Friday, May 30, 2008

Moving Right Along, and Funny Kid Saying

Here we go, the finished back of the Sideways Cardigan. I really like the way the pattern at the top looks. It makes little triangles, plus there is a traveling lattice effect on the surface. It's quite lovely when stretched out, and contrasts nicely with the sideways wavy pattern. it's sitting in the shade on the grass, which explains the light splotch. I think this one will need a little blocking, but will be good. One side looks a bit better than the other, so I may end up putting an edging around the armholes. I think that will look nice.

The yarn, Cascade Pima Tencel, sure feels good to knit with. I'd make something else out of this yarn if I could find it in more vibrant colors than we have at the LYS. I am now well into the first of the front pieces, so this will be a sweater some day!

And here is proof that I finished the Bright Burly Socks. They are very, very comfortable and everyone comments on how attractive they are. One of my friends wanted to buy them from me, so I guess they are a fine pair of socks! I did enjoy knitting with the Urban GypZ Twisted yarn, and enjoyed the interesting colors and twist effect quite a bit!

The next project will be socks using Cherry Tree Hill's Cherry Blossom colorway. I saw a pattern on some website with a reverse stockinette ground and little straight lines of knit stitches scattered on it. I decided to make one that is somewhat similar, done toe up. I'm working on it when I get tired of thinking about the cardigan's more complex patterning. I really was happy the random number generator chose this yarn. I loved it the minute I saw it, with it's pinks, mauves, sky blues and whites. Like a cherry tree against a sunny spring sky.

Here's a bonus funny story. One of my friends teaches knitting in another state, and shared this on a non-knitting email list. Cracked me up. It seems she decided to teach her two young sons to knit last week, and was very happy that both of them took to it quite well and were happily making their first little projects. One of the boys looked up at his mom, assessing his progress and feeling positive about it. "Hey mom," he asked. "Now that you have taught us how to knit, when are you going to teach us how to frog?"

Hmm, I think certain little fellows have been paying VERY close attention to their mom's conversations! He'll go far, both with knitting and frogging!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Career Thoughts

So, I am sitting in my house at 3 p.m., since the dogs woke me up from my nap. Newly job-free people sleep a lot (that's right, if you missed it in the passing reference in yesterday's post, my job went away on Friday). I got a bit wiped out after going to fetch all my office possessions while the rest of the gang was at the employee appreciation lunch (oh the irony--the unappreciated one got to sneak in and get her stuff!). Most of the rest of the day I have been calling people, applying for jobs, and checking leads. I am pretty chipper, since I found a couple of things that really would fit well, and rather than dwell on the fact that Lee's job ends in a couple of weeks, too, I've been wishing I could invent a knitting career.

There aren't many knitters who can make a career out of it! Even some of the really good teachers I know do it to supplement another job or have the luxury of a partner who makes good money, which allows them to concentrate on what they love. Even really good writers have "real" jobs in addition to knitting income. And that all makes sense--crafts don't pay. Same with music, theater and art--you have to be at a really stratospheric level to make money on it.

But, after receiving a couple of phone calls over the weekend from friends needing help with particularly vexing issues, plus a cry for help over on Ravelry, too, I got to thinking. Wow, I wish I could be the "Knitting Help Hotline" or something! I figure I could answer most questions in less than 15 minutes, and could charge by the quarter hour. Of course, my head began to hurt after thinking how to bill people, so that thought didn't go far. But, I love answering the phone to help people with something I am good at (contrary to how I may have appeared to former coworkers). It sure would be fun to help folks with knitting for a living. What a dream!

Ah well, I can just head over to the yarn shop and help for free, and hope I can scrounge up a few more classes to teach while I wait for a new possibility to manifest itself. I truly love doing that, too, but in this economy, optional things like knitting classes may be among the first things people won't do. On the other hand, maybe learning to knit is a good thing in today's economy--you get a lot of activity time for your money!

Just a ramble on what I'd really, really like to do with my life. Luckily there are other options that also look good!

