Monday, June 26, 2006

I proudly present.......Rosemarkie

My second sweater in all her glory :)

After a little bit of a marathon, some egging-on from many of you (that is so wrong when you type it), and a button snafu, ("oh yeah, buttons come in different sizes!") I was finally able to give Rosemarkie her first bath. All those blotches - those are soap suds as she lies at the bottom of the sink. I was like some goofy proud new mama that keeps staring at the baby and glowing.

...and her photo shoot. Hanging out in the tree was a lot nicer than lying on my dead lawn. It also helps display some of my inspiration for the color choices. Unfortunately some really bad storms recently wiped out all of the roses in front of that tree. I was so disappointed but there you go - inspiration from your, actually my, kitchen sink.

I did not do the shoulder shaping that I had considered from the Feral Knitter because I wanted to see how it turned out as written. But I could not resist snugging-up (another technical term) the ribbing on the very top of the shoulders to make certain it did not develop 'wings'. Apparently I am square because the shoulders fit perfectly.

A close up for detail, just in case you really haven't seen enough of this sweater over the months it took me to knit it. I think it took much longer just because it was going so easy. I kept thinking the scary thing must be fast approaching. Some unseen unknown that should be intimidating but in my naive enthusiasm wasn't. For the record, it is fun to knit fair isle sweaters and not skeery at all! Maybe some folks just hype it up so you will be more impressed with them, like they slayed a dragon and you should be in awe. Maybe they're just impressed with themselves for accomplishing something so darn neat and amazing that they convince themselves there must have been more to it. We'll never know I'm sure, but don't be surprised if you see some dragon inspirations around here. Sounds like fun now that I think about it.

And of course the inside shot with all the pretty floats lined up like good little soldiers. I am as geeked about this thing as I was the first day I swatched for it. If I still love it now, I think it will have a nice long life in my wardrobe.

Pattern: Rosemarkie
Source: Celtic Collection, Alice Starmore
Yarn: Jamieson's Spindrift
Started: December 15th 2005
Completed: June 25th 2006
(set aside 2-3 months during that time)

I think I need a gallery now ;)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

I know, I'm not a kit person - but it's a customized kit, that's different, right!?

KSKS - The Questionnaire:
What are your favorite colors? Red, deep, rich, primal, passionate Red. All rich deep shades of jeweltone colors. No pastels, no really earthy hues except as accents or in combinations of natural fibers.
Are you a new sock knitter? How long have you been knitting socks? I learned to knit last year and my first project was a pair of handspun handknit socks. I am currently working on Meg Swansens fair isle form fitted arch socks.
Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn? I like yarn appropriate for the project. If the detail is in the stitch work, then solids/nearly solids/evenly blendeds show it best. If the detail is primarily in the colors as it can be with handpaints, then bring on the color. I really dislike colorways that pool and blob - it's icky.
What fibers do you prefer in sock yarn? Wool, wool blends. Always thought it would be nice to try silk.
Where do you usually knit socks? Wherever, they travel well.
How do you usually carry/store small projects? Ziploc bags inside my carry all/briefcase like bag.
What are your favorite sock knitting patterns? Fair isle, texture work, or just for fun. I like to explore and don't really have a favorite pattern, I customize what I am working with.
What are your favorite sock knitting techniques? I like knitting both socks at the same time whether that be magic loop on the same needle, separate needles, or separate sets of dpns. I love magic loop and my addis. I don't have any issues with dpns but I dislike sticky bamboo needles.
What new techniques would you like to try? Multi color cables, toe up, maybe afterthought heels - I like very form fitting heels and the afterthought and short row heels never seemed like they would be deep or snug enough so I haven't tried them yet.
Do you prefer circulars or dpns for sock knitting? I love magic loop and my addis. I don't have any issues with dpns but I dislike sticky bamboo needles. Did I mention that? ;)
What are some of your favorite yarns? My handspun, Regia and Trekking hold up well
What yarn do you totally covet? Always wanted to try Lorna's Laces or Socks that Rock or Lisa Souza or Virtual Yarns Hebridean. And I'm sure there are numerous others that I haven't heard of yet that are fab.
Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object? Half the Starmore collection and my own designs based on Van Gogh and the masters. You said time and money was no object......
Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)? Addi turbos, bryspun flex, my ancient luxite circs and aluminum straights from my grandmother. I love the sound of aluminum straights because they remind me of her and they come in pretty colors. Can someone explain why all knitting needles seem to be gray these days? Just wondering.
If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be? Probably a soft and silky but strong longwool.
Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack? Swedish fish and lindors truffles - but not really together.
What’s your favorite animal? Tigers - champion defenders of their young, dolphins - extremely intelligent and community oriented, dogs - noble and loyal, ants - industrious and undaunted and the platypus - face it, it's just funny. Although Jamie now has me facinated with sea slugs, squishy but beautiful and quite interesting.
Do you have pets? What are their species/names/ages? Dogs, Kya and Lily. Kya is a rescued racing greyhound age 4 and Lily is a rescued maybe-greyhound-mix from the shelter age 3. They are absolute sweethearts.
If you were a color what color would you be? Red, no doubt about it
Describe your favorite shirt (yours or someone else’s). Dark red tailored silk blouse with cufflinks or one of many next-to-your-skin-soft-favorite-sweatshirt-type sweaters.
What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature? Grand Canyon, Atlantic Ocean, Stonehenge, the highlands, casablanca lilies, oxalis, historic architecture/stone and wood work. And ants, I love the ants.
Tell me the best quote you’ve ever heard or read. "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Thomas A. Edison, inventor and leader. There is a lot accomplished in the journey, not just the outcome. I love to try things differently or try different things, just to see what happens. I am often facinated by the result, sometimes a little embarassed, but still facinated none the less. Many people see this as a waste of time, I see it as a way of life. Maybe I just never got over being 3.
"It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it." Steven Wright, comedian. I don't know of any other single line that sums up for me how much people in general overlook the true scope of reality.
Do you have a wishlist? Yes but I don't have that long to type.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Wonky Left Cross Stitches

