WIP Wednesday 5/7/14 — Vacation Knitting

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Silly startitis. (I stole that word from the blogosphere… not that clever.) I didn’t want to lug my lovely almost-sweater around with me on my trip down to Dallas, so I packed a skein of sock yarn and my size 6 needles. I cannot seem to stop with the triangular shawls. Three stitch cast-on for that much loveliness? Yes, please! This is (Michael’s brand) Loops and Threads luxury sock yarn; I bought it quite a while ago, unable to resist the colors and softness. It is 10% cashmere, so it seemed shawl-worthy as opposed to sock-worthy. I was trying to create a pattern, and I have this lovely idea in my head. However, I didn’t want to do the math or use that much concentration without my notebooks and computer and stitch pattern books and favorite pencils. After starting three different projects two rows long, I gently ripped (’cause cashmere = clingy), then used my dependable tab cast-on to start the flow quickly. I wanted to visit with my friends and stitch along in an absentminded manner, not count and worry.  The worst mistake I can make in these shawls is missing a yarn-over, and that can easily be corrected on the next row.  I like to throw in a row of k2tog, yo every once in a while to add some interest, but for the most part I just knit and knit and it grows and grows. Non-stitchers always seem to think I’m making a hat at first.

Game in progress: I discovered a video game that stitchers and artists might like as much as gamers! It is called Blendoku. The point is to put colors in order. For example, one level shows a bright blue square and a grey-blue square with spaces in between, and the player must correctly place five blue-ish tiles on the board. That description should either sound really exciting or really pointless, and I am in the first camp. (sidenote: I recently upgraded phones, and now my Playstation trophy hunting has been lacking thanks to my endless desire to download casual games.) Most levels I am racing through, but every once in a while there is a level I cannot wrap my brain around. I have now been paying a little more attention to subtleties in colors. Such as how the shawl colors are as cool as the shades of pool water and capris, yet the army-green of the shorts contains much more brown and grey than the Kelly and hunter green shades in the yarn. Fascinating!

V

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Fennel Ale – Part 1

My first sweater. (I hear a chorus in my head sounding in a crescendo of amazement.) I love it.
I received a book on knitting sweaters for Xmas, but reading through the instructions I was a bit intimidated. The steps weren’t technically unfamiliar, just overwhelming put all in one project. So, when I heard about the winter sweater class/knit along at my favorite LYS, it seemed the next logical step. I was nervous about my skill level and speed and general awkwardness, but it turned out none of these things were of concern.
The awesome instructor Ann (here is her blog ) picked the Pumpkin Ale pattern by Ysolda Teague (Rav link). I am not into orange, yet the shaping on this sweater seemed perfect for my (or any) figure. When I signed up for the class, the sweetly sassy shop owner raised an eyebrow at me, “Have you made a sweater before?”
“No.” I mumbled. A worried asymmetrical expression crept upon my face.
She mirrored my concern, “We want everyone happy with their projects, and even Ann says it is challenging.”
“Hm.” My brain then went into data listing mode, “Well, I’ve done cables, shaping, short-rows, and picked up stitches. Just never in the same project.”
She waved her hand, communicating that I needn’t worry, and grinned, “Oh! You’ll be just fine.”
I only sort-of believed her, and therefore prepared (over)extensively for the first meeting. (I detailed the swatching on my Rav project page in case anyone else geeks out on such things…) I mentally picked my yarn, printed the pattern, practiced the cables, steamed the swatches, brought my highlighter, color coded pens, my needle set, and even arrived a few minutes early. Which is weird. Though I do often start things nice and well-organized before I putter out…

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I ended up using Berocco Vintage worsted in the color Fennel; I love the subtle flecks of yellow throughout the yarn and how the cable stitches pop. The super-fuzzy photo above seemed to be the best depiction on the actual color (at least on my screen). In class we read over the pattern practically line by line which gave me a much better understanding of how to tackle the sweater. I believe I would have been reading the pattern eternally rather than actually knitting it without the demonstration and translation! We were all assisted in choosing our correct size sweater and needle, discussed pattern errata, and started, steamed, or measured swatches. I was able to discuss all my overly thought out tidbits with a room full of like-minded women. I have stitch n bitch sessions with my best friend who crochets, but I had never been to any kind of knit night or knit along before. It was kind of great, a Socratic support group.
The back panel was first, complete with shaping built into the garter section between cables. I cast-on at the end of class but then continued at a local bar. It sounds strange but felt right sitting with friends in a large straight back armchair in an old Tudor-style hotel.  Plus it made the charts easier after having done set-up rows under the influence of whiskey sours.

Instead of looking at this post in my drafts for the next couple months, I think I’ll just publish it in parts. Perhaps the sweater will have sleeves during its next photo shoot!

V

 

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Finished Object (FO) Friday 1/17/2014

cabled dishcloth

My very first cable in the convenient form of a dishcloth; took this picture almost exactly a year ago. The gauge is goofy because a needle broke about 1/3 of the way through. The pattern can be found on Ravelry – Cable Spa/Dishcloth.  Dishcloths are my favorite way to learn a new stitch pattern. It works just fine even if a couple rows look screwy.

I’m currently working on some toe-up socks on carbon fiber dpns. I bought Ann Budd’s video on sock knitting during the holiday Interweave sale, and was fascinated watching her do the Turkish/Eastern cast-on. Tried it (without re-watching!) a couple days later, and got it on my first attempt! One of those things that just made sense in my brain immediately.

Gaming-wise I am just sticking to casual and trophy-hunting at the moment. Finished Ni No Kuni last week, so I am stuck in that grind-to-plat or start a new game dilemma. In the meantime I’ve been playing Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing on the Vita. So much fun! More Mario Kart than Wipe-out which is good for me….Racing games are a blast, but not exactly my forte. I still haven’t finished Last of Us, nor played Burial at Sea (which is already bought and downloaded). I may have to schedule caffeinated gaming binge in the near future!