Sunday, September 24, 2006

SAM2 - September done!

Work has been crazy-busy these last few weeks, but I did manage to finish my SAM2 socks for September.

The yarn is Regia Stretch Color, No. 85. I'm really like these colours, and Im' quite happy with the way they knit up. No blotches, streaks, pooling or zig-zagging, just nice little blips of blue & grey & brown & green.

I did find that the yarn wasn't as soft as other Regia I've used in the past. I'm not sure if that's because of the "stretch" component of the yarn, or because I've been using so many wonderful "non-commercial" yarns lately that the regular stuff feels harsh. I'm hoping the former, because I have a ton of Regia patiently waiting its turn on the needles.

These socks have the wide-Stahl-vertical toe that I've posted about before ...

... and a Sherman short-row heel, with Vikkel braid applied as I short-rowed back out again. Instructions for Vikkel braid are in most of Nancy Bush's books. I really like the look of this.

My swatches with Vikkel braid showed it to be fairly stretchy, but in these socks, not so much. I don't know if that's a factor of the technique or the way I was holding the yarn. The socks don't feel tight, but the stitches look a little stretched across my stupidly high instep. I'm thinking a bit of extra gusset shaping may be necessary in future endeavours. More experimentation is required. :-)

In the Other News Department, progress continues on the scarf for the International Scarf Exchange.

I'm a little over half-way done. The Cashmerino is indeed lovely to knit with, and I think I'll miss this project when it's finished.

My package for the Chocolate Swap is just about ready to go, and the same for the Tea Swap. I guess that means it's time to join a few other activities.

Socktoberfest? How could I not?

There is also Tweeding Along ...

... and the Fall Cable KAL 2006.

These are celebrations of tweed and cables, both non-project specific, with no dead-line time wise -- my kind of knit-a-longs!

There is also the Heere Be Dragone KAL on Yahoo groups. Yup, I'm there too. I think I'll need all the support I can get for that one ....... after I finish the Butterfly, which I haven't touched in way. too. long.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The "New" Rule

Many thanks, everyone, for your congratulations on the Amazing Lace, and special thanks to the hostesses, Rachel and Theresa. They came up with a lot of great challenges and reminded us to have fun with our knitting. I think the incredible imagination that was shown in all of the entries is testament to how much knitters took to heart the spirit of the game.

Thanks, also, to everyone who suggested where I might find my missing toe. While no one pointed me to exactly what I seemed to recall at the back of my mind, SJ and ev and Ozknitter recommended the wide toe in Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. The photos and the directions for that toe leave a little to be desired, but in the end I was able to come up with something that matched what I was remembering.

Forgive the wonky picture -- the only way I could get a decent shot was to put the sock on my hand. Turns out that to achieve the effect I wanted, I merely had to align the stitches differently prior to grafting. Um, yeah ... duh.

I am one of those strange people who likes to Keep Track of things. I make lists of all sorts of stupid things, which I usually ignore, and I count rows while I knit. It makes me happy. Yes, I'm strange. The bad part is that I tend to cast on while I'm upstairs and make careful notes of the yarn and needles. Then I rip the page out of my notebook because I tend to knit away downstairs. I take it all back upstairs to turn the heel, back downstairs for the foot, and upstairs again to finish the toe. It may end up travelling around with me, or not. When I'm done, I end up with crumpled, little grease and/or coffee stained pieces of paper which I then just throw into a drawer in my desk. For future reference, you know.

It is time to get a little more organized. This is my new record keeping system.

Yes, it's another doo-dad, and yes, I have BLUE index cards :-)

I am still suffering from startitis. I present to you a fistful of UFOs.

I have decided that in order to curb what is starting to turn into an annoying habit, I must institute a "New" rule. Because I'm not really into the whole Deprivation Thing, my "New" rule says that I can still cast on whatever I want, whenever I want, but before I start something New, I must first take a photo of the yarn. A decent photo. That means I need decent light and the camera batteries must be charged. No more spur-of-the-moment, 10:30-at-night cast-ons. Other than the socks above, and the mate to the sock up top, if you see sockly evidence without seeing the yarn in its "natural" state, you have my permission to yell at me. Nicely, of course, but still ... keep me in line, eh? Besides, it will be interesting to compare how the yarn looks in the ball or hank with the finished product.

In the Other News Department, I have started my scarf for the International Scarf Exchange. It's now about a foot long, but here's a shot of it in its infancy.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Dragone Details

In answer to a few requests for more info about the Heere Be Dragone shawl:

As far as I know, at this point it is only available from the designer herself, Sharon Winsauer at Aurora Alpacas. The pattern is not yet up on their website, but you can write to her -- -- and ask to order it. She gives very prompt and courteous service. No affiliation, yada yada.

The pattern itself appears to be well written and the charts are clear, although I think I will have to enlarge them to actually use them. There are 10 pages of body chart, and two pages of border chart. The background in the pattern appears to be a simple mesh pattern, but the Dragone hisself involves some manipulation on both wrong and right side rows and uses a variety of twisted stitches as well as your more usual lace stitches. The edging is knitted on after the main portion is completed.

My attention was first drawn to this shawl when I saw it on Rae's blog, Extravayarnza, where she chronicles her knitting of it. The pattern calls for two 100 gram skeins of Alpaca with a Twist, 70% alpaca/30% silk, 875 yards/skein. Rae advised me that it actually only takes about 1 and 1/4 skeins, which leads me to believe that one hank of Helen's Laces should do it, as long as I don't screw it up too badly, but I think it would be *totally amazing* in the alpaca/silk.

In the sock knitting category, it appears that we really are taking over the world one knitter at a time ;-)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Amazing Lace - le Grand Finis!

Turns out this has been rather a busy weekend.

The Amazing Lace has finished, and I won the Grand Prize!! Thank you, Rachel and Theresa! I'm still a little bit in shock. I'm glad the results were determined by a random number generator rather than based by skill or, ahem, completion, because I still haven't finished my Swallowtail shawl. I've been stuck on a certain fives row, having reknit them now three or four times. But I will finish it -- and now I'm even more motivated. I got to choose which prize I wanted, and I picked the Helen's Laces from Lorna's Laces! I'm not going to tell you which colour I chose - yet. But I can tell you that a certain pattern arrived in my mail box not too long ago that I think will be perfect for this yarn. It's a bit of a stretch for my skills at the moment, but if I can conquer the butterfly, I can conquer this:

Yup, it's a dragon! I guess I have a thing for pictorial lace. This was designed by Sharon Winsauer of Aurora Alpacas. I am a bit scared of him, though, because the pattern is labelled "challenging." Yikes! Having read over the pattern, I can understand why. Well, we shall see. After all, it's all just one stitch after another one, right? But no starting him until the butterfly is done. No, no starting. Done first. Butterfly, finished. Completed. Blocked and all. Do Not Start Until Butterfly is Finished.

Now that The Amazing Lace and the Trek-a-Long are finished, all sorts of new things are starting up this fall.

Suzie has started Round 2 of the Knitters Tea Swap. This was a lot of fun last time, and I'm delighted to join up again. Sipping tea and knitting away on a dragon butterfly -- what could be more fun?

I've also signed up for a brand new swap started by the energetic and industrious Abigail -- the Chocolate Swap. Yummy!! Chocolate, in either solid or liquid form, and chocolate-coloured yarn -- this one sounds like a lot of fun too.

I've also joined a new knit-a-long, the Black Bunny Hopalong. You can make anything you want, using any of Carol's beautiful yarns. I just might be making yet another pair of socks.

So, what are you up to this fall?