Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Physiological Fact, Jack

I am trying to finish the Shedir hat for the woman I know who has started chemo this week. I worked on it a lot last night--and discovered that one row is VERY easy for me to get "off" on--had to rip back a whole row in which only one stitch in 9 is NOT twisted. Doing that row twice caused my right wrist to begin to twinge and give that carpel tunnel-y feeling. Uh-oh. Good thing I now only have to do that particular row one more time.

As you can see from the photo, this is a very twist-intensive pattern. And it is very pretty! But I believe I have re-discovered a physiological and psychological fact about me: I don't like twisted or single traveling stitches in large doses. My hand gets all tingly, like when I crochet too fast for too long, and my mind gets tired of remembering which stitch to put the needle in first to successfully make the twist go the right way. I'd hoped this would be less of an issue when I totally stopped using cable needles, but it's still an issue. Plus, on that complicated row I keep forgetting to look down and see when I hit the edge of the motif.

"Gosh, Suna, they invented the stitch marker to help with that"
"But putting stitch markers between repeats makes me feel like a Baby Knitter."
"Oh, so you think you are too good for stitch markers?"
Gulp. Oops.
"Well, I am almost done with the main part of the hat now, so the point is moot."

I should have learned this when I tried the Circle of Friends Socks and gave up halfway down the first leg. It's not that I can't do it; I just don't enjoy it much. I like yarning over, knitting two together and slip-slip-knitting, like in lace. That doesn't hurt any part of me.

I admit it. I also don't like doing intarsia. I didn't like seed stitch until I started knitting the Continental Way.

What techniques or patterns do YOU like and dislike?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My Obsession

Trekking XXL 101
Originally uploaded by sunasak
The interim count on my stash is 99 yarns on Ravelry. Of course, that is not all I own--I am still working on photographing the rest. But so far i can tell what my obsession truly is: Trekking XXL sock yarn. I have, ahem, 14 balls of this stuff in the stash so far. And I know I have resisted others mightily in yarn stores across this continent. (I am less successful on other continents: you may recall, I did buy about half of my 14 skeins in a recent orgy of Trekking caused by some limited edition yarns sold by Astrid's Dutch Obsession.) I think I will stop visiting that site, even though the Europricing is Euro-enticing.

But this IS lovely yarn. I love the way the colors change in some of the colorways, but all are marvelous. And it feels good, even if it IS mass produced. My (knitted) hat's off to the Zitrons, whoever or whatever they are.

Kudos of the same type are deserved by the designers who do Opal and sign the ball bands, but I sure wish they had better ball band glue--one of my Opals has lost its band! Maybe someone on Ravelry will ID it for me.

Holiday gift ideas for Suna: sock yarn! What a surprise. I have to say it's preferable to the endless parade of frog items my mother got, or all the owls Lee says HIS mother got. At least I could use the sock yarn, some day.

I got to see more of Jody's Krazy yarn yesterday. MMMM, color-y. You, too, will love them, once they start selling!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Knitting Stuff Boggles My Mind

You can see what I did most of yesterday--I didn't feel too hot, so skipped all social obligations (except one, will mention later) to just knit or do knitting-related activities. And I vowed to finish those darned Redwood Pagoda Lace socks. I got them done before the World Series was over. And since they are "redwood" it's like I knitted Red Socks for the Red Sox. (I thought both teams were very good, though.) I like my idea of recording where I was and what I was doing when I finish a pair of socks. In any case, these are interesting, mainly in that I think my gauge changed from one sock to the other. The second one fits more comfortably and is longer, even though they have the same number of pattern repeats. Of course, knowing how often I messed up the pattern, sock #1 could simply have more mistakes in it. I really should do this pattern again in semi-solid or solid yarn. But, I love the colors and will enjoy wearing a decent pair of brown socks, at last.

Yes, I did get a little done on the other projects. Shedir is bigger and the lace scarf is well into the easy part of the main section. The Former Tangled Mess is very pretty.

Much of what I did over the weekend, though, was thinking, planning, and recording. I took pictures of the Rosebud Shawl, which is stalled at the moment, and of an old feather-and-fan baby afghan I made for Tuba Boy in 1991. Yowee it was made out of extra acrylic, but it held up well.

Then I took a deep breath, and since I have new lighting in the media room and the camera suddenly likes batteries, I began to photograph my commercial sock yarn balls. I just counted, and I photographed 36 skeins of sock yarn, predominantly Opal, Trekking , Regia, Meilenweit, and Austerman Step. Goodness. I got the info on all the yarn in my decorative "bowl o' sock yarn" plus the top layer of the "big basket o' sock yarn." This means there are probably at least 20 MORE balls of yarn in the bottom of that basket. Ai yi yi.

Anyone who's glanced at what I already uploaded to Ravelry (69 yarns so far) knows that most of my stash is sock yarn (with lace a distant but substantial second). I wonder if I will break a hundred skeins of sock yarn yet to be knitted, once I have them all up? (Noting that many of them are 50 gram balls, so a lot of the colorways have two skeins...yep, I may hit it.)

It will take me a while to edit all the photos, so just a bit of it went up today. Whee, something to look forward to. I am sure my poor parents are sick of going to my Flickr pages looking for pix of their grandchildren, only to see endless balls of yarn. I promise, it's almost over, and soon just a few will go up, as I buy stuff. And I am slowing down. Really.

I DO knit socks most of the time, but also other stuff. So I doubt I'll ever get to all this. That's OK, because as I have declared before, it's a collection, not a stash. Some of the yarns are valuable collector's items (like the test skeins and limited editions), and other are just beautiful to behold. So I declare that I feel no guilt about the extent of my sock yarn stash. It's an investment that may well increase in value, like other people's trading cards or Hummel figurines. Yeah.

Long Live My Sock Yarn Stash! I just ordered three more skeins from that enabling Loopy Ewe!

My personal news is that my wonderful Life Partner Man Lee bought me an engagement ring yesterday, with a genuine practically colorless practically flawless diamond in it. I can't wait to pick it up. I was careful to choose a setting that wouldn't snag on yarn too much. (I am old fashioned and got yellow gold, because I LIKE it, and a small dainty one, not a big retro style one--this should be in style the rest of my life, I hope.)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Enjoy These Patterns

Attention Lace Lovers!

Jody and I were just drooling (in separate rooms) over a collection of shawl patterns. I saw it last week when I was looking for the "A Girl's Best Friend" shawl (which apparently Jade Sapphire really doesn't want to sell many of, since it is so hard to find online).

