Sunday, February 21, 2010

Naughty Strikes Again

That arrow, though hard to see, is pointing to a hole in my sock that a little nasty yarn chewing furry monster in my house created. I should have stuck something through it to make it more clear, it was large enough for my index finger to fit through. I darned it, doesn't look great, but at least I can still wear them. Guess stuffing them in my pants in the hamper wasn't enough of a deterent.

I think I am going to get a nice basket to put on the top shelf of the bathroom shelves to keep my dirty socks in until I was them ... uurrgghhh!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Swatching and Theoretical Planning

I wanted to make Jaywalkers a while back (before I was confident in altering a pattern and trying things on my own) and had the perfect yarn that I got in a swap. I cast on, not once, but twice and unsuccessfully started the sock. It was too big - I didn't even get to the heel flap, it was readily evident that this was not going to work.

While stash diving recently I found that yarn. I used my ball winder and split the 100g skein into two with the intent of tackling this pattern once more. I wanted two balls so that I could complete the socks at the same time - on different needles, but working on each sock individually, so that they are completed at the same time. I pulled out the pattern, saw that it called for 76 stitches on size 1 needles ... well this is probably why my previous attempts were unsuccessful. I have found that a 64 stitch sock at 9 sts per inch fits me well and a 60 stitch sock at 8 stitches per inch fits me well and a 50 stitch sock at 7 stitches per inch fits me well. So let's do some math.

Swatch using Judy's Magic Cast on and tips from New Pathways for Sock Knitters.

My ankle is about 7.5" circumference and my foot is 7.75" circumference. The previous socks I mentioned before come out to 7.1" - ah ha this is the size to shoot for! Jaywalker pattern calls for 7.75 sts per inch in stockinette and 9.5 sts per inch in pattern stitch. Well I get 8 stitches per inch on size 2 needles, so if I use the recommended size one, my gauge will be way off and not to mention I did twice before and the sock was too big. I am leery of just going up a needle size with 76 stitches. So I figured if my stockinette gauge was 8 sts (and I actually swatched), my gauge in pattern will probably be about 9.5 to 10. At this gauge my sock would be 8" - too big. I can cut out a pattern repeat, which I found someone did successfully on Ravelry and use 68 stitches. At 68 stitches the stockinette portion on the foot would be 3.75" and the pattern portion should be 3.5 and my final sock will come out at 7.25 - voila! Now to see if my theoretical approach works out in real life! Stay tuned.

I am still working on my list and I am trying not to start any new projects, but I have decided that I always need a pair of socks on the needles. My purple ones are almost complete so I will cast on Jaywalkers next.

I am at the toe decreases for the stocking. Its going much better on two needles than trying to stretch the stitches around the one 16" circular. I don't think I have DPNs in Size 4 so I am going to use the two needles to finish off the decreases. Once the toe is done then there are three connected i-cords for the top.

Derek's scarf is coming along nicely. I am really enjoying the pattern and the color changes. Its about 1/3 done.

This is my January blanket square ... yes I know its Feb 20th now! This is going to be a house and tree with blue background for the sky. Its coming out nicely, but I don't think I'll do any more intarsia squares for this one.

I am halfway done the first sleeve on my cabled hoodie. Hope to finish that one up this weekend and start the second one. Am still hopeful that this will turn out OK even though my gauge is off. I will definately swatch for sweaters in the future!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Focused Knitting Update

1. Diane's Gloves - need thumb an ends woven in. 1/15/10
2. Derek's scarf - needs to be completed.
3. Leyburn socks - second leg needs finishing. 1/14/10
4. Toe up socks - second heel and leg needs to be completed. 1/25/10
5. Cable bottom up sweater
6. Reversible Cable Scarf
7. Blanket square
8. Lavitan Mittens
9. Bat Shawl
10. Christmas Stocking

Well I am getting there. I did start something that wasn't on this list, but its a second sock to a sock that was sitting in a box almost finished, so I think it counts as a WIP and not a new project.

I have been working on Derek's scarf, I got a few more colors added.

I picked the Christmas Stocking up again and remembered why I didn't finish it in the first place. Stranded knitting and I don't get along, I understand the concept, but because I knit so tightly its hard to strand properly, I try. Also, because this stocking is 1" smaller than its supposed to be its hard to get the stitches around the 16" circular needle that should be no problem if it were the correct gauge. I found a 24" US 4 needle in my stash and am going to try and complete the toe with 2 needles.

I started the sleeve of the cable hoodie and I think I am at the point of the increases.

I'm getting there ...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

One ... of ... those ... days ...