Oh, and the photo has nothing to do with anything. It's just a picture of a shawl from 2003 or so that I found that hadn't been uploaded to Ravelry, and I'd wanted to show it to someone as an example of yarn dyed in colors to match a piece of art. This one, judging from the color chart I found, is Christina's World. That seems right, in my memory.

And one more thing, a PS to Dragonfly: the book I couldn't remember the name of was Knit So Fine: Designs with Skinny Yarns. (Link is to Ravelry, so if you aren't a member, it won't come up, but it's on, too.)

Monday, May 26, 2008

I made a hat, and am progressing on the cardigan

I thought I should prove that I actually am working on that white sideways cardigan from Vogue Knitting. See, here it is. I have noticed on Ravelry that a lot more people have finished them. Probably that errata helps. I did just print that out, and even landscape it is one TINY chart, but I think it will help when I get to the top of the sweater. What you see here is more than half of the lower back. It's still a little thin, but this is the best yarn I could find. Of course, NOW I will have time to check out other yarn shops, since I have no job (but, that will take gasoline, which then means I am wasting money, sigh).

I also made a hat for my son's 15th birthday (which will be on Thursday). It is another pattern from Son of Stitch-n-Bitch, the Ski Beanie. I made it in Cashsoft Cotton DK rather than the wool Cashsoft stuff, since we are in Texas and all. The hat fits, though the boy has so much curly hair it's hard to get it on. I think what he wants to do is wear it while his hair dries, to flatten it out, for some mysterious teenage boy reason.

He was very impressed with the hat, which calls for knitting it up flat, then seaming it (for no reason as far as I can tell--if I do another one, I will do it circularly and save a LOT of purling). He came in with it and asked, "Mom, where is the seam on this thing? I can't find it!" I turned it inside out to show him, but he is right. I have really got that mattress stitch thing down! You can't even see the black yarn in the green trim! Take that, prospective employers! I DO have some mad skillz at something!

Well, I have lots of knitting to do on this US holiday weekend. I have already talked to my dad and thanked him for his hard work serving his country (he played baseball to entertain the troops, because, as he said "I just wasn't cut out to be a trained killer"--guess he knew he's end up a Quaker in his later years!). I mostly want to send sympathy for all the families worried about their sons and fathers who are doing the work they are assigned, not complaining, and just hoping to come home alive. It takes a lot of strength to serve in the military, and I think, even as a pacifist, I can honor that!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Some FAST Knitting

Bright, Burly Socks
Originally uploaded by sunasak
If you ever get tired of your projects taking a long time, try knitting up some socks in DK weight. I did these in two days of bus knitting. They won't be sturdy enough for long, hard wear, but will be great around the house or with clogs. I made them sort of short, thinking they might look cute with capris on casual days. I was glad that the foot part didn't have the pooling effect the cuff did. Amazing how switching from rib to stockinette changed things.

I did these top down, by the way. I had momentary confusion when I got to the heel and realized I had to do it the "old" way, LOL.

I did get some lovely Rowan Cashsoft yarn for a hat for my younger son. I must love him, since I sure spend more money on yarn for his items than I have for my last two practical, cotton things!

I guess I may have the other sock done early next week, unless I need to do a lot of easy car knitting over the weekend, in which case I may get to pick new yarn even sooner!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Again I Am Happy with the Random Number Generator!

A quick post to say how happy I am to get to knit with this Urban GypZ yarn (from the Loopy Ewe), so thanks, Random Number Generator! I'll have those Undercover Escalator Socks done by the time my bus ride home is finished, so I get to make something with this really cool stuff. I think I am going to use that interesting rib that the first Sock Wars socks were made from: K3, P3 on one row followed by K1, P1 on the next. They'll zoom!

I am also really, really enjoying knitting my second attempt at the Sideways Cardigan from the 2008 Vogue Knitting (especially having already read the errata!). The Cascade Pima Tencel yarn feels almost as nice as Panda Cotton. It is very, very soft, and lighter than plain cotton. It also is not splitty, at all. If you ever need a worsted weight cotton that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, this is a great choice. I'm through three pattern repeats on the back. I won't be worried until I get to that intimidating chart for the top part!

