Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Random Tuesday

I have a lot to talk about and can only loosely string it all together, so we're going to do a random post today.

Andean Chullo

I finished knitting up the body of my Andean Chullo Hat, which was a kit that used to be offered from KnitPicks.

I still have to do an attached i-cord around the entire bottom and make some tassels and weave in all the ends, but I sped through the knitting of the body because...

Latvian Vest

...I needed the needles to start a vest.  I've been wanting to knit a vest for quite a while and just decided on a whim to do so (and I needed another colorwork project now that the hat is almost done.  See how that worked?  I only finished the hat because I needed the needles and now I'm using the hat being done as my excuse to start the vest.  Sneaky, eh?).

No, my vest is not going to be those colors, don't worry.  I swatched with the two colors I thought I would be least likely to use.  This swatch did teach me several things, though.

1. I am, apparently, in the minority.  I have read in several sources about colorwork knitting that, in general, the color carried below the other color will be the one to stand out.  Let's look at my swatch.  I switched halfway through, can you tell?  Do you see how the blue stands out on the bottom more than on the top?  I carried it above the gray for the first half.  You shouldn't trust everything you read.

2.  I should never be allowed to pick colors.

3.  I am so far off gauge I can't even believe it.  Maybe you can check my math for me, alright?  I want a 40" vest.  The gauge of the pattern is 27sts/4 inches and the medium (40") size has a CO of 270.  That makes sense.  Now, my gauge is 36 sts/4 inches.  This means that if I knit the 2XL size (kill me now), with a CO of 352 (seriously, do it, please), then I should end up with about a 40" circumference.  The fact that I will be knitting a 2XL size and just hoping that it fits me and not me-plus-a-friend is overwhelmingly scary.  What if my gauge changes and all of a sudden I should have just knit the Medium like the pattern says?  So much could go wrong.  I may not be ready for this.

Tuesdays are for Tom (or something like that)

I really need to get back to my brother's blanket.  I sort of don't knit it because it's all garter stitch and there are so many more interesting things in my apartment to distract me.  I'm going to try something that is so against my personality that I think I may be going crazy.

On Tuesdays I will knit on this blanket.  I know, it sounds simple, right?  Why do I even have to announce that?  How could I mess it up?  Well, I'm telling you all with the hope that I will be held more accountable now.  If next Wednesday I show you the beautiful lace shawl I started of the pair of mittens I just finished the day before, it is up to you to shower me with guilt until I return to the blanket.  You see, I'm not saying that sometime on Tuesday I will knit on the blanket, I'm saying that on Tuesdays, I will only knit this blanket.  (There will, of course, be exceptions for my sanity.  This is knitting, after all.)

It has to get done and, well, right now it is nowhere near "done".

Should we do some more math?  (I hate math right now).  The finished blanket needs 40 of those squares.  I have 11.  I need 29 more.  Each square takes 8 hours to knit.  That means I only have to knit for 232 more hours before I fini...

...sorry, I just fainted.

I do this math more often than I care to admit.  (More often than I actually knit this blanket, that's for sure).  It just has to be wrong, right?  Please, PLEASE tell me that it's wrong.  No matter what I do, no matter how I time myself knitting one of the squares, it always takes 8 hours.  I can't ignore that.  But 232 more hours of...

...sorry, I just passed out again.  Is it Wednesday yet?

The FairyGodknitter

 Do you all know Joan?  That's a stupid question, everyone knows Joan.  (If you don't know Joan, you should.  She's pretty amazing.)

I have tangible proof that she is, in fact, THE FairyGodknitter and not simply a wonderful woman posing as the real deal.

She may not have a magic wand or musical gibberish (though I suppose I can't prove that she doesn't waltz around her house mumbling to herself.  Cookie, does she?), but her magic is just as amazing.  You see, she solved my needle crisis FOR GOOD.

 She also, magically, knew about my love for Swedish Fish and all things Post-It.  See that?  Magic.  She has it.

