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Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Note to Knitters

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My person is a knitter.  I know you know this, because that's probably why you're here in the first place.  I am a cat, and I think I'm a pretty tolerant cat when you get right down to it.  I don't chew yarn, and except for a single incident with some alpaca fiber when she first started spinning, I can be trusted on my own in the fiber room (unlike certain large blonds in this house who shall remain nameless).  I very rarely chase knitting needles and while stitch counters are fun to play hockey with, I always wait for her to lock it first.  Clearly I am a Saint among cats.

That being said, I don't think a cat should have to tolerate yarn being strung across their side or getting bashed in the head with a sock in progress, just because the cat chose to sit on their person.  I mean, how much more obvious can I make my Twitch of Displeasure when the yarn strand touches my fabulous coat?  I can't attack the sock in progress, even though it's smacking me every time she changes needles or I'll get dumped on the floor.  I'm willing to use my manners for the sake of civilization, but shouldn't there be some knitting manners established?  I'm going to get my people on this and we'll issue an official declaration - but now I have to take a nap.  I hope I don't have nightmares about unfinished socks!

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pattern 15

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I didn't get as much knitting time as I had hoped to have over the weekend, so I didn't finish the charted section of Pattern 15.  Yesterday I sat down and I knit.  I knit and I knit and I knit.  Then I knit some more.  I kept knitting.  

I'm still 10 rows from finishing the charted section.  I have no earthly idea how long each row is, but they get longer every time I work a RS row.  I hope to finish those last 10 rows today, but I have more to do than just knit today, so I don't know if that will work out or not.  It's not that the design is difficult to knit (style wise, it's probably more similar to Scheherazade than anything else I've designed, but it's a completely different shape), it just takes some time to knit each row and RS rows involve charts, which must be marked with Post It tape* and kept up with as I go.

At some point I'll count stitches, but probably not until I get finished with the charted section, so I can include the information in the pattern.  Also, no point in scaring myself before I finish. 

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Devon Sock

Last week we went to the Dallas Museum of Art to see the King Tut exhibit.  It's only here for a couple more weeks, so if you live in the area and have been planning to see it, don't put it off too much longer.  We pulled Caleb out of school for the day so he could go too and he seemed to enjoy it (as much as any 8 year old enjoys museums).  One of the first things they said about King Tut was that he was made king at the age of 9 so that got Caleb's attention pretty quickly.  We knew he wouldn't enjoy it as much as we did but we felt like he should go since the last time King Tut was in the US was 1976-1979.  

I feel like I haven't been working on anything blog worthy lately (I'm not really sure what I have been working on), but I did get past the heel turn on my second Devon sock and have started the gusset decreases.  Try to contain yourselves.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pattern 15 - Back on Track

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Yesterday after I blogged and surfed the Internets a bit, I got to work on Pattern 15.  I got quite a bit done on it and I'm now 2/3 of the way through what's been charted so far.  I've also switched to 40 inch long cables on my needles and you can see, they're too short to spread out the stitches.  What I have right now will block to 8-9 inches wide when measured from the neck edge, so I'm figuring I'll have about 12-15 inches of width by the time I finish up the chart and start the ruffle.  Did I mention there will be a ruffle?  Oh yes, there will be a ruffle.  It will be a serious ruffle.  A capital R ruffle.  The kind of ruffle that doesn't mess around.  The kind of ruffle that eats entire skeins of yarn for breakfast.  But don't worry, it won't be a fussy, little girl kind of ruffle.  It will be beaded and dramatic - a ruffle with a Spanish accent - you'll love it!

My current goal is to finish up the charted section this weekend and then it's onward to the Ruffle!

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Part of a Second Sock and a big honking error

Today was going to be all about my progress on Pattern 15.  I was going to get a lot of knitting done on it over the weekend.  So I sat down, spread out my charts, got out some beads and started knitting.  On the first row I knit (I am currently about halfway through the charted section right now), I realized there was a mistake - a big one.  The kind of mistake that I can't just mark with a highlighter and go back and correct on the chart file later.  I had to go into the chart file, fix the mistake (did I mention it was huge?) and reprint the chart to continue knitting.  

