Posted in Current Projects, Sewing

WIP Wednesday

It’s been a while since I shared all of my current projects and since I recently cast on some new things, I figure it’s time to share what I have on the needles today.

Sometime at the end of August or early September, I decided I needed to have a plain vanilla pair of socks on the needles. I have enough stripey yarn that I could probably have a pair of striped socks on the needles for at least a year or two! I pulled out a skein of Vesper self striping yarn in Venus in Furs. This is a colorway I traded with Jen (of the Piddleloop Sewing Team) for. I don’t know if my knitting changed or what, but for some reason my normal 64 stitch sock was way too big. Then, I went down to a US 0 made, but the fabric I was getting was a bit too tight and the sock (66 stitches) was too big. After a number of failed attempts at getting these socks going, around mid-September I finally re-started these with a stitch count that worked (60 stitches). I’m past the heel and halfway through the leg on the first sock. Behind the sock, you’ll see one of my bags from Jen. I love the fabric and it’s just the right size for a sock project!

Stripes - Venus in Furs
Venus in Furs Stripey Sock

I think I could have forced myself to work on things I had going, but last week Knitty released their Deep Fall issue and Brooklyn Tweed released the Fall 2011 collection. Two patterns jumped out at me as things I MUST KNIT NOW.

The pattern from Knitty caught my eye was Ambroso. I had a skein of Cascade 220 Superwash on hand that I’d been trying to find a pattern that suited it. Yesterday I spent a lot of time working on the decreases on the top of the hand portion, but after working it as written twice and trying to adjust it twice, I’m just not happy with how it’s turning out. The decrease section on the outer part of the mitten tends to shift itself almost to the center of the backside of my hand. Personally, I’m not at all a fan of how this looks. In looking at the pictures on the pattern page, I do notice this issue. I guess I didn’t think much of it when I started knitting them. After some thought on what to do since I couldn’t straighten it out, I’ve deiced to make these into fingerless gloves instead! I’ll knit ribbing around the thumb and hand to match the cuff.

Ambroso Mittens
Ambroso Mittens

The pattern from Brooklyn Tweed that caught my eye was Ashby. As the weather has turned a little cooler, I’ve found myself wanting something light that I could wear and easily take off. A non-lace shawl made from a warm fiber was just what I needed. I picked up some Ultra Alpaca and started it this past weekend. I like the construction of it. You knit the edge first, then pick up the stitches from the edge and knit the shawl from there. It avoids the problem of having 400+ stitches when you get to the bottom of the shawl! The color of the yarn is a little lighter in person then the photo shows.

Ashby
Ashby

For a while now I’ve wanted to make a pair of Embossed Leaves socks. I also wanted to use up this very fall colored yarn I got from the Loopy Ewe Sock Club last year. The yarn is Alchemy Juniper in Autumn Ecstasy. I’ve not used this sock yarn before and at first I wasn’t fond of the colors, but it seems to have grown on me and has been demanding that I make it into some nice fall socks. When I saw another pair of Embossed Leaves out of this very colorway, I knew I needed to finally knit this pattern. So far I’m enjoying both the yarn and the pattern. The yarn reminds me a bit of Fiesta Baby Boom. Looks kind of fluffy in the skein, yet isn’t as fluffy when you wind it at work with it, but makes a really nice fabric.

Embossed Leaves Sock
Embossed Leaves Socks

Despite casting on three new projects, I can’t shake the urge to cast on more things! I’ve noticed some other folks feeling the same way. Maybe it’s just the time of year. The weather has started to cool for many of us. For many knitters and crocheters, we start to think of all the warm, wooly things to knit and wear during the cooler months. I’ve already got my eye on at least one pair of fingerless gloves, a scarf, a hat, and a few pairs of socks. I won’t even talk about all the things in my queue!

Have you started any projects recently? Is anything calling to you to start right now? Any new patterns come out recently that you just can’t resist?