Anyway, grab a hankie to wipe up your future drool, then go to the Woolly Workshop's Goddess Knits page. Feast your eyes on Celtic-themed (always Suna ni Brighid's favorite) lace shawls. Wish you owned some Pounds (good ole UK people, no Euro pricing for them). After cleaning your keyboard, purchase with your local currency--money is money!

And in good news--I believe I will have me a copy of that hard-to-locate "A Girl's Best Friend" beaded shawl pattern soon! I will have a person walk in a store, buy a copy and MAIL it to me! What a concept!

Off and Running

Wide Bordered Scarf Start
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I have to say that I love starting new projects, so I am glad to be off and running on two right now. Touching new yarns, figuring out new diagrams...oooh what fun. Sigh, still gotta finish that sock, though. I can't ignore it. All I did on it yesterday was erase two rows.

The Former Tangled Mess (hey, I think that will be the scarf's new name, since it has such a dud name in the book) now looks like the photo you see. Nice picture taken on top the clean white laundry basket! It doesn't look too bad, even before blocking!

I spent a bit of time pondering whether to make it with three border repeats (two are depicted here) or four. The Victorian Lace Today book's photo is of the scarf with three border repeats, while the instructions make a scarf with four. I was worried that I would not have enough of the yarn if I did four, but when I looked up how much yarn is in the skein, I knew I'd be OK--pattern calls for 400-something yards and I have 560. I should have enough left over for wrist warmers for ME or something. Jody volunteered to bring a scale to the LYS tomorrow and weigh the yarn to find out, too.

Though every pattern I have looked at in the VLT book has some "issue," I can't complain about the charts. They sure are easy to use (once properly interpreted) and keep me from losing my place! I haven't knitted a wrong row yet!

I also worked a bit on the Shedir hat last night and it is coming along nicely. Nice that I am not using a cable needle as instructed by the author, because one-stitch cables done that way are a pain. I think I can go back and knit that sock pattern with all the traveling twisted stitches (Circle of Friends--I totally gave up on that one due to tedious twisting) now that I can do the no-needle traveling stitches so much better. See, always learning! The Calmer yarn really is calm. It is a treat to knit with, because it is so soft, and even though it's one of those many-stranded cottons, it has enough twist in it that I am not splitting the yarn at all, even with all those twisted stitches. I should have a photo at some point this weekend--I'd have it done in a flash if i weren't also working on the scarf and socks.

I look forward to part 2 of my sweater class (though I finished the sweater) tomorrow and to getting some good knitting done. It is still pretty cold, so I doubt there will be much Homecoming Game knitting tonight.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Yarn Happy

[I mention so many yarns in this post that I am bolding them all.]

Originally uploaded by sunasak

To show how happy I am, here's some happy yarn, Maizy in a deep rose colorway. I also got it in a multicolored version called "menswear" in the Woodland Woolworks catalogue (they name all the colors, even ALL 200+ of the Jamieson jumper weight Shetland yarn). None of my usual sources had this yarn, so I am glad my favorite backup source had it!

Ooh, it is very soft and it has that "dry" feel that Panda Cotton has. It feels much nicer than the A-Maize-ing yarn we had at the LYS. I look forward to making something lacy with this pink stuff.

Yesterday, as a reward for my yarn winding patience, I also got myself a skein of Claudia Handpaints silk laceweight yarn. The LYS got a whole bunch of Claudia sock yarn in (which I already have plenty of) and a bit of this silk stuff. It's over 1,000 yards and very thin and shiny. What a nice stole or shawl that will make. Only two colorways came in, one blues and one rainbow. You can guess which one I got! All I can say is it had better wind nicely into a ball!


All the ladies at Chicks with Sticks who had read about my Schaeffer Anne issue were very sympathetic, and I appreciated it a lot! I was also happy to read the blog comment that said it wasn't just me--others have had issues with that yarn. I am HAPPY to report that all the yarn got wound up last night after I got home from choir practice, and I didn't have to break it or anything.

At lunch break I tried to start the Victorian Lace Today scarf with good ole Anne. It looked too loose on size 4 needles so I went down to size 3. Then I learned a new skill, the crochet cast-on (not the provisional one, but rather the one that looks like a bound-off edge. The pattern uses that so it will look the same on both sides and the slipped edges of the main scarf will also match it. Very slick. And a fun cast-on, once I found my hidden crochet hook. Too bad I mis-read the chart and was making it stockinette stitch when it is really mostly a garter-stitch border. Oh well, good practice and all that--I only did a couple of rows. I will re-start tonight.

It's my month for humbling knitting experiences, I think. I cast on with Rowan Calmer in a coral color for the Shedir cap I am making for a friend undergoing chemo. It felt great, but, sigh, my new KnitPicks Harmony size 3.25mm were sorta squirrely at first so I didn't notice until row 4 that I had mobiused it. Oops. Well, it can happen to anyone, I guess! I worked on it at choir (a lot of bass practice and little alto practice), so I got well into it the second time around. Lots of little traveling stitches in that one, which are good practice for my new cabling with no needles skills.

Look at me, all these years of knitting and still there is so much new to learn! And THAT, reader friends, is why I still knit: there's always something new to try.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Disgusting Mess

Disgusting Mess
Originally uploaded by sunasak

Remember that tangle of Schaeffer Anne? Here is what it looked like when I got home from work yesterday. You can see a ball and a tangled blob.

What is sad is that I spent at least 2.5 hours of one of my rare nights at home last night, working on that blob. I would love to report that I now have a ball of yarn, ready to be a scarf. Instead, I regret to say I now have a bigger ball and a smaller blob. Now, the blob is significantly smaller and still in good enough shape that I am positive I will eventually have a ball of yarn with no knots or breaks.

But, whoa! Was this skein of yarn a MESS!! Whoever skeined it must have been having a very, very bad day. And not only does the yarn go in, out, around and back with great frequency, the strands seem to have begun to felt a bit, so they don't separate nicely. That means that even in the rare places where the yarn would like to unwind smoothly, I have to go slowly so I can separate the strands. Yeesh!

I wrote on an email list that I think I deserve the Patient Knitter of the Month Award for doing this. I sure hope the scarf works out nicely. I know it will be thinner than the one photographed in Victorian Lace Today, but I have seen other people's projects using various yarns for this scarf, and all look pretty good. I just want to swatch so I can see what size needles to use!!! Wah!

In happier news, now that it is finally blocked, I can wear the Surplice Top. I wore it to work today with a brown shirt under it, and it looks great. Blocking really helped smooth the neckband. However, I didn't get the bottom straight, so it sorta has waves. They look OK, though. The lace is so pretty all straightened out! What the heck, I will share the photo my son took of it yesterday, so you can see how much improved it is (yes, the picture is blurry--my son took it). You can see why I probably won't wear it without a camisole in the future!