So what is up with these crazy wonky stitches on my left crosses? I have tried everything I can think of and can't seem to get rid of this problem. It happens every time, no matter what I change. Do any of you wise knitting sages know how to fix this? So far I have tried the following:

Increasing tension
Decreasing tension
With Cable needle
Without cable needle
Knitting continental
Knitting english
Knitting through the back loops
Washing and blocking
Holding on to that little loop for dear life and ever so gently crossing stitches

None of this has changed the outcome one iota. I am perplexed to say the least. Any and all advice is very welcome!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Buttons and Kits and Colors and Knits

I ordered the buttons for Rosemarkie so now I am waiting for them to arrive. I want to make sure the button holes actually fit the buttons (that's right, I was thinkin'!). I laugh everytime I realize I forgot to get buttons, I don't think I ever thought I would make it this far lol.

I did manage to pick up all of the button band stitches. I dragged out all of the stitch markers I have and sat down and counted and measured and counted some more. I think I did a fairy nice job of it, we'll see when it is blocked. Hopefully those buttons will make it here soon.... I really want to cast on for the next fair isle but I refuse to until this one is done. I'll let you peek inside the box though. That's the current swatch palette. There may still be some tweeking but so far I've only changed one color, can you believe that? Karen at Two Swans Yarns sends some very nice boxes of goodies.

Meanwhile, out exploring the internets and blogland, I came across an idea I thought was so neat that I just jumped in and signed up. It's a Knit Sock Kit Swap hosted by Scout and Bev. The premise being to create a sock knit kit, not knit the socks. Sounds like a great deal of fun to me! I love the idea of putting something together to inspire and enable someone else and having a defined objective. It will be a pleasant diversion I think.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Whooo Hoooo, it's Scissor time!

Well the day finally came and I found the scissors - matching ones Lorraine should note! I ended up deciding to do the shoulders and the rest of the pattern for that matter basically as written. So I didn't do any shoulder shaping. I did do a simple three needle bind off instead of a graft only because the pattern doesn't match up and I think it looks better with a seam in that case. With a nice kitchenered join it seemed like it would look more like a mistake. I'm sure I put enough of those in there already.

If I had more general experience in sweater construction I would have done the shoulder shaping but in this case I thought it more important to learn why I may or may not want to change it, instead of just changing it.

