Saturday, August 29, 2009

Herbivore Shawl

I was hoping to post this earlier this morning before I left for a day of rock climbing (I love Saturdays!), but that didn't happen.

Speaking of rock climbing, sometimes I feel really irresponsible as a knitting clarinetist being so rough on my hands.

Other times I think, "Who cares?  This is fun!"  I got a blood blister on one of my fingers today and gouged out a chunk of another (and I got a rope burn on my leg when I fell), not to mention the fact that the last time I went climbing, I wore out my forearms so much that the muscles I use to play clarinet weren't working.  That was an unproductive day...

Anyway, on to my FO!

This is Herbivore, by Stephen West, (and yes, that is a chewed up corn cob, courtesy of the neighborhood squirrels).  If you remember, I test-knit his Botanic Hat earlier this summer and he wanted me to test-knit this shawl as well.  The pattern will be available on Monday.

I used almost a full skein of Pagewood Farm St. Elias (linked in my previous post) in the colorway Mississippi Mud, which I thought was fantastic.  The color makes me happy not only because I'm a boring guy, but because I've lived only a couple of blocks from the Mississippi my whole life, so I thought it was fitting.  Oh, and I used size 6 needles with this fingering-weight yarn.

The pattern itself was really interesting and it made a lot of sense, and I love twisted ribbing, so I was very happy to knit this one.  In addition to the typical increasing along a center stitch a and at the edges like most triangular shawls, Stephen also incorporated another pair of increases halfway between these points which made for an interesting finished shape that will stay on your shoulders or wrapped around your neck more easily.

When I wear this around my neck, sometimes I catch myself thinking, "This yarn is a little scratchy..."  but I love it.  I actually like the reminder that I'm wearing something I made by hand, and the yarn really is quite soft and lofty, with a teensy bit of fuzziness.

Meet my fence: (sorry, I ran out of things to say)

...and now I'm off to knit.  (also, I apologize that I always either look depressed or like a creeper in my pictures, I'll work on that)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Almost There, Again

Well, I decided I'm going to custom-order a zipper for my brother's sweater, so it may be a while before that one's actually done.  It's not very functional without being able to zip it closed (the stretchy ribbing makes it look like there's no front at all!), so he'll just have to wait on that one.  Good thing it's still August!

I finished the shawl I'm test knitting for Stephen West last night and now it's blocking.  I liked the way the edge looked before blocking though.

It actually reminded me of those flowers I posted about in my last post, which I now know are called "Cockscomb."  Thanks, Anne!

I think I may have had enough yarn to do one more repeat before the edging, but I didn't want to chance it.  I love this yarn though, Pagewood Farm St. Elias (80% BFL, 20% nylon) in the Mississippi Mud colorway.  I'll post more details when I have finished photos.  You can find the pattern page on Ravelry, but it won't be available until the 31st.

I should start knitting the second sock for my brother, he's heading off to school a week from today.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The End Is Near

...which I find a bit ironic as I just hid every end I could find.

To answer a few questions before they're asked:

1.  No, I don't know what's going on with the color in that picture.

2.  Yes, I did use felted joins whenever possible.

3.  No, I have absolutely no idea why this sweater ended up with so many ends.

In other news, does anybody know what these flowers are?

They start out pointy like that, and then they fan out at the top when they get bigger.  I think they look almost like coral.

Some of them are almost 6 feet tall (yes, really) and they don't smell very good (but it's not strong).  My mom says she had one of them in a bouquet last year and when it dried out, she collected the seeds and then just sprinkled them around in the garden, and now they're huge and everywhere.  I alternate between calling them "weeds" and "coral flowers", but I'm curious as to what they actually are.

They don't attract butterflies or bumblebees, but flies and wasps (or are they yellow jackets?  I don't know the difference).  Just what we want by the back door, right?

I'm almost done with a test knitting project - more on that later.  Tomorrow (I suppose technically that would be today) is designated "hunt for zipper" day.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Real Quick

Hey guys, quick sweater update today.

A couple of days ago I finished the second sleeve of Franklin, knitting it (intentionally) a couple inches longer than the first, then I ripped back the top of the first and re-knit that.  I've also finished all the seaming and knit the collar onto the sweater.  I then had my brother try it on... it's way too tight in the shoulders!  He may be tall and super lanky, but I guess he still has really broad shoulders.  I'm not sure if there's anything I can do about that at this point other than blocking.  Of course I was stretching the seam to see how much I would be able to block it and I felt something snap, so I'm going to have to go find that broken strand and repair it.  I would expect nothing less from my sometimes mind-boggling intelligence...

Anyway, that was a few days ago.  I was on such a roll with the sweater, but now that I know it's not the super perfect sweater I was hoping for, I sort of... well... stopped.  Although the sweater fits him all the way around, as soon as you get to the point with his wide shoulders, he can't pull it closed.  I have to knit a tiny border up the fronts anyway, so I figured I'd just make that a bit wider than called for before I sew in the zipper.

While Franklin and I were taking a break, I met up with my long-lost friend Delain, remember him?  I sort of gave him the cold shoulder once Franklin came around, but he allowed me to come back.  I knit a bit of the front, a few rows past the armhole decreases and the split for the neckline.  Did I mention that this sweater has a deep neckline?  Yeah, he has everything.  (Oh, just you wait...)

