Wednesday, September 14, 2011

SHE

SHE really needs a new name but nothing is coming to me.

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I shot a buncha photos of her this weekend but none turned out to be that money shot, the shot that captures her verve.

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She goes to the judges this weekend. It'll be hard to part with her.

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Project Stats:

I cast on December 2, 2011. I cast off August 18, 2011. According to the scale, weighing the leftover yarn, the project used approximately 1,778 yards of the sport weight Madelinetosh Pashmina yarn in the colorway Filigree.

I used size US8s/5.00mm Knit Picks harmony wood needles for the project, with the exception of first few rows after casting on. With that I used US4s/3.5mm.

The yarn is a dream to knit, the pattern was super easy to follow. The pattern is Evenstar from designer Susan Pandorf. I used the charted sections mainly and don't recall having a problem at any point other than when deciding which Evenstar motif to use. She provides a swatching sample in the pattern that I found very useful.

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The only mod to the pattern I made was reducing the number of rows in the beginning PI sequences. I think the PI formula is that you double the number of work even rows in between the increase rows. Aesthetically, I wasn't too fond of those wide concentric stockinette rings. Psychologically, I just couldn't wait to begin the lace pattern.


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The question still remains on whether I will knit this again. Right now the answer seems like a Hell Yeah! But, we'll see.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A half skip of crazeh...

Sitting right next to me are five delightful skeins of Madelinetosh's Pashmina in a new colorway, Magnolia Leaf.

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It is my 9/11 balm. Well, technically, the balm amounts to a great deal more than just the madtosh. Hubby and I took a last minute trip out to Webs on Saturday and I partook in a hearty round of retail therapy.

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Theres's enough madtosh Pashmina for another Evenstar, as well as enough Ultra Alpaca for a long fall sweater or cardi. Plus there's new sock blockers for my stranded sock habit, gorgeous stitch markers made of little brown glass leaves, a sheepy mug, etc. etc.

Sometimes I just gotta let my impulses run the show. Doing so did help melt some of that 9/11 tension away.


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OMG! Can I just say that this new madtosh colorway is fantabulous.

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There are pinks and reds and ochres and limes and browns and oranges. It's exactly what I need right now. The world is a unhappy place, but where there is yarn there is comfort and love and home.

Yarn is my home. Crazeh but true.



Friday, September 9, 2011

Gettin' by...

So my sense of humor is MIA. I speak or write and try to be humorful but all that comes out is a blob of bile. The best I can do in times like this is to ride it out like a bout of bad weather.

What's helping at the moment is a voiceover in my head of Gandalf bellowing, "This Too Shall Pass." This must mean my sense of humor is returning. Right?

There is something good and new happening at Chez Yarn. I am knitting a sweater from a pattern. A real bonafide pattern. There's relief that I've actually started the knitting because the act of deciding on ONE single pattern among all the millions of gorgeous sweater patterns out there is a daunting friggin' task. I went through four or so years worth of Interweave Knits mags.

As much as I want to knit a winged cardigan, I decided the stash I have on hand would work best on a fairly traditional cardigan, the Ropes and Picot Cardigan from Interweave's Winter 2008 (rav link). This project stood out from the moment I saw the picture in the mag.

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What SHE taught me is that sometimes I just wanna be told what to knit. I kinda tired of having to improvise everything. This is definitely one of the things my recent foray into stranded sock knitting has reinforced. Learning new things has it's place. That place is down the road and to the left at the moment.

I won't forget to wave when I drive by.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hubris and Humility

A little over four months ago a sprightly, optimistic knitter posted this WIP photo.


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Yes ladies and gentlemen that there is four stranded sock projects. Four. The hubris of said optimism has faded, but it was a lovely, blissful thing. The memory of it is made all the more sweet whilst I've had to digest the following crow pie.

The narrower of the two grey/black socks was frogged not long after the photo was taken. It seemed nonsensical to have two nearly identical projects. The remaining three projects have suffered some indignations.

Sock one, named Fire on the Mountain, is knit from regular Wollmeise sock yarn, Schwarz and Kurbis colorways.



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What did we learn (or relearn) knitting Sock One?
  • Knitting stranded socks is fun!
  • Wollmeise sock yarn is a friggin' twisty twisty twisty yarn
  • Wollmeise sock yarn is gorgeously dyed
  • Unlike single yarn socks, you must knit every stitch of the heel flap. The edge stitches (bottom sock, not visible in pic) will be flabby if you pass over them. This "airy" gusset seems unstable. Only the test of time and wear will confirm this suspicion.
  • If you knit every stitch of a heel flap, your gusset will be ridiculously GINORMOUS (top sock, very visible in pic.) I need to find a way to get around this.
  • For socks with alternating sections of plain knitting, the "intuitive" -ly designed and knit heel looks crappy.
Sock Two, named White Ribbon, is knit in a pale limey yellow madelinetosh sock yarn, colorway Ivy, and a lovely magenta Malabrigo Sock yarn, colorway Tiziano Red. The Malabrigo is definitely thinner than the madtosh. Conventional wisdom has it that the yarns used should have the same WPI (wraps per inch) but my hubris extends to yarn choice, as well. Sue me.

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What did we learn (or relearn) knitting Sock Two?

  • Knitting stranded socks in fabulous yarn is fabulous.
  • As much as I think I prefer the flabby fabric I get when I use 2.75mm/US2s, I don't. Use 2.50mm/US1.5s needles for conventionally sized sock yarn.
  • I don't like the look of provisionally cast on heels.
  • Don't knit the provisional cast on in pattern. I don't yet have the chops (and patience) to pick up stitches cast in two different colors (see below).
  • Adding stitches to the picked up heel area, in order to hide the systemic holes heels generate, is not a good idea. The subsequent gusset looks ridiculous.


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On Left: provisional cast on in pattern / On Right: provisional cast on in one color

Sock Three may never be a sock. Sock Three is knit in madelinetosh sock, colorway Denim, and Sundara sock, colorway black. Sock three will either be frogged or be redesigned as fingerless mitts. The jury is still out. I picked this project up yesterday and knit a row or two. The project limitations are clear.


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What are we learning (or relearning) knitting Sock Three?

  • The vain pride knitting stranded socks on size 2.00mm/US0s generates is fleeting.
  • The fabric made knitting stranded circularly on the 2.00mm needles is very dense, leaving the fabric gorgeous to look at but with absolutely no give.
  • Usable socks need considerable give.
  • Lack of give means more stitches are needed to make sock fit, knitting socks with rows in excess of 75 stitches creates a psychological knitting impediment, thus this project may have to be frogged.
  • Stranded sock knitting is fun!

Summary
Was it a good idea to finish these socks with all their flaws? Am a good-for-nothing lazy bum-of-a-knitter? Am I a grade-A moron for wasting perfectly perfect sock yarn? Yes, yes, and Yes. No, no, and no. The answer is yes if my inner judgmental Prissy Mcprissypants has her say. The answer is no if I assert that knitting is my hobby, not Prissy Mcprissypants. She should STFU and go find another sandbox to play in. I'm allowed to make bad decisions about my hobby. I'm allowed not to feel bad when I make foolish decisions. Life is too short, let's have more foolish knitting and less Prissy Mcprissypanting.

Yeah, that's the ticket.
 

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