With the knitting plate clear, it's time for a little pre-Olympic training (I have heard that swatching before the 10th is okay--please tell me if I'm wrong). My photoshop skills are not quite on-par with Ms. JKC, so I won't imitate her post from last week.
Not only will this project be a challenge to complete in 10 days, but it will also be a stash-buster. I have had this Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed in the yarn box for a little more than a year. I bought it at WEBS with plans for a cable project. The right cable project never materialized.
Its time has come, and I decided to use it for my reworked Spring Breeze Top.
A little discussion of where I feel my game, I mean, my pattern can improve:
From the bottom up:
1. Ditch the picot cast-off edge and use either a simple knitted hem, or a picot hem.
2. Adjust the hip and waist cirumferences.
3. Shorten the armhole height.
4. Tweak the V-neck shaping so that it's straigher.
5. Play with the sleeve shaping. Perhaps narrower sleeves might be more convenient.
6. Add a section to the pattern where custom short-row bust shaping can be added.
In addition to the shaping changes, I'll also need to devise different sizes.
Please tell me that math is appropriate before the 10th. Please?!
But you would never know it:
Pre-felted knits look very, very, VERY strange. I have my doubts about the shrinking. Shouldn't the garter-stitch portion be longer? Was my gauge off?
"Trust the pattern," my inner knitter replies, Zen-like.
The felting will have to wait until a free evening later in the week.
As I anticipated, once I picked up the stitches for the head part of the hat (which, based on some internet research might simply be called the "hat"), the next part went quickly.
Then, I decided to follow the pattern's instructions. Instead of knitting a purl row and going straight to the crown decreases, I decided to bind off the 110 hat stitches and pick up stitches for the crown. I tried to pick up the correct number, but I fell five short of it.
Now, if anyone asks me if it's always important to pick up exactly the number of stitches specified in a pattern I always answer "Nooo!" So long as you have about the same number (22 instead of 20, but not 53 instead of 12), and so long as you can keep the multiple of stitches that you need (so, for example, if you need a multiple of four stitches, and the pattern says to pick up 24, don't go picking up 26. Pick up 20, 24, or 28.) you'll be fine.
Still, I debated. Should I start over? In the end, I decided to adjust my decrease spacing to accomodate five fewer stitiches. Tell me if I'm wrong, but I think that I will be fine.
Felting projects can be completely mindless (and good for those times when the knitting group hilarity reaches a crescendo, and you don't think that your brain can handle the snarky comments AND keeping track of a stitch pattern), but seemingly neverending.
I finished the rows required for the hat band, and now I'm picking up stitches for the hat body ("Body?" Is that what one calls the head part of the hat? There must be a better word.)
Once this is done, and I have knit the first row the project will again become mindless. For today, however, I'll be hunched over busily picking up stitches.
Perhaps the third time really is the charm. I signed up for Sockapaloooza and I can't wait to get my sock pal's information. The socks aren't due until May, so I won't begin them until I feel that my Olympics project is under control.
So much for the winter doldrums. It's going to be very busy around here.
It seems like everyone is getting really, really excited for the Knitting Olympics. I'm noticing food-related and project-related teams, and country teams, but no other city groups. Is Team Boston the only one? There's no Team New York? Team Toronto? Team LA?
In addition to Team Boston, I have read about a Fair Isle team. Are there any other groups getting together?
What is my event? Well, I have been thinking for a while that the Spring Breeze Top pattern could use some tweaking. I would like to improve its fit, create a real pattern schematic, and (most importantly), offer it in different sizes.
It's going to take some training and preparation to be in shape to cast on by the 10th of February, but I think that I'm up to the challenge.
Will I finish? In true Olympic spirt I'll give it my best try:
"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well."
It seemed like most of the New England knit bloging contingent was present at Claudia's last weekend. There was food, drinks, knitting, and chatting.
Did I mention the food?
And the drinks? By this point it was afternoon. Somewhere.
How could I forget the coats and shoes?
I do hope that Claudia's house has recovered from the invasion. I had a great time, and it was wonderful to see some friends whom I had not seen in a while. It reminded me that despite busy schedules, I need to make more of an effort to stay in touch.
[Kristen made good. You all have to try this dish--it's simply amazing. I plan to make it for the next holiday gathering.]
