Monday, October 25, 2010

WIP-athon 2010-2011

I'm not sure if many of you look at my WIP list there is the sidebar (I kinda hope not many!) but it is embarrassingly long. So a little while ago I decided to do something about it. Nothing radical, mind, like only knitting on WIPs until they are all done. Because that's clearly doomed to failure - if I had that kind of focus and stick-to-it-ness, I wouldn't have so many WIPs in the first place!

So what I'm going to do is formalise my commitment to a WIP-athon for 2010-2011 (and possibly 2012, if it takes that long!) by openly promising on this here blog to "WIP one, start one". In other words, finish a WIP, start a new project. Finish the new project, then finish a WIP. Repeat until WIPs are done. And don't allow any of the new projects to become a WIP! Of course if I'm feeling particularly virtuous, I may even finish two WIPs in a row!

Is anyone with me?

I started my WIP-athon with the Shaped Lace Tee. Once I got that out of the way, I was allowed to cast on for my Olive (you'll recall I swatched for her back in August). I needed to modify the pattern and do some maths, so I spent a couple of days researching other projects on Ravelry and crunching the numbers, and then I started. Using the Noro Silk Garden sock for the contrast in the yoke.
And this project is perfect for my knitting life right now - miles and miles of stocking stitch in the round that I can pick up and put down so easily. And I do love this pattern and yarn.
I just hope it fits me ... and doesn't take forever to knit! Have you seen the size of my queue in Ravelry lately??!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

It's been a long time coming

Remember RoseRedia Jones' excavation about a month ago? The main reason (apart from the pressing need to actually tidy it up) for that expedition was to find one of my most long-standing WIPS - the Shaped Lace Tee, which I started in January 2008 (!!). With summer looming, I decided it was time to get it off the sticks and off my WIP list.
Especially since all I needed to do was knit the pathetically small cap sleeves and then block and seam it!
Which I have now done, weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Pattern: Shaped Lace Tee by Joan McGowan Michael, from Knitting Lingerie Style. I believe this is the same pattern as her Krista Tee, which is sold separately on her website. A really nice pattern in a wide range of sizes.
Yarn: Rowan Calmer in Khaki (sh 474), just a smidge over 4 balls (!!). I had 5 balls of this lovely yarn, and I really thought I'd be pushing it to make this pattern. I swatched (twice!), couldn't get gauge and so did the maths to work out I needed to make the next size up to get the right size for me. With hindsight, I wish I'd gone two sizes up, as I would have had enough yarn and it would have given me a bit more wiggle room.

This yarn really stretches! Great for anything fitted like this pattern, because you don't really need any shaping, the yarn does that work for you.
Sticks: 5mm KnitPicks Harmony Options

Time: January 2008 - 1 October 2010. And it even fits me!
Modifications: Vey little - I did a 3-needle bind-off for the shoulder seams and that's it. Although if I were to make this again, I would make the sleeve caps wider - they are riculously narrow. They do work, but I'd just give myself a bit more room up there. I'd also possibly do a ridge of garter stitch (or three) around the bottom, as I think it will curl (even more) with wear.
I really like the square neckline finished with a round of crochet, very flattering for my body shape. If only my bust was as perky and my hips as narrow as Dolores the Dummy, my stunt double ... lucky this yarn s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s (did I mention that already?)!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Get the good scissors out!

Get the good scissors out:

It's time to sssssssssttttttttttteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!

The tutorial at our monthly guild meeting this month was on steeking, lead by members M-H and Sandra. I've never done it, and quite frankly the thought of cutting my knitting scared the crap out of me! Cutting something that I'd spent hours and hours knitting - in fairisle - gaaaaaahhhhh!

I know others have done it - and I admired their bravery - but I never really thought I could do it.

Until now!

We all did our homework (knitting a tube in a fairly easy fairisle pattern), ready to learn how to reinforce the knitting before bringing out the good scissors. I was the only stupid person to use 4ply/fingering yarn - I don't know why I didn't use 8ply/DK, which would have made for a bigger tube and less knitting required. I suppose I always think of finer yarn when I think of fairisle (it would be too too hot to wear a double strand 8ply garment here) and I had this yarn left over from my endpaper mitts, so that's as far as my thinking went when choosing yarn!

Anyway, I had a bit of an experiment with my fairisle - reversed the colours for the middle section, and for the top section I reversed the yarn carried over the top (at bottom, I carried the brown over the green, at top I carried the green over brown) - I think the top looks better. Yarn dominance in action!

The tutorial was excellent! M-H and Sandra have come up with an alternate way to reinforce the steeked section using crochet - the method most commonly used has you crochet on either side of the area you will cut (the double width brown strip in the centre of my sample), while their method (the WestWard method!) has you crochet on either side of the entire steeked area, thus creating a kind of selvege edge and reducing bulk on the very edge. (The red stitches are the crocheted reinforcement).

I initially grumbled about this method, as I found it the way of crocheting very awkward, but once M-H showed me how to do it more easily, I saw the light! And soon I was going for the scissors and it only took a few seconds and my tube was now a flat piece of knitting! Weeeeeeeeeeee!

I thought I'd chosen a relatively sticky yarn, but I discovered after cutting that it was not really sticky at all! So I think if I was to use a non-Shetland yarn for fairisle, I'd either crochet right on the steek area, to ensure it can't unravel, or I'd use the WestWard method but also machine sew closer to the steek edge, for double security!

Thanks to M-H and Sandra, I now have the confidence to actually try this out on a full-size garment! Yay for Growth As A Knitter!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Keeping Track - September 2010

I was doing ok this month...until I was handed the chance to have a personal shopper, of sorts, at the Wollmeise shop in Germany, thanks to AuntyToots, who made a special trip there on her honeymoon. I've long admired the colourwork done by many talented knitters using Wollmeise, and in particular the undyed yarn paired with any of the vibrant coloured yarns - I don't know how often the undyed yarn comes up in the shop updates, so I took the opportunity so kindly offered and now am the proud owner of two undyedskeins of Wollmeise. Weeee! Thanks Helen!
And my other purchase this month was a single ball of Noro Silk garden sock yarn, which was bought for a project I'm very excited to be starting in October.
And even though prize yarn doesn't count, I can't not show off this lovely stuff - 8ply/DK Patonyle (it's more of a deep tealy/jade green than this picture shows)! Thanks Leonie!
On the outs I didn't do so well -socks take a long time to knit and don't use much yarn! Hopefully I'll do better on the outs next month!

In: 8 x 50g balls
Out: 1.5 x 50g balls
YTD: 35.5 x 50g balls - woops, my monthly average has gone up...almost 4 balls per month.