The Daily Skein

All the craft that’s fit to make.

Dreams of My Sweaters April 9, 2010

Filed under: Knitting Projects,Musings — Cailyn @ 2:09 pm
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I had the weirdest dream last night.  I was soaking my CPH to wash and reblock it.  Only I was soaking it in bleach!  (Bleach dissolves wool, in case you didn’t know.)  In the dream, I used bleach on purpose so that I would ruin the CPH and have to knit something new.

 

I did recently wash and reblock my sweater since it had gotten coffee spilled on it, but I used regular wool wash and water (I double-checked!)  I love that sweater and I don’t want to ruin it.  But maybe… maybe I want to knit myself something new.  Something cardigan-like, something easy and quick to knit, maybe with some drape…

 

But then I look over at my “Project Progress” sidebar.  There’s a lot of stuff over there.  And that’s not even a full list- I don’t want to lose your respect!  Even if I ignore all the projects on needles smaller than size 4 (3.50 mm), I still shouldn’t be thinking about a sweater for myself.  I started a sweater for Lowell in November and it’s still sitting at about 14” long!

 

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Shown here being worn by the famous model, Spare Pillow.  I don’t think Lowell is interested in a short woolen tube top, so I really should get moving on that and add sleeves and maybe even some shoulders.  Of course, it’s getting warmer now (at least, it’s supposed to be getting warmer; there’s some hail that was left off the memo) and maybe he won’t notice if I don’t finish the sweater until next November?  I could tell him that it’s sitting in the dresser- with sleeves and everything!- and he’d never know until it got cold enough again to go looking for a wool sweater.

 

I pulled the Lowell-sweater bag out of the hall closet where it had been hibernating and put it next to me on the couch, with the hope that this would remind me to work on it.  Or maybe that my powerful knitting brainwaves would would work on it while I worked on something else.  I have to quickly reknit a pair of socks for the Sanguine Gryphon to sell (the pattern, not the socks themselves).  You have not seen these socks yet, but you will.  I think you’ll like them.  Even if I wanted to work on something new or Lowell’s sweater, I can’t work on anything else until I finish these socks.  Good news: I’m on the heel of the first sock.  Bad news: I’m only on the heel of the first sock.

 

But a little search of Ravelry for cardigans couldn’t take up too much time, right?

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Yeah, that was a bad idea. 

 

I narrowed it down to the February Lady Sweater, Mehndi from the latest Twist Collective, and Decimal from Knitty Spring 09.   I decided on the February Lady Sweater.  I’m not sure why, since I have seen this sweater many times and it never sparked any sort of reaction before.  But this time I kept coming back to it.  I like the 3/4 sleeves and the three buttons just on the top and the raglan shoulders.  Lace always makes me think a project will go quickly.  I think it’s because of all the little holes- it seems like there’s less knitting involved to make lace than stockinette.  Obviously, this idea is wrong, so you can stop writing your hate mail right now.  It’s just a gut reaction.  I promise you, I rue the reaction while I struggle to make all the ssks and yos line up correctly and then realize I have three stitches leftover at the end of the row.  Yet I always think that lace will go quickly.

 

The pattern is simple and straightforward.  It’s an adaptation of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Sweater on Two Needles.  Garter stitch and a simple 4-row lace pattern, no waist shaping, no sewing.  I was hooked.  And then I remembered that I’m going to my sister’s undergrad graduation in late May.  I thought, maybe I could finish this sweater in some luscious yarn like Dream in Color Classy and pair it with a dark shirt and nice skirt and bam!- I have an outfit without having to shop!  I hate shopping for “nice” clothes so much that I would rather spend the day scrubbing hard water stains from the toilet bowl.  Which I did last week.  

 

So making myself an outfit seemed so much more pleasant.  Then reality sunk in and reminded me that it’s already in the 70s in Virginia and it’s only April.  Temperatures will be well into the 80s or even 90s by May 22.  No way I’m wearing a wool sweater, even if it’s lacy, in Virginia in May. 

 

Thus started the Great Summer Yarn Search of 2010 (for a Cardigan that I’m Not Even Going to Make Because I Haven’t Finished Lowell’s Sweater and even if I Did I Wouldn’t Be Able to Finish It Before I Leave on the 18th of May Because of All the Other Things I Have to Do).