My son has asked for a skater cap, so I plan to get yarn for that tomorrow, for him. He will be pleased, and it will go fast. I am going to make one in shaker rib out of that same Stitch-n-Bitch for dudes book I made both boys items from over the past holidays.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Another Finished Item!

Cable Lace Top
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Look at me, I am wearing a very holey top. You can feel the air coming through the holes. It really doesn't look too bad with just the nude bra, but I think I will wear a camisole instead, when I am out in public. This really looks cute, I think. I especially like the way the back looks.

I could sort of kick myself, though. I had so much trouble figuring out how to set up the lace pattern for the peplum part. If I had only thought to look on the Vogue Knitting site, I would have found extensive errata telling me how to do it, and that I needed to switch back to larger needles, another thing missing in the instructions. You know, as an editor, I have a hard time believing they don't have test knitters. Glad I decided to not make that lace shrug for a wedding outfit, since it had over a page of revised instructions.

For the cover sweater there are some slight changes and a diagram of recommended shaping that is incomprehensible to me at this point, but I hope it will make more sense when I print it out. I do love diagrams, after all. Now I am a little scared to start it, though. But, I bought white yarn, so I have to, hee hee.

Beccano has asked for a skater cap, so maybe I'll do that first. I know where those patterns are and how to make them!!

I hope you enjoy this outfit, though. I am really happy with it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Undercover Escalator Sock, Woo

Undercover Escalator Sock
Originally uploaded by sunasak
OK, for whatever readers I have left, here are pictures of the latest sock. I guess my stuff is so ugly that all my readers are unsubscribing. Probably it is more that I am so boring now that all I do is work, knit on the bus, and fall asleep. In any case, sorry folks. I hope to get more fun soon. I do have a personal blog with family and opinion stuff, so if you want to read it, just send me a message and I'll get it to you.'s the sock. From the side, you can't see that there is a little panel with a left cross surrounded by purls going up the front. It starts on the back at the point where the YOs meet. For reasons only known to me, I stopped with the escalators' rise after 5 inches and put in an inch and a half of double seed stitch. I guess I wanted to see what that did to the relentless camouflage effect. Then there is ribbing. The photo of the back helps you see the center panel better, even if it's a blurry photo taken by my kid. I am getting close to finishing the second sock. It will probably take me until Wednesday, though, so I don 't have to fire up the random number generator again yet.

The reason the socks are going slowly is I am only working on them at lunch and on the bus. I am really trying to finish the Cable Lace top, and only have 1.5" left on the bottom of that until it is as long as the instructions say to make it. Since I will have most of a skein of yarn left, though, I will probably make it a bit longer, since I am long waisted.

I still really like that VK Summer 2008 cover sweater though, so today I used up the rest of a gift certificate at the LYS to buy yarn to make it. I am actually going to make it white. What a concept. The color of the model sweater. I found Cascade Pima Tencel at the shop, and like the way it feels better than 100% cotton. it says it is genuine worsted weight, so I am hoping it will look better in the pattern than the Creative Focus Cotton DK did.

After that one, I think I will go find my pink Rialto and make the cable sweater I got the yarn for last year. It's another thing I can wear in the summer.

Off to knit. Lee is at his dad's, more bad weather is coming (we had hail and where I work got a LOT of damage on Wedneday) so Beccano and I are going to hang out tonight. He will play guitar and I will try to finish that sweater, so there may be a photo tomorrow!

PS: I didn't write much about the latest Interweave Knits, because it was all brown things I would never make. I could possibly make one item in a better color. That's OK, I am in love with the Spring 2008 Vogue Knitting. All those wedding knits, ahhhh!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Undercover Escalator Sock Is Art

Undercover Escalator Sock
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I tried to write this weekend, honest I did. Life kept getting in the way (concerts, long drives in the countryside, a fascinating ordination ceremony of a young Unitarian Universalist minister...), coupled by my intense desire to work on my cable lace top. But, I did take the Undercover Escalator Socks on a field trip this weekend. It went to my kids' high school band concert, which was held in the really nice Performing Arts Center for our school district. There was also a really fun exhibit of art pieces by students in the district (Beccano had one exhibited in middle school).

