Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Finished Blanket!

Oh, how I love the LK150! I decided to make a baby blanket using that giant skein of Bernat Baby Soft, that I wrote about previously. In an issue of KnitWords magazine I have, there is a pattern for a tuck stitch baby blanket for the mid-gauge, using James Brett Marble. I think the Marble is a tad thicker, so I used T6. Wow, is this a fast way to make a blanket!!!! I think it took less than 2 hours!!
There wasn't the obvious colour patterning that there was on the swatch, but that's okay. It took 247grams and I have 378grams left. That was all as one skein. Yes, it was big! After washing, this blanket is SO soft. Much softer than the Baby Soft I bought two years ago, that doesn't have the same sheen either.

This is what the tuck stitch looks like on the knit side. It was every other stitch, every other row. Very easy with the needle selector card and the Russell levers.

Of course, the down side is that you usually have to add an edging afterwards, to stop the curling. This REALLY slows me down! The pattern had an edging I've never done, little triangles that get attached as you make them.
This is the purl side, where the unknit stitches get caught up.
Often, the purl side is considered the 'right' side with tuck stitch.
Well, when I first tried the pattern, I could NOT get them to work. Then we went away, and when we got back, I asked for help on the Yahoo machineknitting group. Someone saved the day and I realized I needed to cast off every triangle and then cast on those stitches again. D'OH!

One day Meg wanted to go in her pool and hot tub, so I decided to bring the LK150 to the deck. Well, by the time I got it set up, and fixed the error I had made (with all the short rows in each triangle, it took some time to get back on track).....she was done in the pool. So, the next day, seeing the portable table was in the garage after our camping trip, I set it up as a knitting station. Even when I was sitting out there handknitting, there wasn't anyplace to set things down, or leave them. But I got the machine set up, and finished off the edging while my kids played outside. Gotta love multi-tasking!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Some Knitting Going On!

I do have some knitting happening! I started new projects for our trip, and things are going smoothly. I'm still working on the Green Mystery Project for my mom, but I'm concerned about length vs yarn supply. Getting the dark cloud that was a bathing suit coverup off my Singer 327, and then making my mom's shawl has restored my machine knitting mojo. I don't often show pictures of WIP, but I don't have much finished, LOL.

Last year at the Spinrite sale, I bought a 'tangled' skein of what I thought was Bernat Baby Soft, a DK yarn. It's shinier than the other Baby Soft that I have used. I thought it might be Bernat Satin, but it doesn't match the colourways. It does match one for Baby Soft though. It took me an hour or two to wind it up. Not bad work for $3 or whatever.

Inspired by the great shawl, I swatched some punchcard designs. Variegated Bernat yarns are notorious for creating their own patterns as you knit, which can be neat if the item has no shaping, and you're very careful about how you join the next ball of yarn. This time, I had a huge ball (and some smaller ones; there were a few knots I cut out) so I wasn't worried about that. I sort of liked the pattern, but felt that the yarn was a bit much for the Singer 327 when doing tuck, and the tuck sort of blurs the pattern.

I decided to use a 'real' machine knitting pattern (although I'm substituting yarn, LOL), and whipped up a blanket on the LK150 in oh, an hour! I'm working on the edging right now.

I bought some Trekking XXL last year....I blogged about it back then. I decided to finally use it, as I wanted a brainless project. I started them toe up, 64st on 2.5mm. But after a little while, I wasn't enjoying them too much. The yarn felt like twine. They were TOO mindless. LOL. I decided to make them up on the Singer 327. The first attempt was too large, the second one I thought was perfect, but maybe a touch too long. I thought they might shrink a little in the wash, even though my online MK friends said they wouldn't. I handknit the ribbing.

After washing, they did get nice and soft. However, after wearing them a few times, the foot is definitely too long. And, I noticed that the ribbing of one sock is slightly less than the other! So, I can ripped them out and re-knit them on the machine quickly, now that I have the numbers worked out....or I can reknit them by hand now that the yarn is soft and I have no other brainless project on the go! LOL. What do YOU vote for?

