Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cherry With A Twist

A little bit more on why the entire Cherry Top has to be knit prior to dunking in the dye bath. This Cotton Top yarn does not like bathing. No, it definitely does not like soaking in warm water.

Look carefully at the yarn tails in the photo. Untwisted! Going their own way for sure. As soon as this discontinued Brown Sheep yarn hit the water, the plies (sp?) gave up the love and showed just how independently minded each actually is. It's a good thing that experimentation occurred.

Notice also, the swatch. Those perky little stitches soaked up dye and still managed to keep definition and distinction. Thus the confidence that in the end, all will be well.

Had I not played around with trying to change the yarn color, this tendency to untwist would have become apparent only after dunking seven skeins into the water. Can you imagine the tears and turmoil?

Lesson learned: sometimes it pays to practice first.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cherry Topping

My new involvement with environmental and kitchen utensil friendly yarn dyeing has caused me to rethink the stash. One bag 'o stash yarn happens to be a discontinued Brown Sheep. Cotton Top is 50/50 wool & cotton in a worsted weight. The color languishing in the closet recesses is 01 which is definitely not a color for me.

Being half wool, the Cotton Top will accept food safe dye and given that eventually I will over dye, the final color is somewhat in question. Already the experimentation has occurred. Because I want consistency throughout the final product, it was easy to figure out that knitting the whole top and then dunking it in a dye bath will be best. Hopefully this will mitigate variance that might result from skein to skein. One can never be too cautious with the mystery of color absorption.

The color of the Brown Sheep (C01) tends toward a faint purple and my plan is for the final raglan top to become the shade in the sample.

Understand that this is just a prediction. A vague goal in the great scheme of life and my wardrobe needs. At least this time I do have a plan - knitting muse notwithstanding.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Just a Scooch Smaller

That was the request. Just a scooch smaller so that her's would be a tad larger. So, let me back up. Owing to the fact that this upcoming holiday season our family has an official son-in-law-to-be, I felt it important to add an adult sized stocking to the mantle. Our current inventory, all produced at various points twenty to thirty years ago by my mother, Ida Mae, includes:
  • dad stocking
  • mom stocking
  • daughter #1 stocking
  • daughter #2 stocking
  • dog stocking - hand me down from daughter #1 when daughter #2 was born and two stockings of the same size were needed
  • cat stocking - made at the last minute to keep crying daughter #2 happy when she realized that dog had a stocking but her new kitty was without a stocking
After surveying all of the "grandmommie" stockings a color scheme was determined. Hard to believe that the simple green/white combination was not represented, and thus the decision was an easy and obvious one to make. When I discussed my plan with the bride-to-be-daughter #2, she thought it a grand idea - - and here is the request - - as long as his stocking is just a scooch smaller than her stocking because, well, you know, "I am a goddess."

Next step - copy my mother's stocking but have the final product smaller. Using an H hook was too big. Down two sizes was too tight when copying the chain 1 between clusters on the original granny square. Finally, I figured out that inserting a chain 2 between clusters on rounds 1 & 2, then using her chain 1 on the third round gave the necessary definition to the granny square while producing the requisite smaller size. It took a bit of fudging to have that final round lay smooth due to the change to ch1. But a heavy book overnight worked like magic to flatten the curl enough for sewing to take place. Sometimes, old fashioned thinking beats out any hints to be found online.

As requested - just a scooch smaller.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Amusing Result

It is finished. This is all that is left from the left over FLS projects. To my way of thinking, this amusing vest is a free project - as the cost of the Ming went under the lady sweater budgets.

I'm loving the v-neck on the front.

Loving, also, the dark triangle shape that slims the waist.

Totally happy with the seed stitch at arm openings and neck. No additional finishing required.

The back is also fun. That top neck line of the back is ribbed all the way across. No gaps due to mis-judging the fit. Hey, when everything is organic and made up on the fly one must use all the available stitches possible to mitigate gauge issues.

Yes, I love the Amusing result of knitting with no pattern. That Knitting Muse - she is a marvelous lady!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

How To Spend Time

On how to spend my time
I pondered away an hour.

And thus, having spent all my time
I pondered on where went the hour.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Confession is Good . . . .

Confession is good for the knitterly soul.

One Monkey sock - done. It turns out that if you actually touch the needles and pet the yarn, progress is made. Do note: One Sock.

