Thursday, May 31, 2007

More Chevron Scarf! And a question....

Okay, so my simple project has been a little more of a pain in the butt than expected. Which is not so surprising, I guess. I am a bit of a fiddler, I think. I mean, I can't just leave these things alone and so I had to rip up my scarf and restart it so that it would be a tighter weave. I don't know if you can see the difference, but check this out:

I am now knitting it with Susan Bates size 5 circular needles. Who cares? I don't know, but now you know what I'm knitting with. Very exciting.

So, I'm not exactly that far with my quick project. As you can see:

I think that I'm liking it now. I have a bad habit of not liking things that I make and then giving them away (to people who want them -- no I'm not that evil!). The fiddling is worth the while some times. I'd rather not end up with something that I don't like, especially given how much I LOVE the yarns that I'm using for this scarf. I just hope that it flattens out more.

NB: Oh, and another note on this scarf: knit it for a couple of inches before you decide anything on it. One of the reasons I went to a bigger needle to begin with (which I have downsized from now) is that it looked like it was puckering in strange places. I assumed that this was because of the tightness of the gauge. Not so. It was simply the shaping that occurs from the increasing and decreasing in this scarf, which I would have known sooner if I had just knit further in the pattern to see how it would lay. I mean, I think I knew that was what it was from before, but I could see after a few more inches that it didn't look as strange as I thought it did. I'm liking the tighter knit much better.

Now, my question, which has nothing to do with this scarf: I am going to some places in Europe in a couple of weeks and I'm wondering if any of you know of cool yarn happenings or stores in any of the places that I'm going to. I'm going to be in Dublin (one of you gave a suggestion on this, which is awesome and which got me thinking about this question in the first place), Stockholm, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Paris. Ideas? I'd love to hear them.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Caved: Chevron Scarf

Well, I finally caved in. I got so tired of starting, knitting, and ripping things that I decided that I would just go ahead and work on something easier. So, I've been working on the chevron scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts using the Socks that Rock medium weight yarn. I LOVE the colors. I have Lemongrass and Fire on the Mountain in this scarf.

I picked Fire on the Mountain (the one on the left) because it's awesome and I wanted something that would highlight the colors in that, so I picked something that contrasts strongly with it (the Lemongrass) for my other color. They do definitely stand in strong contrast to one another.

Of course I probably don't even need to say this, but my "simple" project started with me ripping it about 4 times at the beginning and restarting. It is simple. But, it still took some getting used to -- including deciding on needle size. I'm using size 6 Boye interchangeable needles.

The problem? I love the colors in this thing, but I don't know if I'm loving the scarf. I liked it in pictures. It may just be the way that I'm doing it -- too big needles, perhaps? I don't know. The last thing I want to do right now is rip it, though. Ugh. One of the problems I'm having with it may be the result of the fact that I'm knitting so loosely on the increase stitches. They are very loose looking, but I found that when I knit them too tightly there was too much pucker in the knitting and I wasn't liking that. It's already weird how much the chevron pattern pulls the scarf into such a not-flat shape. I'm mostly okay with it, I think, but I don't want to add to the problems by having puckering that isn't supposed to be there. Maybe I'll play with knitting a little less loosely on the increases and see if that helps, without creating more pucker. Of course, that requires me to rip it again if I like it better with the different tension.... Ahhh!!!!

Here it is:

Important note, I think, regarding color: the scarf instructions talk about color A and color B, and when you start the scarf, you start with color A. No big surprise. But, because you start with it, I thought it would be the predominant color. Wrong. Color B seems to be the predominant color. This was one of the rips I did w/ the scarf. I wanted the Fire on the Mountain yarn to be the predominant color in the scarf, so I started with it and quickly realized that because of the effect of the increases and decreases on the knitting, color B is actually the dominant one. So, to sort of help you understand what I'm talking about, here is another view of what it looks like with Fire on the Mountain for color B:

Lastly, a funny picture of a brazen squirrel. We have lots of cats and two dogs living here with us and this squirrel hangs out regularly on our porch. Here it is (looking a little demonic), but it is actually kind of cute:

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Testing my Perserverence

Well, I have been busy lately, as I stated in a previous post. There were two surprises that I was working on that I alluded to but which I could not show you at that time. However, both surprises have become un-surprises since then so I can show you now!

