Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Weekend

The weekend begins. My order from Knit Picks arrived yesterday and I could have kissed the mailman. So I have a new set of US 6 needles and I could start the SFS Sweater once again, this time on larger needles and at a larger size. However, I also got a ball of Cotlin that I want to swatch on those US 6 needles, for another SFS Sweater perhaps. Yes, that's how I am. Contemplate knitting another of a sweater that I can't get the first one knit in three years time. Anyway, in the meantime, while trolling blogs, I found a dishcloth pattern I just had to make. You'll see why when it's finished. And it is on the new US 6 needles at the moment! I thought I could whip through it, then do the swatch, then cast on for the sweater in Linet. I didn't figure in my luke warm attempt to de-clutter for a few hours yesterday (I got rid of tons of old bills. How long do you keep old, paid utility bills anyway?!!!) or the loads of wash I finally got around to washing, folding and almost putting away. I also didn't figure on having to cook two meals. Me? Cook? When I have knitting to be done? Is he kidding? I did it. I must be getting soft.

So today I will knit and sustain myself on Chinese take out. I don't work on weekends. No de-cluttering, not even a luke warm attempt. Not even a half-hearted swipe with a duster at the Spring spider webs linking the picture frames together on the shelf and window sill. You can only see them for a short period when the sun shines in the window at a certain angle anyway. Furthermore, the spiders put more up right away. I don't know why they want those pictures linked together. Maybe because they are family pictures? Family/relatives/related/linked together. Get it?

The weekend is mine.

Bona Fide Knitter

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Another Day, Another Dishcloth

I made another dishcloth yesterday. They can become addictive! In keeping with the theme, I found this pattern online:

The first was a bunny made from corner to corner. This one is a chick made side to side. I have to learn to photograph them better so the picture stands out more. Anyway, do you see an Easter or Spring theme developing? While marking time until my Knit Picks order arrives I'll be Kitchenering toes on socks and knitting dishcloths it seems.

I've received the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival Catalog and see the Circular Sock Knitting Machine Demo will be in the Main Exhibition Hall on Saturday from 2 - 6 p.m. That demo is being done by the people from MARS of which I am one. Stop by to say hello and see how these old machines work.

Bona Fide Knitter

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"Warshrag" Wednesday

I completed my first dishcloth! When the cosmos worked against me and SFS Sweater, my Peaches & Creme order arrived and I immediately pulled out a ball of Baby Pink and started the Monthly Dishcloth KAL for early March.

There it is, not blocked, but all finished! It took only a short time to complete even though at the half way point I decided it wasn't perfect, frogged and started over. It's a picture dishcloth. Can you tell what the picture is? There are two dishcloths per month. Since I joined so late in the month, I thought I would tackle only the one that caused me to join the KAL in the first place. They are so fast to knit I will probably do the mid-March offering as well.

Back to the SFS Sweater: I gave up on finding the needles and placed a KnitPicks order right away. I only needed the size six tips, but what good is free shipping if you don't take advantage of it? So instead of the $4 for needles, I spent $45+ to get free shipping. It's very easy to fill up a cart at Knit Picks. I ordered the big needles that do not come in the set, sizes 15 and 17, and some sock yarn. I can always use sock yarn. I also ordered one skein of Cotlin to swatch and determine if it is something I might want to make a SFS Sweater from. The swatch will be a dishcloth.

Works in progress: six or more pairs of machine socks waiting to be Kitchenered, SFS Sweater waiting for needles, Abundance Afghan needing some attention (rows knitted) this week.

I'll be out and about today. I need a portable project. I'll make a "warshrag." Look out socks! You've just been replaced.

Bona Fide Knitter

Monday, March 26, 2007

Disappearing Needles

You're not going to believe this! I cannot find the needles for Sally's Favorite Summer Sweater. I made the swatch with the larger needles, put them aside and took the blog pictures of the two swatches, and I haven't seen the needles since! I checked the floor, the chair cushions, under the coffee table. I looked high and low for them again last night and one more time this morning. This is so frustrating!

It must be something in the air. Is this sweater not meant for me? Maybe I need to back off, take a deep breath and see what turns up. Or maybe I should order new needles from Knit Picks. I know as soon as I order more I will find mine. St. Anthony, can you help me?

Bona Fide Knitter

Friday, March 23, 2007

Favorite Summer Sweater Friday

The swatching's done. The frogging's over. A new beginning. I don't know how I measured when I started this sweater a few years ago because my swatch was smaller than it should be. You can see the difference since I went up a needle size.

