Wednesday, October 30, 2013

KAL Update

For the past 2 weeks, I’ve mostly been working on a secret project, a gift. I needed to take the time, and it was good timing to keep me from getting too far ahead of my KAL buddies on our projects.
This past weekend, I met them both for coffee and have returned to working on the cardigan, playing some catch-up! It seems I have finally memorized the chart for the stitch patterns, so I’m knitting along with ease, not needing the chart. This enables me to work on it at the bus stop and other places, where I do not have a table available to hold my pattern in a convenient location. This morning, I did some number crunching and we’re nearly one-third finished. (I am going to knit mine a little shorter than the pattern dictates.)
For the cape, I finished the back and have a good start on the front, while my friend is still working on the back.  It is nice to be not too far ahead, so I will work on some other things for a while to allow her to catch up.
I’m thinking about sorting through my yarn, pulling out many of the single skeins and working on some mittens, scarves and fingerless mitts. I’m not sure how many I could finish, or even what I would do with them, but quick projects are enticing me right now. They could be small Christmas gifts for family and friends or possibly be donated to a charity for the homeless. I can always make up my mind later.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Two New Knit-A-Longs

Last weekend, I finished the re-knitting of the sleeve on my Malabrigo cardigan. It fits well, and much like the other sleeve, so I don’t need to re-knit the second one.  Yea!
Next, I picked up the Botanico pullover that was started several years ago. I knit another 6 inches, or so on it before Saturday. It is back in hibernate mode, now. I like the pattern, but a combination of the small gauge and the stitch pattern that does not enable me to knit without watching carefully, makes this one go irritatingly slowly. It is now just over halfway finished, though.
On Saturday, two of us spent 6 hours knitting at Starbucks. We started by knitting swatches. Mine was off, so I started over, completing it at the right gauge.  We cast on and knit the bottom ribbing per the directions in the pattern.  When I started the pattern setup, I realized that the ribbing did not work into the cables well at all! I was very, very disappointed.  The stitch count was also off by 4, only for the size we chose to knit.  I tried, and tried to force the increases to make the ribbing line up better with the cable pattern, but was still unhappy with it. We both ripped the ribbing and started again with a slight modification of the last row of the cable chart as our ribbing pattern. Through the stockinette sections of the sweater body, we maintained the K2P2 rib that the pattern indicates for the entire bottom ribbing. I finished the ribbing and the first cable row, liking the effect much better than the designer’s original pattern.  While I was frustrated with it, at the time when I started to rip several hours’ worth of work, the final effect is lovely. When I arrived home, I sat and knit and knit and knit, until I had finished several pattern repeats! I continued to work on it all day Sunday, and finally set it aside so that I would not get too far ahead. 
On Monday, I wound a ball of yarn for a cape that was given to me as a LYS Tour 2012 pattern.  I purchased the called for yarn during the tour.  The last time all 3 of us met for knitting, another of the regular attendees, C, was starting hers.  I mentioned that it would be fun to have 2 KALs going at the same time and said I might start that pattern, too.  Since I had committed to finishing other projects until the start of the cardigan KAL, I waited until now to begin. I knit a swatch, like usual, but also because C found that in order to get gauge, she needed to go down 2 needle sizes. (I think that was her magic number.) When I was knitting my swatch, I only had 2 needles with me, thinking that I probably would not need to change…Silly me! I started the seed stitch border, which is supposed to be knit on a larger needle than the rest of the pattern, with the smaller needle (1 size smaller than called for), and then pulled out an even smaller needle when I arrived home that afternoon. Through the week, I knit through 5 pattern repeats without measuring the gauge again. Then, I remembered. It was too big! I just decided that I would drop down one more needle size from that point on, rather than ripping it out. I can do the same with the fronts, to give it a unified look and feel. I will likely will not do this with the sides and collar as the pattern would hold its shape better on the smaller needle. As far as we can tell, I am only the 3rd person on Ravelry to attempt this pattern. The pattern has not even been added to the database at this time.
The yarn is lovely, and so is the resulting fabric. So soft and fluffy. I like the stitch pattern and am happily finished with nearly 12 repeats of the pattern on the back. By my calculations, I’ll knit 14 repeats, and then begin the decreases as found in the pattern. Tomorrow, only C & I expect to attend knitting group, so I expect we’ll work together on our little KAL.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

BIG Progress!

