Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spiral Galaxy Pillow

I finished up the second installment of my springtime throw pillow project today. Or at least I think I have.

This pattern knits up much faster than I thought it would. And used much less yarn. It's a pretty simple three-round pattern. Increases happen in every one of the 15 segments on each round, but decreases happen in only two out of three rounds. This makes the spirals fan out in a rather gradual manner. Basically, you just keep this up until there are 17 stitches in each segment. Oh, and then you do the whole thing again for the second side, of course.

Putting it together started out rather tedious (I had 255 stitches to bind off), and then, about halfway round, descended into downright chaos. The two sides are joined with a 3-needle bind off. Usually, this is done on the wrong side of the work. But since you can't really knit on the inside of a soon-to-be enclosed space, this seam is exposed. About halfway around, I put the pillow form in. And then I happened to look down to see that I hadn't quite caught one of the stitches on the backside about 20 stitches earlier (caught with a greenish clip stitch marker in the picture). So I had to unseam backwards, while trying to keep the building pressure of the pillow form from popping the edge stitches out. I grabbed some DPNs to assist in corralling everything back together. I wanted to yell "clamp!" Like some surgeon on TV. Instead, I stopped for a few calming deep breaths and a picture before moving on. Disaster averted. Did I mention that the cables have started separating from the old Knit Picks interchangeable needles I got that when I first started knitting? That also involved over 40 dropped stitches and dropped profanities...

But all's well that ends well. And I think this is mostly finished. I still think this needs a big fat decorative button in the middle. I bought some wooden ones that I thought might do, but they're clearly the wrong type. They need to be the kind with the securing ring behind, not with holes visible from the front. And the yarn I have won't be able to withstand the springy force of this pillow form. So I'm thinking of taking it to an upholsterer for some guidance -- or to perhaps just do it for me. I'm not proud.

So, two pillows down -- one (or maybe two?) more to go. And I need to get back to those Moorish Stripe Socks.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Stripes and Spirals

The flowers are blooming, the weather is warming, and I'm entering into my annual springtime knitting slump. I still have projects that are grabbing my attention, but I just don't seem to have enough time to do much knitting. Plus, the looming warmer days put me off the idea of handknits. I'll get over that soon, I'm sure. In the meantime, I've made some progress I can share.

It may be a bit premature to post this, but I finished the first of the Moorish Stripe Socks. There were options for knitting pinstripes into the heel flap and the toes, but I decided for solid navy. As Tim Gunn might say, these socks are already "a lotta look," so having three solid patches gives me eyes a chance to catch their breath. I know I'm confusing senses and mixing metaphors there, but you get the idea. The hard part for me was realizing that the pattern across the instep is meant to be continued as if the gusset wasn't there, so that when the gusset does eventually draw together, it just disappears into the pattern. I didn't get that at first, overthought things, and ended up having to un-knit a few rounds to get back on track. Such a lot of fuss for something that will be covered by shoes most of the time, right? Now to cast on for the second one and do all this all over again before Second Sock Syndrome sets in.

I also got started, yesterday, on the second of my pillow projects, the Spiral Galaxy Pillow. I needed something round that would knit to 16". This one is scalable out to nearly any size, really. It's designed by Daniel Yuhas, appears in 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitters, and came to me through the magic of Interlibrary Loan. Thanks, Dallas Public Library!

It's knit from the center out and is pretty simple to follow. Except for the instructions about slipping stitches and moving markers around. I overthought those, too, starting over three times before figuring out that keeping the same number of stitches between the 15 spiral segments is really the goal here. The first side is about 10" across right now. I still have quite a bit of yarn left, but I also know that it gets eaten up faster and faster as the circumference grows. I'm thinking of putting a big button right in the middle of this. Maybe a big wooden one? Or maybe a knit-covered one?

Not to let sheep out of the bag, but as it happens, I have a little trip planned soon that will surely shake me out of my spring slump. More on that later...