Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Me Knit Lace? I Do and I Love It!

I really haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I’ve just discovered lace knitting. It is at the same time the most frustrating and the most rewarding kind of knitting I have found. It definitely is not something I can do while watching TV. It requires things called “life-lines” and much counting and all kinds of non-stitches. If you look at a lace chart, you see lots of empty spaces and you say to yourself, “What goes there?” I tried knitting from a chart but I have to admit, I need to see the pattern written out.
My friends on Ravelry have all sorts of tricks to keep track of repeats using 3x5 cards, colored pens, plastic rings, row counters and more. I found a pattern I really liked but promised myself I would not knit it in the “real” yarn until I could do two repeats of the pattern without a mistake. Frogging and tinking are the way I spend much of my lace knitting time but it’s so wonderful when it all comes together.
I got some 100% merino yarn from a wonderful place called Colourmart in England. I don’t know how they do it but I can get merino and cashmere and silk for less than I can from a dealer over here and the shipping is included in the price. This yarn comes on cones and still has the “oil” used to keep the yarn safe while it’s machine knitted. First you knit a swatch the way it is. Then you wash it in shampoo and conditioner and squeeze it in a towel and block it to dry. Then you measure the gauge because this is what the completed piece will be like. The difference is like night and day as you can see from the photos. The pattern I used is called Tiger Eye. You can also see from the photos why I’m hooked on this new experience. I’m about to start on a shawl pattern. Can’t wait to see how it goes. Meanwhile, I spend lots of time practicing lace patterns from Barbara Walkers Stitch books. She says you can’t just look at the pattern; you have to do it to see what it will be like. It’s incredible how much the size of the needle and the weight of the yarn will change a pattern stitch. But that’s for another post. I’m off to check out the pattern for my new shawl.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Finished Simple Socks

The "Simple Socks" are finished! I'm not sure that both socks are exactly the same size and of course the patterning is different, but they went out of here on my daughter's feet and looked OH SO COOl peeking out of the holes in her shoes. She was wearing the purple top seen in the background of this picture. She's happy and I'm delighted!

As you can see, I've already started my next sock. I'm going back to my regular pattern and will just make them an inch shorter. Really when you get down to it, the difference in sock patterns is in the details. What kind of decreases do you like to do? How many stitches do you want to weave together for the toe? Do you want the extra thickness of the slip stitch rows for the heel flap?

I'm looking forward to a stress free knitting experience this time. I'm in familiar territory. No confusion between psso and ssk, no ratio problems, just knitting.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Knitting Doldrums

I sold my first Monet bag and decided it was time to try another one. Waterlilies with the bridge at Giverny was the image in my head.

I made my chart on a graph with 30 stitches and 41 rows. That's different from the normal knitting graph paper because I intend to felt this design. I'm sure the math is not perfect, but this graph has been working for me. I wound my colors into balls of three strands so that the colors will blend, and I began to knit.

It soon became obvious that the bag was just too small for the proposed bridge. Now the finished bag in my head, and the work on my needles are at odds. Work stopped.

First it's my "simple" socks, and now this bag. The wind has been knocked out of my knitting sails so to speak. Maybe I needed a breath of fresh air. I put this project aside too , and fondled the new yarn that just came in the mail. I was so tempted to start something new!

This time I didn't . I decided to finish the bag sans bridge, and felt it as it is. It will be "The Lily Pond". I'm up to the band and handle so it should be finished soon. It's not exactly what I had planned, but that happens. We'll see what the washing machine can do with this project.

I picked up the socks again too. The second sock is on its toe decreases.

So my next post will either be "The Lily Pond" or" Finished Simple Socks"

Monday, May 19, 2008

Meanwhile on another blog...

I was visiting Ravelry again( See"Mirror of Erised" post.) Ganiggle Knits was celebrating the beginning of her blog with a write- a- funny- knitting- story contest. Usually I don't enter contests , but this time I did. I like this blog , so I put it on my Google Reader. Besides , there was a chance , however slim, that I might win.

I was thrilled when I got an email telling me that I had won the contest, but that paled by comparison to going to another blog, and seeing my writing published there. Not only that, there was a prize of yarn!

