Saturday, September 29, 2007

Slow and Steady She Goes

The first sleeve is finished and the second sleeve is on the needles. If you're looking at this picture and thinking to yourself that "damn, this woman's got some long arms" well yes, I do. That would be a 20" long sleeve there. But this is a bit deceptive. While I want a shorter length body than called for in the pattern I haven't decided yet exactly how much shorter. It is now 13.5" and I will add anywhere from another .5" to 1.5". I did a try on but didn't have that all important third arm that I seemed to need to hold everything in place. Hopefully I can recruit DH tomorrow to help me out. This has been the perfect project for watching t.v. The hardest part on the body is keeping track of whether to knit or purl the garter band stitches. The only bad part about this project is the fact that it will be so long before it's cold enough to wear it.

Last week I realized that I was missing out on some prime knitting time during our commute home each evening. And what's the ideal commuter project? Well, a sock of course. It's amazing how many rounds I can knit on a sock in 40 minutes. I keep the sock in the car at all times now so it's always there ready to be worked on. Why did I never think of this before? What this means of course is that I need to get busy dying more sock yarn so that when this pair is finished I can immediately cast on for the next pair.

WIP Count: Cobblestone Sweater, Tailored Cardigan, Commuter Socks, Lace Scarf, and Fingerless Mittens.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning.

I crawled out of bed around 7:00 this morning and made my way to the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee. As it brewed I stepped out on the front porch to check on the alpacas and was surprised by the cool crisp air. It was about 50 degrees and the air was clear thanks to a good rain yesterday. I grabbed a lap quilt and a cup of coffee and made myself comfy in my favorite rocker on the porch. It was an absolutely glorious morning.

Once I was sufficiently caffienated I headed to the barn to dye the yarn for a pair of Mrs. Beetons. The kidsilk had already been dyed so all I had to do was dye a skein of alpaca to go along with it. I didn't quite get the alpaca as dark as I wanted but it will still be okay. I had wanted the alpaca to be just a shade lighter than the kidsilk but it's more like two shades lighter. The yarn photographed just slightly more blue than the actual color. It's more teal than it appears here. I'm not allowing myself to cast on for these until I have completed one of the sweaters that are now in progress. That should be sufficient incentive to get moving on these two projects because I'm very anxious to cast on. I've wanted to knit a pair of these since the pattern was first published but misplaced the kidsilk after I dyed it. It recently mysteriously reappeared at the bottom of the alpaca basket.

Does anyone have any advice on what colors to combine to create lavender?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Coversations With Kermit

Or, Swatches Lie. When I swatched for Cobblestone I came up with 20 st/4 inches with size 7US needles. This led me to cast on 194 stitches for a size small. After knitting about 5 inches I thought that it looked a bit larger than it should. I measured it at 41.5 inches. Yikes! That can't be right; it should be 39 inches give or take a couple of tenths. So, I put it on waste yarn for a quick try on. Damn this thing is too big. After double checking the swatch and again getting 20st/4" I realized that yes indeed; swatches lie. But that's not the worst of it. My mind had taken a holiday when I decided that 39" was the measurement to aim for. I had planned this sweater to fall right at the hip bone and I had actually measured for the butt. After remeasuring and recalculating I have now cast on 176 stitches on size 6 needles. I am now back to where I was before frogging and the size looks just right. Well, now that you all know the size of my butt...... I may have to rethink this whole swatch thing. I'm seriously thinking that on my next sweater project to just throw caution to the wind and skip the swatch. Live dangerously. Just cast on with what's called for in the pattern and start knitting.

Cobblestone isn't the only project that has been to the frog pond. Tailored took a quick dip a few days ago too. After knitting about half of the left front I didn't like the way the garter band was drawing up and making the whole thing all puckery. I ripped back and started over doing my best not to strangle the yarn in the garter band area. It looks much better now and as you can see is ready for it's mate.
We went to the fair today so that I could check on my entries. My Swallowtail Shawl got a 3rd place behind a pretty fine gauge blanket and something knit with fun fur. The blanket I understand. It was really pretty and looked like it was knit on size 2 needles and had a lovely textured stitch pattern. But fun fur? Alpaca, lace and nupps rate lower than fun fur? Will the fun fur madness never end? My other entry this year was a flower arrangement that I entered on a whim and it also got a 3rd place. I really didn't expect it to get anything. Two entries and two ribbons; I really can't complain. Especially considering that we got to spend some real quality time with our Grandson and his Mom today.
It was a good day.