Monday, August 30, 2010

Crazy update with a finished object.

Don't get your hopes up, the Nightingale socks aren't finished. But the Old Man of Storr Shawlette is!

She has even been washed and blocked. It really turned out wonderfully and I can't wait for some crisp autumn days when I will want to wear it.

The center is a simple Garter stitch and then a very simple lace pattern on the edge. I chose to knit mine with two colors of yarn. The Broken Midnight yarn I dyed and the solid grey vintage sock yarn for the edging. It turned out so great. I absolutely love it!

The nightingale socks are coming along though. I am actually past the heel already.

I'm not sure about the yarn, I don't like the brown in the purple and it's too stripey but I'm living with it. A knitting friend told me not to frog so I'm going to at least finish the first sock. Then eventually I may need to knit this pattern with some other yarn.

Here's a close-up of the first bird on the foot. I know it looks a bit funny now but it should block out beautifully. I usually find that to be true with colorwork.

Well, back to knitting. We'll talk about my spinning adventures another day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Some Progress

I've been knitting my little fingers to the bone and I actually seem to be making some progress. I started the Nightingale socks as planned on Sunday. Unfortunately, I had issues with it. I needed to increase the number of stitches in order to make my gauge (which I was happy with) fit around my foot/leg. I, without thinking, cast on the recommended number of stitches but in increasing to the number I needed, I ended up with a much longer toe than I liked. Then I made a mistake knitting the chart and when I corrected it, was unhappy with how I had loose little floats behind there. I decided to frog. It was painful, but it needed to be done.

I cast on again, this time with 25 stitches each for front and back rather than the recommended 19 and knit along. It's going well. There was a brief moment on Tuesday where I nearly ripped and restarted with different yarn because I'm not loving how much brown there is in the purple yarn but I persisted and I'm at the gusset increases for the heel now. Somehow this makes me feel like I'm almost halfway done with the first sock, even though the leg is much longer than the foot and I'm not even there yet. Let me have my sad little delusion okay.

I don't have a picture today because the weather is gray and drizzly so I can't seem to get nice light but I'll keep plugging away and maybe tomorrow we'll have a ray of sunshine perfect for taking pictures. A girl can dream can't she?

I'm also very excited to report that the Old Man of Storr shawl is officially off the needles. As a matter of fact, it's blocking right now. I'm very excited. It actually blocked out larger than I expected and it's about an inch narrower than my height. It's not super long but it looks great. I can't wait to unpin it and wear it everywhere.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Swatching for the Crazies

A few people in my local knitting group recently started talking about the Nightingale pattern. (I highly encourage you to look at that Ravelry pattern link before you read further.)

They even went so far as to plan a knit-along for it. I love the socks, I think they look amazing. I also think it's a sort of insane kind of crazy to undertake that project. Then I went looking for something in my sock yarn stash and found some yarn. Yarn that would be perfect for it.

Yes, that's right, I have joined the club crazy. Our knit-along is set to start on Sunday and we will have a gathering on Monday as our "official" kick-off since too many people have plans on Sunday. In order to be ready, I purchased the pattern, cleared off needles and today, I took these two yarns,

and I knit a swatch.

These are stranded colorwork socks with charts and so I think gauge is going to be really important. Otherwise I would take my normal just go for it and see what happens approach to my knitting.

I even knit the swatch in the round to make sure it was as accurate as possible. But, I need your help. I need to decide which color is the foreground and which is the background. In order to get a good picture of that, I knit a small portion of a chart on my swatch. One side with the white as the background (that's just part of a bird tail and some leaves, I couldn't bring myself to knit the whole bird)

One side with the Purple as the background.

I am planning to use magic loop for these to keep the sides together and hopefully make the colorwork easier. The pattern calls for size 2.50mm needles (sometimes called US Size 1.5) and I used my 2.5mm Addi Turbo needles to knit the swatch.

I think I already know what I like but I want more opinions. I won't be getting together with the knitting group until Monday and I want to start right away on Sunday (if possible) so I need to make a decision.

Note: this swatch is still wet from washing so the colors are a little more accurate in the ball but you can get a pretty good picture. I also won't know for sure about gauge until it's dry and I can measure it.