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Posted in Completed Projects, Knit Ramblings

Summer Spirals and Project Talk

Last week I managed to finish a project that’s been lingering since June! Not the best picture of these socks, but it’s the only one I have of them finished. I took this picture with my iPhone right after I finished them, then forgot to get a decent picture before I gave them away. Oops! A better photo of the pattern and color are below so you can see what they really look like.

Summer Spirals
Summer Spirals

Pattern: Summer Spirals by Ina Isobe (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: June 3, 2011
Completed: September 22, 2011
Yarn: Unknown yarn, gifted to my friend Karen, knit up into socks by me for her boyfriend’s mom
Needle: US 1 (2.25mm) Knit Picks circular
Notes: These took me so long because of Camp Loopy. I think if I hadn’t done Camp Loopy, I probably would have had these done back in June! Not sure what the yarn actually was made up of since I didn’t bother with a burn test, but it wasn’t too bad to work with and the socks knit up fairly fast when I actually worked on them. I did modify the pattern to have one extra purl stitch in each purl section. Took a while to get the right stitch count for a good fit.

Summer Spirals
Summer Spirals – In Progress

I don’t think I mentioned it previously, but I wasn’t entirely happy with how the sleeves ended up on Eadon. The bothered me, even after living with it for a few days. Ultimately I decided I didn’t like the cast off I used after cutting a chunk of the sleeve off and that the sleeves needed a little more length. If you look at the sleeves of Eadon in the first picture here, you can see they’re a bit flared. It made them loose and bothered me when I wore it. To fix it, since it’s knit in 3 by 2 rib, I had to knit a small piece and graft it. This was no small task because it would be my first time grafting ribbing together. After some fiddling, I did figure out how to do it, though. After bringing it to knit group, all agreed you can’t tell where it was grafted. I can a little on the first sleeve I did, but the second one isn’t noticeable to me. I’m quite happy with the results and can now truly say I’m happy with how this sweater has turned out!

After finishing up the socks and fixing Eadon, I tired to be good and finish things on the needles first. Sadly, almost everything I had going required a chart that isn’t easily memorized, which made them not portable projects or I just wasn’t feeling like working on it. As much as I really love some of the designs that require lengthy charts, it’s difficult for me to work on those projects away from home and I spend a huge chunk of my knitting time away from home! The Seneca sweater just wasn’t holding my interest, the Grove mittens have a large chart that make them not portable, and High Seas shawl is charted on right and wrong side rows (too much for my poor brain at the moment). I look at Seneca and High Seas as longer term projects and I’m sure I’ll get around to finishing Grove.

I did try to focus on finishing up the Dawn Gnot sock before I started something new. Something about the cables in the pattern are bothersome to my wrists. I can only knit a few rows at a time, plus I can’t seem to memorize the chart, so they aren’t a good project for me right now. I may frog them and start a different pattern from the series (Crafty Detour CSI: Most Wanted – Ravelry link) with the yarn. Still undecided, though.

Are there ever times that you just can’t focus or work on whatever projects you have going? Do you start new projects, frog the ones you have, or just keep going? I tend to be a mix of all three depending on the projects I have going. I did end up casting on for some new things. I’ll share them in my next post later this week!

Posted in Knit Ramblings, Life

ChiaoGoo RED Needles

Recently, I’ve mentioned that I’ve tried out the new ChiaoGoo RED Stainless Steel Circulars. I’ve had a few people ask what I think about them, so I thought I’d do a little review.

ChiaoGoo RED Needles (original & lace)
ChiaoGoo RED Needles – Original on the left, Lace on the right.

There are two types of ChiaoGoo RED Stainless Steel Circulars: original and lace. Initially I bought the original in US 8’s in a 24″ and 40″ circular since I wanted to use them for Eadon. I bought those from Grandma’s Hand Knitting on Etsy. They are relatively inexpensive (similar in price to HyaHya Stainless Steel circulars) and they arrived within a few days of ordering. The cable is the most unique I’ve ever seen in any knitting needle to date. It reminds me of the type of cable you’d use to lock up your bicycle with. The cable has no memory at all, unlike the plastic that most circulars use which have to be stretched out or used to lose some of the memory it has from being packaged. Straight out of the package the cable can be straightened easily. The size is printed lightly on the side, which you can kind of see in the picture below if you look closely at the bottom needle.

