Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pi are not square

It embarrasses me to post these photos, it really does. Here's the original pi sock, as photographed last year.

And here it is with its mate, as finished earlier this week.

I have NO idea what happened. Same yarn, same needles, same knitter . . . and yet. One thing that did occur to me is that the yarn stretched when I left it wound in balls for a year. This is certainly possible, especially since I hand-wind my yarn, rather tightly. I'm not sure, though. You'd think I'd get to be a tighter knitter as I knit more and gain more experience, but apparently not.

What I'm going to try to take away from this is that it was an incredibly valuable lesson in a lot of ways. I knit a lot in college, but more or less stopped when I went to grad school. I only picked it up again spring of last year at the encouragement of my then-boyfriend. And then . . . then I was obsessed. All of a sudden I was knitting all the time, reading knit blogs, and getting more ambitious by the second. But I still had a long way to go, and these socks demonstrate that. When I first got the idea to knit pi socks, I wouldn't have dreamed of doing a little swatching and writing my own pattern from scratch. I adapted someone else's. It was awful--the pattern didn't suit the concept, the yarn, or the way I knit, and the results were disastrous. Now I would just make my own pattern. (Which I would then proceed not to follow, but that's neither here nor there.)

The other thing was the yarn. I just pulled what I had from the stash without really thinking through what the pattern demanded or the qualities of the yarn I had (in this case, a cotton blend). Nowadays, I'd try to marry the yarn to the pattern.

Finally, I knew when I finished the first sock that nothing worked. But, stubborn me, I didn't frog it and dispose of it then and there. The stubbornness remains a constant, but now I wouldn't have gotten past the cuff on that first sock. I'm much more flexible and imaginative now . . . I only hope I'll continue to grow as I keep on knitting.

And in the meantime, these socks are pretty comfy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A plug

I realized the other day (when posting about the last pair of Mindless Socks, in fact) that my beloved Regia Silk had been *ominous music* discontinued. Now, aside from the loss of an excellent--if expensive--sock yarn, this left me with a poser.

You see, I have lots of leftover ends from previous sock projects, and I'd always intended to get some solid-color Regia so I could use up the ends as heels and toes. I am a thrifty knitter. But obviously the discontinuation of the yarn kind of put a wrench in that plan.

I took to the internet, determined to find whatever I could and buy it before it got away. That's how I stumbled across Carodan Farm. I'd never heard of them before, and my only interest in the site was their large supply of plain white Regia Silk. (Also, the price was good.) So I ordered a few skeins and sort of forgot about it for a few days.

But when it came--I was very impressed. The yarn is its nice self, of course. But as well, it shipped within just a few days of my ordering--definitely not always the case with smaller companies--and arrived the day after it was shipped. Also, it came with a prize! This darling little ruler, which is so wee and cute I can hardly stand it.

And the invoice had a hand-written note of thanks, signed by one of the owners. It's these little touches that take the dread out of online ordering--for me, anyway. I urge you to check out the Carodan website and support 'em if you're so inclined. They have a line of yarn spun from their own sheep, which is very reasonably priced (the worsted-weight is $6.95 USD/200 yds) and they're having a sale on sock yarn right now . . .

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Maybe sparrow*

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark.

Final dimensions: about 68 x 36", severely blocked. I did 19 repeats of the budding lace (instead of the 14 called for in the pattern).

Yarn: Posh Yarn Miranda (alpaca/silk/cashmere 70/20/10), colorway Mimosa. Size 4/3.5mm needles.

The budding lace is (to borrow a phrase from Aspen) boring as tar to knit, but the pattern in general has plenty of interest. I would say it is fairly advanced--being able to "read" lace is a must, and the nupps are a bit tricky to execute. Clark (and the folks at Interweave) gets two thumbs up for formatting; her instructions and charts are crystal-clear. Any issues I had were of my own making.

*In my "everyday" blog, I always title posts with song lyrics. I don't try to do that here, but this popped into my head and seemed appropriate for a bird shawl. What can I say, I've been on a big Neko Case kick lately.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

All you do is lie to me, 'cos you're a liar, liar, liar

Hey, remember how I wasn't going to start anything new until I finished the pi sock?