This time for sure the four inch measurement is 22 stitches and 18 garter stitch ridges as called for. It was last night and it remains so this morning. My knitting is also better.

Today will be cast on and knit some rows. I'll use a longer cable, 32 inch instead of 24, so that I can judge how far the knitted fabric will reach around the boobage. My newest great concern is whether I will have enough yarn to finish. I remembered ordering an extra skein to allow for swatching. However, no matter how I count them I have 13, possibly 14 if I balled two together during the big frogging of 2004, not the 15 I thought I had. That leaves me a long way from the 16 I need now to go up in size. I have a call out to knitters around the world to find a few more skeins. If that doesn't work, I'm in deep doggie doo.

Those swatches will end up in the sweater and it still might have short sleeves. During a Google search I learned I missed an eBay auction for 17 skeins of a lavender color. I think if that auction was open right now I would bid to win and make the sweater in another color. I am determined to have a Sally's Favorite Summer Sweater in my future. I'm looking for Berroco Linet, color 3121, dyelot 67 or any dyelot I can find.

Bona Fide Knitter

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Oops! I've Done It Again

I've seen something else I want to do. I was first tempted with the ball band "warshrags" in the Mason Dixon book. Now, through blog trolling, I've found a new subculture: knitted dishcloths! I joined the Monthly Dishcloths KAL! Yes, I did. I think the dishcloths or "warshrags" are great little portable projects and since I'm doing so many socks by machine right now and my other hand knit projects are too large for KIPing, I'll knit dishcloths. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

I've placed an order for Peaches & Creme cotton yarn, the order I delayed based on my decluttering constraints. Now that Richard has his socks I was free to place a yarn order. Yarn out/yarn in. When it comes I should be able to work a few dishcloths into my modified Rule of Three. They'll take the place of hand knit socks.

What is my fascination with knitted little cloths? I don't know. I just know I like what I've seen, various little motifs. They are a good way to try out new stitch patterns without a big commitment and probably just enough of a challenge for me before I long for mindless knitting again. What am I going to do with them? We have to see how many I make first, but some ideas are: wash dishes with them, wash my face with them, wash my . . . maybe not. I could knit some together into a baby blanket. I could give them away as gifts and let somebody else worry about what to do with them.

So many interests/so little time.

Bona Fide Knitter

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

SFS Sweater Woe is Me Wednesday

My gauge is off. Last night I kept looking at what I was doing and thinking it looked small. I smoothed the stitches out as far as they would go on the 24" circular and wasn't comforted by the results. I remember seeing Sally Melville wearing the sweater at Stitches East. Hers was sort of a celery green, similar to the one pictured in the pattern. Maybe it was the one pictured in the pattern. Sally's was oversized. I want mine oversized.

Can you say 'swatch'? Before I started the sweater the first time I did swatch. I was using two straight aluminum needles. I was very careful when deciding on what size to make. I added the six inches to my measurements as required. I have no hips but lots of boobage so I went with six inches added to the top measurement. I did not measure this time. I should have. I should have swatched as well. OUCH!

Okay, so I'm a little above my fighting weight. I considered continuing with the size on the needles, but when the ruler showed my gauge to be off that was the last straw. I will be at my best weight again, maybe even in the next few months and certainly by the time the sweater is finished. However, I have doubts about "oversized" even if my gauge was right. Can you say 'frog pond'?

Yes, I am going to frog Sally's Favorite Summer Sweater The Bane Of My Existence yet again. How many times is this? Five? Ten? Who knows? Who's counting?

The good news is, with my Knit Picks needles, restarting and getting back to where I am right now will not take long. Also I discovered how really handy the Knit Picks ruler is. It's called a View Sizer. Do you have one? Well, you should! It has a needle sizer section and a magnifying bar with a red line to keep you on the right row and two red lines that mark off four inches. No, I am not affiliated with the company, just giving credit where it's due. This little ruler is fabu! And so are the needles.

So here's the plan: I will go up a needle size for both needles AND make the next size larger sweater. First I will measure myself again, then swatch again, then check that I have enough yarn. I have extra, but maybe not enough for "oversized" across this boobage.

Stay tuned. The fun is just beginning.

Bona Fide Knitter

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

SFS Sweater Tuesday

I'm really liking this, this time. I will not try rushing it by switching to Continental. I do learn from my mistakes. I will chug along knitting English/American as usual. The great thing is the Knit Picks needles are F A S T! I tried to make that word look the part. Did I succeed? As I was saying before that senseless little aside, the Knit Picks Options needles are wonderful. I'm zipping right along with them. Their pointier points are perfect for the easily split yarn (Linet) and their silver coating makes the stitches glide.

