Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Yarn sales

Sometimes we struggle with ourselves. The little guy on one shoulder says "yarn sale, 50% off". The little guy on the other shoulder says "you have a LOT of yarn, what do you need more yarn for?"

Do you remember gas wars? Well, something similar is happening here with yarn. Today, in a couple of hours, a yarn sale starts at Shabby Sheep and it's 50% off all yarn. Later this week, at the Woolie Ewe it's 50% off everything. All week at Yarns Ewenique, it's 25% off everything. Last week, Jennings Street had 25% off everything. Then there is the big Webs sale.

Those little guys (the ones on my shoulder) are making lists. It is about 32 miles to Shabby Sheep and 50 miles to Plano. And there's not any other good reason, that I can think of, that I need to go to Dallas (or Plano). And gas is $3.00 per gallon. And I have lots of yarn. Lots and lots of yarn. And it will seriously cut into today's knitting time to go for a drive to Dallas. On the other hand, think about the yarn. We could do ooh, pretty, for 50% off. Rubbing elbows with lots of other knitters. Lots and lots of other knitters.

I think I will work on photographing my yarn and updating my ravelry stash.
And post a message on the Sisters of the Wool list, to see if anybody is going to Dallas. And I'll get dressed, in case anyone says yes.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

it fits

We did Christmas today with my family and I tried mom's sweater on her, complete with dangling needles and yarn ends and balls of yarn here and there.

And it fits! Well, what there is of it. It needs a few more rows on the front bands than I thought. And there is less of the sleeves left to knit than I thought. I'll need to do some figuring about the sleeve decreases but if I start now, they'll be pretty drastic. I may have to frog a few rows and start the decreases sooner... We'll see. I'm not up for the figuring this evening. Eight hours of driving (well, riding) takes it out of me.

On the way up there, I decided I needed to do some sock knitting. I was feeling uncertain about the sweater fit and there is sooo much of it now. There will not be seaming later, but the other side of that coin is that there is a lot of sweater and it's complicated to turn and knit back on a row.

Back to the sock, I decided I wanted to start knitting my latest handspun, the spunky eclectic grand opening color. I have spun enough, I think, for two sock feet and have the fiber batched up in queue to spin for the legs. It feels a little like cheating to start knitting before I'm done spinning. But, knit I did, and one foot is over half done. It's toe-up with a simple 3x1 rib on the upper foot area. It's doing a trekking style stripe. Pictures tomorrow if the weather cooperates.

A note about Christmas knitting... I decided to line the sari silk bag and take it as one of my gifts. We've been doing the dirty santa style exchange and last year there was a problem with clogs I intended for one nephew, who turned out to not be so interested in picking that gift... We this year, my niece brought her new bf (well, he's not new to her but it was his first time to meet the extended family.) Well, he opened the silk bag when some other gift was stolen from him... And no one stole it from him. He probably thinks we're weird. Or at least a gift exchange where a guy gets a knitted silk bag is weird. I'm hoping my niece likes the bag. Or she re-gifts it to someone who likes it... In any case, there will be no knitting for unknown recipients next year. Remind me next year, if my memory fades.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

mom's sweater

So now that Irish Moss is done, I'm concentrating on mom's sweater. Here she is as of earlier today:

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And it's going pretty well but there is a problem on the front, I was going to say front right or front left but it occurred to me that I dont know whether it's left or right, because it's garter and I don't even know which side is the right side...

Anyway, on the pic above, it's on the side where the front panel is wider. The last three inches have some odd loose gauge.

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They're almost ruffle-y. I have no explanation. I had no idea that I could knit with the same yarn and the same needles and get such a difference. When I noticed the looser rows, I let them rest and started working on the other side. I was kidding myself when I thought maybe the stitches would ease in? I'll be frogging a few inches.

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Irish Moss is done!!

As I guessed in the last post, I switched to a size 2 for the last 4 founds of the neckband knitting. And 16 rounds of neckband ribbing were plenty. To make sure, I knit in a circ for most of the stitches and dpns with only 10 or so stitches for the rest, and ask the maple man to try it on. I think he tired of the trying-on requests but indulged me.

Friday was our office Christmas party then we went to a graduation party for a good friend. There was minor imbibing so there was no serious knitting. On Saturday, December 15, I bound off the neck and woven in the last ends. And today, the maple man wore it to church.

Without further ado, I present Irish Moss:

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And up close:

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I wanted to take a picture on him but forgot to do it before he changed. A modeled picture will come later...

