Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day Progress Report

Since my sleeve misadventure earlier this month, Shadow has been flying off my needles. In fact, I haven't paused long enough to give an update! I'm down to the last piece, and I've been trying to keep track of my progress, starting last Wednesday:

Friday afternoon:

Yesterday morning:

And moments ago:

I was hoping to finish knitting by the end of February. Even with the extra day, it doesn't look like it's going to happen, but I think I can get to the shoulder bind-off this afternoon. I'm really looking forward to having a new garment in my wardrobe soon! I'm also looking forward to the end of February... it may be the shortest month, but it's taking forever this year.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Baby Things

Is there anything more heartwarming and tear-inducing than little baby things? Or more likely to raise feminine voices by at least two octaves? It's like a kick in the ovaries from Mother Nature. These went in the mail last week to my friend Sarah-- via her yarn-obsessed sister Rebecca:

The sweater is painful enough, but the booties... the booties kill me:

I made quite a bit of fuss over knitting these things-- one must make a fuss over babies. Since this baby will be born approximately 800 miles away, I won't be able to make much of a fuss over her in person, though I'm going to try...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

In the mail

I finished up a long-standing project a couple of weeks ago, and on Monday it finally went in the mail:

Mohair Bias Loop was my mindless distraction project during the year-long hat binge. The yarn is Artfibers Tsuki, which is every bit as lovely as Kidsilk Haze, but is available in giant cones! I had just enough left over from a Muir shawl to make this little number.

This is a meaningful yarn in my knitting history-- Muir was the first challenging project I attempted, and I think it marked my transition from "someone who knits" to full-blown "knitter". I think it's appropriate that the remains of this yarn are going to my friend Nicole-- freshman year of college (this would be January of 1999) we took our first knitting class together. I remember her knitting a scarf from Kidsilk Haze that winter-- I wonder if she still has it? She's always been a big fan of mohair, so I have a feeling this will be right up her alley.

Also in the mail, to me this time: a set of Hiya Hiya interchangeable needles! I'm not sure how I feel about them yet, but I really like the idea of them... though given my recent interchangeable fail, I should probably be wary.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Maybe I should stick to hats*

*or, perhaps I should not be allowed to use interchangeable needles...

In between bouts of coughing and moaning piteously in bed, I managed to get a heck of a lot of knitting done this weekend-- and I was really excited to show you the completed first sleeve of my Shadow... until, switching out the needle tips to start the ribbing on sleeve two, I found attached to my cables one size 9 tip... and one size 7 tip!

I'm not entirely sure how it happened, though I have a pretty good idea.** I'm mostly amazed that I knitted the entire sleeve without noticing the very... noticeable difference in the diameter of the two needles. The stitch gauge seemed to be correct while I was knitting... if I stretched out the fabric a teensy bit. Easily block-able to the pattern dimensions, at any rate. Since I was more worried at the outset of the sleeve that it would turn out too large, I was thrilled to be proving myself wrong...

Now that I have started the second sleeve-- on TWO size 9 tips, I checked three times and had Eric check twice to be sure-- it's pretty clear how deluded I have been. I have to stretch sleeve #1 out to a ridiculous degree to get the correct width. And the row gauge... not the same.

Not even close.

I did briefly consider repeating my error, but once I cast off the first sleeve, there was no telling which tip I used for the right side and which I used for the wrong side!

This is not the end of the world-- I will now be able to make some changes to the shaping that will make seaming much easier, and I'm spared the indignity of wearing an unintentionally asymmetrical sweater. I'm not sure if I can reuse the yarn I have already knitted without creating more gauge headaches, so that's a bummer. And I will no doubt be the laughingstock of knitting night. Fair enough-- it actually is pretty funny.

See, this is why I spent a year knitting hats!


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Second Handspun

This has been finished for a while, but I was waiting for my husband's photo-editing expertise:

I experimented with woolen drafting on my first handspun, and my second outing was entirely woolen-spun. It seemed to suit the preparation of the fiber-- though I have not a clue what kind of wool it is! I finished spinning the singles on New Year's Eve, and the plying about a week later. It was slightly over-plied-- I now know to add a bit more twist to my singles before plying-- so I washed the skein and let it hang in my shower to dry. That seems to have been just enough-- the skein is now perfectly balanced!

I hope you will forgive my nerdiness-- it's just that I'm quite pleased with the result. It's so fluffy and lively! Now I just need to figure out what it wants to become. My first thought is a hat, but that's usually my first thought...

I've been laid up with a cold the past few days, so I've been knitting like a fiend-- so many things to show you, I can't wait!