Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My First Moebius

It's a test knit. I got to use some stash that has been marinating without a project for far too long, and was in fact some of the first lace I'd ever purchased. I learned how to make a Moebius, and did my first I-cord bindoff. That's the part I like best - it's a cabled I-cord, and I love it to death!

I also learned that the Boye Interchangeables set that I have is not good for making a Moebius. If I make another, I will be springing for either a super long cord for the Boye set (do they make those?) or a whole brand new for reals circular needle. First off, to get the cast on loose enough to go over the join, you have to cast on onto the needle and join, instead of needle and cable. This makes the beginning row a bit too loose. It's also a pain in the butt. I had to do it five times to get it right.

Once you finally have the (^&*% thing cast on correctly, you have to fight with it while you're knitting, constantly forcing the stitches over the join to get them around the cord. Not fun. As this was just a little 7" cowl, I stuck it out and got the job done.

I thought I'd be hating I-cord by the time I finished this thing, but surprisingly, it was finished before I was ready to be done! Amazing! Usually doesn't happen for me. I'm seriously considering diving into the lace stash to make a bunch more for Christmas for people. I can get about 2, I think, from a skein, and I have two colors where I used a good portion of a skein for something and have leftovers from that project and at least one more skein. I'm thinking one in the brown I used for my Wide Triangle, as that didn't even take up the whole skein, one in Knit Picks Shimmer, colorway Galaxy, as I've used about 3/4 of one skein for Betty's Scarf and will use 3/4 of the other for one for me, leaving about enough for a cowl, and then I have the other half of the skein I used for this one, and multiple other skeins of laceweight lying around...

Pattern: May Flowers Moebius, not available outside of the spinning club for which it was written as of yet
Yarn: KnitPicks Shimmer in Sweet Pea, less than 1/2 skein
Timeframe: March 9 - 18, of course 2-3 days of just waiting for me to graft the ends of the edging and block.
Mods: None!
Problems: Only with my materials; see above.

I don't think I'd be wearing cowls much, even though I love this one, because I tend to wear my hair up in a clip and/or wear glasses. It's not terribly easy getting cowls on over either, and I like my neck to be snugly warm, which you just don't quite get with a cowl. Fast and easy, so definitely present worthy! This pleases me greatly, because I hate scarves but want to be able to give interesting things to people. I think this Christmas, it may just be cowls!

Monday, March 23, 2009

More Issues!

I've been knitting along on the sleeve. Getting fairly far, nothing to brag about but not too shabby either. I realized that I have a whole heck of a lot more increasing to do, and not all that much space left to increase in. I realized that I only just barely got the last increase in on the last sleeve, which was at a tighter gauge and therefore had more room to make those increases in.


I calculated it, and there is no way possible that increasing every 6 rows would work for the assumed row gauge and the example numbers. This time around, with my looser gauge, I've ended up using the example numbers as my numbers. No way to increase 28 sts in approximately 6.5 inches at 6 rows/inch. No way using the stated increases. You're supposed to increase 2 sts every 6th row, so you'd need 84 total rows for this (6 rows/inch x 14 increase rows = 84 total rows). 6.5 inches is only 39 rows. Even at 7 rows/inch, it's only about 53. So, I'm increasing every 3 rows, needing 42 total rows, just perfect at 6.5 rows/inch, a little less than the whole way at 7.


This means I need to rip back and start increasing every three rows, starting at row 3 of the section I am in. I don't want to rip out all my lovely stranding! It's going so well...


I carefully run the 4th needle through one leg of every stitch of the third row of the section. I pull out the needle holding those sts and run that one through every stitch of the same row underneath another needle, and do the same with that one, until I can pull out the last needle and then take a picture to show you:

Next came the frogging, which luckily worked out correctly and got me exactly where I wanted to be. I then added a stitch at the beginning and the end of the sleeve, and went along my merry way.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mom's Cardigan

I've posted about this one before. I think I finally got it figured out and am going to go with it. There's so many errors in this pattern. I'm listing them on my Ravelry project page and will post them here when I do a finished object post.

First, I calculated, using the numbers on the charts and my row gauge, how much of the lice pattern I should knit before the main Snowflake motifs. There's a lot more lice in my sleeve than in the model's. They never list row gauge, just give a 7 sts/in, which I assumed to be stitch gauge unless they mean 7 sts/inch both row and stitch-wise. I've said it before, but it amazes me that the pattern writer was so helpful in explaining how to figure out your size based on your actual measurements and gauge, but doesn't once mention your row gauge.

