Sunday, February 25, 2007

Grey Days

Well, it finally came. Wintertime in Oregon! As it happens, the rainy weather has brought on a spate of projects all perfectly themed with this month's project spectrum challenges!

Project Greydom, er Spectrum

Up there we've got two FOs, three WIPs, and a snapshot of my Sunday weather in town. The hat is the Fake Isle from Magknits, in a stash grey tweed yarn and Noro Big Kureyon, knit on US 8 needles. I liked the hat, once I figured out what all was going on. This was my first real charted project, so I had a lot of ripping to do when I made a mistake. I also switched the color scheme, so the color was in the fair isle stranding and not the main color of the hat. I'm not sure if I am okay or not with it. I think I am so far. Also, halfway through, I realized I was stranding too tightly, so I had to take out about a third of the second chart and re-knit it looser to fit my gigantor head. But, I like it, sorta. The decreasing looks like a nipple to me, rather than the nicely shaped skullcap that is pictured on the website. This is an increasing problem for me, as I have realized my sock skills don't translate to hat skills. This is more apparent when you see the little mini-hat at the bottom of the picture above. Yes, that is a hat- not a sock. Argh.

Speaking of socks, I just turned the heel on the Opal handpainted socks. I'm looking forward to knitting the legs and getting them off the needles and off my back. I'm not sure if I should keep them stockinette or jazz up some lace. I kind of want another try at Jaywalkers, but I am worried I'll make the same mistake again and make them too small. I didn't do anything for Laceuary this year, though I wanted to. Hmm.

The other FO in there is Calorimetry, from Knitty. It is in a stashed alpaca yarn on size seven needles. I am not sure how I feel about it, either. I think I like it though. It is soft and made my ears warm when I wore it under a hat last night (no button to sew on yet). Quite functional. And I really like the grey color. Since I have about two or three more balls of this stuff, I think I'm going to make a hat out of it for a friend. She'll love the softness. Since it would be a kitty hat, the shaded stripes would make it look very tabby. However, I think she might have wanted a pink one... maybe I'll make another hat for me instead!

The final WIP is the Central Park Hoodie from the Knitscene fall 06 issue. It is turning out pretty well so far, as it should, since it only took me THREE times to cast on the ribbed stitches at the bottom. First time I counted wrong. Second time, I used the wrong needles. Last time's a charm. 2x2 ribbing is my least favorite kind of ribbing, especially on straights instead of circs (small hands equal big problems with larger straights!). I'm almost done with the back of the piece, and finished my first skein of yarn. As it turns out, all the handling of the yarn has only made the yarn softer! It should be really comfy when I'm done with it. The cable pattern is really easy, and it looks great so far. I tried to get a good pic of the cables, but they all came out blurry.

I find it kind of odd all my FO's this month are grey, rather than blue. Blue is my favorite color, so I have a LOT of blue yarn to use up. Perhaps next month? Also, I'm proud that the majority of this month's projects are using stash yarn- the only new yarn was some of the Cascade 220 (purchased earlier this year on sale- so kind of a stash yarn) and the Noro! I am SO loving having two months to get projects done! I'm off to watch whatever is on tv and keep knitting. It's what rainy afternoons were made for, after all.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

And the winner is...

Hooray! A skein of KP worsted is enough for a pair of decent sized socks! And just in time.

Handpainted sock goodness is best!

I adore these socks. First, they took a week from cast-on to cast-off. Can't beat that. Second, the color just amuses me to no end. Look at the blue- it's like the sky in winter. Look at the pink- it's like the tulips bursting out of the ground. And they are both bright and lively together and alone. Squeee! Third, I love them because they are soft, squishy and are on my feet and not on my needles. Socks are best!

Now, I'm back in the doom and gloom Opal socks. Sigh. Back to teeny needles (okay, size 2's) and lots of stitches in stockinette. But I'm almost near enough (like an inch) from parting for the heels, so at least I can feel like the worst is over soon. Then it's the long, long process of the legs. Knitting the legs of a sock is akin to running on the treadmill- I know it's good for me, it's somewhat pleasurable doing it, but it feels so much better when it's done.

One Project Spectrum FO down. Anyone else have one yet?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Socks are a'comin!

The socks as they stand at 8 am in the dark...