It's another lazy, rainy day here in the Cities.  I love it, but it didn't make for very good pictures, sorry.  Did you guys hear that we had a tornado in Downtown Minneapolis yesterday?!  It touched down right smack dab in the middle of the freeway and then proceeded to attack the Convention Center.  Crazy.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Moving Forward

I haven't had much to talk about since my last post as most of what I'm doing is a bunch of the same old stuff, but I thought I'd update you all about it anyway.  Doesn't that sound like fun?

Before I get to my knitting, look what I did yesterday!

Yep, I finally graduated high school.  Now, you may ask, "but Peter, you're a college senior, how is it that you didn't graduate high school?"  The answer is more simple than you may think.  There was this one class my senior year of high school that I just didn't complete.  There were a couple of papers I never got around to writing (because I thought they were pointless) and instead of giving me a lower grade in the course, they gave me an incomplete and I wasn't allowed to graduate.

When applying to colleges, they ask for your most recent grades (which would have been my grades through December) and upon acceptance to my school, I just never got around to giving them my final transcript (because it was incomplete, you see.)  I was allowed to walk on the day of my "graduation" (May 24, 2006), but I was handed an empty diploma holder instead of the real thing.  I don't know where that folder is.

Anyway, I have now graduated.  No, I didn't write those papers, but my high school principal didn't think it looked good to have a student who never graduated from his school going on to college, so he finally requested that I send him my transcript from college, and he applied credit from some of my college courses to fulfill the requirements of my high school classes and all is well again.

See?  Everything works out in the end.  
Procrastination and persistence: 1
Doing the right thing at the right time: 0

Ok, moving on to the knitting I've been doing.  I finished up the front of my brother's sweater, knit up one sleeve, and am now about 14" into the second sleeve.  I'm almost done!

I've also knit one of the socks I'm knitting for another brother.  It went really quickly because I'm using Cascade 220 from a leftover project.  I don't know how well it'll wear, so for the toe/heel I held it together with some green reinforcement thread I had sitting around.  I still don't know where it came from though - I've never used reinforcement thread nor have I ever bought it, but there is was in my stash drawer.

I knit it toe up and really like the result.  My only problem is the cuff.  I knit it in 1x1 rib and used a tubular bind-off to maintain the stretchiness.  It was so pretty when I finished, but in order to be functional, it had to stretch a bit and when the sock isn't worn, it looks like this.

Is it normal for the cuff of a toe-up sock to be so ugly?

ETA:  I forgot to ask if anyone has used Jo Sharp Silk Road before and whether they think it would be acceptable to use for the seaming of my brother's sweater.  Thoughts?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Spontaneous Spinning

When the Tour de Fleece ended last month I thought I was done spinning for a while.  My knitting projects were suffering and I had done enough spinning to make me happy.

However, last week (two weeks ago?) when these two small samples were thrown at me (quite literally, they hit me in the face), I figured "why not?"

They were just tiny little things to play around with, and since they were both fibers I had never worked with, I figured I would give them a try.  The one on the left is a merino/bamboo blend and the one on the right is superwash merino.

I decided to spin them both up and then ply them together to see what sort of results I would get.  Oh my goodness, spinning these samples was SOOO wonderful.  I finally understand when people say that their fiber "drafted like butter" because this stuff... wow.  It was amazing.

The superwash was a nice contrast to the merino that I spun for TDF because it wasn't at all felted together and I didn't have to fight it, however, it did have that superwash feel to it that I don't really like.  I suppose I can't have everything, right?

I like that one of my plies was shiny while the other wasn't, and I think they really complimented each other.

Ok, sure, there may have been some nasty color combinations, but whatever.  It's pretty.

Now, what does anyone do with a little mini-skein of handspun?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Help Requested

I'm having a bit of trouble with my brother's sweater at this point and I don't know if it's me or the directions.  I'm going to try to explain my problem so that it can be understood by people who aren't knitting it, and I would love it if someone had an answer to my problems.

Here you see the top of the left side of the front of the sweater.  Along the right side I've been doing raglan shaping 6 stitches in from the side (that's P2, K2, P2 - then decrease) and if you look on the left side, you'll see that there's neck shaping three stitches in from the side.

Notice these two decrease lines are coming to a point.

So here's where I'm stuck.  The pattern states, and I quote, "decrease one stitch as set above [3 in from left, 6 in from right] on each end of next and every following alternate row until there are 12 stitches".  Ok, check.  I've done that.  I now have 12 stitches.  Here's the confusing part, "then continue to decrease one stitch at each end of every following alternate row until all stitches are worked off.  Cast off."

Ok, that sort of sounds like "keep doing what you're doing until there are no more stitches", right?  The problem is, those decreases are going to run into each other if I keep going, AND the 3 stitches on the left and the 6 on the right wouldn't get eaten up.

I thought perhaps it meant that I should switch to decreasing right on the edge instead of a number of stitches in, but look here:

See where my needle is pointing?  That's the P2, K2, P2 rib on the right side of the front, and it doesn't look like it ever goes away.  You can also sort of see that the decrease lines do in fact come to a point ...and then continue up?  I'm not sure.  I'm stumped.  I have no idea.  Thoughts?  I was thinking maybe whoever knit this substituted a double-decrease in the middle instead of decreasing on both sides, but I'm not sure.

Tomorrow:  Surprise spinning!  Not even I knew this yarn was going to happen, and I made it!  Stay tuned.  (and thanks for any help/suggestions)