Monday, March 03, 2008

A whole bunch of stuff

A month or so ago, I told the story of the super-nice lady who wanted to know if I was willing to part with my leftover Bernat Sox yarn in the "Army Hot" colourway. In a nutshell, I was willing to just mail it to her as a gift, but she sent me back a 'trade' in the form of freakin' Malabrigo Lace Baby Merino. She felt this was reasonable because she really needed this yarn to finish off some socks she was making for her guy.

Well, recently, the socks were completed, and I have to say, she made the yarn look way more handsome than I dreamed possible. You can see what they look like here. Aren't they great? She did a really good job with the socks and colour integration, and I'm inspired to make a similar pair for my guy, too...uh, once I clear off my plate a little, that is.

And speaking of sock yarn, Carrie K noticed that my daughter's new leggings matched her skirt, and wonders how I managed it. The truth of it is that this was a complete and utter fluke. My MIL gave me the yarn for Christmas - she simply picked something she thought I'd like - and while I was sitting around one day wondering what kind of socks I'd make out of it and whom those socks might for, I realised that it had the same colours as DD1's skirt. Inspiration was born. Lucky, eh?

Also cool is that two people on Ravelry have started making their own pairs of the leggings! I can't wait to see them. However, I still can't seriously refer to this as 'my pattern', since it is simply a tube...neither 'mine' in concept, nor a true 'pattern'. I have merely provided guidance on minor aspects: yarn weight, needle size, number of stitches to cast on, and number of inches to knit before casting off.

The double-faced blanket, however, definitely involved originality, thought and design on my part. :) Thank you, Carrie K, I'm glad you like it. You aren't alone...beyond all reason, people are still putting it into their Ravelry queues, and one poor sucker brave soul has even taken it on as a project. To quote her, "Can't believe how long it takes to do one row." Yes, that is unfortunately true, and I have tried to warn people about this to try and stave off hate mail. :) When I first started the blanket, I was probably doing a row about every hour. Seriously. Mind you, I was also stupid enough to be shoving 482 stitches onto 14" straights, which really slowed me down. I think that the average knitter, using a very long circular to save themselves time and sanity, should be able to do a row in 20-25 minutes once they get the hang of the double knitting and work up a good rhythm. However, with 241 rows to do, that still translates into a whole heckuvalot of time. So tread lightly, folks. This one is really just for people who are crazy like me.

My insane tendencies have not escaped Brigitte's notice, who wants to know if everything in the sidebar list is a WIP. Truth? Yes. Everything below the 'Works in Progress' header but above the 'Planned Projects' header is something I've cast on but not yet finished. Please do not call me your hero, though, because a lot of these projects haven't seen action in years...or they've seen a teeny bit of action and then gotten tossed by the wayside again. It's kinda sad, actually. Fortunately, I do have a good track record of completing WIPs to make up for this. It's not like stuff goes into purgatory endlessly; eventually it will all get finished, even if it takes a decade or more.

This is why I keep trying to knit faster!

To that end, I've been watching as many videos as I can find of the 2008 Knit Out, with the 'fastest international knitter' competition. For those of you who missed hearing about it, Hazel Tindall kicked ass. Wannietta Prescod of Canada came 3rd. (Glee!) I cannot believe how fast all those fingers are flying. I really, really have to sit down one day and get DH to time me. There is no way on earth that I will be able to approach the speed of those ladies, but I'm really hoping I can approach 180 stitches in 3 minutes. I may be totally fooling myself. Stay tuned.

Wheelie for our car
After DH got home from work on Thursday, I went outside into the rather nippy cold and 'tied one on', so to speak.

It's good! It does obscure the dashboard a wee bit, but if I grab the top of it with my thumbs as part of my grip of the steering wheel, all is well.

Socks for Mom
These are coming along very nicely, I've turned the heel and am ribbing up the leg:

But doesn't the provisional cast-on at the toe totally look like fish lips?

Socks for Dad
In an effort to do something else according to The Schedule, I started on my dad's Christmas socks. I decided to use the tweedy 'Wedgewood' Invicta Extra yarn from Schjeepes that I was using for my Bayerische socks (for which I will instead be using my Lana Grossa Meilenweit 50 Seta/Cashmere yarn for those...yum yum). The socks will feature some subtle twisted-stitch cables of my own devising, and I'm looking forward to seeing how they turn out. (I'll make the pattern available once it's done, as long as the socks don't suck.)

I wanted the socks to be toe-up, but I was kinda over the 'fish lips' look of a provisionally cast-on toe-up sock, so instead I turned to my copy of Folk Mittens, in which Marcia Lewandowski describes the 'Eastern' method of casting on for a closed tube. I've never done it before, and it worked bee-yew-tifully:

The camera unfortunately decided to focus on the live stitches instead of the bottom of the toe, but you can still see the seamlessness of it, I think. It is a seriously rockin' cast-on and I'm totally going to use it from now on.

Bella Paquita
This has been seeing some action! The yoke and first sleeve are done, and the second sleeve is getting close to being finished, too.

I'm thinking I should have cast off the middle back stitches instead of putting them on a holder. Damn. Oh, well. I'll fix it later.

Incidentally, DD1 has informed me that I should be using the yarn for mittens for her. I was noncommittal...although the reality is that I'm probably going to have more than enough leftover for mittens in her size once this sweater is finished. So we'll see!

Double-knit hat
Last week sometime, I think it was, DD1's winter hat went missing. This was a serious problem, because it is an excellent hat. It's made of pink fleece, it has a snowflake on it, and it has earflaps that completely cover her ears snugly, which is a huge plus. Moreover, the only other winter hat in the house that could fit on her head was a touch too big for her and kept slipping over her eyes. (Not good.)

So I got out all the worsted-weight or thicker blends of acrylic and wool that I could find, and had DD1 choose two colours, in preparation for a double-knit hat. DD1 requested a horizontal stripe pattern.

The bad news is that I'm still fiddling with getting the number of stitches right for the cast-on. The good news is that I found her hat.

So this project is on hold indefinitely. Hell, I ain't doing non-Schedule double-knit if I don't have to!

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