Friday, November 20, 2009

A Post in Pictures or How I Spent My Day

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Mystery...have you seen this yarn before???

Our bedroom is an odd shape with the main part (sleeping area) being just big enough for a queen size bed up against the only wall with no windows and about 3 feet of space on each of the other 3 sides.  The one and only closet (a non-walk-in sort of standard size with two bi-fold doors) is at the foot of the bed and off to one side a bit.  The other part of our 'Master Bedroom' is sort of a sitting area that you have to walk through to get from the door to the bed.  It is maybe about 8 x 10 feet.  My dresser, a little antique writing desk, an end table or nightstand height antique radio, the radiator and its cover and The Stash occupy this 'room'.  I use the quotation marks because as master bedrooms go there's not much master in it.  Square footage wise I think the room Max and Carter share is probably the same or bigger (I know their closet is). As for the sitting area it isn't a seperate room at all.  The room is just a really wierd shape.

The problem with The Stash is that it has taken over the entire sitting area, as well as the 3 feet of space on my side of the bed.  It appears to be a living breathing entity.  I think Addison beats it back when I am not looking.  Some days it seems more subdued than others.  I have beautiful cubby-hole type shelves, fabric drawers that fit in the cubby-holes, and a number of different baskets to store it all in.  Plus, there are also a few under-the-bed clear plastic bins.

Then, there is the wonderful site, Ravelry.  It took me longer than most to join and I still have not really done anything on the site.  Yes, I have found a few local people (Kathy from Colonial Yarn, and Alice of Altobish and also from Colonial Yarn in particular) and joined a few groups.  Beyond that, nothing.

I like the idea of all of my knitting related stuff categorized all in one place.  The problem with that is I don't know what all I have.  I'm actually more than a little afraid to find out.  It's one thing to have a plastic baggy with most of my sock needles in it and some in WIP's, and some burried or hidden here and there.  It is something altogether different (and a definite needle purchasing inhibitor) to know that I have 304 circular needles in the 0 to 2 size range.  I exagerate a little because I am afraid to even hazzard a guess. Do I really have to find out how many I have?

So, The Project is one of cleaning up the stash.  More importantly it is one of photographing and identifying exactly WHAT (and how much) The Stash really is. A full documentation.  With images.

Just for the record, The Project has commenced.  I spent most of Wednesday photographing and winding into center-pull balls the few skeins that made up the "wool cubby".  I have also just spent the better part of the last three hours getting my Flickr account linked to my Ravelry account, uploading all of the pictures I took Wednesday plus the yarn I dyed last week that is for sale on Etsy plus pics of some of the sweaters I have made.  This is going to take a while.

While working on all of this, I came across a yarn whose lineage is a complete mystery.  I am not sure of the fiber content but think it is a superwash sock yarn blended with either silk or bamboo.  It could just be plain superwash but I can't tell.  It seems to have the slightest sheen.  It is a 3 ply and is 25 wpi.  I first thought it was a lace yarn because the wpi count seems too high for a sock yarn but I looked at some other lace weights and decided that if it were meant for lace it would only be a 2 ply and the wpi's would be higher accordingly.  It is just a light fingering.  It is a 100 g skein and I measured it to be in the area of 460 yds.  It is tightly plied but doesn't have a lot of bounce or spring to the touch.  I haven't tried knitting with it.

The colors are staggeringly gorgeous (if you are a fan of purple or pink or combinations of same).  It also has a silvery sort of grey/lavender and a dark purplish brown.  If you have seen this yarn, please let me know...I would love to call it by it's proper name when I gush over it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Better Late Than Never

In previous posts I mentioned the sweater I made for Addison and my Got Gauge sweater.  At the time of those postings I had not gotten off my ass to take the damn pictures did not have photos available. As Drew Barymore so famously said a long time ago...

They're here....

This was made from a bulky roving yarn from Nashua that has been discontinued.  I can't remember what yarn the trim is made from.  I just know it was pure luck that I found something in the same type and weight of yarn that went so well with the original.  It is from a different yarn manufacturer.

And here...

