Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Checking In

Not much knitting content.  Or at least no pretty pictures.

Although I had swatched for Shiraz, the swatch lied.  Once I got past the yoke, into the part with swaths of stockinette, I checked my gauge, and it was off, both for stitches and rows.  I'm sure part of the problem can be blamed on the fact that I was using Addy Turbos.  I really don't like their stubby, stubby tips, but I figured this would be a good project for them.  Plus, they were the only size 7s with a long enough cord that I had free.

But the slickness of Addys combined with my naturally loose knitting to make it even looser.  I also decided that I was making a size too large.  I frogged the whole thing and cast on again on size 6s and a smaller size. When I was about 10 rows in, I realized I was 4 stitches short on one of the fronts, so I ripped back about 6 rows.  I'm now about 12 rows in and things seem to be going better, but it looks pretty much the same as it did in my last post!

In my frustration after frogging, I cast on for another pair of socks.  In my defense, I also wanted a small project with a lot of stockinette to work on at an all-day meeting I'll be in on Friday.  So, I chose Pyromania -- a little lace and a lot of stockinette.  I'm past the lace on the first sock, so I have stockinette to work on Friday.  I'm using the December 2010 offering from Scout's yarn club, Izvar, a beautiful, almost solid, dark-bright pink.  I don't have a picture of the sock, but here's the yarn:

Scout's Sway "Izvar"

Looks familiar, doesn't it?  I never know what to call this color, but it's my favorite shade of pink.  Make it just a little more red, and it becomes cherry. I have lots of yarn in my stash that's about this color.

And here's something unrelated to knitting.

Last Tuesday, I came home from work and found this little bird sitting on my stoop.

His back was to me, and he looked like he had just hopped up on the step.  I had to look more than once to convince myself he wasn't real!  He seems to be made of wood, and the end of his tail is broken off.  I have no idea where he came from, but I suspect that one of the many kids in my neighborhood found him and left him on my doorstep. So I moved him back closer to the house, in a safer place, where he can watch the world go by.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Another One Finished!

I pulled another project started long ago out of the pile, and finally finished my Boneyard Shawl - or at least, my version of Boneyard.

First of all--and I may have already told y'all this when I cast on over a year ago (according to Ravelry)--Stephen West designed this shawl while he lived in Urbana, Illinois, which, along with Champaign, is the home of my alma mater, the University of Illinois.  The Boneyard is a creek that runs through the north end of campus.  One year, I lived in an apartment that looked over it.  When I was in school, it was for the most part polluted and full of trash, but it was  part of my life.  Luckily, it has since been rehabilitated and is now an important feature of the U of I's Engineering Quad.

Obviously, I had to make this shawl, even thought it is composed of swaths of my nemesis:  stockinette.  Stockinette broken up every 11 rows with a garter ridge. Which is why it took me a year....

Boneyard Shawl

Pattern:  Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West
Yarn:  Malabrigo Sock (2 skeins) in Stonechat, and a tiny bit of my beloved MadTosh Vintage in Cherry for the bind-off.
Needles:  US 4
Mods:  The pattern calls for DK and, if you check my Rav posting for this, you'll see that it took me a while to find the perfect yarn for this.  I had bought two skeins of the Stonechat for something other than socks, and it worked great for this project.  One change that I made at the very beginning was to use yarn overs for the edge increases, while keeping the M1s along the center ridge.  About half way through the 2nd skein, I accidentally knit the garter ridge two rows early, and I decided to make that a feature - I would knit the garter ridge two rows early every time, until I ended up with several rows of straight garter stitch.  However, once I got to the garter section, I got bored, because each row by the was 400+ stitches.  After three rows of garter stitch, I threw in a row of eyelets, then did three more rows of garter.  And because I didn't have enough yarn to bind off, I used some of the MadTosh Vintage in Cherry (previously seen in my Ripley hat and Sidecar mittens) to bind off.  I had actually considered using the Vintage for the eyelet row, but I was afraid the yarn weights were too different.  However, it worked just fine for the bind-off!

I'm really happy with this shawl - it will be my work shawl, replacing a really ugly and ancient black store-bought shawl that has been in my office for at least 15 years!

After I finished this, I worked a bit more on the Hedgerow socks that have been on the needles forever, then cast on for Shiraz.  Appropriately, I'm knitting it in wine-red Cascade 220 Heathers.  (I have a work-related trip later in the month, and I think the Hedgerow socks will be great travel knitting.)  My next sweater was supposed to be Myrtle, which I cast on and ripped out last August, but after reading more about that pattern, I think I need a little more sweater experience before trying it.  Myrtle's lace doesn't frighten me at all, but actually turning the lace into a sweater does! Shiraz is a more straight-forward pattern, so, in addition to being a great sweater that I'm sure I'll wear, it's also good practice.

Beginnings of Shiraz
Not-so-great photo taken with my iphone - the yarn is really a dark red.