Saturday, February 17, 2007

WIP Revealed

In the previous post I made reference to a major new knit project. This will be my first attempt at a sweater in 30 years. I'm breaking out of the simple knit mode of socks, mitts, and scarves to make something with real structure. After seriously considering the Shocking Jacket I decided it involved way too much seaming for a sweater newbie. Then I saw the Equestrain Blazer in the Winter 2006 IK and knew that this would be perfect. It has beautiful shaping and I just love it. The yarn I chose is Knit Picks Andean Silk. It is an alpaca, silk, merino blend with a luscious hand. It is soft, squishy and a dream to knit with. And the best part? The yarn didn't cost me anything. If you'll remember I participated in an NFL Fantasy Football League. My team won the league championship! My gift from Vera, the organizer of the league, was a gift certificate to Knit Picks. It was exactly enough to purchase the yarn for this project. And, since I didn't have all the needles needed for this project I pulled out the credit card to purchase the Knit Picks needles in three sizes. I have been wanting to try these since first reading about them and saw this as the perfect time to give them a go. So far I like them. The circulars are surprisingly lightweight with smooth joins and nice pointy tips. While they will never completely replace my beloved bamboos I forsee buying more sizes of them.
I cast on February 11 and this is what I have so far. The pattern calles for size 6 needles. I had to go up to a size 7 to get gauge of 19 st/in. My row gauge is off by 5 rows. Which works out perfectly since I have a long torso and long arms. From what I have read on other blogs I think this means I will have to make adjustments when I get to the sleeve cap. If anyone would like to throw out recommendations on how to handle this I would love to hear them. One thing I have found out is that it's hard to maintain consistent guage over such a large area of st st. To ensure that my sweater doesn't inadvertenly shrink or grow during the knitting I have been checking gauge about every five rows. I have had to adjust my tension a couple of times to maintain the 19 st/in.
I had some concern after knitting the swatch that this yarn would loose its shape after washing. The swatch got a good Eucalan bath and layed out to dry. After it dryed it measured exactly the same as before washing. My occasionally wonky stitches evened out and it looks and feels great.
Now for my kind of eye candy......Alpacas! Tyra, Rose, and Sancha are watching DH coming down the driveway. Don't they just look so serene and beautiful? It wasn't like that a couple of weeks ago. It finally came time to wean the crias from their Moms. We had some very unhappy alpacas on our hands. We struggled with who to pasture together for weeks before DH finally came up with a plan that seems to have worked out great. We put Sabrena and Jaxson (Tyra's cria) in the far pasture where they couldn't see the others. That left Rose (Sabrena's cria) in a pasture with Tyra and Sancha. Sancha's cria, Lincoln, went to live at Auburn University in December. Sancha and Rose have formed a tentative bond that seems to fill the void that they have both felt over the separation. Sabrena and Jaxson are getting along nicely and everyone is settling into their new routines. Jaxson is a little sweetheart. He has a great easy going personality and is going to be a permanent part of our herd. I think he will give us some outstanding cria in the future. Just look at that face. Isn't he adorable? Okay, I know. I'm partial. But, isn't he cute????
Rose is a work in progress. She is very cautious with us and only recently has started allowing us to handle her more easily. She used to tremble when we would handle her but now stands calmly and allows us to pick hay from her fleece and will even let me check her teeth. I have been working with her to get her ready for the show ring. She has to learn to walk easily on a lead and allow people to touch her from head to tail. Each time I put a halter on her she does a little better. I have two more weeks to work with her and Jaxson before their debut in the show ring. Wish them both luck. (The luck is for good behavior. They both have all the qualities of fine alpacas and will do well as long as they behave.)

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Let's Knit Some Socks with Susan

How I love a good mystery. When I read about this project on Susan's blog earlier today I knew I had to join in. Here is my completed cuff in Cascade 220 red, knit on size 4 needles. Of course the color isn't showing up correctly. It is more of a true red than it looks here. I'm anxious to see what the leg pattern will be.

I got so wrapped up in the game last night that I didn't finish the scarf as I had hoped. I have about another 14" to knit.

The package I have been waiting for came in today's mail. It was a pleasant surprise. I'm going to try really hard not to start this project until the scarf is finished. Then I will reveal the pattern and yarn. Like I said, I love a good mystery.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

One Row Wonder

The camera was retrieved from the truck and the battery charged. I had forgotten that the reason the camera was in the truck to begin with was because I was taking pictures of the snow Thursday morning. It was beautiful for about half a day. It started raining about 7:30 that morning and slowly melted all the pretty snow. I guess this was our one snowfall of the winter. I'm ready for spring now. Hey, I'm so glad we don't live in Chicago where our son and his family are. I noticed the high for today is 0. The high! I guess that might explain why he's been appling for jobs in Texas.

All of the cold weather around here, with night time lows in the teens, has prompted warm knitting. As mentioned in the previous post I've been working on a scarf using Stephanie's one row pattern. This is one of those colors that is almost impossible to photograph accurately. Especially with the dismal lighting conditions today. The color is actually more red than it appears. With any luck this will be finished this evening while watching the Super Bowl.

Another way to keep warm is with homemade chili. That's what will be cooking in the kitchen this afternoon. And I do make a pretty mean pot of chili.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Finished Miata

The Miata socks are done. Actually they've been done for a while but I just now got around to posting. I have given them to their owner and she was very pleased with them. I was worried about the fit since she wasn't around for the final length fitting. But, she said they fit perfect. I was very happy with the way the colors worked out with this yarn. There is no annoying flashing, spiraling or pooling. Specs for this project can be found here.
Believe it or not I do not have another sock project started. I need to dye up some yarn before I can start another pair. To keep my fingers busy until I can get time to dye I have started a scarf. I'm using the Harlot's One Row pattern with Cascade 220. The color is 9438, Tahiti. This yarn has been languishing in the stash for a while waiting for the right project to come along. I tried Grumperina's Shifting Sands scarf, a simple moss stitch scarf, and a couple more that I can't remember right now. But none of those were right for this yarn. Finally I remembered the one row scarf and decided to give it a try. It was perfect. This may be my new favorite scarf pattern. It's easy enough to be a take along project. It's simple but not at all boring. It's reversible and looks stunning. I cast on 30 stitches on size 8 needles and will knit until I run out of yarn. By my calculations this should result in a scarf about 45" long. This would be a perfect time to show you a picture of the scarf in progress but I forgot and left the camera in the truck overnight and the battery is dead. As soon as it finishes charging I'll get a picture.
Yarn for a sweater has been ordered but unfortunately the post office is in no rush to get it to me. It languished in the Atlanta Sortation center for a day and a half. Come on people. Get with the program. It is scheduled for delivery Tuesday. The problem with that is we live so far off the road that our postal carrier will not bring packages to our doorstep. She leaves a card in the mailbox and then we have to go to the post office to get the package. The post office closes at 4:00 and we don't get back into town from work until nearly 4:30. That means that I won't get my yarn until Friday when DH is off work and can run to the post office for me. Aaaaaaaggggghhhh.
Okay, I feel better now.
Go Colts!

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