Thank you to everyone who offered a solution to my Handpainted/Artyarns dilemma. The yarns will *not* be stashed indeterminately. I had a specific project in mind for these yarns, and I spent not a small amount of money to buy them--too much to allow myself to bury the skeins in my stash box.
Thank you especially to those commenters who told me that Claudia colorways change over time. Apparently they change a lot over time! I should have known (or at least thought to ask) about colorway consistency when I placed my order.
The lesson I learned (which I will share with all of you here) is this: do not buy handpainted yarns if you cannot leave the store with your yarn in hand. Even if you do this, you might find a few surprises (Knitsmiths was filled with knitters sporting slightly mismatched pairs of handknit socks--all worked from hand-dyed yarns). If you do order the yarn, expect suprises, and don't match a coordinating colorway based on a sample skein in the store or a colorcard. Wait until you have the actual skeins in your hands before you even think about coordinating.
With the Artyarns/Claudia project disaterously on the back burner, I returned to good ol' 8012. It seems to be the only yarn with which I can produce a decent project. The Fair Isle hat is fantastic, but a little warm these days. Um, has anyone else noticed how freaky our weather has been? We get snow in late October, but 50F days in mid January. What's going on?
Clearly, I need a lighter hat. A hat that will keep my hair from getting tangled from the wind and be a little bit warm, without making me sweat. How about a felted hat? A felted bucket hat, perhaps?
Is it just me, or are others having problems with Blogger photos? If you have a Blogger blog, then I haven't been able to see any of your pictures in more than two weeks. Is it my browser (Firefox)? Or is the problem with Blogger?
[Before we get started, I need to remind Kristin that she's got 24 hours to produce the goods :-). People are clamoring, and she knows what she's got to do.]
I knew that there might be a problem from the moment I saw the Claudia Handpainted in its bag. There was much more maroon and green in the colorway than I remember seeing in September (when I ordered the yarn). In fact, it looked little like I remembered it. I liked the colorway a lot, but I wondered: how would this work with the (purple-blue) Artyarns that was waiting back in Boston. I often have these thoughts about colors, and since Helane and I both agreed that the colorways would work well together (while examining them under natural light), I dismissed my concerns.
Swatching proved me right:
If you recall, I purchased the yarns to make a striped cardigan. In September, these yarns were fine. Now in January, they don't work together at all. Why? Has the Claudia colorway has changed slightly since September? The hanks I have look nothing like the swatch displayed online. The online swatch would match perfectly with the blue Artyarns. There was another surprise, too. I thought that I had ordered the fingering-weight Artyarns. What I received (and it's my fault for not noticing this earlier) is the sport-weight version. Indeed, upon checking my correspondence with The Point, I probably didn't make it clear enough that I wanted the fingering weight. By itself this matter is not a problem, and in fact the juxtaposition of the finer gauge fingering weight with the chunkier sport weight is an interesting detail. But the colorways....
People, I have a problem. A huge problem. Separately, both yarns are great. I just can't use them together, as I had planned. As I wrote above, I like the Claudia colorway a lot. A whole lot. The colors are perfect for me. I hate the idea of just stashing both yarns and not using them. After all, they represent some mondo buckage out of the yarn budget.
I think that I have the following options:
1. Call The Point and explain my problem. I'll offer to send down the swatch. Maybe I can exchange the unused Artyarns skeins for an alternative colorway.
2. Swap the stuff. Anyone want to swap some fabby Artyarns Supermerino in colorway 239?
3. Sell the Artyarns on eBay, and use the cash to purchase a different colorway.
Other suggestions would be appreciated.
...when you knit gloves.
With the second pair of these Urban Necessity gloves, I paid more attention to customizing the fit. Or, at least I thought that I did. The first glove was knit for my left hand. I tried on the glove numerous times to ensure that the fingers fit properly. For the right glove, however, I was not so exacting, and simply used the same stitch numbers as I did for the left hand's fingers. Both hands look the same size.
Except that they're not! I noticed this immediately when I tried on the right-hand glove after knitting the pinky finger. Not only are the right-hand's fingers thicker, but they are also slightly longer.
Very interesting, and because I'm right handed it makes sense.
