Friday, October 18, 2019

socktober...

Turns out there is another meaning to it - a campaign to help the homeless and less fortunate. I went to Walmart and bought a couple dozen socks and dropped them off to our local shelter and felt much better about knitting nice socks for my friends and family. Being all fired up to knit a pair a day until my stash is gone and my new project arrives, I got busy winding. Last year, before Christmas, I got caught in the crosshairs of the Canadian postal strike - http://knitwords.blogspot.com/2018/11/goin-postal.html - ended up double ordering and by the time I finally got the Canadian order, I was socked out and just put it away. You know, out of sight, out of mind. The other day, I got it out and just started in on knitting without really evaluating the situation. After knitting the third pair of rather plain (for me) socks, it dawned on me, I think I had a plan when I ordered this stuff. Looked in my photo file and yeah, I did have a strategy. Not that I forgot about those awesome boots, but they were the inspiration behind this order. I wanted some red socks to wear with these boots – I had bought them a half size up from my other JFs https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2017/12/sox-talk.html  which were a little on the snug side but these red ones are a bit on the large size and, I thought I needed a longer cuff because the boots are higher. Anyway, it's really hard to find cool sock yarn to go with red boots. These are pretty boring except for those Kroy ones!

Realized I ordered the Patons Kroy for a reason – it’s a little heavier than most of the other sock yarns. Lana Grossa, Regia, Paintbox, etc. are 390 to 420 m to 100g which translates to 3.9 to 4.2 m per 1 g. Patons Kroy is 152 m to 50g which is 3 m to 1g. Never actually figured this out until now, I just knew from using it in the past for myself that the Patons socks were thicker when made the same as the other yarns - makes a difference when wearing other boots or shoes.
I know what you’re thinking, oh gosh, she’s going to go on and on about socks again! I’ll shut up now and just knit…

Friday, October 11, 2019

male order...

Last week, Manfriend asked me to make him a sweater like one he saw downtown in  a shop window. I was curious to see what caught his eye. We drove down on Sunday, thinking I could see through the window without being too obvious, but they were open. We went in and took a closer look. I asked him what it was that he liked. He said the colour. From outside it just looked like your average, dark coloured, plain ole pullover.
Closer inspection revealed it was a very plain pullover with a set-in sleeve and the yarn was a tweedy-looking navy-ish with bits of gold, plum and maybe a bit of teal.
I told him to try it on although I had my doubts as to the sizing. XL was the biggest size in this store, and I was fairly certain it would be too snug for his liking (or mine ;)). He did try on a bomber-style jacket that fit like a glove and declined to try the sweater.
Back home, I went on-line and found the store sweater described as ‘heavy knitted sweater, regular fit, knit in an acrylic/wool blend (90/10 – whoop-de-do!) multi-coloured slub yarn finished off with a rolled hem and neck opening’ and was $119 (Canadian).
I switched to my favourite handknitting yarn source, loveknitting.com. I found out they were calling this month “Socktober” which I thought was very cute. I found a DK weight tweedy something from Berroco, showed him the colourways, he chose one and I placed the order. Later he asked how much it was, and I said $104 US, but I got free shipping (so added several skeins of sock yarn). He said wait, if it cost that much and you still have to work to make it, I should just go and buy the one in the store. Patiently, I explained this yarn was far superior to what the ready-made thing was and with my expertise he would get a priceless garment! Stay tuned! LK150 project!
Have a great weekend! Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 7, 2019

bragging rights...

