Sunday, March 20, 2016

Year of Projects 5: Week 38

KNIT. SOCK. LOVE. : BFF • Clandestine • Cusp • German Stockings • Gothic Spire • Hedera • In and Out • Lissajous • Marilinda • Mona • Monkey • Pointelle • Rhombus  Sake • Stalagmite • Stricken • Thelonious  Twisted Flower • Wedge

VANILLA SOCKS FOR CHARITY: July • August • September • October • November • December • January  February • March • April • May • June

Thankfully this week has been a lot more successful than last week!

After repeated soaks and rinses, I was able to get the coffee stains almost entirely out of the baby blanket. After blocking (again) Gavin and I agreed that you'd never find the very faint discolorations unless you knew where to look. And besides, aren't babies messy little miracles? Chances are that young Chad - who was born last Monday  - will add some stains of his own to the blanket with regular use, right? So the blanket was packed up and mailed off. On the morning of his birth his "Oma" sent me a photo of the nursery and there in the crib was the baby quilt that my Mom and I made for his older sister almost ten years ago!

While knitting my second BFF sock at work, a co-worker admired sock one and tried it on. Glory be, it fit her! Good enough for me. Sock two has been completed, and I'll hand off the finished pair on Tuesday - finished with just a couple of yards to spare. There would NEVER have been enough yardage to make a pair of socks to fit my size 11 feet. Not a chance.

As promised I ripped Twisted Flower  back to the cuff and restarted the leg patterning. But that's about as far as I got. Seems like there weren't enough hours in the day to get any knitting done from Wednesday on!

And did I mention that my Ludwig socks were done? Yeah, they've been done for quite a while - I'm just now getting around to photographing and blogging them. I've already worn them and washed them :) Nothing like knitting and wearing Lorna's Laces to remind you as to why it's known to be the "cadillac of sock yarns". It is really gorgeous stuff!

On Friday morning I stumbled across a thread on Ravelry titled "Free to GTA Knitters" and, wow, a local knitter was destashing and giving away oodles of gorgeous yarn absolutely free. I was a bit late to the thread so most of the full skeins were spoken for, but there was a large lot of partial skeins of fingering weight sock yarn still up for grabs. I was on that in a hurry! Along with a handful of other Ravellers,  I met Annie of "JumperCables" at a Starbucks about 20 minutes from home to pick up my loot. She has awesome taste in yarn so I made out like a bandit. And, she kindly added a couple of full skeins to top up my haul so I'm rolling in yarn for the foreseeable future!

There were several shades of solid and tonal greens amongst the partial skeins so I decided to cast on a vanilla sock with a Fair Isle leg pattern. The patterns are from Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting - aren't they gorgeous? I'm switching up the CC colour every round or two and loving the effect. And I'm already musing about how the next pair might look if I switch up the MC and the CC every few rounds. I'm a huge fan of Alice Stanmore's sweater patterns - although I've never knit one - so I thought to try working the patterns and colour choices into socks. Fun! This might be my next obsession.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Year of Projects 5: Week 37

KNIT. SOCK. LOVE. : BFF • Clandestine • Cusp • German Stockings • Gothic Spire • Hedera • In and Out • Lissajous • Marilinda • Mona • Monkey • Pointelle • Rhombus  Sake • Stalagmite • Stricken • Thelonious  Twisted Flower • Wedge

COOKIE A SOCK CLUB: June #1 • June #2 • August #1 • August #2 • October #1 • October #2 • December #1 • December #2 

VANILLA SOCKS FOR CHARITY: July • August • September • October • November • December • January  February • March • April • May • June

If it isn't one thing, it's another.

Things went off the rails with Twisted Flower when I noticed a split stitch in a cable and decided to tink back to fix it. Easier said than done with darkish splitty yarn on tiny needles and a million tiny cables. In fact, I'm about to cry "Uncle" and rip back to the cuff to start over. This yarn is CoBaSi - a cotton, bamboo and silk blend - so is a bit splitty straight away. After salvaging it by frogging Darjeeling socks it got splittier and will likely be even splittier after another round of frogging. I might need to use lifelines to get through these socks! CRAP!