So, since I hadn't taken any photos of the current sock in progress, I took some on the exhibits, to see if it was invisible or not. It wasn't. The view you first see here is a bit of the side with a scupture, but you can also see the center twisted stitches. It's a little blurry, but hey, I am trying to maintain some mystery about the design. But, don't you think the colors are weird? Well, I do. Still, I am "soldiering" on (ha ha, a camouflage joke) and have put a double seed stitch section above what you see here. We'll see how it all comes out. The second view features some lovely devils and a better view of the front of the sock. You can see the YOs escalating in a perky-esque manner.

On the other hand, I am very happy with how the Red Lace and Cable top is coming out. I am really enjoying doing the bottom part, which is in the round and quite fun. It's a relief to see that indeed, the weight of the bottom part does stretch out the top part, which was looking mighty skinny at first. The lace pattern has a tendency to compress itself, like an overly complicated ribbing. Luckily, the cotton yarn pulls the sweater down. I have a feeling this pattern would not be very successful in wool, but would probably be very nice in bamboo, with its drape. I am so tired after work lately that I can't knit much, but I think it won't be too much longer before I am finished.

That's it for my knitting progress. I did get a new book, the one on knitting with thin yarns. Of course I am blanking on the title. Mostly I am doing really well in cutting down on my yarn and book purchases, thanks to having a lot less money these days. I do have plenty of stash, so I am not suffering, honest! I have some fun projects I want to do with yarn I already have. it is helping me a LOT that the LYS owner has stopped ordering so much yarn, so I am less tempted when I go in there, too.

So, all's well. I just gots to find more time to post.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Red Lace is lovely

This weekend was a good one for knitting. Not only did I get a bit of work done on my next pair of socks, the Undercover Escalator socks, but I got a lot done on the Red Lace and Cable top, too.

Here's where I was at some point on Saturday on the Red Lace and Cable. What you need to know is that all is not as it appears. You are not looking at a front. You are looking at the top of both the front and back. The bottom of what you see is one sleeve, and the middle is the center of the top. What looks like a plunging neckline is really a boat neck. I am now heading across the second shoulder toward the second sleeve. When that's done I will sew up the arms and cast on in a circle for the peplum bottom of the top. Whee! I was happy to finish the neck yesterday and get almost half through the second shoulder. Since soon I will be binding off then decreasing for the second sleeve, I feel like I am almost home free on the top of the sweater! I also think I will have enough yarn, since I have four more skeins left and have only used three up to now, with some of skein 4 still left from the divided section. It might finish the top part. In any case, I'm still enjoying this one. Other than occasional snags, the cotton yarn and metal needles are a great pair.

I did want to also share this nice photo of Frog Explosion. I am not sure if I mentioned before that I did the gusset a little differently on these, just for fun. I used M1 increases, but kept them in the same position relative to the main sole stitches, so the increase was one stitch further in from the edge on every other row. It made a nice flat spot with increases coming up from it. If you look at the picture up close, it will make more sense. I don't know if I will do it again, but it was fun to get a different look without doing anything too fancy or hard to remember! Anyway, I am wearing the socks now, and they look very nice and feel fine.

About my next pair. I have named them the Undercover Escalator socks. Why? Well there are lines of YOs marching up the front that look like escalators to nowhere, to me. And the Opal with Bamboo yarn I bought gave me quite a surprise. When I started knitting it I realized it was some sort of camouflage pattern. Now, I am not fighting in any war nor do I want to blend in when I am in the woods/a field/the desert (I'd rather be easily spotted and identifiable as NOT food on the hoof, thanks). So, I have no real need for camouflage socks. So, I am pretending the escalators want to blend in with their surroundings, or something like that--thus, undercover escalators. My mind goes strange places, sometimes.

