Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Started my Karira sock!

I was finally inspired to start my sock today, after Sarah Jo, my roommate and fellow intern, lent me two small size one circulars, so I could try the two circ method for the first time. I've only ever knit socks with dpns, which isn't so bad, except for a few drawbacks. First, starting the damn thing can drive you insane: keeping cast-on stitches balanced on three dpns, untwisted, and completing that first row can just unhinge you. And, they have a tendency to slide off the needles and if you accidentally pull the wrong point, you've dropped all the stitches on that needle. So okay, it has its drawbacks. (Also, it can poke you!) But I've never known any other way until this summer, when I was introduced to the concept of the two-circular method, which is basically the same except instead of three dpns you just use two circular needles, and split the stitches in half. They are muuuch less likely to slide off the needle, and casting on is much easier.

So I wound my yarn and started my Karira sock, and I have completed one chart repeat. Here is an awful picture:

Took it with my webcam, so you can barely even get an idea of what it looks like. Here is what it looked like earlier in the day, in a better photo:

That just gives you an idea of the yarn. Which I am IN LOVE WITH. It's freaking gorgeous.

So the pattern is kind of finnicky. I finished one repeat (20 rows) and I was getting a little stressed out there near the end. I now have to do two more repeats, AND another sock, but that's a problem for another day... I'm not sure when I'm going to pick it up and start another repeat, I think I'll just give us both some time apart.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Making actual progress, people.

So I finally have gotten the skirt started properly. Here it is so far:
Purdy. The color is actually much darker than this, but the flash makes it look lighter. I think this is what it'll probably look like after I wash it and the extra dye comes out. Speaking of extra dye coming out...

This is what my hand looks like after about an hour and a half of knitting. But it can get much worse. The blue dye comes off on my computer, on Shannon's kindle, on books, on everything, pretty much. It washes off pretty easily from most things (but not my skin-- that takes a few scrubs). I love knitting this skirt-- except for the blue hands! It's really annoying. If I ever knit another one I will use a colorfast yarn. And maybe a wool fiber. The Rowan Denim was recommended because the skirt needs to be knit in a fiber that will hold its very fitted shape, but there are a lot of other kinds of yarn I could use, probably. I think it's going to be really pretty. I don't end up wearing a lot of stuff that I knit, which really bugs me, and EVERY time I make something else, I always say, "I might actually wear this!!" And I usually don't. But I really hope I DO wear this.

I also realized something about knitting tops for me: the standard sizes will not fit. The reason why I can't wear most sweaters that I knit is because I always knit them in the smallest size since knit stuff has a tendency to come out big, but my chest will NOT fit into a standard small, so the yarn always gaps apart over my chest and looks awful. So I don't wear it. My boss Shannon recommended that I get the book "Big Girl Knits" (adding, "Not because you're big or anything!") because it gives guidelines for revising patterns to fit problem areas such as butt, belly and bust. I don't have a problem butt- (seeing as I have none) or belly-wise, in general, but bustwise, well, it's not always easy finding shirts that fit, considering my relatively small frame and disproportional bust. Soooo . . . I am going to find that book, because it would be REALLY nice to knit a top that fits across my bust without gapping or stretching, but also isn't times too big on me!!!

And then maybe I'll make a sweater or top that fits.

In the meantime, working happily on my skirt and the Noro scarf which is sooo pretty-- the colors are coming out beautifully.

Still haven't started the socks (shame-faced look) because I don't have the right size needles. Gotta pick some up asap, because the beautiful Malabrigo is begging to be knit up!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Aaand rip-out number three!!

Turns out I have to start over again, friends. AGAIN. For the THIRD TIME. Yep. And I have gotten further along than ever. I've knit about six and a half inches of the skirt. And now I have to rip it out and start over once more.

Why? You may ask. Well, the stars were looking a little lopsided, but I was like, whatever, I'll deal with it. I thought there was something off about the pattern. Then I get to the end of the hip-shaping section, count the stitches, find out I have way more than I'm supposed to have, go back and read the directions more closely, and realized I have been increasing like double the amount that I'm supposed to be increasing, because instead of doing one row of stars and one row of star increases, I've been doing two rows of star increases.


This is getting EXTREMELY frustrating. I might not mind so much if not for the blue-hands situation. It's actually ridiculous. I'm getting it on EVERYTHING. And now. I have to go back. And START AGAIN!!!!!!!

