one step forward, two steps back

I have been working on the knitted skirt since I fell in love with the pattern in November but I have hit a bit of a snag.

done but ready to be undone

I used a yarn with a different gauge and I made adjustments for width but I didn’t make any changes to the cable pattern and I think it’s too short. I was thinking of just adding extra ribbing at the bottom but Cookie pointed out that one of the nice things about the skirt is how much of it is cabled.

Instead of making a compromised fix on the length only, I’m going to pull it back to the beginning of the cables and switch to a bigger needle and also to add an extra plain row between the cables (also Cookie’s suggestion). I was regretting having to take all of my knitting out but then I remembered the advice that I always give to new knitters: if you want to be happy with your finished product you have to sometimes be willing to redo the whole thing sometimes.

Sad, but true.

NaBloPoMo Day 8: the wonder of yarn construction

I was hoping to have a progress picture for you of my sweater sleeve. I sort of do. I mean, I have a picture but you can’t really see the progress. Sweater sleeves that don’t have a cable or something are pretty boring to watch being knit. I sometimes wonder if knitting progress pictures are like watching paint dry. I kind of hope not.

With that wonderful intro, here’s my progress.

Kiama sleeve continued

I’m kind of mesmerized by this yarn. The more I look at it the more I wonder why I thought i could produce the same garment with this pattern with another yarn. The yarn is Berroco Origami. Since I decided that I love it, it has, of course, been discontinued. Such is my lot. In any case, it’s about 10 plies or variously colored and textured yarns held together by a single strand of something (I’d guess it’s either cotton or nylon). The result is intriguing to me.

origami yarn

The frustrating thing is that I can’t think of another yarn constructed this same way. A friend was looking for something similar for a project she wanted to knit (as I mentioned a few days ago) and I was knitting something with ArtFibers Brogue, which is another yarn with an intriguing construction. That one is a core of fluffy, unplied microfiber encased in a knitted tube of cotton. The cowl I knit out of it is squishy and warm and the yarn holds lovely stitch definition but is also quite stretchy. I would love to knit a sweater jacket out of that too but that would break the bank. Bank breaking aside, I was wrong about the constructions being similar. They are only similar in that they intrigue me.

I consider intriguing yarn construction to be both one of the blessings and curses of knitting without wool. Wool yarn tends to be straightforward. It’s sometimes spun with unusual fibers but as far as I know most of it is plied to varying degrees. With the nonwool yarns you get a wide variety of construction methods. Many of which are discussed in Amy Singer’s wonderful No Sheep for You. She includes much discussion of her favorite nonwool yarn: calmer. Which has, of course, been discontinued.

Those yarn manufacturers sure know how to keep us on our toes!

NaBloPoMo Day 3: current WIP

My current work in progress has been a long time in the making. I saw the pattern (Kiama, from a Berocco booklet) at Stitches West 2011 and bought a different yarn for it. You would think I’d have learned my lesson when I knit Pucker in a cotton yarn of approximately the same gauge and hated it. Alas, no. At least I didn’t get very far in before realizing that I hated this too. At which point, I knit the yarn into a scarf that I ended up giving to Kristi and, later, the rest of that yarn too. I want to like orange but I can’t wear it. It just doesn’t work on me. Luckily, last summer I found the yarn Kiama was designed for, Origami, on clearance in Philly, while visiting my brother and his family. It’s really only sort of lucky since it was on clearance because it was being discontinued. At least I have the yarn! Finally, a few weeks ago a friend of mine asked about a substitution for Origami since she had a pattern that called for it and it is, as I mentioned, discontinued. I thought the yarn I used for a recent cowl was similar so I pulled out the Origami to compare and realized that, hey, I want to wear that sweater I was going to knit so when I finished the cowl, I cast it on.

Kiama sleeve

In my normal fashion, I am not knitting it as written. I looked at the sleeve dimensions and realized that I’d prefer a slightly larger sleeve so I cast on more stitches for that and now I’m thinking I’d prefer a longer sleeve too so I am considering knitting longer as well. I think it should be fine, I have approximately two extra hanks of the yarn. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

the problem with non-wool

First order of business, I finished something!

finished honey cowl

It’s lovely and I really enjoyed knitting it. I expect to make another one some day.

I also cast on for a Clapo-Ktus. It’s a combination of the Clapotis (of which I have knit 5 or so) and Baktus, which I have not knit but I know lots of people have. I kind of love that someone combined those two patterns and gave it that name. Knitters rock.

The yarn is Handmaiden Sea Silk, which I think is just beautiful. I have a month to finish it. Woot, deadline knitting.

Clapo-ktus

Okay, but really what I came here to post about is fingering weight yarn. There has been a trend in recent years towards using sock yarn for nonsock projects. First there were shawls and now there are sweaters. I am 100% behind the trend towards smaller gauge sweaters but it leaves me with a dilemma. I really want to knit one, in particular: Afterlight. The dilemma comes from the lack of yarns at that weight without wool that won’t break the bank. You can find lots of really lovely fingering weight silk yarns if you don’t mind paying $300 for a sweater. I do mind that though.

