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Posts Tagged ‘knitting’

Well the Carbeth sweater is coming along. Surprisingly we haven’t had a really hot and humid day the whole time I’ve been working on it. I thought for sure the knitting gods would dump the hot and humid on me instantly. Rather the days have been around 68 F / 20 C. Very unusual for this time of year. But that’s not to say the knitting gods have passed me by. No, I am on their radar.

I usually knit with fingering yarn and small needles no larger than US 5 (3.75 mm). Most needles I use are between US 1 (2.25 mm) and US 3 (3.25 mm). The ones I’m using for Carbeth are US 11 (8 mm) and US 10.5 (6.5 mm) in both circular and double-pointed. The sleeves are knit on double-pointed needles. It’s like knitting with logs. Slippery logs. The double-pointed needles are especially problematic. If they are held any way other than perfectly horizontal  when not in use (and who can manage that with double-pointed needles?) the needles slip right out of the stitches. Add to the fact that the yarn is held double, which I usually avoid like I would Ebola, and I have some seriously challenging knitting going on.

I knew all this going in. It wasn’t a knit within my comfort zone. Still I wanted the sweater. It’s called masochistic knitting at it’s best. The body up to the under arm is complete. I only had to rip back 3 times when somehow I forgot to knit a double strand and knitted a single one instead.

I’ve also finished one sleeve that contains increases. How can an increase be so complicated? It’s masochistic knitting, remember? I have this obsession  thing about increases being invisible. So the increase that is truly invisible is the lifted increase. You knit into the collar of the stitch below the one on your needle. Then you knit the one on your needle. It makes a beautiful right leaning increase. For the left you do the same–sort of. You work the stitch on the needle then you go what looks like two stitches but is really just one below, knit into the collar of the stitch and you have a left leaning decrease. While my right leaning decreases were coming out okay, the left ones were not. Riiiiiiiiip! Start again. Do the same things. The left increase is still wonky. Put knitting down. Comb through knitting books for the specific increase I am doing. Finally find it verifying I am doing it as stated. Pick up knitting. Make left increase. Stop. The increase is still wonky. Wonder if knitting it through the back look would change anything. Try it. Left increase is now looking good. One problem solved.

I am working on the second sleeve now. After this I join the front, sleeve, back, sleeve together and from there I am lost. The instructions are to keep 8 stitches on hold for each sleeve and back and front. These stitches are not knitted up when the pieces are joined. They are grafted together at the end of the sweater making. I cannot envision how yarn gets from one part of the sweater to the other. Even joining other balls of yarn where these 8 stitches are will not work knitting in the round. So I am off to Ravelry to find out if anyone else had this problem and what to do about it. I have visions of the sweater being left unfinished because I can’t figure this out and my heart starts its anxious palpitations. I tell myself I will finish this sweater. I will.

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The weather remains rainy, grey and only in the 50s F / 10 C. Never fear, in my state of denial regarding the weather I bought two hibiscus plants for the hummingbird we have hanging around. Hibiscus is a plant that does very well in Hawaii, so why not give it a go in a cold, gloomy climate? I hope the weather warms up before the hibiscus die.

I swatched for the Carbeth sweater.

buachaille

The sock on the right is what I am trying to finish before I throw myself into this sweater. The swatch on the left is the Carbeth on size US 10.5 (6.5 mm). After working on the sock with US 1 (2.25mm) needles it was like going from playing with a butterfly to wrestling a bear on the US 10. By the way, that’s the inside of the sock you’re seeing.

Unlike superwash merino, the Buachaille doesn’t grow when bathed and blocked. I got perfect row gauge but my stitch count was off. I needed 3.5 stitches per inch ( 2.5 cm) and I got 4. I went back to the pattern and recalculated the numbers for the 4 gauge. I didn’t really like the results. I had to jump up two sizes beyond what I would have normally knit and still the results would have yielded only 2 inches (5 cm) of ease where I want 4 inches (10 cm).

