Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WIP Wednesday

Last week I posted about starting the Coin Lace Stole (you can find the pattern on the Elann site, but you need to register in order to view it).  After two eight hour car rides this past weekend, I am now to the second section of repeats.

At first, I thought that I was going to have to be looking at my knitting too much to really get much done in the car.  (The last thing I wanted was to get sick all over my beautiful knitting project.)  Turns out, it wasn't so much the need to look at my knitting that slowed me down, but the rough road.  It's very difficult to keep lacework on the needles when you are bouncing around.  That being said, I am very happy with the progress I made.

I wish I could say the same for my husband's sweater.  It was so hot in the car, even with the air conditioning on, that I just couldn't take having a large, 100% wool sweater sitting on my lap.  I was hoping that when we got home I could power through knitting the front and bottom bands, but we came home to over 100 degree temps and, once again, I couldn't stomach the idea of having that much wool on my lap.

I'm so close to being finished.  My hope now is that the temperature will continue to drop and by this weekend it will be cool enough to deal with the wool monster (as I now call it).  

Hey, I still have 26 days before the year anniversary of starting the project.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

WIP Wednesday

This past Sunday I began a new project.  I started working on the Coin Lace Stole pattern that goes along with the yarn I just purchased.  Now, I have knit lace before, but generally the pattern has been very straight forward and the piece hasn't been very big.  For instance I knit the lace garter that I wore at my wedding as well as the lace handbag I carried.  To be honest, the hardest part of those projects was actually seaming and lining them.  I have attempted to knit a lace scarf a few years ago and got so frustrated I frogged the entire thing and the yarn I was using is still sitting in my stash . . . untouched.

This lace project just looked so beautiful that I felt compelled to attempt it. 

So far, things are going well.  I got off to a rocky start in two ways: reading the chart wrong and placing my stitch market in the wrong place.  Well, I guess the two are so closely related that I could say that I just made on really big mistake.  Luckily, I made the mistake early on in the pattern and only had to rip out 27 rows.  Since this pattern is knit starting in the corner and increasing across the rows, I really didn't have to rip out too many stitches.

The issue was that this particular stole is made with dropped stitches and I dropped the wrong stitch on the first section repeat.  Having not worked on a large project like this before, and definitely not one that was knit starting from the corner, I was very unsure of how to read the chart when it came to repeating multi-row sections.

I could have called a friend and asked for help, but I am always determined to figure it out myself.  So I scoured the internet looking for advice.  After reading many articles on how to read a chart and realizing that I already knew how to read the chart, I started back at the beginning.  I came to understand that it wasn't that I didn't know how to read the chart, but more that I hadn't counted the correct number of stitches before dropping one. In my defense, when I printed out the chart the grid lines didn't print so it makes it a little tougher to count stitches.

All in all, it didn't take me long to reknit the 27 rows and I'm now on the 5th repeat of this section, growing the width of the stole.  I have a couple of long (like 8+ hour long) car rides this weekend where I am sure much more will be done on this project.  Of course, my real hope for the trip is that I actually finish all the knitting on my husband's sweater so that I can seam it, add the zipper and finally be done . . . almost a year after I started it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New Arrivals

There were two new arrivals this week.  One far more important than the other.

I'll start with the least important, but still worth mentioning, my yarn arrived from Elann.  I am very excited about knitting the free pattern that goes along with it.  I had been planning on starting the whisper cardigan after the completion of my husband's sweater, but the thought of starting another project that  involves a lot of stockinette stitch made me shiver.  Don't get me wrong, I really want to knit the cardigan, but I just needed something with slightly more difficulty for a little bit.

I am in love with the Peruvian Baby Cashmere yarn.  It is a blend of 60% baby alpaca/30% merino wool/10% Cashmere and it is oh so soft.  I just want to hold it and caress it.  I can only imagine that the coin lace stole that I am knitting with it is going to be very comfy for wrapping myself in this winter.  Being in So Cal it never really gets cold enough to wear thick knitted stoles or sweater.  I figure this yarn and stole will work wonderfully and provide a nice conversation starter as well.

The other, and far more important, arrival this week was the birth of a baby boy to some of my dearest friends.  Several posts ago, I mentioned having knit a baby blanket with a mother's love Celtic knot in it.  This is the special one for which it was knit.  It has been a long road for his parents.  Longer than many have to go through.  There is no doubt that this little man is meant to be a part of their life's journey.  He has come into this world surrounded by so much love.  I cannot wait to get the chance to meet him.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WIP Wednesday

WIP, or Work in Progress, is a term used in a lot of crafts.  In knitting you might also hear On the Needles.  Whatever the phrase, it really just means what you are working on at the moment.

I've been talking a lot about my husband's sweater, which is definitely still a WIP.  Generally speaking, I have two to three projects on needles at one time.  Usually one project has been sitting for quite some time (usually because I got bored or frustrated), another is usually midway to almost finished and the third is in its infancy, maybe just barely cast on.

