Thursday, May 11, 2006

Learnings

Things I learned at the Lettuce Knit SnB last Wednesday:

  • I've been exposed to Trekking XXL yarn, and I want some. Specifically, I want colour #71. It's sort of a navy/dark turquoise base with some other related colours throughout. I really like it. Socks would be great, but right now I'm actually thinking that an intricate lace shawl would rock even harder. However, at $20 for 100g I think this is going to have to be very seriously on sale or a gift from someone else before I can get enough of it to make a whole shawl.

  • Fleece Artist makes some INCREDIBLY SOFT angora yarn which absolutely screams 'make baby stuff out of me'. Again, too rich for my blood, but DAMN, if I win the lottery, I am running right out and getting myself some. (At least, I think it's Fleece Artist. I'm pretty sure that's what my memory told me, but I can't find any mention of it on their website, unless it's the Peter Rabbit stuff. Hm. If it is the Peter Rabbit, be advised that it comes in way more colours than are pictured on their website.)

  • Socks That Rock yarn is unbelievably popular. Apparently when Lettuce got their first batch in stock, there was a feeding frenzy. It was completely sold out within a week. And here I was na├»vely thinking I could check some out when I went to the SnB on Wednesday. Ha ha.

  • Beyond the per-transaction fees, it costs nothing to accept credit card payments via PayPal (thank you, Laura). This is great to know, both for DH who will want to sell golf clubs online once we get his website up and running, and for me, if I ever want to sell my patterns independently.

  • I may get sucked into spinning sooner than I thought (again, Laura's fault). I'm not going to be able to get a wheel sooner than I thought, but I'm starting to get the itch to get back to my drop spindle.

Other cool things that I discovered last week:

  • Mel is going to bring the daughter of a friend of mine to Lettuce for an SnB. Whee! I'm not sure whether this will be a one-time thing or a regular deal, but either way I hope I can be there when the kid shows up so that she knows at least one other person there.

  • I got scavenged! The folks at Knitting Beyond the Hebrides threw an online Lace Symposium, and one of the activities was a lace scavenger hunt - very cool idea. JennyRaye put my my Snowdrop shawl project down on her list as an example of 'a lace project that boggles the mind' (which sure as heck boggled my mind)! Thanks, JennyRaye. :)

  • Aven commented to say that she doesn't get row gauge, either. This is reassuring. We can't be the only ones who fudge stuff. If you do too, speak up. Off-row-gaugers unite! :)

  • Carrie K is a woman after my own heart. She justifies buying everything (yarn-ly speaking) in large quantities to avoid heartbreak later. This sounds completely wise. I'm on board with that.

Anyway, on to the projects...

(Brace yourself for mucho rambling.)

Self-designed baby hat/mitts
I decided last weekend that I needed to kick-start my ass into gear on this one. Thus, I made a decision: I would purchase the colours I was missing at a certain evil corporate empire that only gets my money when I can't reasonably find a product anywhere else. I don't like doing this, but Zellers didn't have what I wanted, Lewiscraft is out of business, Michaels' online catalogue revealed that they had every kind of acrylic but sock yarn, and a phone call to the biggest yarn store in the city determined that they did not carry any acrylic yarns (duh, I know, but it was worth a try), and from this I surmised that the other yarn shops in the city were unlikely to do so, either.

This left me staring at the only option: The evil corporate empire. So on Saturday evening, off I went.

Total.
bust.

Usually they have lots of different colours of Bernat Sox, but naturally on the day I decided to go and was desperate for specific colours...they had almost nothing that I needed.

So I'm standing there, looking despairingly at the shelves, trying to will the yarn I want into making a sudden appearance in front of me, when suddenly the obvious hit. Why am I so keen on doing this project with sock/fingering weight yarn? Why can't I use sportweight? If I switch to sportweight, I already have all the colours I want, with the fibre content I want, SITTING RIGHT AT HOME IN MY STASH. Plus, my swatch of the motif in sock/fingering weight yarn (with the wrong colours) was smaller than I wanted it to turn out to be.