ChiaoGoo RED Stainless Steel (Original)
ChiaoGoo RED Needles – Original

Later, when I placed an order at The Loopy Ewe, I decided to order a few of the ChiaoGoo RED Stainless Steel Lace Circulars. I ordered a US 0, US 1, and US 6, all in the 40″ size.

The original tips are the same as their Stainless Steel Circulars which have now been discontinued. The biggest difference between the original and the lace is that the original has a bend at the base of the tip near where it joins the cable. The other difference between the two is that the lace tips are sharper. I’d say that the lace are similar in sharpness to the Addi Lace needles. As for the sharpness of the originals, I’d compare them to Knit Picks Nickel circulars or HyaHya Stainless Steel circulars. Not as sharp as Addi Lace, but not dull like Addi Turbos are. Here are the Original and Lace needles side by side.

ChiaoGoo RED Stainless Steel Comparison (original & lace)
ChiaoGoo RED Needles – Comparison (top: Original, bottom: Lace)

I like both the Original and Lace ChiaoGoo RED needles. The bend at the base of the Original ones don’t bother me at all, but a knitter I know who has a few of the ChiaoGoo RED needles said she doesn’t care for the bend in the Originals. I like that the Lace are pointy which are great for, well, lace! The Originals are nice to knit with, I like the bend, and they aren’t too dull (not a fan of Addi Turbos personally – too dull). While I like both the Original and Lace needles, I really do not like these needles for magic loop. I know there are knitters out there that have said they use them for magic looping socks, but I am just not at all a fan. I bought the US 1’s and US 0’s for magic looping socks. I tried it and frankly, I hated it. For reference I use Knit Picks Nickel needles for magic looping socks right now. Their cable does have a curl in it. It just stays out of my way by curling down and away from me. The ChiaoGoo RED needles twisted a bunch, curled a bit up, curled a bit towards me, and just generally got in my way. The cable got in my way so often that I felt like I was fussing with it constantly instead of knitting! I had to switch back to my trusty Knit Picks needles. I will give them another try sometime for magic looping socks, but I just wasn’t that fond of them.

Overall, I’d recommend that you give these needles a try. If you like HyaHya Stainless Steel or Knit Picks Nickel or Addi Lace needles, I’d recommend giving these a try. They’re great needles for a good price with a very unique cable!

Posted in Completed Projects

Eadon

It’s Friday and I have an FO to share! 🙂

I finished Eadon yesterday and on time! After seaming it, I felt the sleeves were just too long. They covered a good portion of my hands! I was worried about this when I was knitting the sleeves, but I couldn’t figure out a good way to shorten them or figure out if they even needed to be shortened since the construction of it was throwing me off. Turns out I have short arms and they did need to be shortened after all. Since I had some time yesterday, I too my scissors to the sleeves, cut where I wanted the new end to be, and did the bind off at that point. They are just a bit short when I stretch my arms up, but they fall right to my wrists when worn with my hands at my sides. Overall I’m really happy with how it turned out!

Eadon - Front
Eadon

Pattern: Eadon by Susanna IC (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: August 15, 2011
Completed: September 15, 2011
Yarn: MadelineTosh Vintage, colorway Mrs Taylor, 8 skeins
Needle: US 8 ChiaoGoo circular
Notes: Took off 5 inches in the length of the body and ended up shortening the sleeves. RAN OUT OF YARN. If you make this and want it to be the length of the pattern buy extra yarn. Despite getting gauge and taking off 5 inches in length, I ran out of yarn. The extra skein I ordered ended up being darker and more solid then the rest of the skeins, but I don’t think it’s too noticeable on the sweater. It did end up a little bigger then I expected, but I think that’s because of the ribbing adding so much stretch to it. I think this is a great sweater to wear around the house or office when it’s chilly or to throw on over layers when fall comes. I can see wearing it quite a bit!

