Sunday, December 30, 2012

Three, I mean, Four Things

First, I only have one project on the needles: a hat for one of my two trainers at the gym. They've both been really patient with me, as the clueless newbie in class. Thanks to the both of them, I managed to lose 5 pounds in 6 weeks. We start up again in January, so I should have this finished in plenty of time.

Secondly, I made a couple hats over the Christmas break. One was the purple hat for my other trainer. It was a really quick knit, on big needles with aran-weight yarn. I still need to decide if it should have a pompon on it. As I was finishing that one, my sister-in-law said how much she liked it and wondered if I could make another for her. As it happened, I had another ball of the Nashua Isabella in my project back, this one in topaz. Since we were snowed in, I was able to whip out another hat in time for her to take it home with her the next day. Yay for bringing along that extra ball of yarn!

Thirdly, my copy of Colours of Shetland arrived the day we got home from Christmas! I'm so excited. The photography is gorgeous and I want to make just about everything in it. The highlight of the book (aside from the patterns, I mean) is the accompanying text about the inspirations for the patterns. I love that the whole book is a testament to Kate Davies' love of Shetland.

Lastly, I have some yarn I haven't documented, so I thought I'd throw that in this post, too. It's three skeins of Cascade Ecological wool that I got in a trade with a friend. I'm pretty excited to have it, though I haven't decided yet what it will be. I've been thinking I might want to make another afghan or throw, but I'm sure I'll have to get more yarn. Of course, I have plenty of other things in my queue that I want to knit, so who knows where my fancy will take me?

So, short and sweet today. I'll see you all in January. Happy New Year, Friends!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa's little sweatshop is closed for the season!

I finally finished all the owls! Like, half an hour ago. All of them now have eyes and beaks, though none of them have pupils - I'm not a masochist, after all. So now I can get to the enjoyable part of Christmas by spending time with family, sharing good food and drink, and exchanging gifts!

Merry Christmas, Friends!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Joy to the World!

I have my laptop back and can post regularly again, instead of shivering in a cold corner of the basement, trying to make do on my husband's desktop. It seems like ages since I've posted, and I've missed it. Every so often, I would think, "I should post that on the blog." But I didn't.

Anyway, I've been knitting Christmas owls like crazy since I was last here. Fourteen total. Fifteen, if you count the one my mom admired so much that I let her take it home with her after Thanksgiving. Six of them have eyes and beaks, which means I have to make 8 more sets in the next few days. This is achievable. At least I think so now. I'm not sure if I'll be singing the same song come Monday evening. Cross your fingers for me.

I also managed to finish my father in-law's socks (just yesterday!) and I'm really pleased at how well they came out. This is the first time I've ever knit socks on size 0 needles, and I think I might want to do more. That size needle is perfect for Cascade Heritage, and my husband is actually kind of coveting those socks, so I think he'll get a pair too. I can't believe I'm committing to making more stuff on tinier needles. I may just start getting manicures so I can get my hands massaged after all that fine-gauge knitting. I wonder if that would qualify for my health savings account. I'll have to check that the next time I'm in the office.

Now that the socks are done, I've cast on a project on big(ger) needles: Cabled Hat by Yuko Nakamura. This will be a belated gift for my trainer at the gym, whose favorite color is purple. The only purple yarn I had in my stash was one lonely skein of Nashua Isabella (now discontinued) in amethyst that I bought before the Knit Nook closed. Since that yarn only has 109 yards to the skein, I had to have a good look through the Ravelry pattern database before I found a hat pattern I could make with so little yarn. I'm really hoping I have enough! This will be a nice project to work on while visiting with all our family at Christmas, especially since it's on size 7 needles. I have one skein of the Isabella in topaz as well, which will come in handy if I finish this hat before the holiday is over.

One other crafty thing I've been working on is getting some art prints I've had for awhile framed and matted. Sometime last year, I bought this set of prints from my friends at Madpixel and have wanted them on the wall ever since. Finally, last weekend, I went to the art supply store, bought some mat board and got busy! I also managed to buy some frames and spent the weekend getting each print in a frame. I hung all the prints this afternoon and was so happy about how good they looked that I staged a little bourbon tableau and took the photo you see below. Of course, now that I've taken another look around their website, there are plenty more prints I need to have.

Well, that's all I have for now. Merry Christmas, Friends.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

So much for turning those heels three weeks ago.

