Friday, January 31, 2003

Now, this is just plain sad. It's been twelve days since I had anything to say about my knitting. Heck, it's been a week since I've done any knitting. I got stalled out on the entrelac sweater at the armholes-- I can't seem to commit to a shaping, since the diagonal edges of my original plan look just plain weird, and I'm afraid if I "indent" too far with a modified drop sleeve, the corner will land in an unflattering place. Sigh. And I just can't seem to pick up anything else to knit. It doesn't help that every time I have a knitting event to go to, it snows and I don't get to go. I might have to prime the pump with a no-brainer dishcloth or something.

On the brighter side, I taught my friend Norma to knit this week. I taught her to crochet a few months ago in spite of her protests that she hadn't been able to learn how in the past. But, she actually found crocheting quite easy, and produced a lovely (and large!) LB Homespun afghan in a couple of weeks. So now she was ready to try knitting. She was a great student and mastered how to knit, purl, cast off and cast on (in that order) in a couple of hours. She says I must just be a good teacher, which makes me feel great.

Sunday, January 19, 2003

I've got about 9" of the back of the entrelac sweater now (a little over two balls' worth). I'm starting to get paranoid about running out of yarn. Here's how I calculated my yarn requirements: the size XL given has a 54 3/4" finished girth, and I want 60", so I'm increasing the girth by about 10%. Likewise, I'm increasing the width of the sleeves by 10%. And I'm not increasing the length measurements at all (in fact I may need to shorten the sleeves). Ergo, the yarn requirements should increase by about 10%. Since the original specified 17 balls, I figured I'd need 19, and I bought 20 for good measure. So I really should have enough, but darn, I'm going to hate it if I'm wrong. Also, I'd like to have the freedom to match the color sequence when I start a new ball.
Spent the whole day yesterday swatching for my entrelac sweater. It took me a while to work out the details to set up finishing, such as how to add selvedge stitches. The particularly sticky bit was figuring out how to do the base triangles so that there would be a nice transition from the plain rolled stockinette bottom into the entrelac. Some methods left rather glaring holes at the turns, and I really wanted to wait and put the rolled bottom on at the end anyway. I finally settled on a variation that produces a nice single-stitch selvedge along the bottom edge, which will make it easy to pick up stitches. Today I actually started the back, and have eight tiers completed.

I really like knitting backwards. Looking at the right side of my work makes me think of the moon, with the same face always turned towards the earth.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

They're gloves! Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

One glove is done, except that the ends aren't woven in. It looks like there should be a marionette attached to it. The other has an index finger. I'm particularly pleased with the ribbed thumb gussets: a single purl stitch runs down either side where the gusset meets the hand. I've finally worked out a simple method for executing an increase that's the structurally perfect mirror image of the traditional "knit in front and back of next stitch" increase. Unfortunately, although it's easy to do, it's not easy to describe without pictures, but I'll try:

Reverse stitch mount of next stitch (so that you would have to knit into the back of it to produce an untwisted knit stitch). Knit in front and slip off the left needle. You have made a twisted knit stitch, but it is twisted the opposite direction from a standard twisted knit. Now insert the tip of the left needle from left to right under the right leg of the stitch you just slipped off, (the topmost leg of the cross) and knit into the back of it.

I also found time today to add a couple of links to my blog and catch up on reading other people's blogs.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Forward progress on the first of the Koigu gloves: after ripping back to six rounds above the cuff (I decided I wanted a couple more rounds before the gusset), I'm up almost to the pinky. I love trying on the glove with no thumb on it. Don't know why. When I wander around wearing a glove-in-progress, Josh calls me Lana Needlehands.

Sunday, January 12, 2003

I finished the Shape-It Scarf yesterday and immediately contracted a bad case of startitis. I swatched for a Baby Einstein bunting and determined that the LB Cotton-Ease I had in mind really doesn't want to be knitted at worsted gauge. Then I started a Kureyon Swirl Hat, but was suspicious of how large it was turning out to be, so I put that down too and started my Koigu gloves. I finished the ribbing on the first one today and am in the middle of the thumb gusset. I had to rip back once to the top of the ribbing and go down a needle size, but that's no big deal.

I also got to have lunch with my #1 knitbud yesterday, yay! Hope and I had sushi and I got to see her new gloves, mitts and scarf. She said the matching mitts were my idea but I had forgotten all about it. And the Dale Baby Ull she bought on our last Yarn Hunt sure did make nice soft gloves.

