Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Irish Moss Collar

All I've got left to finish on this sweater, besides a week's worth of weaving in ends, is 16 rows on the collar. I got it started tonight. I had to stop -- it's 70 degrees outside and it's just too hot to hold this wad-o-wool on my lap. Even in shorts! A front is supposed to come through and bring us close to freezing tonight. It should be easier to work on tomorrow night.

One of the things I really like about this collar, as opposed to the other two I've knitted in my life, is that the bulk of it is built on "live" stitches that were resting on holders. I only had to pick up and knit about 20 stitches. I'm really not all that confident in my ability to "pick up and knit." I always seem to leave holes or get things uneven. Things look pretty good this time around. If I can just keep these stitches from jumping off the ends of the DPNs. I may have to use that rubber band trick I've heard about.

I'm going to take a break and watch some episodes of "Knitty Gritty" that I've got recorded. I need to get on that show. Anyone up for a trip to L.A.?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Weeping & Sewing

Okay -- it wasn't that bad. But I don't know why I thought I would be able to sew the pieces of this sweater together in an afternoon. The whole thing took about 5 hours, with short breaks for dinner and putting a kick plate on our front door.

Ms. Starmore's instructions say to backstitch the seams. I'd never backstitched, but I thought I'd give it a try. Suffice to say I switched to mattress stitch.

So far, I've got the sleeves and shoulder saddles attached to the front and back, but I haven't sewn the side seams nor sewn the sleeves together. That will have to wait for another day. But the end is in sight! More sewing pictures in the Flickr links on the right.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Irish Moss Blocking

Today I did something I've only done once before -- blocked. Unless, of course, you count my years as a junior high school offensive tackle. But those days are best left forgotten. The only other knitting item I've ever blocked was a baby blanket -- a nice big rectangle. This was a wee bit more complicated.

I decided to do a bona fide Southern Baptist full-immersion, rather than just spritizing. Here it is in the kitchen sink. You can click on the Irish Moss link on the right to get a few more blocking photos.

The last time I was at Hill Country Weavers, I picked up a BlockKit -- a set of pins and blocking wires in a tube. They make the edges very straight. To get these straight edges I had to spend nearly two hours on the floor in my guest bedroom, hunched over wet wool, shoving wires through stitches. I'm hoping it will be worth it. No wonder people don't like blocking.

I'm actually following the instructions and blocking the pieces before assembling the sweater. I understand a lot of knitters don't block until the whole thing is together, but I really wanted to follow the instructions on this one. I've never attempted anything on this scale and I want to follow the directions to the letter.

Tomorrow, we'll see how things look. The ceiling fan will be on full blast all night!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sad Kate / Happy Kate

Sad Kate
My niece was down for Thanksgiving, and she reported that the doll I gave her for her 2nd birthday, "my Katie," needed some cosmetic surgery on her left eye. The first picture shows the patient at presentation.

Ever-dutiful and prepared Uncle Steven brought an emergency repair kit to the Thanksgiving dinner and engaged in a nail-biting 5 minute surgery. In the second picture, the patient seems to have pulled through just fine, and my niece is one happy little lady.

Sad Kate

The pattern for Kate is from the Winter 2005 issue of Knitty.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Free Knitting Books

While at a conference last month, I managed to win a $100 Barnes & Noble gift certificate at a vendor drawing. Woo-hoo! After confirming with the donor that it was indeed appropriate for me to spend this money on myself and not on my library (yes, I asked -- can you believe it?), I decided right away to get some knitting books. It was hard balancing "bang for my buck," "things I need" and "things that are just kind of interesting." Hope I got a good balance.

Despite our dog Silas' best efforts, the UPS man brought these today:

I need to get reading...

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I've added a list of knitting books I own and/or have read at LibraryThing. I'll try to remember to maintain this list, but I'm not promising anything -- what do I look like, a cataloger? A link to this will be on the right.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


This is a picture of me in a hat I knit this summer. It was actually cool enough this week that I was able to wear it to work one morning. And on Friday, I wore it when Jeff and I went out to eat. The place we were eating only had outside seating, so it was a good thing I had it.

The pattern came from the Summer 2006 issue of Knitty. The designer is Jesse Loesberg. In the Fall 2006 issue, he has a sweater that I'm going to tackle someday.

I really enjoyed knitting this. It went fast, and it has a dork factor of nil, which can't be said of a lot of hat patterns out there. I even went with what for me is a pretty bright color!

Baltic Sea Socks

Here is another project I've been working on. I normally am a one-project-at-a-time kind of knitter. But in October I was heading to a conference, and wanted to have something that wouldn't be as cumbersome as the sweater I've been working on. So I started this. (I ended up taking the sweater anyway). Haven't done much up to now, but every once in a while I'll just grab it and throw on a few rows.

One of the unique things about this project is that I'm not really doing a pattern. I'm loosely following the toe-up system that Charlene Schurch uses in "Sensational Knitted Socks," but not exactly. The neat thing about the toe up socks is that, for me at least, they're not quite so pattern-dependent as gusset socks. Or, I suppose I should say that I'm not so dependent on patterns when making toe-up socks as opposed to gusset socks.

Irish Moss Sweater

Here's a picture of a sweater I'm working on for my partner, Jeff. The front is on the left, the back is on the right, and a sleeve is across the top. Sleeve number two is on the needles. I've been working on this thing since late August, and I've had to redo big sections due to gauge issues.

I'm really sailing along, now, though. Don't even have to look at the pattern for the most part. The trick comes down to learning to read the pattern based on what you've completed so far, rather than trying to memorize the pattern outright. For the life of me, though, I can't see how you would write out instructions that way. It's all the little rules you notice that make no sense as directions --

- The two wavy lines are always separated by one purl stitch and always cross over any other lines.
- Rather than one 16-row pattern, it's really two 8-row patterns that mirror each other.
- The 1st and 9th rows either cross or are status quo.
- the 3rd and 11th rows bring lines together
- the 5th and 13th rows cross lines
- the 7th and 15th rows separate lines.

That's the sort of thing I'm talking about. It's a way of looking at the givens, or laws that govern the pattern, rather than focusing on all those little squares...

Friday, November 17, 2006

It begins...

Yes, it's another knitting blog. I've set this up because I have a really hard time keeping a knitting journal of things I've made. My thinking is that I'll keep track better if the process of keeping track is more fun. We'll see how this goes! I'm sure there are a million things I haven't thought through, yet.

For the moment, I'm going to enter details of each project in the Photo Set information in Flickr. We'll see how that works.