Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Back on the Right Track

Well, I read & re-read the pattern for the Pie Are Square shawl until I figured out that the lace holes I was seeing all the way to the eyelets that are formed at the shoulders were actually fake increases, so I was doing the pattern right. I thought I'd misunderstood the pattern because when I followed it, I only had the lace holes across the middle back and ending where I stopped increasing on either side. I was relieved to find that I hadn't gotten it wrong after so much garter stitching. I did go buy a 52" cable for my Denise needles so that I could stretch out the piece and make sure it looked the right shape so far. At this point, it's more than 52" across the working end, so I won't be able to get an accurate idea now until it's enough to actually try on. I'm amazed that I haven't gotten sick of the garter stitch. In fact, I keep going in hopes I'll get to the next increase, because for some reason I feel like the more stitches on the needle, the more impressive the work is. I'm probably going to have to do an extra set of increases because so far I've done 4 increases (the center 16 have been doubled 3 times, now 128) and it's coming to just over my shoulders from my neck. I plan to block the heck out of this thing, but I expect that I still have quite a while to go yet. I'm still on my first ball of yarn when I expect to need 4 balls, if that gives me some idea of how much work is still ahead of me. The Go Knit bag is working out well, I snap it onto my steering wheel on lunch when I knit in the car. I haven't tried it too much while walking around, primarily because I need to get my glasses updated and can't see well enough to knit lace weight and walk at the same time.

My other big projects, the Stockpot Scarf, and the Skydive wrap, have been neglected for the past few weeks. I might sit and work on the skydive wrap because that's bulky and requires no concentration. I have a headache. I dread going to work tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Pie may not be Square

Ok, I've gotten a good amount of knitting done on the pie are square shawl, and I keep coming back to one thing that doesn't seem right - I'm not doubling the stitches all the way to the lace holes that run diagonally down the fronts. My math, and I know I'm counting right, has me ending the doubling well before the eyelet holes on the diagonal ends. I'm almost afraid to keep going because I'll die if all this garter stitch is for nothing. I've looked up pix online and every person seems to have the eyelets from doing yo increases across the increase rows going all the way across, and mine don't. Urgh! Well, I'm going to try to find a way to get this thing stretched out so that I can see whether it's going to work or not before I go any farther.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Pie Are Square - Round 2

Well, I decided to turn the Grape Jelly colored "Shadow" from knitpicks into another Pie Are Square shawl, the pattern by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I love her stuff, I regularly borrow her videos from the library and watch her explaining how to knit. She's simple - there's no frou-frou accents, hand dyed yarns, or crazy notions. She's simply trying to make a fabric to keep the body warm and look decent while she's at it. She also likes to do things with formulas, such as her EZ Percentage Sweater. Well, I'd tried to make this shawl from some turquoise wool/silk yarn last year and got so tired of the color that I didn't get too far. This time I decided to use a smaller needle, a size 6 I believe, with the lace weight merino wool yarn. I'm about 20 rows or so into the pattern and think it's coming out great so far. The tighter gauge is making for something warmer and ultimately more neat looking. The pattern has a round back and square front, which is a little funny looking but it should be quite practical, unlike the half-round shawls I've made which don't sit on your shoulders properly. The problem with this pattern is that you have to keep track of how many ridges of garter stitch you've done, and the only way I'm able to do that is by checking off each row as I knit it, so it's not so much a mindless project as garter stitch should be. I am using my pink Go Knit bag, but no so much for knitting on the go - more for keeping the ball of yarn from getting messy. There's nothing worse than a tangled mess of lace yarn (except if it were mohair! Ask me how I know!) I think that this project has the potential to make it all the way to completion because the yarn is pleasant to work with and I think it would be great to wear at work. Or even if I go for a walk in the evenings. I definitely want to make a poncho for this fall. Maybe after I get the shawl and stockpot scarf done (it's about 1/2 way so far), I can start thinking about yarns. I'll probably use the pattern in The Knit Stitch.