Never mind, I thought, I'll put that aside for a bit and cast on something else for instant gratification.  And what could be more quick and gratifying than a simple classic sock like BFF from a really luxurious yarn like Tosh Sock? So imagine my frustration when I discovered the yarn was badly frayed after knitting more than a dozen rounds. Okay, that's not insurmountable. But after knitting ten repeats of the leg I realized that there wasn't nearly enough yardage to knit the leg (or the foot) long enough to fit me. CRAP! That IS insurmountable. Short of adding a contrasting yarn my only choice was to knit a smaller sock, so that's what I did. Sock one is 55 grams, with 55 grams remaining for sock two so I should just squeak through. This finished pair will be donated to charity.

But the biggest disaster of my knitting week happened on Wednesday morning when I dropped and shattered my coffee mug splashing boiling hot coffee across a large area of my living room. Last week's finished baby blanket was sitting on the ottoman awaiting a nice box for packaging and shipping to the expectant mother, and it was splashed with coffee. The stained blanket has been soaked. It's had repeated baths alternating dish detergent water and vinegar water. It's soaking one more time now. The stains are hardly noticeable now, but if they still remain I'll try commercial laundry stain removers this afternoon. And if all that fails, it looks like I'll be bleaching it white. CRAP!

So that's been my week. I'm almost afraid to do anything or touch anything else. They say bad luck comes in threes - and I've had my three - so maybe it's safe. Here's hoping next week is less disastrous :)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Year of Projects 5: Week 36

KNIT. SOCK. LOVE. : BFF • Clandestine • Cusp • German Stockings • Gothic Spire • Hedera • In and Out • Lissajous • Marilinda • Mona • Monkey • Pointelle • Rhombus  Sake • Stalagmite • Stricken • Thelonious  Twisted Flower • Wedge

COOKIE A SOCK CLUB: June #1 • June #2 • August #1 • August #2 • October #1 • October #2 • December #1 • December #2 

VANILLA SOCKS FOR CHARITY: July • August • September • October • November • December • January  February • March • April • May • June

Over the last several days the blanket border was knit on 4 circulars, making it hard to visualize off the needles. Late Thursday, once the final stitch was bound off I was excited to spread it out to see the finished blanket. But excitement switched to dismay and disappointment in a heartbeat - the borders were lumpy and distorted the centre panel. Oh no!

My first instinct was to rip it out and start over with another pattern. "You're nuts", said Gavin, "it looks fine." Hmmmmm.... maybe a clear head and fresh eyes were needed? I consoled myself by setting the blanket aside and cruising through alternative patterns on Ravelry, just in case.

The next morning I wasn't quite as unhappy with the blanket. There were some parts of it that I was happy with, and folded this way and that, it didn't look bad. And maybe, just maybe, I'd like it more after blocking? Yes, let's wash it, dry it and then decide.

Note to self: never underestimate the miracle of blocking. A trip through the wash was just the ticket to relax the borders and smooth out all the lumpiness. The blanket now drapes beautifully! Phew! I am soooooo much happier with it now!

A couple of things I should mention:

• the yarn is Cascade Ultra Pima. It is a dream to knit and after blocking it drapes beautifully - there is no woolly springiness to it! If you use this yarn though, do take time to block your FO. Not just to smooth it out, open it up and improve the drape, but also because it shed an astonishing amount of lint on that first wash!

• as written, the spindle cables were meant to continue to the corners and be incorporated into the increases but I chose to leave the corner sections as plain stockinette. My thinking was that they would finish more square and less ruffly. I think with this yarn I could have gone either way, but I like the look of it nonetheless.

• as written, the pattern calls for a decorative picot bind off. After working several inches of that I decided to rip back and change the bind off. In cotton the picots just seemed awkwardly lumpy. I looked through a variety of bind off options shown here, but in the end decided to simply bind off in pattern. I didn't want it ruffled, I didn't want it fussy, I didn't want it too tight and I didn't want it to detract from the spindle cables. I'm happy with that decision too.

• my intention was to knit a square blanket and I wrongly assumed that there would be more ease/drape in the length than in the width. Boy was I ever wrong! The blanket stretched considerably more in the width than the length with blocking and my resulting blanket is very rectangular (44" x 36"). It might have been a teensy bit nicer as a perfectly square blanket, but at least now it's so rectangular that it looks intentionally rectangular. I can live with that.

And yes, the blanket's done before my cousin's baby is due! Hurray! Tomorrow I'll package it up and send it off :)