Archive for December, 2014

The good people at my local post office, namely the supervisor who listened so patiently while I explained how important the missing yarn package was to me and Yarn Rascal, gave me the best present this year. They found my yarn! And they delivered it yesterday! Yarn Rascal and I spent part of the evening dividing up the yarn between us. Then I spent the rest of the evening trying to knit properly. But let’s not digress.

The problem was not in Fort Wayne, Indiana. My apologies to all Fort Wayners. The problem was much closer to my home, to be precise about 30 minutes away from me in another town’s post office.

A big thank you to the US Postal Service and the kind gentleman who understood a knitter needs yarn. And to Fort Wayne, your totally cool for helping point the way to where the package was stuck.

The Skipper, Yarn Rascal and I want to wish everyone a happy, healthy, and peaceful holiday season. May all you wish for come true.

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Ye Gods

Well, I knew the knitting gods would catch up with me.

The yarn I so anticipated arriving is lost in the mail. Fort Wayne, Indiana to be precise. I’ve been to the USPS here, I’ve called the USPS there–no one answered the phone for half a day at the Indiana place–and the package, which was sent Priority Mail back on December 14, seems to be nowhere. If there is a hell on earth, it must be Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The last “ping” from the package was that it arrived at Fort Wayne, Indiana. I know absolutely nothing about Indiana or the Fort Wayne area but it seems like it’s a black hole similar to what you’d find in deep space. Items go in and they don’t come out. So if anyone is planning on traveling, give a wide berth to the Bermuda Triangle called Fort Wayne.

All of this is to say I have no knitting.

I started to rework Ming Blue. I should have known better than to approach that sweater in the state I was in. Let’s just say if there really were knitting police, I’d be in big, big trouble. I’d be up for premeditate murder.

Undoing baby alpaca yarn after it has been knitted and the ends securely woven in is an insane idea takes more patience than one normal individual has on a good day. I don’t pretend to be “normal” and I wasn’t having a good day.

Baby alpaca yarn likes to cling to itself. Carefully unpicking a yarn that doesn’t want unpicking isn’t easy. After two and a half hours I had only unpicked part of the neck. Neither yarn nor I were doing well, when I hit the snag of all snags.

I tried not to reach for the scissors. I struggled for another 15 minutes. As time clicked by, I knew if I took scissors in hand it wouldn’t turn out well. Yet, reach for the scissors I did.

It was going to be just a little snip. Really, I intended to make a little snip just to get past the snag. Then the scissors slipped. Okay, okay, no they didn’t just slip they…I…I…snipped more that just a snip.

The sweater was still together but I had come undone. I scissored that sucker right down the middle from neckline to hemline. Ming Blue is no more. I murdered it.

So here I am: No knitting and a cut up sweater. I knew something awful was going to happen when I knitted that pair of sock in 6 days. Oh, ye gods!

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Wearable Art

The second sock is almost done. It’s hard for me to believe that I knit a pair of socks in just 6 days. It’s a first.

Today I am expecting the new yarn to arrive. I will be very disappointed if Yarn Rascal and I walk down to the mailbox and it’s not there. So come on US Postal Service I am rooting for you. You can get me that yarn before the end of the year. Remember your advertisement: This is your season. Actually I think the US Postal Service is pretty cool. With the amount of mail and goods they move they do a pretty good job.

Finally, I want to share this picture with you.

kaffe fasset long leaf coat

I didn’t make it. It’s Kaffe Fasset’s Long Leaf coat. I think this is an example of when knitting crosses over into wearable art. You can check out some other things I’ve pinned here. I love the idea of wearable art and keep exploring this avenue of knitting. I think of it as painting with yarn and I’d love to be able to develop enough as a knitter and artist to create something as stunning as this.

I love to paint, but knitting is taking up the majority of my time, lately. I miss my painting and I think this is the engine driving my interest in wearable art. Of course the first thing I thought of when I saw the Fasset coat was “Oh the ends that need weaving in.” Not an inspiring idea. Still, I’d love to try something like this. We will see. My design Ming Blue is under renovation and I might just try to do something 60s Pop Art with it.

