Thursday, August 23, 2012

A change of pace

I tend to knit mostly within the same colour palette - browns, reds, with occasional pinks and purples working their way in to the mix. This is because I like to knit myself sweaters, and I like to wear browns and reds - those colours work well for me, I think, and so yarns in that part of the spectrum tend to call out to me more, so I buy them more. This is all fine, because I like these colours.

Except I noticed recently that I wasn't super excited about my current sweater adventure, which is being worked up in a peachy brown colour. I'm still excited about having the end product in my wardrobe, and I'm enjoying the knitting process, but I don't feel the same can't-keep-my-hands-off-the-faboo-yarn that makes me pick projects up to add a few stitches whenever I have a few empty moments. Which means the sweater is proceeding rather slowly - I'm working towards the final waist decrease.

True, I didn't take it with me on vacation, so I lost two weeks on it there, but I've been home for nearly two weeks too, so there should be more than what I've got.

And it's not as though other knits are falling off the needles instead - since I've been home, I think I've worked about ten rounds total on socks that were started during the vacation, and I've cranked out a bulky cowl for my sister, which will get blocked and blogged next week.

Clearly, I'm not reaching for the needles much.

At first, I thought it might be gauge fatigue - maybe I was tired of skinny yarns after all the sock time I had on vacation, so I tried whiplashing to the other end of the spectrum with my sister's cowl. That didn't do it though - I'm still feeling sort of ambivalent about the cardigan.

Then it occurred to me that I might be a bit colour burnt out. Yes, I know I did up a green sweater earlier this year, but since then there's been a whole lot of brown and red on the needles, and I like those colours, but maybe I just need something new to look at?

Enter my sister. She likes brown too - in fact, the cowl I just knocked off for her is a taupe sort of colour - but she also has a fiery burning ardour for blues. Way, way different from my usual palette. Also, with the exception of the cowl, I last knit for her in May, I think.

So I rustled around in her yarn stash - yarn she's bought for me to knit up for her - and came up with this:

Definitely not brown or red. This is gonna be fun.

There you have it. A selfish reason to knit for someone else. Who knew?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

K'done: Plain Socks

I finished these just one day shy of a month ago. I hang my head in blogger shame. On the upside, though, I have another pair of nice socks.

Pattern: None; this is my version of a plain stockinette sock
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, in Maple Grove
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

I hadn't knit myself a pair of plain stockinette socks in a very long time, and one fine day earlier this year - in April, I guess - I got the urge to knit stripy socks, but not by using multiple yarns to do so. I wanted to knit a self-stripy sock. This yarn looked like it might fit the bill, and so I wound it up and cast on. Truthfully, these aren't as stripy as I was hoping for, but I suspected that would be the case as I wound the yarn up, and I'm happy enough with the result.

I cast on 20 stitches using Judy's Magic Cast-On, increased my way to 64 stitches around, then cruised along straight until it was time to do the gussets. Added 11 stitches per side as gussets, then a short-row heel turn, then an eye of partridge heel flap. Then it was a straight cruise on up the leg, followed by 15 rounds of k2p2 ribbing, and Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off to finish.

Yes, there is the tiniest bit of a ladder in these shots - it'll go away once I've washed the socks, I'm not worried about it since it's barely there, and these are unblocked socks. I never block my socks before the first wear.

So there we have it - another pair for the drawer.

In the meantime, I'm still cruising along on other knits - I've got a sweater, two socks, and a cowl for my sister in various stages of completion. The cowl should be done soon, and after that I think I'm going to start on a sweater for her. I've already got the yarn wound up and ready to go.

Then again, I might go selfish and start on a shawlette for me.

We shall see.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

K'done: Unleaving Scarf

Well. It's been a while. Why not start with a completion post?

Pattern: Unleaving, by Lee Juvan
Yarn: Yummy Yarn Studio Merino Tweed, in Caramel
Needles: 5.5 mm / US 9

I saw this pattern in Knitty, and I thought, What a nice scarf - I should make that. Thing is, it was one of their KnittySpin features, which are designs that were imagined with handspun yarn in mind. I don't spin. Of course, there's no reason why you couldn't just use commercially spun yarn to make any of these items, so I started thinking about what I had on hand that would look good worked into that scarf.

I nearly immediately thought of this skein of Merino Tweed that I wasn't sure what to do with - the variegation kept giving me pause when I thought about turning it into other shawlettes, I was worried about weird stripes or flashes showing up. Flashbang moment. In her introductory notes, the designer says: "Instead of clearly delineated (and sometimes distracting) stockinette stripes, garter stitch often delivers a lovely, subtle shading of colors."

Well. It didn't take me very long to jump on board with that.

I think the pairing turned out very well. The lace edging was fun to work, and is a very nice touch on the finished scarf, even if I didn't block the points out very severely - mine has more of a gentle scalloped edging, and probably the lace could be opened up more, but whatevs. I like it the way it is. I did find that the knitting ran a bit on the long side - I found I was mentally done with the scarf before it was physically done. I suppose all the intrigue is in the shaping of the first half, since it's worked end to end - once you pass the middle point, you're just reversing everything you've already done, and you know exactly how things should work out from the shape of that first half. I also lengthened mine a bit - I used my scale to help me determine at what point I should stop increasing and start decreasing. Since I had 12 g of leftovers, I probably could have lengthened even more - I had weighed the remainder, worked another increase repeat, and figured based on the previous weight that it was time, but didn't bother reweighing to check. Given that I thought the knitting went long, though, it's probably just as well that I called it halfway done when I did.

There are still a couple of other completed things kicking about for me to show off here. And I've got a couple of other things on the go. And I'm feeling a strong urge to kick off a couple of new things - that might be driven at least in part by the fact that I've been shopping a bit.

But more on all that later.