Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hello, Darkness My Old Friend

Black Sleeves

A spooky sweater update on a spooky Halloween . . .

I've been very slowly working on the Black Diamond cardigan that I last posted about in April, and I've reached a major milestone--I started the sleeves! This cardigan (pattern link here) is knit bottom up in one piece to the armholes, then you knit the sleeves, and then join it all together. I'm knitting the sleeves two at a time because otherwise there's zero chance I will match up the increases. It feels like these are zipping along, because it's all stockinette for the time being--no pattern to worry about, and waaaaaaaay fewer stitches than the body has.

While I love knitting with this yarn (DIC Classy, Rav link) I am a little nervous about the color variation between skeins. I've been trying to mitigate this by alternating skeins, and I even switched one of the skeins at the halfway point so that I wouldn't end up switching both at once. I'm not sure how successful this has been--it appears that the first half skein was pretty dark, and I can tell where it changed. Fingers crossed it will be o.k. in the end, and my fingers are also crossed that the two skeins I'm using for the sleeves are not going to result in wildly different colored arms--one is a little bluer right now, but it's still early days. I didn't think I could manage four yarn ends at once, so I'm also hoping that one sleeve does not take more than one skein. Worry, worry, worry--is that what I'm really getting out of this sweater? I hope not!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Think You'll Be There When I Fall


I sound like a broken record, but I really haven't been knitting that much in the past couple of weeks. I'm super busy at work right now, but I've also spent some time meeting up with friends in non-knitting settings, and even when I've been at home in the evenings it's been hard to concentrate. But, nine days after confirming that the thumb was too short, I have added seven or eight rows to the thumb and Appliance Mitten #1 is finished! And it seriously looks better propped up against a Ghost Pumpkin than it does with my too-big hand jammed into it.

Before I move on to mitten #2, or go back to the Metropolis kit, I may start a third pair--I recently picked up 11 (yes ELEVEN) balls of the yarn used in this kit, to make more mittens. More mittens! Many more! Each pair of mittens takes about 100g of yarn, so this is enough for about five pair of mittens, and it's cost effective as long as I make at least three pair. This will also give me a chance to sub out the teal that I dislike so much in the Metropolis mittens.

Maybe it's time to clear the social (and work) schedule so I can actually get cracking on all these mittens!
"I Think You'll Be There When I Fall": Sam Phillips, When I Fall. I haven't seen the Golden Compass, I have no idea what this song has to do with the movie, but it's a great song. Fall = Autumn, even out of context, right?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hello City


While waiting for confirmation that the thumb was too short on my first Chevron mitten (it was, and is just about reknit), I started the version using the Metropolis Mittens. Here's the good news--I went up a needle size, and the mitten is closer to the recommended gauge and therefore should fit me!

That is the end of the good news.

Now for the bad news--I hate what I've knit so far. I picked this kit because I love this pair (Rav Link), but I really don't like the color order I used. You can see on the right that in black & white, the value changes are weird looking. Very little contrast between the two braid colors, almost none between the blue and grey, and then giant changes. I really think that the photo from the last post of the skeins lined up against one another looked better, and if knitting the yarn doesn't make it look better somehow, then what's the point? Maybe should consider that order?

Also, aside from the value problem, I really don't like the olive next to the blue. I had intended to have olive first & the heathery brown second, but I screwed up the knit row after the braid. And teal is one of my least favorite colors ever--this particular shade of teal especially. I put up with it as an "accent" for the Mariners, but I'm not sure I can tolerate it in handwear, even though I knew that it was one of the kit colors.

