Category Archives: Knitting and more knitting

The Fire Sweater Begins

Hoo Boy.  I’m doing it again.  The things that kid gets me to do!

I read it somewhere, so it must be true: Intarsia equals love, period.

The concept, as drawn by me to specs by the kid.  He wants fire, fake layers and hood, sleeves over the hands with thumbholes, and argyle diamonds (inspired in part by a Target arygyle cotton sweater and a hooded fake layered cotton shirt).
Fire sweater concept

I recently knit a sweater in pieces and it took me a long time to finish the seaming, because my back was in bad shape for several weeks. (but I blame the seams?)  I think I’d prefer to fiddle while knitting rather than fiddle after knitting, so I knit a swatch with intarsia in the round.  Yarns: Koigu KPM and Lisa Souza Hardtwist Merino Petite (colour earthbirth).
Fire swatch intarsia in the round

Okay.  That was a pain in the butt.  I didn’t like the turn-around spots – too loose.  But I washed the swatch to see if it improved.  Not really.

And then I noticed the bias.  The damn swatch biased something awful.  Forget intarsia in the round – the results weren’t good enough for the hassle.  And now I’ve got biasing to fix.  Haven’t we all had one of those cheap t-shirts, that twists and twists and twists?  Surely I’m not the only one who gets itchy thinking about it?

So, swatching.  I swatched both yarns separately (flat, standard continental purling, nothing fancy), washed the swatches, and hung to dry on the clothes line.

The Koigu looks pretty straight.
Fire koigu swatch

The Lisa Souza hardtwist? It twists. (Should not have been a surprise, given the name.)
Fire hardtwist swatch the 1st

I whined on Ravelry and was advised.  (post stalk me, if you really want to read it.  I love my Friends of Abby’s Yarns) Despite my automatic dislike of advice (I can dish it out, but I sure have trouble taking it, even when I ask for it), I  steamed a skeinlet, let it dry, knit another swatch, and washed as before.  Better, but not good enough yet.
Fire hardtwist swatch the 2nd steam

In the meantime, we went to Lambtown.  The poor kid worries that he will never get his fire sweater, and he’s tired of watching me fight with the yarn.  We did a quick sweep of the vendors for fingering weight fire yarn.  He decided these skeins were acceptable (peeking from the photo above), so I bought 2.  In any photos I have, they look great – nearly perfect fire yarn (not quite perfect only because the earthbirth is perfect).  In real life, one skein in particular is too pink and on the pastel side.  They read as citrus, not fire.  Lovely yarn, and I might make a couple baby things with them because the colours are so cheerful and bright and happy, but not right dang it.  Somewhere in here, the kid said if this didn’t work, he doesn’t want the sweater anymore.  I told him, “Too bad.  You’re stuck with it, because I’m not letting this sweater win.”   I started a swatch of the not quite fire yarn, but it’s just not quite.

I checked Lisa Souza’s website.  Yes, she has another fingering weight yarn that would probably work, and I could order more earthbirth.  And more yarn is good…  Except, really, I don’t need more yarn, and spending the extra bit of money seems stupid in the morning.

So I ran a bit of the hardtwist through the spinning wheel to unply it a little.  And washed the skeinlet.  And knit a swatch as before, washed, dried.  Oh.  This will work.  I have to work more, but I can do it.
Fire hardtwist swatch the 3rd unply

Now I’m knitting another intarsia/stranded swatch.  Next: remove plying twist from the rest of the skein. Figure gauge and measurements for the actual sweater. Chart the front of the sweater so the diamonds line up right. Knit the sweater body in pieces. Figure out the layered hems. Figure out the neckline and hood.  Figure out the sleeves/shoulder shaping.

I’ll finish this by the Thanksgiving, right?



Filed under Knitting and more knitting

Look what I finished! Finally!

Off the needles, ends woven in.
Hamsa off needles

Ready to wash and block (colour not good). Look at the lumps and bumps and all that great texture.
Hamsa unblocked

On the dressing wires. Ooooh!
Hamsa blocking

Done! Stunning, gorgeous! Floaty! Drapey! I made it! And I’m giving it away. Plenty of yarn left…
Hamsa done

Yum. Worth every moment.
Hamsa detail done

Hamsa by Anne Hanson. MadelineTosh Pure Silk Lace, colour oxblood. US#2 needles. About 2 1/2 months of not a whole of knitting (the shoulders! the neck!). I’m so happy with it! And pleased with myself. Ah!


