Sunday, November 15, 2015

Keep moving forward

The sun is shining today, so I snapped a picture of Big Blue:

I've done the armhole decreases, and am just chugging up towards the shoulders. I'm hoping to have a finished back piece in pretty short order, and then move on to the sleeves.

I've also finished my mittens, but they're still damp from yesterday's soaking. I took a picture of them, but I want to give them their own post.

Looking at how much yarn that sweater back has eaten up so far, I'm ever so glad that we did the yarn switch. I have a feeling the back piece is going to take nearly two whole skeins, and yes, it's true that I reverted back to my original plan of knitting the garment for positive ease, and in the end the length went back to where the pattern said it should be - I held it up against my sister's back and asked her how she liked the length, and she fiddled with it a bit, and asked for a little more. I guess she was on board with my previous shortening plan just for the sake of getting a sweater. So all 16" of length from bottom hem to underarm are there.

It's getting to be a pretty big piece, hence the name Big Blue. It is so very blue. Sister is thrilled.

My brain, meanwhile, still wants me to make myself a sweater, and I've pretty well settled on Runcorn. I've even figured out my yarn! The thing is, the gauge listed is 20 sts to 4", which I know I get with 5 mm needles, and while I have a couple of sets of Knit Picks interchangeables kicking about here that I like perfectly well, I would rather use my spiffy Sigs. (I have it in my head that for sweaters, I prefer the Sigs. I have no evidence to support this conclusion.)

You know, the ones currently in Big Blue.

So I guess I'd better hurry it up and finish Big Blue so I can make Runcorn for me.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Let me try this out

I may have found a solution to my picture problem.

There's got to be a more elegant way to get the next chunk of text to appear beneath my image, rather than beside it. As of this moment, I've got 14 line breaks in there as a sort of brute force workaround. (This note is mostly for my own reference.)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

K'done: two sets of Sister socks

Look! Sister socks!

Pattern: Roman Holiday socks, by Lorain Pettit
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Multi, in Diving Board Multi
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

Um. I finished these a long time ago. Like, 5 February 2015. What happened? I neglected to take pictures of them before handing them off to my sister, and then kept forgetting to snap pictures when she was wearing them. I finally remembered last week, so here they are, in all their glory.

I really liked this pattern, but I gotta say, the socks aren't terribly impressive-looking when they're not on feet - the texture pattern is pretty satisfying work (or maybe that's just me and my increasing obsession with knit-purl textures), but when you're done, you find yourself looking down at these sort of corrugated bent tubes with one end closed. For reasons I don't fully understand, they look much nicer once you slam them onto some feet. I got the pattern in last year's Sock Sniper - I was non-combatant, which is why my sister got the socks, and yes, I finished way after the game was done - but if you are so inclined, the designer has made it available on Rav for free.

But wait! There's more!

Pattern: Effervesce, by Purrlescent
Yarn: Mackintosh Yarns Celtic Sock, in Taurus
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

I know. These pics aren't splendiferous. I'll have to try again when I see my sister wearing them, but that could take a while because I really only see her in the evenings, and we've just begun the season of no sun in the evenings, and it's not going to get better until spring. I'm not holding my breath.

It's a shame my pictures don't do justice to this pattern. It popped up on my radar my first year playing Tour de Sock - it's designed by one of my faboo teammates! She's got a number of free sock patterns up on Rav, and I went through and snagged the ones that appealed to me. This one also appealed to my sister, and was her pick for her summer vacation socks - I wound the yarn, divided it into two cakes, and then packed it to come along with us to Europe. The first was cast on as we were waiting to board the plane to leave Calgary, and by the time we'd landed in Toronto to change planes, I had a couple of inches or so of leg.

And then I noticed I'd done something wrong - I was so excited I didn't count the cable twists on the chart, and assumed it was for only half the leg. It's not. It's the whole leg, so I had to take the sock back down to the ribbing and try again. I did that on our second flight, from Toronto to Copenhagen. That's a pretty long flight, but they also give you food, and I may have nodded off for a bit at some point as well - it's been awhile, my memory's a bit fuzzy. Either way, we landed in Copenhagen, and I had a decent chunk of leg - more than what I'd had in Toronto, but not yet a complete leg. We then boarded our shuttle to go to the cruise terminal, boarded the cruise ship, got settled in our cabins, and crashed out for naps before dinner and a somewhat early bedtime.

The next day, after we'd spent several hours exploring Oslo - our first port of call - I settled in to put some more stitches into the sock, and noticed it didn't really look right. I stared at my work for a few minutes, and then realized what the problem was - I had been working the 'bubbles' wrong. Mine were hollow, with purls between the twisted knits that make up the edges. Those purls are supposed to be knits. The nearly complete leg came out, back to the ribbing again, and I very maturely resisted the urge to fling the yarn overboard. (I don't think Sister would have understood.)