So I'm going to rethink the order, and possibly go from 8 colors to seven, if I can that it won't leave me a little short on the other colors (I think it will be fine). Maybe it's a sign to finish the Appliance Mittens?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Autumn Winds Blow Chilly & Cold

Chevron Love Mitten

The colors I'm using for this Chevron Love mitten are from a kit called "Vintage Appliance", but really the colors seem perfectly appropriate for fall. The kit & pattern are from Knitterly Things, and the mitten has knit up pretty quickly. There are, however, a few problems:
  • The pattern gauge is about 7 st to the inch on a size US3 /3.25mm needle, which is perfectly reasonable. Since I'm a loose knitter, I went down a couple of needle sizes to a 2.75mm needle, and didn't measure my gauge until I was past the thumb gusset. I'm getting about 8-8.5 stitches instead of 7. I knew that it was running a little small on my large hands, but didn't realize that it was all gauge and not just sizing.
  • I opted not to run the colors up the inside of the mitten, because I'd rather weave in a bunch of ends than deal with 8 balls of yarn at once. This is one of the reasons I didn't realize the mitten was so small earlier--all those ends make it a pain to try on! They weren't so bad to weave in, though. Once I got past the cuff, I started weaving them in periodically so I didn't have to do all 60-ish at once. And now that I've counted how many ends there were, I think that I may have been insane to cut the ends.
  • I love, love, love the colors, and there's no chance that this pair will fit me or that I'll rip it out.
  • I think that the thumb is a little stumpy, even if these are going to a small handed person. Since my hands are too long for the mittens, it's fruitless to judge this by myself. Before I start the 2nd mitten, I need to have someone try these on and tell me if I need to add length to the thumb. The fact that I'm even imagining this means that I'll probably have to cut the orange tip (I wove in the ends), and I'm afraid that it could get ugly.
While I'm disappointed not to be able to jump into mitten #2, and that this pair won't be for me, I do have this for consolation:


Chevron Love Mitten Kit #2: Metropolis! Time to dig out some larger needles!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Only 5 1/2 Months Until Spring Training

M's Games 2009

Last Sunday was closing day for the Mariner's 2009 season, and although the M's ended up in third place in the West (12 games behind the Angels, two games behind the Rangers) it was a great season to watch. The return of Griffey, the return of a winning season, Ichiro's 9th consecutive 200 hit season--these were all important achievements. But the best part was consistently watching a team that had a chance to win (even if they didn't overwhelmingly win), and that seemed to have fun on & off the field. We saw this change during Spring Training, even though several of the best players were representing their countries in the World Baseball Classic. Let's hope that Griffey comes back, and that the record improves almost as much next year (it would be greedy, let alone impossible, to expect another 40 wins, wouldn't it). And that I eventually finish all five pair of socks I hauled to baseball games this year:

Cabana Boy: Finished July 13, 2009
Strawberry Van Dyke: Finished July 27, 2009
Yarrow: in progress (1st sock done, 2nd almost at heel)
Yellow Mystery: in progress (1st sock close to toe)
Spey Valley: in progress (1st sock midway through foot)

And yes, I am already thinking about Spring Training 2010!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Disposable Dixie Cup Drinking

Wilco, St Paul, MN

Yes, sometimes it seems like I do go to a lot of Wilco shows in remote locations. What can I say? They're a great band, and they've skipped Seattle for the last couple of summers so I've had to go to them. This time, the show was at the Roy Wilkins Theater in St. Paul, MN. I sat dead center in the 2nd row of the balcony instead of going for the General Admission option, and it was probably a good choice 'cause I've picked up a mild cold and was already feeling it a bit. Or maybe I was feeling the extra strong blueberry vodka lemonade that I had with dinner--who can say? In any case, I was glad for the seat, and the music, and the chance to get away for a weekend. I knit quite a bit of the Spey Valley sock, shown here after arriving in St. Paul--I was on the heel flap when I left Seattle.

Now if I could only shake this cold, I'd be in good shape--I'm expecting a few busy weeks ahead, there's no time to slow down now.

Monday, October 05, 2009

This Will Go Perfectly With My Pointy Nose & Shoes


Ends woven in, washed & dried (gently, via machine), and Wicked is finally finished. Add one pointy hat, a long black skirt, and maybe a black-and-green striped long sleeve shirt underneath, and I'll be all set for Halloween! Or perhaps I'll just wear it to work one of these days.

This is a pretty basic sweater, and it fits well enough, but most of all I'm glad that it's really done. So glad that I'm not even willing to wait for a sunny day to photograph it. It's really nice to cross a long-standing WIP off the list, instead of getting 95% done and then putting it away.