Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Fiasco (part 2)

I'd rather be knitting ... but my to-do list included a blog today, and so I will blog.  Then I can knit with a clear conscience.

Where we last left off, dear reader, I was in the middle of knitting a fourth mitten and realizing that the second mitten did not follow the prescribed color theme.  Or at least, it did not follow the prescribed color theme above the wrist.  Below the wrist, it was fine.  No, I managed to  mess it up ABOVE the wrist only.

From the first mitten, I learned 'Write down the color names/letters CAREFULLY.'
From the second mitten, I learned 'READ the color names/letters, not only when you start the mitten, but also when you are in the middle of the mitten.'

What could go wrong from there?

Not all that much, actually.  A healthy dose of paranoia kept me checking the color combinations every 3-4 rounds of all the remaining mittens. (That made a total of 6 mittens.  Two botched, and one correct.)  I knew I wanted a mix of thumbs -- some on the left, some on the right -- and by not paying much attention to things ended up with 3 left thumb and one of the right thumb.   On the correct mittens.  The botched mittens had right thumbs, through no fault of their own.

At that point, I weighed yarn, considered, and the decision was made to make pairs out of all the mittens.  With an eagle eye to matching colors, I successfully knit a purple mitten to match the purple  mitten, and a green mitten to match the green mitten.  By diligent observation, I managed to make the second mittens of each pair so that they would fit on a standard pair of human hands.  No 'two left mittens' for me!

And then, it was decided to have a yellow pair and a red pair.  Botched, but paired.  And for this, I pulled out a Very Special Bag of Tricks.  Because by the little gremlin that was throwing monkey wrenches in everywhere she could, I had two yellow mittens with two left thumbs (or rather, a left thumb and a left thumb opening), and two red mittens with two right thumbs.  AAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!

 Fear not.  I am an intrepid knitter.  And I have friends who simplify some of my convoluted ideas.  (You know who you are.)  

Step 1:   Pick up stitches in the row below the waste yarn, and the SECOND row above the waste yarn.   Remove the waste yarn, and gingerly snip the yarn in the first row above the waste yarn in the middle, so there will be enough to weave in.  Hopefully.
 Step 2:  Work a simple single-color graft across the unneeded thumb opening.
 Step 3: Cleverly use Swiss Darning (aka Duplicate Stitch) to add four green stitches just where they belong, more or less.

 Step 4:  Pick up stitches for a thumb on the right side.

 Step 5: Remove the sacrificial row of yarn between the two rows.
 Step 6: Knit a thumb in four colors. 
Step 7: Take a picture of the finished fix, to delay weaving in all those ends.
Fixing the second mitten is another excellent way to put off tail weaves.  Let's see how this one goes!

Step 1:  Pick up stitches all around the top of the mitten, just beneath the first tip-shaping row. 
Step 2: Undo all the tail weaves at the tip and unravel the mitten top.  Only down through and including the first decrease round, not down to the thumb.  Why ever did I think that would be needed? 
Step 3:  Squoosh the mitten so that what was a right thumb is now a left thumb.  While leaving the beginning of the round where it was, work the decreases in what was the middle of the palm/middle of the back, so that the right mitten is very neatly converted to a left mitten. 
Step 4:  (Not shown.) Weave in ends, and ends, and ends.


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

The Crayola Mitten Fiasco (part 1)

Once upon a time, there was a knitter.  Now, this knitter was fairly proficient in her craft.  She was so proficient that often she knit while doing other things.  Usually, this resulted in getting many things done simultaneously. 

Sometimes it resulted in a bit of a mess. 

One day, in the not-too-distant past, this knitter began to knit a mitten collection.  Each mitten in the collection used four colors.  The same four colors.  What was color A for one mitten was color B for the next mitten in the collection, color C for the third, and color D for the fourth.  And color B in the first mitten became color C in the next, and so forth. 

What could go wrong? 

Quite a lot, as it turned out.  See that lovely green fringe?  It's supposed to be purple.  But did I the knitter notice?  No.  Not until I the knitter was working the decreases at the tip.  Because I (oops) the knitter was busily pondering various themes found in Romans Chapter 9, as expounded upon by John Piper at Desiring God.

And so the knitter sighed deeply, worked the last dozen or so rows of the mitten, and set it aside.  Why bother weaving in ends, or work a thumb, if the whole color scheme of the mitten was faulty due to a copying error when colors B and C were jotted down?

With a renewed attention to detail, the next mitten was begun.  (One in each of the four color schemes was the goal). 

Five mittens later, she had the desired four correct mittens.  It wasn't until knitting the fourth mitten than she observed that the third mitten was flawed.  And it wasn't until the following day she figured out that no, the third mitten was fine ... it was the SECOND mitten that was wrong.  And it was only wrong above the braid, when the purple and greens got reversed.  Again. 

(To be continued)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Back! Or am I?

I never particularly intended to have a year-long hiatus on this blog.  Somewhere between the busyness of life and my intentions not to spend more time documenting what I am doing than actually doing it, the blog faded into the background.  The serious background, rather like the back of the cave the Gandalf, Bilbo, and the dwarves took refuge in while they were traversing the Misty Mountains, and which just faded into blackness that seemed to be impenetrable but which wasn't, sadly, and which really had repercussions for a good night's sleep.  At least for them.

I'm not particularly schooling two any more.  And 'one' may not be exactly what I knit.  I knit lots.  And I could write about that, and about what I am reading, and memorizing, and gardening (just not at the moment ... something about 'earth stood hard as iron'), and stuff ... but is this a useful vehicle for that? 

Weigh in, all you existent readers!

And a blessed last few days of Advent to you all. 

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!