Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ben's Fisherman Knit

Pattern: Child's Aran Pullover, size 6
Yarn: Plymouth Encore Color 517 Worsted Weight
Content: 75% Acrylic, 25% Wool
Needles: #3 for ribbing, #5 for all of the rest

A straight forward pattern that would have been done much sooner if the holidays hadn't come along.

Speaking of holidays, I'm lucky to have another knitter in the family who made me the nicest pair of socks for Christmas. They're so comfy that they've taken over as my favorite socks. You know...the ones you put on and your toes wiggle because they're so happy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pumpkin Time

A quick knit for a boy named Ben. Seems funny to say that, knowing that "my" Ben is 26 and this Ben is just 15 months. A Fiber Trends pattern that was surprisingly easy and knit in just an afternoon, and that's from a slow knitter!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Blueberry Anyone?

At the request of one of the next generation, I made a blueberry hat for our youngest family member. Well actually I made two hats. I don't have a picture of the first one because it no longer exists, having been gobbled up by the ball winder. Even having checked my gauge and making it the next size up from what he would normally wear, it still turned out too small. On to the second version. . . I decided to leave the pattern in the yarn basket when it came to adding 'leaves' and go 3-dimensional. The result wasn't exactly what I had hoped for but I can live with it. Hopefully so can the little guy that's going to be wearing it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fall's Coming

From April to October, my job becomes my life. Many weekends I work part of one if not both days on top of the usual office time Monday through Friday. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do. I only say this as explanation of the absence of posts during the summer months. As the sailing season winds down, I begin to reclaim my personal time.

I've managed to finish just two projects this summer: both socks. The first pair was your generic 2x2 rib-cuff, no nonsense pattern made of Plymouth's Sockotta Italian Collection (45% cotton, 40% wool, 15% nylon). This pair was started on the way to my niece's college graduation in May and were finished mid August. The second pair was made with Trekking Pro Natura yarn received for Christmas in 2007. The first sock, made for a fellow knitter before she became a fanatic sock knitter herself, was done down to the toe in February 2008 when I realized I might not have enough yarn. After spending months searching unsuccessfully for another skein of the same color (forget the dye lot -- they'd be close enough), the single sock was exiled to my UFO basket to languish for the next eighteen months. This month over Labor Day weekend I decided it was time to do something about "the" sock. Since it's original recipient has a larger foot, I had to do some frogging as well as figure out where I was in the 12 row lace pattern in order to resize it for myself, definitely a task to be tackled early in the day while my concentration was at its best. Once the first sock was finished the second one was a breeze. In less than three weeks of bits of time every day, the second sock is done (even with some serious frogging to correct knitter errors )!
On to the next project. I have a shawl in cranberry red in the works and a request for a berry hat for my great nephew. --A happy knitter, again.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Am I dyslexic?

I just finished my first practice sock using Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters.  Am I the only one that had trouble following the schematics of needle positions?
When I got to the base of the heel, I had the most frustrating time trying to figure out which stitches belonged on which needles.  Mine seemed to be a mirror-image of what I was looking at in the book.  If you've worked thru this Little Sky Sock exercise before, you might remember it's at this point that you've just finished short rows and are moving stitches between needles.  I felt like I was trying to solve a Rubic's cube!  Look at the diagram, read the directions, move the stitches.  Look at the diagram again, read the directions again, look at the stitches on my needles.  Move the stitches back to their original needles, start over.  Try again.....and again....and finally, before I pulled the needles out and reduced the sock to a snarl of yarn, I set the needles down and went to bed.  Problem solving is always easier after a good night's rest.  
A new day.  After reading the next set of knitting directions and figuring out what was to be accomplished, I finally got over that hurdle and moved along just fine.  The sock turned out fine and looked like the one in the book.  Sorry no picture to share....I hadn't intended to write this post until I had gone back to review the first few pages of the book before tackling the second practice sock, "Little Coriolis".
Page 7  of the book:  "Compare the foot and the 2 circ schematic above. . . Since [the left needle] tip is red, it's also the the starting needle (the needle in your left hand)."  Yet the schematic shows the red needle on the right side of the drawing.  Why do that?  WHY NOT SHOW IT ON THE LEFT SINCE THAT'S WHAT I'M GOING TO SEE AS I'M KNITTING!!!!    Yes, she says in the last paragraph, "...the needles as they would look if you laid them flat on a table, with the sock growing towards you.  The starting needle is always the one in your left hand."  A schematic of how it would look when laid on a table makes no sense when I'm following the directions as I knit.  

Okay, okay....deep breath......before everyone jumps on me for saying something negative about Cat or her book, let me just say, the woman is a genius when it comes to sock architecture. I love the designs and know I'll be fine once I get my head around the perspective from which I should compare my project to the schematic; it just seems so opposite of what it should be.  
I now have an idea of how frustrating life is for individuals with dyslexia.  Is this my left hand or is this my left hand?  I just don't know right now.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Finishing Touches on the Henley

This has to be some kind of record, at least for me. Looking back at the calendar, it took me just three weeks to finish this project and it probably could have been done in two, if I hadn't procrastinated when I got to a part I was unsure of, like picking up stitches for the neckband. Because the perfectionist in me is never satisfied, picking up stitches has never been a favorite. It's the reason I started the placket three times this morning, once after having already finished the bind off.
The next project, a toe-up sock in J.Knits Miami colorway. I've always knit mine from the top down and it's time to figure out if knitting in the other direction is for me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Waste Not, Want Not

Tonight as I was perusing the new yarn catalog that had arrived today, Gram came in and said, "When you're tired of working on your sweater, perhaps you'd work on this for me."
"This" was a 100% acrylic commercially made sweater, one that used three threads to make up a fine fingering weight yarn. Unlike the yarns we usually use for handknitting, this yarn wasn't plied, but instead three separate threads that didn't act at all like a single strand of yarn. A deadly combo: fine denier acrylic yarn and dry air. They were waving around like hair rubbed with a birthday party balloon, dancing around a gaping hole in the seam attaching the collar to the sweater. But wait, it get's better! The collar had been knit double the width needed, then folded over the sweater neck edge and secured with a chain stitch, so there wasn't one but two raw edges. About three inches of tiny live stitches just itchin' to ravel leered up at me, laughing like the gingerbread man, "catch me if you can." I'm always up for a good challenge and this was definitely about as good as they get.
My weapons of choice: two size one dp's to catch the live stitches on either edge of the collar and a latch hook from my machine knitting days to pick up a collar stitch, the sweater neck edge, the opposing collar stitch and then to pull the raveled chain threads thru all three layers. It was going along pretty well until I ran out of chain thread. What to do now?
I remembered seeing a skein--that's right folks, a skein, not a wimpy little spool--of 100% nylon yarn in amongst my stash. Well not really in my stash, more living on the edge. Yes, a yarn outcast. How it got there, I'm not sure, but being the pack rat that I am, I couldn't bring myself to ever throw it out. It was still in the original plastic package with a Woolworths price sticker of 69 cents. I think it had been passed along to me by my mother, my mother-in-law or possibly my husband's nana. I hadn't any idea what I would ever use it for .... until tonight! That nylon yarn was perfect. It even matched the sweater color.
I finished closing the seam, lasooing every one of those wiggly little stitches and all invisibly. A half hour later Gram was happy to see her favorite sweater back and I was happy it had turned out so well.