And finally. The STR saga continues. I cast on for Eunny Jang's Entrelac Socks. I used the needles I had been using before, which are bigger than the pattern calls for. The pattern calls for 72 sts. Now, I KNEW that 72 sts on my needles would be too big. So I increased to 66 because I knew I needed a multiple of 6 for the entrelac. But then I started thinking (because I don't do it continually) about the split for the shortrow heel. Wouldn't I need an even number of blocks top and bottom? 66/6=11; 11/2=headache. So I increased a few more sts, found a 2mm circular in my bag that I had just bought at Spinrite (I was working on these while on our recent trip), and got going on the entrelac. It's going along pretty well, although I don't know whether to slip the first st, or knit it, of each block.

But as the sock grew...guess what I saw? Pooling!!! The colours have very short runs...maybe 10sts each, so there's no way to get each block having it's own colour. Nor would it be a gradual shift of colour up the sock, like those people using Noro's sock yarn. But what has happened is that there is a diagonal pattern going on, almost obscuring the back-and-forth of the basket weave. Totally weird in a good way, LOL. I'm NOT ripping these out. I think there's enough happening between the entrelac and the pooling that I will still be happy!

Friday, August 08, 2008

I Finished Some Things!

Last year, two women that I know through the Internet (and one I met briefly) had still births. One was at about 6-7 months, the other one was full term. When the first woman announced her angel baby, I had just gotten started using the Singer 327 and said I'd knit a blanket to donate to a local hospital. The knit side and crochet edging.

The blanket took hardly any time to make....but doing something to the edges to stop the curling?.....15 months?! Okay, it took me about a week.

The purl side, which is usually considered the 'right' side with a tuck stitch pattern.

Over last summer, I made a couple tank tops, somewhat successful. Then I started the big white shawl to take on our cruise. Once I had that finished, I started a bathing suit cover up. I knew right away I wouldn't have it done before the cruise. After the cruise I was too sick, then it was Christmas...........I finally decided recently to get it finished. I worked really hard for a few weeks and made progress, but I needed another break. Once I had finished a big section and it was off the machine, I couldn't wait to knit something.

Then my mother phoned and talked about being freezing while waiting at a hospital for a pre-op appointment for my Dad. A few days later I saw a lightbulb....I could knit up a quick, lacey shawl using a tuck lace stitch. I took photos of all my cone yarn and had Mom pick out a couple---none of which I wanted to use, LOL. I did some swatching with a possible yarn, but after remembering some laceweight marinating in the stash.....almost 6000 yards of it.....This is Singer Card 3, every other needle out of work, 1L out of work, 1R in work (opposite to what the manual showed to do). I really liked it when it was weighted down/stretched on the machine.

I noticed after a bit that one needle latch didn't seem to be working properly. I had to constantly watch it and correct the issue when I could. Then there were two near fatal incidents where I learned to re-set a punchcard!

I like both the knit side:and the purl side: I did nothing special to the edges. I used 93grams, or almost 1200 yds of Elann Peruvian Baby Lace Merino. It's as light as a feather. The colour is "Parchment" I think, a soft creamy colour, and combined with the errors, gives a vintage feel. I swatched it to be 21" but ended up pinning it out to 19" wide and about 8ft long.
I draped it around myself for awhile, petting it, stretching and playing with it. Being so light, it can be bunched up skinny like a scarf, or spread like a stole. If Mom's not careful, she might discover it stolen..... ;) This would be a great project to use up some coned mystery yarns I that I know how to do it, it should take only a few hours to make one! (It took me one evening + one morning to swatch, and the afternoon and evening to knit, then I blocked it out around 11pm. MANY thanks to Rob for taking care of the kids and ordering pizza so I could concentrate; I couldn't have gotten it done so quickly without him!).

