Saturday, October 24, 2009

There's that learning curve again

Earlier this past week, I cast on for Shur'tugal. I didn't spend much time on it - picked it up in a few odd moments while working. I knit up the toe, then when it was time to start the actual pattern, I looked at my printed out pages at home. Right on page 2 was a little chart, the "Wickerwork Pattern" chart. I grabbed that page, stuck it in my handbag, and then the next day, while at work, I used that chart as a guide and worked my way through one pattern repeat.

Then I started the second repeat. Today, I picked up the sock and continued in on the second repeat, but halfway through it I looked at the fabric and had the uneasy feeling that it didn't look right. I started rooting around in Ravelry, and sure enough, everyone else's socks didn't look like mine. So I went back to the pattern, and read past the little chart.

Oh. There's a leg chart, where the wickerwork chart is arranged so that it actually creates the fabric showcased in all the pictures. And oh, there's a special toe chart too, so that the toe actually flows into the patterned fabric instead of a jarring transition from stockinette to wickerwork.

Rip rip rip. Let's try that again, shall we?

Lesson learned: when a pattern has more than one page, look at all of the pages so that you actually know what the instructions are.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a toe to re-knit.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

K'done: Snicket Socks

When the world is gray and cold, slip on some cozy non-gray socks.

Pattern: Snicket Socks, by Sabine Riefler
Yarn: Fleece Artist Merino 2/6, in Ruby Red

I thoroughly enjoyed knitting these - not sure the pattern looks like netted lace, as was intended by the designer, but it is still a very appealing honeycomb, and all the wee cables are fun. Well, they're fun if you cable without a cable needle - which I used these socks as an opportunity to learn. I think one might go crazy trying to use a cable needle to do these!

I will definitely be using this pattern again in the future. I suspect it's not one you'd want to try with a highly variegated yarn - solids and semi-solids are probably the best bet.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


On September 1, I cast on a sock. It was a Snicket Sock, worked up in Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 in Ruby Red. It was plane knitting, and I also worked on it as I sat in front of my laptop in my hotel room in Montreal, sometimes to take the edge off my work that had stalled out in front of me, sometimes while I had a TV show playing on the laptop to take a bit of the edge off the loneliness that was creeping into my consciousness - I'd watch and knit, and feel more like myself and less like a small girl who'd been dropped into a strange land that lacked the people, places, and things that made her world make sense.

On September 9, I cast off that sock, wove in the ends, and started in on its mate, on the plane ride back home. I got nearly all the way up the foot, in spite of the chatty guy on the first leg of the trip.

Since then, though, I've barely touched this sock. It's too bad - I really like the way the pattern and yarn go together, I'd love to be able to wear the suckers! But I never seem to want to sit down and finish them. I've gotten through the heel, and I'm about halfway up the leg - one more pattern repeat, then the ribbing at the top.

Life keeps getting in the way. I started working again - new term means new teaching contracts. Plus there's still an old project that I'm trying to wrap up.

Plus I had a cardigan I wanted to finish, so I could wear it to work. Plus fall came, which made me suddenly and desperately want a new hat.

Now, the cardigan's done - drying from the block-wash - as is the hat - also drying from a block-wash. So I can finish up this sock, right?

Wrong. Now I need a new scarf. And I can't stop thinking about my next sweater.

Okay! Enough foolishness! Time to buckle down! I mean, I really like this pattern, even though I've nearly finished two socks and I still don't have it memorized. I'm now able to figure out where I am quite quickly - this was a problem in the beginning - but I still make sure I've got the instructions close by.

I will have a new pair of socks very soon!

Maybe after I finish this stack of marking, though.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Possible and impossible

The past few days have involved me strutting about somewhat triumphantly, for I have the glow of not just one finished item, but two.

Pictures will come after blocking is done. I suppose I could have taken pictures of the items while they dry, but I use my iPhone's camera for pictures - not a particularly high quality image, but decent enough, and I can email it right to the image host, no fiddling around with cables to connect a camera to the computer. I can't argue with that sort of convenience. So pictures will have to wait.

The first item I finished was my Cropped Cardigan with Leaf Ties (Ravelry link to my project page). I'm pretty excited about this one - it's the first sweater I've made for myself. Pre-blocking, it fit pretty well - I had been nervous about it coming out too small, so I made a size that was probably larger than it needed to be, judging by how much room there is in the sleeves. Still, I think it works - not sure I'd want the thing to be super fitted, and it's not billowing on me as is either. Of course, I checked my gauge, but didn't do the whole knit a little square, measure, then wash and remeasure thing. So if it happens that the yarn undergoes a massive change with water, then I could be in for a surprise! We'll see if this is the experience that makes me rethink my operations here.

The second item was my Ice Cream Stella. It feels a bit like cheating to include a hat, but it's done, so it counts. I haven't blocked it yet - unblocked photos on my Ravelry project page - but I think I should. I suspect I'll love it once it's blocked. I'm just not too sure about how to lay it while it dries - I don't want to distend the ribbing, and I don't want to end up with a defined crease at the fold. Then again, maybe I'm worrying where I don't need to - blocking is a relative term, and around these parts, it's definitely not a severe, shaping process - I don't use pins, so really it's more of an immerse in Soak-y water, then lay flat to dry. There's creases, but I have this feeling that they're not as well-defined as they would be if I were to block more severely. I'm still thinking.

I'll have more to say about these items once they're blocked and really truly finished. I must say, I find it much more interesting when one can see a picture of the finished object and read the accompanying comments at the same time. Seeing a parade of images only is useful, but being able to read someone else's thoughts about the process of making the object is more interesting and enjoyable. I've been reading through the archives of the occasional knitting blog here and there - I'm a couple of years late to figuring this stuff out - and there are several that I've finished up and now miss because they're no longer updating. Eunny Jang, for example - loved reading her blog archives, am sad she doesn't seem to blog anymore.

The real take home message here, though, is that I can actually finish a sweater! Without having to devote all my attention to it. This is good, because I want to make myself some more. I have a sweater's worth of Artyarns Supermerino in Cappucino, and I want it to be a sweater. I was thinking of making a Textured Tunic with Side Buttons, except minus the buttons. I tried to knit a little bit with the yarn last night though, to see how I was doing with respect to gauge, and not only was I off - getting about 3.5" out of 13 stitches instead of 4" - the fabric seemed impossibly loose to make a sweater. Unless the goal is a sheer sweater. But that's not what I want. So I thought to myself, well, maybe I'll just have to get thicker yarn for this sweater, and instead I'll make a Francis Revisited instead. But today, when I went to see what gauge I should be getting, I again ran into that 13 stitches to 4". Both patterns call for worsted weight yarn, knit on 6 mm/US 10 needles. How can this be?