendy.

6. What is your favorite way of using color in your knitting? (Are you a stranded knitter? Do you prefer simple stripes? Do you prefer just accents at the hems/collars?)

I don't use a lot of color changes--mainly just for accents. Lately for the insides of hems and collars.

7. What colors look good on you?

Most shades of green, dark reds, most shades of blue.

8. What colors look bad on you?

Yellows and oranges--they make me look pale and sickly. Most pastels aren't so great, either.

9. Do you wear colors that don’t look good on you just because you like them?

Not as a main color, but maybe as an accent.

10. What is your favorite neutral color? black/white/ivory/tan/brown/gray – if brown or gray do you prefer cool or warm versions of those or does it matter? And, how dark?

Warm shades of brown, not too dark.

11. Is there a sweater pattern that uses more than one color that you’d like to make, but you wish to change the colors from what is published? If yes, which one? What do you not like about the published colors?

Most of the sweaters I like, and the ones I'm planning on knitting, are one color (or have contrasting hems but no other color change). I've done some color work--hats, mainly--and I'm not against knitting a sweater with multiple color changes (although I like stranded better than intarsia), I haven't really seen any that jump out and shout "knit me!" I do like Eunny Jang's Venezia pullover, but I'm not sure I like it enough to invest the time. And I would change the colors, probably so that it had more green and less yellow in the middle, and maybe a richer brown for the collar.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Procrastinating . . .

with online quizzes. I'm a sucker for online quizzes. And this one's about books!

You're Watership Down!

by Richard Adams

Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're
actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their
assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they
build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd
be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

WIP Wednesday

First WIP: the husband sweater. We're coming up on our 8th anniversary in November, so I figure I'm safe from the sweater curse. :) He just tried it on and the fit is fine. Aside from the fact that the underarms and saddle need to be grafted, and it needs a collar, it's a sweater!

This was my first EZ pattern (and my first man sweater), a seamless hybrid inspired by the wonderfulness that is BrooklynTweed. Some time ago, he knit a seamless hybrid, and I've been drooling over it ever since.

The construction is amazing--I had a lot of trouble visualizing it (but got excellent advice and encouragement from some Ravelers--thanks!) until I actually started, when it made so much sense I couldn't believe I didn't understand it earlier. This will not be my last EZ pattern--or my last seamless hybrid!

I'm also making progress on my melon scarf--I finally started the border. I didn't have enough yarn for the border the pattern calls for, so I've substituted the narrow point border on p. 183 (a la Grumperina)
A close-up:
I really like this yarn--Valley Yarns Alpaca/Silk hand-dyed in Camilla. (I prefer to think of it as Watermelon, however, as this is a melon scarf.) The color repeats are short, so I haven't had any pooling at all--just wonderful color mixes. And the yarn feels lovely--soft, but strong enough to handle sharp tips and manipulations.

The narrow point border is moving along pretty quickly--I've rounded two corners and am about a quarter of the way down the second long side. A few more nights of knitting and it should be done.

I've also finished the test knit I was doing for Mama Llama, and mailed it off.

I haven't made any more progress on my Stripes and Torchon lace scarf, though--it's having a time out. The border is fairly complicated, and lately I've wanted knitting that didn't make me think quite so hard. Stockinette and lace with 8-row repeats is more my speed, lately.

And soon--hopefully!--I'll have another couple of checks in the FO column, so I can cast on for something new! I'm thinking about Madli's Shawl (this is a Ravelry link), from IK--I've liked the pattern for a while, but haven't been able to find a copy of it. But I purchased the issue from someone on Ravelry who was destashing, so now it's mine, all mine! I've also purchased Anne Hanson's Honeybee stole pattern, so that's high on the list of possibilities. Or maybe another seamless hybrid. Or a pair of Fetching mitts. Or . . .

I have too many things I want to cast on for now. And lessons to prep for my class, alas, that will put them on hold for at least a little while.

In my fit of "I must have it now," I also caved to the pretty colors of the new Knitpicks Harmony Options set. I'm stalking my account to see when they ship--I don't have any interchangable needles, so really, I needed them. At least, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it. :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

WIP-ing along

Test knitting, turning this:Mama Llama silk/cashmere laceweight

Into this:
The pattern is fairly simple, but does a nice job of showing off the colors and the yarn, which has a lover-ly drape. It's a little darker than I've managed to capture in the photos--more bronze-y. Tres sophistoque!

I think I've got about three more repeats to go. It's about 7 inches wide by 60 inches long at the moment, pinned out. So it will be a nice length when it's all done.