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Lucky Yarn

The other night, after I successfully wound up the Sea Silk on my tempermental 'cone' winder, I tried to wind the STR so I could get re-started on the entrelac version. I could not get it to wind, and I spent HOURS untangelling the yarn. Finally, I decided to try a different yarn to see if it would wind. I was beginning to think that the winder had an attitude and would only do specialty yarn. I got some plain old worsted acrylic, and figured out in minutes that the issue had been operator error! And no, I had NOT drunk that beer....although by the time I took the picture I was really craving one! Back to the STR, and it went fine, although I don't really like the 'cones' this

winder makes, once you take out the center tube. It's okay if you leave the tube in though. It's nice to be able to wind slower and more in control than the electric winder, but when beer bottles get enlisted as my 'helper'....

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Back when I was in university and studying music, I had to have one year in choir. I was scared! to audition and put it off as long as I could, because then he couldn't say no, LOL. I really enjoy choir, but sing only with a piano and others with me! One song we sang was written for traditional SATB harmony, but the only words were 'buzz'. It was a homage to the North American mosquito, and I think it ended with us slapping our arms. It was actually a difficult song to sing!

Anyhow. Back to the Socks That Rock. I had been searching for a pattern for STR lightweight; most that I liked said 'mediumweight' or were too patterned. I found one I thought I could do "Drunken Bees". The day I dropped the apple juice on my toe, back in February, I printed it up and took it with me to the ER. I got started, but found out after the ribbing, at about row 3 of the pattern, that it would NOT work with my STR. That's when I switched to the ribbing only I showed recently.

I was still intrigued by the Drunken Bees. I haven't done socks like that---twisted and travelling stitches. I decided to give them a try using some of my endless stash of Kroy 3 ply.

I started them either the first weekend in June, or just before then (I know because the lifeline I put in the Sea Silk scarf that I just showed, was a piece of the Kroy, and I know I did that the first weekend in June when we went to my parents'). Gosh, my ankle/foot look quite wide with that extra wide heel flap!
The first sock started out interesting. Then I got a little tired of having to refer to the chart so frequently. I started suffering a different version of 'Second Sock Syndrome"....I couldn't wait to START the second sock, LOL. So....I decided to alter the pattern to mainly ribbing as it got closer to the toe on the first one:The one of the right is the first one I made. That colour is horrifically wrong. It's a dark olive/mossy green. The heel flap is wider than normal, meaning that there were fewer gusset sts to decrease and it looks odd to me. And even though I tried them on, it still looks like I didn't make the heel flap long enough (a pet peeve of mine).

Just as I was finishing, a post came up on Freecycle for sock blockers. She said they were man's size, but I thought they might work for me, but not quite, they are definitely too long in the foot:They weren't washed/wetted for this photo, and they really need a good block to show the pattern. But they are done, and I have been wearing them as my feet get very cold with the air conditioning on! Wool socks really make a difference!

PS: Thanks "Steel Breeze" for the advice with the labels. It seems to have worked and I'm in the process of going back and fixing all the old posts!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Adding Labels

I used to add labels to all my posts, but I have a problem. Say I put sewing and knitting in one post. In the label box, I put "Sewing; Knitting". It shows on the posts as being ONE label, not two. In the example on the create posts page, it does show separating them with a , so I tried that and it changed the label to something I didn't want. How do I put two separate labels on a post?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sea Silk Sigh

The green thread is a life line I put in, the first weekend in June, when I decided to morph the Montego Bay scarf into something a little more interesting. It started out okay, but then I got to a tricky row. And so it sat until I could look at the chart and figure things out. It went from being a boring but brainless project to needing a chart and brain cells and still....I lost interest. I'm not easy to please, am I?
I looked at the Diamond Fantasy scarf/shawl some more. Then I looked at Ravelry and saw how many people made it in Sea Silk, the yardage of one skein is more than the scarf requirements, but less than the shawl. The YarnHarlot made one in the scarf size that was more like a shawl. Being short as well....

I got out my Royal 'cone' winder and gave it another try. This stuff will NOT wind on my little electric ball winder, it's way too slippery. The cone winder did a great job, although once the toilet paper tube comes out it goes a little funny, LOL.

I still have to order the pattern, but at least I have a plan. For now....