Saturday, March 22, 2008

Secret garden

A couple of weeks ago, I went down for the count with a case of bronchitis coupled with some other infection-exasperated afflictions. In addition to staying home from work for a week, I also did not a lick of spinning! Yes, that's how sick I was....

The good news is, though, I wasn't too sick to knit. And knit I did:

keyhole cable

PhillyKnitters is doing another round of Secret Pal, and in my first package, my pal sent me some sock yarn from Spirit Trail, along with a note to finally knit some socks for myself. Of course, when I saw the yarn, I instantly thought, "These would make great socks for Mike!!!"

My pal also included the pattern (one from my queue, no less!), and Mike didn't seem to be too enthusiastic about having a "girlie sock". So, I cast on for myself from the beginning. This figure-8 cast-on is my best yet and the foot worked up quickly. The heel even came out nicely, though I think the short-row eyelets are more of a happy accident and less of a pattern plan.

The cable pattern on the leg is really neat--I like the way the reverse stockinette works up in the middle of the cables. I will say that I've had some problems with my version of the pattern (don't know if it was an early version, or if I just got a misprint)--the chart is keyed wrong! I don't have it handy to explain exactly what's wrong, but had I followed the chart as keyed, my cables would have tilted in the wrong direction entirely. A couple of bottles of NyQuil and several naps later, I re-keyed the chart and everything came out beautifully.

keyhole cable close

Modifications I've made:

  • A deeper heel. I think the pattern specifies short-rowing to 16 stitches, I went to 12. No reason other than I got carried away.
  • The 5-stitch cable that runs up the leg (3 cn f, k2, p last st from cn, then k2 from cn) is supposed to be over 4 rows. I misread the chart* and made it over 2 rows. It's a little tighter, but I think it lends a vine-y look to the sock.
  • In an effort to use up as much of the yarn as possible, I mirrored the cable pattern from the center of the largest cable and then increased 6 stitches over several rows before switching to a k3, p1 ribbing.

I'm nearly done the first sock. It's now become my part-time knitting since I'm back on the wheel. Still, I like the colorway and the yarn and every time I pick up the sock, I feel like peeping through a keyhole into a secret garden.

*The confusion stems, in part, from working from another chart that shows each row as opposed to the chart for the Keyhole Cable Sock which only shows RS rows.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Getting felt up

One of my current WIP is the Celtic Tote from Winter 2007 IK. In terms of knitting and craft goals for '08, this one might not have made the written list. However, I've not really ever knit from a chart. By "not really", I mean, I've knit from a chart, but it's been very, very basic (think: knits and purls, nothing much else), and only after I translated the chart into written instructions. So. I've not really ever worked with a chart.

IK celtic bag cables

I'm more than halfway done--maybe as much as 60%. The back, sides, and bottom are complete and I've cast on for the front.

IK celtic bag

The yarn is Bartlett's Fisherman 2-ply. I picked it up on the way up to my sister's place last year in Sturbridge, Mass., I think it was the Quilting Cabbage? Anyway, I got the yarn, some fabric and bag pattern all at the same place and promptly left this yarn to hibernate in the stash. I can't even remember what the other bag pattern looks like... Maybe I am only imagining I bought the pattern--I can't find it in my room, though to be honest, the craft room? Right now, it's a bit of a mess.

I'm really enjoying the IK pattern. A couple of times, I've had to stop and think about the way the pattern was written, but I've mostly been able to plow right along with this project. I have run into a problem with the set of Addi circs I'm using--there seems to be a burr or something on the tip of one and it interferes with my knitting speed. I tried using my Denises instead, but the yarn works better with metal needles. Fickle, fickle fiber!

The yarn is definitely rustic and not for anti-VM. Every yard or so, there's some variety of VM, most of which I've pulled out. I think the yarn label mentions something about being spun from soft fleeces, but overall, I'd rate the yarn as best for outerwear or felted items.

IK celtic bag detail

The only modification I've made so far is I decided to end the cables on the body of the bag rather than let the cables travel up and along the handles. I felt (ha!) like that was a detail that might get lost in the process and like the idea of a contained motif.

The bag should be ready for the felt cycle in about a week--then I have to dust off the sewing machine and see if I can still wind a bobbin and sew a lining for the bag. I'll add pictures to the set on Flickr as I get them.

Other WIPs: Keyhole Cable Sock (one is nearly to the heel! Magic Loop and toe-up!), low-twist worsted weight singles in spinning, and cashmere meets Icelandic.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Goodness gracious, it's lace!

Because three fibers on the bobbins, two on the drop spindles, 1 bag, 1 sweater, and 2 socks aren't enough WIP (and I haven't even mentioned the cross-stitch and embroidery projects), I decided over the weekend to cast on for the Leaf and Acorn Lace Scarf, offered through I bought a lovely fingering weight alpaca from a fellow Raveler and couldn't wait to start using it.

Three days later, I'm ready to be quit of it--both yarn and pattern. I'm on my third fourth attempt to get this underway, having now knit the same 14 rows and checked off the same 14 rows as done and counted the same 14 rows to make sure the stitch count is matching up with the pattern. And everything is perfect, and then I get to row 8 and everything goes to shit.


I might give this pattern one more try, and hopefully that sticks--I have to repeat row 8 5 (or, as my original intent was, 6) more times. Plus, if row 8 is so bad, what am I going to think of the remaining 52 row-repeat?