And of course, let me thank everyone who's posting ideas for lacy wedding items. I am getting all sorts of good ideas. I guess I should ask on the lace knitters email list next. That will garner some ideas no doubt!

PS: Evelyn Clark

I saw on Lime and Violet's Daily Chum (a really good place to learn about all sorts of knitting-related news) a notice about a new website for Evelyn Clark's stuff. Since she is one of my favorites, I jumped to the site immediately. You may want to, as well! It has new patterns you can buy, plus a schedule of her travels. Now THAT is one designer I wish would come to my LYS!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Finished Mr Greenjeans and New Stuff!

Mr Greenjeans in Red
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I am happier that Mr. Greenjeans in Red is finished than I look in this photo. I promise to go outdoors and get a photo where you can actually SEE the sweater, too. It looks rather bulky in the photo (and I look sleepy, which I am), but actually fits well. I did block it out a bit, but I'd rather it fit like it does now than so tight I can't button it. Speaking of buttons, I sewed on the only one I own that is the right size, which is brown. I will be purchasing a different button!

Gotta say I am extra happy with this project. It fits, it has no glaring errors, it is pretty and it is warm. Since it has been rather cool the last couple of days, I am appreciating the warmth. The yarn is gorgeous in person--with it showed up better, but the light this morning was not good (photo taken before sunrise). [Edit: At left is a photo taken later in the day, where you can actually see the sweater, but I am a big glare.]

Now all I have to do is finish untangling that yarn and I can start the scarf! (I was out sitting at a football stadium where it was very windy and cold last night, so no unraveling for me--and little sock progress because my hands got numb and I had to put on gloves--gloves in sock yarn that I realized have not been photographed for Ravelry yet!).

Mail Call!

Yes, the letter carrier had left some things for me to find when I got home last night. First was an order from my old favorite online yarn shop, Woodland Wool Works. It is the place I ordered many dozens of balls of Plymouth Eros from in my scarf-selling days and where I got the yarn for my weird Annie Modesitt Vogue Knitting circular shrug.

This time I got Maizy sock yarn (it's made from maize!), because my neither LYS nor The Loopy Ewe has it, and I wanted to touch it. What a pleasant surprise that was! It feels a lot like Panda Cotton, which you know I like a lot and is mostly bamboo. Same manufacturer, Crystal Palace. It has a bit of elastic in it, but is mostly very soft and with a nice matte effect. I got rose colored yarn to make lace socks in, and a variegated one for some more plain socks.

In addition I got the roses color of Panda Cotton, because I liked it so much when my friend at Chicks with Sticks showed me hers. It matches my bathroom so well I wonder if I should make washcloths from it instead of socks! Ehh, no. Plus, I got some Opal, as if I do not already own enough of that...but I really wanted to get at least one skein of the Hundertwasser colorways, which were "inspired by the works of the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser" before they stopped selling them. I got the yellow one depicted here in someone else's stash.

I do want to try the Maizy soon, so that may be my next "me" one after the one I designed and the final holiday ones.

One more item came in the mail and I am SSSSOOOOO excited! The Cat Bordhi New Pathways book arrived! And Amazon had said it would not get here until March! Woo! They must have rushed out that second printing after all. Of course, I want to try one of THOSE patterns--guess I will make one of those baby socks Cat insists that you make first, then consider gracing my sister with a much cooler sock than she was originally going to get, hee hee.

But really, I am just as happy as can be to get a chance to learn about these interesting new sock-making methods--nothing's more fun than trying a new technique or learning a new skill.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Soooooo Close to Completion

The weather has turned cool here in Texas, which makes me extra happy to have finished knitting Mr. Greenjeans in Red, pictured here in a very damp state lying brazenly on the guest room bed. I worked on it every chance I got over the weekend, which means it got grassy debris on it from sitting at the band hall waiting for errant buses to take us to band competition, and it got as bored as me, no doubt, at the annual pledge drive sermon at the UU church (I hope it enjoyed my quartet's lovely renditions of "Teach Your Children" and "You've Got a Friend (In Live Oak UU)" as much as I enjoyed belting them out). It did need a bit of blocking, to smooth out the ribbing at the bottom a bit, and to de-curl the edges of the sleeves and the neck band. The neckband did come out very nice, though, due to me actually picking up the correct number of stitches and knitting the correct number of rows. Once Mr. Greenjeans is dry, I will find and sew on a button, then wear and wear and wear! Finally I knitted something to wear that I like a whole bunch and of which I am not irritated by any parts.

Not only did I block this monster (and interestingly enough, it did not bleed out any color at all), but I finally blocked the surplice top, so perhaps nice photos of both apparel items will be available this week. The little irregularities in the neckband on this one seem much better now, and the lace panels look flatter. You may recall that the surplice top was made in naturally dyed cotton (Nashua Ecologie Cotton). It's fairly off-white, but it lost a lot of dye when I soaked it. If you make something with this yarn, be sure to wash it separately!

Frustration with Yarn

My happiness at soon having not one, but two wearable items made by me was dampened when I decided to get started on my next project. I plan to make the beautifully named "Scarf with the open and solid diamond lace edging from Weldon's, 1904" from Victorian Lace Today, out of Schaeffer Anne for my stepmother's Christmas gift. So, I hauled out my book, my needles and the yarn. I cheerfully placed the hank of yarn on my swift and started to ball it up. After trying both ends of the yarn it became very, very clear that the yarn had not been skeined skillfully. It doubled back on itself, twisted around itself, and generally did not act "nice."

But, the colorway is such a beautiful collection of shades of turquoise. I really want to use it. So, I listened to football on television for three hours and slowly but surely wound the yarn into a ball. I wish I could report that I have rewound it and am ready to swatch, but, alas. There is still 1/4 to 1/3 of the yarn left to wind. AAACK! This evening, I will see how far I get once I return home from the exciting "Festival of the Bands," which features performances by all our District's high schools and middle schools. It would be way more exciting if I hadn't already seen each of the other high schools' show at least once, and a couple of them twice. My Redwood Pagoda Lace socks will accompany me--who knows, I might get darned close to finishing them tonight!

Friday, October 19, 2007

You Don't Know the Answer to This, Do You?

