Monday, September 8, 2014

K'done: Gemini pullover

Squeak.



Pattern: Gemini, by Jane Richmond
Yarn: Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Fingering, in Last Night's Wine
Needles: 4.5 mm / US 7

Wow was this ever a close one. When all was said and done I had less than one gram of yarn remaining. Yeesh.

So, yeah. There were some modifications done here! First off, I held the yarn double, to end up with non-gauzy fabric with the thinner yarn. Second, I wanted the sleeves to be more close-fitting than they would have been as written, so I changed the increase rate for the raglan lines: instead of increasing every row once the lace portion of the yoke had been completed, I only increased every row for the front and back portions, while increasing every other row for the sleeves. Third, I shortened the body: in the end, I think I only worked about 16" from the neckline, then switched over to ribbing, and then I only worked 6 rounds of ribbing before binding off and moving on to finish up the sleeves. Fourth: I shortened the sleeves: I picked up the held stitches and knit one round, then worked 6 rounds of ribbing before binding off.



Slightly different angle.

I'm quite happy with the result, although in a perfect world I think I would have preferred to have an extra inch or so on the body - it rides up a little when I'm sitting down. I can still absolutely wear it to work - short sleeves and square neck mean that lifting my arm to, say, point upward at a projected image doesn't cause the whole garment to shift up and expose my tummy. I just can't lift both my arms.

Still, I got a complete garment, with no funny mismatched bits, and remember, less than a gram of yarn left at the end. I'm calling it a win!

Tech specs: cable cast on at neck, double chain bindoff at all bound edges. Some comments on Ravelry suggest that the cast on edge could be bolstered with some crochet, but I don't know how to do that. I didn't find the neckline overly loose with the cable cast on anyway - things seemed to stay in place well enough for the night out I took it on. Fingering yarn was held double, no alternating of skeins done, and I don't think any transition lines are obvious - did Russian joins to join new yarn on.

My original intent had been to wear it to my first real day back to work, but the temperatures plummeted to single digits, and I got another 8 AM class, and I wimped out about wearing such a tiny sweater when it would only be about 5 C outside. (I don't work outside, but I do have to walk between buildings, and the buildings tend to be on the cooler side of things when it's cold out anyway.) I did get to wear it to go out to dinner Sunday night, though, so it has been publicly debuted, without any sort of embarrassing incidents. Definitely a win.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Block party

I'm quite sure I'm not the first person to make that pun. Still, I like it, so I guess I'll just be unoriginal.

I finally got around to blocking two of the three finished things that have been sitting idle, waiting to be fully finished. I did the purple short-sleeved sweater - which, by the way, I just barely had enough yarn to finish - and a cowl I knit while in BC. Still waiting for its turn is a grey sweater.

And, um, three older sweaters that need to be handwashed. Eh, I'll get there.

Getting those two items off the couch makes me feel a whole lot better about the brown sweater that will be cast on very soon - the yarn is all wound up now. And maybe I'll make another cowl.

Plus I've been putting some time into a hat for the resident Mister. Oh, and Sock Sniper is starting up soon - I'm non-combatant, but last year my sister picked one of the patterns and got another pair of socks, and I think that will be happening again this year, provided at least one of the patterns isn't lacy.

I still haven't had that filing party I need to have, so the appearance of disaster still abounds. I did make some good progress on real work things, though, so there's that. At least there's a good reason why I haven't tidied up around here.

Well. I would say that Had to knit stuff is an excellent reason not to tidy up. Other people, however, seem to have differing opinions on that.

Monday, August 25, 2014

One way or the other

I may have fallen down the rabbit hole at Little Knits in the past week. Not just once, but twice. In fairness to me, I was starting to slip, and then my sister slipped, so we took a couple of combined tumbles. So even though it's not all mine, there's still a couple of boxes of yarn on their way here, and that always makes me look around at what's already here. Gotta make room for the new arrivals.

Around here is a complete sty right now - we're about to embark on a renovation journey, having recently completed a house purchase journey, so there are property listings and mortgage paperwork sort of strewn all over the table in the living room - I need to have a filing party somewhat soon - and boxes of things for the new place like bathroom fixtures and a new bed frame are also being piled up wherever we can find the space. Add this chaos to the fact that while I appreciate clean and tidy places, I lack the sort of diligence required to maintain a clean and tidy space, meaning I tend to leave my stuff in the places I usually haunt, so there's also a lot of yarn in the area surrounding the living room table. A couple of things are all knit up and waiting for blocking, some stuff is in progress, some is wound up and waiting.

Like I said, though, I did some assessing of the current state of affairs, and when I moved a pile of real estate paperwork off the couch, I discovered this underneath:



That's a nearly complete sweater right there. Why did it get buried?

Because I'm playing yarn chicken with it.

