April 3rd, 2006

fiber geekiness

I am about to do just about the geekiest thing I have ever done, but I'm curious, so indulge me...
What are your favourite fibers, to work with and/or to wear, and why? I'm not talking about brands, I mean fibers in general. I'm really interested to hear what everyone has to say.

I love silk in general- I really think it must be the perfect fiber. Such a sensual texture and shine! You can add it to anything and it improves it. It's capable of holding such amazingly strong colours, too. I've yet to meet a silk yarn I didn't like.

I'm really curious about the more exotic fibers too, especially bamboo. Also I recently discovered modal (from a beech tree?!, which is pretty neat stuff.


Does anyone know what's up with Knitty? There hasn't been a new issue in over four months. Could it be because the editor has a book coming out and is busy? I've been itching for some new designs and it dawned on me that it's been a while since a new issue. TIA!

Little Turtle Knits Book???

There are several "I want to knit that!" items on the LTK page that are supposedly going to be published in a book this spring. Anyone heard anything about this recently? I want the book when it comes out, but I can't find any information anywhere!
dancing genie

arg, gauge!

I don't know what the hell is going on with my gauge, and I'm hoping someone here can help convince me I'm not going totally crazy.  :)  I'm making the Prairie Tunic from the latest issue of Interweave Knits, and I've substituted Mandarin Petit 100% cotton for the recommended Jaeger Siena 4 ply cotton.  They're practically the same gauge (26 stitches over 4 inches for the pattern, 27 over 4 listed on the Mandarin tag, both with a size 3 needle).  

Since I usually need to go up a needle size, I did a gauge swatch on a size 4.  Way too big.  Went down to a 2.  Still too big!  I knitted tighter on my 2s and got somewhere near gauge, so I went ahead and started with those.  I worked six rows of the back with the sinking feeling that it looked awfully large.  When I measured it, it was nearly 5 inches longer than it should have been.  Arg!  Am I going to have to go down to a size 1?  A size 0???

So, anyone ever worked with Mandarin Petit?  Anyone have any recommendations for my problem?  I'm just finding it so odd that someone like me, used to using larger needles than called for, is now having to go down 2-3 sizes. 

  • Current Music
    Keane - Bedshaped

ARGH! Help on button hole issue!

I am so very, very tired of this cardigan. It was supposed to be knitted for a baby that outgrew it before I could finish it. Now, I finally have a baby to give it to, and my great button hole plan is going all wonky.

When I had my son, I hated buttons. They were too hard to button when he squirmed, too hard to unbutton when he was hot and full of baby angst. My favorite cardi from that time had buttons sewn on the button band, but no holes. Instead, there were snaps in the back! Genius!

Well, I did my 'button' bands, and started sewing on the snaps. However, I'm worried. These, apparently, are pretty strong snaps, and I'm worried that if they're tugged on over and over, the fabric of the knitting will get disfigured. Then again, it may be okay once there's more than one snap. I'm almost ready to sew the darn thing up the front and say DONE.

Advice? Tips? Cocktails?

Gauge in Plymouth Encore

A quick request:

If you've knit something in Plymouth Encore at a gauge of 5 st/in (or wouldn't mind working up a quick swatch), could you please tell me what size needles you got that gauge with? I'm writing up a pattern, and I know my gauge is frequently funky, and therefore want to include a recommended needle size that's possibly somewhat more realistic than what I actually personally have to use.

baby blue

Tension when winding yarn into balls?

I just got a parcel of my favourite wool yarn this morning, Shetland Heather by Jamiesons of Shetland. Most of it is in skeins, but there are two balls of another shade in there also, and I noticed that their commercially wound balls of yarn are much looser and bigger than the ones I made last night winding the same stuff by hand from my umbrella swift. So I have two questions:

1) Is there some special knack to winding an outside pull ball by hand that will keep it looser rather than the very dense results I'm getting, and

2) Is there any benefit to the yarn being more loosely wound when its going to be used pretty soon anyway, or should I not worry?

Pic of the yummy yarn behind the cut, so warm and soft to knit with and I love the multi-coloured heathering (the Cedar shade looks plain grey but up close it has flecks of red and green and sort of shimmers in the light :) ).

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    happy happy

sizing a sweater? is this possible?