Linen Stitch Silk Poncho
Originally uploaded by sunasak
You see, yesterday I found these pictures of me in July 2005, wearing a silk/wool poncho I had made and was quite proud of. I should have been--that's Alchemy Yarns of Transformation Silk/Wool expensiveness you see there, and lots of it. I don't have any really good photos of that item, so I cropped some conference photos and used them (in this picture I am actually teaching Tuba Boy, my son, how to knit, and Edie Eckman, who wrote the Crochet Answer Book is right behind him!).

The deal is that the poncho is slipping off my shoulder. That irritates me. One side stays up, because it has a jaunty attached scarf on it, but the other side falls down. Practically every garment I knit falls off my shoulders. The Juliet sweater, the Cindy sweater, Althea (my Hempathy top), my ribbon shrug...the list goes on. So my question is: am I just knitting the wrong things or do I have defective, overly sloping shoulders? Am I ... gasp ... deformed??

No, I don't think I am deformed, perhaps just poor of posture. But I do hope that the lone button on Mr. Greenjeans will keep the darned thing ON me. And in case you were wondering, I did get to work on him some last night, and got at least halfway through arm #2. I may well have me a cardigan by Monday! I sure hope so.

I may get to start new socks, too. I am turning the heel on Redwood Pagoda Lace socks and they are looking good. It's interesting that no one has said anything about my pictures of the first sock (perhaps because it is on a scuzzy tour bus in glaring light), but everyone who sees the socks in person gets all excited about them. Expert knitters, people who want to learn to make socks, and even non-knitters comment on both the yarn and the pattern. So, while not the Sock of My Dreams with respect to pattern/yarn compatibility, I know it will be a good one that people will enjoy seeing me wear--and the yarn feels great. (There is more interesting new sock yarn in candy corn and neopolitan ice cream colors over at Knitivity if you want to take a look, by the way.)

Jody and I are having a big debate as to whether I should wear a fitted top, a shrug or a shawl for the wedding item. She loves shawls and thinks a shawl pin will save me from the dreaded dropping of the shawl on the ground while hugging a zillion people event, which I foresee if I wore one of those. Opinions welcome. And I am posting more and more options on my wedding project blog entry.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thoughts on Finishing

Speaking of finishing, I had almost finished blogging the photo of this yarn on Flickr when my browser aborted. Goes to show me that the glitches of the past couple of weeks are NOT over just because I feel a bit better emotionally.

So, to reconstruct my brilliant earlier thoughts...look at that yarn. Isn't it pretty? The colorway is called "Playing with Matches," and I just love the twists in it. Reminds me of the way people ply their hand-spun yarn and get that great effect of two colors changing at different times. This is one of the lovely things I got at the last Loopy Ewe sneak up. I also got two colors of Yarn Love with bamboo in it: Romance and Violets (I love violets almost as much as pansies). And to top it off I got two colors of ShibuiKnits Sock, which is incredibly soft merino. They are dusty greens and a very bright colorway with red, orange, turquoise and avocado colors.

I really want to knit with the Urban GypZ stuff, but it will have to wait its turn while I get to the shiny blue sock and holiday gift socks that must get done. Maybe when I finish Mr. Greenjeans I will do two socks at once.


In the past week or two I have noticed multiple knitters bemoaning the fact that their knitted items were good until they did the finishing, which is when something went wrong. They are so disappointed that all their hard work led to a less-than-satisfactory product. I must admit that this has also happened to me, especially before I learned some finishing tricks.

Finishing is often neglected in knitting classes. This is inevitable in some ways, because usually the students finish projects after the actual class is over, so the teacher no longer has the student's undivided attention. That's why in an ideal world, I think, LYS owners would schedule finishing classes at least once a month, so that students would have ample opportunity to learn skills such as mattress stitch, three-needle bind-off, stretchy bind off options, grafting, skillfully sewing in sleeves, weaving in ends, and things like that.

Of course, if I designed such a class, I'd have a section on "ways to avoid icky finishing techniques." During this time I would extol the virtues of top-down knitting, circular knitting and this topic...

How to Avoid Grafting

As a grafting-challenged person (say it with me, awwwwww), I tend to do things that let me avoid that skill. That's one reason to favor toe-up socks, though a skillful three-needle bind-off can do fine for cuff-down socks unless someone has very sensitive toes.

I also would be incredibly pleased if designers, especially designers of long lace shawls, would change from having you knit two halves then graft them in the center to using a provisional cast-on and knitting from the center outward in each direction. That is so much easier and less likely to end up with some ruined lace. True, some directional patterns would need to be re-done to go the other way and other just wouldn't work starting from the center and going down, but lots of shawls would be fine done the way I describe. I know I have converted more than one item, myself!


There is one more important finishing technique that sometimes gets neglected, and that is blocking. I know some people never block knitting. I guess if you are a polyester lover you rarely have to! Of course you need to block lace, but cotton, wool and other natural fabrics of all types can benefit from blocking. That is why I NEED to block the surplice top I "finished" a few weeks ago. It really won't be "finished" until I take the time to block it a bit, especially around the collar edge and lace section. It will lie down better and have the "swing" it should have, once I block it.

Now I feel very guilty for watching a Weird Al Yankovitz (perhaps this is misspelled?) movie last night instead of blocking that top! Well, maybe over the weekend...that will be my next free period block of time!

Moral to this? Blocking is important. Do it. Finishing techniques matter! Learn them!


The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques by Nancy Wiseman: Very thorough reference with good illustrations.

Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitters: Give Your Knitting that Professional Look by Sharon Brant: Even more thorough, but more advanced, so there is a lot of stuff to plow through.

The Knitting Answer Book: Solutions to Every Problem You'll Ever Face; Answers to Every Question You'll Ever Ask by Margaret Radcliffe: This is the one I use most, because it is compact and has very clear illustrations and examples.

Knit Fix: Problem Solving for Knitters by Lisa Kartus: This is about fixing mistakes, but it also covers finishing mistakes. You should own this if you are not a total and complete expert. If you want to see little movies and stuff so you can learn that way, this one is great. Many people are extremely devoted to this site.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Knitting Ups and Downs

Pagoda Lace and Bus Dashboard
Originally uploaded by sunasak
It was a very long weekend. And much knitting was done, though not all that much to show for it. Sigh. Took a major dip in the scummy old frog pond...

But, in good news, here is the Redwood Pagoda Lace sock #1 in Knitivity Redwood colored sock yarn, fresh off the needles in a rather scuzzy tour bus. I spent over 24 hours with the high school band on a trip to Arlington, Texas for a competition. I would have gotten a lot more knitting done if both the trip up and the trip back hadn't been during normal sleeping hours. I finished the sock while the rest of the folks were out procuring dinner in a locale full of preferred vendors: fast food, pizza and Starbucks. I stayed in and breathed diesel fumes and finished the sock.