 

But I’m leaning towards something with Tencel in it.  It has such a nice sheen.

 

Project Progress April 14, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects,Musings — Cailyn @ 2:25 pm
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I just looked over at my “Project Progress” widget.  Yikes!  How did I end up with so many projects?!  Let’s see, I’ve got The Cardigan, which has stalled out a bit.  I haven’t really touched it in a while.  I’ve been telling myself that it’s because I have more important things to work on, but I fear that I might be getting bored.  Maybe I’m just not in the mood to knit so much stockinette right now.  The cardigan measures a whole seven inches.  That’s a lot more inches that I need to knit.  But I shall conquer it!… just not yet.

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Next on the list is a pair of socks knit from Cherry Tree Hill’s Sockittome in the Loden colorway.  These socks are destined for a submission to a publication, so I can’t show you more than the yarn.  The yarn is a little stiff but I think it’ll soften up wonderfully after being washed.  It’s got good stitch definition and cables nicely.  I like it a lot and I think I’ll be adding Sockittome as a solid sock yarn to my yarn quiver.   As far as project progress, I just finished the gusset on the second sock, so not far to go on these!

 

102_4379The sock blank socks are the pure stockinette socks that I’ve been knitting since my trip to Virginia.  Top-down, short-row heel, standard toe.  They’re a great project for keeping the hands busy without paying attention.  I’m not exactly happy with the way the colors turned out.  I’m almost finished with the first sock- just have the toe left to do.  These socks are low on the priority list, really more of a back-up project.

 

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Norman’s scarf is a project that my father-in-law requested while we were at Village Wools.  Sadly, this is the best picture of the scarf but not the best picture of the two of us.  But this is proof that even layman can’t go into a yarn store without being inspired!  He picked out three colors of Mirasol Sulka, which is a luxurious blend of silk, alpaca and merino.  Really lovely to work with, especially in garter stitch.  You might recognize the scarf as a non-variegated version of the Multidirectional Scarf.  First I had to learn a little about modular knitting and then I planned out the color changes for the intarsia.  I’ll be putting up a tutorial for working the Mulitdirectional Scarf with intarsia in the next few days.  Now it’s just a matter of knitting the rest of the scarf.  What I’ve got here is about twelve inches on the long side (but only seven on the short 102_4375side, shhh).  I’ve been trying to keep the scarf cat-hair free, which means that it stays in the cat-free guest room.  It works up pretty fast, so I’m hoping that I’ll have it finished soon!

 

The Shibui Knits socks will be the next pattern that I publish on the blog.  Hopefully.  If nothing goes wrong.  I finished sketching (er, imagining, I can’t really sketch) the socks last night but I have to wait until my new needles get here before starting them.  I tried swatching the yarn with size 1s (2.25mm) and 2s (2.75mm) and neither was quite right.  So I ordered some 1.5s (2.5mm) needles which should be here soon.  But for now, the socks are just in my imagination and my widget.

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Oh yeah, I’ve also got a pair of socks planned using the Sanguine Gryphon’s Kypria.   But I think they’re also going to be a submission, so you only get to see the yarn again!  I have high hopes for this yarn, it seems really yummy so far!

 

So yeah, I’d better get back to knitting!

 

Cardigan Update March 16, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects — Cailyn @ 7:37 pm
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I was going to post some pictures of the Orencia socks that I had made such a big deal of before.  I finished them on my trip to Virginia.  But as I set the photo-shoot up, I realized that they really needed to be blocked.  I don’t normally block socks, as they don’t really need much encouragement to look sock-shaped.  But these socks are mostly lace and lace really shines after it’s been blocked.  At least, I hope so.  They looked a little shabby sitting there all wet and pinned down.  I hope they recover!  Anyway, I can’t take pictures of them while they’re in that state.  That just wouldn’t be fair to them.

 

So instead, I’ll give you an update on my cardigan.  You know, the one that’s given me so much trouble so far?

