Tuesday, October 31, 2006

everything's better in fair isle

My new Nikon likes to photograph fair isle much better than my dumpy old Canon, who nastily broke on me about a month ago. This pattern is from Nancy Bush's book on folk socks. I hate the sock in the photo in the book, but after seeing a number of versions that I liked online, I tried my own with bits of leftover Crichton wool. I like it a lot, but I still don't like the book's photo. I think it might be the drastic look of the very black and very white leg, with the random bright red stars on top. I like fair isle colors to relate a little more to each other. I also changed the heel from the checkered pattern to a speckled one. I have about an inch of the second sock on the needles right now.

This sock's made out of leftover Crichton, too. It's incredible how much better it looks after it's been blocked. The tiny wool scraps made so many lumps out of the fabric before it was washed. It is still a little lumpy, but nothing I can't live with. The colors are so bright that I will probably only be wearing this pair as snow socks, anyway. I have about 3/4 of its mate done, and would have finished it last night if I had not been insane and mis-read the same instructions a grand total of THREE times. Heaven knows what goes on inside of my small brain.

And lastly, a lumpy 8.5 inches of Snow Sky. It plods along.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

latvian mittens

Have you seen those Latvian-styled mittens and gloves? I think they might be all I want to knit from now on. I found these charts and wanted to share them. You can also see some beautiful knitted ones on Saarje's journal.I always have a problem with thumb placement on mittens and gloves - does anyone have any advice to share?

I think my new camera will be coming today, so I am going to start knitting so I have interesting pictures to share.


Friday, October 06, 2006

a month's progress

The cold weather has filled me with knitterly excitement. Or at least, that's how I'm explaining the fact that I have three sweaters on the needles right now. I haven't had much time for knitting recently because I've been busy, but as a freelance musician I'd much rather have little free time than sitting at home and wondering when the next job will come. It is disappointing to see my knitting progress slow, though.

The first sweater I'm making (and hopefully finishing first, too) is another men's sweater out of Debbie Bliss' Cathay in black. The first one I made was a hit, so I'm back to fields of stockinette again. I think I'll try a saddle shoulder instead of a set-in one this time, just to break up the monotony a little bit. I've managed to finish the body up to the armholes, and I'm about halfway through one sleeve. I don't know why I wrote in my notes that I used 10 skeins (1100 yards) for my first sweater, since I think I'm going to be at least two skeins short.

The next sweater I'm making is for myself. Hege I traded knitting books, and I ended up with Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. I love all of the patterns, and I started on the Hourglass Sweater almost right away. I was able to use some yarn out of my stash. This is the first yarn I ever bought, and after an unsuccessful lace sweater it's been frogged and waiting for more years than I'd care to admit. I remembered it as being 100% alpaca, but it seems to maybe have some cotton in it, too. It's a solid blue - any variation you see in the picture is the result of lumpy knitting making shadows. Thankfully it will be blocked. The fiber is a tiny bit scratchy, but apparently my Dutch genes have made me invincible to wool's scratchiness, so no problem there. My gauge was one row too short and I couldn't fix it, so I'm reworking some of the shaping in the pattern. Right now I'm 16 rows short of the armholes. I'm pretty impressed that I knew enough way back then to buy enough yarn to make a sweater. At the time I purchased this, I had never heard of Barbara Walker, fair isle, or double pointed needles - when sock patterns mentioned a set of 4 needles, I thought there was some magical way that you worked with the straights, all needles moving at the same time.

The Crichton remains are still waiting until I decide if I want to make something useful out of the body, or unravel it and use the yarn for socks. However, I did buy some beautiful wool from Morehouse Farm and started a much-altered version of Snow Sky, also from Sweaters From Camp. I've downsized the pattern a lot so it will fit better, and have also turned it into a cardigan. I don't really like the way the shoulders are worked in the original pattern, so I'm trying to come to an alternate solution. So far I think set-in sleeves would look nice. I'm going to have to do some charting to see if I prefer trying to match the pattern across the sleeves and body, or if I should let the sleeves have their own design. I've finished one pattern repeat, which is about 6.5".

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