I’ve accomplished quite a bit on my finishing goals.  The fuchsia socks are finished as is the cardigan for my nephew…Actually, that one still needs buttons sewn on, but I’m not entirely certain what kind I want. I have until Christmas Eve to finish, so I’m not that anxious about it. After these were both finished, I started to work on some mittens for me, followed by the kid’s fairisle mittens. I previously finished most of one mitten. Within a few days, I had a completed pair. These were finished Saturday afternoon at knitting group. Everyone raved over them, even a couple of random strangers who were waiting for their drinks at Starbucks. Upon finishing, I pulled out the Question Bag that I started many, many months ago. This was free 1-skein pattern from the 2011 Local Yarn Store Tour. I had thought that it was mostly finished. To my surprise, I found that I had only knitted most of the 2 i-cords for the handles. This is a drawstring bag, so there are 2 30-inch i-cords that weave through the top. I finished the second cord and then cast on for the bag. By Sunday afternoon, I was finished, but forgot to take a photo before giving it to my sister-in-law as a birthday gift. She is planning to send me a photo when she gets some time. It was a fun and quick knit, probably only around 13 hours of knitting. Finally, I picked up the brown cardigan and started to rip the sleeve on Sunday afternoon. I am a little over halfway through the re-knitting and loving the feel of the Malabrigo slipping through my fingers. As I look over the lovely fabric, I think this time my gauge may be a little bigger than the looser sleeve and may also need to re-knit it, too.  This really isn’t a problem and I’m guessing that I will still have it finished by Saturday.

In the past 8 weeks, or so, work has been a little crazy. Our fiscal year end was yesterday, so management wanted us to get as many accounts as possible to zero. They even approved as much overtime as we wanted to work! I generally hate working overtime, but with my husband’s current unemployment situation, I like the pay for those extra hours. Working extra hours has left me with less knitting, sleeping, house cleaning, etc. hours, so I feel relieved to have it done.  Yesterday was a 14 hour day where I only had lunch and the bus trip to knit. This all changes back to the normal 8 hours per day starting this morning. I’ll have time for knitting, house cleaning, grocery shopping, sleeping and exercising, again. 

This morning, I ordered the yarn for the knit along. Instead of the Valley Yarns Berkshire that we originally discussed using, we chose an Elann yarn that is on sale, Sierra Aran. Twenty balls are about right for the yardage that is required. The sale is for full bags of 10. I ordered Walnut for my friend and Mallard for myself. Elann usually ships quickly and the post office usually delivers it within a couple of days, so we plan to knit swatches on Saturday. 

Next up, if my current project of re-knitting sleeves gets finished: a few more edging repeats on my Civil War Shawl.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Yesterday, my sister sent a picture of my niece wearing the sweater I made for her! So cute and it looks like it fits perfectly. This one was made from one skein of super-wash wool sock yarn. The pattern was very fun and quick to knit, though knit at about 7 stitches per inch.

This week’s knitting has gone fairly well. I finished the Gwendolyn shawl.  However, I was short on yarn, so I used some red to knit the last 3 rows and bind off. It has been blocked and I even wore it on Sunday.
Starting Sunday, I worked on the Basket Case Socks from Toe Up Socks for Everybody. I’ve knitted several pairs of socks from this book, enjoying every pair. I finished the second sock yesterday afternoon.
Having finished the gray socks, I pulled out the fuchsia knee-high socks. These need to have the top ribbing removed, and then re-knitted with few stitches. They are too big and short to stay up and I haven’t any extra yarn. While waiting for my bus yesterday afternoon, I used a needle to pick up the stitches at the top of the leg, just before the ribbing. It took me a little longer than the bus trip home to pull out the sewn bind-off. In the car on the way home from the park and ride, I knit the first row of the ribbing, decreasing stitches by a couple instead of increasing like before. While watching television last evening, I knit about half of the ribbing. Hopefully, they’ll be completed in just a few days.
Next up: ripping and re-knitting the sleeve on the sweater that is too tight, the hood that is nearly done and finally the mittens.
We plan to order the yarn for our I Love Cardigan sweaters on Saturday morning, I have about 10 days before the start of our knit-along. I may even be able to work on some of the projects from the bottom of last week’s post!