Sunday, July 30, 2006

Next up: finishing the Bicycle Socks

This afternoon we went to Alexandria to have lunch and meet some friends for a production of Into the Woods at the Little Theatre of Alexandria. After lunch at the Austin Grill we had some time to kill, so dropped in at Knit Happens, where I bought some Brittany cable needles, the Harmony Guide to Aran stitches, and some sock yarn (Lorna's Laces, Baltic colorway). Yeah, I'm trying to be on a yarn diet lately, but hey, I did just finish a new project.

Anyway, since I'm trying to finish up current projects before starting any new ones, next up on the list of UFOs are the Bicycle Socks by Lucy Neatby. I started these (well, the first sock) for G. last winter, and really ought to finish them. After doing two whole sweaters, I'm hoping the socks will go quickly.


Irish Moss -- Finished!

I finished the sleeves Saturday night, blocked them overnight, and assembed the sweater today -- woo hoo! It's done. Looks great. I love the color, which really is a denim blue, and am looking forward to wearing it when it gets cold enough. Heck, I might take it in to the office to wear before then -- they certainly keep the air conditioning on enough to do so. Below are pics of the finished sleeves (unblocked), and the sweater.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Fiona sweater cables

One of the incentives I'm giving myself to finish the Irish Moss sweater and a few other projects is starting the Fiona sweater from Autumn House Farm. I considered knitting it in another color, but keep coming back to the brown in the picture, so I've ordered some Brown Sheep worsted weight yarn in their "Stone" color. I can't wait to start.

I've charted out the cables, since the directions just had them written out, and will be starting a swatch soon.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Irish Moss -- button bands and shawl collar; and frogging sleeves

After getting a few inches into the sleeves, I decided that I don't like how quickly they're increasing. The pattern calls for a series of increases every other row at the beginning, then increases every fourth row after that. I'd prefer something more regular (maybe every third row? I could handle that...) so that I don't wind up with a sort of fish-belly effect on the seam of the sleeve.

So in the meantime, while pondering how best to do the sleeves, I did the button bands (not pressed yet), and have started on the collar.

I haven't done a lot of picking up stitches, so I have found it a little intimidating in the past, but the more I do of it, the more comfortable I am with it. This pattern calls for picking up 87 stitches over 16 1/4". I divided the front edges into four parts, then picked up 22 / 21 / 22 / 22 stitches in each section as evenly as possible. I didn't get too picky about counting rows and spacing the stitches very precisely -- as long as they're picked up more or less evenly, any little differences seem not to be very important.

I don't have enough buttons in my button box for the sweater, but think I'm going to try to find more like the one above.

The collar is pretty simple. You put all the stitches from the back of the sweater on a needle, then knit back and forth in Moss stitch, picking up two stitches at the end of each row.


Friday, July 14, 2006

Irish Moss -- pics of body, and sleeves started

A few people have asked me for more info on the sweater. It's "Irish Moss" by Nancy Bush (there's a sweater by Alice Starmore by the same name, it seems), in Arans & Celtics: The Best of Knitters. Linda tells me it's Issue #16 of Knitters (thanks!).

So here are pics of the body of the sweater, slightly steamed, and the start of the sleeves. As with the body, I'm knitting both sleeves at the same time, so they'll match. Nice trick -- plus you don't have the tedium of knitting one sleeve then knitting another that's exactly the same (i.e., second sock syndrome), which would be very boring.

The yellow post-it note pinned to the front of the sweater says "Left". The yarn ties at the top mark the decreases -- the red marks the last "k3tog", after which you switch to k2tog. No need to mark the decreases on the other sweater front, as they're identical to the ones on the other side.


Back to "Irish Moss"

I'm trying to work on some back-burner projects before letting myself start anything new. So, the project I'm concentrating on at the moment is "Irish Moss", which I started back in January before embarking on the FLAK sweater.

I finished the back and started the fronts on July 3, knitting both at the same time with two skeins of yarn so they'd match. I could probably have cast on and knitted the fronts along with the back, eliminating the side seams, in retrospect. The fronts are now done, and I bound them off to the back at the shoulders last night and started the sleeves.

Will try to remember to take and post pics.

I'm really liking this project -- it's designed so that you don't need a cable needle, as the big "cable" uses a traveling stitch and the smaller cables are really faux cables, where you pick up the third stitch and knit it from the front, then go back and knit the first two. The problem with that is that the cables aren't really as three-dimensional as real cables. Another annoyance about this pattern is the zig-zag small cable -- you have to 'zag' it back when knitting the wrong side, which I find annoying (I like to knit back without patterning on lace and cables, apparently). If I were redoing this sweater, I'd make those cables into simple two-stitch regular cables, where you twist them on the right side and just purl on the wrong side.

This sweater is definitely going faster than the FLAK. I think that's because the cabling is done without a needle -- and, googling today, I found Wendy Johnson's tutorial on cabling without a needle (doing real cables, not faux ones). I'll have to try that next time.

Speaking of which, the next project will either be the Fiona sweater from Autumn House Farm, knitted (probably, pending swatching) in Brown Sheep Worsted (color: Stone), or the Fair Isle-type sweater kit I bought at MSW from Philosopher's Wool. I can't remember exactly which kit I bought, but I think it was in the Fall colorway. I really like their Kilim jacket, but am sure that's not the one I bought.

But first to finish Irish Moss, some socks I started a long time ago, and decide whether to abandon the red cotton sweater I started last summer. Starting the new project will be my incentive/reward.