Thursday, March 24, 2011

Madli's Shawl

So, my latest major project has been "Madli's Shawl" from Nancy Bush's "Knitted Lace of Estonia". I have currently completed the bottom lace border and 19 of the 31 pattern repeats for the center. The center pattern consists of a traditional hagakiri with the addition of little nupps, making it appear almost like seaweed-- you know, the sprawling kind with little bubbles in them that would wash ashore back when I lived in south Florida. Anyway, each pattern repeat is only 12 rows...which is making it a little tedious to knit. I really prefer shawls where the stitch patterns sort of change and mutate into new stitch patterns, ala Elizabeth Freeman's "Aeolian Shawl". On the plus side is that I got the hang of the pattern very quickly, so now I really don't have to look at the chart while knitting.

I'm knitting it up using yarn from my stash. It's a lace weight yarn called "Alpaca Cloud" by Knit Picks, which I think has been since discontinued. The colour is a warm red called "Tango" with the occasional yellow or dark blue fiber sprinkled throughout the yarn. It's a shame that it's no longer sold, because so far it's been a pretty good knit. It's slightly more energized that I'd like it to be, so it does occasionally twist up on itself, but what the hey, the shawl's gonna get blocked once I'm done. Also, I haven't encountered any bumps or knots, which is great. Knots in yarn fill me with rage...even though I'm more than capable of just cutting out the knot and grafting the two ends back together. I only have two skeins of this particular colour, but I think 880 yarns should be more than enough to finish things up. I'm over halfway through knitting and I just grafted on the next ball of yarn. If I ever knit this pattern again, I think I'll do it in a nice yellowy green. Like seaweed :D

Here's a pic of it exactly at the halfway mark:

Madli's Shawl

Can't wait 'till I'm done with this center pattern! Only 12 more repeats to go...if tomorrow's a slow day at work I may make some good headway on this baby.
-Cat Read more!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Socks!

A while back I had purchased two skeins of Knitpick's "Imagination" handpainted sock yarn in the (now discontinued) colourway, "Woodsmen". It was a mix of dark olives with the occasional streak of gold-- colours right up my alley! I was at a loss of what sock pattern to knit it up in for a while, though, because I usually like to knit socks with all sorts of crazy cabling and lace going on, and I knew that the colour shifts probably wouldn't make those kinds of patterns stand out very well.

So it sat in my stash....until one really cold winter day when I was possessed with the urge to KNIT MOAR WOOLY SOCKS to keep my perpetually cold feet warm. After poking around ravelry a bit I finally decided upon the ultra-famous (amongst sock knitters, at least) Jaywalker sock pattern by Grumperpina.

It was a super easy knit-- one of those patterns you can take pretty much everywhere and not worry about losing track while chatting with people or watching tv. All through the leg every other row combined two stitch increases and one center three stitch decrease per repeat to create this fun little chevron pattern. Something giving the sock a little visual interest without being overwhelmed by the handpainted yarn.

I did it in the smallest size because I have small feet, but while knitting the socks up I was thinking about how unisex the pattern is. For a really large-footed man I think it would be incredibly easy to adjust the stitch quantity to accomodate a much wider foot. So many socks are designed for the woman's foot in mind, and while that's really no problem when they're so frou-frou that 98% of the male population wouldn't be caught dead wearing them, I find the knitting pattern world is sorely lacking in some interesting looking sock patterns that include instructions for making them wide enough to fit a larger man's (or woman's!) foot. This sock pattern, however, is honestly simple enough to adjust the size, even if you don't consider yourself an "advanced" knitter in any way.

Although for the most part knitting this sock was a breeze, I did have a freakout moment when I reached the toe and it came time to graft the stitches closed.

I really passioned over this. Many times before while knitting through other patterns that required grafting, I'd pull out one of my ratty knitting manuals and study the stupid kitchener stitch chart. With the instructions within sight, I'd try my hardest to needle my way through the stitches, only to find that whatever I was doing wasn't freaking grafting. So...I'd rip it out and cheat with a three needle bind off. Yep. I was the knitter who'd rather knit a sock toe-up (I honestly don't get why people are so leery of toe-up socks, by the way) than kitchener stitch a toe closesd.

BUT. This time I decided it was time to grab the bull by the horns and just master that damned stitch already. Instead of using that stupid knitting manual I found a Godsend of a grafting tutorial on knitty.Using that tutorial just made everything click into place. It was...dare I say...easy???

Anyway, I'm not afraid of grafting any more (hooray!), which makes me feel really accomplished. Now onto the photos!

Here's a closeup of that magically seamless kitchener stitch toe.
Closeup of Kitchener Stitch Toe
Here are some more pictures of the socks on my feet. It really was such a pretty colourway.
Jaywalker Socks
Check out those chevrons. And my pale leg.
Jaywalker Socks
Well, that's it for now. Now I've got a tree I'm working on for my cousin Lisa, as well as a shawl from Nancy Bush's book, "Knitted Lace of Estonia". The tree is almost finished; I'll probably get to taking photos of it soon.
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cue Cricket Chirp

Wow. It's been quite a while since I've done anything around these parts.

Part of the reason why is because I've been going through a lot of stuff in the past two years. I've since graduated from college, sat around wondering what to do next, sat some more, got a part time job because I became penniless in a literal sense, then sat around both at home and at work wondering where the hell everything was going...

See, this blog is kind of a happy place. And what I've been isn't exactly happy. And since I couldn't exactly express positive things, I just avoided writing. However, I really would like to get back to being happy. Writing makes me happy. Yapping about textiles makes me happy. If I'm gonna start some place, why not with those?

I could go on and on about all the crap I've been going through, but rather than do that, I think I'll just send whoever may be reading this post to go and listen to some very depressing country music. Preferably the kind that involve whiskey and a lot of sorrow. Then when you've had your fill, you can come back here again and hopefully I'll have some sparkly yarny goodness to share by then.

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