Just for the record,
Started August 4, finished December 15. That is 4 1/2 months... Not monogamous knitting but almost. And steady.
Yarn Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool Hazel colorway 13 skeins
(I bought 15, 2 were insurance in my mind, I guess I guessed well)
Needles: size 5 knitpicks options, plus size 3 for the ribbing and size 2 for the end of the neckband ribbing
Pattern: Alice Starmore's Irish Moss (Thanks to my local library for having Aran Knitting, and allowing my to check out and re-check...)
Modified to make the sweater longer and the sleeves longer and to add stitches, and cable chart repeats, based on my gauge. Actually, my first gauge swatch matched the pattern specs but felt "too airy". I feared it wouldn't be stable during wearing, and a bit too drapey for a manly cable sweater. As I knit them, the sweater front and back panels had 195 stitches in each row. I've thought about calculating total stitches but I don't think I want to know.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas knitting

It seems a while since I posted and posts may be spare over the next week or two. I'm trying to finish Irish Moss and I'm sooo close. Then I need to do some knitting on mom's sweater. To get it to a try-on point if I can't get it totally finished. Mom has already reminded me that her birthday is in February. So maybe she'll get most of a sweater for Christmas and the rest (a completed sweater) for her birthday.

I seamed Irish Moss like a mad-knitter last weekend. The life-line/chart markers really helped with the side seams and sleeve seams. The saddle seams were contrary as I was seaming an end of the shoulder to a side of the saddle. I ended up quartering each section and easing each to match. It was slow work but fitted together.

At knit night on Tuesday, I pulled out lots and lots of markers and life-lines. About a coffee cup full.

I picked up stitches for the neck band but had to make adjustments to compensate for the adjustments I had made in the overall stitch counts. I kept the integrated chart A cables in the ribbing. I tried to use a 32" circ (the same kp harmony size 3 I used for the front bottom ribbing) magic loop style, but it just wasn't long enough so I hunted up a set of dpns (wasn't in a mood to buy a different circ which has little chance for my future knitting). I am 12 rows in to a 20 row neck band but I am thinking 16 rows may be enough... We'll see when we get there. Also thinking about dropping down to a size 2 to pull in the ribbing more. We'll see what I think tomorrow.

In other news, knitpicks now has cat bordhi's new sock book for a nice discount. I ordered one for me and a few for my Sisters. On Saturday. And there was a box on my porch tonight. That is basically 4 days shipping during the holiday season. Good job Kelly and crew. Thanks. Except I lost an hour or two of knitting time tonight.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

destashing --- what is that?

An unusual phenomenon is happening here at chez maple. I mentioned last week [link] about listing some yarn for sale or trade on ravelry. It's going pretty well. About half of the yarns have "moved on". But this is not normal around here.

What usually happens is that yarn comes in, from one of my lys's or from the internet. [I puzzled over that phrasing but I guess that's how it seems, in my head.] Anyway, it usually hangs around on the dining room table for a time. Then it gets into a bag for knitting or goes into a bin, in the room I used to call the quilt room but there's been precious little quilting in the last coupla' years. And the stash is reduced only by yarn which becomes finished objects.

However, I've recently come to the opinion that there is some yarn that I have knit and don't want to knit again, or yarn that I bought and I just don't want to knit. And it was time to move it on. Hence the ravelry offerings.

The maple man is oblivious to most of the yarn. And to the knitting. Except for the knitting on his sweater which he considers honorable knitting of the highest order. But I digress.

I mentioned to him this afternoon about mailing out some yarn. He asked if I had plenty of packing tape. (I had him hunting for tape last week. We didn't find it. I bought more and now it will turn up...) I told him I was destashing some. He gave me a puzzled look. He said, "What do you mean? Hiding yarn at someone else's house?" I said, yeah, kind of...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

December 1 status

I did so want to have a finished Irish Moss to report for December 1. But if you've read my recent post I had to frog back the neckline shaping and knit another inch. But stay tuned for updates leading to a completion. Soon. Surely...

finished during November 2007
5 hats
no socks
The sock total for 2007 remains 14 pairs

For December knitting, I plan to complete Irish Moss.
I'd like to complete Mom's sweater so I don't have to gift her an incomplete sweater then take it back to knit...
Maybe more Christmas gift hats.
Then back to some moi knitting.

My spreadsheet of projects has been neglected recently. I'll try to get it updated for a complete report at the end of the year. I may use ravelry to track projects in '08. I do some ravelry but have to limit myself so it doesn't become a black hole for time when I could have been knitting or spinning. I'm patternwhisperer on ravelry if you want to be my friend.