Thursday, March 20, 2008

Cables, Cables

Here is a peak at one of the front panels of Bell Sleeve Jacket. I am done with the back and about half done with the left front panel.
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Sunday, March 16, 2008


I completed my first Jaywalkers.
Pattern: Jaywalkers by Grumperina, MagKnits
Yarn: Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino Color: P436 (also the yarn in my blog header)
Needles: Size 1 Addi Turbo Circulars
Modifications: I shortened the leg to 5.5" because I was worried about running out of yarn. I probably could have squeezed another 0.25-0.50" into the leg, as I had a bit of yarn left over.

This is a really cool pattern, and I will most definetely knit it again. It works well with varigated and self-striping yarns, but also has large areas of stockinette knitting, making it good when you need that mindless knitting. It also fits my foot really well.
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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fair Isle!

Two nights ago I cast on for Snowflake Socks by Chrissy Gardiner from Interweave Knits Fall 2007. This is my first Fair Isle attempt and actually it is going suprisingly well. I am knitting with the main color (blue) in my right hand and the contrasting color (white) in my left. The Continental still feels a little awkward because I am a English style knitter. No puckering and it looks nice and even, although it might be a little tight. I can get it over my heel, so it probably will be okay, but I am going to try to keep my strands a little looser.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Branching Out Complete!

As promised here are my completed photos of Branching Out. I am very pleased with how this turned out, and although I struggled at the beginning (mostly because I didn't know what a yarnover really was), it did get easier once I got the hang of it.

Pattern: Branching Out
Yarn: Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in Stream Heather Less than 1 skein (about 0.5?)
Needles: Size 8 needles

Now that I am knitting the Flower Basket Shawl by Evelyn Clark, I realize just how challenging this scarf was, especially as a first lace project. There are many unusual stitches in the lace, although it was nice to only have 25-31 stitches on my needles at one time! Less counting!

I also want to say that I adore this yarn. The subtle heather colors, the softness, the bounciness....

A few tips for those looking to try lace:

1. I would not say that this is a good first lace pattern (even though the pattern says it is). There are a lot of different stitches, and there are easier patterns out there. I might try an Evelyn Clark Pattern first or the Airy Scarf out of Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. You could probably do one of these in no time and be better prepared for a more adventurous lace project with a basic understanding of yarnovers and how needle size affects the look of the piece.

2. I used the recommended Size 8 Needles. This results in a fairly open scarf, but if this is not what you are looking for either go down a size or 2 (or 3) and see how that looks. Or double the yarn or use fingering weight instead of lace. Actually, for a first lace project, fingering is probably not a bad idea in general.

3. Check out Eunny's Majoring in Lace Tutorial before you start and probably during the project too!

4. Use lifelines, especially after you get comfortable with the lace. I found that just as I got comfortable, I would go 4 repeats without putting a lifeline and then realize that I had the wrong number of stitches somehow or find a major error somewhere. Lifelines will save you from having to rip out your whole project. The stitches in a lace project are very hard to see and especially as a new lace knitter, virtually impossible to pick up if dropped. I am getting a little better at it now, but my current project also uses doubled yarn and smaller needles, which makes the stitches easier to see. Waxed Dental floss works great and is easy to carry in your project bag. I would put a strand of floss through the stitches on my needle at the end of a repeat when I knew I had the correct number of stitches. If I messed up, I just inserted my needles into the spaces (stitches) where the dental floss was, counted and viola, I was ready to start knitting again without ripping out my whole project or tediously unknitting all those stitches!

5. Your project will look like a hot mess. You will wonder if it will ever look like the beautiful projects you see on everyone's blogs. It will look uneven and you will have trouble discerning the pattern. Blocking takes care of all of this and makes your lace mess into a beautiful piece. Do not despair!

5. Lace blocking wires are fantastic. Knitpicks sells them as does Joanne Fabrics.
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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Not much to look at....

I was so excited after finishing my Branching Out lace scarf that I cast on for Evelyn Clark's Flower Basket Shawl last night. Not much to look at yet, but isn't the yarn color scrumptious? It is Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in TidePool. A lovely blue green blend. I am knitting this lace weight yarn double for a slightly more substantial shawl.

It took me a little bit to get used to these Size 6 Addi Turbo Lace needles. I knit my last lace project on bamboo, and these are a little bit slicker. The taper on the needles is nice though, and once I got used to them, I figured out how to avoid stitches accidentally slipping off the needles.
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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A Caterpillar Transformed

Okay, so I think that lace may officially be worth knitting just to block lace. This is an amazing and relatively easy process. Here is my finished (finally!) Branching Out scarf. It is a sad looking thing.

My pre-block dimensions were 58" long and 5" wide.

Then I soaked the scarf in some mild detergent and cold water for about 45 minutes. A thorough rinse followed and I rolled the piece in a towel to remove the excess moisture. Then I used my brand new blocking wires (I am so happy I purchased much easier than string) and inserted them into the edges along all sides. A little stretch in every direction and some blocking pins to hold the wires in place and voila!

Is that the same heap of yarn from the first photo? Ah, blocking lace is amazing! My post-block dimensions are 74" long and 6" wide.

I promise I will post some photos later this week of Branching Out that are not pinned out on my floor. I want to start more lace knitting after seeing how beautiful this turned out.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Library Addition and a Jacket for My Husband

I received my copy of The Best of Interweave Knits today. So many great patterns!

I may have even found a sweater to knit my husband that he will actually wear: The Cambridge Jacket. I showed it to him today and he said that it wasn't too "sweatery" and that he though the zip up design would be nice. Phew, just when I was feeling bad for being the only knitter to never knit her husband a sweater!

I also love:

Simply Marilyn
Marseilles Pullover
Icarus Shawl
Forest Path Stole
VIP Cardigan

In other knitting patterns, the new MagKnits was up today, and I was sorely disappointed in this months patterns. The new format is also taking me a bit to get used to.
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