top section with waste yarn on bottom
I posted that photo of the ‘dogs’ on the ivory background a couple of weeks ago. A brief recap – these baby afghans were originally published in Knitwords 34 and 35 and were the brainchild of Mar Heck (see previous posts for the links to that part of the story). I’ve made them several times since and think they are brilliant. Now, Mar’s originals were done with a dark colour background and she advised “choose saturated, high contrast colours so the designs show up. Make the background in a darker colour than the designs”. Here, I had a new stock of the brights in CottonTale8 from Knit Knack Shop instead of the old acrylic stuff. Had one new cone of navy for background of the first two and enough leftover black for the third one. Wanting to keep using up the brights, I paired ivory (CT8 in stock) for the background, just to see. Happy with the first two dogs of periwinkle and red, I picked up the ‘bright yellow’ and began knitting. After the fourth row, I stopped, gave it a long, slow look and pondered. This might not be quite right. Stood back and looked again. Was there enough contrast? Considered ripping it out but then I thought, ‘ah, you’re being too critical’ and quickly finished the whole thing. With it laying flat out on the floor, I wasn’t exactly ecstatic, but again thought, ‘no big deal, it’s a freakin’ baby blanket!’ Left it there, finished up the other blankets, went away for a week, came back and hated it.
You may have heard me boast about my skill at grafting stitches… https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2016/08/salvage-operation_10.html

re-knit section with waste
What makes it even thinkable here is there are two plain rows of the background between the different motifs so, I can take out the middle yellow one that I don’t like and re-knit that in another colour and then graft the pieces together. First, rehang the plain row above the persimmon dogs. Find the row below, cut the yarn (leaving a tail of the ivory to darn in later) and pull on it to separate off the bottom section. Make sure all stitches are on needles, waste yarn it and drop it off. Rehang the bottom section, picking the second plain row above the red dogs. Yank off the yellow portion, unravel the last plain row to make sure all the stitches are good and re-knit that plain row.  Set up the pattern for row 147 (first fairisle row of what was the yellow dogs) and re-knit that section using the best contrast colour left which is denim (not really but that's what the  label says...), stopping after the last fairisle row of the motif. Waste yarn this. Now, my grafting row, in ivory will complete the correct sequence of two plain ivory rows between!
 
Sometimes you gotta do something just to prove you can do it! (never mind brag about it! ;))
You know, if this didn’t work out, I never would have said…
Hey, anyone interested in a kit of ‘brights’?
P.S. finished both of these with a 5-stitch slip cord - that extra stitch does wonders - it looks great!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

shoulda, coulda, woulda...

You know me, I almost always have a back-up plan! When I decided to make one of these fairisle blankets out of cotton, my first thought was, ’the kid won’t be dragging this around very far, it’ll weigh a ton!’ Before the yarn even arrived, I was thinking about maybe lining it with flannelette. That was Plan B.
I weighed the first cat top. It was 375g alone. To put off pursuing plan B, I kept on knitting fronts. After the fourth one (more on that later!), I began to add up the reasons not to sew on a backing. The biggest issue was that the blanket top needs to be washed to shrink it before sewing…all those long floats! What to do?
Since there was still a ton of the bright coloured yarn left, I knit the lining for the first dog one and then the liner for the second cat one.
So what if the thing was going to be so heavy the kid wouldn’t be able to move under it? It would be like that X-ray blanket they put on you in the dentist office - that might be a good thing!
I did the I-cord binding on the dog one, with 4 stitches, playing with the stitch size. I found that T5 worked nicely for the width/stitches edge and T8 for every other row of the length sides. Finished it up, looked nice, but needs to be washed before giving it out. It weighed 650g. I’m not sure what the acrylic blanket weighed.
Now was my chance to commit to plan B. A trip to the fabric store brought me up short. Crikey! Have you seen the price of flannelette? I was expecting five to six dollars per metre. Ouch! the really cute printed ones were like $20 plus! One of the nicer sales clerks told me some of them were going to be on sale on the weekend for like 40% off – not the really cute ones, of course, but there was a plain navy with a stripe that would run me about $12 total for what I needed. In the meantime, I came up with a plan for washing the single-layer cats. Folded in half, it fit nicely in a pillowcase. Using safety pins to secure the corners of the blanket into the corners of the pillowcase and a couple in the middle so it wouldn’t all ball up, I put it and the finished doggy one in the washer and then the dryer. Wow! that worked well. Laundered the piece of flannelette with some jeans – I didn’t want to put it in with the knitted pieces in case it shed a bunch and caused some pilling.
With still an abundance of the bright yarn remaining, I made a fourth front, dogs again using ivory as the background – curious to see how much of a difference the dark backdrop really does. I’ll admit, this was purely avoidance.
I started finishing the second cats with a 5-stitch I-cord, just for comparison, using the same tensions – this looks good!
Okay, grabbing the bull by the horns, so to speak, today is the day. Do it or get off the pot! Got it done. Even though I do consider myself a decent seamstress, this was not an easy job. Lots of pinning and re-pinning and straightening and re-
stitching. It is done. Likely most people would think it acceptable. Timewise it was a little less than the totally knitted project. Finished weight, 510g.
Was it worth the anxiety or time?
No, and I’ll likely just keep this around for when my brother comes to visit with his dog and see if Jersey will sleep on it…

