Monday, January 29, 2007

Happy Monday.

I was able to get a back seat in my class last week, and thus knit for two days on Arwens back, with only my neighbors knowing what I was up to. I also was able to pay enough attention to win a prize for answering questions. Hurrah Me.

I settled down on Sunday to finish the back, and work all the seams. All that is left is the hood. The instructions have you make the hoods as extensions of the left and right side, then seam the back neck. I don't see why I can't just use the back neck live stitches, and knit both pieces together. So that's what I'm doing.
I also finished another mohair brioche scarf. Navy on one side, varigated blue on the other. Fluffy!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Somebody has been sleeping in my knitting basket, and I don't like it. Yes, he is pretty cute. Yes, I wash my projects when they are finished, but the idea of them smelling like dog butt is not appealing. I plan to fix this by piling my books and magazines on the top from now on.
The front and sleeve sections for Arwen are complete. Yummy.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

All Arwen, all the time.

I was hoping to knit to the shoulder last night, but was way too tired. Almost there. I guess a leg work out and a double Manhattan would do that to an old lady.

I'm leaving Sunday night for a short business training session. Arwen's back is waiting for that. Nothing like a big chunk of plain stockinette for a training session.

My daughter and a work friend have admired, and attempted to claim that green scarf. Thus, I have been dipping into that mohair again. Dangerous.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A mohair folly.

I was so inspired about reducing stash, that I went on a bit of an inspection. The yarn swap I attended was one of those yearly things, and occur ed on Superbowl Sunday. Well, that's coming up, and maybe I could be prepared. So, what did I really not love. I decided I was no longer in love with the giant bag of mohair.

But, how to get another to love it? Well, I could demonstrate how nice the yarn is by making a fuzzy fluffy scarf. Two colors; maybe brioche. That's light when done on big needles, should work up fast, and would be attractive on both sides.

By the end of the weekend I was six feet in, and finished it Wednesday. It is light and fluffy; seven feet long and less than three ounces. See how one side is light with dark ribs and the other is dark with light ribs? A mirror image; very clever.

A problem. You see I have mohair in purple and teal and navy and grey and yellow, and a few other colors Wouldn't the purple work up nicely with either of these greens? Navy and grey, Navy and yellow, you get the picture? How can I get rid of all that mohair with the potential for light fluffy scarfs? Great gifts, I'm sure. My daughter has already tried to claim this one.

Closeup of one side. The knit side up on the dark green was hard to see, both in real life, and in the photograph. What shows is the herringbone feathers of the lighter purl side color. But here is a close up of the light green "right" side.

Oh, and I joined another Knit Along - the Dale North America group. Cast on is Jan 20th. I swatched some Lambs Pride sport for Hardangervidda. I"m glad I did too. I figured on doing main color green, contrast1 orange, contrast 2 yellow. However, I wasn't pleased with how the orange read against the green. Thus, I will use yellow as contrast 1 and orange as contrast 2. Spot on gauge with #2 needles

Monday, January 08, 2007

Let's talk about Arwen

Her left front is finished.

The arm as specified is way to narrow at the body join. Now it measures 18 inches instead of the 13 1/2 inches specified. No way was was that going to fit over a T Shirt using the original pattern. I notice on the KAL boards that people are already making this adjustment.
I plan to do the hood in one piece at the end. I'll just leave the hood stiches on their holder until all is together, then pick up along the back neck, and take it from there. The shoulder stiches will also stay on a holder for a three needle bind off. Another minor planning for the finish choice was to use a provisional cast on for the arm, so I had stiches waiting for the grafting, and of course, the three needle bind off for the sleeve.
I actually finished the left front before the New Year, but was so unhappy with the sleeve depth that I ripped it to the sleeve cast on, and doubled the yarn over increases. ( starting a t 9 st from the sleeve/body join, and working every 5 stitches instead of every 10 ) Now, I could have considered ripping another three inches of body so as to keep the cropped profile. Didn't occur to me. Duh. Instead, I have a sweater that will be three inches longer than the model, which is fine too.
Another motivation for the big sleeve rip was that I totally dorked the grafting of the sleeve detail. This weekend, I found a grafting article, and read it about eleven times, and tried again. Turned out way better. So proud I took a picture. You can also see I somehow ended my graft a half stitch off and also see ( and count ) the matched YO increases up the sleeve.
I have found that the cables can look right on one side and wrong on the other side. Don't tell anyone, but there is an incorrect cable cross at the graft line on the inside of the sleeve. Shhhhh...

Now lets' have a cleansing chat about buying yarn off of eBay.
The yarn came from a vintage yarn lot sale during my bad eBay yarn habit. This habit caused my guest room to fill with yarn until it was close to exploding. No pictures; this continues to be truly embarrassing. But I will share my eBay bargain secrets.

My favorite searches were:
wool yarn vintage
wool yarn lot

I found a lot of 50's to 70's era worsted that way. I particularly like the Bear Brand and Bernat "Wool and Shetland Wool" line. This one was a different brand, and I scanned the label because it was so retro. Notice all the different gauge choices, and that there is no yardage anywhere.
After a bit of price comparing, I decided to bid no more than 50 cents per ounce; with shipping that made most purchases about 80cents to a dollar an ounce. I figured that is about half price of comparable worsted. Then Elann launched the Highland Wool line, and that works out to almost the same price. So, if I can get the colors I want, and new to boot. Oh, and it isn't in my closet. I figured, what's the point of used e-bay stuff unless you pay even less than my 50 cents. To my luck, I find I now rarely win bids even at my personal limits. So, no more eBay Yarn habit. Thanks Elann, and thanks you people who bid or price too high.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy New Year
Swatchy is back, and has been knitting a lot on a holiday road trip.

I notice that Stash Reduction is a big theme for 2007. This has been a Swatchy theme for a few years now. I noticed two years ago that I had about a walk in closet full of yarn. A bit of a calculation around usage rates and life span caused alarm. I believe that I own more yarn than I can knit over my lifespan. You may notice that most of the 2006 knitting was from stash. I think my only yarn purchase in 2006 was Cashmerino for my daughters requested bolero cardigan.

I like so much of my stash, and have oh so many plans. I enjoy taking it out, throwing it around the bedroom, and putting it back.
I did participate in a local yarn sale/swap year before last, and got rid of more than I acquired. It was arranged on Super Bowl day by our LYS. I took home some $$'ss too!!. I'll try to take advantage of that sort of opportunity presents itself again.
So, now for the goal setting; 2006 was not a huge year for knitting productivity.
So, the Swatchy 2007 Stash Busting Challenge - 6 ADULT Sweaters from stash.

This will encourage the use of my vintage worsted weight will, which is bulkier, and takes up more space than all the rest. I may keep track of ounces used, and traded away as well.

So, on to the pictures
Many of you may recognize this a "A Cardigan for Arwen" from the recent Interweave Knits. This appears to be a very very popular design, evidenced by not one, but two knit alongs in process.
I started it on Christmas, and I am using vintage worsted wool in a pistachio green color. It is Fair Lady brand. It was a purchase my eBay yarn purchase addiction. I believe I have recovered from it, but I still find myself browsing the auctions. There are a lot of closets out there stuffed with yarn, mine included.

These are sleeves for "Elegant Diagonals" from Interweave Knits Summer 2000. I'm using Lana Grossa Klimatika, which is a very nice cotton/woool blend. This was purchased during my addiction phase. You know I had a hot link to their site, and checked it every day after reading Wendy. The body is on the needles, but not feeling photogenic today.