I try to remember to take pictures of my projects as I make progress, but sometimes I just think that a piece of stockinette stitch cloth really isn't that interesting to photograph so I end up with just a beginning and ending picture. The more detail in the stitches the more pictures I take. 

Recently, I have been contemplating the term WIP and I came to a realization.  In fact, it was a quite obvious realization.  I have two other works in progress . . . my kids. 

I see a lot of similarities between raising kids and working on a complicated knitting pattern.  They both require a lot of attention and if you aren't paying attention there is a good chance that you are going to have to take a few steps back in order to correct an issue.  You have to hope that a mistake made too far back to simply be undone can be corrected as you move forward.  It is always interesting to watch the bits and pieces come together to form a more coherent picture.  And most important, you have to trust in the process and that at the end of it all you will have a finished object you feel good about sending out into the world.

Now, unlike a knitting project, I sometimes forget the my kids are works in progress.  When I have something on needles it is easy to understand that it isn't complete and there is still more forming that needs to take place.  With my kids, there are times when I forget they need more time to absorb information and incorporate it into who they are.   I sometimes expect that they should know things that are really far beyond their years.  In other words, I have to remind myself that they are kids and still have a ways to go before fully formed.

Just like them, and my knitting projects, I too am a work in progress.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Back to a routine

The summer months, which should have been slow and easy, were crazy busy.  This past week the kids went back to school and I have returned to a normal work schedule (as normal as I ever get at least).

I have almost finished the yoke on my husband's sweater.  It looks like the rest of the pattern shouldn't take too long so I may actually have this finished in the next week.  Provided I get the time I think I will to knit. With homework starting up again, my knitting time in the evening may be cut a little short, but since football is back (yea!!) I will have Sundays to catch up on my knitting.

I've said it before, there is nothing so relaxing as watching football and knitting.  I have always assumed that there are more football knitters out there and that's one reason I was really happy to see this blog post on Knitting Daily titled "It's Football Season!(Not to Mention Knitting Season . . .)" which confirmed my assumption.  Being able to knit successfully on Sundays makes watching my fantasy football teams fall apart at least a little more bearable.

Homework, football and knitting are all part of my Fall routine.  I am also determined to work some dyeing time into this routine.  I have several skeins of yarn that are just calling out to be dyed.  I don't have as much space in my new home as in the last one, but I will find a way start dyeing again.

Maybe I'll even find the time to turn that hand dyed yarn into Christmas presents. I mean, Christmas is right around the corner, especially for hand knitted items.  If I start now and make it a part of my routine it might actually happen.  

I did say might, right?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sweating for a sweater

This past week, I finally finished knitting the sleeves of my husband's sweater.  Well, I thought I had finished.  That is until I went to attach them to the rest of the sweater to start the yoke.  I couldn't figure out why one sleeve had 73 stitches and the other had 77.

I read the first row of the yoke portion of the pattern and the 73 stitches appeared to be the correct number.  I just couldn't see where I went wrong.  Of course, I had already ripped out and restarted this second sleeve three times and I really didn't want to do it again.  After reading and rereading the sleeve section of the pattern, I found my mistake . . . I was supposed to bind off two stitches at the beginning of each of the last two rows.  77-4=73!

Now, I could have simply taken the stitches off the needle and ripped back two rows, but having already caused havoc with the sleeve before by trying to rip back a few rows, I decided to simply unknit the last two rows.   It didn't take as long as I thought it would and I was quickly back to where I needed to be to join all the work together and start the yoke.

With the AC on (since it was 88 degrees in the house just a few hours earlier) I started knitting all 316 stitched on to one circular needle.  This is where the sweating comes in to the equation.  I thought having the AC on would be enough to make the temperature comfortable while knitting this 100% wool sweater.


After about halfway through the first row I realized I was sweating.  At first I thought that maybe the AC hadn't been on long enough, but a quick survey of the kids and the husband proved that theory wrong.  I put the knitting aside and almost instantly I felt the temperature drop to bearable.

Determined as I am to finish this (insert expletive) sweater, I am not going to let a heat stop me.  Slow me down, definitely.  Stop me, no way.  However, I did tell my husband he better darn well like this sweater by the time I am done and wear it all the time.

So onward I go, knitting a row then taking a break (this also helps with my wrist pain).  Only 30 more repeats to go before the collar!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Quick Introduction

I have added a new blog to my list. This one is being written by one of my dearest friends. We started knitting around the same time. In fact, it was because she was teaching herself to knit that I finally got up the nerve to try it myself.

She is now embarking on a new knitting journey, designing knitwear. Again, she is teaching herself. I couldn't be more excited for her as she takes this step. She is a bit terrified, which is completely understandable. However, I'm fond of saying that if you aren't at least a little scared of a new endeavor then you simply don't care enough. Being terrified just means she cares a great deal about what she is attempting to do.

This is a picture of the two of us, I'm on the right, after we completed a wedding blanket for some friends. This was one of the first things she designed from scratch (with minimal help from me).

She's probably going to kill me for posting this (especially the really old picture of the two of us) and directing people over to read her new blog, but so be it. I'm just being a supportive friend. ;)