That was a classic 'Urania Moment'. Logic slapped me upside the head, pushed me out of the damn store and sent me home to my stash. I pulled out the colours I needed and got to work. Sunday I finished the swatch. I was quite pleased with the outcome, and I got lots of compliments on the design from my parents and husband, so I started on the mittens.

The first mitten sort of worked the way I wanted to, but I still wasn't happy with it. As I've mentioned before, there are a lot of colours in this pattern, and the best way to do it without driving myself (or anyone who tries the pattern, since I eventually hope to sell it) nuts is to do intarsia with just two colours and then duplicate stitch the other colours on. The problem with the first mitten is that I duplicate-stitched the black colour on. This, since duplicate stitching is more raised and prominent, caused the black to overpower the other colours, which was the opposite of the effect I was going for.

So, I did a second first mitten (if that makes any sense), this time using black as one of the intarsia colours, and then duplicate stitching the brighter colours on after it was all knitted up. This worked really, really well and I now have myself one small, cute, multicoloured mitten that more or less looks like I'd envisioned it. Yay me. Next up: mitten number two.

Garden Shawl for MIL
This has seen a little bit of action in the past week, and the end of the current chart is in my sights.

Carrie K reminded me, after I complained about having 800 stitches per row on this thing, that I knew going into it exactly what I was setting myself up for. I would like to point out that this absolutely does not mean I don't have the right to complain about it. So nyah. ;)

Stornaway sweater for DH
A few more inches have been done on the main pattern. It's starting to shape up into something pretty substantial-looking, and I'm also going to have to wind myself up a new ball soon.

Black socks for Dad
The sock is looking much less phallic. I'm now on the top ribbing:


Self-patterning socks #2 for DH
I'm starting to think that the first sock of this pair is The Sock That Does Not Want To Be. As if ripping out my first attempt at the sock was not bad enough, I then messed up the math (note to self: 7.5 plus 2.5 does NOT equal 10.5...sigh...) and turned the heel a half-inch too soon.

Rip.

Finally this afternoon I got to what was definitely, absolutely the right point to start turning the heel, so, naturally, I started turning it. As I was nearing the halfway point I noticed that the numbers were kind of weird. The pattern sez that as you're going through the first set of short rows, you're supposed to purl an even number of stitches before turning on the wrong sides, and knit an odd number of stitches before turning on the right sides. Well, I started counting, and it turned out that I was doing the opposite. I counted, and found that I had somehow managed to place 37 stitches on a spare length of yarn for the instep and begin work on 35 stitches for the heel, instead of an even division of 36 and 36.

Riiiiip.

I'm now pretty close to finishing the heel, and (knock on wood) things seem to be okay now.



I'm hoping that once the heel is done, the trip up the leg proceeds without incident so that I can get this #$*@#&$!!!-ing sock done and start on its mate. DH's birthday is less than a month away.

Lace baby shawl
Going through JennyRaye's scavenger hunt list and seeing some really incredible examples of lace motifs there gave me some new design ideas for what I could do with this shawl. So now I'm re-energized and way more positive about being able to come up it. I'm still probably not going to have time this year to work it all out, but at least I'm not in the doldrums about it and thinking that I can't do it.

Cardigan for baby Harding
Being re-inspired with new design ideas for the lace baby shawl I'm planning made me realise that, if I had to, I could take the motif I wanted to use for this cardigan and translate it into lace for the shawl instead, leaving me free to come up with another texture pattern for this cardigan that would work better than what I'm trying to make work right now.

So what I'm going to do is keep on with the latest test of the texture motif, and if it doesn't work out, then I will be perfectly okay with letting it go and coming up with something else. Yay me.

P.S. to Carrie K: No, I'm quite sure my hand hasn't shrunk. :) I just had a whopping reduction in gauge. I know, it stunned the heck out of me, too.

1 comment:

Tanya said...

Apparently it was a little awkward. (Eight just isn't up for the "B" in SnB...)

That, and she had a bit of a traumatic (dramatic?) pre-tween fit (quiet, pouty style) about not having the "right" project/needles/yarn.

We've since added to her supply, and encouraged her, but I think we'll be doing a few more private sessions before we go public again.

Thing is, I don't knit. And I really need her to have a creative outlet where she won't be constantly comparing herself to me. She needs to "own it" and be proud, y'know?