Here's the latest on the socks! So far, I'm really, really enjoying them. I love the bright happy colors. It's just what I needed in my knitting! I had a little mess up when I turned the heel, I didn't decrease down enough stitches in one sock, so I had to frog back and re-knit about two inches on my lunch break. But on size 5 needles, who cares? That's like fifteen minutes of work! Now the real challenge begins... how tall will the sock be? The yarn's running out quickly, the balls are less than half their original size, and the cuffs are 2x1 ribbing all the way up (so I don't have to worry about a top, I can just cast off!).... it should be an exciting finish!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Well, well. It's been a while. What's new?

First, I'm working on my third cold in three weeks. That makes this officially two more colds than I had last year and the third week in which I am not happy with the result. The colds seem to be progressing in their nastiness, too, which is a disturbing trend. First cold, it was a blip on the radar-sneezing, that's about it. I thought I had newly developed some sort of allergy. Next up, was the typical sneezing followed by a runny nose and general tiredness. Also pretty typical, but I've had worse. Now, I'm in full blown nasal hell- all plugged up at night, runny all day (why in that order? Why? Is it that I'm upright?) sneezing, and of course, tiredness. I should not be sleeping 10 hours a day like it's a friggin nap, but there you go. Wintertime sucks.

I've got a lot of FO's to show. Okay, I've got one, but it is a triumphant one. It's my first stranded colorwork!! It's from my swap partner Lori, from the KMKS swap. The pattern is the Knit Mittens! Fleur de Lis, the yarn is Lamb's Pride on US 3's. You heard me right. I didn't think it was possible, either. Behold! Warm (stranded) Hands!

This completes not one, but two KALs!

My promises towards the Stranded and Warm Hands KAL's are complete! Hooray. And I couldn't love these mittens more. Actually, if I had placed the thumbs a little more on one side than the center seams, I could, but that's neither here nor there. I didn't follow the thumb directions on these because frankly, I didn't trust them. There was no way my little thumbie was going to get in the hole (or there was to be a hole) the way the pattern was written. No, I winged it myself by increasing for a few rows and then putting them on a holder while I finished up the mitten. Not pretty, but at least I can see where there's supposed to be a friggin hole. Also, the binding off bothers me. I don't think the sides were even to start with, so the decreases tend to show up more on one side of the hand than the other. Since the fabric goes from double-thick to regular-thick, it makes it more noticeable. Next time, I think I'd either keep the pattern going, or just strand along the back to keep the thickness of the fabric. But it's not like I'm going to go and reknit the damn things. They're bound off, they're done!

And look what else these mittens have started! I'm in trouble now:

I can't wait to color in the charts! FUN!

Next up, it's Project Spectrum! This month's selection are blue, grey and white. Such pretty colors, especially together! Blue is my absolute favorite color, so I'm excited to start off with it. However, the first project I picked out was actually grey:

Opal socks on US 2's, handpainted color unknown

I've had this yarn for approximately forever, but have wanted to knit it up for about just as long. Unfortunately, it was tied into a horracious knot due to it's languishing in the stash, further decreasing it's knitability. For an hour, I worked over the yarn and finally got it wound into two balls and it's been smooth sailing ever since. I've played with some stitch patterns, but the dark colors tend to eat up any patterning, so it will be just plain stockinette. But it looks like a winner so far.

However, the dark and gloomy sock above has been kind of a drag to knit. It's so dark and gloomy, it's a pretty stark contrast to my happy mittens. Also, the yarn is tiny and defeating when you're aiming for progress and FO's on the long winter nights. So, I dug in the stash again and finally put in motion another goal I've had- use up some of that hand dyed kool aid yarn. The blue and pink one was my second favorite (first one went to the dye-swap), but I couldn't decide what to do with it. So, socks it is. I love this colorway! It reminds me of the slurpees at the 7-11, how there's always a red flavor and a blue flavor, wherever you go. Yummy!

Stitches close up. Love that color!

Socks in progress. Color a bit oversaturated in pic.

As you can see, things are going well here. Last picture is the sky before I started posting today. The temperatures have been warmer, so the skies have cleared a bit, allowing for some fresh air to hit the valley. I love clear, dry, warm winter days- they're so invigorating! Yesterday's spurned me to clean my house, and today's is wishing I'd spin a bit and knit a bit before work. That and buy some day-quil.