The right hand glove isn't snug enough to make me want to reknit the fingers, but if I were to knit this pattern again (which I will--but not right now) I would pick up an extra stitch at the beginning of each finger for extra room.
I finished the second sock.
The toe grafting lies before me. I have grafted a toe once before, and the result was so-so. My tension was not very even. I know now that I could have gone back and adjusted the tension stitch by stitch.
As with the short-row heel, I suspect that this is a technique that improves with practice.
Once I left The Point on Friday evening, there were few opportunities to do much knitting. Not that I'm complaining. One can't knit all the time without life becoming a little, well, boring.
Even on the train back to Boston progress was scant (I didn't sit in the quiet car--I think that was the reason. Too many cell phones.)
Who cares, really? It's not a race. I managed to complete the heel and almost reach the toe shaping before I knocked off and looked out the window.
This yarn is some old Bernat "Berella" from Knitting Grandma. It's worsted weight, 100-percent acrylic, and machine washable and dryable. It's not the softest yarn around, but it's perfect for what I need. As you know, I'm no yarn snob. These socks will be used as slippers around the house and will need to be washed and dried frequently.
I'm liking these worsted-weight socks, and I can see another pair in my future--especially because I have another skein of the yarn in my box. That is, if I ever finish the first pair....
After I collected my yarn at The Point, I stayed for a while to knit with The Spiders. I must say that the Spiders were a lot of fun. If one of them should find herself in Boston, then she should feel free to visit Knitsmiths. Everything was the usual knitting-group stuff until the film crew showed up.
You read that correctly. Film crew! Since most of my life happens off camera (and, let's be honest, thank goodness for that) I'm not accustomed to having a camera and a boom mike waved around my person while I'm knitting (or doing anything else). I think that all of us were wondering just WTF was going on. Lucky for us Gleek had the presence of mind to take a picture.
Lucky for all of you in the US, this footage will be shown on television in Spain. No fear of suddenly encountering me and my DPNs as you flip through the channels late at night. Now that's a scary thought.
So, what was I working on while the cameras were rolling? Socks! Yeah, with the mittens mostly done, I decided to leave those at home and bring a small sock project with me.
Let me tell you, the Acela quiet car is the perfect place to get some quality knitting time. I began the hem as the train lurched away from South Station, and by the time that I left The Point, the toe was complete.
I wasted no time on Friday afternoon; I had been waiting long enough. As soon as I disembarked at Penn Station, I headed to The Point to collect my order of Claudia Handpainted yarn. The train karma was good that day, and I walked directly from an on-time Amtrak train straight to an A train, and I was at The Point in less than 15 minutes.
I ordered the yarn way back in early September. Since ordering, I forgot everything about this yarn. So, when I saw it again on Friday, everything about it was a suprise, especially the feel. It is some of the softest merino that I have ever felt. Have you touched this yarn yet? Be prepared. When you do get your hands on a skein, you'll want to roll around in a giant pile of the stuff.
I'll let you decide whether or not you remain clothed in this yarn fantasty.
Or glove, or whatever you want to call it:
I think that I should change the name of this blog from Subway Knitter to Subway Knit Fixer. That's all that I seem to do lately. Knit something, fix it. Knit something else, fix that.
Not that I'm complaining. Actually, I'm grateful that I know what to do and that I'm not afraid to try it. The way I figure, the garment isn't acceptable without the fix so the worst that could happen is that the garment won't be acceptable after the fix, either. More often than not, the additional modifications improve the garment.
This is most definitely true here.
Fiestaware bowls make the perfect hat-blocking apparatus! Balanced over a sturdy glass vase, I propped my hat stand on top of a radiator.
As I wrote yesterday, I was worried about the hat's size after blocking. The wet wool grew in both length and width and I was not convinced that the hat would regain a semblance of its pre-blocking dimensions. "Relief" doesn't quite describe the emotion I felt when I discovered that my knitting had not been in vain. The hat did indeed shrink back to its proper size.
All that remained was the hem sewing. But, wait a minute! The stockinette portion of the hem was shorter than the Fair Isle section. How did that happen? My Fair Isle row gauge must have changed slightly, resulting in a longer colorwork section. This meant that I couldn't attach the hem to the purled turning row as I had planned.