I worked and worked on Mr. Greenjeans in red during the many hours we spent in a church rec hall between the preliminaries and finals of the competition. I made almost an entire sleeve but then realized that, sigh, I was making the size XL sleeve, not the L, and I would never hit 60 stitches before my arm length was reached at the rate I was decreasing. So, yesterday in my sleep deprived fog, I frogged the entire sleeve and redid it. Perhaps this time I decreased too briskly but it looks OK and I got down to where I want to start the ribbed border for the cuff. But it sure felt bad to re-do the same knitting twice. I did enjoy crafting with other band mothers, though, so I had good camaraderie with the crocheters and beaders who were also chaperoning.

I have nifty new yarn to post, perhaps tomorrow, thanks to the latest Loopy Ewe sneak-up. A couple of very interesting ones! And KnitPicks sent me a replacement #4 pair of tips for my Harmony set (you may recall, one original didn't screw in properly), so I now have one bonus 4. Good, I like that size. So, all is not lost--I just feel like I lost some productivity (yes, knitting is a process, and I should REJOICE that I get to knit twice with that nice Cascade 220, yup). But I have new things I want to knit!

Not much knitting time today, but tomorrow I hope to get on to sleeve #2 and more done on sock #2.

I hope you all had better knitting weekends than I did!

Friday, October 12, 2007

All Raveled Up

I have spent a lot of my spare time uploading information to Ravelry, now that I am actually in it! Mostly I am doing it for my own reference--it sure is handy to be able to quickly see where something I made came from, what yarn I used, etc., without having to plow through all the reference materials. It will also be nice to catalogue all my books, once that works (right now, well, not all the books I have are there, and I'm not talking about weird ones--I do realize that's not a high priority, and it's fine).

Also it's a bit altruistic. I like it that others can see my FOs, so they can decide if a project will work out for them, or read about what issues I (or others) had with a pattern or yarn.

I now have 87 projects catalogued and 37 balls of yarn in my stash photographed and described. Uh, yowzer, I still have a LOT of that stuff left. Who knows when or if I will take pictures of all that sock yarn?? I have run into old friends, made new ones, and learned things on the forums, even though I am no Miss Violet, who seems to post on EVERY forum.

Why am I going on about something many of you can't see yet? I'll tell you, but first go there and get on the waiting list. You do not have to categorize everything you own. There's lots of ways to use it. But if you don't sign up, you will only be able to browse once it goes live, not contribute. The waiting list is moving along briskly now, so you won't have to wait long to join! (And there are no special favors. "Famous" bloggers and designers had to wait just as long as everyone else if they didn't sign up immediately.)

You see, once upon a time I consulted with a company that built online communities. Did a lot of work for them. Helped them tweak the user interface, helped them tailor the content to the particular audience, wrote a zillion-page wiki help system for them...and it really seemed like it could be a nice community. They had guidelines, nice reasonable ones, and lots of options that, if they were used, could really enrich the lives of the intended users.

But, it didn't turn out that way, for various reasons internal to the politics of the organization where I worked. Now I hear of so many people refusing to use the community because they think the developers were spying on their private groups, or it was made by the wrong bunch of people...and that all made me sad.

So I was thrilled to get to participate in Ravelry. There are no private groups, and though that might cause some problems for people who worry that their interests might offend or upset others, it does avoid other pretty unpleasant potential issues. It's a heated debate right now, but I think the developers (sweet 30-year-olds with a cute dog) made a good decision to be as open as possible.

I have not stepped up and said, "Hey, I used to be an online community developer," because I have had enough nasty feedback and over-inflated expectations, but I do wish the volunteer editors and helpers well, and am happy to see all the support the knitting and crocheting community is giving. That is what I like to see in an online community. People who appreciate the chance to have one, and will help out if they can. By being able to contribute, you get ownership. That's a good thing.

I'll be out of blogging range for a couple of days. Please think good thoughts as I try to knit Shedir, finish that cardigan, and if possible, get close to finishing the Redwood socks!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Had Blog Ennui

I haven't written anything in a couple of days, because nothing knitting-wise has really gotten me all excited. And I recently read about this very useful concept of blogging without obligation. The fellow who thought it up has a great point--it's a good idea to leave my blog right NOW and click that link. His main point is that you should blog because you have something to say, not just to make sure you get hits, inspire new subscribers or whatnot. I agree with that, so even though my hits have taken a tumble, I didn't write for a couple of days when I didn't get much knitting done and what I did was on the same old projects.

My projects are just fine, thank you. None of them are moving along very briskly, due to that pesky old "real life" getting in the way, but Mr. Greenjeans is over halfway through the cable section, and Pagoda Lace Sock #1 has at least grown a bit. The Knitivity sock yarn is coming out very soft--feels great--but it's a bit "splitty" and that makes it hard to re-do when I make a mistake in the lace. I ordered some ShibuiKnits semi-solid yarn from the good ole Loopy Ewe that I may try this pattern on again.

Speaking of yarn, I will have to photograph my two newest preciouses. One's a skein of 700 yards of fingering weight yarn from Knitivity in a collection of denim shades. I was going to make my stepmom her holiday gift from it, but then I saw this Schaeffer Anne in shades of turquoise that will look better in the pattern I chose (one of the rectangular shawls in Victorian Lace Today). I am going to make that really simple triangle shawl from VLT out of the denim for my own use.

I also got my first knittable sample from Color My Yarn Crazy, my friend Jody's soon-to-launch yarn biz (no, there's nothing much about it on the blog). It is an almost-indescribable color in sock yarn of my favorite highly twisted type. Both Lee and Beccano declared the color looks like a chocolate cherry cake, so I hope that helps. It is really a very dark mottled orange. My friend Saranda labeled it Rust. Someone nameless called it "poop brown" but if that is the case, it is VERY pretty poop! I will use it to make the frogged Diamond Waffle pattern. It will look good in this semi-solid.

At the LYS yesterday I purchased some Calmer in a coral color to make the Shedir (warning, PDF link) hat (photo is from a nice site with lots of chemo caps on it) for an acquaintance with breast cancer. I'll make that on the bus for the endlessly long band trip this weekend (where I have some crazed idea that I will finish ALL my WIPs). When I got the Calmer yarn and said I was making a cabled hat, Jody said, "Oh, you're making Shedir." My-o-my that woman has an encyclopedic memory for knitting pattern names! I was sure glad she made it to the shop, because talking to her and a couple other nice and friendly knitters really made a crummy day better.