Thursday, September 12, 2019

bet ya didn't know...

one of the problems when knitting fairisle with long floats, it’s hard to get it perfect,
bad cats, sad cats!
especially with Silver Reed machines. The second colour that isn’t knitting, over more than eight needles, begins to feel left out and wants to jump in on the backside of the second colour, especially predominant when there are a few bent needles. Not even seriously bent, just latches that are maybe a little sticky! On the first cat blank, I had sort of forgotten this – you don’t really see it while you’re knitting unless you’re aware and really looking  for it but when the thing comes off you can see a few places where it makes a vertical line on the front of the fabric. I’m hoping it’ll wash out. Ha! ha! We know that never happens! Anyway, it’s not serious enough to rip out or abandon the whole thing - other people, a.k.a non-knitters, won’t even notice.

good cats on left
2nd cats after needles changed
Toward the top of the piece, I did spot these vague lines and made note of the needle numbers. Swapped out ten or so needles and did a little work on the stitch pattern to eliminate some of the larger solid colour areas. The second bunch of cats came out much better. I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t toss the needles – there was nothing really wrong with them and, even though I’ve been to your house and see that you put the bent needles back in at the end of the bed and I’ve made fun of you for that, I just put these aside and they will be my backup stash – no point in putting them at the ends as I’m using the full width of the needle bed!
Oh yeah, and if you’re going to be knitting 200 stitches wide by 350 rows at T9 fairisle, you should stop halfway through and check the clamps. At about row 250, fortunately the carriage was almost to the end of the row when the right-hand side clamp let go! I was quick enough to realize what was happening, grabbed the ribber, held it up and got the carriage to the end without dropping anything! Thanked the machine-knitting gods, re-adjusted and re-tightened everything and continued! Repeated this between each fairisle piece!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

it's raining...

cats and dogs! And there’s a baby ‘xplosion  going around here! My niece Karen, just had her second baby - I had no intention of knitting but she was over for a family gathering recently and specifically told me how much big sister Bryar loves that Edu-Taining Dog blankie I made for her in 2017…she drags it around everywhere! Rats! If you want to read the back story, here’s the link to three past posts about this project:[https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2017/11/ever-have-one-of-those-days.html]
[https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2017/11/and-saga-continues.html]

Feeling sort of obligated, I promised to get one made for the new boy but I would go with the cat theme and use cotton this time (which they had originally requested, unbeknownst to me…)!
The front of the blanket is knit in fairisle and needs a substantial weight, knit at T9, so, CottonTale 8 it is. Whoa! I’m in for $160 for a baby blanket? Need five bright colours and one dark background, taxes and shipping! I justify it by saying I can make a couple, three or four, maybe…my sister’s granddaughter is having a boy – her first great grandchild! That should rate a pretty nice blanket.  And a couple of close friends are expecting first grandchilds…
And, have been meaning to knit a big project where I need to use DesignaKnit and knit-from-screen. Earlier this year, I had issues and Mike Becker came to my rescue, saving me from having to purchase a new expensive cable [https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2019/05/how-long-has-it-been.html]
Wanted to give it a good workout and I think this will do that and prove that it works well!
It does!!! Mike, you're the best! More later!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

now I know why...


they call it camouflage! I love this! Got it finished up – didn’t want to bore you with the sewing details but it’s done. Put it on and it is SO comfortable! Fits perfect and I think I look taller and slimmer! What a deal!
I might be trying this again with denim!
Hope you're enjoying this summer! Not much knitting happening here - it's too hot! Maybe next month!