I have plans to make another one of the Got Gauge sweaters (and write the directions down this time).  It started off as a tank top with eyelets for ribbon to be woven through.  Large women (such as myself) should probably not chose to accentuate their width by having ribbons (skinny little ribbons at that) form horizontal lines around their bodies.  So, as you can ribbons.  No tank top either although that is still on my short list of designs I am working on mentally right now.  But, I think the next time I do this it will be in a size small (as most of the things I am making right now are due to financial and time constraints) or even better yet in a child size.  Hmm. I have three skeins of Claudia Hand Painted Sock Yarn in related colorways that might be pretty awesome as a sweater for a little girl.....

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Third Time's the Charm

Jake loves the color orange.  I got this gorgeous (if you like orange) Trekking yarn at The Yarn Basket that fateful day in September.  See here for the story on Max.  I got this to make surprise socks for my little sock hog, Jake.

I got out an Addi Turbo (my needles of choice) in a size 0.  I chose the 0 over a 1 or 2 simply because it was what I found that day.  I keep buying sock circs and they keep disapearing. The smaller the needle, the better (tighter stitches and durability you know) but I will use up to a size 2 if that's all I can find.  When I start adult socks I can usually make a good guess at my gauge and the required number of stitches based on the feel of the yarn and the stitch pattern involved.

It's been a while since I made socks for Jake and darn it...he grew.  My gauge with this yarn/needle combination is somewhere around 9/in.  I cast on 48 stitches.  I made the cuff.  I knit the leg.  I made a beautiful heel flap.  I turned the heel.  I started the instep decreases.  I tried it on him in his sleep.

I cast on 56 stitches the second time around using a tubular cast on for the very first time.  On something so small it was a giant pain in the ass but very cool looking once done.  I made the cuff.  I made the leg.  Mom tried knitting with my size "ohmygodthesearetiny" needle in one huge loop so some of the leg stitches were clinging-on-for-dear-life tight (but that's ok, I got them to even out).  I made another beautiful heel flap.  I did the decreases.  I haven't knit on this for a while. When I got it out this morning it occurred to me I should forgo the surprise part and try it on his ever growing 5 yr old feet.

I am now casting on 64 stitches.  I measured the child this morning and we should be good (with a little room for growth) at 64.   The first time I used the tried and true long-tail (or slingshot) cast on method.  As mentioned above I used the tubular method the second time.  This time I am using the knitted-on method.  I realized in making this decision (for the third time explative deleted) that this great variety of methods is one of the things I like so much about knitting.

The cast on methods I have used so far in my short knitting career:
  1. Long-tail or slingshot
  2. Knitted on
  3. Cable (fancy cousin of knitted on)
  4. Backwards loop (or e loop)
  5. Long-tail with 2 different yarns
  6. Tubular
  7. Provisional using a crochet chain of waste yarn
  8. Provisional using a crochet hook and crocheting the chain around the knitting needle
  9. Provisional starting with waste yarn and just changing to the working yarn
  10. Magic figure 8 for toe up socks
  11. Circular for the center of a shawl
  12. Mobius for magical knitting
Even with a dozen different ways to start my knitting I know there are tons more.  I recall reading about a Latvian method but I have not tried that one yet.  (Help for casting on can be found here, here, here, here, and here  to show you just a few of the many resources available)

The point is that while knitting is simply pulling loops through loops the infinite variety of it keeps me mezmerized.  I enjoy learning new things (especially if it is knitting related).  I find I have to really pay attention if I am trying to figure something new out.  That slightly uncomfortable feeling when the muscle memory isn't there giving way to the almost comfortable feeling of "heyIthinkI'mgettingthehangofthis" and finally having that  feeling of success when the fingers and the brain are in concert and finally comfortable with the task at hand and have developed a new rhythm is a wonderful experience to go through every so often and I highly reccomend it.  Discovering the variety of available cast-on because I keep forgetting to measure Jake's feet...not the same thing!

Yarn for surprise socks for Jake--$25
Favorite circular knitting needle--$15
Knitting the socks in the right size the FIRST time--Priceless!