26 July 2006

time for something new

I guess there comes a time in every knitter's life when they simply must make an item that they have not yet found a pattern for. That time in my life came a number of months ago, but with it being summer, I just haven't felt the same desire to knit. Even the shawl hasn't been touched in a few weeks now. But clearly knitting hasn't been entirely off my mind.

So, I have a plan for a hat, and I hope the recipient will like it. I can think of maybe two or three people who would wear this hat (well, I'd wear it, but I don't feel I've earned the right). It will also be my first project involving fair isle, unless I decide I'd rather double knit it---which, is all honesty, makes for one comfortable and warm hat. It would be cool to learn a new technique, though. We shall see.

So, over the next few weeks I will scour ine internet for some charts. I think that the hat itself will be easy to design---I'll just need to swatch, factor in the number of stitches for each repeat of the design, and figure out how many repeats make sense to go around one head. I'm figuring that worsted weight size US8 needles will do just fine---and maybe I'll try the magic loop method this time around for something new.

The only thing I need to figure out aesthetically is the decrease section. I've done a stockinette hat with a spiral-like decrease, and a ribbed hat where the decreases were much less visible as a design element. I think that for this one I would like the decreases to be similarly invisible, but I'm not sure exactly how to pull that off in stockinette without randomly scattering them. The last concern, if I double knit the project, is how to deal with the gauge difference I had on the inside and outside last time. Aside from trying very hard to purl tighter and knit looser (which I fear might just end up making things messier and less predictable), does anyone have any ideas?

I might make this project my excuse to finally order yarn from KnitPicks, and to try out a set of their needles. I don't need needles, of course, but I've heard that they compare fairly well to Addi Turbos (only slightly pointier, which I won't complain about), and as much as I love bamboo, in particular for DPNs, the feel of metal needles has been growning on me a lot lately. Besides, if I'm ever going to get started on my first pair of socks, I'm going to need some new equipment. Ah, rationalization!

I guess that means I'm going to need to start browsing for sock yarns and patterns, too. Any suggestions here for my first time out are also more than welcome.

In any case, since I all know we love to see pictures, I present to you all one of my greatest loves, Ginger.

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23 July 2006

she strikes again

I have to say, I find living with a bunny a great deal more frustrating than I anticipated at the start. I've learned to live with the occasional peeing on things, since I haven't gotten her spayed yet, and she's pretty much stopped doing it on any sort of hard surface. So, that time she hopped up onto my bed aside, things have been going fairly well.

There is one thing, however. Emma likes to chew. She chews on the bars of her cage (this has lessened exponentially over the past few months), chews on carrots, on plastic, on newspapers and boxes and especially, oh, anything soft and made of yarn.

That, my (not-so?) loyal readers, is the result of Emma getting impatient with the speed with which I was getting ready one morning a week or two ago. Since she couldn't chew through the container which holds her food, she decided to nibble on a scarf. This is a scarf I finished ages ago and never posted about, because frankly it looks a lot better modeled than on a bed, and I have no pictures of me wearing it. Luckily, I have plenty more of that ribbon yarn left to fix it, since I couldn't figure out what else to do with the leftovers.

I recognize that this even , like all other things, is my fault. I should not have kept it in such easy reach (as you can see in that image, although the scarf has been removed---it was sitting in the upper right cube). At least it's an easy fix. Finding a new place for my knitting, and something else to put in it's place . . . that will prove a greater challenge.

(Who, me? Why would I do such a thing?)

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18 July 2006

the tale of the pseudo-dishcloth

My mom came to town last month for a weekend visit. Like all good daughters, I love my mother dearly. I recognize that I have depended on her for many things throughout my life, and that I continue to. Still, I find that I am much more hesitant to accept these things if I have to spend more than 20 minutes in her presence. I know that sounds terrible, but it's true. I've never felt all that close to my family, so visits really put me on edge.

Cozy (the stole, not the iPod case) has been eating away at my soul for some time now. Maybe it's because the yarn isn't exactly the color I'd envisioned when I bought it---I wanted more of a cream than a tan. Maybe it's because it's a solid color and I'm tired of dully working on repeat after repeat. Maybe it's because I had sturggled for several weeks to get through a repeat without some irritating little mistake nagging at me until I ripped back to fix it. Either way, between Cozy taking forever and my mom coming to visit, I needed something new, fast.

A dishcloth! Of course. I found the basic pattern online somewhere (where it was now escapes me, but I'll keep looking) and modified it slightly for my purposes. The biggest change was probably changing the garter stitch to seed stitch. But I also thought it was weird how the pattern called for a buffer, if you will, after each of the fern-like lace bits. What I mean by that is that there would have been a buffer on the far left of the cloth, right next to the overall border, and no corresponding buffer on the right. I ditched the third buffer, and knit away.

That's the unblocked dishcloth, showing off my favorite pattern of colors. Had there not been a random break and knot in the middle of the ball, it probably would have continued to pool this way. It's so frustrating when something like that happens, but I wanted to only finish up this ball (some color or another of Lily's Sugar n' Cream), which I had already broken into slightly when I was knitting Clapotis.

And so the dishcloth sits in blocked form. Clearly, the pooling got very obvious and awful, but I'm willing to live with that. Mostly I just love that even without pinning while it dried, it still opened up quite a bit.

I should note, however, that my mission to use only this one ball failed. I ran out of yarn 2/3 through the bind off row, and had to break into another ball. That, folks, is what we in the business like to call real-life tragedy.

This image should make apparent why I have been tentatively calling this the pseudo-dishcloth. Just in case anyone hasn't quite figured this out yet, it's pretty much perfectly-sized for a washcloth. I realized this as I was knitting, of course, but I would have had to unravel the whole thing and add an extra fern repeat to make it wide enough for what I wanted. Of course, I do have one last almost completely full ball of the stuff---hopefully that will be enough to make a bit of fabric large enough to sit in my fruit bowl. In any case, for the moment the pseudo dishcloth is sitting on my kitchen table under the vase that never gets used. I refuse to use it to wash my face. C'est la vie?

[Edit] Finally! The pattern is called the Baby Ferm Stitch Dishcloth, and can be found here.