Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Shawl Progress

As some of you know, my homeschooling these days looks more like a taxi service. Drive Filius to college campus. Wait for Filius. Drive Filius home from college campus.
It's not without its perks. College campuses don't have dog hair on the floor, dishes to wash in public areas, or dirty socks lurking in corners of public areas. So I can settle down to reading, or knitting, or writing letters, or just about anything portable. Or even not-so-portable. After all, there's a library -- and I don't even need to check the books out to read them! (Although I confess, I did get a community user card. My library card has three bar codes on it and my signature has worn off. I love libraries.)
There's an additional benefit.
View to the front
This is the view from one of my waiting spots.  I love sitting here during storms.  You can see them roll in over the valley -- or else, you can see the valley slowly disappear in the storm.  Lightning is pretty spectacular from this vantage point, too.  Earlier this month there was a bald eagle at eye level between me and the lonely tree in the middle of the photo.

Williamson Shawl and view to the left
While I sit, I knit.  (Of course!)  The Williamson Shawl is growing at a reasonable pace.  It'll be close, whether or not it is finished by Christmas.  I got a tablet for my birthday to distract me from knitting.  I've got 3 repeats of the center pattern done so far.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Williamson Monday

Day 1

3 days later

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Finishing A Sweater

It's fall.Fall is one of my favorite times of year (right up there with winter) and I am delighting in the weather, the pattern of life, the hot tea (Hot Cinnamon Spice from Harney and Sons is delightfully yummy!), and the knitting.  And the Spiced Chai Honey, too.  It's disappearing rapidly.

I have been knitting a LOT.  For pictures of Filus' sweater, the Fair Isle Bag, and the yarn for the Williamson Shawl, you'll have to look at Ravelry.  Except for the last one -- I can't figure out how to add a yarn photo to something that's not cast on yetm so you'll have to go to Fleegle's store.  If you aren't buying yarn, don't go there.

The Fair Isle Bag was a quick knit for a friend.  It's not worked in the round, which means that one gets to either mess with a LOT of slipped stitches, or purl with two colors.  After purling with two colors for Skråtrøje, I figured I would purl with two colors.  The pattern teaches how to purl with two yarns in the left hand.  I now purl with two yarns in my right hand.  For Skråtrøje, I held the yarns similar to how one holds them for twined knitting, but didn't twine -- just popped the one I needed over my index finger and purled.  But for this bag, halfway through the first stranded section, I started figuring out how I could tension the yarns so as to have BOTH yarns on my index finger.  And that was a scary thing.  I worked the last 3/4ths of the bag with both yarns on my right index finger.  Even for knitting.  Except for the parts when there were 3 yarns, and then I held one in my left hand.

The door opening to the world of 3-color knitting just got a little wider. I tremble to think what I will choose for my next Latvian mitten pattern.

But, this post was supposed to be about finishing a sweater.  The sweater's not done, mind you -- I don't have the chart for the sleeve cuff, so it's currently sitting nicely in my knitting tower while someone is searching for the chart or a good photo of the cuff.  But the body is done, and I have lots of interesting-to-me documentation of it. 


Some project needs blocking more than others. Uncurled, this is 8". 
Original picot edging for slit
The pattern calls for a particular number of stitches to be picked up around the slit, and then a 4-5 row picot/folded edging to be worked.  I wasn't thrilled with how it looked.  Part of the problem was the stitch count, and the other problem was the color.  I like dark edges.  A row of crochet around the neck edge wasn't going to help control the curl there, either ... I tried two of the three one-row edgings suggested, and didn't care for either of them.  So I ripped everything out and put in a facing.  It needs blocking yet, but I am much happier with it. 

Revised edging for slit and neckline
Next, I turned my attention to the bottom edge.  Some knitters can work this k4p4 edging and transition into stranding with no problems.  Other knitters can't.  Me, well, you can see which category I fall into by looking at the wee sample sweater's ribbing. 
An uncooperative bottom edge
Since I had a handy sample, I thought I'd see what things would look like if I made a braid. 

Trial of a braided edge
I liked it, so I amputated the bottom edge of the sweater ...
Preparing for amputation




And replaced the uncooperative ribbing with a braid.  It still rolls, but it's not been blocked and the rolling of a curled braid is a whole lot less noticeable than a flipped-up swatch of ribbing.


