Sunday, February 08, 2009


Ouch. Over a month since my last post? Must have been the older daughter getting sick. Or the husband getting sick. Or, oh wait, ME getting sick and not shaking it for about a week. (You know it's bad when I don't take advantage of the time at home to do any knitting.) Oh, and hey, maybe it was also the toddler getting sick! Or the fender-bender my husband had with the car of the guy who delivers our newspaper? Or the insane projects at work? Or...

Hm. It's a mystery.

(Picture me rolling my eyes like crazy at this point.)

Autumnal socks for moi
A few days into January, I decided to cast on with some of the Fabel I bought from my LYS a while back. This yarn, in this particularly colourway, has been calling my name since I first saw it on the shelf of the store. It's a glorious combination of reds and oranges and browns that I absolutely love, but which look terrible close to my face; they wash me out (I shine in strong, clear, blue-toned stuff as opposed to hues with a golden undertone). Socks in these colours, however, are a great idea for me.

The yarn itself self-patterns fantastically - I'd used a vibrant, pink-based colourway for socks for my older daughter for Christmas this past year and adored every single moment of knitting them up. I expected this colourway to be equally, if not more, delicious, and it certainly did not disappoint. You know sometimes you see a ball of self-patterning yarn and get an impression of how it's going to pattern up...but then you knit with it and it does something different; and doesn't live up to your expectations? Yeah, this was the exact OPPOSITE of that. :)

I loved it so much that it took me five days of commuting to finish the pair completely. Not even five days, actually, because I finished them right at the end of the morning commute on the fifth day, and had to turn to another project on the commute home. (This was one of the days that the train was extremely late in arriving in the morning, leaving us all to freeze on the platform while waiting. Then the train itself was poorly heated, and my poor toes were absolutely frozen the whole way downtown. But right before we pulled into the station, I put the brand-spankin'-new socks on my feet, and...INSTANT heavenly difference. When people talk about the warming qualities of wool, let me tell you, they are NOT KIDDING. I have had more than one occasion to wear the socks again since then, and am convinced that they saved me from toe frostbite on some of the more chilly and train-unreliable days. Blessings upon sheep.)

The pattern is my own, so of course I can't show you a pic of the socks until the pattern is published. But trust me, they're niiice.

Cabled variation socks
I haven't actually done any more progress on these socks since my last blog post, but I did take the prototype to Knitting Circle night at my LYS to get opinions on the design. While I thought I'd come up with a good sock, I wasn't sure whether I was entirely happy with the design exactly as it was. I had a few ideas for some changes I wanted to try, and wanted to see what others thought. The unanimous consensus is that the sock looks great as is, and that I shouldn't change it. So I might just manage to ignore the nagging little "It could be better!" voice in my head and submit shots of the original prototype on my foot. Maybe. :)

Stranded variation socks
So I tried out the first iteration of my idea.

First thing: I really love the first motif I came up with.

Second thing: The combination of the blue and the red is a little violent. I really want to pair these two together because they're two colours of the same (gorgeous) yarn, but I really don't think it's going to work. I'm going to try blue-on-red instead of red-on-blue, though, first, and see if it makes a difference. I don't hold out much hope, but I'm certainly going to try.

Third thing: I SERIOUSLY need to change the structure of the heel. The gauge totally, totally changes when you add in the stranded technique, and gives you the most ridiculous-looking thing...there's no way it would fit a human heel. (Or any other kind of heel, now that I think about it.) I've got a few more ideas circulating in the ol' brain about what changes I can make to make it work...this will probably take a lot of iterations before I'm happy with it, so the project is kind of on the backburner for now.

Spiderman Blanket for Justin
June (LYS owner), bless her, ordered some joins for the Denise Interchangeables and I bought one about two or three weeks ago. At the same time, since I was really running out of room on the cable, I bought an extra cable component - ridiculously long, 52 inches or something like that. This meant that I could finally get back to working on this blanket, and boy, did I ever.

Monday night I was visiting my parents and was briefly hampered by the fact that I ran out of black yarn very close to the end of the knitting. Not wanting to wait 72 whole hours until the next time I could get into the yarn store and get another ball of the black (I'm so pathetic...although in hindsight it turned out to be a very good decision since Thursday night's knitting circle had to be cancelled), I asked my mom if she had any black acrylic worsted in her stash that I could use instead. Indeed she did, and was happy to hand it off to me (her crochet projects are always baby things - black isn't something she'll be using anytime soon). It's not the exact same yarn (old = Berella "4"; new = Red Heart Super Saver), but they're so identical, you'd never notice.

Crocheting the black "spines" of the web was tedious work, but every spine I finished made the blanket look that much more cool. Finally it was done, and there weren't a lot of ends to weave in because (thankfully) I'd been weaving them in as I went. I can't begin to express how much I love this blanket pattern, it's awesome.

Here it is again with an additional "item" in the shot to give you perspective of scale:

Can't wait to hand it off.

Fjalar for moi
It turns out that I screwed up a bit on the shaping on the body, and had to rip it back a few inches and redo. (Not that huge a deal, it was just stocking stitch.) But then I started freaking out a bit about whether I was truly being accurate about where I'd have to start knitting flat for the armscyes, and started second-guessing myself, and also freaking out about how much yarn I'd have to spare at the end and whether I was going to have a neckline that was too high, and...blah blah blah blah BLAH.

So, once I used up the ball I was currently working with on the body, I gave up and cast on for sleeve #1, again converting to in-the-round instead of flat like the pattern calls for. This makes me feel much more comfortable. Finishing the sleeves first gives me a number of advantages:

  • I get a much better idea of how much yarn I'm going to have left over (relevant because I want to make a sweater for my older daughter out of it)
  • I get a totally accurate measurement of how deep the armscyes need to be, and therefore...
  • I get the confidence to know exactly where I should start knitting flat on the body
So it's all good. But even with this great plan, have I gotten much further than a few inches into the first sleeve? Nope. Ah, well.

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