Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday afternoon swears

I've been in a knitting slump for the last few weeks, with no new yarn tickling my fancy, and no really great projects I'm itching to start.  I've been determined to work through the yarn I bought at the 2011 Knitters' Fair, partly because it seems silly to buy more when I was so excited about the new yarns I bought last year, and partly because I shouldn't be spending money on yarn when I have real things to pay for.  I finished off the last of the sock yarn I had stashed with my Laurel socks, and now I am officially without back-burner knitting.  I used to be a die-hard one-project-at-a-timer, but I graduated to keeping two or three on the go, and now I'm feeling a little lost.  I went to Thursday knit night this week without any real project to work on!  I spent my night swatching a swatch that got way too big for what it was, and left early because I ran out of things to do.  Here's the low down on where I stand project-wise: 

 Laurel socks: DONE.  Finished these puppies about a week ago, and I've already worn them twice.  I've never had such a lacey pair of handknit socks, and I was worried that I would feel the stitches too much, but I really like them.  Slim Jim has a deep, deep problem with handknit socks because she can feel the individual stitches on the bottoms of her feet (she has texture issues), and I must admit, I have a wee bit of this problem too.  When my feet get sweaty (get over it, everyone gets sweaty feet and I'm sure I'm not the first one to mention it), I can really feel the stitches and it starts to bother me.  This is true of any pair of handknit socks I own, BUT, the lacework on the tops of my footsies and up the leg don't bother me in the least, hurrah!

 Don't think it's this side, but I made one mistake (that I'm aware of) in the back-and-forth baby twisted stitches up the side, but other than that, they are perfection.

 It's been a rainy weekend and these socks are too cute next to my rubber boots.  Sadly, these boots are only a prop for the socks since they're a year old and have already sprouted leaks - the rubber split on the outside edge of both boots, and they're not that great at keeping my feet dry anymore.

 The fingerless mitts in my lovely Viola fingering in "Bruised Plum" are complete!  Here is my left hand next to the too-big swatch I made at knit night for the coordinating neckwarmer.  I'm still playing around with needle sizes for the nicest drape of the fabric, and any way I slice it, I don't have the correct circular needle size for the project.  A quick sidebar on my needle inventory: I have a set of interchangeable plastic needles which include every needle combination I could ever need, except the little ones.  The smallest size I have is 3.75mm, and from my swatching, I need either a 3.0mm or 2.75mm for my neckwarmer.  KnitPicks doesn't seem to have an interchangeable circular set with smaller gauge needles either - is this a thing?  I am firmly against buying a fixed circular needle in one size and length, is there such a thing as an itty bitty interchangeable needle set?
Both hands together, thanks Fuzzyhead for taking this picture!  The twists really evened out after blocking, they're so much smoother and relaxed.  The pattern called for me to soak the mitts for an hour (!), and since I regularly forget about things I've left in the sink to soak, this would have happened anyway.  Not sure if an hour of soaking is what really made the difference, but I love them!

After humming and hawing for weeks about which shawl pattern to use for my last skein of luscious Viola yarn, I had narrowed it down to Rock Island or Annis.  I liked the idea of having a challenging project on the go, so I chose Rock Island and bought the pattern last night.  I've adopted a wind-on-demand system for all of my new yarns after winding for hours when I first got my ball winder (and releasing clouds and clouds of dust and yarn fibre into the air causing me to sneeze for days), and it was a big exciting moment to unwrap the skein for the first time.  I sat down to wind with the yarn on my swift just after letting the dog outside, and when I got nerve-y about how it had been a little too long since I last saw Oscar outside and thought the gate might have been blown open, I dropped my ball winder.  Bad news bears - plastic ball winders aren't designed to stand up to repeated winding and dropping (this was not the first time I dropped it...).  The handle snapped clean off, somewhat inside the winder, making it useless and unfixable.  Ugh.  I was only about a third of the way through winding the skein and had to finish winding by hand.  As you can see from the picture below, this makes for an ugly and somewhat tightly wound little ball.  New ball winder is going on my list of things to buy with my next KnitPicks order.

The first four rows of the border edging, next to an ugly ball of yarn.  I did a garter stitch swatch first, which is nestled inside my project book.  I did my first swatch with my favourite (and only) Addi 3.75mm 32" circular fixed needles, but they were too small.  I ripped out the swatch and did it again with a 4.0mm and I was happy with the sizing and the way the fabric looked. 

 The edging pattern when it is stretched out a little bit.  I'm loving the YO loops at the top for picking up stitches later - Brooklyn Tweed gets my stamp of approval so far.

Next project on my list is a set of throw pillows for my living room, from the Winter 2011/2012 Vogue Knitting.  This will be my mindless knitting project to take wherever my knitting takes me, and I already bought the pillow forms from Ikea.  No word on colour choices yet since I will need to go yarn shopping for this one, but I'm thinking soft neutrals.  Our living room includes a purple couch, yellow-green chair with elephants, and brown, green, and blue accents.  Suggestions?

 One of the stitch patterns for the pillows, with a front and back view.

 My living room, from two different angles.  This is an old set of pictures, from when we first moved in - the rug is no more (Oscar ripped open a can of sardines in tomato sauce over it, thanks dog), and there are different accent pieces in the room now.  Some greys wouldn't be a bad idea since the curtain in the room is grey, but I would like some colour too.

Until we meet again,



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