I don't quite know where I went wrong. My gauge was pretty spot on, but I just finished the back and it meaured 22.5" at the chest, which would make a total of 45" if I take into consideration the front. THe person I'm knitting this for has a chest measurement of 36" so that's almost 10" of ease! I know in sewing a problem like this can be easily fixed by playing with the seam allowance (ie, making a garment smaller by adding more seam allowance) . Can something similar be done for this sweater? ie, when seaming, can I do something similar with knitting? My only concern with this is that the area for the armhole wil shrink....

Instead can I frog upto the point of the armhole and bind off more stitches to account for the extra seam allowance which will make the armhole smaller?

Any ideas?
in acia veritas

WIP/FO photos: Lace Kerchief; Socks; and Hats!

Best thing about being a teacher on Spring Break: Ample knitting time! Here are some things I'm working on while I'm free this week, plus recently finished projects.

1) WIP: Lace Kerchief, in Caron Simply Soft "Berry Blue".

The yarn is left over from the baby mittens I made over Christmas. Now that Spring has...somewhat half-heartedly; this is, after all, Indiana...Sprung, it's getting too warm (well, on alternate days of the week it's too warm...then the next day it snows or hails or rains again!) to wear my nice cozy purple and gold hat much longer. But I like how wearing a hat keeps my hair from going frizzy in its usual fashion. So I'm thinking a nice little kerchief would be good, to keep my hair safe from the springy and summery elements. And it struck me that it would be nice to have a kerchief in...lace. I did some pattern-Googling, but didn't come up with anything I particularly loved - I could use a lace triangle shawl pattern and just stop after it was big enough for a kerchief, but I wasn't finding much I liked. So I grabbed the Caron (because it's fairly lightweight, and I don't have much of anything laceweight in my stash just yet) and started playing around with yarnovers and decreases. And now it appears that I am knitting a lace kerchief from scratch! This boggles my mind. The only lace I've knit before was Liesel and the Little Shell Socks. But that pretty much gave me a general idea of how lace works, and I've been reading Eunny Jang's "Majoring in Lace" posts and picking up more of an idea from that...So now I'm freestyle knitting a lace kerchief. I love how it's turning out, but I'll probably try making another when this is done to see if I can incorporate more intricate patterns. I'll probably have to actually chart those, because it's confusing enough keeping mental track of the little bit of lace I'm doing on this one...

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2) WIP: Twisted Rib Socks for Mom in Knitpicks' "Dancing", Ballet colorway

I've made this sock pattern once before in LB Magic Stripes for myself. It's perhaps the hardest sock pattern I've made yet - most of my socks have been just straight stockinette after the cuff ribbing - but I liked how that earlier pair turned out so I wanted to use that pattern again with this yarn Mom picked out for herself. "Dancing" is rather nice to work with, but thinner than other sock yarns I've used so it's slower going! I'm using smaller needles than I usually do for socks as well...and the twisted rib pattern stitch makes things go slower, too. So who knows how long it may take me to finish this pair! But they sure are looking pretty, and the pink/purple colorway is perfect for my Mom. Half her wardrobe is hot pink. The other half is black, because that goes with anything, including hot pink/purple socks. ;-)

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3) FO: Kt's second pair of socks

This is just the basic sock pattern from a Lion Brand Magic Stripes label, the first sock pattern I learned...well, not quite. I made the cuff on this pair more fitted by starting out with fewer stitches than the leg calls for, then increasing to the regular number after the ribbing was finished. My sister Katie picked the yarn out since this pair is for her; it's Knitpicks Simple Stripes in I forget what colorway. This is the second pair I've made her. The yarn's a little thinner than the Lion Brand Magic Stripes I'd used before so I probably should have made these on smaller needles (I used size 3 'cause I'm used to those) but they're not too terribly loosely stitched. Kt likes them. :-)

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4) FO: JCL Hats!

This is what happens when one can't keep one's knitting life and one's Latin teaching/JCL-sponsoring life separate. I've made a lot of JCL hats so far. My students are buying them - the money goes to our JCL club funds and the hats make good publicity! I use Elizabeth Zimmermann's pattern from the Knitting Workshop series, which is nice and simple and leaves plenty of room for playing with two-color patterns. Then there's just the weaving in of ends, which can take a while when I'm using up to 6 different colors of yarn in a hat...I've been following EZ's advice to split the plies and weave in each little part separately and it makes a much neater finished product. The kids love them; our club president, one of my favorite students, says they look professional and store-saleable, high praise from someone who's only barely learned to refer to what I do as "knitting" and not "sewing". :-)