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Can’t Stay Long, Gotta Knit

simple lace socks knit

The first sock is done. I am already at the short row heel on the second sock which I will knit tonight to the point where the lace pattern begins on the back of the leg. Then, I will complete the leg tomorrow. If all goes well and the knitting-powers-that-be are still busy elsewhere ruining someone’e knitting, I should be on track to start the shawl when the yarn arrives. I know I am being optimistic here and that the universal-powers-that-be enjoy cosmic irony, but I am going to go out on that limb and say it anyway: I expect the second sock to be completed without the sturm und drang. It’s not often I can say that. Heck, it’s not often I even feel that. Hmmm…that isn’t a chain saw I coughing into life, is it?

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Knitting Mojo Has Returned

I’ve fallen in love with a shawl pattern.

canyonette shawl

The Canyonette Shawl by Ursa Major Knits. I love the post-apocalyptical look, the innovative construction, and of course the color.

canyonette shawl 2

I purchased the yarn online last night along with some other goodies after reading through the pattern. The best part is it calls for yarn I’ve never used before! An interesting pattern and never before used yarn! Does it get anymore exciting than this?

Progress on the sock continues. Pictures tomorrow as I think I’ll have the first one done. I’ve made myself promise to finish the socks before I embark on the shawl. I am hoping I can have them all done by the time the yarn arrives.

In the meanwhile, I cogitate on Ming Blue. I have some thoughts to share but they need to wait for another post. Right now, I’ve got to get these socks done.

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True to form I am still procrastinating over the list of things that need to get done. In honor of that, I have cast on socks for the sock adaptation tutorial.

After losing myself in the Yarn Vault for a period of time (total glee for Yarn Rascal), I selected Jill Draper’s Splendor Sock Yarn in the Glacier colorway. After I untangled Yarn Rascal from his three chosen skeins, I searched through my books for a sock pattern. With a foot circumference of 7.5 inches (19) cm, almost all sock patterns don’t fit so I have a wide selection.

I chose the “Dead Simple Lace Socks” from Wendy Johnson’s book Socks From The Toe Up. The smallest size for this sock measured 8 inches (20.5) cm or 8.5 inches (21.5) cm in circumference. Way too big for me.

jill draper splendor sock yarn 001

The first truth about adapting a sock pattern to fit your foot size is throw out all the numbers in the original pattern. The designer’s gauge no longer matters. Your gauge becomes the ruler. Thus, you need to knit up a sample. It’s at this point I start to whimper. I don’t want to “waste” time knitting a sample. I want to knit the darn sock. The adult in me must win this tug of war in order to produce a sock I can wear.

Next step: Knit a sample in the round. (I know, this stinks.) Cast on half the total amount of stitches of the size one up from yours. (It could be worse, I could have to cast on all the stitches.) For me, that was the size 8. Knit at least 1 inch (2.5) cm in stockinette stitch. (If the adult in you is strong knit 2 inches (5) cm for a more accurate gauge.) Then knit 2 or 3 inches (5 or 8) cm in the stitch pattern as written. (This is not too bad. I get a chance to see the stitch pattern and see if I like knitting it.) This accomplishes two things: 1) It gives you your gauge over St st and your gauge over the stitch pattern. 2) You become intimate with the stitch pattern making it easier to see what can be left out and what must remain if you are going to be happy with the results.

If the pattern is heavy on cables or has lots of twisted and crossed stitches the fabric is going to pull in. If the pattern is lacy it’s going to want to expand. Look at the difference in width between the stockinette section and the pattern section you just knitted. It will tell you whether you need to add or subtract stitches to your cast on count.

To find your cast on count measure the number of stockinette stitches over 1 inch (2.5) cm. This answer is the number of stitches you’re getting per inch. (I know that in reality it is best to measure gauge over 4 inches (10) cm. But I’d really like to start the sock.) Take this number and multiply it by your foot circumference number. Your foot circumference is measured around the ball of the foot, the padded area just below where your toes end. Stitches per inch times foot circumference equals the total number of stitches for your sock.

