Thursday, May 28, 2015

Disaster averted

Last night, I was chugging along on my sister's scrappy wrappy thing, and got to a point where it was time to join a new ball of the same colour on, which I like to do with a Russian join - no ends to weave in. I pulled out the bag that I keep my small collection of tapestry needles in - I only have six, four are fairly large, meant for worsted weight or heavier yarn, one that is sort of medium sized, and one small one for fingering weight yarns. So I keep them all in one little pouch.

I pulled that pouch out, and saw that I was somehow down to five needles - and the one that was missing was the smallest one. The one that I needed at that moment.

Also the one that will be critical to my sock racing.

Normally, this might not be such a big deal. I'm usually pretty good about restowing my tapestry needles once I'm done with them, since I have so few, but on the odd occasion I don't, there's really only one place I would expect to find it. The problem here, though, is the last time I used that needle would have been before we moved, so I can't exactly track it back to its usual not-put-away place since that place no longer exists. I'm not sure where it could have gotten to in the meantime, but I can confidently say that I am not really in a position to locate it.

So I ventured out to a yarn shop today to buy a replacement. I got a little set of two - one small one, one larger one. They don't have the bent tips, which all my others have and it turns out I like that, but the shop was out of the bent ones. I'll have to remember to add another set to my cart next time I'm online shopping at a place that has them.

At least now, I have something. Imagine it: I'm cruising to the finish on my first sock for Stage 1 of the Tour, and I go to Kitchener the toe and discover I don't have a needle. That would have been crazy making.

No worries now, though, since I now know for sure that I have one! Phew.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

K'done: Tenney Park pullover

Oh. Ehm. Gee.

It. Is. DONE.

Pattern: Tenney Park, by Elizabeth Morrison
Yarn: madelinetosh tosh sport, in Nebula
Needles: 4 mm / US 6

Oh man. This sweater. This yarn. We haz history.

I think the yarn was ordered in 2011, or 2010, or maybe even 2009? I didn't record the acquisition date. (Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.) My sister fell in love with the colour, and we ordered a whopping 5 skeins of it so she could have a very nice lacy cardigan - a Poplar + Elm. (Now that I've consulted the archived Rav page for that initial plan, I'm pretty sure the yarn was purchased in 2011.) I started, and, well, eventually stopped, without having even completed a single piece of that sweater. The pattern and I were not buds. After a long period of avoidance, I had a little chat with my sister, and the partial piece was frogged and the yarn was set aside to wait for a new plan.

Then I stumbled upon Tenney Park - probably Rav pattern database surfing. I liked the shape of it, I liked the detail of the entrelac panel. I showed the sample images to my sister, and then told her that I didn't have any long colour change yarn, but the big batch of madtosh in Nebula should do the trick - it just wouldn't be a multicoloured entrelac panel. She was sold on the idea of a monochromatic Tenney Park, and so I excitedly cast on in October 2013 and blitzed through the entrelac panel, and then moved on to the actual body of the sweater as the Mister started playing Grand Theft Auto V.

Now, GTA V is a pretty epic game, but a sweater knit at 24 sts to 4" is also a pretty epic knit, and so when the gameplay was done, I had most of the body done, but nowhere near a completed sweater. Since new games mean new knits, and I am easily distracted, I set this one aside and moved on to other projects. At some point, I picked this up again, finished off the sweater body (except for the bottom hem ribbing, which is done at the end), and picked up stitches for the first sleeve.

And entered sleeve purgatory.

I don't know what it is about sleeves. Sometimes I don't mind them, sometimes it's as if each row or round is some fresh layer of torment I must endure to achieve complete-sweater nirvana. Either way, my progress ground to a halt about two thirds of the way down the first sleeve, and I bounced off to other projects again.

Then, earlier this year, once my stash had been all packed up and hauled off to the new house, where it still sits, waiting for me to be there too, I decided it was time to just get 'er done. I finished the first sleeve, did the second sleeve, blocked the bits, seamed in the entrelac panel, and then did the last bit of ribbing at the neckline and bottom hem. The blocking part and all that followed all happened within the past week. Boom.

I must say, I am really pleased with how it all came together, and I sure hope it meets sister's expectations when I present it to her later today. Because this one had such a long gestation period, I'm not too sure which size I made anymore - I'm guessing I went with the 37.5" bust since I was working at a slightly smaller gauge than called for. I suspect it will fit my sister with an inch or two of positive ease in the body (which she likes), and half an inch of positive ease or maybe zero ease in the sleeves. I laid out the shirt I'm wearing today over top of the sweater before I got dressed, and the sweater is definitely bigger in the body than my shirt, but the sleeves seem to be about the same. I think it should be good! Right now the neckline and bottom hem ribbing are unblocked, so not as refined looking as the ribbing on the sleeves, but it should be okay.

Mods: Other than the whole monochromatic thing, I changed a few other things too. I worked all the ribbing as 2x2, just because. I lengthened the sleeves, largely to make the most of the abundance of yarn, and also because my sister likes longer sleeves. I started the ribbing once the the sleeve decreases were done (which is earlier than the pattern directions state), and then carried on with ribbing until the sleeves were long enough that they looked as if they would cover my hand bones (but not my finger bones) in their entirety. The sleeves ended up about 22" long from armpit to end! I may have overshot a little. I debated putting in thumbholes, but decided against it since that part of the sleeve is ribbed and will cling to the arm and hand, negating the need for the thumbholes to keep the sleeve from riding up or flopping about. If sister needs sleeves out of the way and hands exposed, she can fold the cuffs over to the desired length, and it won't look wacky.

Tech specs: Chinese waitress COs, neckline and bottom hem were bound off using Jeny Staiman's stretchy bind off, while the sleeves were bound off using a double chain bind off. I have no good reason for not being consistent with my bind offs.

So now, my sister will finally have this sweater, the weight of the unfinished project has been lifted - I'm free!

What's next? Well, there are two other sister knits on the go around here, but nothing else - all my yarn is out of reach. That should change very soon, though.

And hey - TdS 2015 starts soon! Yeah yeah yeah.

Monday, May 4, 2015


Yesterday, I finished up my MKAL scrappy wrappy thing, and wove in the ends. I want to block it somewhat promptly, so I can show my sister - she may want one too, and it was pretty darn entertaining to work up, and she has tons of sock yarn remnants eating up space, so I am on board with making one for her.

We still haven't moved, and I thought with a sigh that I didn't really want to wait until after the move to block this.

Which drew my eye to the pile of sister sweater pieces that need to be blocked before I can finish it off - seam in the centre panel and work up the neckline and hem ribbing.

And then I reflected on the fact that my sister's birthday is this coming Sunday. This sweater isn't really her gift, but it's been a long anticipated piece, and it sure would be nice to present it to her on her day.

Bingo. Challenge accepted. This morning I gave the sink a quick cleanaroo, then dumped the sweater pieces into Soak-y water. They marinated like that for 45 minutes, then I squeezed them out by hand and laid them out on the not-a-table. (Yes, I skipped the step where you roll your pieces up in a towel and then walk on them. I always skip this step. It's dry in Calgary. Also, I'm lazy.)

Tomorrow (or, you know, Wednesday - I did skip the towel step) I'll seam in that centre panel, and then I'll be off and running knitting again to try and wrap it all up by Sunday.

We need to move soon. I'm running out of stuff to knit with!