I debated about this, and exchanged a few emails with Claudia, but deep down I knew what I had to do. I slipped my needle through the right hand side of the very lowest V in each row. (Go here for an excellent how-to article.)
Then I oh-so-carefully cut apart my cast on edge. The picture below is an attempt to capture this. Once I found my rhythm it was only a matter of snipping on loop and pulling away the length of cast-on yarn. Snip, pull, snip, pull, snip, pull and soon I was back to to the beginning, with 100 live stitches. I unraveled a further dozen or so stitches, just to have enough of a tail with which to begin the additional rows. Using some of the accent color (because i have a ton of it) I knit seven more rows so that the stockinette hem matched the length of the fair isle.
To join the hem, I picked up a loop on the back of the fair isle bit for each live stitch at the bottom of the hem. I bound off a loop with the live stitches. No additional seaming!
The top (courtesey of Bonne Marie Burns's Bucket Hat pattern--see below for link);
The look (photo credit, Matt):
[Please ignore the obvious fact that I was NOT outside when I modeled this hat, desite my feeble attempt to fool you by wearing the scarf.]
Yarn: Cascade 220, main colorway 8012, and 9448 for the accent colorway.
Needles: US8s, 16-inch circulars and DPNs
Would I knit this again? You bet!
What would I do differently or change? Next time, I will definitely close up the hem before blocking to eliminate any gauge surprises. This "pattern" is pretty flexible. Essentially it's a giant picot hem with a top--there're many ways to customize it. Use your imagination.
Now that I have the perfect hat, I can finish my resized version of the Urban Necessity Gloves. Some knitters make socks, I knit gloves. They're a great on-the-go kind of project.
And speaking of being the go, I'm off for the weekend. Hey Spiders, I'll be seeing some of you later. The rest of you? I'll see you on Tuesday.
The Celtic Harbor Hat worked up quickly. The fair isle? It made for an interesting project, and I'm glad that I learned how to do it, but I'm not sure that I would seek out an elaborate colorwork pattern. The little bit of colorwork I did I liked just fine. An entire sweater like this? Eh, I don't think so.
Because my slightly uneven tension in the colorwork section was a wee bit puckered, I decided to sew up the hem after I blocked it. Immediately after I finished the top shaping (ala Claudia, of course) I gave the hat a good soak, squeezed out all of the extra water, and set up the hat on its improvised blocking stand.
That's when panic struck. The hat was huge. HUGE! Knowing that Cascade has a tendancy to grow when it's wet, and shrink back as it dries, I refused to panic (outwardly). Instead, I went to bed--dreaming of potential fixes if the hat didn't return to a proper (i.e. non gigantic) size.
The next morning I looked again. Well, it was impossible to tell anything about the fit untill the hat dried completely (although I noticed a little improvement overnight). I know that the unsewn hem makes that hat look even larger than it actually will be. There was still no (outward) panic. I left for work. On the train, I studied women's hats as I knit. It would seem that low-brimmed hats are in fashion this year. That might save me.
Claudia assures me that she had the same fear with her hat, and that everything worked out fine. The flapper look, she wrote, looks great in this pattern. Then again, Claudia's hair has fabulous body. Mine? Not so much.
The question remains: how much flapper can you have before you're beaning yourself on light poles because you can't see where you're going? Let's hope that I don't find out.
After Monday's post about fixing the cuffs on my Urban Necessity gloves, I got to thinking about how the gloves fit. While overall the fit is not bad, it's not great for me either. I wonder what's happening. Did I overestimate the size of my hands? Did the yarn stretch (a possibility)? Did my gauge change? Do I suddenly like form-fitting gloves?
Whatever the cause, the mittens feel a little baggy. While that's fine on some days, I want to see if I can make a closer-fitting pair. I decided to knit another pair as an experiment, incorporating some of the changes I thought of while knitting the first pair.
I cast on 36 stitches (four fewer stitches than last time) on US5s (needles two sizes smaller than those used to knit the body of the glove) and began to work K1, P2 ribbing (twisting my knit stitches on every other row). I knit about two inches of ribbing. That's longer than the reworked ribbing on pair one, but shorter than the length given in the original pattern.
And, while I've been busy with my Urban Necessity pattern, another knitter has been busy with my other design. Look at Rita's fabulous version of my Spring Breeze Top.
