Wednesday, November 30, 2016

current plan...

Just in case you're keeping up with me, after thinking about it overnight, here's my plan (subject to change! ;-)). Usually I would knit a sleeve here - I am really tempted but you know how I hate unravelling! To be honest, actually, I would have knit the sleeves first but I'm leaving them until last because they are a big variable - can be like the original or short-ish, slightly 3/4, no cuff, push-up style or elbow length, depending on the amount of yarn remaining.
I toyed with a different pocket style, like an inside bag pocket where the pocket lining could be a different yarn or at least stockinette which would consume less yarn but ruled that out after trying on my various hoodies and confirming  that the pouch-style pocket is a very important part of why I love this hoodie style so much! And, judging from the weight of my double swatch,(48g), the 2 pockets will be slightly less than that - not a huge saving. I will scale the pocket down slightly, like an inch narrower and shorter and same with the hood.
I haven't even been tempted to order the zipper yet - will it be beige or tobacco brown? Now that I found the WCD tobacco I am favouring that for the bands/hems, but I'm open!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

progress report and tweaks....

I have the back done and I'm very encouraged by the fact that the remaining cone looks almost the same! of course, the first thing I do is throw the back on my scale and it weighs in at 116g and that's with the waste yarn at shoulders and bottom edge! I weigh the cone and it has 424g remaining (started with 540g) so that translates to 116g for the back - not going to knitpick here and just call it 120g. I know that I had been weighing individual pieces in the past in certain projects for various reasons. On my second Omega hoodie (
I kept track - it was wool crepe deluxe (2200 yds per pound as opposed to the 1750 ypp for the linen) and a little different shape, but it will give me an idea of the ratio of the pieces. The back was 124g, back band was 20g, one sleeve with cuff was 92g, the hood was 74g and with band added it was 90g, front with pocket and band was 84g. That all adds up to 586g - take the bands out - they were all 5cm, doubled - that's about 70g for bands, so I'm very confident that I should be able to get this GFH done with pockets and hood, with contrast bands at least.
I've been thinking of you KAL-ing with me (hope springs eternal!)and figured I should add an extra consideration because this wouldn't be in the original MFH/GFH pattern as they are knit in stockinette. With the stitch pattern I am using, you may have noticed the vertical lines - there are actually 3 vertical lines separating the two reversed diamond-ish motifs. So I centred the pattern so the three lines run up the centre of the garment because that will look best but I wanted to remind you of my extra little tweak for patterns with vertical lines. After the underarm shaping is done for your size, or, actually before it is done, check and see where the vertical lines are placing in the shaping. Your finished garment will look much nicer if you can have a line (or two or three) running up the straight edge of the body after the underarm up to the shoulder (hope that makes sense). I did change mine - I made the shoulder wider by 2 stitches in order to have two vertical lines at each edge - of course, if you have chosen a stitch without vertical lines don't worry about this! :-) oh yeah and because of those three vertical lines, I added an extra stitch on one side, at the left for the back and will flip the pattern for the fronts and add the extra stitch at the right...and don't forget the yarn marks every 10 cm....oh, and I found a part cone of WCD leftover from Tobacco Road (KW#53) that is a very close match - instead of the beige linen...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

on a mission....

I know you're dying to find out how my swatch went, so just quickly, here it is, hand washed and laid to air dry. I've settled on the T10 swatch - it is still nice and loose and airy - I hope you can see in my photo here, it's fairly see-through-ish and I like that. My final gauge is 23 stitches and 38 rows to 10 cm so quite a bit looser than the washed gauge of 28 sts and 43 rows of Linen Spin at T8 and the yarn will go further this way. I could get really anal and figure out the square inches of the swatch versus the weight and the square inches of the garment and be closer to knowing how far this yarn will take me, but that would take the thrill and suspense out of the project! I know you're going to join me and do this too but I'm just going to forge ahead and work at my own speed and you can catch up or not! BTW, I did also decide to make one size bigger than my original GFH because  looser is better for the summer...oh, and either side can be right side - I'll leave you guessing as to which one I choose!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

fingers crossed....

