Monday, April 30, 2012

Hook, String & A Wing

The good thing about an airplane is that it gets you where you want to be and allows hours (and hours) of yarn time.  Last week provided more than enough time to make a new spa cloth using my favorite no pattern crochet plan. 
All that I need to do is weave in the ends and this one will be complete.  I really like no pattern spa/wash/dish cloths.  The basic premise goes like this:

Find a stitch pattern that has enough texture for the intended final usage.  This one is for the face, so the texture is not overly bumpy like it would be for washing dishes.

Work the foundation chain long enough to be the width you intend plus extra chains for that first turn/stitch.

Enjoy working your stitch pattern until the cloth is the size you want.  For me this is usually a square.  No, I do not count rows.  All I do is eyeball it or use that "fold on the diagonal until the points match and the triangles are the same" technique.

 This is truly my favorite stitch for making these spa cloths.  It is the extremely easy single crochet in front loop, single crochet in back loop method.  Turned on its side, the alternating stitches and rows look like a field all plowed up and ready for planting.

You'll notice that I do a lot of chain stitch frilly stuff around the edges.  It adds a feminine touch and when the whole cloth is wadded up so that the edging is bunched, it does a good job at softly exfoliating the skin. 

I'm glad that travel allowed time to make a new spa cloth.  It is a small enough project to easily be worked in the allotted space on an airplane - which is not much space at all.

At least this one thing is done.  Unfortunately, a few other projects were waiting for me when I returned.  Too bad that the knitting elves and crochet sprites did not visit in my absence.  I might need some help to catch up with what did not get done while I was gone.  Too many WIPs is not a good thing.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Annual Upkeep

Once upon a time, the small purple binder held my single patterns.  It was easily divided into knit & crochet sections and further organized within those categories.  A few purchases, a few downloads and the trusty binder was literally bursting at the rings.

Two recycled non-matching binders later and every (as in every last pattern sheet I could find throughout the stash(es)) is now reorganized.  Whew!  I am not the most consistent organizer in the world, but when I set my mind to it, it gets done.

This time, I changed the whole system.  What I've finally admitted is that when I am looking for something, the first thought is not "Knit or Crochet?"  My brain categorizes into projects, not methodology.  So, the new organizational system roughly breaks down into the following categories:

Binder #1 - Shoulders & Above
  • Hats
  • Scarfs
  • Shawls
  • Other

Binder #2 - Main Body
  • Pullovers
  • Cardigans
  • Shrugs
  • Dresses
  • Skirts
  • Other 

Binder #3 Feet, Babies & Home (hey, I admitted above that this is a rough breakdown)
  • Socks
  • Slippers
  • Baby
  • Blankets
  • Personal Care
  • Home Decor
  • Other
 So, what is the point of my telling you all of this?  Just a little glimps into how this one person has organized for the coming year.    I no longer care about the whole knit v crochet debate.  I'm a project - not - process kind of person.  And my pattern filing system plays to the end product.  For now.  How are you organized?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Seams Like Fun

From the far reaches of the stash closet, set way back underneath the new patterns that were not yet filed, emerged this:
I'd almost forgotten about it.  Perhaps you recall my confession about the yarn content.  But that was days gone by and now my pride in the accomplishment of sewing together two rectangles is giving me that glow of accomplishment.  
I just love the way that garter stitchery lines up in very neat little ridges and begs to be seamed into submission.  Of course, remembering to slip the edge stitches makes the seaming fly twice as fast as when one forgets that mega knitting tip.

Tools were located, ridges counted and the task is done.  I'm still thinking about making this longer by introducing an edging.  I found brown silk/soy in the same area of the stash and have been playing around with what could happen if I added it on.  But for now, my seaming tools are at rest. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bring On Spring

Be thankful to the knitting spirits that you are spared the major error that took place on the cardigan.  After two hits and a miss, there was an opportunity to practice my frogging skills.  Let the record show that I've still got it!  I can frog with the best of them.

However - - I can also score big time!
Just look at the way that the hem line blocked out.  Pat me on the back and declare this work excellent.  You might recall that I was afraid that the hem would be a miss.  But it took a bath and relaxed into a lovely shaped line.