Okay. So I intended to keep flying along with my progress on the Salted Caramel socks. Then I signed up for 3-day-a-week Boot Camp classes at my gym. Which is just as tiring as it sounds. I also had a couple sick days in there. And then my mother came for a week's visit over Thanksgiving. And while all these things might sound like excuses, I prefer to call them mitigating factors as to why I only got the heels of these socks turned yesterday.

Yep. It took me until yesterday to get those heels turned. And it's not like the knitting was difficult. It was two heel flaps, two little rounded heels, and two gussets to pick up. Nothing to it. Ah, well. Now they're turned and I can work on the gusset decreases for awhile. I still expect to have them finished well before Christmas, but now I might be defining "well before" as "just enough time to wash, block & wrap them before I get to Christmas" instead of "oh, cool! I have time to cast on for something mindless to knit on while I'm there." I just hope it doesn't turn into "maybe he won't notice me weaving in the ends before I give them to him unblocked."

In other news, I have completed a few more owls, if you consider "completed" as being stuffed and closed up, but not yet having eyes and a beak. After about the fourth owl, I decided I would just get as many knitted as I could and do the eyes and beaks later. Like maybe in the car on the way to Christmas. I don't think it will really be that bad, but I'm definitely starting to get a little nervous about there only being 25 days until the Big Day.

My yarn estimates for these guys have been coming out just about right: 15 grams of wool yarn is plenty. The cotton ones are taking a little more like 18 grams. And then the faux Fair Isle yarn one took a whole lot more because it turns out that yarn is probably a little more like sport or dk-weight than fingering weight. I wasn't sure at the beginning of that one how I'd like, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. I think once it has its eyes and beak and I hit it with a little steam, I'll like it a whole lot. I'll be sure to post new photos once they all have all their bits. I just hope for my sake it's before Christmas.

So, Friends, thanks for your patience between posts. Until next time.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Socks finished, socks started

I think last time I posted I said I'd photograph the FrankenScylla socks and post them this time, so here goes! One day last week I got my husband to hold still for a few minutes so I could get pictures of his feet in the socks (in daylight, even!), because I think socks look better with feet in them. Anyway, he put them on and moved each of his feet this way and that, and then said to hurry up because he'd had just about enough. The whole photo shoot took all of 3 minutes. Maybe 4. Anyway, the socks got photographed, so my job there is done. Way to take one for the team, honey.

In other sock knitting news, I've finally started the Salted Caramels socks, these intended for my father-in-law. I'd been told by my mother-in-law that he prefers blues or greys in his socks, so you can imagine my surprise when I discovered I didn't have the appropriate yarn in my stash! I made a point of checking out all my local yarn shops, none of which had quite the right yarn. (There was plenty of lovely sock yarn, just not the right yarn for this project.) I also took a look at a couple shops in Bloomington & Nashville, Indiana, when we were in the neighborhood a few weeks ago, but struck out there too. I finally ended up ordering two skeins of Cascade Heritage from an online seller: the Heritage yarn is a smooth superwash yarn with good stitch definition and generous yardage that would be just right for the pattern. I got the charcoal grey which I think will be a good neutral so George can wear them with just about everything.

Since I probably won't see him before Christmas and he won't be able to try these socks on as I knit them, I'm taking a few chances on the fit. My husband reckons that the medium size will be right for the legs, and his mother told me George's shoe size, so I feel pretty confident about that. Mostly I was worried about how the cuff was going to fit, so I decided not to do the folded cuff specified in the pattern. After looking around on the internet for a little while I decided that Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Cast On would be the way to go.

I watched the video a couple (dozen) times and cast on, and let me tell you, that's a freaking challenging cast on. For the first sock I probably tightened my stitches too much, which made knitting the first round of 1x1 rib, um, difficult. I was actually a little frustrated with it - so much so that I nearly didn't finish that first round. But once I got going on the ribbing and saw how very stretchy this cuff was going to be, I decided I would give it another shot for the second cuff. On that one, I felt good about the tension on the stitches, but then I made a mistake in the ribbing in the first round and made a discovery: you can't un-knit the first round with this cast on. I ended up just cutting the yarn and starting over. Once I got through that first round, it was smooth sailing. I think if you haven't learned this cast on yet, you should definitely try it with thicker yarn and bigger needles. I do not recommend learning this cast on with thin yarn and size 0 needles. I might have polished off a whole bottle of wine after that first cuff. (I don't really remember, but it may be why I wasn't unwilling to start the second one.)