You can share in the excitement. The yarn is ALL mine, but you can go to Ganiggle Knits and read my prize winning story. Please comment on it. That would be great, because Ganiggle would love know you have been there. Meanwhile I'm watching the mailbox, waiting for my yarn to arrive from Canada. It's here! It's here. My beautiful yarn is finally here! The spring garden colors will make a gorgeous felted bag. Boy those custom agents are good with duct tape. I'm sure it has been a sniffed and fondled, but it made the trip just fine!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Simple Socks

Just look at this yarn. Doesn't it remind you of a brilliant sunset? I received a skein of this yarn as a gift. At 291 m it was a little short for my usual sock pattern, but as luck would have it there was a Simple Sock Pattern on the band. Perfect I thought, since one skein of the yarn was the material required for the pattern. It looked easy too, just count the rows, no measuring.

This yarn called Jitterbug is made in Wales. Right away we have a little metric situation, but
I didn't see this as a problem. The pattern called for 2.5mm needles. I consulted a chart (on the back of a pair of Chinese double points) which told me that the required needles were between a 2 and a 1. I tried the 2 and found that the 30 stitches to 4'' required a smaller needle. So I did a quick rip out and used the size1.

As you can see I was knitting along fine on my beautiful sunset sock. The 30 stitches measured exactly 4 ". However when I finished the 40 rows called for, which according to the gauge would measure 4 ", it was only 3.25". Now I 'm confused, but there's an email address on the band so I sent the message below.


I'm trying to use the pattern on the yarn band. I'm using size 1
needles. The number of stitches to measure 4 " is perfect, however
the 40 rows called for in the pattern measures 3.25". I don't
understand how it can be perfect in one direction and off in the
other. Also if I adjust the length will I have enough yarn to finish
the project? The pattern calls for 1 skein.
I love the colors of the yarn and I want this to work.

Can I ask what size needles you are using to make you socks?
One hank of Jitterbug will make a pair of socks up to a size UK 6, anything above this would probably need another hank.

The Colinette Team.

Huh!!! There's a slight disconnect here. I decided to call the lys where the yarn was purchased. ( This should have been my first move.) She suggested that I use the gauge to determine the measurement for each step in the pattern. So now it's a simple ratio math problem with decimals. Oh joy!!!

I'm almost finished with my first sock. When I finish it , I will weigh it to see if it is over 55grams. If it is, I'll need that second hank of yarn UK6 or not. I have a few other issues with this pattern as well. So just let me ask, over there across the pond, does the word simple mean easy?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Prize Arrived !

Thanks to the USPS our prize has arrived at its destination. If you would like to see how it made the trip, just drop by theraineysisters.com. The picture for this post is there. Susan (our winner) and Sally are amazing knitters. I subscribe to their blog, and I'll be watching future posts for something felted. ( or fulled) . That fulled is for the wet felters . I suggest you join me! Thanks to all our contest participants! Now on to another wonderful year!

Monday, May 5, 2008

And the Winner Is...

I'm sure everyone is waiting for the results of our comment contest. I'm pleased to announce that the winner is #5, lv2knit. The winning comment is "Congratulations on your first year! It is fun to blog, but a bit of work, n'est-ce pas?? Keep it up (and I hope I win) "

The box is ready to go. All I need now is a mailing address. Please send your mailing address to closeknitfriends@gmail.com , and I will send it right out.

For all of the rest of you who were kind enough to comment on our Blog-aversary , we have a special consolation prize. You win an entire year's subscription to our blog. That means for an entire year you can read our blog anytime you want to for free. No, wait , you can do that already. OOPS!! Well, tough luck then, but this contest was fun , maybe you'll be luckier next time!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Why not!

All I said was “why don’t we?”, and she said, “why not?’ and here we are, one year later. I have to say, it’s been nothing like I thought it would be and something extraordinary and exhilarating. We started to show what two different people would do with one idea. Then beads came along and we got caught up in them, Knit with bitsy beads and Purl with huge beads. Suddenly we were felting. Purl going smallish with pockets and things that matched and Knit going Matisse and Mondrian and the WaterLillies. We have no idea how all this happened. Towards the end we found ravelry and suddenly Purl was making socks and talking to book authors and Knit was making socks with shrimp shells in them.
What can I say? I have tried so much and learned things I never knew about. We explored our craft and it explored us. Can we do it again? Well, I just got into lace and Knit is being inspired by the colors of her garden to felt wonderful things.
Thanks for being part of it with us.