So I went to Webs yarn store online and ordered US 11 (8 mm) needles hoping to get the 3.5 sts I need. When they arrive I will swatch. But I have doubts about this working out nicely. Having had so much interaction with the gods of knitting I know what lies ahead. I will have to use the US 10.5 (6.5 mm) needles and recalculate the entire sweater decrease shaping and all. That means it will turn into a masochistic knitting adventure. By the time I am knitting and have the sweater and Yarn Rascal in my lap, the weather will have turned very hot and very humid. The hibiscus, should they make it through until then, will be very happy.

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carbeth_04_copy_medium2

My new obsession is Carbeth by Kate Davies. I love the interesting construction, the shape, the utilitarianism of the sweater. Best of all, it will give me a chance to work with her Buachaille yarn.  From descriptions I’ve read, the yarn is really sheepy. It has the natural lanolin of the fleece still in it and it smells sheepy. I can’t wait to work with something other than merino. I am also very interested in what Yarn Rascal’s reaction will be. Again, from the descriptions, this will be way different that any yarn he’s seen so far.

As with all sweater patterns, I purchased it and studied it before I bought the yarn and needles. I don’t have a waist like Ms. Davies, so I will be making adjustments to the length. Since I plan to wear this with turtlenecks underneath I also decided to go up 4 inches (10 cm) larger than my bust size.

There are very sane mathematical ways to figure out how much extra yarn will be needed when altering a pattern. I’d like to say I employed them before I ordered a whole batch of yarn in the Haar colorway, but I didn’t. I winged it. But that will be alright. Haar is one of the natural colors of the sheep so if I need more it will most likely blend in. Haar is a silver grey. I ordered the color because it will go with all my turtlenecks. I also ordered it because I’ve gotten so use to the grey skies and days (we haven’t seen the sun since I don’t know when) that I was afraid when the outdoors finally became sunny and colorful I would go into some sort of detox craving and needing to see grey.

What I can be sure of now that I ordered the yarn is that the day it arrives and I start the project the temperature outside will shoot up from 50 F (10 C) to 90 F (32 C) along with oppressive humidity. Yes, now that I’ve bought this sheepy yarn the entire east coast of the United States is sure to get hot, humid weather with plenty of searing sunshine. What better weather to knit a winter sweater in?

 

 

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I was sitting in my oncologist’s waiting room knitting. I just started a toe-up sock so not much of it was done. The waiting room was quite crowded.

An older woman who had been watching me walked across the waiting room and took the seat next to me. I wasn’t alarmed as she didn’t look like a serial killer. The low chatter that was going on in the room gave way to silence when she sat down. As I said, I was knitting toe-up, had just completed the short-row toe and joined for working in the round on small US 1 (2.25 mm) 9 inch (22 cm) circular needles. The woman leaned over to me in the hushed waiting room and said, “Are you knitting a penis cover?” I could feel everyone’s eyes slide toward me. My heart started palpating funny and my breathing sort of stopped. When I realized the floor was not going to open up and swallow me I replied “No” loud enough for everyone to hear. “It’s a sock. See, like the ones I’m wearing.” I always wear a pair of hand knitted socks to the oncologist’s office. They are my good luck charm and armor.

The woman looked at me curiously and said she had never seen anyone knit a sock like this. I explained to her, and the rest of the waiting room, she was used to seeing cuff-down construction and this was toe-up. I don’t really know if anyone in that room believed me.

These are the penis cover socks I was knitting.

corridale knit socks

The socks are the Corriedale yarn from Bumblebee Acres Farm. I love it. The Corriedale has nice stitch definition. It is not as silky as Merino but it is sturdy. The best part is that unlike Merino which tends to grow when you wash it, Corriedale does not. It maintains it’s shape and size. So if you are having problems with socks that come out of the bath bigger than when they went in, try Corriedale.