After I knitted the stitches off that old aluminum needle and knit a few more rows, I switched the points so that I now have a circular needle with one tip a size US 5 and the other a US 10-1/2. Custom circulars. How good is that? Very good I say since my knitting guru suggested the same idea in her comments on yesterday's blog entry. Great minds . . .

One small step for a

Bona Fide Knitter

Monday, March 19, 2007

Sally's Favorite Summer Sweater

Okay, it's on the needles. Two rows knit. Aaack! The cable cast on almost made me give up. I had more than half the stitches on when it occurred to me that my Knit Pick needles with their sharper points could possibly make the job easier. : : : palm slap to forehead : : :

I'm using a Berroco yarn called Linet. It has the look of a micro I-cord.

I'd pulled two sets of old aluminum straight needles for the job. For the sweater US 5 and 10-1/2 are needed. The blunt points and the slightly used (frogged twice) yarn were a trial. The pointy, slick Knit Pick needles are a dream to work with. I might get this UFO finished before summer . . . 2008.

I used end caps on circular cables to make semi straight needles. The opaque fabric calls for knitting using one of each size needle. I think the slick, pointy Knit Pick needles will make knitting into the size five with the size 10-1/2 much easier than it was with aluminum or wooden or plastic or even Denise needles. Yes, I tried them all. I'm a faster knitter with circulars than with straights. I think it has something to do with holding (or letting go of) the right hand needle. I'm hoping the metal tips and lightweight cables of my 'homemade' straights will have me moving right along.

Since I'm still in machine sock mode, the SFS Sweater will take the place of the Abundance Afghan which has grown too big to take with. The fledgling sweater will be my knitting in public project now that the afghan is unwieldy and I'm doing so many pairs of machine socks at home. Furthermore, to keep to my UFO reduction plan I cannot knit on socks alone.

Bona Fide Knitter

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day

It's cold and icy here after a day of sleet. We'll just stay warm, dry and cozy on the rumpled bed in our St. Paddy bandannas.

Icecream and Snowball (Ice and Snow), my weather appropriately named furkids, have the right idea. I will stay warm, dry and cozy in my favorite chair and knit the day away while watching DVDs or cooking shows on TV. Too much ice outside to be out and about.

I think this would be a good day to cast on Sally's Favorite Summer Sweater. That is my goal. I also plan to turn out some machine socks. So here's the master plan as it applies to my modified Rule of Three and UFOs: (1) HCB Kimono is on hold while I cast on another baby sweater with the same yarn. If that one works with the yarn, HCB Kimono will be frogged to finish the new sweater (2) Sally's Sweater (3) Abundance Afghan. Of course socks on the needles and machines will be worked in there too. I am in garter stitch heaven. I hope I don't forget how to purl.

Bona Fide Garter Knitter

Thursday, March 15, 2007

What to Do Next?

I'm not quite sure what I want to do next. The yarn for Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono is a disappointment and I've been forcing myself to complete it. Needless to say I put it down after every few rows and pick up the sanity-saving Abundance Afghan. I thought the solution to my problem with the HCB Kimono would be to buy a different yarn, Peaches & Creme. I'm no longer sure of that. I don't want to finish it in Cottontot and I don't want it to become another UFO. To the frog pond?

However, the Abundance Afghan is thriving as a result. I just love the big loopy garter stitch of it! The garter stitch is my friend.

I could order the Peaches & Creme if I want to. The barrier of not bringing anything else in until something leaves is gone. I delivered the four pairs of socks to Richard yesterday. As you can see he loves them . . .

. . . and me as well.

I also mailed a gift of socks today. Sooooo, I'm free to buy more yarn, at least five skeins or 500 grams or whatever I can rationalize.

Speaking of socks, I'm really on a sock machine kick right now. I've gotten the Legare humming and sock production should soar in the next few weeks. I might even try the Auto Knitter again next week, after we've both had a rest from each other. The Legare uses the same needles and in my tweaking to get it to run smoothly I discovered I was working with some less than perfect ones. That could be why I was getting some odd results on the Auto Knitter. I should not stay away from the machines for weeks, months at a time. By the time I go back to them I have forgotten their idiosyncrasies.