Once those hurdles were overcome, the rest of the sock was fine. It should be noted that none of my mishaps were due to the pattern - it is well written, and the charts are absolutely clear and not at all confusing. I had problems because I didn't look too carefully at the charts. Had I done so, it would all have been fine on the first pass. (It should also be noted that I was careful in setting up the ribbing, which was without fault.) I finished the first sock on the second part of our flight back home (London to Toronto), since we actually didn't have much downtime on the trip, and the second sock was cast on a few days later as we were departing for a week on Vancouver Island with the Mister's parents. By this point, however, I was feeling pretty done with the pattern - I suppose that's what happens when you knit the leg of the first sock twice, plus a bit of a third round for good measure - so my progress slowed as I distracted myself with other things. The pair was eventually wrapped up in, um, early October.

I suppose this means that I should start setting things in motion for another pair of Sister socks pretty soon.

Well. I'll finish her current sweater first. And maybe the other sweater that just needs sleeves. Sigh. It so often comes down to the sleeves.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


The Friday before Halloween, I found some time to put into the back piece of my sister's latest sweater, and I was pretty pleased with what I was getting. Behold, the two finished sleeves (one blocked, one not) and the beginnings of the back:

Now, the eagle-eyed may note that there is no working needle there. That's because when I showed the piece to my sister that evening, I saw a shadow cross her face. A shadow that meant that she had doubts about the fabric I was showing her. Doubts that are pretty straightforward to identify: this is a variegated yarn, and she had concerns that the variegation in the fabric was competing with and obscuring the texture of the pattern.

To be perfectly honest, I don't think it's that bad. Then again, maybe I'm biased, because the Mister walked into the room right then, and asked why we were both staring so hard at a bit of knitting, and I told him that she was concerned that the texture was getting lost in the yarn, and he looked at it for about one and a half seconds and said, Totally. That sealed the deal. I pointed out to my sister that there was other yarn in a suitable weight and quantity available, and while it wasn't solid, it was tonal, so it should play better with the texture. I then proceeded to fetch up that yarn, and show it to her, and, in a fit of once-bitten-twice-shy attitude, expressed concern that the same muddling would happen.

So I wound the yarn, cast on for the back piece, and put in some time.

She's much happier with this go, which means I am happier. I'm coming running up on the beginning of the armhole shaping - I think I have three or so inches to go - and then once the back's done, I'll move on to the sleeves.

Sister expressed some concern over all the knitting I had previously done that was now all for naught. I just shrugged it all off. It actually doesn't bother me in the slightest. I reminded her that I really like knitting, so doing more knitting is never a problem. My priority here is to make a sweater she likes and will actually wear - I don't want to make something she'll never use, which would truly be a waste of my time. Starting over because it turns out the yarn and pattern combo wasn't working out? No biggie, in my books.

Of course, some might point out that the whole bad combo thing would have been made apparent much earlier if I had bothered to knit a swatch in the texture pattern. My usual strategy of knitting a sleeve as a swatch didn't work out this time around because the sleeves are straight up stockinette, with a garter stitch cuff - they're not textured the way the body is, so I didn't see the combination of texture and yarn until rather a bit later. Well. That's true. Use that information as you see fit. I'm going to carry on as I have because, as I said earlier, I'm not the least bit bothered by this setback.

In fact, there's a silver lining - no more yarn chicken! I've even gone back to my original plan of knitting the pattern size S, with all the positive ease that entails, and I'm not shortening it quite as much as I had been planning on before - still nipping out an inch, because we're still short (in terms of height, not in yardage!), but that's it. Should be cozy.

I am mildly disappointed that I'll now never know if I would have made it or not, and I realize that some others may also be disappointed that the potentially wild ride just won't be happening anymore. I'm sorry? I'm sure there will be other games of yarn chicken - though if I'm smart about it, none of them will have the odds stacked against me quite so firmly.

Others might be looking at my progress thus far and thinking it seems a bit light. Well. It's true that I don't get to knit as much as I'd like, you know, working and all, but that's not my entire knitterly output for the last little while.

I'm also super close to having a new pair of mittens. Which is great, because hand-coverings weather is here, and all of my existing ones are still in a box in the basement, and I have very little inclination to dig them out. Especially when I'm so close to having new ones anyway.

Yes. I know. My photos are a bit fuzzy. It's compression blur, I think. I take a lovely picture with my phone, upload it to Photobucket, crop it, and then it all goes fuzzy when I resize it to fit in nicely with the template here. I'm trying to figure a solution that doesn't cost me money. Suggestions are welcome.