And I couldn't go to bed last night until I cut it. I don't know why the cutting is the dramatic part, it is so anti-climatic as to be rather boring actually. Personally I found the only stressful part to be the measuring to make sure it was the right length to call it done. It is difficult to measure something that ends up that cramped up with steeks and pointy ended stitch holders sticking out everywhere, especially with the v-neck. But so far I think all will be well.

I started picking up stitches for the button band - which I am finding is not so easy in such a really dark color. I am praying a lot that I don't miss a stitch. I made it to the V picking up stitches and I am only 2 rows off from Ms. Starmore's gauge - 2 rows! I was so excited to be that close, I really had no idea what to expect and I within 2 rows pleased me greatly. We'll see how I do with the button bands. Oh, and I almost lost it when I realized I have no buttons! I cannot imagine putting regular old buttons on this thing and the thought made me very sad. So I have another quest to find buttons that will be appropriate.

Edit: I was obviously cloudy brained with the euphoria of the moment. I need to make some serious adjustments to her figures, that is if I can determine why her figures are what they are so I can create the same result with my necessary adjustments. Oy!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Green Moss and Daisy's

This is the Daisy Shawl by Sharon Miller. And no, I did not cast this one on after my declaration to finish things. It's been one I have played around with a bit. I like it, it is a nice pattern and my test of alpaca instead of mohair seems to be a good one. I really want to do the Green Moss Shawl though and was hoping alpaca would work for that one too. Hence the test on Daisy.

Poor Daisy got stuck in this state because of my indecision in choosing between her and Green Moss. Green Moss has the lure of unique shape and construction which sounds like a fun challenge. Daisy is listed as an experienced knit, but I am not sure why other than that funny thing you do on the 'wrong side' switching purl and knit stitches in the double yarn over? I found that tricky in figuring out the chart since those symbols aren't explained on it, but other than that it is a repetitive pattern. Green Moss is a repetitive pattern too but a semicircle with an odd beginning. I am intrigued, I like odd. I think I would learn more which is the number one thing I love in a project. I may have to call Miss Daisy a swatch and switch my fickle heart to Green Moss. After I finish Town and Country and Kiri of course. Then I would have one lace project only. I could handle that, and swatches don't count against me. I love swatches :) .........Daisy sure does look good in that yarn though, doesn't she......... And a nice shade of June Blue for Project Spectrum as well.....

PS - More to come on those other swatches soon, just getting organized. I have to, so I can find the scissors.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

......and I'm just a big ol' fibber!

I declared it. Stated it publicly even, out loud and everything - "I have too many projects on the needles." Do you think it stuck? Do you think I listened? nooooooo....... So I've been looking for a long while for more big projects that I want to do. So far I've done a wee bit of cabling, some fair isle, some intarsia and slip stitch, and started checking out lace. I've touched on the major diciplines of texture, color, and open work. Not a bad start in the knitting world but I need to learn more on finishing. I know, the key to learning this you say, is to actually finish something. I'm working on it, believe me, I just keep getting interrupted. You know, silly things like work, taking out the trash, feeding the dogs, crocodile wrestling, it's a busy life!

But anyhoo, I hadn't been able to find a big project that I liked. Then a wonderful woman on one of the lists said she had an extra copy of Tudor Roses. I'd seen Henry VIII and Margaret Tudor and really wanted the book. So it showed up Friday and I've picked two - and not those two either. I'm a mad woman I am! And if I finally find some full-bodied-but-not-itchy wool for Kilronen, it'll be a hat trick! Ooooo she's feelin' s-a-s-s-y!

Off to search for more swatch supplies. Do you know that there is a real shortage of nice dk wool in this state, town, whatever?? What am I to do.......

Roses are red, and June is blue - so I have a project spectrum, swatch for you! It needs a nice gold with red threads, heather or tweedish for the fair isle portion, but it goes up to your neck so it needs to be a bit softer, but it's also texture work so it needs a firm hand (not drapey). This being new to knitting thing means I've only been exposed to very little of the yarns available on the market and it is so tricky to gauge softness over the internet :) I welcome any and all suggestions.