Look how far I got!!!!!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

More problems

Jeez. So, I ripped it all out and started again in the size small. And NOW I'm thinking I need to rip it out and go to a smaller needle!! As you can see by the picture the fabric isn't solid enough. It's too loose. And I obviously don't want it to gap apart like that when I'm wearing it, because then I'll look like I'm bursting out of it AND my underwear will probably be visible.

ARG! And I had already gotten through three of the star rows... but then again I think I messed up on the first repeat and they're not all even so maybe it's all for the best. I just HATE ripping out because I lose momentum.

On the other hand I will be relieved to get rid of these interchangeable needles. I borrowed a pair from my roommate, and one side CONTINUOUSLY is pulling out of the loop so I often suddenly have a long gap of dropped stitches! This makes me dubious about the whole interchangeable concept.

Well, I guess I've just to do it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

problem already

So I cast on for the skirt last night and I'm already having issues. I cast on for a Medium because Rowan Denim is supposed to shrink. But as I'm knitting I'm getting the feeling I should be doing the small, and I know it's going to keep nagging at me as I work. I'm only about a dozen rows in at this point, so I know I should really rip it out and start again, but I haaate ripping out.... so now I have to deal with this. Sigh. On another note, look at what the denim yarn did to my wooden needles:

The one on the left used to look like the one on the right. Now it is completely blue/green. Yuck. Also my hands are just covered in dye and fiber... and this stuff takes quite a few washes to get off.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Aaand another six months later....

Time warp. Wow, I have been extremely neglectful!

But there's a lot to say now. Let's jump right in. First of all, I have a KNITTING INTERNSHIP, yes, can you believe it?!?!?!

Basically I'm working with Shannon Okey, renowned designer and author, in Cleveland, OH for the summer, helping her with a large publishing project-- a series of ten books, "Fresh Designs", each containing ten patterns from designers on Ravelry. Each book has a theme-- hats, sweaters, kids, etc. So mostly I've just been contacting designers and working out the details and so on.

I am also doing a bit of a side-internship. I work one day a week at Fine Points, an excellent yarn shop in Larchmere, which is about ten minutes away from where I live. I'm learning quite a lot about high-end yarns. When I first started knitting, I always went for the expensive, sexy yarns, but as time went on I began to just stock up at my local craft store with low-end yarns. They worked fine, but only now am I realizing how much I missed out on. There is a WORLD of incredible, gorgeous fiber out there that I am just discovering. I'm not going to touch on just how much money I've been spending on yarn. That's not important. But I now have two projects in process, one which I'm going to start very soon, and two more ideas gesticulating in my head.

So here we go.....


Lacy scarf in Noro Sekku, a cobweb-weight (ever heard that before?) yarn from the famous guys over in Japan. Noro is an incredible company with colorways and textures like you have never seen before. I snatched up a ball of Sekku, a really really skinny cotton/wool/nylon/silk blend, in dye lot 7A. The colorway is: bright magenta pinks which change into a moody purple/brown color, then a gorgeous jade blue, grass green, and beige. I haven't even reached all the colors yet because Noro is well-known for its very long color repeats. One color will go on for many yards before transitioning into the next.

My first idea was a really light summer cardigan, which I'd work with another yarn I bought. I even swatched a few lace patterns with it, holding the two yarns together. But nothing really germinated and I kind of lost interest. I didn't have enough yardage to make any kind of garment, and I'm not really an "accessories" type of person... I don't wear scarves, armbands, shawls, that kind of thing. But I really wanted to do something with the yarn. So I spent a while scrolling through laceweight patterns on Ravelry and I saw a cool scarf done in a kind of seafoam pattern, which creates these kind of waves of long strands of yarn made by dropped yarnovers. Here it is:
Not such a great picture. But you get it.


Bell Curve Skirt from Knitty:

Fell in love. Spent all day at work shopping for the yarn I'd use. Finally decided on Rowan Cotton Denim. A denim skirt!! I just cast on and knit the first few rows and my hands are blue:

Here's a picture of the yarn I bought today for the project:

It's this gorgeous, irresistible deep, deep, deep navy blue. But the dye is coming off on my skin and the needles too. Oy. Once I wash it for the first time, I think it should be okay. But until then my hands will be permanently stained.


It's a Ravelry/KnitGrrl read/knit-a-long. Long story short, it's a group of people who are all reading the same book (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and knitting the same sock:

DISCLAIMER: this is just a picture of the sock, I did not make this!!!!