There is a group of knitters in the Maritimes, Nova Scotia actually, and they are doing a Knitalong using an old pattern of mine, called Hood'sUp from Knitwords #22, Autumn 2002 - here's the link I gave you back in 2014 to their initial blogpost:
When they first asked for my permission back in 2014, they seemed to start off with a bang and then I never heard from them.
A couple of weeks ago I got an email titled Adventures in Machine knitting and what do you know? it was those knitters resurfacing and getting going again! They now have a ton of very interesting information about swatching, cleaning your machine etc that you might find interesting. The premise is not everyone has the same machine or yarn etc and they plan to explore options and all sorts.
 Anyway it seems whenever I join a KAL, it never works out or I just get tired of waiting for everyone else to get knitting so I'm going to just pretend to do this on my own and tell you about it here...
You may recall in the past year or more I had become obsessed with hoodies or was it that stitch pattern? ;-) Anyway, I took a hiatus from both and now I ready to go again! I want a light, summer-weight hoodie that I can use as a cover-up so I've inventoried my yarn stash and came up with some options - several lightweight cottons, linen blends and linen. Now, I don't want to have to re-design the original - I want to use the same shape file and the basic techniques, but I don't need to match the gauge exactly because I'll be working with my knit radar and all I have to do is plug in my new stitches and rows. BTW, I'm using my Manfriend Hoodie ( ) pattern (the girl version because this is for me!) - it is actually the updated 2015 version of Hood's Up. I ruled out the really fine stuff because it would be too complicated and have to totally be redesigned. I took the linens and the biggest problem is the amount required. I did use this yarn twice before - KW#47, Just the Flax (used 460g for the 4th size) and #49, Linen Spin (410g for 2nd size). Both of those, I used one of my one-row-tucks knit fairly loosely. Here's the link to one of my previous posts explaining 1RT:
Now, I had initially thought of lace when I decided on a summer-weight GFH but the linen is not conducive to lace carriage (too stiff - it does soften up nicely when washed though)) and I'm really not up to another Battenburg experience!
When I was in Dallas last month, one of the really great questions I got was 'how do I know how much more yarn I will need for swatching, planning etc?' Even though I've settled on this Linen - it's from Silk City/BTYarns/Knit It Now - 100% linen, 1750 yds/lb - I have a cone of brown and one of cilantro, each weighing 540g and I have a leftover 240g of the beige. I'm calling it lightweight because I am knitting it quite loosely - I did one swatch at T9 and another at T10, washed them and will wait for it to dry before deciding which to go with. I swatched with the beige, not wanting to waste the good yarn because I will be lucky (actually, really lucky) to get a hoodie out of one colour. My backup plan is to use a different colour for the bands - brown with beige bands would be fine and I have an almost-exact-colour match in Skinny Majesty for the cilantro linen. So my answer to the question was to use some other yarn to make sure your stitch pattern is good and then hopefully use another colour leftover of the same yarn for the actual swatch and also, have a backup plan in case you still do not have enough (shorter sleeves and optional hood!)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

disaster averted...

I decided to knit a few pairs of socks while I was mulling over what I really wanted to get going on - I did find a few balls of Regia 4ply sock yarn that I bought by mail order back in the spring. They are the 100g balls that I prefer - I think I told you that I can get 3 pairs of ladies size 7 to 8.5 from 2 - 100g balls and I like that -instead of having a bunch of random leftovers that aren't enough for anything - this way, I feel like I'm really getting my money's worth!
So, I start off to  wind the sock yarn onto cones with my electric Silver Needles Cone Yarn Winder. Ouch! Trying to get going fast, I grab the winder off the shelf one-handed because my other hand has a couple of balls of yarn and a few cones, and, the thing off-balances and falls to the floor! My heart stops! OMG!!! Cursing myself, I abandon the yarn and cones to carefully pick up the injured winder. It looks fine, no cracks or breaks visible. Gently, I take it over to the table, plug it in, flip the switch and all that happens is an awful grinding and thumping noise, nothing moving on the exterior! I feel awful! How could I be so careless? so clumsy? so dumb?? Not only was this thing quite expensive, I think they are no longer available...what am I going to do? My son who is usually my go-to-guy for anything technical has just left town and won't be back for 3 weeks. I can use my manual winder, but it does take some time to hand bomb 100g.
I take a deep breath and get out my tool kit.  Remove a couple of screws.That didn't do it...take another look-see and find another likely one. Remove it and that does the trick! I can take off the top housing and what the??? There are two chains, one intricately wound (that spins the cone) and one that should zip back and forth down the leg (attached to the guide finger that holds the yarn) - it's off the rail - and drives the other one. It looks pretty simple compared to the top complicated one.
Now, don't get me wrong. I do think I am fairly mechanical - okay, I do admit I've never changed a flat tire, but it's because I've never had to! ;-)  
I do know a bit more than how to operate a screwdriver but this looks like something that MacGyver made up! I am tempted to just put it aside and wait for my guy to get back - I know he would have this up and winding in no time, likely better than it was, but I do love a challenge. At one point I did go on the internet and check - you can still get one but it's four hundred bucks U.S.!!!  What motivation! Two hours later, success!! I felt like I needed a third hand to hold this while I poked that and nudged this, all the while, praying that I could finally get that little thing in the thing that went around the other thing! Who knew that under that smooth exterior...
PS  I felt justified enough to place another sock yarn order! ;-)


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

kick start...

I need one - I'm back from Texas. It was a great workshop! So much fun seeing knitters I remembered from before and meeting the newer crew. They all treated me so nicely, I signed a lot of autographs and we had a good time! They did a potluck for lunch and it was outstanding! Thanks to everyone!
Now, back home, my head is back to normal size, everything is unpacked, most things taken care of. Got my pile of red scarves delivered to the Aids Awareness people, and I'm spinning my wheels...I feel like I don't know what to do! Haven't knit anything in almost a month now! But what should I do? I don't have a to-do list - that's usually what I need to get me going but I feel like I don't really have a list...Oh, I know, when worse comes to worse, I can always make a few pairs of socks! I have no idea if I even have any sock yarn to work with...then again, I might just have to do something with that archaeology scarf swatch from last May - it is still intriguing me...
Actually, I know what's wrong! I just found out that Vogue Knitting Live is happening this coming weekend in Minneapolis and I'm kind of bummed out that I'm not going! and it's not like I'm this big hand knitter (I'm not really - the extent of my handknitting is garter stitch dish cloths or scarves just to have something to do in front of the TV) - how I found out? Jason Wurst from RockingHorse Farm in St Cloud, MN told me he's going - they have a booth there! and I read the on-line brochure and I got all excited, you know, bright lights, big city, lots of yarn!
So, if you're going there without me, make sure to stop and give Jason and Carole a big hello from me! And have fun!

P.S. a really big thanks to all who have bought the new book - your support has been gratifying and overwhelming!