Anyway, once I got through the cuff ribbing, I put both cuffs on one long circular needle (to knit them at the same time) and began the leg chart, which is a really simple pattern of paired increases and decreases. This bit is moving right along and I expect that I'll be turning the heels of these socks by the end of the week. I think these socks are going to turn out beautifully and they'll be just right for my father-in-law. The pattern is enough to keep me interested in the knitting, but not too busy for him to wear. It's a good balance.

Well, that's all I've got for now. Until next time, Friends.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Darn that sock!

Now that the weather has finally become more autumn-like, I've been wearing my hand knit socks. It's so nice to have soft, warm socks to wear in the cooler temperatures, especially when I'm waiting for a bus in the early morning chill. Anyway, with all that sock wearing comes sock washing, and so the other day I gathered something like 7 pairs of socks to hand wash and hang to dry. I didn't hand wash the superwash socks - just the ones that I'm pretty sure are Not Superwash (note to self: knit more superwash socks for yourself). As I was putting the Koigu pair into the soak, I noticed a small hole on the heel, but it was half submerged when I noticed it, so I went ahead and put it all the way in. I'd rather darn a clean sock rather than a dirty one.

So once the sock had dried, I grabbed my darning egg and took a good look at the hole, which was a little bigger after washing than when it went in. There were a couple things going on: along the bottom of the hole, it appeared that one stitch had been dropped about three rows. Then I noticed that the yarn had broken above the dropped stitch in two rows. And lastly, the row above that had pulled itself out of two stitches. After looking at a few videos from the kind folks at Knit Picks, I decided that I would treat the hole in a similar way to their "accidental hole."

First thing first: I took care of the dropped stitch. In the photo, I have a size 000 double-pointed needle in the stitch and the yarn from where it was dropped above. I got it back up the three rows it had dropped and secured it with a locking stitch marker. I then used one of my tiny little dpns to secure the two stitches above the hole that had lost their buddies below. It's difficult to tell from the photo below, but those two fuzzy bits in the middle are the broken rows.

Next I threaded a finer tapestry needle with some of the yarn I had leftover from when I knit these socks (nearly two years ago!). Well to the right and below the hole, I began duplicate stitching to give myself a base for the new stitches I would have to make for the broken yarn. When I got to the part of the hole where I had to create new stitches, I used a dpn, rather than the Knit Picks method of having a thread to catch the new stitches on, because I thought I might be better able to see how to add the new stitches if it looked more like knitting than sewing. (I think if I do this again, I'll probably use the thread method, because it will curve around the darning egg.) Once I had the two new rows, I joined the new stitches to their friends up top and closed the hole. Then I duplicate stitched a couple more rows, just to make sure there was plenty of new yarn to secure the darning.

It doesn't look like the original heel, in fact it looks a little clumsy, but it's not bad for a first try at darning. It feels pretty good on my foot, and I think that as the sock is worn more and washed more, it will begin to feel less like a patch and more like a reinforcement. After all the duplicate stitching, I turned the sock inside-out to hide the ends and used one of my mom's tiny, tiny crochet hooks to pull the broken ends of the old yarn back to the wrong side of the fabric. I think it's ready to wear. I expect I'll soon have to more socks to darn as winter comes along, but I'm not scared! I've done this once now and I'm ready to do it again when I have to.

That's all for now, I think. Next time I'll show the finished FrankenScylla socks and maybe a new owl or two. Until then, Friends!

Friday, October 19, 2012

It's not exactly Rhinebeck.

Every time I open up my blog reader lately, I get to see multiple posts describing people's Rhinebeck preparations: what sweaters they're making to wear there, what projects they're taking along, and all the yarn they're expecting to purchase. I'm not saying I'm jealous - oh, who am I kidding? I am jealous. I wish I were at Rhinebeck (aka the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival). I wish I were making a fancy new sweater to show off. I wish I had a bunch of projects to work on alongside the knitterati. I wish I were buying a bunch yarn. Maybe next year.

But then I remembered that this weekend is the Southern Indiana Fiber Arts Festival, which would be almost like Rhinebeck, but smaller. Since I work on Saturdays and the Festival is a Friday/Saturday deal, I went after work this afternoon, ready to see some sheep, pet some bunnies, and fondle some yarn. I happened to be wearing my fancy new Zori sweater and I was secretly hoping that everyone would be amazed at my knitting prowess.

The Festival is in Corydon, Indiana, about 30 miles from Louisville. After an uneventful drive, I arrived at the town square, which is where Indiana's first Capitol was established. I wandered around the square, taking pictures of the old State Capitol building. It's a nice, old building and maybe if I think of it, I'll get to come back when it's open, so I can walk around the inside.