According to my calculations, at 48 rows, you'd need to have a gauge of 6 rows/inch to make your sweater come out correctly. I swatched (amazing, I know) and got 6.5 sts/inch and 6.5 rows/inch. Close enough, I can live with 1/2" less of main motif. The 2" less of an 8" motif was just not going to fly, which is why I stopped, put it down for a few months, and swatched before starting over. I also found other mistakes that I didn't find the first time through, and now my sleeve looks a bit nicer. One mistake I just found was in the pattern row count on the Sleeve Pattern. Row 25 is the final row in the main motif. It's the exact same size as the 27 row Body Pattern. Hmm...instead of Row 13, it says Row 12 on the pattern, decreasing the total count to 25 instead of the actual 27. So that messed up my counting a bit. There's also 2 knit in MC rows between motifs I didn't count before. This makes it 52 rows over 8 inches, giving a perfect 6.5 rows/inch. My gauge is now wonderful.

New gauge on the top, as you can see, it's bigger than the old.

I'm going to try to get this and my MIL sweater done by Mother's Day this year. I haven't officially started that cardigan yet, and need to re-swatch and re-figure all the numbers. It's just a raglan cardigan with generous ribbing on the bottom, an applied I-cord edging at the opening, and a ribbed neck of the mock turtle variety. Should be fairly simple, once I get going!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pagewood Squiggle Socks

This is a test knit. It is only a test. If it were an actual knit, ummm...I'd make the second sock?

This is a great pattern. Ravelry link. I finally found something to use this yarn for, and it's the third, I think, pattern I've tried. The yarn is MAX sock yarn, a German yarn I bought off of eBay a while ago. I've had four skeins of it forever and just haven't found something that looks right for any of them. This sock, with this yarn, looks smashing. The yarn is thin too, so the fact that there's more stitches in this one than I usually use is a good thing. I knit the pattern as written to test it, but I usually make some changes to socks. So, I'm going to rip and reknit to fit my foot better. I just can't bear to do it yet.

Changes I will make:
1. Shorter cuff: .5" instead of 1.5", because I like shorter cuffs (or even no cuff) when the design itself is ribbed.
2. Longer leg: I like my legs to be 6" before the heel flap; this one is 5". I might not have enough yarn though, since it's an 88 st pattern, so I may leave it at 5".
3. Longer heel: I like my heels to be a bit longer to fit me better, so I'll be changing that.

Love the pattern, and I love how the squiggles are positioned at either side of the foot instead of just blindly placing the heel flap. The little things like that make me happy.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Christmas in...March?

Here it is, finally, an FO post for my evil Santa Hanger. It has been finished for awhile now, but I hadn't taken any pictures of the finished piece until just recently.

This project angered me quite a bit. Twice, two color symbols for shades of the same basic color were switched in the key, once with greens, once with beiges. The kit did not come with enough of two different colors, white and green-ish, three, if you count the fact that they expected you to have another full length of the red to tie up the tassel with. Then, I had to go and get some felt to finish the back and sew it up. Took forever! But, it is finally finished, and very much lovely. Or something. I think I shall bring it in to work to dress up my desk for the holidays. I need to buy some magnetic hooks, big ones so I can hang my coat and umbrella on the side of my bookcase, and small ones for things like the Santa hanger for on the cubicle divider.

Ta da!

Kit: Random Santa Hanger kit I bought from eBay
Materials: Everything in the kit plus some white and green-ish thread, and a piece of felt for the backing.
Timeframe: I don't even know. Years? I bought it...oh, freshman year of college? Sophomore year? No idea. It's been in the works for at least a couple of years though.
Mods: None, followed the kit instructions exactly.
Problems: Lots! Dirty linen, messed up color chart, not enough thread, not wanting to pull out the thread to fix the chart errors, and then tension errors on my sewing machine once I got that up and running.

