Thursday, June 28, 2007

A lesson in variegation....

A 10% difference in stitch count in the round caused the problem illustrated in the previous post. That's it.

Such a radical difference in the behaviour of the colours -- 60 st rounds produces beautiful stripes... 66 stitch rounds produces a rather startling pooling of the colours.

Good to know.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

There Must Be Something Going Around

I know I'm not the only one suffering from Mismatched Sock Syndrome.

Here's my problem, though... I used the same yarn for both. Argh.

I know what happened, I think... the number of stitches in the foot of left sock (the one on my foot, that is), isn't right. Too many. I should have decreased back down to match the number of stitches in the leg. Just by eyeballing it, it looks like I didn't.

Naturally, because these socks were worked months and months apart, the first one has been sitting in the cupboard, unexamined, and I didn't know they didn't match. I pulled the first one out to measure and match the length of the foot last night, and discovered the mismatch.

I shall unravel the foot of the left and reknit it.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Because sometimes you gotta branch out

Do you know about the Textile Museum Yardage sale? Held every May at Toronto's Textile Museum, it's a fundraising event... a yard sale of everything fibre and craft related. It's paradise for the crafty and adventurous, all sorts of treats and magical finds available at absurdly low prices.

I've been several times, and bought all kinds of terrific stuff. I particularly enjoy digging through the heaps of half-finished, abandoned projects. I bought a cast-off cross stitch projects for 50 cents to get the embroidery hoop. I bought a half-completed sewing project, circa the mid 1960s. A mohair suit, the pieces all cut out, the pattern still in the envelope. I took it to a dress maker who cut it to fit and finished it up. I think that was $10. All sorts of great stuff.

Tons of books and pattern magazines, too... lots of 1980s horrors, but that's part of the fun.

Last time I went I decided to splurge -- $2! -- on an unopened needlepoint kit with a copyright date of 1974. What a great way to try needlepoint. It helped, of course, that the picture amused me no end.

And after months and months of sock knitting commissions, and needing a smaller project after finishing up Lizard Ridge, I opened up the package and began.

Voila! Needlepoint broccoli!

I'm just saddened that I won't be able to find the rest of the kits in the series -- the carrot, the radishes and the pumpkin.

I doubt I'll take needlepoint up seriously, but hey, it's good to branch out sometimes.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

FO: Lizard Ridge

Just in time for the weather to get really, really hot.

Lizard Ridge is done. Ends all woven in. The cat was no help at all, but he really does seem to love the blanket.

Colours used: 40, 90, 92, 95, 102, 134, 138, 139, 147, 148, 150, 153, 154, 159, 164, 165, 170, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 188, 194.

Pattern modifications: I sewed the pieces together rather than crocheting, and I used an applied i-cord 4 stitch edging rather than the scalloped crochet. I prefer the look of the i-cord.

I think I will lightly block the top and bottom edges -- matching the tension of the applied i-cord was a challenge against the stitch gauge and it pulls in a bit along those edges. You can see the lower edge rolling up a bit at the corner.>Very pleased with it. It's a tremendous design -- an excellent use of the yarn, technically interesting but not too challenging, easy to carry around and knit in pieces, and it's a truly beautiful finished piece. The sewing up is a bit of a challenge, but that's my own fault because I made the modification.

The designer, Laura Aylor, should be proud of her work. She's brought much joy to knitters and warmth and comfort to friends and families of knitters, all over the world.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

If only I could teach him to weave in ends...

LR is sewn up and edged, I just need to weave in the ends. Surely I could get the cat to do something with his claws other than wreck the carpets?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

FO: Swallowtail Shawl

Although the flood itself provided lots of knitting time, the aftermath did not...

I did find time to finish up the Swallowtail Shawl...

adding another to the heap of lace shawls knitted that are unlikely to ever be worn... I should start selling them, or something.

On a different note, it is a terrific pattern, and results in a modestly sized shawl that's entirely wearable. The Seasilk rocks. Lovely sheen, great hand, excellent drape, and I love the subtle variation in the colours. See, Fleece Artist -- I do love your products!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hours and Hours and Hours... The Wee Ones

I messed with a few different types of edgings for the Lizard Ridge, and ultimately settled on an applied i-cord. It's visually strong enough to provide a good frame for the riot of colours, and is somehow less tedious than picking up stitches.

