Archive for February, 2008

Shrug Dance (FO!)

Yay!  I can now say I’ve made my first sweater!  Here it is, the mosaic version of the Baby Shrug:

Mosaic Baby Shrug

Yes, there are qualifications … it’s not adult-size and it’s for charity so I didn’t have to make it to fit a particular person.  But it’s a start!  I did that with socks too.  Found patterns for baby socks that included the standard heel flap and gusset and learned with them.  Here’s where I only did one sock  just to figure out what was going on.  I went and messed with the cuff (can’t leave anything alone, hah!) but other than that, it’s the North Country Sock pattern.  It’s nice to have something that you can approach as an experiment and then see a final result after only a bit of time (including all the do-overs and head-scratching).   Next time, there may be a need to get a good fit, perhaps some buttons (buttonholes??) and at least I have some shaping, trim-adding and seam-sewing under the belt now!

But what about the hole?  Well, the only solutions for a dropped stitch that I could find were either “use a crochet hook to work it back to its rightful place” or “frog back and redo it”.  Since  the dropped stitch was right in the middle of a bound-off piece, that was just not an option for me.  Another suggestion was “if it’s near an end to be woven in, use the weaving to hold the lost stitch in place”.  It wasn’t, but even if it was … this is a multicolored sweater and chances are that the ends wouldn’t match the area around the stitch.  It turns out that the dropped stitch was in one of the solid colored areas of the sweater (whew!) so I found a length of yarn of the same color and duplicate stitched to the loose one, grabbed it, and did a few more duplicate stitches.  I hope that will be secure enough.  It looks OK.  Another lesson: learning to accept leaving a mistake in if it’s likely that no one else will notice it …

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Ugh! A Shrug Bug!

OK, so I blocked the shrug using my tape measure and getting it all tidy and (of course) I took a picture:

Blocked Baby Shrug

“Oh, how nice! It’s … wha?  What’s that?  A … HOLE?!”  (Steps closer to take a look …)

Dropped Stitch!

“Gah! I left a dropped stitch right in the middle of nowhere! How did that happen?”

Well, I knew there was some learnin’ to be done … but I hadn’t planned on “debugging” too.  Well, I’ve got Knit Fix and Vogue Knitting and surely there will be steps to take.  Tomorrow!

Shrug for a Snug Bug

Hoo boy!  The knitting part of the “Available Materials Only Mosaic Baby Shrug”, based on a pattern from Debbie Bliss, is complete:

Mosaic Baby Shrug

I still have to weave in the ends and sew up (under the sleeves and down each side).  Now that the edging is finished, I don’t think the mosaic decoration looks quite as “dramatic” as it did at first.  That’s a good thing!  The color in this picture is a little on the blue side; it’s a rainy day and I used available light.  I’m pleased with how the multicolored yarn arranged itself symmetrically too.   I had nothing to do with it, but it looks great!  Oh, and the decorative stripe was necessary … I absolutely could not have done this with just the one skein.  I don’t have the needles called for in the pattern (long circulars in size 7 and 8) Huh?  Oh, cuz I typed an “8” and a “)” together) so I squished a lot of stitches onto a shorter #10 circular needle for the body and mashed even more stitches onto a long #9 straight needle for the trim.  It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.  I guess the larger needles may have something to do with why I needed extra yarn (I didn’t change the pattern)!

No Sweat(er)!

I’ve gone out and bought yarn for one.  More.  Than.  Once.  I started one and it became a UFO.  Bottom line: no sweater.  I want to make a sweater, dang it!  To get over this hump, I thought I’d make a smaller project.  One that’s been described repeatedly by other happy knitters as “easy” and “quick”.  The Baby Shrug from Debbie Bliss.  It will be my first project that requires picking up stitches for trim and sewing seams, both tasks that I’ve been avoiding learning … and this from someone who tackled this:

 Drooping Elm Lace Scarf

 after only 3 months of knitting!  So anyway, the Baby Shrug really is easy so far!  I started it last night and would say I’m at the 40% point already:

Mosaic Baby Shrug

After looking at every other example of this pattern at Ravelry, I must say that this is the most dramatic version.  And it’s definitely the only one with a mosaic pattern!  It wasn’t really deliberate, it’s just that I wanted to use available yarn. The intended recipient wants bright colors and wool, so those criteria pointed to this yarn in my stash.  Actually, the mosaic was added spontaneously … as I was knitting, I became concerned that my one skein of Patons Classic Merino Wool in the Wedgewood colorway wouldn’t be enough to finish the project.  The decorative band (also Patons) will hopefully make it a sure thing!  One interesting note:  this is the back of the sweater, which is knit in one piece (the sleeves are begun, they’re stretching up out of the picture).   When I get to the decorative band on the front it will be knitted from the other end (last row knitted on this side will be first row knitted on that side).  Luckily, this pattern looks the same upside down.  That was happy coincidence, and thank goodness for that!!

In other knitting news, I used the same criteria of “bright-colored wool” to make these mittens:

Lion Wool Mittens

The stripes may look familiar, that’s leftover from the Basketweave Scarf … the mittens, the scarf and the sweater are all targeted for Botswana (see this post).  The mitten pattern (sans stripes) is from Elizabeth Durand, who urges that it be used for charity whenever possible!  Unlike the mittens I made for myself, these will fit on either hand.  Good for kids, I hear.

I’ve also made progress on hubby’s Ladder of Life Toe-Up Socks:

Ladder of Life Toe-Up Socks

I’ll perhaps devote a whole post to these later, because there has been more learning!  (Hint: the left sock looks a smidge smaller than the right, no?)  Right now, the shrug is providing a sock break; when I finish it, it will be time to tackle the heels on these.

