Monday, September 24, 2007

The Beginning of the End

I have only five more days in Chicago. Needless to say, not much knitting has been happening. I finished the Center Square hat for Stefan, but I forgot to take a picture. It looks like the green one, only in black and grey. Stef came to visit this weekend. Or, rather, he came to crash at my place so he could have fun in Chicago. It was nice to see him anyway.

Today is the only day this week I don't have dinner plans. I don't think much knitting is going to be done this week, either. I've got some serious packing to do.

Dan's here, though, and that calms me tremendously. I gave him his surprise gift, which is what the successful lace is from. It's an altar cloth with an intarsia and embroidered version of a tree from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. I copied the image, removed everything but the tree (as best I could), and overlaid it on a grid set to the proportions of my swatch. Surprisingly, it only took about a week to make. The embroidery was the hardest part, since I didn't know what I was doing (even harder than the lace!), but I think I did alright. I was very happy with it, and Dan was excited about it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

This Makes it All Worthwhile

Doesn't Jen look like she stepped off the page of the pattern book?

Looking at it, I can't believe I made it. It's Gathering Intentions from Inspired Cable Knits. When I saw the sweater, it just screamed out to be made for Jen. I finished it at her house, after she'd gone to bed so it would remain secret. It fits beautifully and really does suit Jen. The yarn is Valley Yarns Valley Superwash. I like it. It was really sproingy, which I love in a yarn. Plus, it's washable, which is perfect for a mom. Because Jen is a mom, I left off the gathered I-cord part of the right sleeve. I didn't think dangling ties were practical. She'd dip them in a lot of things and they'd get pulled on. I did leave the gathered part on the front, because I liked how it made the design unique.

Also while at Jen's I made Center Square. My floats were a tiny bit close together and they stretch on a big head like mine, making it feel tight. A person with a smaller head will be fine. I don't have an intended recipient, so I'll keep my eye out for someone with a smaller head. I showed the hat to my brother, who immediately wanted it. Then he said "but it won't match my scarf." So now I'm making another out of black and grey RYC Cashsoft. The lengths I go to for family. Let me just say how much I love this yarn, by the way. So soft.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

When the Yarn is Packed

I thought I could make it through the month without buying yarn. As if I have that kind of will power. I packed up all my stash, because my condo has to look like no one lives here. This is more of a challenge to me than the actual move. I have stuff. I use stuff. It gets left out. I feel like I need to make space in a closet to hide stuff when there's a showing (please, someone buy my condo soon!). Luckily, there's a lot of storage in this small place.

A friend of mine just had a baby and wants to have a knitalong. She and I are going to make a Fair Isle-style hat. Because she is a new mom and has much less time for knitting than I do, she's going to make Center Square from the Winter 2006 Knitty, and I'm going to make that and finish Usferud (which I started last year, but am going to rip back to the cotton lining part). So I needed yarn, see. I didn't like the brown I was using on Usferud, so I ordered a darker color, which came super fast from Yarnzilla. I don't like their lack of a yarn search, but they do ship fast and have good prices. Today I walked to Nina to buy yarn for Center Square. I got some RYC Cashsoft Aran in Forest and Karabella Aurora 8 in Leaf.

Then I got inspired. I've been in Nina a lot over the past couple weeks, but nothing has struck my fancy. Today I wanted everything. I bought some Misti Cotton in Brown and Light Blue Twist. There's a ton of yardage in those hanks, so I justified it that way. I think they'll either become mittens or a hat for me.

First, though, I'm finishing Something for Jen. I'm hoping to get it finished before I visit her next week, but if not I'll give it to her for Christmas. I'm quite far along. Some concentrated knitting time should make finishing it by Tuesday night possible.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I Did It!

I made lace. Two separate patterns, even. The first, the one on the bottom, is Serendipity from Knitting on the Edge. Yarn overs and k3togs on both sides. Of course, there's only twelve rows and seventy-four stitches so it wasn't too torturous. The second pattern is Winding Trail from Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns. Even though it was a seven stitch repeat over twelve rows with purling on all wrong side rows, I had a harder time with it than Serendipity. I think I got too sure of my self with the easier pattern. I'd think I was in a rhythm and then realize that I added a yarn over where one didn't belong.

The biggest problem I had was with the yarn. I used Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk. It's a really lovely yarn and creates a thicker fabric than I expected. The silk strands kept snagging. I think it was the silk and not the Alpaca, though sometimes the long fibers of the Alpaca made getting into the P3tog stitches difficult. I used size five Options for this, but I think duller needles would have been worse. I don't think it was the needle as much as a quality I can't quite put my finger on. Like the silk was too slippery or something. None of the snags were serious. I probably shouldn't even call them snags. In the end, I still feel successful.