21 January 2007

New England necessity

Lately I can't seem to keep my mind on a project for long, which might just be a sign that I'm sick of knitting socks. It's not that I don't love knitting socks—because I do. They're the perfect portable project, and I love the magic of the short-row heel. But clearly, I need to clear my head. I've knit the first few rows of a garter stitch dishcloth, trying to teach myself Continental. It's odd, and very slow-going at the moment, but if I ever hope to do any colorwork, I'm going to have to get used to it. I figure a dishcloth or three should do nicely to get my fingers adjusted.

Then it occurred to me yesterday—it's winter. Those of you in New England might not have believed me, a week ago; but winter it is. Winter in New England, and I can't seem to find a pair of gloves anywhere in my apartment. And, as I am currently poor and unemployed, I figure I'd just have to make do without them. No longer; I actually have enough yarn lying around to knit a pair! Fantastic. I'm going the combined fingerless glove/mitten route, and am just a thumb and some finishing shy of completing the fingerless glove portion of the first of the pair. I figure I'll knit both gloves first, and add the mitten flaps later—at least that way, I'll have a working pair of gloves within the next few days. (Pictures will emerge soon; I promise.)

Clearly, these gloves were exactly the project I needed to clear my head. Also, glove contruction is a lot easier than I'd expected—perhaps I'll be able to manage the Mermaid Gloves on my own, after all. That is, once I can afford the yarn.



15 January 2007

A Gathering of Lace

It was the title that drew me to this book originally, I think—well, the title, and seeing a version of Meg Swansen's Spiral Shawl, and desperately wanting one for myself. It may be a while yet before I tackle that project, but A Gathering of Lace has certainly not disappointed. It is a lovely volume, filled with all sorts of lace projects. Let me assure you, my purpose in posting this is to get every knitter even remotely interested in lace knitting to buy this book—it is a wealth of wonderful patterns.

First, a sampling of shawls. Ms. Swansen has collected shawls of all different sizes and styles—I present here two of my favorites. Both are circular and fairly traditional, and absolutely gorgeous.

The perfectly simple (and simply perfect) spiral shawl, not entirely done justice in this photo:

There are a fair number of unexpected patterns, as well—for instance, this gorgeous, must-have hat, with which I have fallen endlessly in love (sadly, one cannot wear such things in the middle of Boston without looking painfully lost).

Need a portable project for your daily commute? This book has you covered, as well. There are gloves, socks, a beret, and even pillows to knit.

And lest we not forget, there are always sweaters, like this lovely number.

Each project comes complete with charts and multiple photographs, and the book offers basic references for your lace-knitting needs, as well. The projects vary widely in skill-level, which makes A Gathering of Lace a great choice for knitters of all levels. Frankly, I could spend hours just looking at this book, never mind knitting. I hope these few photographs have been enough to pique the curiosity of any knitter who stumbles across them—this book is a worthwhile investment indeed.



07 January 2007

Oh, to be rich

Sea Silk [more eyecandy; review] is one of those yarns that I have been drooling over endlessly ever since I first laid eyes on it. Oh, one of these days... a hank or three is going to be mine. [Insert evil laugh here.]

Speaking of needing money, I have decided to sell my gently used Boye NeedleMaster set (when I post my Christmas takings, you'll see why). Nothing is missing from this set.

Some of the color has rubbed off the US8 pair, because of how much I've used them, but the issue is entirely cosmetic.

I also have some vintage yarns that I aquired a while ago, which I have decided I shall likely never use.

The red, Reynolds Nuance, seems to be a faux-mohair yarn; 50% acrylic, 50% nylon; 50 grams / 70 yards. Gauge: on size 10 needles, 4 sts = 1", 9 rows = 2"; on size 11 needles, 3 sts = 1", 4 rows = 1".

The grey, Reynolds Kitten, is rather soft, and has a touch of that mohair look, though not nearly as much as the Nuance; 84% acrylic, 16% wool; 50 grams / 145-160 yards. Gauge: on size 6 needles, 5 sts = 1", 7 rows = 1"; on size 8 needles, 4sts = 1", 6 rows = 1". I believe the two skeins without labels are full, or very close; they appear to have been rewound tighter at some point.

Finally, I have a good-as-new copy of the Interweave Knitter's Companion that I never use. It's a good reference, but perhaps a little better for beginners. I find myself using it so rarely that it's not worth the space it's taking up on my bookshelf. (I am a former English major, after all—space is limited.)

If there is any interest, send me an offer before I wander off to DeStash, Ebay, or some other such place.



06 January 2007

Hey, I have a knitting blog! Wow!

Shocking, isn't it? I hadn't actually forgotten, of course—it's just that there has been so little to say. Despite the tons of free time I've had as of late, thanks to being (regerettably, painfull) unemployed, I have done very little knitting since arriving back in New England. Reading and the job search have been taking up most of my time—and without the daily commute or lunch hour, knitting often takes a back seat to my other interests.

I was well on my way to finishing hedera back in New York, when I realized that the first sock, even after one size adjustment, really was still short in the foot. Knowing myself, and how picky I am, I decided that I will go back and fix it, after finishing the second. Only, I couldn't finish the second, because I managed to forget my darning needles at home. Oops?

It's entirely the fault of my impatience, really. I should have looked at them, my gigantic troll feet, and back to the socks again, and realized that there was no way in the nine hells that they were going to fit perfectly.

I pulled hedera off the needles (I'll get back to it one day, when I'm not so sick of looking at it), and started a simple sock based on the smallest size of the Tech Guy Socks—3x1 rib, with the same number of stitches cast on, although it will possibly have a short-row toe, if I'm feeling brave and can find a decent guide. I am nearing the heel on sock one, so at least I've done something. In theory.

As for the aforementioned Mac Socks (part of the Tech Guy Socks pattern), they will have to wait until I can afford to purchase the appropriate yarn. Alas.