I guess I have written enough that I don't have to go on and on about the weird patterns in the Holiday Vogue Knitting. At least there were 2-3 a person could wear in public without being laughed at or looking like a sausage. I must be too, too, old.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Progress Report B: Redwood Pagoda Lace Socks

I did get some progress made on my socks, though not much, thanks to concentrating on the cardigan. Here you see the Redwood Pagoda Lace Sock, in progress, along with some cute li'l flowers in the grass. I managed to finish the heel last night, without having to re-do it endless times or anything! And I am impressed that I managed to end on a complete repeat, with the foot fitting just fine!

It's hard to see the lace in this view, but there's another picture on Flickr, if you want to see the top view. I wanted to show my odd little gusset, that I put two stitches inward, just to be different..

Other knitting news...I didn't get to go on the Hill Country Yarn Crawl over the weekend, due to so many other things going on, but I did show up at the LYS at my usual time, and help out people who came in with questions, so the other staff could sell yarn. I felt good that I helped a lady who misunderstood how YOs worked, so her lovely afghan can grow up nice and pretty. I felt bad that I forgot to bring in the damaged afghan I was going to return to its owner, but felt better once we all decided to try to fix it if she could find the original yarn (she might be able to). Later I felt bad that I left the shop just before one of my students who needed my help showed up and ended up very confused, but I stayed later than I'd originally intended to, anyway--really had to go tend to the family (they are supposed to be my priority ya know!). I hope to help that lady today, since we missed each other yesterday, too.

I also would have sold a scarf pattern, but the LYS had sold all of them and I didn't know. So, I will print more of those and email the lady a copy for herself. I need to decide whether I want to sell that pattern in the future or offer it for free from the blog. Thinking.

Another thing is that I am thinking hard about a pair of thematic socks I have designed in my head, chosen yarn for, and want to make next, so maybe I better knit harder on these socks. I will do better if my old friend who works in the same building I do doesn't ask me to join him at lunch too many times this week--I end up talking to him and not knitting (hmph, actually paying attention to the person I am talking to...what's with that?). Perhaps I will also get to those over the weekend of bus knitting.

Progress Report A: Mr. Greenjeans in Red

Today will mostly be progress reports on what I got done, or didn't get done, over the weekend. Most of the weekend was spent on Mr. Greenjeans in Red, pictured here. My insistence on knitting things at a finer gauge than some people would means that there is a lot of yarn in my knitting. Whew. I feel like I have been knitting on this forever, and was really relieved when I got to the cable rib border, because it is less mind-numbing than row after row of back-and-forth stockinette.

I got 1/3 the way through with the border. It needs to be 12 inches long, and I have 4 inches (60 cm/20cm to metric people). I sure like the way it looks, and it should be nice and warm. The Cascade 220 hand painted does seem to attract hair like a magnet. Both dog hair and people hair.

My guess is that by the end of next weekend this will be done, since I have very long bus rides and lots of sitting around to do for a lengthy band trip on Saturday. I'll keep plugging away whenever I am home this week, and get another skein of yarn, just in case I need it.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Teaching Knitting: What Is Knitting Literacy?

Blue Felted Hat
Originally uploaded by sunasak

Suna of 2003 in a very simple felted hat that she made 12 of in 2003 asks, what skills should the beginning knitter know before setting out for more knitting adventures? For example, this hat only requires that you know how to knit in a circle, cast on, knit, and decrease. Is it a beginner pattern?

(And by the way I sure wish I could find the source of that pattern again--I guess the website is gone--good thing I printed one.)

Knitting Literacy

So, once you have the new knitters casting on, knitting, purling and casting off, what other knitting skills do they need to know? Opinions may vary, but I like to try to teach, or at least show, them these things, especially if the beginning class is a series:

1. Knit into the front and back increase.
2. Knit 2 together decrease
3. Yarn over increase
4. Slip, slip knit decrease
5. Changing to a new skein of yarn
6. Slipping the first stitch on the edge of a piece
7. A simple 2-stitch cable
8. Picking up stitches
9. Common stitch patterns: seed stitch, ribbing
10. Make 1 increase (this can be tricky, so only do it when you think they are ready)

How do you teach them all? I like creating a sampler dish cloth where each technique can be practiced. I often just make one up, but having a pattern to give out would give the students the chance to learn to read patterns and familiarize themselves more with the abbreviations and terms used in knitting patterns.

Hints for Teaching the Skills

When teaching SSK, clarify what slipping "as if to knit" means and show why it matters. You can introduce the saying, "knit now, purl later," which means you slip as if to knit if you are making something now (like an SSK) and as if to purl if you are doing something later (like slipping stitches to a holder, or slipping for a mosaic pattern).

When teaching yarn over, also show them what to do with an extra misplaced one (drop it and distribute the extra yarn across a few stitches). Then show what to do if you realize you forgot one while on the next row, which is to grab the "bar" between stitches and not twist like you would for M1. This will leave a slightly smaller hole, but it will do.

For picking up stitches, let them know a crochet hook can be a helpful tool.

[I will add more here later]

Why am I listing all these things? Because really, to make any sort of project with shaping or patterning, you will need to be able to increase, decrease, and manipulate stitches. I know it can really be frustrating to people teaching classes in a project who find out the students don't know any increases or decreases, etc. Of course there are many other ways to increase, decrease and manipulate stitches, but it helps to go into a project class with basic knitting skills--it makes it easier to learn more specialized or advanced techniques.

So, if you turn out a beginning knitting student with many or most of these skills, the teachers of their future classes (remember, that could be YOU) will be very thankful. You will have created crafters who are knitting literate!

Hey, Thanks

I am getting really useful suggestions for lace wedding tops. Please keep thinking of ideas and posting them to my October 4 blog entry! Think of me if you run across anything that might be appropriate in a pattern book or other source as well--I have so many that there's a good chance I own it and forgot about it. Or I could get it!

PS: I was awfully sleepy when I wrote this, so if it makes no sense, forgive me.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Project You Can Help Me With

Some of you know that I recently got "engaged" to my wonderful partner, Lee. We are already committed to each other in our hearts, and that is what really counts, but all sorts of little things that are driving me nuts helped me decide to go against my "anti patriarchy" urges and commit to each other in the eyes of the law as well. Romantic, yes.

At some point we will have a ceremony as an excellent excuse to dress nicely and have a party. There is no date set, but since we are back in the ranks of the two income families, we can plan, at least. And I want to plan to make myself something nice to wear.

