Thursday, February 27, 2014

What's on my needles (week 6)

At The Knitting Garage at AL Stickles

I only got about three more rows done on The Fortune's Wheel; it has been busy at the shop which is a good thing.  I am always happy to meet new knitters from around the country :)
Also Leah came back from her family ski vacation full of new ideas and gave the shop a little facelift.  Spoiler-alert:  There are some more changes in the air :)

At Home

Owl Sweater

I have finished the two sleeves for my owl sweater over the last weekend.  After following instructions for the first sleeve I frogged it and re-knitted with the increases more spaced (every 8th row) for a more tapered look.  In the pattern all increases were done right after knitting the ribbed cuff and I didn't like how the sleeves were more loose while the body is more fitted, now both are fitted but not tight.

I finished the owls yesterday. I am admiring them a lot; it is amazing how a few cables and purl stitches can create the image of an owl.  Mine will be sleeping owls except perhaps a pair in the back.

 After finishing the yoke  I used the stretchy YO bind off for the neck and a new method of "neaten the last stitch of your bind off in the round " I had come across on

I also kitchener stitched the underarm stitches together this morning.

I had two mishaps:  At first I had decided on the Invisible Ribbed Bind-off a.k.a. Knit-One Purl-One and cut yarn a little over three times the neck opening only to realize that I am not sure how to use that bind-off on a knit 2 purl 2 ribbing.  I then decided on the Yarnover Bind Off, but was a couple of inches short of yarn.  I used the magic knot to add length to my yarn (for instructions on the "magic knot" see "what's on my needles week 4").  My normal way of joining yarn, especially yarn this thick is the way I had learned at school:
1. You split  the last six inches of your working yarn in half then you split the first six inches of the new yarn to be joined in half.  This is especially easy with this 2-ply yarn.

2. Then you combine about one inch (enough for two to three stitches) of the old yarn with one inch of the new yarn , use this for the next two to three stitches and then use the new yarn.  You will have four "tails" hanging which will be sewn in later.

The other mishap occurred when I tried the sweater on yet another time because I just love the feel and look of it.  I tried it on after finishing all the knitting, but before grafting the underarm stitches together.  Well, one of the stitch holders came undone and slipped out completely ( I heard a "ping" when it hit the bathroom floor tiles). I had to ask my son to try and put them back on the stitch holder for me while I was still wearing the sweater. I was worried that if I attempted to take the sweater off the stretching will just make the stitches run.  I am happy to say it was a successful operation probably not at least because the thick yarn is not naturally slippery so the stitches pretty much stayed in place.  But a big "Thank You" also goes to Matthew. (Note to self:  I should start on the "Hood Scarf with Pockets"  he asked me to knit for him.
This morning I sewed all loose ends in and kitchener stitched the underarm stitches.  My sweater is now happily blocking. Here are two pictures one in the snow before blocking and one during blocking.

 I am very, very pleased with it and hope it will dry quickly so I can wear it.

Socks for Tony

Now that I used up all the yarn which was given to me over the Holidays I started on the socks for my husband.  This is my 200th project on ravelry!
I gave this yarn to my husband as part of his Christmas present together with a finished pair of socks in the same yarn (Cascade Heritage) in grey. Remember I had started those on our road trip. The gift of yarn was a promise of things to come ;)
The color was sort of a joke although I know he likes red. We kind of laugh about a certain commercial advertisement for a specific University in which all the successful graduates wear red socks. I told Tony that he could change the yarn to a different color he’d prefer, but he stuck with red.
In this project I want to finally try out the Fish Lips Kiss Heel Construction. He likes to fish, so this should be very fitting (pun intended). I am using another pattern just for the numbers (cast on and toe increases).
On Monday I cast on using “Judy’s magic cast-on” from the book " Cast On Bind Off 54 step-by-step Methods by Leslie Ann Bestor".  I am using two circular needles for the two at the time toe up socks.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What's on my needles (week 5)

At The Knitting Garage at AL Stickle

I have gotten quite a bit further on The Fortune's Wheel.
I just started knitting up the fourth and final yarn for the body of the sweater.  The pattern states to knit up five skeins of yarn and to then work the border with the final sixth yarn, but there are only five skeins total in the package.  Dyelot Yarns changed the number of yarns in the Stimulus Package from six to five.  There is no longer the yarn "Twisted".  Instead the other yarns have slightly longer yardage to make up for the missing yarn and you still end up with a total of 670 yards of yarn in the package.  The company did make the change on their website and on the yarn label, but on ravelry and in the pattern it still states "six skeins", so that can be a bit confusing.
Still, the Stimulus Package is a great Yarn and good deal.  The only other suggestion I have, is to put small tags on each skein to identify them by name to make it easier on the consumer who may not know their fiber so well.

