Hedgehog Knits

Adventures in knitting from the eastern edge of Canada.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Second time's a charm?

Aha! I have managed to wrestle that unruly neckband into submission:

The solution was to switch to a smaller crochet hook, and to skip a few stitches while working around the neck. It's just a single row of single crochet, leaving out the second eyelet row that the pattern suggests. I think with a few small buttons, this will work nicely.

With that sorted out, I've gotten going on the first sleeve. How long it's going to be is still anyone's guess!

I've also started a new sock. Eunny's Bayerische Sock pattern is just about the most complicated cable pattern I've ever tried, and I'm having fun with it so far. With 96 stitches and intense concentration required, I can only do a few rows in one sitting. Here we are after the first 16 row-repeat.

I'm knitting it in Regia 4-ply, colour 536, which sadly is discontinued. I think this is my favourite sock yarn these days, not that I've tried a lot of the higher-end fancy ones. I really like the way it wears. One of my favourite pairs of hand knit socks is in this yarn. I've been wearing them non-stop for the last three years and they still look great. It doesn't pill or get fuzzy, and it feels nice on the feet.

I hope that this pattern is still intriguing when it comes time to knit the second sock. I have a feeling it's going to take a while!

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Lola progress

I've been working away on Lola in little spurts over the past week, with the song by the same name stuck irreplaceably in my head (Lo Lo Lo La Lo-La...). Tonight I managed to leave the office at a decent hour for a change, and put in a few solid hours to finish the front. What I decided on, after considering a few options (thanks for your ideas!), was to keep it as a pullover, but change the neckline slightly to add a keyhole where I can place buttons. To me, this makes it feel like a slightly warmer-weather sweater. The colours are not as bright as they appear in the following photos - flash wash-out.

I grafted the shoulders and safety-pinned the sides together to try it on, and wonder of wonders, it fits! I have slightly more than one 100 g ball for the sleeves, so I think I'm going to try to divide this into two equal balls by weight, and then knit the sleeves as long as I can get them. In order to do this, I guess I have to figure out how to change the pattern to knit the sleeves top-down, right? Perhaps that's a job for tomorrow night.

Right now, I'm fussing over the neckline. This is attempt #1, following the pattern instructions for a crocheted edging:

Ugh. It won't sit flat, and looks really silly on me. And no amount of blocking will fix it (remember, it's acrylic). So I'll be ripping this out tomorrow and trying something else, probably a narrow knitted band of some sort.

There's so much stuff going on in the rest of my life right now, some of it sad and scary, as I alluded to before, and some of it amazing and fantastic and exciting, but I can't really talk about any of it here yet. Argh! Suffice to say that Nick and I may very well be moving in the next few months, and there are a lot of big changes happening all at once. I'm lucky that I have any time for knitting at all!

Biking home from the office today, I noticed that the daffodils are finally blooming - spring is here at last! Enjoy the weekend. I know I will!


Sunday, April 22, 2007

This post is brought to you by pink SRK yarn

I just recently realized that I'm only knitting with Kertzer (SRK) yarns at the moment. Strange coincidence since I've never tried them before. First, the bramble leaf lace scarf you've seen before:

It's pretty fuzzy, but mohair is hard to photograph in low light. It's just a big ball of fuzz right now. Incredibly soft fuzz, but still. This is SRK Collection Ovation in the Purple Haze colourway (discontinued). I'm well into the second ball now, but luckily I managed to find a supplier, in Ontario no less, who still had some in stock. The fine folks over at Knitters Attic have set me up with another ball, which should get me a respectable length of scarf. I intend to knit some kind of edging at least on the ends, but I haven't yet decided what one. Hopefully Knitting on the Edge will come in handy here.

Also this week, I finally started Lola:

The yarn is James Brett Marble, also by SRK, in Berries. I like the sort of gradual striping effect, but the colour somehow looks a lot brighter knit up than it does in the ball. But that's okay, I could probably use some brighter colours in my wardrobe. The back knit up fairly quickly, but then I set it aside to think a bit. I'm knitting the smallest size, which is going to be pretty clingy on me. I'm trying to get over my irrational need to make everything bigger "just in case", and ending up with baggy sweaters. The ribbed fabric is really stretchy, so I think it will look okay, and end up as the kind of sweater fit I typically go for in a store-bought garment.