First, I was working on organizing a trip as a surprise for my husband's birthday. His birthday is June 5, but I felt this was something I needed to tell him about sooner rather than later because it is kind of an undertaking.... This is the form the gift took:

We will be flying into Dublin on the 13th of June and flying out of Paris on the 3rd of July. So, you can probably now understand why it would take some preparation!! I am very excited about this and I am pretty sure he is too.

I will admit that this trip is as much for me as it is for him. Truth be told I am much more likely to want to fly off to who-knows-where than he is, but, he enjoys travel too and since my birthday is two weeks to the day after his is, I think it's fair. Plus, we haven't exactly had our honeymoon yet and we were married in October. It's about time, gosh darn it!!

Oh, and I hear that there might be some yarn in Ireland . . . and Sweden . . . and maybe elsewhere that I should check out. Muahahahaha. Yes, my husband, bless him, is incredibly tolerant of this madness of mine. Thank goodness.

The other surprise is this pair of socks that I was working on for my mom for Mother's Day.

It is the Circle Dance pattern from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, made from one of their Sock Candy kits. If you are interested in doing this, don't make the same mistake I did and assume that kit means that the pattern will be sent with the yarn. IT WILL NOT. You have to get the book, too. I don't understand this approach, nor do I particularly like it, but there you have it. Besides, the women are so nice at Blue Moon that it is hard to get mad at them or stay mad at them for long for things like this.

I am loving the colors, but I keep screwing up the socks! I keep knitting too tight and frogging them. I have decided to knit them very, very loosely one more time (I have completed a pair of socks and then some when you consider how much knitting I've done on these babies) and if that doesn't work, I'm gonna have to find something else to do. I am worried that the looseness will make them slouchy and unwearable, too, so I'm not sure if this will work. I hate slouchy socks. If you have any ideas about how to avert this particular catastrophe, I'm all ears.

Which brings me to the point of the title of this post: I have had to frog so much of my sock knitting lately -- including the April shipment of the Rockin' Sock Club -- that I am thinking of laying down the DPNs for a while and finding something else to knit. I love the STR yarns and colors and I am enjoying making socks, but a woman can only take so much ripping and redoing. Seriously!! I think I might get started on my chevron scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Or, I could use a shawl, so I may do that instead. But I hate to leave so much undone!! Guilt, guilt, guilt. What can I say? It is so dysfunctional and unproductive that I hope to get over it soon.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Oooh, I've been bad about this

I haven't written in a while, it's true. I promised a long time ago that I would show some of my swag from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. The colors are sooo delicious. I almost thought about not showing you everything that I got because it's too embarrassing how nuts I went with my coupon from the Rockin' Sock Club, but I have to share because they are so gorgeous that it would be karmically bad for me NOT to share them. Drum roll please . . . here they are:

I feel that I have to point out what you probably already know: these photos don't even begin to do theses yarns justice. For anyone curious enough to ask, those colors are (from left to right): Fairgrounds, Fire on the Mountain, Lemongrass, Puck's Mischief, Rolling Stone, Farmhouse, Love-in-Idleness, and Chapman Springs. The colors don't look much to me in reality like they do online, but, if this is possible, they are EVEN BETTER In person than online. Yes, really. If you're eyeing some Socks that Rock yarn, DO it. That's my two cents worth. Well, okay, let me tell you, it will definitely be more than two cents worth in the end..... It is quite possible to spend maybe a little too much on their website (though not too much in the it's-not-worth-it kind of too much).

As for what I'm going to do with all of this yarn, I have a plan for all of it basically. Most of the plans involve Knitty sock patterns from Cookie A. But, I am going to make the chevron scarf that has made its rounds through so much of knitterdom with the Fire on the Mountain and the Lemongrass. I am hoping that they stand in strong contrast but that it isn't so bright it gets irritating after a while. Here they are:

And, the Fairgrounds colorway is spoken for (by my mother). It looks oddly like it's not nearly as colorful as all the other colorways I got when you see it in a skein:

However, I have taken the image of the Rock and Weave socks as incontrovertible proof that it is full of more colors than one can see at first glance. Of course, it is quite possible that because I'm not using that pattern, it won't be so much. But, I look forward to working with it nonetheless.

I am up to way more than this, but I cannot disclose right this moment what some of those other activities are. They are all good and fun, though....