Unfortunately, Pattern 15 is all on the PC - not on the Mac.  (I am aware that I can put Windows on my Mac, but as far as I'm concerned, that kind of defeats the purpose of switching to a Mac.)  When I went upstairs, Caleb was on the PC.  I asked him to leave it on and let me know when he was done with it and went and did something else.  I was busy when Caleb got off the computer and by the time I got up there, Mickael was on it (it's a family PC).  This is basically how the weekend went, so I couldn't get the chart file corrected until yesterday when everyone went to school and work.  Now the file is corrected (at least up to this point of knitting) and I can get back to work on Pattern 15.


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Today's picture though, will not be Pattern 15 as I had planned, but the start of the second Devon sock.  I had a bit of trouble with the flash and had to wash out the color to get any detail to show at all, but you've seen the color of the first sock, so go by that.

Oh, and just in case you were worried about knitting a pattern called Pattern 15, don't worry - it has a name now, I'm just not telling until I launch the pattern.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

One Devon Sock, Done

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I finished my first Devon sock last night.  This really isn't a difficult pattern and I really like the way the sock looks.  The Devon Sock pattern is in Cookie A's new book.  (I linked to it in an earlier Devon post so if you scroll down you'll find it.)  It's been a pretty portable project - much more portable than Pattern 15, particularly when I don't go dropping needles in cars.  I'll be starting the second sock this weekend, and I hope to get a lot done on Pattern 15 also.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

WOW!

First of all, thanks so much for all the comments and input on yesterday's post!  That's the most comments I've ever gotten and I'm pretty sure it's more than anything Finn and Ramius have gotten either.  I'm actually a little bit shocked that so many people are willing to entertain the idea of knitting in a finer gauge.  I appreciate those of you who spoke up and said you'd stick with buying finer gauge sweaters, or only knit them for tiny daughters - I totally understand your reasoning for that, also.  But the overwhelming majority of you seem to be open to the idea, so once I get Pattern 15 finished, I'll get started on a fine gauge sweater pattern - and I'll try to include a wide size range too.

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I have been getting some spinning done - in between reading email comments - and I'm almost finished with the first bobbin of this merino and silk blend.  You can see some of the lighter and darker tones within the singles - this was hand dyed top.  I'm hoping to finish up this first bobbin today or tomorrow and get started on the second bobbin of singles.  

That's it for now, apparently, I've got some designing to do!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I need some feedback

Lately, I've been playing around with different design ideas in my head and while I still have a couple of stole designs that I want to work up as patterns (in addition to the descriptively named Pattern 15), I'm wanting to do some garment design.  Take a look at what I'm thinking and if you have a minute, please leave a comment and let me know what you think at the end of the post.

I'm thinking of designing primarily classic sweaters - both pullovers and cardigans.  I'm thinking simple lines with some tailoring details.  I don't want to get into too many details here (and they aren't all filled out in my head at this point anyway), but I want to design things that can be worn by women of any age and would look as appropriate on today's woman as it would on Audrey Hepburn.  

OK, so all that sounds great, but here's the catch.  I'm thinking of designing these in fingering weight yarn.  Yes, 7-8 stitches an inch.  Now before you all click on to whatever you read after my babbling and delete me from your bookmarks, do one thing - go look in your closet and look at the last 5 sweater type garments you bought.  That's what I thought - they're all knit at a fine gauge aren't they.  Yes, they were knit on a machine, but they're also probably knit at a finer gauge than I'm proposing here.  