Or so I thought... turns out that applied i-cord is slow going. It's ok, I find it very simple and soothing, it doesn't require any attention, but it's slow. I estimated about 8 hours to complete the full edge at the pace I was working.

As to the soothing bit, it's a good thing.

Ever feel the urge to stay up into the wee hours to work on a project?

We experienced a major flooding incident due to a burst pipe last night. A mystery burst pipe. That leaked at 45 minute -1 hour intervals. From above our bathroom, over the hall closet and into the basement. We sat around, quite literally all night, with a plumber, the superintendent and the building manager, waiting until the next wave of flood started. I got lots and lots and lots of the edging completed.

They soldered the hole in the pipe about 8:30am this morning. We are now waiting for the cleanup crew to arrive.

I'm making excellent progress on the edging.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sewn Up!

The photo does not do the colours justice. It's stunning. Am now considering my edging strategy....

Not sure I love the crochet. I've seen a very successful garter stitch edging...



If you have no idea what this is about, see

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

On Fleece Artist and Handmaiden

I love the Fleece Artist and Handmaiden yarns. Love them to distraction. They produce beautiful yarns in tremendous colourways with interesting and innnovative fibres. Can't recommended them highly enough.

And their designs are great -- simple and elegant shapes and ideas, executed well in their variegated and multicoloured yarns. Lovely.

But I do wish they'd hire a technical editor for their patterns. They're poorly written, and I've encountered mistakes, and I believe they are doing themselves a serious misservice.

Even this latest one I'm working on, Jane, written by someone else, isn't great. There aren't any mistakes that I have found, but it's not at all "user friendly". No gauge is given, no dimensions or details for sizing. The only reason I knew which size to make was because there was a sample in my local shop that I was able to try on.

Mistakes do happen, typos creep into printed patterns. It's happened to me, I'll cheerfully admit it. But my complaint isn't about typos, it is about patterns that are misssing key information, or are too vague or brief in their instructions. I mention Jane, but this is pretty typical for their patterns. Now, it doesn't matter so much if there isn't a gauge or schematic or sizing information for a scarf, but it matters a lot for a sweater.

And their sock and mitten patterns frustrate me to no end. They suggest using 2 short circulars to work in the round -- which is fair enough, it's a technique that I know some people love and have good success with, even if it's fairly unusual. My complaint is that they give no guidance for this technique, and the pattern is written in such a way that if you wish to convert it to use DPNs or a single 12" circular, you would have difficulty. I also found out-and-out mistakes in a sock pattern of theirs from a couple of years ago -- I don't know if it's been since caught and fixed -- but if you'd never knitted a sock before, you'd have been pretty lost. And I know other knitted have been frustrated with a mitten/sock pattern kit, which is ambigious about whether it kit produces a pair of either, or a pair of both.

Their patterns are written in a very informal, almost conversational style -- which can be good for novices. And I appreciate their attempt to keep the pattern instructions concise. I know that overly long, overly detailed instructions can be intimidating.

But as any writer will tell you, it's much harder to convey precise instructions in a casual and concise style. And like cooking, your chances of success are much higher if the instructions are precise and accurate.

It is just me? Has anyone else had difficulty?

(On the topic of Jane specifically, there are a couple of adjustments I'd make to the pattern to make it easier to work. I'd highly recommend using a provisional cast-on to start, to save having to unpick your cast-on later. And I'd work the sleeves in the round, too. Even less finishing! But there are adjustments you can easily make on the fly.)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Buttered Toast

After all that fuss with the socks, I decided I needed a break. Back to the knitting equivalent of buttered toast: easy, comforting, quick, needs no special equipment or materials -- a big square of stocking stitch.

I do love toast, and sometimes you need some.

Specifically, the big square of stocking stitch is the back of the Fleece Artist Jane sweater, from the back. (It's designed by Perl Grey, FYI.)

I picked the project because it intrigued me. The shaping and construction and unlike anything I've ever seen before, and I love that sort of thing. The sweater is knit in one piece. You cast on at the left side of the back, and work across the the back - sideways! Then you continue the sleeves from the top half of the back stitches, and the wrap-around fronts from the bottom half of the back stitches. Worked all in one piece, very little finishing -- I like it!

I finished up the back, and have just started the first sleeve.

Lovely apple green colour, easy knitting, quick knitting, nice yarn. Mmmm.... toast.