Saturday, March 18, 2006

Starsky - It begins ...

You might wonder what this is:

If you guessed that it was a sweater back, done up to the shoulder shaping, you might have been right, except that it is that no longer and instead became the largest swatch I have ever made. The boring twisted rib has been ripped apart, to become a Starsky.

Back when I was in college, I has a Starsky-esque sweater. Not this one, of course, but one similar. Kind of a wrap thingy, with a belt. It was in a patchwork design in all sorts of shades of brown. It was probably hideous by today's fashions, but back then it was tres chic. I remember that it had wide sleeves that dragged in just about everything they could and a belt that I was continually cinching. But I liked it, and I do believe the time has come for another Starsky.

In one evening, the twisted rib metamorphed into: I've altered the rib pattern a bit. I wanted the three-stitch rib dividing the banana plants to flow into the bottom ribbing. As it turned out, I was also able to have the stems flow upwards from a two-stitch rib. I'm happy. For those to whom such things matter, the yarn is Naturally Chunky 14 ply, Shade 557, otherwise known as grey. I've also decided to go with only four inches of ease instead of eight, as this will mostly be an indoor sweater.

Thanks to my FLAK experience, I learned how to cable without a cable needle. These all being two-stitch cables, they flow very nicely sans needle. I'm not 100 per cent sure that I have enough yarn, and if need be I will forgo the belt. I will hold my breath while I do all that ribbing on the fronts. It was a little strange at first doing cable crossings on the wrong side, without the visual clue one gets from the front, but they actually go fairly easily.

I hope to get the "fancy" part done soon, so I can have some plain stockinette to work on while I do my April SMAKs, which involve a bit of patterning. It's rather strange -- now that spring is around the corner, I have two GREY projects on the go. Hmmmm ....

Friday, March 17, 2006

SMAK March - done!

I love my March socks.

March SMAK socks are done! Generic made-to-measure from Emu Superwash DK, Col. No. 214 - a nice squishy yarn in beautiful blues and greys.

However, these two little fellas gave me conniptions whilst knitting them. I have lost track of the number of times I ripped out the heel and re-did it. You see, this is my first short-row heel. Yup, umpty-dozen pairs of socks and nary a short-row heel among them. Those who know me know that I'm a flap and turn kind of guy. I always * assumed * that because I had to make an unusually long heel flap that I wouldn't be able to get a short-row heel to fit. But I played and played and played some more. I finally found a ratio that works for me - a full two-thirds of the stitches are devoted to the heel, and I short row down to two inches then back up again. YAY!!

I used the Sherman method of short rows. I love it. I don't know why people futz around with yarn overs and double yarn overs and backward yarn overs and wrappings and unwrappings and whatever other contortions they can muster. It's not necessary. The Sherman short row is simple and easy. There are no holes, and there are no bumps. It is, quite simply, elegant.

While I was playing around, I thought I would try a different toe. These socks have a wide toe, i.e., two free stitches at the end of each needle whilst doing the decreases, and Stahl shaping. I love them. No squished tootsies. Wiggle room. Ahhh.


I am hoping that I'll be able to use the same short-row ratio for regular sock yarns. But first, I must continue to work on the pile of UFOs. I'm actually doing pretty good. I took a look at it, and some has been frogged and designated for other projects. I only have three or four left to go.

I think it's time for some texture. My next socks WILL be done by the end of April, and they will be made out of this:

FLAK - the saddles and ......

Yup, I got my saddles done:

Five inches each, ten inches in total, and the yarn was protesting all the way. My hands actually hurt when I was done. I looked at them. And then I looked at them again. And I started to think.......

Since I always seem to think best with needles in hand, while I was thinking, I did this:

Yes, it's another Multi-Directional Diagonal Scarf. It's a fun little knit, and I used Noro Silk Garden, Col. No. 234 -- two and one-third balls (sigh). This yarn is heavenly to work with. This yarn also gets knots in the most annoying places. When the ends are joined up, they don't seem to care where they are in the colourway. Instead of a nice gradual transition, boom, there you are, somewhere else. But still, it's heavenly. And because it's heavenly, it's worth another shot: Goes nicely with my brown leather jacket, doesn't it :-) And since you may have noticed in the photo above that we still have some snow, I'll still get some use out of it this year.

Where was I? Oh yeah. Saddles. I realized this yarn does not want to FLAK. The cables don't really show the pattern to true advantage, and it will not be an enjoyable knit. I do still want a brown Aran, but I think this stuff needs something with a bolder pattern. I don't have the energy or inclination to start all over from scratch right now, soI'll lurk and learn on the list. It will be back later, but for now, say goodbye to FLAK:

Do not fret lest you think I might be without cabley goodness. I can, and should, ressurect this:

My Garter Stitch Aran Cardigan has been patiently waiting ... for a little less than two years ... for my return. The pattern from Tara Jon Manning's Men in Knits, and the yarn is Briggs & Little Regal in Col. No. 48, Turquoise. The sides and back are knit in one piece, and it sits at the point where I had just bound off the underarms and was about to work up from there. I just have to figure out where I was in the pattern.It is yummy, and it has replaced the FLAK on my active WIP list.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Knitting friends ....

I do have some progress to report on various projects, and non-progress to report on others, but it's much too dull and dreary today to take decent photographs. Instead, I wish to share with you a picture sent to me by the partner of a friend with whom I get together occasionally to knit. I actually spewed beverage out of orifices from which beverage is not meant to be spewed.