Thursday, June 29, 2006

Almost There...

Long time no post! Sorry about that. And you don't even get pictures for your patience.

I have several exciting things to share but a few will wait until there are pictures.

The most exciting thing is that I've finished the back on my lux cotton tank. All that remains is four rows of the pattern repeat and the straps. I am going to need to double check the pattern to see how it calls for the straps to be finished - I'm suspecting a possible kitchener stitch, but I'm not sure.

Then comes blocking. This will be exciting. I bought blocking pins! For now, I'm just going to use the carpet, with a towel under the pieces. Bad me, but it will work.

Then comes seaming. I'm nervous about this part. Seaming and I don't like each other. I'd rather Kitchener stitch or do a sewn bind off than seam.

Projects in the wings, in no particular order:

-Devan in KnitPick's Simple Stripes in Autumn and Essential in Cocoa before the recipient outgrows it.

-Possibly some fruit/veg hats with leftovers in response to this request on Livejournal (which was in response to this post on a knitting blog).

-Finish the 2nd sock of a pair made from Knitpick's Sock Memories in some colour that no longer exists that is yellow, purple, blue.

-Finish a tank top I almost finished last year (it needs an edging of some sort along the bottom and possibly the neckline. I may bring this to my knitting group or LYS for advice). I should raid my book of knitting patterns for ideas.

-Knit some longies for a friend's baby, again while they still fit. This will take priority as it's being done as an exchange ;) We need to get together to discuss pattern and yarn.

Well, that sounds like enough for now, even though there are plenty of other things lingering in the background :)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Lux Cotton Tank

I went by my lys the other day (it's conveniently located next to my office) and they had a cute tank top on display. I went in to look at it and an employee came over to talk to me and see if I needed help. I said that I liked the tank but was worried about the fit; I had sort of thought that my next tank should have short-row shaping. She said she thought this one would be fine, and would I like to try it on? I did, and I liked it, so I got the pattern and some yarn. I am not normally a pink person but this just called my name. It's really pretty and it's actually two-toned although you only see that if you look closely.

The pattern is by an employee at the yarn shop and it's a pattern they put out, here's a photo of the picture page of the pattern so you can see what the tank looks like. I actually am not at all attracted to this tank based on this photo; but the store model looks good and I liked it when I tried it on.

I cast on on Monday and have spent a few hours working on it so far. I like it, but I'm not really liking my Denises with this yarn. The yarn is kind of splitty and doesn't have much give; I don't think the Denises are quite pointy enough for the K2togs and s1k1pssos. Also, because I'm using ... either the 5's or 6's, I forget which ... at any rate, the needles are almost the same size as the cord, so the work just doesn't slide along the needles. I'm constantly tugging and fighting with the yarn. I don't really want to shell out for more needles at the moment though so I'll just suck it up and deal. Plus I've come too far to want to start over with new needles and I *know* my gauge would change.

Here's a close-up of the patterned rib stitch:

I've since spent another 2 hours on it at my local knitting group, but Blogger ate my post earlier today when I took the photo. I'm working the front and back together at this point to ensure that 7.5" happens at the same point on the front and back and because I know I'd never finish otherwise! I am at the point now when I'm bored and ready to move on to the next step; unfortunately, I'm only 4 inches into a 7.5" section. BUMMER!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Katrina Rib: Finished!

Last night, I finally finished my Katrina Rib. I cast on for this on May 14th, and had a major exam on the 25th, so I am really pleased that I've finished so quickly. I am happy with how it's turned out; it still needs blocking but that has to wait until I get some heavy plastic to put under a towel. I've read about blocking using your carpet, but I worry about water soaking into the carpet pad so the woman at my LYS suggested I lay heavy plastic over the carpet and then a towel on top of that. I think I'll give it a shot!

Pattern: Cookie's Katrina Rib; size S/M

Yarn: Knitpick's Merino Style in Cinnamon; my yarn spreadsheet says I purchased 6 skeins but I remember thinking about adding one extra in case I decided to lengthen the sleeves; unfortunately, I can't recall, and I sent the packing slip back with a return. Either way, I did end up needing a small amount of the last skein for the sleeves. I love this colour, it's rich and warm and very lovely. The yarn is relatively soft but I do think I'll wear a light tank underneath.

Needles: unknown needle, unknown size. The woman at my LYS suggested that it's a Susan Bates Quicksilver circ, and it measures between a 5 and 6. It's a 29" needle so I used the magic loop method for the neck and arms, and was fine for the rest.

Modifications: I lengthened this by about 2". Really, I would have liked about another inch in length, but I also wanted to end on an evenly-spaced travel section (ie, 3x3 ribbing everywhere but the 2x2 portion in the center) and I was worried about the 2x2 rib travelling around my body. I also worked 5 rows at the sleeve instead of 2 prior to binding off.

Comments: I really enjoyed this pattern; it had just enough going on to keep it interesting and the 3x3 rib wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. Because it's worked from the top down, there is NO seaming and very minimal finishing - a perfect project for a beginner! My stitches are a LITTLE uneven around the increases but I am going to play with this a little bit when I block it and hope they even out a bit. My only complaint is that I didn't realise it would accentuate my chest quite so much...

Front view; the travelling rib section in the middle is 2x2 the rest is 3x3.

Back view; you can see the small gaps on my left shoulder where my increases were a little bit loose.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Katrina Rib: Nearly There

I am very close to being finished with the Katrina Rib but you don't get any pictures because I'm not that nice. I knit for longer than the pattern suggested because I wanted it to be nice and long, and finally reached a point where the travelling rib maintained the 3x3 pattern around the body (to get back to a 3x3 ribbing point again would require another 24 rows, which would be too long and use too much yarn!). I didn't want to transfer to a cable and back just to try it on, so I decided to chance it and just bind off. After investigating a few stretchy bind offs (because nothing is worse than a tight-waisted jumper) I settled on Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind off. This took about an hour. I was not amused. However, after trying on the jumper I do think that it was worth it. Unfortunately, I also think I would have preferred another inch or two in length - but I am NOT going to undo the bind off, and anyway, that would leave me at a not-3x3-around point in the travelling rib.

Upon doing more research I discovered that this bind-off isn't suggested for ribbing on things like jumper necks because you only stretch them to put them on and once they are on they relax again, and the sewn bind off does not allow the ribbing to pull back in. I'll have to keep this in mind and find a different stretchy bind off for necks and armbands if necessary although in this case it worked well.

I found this article about stretchy bind offs and enjoyed it, so I may use this as a jumping off point in the future.

Last night, I was only able to go to my local knitting group for about 45 minutes, but it was long enough to finish one of the cap sleeves. Unfortunately, I didn't pay enough attention and have forgotten how many rows I ended up knitting (more than the two the pattern recommended). Again, I used the sewn bind off for extra stretch.

I estimate I will be finished with this in approximately one hour of additional work but that wasn't enough to convince me to pick up the needles and get going tonight! Oh, well.

I have three other projects awaiting beginning (one for which I suspect I will need to purchase needles, one which needs some pattern writing, and another which I am not allowing myself to start until I finish the Katrina Rib) and three other projects on the needles (one which I think I have messed up enough to warrant ripping, and the other two are socks which always take me ages!). That's kind of overkill, if you ask me. Working right next to a nice yarn shop does not help, either.