So, let's talk about Opal with Bamboo yarn. I have to say it is soft, soft, soft. Compared to merino it feels like old flannel or something. I know it will feel wonderful on the foot! The yarn does want to split, and the subtle colors make it hard to spot when that has happened, which can be frustrating when you spot a little piece sticking out three rows down in the lace part. Not that it has happened…heh heh. By this evening I should have enough of the first sock knitted to give you an idea, so I'll take a photo.

While I am typing, I should share that I figured out how to painlessly do toe-up socks as bus socks. I printed the part of the heel that I can't memorize as well as Wendy Johnson's excellent sock bind-off in a size that fits on a 3x5 card, taped the info on, and put it in the pocket of my Lexie Barnes work bag. That makes it small enough to take out and look at, even on the bus, and sturdy enough that it won't fall apart any time soon. I'm glad I thought of this, because I just can't memorize how to do a toe-up flapped heel, and I really like those better than short-row heels on my personal feet.

Happy new work week. So far so good here.

Friday, May 2, 2008

What's Next and What's Now

Opal mit Bambus 1921
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I got to the cuff of the second Frog Explosion sock, which means time to set off Ye Olde Random Number Generator and see what's next for my sock knitting pleasure. And it's Opal mit Bambus, color 1921, purchased at Astrid's Dutch Obsessions back when I had some bucks to buy yarn (I bought a LOT in one batch). It's sort of a more subtle version of the Frog Explosion colors, actually.

Oddly enough, I had looked at this yarn just a day or two ago, thinking I'd like to work with it, since I do love bamboo yarn in the summer. Now I have to think of a pattern that is not too hard, yet interesting. I'd actually thought of doing the pattern that is in the Frog Explosion socks, only with no interruptions, just traveling YO K2 togs, but that might be too biased and want to go sideways on me. I gots me an idea that is similar, though, so you will have to wait until at least next week to see what it is!

I am sure you were just DYING to see the Frog Explosion, so here it is. If you click to see the photo, you'll see the patterning I am talking about. I've enjoyed doing these socks, and hope I own more than one thing that goes with brown, black and pea-green!!

I got to the split for the neck on my Vogue Knitting #29 top, so I'll have a photo of that in progress for you in the next day or so. I am enjoying it a lot. That's it for a quick Friday update!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

More on Why I Frogged This

Sideways Cardigan beginning
Originally uploaded by sunasak
You may be wanting more info on why I frogged my start on the sweater on the cover of the Spring 2008 Vogue Knitting. Or not, but I'll tell you anyway.

I found the pattern an interesting challenge, especially the backwards lifted increase, which took me a while to suss out. But, it looked thin and weak in the Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Cotton DK weight yarn (gee whiz, could they have made that yarn name any longer???). I kept looking at it and thinking it was just not as substantial as the picture in the magazine, even though I had the correct gauge. I finally came to the conclusion that I would like it a lot better in a thicker yarn. I had mis-read the pattern in the first place, and thought it called for the yarn I had, which it hadn't.

If you look at the picture, you'll see how thin it is. I tried to convince a friend who was making the #1 pattern in my same yarn, only white, that hers also looked a bit thin. I think she was agreeing with me, as we looked at her swatch.

Then I realized there was another pattern in the same issue that was done at least partially from side to side. And it was lacy. And the yarn used in that sweater was DK weight. It's #29, Lace and Cable top (link is to Ravelry--apologies if you aren't on there). It has a really fun and interesting lace pattern combined with a very fat cable. I am using my metal KnitPicks and really enjoying it. The yarn does split a bit, but the metal makes it go much smoother than the wood versions do. It's slow going because, well, I hate to say it, but I have been so tired in the evenings that I have not been able to knit much at all. Tonight may be a good knitting night, though.

My yarn shop friend didn't want to make this one because it is so full of holes. Let me assure you that, as a middle-aged person, I will be wearing a tank top under this blouse!!! My screamingly white flesh is not something I need to inflict upon the general public!

You'll have a picture of the work in progress soon, as well as the Frog Explosion sock I am knitting on the bus nowadays. I am over halfway finished with the second sock, so I guess I better photograph the first one, huh. I just haven't been home or awake long enough to take a picture.