Lingo A-Go-Go

 I remember learning in film class about a word that Alfred Hitchcock coined: “MacGuffin”.  He used it to refer to some aspect of a plot that seems important to the characters in the story but isn’t really all that important to the director except that it moves the plot along.  For example, in “North By Northwest” everyone is running around after some microfilm, but the real purpose of the movie is to get Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint together.  The chase after the microfilm is a MacGuffin.

I use MacGuffins all the time to further the plot of life … if we go to visit my sister-in-law, the MacGuffin is to hear the symphony of frogs that echoes all night long in the springtime at their house near the Chesapeake.  It really is wonderful, but of course the true purpose is to visit with her and her husband.  If the weather shifts and the frogs aren’t doing their thing … it really doesn’t matter, you know?  Same thing if I go “shopping” with a friend: usually I have some home decoration item or another in mind and I share all the details about how it should be just this or that color and needs to fit in this or that niche and sometimes I pile on some additional requirements and caveats (it makes the search more interesting) … but the truth of the matter is that I want to spend time with the person and I’m not disappointed at all if we come out of it empty-handed!

In the case of the “Knitting Lingo” page (see header), where I’ve been posting my take on knitting vocabulary, the MacGuffin is “to help any non-knitter who may be having trouble communicating with a knitter in their life”.  As if a non-knitter will ever be reading these pages, ha ha ha!!  I think the actual purpose is reflected more by the subtitle of my blog; it’s just another way of capturing my own beginner experience.  I rearranged the Knitting Lingo page, by the way.  It now has a list of terms on the first page and the “definitions” themselves have been moved to other pages.  The latest additions are about quantities of yarn, words which are not all exclusive to knitting.  And now I’m finding myself exploring other terminology in that realm — for example, “nostepinne” and “dibble”.  Oh yes, there will be entries for those when I get a chance, hah!

 Edit: a blog entry without pictures?  What was I thinking??  Here are some pics taken in Mathews County, Virginia where my SIL lives (these are not of her house, however).

Wanna Know ’bout Botswana?

Well, I only had one WIP going and that won’t do, so I started some more stuff:

Details came in on the Botswana project, a local grassroot-ish effort to send knitted items to children at an orphanage there … they’d be happy to have warm woolen items, so I started this scarf.  The call is for bright colors, so I’m knitting with a magenta and yellow yarn held together.  Each square is about an inch per side and I’ll knit until the yarn runs out.  I have about 2 feet done already, hope to get 4 feet altogether!  In the meantime, the baby blanket I started for the same project is coming along:

This is a synthetic yarn but it seems as if it will be warm too.  I went looking online for Botswana art as inspiration and I ran into a picture of a beautiful handmade basket that inspired the above pattern selection.  I can’t find it anymore, but here is a wonderful web site with many gorgeous baskets to gaze at.  One of these, by artist Nashira Thinkongo, is similar to the one I had seen before:

I also read about another very intriguing group called the Odi (or Oodi) Weavers, who are internationally known for their tapestries.  I’m dying to know more about them … couldn’t find any pictures of their work, dang it!  Here are pointers to a few pictures I did find, though:

skeins of wool yarn drying

brightly colored yarn

woman at spinning wheel

I don’t know much about Botswana, but these tiny glimpses at how fiber art plays a role in the lives of some there have helped make the connection go in two directions for me, isn’t that great?

Oh, I also started a pair of socks for hubby:

I’m not using a pattern for these, this could be a mistake!  I’m suspecting the toe is too pointy; I’ll see if I can get hubby to try it on tomorrow (it should be a couple of inches longer than what’s seen in this picture by that time!).

Save Those TP Tubes! (Plus: FO!)

I love when the winds of life blow a little something your way just when you’re looking for it … or maybe you notice it because you’re looking for it?  Could be!  Anyway, I was all proud of myself for coming up with the toilet-paper-tube trick for winding lace weight yarn and then today on ravelry I stumbled onto this excellent post from Beachside Knitter.  She not only did the same tubie-thing, but took it where it needed to go: to a (edit) toilet paper holder … brilliant!  I’m sorry to read about the stress she went through on the way to making that discovery, but maybe she’ll take solace that her hardship has spared others down the road.  (I’m tellin’ ya, knitting via the Internet is soooo cool!)

Oh, did I mention that I finished the Cabletini Socks?  If you’re in the Thrifty Knitters Sock Club, then you’ve had your fill of them by now, hah … for anyone else who’s interested, here they are!!

Cabletini Toe-up Socks

Because I’m documenting my “Beginner Experience”, now would be a good time to review what was new for me: toe-up socks, Judy’s Magic Cast-On, short row heel, #1 (2.25 mm) needles, EZ’s sewn bind-off.  I also learned to twist a stitch at the needle joins (I used dpns) to avoid laddering and, further, that twisting the first purl makes for a tidier purl section between cables.  That the sewn bind-off is more flexible than the standard bind-off and thus makes it easier to pull the sock past the heel when putting it on.  (There are other flexible bind-off techniques still to try!)  I learned that knitting both socks at once really does reduce Second Sock Syndrome, that knitting a sock with cables on dpns requires all 5 needles (or even 6, if it’s for a man), that cats like to gnaw on pointy wooden things left lying around, and that delicate wooden sticks will go “SNAP!” if you try to squeeze a fat foot into an unfinished sock.  So 1) learn to do socks with a long circular needle, or 2) get lots and lots of dpns 2a) in metal or 2b) if you insist on using wood, then get dpn-protectors and use them!

 Here are more pictures, cuz the proud “sock momma” went snap-happy:

    


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