As for the hand knitting, more thought is required. The good news is I will soon have a soft and light afghan in the beautiful sea, sand and sky colors of Cape Cod.

Bona Fide Knitter

Monday, March 12, 2007

More Socks and Sock Machines

I've been lost down a rabbit hole of blogs. Do you ever visit a blog and then click on the blogs listed as favorites and then click on the blogs listed on the favorite blogs and then click on their favorite blogs and then . . . well, you get the idea. That's what I've been doing and neglecting my own blog.

I gave the sample socks to Ruby and she was pleased. I've put the Auto Knitter on time out and set up the Legare 400 for 72/36 work. I am now making refinements to the way I make ribbed machine knit socks. I've worked on it for two days and still no completed sample pair of socks to show. I have the concept and I've almost completed a sock. But just when I think this is it, it isn't.

Foolishly I started with some black yarn. Never try something new with black yarn or on a machine that has been packed in its travel cart since being driven 400 miles six months ago. Ask me how I know these things.

My first swatch had some dropped stitches and then the whole thing knitted itself off the machine after the heel turn. The Yarn is Gems Pearl, machine washable and dryable 100% merino.

Although the label describes it as superfine, it is thicker than I thought and I should have loosened the tension.

I made another attempt with the black yarn that knitted itself off the machine during the cuff. Moving right along, I switched to regular sock yarn in a color these old eyes could see. The yarn is Marathon Sockenwolle, 70% wool/30% nylon.

Although the tension was right and the pattern refinements worked well, this one also knitted itself off after the heel turn. A house doesn't have to fall on my head before I realize a machine might need some adjustment after a long ride and a six-month hibernation.

That's where I am now, oiling and making adjustments. The ribber needed a little tweaking and maybe the yarn carrier needs a little skootch down. Let's see what this evening brings.

Bona Fide Knitter

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Sock Saga Over

I succumbed. I gave in to my perfectionist gene. Actually I think what I have is a touch of OCD which keeps me plugging away until I get it right--or at least two socks the same size even if they are not perfect. The fact that one sock was slightly smaller than the other due to the slight difference in tension just did not sit well with me even though it was so minute. It was like having a slightly crooked picture on the wall. I could not sit still. I could not Kitchener the toe. I had to make one more sock. I made a third sock. It's the one with the long waste yarn tube at the top. I kept cranking waste yarn trying to get all needles to catch all the time. They didn't.

However, I have two socks the same size with matching imperfections. They're a pair! Meet Ruby's socks:

1x1 ribbed cuff, 1x3 ribbed leg and instep, size S

The sock saga is over and the third sock (which was really the first sock, no actually the second sock) will be wound back to cone then balled to go into my 'little balls of leftover sock yarn' bin.

That being over, what next? I want to work on more machine socks. The Auto Knitter and I need some time apart. I'm going to set up another machine today. I have a Legare with 54/27 and 72/36 setups. I'll use the 54/27 for some plain socks using Koigu and the 72/36 for ribbed socks using Opal.

On the needles I have the Abundance Afghan and the Heartbreakingly Cute Kimono. My modified version of the rule of three allows me to go back to Sally's Favorite Summer Sweater. Although I have to start from the casting on, I am still counting it as a longtime UFO. However I think I'll get that kimono on the finished pile first. Finishing is freeing!

Bona Fide Knitter

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Sock Saga Continues

Here it is the Wednesday I would normally take Aunt Ruby to her monthly medical checkup and we'd lunch at TGI Friday's. It's also the day she was to get that pair of socks. The reasons she won't are many: (1) It's snowing. (2) Ruby is 95 and does not do snow (3) I am . . . well not that old . . . but will stay home as well. Ruby would rather hear from me by phone. (4) The socks are not finished. (5) The socks are still kicking my butt. (6) I'm hating these socks! I could go on but I will spare you. The socks will be finished today, imperfect sample socks.

Here are the socks being readied for Kitchener. The second sock has the pink waste yarn.

In getting them ready for finishing I realized the changes in tension I had to make caused the second sock to not quite match the first in size. This grates upon my perfectionist gene more than anyone other than Monk could possibly know. However, I will not do it again. These are sample socks. Flaws are expected . . . aren't they? I knitted the second sock at least four more times for a total of SEVEN TIMES!!! I cannot believe how much trouble it has been--some of it my fault, most of it not.

At the end there were a lot of funky things going on. Notice the lattice work up the side.

What's up with that?!!!

Close up you can see every needle in its place and no stitches missing. That fancy lattice should have been straight like the ones to the right. It's part of the instep ribbing.