Today was one of those days, where you drop things, shut cabinet doors on your foot, get your sleeve caught on something while walking through a room, start making something from a recipe to find you don't have all of the ingredients, but its already cooking so you continue with what you have, paint a door and wonder why its not drying right and notice that the can says flat when you thought it was satin ... one ... of ... those ... days! Not entirely catastrophic, but ultimately annoying to say the least! Then I think of those less fortunate, without a roof over their head, clean water to drink or freedom and think, wow you don't have it so bad now chicky do you?!??! Stop complaining!

Last night I went to a Ravelympics Cast On party. We watched the opening ceremonies for the Olympics and had goodies to eat and sat a knit something until it was time to start new projects. The hostess had door prizes and every half hour or so she picked a name. Towards the end my name hadn't been picked yet and at the end I figured I didn't win anything because the prizes were out in boxes and there was only one left. She said there were only two names left and she was going to make an executive decision since one of the people was here with her sister and wasn't a knitter (she came to enjoy the company and was interested in learning to knit, but hadn't started yet). Well come to find out I won the BIG prize!

A sweater quantity of Rowan Big Wool in Forest Green!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Unorganized Knitter

Since I started knitting in 2006 ... I've been trying to improve my organization of knitting supplies, ideas, stash, etc. with little luck in getting anything to stick. As you all know, you have plans to make certain things, or get x amount of whatever done ... then you browse online or go into your LYS and all those ideas go out the window and you fill your brain up with new ones. Now, things for myself, I could care less if I forget to make them, or forget that particular skein of yarn in my stash was for xyz ... but I would really like to get my gift knitting organized and planned in such a way as to actually be able to gift those things in a seasonal and time appropriate fashion. For example, the baby sweater for the baby ... not getting it done by the time the kid is 4 years old ... the Christmas stocking done by, oh I don't know, Christmas!

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee had a great idea this year to make up her own sock club, she took 12 skiens of yarn, patterns and all the accessories to get them done and put them in ziplock bags to grab one at random per month to have a year long club, very cool!

I've heard some people make spreadsheets of projects and yarn stash ... not sure if that's for me. Though I am proficient with computer programs, I don't know that I would maintain the sheet.

I've used my blog to make lists and post them, but then they get lost after several posts.

I have a binder with sheet protectors and patterns I want to make, I think I will try and utilize that to organize my gift knitting this year. If I devote a section of that to gift knitting and 2010 knitting for myself or better yet, use a smaller binder just for this idea. I have my stash in plastic totes in the basement and a few bookselves and baskets in my craft room. I could utilize one shelf and/or use some baskets for stash for particular projects. Hhmmm now to turn thoughts into actions, LOL!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Whew ...

Generally, I like my job. Sometimes its a little boring, but that's OK. Its pretty laid back so I can read a book or listen to my MP3 player when I am doing tedious, boring stuff. This week was really grueling ... hellish even. And its not just me, its everybody that feels this way. There was one job in particular that was really grating on all of our nerves this week and Thursday I actually had to leave the building and drive away for a break and cool off and then return to work. Now, this is a place where occasional swearing and outbursts of profanity are accepted and we are not reprimanded for this type of behavior. This day I left because I was beyond this type of behavior and was afraid that I would do something much worse and get in trouble for it, that's how bad it was.

But this week is over and its the weekend now, so that's good! Next week is a different week.

On to the knitting. I got through the body of my sweater and started the first sleeve. I did not swatch, and will swatch in the future ... or at least that's the plan from now on. However, luckily I thought I was bigger than I am so I made a size 4" bigger than my actual size, so the fact that my gauge is off is actually working out to the correct size. My row gauge is also off, but I think it will work out OK since I am petite - 5'3". So the fact that the body is 1 1/2 to 2" shorter than its supposed to be should work out. The sleeves I can continue on and keep the pattern the same to get the correct length to fit my arms. There are cables involved, but on the sleeves ribbing comes into play at the shoulders so I can continue with that until they are the correct length and keep the cable pattern in tact to match the body. And, I don't think it will come to this, but worst case scenario, the entire thing gets ripped out in the end and I chock it up to a learning experience. I was lucky in that the two previous sweaters I made, I also did not swatch, but they came out right in the end.

I ordered and received yarn for the February Lady Sweater this week. I decided on Malabrigo Worsted in Olive for this project and yes I am going to swatch! I think my gauge was off in the cable sweater because its in the round and the other two sweaters I have made were done flat. I know my gauge for socks is typically tighter than patterns call for and I usually go up a needle size to compensate, and those are also in the round ... knitting lesson learned.

I also received a package from Knit Picks. I ordered the starter dye kit and two other colors and two skeins of sock yarn to dye. I think I may attempt this in the Spring when I can do it outside on the deck so that the cats don't get into anything, or I will try to set up something in the basement. I need to pick up plastic wrap and vinegar and check if I need any other supplies.