It's a sock designed by my boss, Shannon, and another sock designer. So I've got the pattern, and Shannon gave me some gorgeous sock yarn to choose from. I choose this blue/jade, despite there being at least two other incredible options. This one just spoke to me. I love these deep colors!!

(I recently realized that most of my knitting falls into the same color palette: purple, pink, and jade blue.)

So I'll be starting the sock soon. I hope I have the right size dpns. Or I can try it with two circs, which I've never done. But I don't think I have two size 3 circs anyway. I'll figure it out.


Bought this GORGEOUS, INCREDIBLE, RIDICULOUS-weight silk lace yarn a few weeks ago when I first got here, along with the Noro:

I couldn't stop feeling it, it was soooo silky soft, and the color is so gorgeous, this beautiful soft purple with hints of pink and variations in shade, and with just the right amount of sheen. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before I realized that I had no idea what to do with it. The gauge is absolutely silly. It's like 12 or 13 stitches to an inch. I mean, it would take years to make anything. But I spent a LOT on the yarn and it IS really gorgeous, so I have a plan. My plan is to make these gloves:

PLAN. It's just a PLAN at this point. But it's basically the only thing I found with a similar gauge that I would ever actually use or wear. I wish I were more of a scarf-wearing type-- I mean, it would make it a lot easier to get rid of my stash while looking stylish. But that kind of fashion ability is completely my sister's arena, not mine. The gloves look ridiculously complicated, but there is one benefit-- they are knit flat. I knit a glove once-- it was my first blog post. And it was a terrible failure. Because knitting fourteen stitches on three dpns is basically a nightmare that I have no desire to ever do again. So the fact that these gloves are knit flat and seamed is definitely a plus. We'll see if it ever actually happens.

POSSIBLE PROJECT #3: Winter hat.

I don't really have a vision for this one, but I do have the yarn. I bought it at the Larchmere Bazaar Bizarre, a craft fair that Shannon helps run. I met a really cool girl who dyes all her yarn in one-skein batches, so there's never any more than one colorway the same. Meaning I only got one skein of this pretty, fingering-weight yarn, and now I don't know what to do with it:

The picture doesn't really do it justice-- it's mostly a maroon, purpley color with browns and a little green and it's got a really nice, soft feel. I tried to make a skirt for a while-- which was part of a dress, and the design is actually really pretty and I'd like to make it someday-- but I kept hating it and pulling it out and finally I just gave up and wound it. There really isn't enough for the skirt of a dress anyway. So now I'm thinking winter hat. Probably won't happen for a while.

And finally, one actually COMPLETED project!

It's a head scarf for my very good friend and former bat sherut, Shira. She's getting married in Jerusalem in two weeks and I decided to make her a tichle, because observant Jewish women cover their hair after they get married. I didn't find any patterns or really know what I was doing, so I just shopped around for a nice white yarn and sketched some ideas and came up with this:

It's Rowan Cotton Glace. I haven't really been a huge fan of cotton in the past because it's really heavy and can be rough and usually splits really easily. But this yarn is soft and very very pretty. I decided to make it white because I thought she might want to wear it on Shabbat, and I put in a neat gold accent on the front edge with a grain slip stitch. I used a little curls stitch pattern from my favorite go-to stitch book, "Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns." The pattern makes little bumps, kind of. The design of the whole thing was totally improvised because I really didn't know how to go about making a knit object that would fit nicely around the head. This was the final shape:

Originally I had planned to pick up from each side front edge and knit a long, thin tie so it could be tied around the back of the head, but I decided to put buttons on the back instead because the edges overlapped. Besides, long thin knit strips would have curled and been bulky. So today I bought some cool wooden buttons and sewed them on. Since I didn't plan for buttonholes, it was a little tricky, but the ladies at Fine Points gave me a great suggestion-- sewing the pretty buttons on the outside of the fabric, and then on the inside right behind them, little shirt buttons that then buttoned into small buttonholes that I simply stretched and whipstitched in the knitted fabric. It looks like this:

Not a great picture, it was a tough angle. But you get the idea-- two large buttons mostly for decoration, and the smaller buttons sewed directly behind the big buttons. The little buttons are therefore a little tricky and I hope they don't give Shira too much trouble. I'm going to mail it to a friend who is going to Israel next week and will be at the wedding. I really hope she likes it and that it is wearable.

PHEW... I hope you are all satisfied, I stuffed a ton into this post. (And by "you all", I mean Mom.)

I'll try to be better with updating. Now that I actually am knitting, there will be more to say.