I have a vision of me in a dark red silk dress with something lacy and knitted over it, like the item in the photo only white (what IS that pattern??). I am thinking a lace cardigan (perhaps with short sleeves) or a shrug, or maybe a shawl if the dress has sleeves (I will not bare my arms in public!). So, I am soliciting pattern suggestions. Requirements: lightweight, light in color, knitted (though, sigh, I have seen some nice crocheted stuff in Lacis), lace, natural fiber.

Obviously, I need to look in all my books, too, but am afraid I have mostly shawl and scarf patterns. Ugh, I foresee spending a lot of time going through old Vogue, Interweave, Knitters' and such, too.

Suggested Patterns

(These are gleaned from my research, comments to this post, email suggestions and Ravelry suggestions. THANK YOU to all.)

If you have a favorite dainty wedding-like shoulder-covering item, or run across anything as you are looking through the web or your own pattern stash, reading email, or looking through Ravelry, feel free to drop me a comment and let me know what you saw. I will continue to search and evaluate over the next month or two, so don't feel compelled to speak now or forever hold your peace, tee hee!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Teaching Knitting: Purls of Wisdom

Back to teaching knitting, today with teaching the purl stitch and everything that goes along with it.

First, an update on my knittin'. Here's a picture of my latest yarn acquisition, Twisted Fiber Arts' Kabam! Organic Stripe in Batty. This is 60% merino, 30% bamboo and 10% nylon. 100% intriguing, especially since it is supposed to subtly self stripe. This was the Etsty Store of the Day on Lime & Violet's Daily Chum, a blog I like to read because all sorts of esoteric things come up on it. I admit to being a sucker for self-striping hand-dyed yarn. This is the second skein of such stuff I have gotten in the last couple of weeks. The other was sKnitches Syncopation Self-Striping in Leaflet, which I got from the Loopy Ewe and was NOT copying some other blogger when I picked that color, honest. I look forward to trying both of these yarns...eventually.

Currently I am still obsessed with Mr. Greenjeans in Red, who is now two rows below the armhole divide. And he seems to fit. I added a repeat of the 6-row increase pattern, because my gauge seems a little tight (though I did swatch!). Now I just hope he is not too big. And that I can magically end up with a multiple of 12 stitches plus 8 for the cable part. I bet I can.


At some point you need to teach the new knitters to purl. Wisdom differs as to exactly what point that will be. Here are some thoughts to help you decide for yourself:

1. Letting the student complete a garter stitch project first will build confidence, cement the knit stitch firmly in the mind, and guarantee a reasonable looking outcome, which makes new knitters happy. Happy enough to want to come back to learn to purl.

2. Some students get pretty bored with knit, knit, knit. Introducing the purl stitch to them fairly soon after they learn the knit stitch will give them many more opportunities for varied knitting.

3. Introducing the purl stitch too soon may cause some new knitters confusion to the point where they cease to understand the knit stitch and just end up confused. What point is "too soon," you ask? Regrettably, that depends on the student's natural ability and learning style. It's hard to guess--but generally if a student is having physical difficulty making the stitches or remembering the order of the steps, delaying the purl stitch introduction is probably a good idea.

4. Time is a factor. I like the idea of letting the students go home and practice the knit stitch, then introducing purl in the next session of class, which can only happen if you have more than one class with the student. A two-hour class is probably a bit too short to cement both stitches in an average student's mind, though people who crocheted before, learned to knit in their dim past, or happen to be approximately age 14 can probably handle it.

What You Need to Know

Teaching purl is easy and fun. There are a lot of little things that can make it fun for the student, too. It is great to see that light bulb going off over their heads when they realize the mechanics of it all.

1. Tell them purling is "the opposite" of knitting and show them the evidence. I like to show them garter stitch, stockinette stitch samples, ribbing, seed stitch and such, to show how the "bumps" can appear on one side of the knitted fabric or the other, depending on the stitch they make. I explain that in knitting, the bump shows up in the back, because you carry the yarn in the back. In purling, the bump is in the front, because you carry the yarn there. I like to cement that yarn in back/front distinction early and often, since it makes figuring out their mistakes later much easier.

2. Explain how having an evenly distributed number of bumps makes for a fabric that lies flat (show examples) and how putting smooths and bumps all together makes a fabric that curls (show stockinette and ribbing). I do this before teaching purling, because I lot of knitters like to know WHY they need to learn to purl.

3. As with knitting, show the purl stitch on large needles with thick yarn, and slowly. I repeat key words with emphasis. Like "Stick the right needle in FRONT of the left needle, pointing DOWN. Wrap the yarn OVER the needle, then poke it BACK through the loop."

4. At some point I emphasize wrapping the yarn OVER the needle, and tell them how I used to have twisted stitches every other row because I wrapped UNDER and hadn't learned how to compensate. If they are struggling, it helps them to know the teacher was not perfect from Day 1, and if they are thinking, "What would it matter?" they will then know why it does matter.

5. The hardest part tends to be getting situated for the first stitch in a row and the part where you poke the needle backwards (because visually oriented people want to SEE where their yarn is going, and you just sorta have to trust that it is going through.

Once they get purling, encourage them to knit a few rows in stockinette. They tend to love how it looks and how it feels to knit one row then purl a row. Then they will see their knitting curling up. Excellent demo of that feature!

What to Make

This is just me, but I tend to not leave them doing K 1 row, P 1 row very long. I want them to work on a project that will lie flat, for one, and they need to learn a few more skills before leaving the purl class.

I like to have them to a scarf or wash cloth in some variant of a basketweave pattern. We have simple patterns we wrote up for our shop, or you can find something you can use that doesn't infringe on anyone's copyright.

Basketweave is nice because:

1. You get some stockinette sections to admire.
2. It lies flat.
3. You learn to switch between knitting and purling (more on that below).
4. You don't get frustrated moving the yarn back and forth constantly, like you could in seed stitch or ribbing.

Still, any pattern you like that lets them practice both knitting and purling is fine. A dishcloth that makes a picture or something might be a possibility, though that will require teaching how to read a chart!

It's really important to teach students the skill of going between knitting and purling. You need to show them how to set the yarn up for whatever stitch is next, putting the yarn in the back to knit and bringing it to the front to purl, and not doing so over the needle. I demonstrate the "wrong" way and show how they end up with a YO, which would be great if they were doing lace, but they aren't.

Usually at least a few of the students need a little help remembering to move the yarn, and to be shown how to get rid of the accidental YO if they do (just let it drop).

Having a little pattern for them to look at helps those intimidated by patterns relax a bit. I show them the parts of the pattern, and that K = knit and P= purl. We practice reading the instructions. Sometimes I even introduce markers.

