Monday, December 31, 2007

Coronet an FO

In the nick of time; Coronet emerges as the final Finished Object of 2007. Leftover Lamb's Pride in two shades of purple; size 8 needles. I'm quite pleased with it...although it looks a bit muffinlike off the needles, it's warm and flattering enough on the head. A very nicely written pattern (thank you, Alexandra Virgiel), simple but very interesting construction. Although one of my knitting truths is that I'm fonder of cabling as a look than as a technique, there's just enough here to give me a feeling of accomplishment without losing my patience. Notes for next time:
  • I finally figured out the unzip technique for the crochet chain provisional cast on (instructions here, although my lightbulb went on thanks to Vicki Square's Knitter's Companion, p.82). This method used to be hit or miss, sometimes leaving me with strangled yarn, but the trick seems to be to make some extra chains at the end to give yourself a running start and unzip from that end (not the beginning) which you have denoted with a loop of the provisional yarn kept in place by the tail of the working yarn (when picking up the bumps in the chain, leave a long enough tail to do the Kitchener). Unzip, inserting the needle into each stitch and releasing as you go.
  • Kitchener here is done with right sides facing out, wrong sides facing each other. It leaves a ridge on the inside of the band but is barely discernable from the outside. My Kitchener mantra after set up: front knit take it off; front purl leave it on. back purl take it off; back knit leave it on. Do not watch television while performing this action.
  • Remember that the pick up from the band is done with the wrong side facing out. I used two colors for this hat. Picked up with the original band color, placed marker and joined, purled one round, knit one more round, then joined new color and continued on to the top of the hat. Changed to two circulars at 24 stitches.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Holidays; Knitting On

I do hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday. Despite my Charlie Brown Christmas tree pictured at left (or maybe because of it), mine was very sweet. Light on the presents for various reasons, but what there was was choice as always...two framed family photos, my own little DVD player (Netflix queue at 45 and rising), The Best of The Chris Rock Show Vols. 1 & 2 to play on said little DVD player once I get it hooked up (Daddy Still Has a Flat Top), and a Knitting Pattern-a-Day Calendar, which I must admit I value more for its abundance than for finding something to add to my silly long knitting queue. Speaking of which, I read somewhere that it's bad knitting luck to cast on a new project during the week between Christmas and New Year's, so I'm working on finishing up Branching Out and Coronet, both past the halfway point:
branching out 3coronet 3

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cool Link of the Week (Knitting with Noodles); Kind Hearts and Coronets

Well, Momma always told me not to play with my food, but she never told me not to knit with it...courtesy of the latest version of Yarnival over at Fleegle's Blog, behold Ramen Knitting 101. Speaking of Cool Links, how is it that I, who waste inordinate amounts of time getting lost in the internets, had never encountered Yarnival until Fleegle's post over at Ravelry? It is kind of my dream come true...a compendium of incredibly cool knitting links, hosted monthly by a different knitter. As soon as I finish this post I am off to lose myself in back issues, the perfect antidote to the pile of backlogged paperwork I came into the office on a Saturday to accomplish. In works-in-progress news, Branching Out continues apace, and I have started on a bit of practical knitting, making myself a hat (Coronet...I'm on a Knitty two stashed shades of Lamb's Pride purple). Nice, easygoing pattern, but a gentle reminder that I like the look of cables far better than I enjoy the execution (will have to teach myself the cabling without a needle technique since I tend to tuck it behind my ear between rows and totally forget it's there until I change positions and it jabs itself into my temple). Anyway, I always feel unduly virtuous knitting something I actually need (some sort of mittens are up next; it's friggin' cold here in NYC).

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Branching Out in Progress

To prove I haven't only been knitting lovable hairballs, here's a photo of Branching Out after about 9 repeats. The pattern is relatively simple, but I've still color-coded the chart to make it easier to follow (i.e. highlight the ssk in pink, the K2tog in yellow, the double decreases in green, etc.). I'm using a lace yarn on size 8 needles, so it definitely has a chicken wire look to it at the moment; I'm hoping a firm blocking will help it flow in a good orderly direction.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Black Cat Hairball Scarf

I'm on a roll (of sorts)...another FO, begun at some point before my knitting hiatus and finished on various subway and bus rides around NYC. The endearingly fugly yarn is Katia Duende, gifted by DH after a business trip. Never look a knitting gift in the skein, I say, even if it's fun fur resembling...well...something the cat coughed up. See, the thing about fun fur is I generally start liking it in spite of itself. It's kind of like the mangy puppy that follows you home and is wiggly and sheddy and a pain in the ass to work with but, ultimately, wins you over with its sort of cuddly self. So this one turned itself into a ridiculously easy keyhole scarf variation (no fancy keyhole needed since the yarn hides any sins except its own): cast on 15 stitches in any furry yarn you're ashamed to be seen in public with (this one used size 10 needles). Knit each row for 3 inches or so. On the next row, K6, bind off 3 stitches, K6. On the row after that, K6, cast on 3 stitches (using over the thumb method), K6. Knit on until scarf measures 30 inches or so. Bind off; try to resist as it snuggles up to your neck.