The second truth about adapting a sock pattern to fit a smaller or larger foot size: You’re not going to replicate the entire pattern as you see it in the picture. Compromises can range from simply losing a number of pattern repeats and having to insert stitch pattern fillers to losing a chunk of the main stitch pattern(s).

With the “Dead Simple Lace Socks”, the adaption was a loss of the number of lace pattern repeats as well as the placement of the lace portion around the sock. Whereas the original pattern had 3 lace repeats for its smallest size on the instep, I can only fit two.

My next decision was where to place them. Did I want them on either side of a center panel of stockinette stitch? Or did I want to widen the look out and place them on either end of the instep? I chose the latter because I didn’t want them guarding the center of the sock like sentinels. Instead, I wanted them to be part of the rhythm and flow of the sock design as Ms. Johnson had captured in her original version.

The more complicated the stitch pattern the more you’ll need to play around and adjust it to fit the stitch count of your sock. When trying to make a pattern fit, remember you have the front of the sock, two sides, and the back of the sock. A pattern works best if it flows with some sort of rhythm around the sock.

Enjoy your weekend.

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Ho, Ho, Yuck!

ran out of yarn managed to pull myself away from my mindless knitting last night. The shawl is done. I am very happy with it as it is small and practical, which is just the way I like my shawls. Pictures are forth coming as soon as we get some sunshine. It is 11 am and dark as night, not conducive to picture taking.

Here is the list of work that needs to be done on the knitting front:

On Ming Blue the girl’s 1960s sweater / smock

  • Undo the collar and reattach properly. Put scissors in another room to avoid temptation to cut anything.
  • Undo the left side’s crocheted side seam and seam it again with mattress stitch. Remind self this is not a big deal.
  • Suck up the fact that the second pocket needs to be re-knit, thanks to a scissor mishap when removing said pocket.
  • Block said pocket.
  • Worry that the design involves to much fiddling with facings and casings and knitters won’t like that.
  • Revist and re-assess once again the sleeve cuffs.
  • Put myself out of my misery by knitting the alternative sleeve cuff I have in mind and see how it looks.

Other knitting

  • Swatch the new shawl with the new central pattern, block and measure for gauge.
  • Swatch the edging of the shawl, block and measure for gauge.
  • Check once more with the company to confirm final shawl measurement. (My ideal shawl size is not quite the same as theirs.)
  • Plan the fit for the central pattern, number of stitches on the edges and do all the math. (Wish I had paid more attention in high school geometry class during the chapter on triangles.)

Second baby sweater

  • For heaven’s sake swatch the stitch pattern to see if I even like it before I continue my search for the perfect yarn.
  • If I like the stitch pattern figure if it will work mathematically with the baby sizes, especially the sleeves without too much “creative” alterations.

Yes, that is quite a list of things that must get done. So with that in mind, I’ve decided to work on and write a sock tutorial for this blog. Having dpns sitting around naked is too much for my knitting sensibilities. A sock must be cast on.

I thought an interesting sock tutorial might be how to adapt a sock pattern to your own fit. For me, most sock patterns are too big and I need to adjust them to fit. Sharing how I do this and avoiding copyright infringement at the same time, I thought might be interesting.

So pick a sock pattern you wanted to knit but haven’t because it isn’t written for your size.

In the meanwhile, I am going to go out in the wind and rain and drive on flooded roads to find a store with bags and bags of tea light candles. I am going to buy a ton of the them and add some more candle holders to my eclectic collection. Then I am coming home, provided the roads aren’t washed out, and lighting them. Anything to beat back the ever present darkness this Autumn and Winter seem to be generating.

Finally, if The Skipper is still playing his holiday music when I return, I am going to rip  the electrical cord out of its socket,  detach it from the unit, and hide it until after January 3.

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