She may have been joking about my "old lady fingers", but somehow, magically probably, she's not that far off.  (My brother, for a photography project, took photographs of each of my siblings' hands on a black background.  Once he posted them all to facebook we could all go through and guess who's hands were in each picture.  Let's just say that people thought mine belonged to my grandpa.  I have old man hands and I may have gotten a little upset about that.  His class voted my hands the best, but I think it's just because they had the most, shall we say, character.)  She has to be magic to have known about that.

But that's not the point.  The point is that she's my Fairy GodKnitter and delivered this to my apartment.

I know!  I couldn't believe it!

I didn't know what to say.  I was speechless!  I kept muttering things like, "No.  No, no... no no no..." because I didn't believe it.  That's usually what happens when something magical happens.  There's all sorts of disbelief and crazy mutterings.  But so far the needles haven't disappeared and I think they're here to stay.  Along with this...

Blue.  I mean yarn.  Blue yarn.  Suri Blue yarn from Fleece Artist and Joan is magical.  I can't even think straight at this point.

So how does one thank the Fairy GodKnitter?  (Oh, by the way, if you haven't seen what she's been up to over on Etsy, you should definitely go check it out.  Now.  The rest of this post isn't very important.)  Thank you, Joan!  I will never again say I don't believe in Fairies.  (Oh wait, that's Peter Pan.  Does this make The Composer Wendy?)


I finished some socks.  (Man, after that last section this feels so lame).

I know that for all of you who knit socks all the time this isn't a big deal.  I, however, am not a capital S Sock Knitter.  I tried like four different sock pattern tutorials (you know, the ones where you just plug in your own gauge and measurements and it tells you know to knit a sock?) and they all left me stranded.  Not because I don't know how to knit socks, but because the socks I was knitting didn't fit me.  I finally just threw caution to the wind and cast on a number I thought would work and went from there, even if the tutorials told me that they wouldn't work out.  And guess what?

They fit.  They fit really well.  They fit so well, in fact, that I made sure to take every possible measurement I could so that I could use these socks as my template for all future socks I make for myself.

This was some KnitPicks Felici that I bought several years ago in the colorway "Pebble" (now discontinued) and I used about two and a half balls.  I have very large feet.  Hence why I don't knit socks.  (As an aside, I intentionally reversed the striping sequence on each sock.  It would have bugged me like crazy if the stripes were 4 rows off from each other, but if they're totally backwards it's no big deal.  Let's not discuss how the dark brown stripes still almost line up.)

However, now that I might be able to make socks that fit me without having to rip them out five times in the process, I may try again with this.

STR Mediumweight from my Fairy GodKnitter.  I can't even tell you how many times I've swatched with this yarn.  I've even knit two whole feet, but it just wasn't meant to be.  Maybe now it is.  There might still be some of Joan's magic lingering around these parts.

Pass the needles.


  1. 1. Love the socks. They look fantastic.
    2. Love the hat, as well.
    3. Love Joan!

  2. Woohoo! Joan must be just amazing! So glad you have all the needles you need now. No more stealing from one project to the next. Now you can rock your knitting!!

  3. This is one of my favorite posts of yours. I've been reading your blog for a while (no idea how I found it!) and I just love the little camel hat (or is it reindeer?). What really gets me, though, is how long it's going to take you to finish that blanket. OMG, 232 hours?! No wonder you don't work on it.

    I like the heel on your striped socks. It's not one I've seen before. What method did you use?

  4. Love the hat!

    Never question the Magic of Joan. Just embrace it and be grateful that she loves you.


  5. Oh, Peter... you've got a knitting sugar mama! :P Who loves you, baby? Joan does! I don't know Joan, but I want to hug her for making you so deliriously happy. What a fabulous gift.

    Love the hat. Love the gifts. Love the love.

  6. Our beautiful Joan has all the magic. We should all be grateful she uses it for good and hasn't blasted the Chumbuckets from the planet. Oh, and I'm coming to your house in the night and stealing that blue yarn.

  7. I LOVE the alpaca hat!!! Amazing!! Once you wear hadnknit socks there's no going back:)

  8. You are a colorwork genious!!!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE that hat. Your Fairy Godmother is awesome and I love those socks!