If anyone out there in knitting land knows about a good fingering weight nonwool yarn that I could use for sweaters, please tell me!

NaBloPoMo Day 25: stripe-tacular

I wish I could show you a better modeled shot of the hat I finished it but I washed it last night and it is still not dry. It’s gotten cool here which means that it’s damp and, apparently, nothing dries. Even though it’s wet, I can show you the jogless color changes.

my jogless jog

I tried a new method for them this time. I usually knit around one row in the new color and then knit into the stitch below for the first stitch of the second round. That method requires that you have two rows of each color, though, and this hat has some single row stripes. I did a search, though, and found this method on TECHknitting. Instead of knitting into the stitch below you slip the first stitch on the row after you change color, even if that next row is another color. The slipped stitch then moves from being the first stitch of the round to the last, so you remove your marker, slip the stitch, and then replace the marker. It’s not totally invisible but it’s pretty good.

Speaking of stripes, I have a new stripey project.

not so baby yoda stripes

It’s the Not So Baby Yoda Sweater. I love baby sweaters because they are so fast! I started this last night and that picture shows a sleeve and a third, or so. I am hoping to finish the second sleeve tonight so I can start on the fronts. No fancy techniques for this sweater, just adorable baby-sized stripey goodness.

NaBloPoMo Day 21: good news, bad news

Good news: The kids were off today so I got to sleep in a bit.

Bad news: The husband wasn’t so I didn’t get to go for my morning walk.

Good news: I managed to sort through the between sizes clothes and move out some outgrown things from the kids’ drawers.

Bad news: We left the house later than planned and it took two hours to drive what usually takes an hour.

Good news: I started, and made progress on, a hat!

stripes take 2

Bad news: I just discovered that my gauge is off again so I need to rip back and start over again.

Good news: It’s bedtime so I can just go to bed and think about that tomorrow! (After all the cooking, baking and eating, of course.)

NaBloPoMo Day 19: 3 of my favorite things

I had to take one of our sleeping bags to the laundromat today. There’s one at the end of my block but the last time I used it I ended up with the washer that didn’t work and it took 90 minutes for the sleeping bag to be finished. Instead, I like to go to the one near my favorite coffee shop: Philz.

Philz, knitting, sun

I brought my knitting, of course. I realized while I was sitting there that I hadn’t checked my gauge and my hat might be a touch small. Okay, it might be to small for any adult head. I’m too close to being done to rip it out and start over, though. I will have to find a kid to give it to, I suppose. That’s fine but now I still only have one chemo cap ready for donation! Sigh. I have some heavier weight yarn I wanted to make a cap from, so I think that one is next up.

Someone asked me on Google+ if starting a hat meant I had finished to sweater. Of course not! I am fickle, like most knitters. The sweater is taking a break (not unlike the sweater I was working on before I started that sweater). Actually, let’s not talk about just how many sweaters there are on break right now. Deal?

NaBloPoMo Day 17: rainy saturday

The whole family got up this morning and went out Scouting for Food. That is, we helped collect food for the Boy Scouts annual food drive. It was drizzly and overcast and the kids were droopy by the end but I think we did well. I managed to trip over nothing and fall down a step on someone’s front stoop. My knees and my dignity are banged up but I was relieved that I didn’t rip my jeans.

We came back home and I boiled maple syrup.

hot maple syrup

Which became maple ice cream with salty buttered walnuts (From Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams).

deliciousness

I didn’t managed to get a photo of the finished ice cream. You’ll just have to believe me that it was worth boiling a cup and a half of maple syrup down to three-quarters of a cup. I will definitely be making that recipe again. (Although, perhaps with slightly less salt on the walnuts.)

We had a delicious dinner with some friends and came home to the tragedy of there not being time for reading before bedtime. Life is rough when you are six.

I convinced both kids to sleep and knit on my hat a bit. I am done with the ribbing and on to the stockinette portion.

on to the body of the hat

I had to look up again how to do jogless stripes. I am sure I’ve done them many times and yet I still had to look it up. I will blame it on being tired.

NaBloPoMo Day 16: another day like the rest

It might be time for me to admit that my whole life is one of those days that gets away from me. Not much happened but I feel like I didn’t get much done. Of course, my kids did get out of school early today since it’s the end of the first trimester. That is three fewer hours that I get alone.

After school there was a holiday boutique. One of the teachers organized a table to sell stuff to raise money for the Donors Choose Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund and I have been helping her with the organization a little. Niels and I made some origami for her to sell. He made a few Origami Yodas and apparently those went first. Those kids sure do love the origami yoda. Yoda in any form really. Who can blame them? Yoda does kick ass.

I did get some knitting done! I cast on for my next chemo cap. I’m using a pattern called “Bella’s Eclipse Hat”. It’s based on a hat that I assume Kristen Stewart wore in Twlight: Eclipse. I am not a Twlight fan but this is a cute hat!

hat beginnings

It will be dark red and brown striped and hopefully beautifully soft and welcome for a client of Breast Cancer Connections.