Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hemlock ring blanket

Actually, it's a hemlock blob now.

I was searching around for a project for my handspun yarn when I came across the Hemlock Ring Blanket by Brooklyn Tweed. I was never interested in knitting an afghan or a blanket before, but that pattern really caught my eye and I thought it would be perfect to try my handspun.

I cast on last night and couldn't stop.

It's a hemlock blob right now. I need a longer needle. This is being knitted on #8. Somewhere I have a pair with 40-inch cable. I also have to spin some more yarn. I only have about 400 yards spun up. The pattern calls for about 600 yards. In the meantime I need to finish the Central Park Hoodie. I already finished the front and back and am now on the sleeves.

I love the Blue Sky Cotton yarn. It knits up beautifully. Good thing we have a long weekend coming up. I should be able to finish that this weekend and work on spinning more yarn for the Hemlock Ring.
In the meantime I just have to go to work.
Too bad, but one must support one's yarn habit...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

No more step decrease

Smooth sailing all the way!

Does it ever bother you that when you bind off for the armhole (bind off four stiches on the next two rows, then two more on the next, then so on and so forth..) it leaves you with a jagged, stepped edge that is very unpleasing to the eye?

Well, maybe you are not as anal as I,but I never liked those "steps," and always wondered how to get rid of them. At the knitting retreat a couple of weeks ago I learned how. It's a neat little trick. First you bind of the first row normally. Then on the return row, you work until the last stitch, then turn your work, leaving on stitch on the right needle.

Knit (or purl) the first stitch on the left needle, then pass the lonely stitch over, the bind off the rest as required. Presto! You get a smooth, curved edge.

No more steps, yeah!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I've got it!

By George, I've got it!

Blue Sky Alpaca organic cotton. The color is sky. I finished the first skein. I am going to pick up the rest of the yarn this afternoon. Yeah!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Spinning bliss

Spinning the rain away!

It had been raining all weekend. In fact it is still raining as I write this Monday morning. But who cares? I was spinning the weekend away. First I fixed the spinning wheel so that it no longer squeaks. Then I finished my entrelac socks.

Very nice. I like them very much. I am ready to cast on another entrelac sock. This time a smaller one to fit me. Then I admired the loot from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

From left wool/bamboo top roving for socks, grey corriedale roving, blue merino roving (for more socks) and white merino roving. Sweater quality for the grey and white. I only got four ounces of the wool/bamboo to try out. It spins up nicely.

I was able to spin it quite thinly. I will ply this and try a swatch for socks. The grey corriedale flew off my fingers. It spins like a dream.

I had two bobbins full in no time at all. These should ply into a light-worsted weight yarn. I can't wait until the spinning workshop on Tuesday when I will try out my new Majacraft jumbo spinning bobbin. New toy!
What's so exciting about a bobbin? This baby will hold two regular bobbins' worth of plied yarn. You free up two regular bobbins for more spinning. Just as you never have enough knitting needles, you never have enough bobbins when spinning!
I did pick up some yarn at the festival. I got sock yarns (they don't count as stash.) and all the willpower melted away when I saw this at The Fold:

From Blue Moon Fiber Arts, the people who bring you Socks that Rock, this is Peru -- a blend of alpaca, merino and silk -- in worsted weight. And it is in blue. The colorway is In in Navy. It had my name on it. I did not have a choice. This is my Nantucket Jacket.

In the meantime I cast on a sock. This is the new Prism sock yarn. At $31 a skein, it is pricey, but very nice merino with a very soft hand and of course incomparable Prism colorway. This one is denim.

Last but not least, my quest for the perfect cotton sweater continues. I have been swatching, casting on and ripping so many that I was about to give up. Then I came across the Blue Sky organic cotton. Just one more try.

The gauge is right. The color is right. The fabric feels great after a wash. This might be the cotton Central Park Hoodie I have been searching for. I bought just one skein from my LYS. I will cast on and do the ribbing and see. I can get the yarn tomorrow when I go spinning. This might just be it. I will keep my fingers -- or cables -- crossed in the right direction!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Adventure in cotton, take two

Last year I struggled with cotton knitting and failed miserably. I could not get gauge and the fabric turned out real floppy. I finally figured out that it helped if I knitted cotton with wooden or bamboo needles. I could control the tension much better that way. I started some cotton projects but by mid-summer Bill's condition worsened considerably and when he passed away last July my world fell apart completely. Not a single cotton project was completed.

As I knit my life back together I figure I can try cotton knitting again. I love both these Juliets.

The first Juliet is a Zephurstyle pattern knitted in bulky weight or worsted weight held double. The second one is a Debbie Bliss done in Rialto DK. I want to do them both in cotton. I started the first Juliet with a bit of modification. Getting adventurous, aren't we? I read in Ravelry that the pattern runs very large and that a lot of people knitted it in worsted weight yarn single and with good result. I can't imagine doing a garment like that in heavy yarn or in wool. I am knitting it in Rowan Summer Tweed, single, on size 7. That's the first modification.

The second modification is that I am knitting the bodice in stockinette instead of garter. I don't like garter stitches.

And as if two modifications weren't enough, I am increasing with yarnovers instead of knit front&back as the pattern calls for. I think it will go better with the lace pattern in the botton of the garment.

I am hoping this will work out okay. It is knitted from the top down so it is relatively easy to customize. I figure I can try it on as I knit to see how it fits. There is always a frog pond nearby.

Last but not least. The other day I came home from work and Runty was not at the door to greet me. Surprised and a little concerned, I went looking around the house for him. Guess where the little guy was?

Speaking of cool cat...