After I got my fill of the historic charm of Corydon's downtown, I went the few blocks down the street to the Fairgrounds, where the Festival was going on. As it was a little cold and intermittently rainy, I didn't expect there to be too many people there, but I did manage to run into one friend and her daughter, and one of the ladies from the Grinny Possum yarn shop.

I took a lap through all the booths in the first building, then went across the way to the other building to see those booths. Two buildings of vendors. Mostly roving and needle felting supplies, but there were also booths with hand-dyed yarns and some with really pretty undyed yarns. In the no-man's land between the two buildings, there was one farm's booth with two sheep outside in a pen. The poor things were wet and hanging out under a little umbrella in the corner, eating away. One was kind enough to look up when I took its picture, but the other was focused on dinner. I can't say I blame him, I could've gone for a snack.

The second building had an interesting booth with some really gorgeous wooden objects like niddy-noddies, spindles and yarn bowls. There were also angora rabbits, but there was such a crowd (such as there was) that I couldn't get a clear picture of them. After I finished my lap there, I took a walk around outside, just in case I hadn't seen everything. All I found was a horse. I took a picture of it and went on back to the yarn booths to buy some yarn, satisfied that I'd seen all there was to see.

The lone skein of yarn I bought was 8 ounces of undyed alpaca in a rich, gorgeous chocolate color. The lady told me it would knit up to a worsted weight, but it looks a little more like a dk- or sport weight yarn. Once I get past my Christmas knitting, I'll swatch it and see how it does. I remembered to photograph it before I left, while there was still a little light. Sadly, I probably need to think a little more about how I photograph brown yarn, because it looks a little like a fresh, well, you know, but that's the picture I have tonight, so that's the picture that I have to post. Maybe my friends who are good at photography can give me some tips?

Anyway, that's all I have for tonight. Until next time, Friends!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sometimes, the knitting is like magic.

Really. Sometimes I'm just mystified by the stuff I knit. Take these Scylla socks, for example. I am so amazed at how the heel flap on these toe-up socks looks just like the heel flap on most of the cuff-down socks I've ever made. See, on cuff-down socks, you knit the heel flap back and forth, then you pick up the selvedge stitches to make the gussets. For this sock, I increased along the sole and for the flap I did decreases every row, which produced the appearance of picked-up stitches. I'm sure it's a matter of how the decreases were stacked that made it look like a straight line rather than a slant, but I'm really impressed. I'm so glad there are people who have worked this out for me!

 Anyway, despite my amazement at my own work, I've managed to turn the heel on these socks and am in the home stretch on these socks. The knitting should move pretty quickly since the front and the back of the leg have the same stitch pattern. I hope to be binding off the cuff by this time next week.

As for the Christmas owls, I've completed three of them so far, but two of them need their eyes done. I seem to have found my groove on these guys. Of course now I'm worried that I'm going to run out of sock yarn leftovers before I run out of owls to make. It's taking about 15g of yarn for each owl and I have enough 15g leftovers for about 10 more owls. If I'm lucky, I will finish the FrankenScylla socks with enough yarn for one owl. I might even have enough of another color (in two balls) to get one more. That would get me 15 owls, which should be enough for my middle school-age and younger nieces and nephews. I'm not sure yet what we're going to do for the big kids. I'll have to ruminate on that for awhile. I'm not sure I'll have time to knit for them.

Well, that's all I have for tonight. See you next time, Friends.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beginning to think about holiday knitting

October has barely begun, the trees are just starting to turn, and I'm realizing that there's something like 2-1/2 months until Christmas. And I'm panicking a little. You see, I had the ridiculous idea that it would be nice if I knit up some cute little owls as stocking stuffers for my nieces and nephews. I'm using the Big, Snowy Owl pattern from the Purl Bee, but I'm doing it in fingering-weight yarn. I don't think it will take too long to finish each owl, but however long it takes, I hope to finish 24 of them in time for Christmas.

I've also been making progress with the Scylla socks for my husband. This has been a nice, simple knit, perfect for my morning commute. I started the gussets this afternoon, so at this pace, I hope to finish these socks by the middle of next week or so. Once the yarn for my father-in-law's socks arrives, I'll get going on those.

The Columbines needlepoint is coming along nicely. I've finished all the foreground stitching and just have the miles of background stitches and the border stitching to do. There's no hurry on this project, so if I have to, I can set it aside. It's been a nice change of pace from all the knitting I've been doing, but I'm definitely a better knitter than I am a needlepointer. Maybe after Christmas I can focus on getting better at needlepoint?

