Friday, March 31, 2006

A New Project!

After doing some swatching, I started a new sweater.

So far I have about 5 inches of the back done. I think this is going to be a very simple sweater. Simple shaping and a simple stitch pattern with few or no edgings. This is the first time I've made such a plain sweater. But I think it's something I'll wear a lot. I really like the stitch pattern. It is "wheat ear rib" from Barbara Walker's first Treasury of Knitting Patterns. It is from the ribbings chapter, so as you might expect it is very elastic in the horizontal direction. My plan is not to do any waist shaping, but instead let the stitch pattern stretch (or not) to fit my body. We'll see how it goes. And the yarn? It couldn't be softer. It's Jaeger DK weight extra fine merino. It is stash yarn, so I'm still working on decreasing the yarn volume. I hope it holds up well once I'm wearing the sweater, but it's so soft that I don't really have high hopes.

I've been noticing a theme in the colors I've been knitting with lately. Here are the four projects I'm working on right now. Clockwise from top left we have the Koigu socks, the Faroese hat, the Komi sweater, and the wheat ear rib sweater. Maybe I need to branch out a bit.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A New Spindle

My knitting, lately, has been entirely uninspiring. I don’t really like any of the projects I’m working on. First, there’s the Komi sweater. It’s gone. I was about half-way through the body, and finally realized that I had been in denial about the size. If I really stretched it, I could make it look like the measurement around my chest would be 38 inches. But, in reality, it was a 34-inch sweater. That’s some serious negative ease for a sweater that should be loose. I’ve started over, but there isn’t much to see.

Then there’s the Faroese double-knit hat. It’s inching along, but the pattern on the main part of the hat is so boring that I have a hard time making myself work on it. It doesn’t look much different than it did last time I posted about it.

There’s also the socks I started during the Olympics. One and a quarter are done, but I’m having trouble finishing. Plain stockinette is not my favorite knitting.

There might be some swatching in the near future. I have ideas for two new sweaters. I might get a good project out of one of them, or I might get something else to take up a perfectly good pair of needles.

Spinning, on the other hand, has been much more fun. And a new spindle has recently joined my arsenal.

The whorl is jasper, and the shaft is hicory. Cathy can tell you if some if its siblings are still available.

It’s a tiny 0.4 oz spindle that I’m using to try to spin laceweight. The spinning is going OK (I’m having a little trouble drafting, but I’m getting better), but the plying is a disaster. I just can’t see what I’m doing! I think I need to get a magnifying glass or something. Here are a couple of samples I spun. Neither one is perfectly balanced or even. The top one is camel and the bottom one is merino. Hopefully I’ll have a decent skein of yarn (with a less blurry picture) to show you soon.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Apparently bloglines isn't seeing this blog right now. Wake up!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

New Yarn

I have some new yarn to show, but I didn't increase the size of my stash. How did I do it? I spun the yarn from stash fiber.

First, some corriedale that I dyed a while ago. It is about 65 yards of a fingering to sport weight yarn. I have one other similar skein that I spun soon after I dyed it.

It's not very even, but I'll use it anyway. Any ideas for a project?

Next, I started spinning a beautiful batt that I got in a Knitsmiths yarn swap last year. I have no idea what the fiber is or who dyed it, but I'm guessing it's wool of some sort. I LOVE how this is coming out. The reds and blues and purples are blending beautifully. This is about 108 yards of a lace to fingering weight yarn. I have plenty more to spin, so right now I think this might become a lace scarf of some sort.

Both of these skeins were spun on my Bosworth midi spindle.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Great Yarn

I'm making the Faroese hat I showed you yesterday out of stash yarn. The red is Dale of Norway's Heilo, and the gray is Sandnes Uldvarefabrik's Peer Gynt.

The Heilo is a good basic yarn, but the Peer Gynt is one of my favorite yarns on the market. It is not a particularly soft yarn, and at first glance there is nothing special about it. However, I think that the most important characteristic of a yarn is its ability to stand up to time. When I spend a month or more knitting a sweater, I want it to still look good several years down the road. This yarn passes that test. This ball is left over from a sweater I knit about 12 years ago. In spite of the fact that I wear that sweater all the time, it still looks new. That's something you can't say about most of the nice soft yarns that are on the market.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Faroese Hat

While the Komi sweater is slowly growing back to where it was before I ripped, I thought I would show you a side project I've been working on:

It's going to be a double-knit hat. The two-color patterns are from a book of Faroese patterns. I'm planning to make it long enough that I can fold up the brim. That way both sides will be visible, and the hat will be twice as warm over my ears. I have a feeling that next winter when I'm remembering what -50 degrees F feels like, I'll be glad for all the warmth I can get!

I started this hat the first time I was frustrated with the Komi sweater. The border pattern was lots of fun, but then I got to the relatively plain (boring) body of the hat. Hopefully I can stay interested for long enough to finish the project.

Monday, March 13, 2006

sock on-the-go

Thanks for all of your comments on my sweater shaping. After reading what all of you had to say about waist shaping, really examining my own shaping, and trying on the sweater, I decided that I needed to do some ripping. I decided that my rate of decreasing was good, but that I needed to increase more slowly. The sweater is about 4 inches smaller now, but I think I will be happier with it in the end.

Some of you may be wondering what happened to the socks that I was working on during the Olympics. I finished the first sock pretty quickly and cast on for the second one. Then I decided that these socks were WAY too boring for every day knitting. But, I just recently started taking the subway to work. I don't have a long ride, but I have time to get in a row or two going each way. I figure that's enough knitting for the sock to be done by next winter. However, I was having trouble knitting with the ball of yarn loose in my purse. Here's the package that is now getting thrown in my purse:

I've been storing the ball of yarn inside the growing sock, and just pulling gently when I need more yarn. It works perfectly. When I'm not knitting, my working needle prevents the ball of yarn from falling out. This is just one more reason to knit socks from the toe up!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It has a waist!

I spent last weekend (plus a few days) visiting my parents and grandparents. I didn't have much time to knit while I was there, but I did put some of the airplane hours to good use. I'm past the waist shaping of my Komi sweater.

I love the way the pattern is coming out. I think that you can really start to see what it will look like. And the blue in the border doesn't bother me nearly as much now that I have more of the body done. The color changes in the main body pattern are a bit more subtle in person, and I think that they give the pattern a lot of interest. While the pattern may look complicated, it is actually very simple to knit. It's just a series of diamonds that are all the same size. The only tricky part is remembering how to connect them to each other.

I'm not really sure about my waist shaping. I used the shape of my body as a guide, and when I try it on the sweater seems to fit, but the decreases and increases look to me like they may be too abrupt. But when I look at my waist, the curves there look pretty abrupt too. I am extremely short-waisted, so most sweaters with shaping don't fit me right. This made it hard to find something to use as a guide. Hopefully a good blocking will be able to hide any problems. I'm really hoping that I won't have to rip out the body. Ripping makes me grumpy.