Warning: mindless rambling ahead.
he problem is, I'm not going to have enough yarn for the long sleeves that I had planned - I thought that 4 X 100g of DK would be plenty, but I've used almost 1.5 balls on the back. Since this is a stash project (and acrylic at that), I don't really want to buy any more. I could manage cap sleeves, but then would I wear a short sleeve acrylic pullover? I don't know.... I've considered converting it to a cardigan, as I do wear short-sleeve cardis in the summer but since it's going to be stretchy and on the tighter side, then I wondered if buttons might pull it out of shape and look rather funny unless I used a lot of buttons... There's always a zipper I suppose but then I think I would want a different neck stlye.... I don't know. I'm kind of at a loss right now. So it's back to the lace knitting for a bit while I ponder the possibilities. Your suggestions would be most welcome.

It's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster of a week. I spent yesterday showing family friends around town, which was very fun - but they're in town for heart surgery for a six year old next week (who by the way, loved her new teddy bear). We're hoping for the very best for their family. And now we've had some really scarey news about the health of a family member back home, and Nick and I are worried sick. At least lace knitting is good for taking your mind off of things. I can't say the same for school work though! As my friend ms. m has pointed out, the thesis is my biggest WIP right now, and the sooner I can get it done, the sooner I can get on with my life. It's just hard to stay focused sometimes with so much on your mind.

Thank you for the kind comments about my finished vest. It fits very nicely, and I have already worn it a couple of times. It was fun to knit and I should get a lot of use out of it.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Warm and wooly

... and just in time for spring.

Vest, based very loosely on Leftovers. Knit in the round on 3.75 mm Denise interchangeables.

I altered the pattern for my finer gauge, made the bust size 36" (the pattern had 34 or 38), didn't double the yarn for the bands, and knit the bands in twisted 2X1 rib. I also changed the v-neck band style a bit. Basically, the pattern gave me the general shape and construction.

The yarn is from a cone of laceweight, labelled "T. Forsell & Sons 2/8WC Super Slalom Derby Tweed", knit with two strands held together approximating sport weight. I'm not sure of the fibre content (mostly wool, maybe a little mohair?). A Google search identified the company as a wholesaler of machine knitting yarns, but this particular yarn seems to have been discontinued. I could find nothing about it. I purchased it from Woof Designs in St. John's. There's still plenty left, so I might consider a lace project sometime. I've also considered over-dyeing some of it.

I'm knitting faster than I'm blogging these days, so I'll have to post an update of new things I'm working on. Maybe on the weekend.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Guess what's blocking...

Yup, it a vest! I finally finished it. Details and action photos to come soon.

I mentioned last weekend that I was felting my French market bag. It went through the washer and dryer twice, on the hottest heavy-duty settings, but it's still not quite as dense and firm a fabric as I would have liked, but nevertheless it's quite functional and kind of cute:

French Market Bag from Knitty, made in recycled bulky weight wool. Modifications: I used 5.5 mm needles to accommodate the thicker weight wool, and only 192 stitched instead of 200, mainly because I ran out of the colour I was usuing for the base!

I sewed in a lining, made from some leftover dress-lining fabric:

And what's that in the bag? I might have done a little eBay shopping recently. It's my last purchase for a while, I swear! I got a good deal on these 6 balls of laceweight wool. Black lace.... I'm thinking there's a shawl in my future. It's a chinese brand, and is incredibly soft. I've been walking around petting a skein of it.

And while I was at it, I got a couple of balls of sock yarn:

Fabel Superwash by Garn Studio. I've never tried this brand before, but I really like the colourway.

I should apologize because I'm not feeling too wordy lately - I'm spending my days writing and re-writing technical stuff - so I hope you enjoy this style of short snippets with photos. I'll try to get good FO photos of the vest as soon as it's dry. And I may have wishfully started a summer top over the last few days. What a joke! We had 10 cm of snow last night. Will it never end?!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Inching along

Just a quick update on progress, as there's not much news to share this morning.