Anyway, that's all I have for tonight. Until next time, Friends.

Friday, October 5, 2012

So, I started a pair of socks.

Like that's a surprise to anyone. After finishing my mother-in-law's Veil of Rosebuds, I was looking for another good commuting project. Since I didn't have the yarn to make Salted Caramels for my father-in-law, I decided to start some socks for my husband. He's been getting a lot of wear out of the Milo socks I made for him almost two years ago (!), so I thought it was high time he got another.

When we were looking through my stash for yarn for his dad's socks, he remarked that he liked the skein of Miss Babs' Windsor Sock yarn that I'd bought last year at Sock Summit. It's a good thing I bought that with him in mind! The colorway is called "Frankensock," which has a lot of lovely greens and blues and black. It's definitely a high-contrast hand-dyed yarn, so I was pretty careful about which pattern I was going to use with it.

After considering lots of patterns, I ended up deciding on Scylla by Fiona Lucas. It's a nice slipped-stitch pattern, with a little bit of texture thrown in to keep it interesting. It's knitting up pretty quickly, which will come in handy as it starts getting closer to Christmas and the panic knitting starts. The slipped stitches are a nice contrast to how the yarn is striping, and I love that I'm getting to do some toe-up socks for the first time in a long while. I'm hoping to finish them pretty quickly, so husbeast can wear them soon, and so I can get started on his dad's socks.

Well, Friends, that's all I have for tonight. Maybe next time I'll have an update on the Columbine needlepoint.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A good day for catching up.

It's been raining all day today, so I've been tidying up my craft room and organizing things. I did a big clean up a few weeks ago, so it wasn't too bad in there, but since I've finished the Veil of Rosebuds socks I wanted to get everything put away so I can decide what my next project will be. It needs to be something good for my commute, so probably a hat or some socks. I offered to make some socks for my father-in-law and so have been looking for the right pattern for him. I think I've decided on Salted Caramels for him because it's a nice, masculine pattern without too much patterning going on (for him) and enough patterning to be interesting (for me).

The only trouble is that I don't actually have any sock yarn that's appropriate for the project.

Hard to believe, isn't it?

Color? Gorgeous. Quantity? Good. Right for pattern? No.

With a tidy craft room, I went through my sock yarn stash and decided that none of it was right. All the pretty hand-dyed yarns were much too busy. The solids and semi-solids were not really his colors. And then, of the ones that were the right color, I didn't have enough to knit a pair of men's socks. Oh, well! I'll just have to buy more yarn!

Color? Nice, but not right for recipient. Quantity? Not even close.

 As it happens, I went looking for yarn today. I went to the three Local Yarn Shops here in Louisville, and didn't find anything I liked for these socks. One shop had some yarn I thought could work, but the yardage of the skeins was short. The second shop pretty much only had self-striping yarns, which were inappropriate for the pattern. And the third shop didn't have much sock yarn at all, and what they had was in colors I'd choose for myself, but not my father-in-law. I may end up ordering the yarn online.

On a happier note, I have indeed finished my mother-in-law's Veil of Rosebuds, and they have turned out beautifully! The Madelintosh Sock knit up so well and the colors change pretty subtly through both socks. It was a fast, easy knit, taking roughly two weeks. The lace patterning was easy to memorize, so I didn't have to think too hard on my early-morning bus rides to work.

I'm also making progress on my Columbines needlepoint. I've completed the flowers and have begun the leaves and stems. Once I get through that, I'll be able to stitch up the background and the border. The silk/merino blend yarn I'm using is giving lovely definition to the stitches and just a hint of shine. I haven't decided yet if I'll do the background in the little plain stitches or if I'll do a novelty stitch of some sort. I may head back to the shop for some advice. They're pretty nice there.

Well, that's all I have for this rainy afternoon. Until next time, Friends!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Zori, Finished!

It seems like ages ago that I promised to get my picture taken wearing my newly-finished Zori cardigan, so I'm finally delivering. One of my friends did the honors at our knit night (a week ago!) and I didn't like the pictures at first, but once I cropped my dopey expressions out of them, I liked them a whole lot better. And before you say, "but Sharri, they couldn't possibly be that bad," let me assure you that they really were. We're all better off with just the sweater pics.

I am very pleased with how well the sweater fits. It's just the right length and it has just the right amount of ease. I also love how soft the fabric is after blocking. It feels so nice against my skin. I can tell that this is going to be my go-to sweater once the weather finally cools off for good. One of my favorite things about it is that I think I found exactly the right buttons for it. Thank goodness I only made four buttonholes - each button cost $4!