Way to go Rita!! I don't know about your weather in Italy, but here in Boston, it will be a long time before we have any spring breezes to enjoy.
The Celtic Harbor Hat is my first fair isle project. Other than a few horizontal stripes here and there, Subway Knitter doesn't do colorwork.
This is all about to change. The Celtic Harbor Hat has 24 rows of fair isle consisting of two colors: the hat's main color, and one contrasting yarn. I consulted Vogue Knitting for some fair-isle pointers and away I went.
A few hours later I had this:
Not too bad, except that it's all wrong. Luckily, I was in the presence of some more experienced knitters, who told me that those Vouge Knitting instructions (telling me to wrap the yarn every few stitches) are crap. Simply knit with one color, drop it, pick up the next yarn and create a long float (by stretching the stitches just knit) and continue knitting.
Hey, I can do that! What more: doing it this way moves along much, much faster than the wrappy way. I should be done with the chart soon.
I'm having a problem with the ribbing on my Urban Necessity Mitts. It's too loose. Now that they have stretched and relaxed from a few days of wear, I wish that the ribbed cuffs were narrower and a bit shorter.
What's a knitter to do? Fix the cuffs, of course! First, I slipped US5 DPNs around the base of the mitten hand, just above the last row of ribbing. I want to be careful not to lose the one-stitch increase at the base of the thumb gusset.
Then, I carefully cut into the cast-on edge and unravel up to the point where my needles are placed. The sight of scissors slicing through my stitches is always a scary one. Once I cut up to about two rows below my needles, I cut across, always making sure that I didn't get too close to those picked-up loops. When the excess fabric was cut away, I picked away the yarn until all that remained of the old ribbing were the loops on my needles. I have to admit that this was a complete pain in the you-know-where.
Next, using the smaller needles, I reknit the cuffs in K1, P1 ribbing. This time I'm twisting the knit stitch on every other round and knitting the cuffs a half inch shorter. The direction of my knitting has changed, but that doesn't matter.
Finally, I knit the last row and bind off in the green.
Doesn't the ribbing look too short? I'll agree. I know, however, that when I slip on a proper sweater and my winter coat, the length will be just fine. Whenever I follow my sense of proportion, and knit the ribbing as long as I think it should be, it ends up being too long to wear comfortably. Weird, eh?
How about another new hat?
As soon as Claudia turned me on to the Celtic Harbor Hat last month, I knew that I was only a matter of time before I, too, began one. I eagerly awaited the pattern's arrival in the mail, watched Claudia's progress, and searched out just the right colorway of Cascade 220 to be the accent color (9448, if you're curious). I haven't used the accent colorway yet, so you're looking at the familar 8012.
I'm knitting this hat Claudia style. Like Claudia, I'm ignoring most of the pattern, except for the fair isle chart because (like Claudia) I got the idea that this hat should have a pillbox shape. I did some quick math using the row gauge from my Cascade 220, and decided that (again, like Claudia) I need to add some extra rows to the sides so that the hat will cover my ears. I also anticipate downloading Bonne Marie's bucket hat pattern for the top shaping when the time comes.
Before Claudia gets completely freaked out about all this imitation, I do plan to deviate from her version in one way: I want my colorwork vertically centered on the band.
Yay! New gloves for me!
And, I love them! Just as I anticipated they're perfect for my subway commutes. No more holding a mitten under my chin as I scrounge for my T pass. I simply slip back the top and my fingers are free (while my hands stay warm).
Pattern: my own Urban Necessity Fingerless Gloves (modified for gauge, and I omitted the cable design from the mitten top).
Yarn: Cascade 220, colorway 8012 with a small amount of 9448 as an accent color.
Needles: US7s, DPNs.
Would I knit this pattern again? Sure! Next time I'll plan a few stripes.
I have one mitten top done. With one remaining, I say that I'm getting to the FO just in time. It is c-c-c-cold in Boston this week. As much as I love my Red Heart Mittens, I must say that 100 percent wool is warmer than 100 percent acrylic any day.
This Cascade 220 is warm and quite soft; at $7.00 a hank, you can't go wrong with it. If you notice, I decided to omit the stripes that I talked about last week. Why? Well, the more that I thought about it, the more that I realized that stripes only in the mitten top would result in a very top-heavy look.