 

Now, I’ve dragged this thing all around the country.  I took it to New Mexico, figuring that it was a good car project.  Well, it was far too warm to be working on a wool sweater.  I think I knit one row in the car. 

 

I took this sweater to Virginia.  It stayed in the suitcase the entire time.  Didn’t even look at it.  Honestly, didn’t even think about it.

 

But I finally took it out and worked on it this weekend.  I finally finished the cabling around the bottom and I even have about seven rows of stockinette done.

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Of course, being the evil, evil project that it is, it punished me for my neglect.  Having such nice cabling along the bottom means that I had to cast on more stitches for the bottom than I will need for the rest of the body, since cables cause the fabric to contract.  Easy, I thought, I’ll just add an extra repeat in the cable and then decrease the stitches out when I’m done.

 

Well, that’s perfectly fine if you work on the project continuously and remember to decrease the sixteen stitches before knitting six more rows of almost three hundred stitches each!  I decided not to rip back, as that would just have been too painful.  So I dropped certain stitches and reknit them with decreases.  This left me with some unsightly tension issues which I then had to tease back into place.  It likely would have been faster to rip and reknit.  But I’m stubborn and I did it the drop-and-reknit way.

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The decreases did finally all get into place, although I am making no claims to them being “evenly spaced.”  In the picture above, you can see the five stitches that will form the steek for the zipper- or the nice stockinette stripe up the front if I chicken out on the steek.  It has cables running up either side, which are the only bit of interest in the body anymore. 

 

It remains to be seen if I’ll go insane before I reach the underarms, but if I do it’ll be a toss up between the boredom or the cantankerous nature of this sweater.

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Playing Hooky February 11, 2009

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 5:15 pm
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This was supposed to be a post about one of my favorite fibers.  But instead I’m going to go see the Lion King (the stage show, not the movie) in a few minutes. Tomorrow will be a post about one of my favorite fibers.

 

The sweater/cardigan is coming along nicely after our rocky beginning.  I really should have cast on flat and knit until the possibility of twisting was gone and then join in the round.  I mean, I’m going to slice the thing open anyway… Oh well.  I’m almost done with the first section of cabling and am about to decrease some stitches (how many is still to be determined) and then start the long slog on on the body.  More pictures soon!

 

Honeymoon Over February 6, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects — Cailyn @ 8:20 pm
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Well, that lasted a long time.

 

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Seriously, cardigan?  Just ten rounds in?  That’s when you want to start fighting? 

 

Here’s what happened.  I cast on 301 stitches.  And I joined in the round, being very, very careful not to twist.  I checked three times.  No twist at any time.  Happy and content, I proceeded to work my way around.  Now, keep in mind that there was no twist in the cast on row, I swear.  However, after Round Ten, I noticed a distinct turn and a half in my knitting.  You can imagine my shock, especially having been so careful as to check multiple times before and after joining in the round.

 

There was nothing for it.  I had to rip the whole thing out.  Oh, it was mad about it.  It threw a hissy-fit about being frogged; tangling, sticking together, trying to grow extra ends to confuse me.  It took me almost an hour to untangle and re-ball that yarn.  Grrrrr.

 

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This does not bode particularly well for the rest of the project.  Especially since when I cast on again and knit a few rows, I had another twist!  What is going on here?!  Is there no way to join without twisting in this mixed up world?  How many times do I have to check the cast on to make sure that it’s not twisted? 

 

I’m warning you, cardigan.  You’d better start knitting straight or I’ll felt you into nothingness, superwash or not.

 

Honeymoon February 3, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects — Cailyn @ 4:58 pm
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That, my friends, is the first seven rows of my not-so-beginner-friendly cardigan.  I can’t believe I’ve knit 7 rows already!  I’m a small knitter at heart; I knit socks and mittens and cat toys.  Even hats sometimes seem like too much of a commitment.  “I have to cast on how many stitches?!”  I always ask.  I’ve developed a strong dislike for the process of casting on.  It’s strange, because I remember that casting on was my favorite part as a kid.  Of course, back then I was using the backwards loop method instead of the long-tail cast on.  I loved the rhythm of casting on; I felt so capable and smart as the stitches flew onto my needle, lickety-quick.  But now it just seems like an annoying hurdle to jump over before the real fun can begin.