See here's where I'm coming from:  I love to knit and I love wearing my knits, but when I'm looking for something to throw on and do whatever it is that I do all day, unless it's really chilly, I grab a fine gauge sweater that I bought.  There are always times for the heavier weights of handknits, but you really can't wear them year round (and this applies to more than just Texas - I could only wear the heavier weights for a brief time in Virginia too).  A lighter weight sweater will work for more months out of the year, can be layered with a heavier garment for truly cold weather, and if it's a cardigan, will even work for summer - either in over air-conditioned spaces, or cool evenings.  If you look honestly at what you really wear, I think you'll agree that this weight is the one you choose more than a worsted weight or heavier garment.  There just aren't many designs at this lighter gauge.

I realize that the idea of taking on an entire garment in fingering weight yarn requires a certain amount of Intestinal Fortitude, but I'm not really thinking of designing for beginners.  I still plan to make the pattern directions as clear and as easy to follow as possible so a beginner could knit one, but most beginners need a more instant gratification type of first sweater.  I'm wanting to be able to grab a handknit on practically any day of the year, without dying of heat stroke and as a knitter, it's ridiculous how many fine gauge sweaters I've purchased.

So, let me know what you think.  Am I out of my mind?  Should I just design for my own garments and leave everyone else out of it?  Or is this something that you'd be interested in seeing and possibly interested in doing?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Good News and Onward to the Foot!

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Before I ordered the new set of needles, I decided to give it one more try to get my lost needle out of the car.  Mickael said he would help, so we both sat in the garage with a flashlight and tried to find it.  Neither of us could see it.  At this point, I could tell Mickael thought I was crazy and the needle wasn't even where I thought it was.  Then genius struck - he asked if I'd tried using the Dyson.  Two minutes later, Dyson dragged out to the garage and crevice tool attached, I fired it up.  The needle zooped out of it's hiding place and is now stuck firmly in the sock knitting bag.  My husband is a genius!

As you can see, I wasted no time once I had the needle back and I've done the heel flap, heel turn and started on the foot of the sock.  I'm almost through with the gusset decreases at this point.  Yesterday when I went to school to pick up Caleb, I made sure I didn't lose any needles.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Houston, We Have A Problem

On Wednesday, I went to pick up Caleb from school, got in line with the other Moms, turned off the car and pulled out my knitting.  I set the Devon sock in my lap and reached into my sock bag for the row counter.  At that point, my working needle (the only one of the 5 not holding stitches and therefore attached to the sock) slid gracefully off my lap, down between my seat and the center console and lodged itself in the space between the track for adjusting the seat forward and back and the floor of the car.  This entire space is about 1/8 inch deep - perfect for a cozy nest for a DPN.  I know it's there, I've seen it a couple of times when I poked a piece of paper down there, but I have no way of grabbing it.  I can't get to it from under the seat because there's no working room to get my fingers in there.  Unless it dislodges at some point in the future (it's possible that a couple of hard right turns will get it loose), I've lost my needle.  

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, I'm going to go order another set of DPN's.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Redecorating, Renovating, and Learning Something New - Pardon Our Mess

Most things in life need to be updated periodically and Pink Lemon Twist is no different.  We* have made some big changes this week.  HUGE!  Does it look any different to you?  It looks different to me:
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Maybe this will help:
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Yes, I got a new MacBook on Monday.  The last time I had an Apple was when I was in 5th and 6th grade (and it was still called an Apple).  It was an Apple II+.  I've been on PC's ever since.  Fortunately for me, I've never been particularly literate on a PC so while there is a learning curve with the Mac, it's not as steep as it would be if I knew everything there is to know about a PC and had to relearn it.  I'm getting things figured out, sometimes more through luck than anything else, but I'm getting there.

I have also made an Executive Knitting Decision.  I am about as stalled out on Juno as a knitter can get right now.  I still like the sweater, but I have no urge to work on anything that heavy when things are starting to warm up (OK, yesterday was crazy cold for April, but still, it's April).  I've decided to put the whole thing away until late summer when I'll be jonesing for something Autumnal instead of forcing myself to plow through it now.  I've kept obsessive notes and I'll double check them before I put it all away, but I'm ready to move on to something more Seasonally Appropriate.  

