Sunday, January 12, 2014

Girasole Start

I've had Jared Flood's Girasole pattern in my Ravelry queue for years, and Friday, I got some yarn to make it. It can be knit in any size, really, since it's circular. The pattern suggests a sock weight yarn for a shawl, or worsted for a blanket. I'm using more of a sport weight, so let's say this will be a throw.

It's going to be a gift, so I'll be a little cagey about my planning but I will say I did have a bit of trouble with the color. I wanted to make something bright, but the color options at hand were either neon or pastel -- not quite right for this project. Then I saw this Cascade Ultra Pima cotton yarn in a shiny antique gold color -- washed out to a camely-beige here by my color-distorting phone camera. But the actual color is vert fitting to me, as the center of the pattern looks like the sun. The label, however, says Mushroom. Hmm. No wonder it spoke to me.

I cast on right away Friday, and immediately it started with a bit of a challenge - a new (to me) cast-on technique: the circular cast-on. Two sites are suggested in the pattern to get details. I found that the option using a crochet hook worked best for me. It's pretty cool, and not that complicated.

In true lace-from-the-center-out fashion, I've made great progress this weekend, having worked my way through the first three charts and one of the six balls of yarn I estimate I'll need. But now things will slow down as the circumference increases. No worries yet. I still have time. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the novelty and at the same time marveling at the number of projects I have going at once. For me, this borders on spinning out of control.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

A Honky-Tonk Parade

We're back from our travels and have had a few days to regroup before getting back into the semester. For my part, I've been catching up on yard work and getting some progress done on projects, old and new.

First, a repair job. While sitting in a Wiesbaden cafe enjoying some coffee, my niece announced, "Uncle Steven, your sweater has a hole." I felt around to where it was and saw that it was at the seam. Whew! I thought it might have been the body of the sweater itself -- if you'll recall, I had accidentally snipped a bit of thread while reattaching one of the arms a while back. Luckily, it was just the seam. Loft is pretty sturdy knitted up, but it isn't the best yarn for seaming and one little part had broken and started separating. Too many half-liters of beer, I guess. I had to refrain from wearing it the rest of the trip, but I re-sewed the seam this afternoon and it seems solid now. I'm going to hold on to the extra Loft that I have left, just in case this happens again.

Immediately after finishing the 3x1 Ribbed Socks in Germany, I started another pair with some yarn that my fellow knitters had given me for my birthday. This is the Paper Moon pattern from Knitty Deep Fall 2011, using Cascade Heritage Silk in a deep green color. It's a toe-up pattern with short row heels and a cool reverse-stockinette gusset that grows out of a split cable. Some of my readers have made these socks before, I think. I'm not doing my eyes any favors by using green needles with green yarn, but these stiletto tips are just the thing for cabling without a cable needle.

When I went through the security check in Frankfurt, the women in charge of my line had me open my bag and take them out. They looked at me kind of funny, but I put on my best mild-mannered librarian face and it seemed to work. I would have been so sad if I'd had to leave these needles behind. I don't blame them, though. They do have sort of a weapon-y look about them.

And I've finished one more row on the crocheted Squared Away Throw. Not even quite 2/3 of the way done. This may take a while. It's rather mindless work, and the Tunisian technique means having to watch what you're doing quite a bit. But still, I'm satisfied with the way it's turning out. Each row is a bit less than a ball. Rather than having to join a new ball in the middle of a row, I'm just saving up the scrap ends for the fringe. I can't imagine that decision will come back to bite me, but you never know.

Hope everyone is knitting lots of wonderful things in the new year.