My Fortune's Wheel is close to finished.  The sequence in which I used the yarns is as follows: 
1. Alpaca (about 1/3 of the skein), 
2. Harry
3. Deborah (this is when I worked the armholes)
4. same as 1.. Alpaca (the remaining 2/3 of the skein)
5. Circulo
And I will use the Merino for the edges taking the designer's advise. 

The Circulo is a little hard to work with.  The yarn cuts into my finger and my needle gets caught in the circles ever once in a while.  Julie whom I work with, suggested to put a band aid on my finger which works well :)

At Home

My Owl sweater has been hibernating for the last week as I have been putting in more time at my LYS. 
When winter storm Pax came through the region last Thursday and I was stuck at home I did frog my first attempt of the body and I cast on my first sleeve.  Later today, after putting up this post, I will sit down with a cup of tea in a very special cup  a friend gave me and get reacquainted with my owl sweater :)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What's on my needles (week 4)

At the Knitting Garage at AL Stickle

I still have the Fortune's Wheel on my needles.

I used the double slip knot method to join the next yarn.  I am not usually in favor of knotting your yarns, but in this case with the thin yarn and knitting in the round I believe it to be the ideal method.  You can view the youtube video by Jane Richmond: How to join yarn using a double knot

I am beyond the armholes and at 8 times 34 stitches per row and still increasing it looks like it is going a little slower.  But it just looks that way.  I am almost at a point to join a new yarn.  As the next yarn I am planning to use the one I started with in the center as I did not use it all up for the center circle as per pattern notes by the designer.  The piece is coming along nicely and I enjoy working with the yarn.  The fact that all the yarns in the package are dyed the same colorway but on different fibers resulting in different shades is very intriguing to me.
One word about the armholes.  Following the instructions exactly you will need to put your 30 sts per armhole on the holder after a YO row i.e. in the row when you knit all stitches; otherwise you would need to put 30 stitches on the holder and cast on 31.So, there is a YO stitch on your stitch holder.

At home

I kept working on my owl sweater only to realize that I don't like the construction of the body.  I like a looser fit and should have thought about it right when I read "a negative ease of 1-2 inches".  Well, you live and you learn.
On Sunday I re-started casting on 116 instead of 108 sts,  For the waist shaping I went down to 104 sts instead of 96 (or 100 in my first attempt)  and I increased back to 116 stitches getting to the same number as the pattern for that size.  I also followed some other knitters' advice and did the decreases and increases on the sides rather than in the back.  I won't make changes for the arms and yoke.
I am happier now with the way it fits.  I am almost at the same point where I stopped in my first attempt which is just under the arms and since today is another snow day, winter storm "Pax" (nothing too peaceful about it), I should have plenty of time to make some headway.

First attempt (back view): This will be frogged today now that I made a definite decision on this.  I am a little nervous about frogging this yarn and hope it doesn't loose too much of its "halo".

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What's on my needles (week 3)

At The Knitting Garage at AL Stickle

I am making strides knitting up the Fortune's Wheel.  I am almost done with the mohair section and ready to join my next yarn.  With 25 stitches now between each marker I am also close to the armholes (at 30 stitches between the makers).  I just transferred the project onto a longer cable so the progress is easier visible :)

At Home

I finished the Culebra shawlette.  I am glad about the warning that I may run out of yarn.  I made the following changes and had just enough left to finish the shawl.
Set up rows for short rows: k163, turn, k19, turn
Then I followed the instructions k2tog, k3 until I had 60 stitches left on either side of the center stitch. I k2tog, k4 until I had 30 stitches left on either side of the center stitch and k2tog, k5. I also bound off right away instead of knitting one more row and then binding off. The bind off in this pattern eats up a lot of yarn and I could have done a regular bind off if needed, but it is a pretty bind of. My changes hardly effect the overall look and made a difference to the amount of yarn used.

When I had nothing to work on during Superbowl I knitted up a quick cowl.  I came out nice, especially since it is knitted up in the very soft Techno by Blue Sky Alpaca.  The pattern name is "Easy Cable Cowl" by Michelle Miller.  Now I just have to figure out who this could be for (I certainly have enough cowls).

Well, this was so quickly knit up that I found myself without a project to work on again during the winter storm Nika.  So, yesterday I started on the "Owl" sweater by Kate Davies.  You can read my project notes for more information.  This should be a very quick knit since it is done on US# 10.5 needles.  I am planning to not sew on any eyes on the owls or perhaps just on one owl left of front center; we'll see.  The yarn is wonderful to work with and I wish I could wear the sweater now already (it is 25 F outside).