Monday, January 30, 2006

Sweaters Progressing

Both of my sweaters are progressing slowly. Granted they would be progressing faster if I was only working on one sweater. I used to have the rule that I would only work on one knitting project and one crocheting project at a time. Then it became one sweater, one pair of socks, one pair of gloves, and one shawl at a time. Now it has turned into one colorwork sweater and one aran sweater at a time. I might as well give up and limit my projects to the number of needles I have.

Anyhow, my Leaves In Relief sweater is up to the beginning of the branches and the waist shaping is starting to increase. This sweater is a lot of fun and I have been surprised about how easy and quick it is.

As for my Donegal sweater, I am still working on the first chart. I have been learning a lot with weaving in floats and ends. The sweater is also 336 stitches around, I believe, so it does take awhile to knit. I am having so much fun that I am already pondering what Fair Isle I would like to do next. I think that is premature as I will probably will not make it there until next winter.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Donegal Ribbing

I have finished the ribbing on my Donegal sweater and I am learning so much. I am using the two-handed method which I have never used before. I feel so cool alternating picking and throwing. I have also learned to weave in my floats and ends. I'm still a little nervous about my color choices but I will give it a go and hope for the best. I am having a lot of fun with this sweater so far.

I have knit other Fair Isle patterns but I just picked up and dropped the yarn. Also the only all-over Fair Isle I knit was, oddly enough, not knit in the round. When you learn better, you do better.

I have also been reading some library books. I have finished At Knits End. I laughed so much. There were many situations which hit close to home. For example, the part about not renting subtitled movies so that you can look at your knitting. I have been guilty of that since the birth of the VCR. Stephanie says that it is good to know that you are not alone in your knitting mania and I would have to agree. I also checked out Fabulous Fair Isle. I guess it is a good reference for basic Fair Isle patterns. I love looking at the museum photos and pieces.

My husband and I have an argument every evening about who should sit on our couch. We have a couch and love seat in our living room. I want to sit on the bottom end of the couch because it is the only seat with good lighting. I would put another light elsewhere in the room but our children would pull it over on themselves. My husband wants to lay on the couch and refuses to just put his feet on my lap so that I can sit under the light and knit. In the middle of this daily argument, my husband actually said that I should take a night off from knitting once in awhile. He might as well suggested that I close my eyes all day. Can you believe that?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Leaves In Relief Roots

I have finished the roots on my Leaves In Relief sweater. This sweater uses a crochet cast-on to make a hemmed edge. I'm not sure if I would have selected this but I figured that I would give it a try and see how I like it. On a positive note, I actually made the crochet cast-on correctly. The last time I tried it I picked up the stitches through the front of the chain stitch instead of the bump in the back. This results in you having to painstakingly pick the chain out bit by bit which really defeats the entire purpose of the crochet cast-on.

Anyhow, here are the roots. The trees are starting to take shape. There are a couple of amazing things about this sweater. One is that you don't use a cable needle for any of the sweater. The other amazing thing is that you do the sleeves first so I don't have all that much more to knit. After the Peacock Feathers Shawl this seems to be zipping right along.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Tired of Donegal Swatches

Okay, I did a third Donegal swatch. I am now official tired of swatching for this sweater. I figure that if I have to knit any more swatches I might as well sew them together for a sweater. So this is what I am concluding.

Swatch 1: I was happy with the pattern colors but felt the background colors were a bit overwhelming.

Swatch 2: I added 2 shades of brown (wood and bark) and didn't use green in the background. If you notice, I am adding 2 colors but taking away only 1. This brings me to 6 background colors which is what the pattern originally called for. I liked this better although I thought that maybe the background could use a bit more color.

Swatch 3: I replaced wood with green. After looking at this I decided that I felt the wood colorway added more than the green did.

Conclusion: I am going with the colors in swatch 2. Finally back to knitting. With the swatches I felt like all I was doing was cutting and knotting yarn.

Other items in the news . . . It seems like the Knitting Olympics have really taken off. I have been contemplating my current projects and what I could actually knit in 16 days. I have a lot of big knitting plans and am still trying to determine if I can sacrifice 16 days. (No, I don't have a birthday to knit for or anything but the seasons they are achanging.)

We also got a cat this week from the shelter. My daughter has named her Ariel (after the Little Mermaid, of course.) We are enjoying having a cat again. Our last cat was lost in August. Now I am working on teaching Ariel to stay out of my yarn. Quite honestly, she is better about it than my children.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Donegal Swatch Revisited

I have finally received some more Knitpicks Palette and have tried another swatch for my Donegal sweater. The first swatch (still pinned out) is my new swatch. I have added some browns to it and removed the green. I actually knit up the bottom of the swatch and then realized it needed more color so I added a band of red to the top of the swatch and used fewer rows of the other background colors.