The finished lower edge

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Road to the Williamson Shawl

The road to the shawl has been entered upon.  I give you advance notice that this is the road TO the shawl ... it's not the road OF the shawl.  Here's what's been up since my last post:

  • The yarn for the shawl arrived.  
  • I knit a cabled, reversible cowl for my LYS and perhaps invented a new seaming technique.  
  • Skrå-trøje has grown a lot.  There are only 32 rows or so left on the back, and then it's sleeves and finishing!  (Finishing includes plackets at neck and cuffs, plus regrouping on the entire bottom hem.  It's nothing simple like mattress stitch.)  I'm getting pretty decent at purling with 2 colors, too.  
  • The yarn for Filius' Gotland Sohljul has been ordered.
  • Tea has been ordered.  I usually order from Adagio, but this time I decided to order from Harney and Sons.  
  • The downstairs has been rearranged (as of this morning) into a 'post-homeschooling', two computer set-up.  It's in flux, and will be in flux for quite some time.  I'm using a temporary desk found on Craigslist while I look for the Perfect Desk -- something more writing desky (but with a keyboard tray) than Huge Executive Hutch, but not so writing-desky that I can't run the house from it. 
  • The weather has been atrocious.  Last weekend, it was so chilly on the paper route that Filius asked for a pair of gloves.  Monday afternoon, I gave him the finished gloves.  Yesterday, it was 87 degrees.  Bleagh.  We seem to be heading into normal fall weather now, though.  (The gloves were a modification of a WWII glove pattern.  A fun knit which came out beautifully, thanks to swapping the pattern-specified size 1 needles and fingering-weight yarn for size 2 needles and sport-weight yarn.  I just don't DO 7.5 stitches/" with Brown Sheep Fingering unless I'm going for gauzy.  And who wants gauzy gloves for a Minnesota winter?
  • I made Spiced Chai Honey.  The recipe originated with Irene Wolansky and was published in the latest Mary Jane's Farm.  My mom was kind enough to flag it for me, and mmmmm, is it good!  Here's the recipe:


16 oz organic, raw, local honey
1 t cinnamon powder
¼ t clove powder
½ t cardamom powder
1 t ginger powder
Small pinch of ground black pepper

Mix everything together, and enjoy!  It's delicious on oatmeal, wheat berries, granola, yogurt, in tea, and probably many more places.  Good for sore throats, too, mixed with warm water and a squeeze of lemon juice.

I'm going to try to keep up with the weekly updates.  See you next week!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Posting and running ...

Picking up stitches that are going to become free

Ready to start reknitting!

A partial Skråtrøje, uncurled thanks to steaming. 

The Queen Susan, dangling in front of a fake fireplace

Ahhhhhhh. 
This is going to be a 'post and run'.  I uploaded the photos a few days ago, but haven't made the time to write and publish the blog.  Before this runs into next week, I want to hit that 'publish' button.  There are, after all, pretty photos. 

Sunday, I mended the cashmere hap shawl.  I think this is the 3rd time something in the edging has needed reknitting?  And that's only if you don't count reknitting the entire border AND edging due to an insufficienty of stitches.  Cashmere is a lovely yarn to work with, but it doesn't agree with household chores.  I need to make myself a normal hap shawl, I suppose. 

My Skråtrøje was in time out for a while, since it had an incredible amount of curl.  The nice, flat sweater bottom you see curled up so much that the right side of the fabric wasn't even visible.  Having to uncurl the sweater from the needles just to find the stitches to knit got annoying, so I stuck it aside.  Then I ran out of reasonable knitting (Sorry, Molly's Fault!) and decided to take the plunge and steam it.  The drawback would be that I'd have some REALLY lively yarn if I frogged it after steaming.  However, it behaved itself, so I'm knitting onwards.  The next row has the underarm bindoff.

Today, I received the yarn for the Williamson Shawl.  Ahhhhh.  Pictures next week, if I'm good.  Pictures of the Gotland Solhjul hats, too.  And maybe even the cowl I'm working on for my LYS. 

Time to run!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dusting off the blog

The Queen Susan, Minnesota State Fair 2013
It's been a long time since I wrote here, and much has changed.  I finished Fili'i first Christmas present, deemed it too short (despite making it longer than the pattern called for), and knit a second Christmas present, which he's not worn yet.  He likes the first one better, although it barely reaches his belt loops.  Filia has graduated from high school, worked her first job, and moved into the college dorms last month.  Filius has switched from being taught by me, and only me, to taking 15 credits at a local Christian college.

Wait ... does that mean I'm not homeschooling any more?  I think it might.

For two years, homeschooling has been a challenging mix of taking Filia to HER classes (at a local Christian college), while homeschooling Filius  Now, I still have taxi duty, but nothing to juggle.  The dawning gleam of delight in my eyes when I began to realize the implications of that fact would have caused my dear mum some concern, had she seen it.  But wait ... she did see it, and she knows me.  Three hours with no dishes, cooking, cleaning, e-mail, tidying, errands, yardwork, fitness endeavours ... it's a small slice of daily paradise.  Although, I suppose I could run errands in town, or walk/bike in town.  But why?!  Filius likes to run errands with me after his classes, and I can do fitness stuff at other times.  Like when I'm avoiding yardwork and tidying.