I've finally got the vest past the point at which I frogged it before. And yes, I tried it on and it appears to fit nicely. I've split for the armholes and am working on knitting up the back. I'm mostly following the directions for Leftovers, but adjusting for different gauge and sizing. I really hope the bottom isn't going to decide to roll like this once it's blocked. It seemed okay stretched out when I tried it on, so I think it will settle down.

The lace scarf that I started on the weekend is also plodding along slowly:

I really like this having one lace project for concentration, and a second mindless stockinette project for my more blah moments. I have been resisting the urge to start Lola, or Soleil, or Shedir (all linked in the sidebar) until the vest is finished, but I have also been pondering frogging a couple of older (alas unwearable) projects and knitting cute summer tops out of the yarn. The free patterns section at Drops Design is providing much of this inspiration. Argh, I need to spend more time working and less time browsing knitting sites and fantasizing! And on that note, back to work...

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

I'm a bit too old for this...

But apparently the Easter bunny showed up last night. I think Nick really wanted an excuse to eat chocolate.

I made some big progress at school last week, which involved late nights on campus. I decided that I deserved a bit of a break, so I took the whole three-day weekend off, other than a bit of end-of-term marking that just couldn't wait. It's done wonders for my state of mind. Aside from spring cleaning the apartment from top to bottom (I swear the dust bunnies were starting to plot against us!), I've been delving into all kinds of new things.

First off, on Friday night, I went to my first knit night at a coffee shop just down the street. Who knew that they've been meeting there all this time?! I got to meet several people who's blogs I read regularly, including Leanne and Sarah. (Leanne has a great photo of the event up on her blog). It was nice to meet some friendly local knitters, and I'm sure I'll be back soon. There are two organized get-togethers a month, I think.

I was so relaxed that by Saturday morning, I was itching to start another lace project. I had a couple of balls of SRK Collection Ovation, a pastel blend of mohair and silk. After a bit of time skimming Victorian Lace Today, I was drawn to this pattern, the "scarf with French trellis border from Weldon's 1890 and brabmble leaf center":

Except I wanted something a little simple. I decided to just start at the leaf panel, and leave off the two borders. Here we are after four chart repeats:

I'm liking it so far. It's just the right amount of intricacy for my level of skill and concentraton at this point. It's got patterning on every row, but the garter stitch borders are simple. Speaking of which, the outside garter stitch borders are actually a lot wider (8 sts) than the ones shown in the published photo shown above (I'm guessing 3 sts), aren't they? Funny, Grumperina was just pointing out a similar inconsistancy in the pattern that she's knitting from the same book. I sense a trend. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to have enough yarn to get very far with this. I've set it aside for a bit while I hunt for a couple more balls online. This colour, of course, has been discontinued.

Today, I got back to spinning a bit. I plied up some wool singles that had been sitting on my spindle for a while. It turned out rather disastrously. Nothing to do with a mess like that than use it for dye experiments. So I got out the Wilton cake colours and had a little fun. I might even be able to salvage a toque's worth of yarn out of the whole mess. I'll post photos of that soon - right now it's drying in my bathtub.

But more interestingly, I broke out the silk that I recently purchased on eBay. I had been wanting to try silk hankies, since I've heard they're an easy way for beginners to get into silk.

There's four different coloured hankies in there, and a bag of white silk top, which I might play around with blending if I ever manage to get some carders. After a bit of frustration at first with picking apart the layers, and having the incredibly fine fibres stick to everything including my hands, I finally managed to produce some yarn. It's the finest I've managed to spin yet (and probably as fine as I can manage without a lighter spindle). The silk it so strong that it resists breaking off even when it's really thin. Now, any ideas on what to do witha tiny ~7 g of fingering weight silk?! I guess I'm going to have to buy these hankies in multiples if I ever want to knit anything with them!

I also ran my French market bag through the washer and the dryer yesterday, but it's still not felted enough, so I'm off to throw it in for another go. Back to the office, and the real world, tomorrow. It's been a fun little vacation of dabbling, but I'll probably go back to knitting stockinette on my vest now!

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

rip, rip, rip

I'm not sure how I managed this one.

