Monday, February 27, 2006

Swatching for the Holiday

We are going to Colorado on spring break to ski. We are going to drive. That's eighteen hours in the car each way. My husband prefers to drive, and I "help". That's probably twelve hours that I could be knitting. Each way.

So, what to do?

Well, first, the Poetry gets finished, so I can wear it.
Second, the contest shawl gets finished.
The Kaffe is not going

Now what after that? I have two weeks to figure it out, and since I'm backpacking this weekend, no weekend to mess around. I have set my mind on some more "stash busting". Gifts for BIL and SIL, as we are planning to get together with them again this Christmas. BIL likes brown and green. SIL is a purple/teal type. Probably a two+ color item. Probably a Nordic sort of approach. May try a "knit your own" out of the Philosopher's Wool book.

For the first round I have set some goals - deal the huge amounts of worsted I collected from e-bay. On first analysis, I find that I have way more pink, minty green and yellow than anyone really needs. I also have a crate of chocolate brown, that is heavier than the rest, but not so much that it won't work with the other yarn. So, let's figure out what to do with some of this stuff.

Swatch 1 - Graphic from Agave, a Dale of Norway design. Minty Green/creme. The minty is too light. Maybe with something other than creme? About 5 stitches/inch

Second try - I see pink and brown a lot these days. How about it? Yes, the thicker brown does work ok with the worsted. Not sure I like the pattern; too chunky. Would probably do better in something simpler like the Agave, but don't want to go there for some reason. 4 stitches/inch. I have some magazines with Fair Isle pieces that use this gauge that don't make me puke. Have to look for them.

Backup plan again towards BIL/SIL, but their cute boys. One likes red and the other yellow. I'll make sweaters for them with that Castle design from the Barbara Walker #2 book. Maybe hand knit the fronts, and use the knitting machine for the sleeves and back.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Wow, a week without knitting.
How did that happen?

Well, I took two girl scout troops camping, mine and the other Cadette group. We did the "Program Aide" training, so now eleven early teen girls can work with younger Girl Scouts, once they have their application and recommendation forms turned in. It was really cold, but I did put some rows on that secret shawl. I was really tired when I came home.

Then I went to a trade show, and spent two days standing in a booth watching people walk by. I remembered my previous trade show promise to myself - only go as a speaker - which I apparently had forgotten. Speaker positions are better, because you get a name tag with a ribbon, and don't have to stand in front of the booth unless you want to.

Now, I'm home, and it is a mess. The washing machine has quit. I have two days of work piled up because I've been traveling. Shiloh thinks I should play.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Progress has lurched to a stop.

I knit hard on the weekend on this new shawl project. My goal was to consume two skeins a week, then move onto either Poetry or the Kaffe. So, what happens on Monday, but I pick up the second skein, and find I have forgotten my simple sequences, and am lost inside the pattern. I inspected it like a puzzle, put it down, picked it up, tried the next morning. No better. Ripped a few rows, and re-knit, got stuck. Repeated this Wednesday and Thursday. Finally I pulled out a whole pattern repeat, inspecting all the while and not only found my way, but also an error. So, now I'm still working on that first skein.

Poor Poetry is on the side line, one arm attached. The I cord, and stitch pick ups for her second sleeve waiting patiently. And Kaffe is sitting in the basket, waiting a new row of yarn pieces to be pulled.

A cold front, the coldest this year they say, and the last for the year as well is descending on the Houston area. I have Girl Scout camping planned. Some mommies are worried; my daughter is amused. She camped in the snow last spring. Just hope the other girls are as solid as she is. If the weather is really bad, I'll let them know they could qualify for a "bad weather" patch. One can only hope.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Again, not a lot of progress on established projects.

So, we will take a moment to look at the button I have for the Poetry in Stitches sweater. After my mother died, my sister, who was much better at sewing, went through the button box, and gave me a few sets of special buttons. This is from that group. I have six, and Poetry seems to be perfect for this little silver windmill.

I ordered received yarn from Elann, and am one skein into an entry to their Design Contest. Since it is a contest, I won't mention much more until I'm finished, and the deadline is passed. Well I'll say a little. I ordered their Highland Silk, and it is lovely, smooth and soft. Putting a bit of silk into wool just makes them both better.

On another front, I've been working hard on my guitar, and started lessons. I showed my new teacher a piece from the MelBay Modern Guitar Method called "Sor's Waltz" that I had worked on. It's a pretty piece. She helped me with some of the fingering where I was rough. My assignment was to memorize the piece, which I have spent most of the week doing.

Sometimes I feel sorry for this teacher, as she seems to mostly have young students who want to learn "pop" styles and songs. This woman really prefers classical music and techniques.

My teacher told me that Fernando Sor was quite a famous composer for guitar. I had no idea. He a series of studies for the guitar, that are as standard for that instrument as the Brahms work is for piano. In fact, many guitar schools require students study and become proficient in this group of pieces. Teacher is supposed to bring me another Sor piece to work on this week. In the mean time, my case of "acquisition syndrome" has migrated from the collection of yarn to the collection of guitar music. The Segovia edited Fernando Sor 20 studies for the Guitar, with companion CD should be on their way to my home via Sheet Music

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Well, we have one sleeve, finished and attached. This picture shows the shoulder detail nicely as well. I may have a new sweater next weekend.

Not without issues. I got most of the way done, and panicked that the every fourth row increase was not making the sleeve grow fast enough to set into the armhole. I think that the wrist started smaller than normal, as there is no ribbing, and I wanted it to be a neat fit, and not sloppy. So, I switched to every third row and that seemed to work out. I think wrist sizing is perfect.

I also had some issues with figuring out how long the sleeve ought to be. The steek edges sort of stuck out, making a measurement tricky. I ended up sewing it together, and finding that it was bulky around the armhole. A bit of tugging and folding the wrist back led me to the conclusion that the sleeve was too long by about five rows. So I ripped, and tried again. I was pleased.

I used a different method to attached the sleeves than my normal mattress stitch. I counted the stitches I ended up with on the sleeve and picked up that number evenly around the arm hole. Then I did a two needle bind off with the picked up stitches and the live sleeve stitches. This is not original; I've seen it specified on knitting patterns before, I just have never done it that way. I considered k2tog with the sleeve and picked up stitches, then knitting a facing. I discarded that because I think it would be too bulky. This yarn is light worsted; not skinny shetland spindrift. The result was very nice, and easy. It is equivalent to picking up stitches to knit from the body out. I knit from the cuff in this time so the big motifs would match.

I had a blinding flash of the obvious regarding stabilizing the cut stitches. I usually crochet them because I don't have a sewing machine I trust, and I don't trust my knitting to stay put. I just realized that the process of picking up for the arms, as well as for the bands also serves that function. Now, with that, can I consider cutting with out crocheting next time?