Unfortunately, this sock is too loose upon my foot. I knew it all along. Every time I tried it on, it was too loose. But I kept going. Knowing the facts did not deter my joy in the making. Working 62 stitches on US size 1 never fits moi. Should have gone down a size. The lace YOs don't help. Fret not. Daughter #2 thinks this sock not only fits her dancer feet, but also brings out her blue eyes. She has offered to take two socks to her home. Geez, now I have to finish the pair.

Feather & Fan afghan hid for quite a while simply because it was too hot to work such a large piece. Fall has arrived and, more importantly, a major gift giving opportunity is just over two months away. I must speed up. I must speed up. I must speed up. Let's hope the weather man keeps coolness in the forecast.

PS - Over the weekend I had an opportunity to see the new bedding ensemble that this afghan was designed to compliment. And it does! Sight unseen the shades of grey selected in a vacuum will work perfectly.

And, just out of boredom and to work on a middle of the gauge project, I started this familiar pattern.

Socks on a 2.25mm, the afghan on huge sticks and this surprise project on a 3.5mm. Surely that covers everything from fun to mindless, small to large and even plain to colorful.

Variety is the spice of life!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Messy Muse

The week has been quite busy and no blogging occurred. How about a catch up with the muse. She is still upon me; and making a mess. Here is the front. You will note that a soft V-neck occurred. When there is no pattern before you, beside you or under the yarn, the mind really begins to work. I can make a V-neck with no pattern. Decrease this side - decrease that side and work smoothly back.

Please know that whilst the muse is creative, she is not necessarily neat. Here is the underside of that front in mid mess. Guess I have a lot of 'post production' work yet to come! As I recall, it is Lucy Neatby who admits to major ends dangling about during the actual knitting. Nice to know that I am in good company.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Whole Lot of Love

The guild meeting on last Saturday was filled with love. Love for children that we, as members, may never meet. Love for children that need to hang on to something precious during turbulent times. Witness the love from those who crochet and knit.

Over one hundred wee ones will benefit during the coming year due to the Precious Pals program. The local law enforcement representatives are now equipped to hand out a soft squishy bundle of love to children.

Get out there and find a way to share. Helmet liners, chemo caps, pink scarfs, lap robes.....all is good. Find your niche and give love.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mistake Be Gone

Lots of traveling lately. Mindful of needing a project that was simple, quick, semi-mindless and easy on the portability scale, I started a Footprints scarf. Footprints is a simple pattern by Stefanie Japel. Her patterns have produced prior success and I was hopeful of another useful accent scarf. So, I got busy knitting and traveling and stopping and starting and stopping again.

Understand, please, that the pattern choice was made because Footprints is very simple - it moves past semi-mindless and tips over into mindless knitting. Not totally mindless, just plain mindless. Plain mindless enough that it is within the realm of possibility that a purl stitch could accidentally become a knit stitch. Yes, this could possibly happen.

Further, once such a reversal switch is made, it follows that a mindless mind just might work the next row, being a 'wrong side' row with an incorrect stitch. (Even though this pattern has no official wrong side. After all, it looks quite presentable from both sides. Not the same, but perfectly presentable.) Let's just go with the flow, pretend that the mindless knitter in question is now on the wrong side row, merrily knitting/purling as each stitch presents, and so she produces a lovely purl in a certain location that should be a knit on this side. But having blown it on the 'right side' now that stitch is reversed. Do you follow - switch, boom, wrong!

And let us just say that this same mindless knitter continues her travels, starting and stopping the knitting with the flow of planes, cars, hotels and meetings and never once notices that the two edges of the scarf are no longer matchy-matchy. Then, in a dull moment of wondering if a landing strip will ever come in to view, she suddenly focuses. Focus on a scarf that looks odd. As in what is that knit stitch doing there on the right side? Should not that be a purl - like this purl over on the right?

Geez! Now the mindless knitting isn't so mindless because that one stitch must be dropped down and corrected. If the correction were 5 or 6 or even 15 rows I would have done it. Yes. I would correct my mindless mistake with grace. But when that one stitch needed to be dropped down about 30 inches I lost my cool, refused to do it and almost accepted my fate of wearing a non-symmetrical scarf.

Then it hit me. Like the proverbial flash of brilliance. Drop the offending stitch all the way down. On both sides! Result? Symmetrical scarf, wider than originally planned but nonetheless unique and brilliantly executed. Witness the result - Ladder to the Moon.