Thursday, August 6, 2009

On The Needles

I'm getting a little overcommitted with projects right at the moment.

The thing that's currently getting the most face time is my Sundara sock project:
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The colorway is "Basil over Buttercup", a rich shaded yellow-green that I adore. I actually started a project with this yarn back in May, using a slip-stitch pattern to give the impression of snake scales. I loved the way the pattern looked but it was a major pain in the patootie because (1) there was an awful lot of stitch manipulation going on, which was hard because (2) I knit tight, so (3) the instep was working up way shorter than the sole so (4) I was trying to figure out how to fix it with short rows which (5) made it so darn hard to figure out that (6) I frogged them.

The current pattern is a lot more cooperative. It's Wendy Johnson's Diagonal Lace Socks, available free on her website or in her (marvelous) book Socks from the Toe Up. I rejiggered the pattern a little to go with my desired 58-stitch circumference,
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and I'm almost ready for the heels but I'm holding off a little because I'm not sure if I want to add Wooly Nylon as reinforcement. The Sundara Sock yarn is 100% superwash merino, and I'm worried that I might wear out the heels if I don't reinforce a bit. But then I'll have to go buy the Wooly Nylon and I haven't had the time.

(I haven't given up on the slip stitch snake scale thing, by the way - I'm going to give it another try using a 2- or 2.25-mm sole needle and a 2.75- or 3-mm instep needle, and see if that gives me something workable.)

Then I have my Mini-Mochi Coriolis socks, which I have no picture of because I'm mad at them. The yarn is the stuff I won last fall, and the colors are really great, but the yarn not so much. This is not a criticism of Crystal Palace, the manufacturer - it's because the yarn is from the first-ever batch they made and there were some problems that only came to light after people'd been working with it awhile. The version they're making now has a tighter twist and is a little more stable.

My problem is that I made a small error in calculating where to start the gusset increases (Cat Bordhi's patterns require more math than some) and I'm ready for the heel but the sock is 1/2 inch too short still. If this were ordinary yarn I'd just pull it back and have a re-do, but the Mini-Mochi is a single ply and this first-batch stuff is quite lightly spun. Because of the direction I wind my yarn around my fingers, I'm already "un-spinning" it a bit and I've had breaks. NO WAY am I going to get away with frogging back three inches and re-knitting. So I'm trying to brainstorm another option. When these socks are back in my good graces, I'll take their picture and post it.

Thirdly, I have my Garter Rib Socks in Knitpicks Palette:
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This was an experiment to see if I liked this yarn for socks, because if I do, I'll have cheap sock-knitting fun forever. The yarn runs a whopping $1.99 to $2.19 per ball (two needed per pair of socks) and oh my holy wow, I just clicked in there to give you the link and they've added a whole whack of new gorgeous colors. The yarn isn't particularly soft and it's 100% feltable wool so I'll have to hand-wash but at less than $4.50 for a pair of socks worth of yarn I'll take it. I swatched a bunch of stitch patterns in the Iris Heather yarn I'm using, and most of them failed to read well against the heathery yarn.
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I ended up with classic Garter Rib a la Charlene Schurch and I like it a lot. I'm past the heel on both of these so it's home free.

Also, because I appear to be truly insane, I wound off the "Pink Granite" yarn from dyeing day
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because I think I'll have time to knit those socks soon.

Then there's the shawls. I have two on the needles, one in the swatch stage, and about 15 in my head. Knitpicks is my friend here; they supply almost all of my shawl yarn. Here's the Swallowtail Shawl in Knitpicks Shimmer (a lovely smooth alpaca/silk blend in a colorway called "Turquoise Splendor"),
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and the Icarus Shawl in the same yarn (colorway "Spice")
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(Remember that lace doesn't look its best till after blocking; these are both going to be pretty, I promise!) The shawl in the swatching stage is Elizabeth Zimmermann's Stonington Shawl. It's a rework of a traditional Shetland shawl to permit it to be knit all in one piece. Actually it's more than a swatch I'm knitting; I'm making a mini shawl so I can learn all the techniques I'll need. Once I have it down I'll start the real shawl, either with Knitpicks Shadow (100% laceweight merino wool) in Jewels
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or with my hand-dyed laceweight merino from last month's dyeing day - it looked like this:
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but now it looks like this:
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because I overdyed it. In either case, I have barely enough yarn for the project so I'm a little bit nervous. I think my plan is to take this shawl to South America as vacation knitting. (Dad and I are going to Chile and Argentina in November/December.)

Then there are the sweaters: I am involved with two at the moment. First (because it's really on the needles) is the Ivory Pinwheel Sweater,
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based on's free Lara Pinwheel Sweater with Crocheted Edges, but using totally different yarn: some of the 8.5 tons of Caron One Pound that I bought years ago. This project has been kind of hibernating for the past few months but I hauled it out the other day because Dad and I went in for our eye exams, and this was a project I was sure I could work on even when my eyes were dilated! It needs to be about one more inch across, then I can put the arm stitches on holders and crank on it.

The last sweater exists only as this swatch:
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It's Knitpicks' Classic Lines Cardigan, which is knitted with two strands of lace yarn held together. I'm using their kettle-dyed Shadow yarn in "Soot". Then, every six rows you add in a third yarn to make the irregular stripes. I tried two different ones in the swatch:
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the top half used Shimmer in "Lip Gloss" and the bottom half was kettle-dyed Shadow in "Begonia". I preferred the hotter pinks and stronger variegations of the Shimmer, so that's what I'm using. This will be my first steeked sweater (or steeked anything) so I practiced on the swatch. Here's my crocheted steek, cut open:
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It wasn't all that scary, really (she says). The problem is that I desperately want to take this sweater - as a sweater, not as a project - on that trip this fall. Looks like I have my work cut out for me!

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