As for knitting in public, I think I will always keep a pair of The Skipper’s socks on the needles as they are worked cuff-down and can’t be mistaken for anything other than a sock.

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camouflage-knitwear-joseph-ford-3 nina doddcamouflage-knitwear-joseph-ford-2 nina dodd

I call it urban knits but that is not it’s name. The designer is Nina Dodd. I think it is an interesting example that inspiration is all around us. Check out the rest of her knits at the link above.

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What a difference a few weeks of temperatures of below 0 F / -17 C have had on The Skipper’s opinion of my yarn stash.

The man is a warm weather person. The hotter it is the more he likes it. 70 F / 21 C is what he considers cool. On the other hand, hot starts at those temps for me. I truly enjoy the cold, cold weather of winter.

So in the middle of the cold, cold spell he asked for some new socks. The man’s feet eat socks at a fast rate. Yarn Rascal and I went to the yarn vault and looked over what we had. The only yarn that seems to have endurance with the rough treatment The Skipper gives his socks is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock. Yarn Rascal picked out a nice deep blue/black from the left overs in the Shepherd Sock horde. I’m pretty sure the name of the colorway is Peacock. I didn’t have enough to make two socks without inserting a contrasting yarn for the heel flap, heel and toe.

The contrasting yarn is Miss Babs Yummy 2 ply in Oyster.

knitted sock lorna laces yarn

No sooner did they come off the needles than The Skipper whipped them onto his feet. I wanted to block them to allow the stitches and the fiber to relax. But no, he couldn’t wait.

He’s asked me for no less than four more pairs of socks. Preferably in colors that match new turtlenecks he bought. I told him I didn’t have those colors in my stash and that I would need to order them. “Order as much as you like” was his comment! Yarn Rascal and I just gaped at him. After all, this was the man who just a few months ago complained that the stash was too big and I should think of selling some of it off.

I’d like to thank winter for restoring the man to sanity.

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I keep meaning to write, but put it off because I haven’t taken any of the photos I want to share with you: new yarn in corriedale, one finished sock for The Skipper, and the Forever Shawl. Frankly, my life is not my own at the moment and I don’t get around to all the things I want to do in a day. Yesterday a friend looked at me and asked “Are you doing the things you need to do for yourself?” I just laughed. The answer being of course not.

To make matters worse my WordPress reader’s site has been down for weeks and I haven’t been able to keep up with all the blogs that I love. It’s miraculously back up now. But for a bit there I felt like a castaway on an island all by myself. Actually, at one point I began to question whether my need of yarn and knitting needles was indicative of some sort of obsessive compulsive disorder that I should seek therapy for. That’s how alone I felt without my favorite blogs.

Yesterday I had to take Dad to an appointment with a doctor. As I was driving to pick him up I see this lost dog roaming the road and into the woods around the area I live. I am an animal lover to the nth degree. I couldn’t just leave the dog there. Long story short, I needed to find the dog’s home and get my father to his appointment all at the same time. It was stressful. I walked the woods with the dog, knocked on the doors of homes we came to asking if he was theirs. In the meanwhile the time for taking dad is getting closer. I managed to somehow lose my footing and fall, landing on a rock on the knee I recently hurt. The pain was bad. The dog thought I was playing and came over to romp beside me. I told him he had the sensitivity of concrete, but I wasn’t going to leave him in the woods alone.

Once I managed to stand up and hobble a little I decided I would take the dog in the car, pick up my father and sit in the car with the dog until the appointment was over. Then I would go back and try to find his owners. There was one last house I hadn’t noticed as we walked. I went up to the door and knocked, and yes, thankfully they were the owners of the dog. They couldn’t imagine how he got out. I hobbled my way out of the woods, only losing my bearings one time. Dad made it to the appointed albeit 10 minutes late.

Today my mother has an appointment with a doctor. So I am going to have to cut this writing short. But I swear I am going to try and get those pictures done this week.

 

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