Don't judge me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lots going on in my head

I finished the Swallowtail, blocked it Saturday, and wore it to church yesterday. It's reblocking today, however, for a couple reasons.

As you can see from this first blocking photo, I seriously underestimated the wingspan of the shawl. (And check out the contrast between the checkered sheets and the shawl color--I thought I would go blind.) Anyway, I couldn't stretch it horizontally nearly as much as it wanted to be stretched. And after a day of wear, I felt that the points weren't as pointy as they should be.

So today I washed it, soaked it, and pinned it out the other way 'round on the bed. See? Much better. (Crappy photos though, sorry.)

Points are pointier, stretch has been achieved, and I think this blocking is a keeper. So I'll have pictures of the finished product at some point this week.

In other knitting, at the urging of a Ravelry group (the Mawelucky Love crowd, hooligans that they are), I resurrected the unfinished Pi Sock. It's about a third of the way done, and I've noticed some interesting things about it, having come back after a year of neglect. I'll talk about them later, maybe.

The idea is that I get rid of all my WIPs (or at least the older ones). When I couldn't bear any more sock, I switched to the Endless Sweater. As you can see, I've been trying to work on things in progress in lieu of casting on something more interesting. As it is, I was on the verge of starting something new yesterday, but I managed to stop myself after the yarn was wound. (Some of the Chinese yarn--the purple stuff. I'm thinking a hat/scarf combo; there's probably something like 400 yards of a worsted weight here.)

To be honest, about the only thing keeping me knitting on the pi sock is that I have so MUCH I want to work on. This list is mostly for my own reference, but it'll give you an idea of what's swirling around. I'd like to:

~Finish the Endless Sweater.

~Knit that hat and scarf with the yarn I wound the other day.

~Knit a Carumboa scarf from Knitting New Scarves to use up some stuff in the stash.

~Knit a sample Orenburg shawl a la Gossamer Webs in preparation for . . .

~Design and knit an Orenburg shawl of my own.

~Knit a full-sized version of the Papyrus shawl .

And that's just what I've PLANNED. Better go knit . . .

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mindless, mindless

More mindless socks, destined for my aunt Joanne. (I offered her the choice of my sock-yarn stash, but she wanted these . . . and since the first one was almost finished already, I didn't object.)

Pattern: Mindless Socks. One of the things I like about these socks is how they relax out so beautifully after a first wash. The picture above was taken before washing, the other two after.

Yarn: Regia Silk Color, 55/25/20 wool/polyamide/silk, colorway 0187 "Siena." Size 1/2.25mm needles--I used a set of lovely ebony Lantern Moon needles given to me by a friend, and I highly recommend them.

The next pair of mindless socks is already on the needles--now to finish my swallowtail.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Of ships and nupps and sealing wax

Much knitting has been accomplished of late, but unfortunately nothing photogenic.

Last week, I went to my first knit night at my new LYS. And it was awesome. Everyone there was super-friendly, and I got to hear all about the various projects and events they had going. They also admired the swallowtail-in-progress, even though it's still extremely blobby. The store owner told me on the way out that "your cobweb thing is beautiful!" I laughed, but that's just about right.

The swallowtail is coming along--I'm almost done with the first edge chart and hope to finish it this week. Here, have a blob picture:

Look, you can see the nupps!

I've never made anything with nupps before; they're pretty easy. (Of course, I'm a very loose knitter . . . they'd be fiendishly difficult for a tight knitter, I think.)

In other news, the pattern for the Papyrus shawl is (finally) in the hands of the test knitters. Are you happy now?!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Moving (and shawl) complete

And here I sit in my new house, enjoying the air-conditioning--it's muggy and overcast today.

Anyway, I finished the prototype for my lace shawl about a week ago and managed to block it before moving. I only got the chance to take pictures today, though . . . so here they are!

First, a few blocking shots. I underestimated the wingspan a little . . .

And the finished product. (It's a little rumpled from being packed away, still.)

Yarn: KP Shadow, colorway "Jazz," approximately 30g, size 3/3.25mm needles. Also featured is my new deck.

The shape of the finished shawl won't be quite like this. This is a scaled-down version of half the complete shawl; it'll be a traditional triangle shape with a center stitch.

Pattern is coming, eventually.