I swatched for my vest on 3.75 mm needles. I washed and dried the swatch. I did another bigger one, with the twisted ribbing included. I was happy with the fabric produced, and sat down to figure out the math and draw up a rough pattern. I cast on. I thought perhaps the gauge was looking a little loose, but somehow I managed to ignore it, thinking the yarn would "plump up" in the blocking to look just like the swatch. Absolute denial.

I was getting close to spliting for the arm holes yesterday, so I decided to join the longest two cables in my set (I love having cable connectors!), and tried it on. It was miles too big. The vest that I had designed to be form-fitting was hanging off me. Interesting. It didn't take long to figure out that somehow, I had been knitting on 4.5 mm needles.


Nothing to do but start over.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

knit knit knit

Well, now that I've taken care of the pile of sweaters, you'd think I'd be looking to jump into a big, new, intricate project, right? I thought I would. I usually like knitting that makes me think, or teaches me something new.

I'm buried deep in thesis writing right now, nearing the end (or at least that's what they tell me. Sometimes it feels like it will never end!). So I'm spending very long days at school six days a week, writing, tweaking, editing, thinking deep thoughts. It's finally starting to come together, and it's pretty exciting after such a long, and at times very frustrating slog. The result is that at the end of the day I still need to de-stress with knitting, but I have no brain cells left to spare for thinking about cables and lace.

In the interest of burning through some more stash and giving my mind a break, I've been working on some simple little projects.

This is the Bamboo Baby cardigan from One Skein Wonders. Simple, but cute. It's the leftover cotton blend from my Sitcom Chic. I did use slightly more than one skein, but I also altered it a little to make the sleeves bigger, and I wasn't using the recommended bamboo yarn. It still needs blocking and buttons. I don't typically knit a lot of garter stitch, but I think it's cute, and it was very quick and easy. If you can knit a dishcloth, you can make this.

I also started a French Market Bag from Knitty a couple of weeks ago.

This is bulky wool from a thrift shop sweater I recycled last year. I'm not sure how well it's going to felt (I know, I know, I should have felted a swatch before I started), but I'm not going to worry about it too much. It's a perfectly nice tote bag even before felting. I just need to knit the second handle, and I might get around to the washing machine fun on the weekend.

And then there's my vest. It doesn't look like much right now, but it's been comforting to knit row upon rown of stockinette in the round. I used to hate plain stockinette, but I'm starting to understand the appeal!

The Denise needles have been a little bit frustrating on this one. They needle tips are great, but I find that the cables, which are thicker but more flexible than the average circular needle are a bit tacky and the yarn sticks to them. So all of the stitches bunch up by the right needle as I knit and I have to keep stopping to push them around. They seemed better with the cotton on the baby sweater, so perhaps this wooly mohair blend is particularly grippy. They might also work better with bigger gauges, and therefore bigger stitches. Oh well. I'm not aiming for speed right now anyway!

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Three of three

Remember how I finally seamed up those three sweaters last week? Well I never did show you the third one. This is the little red cardigan, created as part of the Red Sweater Knit-Along. (The colour is truest on the first picture.)

Original design, in vintage Bear Brand Town 'n Country, 2 ply, DK weight, 100% wool (purchased from eBay, in the "big box of happiness"). Used almost 8 full balls (12 oz). Size 4 mm and 4.5 mm straight needles.

It turned out pretty baggy on me, but I knew from the start that this would be a learning expreience - it's my first sweater design. I'm going to put this one away for a gift (I know who it will fit just perfectly!), and try to eventually re-work the pattern to fit me better. Maybe even with waist shaping next time.

Aren't these the cutest buttons?

I discovered a great little fabric and button store downtown on Bank Street, and they had a wall of buttons to choose from (which given my indecisive nature, took me forever!). I really liked working with this wool too, not that I'm likely to ever find it again. It is soft and light, and blocks beautifully.

And here's a shot of the back, showing the bagginess:

After that frenzy of sweater finishing, I'm happy to be working on some smaller projects right now. The vest is coming along nicely in the little bit of knitting time I'm allowing myself these days. It's end-of-semester crunch time.

Enjoy the remainder of the weekend, everybody!

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