Apparently, the game of yarn chicken can go two ways. Sometimes, it makes me especially obsessive with a project - I try to knit faster, which really means I knit on it whenever possible, as if it were possible to finish the project early and in doing so not run out of yarn. As if yarn has a lifetime based on days elapsed since cast on, and not actual yardage. But other times, when I start to worry about running short, I go the other way - I back right off, almost as if I'm trying to give the yarn a bit of time to grow so that I will be sure to have enough to finish.

Of course, if you think about it, neither approach makes any sense whatsoever. But there they are.

There's very little left on this sweater - it's a short-sleeved one, the pattern only has me work about 12 rounds on each sleeve, and I think I'll do another 1/4" or so on the body before doing an inch or so of ribbing. Really, I should pick this up again and just get through it - I could plausibly get it done before classes resume next week!

Besides, then I would feel less guilty about having started to wind up this:



At the very least, I should probably finish the purple sweater before I cast on the brown.

Maybe.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

K'done: Plain Socks

I finished these ages ago. Ages ago.



Pattern: None, just a plain ol' stockinette sock, cobbled together from my experience
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, in Blackwatch Plaid
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

Honest, according to my Rav notes, I finished them in May - on her birthday, actually, and I do have a vague memory of flinging them at her or tucking them into the gift bag her actual gift was in. (I did say the memory was vague.) I just never blogged them until now because I only took that picture of her wearing them last week, while we were out on Vancouver Island.

There's not actually much for me to say about these socks - I wanted to try out my new Sigs when they arrived, and plain stockinette seemed a good first run, which meant I could reach for a crazier colourway. She added this yarn to an online order I was placing based primarily off the name, and neither of us was quite sure what to do with it when it arrived. Plain socks seemed a good match, and once she was on board, I was off and running. Well, off and knitting.

Not in any super zippy way, though. Just a round here, a few stitches there, most of the knitting was accomplished as I waited in the car. But that's the great thing about this craft - a little here, a little there, and you'll get to a finished object.

I know I've been silent for a while. We were away. Again. I've got more stuff to show you. It needs blocking, though. So, you know. It might be a little while.

Monday, August 4, 2014

DNF: Tour de Sock 2014

The Tour is over, the dust has settled, and I am here to sheepishly confess that I did not finish. I didn't knit the last pair, a pair of double knit socks.

What happened? Well, timing was the major player. The sixth pattern was released while I was on holiday with my parents and siblings in London, England. I had taken all my supplies with me, fully intending to knit during our down moments, with the plane ride home and the last day of the Tour available for a mad sprint to the finish line as needed.

The thing is, there weren't many down moments on this particular vacation - which is sort of unusual for my family, we usually holiday as a pretty laid-back bunch - and I've never done double knitting before. I cast on, worked the first toe, and realized that there was no way. No way I would ever finish by the deadline. I was too slow with it, and there weren't enough moments for me to make much headway before the flight and the final sprint day, which would mean the best case scenario would have me knitting the second sock in a single day - and I have yet to do that with non-double knitting (single knitting?).

I considered persevering, as a learning experience. Then I fiddled with the doubly thick fabric I was getting, and considered that I wouldn't be able to wear these socks with shoes, which means I'd hardly wear them, and did I really want to use up two skeins of precious sponsor yarn on a single pair of socks that wouldn't see much use?

So I heaved a sigh, and pulled out what I'd done.

In fact, once the haze of the race had cleared, I had to face the fact that I'm not wild about the way my Wye socks were fitting, so once we were home again, I pulled those apart too.

So this year's Tour has me in a three-way tie for 82nd place, and I have four pairs of socks to show for it.

I have a glint in my eye to do better next year.

Until then? I have other things to turn my attention to. Like this:



That there is an Owlie sock, the second in a pair I started for my sister last summer, flailing about between stages of Tour 2013. I got the first one done, and about half of the leg of the second, and then I put them down for rather a long time. Knitting them rapidly became rather chore-like - the needles are the 'new' Knit Picks Sunstruck DPNs, a batch of the made in China ones, and wow I do not like them. They feel sort of plasticky, and the stitches seem to stick more than with my other KP needles - all of which were from made in India batches. I could have switched the needles, but at the time when I set the sock aside, I was thoroughly sick of the whole thing, and when I finally picked it back up again to take as in-flight knitting to London, I was a bit worried about needle confiscation at the airport, particularly leaving Heathrow to come back, and left these ones in, reasoning that I wouldn't be terribly upset if they were taken from me. As an aside, there was no problem at all in either direction. (I didn't really expect to lose them departing from Canada.)

Anyway. They're nearly done now, I'm just playing a bit of yarn chicken. I've only got a few rounds left of the foot before starting the toe decreases. Will the yarn hold out?