I got invited to a Scandinavian dinner thingy last night. While I was eating, I was thinking that if I had known about it sooner, I would have started a project out of Icelandic wool to knit on during cocktails.

Friday, January 10, 2003

Not much knitting today, since I ended up throwing an impromptu dinner party and spent the afternoon cooking Indian food for four. It was a lovely little evening though and I was pleased with how the food came out (all new recipes for me). I did get some knitting done this morning, though; I bought more Dune this week and am making another try at the Shape-It Scarf. Last time I was using the knitted cast-on, but this time I am using the e-wrap and I like it better. I did have to cast on quite tightly to get an acceptable finished tension, though. I'm also slipping the first stitch of every row, which minimizes the stairstep effect at the edge of the triangular part. I'm really almost done-- I'm halfway through the third ball of Dune.

When I bought the Dune, I also ended up buying some blue-pink superwash merino aran that I've been coveting for a long time. It was 40% off and they had thirty balls of the same dyelot and, well, I just don't have any self-control.

Last night the Yarn Boys from ThreadBear let me come over and open the just-arrived shipment of 198 skeins of Koigu. What glorious delight! But the two colorways I liked best (purples-and-rusts, and purples-and-olives) were ones I already had some of, so I didn't end up buying any. I'm really sorry I missed the purple-and-gold in their previous shipment. I think I'm going to start my Koigu gloves when I finish the Shape-It Scarf.

I do have a fear, though, that I might be allergic to mohair. I've been really congested since starting the Shape-It Scarf. On the other hand, it's January; maybe I'm just coming down with a cold.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Triumph: DH wore the Kureyon sweater for the first time. Of course he got a number of compliments. But the best one was when the guy next to him at choir practice said, "Oh, excuse me-- I thought you were Bill Cosby there for a minute." Tee hee hee hee...

Of course once I finished the Kureyon/Cosby sweater, I discovered that I had misplaced the Debbie Bliss Noro 2 book that I needed to start the Silk Garden sweater for me-me-me that was supposed to be my reward. By the time I finally found the book, I was too exhausted to start knitting.

Monday, January 06, 2003

IT"S DONE! I finished DH's Kureyon sweater today. And I mean really
Anyway, it's done, it fits, and he looks absolutely gorgeous in it. Woo-hoo!

Friday, January 03, 2003

I was calculating how the cost of my yarn fixation compares to other vices, and I announced to my husband that my yarn habit was in fact rather more expensive than two packs of cigarettes a day. "Um, honey..." he said, "You are NOT the knitting equivalent of a two-pack-a-day smoker." I said, "Er, I suppose I'm more like a chain smoker." He sort of snorted and said, "Yeah, a chain smoker who smokes mostly imported cigarettes." (A friend later suggested I was comparable to a smoker of fine cigars.)

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

What a lovely start to a new year. I went to a knitting party at some friends' house. One is a wonderful cook and made a traditional Southern-style New Year's menu. These friends also happen to operate a web-based yarn business, Threadbear. Remember that binge I've been feeling coming on? I had it. I bought 20 skeins of Cascade Quatro (like 220, but with each of the four plies a different color) in a grape mix, 10 skeins of Cascade 220 for various felting projects, 2 skeins of Koigu in purples and golds for gloves, and 2 skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in the embers colorway for socks (I had a request for red socks for Christmas next year).

The rationalization for this spending spree was that Cascade is raising the prices of their wools about 20%. Threadbear isn't raising their price until the end of the month. So I had to buy it quick, right?
I never did go to the yarn sale. I could feel a binge coming on, and just couldn't trust myself. ("My name is Lana, and I'm a yarnaholic...") Plus, the weather was damp and dismal. So I stayed home Monday and finished knitting the Kureyon sweater. I need to rummage around in the stash and see if I can find anything suitable for seaming, as the Kureyon tears too easily.

Meanwhile, I started a new project that almost immediately came to a bad end: I had a ball of Dune in the stash and started a Shape It! scarf from Sally Melville's latest book. It was so delightfully sparkly that I took the project with me when I went out for New Year's Eve. When I got home, I discovered that apparently the ball had rolled out of the car while I was getting in, and the yarn had torn off where it was shut in the car door. I think someone is going to be very surprised to find half a ball of sparkly yarn in a parking lot. Now I am going to have to wait a week before I can get to the yarn shop for more Dune to try again.