Sunday, September 23, 2007

Knitter Down

Sorry for the lack of update. Twelve-hour workdays and a 2-day fever don't bode well for knitting and blogging. My knitting is almost exactly where it was a week ago. The Tilted Duster still has about 5 more collar rows, and some seaming to go. My first Autumn Rose sleeve is also still in the works. Despite all that, I thought I'd give you a bit of an update with promises of more to come in the next week.

After boldly jumping head first into Autumn Rose, I got scared. Terrified in fact. My self-doubt took hold and I cast the project aside for a week or two to develop some level of confidence.

I decided to tackle one last stranded warm-up before taking the metaphorical fair-isle plunge. Enter Chrissy Gardiner's Snowflake Socks, also from the new Interweave (I love this issue).

I love how this project is turning out so far. Everything is looking pretty John Dandy. The floats are nice and loose, the yarn was a stash orphan, and the ultimate gratification, they stretch enough to fit over my heel.

So on that optimistic note, I decided to pick up Autumn Rose again. So far I've made it through the first part of the first sleeve. Still a long way to go but it is beautiful and I can't wait to finish the first motif repeat.

My technique is a far cry from being perfect or even being technically correct, but I can live with it for now and I'm already seeing improvements.

Considering the time it has taken to get this far, I expect that this project is one of those long-term type things. The body is going to require some serious project monogamy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Duster Update

Today's post was supposed to be an Autumn Rose update. Sadly, there were some yarn dominance issues (I had made the wrong colour dominant) which meant that the pretty went for a little dip in the frog pond. Fret not, we've since made up and there should be some meaningful progress to show you all by the weekend.

In the meantime, I thought I'd show you how nicely the duster has grown. She has sleeves and most of a skirt, and is generally not purple (the photo here is more accurate on the colour front). If all goes as planned I should have it blocking by Saturday!

This sweater is going to be cosy and warm. After all the chilly weather we've been having, I can't wait to wear it this fall!

Now it's back to the shetland for me, I have sleeves to knit.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A gander through the WIP pile

After a summer of startitis, I've been trying to get back to some projects that have been languishing. First to be moved from the WIP pile to the FO drawer are these:

My first toe-up socks, more commonly known as Ann Budd's On-Your-Toes socks from the Summer Interweave Knits.

Although tricky at first, the eastern cast-on is genius. I used right and left leaning M1s and they look exactly like a regular top-down toe. I'm still a little lukewarm on the short-row heel thing, I think that I'll tackle a reverse heel flap on my next pair.

I decided to split the skein into two balls since the Colinette Jitterbug only has about 290 yards in a skein. Since my scale is not 100% accurate, I decided to try a different technique. I put the yarn on my swift and counted how many times the yarn was looped around the skein. I then tied a piece of scrap yarn onto the swift and counted the number of times it turned as a wound the ball. About halfway I broke the yarn and started the second ball. My counting was a little off but it still worked out well enough.

In the end it wasn't necessary since I didn't even come close to running out of yarn, even with the fairly respectable length cuff I knit.

I love how these socks turned out. They're cozy and comfortable. I'm certainly not a toe-up convert but at least it's a start. Part of my glee may also be caused by the fact that I officially have one less skein of sock yarn in the stash. I've started a bit of a yarn diet. My stash has substantially outgrown its designated home and I decided it was time to trim the fat, or at least reclaim some closet space (hence the sweater fixation).

As for Autumn Rose, I am still working to get gauge. I hope to have a swatch post for you all later this week.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


***Warning: camera happy person post.***

Another FO that, pathetically enough, was finished August 18th! I'm amazed that I haven't gotten around to posting about it until now. This sweater only took me about 2 weeks from cast-on to blocking and cleared up a whopping 800 grams of yarn out of the stash. I forgot how fast worsted yarn flies off the needles after Icarus, MS3 and months worth of socks.


I now present Rosedale United or Rosedale Redux as I call her. Redux because I completely rewrote the pattern down to a 35" bust, I modified the waist shaping, added length on the body, used a different rib stitch and learned the stretchy-est cast-on I've ever come across.


Amy Swenson’s Rosedale United (Fall 2003 Knitty) free pattern available here
Yarn: Noro Kuryeon in colour 207
Amount: 7.75 skeins
Left over: about 25 grams
Size: 36" bust measurement to fit a 35" bust.
Started: July 29, 2007
Finished: August 17, 2007

Since this sweater is knit from the bottom up in the round the cast-off edge ended up at my neck. Right about the time I finished the raglan decreases, I started to realize that the neck opening looked pretty small. Since I have been known to have difficulties fitting my hefty cranium through shirt necks, there was a small amount of panic.

Luckily, I found the stretchiest bind off I've ever seen here and the pending crisis was averted.

Since it's been a comfortable 8 months since my last attempt at any sort of tutorial, I figured I'd share the-bind-off-that-saved-the-day since someone is always looking for a stretchy (but not sloppy bind-off).

Best thing about this technique is that you don't have to worry about making your BO row stitches abnormally loose. It's already perfect, no need to compensate.

As with most bind-off techniques, you begin by knitting the first two stitches in the regular fashion.

b 007

Next, insert the left-hand needle as you would to SSK (just the K part not the SS).

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Wrap the working yarn counterclockwise around the right-hand needle.

b 013

Pull the yarn through the two stitches and then drop the two stitches that have been worked off the left-hand needle.

b 014

Knit the next stitch on the left-hand needle and repeat from Step 2 until all of the stitches have been cast-off.

b 015

Break the working yarn and pull the tail through the last remaining stitch. Admire your work.

b 020

Stretch your work and notice how the bind-off does not restrict the stretch of your fabric at all.

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Hopefully that is easy to understand. Thanks to a very productive and amazingly relaxing long weekend, I should have another FO for you later this week.