Monday, June 05, 2006

On with the New!

It's been one hell of a week, the kind where you wish you'd just stayed in bed and played hookey from life. But, the good news is that the yarn I ordered last weekend arrived on Saturday and of course I got started on it right away! For whatever reason, I thought that at least the scarf yarn would be in balls but it was in twisted skeins and I got out my swift and ball winder to take care of those 2 skeins. It was so nice to be ABLE to get out the swift and actually have a place to use it again! I also wound one of the 4 skeins of Grape Jelly lace weight yarn I haven't yet decided on a pattern for yet. Lace yarn is such a pain to wind into a skein because there's so damn much of it!!! 440 yards per skein - you have to wind it when your arm has had a chance to rest.

So the first project to start from the new yarn is my Stockpot Scarf. May I just say again that eyelash yarns are not my favorite? The pattern is basically that you cast on stitches for the scarf lengthwise, in my case 175, then knit a few inches (3-4 is recommended) and then cast off... ta-da! The problem is that, while I love the yarn I chose, the colors are somewhat less flattering next to my face. My color is pink, but I was trying to do things a little different for a change and went with turquoise and blues. I will say that the Butterfly Kisses eyelash yarn is a vast improvement over the LB Fun Fur that has refused to go quietly into the fad closet. The scarf is fluffy, not furry. Would I make another one of these scarves? Possibly in a pink shade, but I'd only buy 1 skein of base yarn and split it into 2 balls rather than buying two skeins.

The biggest disappointment was the KnowKnits GoKnit pouch. At $18, I felt it was a little flimsy and a lot overpriced. The idea is good, I felt the material, while nice & light weight, should have been a little more sturdy. I only paid $12.50 for the Circular Solution Port-A-Pocket, which is overkill on sturdy, a little too heavy and too small to be practical for most projects - that would be closer to the price point I would have expected for the GoKnit pouch. But, whatever, it's a good idea. I don't know how walking & knitting will work for me - I have a hard time walking & talking at the same time - but I love that I can put a ball of yarn in there, snap the guide loop around the working yarn, and not have to worry about the ball getting unwound or tangled or my kids picking it up and running around with it. I plan to give it's portability factor a test drive this afternoon when I go to the doctor's office. The current project I'm using it for is my Zarella Skydiving Wrap. I'd gotten a little into my 2nd ball of yarn and realized that there was no way that 4 balls would be enough, so this week I picked up 2 more balls, which should be more than enough.

I haven't decided what to do with the Grape Jelly yarn, Shadow. I got 4 skeins, they are 440 yds each, which is more than enough for a shawl. The question is - what pattern? I had a thought of doing the EZ Pie Are Square shawl again - like I mentioned before, I started it with Zephyr in a hideous turquoise shade but have since neglected it. Or maybe I should do a simple crocheted blanket with it double stranded? I can't decide. I just know I really need to start finishing things because I am running out of room for this stuff and I don't want to give or throw any more away!

What I'm really in the need of is a simple all knit project... maybe take a look at my Knit Stitch book for some ideas. My waist scarf is all knit with increases at the beg of every row, but I left that at work. My physical need right now is for a fanny pack type pouch that I can tie around my waist to hold my ipod mini, house keys and cell phone when I go for walks. Cotton makes the most sense - since it's durable, non-stretchy, non furry - won't get into the charging ports of my electronics. The next question is whether I should knit or crochet. Crochet is quicker, and for this project would probably be the better, sturdier choice. I'm going to try walking a few miles every day to drop some of the baby fat I'm still holding onto after 2 years since Courtney was born. This morning at 2am I went for a walk, had my ipod on a lanyard around my neck, which is very annoying when you're walking and it's bouncing against you every step of the way, I had my keys in my hand, and 2 houses away I realized that I hadn't taken my cell phone with me. My workout clothes don't have pockets or belt loops, so the knit pouch wouldn't help, so I decided to make myself something. Times like these, I wish I sewed instead of knit. It would be so much quicker.