More important than markers, though, is learning to "read" the knitting, so they can tell if they should be knitting or purling. It generally makes new knitters feel very confident and accomplished once they realize they CAN do this. I tell them that reading their knitting is a sign they are "advanced beginners" now.

While they knit, I check to see if their gauge is wildly different in one or the other stitch, and if so, give hints for evening that out. I also look for mistakes and show them how to fix them. This is when I also chat them up a bit about stitch patterns--how much you can do with just knit and purl, and let them know what kinds of things they can learn in later classes (or if it's a series, what's coming next).

Of course, always answer questions. Reassure them that it's hard for everyone to talk and count at the same time (this always comes up once students begin to relax and start chatting).

When to Stop

I like to be sure they have done enough basketweave to switch between starting off with knitting and starting off with purling, so they have that experience under their belts before they go home. Teach or remind them how to bind off before you send them home, and let them know how to get help if they end up needing it.

I often give out a handout that lists good beginning knitting books, websites and patterns that the shop sells. I also point them to some free patterns (and tell them which yarns in the yarn shop work great with those patterns--selling yarn is a good thing for your LYS owner!).

Next I'll give some ideas for what to teach next: increases, decreases, cables and more.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Knitters' Long-Term Effects

As you can see, I am moving along on Mr. Greenjeans in Red. What appears to be a big blob there is actually the top of the cardigan, heading to the armholes. It's got a very wide top, and that's because a) it has a wider neck than a lot of cardigans and b) there is a pretty wide band of ribbing that goes along the front edge--12 rows.

I just love this Cascade 220 handpaint yarn. It's normal Cascade 220, so it's nice worsted weight wool, but the colors are so pretty. They are more subtle in person than in the photo, I think. It will go so well with much of what I wear!

The title to this post is "Knitters' Long-Term Effects," and I came to that last night while sitting on the couch with Lee, knitting calmly and watching Monday Night Football after my community chorus rehearsal, winding the day down. I was thinking, "This is what I always looked forward to doing when I grew up." Then I remembered how that vision of the future came to be!

It's the influence of someone I don't think about often, but who really had an impact on me as a "slightly troubled teen." Lila Brunell was the lady across the street from us when I was young and lived in Gainesville, Florida. She was a nurse and her husband was the head dietitian at the local VA hospital. They had met in the Navy and had a pretty interesting life--my favorite part was when the lived in Iceland--I loved those stories (which included yarn!). They settled down in Gainesville with their incredibly hyper Basenji dogs at the end of their working careers.

They were really nice to me, and I spent a lot of time over at their house the last couple of years I lived in Gainesville. She was a knitter and helped me with knitting, though mostly at that time I crocheted endless granny squares and embroidering on my jeans (I mean, I was 11-13, OK?). We moved away to horrible (to me) south Florida when I started 8th grade. I was totally miserable. My parents took pity on me and let me go back "home" for two weeks the next summer. They were especially kind to let me visit the Brunells and NOT my grandmother (one mean ole woman). So, I stayed at their house, visited old friends, rode a borrowed bike through all my old haunts, and reveled in being "home" for a while. During the days they were at work, and I read their books (including The Joy of Sex--how convenient it was that they left that out in plain sight). In the evenings, we'd eat, then sit around while Lila knitted and Ralph watched TV. I crocheted along. I remember asking if she ever finished a sweater--she was about at the point I am now with Mr. Greenjeans, and going back and forth on very long rows. She laughed and said she would, but the idea was more to enjoy the making of the sweater.

They were so happy together. Comfortable with who they were and what they were doing. It seemed so warm and pleasant to sit and knit and have nice conversation about current events (with no pesky little brother to bother me). That is when I put it into my mind that when I was grown up, I wanted a nice, warm room where I could sit and knit with someone I loved, feeling relaxed, safe and comfortable--and enjoying the process of my craft.

And now I get to do that! No matter what is happening, I have my warm cozy room, my wonderful yarn and my supportive man at my side. I have arrived at last.

Ralph died when I was a senior in high school. My dad and I drove up to Gainesville for the funeral. It was important to me to be there. I wanted to show Lila that I was going to turn out well, and to thank her for being there for me. She moved away before I went to college, so I didn't get to see her when I returned. That's too bad--she'd have loved all the things I was knitting by then! And I hope her spirit is somewhere appreciating that she had a positive effect on a young girl.

(I had accidentally posted this to my personal blog, then realized it would work there, too, so I have two of the same post--if you read both, don't think you have started seeing double! And if you want to read the other one, ask me and I will give you the URL.)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Completed Surplice Top, etc.

Completed Surplice Top
Originally uploaded by sunasak
The hated and tedious sewing up is finally complete, so here is the surplice top, before blocking (hence wavy border and lace sections).

As a reminder, this pattern is from Nashua Handknits North Designer Collection #4 and was made in the yarn called for, Natural Focus Ecologie Cotton, in color logwood.

It actually fits, though is low cut enough that I will probably wear it with a cami in public.The color is a bit too close to my skin color to be very flattering, too. But, it's nice and light and for once, not too big. There is a photo of me in it on Flickr and Ravelry, but it's so unflattering that I decided to not put it on my blog. Maybe I'll get another photo once the top is blocked.

At least it is NOT too big and DOES fit. I am proud.

I think Mr. Greenjeans in Red (next project, top down cardigan) will fit fine. I somehow am getting a smaller gauge than usual by going down two sizes, so I will just make the increase section longer and make sure there are the right number of stitches when it comes time to do the cable rib bottom. On that one, I am almost through the yoke on that one, thanks to having a "sick day" yesterday and just sitting on the couch sleeping and knitting. I'll have a picture tomorrow--the black/red color is beautiful.

As for socks, I got halfway up the foot on Diamond Waffle and decided the Knitivity yarn in Redwood did not like it. Too busy a pattern and too busy a yarn. So, the yarn is staying and I am trying Pagoda Lace by the usual Wendy Johnson. I am still on the toe, because I mostly worked on the Greenjeans sweater after frogging the Diamond Waffle sock.

I have decided that the purple-ish J. KnitsNew Jersey yarn would be a better choice for Diamond Waffle. It is more of a semi solid, and I do not have many of those right now. Oh, if only I knew someone dyeing up some semi-solids that I could make socks out of. Oh wait, supposedly I do. DYE SOME YARN, Jody!

I have 34 projects up on Ravelry, and 16 stashed yarns. Lots of typing and photographing still left to do, but I already have found the site handy for looking up official names of patterns and yarns!