Admittedly, this is not a particularly high-stakes game of yarn chicken - I have more, there's a remnant cake of this yarn from the first sock...somewhere. I have a pretty good idea of where it is, but I could be wrong. Either way, my life will be easier if this yarn makes it to the end.

Which would be good, because my sister wants these socks, and running out of yarn just before Kitchenering will force me to put the sock down while I search out that remnant cake, and if I am feeling frustrated, who knows how long it will be before I pick it up again...

Friday, August 1, 2014

K'done: Arch-Nemesis Socks

Boom!



Pattern: Arch-Nemesis, by Sarah Bordelon
Yarn: Invictus Yarns Unconquerable Sole, in Grey Flannel
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

Rank: #76

Well. I actually finished these well before the cut-off (but not early enough to score more than minimum completion points) - way back on 15 July. So why has it taken me so long to blog them? Because I finished them, took my required pictures and emailed them off to the Tour Director, then tossed some clothes in a suitcase and made a dash for the airport to catch a flight...to London, UK. I then spent two weeks doing the tourist thing with my family, with little time for Internet access, never mind blogging my socks!

So. These socks. What do I remember about them?



I remember enjoying the knit. There's a bit of cabling, but most of the patterning is accomplished using lacework techniques - yo, k2tog, ssk, and the like. The architecture involves some arch-shaping, which I'd never done before, and I quite like the result - stockinette on a bias snugs the fabric around the foot up a fair bit. The yarn is a BFL/nylon 80/20 blend, and I enjoyed working with it, though in all honesty it's a tiny bit scritchier than the Invictus merino/nylon blends - I'm not sure my neck would tolerate a scarf or cowl worked out of it. Socks should be no problemo, though. I especially heart this colourway, though it may be a tiny bit too variegated and obscure the fancy work a bit. Or maybe it just doesn't photograph well. Or maybe me using my iPhone 4 camera for FO pics really isn't the way to go. Sigh.

Still, a successful Tour leg, and another pair to restock the sock drawer.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

K'done: Dazzle Them from Behind Socks

Apologies for the radio silence on these. Things have been a bit hectic. But look! Another pair of complete socks!



Pattern: Dazzle Them from Behind, by Meagheen Ryan
Yarn: Invictus Yarns Master of My Feet, in Desire
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1
Bling: 128 8/0 Delica beads, in Garnet

Rank: #98

There is a questionable hairstyle that is sometimes described as business at the front, party at the back. These socks are a much better use for that phrase. From the front, you have demure, modest ribbed socks, with the tiniest bit of beadwork at the cuff and a cute picot trim.



From the back, however, all kinds of fancy things are going on. You've got some lace. Some cabling. Plus beading. Rock 'n roll.



This concept really appealed to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed knitting these. I just wish I had had the time to dedicate to them to get a better finishing rank on them - when I saw the pattern and how much of the sock was essentially plain ribbing, I was hopeful that I would meet my personal goal of better than 60th place on these. Life had other plans for me, however.



Ah, well. I still got a sweet pair of socks, and I finished before the stage deadline, so woot!

There were a few surprises in this pattern. I learned a new cast on - the picot edging is not like other picot edgings I've done, with a folded hem, and I like this one quite a bit, it's nice and stretchy. I learned that not all Delicas are made the same way - last year I successfully used a 1.3 mm crochet hook to add Delica beads to my Tour socks, so this year I pulled that same hook out to use again, and found it was a tad too big for some of the beads, and entirely too big for most. After fighting to add the first few beads, I dug out a smaller hook - 0.75 mm - and beading proceeded much more smoothly from that point on. (Boy was I ever glad I bought that smaller hook on a whim. Luck really does favour the prepared!) Truthfully, the smaller hook is probably a bit too fine for sock yarn - lots of separation of plies as I did the beading. No major headaches, though.



The pattern also had me work a longer heel flap than I usually do - I needed to pick up 19 gusset stitches on each side! (I usually do 16.) As is apparent in that last photo up there, this is probably more heel flap than I need. That could also be due to the pairing of the long heel flap with a riverbed gusset, with the decreases placed close together on the underside of the heel. I suspect my foot does better with gusset decreases placed further apart from each other - the heels on these are big, and I think the decrease placement encourages the fabric to fold where the decreases meet, which enhances the pouchiness of the heel.

Also, the pattern ate more yarn than I'm accustomed to, which really surprised me considering how much of these socks is plain ribbing (as opposed to, say, cables). I haven't weighed my remnants, but the little cakelets left behind are visibly smaller than what I usually have.

Still, I'll definitely do more of these, with different heel stylings. The ribbing on the foot does sort of get a bit tedious, but the end product is so worth it.

And who can't get behind the colour of this yarn? I need much more Invictus for future socks.