Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blocking or Warping

I decided to do a little blocking last night to see how my Gail shawl was coming along. I wanted to make sure I was liking the gauge enough to continue. The results?

I Love it. I think it's turning out lovely and I love that the bubbly little goofy knitting I was getting turned into this.

I love how magic blocking is and how good this lovely yarn looks in this pattern.

I may not be able to stop taking pictures of it.

I have now unpinned it and sadly set it aside temporarily because this:

Is a baby blanket I'm knitting. The lovely little baby was born already and I am lucky enough to be travelling to see her for the first time tomorrow after critter sitting (the baby in question lives with my cousin and her husband. She will for about 18 years.). I can't wait but I have a small problem. This is a square shawl from this book. (Feb. with all the baby stuff) and I figure with the gauge I'm getting that I would like each of the 4 sides to have about 200 stitches. I have 74 stitches per side right now. Plus, I'd like to do some sort of edging.

Anyone else see the problem? Yeah, I'll just be over here warping the time-space continuum.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Philosophical Discussion

Today is the 15th and that means I can start Camp Loopy's Project III. I'm using 2 skeins of Dream in Color Baby (linked to the Loopy Ewe's page since they are the wonderful founders of this Camp) in Happy Forest. I LOVE it so far. The colors are wonderfully subtle but enough to keep my attention. I'm knitting the Gail Shawl. This project you just have to use at least 800 yards of yarn. I have 2 skeins of this yarn and it's 700 yards/skein so I have PLENTY to knit a lovely big shawl to wrap up in.

Here is my start. It doesn't look like much of anything yet.

You may remember that I knit a smaller version of this shawl, a shawlette earlier. I really liked the pattern and was only disappointed that I couldn't knit it larger because I didn't have enough yarn. Well, this morning as I was sitting here knitting and trying to get back into the pattern, I was thinking.

I thought about the last time I knit this pattern and I made a mistake. There are a couple of rows where the pattern calls for a double yarn over in the center to start two repeats. I don't like the look of the double yarn over. I think it makes too large a hole so I would do a single yarn over and then purl into the front and back of it on the wrong side. Something went wrong when I was quite far into the pattern and my attempt to fix it looked awful, I had to rip and reknit. I managed to do it with very little struggle and I was thinking of it this morning.

You know how when you start a new project you think about how you could execute it absolutely perfectly? With no mistakes? I was daydreaming about that while purling across a row and thinking about the mistake I made in the other version and how I could avoid making mistakes in this shawl. I thought about a lifeline and I nearly laughed out loud.

Remember back a few years ago when I was knitting Mystery Shawl 3? I hated doing those lifelines but I was so scared I would make a mistake and not be able to fix it! I did MULTIPLE lifelines. I marked carefully on the pattern where they were located so if I should have to pull back to there, I knew where to start again. The thought of doing them this time was ... funny?

I was momentarily confused and then I started thinking some more (I know it scares you every time right?) about knitting and how far I've come.

Those of you who know me well, know that I have been knitting for a long time. I learned when I was 10 from my great aunt. She taught me to cast on and to knit while visiting one day and then she left. She taught me no more after that, even when I did see her again. I spent several years knitting and ripping and knitting and ripping and then figuring things out for myself. I managed to figure out purling and backward knitting and all sorts of things. I eventually found a book and continued my knitting education with learning to do other things like other cast ons and lace many other things.

It got me thinking about how long it has been since I mastered all those basics and yet, I still find things that challenge me. Not only that but just a few years ago I was scared of lace, scared of losing my place in a pattern, I've come so far since then, knitting and frogging with little care and I wondered about my lovely readers.

What have you knit that even a few years ago would have scared you beyond belief? What still scares you? (Steeks, I haven't done any yet. I should really try it someday.) How far have you come in your knitting and how far do you still have to go?

Monday, August 08, 2011

Finally a TdF Wrapup

I know that Tour de Fleece, like the Tour de France has been over for a bit. I'm just now getting to the point where I am posting about my spinning. It's sort of sad really. At least I'm getting to it now.