Do take into consideration that the model here is daughter #1 (she who crochets) and thus the sleeve is for moi who prefers a Medium sleeve opening and daughter is quite solidly in the XSmall category.

The cardi looks, excepting for the sleeve opening,  great on her smaller frame and still it fits me.  The shaping of the front  is not very pronounced and the neckline is designed to fit close/high in the back.

I am hoping that this will be just enough to ward off the chill of a breeze whether from the afternoon wind shift or the blast of an air conditioner.   Go ahead and click on the photos.  Look at those stitches.  Two strands of Silky Alpaca Lace worked on a size 8 needle are sheer when held to the light, but still have the warming impact of alpaca.

And don't forget the sheen of the silk.  Just enough is there so that, when needed, this one can go out to dinner as easily as it pauses for a bit of gardening.

You are probably sick of my mentioning it.  But just look at that fake seam.  I still love the way the centered double decrease shapes the hem (with hints of the mitered work it could become), yet allows the entire body to be worked in one fell swoop.  Well, until it is time to separate for the arms.  You know. 

After all, if you aren't happy with your yarn results, why bother?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Two Hits And A Miss

Hit #1  
The summer Open Front Cardi is ready for a little 3-needle bind off at the shoulders.  This has been a breeze to knit, partly due to the lovely Silky Alpaca Lace.  The yarn never fails and has just enough silk to give that classic sheen to the stitches. 

I must be right on the mark with row gauge.  When I finished decreasing the front edges, it measures the exact length needed with out having to "knit even until..."  So, perhaps this is Hit #1 and #1.5.

Hit #2
The fake side seams are definitely right on the mark.  Here I've adjusted the photo so that you can marvel at the way the centered double decrease makes that lovely raised "seam" to delineate fronts from the back.  The yarn - even held double as this is - is so light that there is no bulk along the line.

This little bit of shaping results in an angled hem line.   The pattern is designed to be no muss, no fuss simplicity.  I'm hoping that it will look casual enough for wearing with jeans and still be right at home with dress slacks on a summer's evening out.

And a Miss
The above seam photo hints at the big miss and here you see a longer length of it.  The pattern begins with a few garter ridges to set the lower edge.  As you might expect, there will also be matching garter ridges around the front/neck and the sleeve caps.

Just look at that roll!  If I didn't know better, I'd think that this is solid stockinette.  We are not amused.  Not one bit.  This mess better come out in the blocking.  If it does not, the whole cardi will become one big miss when the plan was for a huge HIT.

Think happy thoughts.  Think happy thoughts.  Think happy thoughts.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

COBO - or traveling stitches

It is important to have a "little" project on the needles at all times.  I know better, but this week caught me unprepared when a sudden day trip was offered. 

Oh sure, there is the summer cardigan still in the working pile.  But that is at a point where decreasing occurs on the arm hole edge at one rate whilst the decreasing for the front shaping occurs at the same time but at a different rate.  Not my idea of fun when trying to hold in the elbows, knit and count rows at the same time.

The silk still needs shoulder seams, little sleeves and the bottom edge.  But who wants to sew seams in a moving car?  And then pick up stitches?  PU!  Not I.

What I needed was a new project - traveling stitches that take up just a little room, require no brain work, don't need row tracking and still can bring delight to ones traveling companions.

Enter COBO, a little traveling stitches project.  I'm not entirely sure what it is.  This is either a fringed and beaded edging for some future project that will fit with the color scheme or it is a narrow beaded and fringed scarf that will not keep anyone warm but will cause looks of jealousy and envy each time it is worn.

This is Crystal Palace Sausalito  in the aptly named color: 8107 Fall Herbs. 

The pattern is really simple - just slow going.  But, like all good patterns, it does need a name.  So, for ever more, let this be know as:

String a gazillion beads on yarn
Cast On 24 stitches
R 1  *Place bead, Bind Off 12 stitches,  knit to the end  (bead will be at end of fringe)
R 2   Knit 12, Cast On 12 stitches.
R 3   Bind Off 12 stitches, knit to the end
R 4   Knit 12, Cast On 12 stitches.
Repeat these 4 Rows.  Bead is placed at end of every 2nd fringe.

All I need now is another road trip!