I like the tassel on the hat. I hate the big tassel at the bottom, but I think if I get it wet and let it hang dry, it will look better.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tales from the Crypt

Or Kitchen, rather. I think I've mentioned before that the flour here is...odd. At first I thought it was the humidity, but that just can't be the problem. Everything, and I mean everything, requires a whole heck of a lot more flour than in the recipe. Sometimes nearly double. So now, I've just been liberal in my use of flour. A little bit too liberal, if these last cookies are any indication:

I wanted chocolate chip cookie dough. So, I made some, had a little, then went to bake them into, well, cookies. Due to time, lack of desire, and lack of clean utensils, it took a couple of days before I went back to try to bake the cookies. The dough felt a little strange, but tasted fine. Now, however, the dough is a solid mass of very dry...stuff. Since there's no water or milk in this recipe, I did not want to add either of those. The internet said egg whites are a good moisturizing component to add if necessary, so I added a whole egg. It did the trick! I baked the dough, and, well, it looked more like muffin tops than chocolate chip cookies. And they tasted more like flour than like sweet cookies. This was a problem. This was a problem I could attempt to solve.

I made delicious frosting to cover the cookies. A bit decadent, frosted chocolate chip cookies, but they needed some sweet to make them more palatable, and who doesn't like frosting? I made a variation on my grandmother's frosting recipe, which is pretty much the Decorator's Frosting from Joy of Cooking. 1/2 cup of shortening to 2 cups of powdered sugar, 2 - 4 Tb of milk and 1/2 tsp of flavor. The powdered sugar here comes in packets of just over 2 cups, so I used an entire package, put in 1/4 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of shortening, to make it a bit richer, creamier, and more flavorful than straight shortening, and 1/4 tsp of vanilla with 1/4 tsp of almond. Or is it 1 tsp of flavor, so 1/2 tsp of each? Either way, I used the recommended total amount in Joy of Cooking, half of each flavor. Hmm...I use half of the recommended powdered sugar and shortening/butter, but all of the tastes great! I used 2 Tb of milk, just enough to make it spreadable, then left the cookies out for the frosting to harden so it didn't get everywhere when I packed them. The cookies themselves are based on the Joy of Cooking recipe, with some extra flour and another egg.

Everyone at the office loved them, and I almost wish I had kept them for myself, or made more! They were very, very good with the frosting. The cookie was not sweet but was very...dense and airy, if you know what I mean, so made an excellent base for the frosting, and the frosting was just heavenly. Lee doesn't eat such things, so it is much better that I can bring them in to work because if I didn't, I would eat it all, and that would not be a good thing!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I've had the fodder for this post since, oh I posted last. I just haven't sat down to write the stupid thing.

Hourglass socks. These are the most fiddly pattern I've ever knit, because of all of the purling and twisted cabling. I started these in November, to have socks to knit on during my walk to work. It got cold and the twisted cabling turned out to not be a good knit to work on when not fully paying attention to it. These socks have taken a lot of time and concentration.

I made a bunch of modifications, because by now I know what I like in a good fitting sock. I like a 6" cuff with a longer heel, so my sock legs are about 8.5" from top of cuff to bottom of heel. I like about 1" of cuff, depending on the design, and I love it when the different aspects of a design can flow into each other, like the leg to foot row of twisted stitches along the edge. As such, I changed the cuff to a cast on of 70 sts instead of 68 so I didn't have to increase later, and did a 1x1 twisted rib cuff, so that the twisted ribbing can flow into the twisted cables in the pattern. I kept the heel flap over 35 sts instead of decreasing to 34, and went back to a total of 70 sts down the foot.

I printed out a copy of the pattern to have in my purse, with all of my changes and taking out some unnecessary (for me) explanation to shorten the printout length. At least, I thought I put all the changes onto the printout...

All but the length of the heel flap, that is! For the first sock, I did it right. The second sock, however, was knit as per instructions. I thought it was a fairly short heel flap, but figured that since that was on the page, that was what it was supposed to be, instead of double checking it against the other sock or the numbers on Hedera, which is what I use for my heel flaps. When I finished the gusset decreases, I thought, "My, that took no time at all. Either that's wrong or I got a heck of a lot faster at this. Must have just been faster!"

That's two major warning bells, and not once until I had finished weaving in the end after Kitchenering did I check it against the first sock. I am still in shock over what I found and have not yet had the heart to rip it out back to the heel flap and re-knit it all. I do really, really want more work socks, so I'll have to get around to it sooner rather than later, but damn, to think I was finally, really, truly done with such a project and then to find out that no, I have to rip out all that hard work and re-do it...AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!