Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cutting It Close

I haven't felt well for the last week or so, so I've taken the opportunity to finish up some knitting that's been waiting. Two projects seemed to be falling into a theme, one I don't think I like too much. What is it, you ask? Ending the project with the tiniest bit of yarn left.

I finished my Hemlock Ring Blanket the other day and I'm really happy with it. I like the color and the Cascade Eco wool was easy to work with and very economical.

Based on the amount of yarn I had left when I got to where Jared finished, I thought I could make the blanket larger. I kept an eye on my diminishing ball, but thought I could make it through row 116, which meant that there were 568 stitches on the needles. The bind off takes a lot of yarn and I knew that, but I still thought my supply would be sufficient.

Here's what I had left.

There was 101". That's 2.8 yards left of the 956 that I had begun with. Not much. I was lucky.

I figured I was due a break, though, since the cables on the circular needles I used had broken not once, but twice during the project. The blanket was so heavy that the cable pulled out of the metal part on the end of it. The first time I seemed to lose a bunch of stitches and had to go back a few rows before I had the right number. The second time, during the bind off, I succeeded in keeping the stitches corralled and fudging with another needle and cable.

Whew! Glad to be done and able to curl up on my little loveseat under my new blanket and drink my tea.

I got some Knit Picks Swish superwash as knitalong yarn on the train trip I went on to Portland. I decided not to use it for the hat pattern that came with it, so instead started some children's mittens for the current campaign for afghans for Afghans. I made small mittens out of the green yarn

and larger ones out of the bronze color.

Partway through the second large mitten, my inner voice started asking, "Are you sure you'll have enough yarn?" The ball seemed to be rather small at this point. So off to the scale I went with the first mitten. It weighed about 24 grams. The skein is 50 grams. I should have enough.

I did, just barely.

I must say that I really enjoyed working with this yarn. It's soft and has good stitch definition and made great mittens. The pattern I use is Elizabeth Durand's Basic Pattern for Children's Mittens.

In other knitting news, I started and finished a pair of Mona socks. I've been participating in each month's knitalong with the Spring Fling group and it's a great way to get things done. These socks are made with All Things Heather superwash merino yarn in the Dragon colorway. I think I got it from The Loopy Ewe. It was scheduled to be a pair of Embossed Leaves socks, but somehow that wasn't a match made in heaven.

I think I'll go curl up again and start on the mate to the Casbah sock I made for Village Yarn and Tea last March. The first sock was returned to me and has been patiently waiting for its partner so they can be worn.

Stay well, everyone.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Where to Begin?

Since it's been almost a month since I posted anything, I'll just provide a general idea of what's been going on and hope to do better in the future.

When last we visited our intrepid knitter, she had just returned from a wonderful day at the Madrona Fiber Arts retreat. On President's Day, she and the Princess took off for the wilds of Las Vegas for a mid-winter break trip. I learned not to fly to Las Vegas on a holiday if you don't like standing in lines at the airport! Be that as it may, we were in the rental car and on our way a mere two (!) hours after we arrived.

The Princess' graduation gift was a trip to a spa, and she and I drove through the very scenic mountains from Las Vegas to St. George, Utah. I love how the road is cut right through the rocks.

At this time of year there's still snow on the top of the mountains there. The contrast of colors is spectacular.

We had a lovely four days of being pampered, eating healthy food and taking exercise classes at the spa, then got back into the car and returned to Vegas. We spent the night with my cousins there, then toured the campus of UNLV. The Princess is pretty sure she wants to go to school there next year, so we needed to take a look. It's a big school, not terribly scenic, but has lots of new buildings and facilities and sounds like it has a lot of good educational opportunities from which to choose.

Here's our future Rebel in her new gear.

On the knitting front, I finished something! The Loopy Ewe Spring Fling group on Ravelry is having monthly knitalongs, and February's theme was Anne Hanson patterns. I happened to have an unknit Socks That Rock club kit that featured an Anne Hanson pattern called Holidazed. I got those socks finished in February and they're very cozy.

I also finished the sampler sized shawl I began in Nancy Bush's class at Madrona. I was pleased with how it came out and am looking forward to tackling a person-sized shawl from her book in the future, nupps and all. It's a pretty little shawl

and I think it looks quite fetching on its new owner (even if it has to be tied onto her.)

The March knitalong features Cookie A patterns and I chose Mona to do. It looked interesting and easy enough to finish in a reasonable amount of time. I couldn't find much solid color sock yarn in my stash (shopping?) so I used some All Things Heather that I had wound already. It doesn't have too many color variations and I think it looks okay, but a more solid color would show up the pattern better.

The first sock is done. And this is the first toe I've kitchenered without looking at directions. A milestone!

And now for the weather, yes we did have snow again in Seattle yesterday but it didn't stick. We're getting lots in the mountains where we need it, so everything is good.