The second swatch (without the pins) was my original swatch. The background colors seemed a bit bright for an entire sweater.

I would love any votes for either swatch. I would also welcome any suggestions. When I originally posted the first swatch I got no feedback which was bad for me because I am just jumping in the water here and hoping that I figure out how to swim.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Leaves In Relief - Sleeves finished!

I finally completed all of my short-term goals so now I can go on to other plans. These are my Leaves In Relief sleeves. Now I can start the fun tree on the body. The sleeves were fun but the second one started to get a little boring. You can see my son's hand in the corner. Always ready to help. Can you believe he is one already?

I also finished my gloves but I am going to hold off on the picture until I finish writing up the pattern.

Next I will be doing more swatching for the Donegal sweater. Stephanie, aka Yarn Harlot, has announced the knitting Olympics on her blog also so I will have to come up with something for that. Should be fun!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Blue Striped Socks Finished!

I finally finished my blue striped socks made from Regia Cotton. I am one step closer to my sock utopia in which I will only own hand knit socks. It may be awhile because my progress is less than impressive. I now own four pairs of handknit socks. My first pair is made from Magic Stripes yarn. It is a primarily superwash wool and very scratchy. I end up taking them off halfway through the day. One pair is made of Sock It To Me! Esprit which is cotton and elastic. They already have a hole in them and I'm not very inspired to fix them. The last pair is Sockotta which is a cotton wool blend like these. I wear them often.

This FO is part of my effort to finish some of UFO's before moving on. I still have to finish a second glove and the sleeves of my sweater and then I will feel less scattered.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Stash decluttering and Scarf

Since a new year has started it seemed like a good time to take stock of my stash (never mind that I still don't have all of the boxes unpacked from when we moved in October). This is our walk-in closet with some of my stash filling it up. I then took all of the yarn out and organized it by weight and fiber type. Now I know where all my sock yarn is, all my cotton yarn is, etc. What a nice feeling. I also sorted out a box of yarn to donate to my LYS. A lady there brings the yarn to a local shelter and teaches women to knit with it. So now I am blessed by getting everything reorganized and hopefully someone else will be blessed by learning to knit. (If any of you are familiar with the Flylady, I am applying some of her concepts to knitting.)

By the way, I have also finished my Harlot scarf. I think that it would be less tedious if I had used a yarn with some variegation. None-the-less it is quite soft and warm. Believe-it-or-not I didn't have a scarf before today.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Random Thoughts

Last weekend my family and I finally made it to Lake Michigan. The lake is only a half hour away so this is kind of pathetic. I've included a picture here to show you the headband that I knitted. It is Nakiska from Knitty. Very snuggly on the ears which is important with the wind on the lake. I used a wool/acrylic blend. I think it would have been even warmer in all wool. (By the way, you might notice a hand on my shoulder. That is my son in a baby backpack.)

Did you notice that the shipping limit at Knitpicks increased? Now you have to order $40 to get free shipping. So sad . . .

Yesterday my daughter was pining away for a fuzzy scarf. While we were at the grocery store (yes, the grocery store has yarn even) I let her pick out a couple skeins of Fun Fur for a scarf. Now I have secretly mocked people who knit novelty yarn scarves since it just seems too trendy. I knit this baby up in one evening though and had a lot of fun with it. My daughter woke up this morning and was so surprised that her scarf was finished. I have to admit that I understand the allure now although I don't think that Fun Fur will do much to keep your neck warm. (Yes, my daughter is wearing a blue velvet dress today. She is 3 and this is her idea of high fashion.)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone is having a happy new year! I figured I would use this as an opportunity to show you what I am working on now:

1. A pair of socks of my own design from Regia Cotton. I love this yarn because it doesn't itch your feet and I am desperately in need of some socks. I have decided that I would love just to own handknit socks and my other socks are quickly wearing out so I need to get knitting.

2. A scarf from my Rowan Polar on size 11 needles. I have adapted the pattern from the "Yarn Harlot's" post. She sounded like she was having so much fun knitting scarves that I wanted in on the action. I am actually finding the large needles annoying though.

3. My Leaves in Relief sweater from The first sleeve was more fun to knit than the second but I should get knitting so I can do the cool tree pattern.

4. The beginning of the Shetland Lace Shawl from Gathering of Lace. This is the edging. I am working on it in ice blue Zephyr. This is my first "true lace" but I am not finding it to be as hard as I thought.