Here's where you come in. Leave me a comment. Tell me which you think is better, white background or purple background. I'm not going to tell you what I think until I get your opinion.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Tour de Fleece results and catchup

I'm so sorry to have gone so long without posting. I keep saying that I will post more often and then I never seem to do it. Well, this time, I'm going to stick to it. My new goal is at least once a week. Preferably twice. Even if I don't have anything new to show you, I need to get to posting more often.

Since I seem to have Mondays and Wednesdays mostly free, my goal is to post on those two days. So, here I am on Monday trying to get you caught up on what's been going on for the last month.

Let's see. When last we left our intrepid knitter, she was working on the Tour de Fleece right? You might be asking, how did it go? Well, I think it was a smashing success. In the Tour de Fleece you set your own goals. My goal was to spin at least 2 four ounce braids of roving and navajo-ply it into sock yarn. I trained and on the first day of the tour, I got started. I really wanted to get a head start so that if life got busy later, I could slack a little and still be able to finish. I started with my Merino of the month club braid from Gritty Knits. I am not going to post pictures of it prespun because I have done that already and this post will be picture-heavy enough.

Here it is all finished. It turned out so beautiful and I ended up with about 600 yards which is really bordering on laceweight but I really want these gorgeous stripes in some socks.

Next, I chose to spin a braid of fiber a friend gave me. She runs the etsy shop Hand over the Wool and wanted me to try out some fiber she had dyed for the shop. I know she has more of this fiber but I don't see it posted yet so be looking for it.

Here it is unspun and finished.

and closeup. It really isn't colors I would normally choose but it turned out just beautiful and I ended up with about 49o yards of beautiful sock yarn. I'm very excited to find something to knit with this gorgeous stuff.

I actually finished this fiber with plenty of time to spare. I debated whether I thought I should start something else with only about 4 days left but I just couldn't sit there not spinning while the tour was still going on.

I chose a braid of BFL I purchased in a stash sale on Ravelry. She dyed it herself and it was such an interesting combination, I couldn't resist.

Here it is all spun up.

and a closeup with a quarter so you can see how it came out. I actually got less yardage with this one because I was working on my long draw technique since it had such an amazing long staple length. I managed to finish it on the last day of the tour at 2 a.m. It was very exciting to be able to finish so much more than I imagined. I was up with my local spinners because we had a fiber retreat for the end of the tour.
I ended up trading the violet and lime BFL to my friend with the etsy shop for a few things. Plus, my babysitting services meant, I came home with some beautiful things.

Here's my total haul from the fiber retreat. In the upper right is some Funky Carolina Merino Combed top that I won in our gift exchange along with a chocolate bar, some coffee and a gorgeous knitting bag that's acting as a purse right now. Below that is fiber from the friend's etsy shop. Superfine Merino and baby alpaca. So soft it feels like butter. Below that is the Superwash Merino and Bamboo fiber that I couldn't resist because the gorgeous pinks and browns were calling my name. On the left in the upper part is some that is from the friend's etsy shop as well. Some Merino and Silk in gorgeous blues and greens. I had to have it because it matches the other so well. A braid I bought from another person's destash of Gritty Knits merino of the month.

I did put a little something into the gift exchange myself. Some Superwash Merino and Nylon that I dyed with my broken black.

It turned out really well and I hope I get to see it spun up because it is so beautiful.

Other than all the spinning, which has been slowed down a lot since the tour, I have been doing a little knitting.
I've been working on my shawlette in the broken black and I actually got to add the grey border now. I strung it onto some dental floss at my parents to see how it was coming.

I'm so excited. I think it looks great.

I also managed to knit a secret pair of socks for a friend's birthday.

They're knit with Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet, one of my all time favorite sock yarns because it's so soft and holds up so nicely.

I used the pattern Lace and Cable socks from Wendy Knits book Socks from the Toe up.

Here's a closeup of the lace pattern.

I also managed to knit a little knitting bag to match my new knitting bag/purse from some handspun.

The yarn is from forest fiber works. Please go there and buy everything up. I went and looked and want it all now.

The colorway is Eco and I purchased it last November and spun it into a two-ply. I still have another skein so I'm hoping to knit it into something else to match my knitting bag/purse.

I used the pattern Humbug bag from 101 Designer One Skein Wonders. Although, I did use the Linen stitch for the body rather than the pattern it called for and I knit a band for the strap rather than ribbon like suggested. I didn't leave a hole for the yarn either and mine came out a bit smaller but I love it!