When the going got tough, unbearably tough, the Abundance Afghan grew.

Why am I spending so much time on a machine giving me hell and with a pukey color sock yarn I don't even like when I have all this lovely Koigu--a whole basket full--I could be cranking out on my Legare 54/27?!!!

You might wonder why I would give Ruby my flawed sample socks in a color I don't like. She likes to get my samples that are small enough for her. She doesn't care about flaws or colors. She thinks they're all just fine. Ya gotta love her!

Bona Fide Knitter

Monday, March 5, 2007

Saturday and Sunday Sockknitting Saga

For two days one pair of socks had me by the throat. I am using the 60/30 set up on the Auto Knitter and making ribbed socks. Having my machine set up the way it likes makes some suggestions in the manual and on the Norma Bogan tape/DVD null and void. I have to figure my own measurements and needle placements. Primary School math (arithmetic?) seemed to have failed me on Saturday. Multiplication Table? 8 x 8 = 64 or is it 56? I know 9 x 8 = 72--subtract eight and there's the answer. Jeeze! By Saturday night I was using a calculator. Thirty divided by four equals seven and a half? There are no half needles in sock machine knitting!!!
Set-up basket in, waste yarn started

Ribber being placed with careful attention to ribber stop

Adjustments made for "half needles," notes written in readable form, by Sunday I was on a roll. I had one sock completed and needed a mate. The mate, if made by my own directions, would be better than the first sock. Then why is it now Monday and after working on it all day that mate is not made?

Ribber in place

Ribber needles added and starting turns made

Sock yarn attached, the sock begins

Yarn goes in up top, sock comes out at bottom

I made a sock before this one with stockinette leg that was too big. That's why I decided to tackle ribbed socks on this finicky machine. I've made two mates to this one, each one having some operator flaw. One had misplaced ribs. Then there was the one on which I forgot to release the heel spring before cranking the foot. Tight, tight, too small foot! Both those socks were rewound back to the cone. Today will be my third attempt. They say the third time's a charm. My Aunt Ruby, will get these socks, blocked and labeled, on Wednesday . . . or else!

Bona Fide Knitter

Thursday, March 1, 2007

March First Mania

I've been knitting while not blogging, in case you've been wondering. I knitted four pairs of socks on my temperamental Auto Knitter. They are labeled and ready to go to Richard, my hair stylist. It being March and all, I used green labels. I think he'll like these: subtle, wild, very subtle, slightly wild. What do you think?

They were done using 60/30 slot cylinder/ribber. There is a two-inch 1x1 cuff, and eight-inch stockinette leg, short row heel and custom-length foot. The yarns are Regia, Inka, Regia and Marathon respectively and each pair has the ball band with three yards of extra yarn tucked into a cuff.

Who knows? Maybe he'll need to darn one day.

Getting the Auto Knitter to cause me less grief gave me the confidence to uncover the old Gearhart and change to the 100/50 cylinder/ribber. Now that gave me Grief with a capital G!

After much trial and error I was able to get the cylinder in just right so that the machine worked smoothly. Now if only I can get the tension and the weight coordinated. The few tubes I've made with lace weight yarn are full off holes and lengths of unlatched yarn from dropped stitches. I have to crank very slowly, watching to make sure every latch catches. I might need to tweak the timing a bit or adjust the yarn carrier. I'm working on it. However, in the meantime I'm in a machine sock knitting mood and lord knows I have the sock yarn stash to support the mood. So today, between blogging and decluttering (yes, that is still going on), I hope to hop on the Auto Knitter and ride out a pair of socks or two. That's one of the benefits of having multiple machines. You can have more than one project going at a time and we all know how much we love to do that! Which segues very nicely into . . .

UFOs being worked on? Yes, that is still going on as well. Unfortunately the baby kimono is no longer a favored object and was well on its way to being added to my UFO list. Oh no, that's not supposed to be happening! Last night I decided to add a few rows to see if favor would return. Hmmm, maybe it did a little. I will make an effort to finish before the shower date. Finished, it might be worthy. The Abundance Afghan is growing by leaps and bound in the interim. What interim you ask? The one in which I'm deciding on what to work on next. Sally's Favorite Summer Sweater had been the choice except I keep getting put off by the cable cast on of a zillion stitches. Perhaps with Knit Picks needles the task will be less daunting. Those pointier tips might be just what is needed. I'm glad I thought of that! Blogging is good for the mind.

Bona Fide Knitter