Eadon - Sides
Eadon – Sides

You can see more pictures of the sweater on my project page.

Now that Eadon is completely finished, I feel almost at a loss for what to knit. I have things on the needles and I’ve even started new things, but it seems my knitting mojo is down at the moment. Perhaps I got a little used to all the deadline knitting with Camp Loopy this summer and now I have no deadlines for anything I’m currently working on (well, sort of, if I count the hat and gloves for Rhinebeck). What do you do when your knitting mojo seems to have gone on vacation?

Posted in Current Projects, Life

Sweaters, Weight Loss, and Rhinebeck

There’s good news, bad news, and an annoying thing that happened with Eadon.

The good news is that the yarn arrived on Thursday to finish Eadon, I’m now done with all the knitting of it, and it’s been blocking since Saturday morning. The bad news is that the skein of yarn that arrived for me to finish it was a tiny bit darker and much more of a solid then the rest of the yarn. I’m hoping once it’s all sewn up it won’t look horrible. The annoying thing that happened when I started working on the shoulder seam part of the second sleeve was that I realized I didn’t bind off enough stitches on the first sleeve and I had to rip it back Friday night to fix it. At least I realized it, wasn’t too bad to fix, and didn’t take long! I started seaming Eadon Monday night, but it’s taking me a while to do. The way the prices go together is different from every other sweater I’ve seamed up until now. I’ve started seaming parts of it only to not like the way it’s going and starting over again. I’ll get it done tonight, though. Only one more sleeve to sew in!

Eadon Blocking
Eadon – blocking!

Since I finished knitting Eadon Saturday morning just before we went out of town for the weekend, I decided to try and work on the socks I have on the needles. Sadly, that hasn’t really worked out very well (I’m glad I brought a non-small-needle project with me, more on that below). Small needles still really bother my wrists and I can only knit a few rows before having to put it aside. No real progress on socks to show right now. Knitting Eadon didn’t bother my hands or wrists at all which makes me think it’s the needle size that’s doing it. I want to get at least one of the pairs off the needles, but after that I think I’ll take a break from knitting anything on small needles for a while. At least there’s always plenty of other things I can knit!

Last week sometime I got this idea in my head that I needed to knit a Rhinebeck sweater. Yes, I’ve got a sweater I’m nearly done with, but it wasn’t knit with Rhinebeck specifically in mind, so my brain reasoned that I should start something new with about a month to go until Rhinebeck. I was looking at DK and sport weight patterns initially. Even decided on two to pick from. One out of the yarn I bought at Rhinebeck last year and one out of the yarn I bought at the Spring Fling last year. Then I realized this was all rather crazy talk. I’d be stressing myself out trying to do this on a deadline when I’ve spent the summer working on deadline projects for Camp Loopy and haven’t really enjoyed it. So, I took a step back to think about it.

I looked at my stash. No worsted or bulky weight of yarn in a sweater quantity. I looked at sweaters I’ve knit that no longer fit me since I’ve lost over 60 lbs since I knit some of them. Even after I lost about half of the weight, I think I was still knitting to those heavier measurements and some things ended up not fitting that well. The difference in measurements wasn’t that big. I think I was just sizing up the way I did before and ending up with oversized sweaters rather than ones that were fitted. Anyhow, I now have a pile of sweaters that look like I’m swimming in them when I put them on and it makes me sad. While looking at my stash and my finished sweaters, I saw Seneca. I knit this earlier this year. When I finished it, it did end up a little too big. I loved the yarn and the pattern, though, and when I started losing more weight, I decided I would re-knit it later.

