Friday, May 20, 2011

Finished Packing

My yarn, that is. We have a couple more things for the suitcase and car yet. We are travelling to Seattle for my best friend's wedding. We have lots of reading, sight-seeing, and chatting planned. And of course I have lots of knitting planned, too!

The lovely yarn at right is Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Lettuce Leaf. It will be a Turmeric tunic. I think I can finish it in a week. I think. It's my treat for "finishing" Anhinga (just needs to be seamed, but since I can't wear it until fall anyway, I'll just wait on that task).

At left you'll find an old friend, newly wound. It is Shibui Knits Merino Kid. It left a funny little pile of that blue-green fuzz on the floor beneath my swift and winder as well as turning my fingers blue as it whirred through them. I wish I could really capture it's true color, but this is pretty close. Supposing I finish John's second sock on the trip (I will, but the cables are driving me a bit crazy), I'll start Larch with the Shibui.

I also have a slow-going shawl in the Fiber Optica I blogged about during Knit and Crochet Blog Week packed for the trip. It's gorgeous! I was going to share an in progress photo Wednesday, but my camera and camera cord were in two different places and the color wasn't quite right. Perhaps next week!

It's going to be a loooooong trip, but I think we'll have a lot of fun seeing the sights and hanging with dear friends and the like. :) Then we will have the summer to relax. After the busy, super stressful year we've both had, we deserve it!

We should have internet the whole way (go modern technology!), so I'm hoping we can share a few pictures of our journey as we enjoy it. Unfortunately, our bunnies can't come with us. I'm not sure who will be more devastated by our separation: us or the bunnies.

How about you? Are you going anywhere for the summer? Or are you blessed with the wonderful relaxation we covet over here (have some for us, will you)?

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Afghan

I was going to post about my cousin's sweater (finally!) today, but then I was hoping to maybe get some pictures of her in the sweater this weekend and thought maybe I'd wait another day or two....Alas, I have left my camera across the state. :P

Fortunately, last week I finished a gorgeous commissioned afghan and I would LOVE to tell you about it.

Santa and Sleigh Afghan

Pattern: Santa and Sleigh Afghan (With far better pictures)
Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver
Needle: US 8?

I received this double-knit, reversible afghan in August, I believe, just as the pictures shows it, only knowing that the customer's mother had passed away before it could be finished.  He did not have a pattern for it, so we both assumed I only needed to do the border.  Yet, there were some odd stitches along the needle that I could not make any sense of.  Were they the bottom of one last star?  A mistake?  I went to Ravelry, typed in "Santa afghan" (and maybe "sleigh" too), and there is was!  I couldn't believe it.  The odd stitches were the tops of reindeer antlers, marking the beginning of the other half of the afghan.  Remarkable!  So I set to work:

I charted everything she had knit so I could simply turn it over and knit it.  It took me a month or two to chart it (I should have taken a picture of the GIANT chart.  It's still taking up half the living room floor), then I began to knit.  I had hoped to finish the blanket by Christmas, but school slowed me down and I was only averaging 20 minutes a row. :S  Then I wanted it done by March.  Drat school again.  By I got it done in May!  I finally found a great way to bind off double knitting: tubular bind-off (From TECHknitting, a super ingenious knitting blog!)  It's not quick or easy, but it looks fantastic!  Essentially all you do is separate the front stitches from the back stitches and kitchener the two sides together.  Looks great!

Unfortunately, I worked down to the wire (re-binding-off!) and didn't get any finished pictures (hence these pretty crappy ones), but I hope these will give you an idea.

As he waited for the final few bound-off stitches, the customer told us his mother died quite young--her sixties, if I recall correctly--and suddenly in the waiting room of a doctor's office.  She had wanted to knit an afghan for each of her grandchildren with a different pattern.  This was the first.  As long as it took me and as much work as it required, I absolutely loved working on this blanket every minute (it took me 43 hours and 45 minutes).  Learning the rest of the story just made it that much more meaningful for me.  I joined a group on Ravelry about half-way through the afghan for knitters who finish the projects of their deceased comrades.  I think I will take part in it.  I encourage you to do the same.  It is remarkable the connection you can make with a fellow knitter just by observing their stitches and mistakes or quirks and fulfilling their unrealized dream.

