Sunday, June 28, 2009

Deadbeat Mom

It's happening already. One measly month of practicing polygamist blogging and my first family is suffering. I have precious little to blog about here this week. Oh, Knitteroo, I'm sorry! (I suppose this is why polygamy doesn't work in the first place. That Big Love show sure is entertaining though...)

Well, like a deadbeat parent who forgot their kid's birthday, I'm going to rummage through what I've got lying around the house, tie a big bow on it and call it a present! Hope you like smokes! (kidding)

Hey, what's this here? A swatch I forgot to show you!

Oh, hang on a minute... TA-DAH!

Happy Birthday! This is the gauge swatch from the Aeolian Shawl I'm thinking of knitting. Unfortunately, I'm only thinking of the knitting. I really can't cast on anything new with all of this blasted deadline knitting going on. (The 'surprise' from the last post has a deadline. Why must I torture myself so?!) Future cottage knitting perhaps?

Having knit exactly one lace shawl in the past and given this is mysterious 'label-free' cone yarn with no label info...

... d'ya think the swatch looks alright? Needle size okay? Calling all lace knitters! Opinions, please!

Whew! I managed to eek out a post. I guess I won't loose custody of Knitteroo just yet. Now, go pour Mommy a glass of wine, will ya?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summertime and the beading is easy

Bonk!

Yup, the crochet necklace is over and out. My original intent was to crochet every bead in the necklace. Ha! After about five I changed my mind.

For one, single crochet isn't my fave. Two? I crocheted the little critters around wooden beads. For anyone who is familiar with crochet, you need to insert your hook through the work to create another stitch. Where one would normally encounter air on the other side of the work, I was butting up against a hard little nugget of wood. Awkward. Not fun.


In the end, I picked up some coordinating wooden beads and strung myself up a necklace. I'm quite pleased I strayed far-far away from the inspiration:

What do you think she's listening to that's making
her look like that? Barry White? A lullabye?

The "other lover" will be monopolizing a lot of my knitting for a while. Lucky for you, what you can't read here, you can read there! I've decided that though the "other" must be tended to with a certain amount of priority, I get weekends off. That is, weekends are knit-wherever-the-wind-takes-me. This is how the wind is blowing on this first official weekend of summer:


Let's just say it's a "surprise"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The other blog

Dear Blog;

We've been together for several years now. I trust our relationship is strong enough to handle this. Yes, there's someone else. We never said we were exclusive. It doesn't mean I feel any less for you. My heart is big enough for the both of you. I hope you understand.

sincerely;
Julia the polygamist blogger

Friday, June 12, 2009

Not so 'super'- wash

Please cue the theme to Rocky:


Why Rocky? Well, I've sure gone some rounds with this heavy-hitter. This sweater was a challenge. First there was "at the same time", then there was "the sleeve incident" and in the last round I had to contend with "not so 'super'-wash".

Somehow I have managed to knit for years without ever dealing with superwash wool. Silly me, I expected it to behave, well, just like wool. Maybe even better than wool. After all, it calls itself "super", right?

My first clue that all was not well came in the blocking process. I soaked the sweater sections in a luxurious Eucalan bath and they took it upon themselves to get a little too, well, relaxed. I pinned the pieces to the schematic in the pattern and was horrified to find there was no way all that extra fabric would fit those dimensions.

Eek! This is why you should wash your swatches!

Well, what could I do? I carried on and hoped for the best. So much finishing!


When all was said and done? Yup, it was too big. (Not monstrously so, but just enough to bug me.) I did a little survey among knitters (W.W.B.D?) and got mixed reactions. The majority of answers fell into two categories: 1) "Superwash? Oh yeah, that stuff grows like crazy!" and 2) "Weird, it got bigger? That's never happened to me." Most knitters agreed on one thing; my big sweater could very well benefit from a trip in the dryer.

DRYER!?! I know, I know, scary right? I gave my sweater another bath, said a Hail Mary, crossed my fingers, toes and miscellaneous limbs (I do yoga, remember?) and sent Snowdrop on a trip around the dryer.

She survived... Mostly.


While the sweater shrank back enough to fit better, it did full a little. The yarn has lost a bit of it's former luster. And then there are the pockets:


Patch pockets + shrinkage = puckering. Dang! I am however, quite pleased with my choice of buttons:

mmm...velvet-y suede.

So, have I really won the fight? I plan on removing the pockets and re-attaching, adding another button and possibly re-jigging the sleeves. It looks like Snowdrop and I are having a re-match. Place your bets now!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Conehead

For anyone who has visited ye olde yarn hut, the shelves of cones in the basement can be intimidating. A lot of the yarn on those cones is too fine for hand knitting and some of it has "mystery" fibre content, but with a little patience you can unearth some treasures. Behold my bounty!
How could I turn down a wee cone of brilliant turquoise? I swear there's gotta be angora in there somewhere (I tried the burn test with inconclusive results).

There's something naturally hairy in there, am I right?

The best part? At $7/lb, this cost me a whopping $3.04. There's bargains in them there cones! It's fingering weight-ish, so I thought I might turn it into something like this.

Just when I thought I'd had my fill of conical yarns, I went bonkers and picked up that cranberry coloured thing in the background. Yup, it's most definitely 100% not wool, but it's a pretty nice synthetic. What am I planning to do with a big honkin' cone of acrylic?

I've decided if I'm to master the art of machine knitting, I'm going to need a project to work on. (I'm more of a product over process knitter, so I'm definitely not going to knit swatches on the machine just for s**ts and giggles.) Have you seen the popular drape-y style cardigans that look like this?

From Sublime Book #605

I've always liked the look of these cardigans but the thought of knitting an enormous rectangle of stockinette stitch had me snoring just thinking about it. The knitting machine however, thrives on miles of stockinette! It also thrives on swatches, which must be knit and washed and blocked and offered up to the gods if you have any hope of turning out a satisfactory project. I set about to swatch, but I knew I'd need to solve a little problem first.

The Bond knitting machine has no device to regulate tension and feed the yarn through (though schmancier machines do). That's fine if you're knitting from a ball of yarn rolling around on the floor, but what about a big 'ole cone? I set up the machine and then went about the task of McGyver-ing up some sort of tension arm/yarn feeder. I gathered items I thought may prove useful:


Alas, they were not.

Then I had a stroke of genius:

Looks like a recording studio, doesn't it?

This isn't the first time my microphone stand helped me out in a knitting crisis. (I'm beginning to think yarn stores should start carrying boom stands.) With the help of my buddy Mr. Mic Stand I easily knit a fine and hearty swatch from my cone.

Is the garden frog smirking? What's his problem?

Look at that perfect stockinette! Look out cones!