Saturday, October 30, 2010

Procrastination pays off!

Occasionally, it pays to let a project sit a bit.

About one ball into reworking the back of the Iro jacket I was able to detect the repeat. Since Iro comes in skeins, not balls, I had not wound all the balls in the same direction. It is an even split between pulling from the inside and unwinding from the outside if I want the repeat to go in the same direction (I do).

Then I looked at the completed sleeve. Knit in the opposite way from the sweater body, of course.

That was the last thing I needed to motivate me to rip and reknit (it is 2 stitches too narrow).

Turns out my UFO was, in effect, an unstarted object (the gauge was right, at least).

Friday, October 29, 2010

Scatter brained

Fall weather is finally here. After a month of fairly productive knitting, I am suddenly antsy again. Somehow a major weather change makes me want to drop everything and try something new.

Sometimes more than one new thing.

I'm trying to deal with this in a way that will actually result in more than half a dozen new UFOs.

Approach #1: I've pulled out my Barn Raiser Quilt squares (I've finished 34 so far) and my version of Shelly Kang's Sock Yarn Blanket and put them neatly in a linen box from Storables along with needles and leftover sock yarn. In the past few days, I've added 7 squares to my SKSYB and gotten halfway through BRQ square #35.

Approach #2: Instead of starting something brand new, I pulled out a jacket I started last winter in Noro Iro. I had stopped this one after one sleeve and half a back because I realized that to make it as long as I wanted, I would need more yarn. By the time I got that yarn, I was, of course, on to another project. It is a good thing I let this one languish because a quick measurement led me to rip out the back and start with a different size.

The good thing about Iro is it is big yarn, so progress is visible in a short time.

Approach #3: I am also rotating through what had been my current projects: a tweedy cardigan (Tahki design, Berrocco yarn), socks (simple slipstitch pattern, Lorna's Laces yarn), and two scarves from kits (one laceweight from Morehouse Farms, one cashmere from Jade Sapphire). This gives me a variety of techniques, colors, gauge, and texture to choose from.

Approach #4: When I needed an emergency birthday gift for Joe (he had gone and bought himself presents AGAIN less than a week before his day), I got yarn for a ribbed hat for him. I couldn't resist also getting yarn for Xmas knitting. From that purchase, I've made Dad a pair of fingerless mitts and matching hat (both from Knits Men Want), a Soft Structure Cowl for Kerry, an Inside-Outside Cowl (my cowl version of the Inside-Outside Scarf from Knit One Below), plus another hat for Dad from stash. From that purchase, I still have yarn for a hat for Mom (and a vest for myself, but that doesn't count), plus I have stash earmarked for a scarf for my mother-in-law and a hat for my father-in-law. I may shift to one of these when I feel the need for quick gratification.

Approach #5: Charity knitting from stash is my other current option for a brief change and quick sense of accomplishment. I've knit four preemie hats for Save the Children in the past month, all from stash. I've also finished several adult sized hats. The nice thing here is it decreases the amount of storage space devoted to leftovers, and does it faster than approach #1.

I may acquiesce to my impulses anyway. After all, the holidays are coming up and I have this wonderful dressy Rowan sweater that I have all kitted up and ready to go...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Impossible achieved!

Yesterday, I was smugly cruising along on my Flabella sock (Blue Moon Rockin' Socks Club January 2010 project).

Smug because:

(a) I had finished sock #1 and it fit well.

(b) I had resisted temptation to put the project aside for something that didn't require such tight tension or focus, thus preventing my WIP/UFO count from rising further.

Cruising along, of course, is a relative term, especially applied to such a fiendish design. I checked stitch count every row, and all was well.

Or so I thought.

Partway through the cuff, I decided to flip my knitting inside out to make sure none of the bobbles was an "innie" instead of an "outie" (if you've knit these socks, you know this can be an issue). I was shocked to find that I had managed to achieve the impossible.

Without making any error in stitch count, I managed to drop two stitches. While ripping back 10 rows and reknitting, I had a lot of time to ponder how I could have done this. My best guess is that the stitches were dropped in a decrease row (I did a k1 instead of a k2tog) and the whole thing held together just long enough for me to miss the mistake. By the time I found it, several more rows had unravelled and multiple stitches were now dropped due to decreases in previous rows.

Or so I think.

