Friday, February 4, 2011

yet ANOTHER new project, and progress

I started another new project today! Got some great news last night, turns out a good friend of mine is going to have a behbeh. Yay!! Someone else to knit for!!! And a great opportunity to use my brand-new cotton yarn! Huzzah! So I got really excited and jumped in.

But before I could knit, I had to wind, right? Well, I was tired of wrapping my yarn around chairs and knees and bedposts to try to wind. So I decided to get creative and improvise my own "swift":

 How To Make Your Own Swift Thing

Lazy Susan
5 or 6 chopsticks, preferably the kind with square bottoms (like the kind that come attached and you have to snap them apart)

Securely tape evenly-spaced chopsticks to the sides of the lazy susan like so:

Important--- Make sure the chopsticks are as upright as possible. If they lean, the yarn creeps up to the top of the chopstick and might slide off. This takes a bunch of tape.

So it worked, in the end!! I only wound two skeins into balls for now, but I left the chopsticks taped to the lazy susan for future use. Unless they fall off, of course.

So now that my yarn was all ready to go, I swatched!

The pattern calls for two strands of yarn to be held together throughout. I didn't like that idea. Takes too much yarn, would mess with the variegation, and it's annoying to use two balls at once. So I decided to alter the pattern a bit. I swatched with size 9 needles and it came out beautifully, as you can see above! The pattern is very cute, easy and pleasingly geometric, plus, completely reversible. So I modified the pattern by calculating the number of repeats needed to reach the 34" width of the blanket. That would be 8 repeats of 20 stitches each, at my gauge of 20 sts = 4". So I cast on 166 stitches (extra 3 for 3-st. garter borders) on my size 9 circulars. Wrong! Looked terrible-- the gauge was so loose and it looked waaay too long. Basically it was really messy and ugly so I took it off the needles and stretched it out for curiosity:

 It was like 41". Yeah no. So I cast on again with size 8's. Here it is, with half a repeat done:

I think it's good-- the gauge might still be a liiiittle looser than I'd like, but it's very pretty and soft and the colorway is fantastic for an unknown gender! Totally boy AND girl friendly, I think. But it'll probably take me a while. No rush, we don't need it till summer.

Other stuff-- here's my lace dress, already at 16":

I must admit that I am loving it-- Love the fire-engine red color, love the pattern, love how FAST it's going, most of all! The truth test will come when we reach waist and bust shaping, which might not be too far off. I was worried I wouldn't have enough yarn, and I'm still a teensy bit worried, but three balls got me to 16", and the dress will get narrower soon-- so I might actually have enough.

Three WIP's! Whee!

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