I was going to do a Work-in-Progress Wednesday post, but was busy with a German project.  I have pictures, but they are on my forgotten camera. :P  So let me tell you about one of them: the Boyfriend Socks. They are wonderful.  I have had to redo them twice already, but finally figured them out (I must have learned something from the sock saga).   The boy has a tall instep, so I had to improvise a gusset.  It doesn't look great, but it works.  I may finish the first one tonight and start the other tomorrow.

I need to finish something quickly because I just implemented a Finish Two, Start One rule and I really want to start my new sweater before it's really, honestly summer!  The afghan was the first finished.  Now it's a race between the Boyfriend Socks and Anhinga (take 7 or 8).  I'd like to take two new projects on our long drive to Seattle (and back!), so I'll have to find a fourth to finish soon, I think....

Enough rambling.  I've missed you all!  Now it's summertime and I can be a diligent blog reader and writer again!  Woohoo!  Tell me your summer plans?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sometimes We Need to Break Down to Build Back Up

I had a horrendous night with a horrendous paper.  The thing was like working with a thousand yards of tangled lace weight yarn, it was so bad!  So I was much aggrieved, scrapped it (well, most of it), and started over.  It's going much better, if much slower.  I'm taking a break to share some news and a super late finished object.

First, I passed my exams!  Woo-hoo!  I am unofficially a Master of Classics (it will be official next semester).  It's quite a relief!  Now I get to spend my summer reading my little eyes out, studying my Latin special author, and picking a Greek special author.

Second, in other, less academic news, my grandma got married last weekend!  It was a great time and I know she and her new husband will be very happy together.  There were some cakes left over, so John and I snagged one.  It's a huge cake.  We will be happily eating it together for a very long time. :)

Third, I received another shipment of lovely, lovely Stellar Sock yarn!  I really need to do a photo-shoot this week so you all can finally see it.  I'm really excited to make socks with these beautiful colors!  I'm debating whether to join for another three months....

Finally, the finished object!  I have three.  I finished an afghan I'd been working on since last August or so and finally took some pictures of my cousin's sweater and this hat.  I'll be more regular with finished object posting as soon as school is officially over and I have time to knit (!) again.  But for now, the hat:

Duck Duck Goose

Pattern: Duck Duck Goose (forthcoming) by ifandany
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica
Needles: US 7 & 8
Project page

This hat was a test knit for my Ravelry friend ifandany.  The pattern stitch was just like the one I used on my great-uncle's Holding Hands, Feeding Ducks scarf, but I could certainly see the challenge of knitting and shaping it in the round.  She was having trouble getting the decreases to look right at the crown, so I offered to give it a whirl.  The instructions were a little tricky (though well-written) and of the sort that you just have to trust it will turn out right in the end because trying to reason them just confuses you.  They worked perfectly in the end!

I had less yarn than called for, so I skipped the rolled brim, knit the hat about an inch to half an inch shorter then called for before I began the decreases, and still ran out of yarn in the final two rows!  Fortunately, I had some red Malabrigo from my best friend's robot mittens and finished the top with that.  Looks good!  I hate red, but I loved the yarn and wanted to give the hat away anyway.  I think my step-mom will like it (as a super late b-day present).  Since I blocked it stupidly and stretched out the ribbed band, she'll probably really like it: it's hat-hair proof! :)  I really liked it and may try it again with different yarn.  Manos is not for me.  It's too scratchy and thick-and-thin for my tastes.  A Malabrigo Duck Duck Goose would be magnificent, though....

Now back to that paper!  Thanks for stopping by!