Maybe it was just the knitting gremlin getting on my case for being smug.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Olympic Update

This will be quick, since I'm already WAY behind on my self-imposed schedule. Between last post and this, I finished my cardigan (except for buttons) and another Barn-Raising Quilt square. I also did an extensive gauge swatch prior to the torch lighting and ended up dropping two needle sizes. My plan was to complete the sleeves (1/3 of the knitting) by the end of the day on Wednesday.

If I knit like a demon for the rest of the day and evening, I might finish the second sleeve before bed.

That's two days behind :(

My problems:

I forgot that a tight cast on is imperative for linen stitch (actually the first 10 rows or so as well) to avoid ugly flare. I ripped out and redid all of the opening night knitting.

I forgot that if I lengthened sleeves from 3/4 to full length and tapered the wrists, I just might have to change the rate of increases. Luckily, I caught this error by the elbow of sleeve #1, was only off in my increase positioning by 10 rows (gauge is 25 stitches and 42 rows to 4"), so speeding up the increases was my solution. Looking at sleeve #2, I think a small amount of blocking should make the discrepancy between the sleeves indiscernable.

I had other (non-knitting) activities planned for these two weeks, and none of them seem to be going away.

On the other hand, the fabric thus far is GORGEOUS! I will post a photo at some point.

Back to work...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Knit Olympics here I come!

An hour and a half after Stephanie Pearl-McPhee posted the sign up list for this year's Knitting Olympics, I signed on. In the spirit of faster, higher, better, I chose a cardigan knit entirely in linen stitch (lots of knitting per inch), that will use roughly 2200 yards of yarn, and that has set-in sleeves (and the body is knit in the round -- the hardest kind of sleeve to make look good). Out of the 17 days (16 24 hour periods), I will spend three out of town visiting a BFF who doesn't knit, one at Stitches West, and at least one full day's worth of time on various non-profit projects.

Not to mention that linen stitch can get very boring very fast. I'm even having difficulty finishing the swatch -- not a good sign.

Lots of challenges, admittedly, but I really think this sweater will be a great addition to my wardrobe, so here goes.

Update on my resolution challenge:

finished the 3 ball scarf for Sloan (in the positive column again for projects and balls of yarn)

blocking a cardigan for myself (6 1/2 balls of yarn) -- hope to finish tomorrow

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

I haven't posted in ages, but that doesn't mean I haven't been knitting. My excuse is that I've been far busier with volunteer work than I was two years ago -- I now work one day a week at Justin's school, have moved from Treasurer to Board Chairman of Kids in Common, and spend much more time and effort with SV2. The real reason is that with more limited free time, I'd generally rather knit than write.

Every January, I make a few resolutions. Along with some general platitudes about losing a few pounds and exercising more regularly, I usually have something about getting my stash under control. I have tried "knit more", but didn't necessarily have more completed projects to show for my efforts. I tried "complete more projects", but I seemed to buy faster than I knit, so that didn't help much either. Last year I tried "complete more projects than I buy", but I bought mostly yarn in quantities for sweaters and finished mostly smaller projects. Yarn diets haven't worked for me either (just like starvation diets, there is an overwhelming tendency to binge).

This year, I have a new approach. My goal is to end the year having completed more projects than I bought AND to use up more balls of yarn in those completed projects than I buy. Partially completed projects won't count toward my yarn use goal, since that yarn hasn't yet moved completely out of storage. Balls of yarn used are counted in half ball increments.

I've made the decision not to go out of my way to control the book/pattern portion of my stash, at least not this year. I did weed out a number of books and magazines last fall, and will probably do the same again at some point in 2010.

One month into 2010: where am I?

Bought: 8 projects, 22 balls of yarn

Completed: 8 projects, 21.5 balls of yarn

Close, but not quite where I want to be. The January shipment from Blue Moon's Rockin' Sock Club put me over.

One of the completed projects took a January purchase (one ball, meant for a lace scarf) and combined it with 2 balls from stash (meant for a hat) and repurposed the yarn for a cowl for Kerry. I counted it as one project and 3 balls, but seriously considered cheating and taking credit for another project completed or subtracting a project from the "bought" column. This is the same logic I can use with food diets...

I should finish a 3 ball scarf for my friend Sloan today which will put me back in the plus column for both measures (hooray!).

I have a lot more knitting to complete in the next few weeks if I want to attend the Stitches Market with a reasonably clear conscience. Wish me luck!

PS: I will post photos again soon.