ending with a beginning

I didn’t do a good job of knitting instead of mindlessly swiping today. I spent the morning helping in the sewing class at my sons’ elementary school for the LED cuff day. I was a “guest teacher”. Being in an elementary school classroom even just for a couple of hours reminded me of some of the benefits of older kids. For example, they don’t generally want to be in your personal space like a kindergartener does. It was fun to see the other parents but I am definitely looking forward and not back.

After the kids were in bed I decided to watch This Is Us and knit, finally. I ordered some yarn recently for the Little Hats, Big Hearts project. They are collecting baby sized red hats for American Heart Month. I picked the very apt Baby Hearts Hat¬†and, thanks to how tiny baby heads are, I’m already almost to the decreases.

baby heart hat

I got three balls of this yarn and it seems like I will get two out of each ball, so I guess I am knitting six hats!

So that is NaBloPoMo for this year. I missed a couple of days and posted very short entries on others. I enjoyed the exercise of trying to find something to say each day. I would like to say that I’ll be blogging more regularly after this, but I think we all know that is not true. See you next November, at least!

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hiking with my dog and poncho progress

I hiked this morning with my adorable dog and a friend. Said friend recently upgraded her iPhone. She didn’t even get the X and her phone is giving me serious camera envy. She took this amazing shot of my dog looking majestic. I am leaving this one giant, so you can fully appreciate his majesty.

majestic docker
Isn’t he amazing?

My friend also found a tick walking on him on the ride home and bravely held it in between her fingers until I could pull off the freeway and we could dispose of it. What a good friend.

In knitting news, I have made some progress on the bottom border of my poncho.

poncho border

I’m pleased with it so far and it has been fun to knit. Talk to me later when it’s feet of stockinette. At least that will be good TV knitting.

starting

Since I finished my Deceit Curl yesterday, I decided to start something new. The Curl still blocking, by the way, I will get you a picture tomorrow, I hope! The thing I started is a poncho named Claire. So far it doesn’t look like much.

Claire Beginning
Ravelry Project Page

The yarn is a Rowan cotton that was on sale this summer, so this is not a winter garment, I don’t think. I wasn’t sure at first about knitting this poncho but I asked on Facebook and everyone there said I should knit it. People on Facebook don’t lie, right?

You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned my Textiles class or doing any prepping. That is because last year was my younger son’s fifth grade year at our elementary school where I lead, co-lead, or just helped in that class. My older son started there in 2007, so I was in that class for 10 years. I think that is the longest I have ever done anything. It’s a bit weird to not be cutting out hats and pin cushion fabric this year. From afar, it seems like things are going well without me, so that’s good! I hope it continues on in my absence. Life goes on!

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.)