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(x-posted in part to my own journal terrathree, with the addition of basketweaving pictures...)
  • Current Mood
bee me - default

well-loved knits

Most knitters make gifts for loved ones (and other people), right? Well two Christmases ago I knit my mother a lace scarf that she has never worn (it's out of Lamb's Pride which was probably too itchy). A few weeks later I knit a Big Bad Baby Blanket (from Stich n Bitch) for my then-pregnant friend's baby shower. The blanket was well-received at the shower and later she told me that her daughter is quite attatched to it. Even though it made me happy to hear that, I sort-of wondered if she was just saying that & it wasn't really true. But Saturday I attended her daughter's first birthday party and I was so happy to see that not only was her daughter attatched to the blanket, but that it's quite obviously been well-loved. I made it from Paton's Merino Wool and I worried that the wool aspect might be thought too itchy and/or too nice to use. But it's pilling like crazy and a tad bit felted in spots (from where Kiki sucks & bites at it). Collapse ) It made my day and I just wanted to share.
merriweather disgruntled

:: A Saga of Yarn, Kool-Aid, and Hippies ::

One sunny afternoon in early April, three good friends (or Yarn Hippies, as some called them,) got together for an afternoon of yarn and color. Armed with Kool-Aid, an epic array of kitchen supplies, and their fortuitous powers of ingenuity, Anne, aka undiestakr, Sarah, or savvyminx, and I  brought color to many many hanks of yarn. Our yarn-mobile scultpure was also quite stunning.

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hands, catwalk, techie

(no subject)

I decided, a few days ago, that I was going to make my little siter a cute, lacy shrug for her birthday. It happens to be at the end of the month. I looked around, and found a method I liked (knit 1 sleeve in the round, then knit flat 1/2 way acroos the back. Hold all those stitches somewhere. Do the other side. Graft (that's right, I'm choosing to graft about a foot of project... Yes, I'm a little bit odd that way)) and then looked a little more and found a lace pattern I liked. So now the question is, is there any technique I could use so that I don't have "edges" when I'm knitting in the round with a pattern that was written to be flat?
  • Current Music
    prodigy-one man army
Pixie Purls

Help me use my brain!!

Please if you don't mind!

Okay I knit the essential stripe sweater up in some worsted yarn a few months ago. It fit just fine. I found these notes in my blog;

My swatch is 5st = 1" and the pattern calls for 4.75 = 1". I like how it knits up and I don't want to go up a needle size, so I'll go up a sweater size, and to think in middle school I didn't think there as any use for math. So I went to "Only Ewe & Cotton Too" today durring lunch and got size #6 and #7. I got the 7's just in case. I think I will knit up the size 34, which maybe will wind up a size 33" or 32" with the .25 higher stitch count.

I'm not terribly sure how I knew it would worki out to only 2 inches difference because well this sweater never has a stitch count! It's knit from the top down and well it's all measuring inches, so the stitch count never really is involved clearly.

So well this sweater did indeed come out fitting just fine.

Well now I want to knit a short sleeve version in rowan calmer. I am getting 5.5 stitches per inch with the calmer. I am thinking I should knit up the size 36" and hope it comes out to the 32". I am just basically making a guess. Any ideas?

Getting gauge w/ Cotton blend

The garment is question is Anouk from Knitty using Knit Picks Shine Worsted (60/40 Cotton/Modal). I had to go up two needle sizes from recommended to get anything remotely approaching the gauge of 4.5 sts/in.

My main question is: Do I need to wash & block and recheck gauge before starting the garment? Or will I be ok for this particular garment?
yeah baby

Learning Fair Isle!!

I'm so excited. I am teaching myself Fair Isle! I always wanted to learn this but I seem to like the sweaters that are certainly for an advanced level of skill. I figured I would never reach that level - until tonight.

Tonight I just said, "What the heck, I'm going to learn this." I had no idea it would be so freakin easy. Granted I am using colors that wouldn't be used together and I have to work on my method (all those skeins) and tension but I am pretty happy with this - especially for a first attempt. If anyone has been hesitant about learning this (or any) technique, I say just dive right in - that's how you learned to knit in the first place. The worse that could happen is it looks like crap and you have to try again.

ETA: Oh and if anyone has any pointers that they'd like to share, that'd be fabulous. I have hit a few tutorial sites and watched the knittinghelp.com video but personal experiences or tips are always welcome. And yes I can take constructive criticism.

I was using a part of a fair isle chart from a sweater in Vintage Knits.

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