I started thinking about TdF earlier this year and trying to figure out what I would like to spin. I had lots of lovely things in the stash but nothing was calling out to me. I was in the mood to knit a sweater. A handspun sweater would be absolutely lovely but nothing I had was enough to spin for a sweater so I set out on a mission. I had purchased some lovely Frabjous Fibers BFL earlier (like a year earlier, at least) and I loved my Chocolate Cherry colorway but it was 8 ounces and what can you do with 8 ounces? I decided, since I had seen it at Shepherd's Harvest last year, to go on a mission to find another 8 ounce braid of it this year, then I would spin it and ply the two together to avoid any issues with dyelots not being the same.
I scored big time when I found a second braid almost immediately.

Here they are before I started pulling them apart and spinning them. You can't tell very well from this picture but there are some subtle differences in the two braids. I spun up a lot of singles.

Here are just two of the bobbins. As you can see, they're pretty full and I had 4 bobbins this full when I was finished.
I plied and plied and plied and ended up with:

This much yarn. The three big skeins are pretty nice and the smaller skein on top is a little thinner. It was spun first and then left over after the second bobbins were emptied so I wound it into a ball and plied it on itself. The total is: about 1300 yards. I was going for a fingering weight but I came out with more like a sport weight. I love the yarn and I cannot wait to find something amazing to do with it.

In addition to spinning all this lovely stuff, I've been knitting some handspun. Remember this skein?

It's my Cloudlover BFL/Silk. I cast on some plain socks while we were in the play so I would have something simple to work on during rehearsals when I was waiting. I was past the heel turn on the first sock and working down the foot when the play finished so I whipped up the ending to the first and whipped the second up as well.

There's nothing quite like a lovely pair of handspun socks is there? Well, not to me anyway.
They're unique and interesting and very lovely.

People seemed very intrigued by my picture of myself all muddy last week. There is a story behind it. My brother got a new 4-wheeler and so, while I was down at my mom's we found some time to get together. He showed me lots of different trails he likes to ride on while I rode my parents' smaller 4-wheeler. we found some mud and decided to "cool off" and have some fun. Eventually my BIL came over with his 4-wheeler too and we had a ton of fun getting thoroughly messy. The cleaning up was not nearly as fun. Here are some action shots of my brother and BIL getting thoroughly dirty.

I don't get to do things like this very often so I really enjoy it when I do have the time.

Stay tuned to find out if I can finish this:

and it's mate before Camp Loopy III starts.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Vacation. Well, sort of.

Thoroughly stressed and overly busy has made me a bit of a crab lately so I decided it was time to head down to my mom's for a few days. I just needed a break and it was a great opportunity. I had just finished up working at Vacation Bible School for my church and Knit & Crochet night was off because they were remodeling the coffee shop. I had several days of nothing stretching before me. What did I do? I filled 'em up!

First let's talk knitting. I managed to finish my Camp Loopy socks before I left but I was so anxious to get going that I didn't blog them or anything until long after I'd been back. Here they are in all their glory:

Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug 400 in Purple Passion 171.
Pattern: Eunice by Cookie A. From her book: Sock Innovation
Needles: US size 1.5s
Recipient: Me! I'm not giving these lovely things away.
Notes: I added a third chart repeat to the leg, making them longer than the pattern called for, I was a little worried about having enough yarn because of this but I had plenty left. There is a correction to the heel flap chart so if you have the book and knit the socks from it, look it up. Otherwise, I love the pattern, it was a challenge to do some of the cabling but they turned out so lovely.

Closeup? Why, of course!

As you can see, there's some lace and lots of lovely cables in this sock. It's not for the new knitter but if you have an adventurous spirit and love socks, these are for you.

I have already chosen the pattern for my third project and ordered it. I will tell more about that later, when it arrives.

Now you want to hear more about my trip to my mom's?

This was Saturday. That's all I'm gonna say for now.