I won't be blogging tomorrow because I'm going on a field trip.  Actually Caleb is going on a field trip, I'm going as a chaperon to run herd on the class to help make sure we don't lose any of them.  Pink Lemon in charge (sort of) - if only they knew me!  Be back Friday unless I get lost on the field trip.

*We refers to everyone here on the Pink Lemon Twist team - primarily me, Finn (in charge of quality control of animal based fiber products) and Ramius (in charge of relaxation techniques and body heat acquisition).  Mickael and Caleb are primarily my Trophy Men and serve the function of arm candy when needed.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Devon Sock, Or Actually Just Devon Leg

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I've knitted my first Devon Sock down to the place where the heel flap will begin.  This is a pretty easy sock to knit, but I made it harder on  myself than I should have by not getting a Post It note to keep track of where I am on the chart.  I don't know why it took me so long to realize that I was losing my place and going crosseyed, but I had knitted 1-1/2 repeats before I got smart and grabbed the sticky note.  Once I got my place marked, I zipped through the other repeats for the leg.  

I'm really enjoying this design and the yarn is such a happy color.  It's actually much more lacy than in photographs, both here in my blog, and in the book.  I think the Yarn Overs (for any non-laceknitters out there, Yarn Overs are what make the holes in lace) tend to hide under the diagonal decrease lines, making them seem to disappear.  Once I get the socks knitted, I'll try to get a picture of them on - surely the glow from my pasty legs will shine through the YO's.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Pattern 15


I am moving right along on Pattern 15. Since I started at the neck edge of this wrap and I'm making it curve (theoretically - I won't know for sure if it worked until it's time to block it), it gets bigger and bigger the more I knit on it. It seems to easily double in size when I give it a stretch, so it should be an appropriate wrap width when it's done. The big mystery here is whether or not it's going to curve the way it does in my head. I'm not leaving everything to chance, I did tape the sections of chart together and they seem to make the shape I'm going for. Of course, as anyone who knits knows, what knitting is supposed to do and what knitting really does are not always related. Don't believe me? Try knitting a gauge swatch in a lace stitch pattern and see if it has any relationship to a large wrap.


I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Spinning Fine


It has been a long time since I spun anything fine. For that matter, it's been a long time since I spun anything worsted too! In order to spin true worsted, you have to start with combed top. The fiber I'm spinning probably did begin it's life as combed top. When you dye top though, you rearrange the fiber direction a bit (there's no way you can avoid this - just moving it in and out of the dye bath, let alone the soaking, rinsing and washing process will rearrange a perfectly prepared top). This is why what I'm spinning is really a semi-worsted yarn - I'm using worsted spinning techniques, but the fiber isn't perfectly aligned in the first place. I am loving the way the silk in the blend is catching the light and shining and I know this will make a wonderful finished yarn.


I'm off to spin more! I'll give an update on Pattern 15 tomorrow since I haven't shown you how it looks yet this week.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A New Spinning Project

While I wait for the Polwarth singles to age a bit before I ply them (the first bobbin has been aging for months), I'm going to spin up some lace weight for the Aeolian Shawl. This is what I pulled out of my stash for the project. It's 4.4 ounces of 50/50 Silk and Merino from Pollywogs. The label says "Hand Dyed Violet" and I'm pretty sure I got it off of eBay when I first started spinning ages ago, but I found an Etsy store for Pollywogs here. I will spin this in as much of a true worsted as I can to get a nice smooth yarn I can use beads on and to really play up the shine of the silk. It will be a two ply yarn when I get it all done. As you can see, Ramius has already inspected the fiber and has approved it.

Oh, just in case anyone was worried about Balto's fins being nibbled on by The Bobs, when you have enough Neon Tetras to make a school (from what I've read, 6 is the recommended minimum), they just keep to themselves and don't mess with other fish. So far, the three Bobs we have haven't been picking on Balto, but just to keep it that way, we'll be picking up three more Bobs tonight to round out our school.

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