Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Fish Problems

I was all set to show you all 24 fish for the fish blanket completed and ready to be seamed. I had finished number 23, and I was well on my way with number 24. Then I ran out of yarn. I made six green fish, six yellow fish, and six light blue fish. And I had extra yarn left over in all of those colors. Then I tried to make six dark blue fish, and ended up here:

Why did I run out of yarn? I laid out fish of each color on top of each other, and this is what I found:

Their heads are all lined up. Look at their tails to see how much bigger some of them are.

Each color fish came out a different size. All the light blue fish are the same size, all the green fish are the same size, but each color is its own size. And the dark blue ones are the biggest of all. I used the same needle and the same yarn (except in different colors) for all of the fish. It could be that I knit at a different tension for each color (although I did mix up the order I knit them in), or it could be that the different colors of yarn are slightly different weights.

So what did I decide to do about this? Start ripping. I decided that the light blue, green and yellow fish are all close enough to the same size that a little blocking will fix any differences. But the dark blue ones are really significantly bigger. And besides, I don't want to buy another ball of yarn. After all, what am I going to do with an almost full ball of cascade 220 superwash? I don't even like superwash wool. The only time I knit with it is when I'm knitting for babies. Six more fish to go. This time, I'll knit a bit tighter.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Wedding Shawls in Action

We finally have our wedding pictures! We are very happy with the way they turned out. Our photographer was Karen Pike. The pictures were both taken at the Mountain Top Inn in Chittenden, Vermont. Here are a couple of the best shawl pictures. If you want to see more pictures, email me and I'll send you the link and password for the website.

The junior bridesmaid's shawl turned out a little bit smaller than I had hoped. Unfortunately, her parents' measurement of her wingspan (finger tip to finger tip with her arms straight out to the sides) was 10 inches off. I'm not sure how that happened. But she loved the shawl anyway. When her mother suggested that she might want to pass it on to her daughter or granddaughter, she said that she was always going to keep it for herself- she didn't want to pass it on to anyone. It was definitely worth making the one last shawl for her. The other girls loved their shawls too, and both have already worn them a second time. My shawl is too long to wear as a shawl in any other context, but it is narrow enough that I can wear it as a scarf.

Mitten Progress

Thanksgiving weekend was full of knitting time. The recipient of these mittens knows that I am making them for her, and she knows what the general color and pattern scheme are, but she doesn't know exactly what they look like or when she is going to get them. So, because I spent the weekend with her, I focused on making the mitten liners. The outer mittens are made of Shetland wool that some people find to be a bit scratchy. To make the mittens less scratchy and much warmer, the lining is made out of some leftover alpaca from a sweater I made myself last year. Here's what I have so far:

Just 4 thumbs, four cuffs, and a bit of the second liner left to go.

It's a good thing that these are getting close to being finished. They will be gifted on December 18th.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

knit, frog, knit, frog, ...

The mittens for my sister-in-law were supposed to be easy. First, they are mittens. I have knit mittens many, many times. Second, the two-color pattern couldn't be easier. I memorized it before I even cast on- all it took was a couple of glances. So, why was I glad that I decided to knit these out of sturdy shetland wool that can be knit and ripped several times without showing the wear?

1. I started out on 80 stitches. After about a quarter of an inch, it looked way too big. I ripped.

2. I cast on 60 stitches and got started. That seemed to be a good number. I started on the two-color pattern and realized that the blue and red have NO contrast with the purple. I ripped.

3. I again cast on 60 stitches and started with some different color combinations. I decided to take some liberty with my instructions to make purple the main/background color. The colors looked a bit better, but now the mitten was way too small. I ripped.

4. I went back to casting on 80 stitches, and started knitting with the most recent color combinations. The size was good, but after a few inches I decided I didn't like some of the color combinations. I ripped out a couple of inches and changed the order of the color combinations.

5. I finished the hand part of the first mitten. I love it! All along, I thought I was going to hate these mittens. But I think they turned out great. And I think the recipient will like them too. Now for mitten #2. Then they get cuffs and thumbs.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Fishy Knitting

The knitting for the fish blanket is almost done. I only have 4 more fish to go. That means that it is almost time to start on the Christmas knitting. Ideally, I have two projects I would like to finish in time for Christmas. The first is a pair of mittens for my husband's sister. She told me over the summer that she wanted me to knit her a pair of mittens. I brought her the Jameison and Smith color card and a pile of mitten books so that she could pick her colors and pattern. She chose a very simple pattern out of The Mitten Book by Ingrid and Inger Gottfridsson.

I'm not going to knit this exactly according to the pattern. We decided to add a corrugated ribbing cuff and a thumb gore. But the Fair Isle pattern on the hand will be the same as the one in the picture.

Starting this project gave me an opportunity to use a new toy: my yarn swift. This was a birthday gift last April, but this is the first time since then that I've knit with yarn that doesn 't come in balls. If you look at the bottom left corner of this picture, you can see the yarn all wound up into center pull balls. I don't have a ball winder so I wind the balls by hand. But the swift definitely made it go a lot faster!

This picture also shows my knitting seat, complete with my pile of finished fish.

Now it's time to cast on!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Piles of Fish

I've been working very hard to finish the Fishies Blanket for my Aunt's now-not-so-new baby. I decided to make the blanket a bit smaller than I had planned. It will now have 24 fish in it. That should make a blanket that is just under 3 feet x 3 feet. Big enough to use in the stroller or car seat, etc. but not huge. I've finished the light blue and yellow fish (6 each), I'm half-way done with the green fish, and I need 5 more dark blue fish. The fish only take me about an hour each, but they do take some concentration not to miss any of the increases/decreases.

(when they aren't in piles the fit together much better. And the colors are better in person. Any suggestions for how to photograph light yellow and navy blue in the same photo?)

This blanket is a bit more work than I usually put into baby knits, but I think my Aunt will understand the work that went into it and appreciate it. She chooses not to knit (she doesn't like it, but has knit some very complex, challenging patterns) but she does a lot of sewing and quilting. Our wedding present from her is a beautiful quilt that isn't quite done yet. At my wedding we swopped glimpses of our unfinished projects that are meant for each other. I'm hoping to be done first because while our bed will always be ready for her quilt, her baby won't be small enough for this blanket forever!

Monday, November 07, 2005

I'm Married!

While this post has absolutely no knitting content, there are sheep.

After a very long absence, I'm back. While I was gone, I was busy with great things. First, I got married. The wedding was wonderful, even though it rained several inches per day for the whole weekend. The photographer has told us that she took literally thousands of pictures, but we won't have them for another two weeks. If there are any good pictures of the shawls, I'll post them here.

Then we went on our honeymoon. It was a great trip. I highly recommend Sardinia as a vacation spot. It is a beautiful island with beautiful mountains and beaches, surrounded by the Mediteranean Sea. And they have lots and lots of sheep. When we went hiking, we saw sheep being grazed near the tops of mountains.

(the little white dots in the middle of this pictue are sheep. Look closely.)

When we drove along the roads, we saw sheep in their pastures. We even saw a shepard running his sheep down the middle of the road.

(This picture was taken by my husband. I was too busy trying to learn how to drive a car with a manual transmission on narrow roads that wind their way up, down, and through the mountains.)

Unfortunately, there was little opportunity to purchase wooly products. A bit of Sardinian yarn would have been a good souvenir. But it was still fun to see the sheep.

I have done a little bit of knitting lately, but not much. I'm starting to wonder how I used to find time to knit. There's just so much to do.... I'll show you knitting sometime soon.