Filed under Knitting and more knitting, Uncategorized

Hat and Scarf

It’s been a couple weeks now, but there was a neat little Oakland Fiber Festival (the day Mom left of course, so she couldn’t go).  The kid was a grouchy kid, except when he made a couple felt balls and watched a sock machine at work.  I wonder where the felt balls are?  We’re making them into tree ornaments.  I might’ve bought some alpaca handspun.  I definitely bought a wool felt hat!  It’s waiting patiently for winter.

felt hat

I’ve been working slowly and sort of steadily on the lace scarf.  You don’t believe it really exists?  I’m not sure I do either.  Maybe I’ll finish it by the end of the week!  Maybe not.  I started knitting a rabbit for the Kid (he requested Kid instead of Kiddo) Saturday, so I should work on that too.  And today I’m grouchy because I woke myself up en la madrugada with a crick in the neck.  And something’s bothering my foot.  Pout.  Pout.  Pout.  Nevertheless, I managed a photo!  Of a lace scarf in progress!  Hamsa in Madeline Tosh silk lace oxblood.  Washed out, but here.

hamsa wip

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Filed under Excursions, Knitting and more knitting, Uncategorized

What a week…

1.)  I got sick.  So unexpected!

2.) I went back to work quick, because that’s what we do.

3.) I decided to stop drinking coffee, since I hadn’t had any anyway.  Maybe cutting out caffeine will help everything feel better!  (eczema sux)

4.) I went back to work caffeine deprived and undernourished for a couple days.

4 1/2.) Kiddo had a dentist appointment Friday.

5.) I felt much better Saturday.

6.) The house was hideously messy, up from Needs-to-be-Cleaned-Now of previous weekend.

7.) I did nothing Saturday, and barely anything Sunday.

8.) I bought groceries on Monday!  Because I had no choice.

And I’m not sure what’s happened since then.  Very Busy!  I have a very early patient visit tomorrow morning, back to the house before the husband leaves for work at 7:30, then back into the normal morning runnings.  But that works out, because I plan to walk about with the kiddo’s class for a little fieldwork.

Do I sound pathetic?  I am.  At least I’m pathetic with more energy now!  No knitting though.  Neck hurts connected to the shoulder hurts connected to the wrist what the hell did I do to my wrist?!  And Saturday is the Walk-a-thon and… Pathetic.

Here’s a photo!
rag mitts

And another!
rag calorimetry

Rag Mitts and Calorimetry I finished a while ago for a friend with the (Noro of course!) yarn she bought me for my birthday.  Cheer!

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Filed under Knitting and more knitting, Uncategorized, Whine Whine Whine

The Glory of an Extra Day Off

The kiddo was okay to go back to school today after an all night emesis session Saturday night!  Woo Hoo!  And I’m almost recovered.  Why does it take me longer?  I haven’t even been sick.  Yet.  (Yes, I know.  Somebody slept more than I did.  In fact, everything in and around the house slept more than I did, except maybe the bird that sings all the night through.)

Good thing Saturday was our all-day-out day.  Ice skating, Barney’s hamburgers, Piedmont Yarn (sale!) (replacement needles for the lace scarf!), A Verb for Keeping Warm (visit with little Cleo dachsund!) (Cricket loom ordered!).  We ran out of energy before groceries, which was unfortunate.  I had to do it Sunday instead…

Almost 5 (of 9.5) repeats done on the lace scarf!  I was so close to finishing off that fifth repeat last night, but the clock is inexorable.  And a child needed to get to bed.  3 weeks to finish.  Will I make it in time?  Oh, the thrill!

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Filed under Excursions, Kid Stories, Knitting and more knitting

Check that date!

Oh, for heaven’s sake!

Rachael Herron’s reading at Barnes and Noble in Emeryville was tonight, and I couldn’t make it.  Luckily, she’ll be at the Borders in Alameda soon!

Too bad I can’t figure out the right date for love or money.  It’s Saturday, June 5.  But go here to make sure.   I wouldn’t believe me if I were you.  In fact, I don’t believe me.  I’ve already had it wrong twice!

(I didn’t get to tonight’s reading, but I’m about to order something or other online to support the good cause.  Just don’t ask me to remember that name right either!)

Oh, and one of the needles I’m using for the lace scarf broke.  US#2 bamboo longish straights.  Honestly, I’m happy they lasted this long.  I need to figure out safer transport.  Nuts.

But it’s not been a bad day!  Perfectly nice, other than broken needles, and the one day this week I’m without my raincoat, it dumps rain.  Again.  And it’s nearly June!  In Oakland!  But I’m in a reasonably upbeat mood.  Phew!

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Filed under Excursions, Knitting and more knitting, Reading, Uncategorized

Red Lace!

red lace scarf swatch April 2010

Here’s that red I was trying to match the other day. Looks a little pink toned here, not quite as richly hued and towards rust.  This is a swatch, because I started on 1s and decided 2s would be better.  I was right. 

After I finish the retirement Hamsa scarf  (I finished one repeat!  Only 8 1/2 more to go!), I’ll work on this one again.  I’m looking forward to working lace in wool.  So much easier than silk!

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