Saturday, January 30, 2010

Shawl #4: Percy

I have been redirecting my yarn lust by searching for patterns on Ravelry. Ravelry is amazing. Not only can I see 35 versions of the hat I liked in the latest Vogue Knitting, I can find 35 free shawl patterns to knit (or at least ten). Then, instead of sticking a scrap of post-it into my latest VK, so I will have some chance of finding the pattern, I can just add the Ravelry shawl pattern to my queue. Bonus: I can add the Vogue hat! I love you, Ravelry.

Last night I cast on Percy by Sanne K.,, and for the first time, that crazy provisional-cast-on/garter-ridge-pick-up set up worked. I have been trying to get it right for the past week, but usually it ends up looking stooopid. The knitting gods smiled on me last night, though (out of admiration for my dogged persistence, not doubt), and made it work beautifully. I see now the point of the cast on: it gives a nice strong garter strip start that completely blends with the garter edging of the shawl. Now that I get it, maybe it will work better for me. Here's hopin'!

Why did I cast on a fourth shawl in less than a week? The silk shawl, knit on 9s in the lovely Dandy pattern, flew off my needles. The cream shawl was naughty and had to be frogged quite a bit so I could find a lost stitch. It broke my stride, darnit, and so needs to languish a bit longer. The Echo shawl is not really working for me. My yarn is variegated, so the lace pattern is disappearing. I should frog this one and start over. I have more lace yarn (and then some more), so I could just start it up in a solid color, or maybe go up a needle size with the Galaxy yarn.

Back to Percy: I'm using my ittybitty 0 bamboo circular for this. The Jojoland Harmony yarn actually calls for 0s, but the pattern calls for 3s. No gauge is listed, so I'm just going for it. I expect I will have to knit more pattern repeats, but since I have 880 yards of Harmony and the pattern calls for less than 440, that shouldn't be a problem. Even though I'm on 0s, my natural loose knitting is producing a really nice drapey fabric.

After reviewing manymany Percy shawls on Ravelry, I'm going to do some extra repeats of the A chart before moving to B. A is very repeatable, with only 4 pattern rows, but B is lace knitting, with YOs and K2tog in every row. At least the recalcitrant cream shawl taught me to be careful with that. Also, I rather like how a bigger A area looks. I'll use a life line in my last row of chart A, and probably halfway through B, just to be safesafe.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Yarn addiction... the ugly truth

I want some new yarn. I've looked at my old yarn, and I want some new yarn. Wantwantwant.

I know my local dollar store has $1 yarn. I could try that, but I don't think it would get me high enough, man. I need the good stuff.

The Knitpicks anklet kit looks incredibly fun; and I could easily spend another $25.01 on more yarn to get to the $50 free shipping point... yeah, that would be sweet. Then I could wait for the package to arrive... just knowing new yarn was on the way would be good.

I could also go an LYS, and squish and stroke lots of different kinds of yarn. Touching yarn is good. Getting less than $50 yarn would be fine, because it's not about the quantity, it's about the instant gratification.

Mmmm... new yaaaaarrrrrn.

Nope. Darn you, yarn diet. It's only been a month. I'm not caving yet!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

An especially good cast off...

I bound off the silk shawl tonight, using EZ's sewn cast off because:

1. it was in the first reference-type book (Knitter's Almanac) that I picked up;
2. it read "Especially good for garter-stitch";
3. there was only one other cast off listed; and
4. there were two drawings, a and b, showing exactly how to stick the needle through the stitches.

That's fate, baby. No need to browse through my here and there library, no need to wonder if it was the right cast off for a garter-edged shawl.

As fate would have it, it was perfect, and not at all difficult: cut yarn long, working from right to left take need from right to left through 2 st, then left to right through 1 st and slip st off needle; repeat until all the stitches are gone. Especially good looking cast off!

There's just enough stretch that I am not worried about blocking. The only drawback was the recycled silk yarn, which did not enjoy being pulled back and forth through 131 stitches. It shred and clumped in a couple places, but again, I just twisted it back together and all was well.

Blocking this weekend, since I have not yet perused my local hardware store for lace blocking wires.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Recycled Silk Shawl

I have been knitting steadily on my second Dandy Neckerchief, this time out of recycled silk yarn that I scored off e-bay a while back.

Love the Dandy pattern (free off Ravelry, did first in blueberry alpaca) I didn't like the original Dandy cast on - it was too loose - so I changed it:

CO 3 using long tail cast on
Row 1 (ws) K1, K-P-K in second stitch, K1
Row 2 (rs) start following pattern on 5 stitches as written.

I brought the silk scarf in today for Pamdear's opinion: bind off or knit through one more skein? We took a walk through the tunnels of Moos, and draped it over the black baby grand piano in the hospital lobby. The scarf needs another skein (duuuuh). It's amazing how asking for a second opinion makes things so OBVIOUS. It was all but screaming for another skein. Luckily, I have two.

I should be able to finish it tonight; maybe Khi and I can hit the hardware store for blocking wires while Sandman swims. I will have to block then spritz, according to my silk yarn blocking research.

The yarn diet is getting harder. I am jonesing for some new stash. Better cast on something sumptious (Artfibers yarn?) or ridiculous (another dog sweater from my recently returned booklet?) before I give in!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A first post

Because I have yet to consistently write in any of the lovely knitting journals* I have accumulated, the plan is to write stuff down here. Maybe in complete sentences, maybe not.

I don't know what the writing will lead to, but I hope it will inspire me to expand my creative thinking...

That's not too grandiose, is it?

(Harley thinks small)

*I truly love my journals - perhaps too much! I want to use them for bits of beautiful yarn, or pretty clippings, anything other than my chicken scratchings.