Were I to begin these mittens again (and, P.S., I'm not) I would add a few stripes below the fingers, to balance those in the mitten top. A clever knitter would plan the stripes so that their locations matched when the mitten top was folded.
As it is, I like the solid color with a bit of green at the bottom and the fingertips. Since this pair took slighly less than one skein of Cascade 220, I have enough for another pair.
Whatever the reason, my gloves are working up nicely. I altered my Urban Necessity pattern (link on sidebar) for a slightly different gauge. When I slip on the glove, the Cascade 220 makes my hands feel nice and warm.
I don't mean to flog my own pattern, but I am remembering why I designed this pattern in the first place: these pair of gloves will be the perfect subway-communting accessory!
I wove the ends in as I knit each finger. No matter what I do, I cannot avoid getting small gaps at the base of my fingers. I have accepted these gaps as inevitable, and I have left myself an extra long tail of yarn with which to close these gaps. There will be no drafts on my hands this winter!
Next up: mitten tops.
Welcome one and all to my new space on the internet! I had not planned on making the switch official until this weekend, but amazingly I was able to import all of my posts from Typepad in less than 10 minutes last night. When that turned out to be easier than I expected I thought "what the heck!"
It feels good to be here.
I'm going to bask in the loving glow of my domain name today, and save a knitting update until tomorrow. Of course, I could not have done this without some very helpful fellow bloggers who so generously shared with me their knowledge, time, and advice to help me on my path to blogging freedom. Thank you ladies! I owe all of you one.
Because I don't want to lose any of you, please make sure to update your links and subscriptions with my new address. While it's easy if you're using Bloglines or Newsgator (Newsgator users might need to add /axom.xml or /index.xml after the .com), those of you who come in from my.yahoo.com should follow these five easy steps:
1. Go to my.yahoo.com, and make sure that you're logged in.
2. Click on the "Add Content" button beneath the page's content (at least, "Add Content" is at the bottom of my page).
3. In the "Find Content" window click on the "Add RSS by URL" option over on the right-hand side.
4. In the URL window type: http://www.subwayknitter.com
5. In the next window click on "Add to MyYahoo" in the yellow window on the right-hand side.
I didn't expect to have this much progress:
Wow! After one day of knitting I have one of the glove bodies complete, and I cast on for the second.
Instead of finishing one glove completely (mitten top and all) I decided to do this pair in sections. First the bodies, then the top. At this rate, I might have a finished pair before the weekend.
I think that many New Englanders will agree: this week is the perfect week to debut new gloves.
After the Main Index template disaster (MITD) things are back up and running at subwayknitter.com, thanks to some help from Gleek. After taking a look under the blogging hood, so to speak, she correctly guessed that the problem stemmed from the display setting.
I had MT set to display the last seven days of posts. Of course, by last Friday night, all the sample posts which I had thrown up there were older than seven days. Their disappearance had nothing to do with the changes I made to my sidebar. Whew!
Never again will I change my templates without first making a backup copy. It's very easy to copy and past an unadulterated copy of a template into a text file. This is exactly what I did. Now, I can tinker with abandon, and if I make a horrible mistake, the backup copy is there.
Meanwhile, my fingerless gloves are working up quickly.
At this rate, I might have a pair by next weekend. I finished the pinky. For a touch of color, I bound off with the same green that I used on the cuff.
I knit mittens...
...or gloves, or something like that.
After the Main Index template disaster (or MITD) on Friday night (more on this tomorrow), I cast on for a mitten as a way to sooth my mind. What began as a pair of simple mittens has become an attempt at my very own Urban Necessity Fingerless Gloves (with mitten enclosure).
My need to alter a pattern extends to even my own design. First, I'm changing the gauge, then I'm ditching the cable design on the mitten top. Instead, I'm going to use stripes of the green color which you see at the bottom of the cuff.
Before I wish all of you a happy 2006, two things:
Thank you, thank you, thank you to those knitbloggers who willingly volunteered to help me with my MT template problem. I had bloggers asking me to email them my template, and bloggers privately offering me a phone number for in-person support. I was overwhelmed, and extremely grateful.
Happy birthday Cara!! You had better show us all what's in that box :-).
With that said: Happy New Year!!