Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hillhead vs. Vaila

I've finished the 99 rounds required in the Hillhead Slipover pattern before starting the armhole steeks. But am I really done with the main part of the body? Alas, no.

I decided to put it side-by-side with my previous Ann Feitleson-designed vest to compare. The Vaila Slipover has always been just short enough to be annoying. I really wish I'd added just another inch or so. As you can see here, the Hillhead is already a bit longer. The Hillhead pattern calls for more rounds in both the ribbing and the body - a total of about a dozen more all together. Clicking on the photo should take you to Flickr where I've added some notes explaining a bit more.

But I'm thinking of going a few more rounds, as pugilistic as that sounds. I'm pretty sure I have the yarn for it, and I'd rather it be a bit long than to be constantly tugging it down, like I find myself doing with the Vaila Slipover. Most of my height manifests itself between my shoulders and hips -- I have the same inseam measurement as my brother who is a few inches shorter than me. So I'm thinking that even though I've reached this milestone, I'll go 28 more rounds before throwing in the towel. Thoughts?

Ding, ding!



Saturday, April 21, 2012

Play Ball!

Last time, I mentioned that I was working on one other round thing. It's time for the big reveal...

It's a knitted baseball that I made for my friend Staci for her birthday. The pattern is Play Ball! by Dagny Heidig. It's really quite clever. It's simply two hourglass shapes seamed together, which when you look at a baseball, is basically how they're constructed. The knitting doesn't take too long - I estimate about 1.75 episodes of Dr. Who - but it does take a while to seam up. I didn't do as well with the seaming as I would have liked, but the red "stitching," embroidered on afterwards, mostly masks the seam line anyway. Not being an expert, I'm not sure if I got the stitching right, but I think it's close.

Staci is an excellent knitter and a great friend. Those of you who know Pona will appreciate that she basically nursed him back from the brink of death for many months before handing him off to us. We have the easy part, as evidenced by his snoozy, relaxed self snoring gently next to me on the couch as I write this. Such a sack of lazy contentment, bless him.

Work progresses on the Hillhead Slipover, although not much this week. I'm still quite happy with the process. It's definitely a project to keep one on one's toes. As worried as I was by the amount of yarn I used in swatching, my fears of running out of yarn are mostly behind me now. I'm about a repeat-and-a-half from the armhole steeks. I really don't remember how those are handled. Of course, I could just study ahead in the pattern, which might allay those fears. I seem to remember a bit of an issue with decreases that didn't match up near the shoulders when I did the Vaila Slipover, which is basically the same construction. Must remember to compare the two.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

In the Round

It's pretty much where I'm living my knitting life these days.

I took a bit of a break from knitting rounds on the sweater to add to my other round(ish) project, the Christmas Balls. I hadn't completed one in nearly a month! Good thing I'm ahead of schedule. This one, number 25 in the series, is called Falling Star and is knit in two double panels rather than the usual four single panels. I bedazzled the heck out of it and ran out of red beads in the middle. I was also running low on fiber fill, so I stocked up on all that this weekend. The bag of fill I'd been using was one I purchased years ago and thought I'd never use up. Hah!

I did get more done on the vest this week, although progress seems slow as I'm working. When I grab a photo at the end of the week, I can see that I've added to it. It's one of those projects where it's helpful to look at small goals rather than the "big picture" while working. At the same time, I'm starting to notice that the flow of colors looks better at a distance. Up close, one doesn't get that blending and shading effect that gradually shifts across tones and hues. Rather, while knitting, it's as if I'm staring at small sections of Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grande Jatte. I'm not comparing my work to his (as if!), but you get the idea.

I also worked on one more round thing this week, but it's a gift, so I won't be blogging about it or posting any pictures until it's been given. Shhhh.


Saturday, April 07, 2012

Light, Dark, Light, Dark...

Not much to report -- still working on the Hillhead Slipover. I hope to get a lot done this weekend. So far, I've completed a little over one 28-round band. For the large size, I need to knit 3-and-a-half bands before starting the armhole steeks. Still a ways to go, but the pattern is filling out and thus getting easier to follow.

I find when working with the pattern that it helps to come up with a Morse Code in my head for each round, replacing the dits and the dahs with light and dark. Each pattern section is 32 stitches wide, in four primary sections, two of which are the same, interspersed with the two others that differ. These, in turn, can be grouped into 16 stitches, which are made by adding up two odd-numbered sections. Hard to explain, but there is a symmetry here that is very satisfying and soothing.

Just had to come up for air for a bit. Back at it...

Sunday, April 01, 2012

April Fool's Paradise

We're at Jeff's parents' house this weekend, attending some family get-togethers. I'm really enjoying myself, and the dogs seem to be having a good time, too. We've gotten in some good walks, and the north Texas springtime seems to agree with them. I got a shot of Pona in some bluebonnets (because that's some sort of state law enforced in late March through early April) and in it he seems almost blissful. You can thank me for cropping out some of his anatomy in the comments, if you wish. Thank goodness for a wet winter, Lady Bird Johnson, and Lupinus texensis.

I've made some progress on the Hillhead Slipover, but not much. The body of the sweater is knit on a 28-round repeat, and I've managed about 18 this week -- enough to start seeing the pattern develop. I've already started celebrating when I don't have to change colors, and cursing when I have to change both. But I am weaving the new colors in and the old colors out as I go, which will save me some grief at the end. It slows me down, but I suppose it's worth it. Plus, I suspect it builds character or something.

Yesterday, we went to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth to see The Age of Impressionism: Great French Paintings From the Clark. I found what looks like a list of all the works from the exhibit at the Kimbell on the Clark Museum's website, if you care to take a gander.

Jeff brought this one to my attention. It's The Shepherdess; Plains of Barbizon by Jean-Fran├žois Millet (1814-1875), painted around 1862. While her big old Bouvier des Flandres is keeping it's eye on the wool-on-the-hoof, the shepherdess knits on a sock. Where can I apply for this shepherdess gig? On second thought, I probably shouldn't bother. Looking at Millet's oeuvre, I'm pretty sure all the sock-knitting shepherdess positions have been filled.