Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Knitting keeps me humble.

Seriously. Every time I get even a little bit cocky about my ability to do something knitting-related, knitting puts me right back in my place. Case in point: effing cables.

I've made plenty of things with cables: socks, gloves, hats, sweaters. Lots. Of. Stuff. Then I started on the back of the Rafters cardigan.

It's kind of hard to tell, but the braids on the left have a mistake.

See this picture? Take a good look at the cables on the left side. Notice they're a little different than the ones on the right side? Yeah. I messed them up. I seem to have repeated a row without noticing for like three rows.

Here's a closer look at my lesson in humility.

I didn't want to unknit the cables I'd gotten right, so I decided that I'd just undo the 6 stitches down 'til I got to the mistake and fix each cable individually. It worked pretty well, I think. It only took me 30 minutes or so to fix, which wasn't so bad. I just had to apply myself.

Left braid fixed, center & right braids up next.

Once I got the cables uncrossed I was able to fly right along on the back of the sweater. I'm about to start the increases for the underarms and then I think I'll get to start the fronts of the sweater pretty soon thereafter. It's really starting to cool off here, so another lovely, soft wool sweater will be great to put into rotation.

That's all the yarn, & the heels aren't even turned.

Another lesson in humility was this pair of simple vanilla socks that I'm making for a friend. Who happens to wear size 15 shoes. When I looked at the yarn in the ball, I thought I had plenty. If I'd looked at the project page for my husband's aran-weight socks, I'd have seen that I used two balls of this yarn to make his, and he only wears a size 11.5. So I've contacted my friend to see if he'd rather have the thick socks, for which I'll need to order more yarn; or thinner socks, the yarn for which I already have in a quantity to make a pair. I guess I can start winding the yarn for the thinner socks. I have a long work-related meeting tomorrow, so I'll need something to work on that won't require too much attention for a little while.

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

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Too many things on the needles!

It finally feels like fall here in Kentucky, and with the change in the temperatures, I've found myself casting on lots of projects. Since I last posted, I've swatched for and cast on Rafters, made one bad "chain mail" hood/cowl, and completed an acceptable "chain mail" hood/cowl.

I've been making good progress on my husband's Java socks, with just about an inch or so to go before I can do the toe decreases and sew the ends shut. I'm still very happy about the colors - they're gorgeous -and I like how the variations in the colors are distributing themselves around the feet. I can't wait for my husband to have another pair of toasty hand knit socks!

As for the Hanami stole, the progress is a lot slower. Here, I've been plodding along, doing a few rows here, a few there, generally trying to get through a set of beading or two before I set it down. The stole is beginning to look more like the pattern and I like how the beads are giving a little weight to the fabric. I'll be glad to get though this section though, and move on to a zippy stretch of stockinette.

My new sweater project, Rafters, is from the current issue of Twist Collective. I'm using the yarn I bought while I was in Michigan this summer, and I love what I've knit up so far. I had to go down a needle size to achieve the required stitch gauge, and though my row gauge is a little bit off, the designer has kindly written the pattern to specify lengths, rather than numbers of rows, so I should be just fine. I'm probably not going to use this project as commuting or meeting knitting, as the cables will require my close attention, especially since I'm doing the first two charts at the same time.

Lastly, now that it's October, I've been thinking about Halloween, and what I should do for a costume. In years past I've been Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas and Buttercup from The Powerpuff Girls, making both costumes myself. I hadn't really planned on dressing up this year, but since I was invited to a party, I thought it would be fun to have something new. One of my favorite movies of all time is Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and my favorite Python is Michael Palin, so I decided that this year I would dress up as Sir Galahad the Chaste, complete with chain mail, tunic, sword, and shield.

So far I've only gotten the hood/cowl completed, and only after having made a really bad one out of a too-bulky acrylic. I used the Utah Shakespearean Festival pattern that I found on Ravelry. For the first one I followed the pattern closely, knitting it flatas directed, but I used a yarn much too bulky to look like it could be chain mail. It's pretty lame. For the second one, I used a cotton worsted-weight yarn (Bernat Handicrafter Cotton DeLux) generally intended for washcloths, but which I thought might drape a little more like metal than an acrylic or wool would. Using a thinner yarn made such a difference! The fabric is much more open, and if I can add just a hint of metallic color on top of it, it could look a little like tarnished metal. At least from a distance, anyway.

Well, that about catches us up for now. I still have to make myself a tunic, shield and sword in addition to some chain mail sleeves in time for Halloween, but it should be simple knitting and simple sewing, so I'm not all that worried. The shield and sword will take a little more doing, but I have access to lots of cardboard at work, so I just hope to be able to make those without too much trial and error. I'll post as I have more progress. Until next time, Friends.