Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Catching up again

How many times have I used that title?  I guess if I posted more regularly, I wouldn't have to catch up, but that doesn't seem all that likely.  Anyway, since this blog is supposed to exist to document my knitting, here's what's been happening.

The spinalong fiber has been spun and mostly knitted.  I'm making the Boneyard shawl by Stephen West out of it and it is not the most interesting knitting, so is taking awhile.  I got about 650 yards of yarn, so the shawl will be a good size.  The colors shown on the yarn skeins are more true to life than those in the shawl photo.  While this is not a combination of colors I would ordinarily choose for myself, I'm enjoying the progression of shades in the finished project.

My Pogona (also a Stephen West design) is about the same size as it was when I last showed it.  However, it has had some work done on it, just not all in the right direction.  I decided I didn't like the striping I was getting while alternating skeins, so I ripped it back and continued with just one.  Next I didn't like the way the yarnovers before the purl stitches were coming out much bigger than the ones on the other side, so I ripped it back and started again using a different technique.  I didn't have a lot of success with my first attempts at the new technique, so I ripped it back again.  Now I'm moving along and am happier with the way it looks, but I think it's actually smaller than it was in the last photo.

Continuing with the theme, I have a third Stephen West shawl on the needles.  This one is the Daybreak, which I've been intending to do for some time.  I'm using two colorways of Wollmeise sock and I really love the way it's looking.  There's a long way to go on this.

I decided to knit the Mystery Sock pattern in the Sock Knitter's Anonymous group on Ravelry.  This pattern is by Janel Laidman, is called Artichoke and has some knitted right into the cuff.  I'm enjoying this pattern; it used some beads at the beginning, which was different for me for a sock.  I'm using Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere which is a very yummy choice of yarn.

I wrote about the hat I made with dpns, but I haven't shown the matching booties.  They're cute but I'm not sure how practical they'll be.  I'm glad it's not my problem - the recipients can worry about keeping them on the baby's feet.  The pattern is called Saartje's Booties and I've seen many of them in photos over the years.

I've actually made a couple of other things but photos aren't on this computer.  I will immortalize them at a later date!

Wherever you are, I hope you are safe.  The weather events here in the US have been miserable and scary lately and I thank my lucky stars that all I have to complain about is a little rain.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Adventurous Knitter

These are double-pointed needles.  They are size US 2-1/2 (3 mm).

They are pretty small, pretty sharp, and pretty slippery.  I only have a couple of small sets of dpns, purchased a long time ago.  Back in the day when I learned to make socks, I first learned from a book and that book said you had to use dpns, so I bought some and used them.  I didn't like them very much.

Shortly thereafter I took a class on how to make socks with two circular needles and I liked that much better.  The needles didn't poke me, they didn't fall out, they weren't as awkward to hold, and I didn't get the little ladders between the needles.   Once I started with the circulars, I didn't look back and learned to easily convert any pattern written for dpns to circulars.  This included finishing hats and doing mittens.  I may have even said on occasion that I didn't use dpns and didn't know why anyone else would.  That's me; never judgmental or anything!

However, when I was finishing my Geodesic cardigan and doing the sleeves in the round, I didn't like how the two circulars I was using were pulling the laceweight yarn and I had some issues with the "seam" area between the needles. So when I went to finish the child's pullover sweater that I recently made, I decided to try dpns for the sleeves.  It was pretty easy because the needles were size 8 (5 mm) and were made from wood.  Short, not too slippery, and quite substantial.  It worked well.

I needed to make a quick baby hat to match the booties I made recently as a gift.  I was using a cotton/acrylic blend yarn because the baby will live in the desert, so the yarn is pretty smooth.  I had attempted a couple of hat patterns but wasn't getting the result I wanted, so I found another pattern and decided to use much smaller needles than I had been trying.  I also decided (gasp!) to try it with dpns, since I thought this yarn would pull too much if I tried to use my usual technique.  I looked in my needle boxes and came up with the aforementioned needles.  I cast on and made my way up the hat with good success.  The gauge was close and the size looked good.

The hat came out pretty cute.

So now what?  Do I add dpns in every size to my collection?  They were quite handy for this project, but it was small and quick.  I don't think I'll ever go back to them for socks, since I had a few issues with pulling them out of the stitches, dropping the loose needle onto the floor, and having a needle just fall out on its own once the decreases were close to being finished.  When you use two circulars, you pull the needle through on the long cable and let go after you finish each section.  When you do that with the dpns, the needle comes out of the stitches and goes flying.  Definitely not good for airplane knitting for me.

So, what did I learn?  I can use dpns if I have to.  They are useful in some instances.  I need to practice in order to keep them in my hand and off the floor.  Slippery needles and slippery yarns aren't a good match.

It's always good to learn something new.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Guess I Did Something Right

Thank you, Princess.  I will enjoy this delicious arrangement and appreciate it very much!