My library days have settled into a pattern. The first hour, I listen to an audiobook and knit on something boring - lately, the Swiss Cheese Scarf.  The second hour, I read.  I'm in a college library ... I can read anything!  Bonhoeffer's biography by Metaxas has finally been read in its entirety, and I finished The Once and Future King by TH White this week as well.  Next up is Murder on the Orient Express, because Filius requested I read that.  The third hour, I knit more.  Currently, I'm swatch-hatting (swatching hats?) for this year's Christmas sweater.  My circular gauge changes with diameter, so I need to make something at least hat-sized in order to get an accurate gauge ... and I end up with a hat!

My knitting has been somewhat humdrum of late.  I was all set to dive into a sweater and relish it, but the gauge and the yarn and the me didn't quite agree, so it went to Time Out while I cast about desperately for something that wasn't Molly's Fault.  After a long run of uninspired projects (ending with this Swiss Cheese scarf, I'm happy to say, and that may be done tomorrow), I resolved to listen to the siren call of The Williamson Stole.  And, after an e-mail exchange with Fleegle, and a poll on Facebook, I've decided to knit it in Soft Black, using redyed yarn leftover from The Queen Susan.  Ahhhhh.

Also on order are yarns for a replica of The Gotland Soljhul (you might need to be a Ravelry member to see that one.)  I'm not sure if replica is the right word.  I don't have the pattern, but am going to knit it from pictures, in a size to fit Filius.  And I'll make it three inches longer than the longest I think it needs to be, because it won't be as easy to lengthen as the ganseys were.  We've decided on dark blue and natural for the colors, but to complicate things I've ordered six skeins -- 3 dark blues and 3 naturals.

Thus much, the knitting.  (There is another article that I need to be writing about knitting, too ... due next month.  I *will* work on it tomorrow.)

And thus much, the first dusting off of the blog.  I'll definitely revive the tradition of weekly updates once I get going on The Williamson Stole, but that might not be until the sweater is done, and I don't even have the yarn samples to choose from to order the yarn for that yet.  It could be a while.  (Or maybe, I'll get the stole yarn and dive in, and knit the Christmas sweater second.  Couldn't possibly have them both going at the same time, could I?)





Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I have PROJECTS!

Since finishing Queen Susan, I've been drifting from small project to small project.  While the weather was warm, there was lots of biking and so the small projects took a few days to get done.  Now the weather is cold, and the small projects are taking me less time to do than to decide on.  Remember, I generally work from a stash of leftovers or hand-me-downs, so picking a project isn't as easy as walking into a store, pointing at something, and buying the necessary materials. 

It gets annoying, never knowing where one's next project is coming from.  On Saturday, I got to the whiney point.  (And settled on making Rikke out of some second-hand yarn which came from Wisconsin.  Hi, friend in Wisconsin!)  I also decided to make another pair of fine-gauge mittens.  And on Sunday, I dropped a note to another knitter to ask if a) she had any knitting that had my name on it, and b) had she seen any gorgeous motifs that would normally take up a whole afghan, which I could use for my mittens?  (Remember ... if it's 20" across in a worsted gauge, it's 5" across in my tiny gauge.  Or if it's 2" across in real life, it's less than a half-inch in my little world.  I could put a hornbook on one of my mittens. Maybe.)

Her reply to my e-mail started a deluge!  I am now happily settled with
  1. A Christmas project for my son.  The last skein I needed to get started had been backordered since September.  It came in Monday.
  2. Motifs for a mitten pattern (13.5 spi, not 20 ... but still fun!)
  3. An article to write
  4. A sweater to turn into multiple sizes and write a publishable pattern for (and knit a New and Improved version)
  5. Ideas for my second pair of fine-gauge mittens.  
And, never one to let grass grow under my feet, I have written to some yarn companies to ask about samples for 4 and 5.

Ahhhh.  It's good to have knitting.

On the 'this could be a disaster' front, I'm skipping a swatch for #1.  Yes, it's Fair Isle and requires close gradation of yarn colors, and yes I did change yarn companies and every single color -- but there is simply NOT another gray that I can use to shade one spot more, and the other colors will work (I may even drop some, as they're so close I can't tell the 4 apart in the project).  I already know my gauge... we'll see if the project gets relegated to swatch status at some point.  I hope not!  

Now, if I can just get my Kindle to behave without too many problems.  Yesterday, the text-to-speech developed a personality quirk in which the use of the 'pause' button actually meant 'no more text-to-speech until you restart the Kindle.'  That got fixed by a hard reset, which also depopulates the entire thing.  It's doable.  Now the 'go to' application is not working, which means if I'm reading a book that is a compilation of 70 books which are each 300-400 pages long, and I'm in the 275th book, the only way to get to my location (which I wrote down - 324211) is to go One Page At A Time.  It's worth another phone call.  Because I have LOTS Of knitting that will require good books to listen to. 

And I want to know if Harry and Bertie ever found the Golden Sands of the Incas so Harry could get wealthy and marry the gorgeous Miss Prendergast, who had a crotchety guardian.