A bit of a spree

As those of you on Ravelry know, a number of designers chose/are choosing to donate some of their proceeds from pattern sales to various organizations offering aid to Haiti. Using their nifty "Help for Haiti" tag, you can browse the patterns, or filter the results to patterns that you've already favorited or queued.

The ease with which I was able to find patterns that I had already noted down meant that I dropped quite a bit of imaginary PayPal money on patterns. Including:

Snow White
Honeybee Cardigan
The Manzanita Collection
Northman Mittens
Triskele Mittens

And I don't think I'm done yet. A number of designers (including me) are extending the donating period well into February and even later. So get out there and start buying people!

The next question, of course, is what do I cast on first with my four sweaters worth of stash (at least). Any suggestions?

How did this happen?

I realized the other day that, according to Ravelry, I've only got two active knitting projects on the needles at the moment. It took me about four hours and much mental anguish to acknowledge that this is, in fact, true. There's the double knitting socks I'm working on for Devil, which are mere rows away from being separated so I can do the toes (I'm definitely not brave enough to try and do those both at the same time). The only other thing actively being worked on is the Sock Yarn Blanket (the crowd goes wild).

To say that it's been a while since this baby got any play is a major understatement. The last blog post about it was here, but no pictures have been posted since almost a year ago. A few nights ago, as I waited for the most recent sampling to dry, I picked it up and got back to work.

A bit of garter stitch was just what I needed after all the math involved in spinning to match a commercial yarn*. The only strenuous bit has been trying to pick out colors, and I'm getting to the point where I'm just going to grab things at random and throw them in. Anything to get this puppy done by the end of February.

The status of the SYB has now gone from this

sock yarn blanket layout 2-4

to this.

SYB 19-1-10.001

There's a chance I might be done by 28 February, but I still haven't figured out how I'm going to fill in those funky little triangles around the edge. Or what to use for the edging. Or the backing, because Boo will be forty two before I finish weaving in all those ends. But the light at the end of the tunnel, if not getting closer, is at least visible from here. And that's progress.

Now I just have to gear up to finish up my Hurricane Vest before spring hits and I'll really feel virtuous.

* If I had had even an inkling of the number of times I would need a calculator for this project, I never would have started spinning, much less spinning for this damn sweater. Never.

Slogging along

I started some socks for a friend's Christmas present a few weeks ago, and they've been a tough row to hoe in several different ways.

The pattern is lovely, with lots of twisted stitches,

Viper Pilots

and the yarn is also lovely (and sparkly!), if a bit splitty at times.

Viper Pilots

But the absolute killer was the heel flap, with multiple rows of k1, ptbl...

F(&*@#^$ ptbl!

Oh my aching wrist! I have a bone deposit on the back of my right hand that, 99% of the time, I don't even notice. (The 1% of the time I notice it is when I hit it against something and jump around turning the air blue for a few minutes because O The Pain.) However, every so often it becomes an issue. Like, oh lets say hypothetically speaking: when I get all fired up to finish a heel flap and end up totally wracking my hands doing ptbl on size 1 needles. Ooof.

Since my reckless foray into heel flapitude this weekend, my right hand/wrist have been less then happy with me, to the extent that large doses of NSAIDS seem to be in order. So in order to give it a bit of a break*, last night I cast on for the first of three parts of a present for Boo.

Nemo mittens for Boo

To say that my younger child has something of an obsession with animals would be a laughable understatement. Nemo is one of her all time faves. So I was hunting around Ravelry, and came across a free (hooray!) pattern for Nemo mittens. Originally using sport weight yarn, and sized for 4-6 years old, I'm using some left over Knit Picks Essential that I dyed (another post there), and size 1 needles. I think they'll fit. And they're using so little yarn, that I think I'll be able to bust her out a Nemo hat as well. Yee haw!

*To any normal person, a break would mean "Stop knitting you idiot!" However, the holidays are right around the corner and I Have Gifts To Make.

It must be autumn

Because people are wearing sweaters now, and it's not doing good things for my startitis.

Devil and I went to the story hour at our local library today, and I don't remember what we heard because I was so taken with two sweaters there. The first was a heathery pink number on an adorable little girl who was probably 20 months old. It was a standard yoked cardigan, with one button at the very top, seed stitch hems/neck/front bands, and a bunch of eyelet rows in the yoke to give it a bit of interest. I scrounged in my bag for a pen and a receipt and made a quick sketch, probably scaring the crap out of my neighboring caretaker. Turns out that this looks like the exact pattern*, so I won't have to reinvent the wheel. Score!

The other sweater was a grown up one - another cardigan with seed stitch accents, but this one had two buttons, patch pockets on the front, a shirt collar and was knit up in a drapey chocolate brown yarn that looked incredible. I immediately thought of this yarn,

48% silk/52% wool

which my mother found somewhere in Maine and sent me several years ago. I've got a whole bunch of it, so when I start swatching this evening, I might whip up some of that and see how it goes. It feels pretty crunchy in the skein, but I'll do up a couple of swatches and abuse them in inventive ways.

Maybe when I go back to work I'll stop with the crazy designing inspiration. I can only hope, because otherwise it's going to put a huge dent on my ability to concentrate on other things!

* I don't think I've mentioned recently that Ravelry kicks arse. Took a millisecond to find this pattern.

FF: Inspiration

The May-June project for the Ply by Night Ravelry group was to spin something from stash and knit either the Lace Ribbon scarf or the Rivulet scarf. What with moving and parenting and all, I wasn't feeling terribly inspired to do either of these projects.

However, a couple weeks ago I remembered a phenomenal project from the first round of Ply by Night, where the spinner separated out the component colors from the top, spun them in order and created an ombre yarn that went from yellow to orange to purple. It was stunning. And I thought that I might try something similar with a recent Fiber Club shipement.


"Air", Hello Yarn Fiber Club April 2009, 50/50 superfine merino and tencel

I split the fiber into four main colors: dark purple/wine, grey, green, and a bunch of sections that went from dark blue to teal. I started with the purple sections, split each one in half and spun each half on to separate bobbins. I switched from bobbin to bobbin with each color to try and keep the singles the same thickness/twist.

Spun Air

I've been catching up on episodes of Yarnspinners Tales and was entertained to find that one of the recent ones was about spinning bamboo and tencel. I experienced many of the things they talked about - tencel wants to be spun fine, and it tends to clump on itself, requiring that you stop, untwist and declump before going on. It also needs quite a bit of twist, but I think that since I've been spinning merino in one form or another for the last two months, that didn't stand out as much for me as it might have otherwise.

Spun Air

Spun Air

The yarn ended up absolutely gorgeous - soft, shiny, drapey. The colors worked out really well - purple to dark blue to turquoise to teal to grey to green. I spun the singles at 15:1 and plied at 12:1. 4.1 oz/117 gr, 28-18 wpi (mostly 20-22 wpi). Finished with a cool soak, thwack against the side of the house and spinning overhead in the back garden before hanging to dry.

Spun Air

I ended up with 406 yds, so plenty for Rivulet. The pattern calls for sport weight, so I'll go down a couple of needle sizes and see how it looks. I'm planning to start at the purple end and see how far I get through the color progression before I get tired of the pattern.