 

I think that my dislike of casting on stems from my sheer unadulterated hatred of chaining in crochet.  I like to crochet, but I could never count the chains accurately.  After having to rip out a chain of thirty, seventy, or one hundred stitches because I was 5 stitches short after the first row became really, really annoying.  I always seek out projects with very few chains at the beginning.

 

That, honestly, is one of the things that has kept me from starting a sweater or cardigan before now.  The thought of casting on two hundred to three hundred stitches for a sweater knit in the round was highly unappealing.  I have persevered, though, and as you can see below, I successfully cast on three hundred and one stitches last night.  So far, the cardigan and I are having a very nice honeymoon after the chore of casting on.  Things are moving along as fast as can be expected, the yarn is nice, and the needles are sharp.  And I haven’t miscrossed a cable, which is always a bonus.

 

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Of course, it’s too warm outside to wear a light jacket, let alone a wool cardigan, but I’m in complete denial about that.  It’s February, it must be cold, right?  

 

Yarn Babbling January 22, 2009

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 12:53 am
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Ok, having carefully looked at my queue of projects and searched deep in my soul for the answers to life’s great questions, I have determined that, yes, I have enough time and sanity to knit a seamless raglan cardigan.  Not just any cardigan, mind you, a cardigan that will be designed mostly on the fly, a cardigan that will include my first sleeves, and a cardigan that will include my first steek.   Any sane person would choose a pattern already designed and written by a professional sweater-designer.  But me?  I like a challenge.  Apparently.

 

Also, have you noticed that “queue” is a really weird word?  I was trying to type it and I honestly couldn’t remember how to spell it.  It was inconceivable to me that it had “ueue” after the Q.  Shouldn’t there be some sort of silent consonant in there?  Maybe I should start spelling it “queuet.”  The T is silent. Isn’t that better?

 

So, the sweater/cardigan (it will start off life as a sweater before the *shudder* steek is cut up the center) will be knit from Knit Picks Swish Worsted, in Marine Heather.  I know that I come across as the world’s biggest Knit Picks junkie.  But I really like their yarns.  I think that they can’t be beat for a sturdy, good quality yarn for a low price.  I love many, many non-Knit Picks yarns (mm, Road to China.)  But I can’t afford them all the time.  Especially since, well, it takes a lot of skeins to make something that goes around my whole torso.

 

Aaaaaanyway.  I’m thinking that the cardigan will have some nice cabling details.  And if it turns out well, I’ll of course be publishing the pattern here.  Here’s hoping that that’s the case.

 

I mentioned some Misti Alpaca that my brother-in-law had bought me last time.  After Christmas, we drove up to Vancouver for a few days and we spent some time in the Granville Market.  Well, my mother-and brother-in-law spent more time than the rest of us, but that’s another story.  They stopped in at Maiwa, a fiber supply store.  This store is seriously cool.  All kinds of yarns, books, fibers, and dyes.  They had all natural dyes, too, from flowers and vegetables.  I almost bought some, but I don’t really do enough dyeing to justify a big tub of ground marigold or indigo.  The in-laws spent a while looking at different yarns, trying to decide what I’d like. 

 

What I got was some beautiful Skacel Adagio (70% llama, 30% silk)

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And some Misti Laceweight Alpaca (100% baby alpaca)

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Actually, the second ball of Adagio wasn’t blue originally; it was gold, but when I went in to check out Maiwa for myself I couldn’t resist the combination of blues.  You know how I am with blues.  The laceweight presents an interesting quandary.  Do I try my hand at a lace shawl?  I’m not really a shawl-wearer.  I love the colors, though.  They’d be beautiful as a shawl.  The employee at the store recommended holding the yarn doubled and making a scarf, which is probably what I’ll do.  Shawl might be too much of a commitment right now, given my list of projects.

 

I also picked up some of this Fiesta Ballet (50% superfine alpaca, 50% Tencel) yarn which my mother-in-law pointed out to me:

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This might be destined for a hat or something like that.  It’s crazily soft.  If I had more of it, I might have made it into a scarf too.

 

I love souvenir yarn shopping.