  9. Congratulations on the Addi clicks and as for the vest question--did you swatch in the round?

  10. Peter, for the Latvian vest question, it looks like you should cast on about 360 stitches. I am knitting a sweater in two colors right now and aiming for a 40" circumference and cast on 340 stitches based on a gauge of 8.5 spi. Along the way I realized that my gauge is closer to 9 spi so I am exactly where you are. Progress is slow, but the math looks right. I know most knitters cringe at the idea of knitting at these tiny gauges, but it's about what you like. On the bright side, a vest takes less time than a sweater and you seem to be a fast knitter. I can't believe how much you manage to knit.

  11. Joan is indeed awesome, with an extra dose of awesome on top of her awesomeness. ;-)

    I'm not a math person, but that seems like a lot of stitches for a vest (and a lot of hours for a blanket, but that's another story.) Are you using the same weight of yarn?

    I do my socks the same way. Get a template that works, and stick with it.

  12. Love your socks! In Germany there is a saying for large shoes that roughly translates to "them being big enough to be used as a canoe". You really have some large feet on you :D

    As for the blanket: Don't do the math. Knitting is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Don't think about the time involved, just stick with your plan to knit it on tuesdays. Make it your "brainless garter stitch" day! You can do it, just don't do the math. It's all in your head!

  13. Wow, Joan is awesome! I'm glad she came through with such an amazing gift for you. I love how much you've been knitting lately. The colorwork hat is so adorable, and yay for socks!

  14. Love the hat! Beautifully done. Did you swatch in the round and can you go up a needles size? Joan is an amazing woman in so many ways. You are deserving of a Fairy Godknitter!

  15. Thank you for taking the stuff off my old lady hands.


  16. OMG! Did you SQUEE? I would have totally SQUEE'd (actually, had it happened to me, I might now still be SQUEE-ing!)

    About the colorwork vest, one word . . . BLOCKING. With colorwork, you should be able to get at least an additional 10% in size by blocking. Therefore your gauge is around 8spi, not 9. This means that a 40 inch vest would need only 320 sts (size XL). Alternatively, you could go up to a US#4 needle (I know you now have one available) and see if you get closer to the recommended gauge. Palette looks good at 7spi, so altering your needle size may be better for your sanity without sacrificing the finished product.

  17. It looks like you did the swatch flat, which will have a gauge that's different from swatching in the round - use a 16" circ. That said, you've mentioned before that you knit tightly, so that's likely where you can attribute some of the change in gauge. Just remember that you need to knit more loosely for stranded knitting or you'll be headed to Pucker City.

  18. Whoa! you have been busy! hahahaha Mel... no pucker city projects! I think if you knit tightly, it might be hard to get the extra 10% w/ stranded projects. Have you seen Latvian Dreams? It was the first knitting book I bought. What was I thinking??? But I did use some of the charts to make a pattern on a hat band.

    Lovely hat! Honestly, I've only had one cuppa so I skimmed over all the math and can't help you there. Who would know I used to be an engineering student. But then I quit and went into biology, which makes WAY more sense... Get.A.Wheel. Try them out at fiber events or stores. Find one that suits you, to do what you want it to do (that you can afford too). I didn't think I'd like the Ladybug because of the red plastic wheel, but it was the one that felt the best. It wasn't that expensive. Maybe an xmas gift from your family???? Generally I don't like variegated yarn lace, but at least in the wide view, this doesn't look too variegated and the swatch may make a lovely shawl gift to somebody! (including yourself)

  19. Love the projects. One question (request if I may be so bold), are you going to give up your pattern/technique for the socks? I have big feet and have given up on the idea of socks for right now since I can't find a pattern that works. Even the ones that say 'guys' socks don't work. Clearly, unfortunately, I too have really big feet.

  20. What can I say but wow. You could have stopped at the hat and that would have been enough for me, but you kept going. One project or treat after another and it just kept getting better and better.

  21. Hey, Peter, is everything okay? You haven't posted in a while; hope you are just busy.