I'm still working on my mother-in-law's socks, but I forgot to take pictures of them before the sun went down. Maybe I'll remember to do it tomorrow. I'll also take pictures of the progress on the Columbine needlepoint. We'll have them both to look forward to in the next post. Until then, Friends.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Starting new projects!

I finished my Zori cardigan last weekend, washed and blocked it, and by Monday it was dry. I was able to get the buttons sewn on that afternoon, but I didn't have anyone to take any photos of me wearing it, so you'll just have to wait until I can get one of my friends to do it for me at knit night. (I bet you're holding your breath for it, aren't you?)

Since I don't have any pictures of the finished cardigan, I thought I'd show you a couple other things I have going on. I've started a pair of socks for my mother-in-law, because the pair I'd intended to give her turned out to be too long. She let me know that she likes neutral colors, so I thought that the Madelintosh Tosh Sock (in Cove) that I bought in Indianapolis last year would be just the thing. I had also been wanting to knit Anne Hanson's Veil of Rosebuds, which calls for this yarn, so it was a pretty easy decision to cast on. The knitting is moving right along - mostly I'm working on it on my bus ride to work and any odd moments I have during the day. I hope to be turning the heel by the weekend.

I've also decided to dig out a needlepoint painted canvas I bought a few years ago when I was in Colorado. The image is of columbines, which I thought would be the perfect souvenir of my trip Out West. I don't know what I was thinking when I selected the yarns to stitch it. They were so awful. None of the colors were right, I didn't even buy all the colors I needed, and I bought two kinds of fiber. Seriously, I don't know what happened. Anyway, yesterday I went to my local needlepoint shop, M's Canvas House, to get more appropriate fiber to stitch this pretty canvas. The nice lady helped me choose lots of lovely silk/merino yarn and then she even taped up the edges of the canvas so I wouldn't snag my pretty new yarns. I can't wait to get going on this project! It will be kind of nice to have a non-knitting project to work on.

Well, that's all I've got for tonight. I hope to get my picture taken in the Zori cardigan this week so I can show off my sweater by the weekend. Until next time, Friends.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Zori Cardigan

For the last few posts, I've said that I'd talk about my Zori cardigan in my next post, so I'm finally getting around to it. According to my Ravelry project page, I started this cardigan a little more than three weeks ago. I'm using Stonehedge Fiber Mill's Shepherd's Wool dk yarn, which I first got to use on the Dome hat sample for CookieA. The color is called Frosty Blue, and it's a medium-darkish blue that almost looks heathered, but isn't quite.

Anyway, I started off worried that I wouldn't have enough yarn, as I'd only bought about 1700 yards, while the pattern said I'd need need about 200 yards more. I decided to take my chances and see how I was doing with the sleeves before I ordered more. I was feeling lucky since I got gauge with my first swatch, but then I quickly felt like an idiot because I couldn't figure out how to make the stitch count work with the chart. But (luckily) the designer responded quickly to a message sent on Ravelry, spelling out how the chart worked. You'd think I'd know how to read a chart by now, but I cast on for this project pretty late at night, so I have to account for my tired brain.

Once I got the hang of the chart, I zipped right along with the back and both front yokes and was able to get them blocked about a week after I cast on. I had to block pretty aggressively to achieve the measurements on the pattern, but the nice thing about these pieces is that they had straight sides so that I could use my blocking wires rather than trying to pin it out. Once everything was dry, the only seaming I had to do was for the two shoulders (which was hardly anything at all) and then pick up stitches for the stockinette bodice. By the end of another week, I'd knit the bodice to the prescribed length, but found that it was much too long, even with my long torso. I ripped out four inches and bound off again, ready to start the pretty, twisted trim edging. After a couple false starts with the trim, I eventually found my groove, and the edging practically flew off my needles.

Now I'm working on the sleeves, which I'm doing two at a time, magic loop style. It feels a little bulky when I have to turn the knitting, but I've never been the kind of knitter to do things one at a time if I can help it. Socks, gloves, mittens, sleeves: if there are two to be made, I'll do them at the same time, dammit. As of this afternoon, I've gotten about 3 inches of each sleeve completed and I hope that I'll be binding them off by next weekend. I don't expect it will be cool enough to wear this for at least another month, but it'll be nice to have a new cardigan to wear when it is.

Well, that's all for now. Until next time, Friends.