I’m still about 20 lbs from my goal, but it’s later enough and I decided I’m close enough to goal that I can reasonably start re-knitting Seneca with Rhinebeck in mind. Last week after deciding this, I frogged the Seneca I finished in February. After finishing Eadon on Saturday, I started Seneca. I’m knitting a smaller size, still adjusting for the gauge like I did the first time around. This time it should end up about 40″ across the chest, which is a bit less then my current chest measurement. It gives me some room to “shrink” into it! Even if I don’t end up losing any inches in my bust, I think it will still fit well with a bit of negative ease. I’ve managed to make my way through the cable on the bottom of the body and I’m currently working on the waist decreases.

Seneca Take 2
Seneca Take 2

The last two years I’ve gone I’ve had a new sweater to wear, one that was finished with the intention of wearing it to Rhinebeck. Earlier this year I had planned to not knit a sweater for Rhinebeck because I had taken a break from sweaters since I was losing weight (and still have a way to go, so I still am). I may or may not have Seneca done and if I don’t, I’ll probably wear Eadon along with the hat and mittens I plan on making. I think it’s kind of fun to have something new to wear that was made/bought just to wear at Rhinebeck, though I know a lot of people don’t bother with new things and wear things they’ve knit/crocheted without Rhinebeck specifically in mind.

Planning on going to Rhinebeck this year? Knitting or crocheting anything specifically for it?

Posted in Current Projects

Eadon Progress and an Issue

I haven’t blogged in almost two weeks! How did that happen? I think the main reason is that Eadon isn’t really that exciting to blog about. It’s a bit of a boring knit and I haven’t really had any issues with it after I got to cables sorted out on the right front. Well, that’s not entirely true, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

The last time I took photos of my progress with the intent to blog last Thursday (oops), I was half way through the left front. The right front was finished and is sitting under the left front progress along with the back piece.

Eadon - Left Front
Eadon – Left Front Progress

You can see the interesting shaping Eadon has on the front pieces pretty good in this shot. The long skinny part there to the right of your screen is the part that wraps around the back of your neck.

Eadon - Right Front
Eadon – Right Front

Last Friday I finished the left front and moved on to the left sleeve. By Monday morning I was finishing the left sleeve when I ran out of yarn and needed to use some of the yarn from my very last skein. Having knit the left sleeve to that point, I became rather concerned that I wasn’t going to have enough yarn to finish the right sleeve, but I tried not to panic yet. I finished the left sleeve then weighed it. Then I weighed the last of my yarn. Uh oh… the yarn I have left weighs less then the finished sleeve by quite a bit. I knew immediately that there was no way I could finish the sleeve and definitely wouldn’t have yarn to seam the whole thing together even if I did manage to knit the whole right sleeve with what I had left.

*Cue Panic*

I immediately went over to The Loopy Ewe to see if they had the yarn I’m using (MadelineTosh Vintage in Mrs. Taylor). Thankfully they did, so I ordered another skein of yarn. It should arrive Thursday. I’m hoping that it’s not a lot lighter or darker then my current skeins. If you’re familiar with MadTosh, you’ll know that they don’t have dye lots and colors can vary in intensity quite a bit between the batches they dye (and there’s no way to know since there’s no dye lot!). Crossing my fingers it all works out and that I can still get this finished by the deadline for Camp Loopy Project III which is September 15th.

Here’s my current progress on the right sleeve. Underneath the right sleeve is the finished left sleeve.

Eadon Sleeves
Eadon – Completed Left Sleeve, Right Sleeve Progress

Aside from this project, I haven’t been working on anything else. Well, I did have a brief affair with knitting Desi Myna, but I’ve put that aside to finish this sweater. I think it will need to be frogged anyhow since the foot is a bit on the large-and-won’t-fit-me side. 😦

What have you been working on? Anything new catching your eye lately that you’re itching to cast on? I think I know what I’ll start once this sweater is done and what I’ll get back to. That never stops me from looking at new patterns and planning what stash I want to use next, though! 🙂