I've been all sorts of
sick for the past month, so my knitting has progressed much more slowly
than usual. My list of works-in-progress is scandalously long, even
for a such a polygamous knitter as myself. (See the sidebar? See how
it's devoid of a WIP list? That's because I need room for a blogroll
and calendar and archive list. Yes, there are that many). Gift
knits? Don't even ask! Both Shedir and the Bare Tree scarf are in
various stages of "unfinished".
But you know what?
Everything is just fine, and will be fine. I'm not knitting to win a
race or a prize – it's just for me, and my timeline is my own. So
while I didn't wind any of the 4936 yards of yarn waiting for me, or
complete shifting sands, or finish up my swatches for the Walker
Treasury Project, I don't feel guilty. Well, maybe a little bit about
Shedir, but that's only because my brother is totally hatless. However,
it DOES need a fitting before I can bind off, and I can't fit on a head
that's not around, so…yeah. Not my fault. Really. Move along,
people, move along – nothing to see here.
Progress pictures of shifting sands, courtesy of blogless Jazlan.
Soon it’ll be free of the needles, and I’ll wrap it around my neck as
protection against the blustery weather.
I'm really pleased with how
the yarn and pattern play so nicely together. The stitch texture is
akin to stormy skies or a choppy sea or the surface of the moon; so
pleasing that the colour is, as well. Perfect. I can’t say enough
about the loveliness that is Sundara yarn (and I’mnotalone). The
colours are lusciousness itself, and the yarn is springy and soft and a
joy to knit.
Such a joy, in fact,
that I’m swatching for another project. I’ve desired well-fitting knee
highs for years, and lately I’ve been so inspired. Just look:
Looking for the knit blog? You're here! Welcome to periscope knits.
It’s been a while, but I’m back with stories to tell.
The mission: Yarn for a hat for my older brother to keep his head warm during live broadcasts and playing outside with my adorable niece. It has to be machine washable, warm, and very soft on his shaven head. A dark, neutral colour is preferred, and the hat design should be elegant but casual.
Of course, I started with my LYS – CanvasWorks. While I love the large, airy, naturally-lit store space (the better to entice you to buy, my dear) the staff is a standoffish and less friendly than expected. Except Amy – so when you go, ask for Amy. Their impressively large selection had nothing above worsted in a superwash wool except Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. Soft, yes, but I was hoping for something with more bounce to it. Onward!
Next destination: the Madrona Fiber Festival. Sunday was supposed to be a knit circle field trip, but I ended up driving up alone. I needed to pick up a table from Jazlan, which didn’t happen, and a nostepynne – also didn’t happen. However, I did peruse the vendors and made notes for later. No CanvasWorks, and no surprise there. I liked Acorn Street and Crown Mountain Farms, and sort of whirled through everything else. I was a girl on a mission. Superwash aran weight merino wool! Not too expensive! Black or navy! GO GO GO GO GO!!!
The fiber market didn’t have what I needed, but Fibers Etc. (on Opera Alley, for those Tacoma-bound shoppers) did. Not only is the shop full of knitter’s and spinner’s and weaver’s delights, Roberta (the shop owner) is friendly and knowledgeable. I left with two balls of Lana Grossa Bingo (techically worsted, but on the heavier side) in black, two sets of 7” Brittany DPN’s (US2 and US3), and business cards to hand out.
Mission accomplished, and all for this:
Recognize the beginnings of Shedir? I drew up a few designs of my own, but Shedir won out. Elegant, casual, stretchy, and well served in a dark solid. I decided to knit it in aran weight wool instead of worsted because, well… We grows ‘em big in my family, and Junior has a 24” head. That’s right, I said 24 inches. Shedir as per pattern is 17” unstretched. 24 – 17 = 7. Eek! While it might have worked, I thought it was a bit much to ask a hat to stretch seven inches and still fit comfortably. So up I went to aran weight, still knit on US 3’s to account for my loose gauge.
All was not well in Periscope country, however. To get to the point pictured above, I frogged four times. Four, as in half of eight, as in the number of Shedir insanity. (My apologies for the irresistible pun). Let’s chronicle the symptoms, shall well?
1) I cast on 128 stitches and work merrily up to the point of the second cable twist. But what’s this? The cables look off? How could this be? Well, I started out with a knit stitch instead of a purl on the rib. Yes. A mistake from the very first stitch. No matter. I happily frog and start over.
2) I cast on 128 stitches and work the rib, careful to start with a purl stitch. I work a make 1 increase every eight stitches. Lo and behold, the math doesn’t work. I’m two stitches short! I count and realize that I cast on 126 instead. I frog, less happily this time, and start over.
3) Third verse, same as the second, except I managed to cast on 124. Rip it, rip it, rip it. I am stoic.
4) I still can’t count, and get to round nine before I realize that there are only 120 stitches. My eyes are wild as I rip, and a small, sane part of me is briefly glad that I live alone so no one can hear my screams.
Apparently the fifth time is the charm. Shedir progresses rapidly on the way to and from work, and I have learned the great value of counting out loud. I've neglected my other projects because this is gift knitting. Soon, however! I shall go back to knitting for myself, glorying in tending my personal knitting garden.
Last night’s knit circle was quite fun. Though I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of the shootin’ stockings, I did show off the photos I’d taken in while on holiday. I was gifted with a hug bag of raw wool yarn, and a nearly-finished sweater and needles to finish the project. So excellent! I don't know if I'll finish the sweater as-is or frog it to make something else. It's thick and heavy, and I tend to run hot. The yarn is lovely, however - nubbly and the colour of antique ivory.
About that holiday: Tucson has very few yarn stores despite the size of the city. In fact, there are four total in the phone book– two locations of Purls, one bead and yarn store (which is mostly beads) and one that looked like someone’s house. My mother was suspicious of the house. She loves garage sales with the passion of a thrifty farmer’s daughter, but yarn? Hand-dyed? In someone’s house? And so far out from town! Probably poor quality and expensive.
(Need I mention that my mother is not a knitter? She crafts and sews and cooks and decorates and gardens, but fiber arts are no longer her realm.)
In hot pursuit of absolutely local yarn, I struck a deal: I’d go out to garage sales (and haul myself out of bed at six a.m. on a Saturday) in exchange for a knitter’s field trip. So it was that I found myself on the northwest side of Tucson, knocking on the door of Kathy Withers' house.
Did I say house? I mean farmhouse, for Kathy does everything for her fiber from soup to nuts. Take a look:
The buildings on the lower right-hand corner of the picture are the house and shop. Everything else is farm – sheep pens, pasture, chicken coop, a large rabbit hutch, sheds and Holly the dairy goat’s little house. There’s a flock of guard geese and an aggressive male llama named Philip, and a half-wild farmcat named Charcoal. Heaven!
I ran back to the car and got my parents so we could take a guided tour of the place.
I fed Marble the lamb his daily bottle:
and gave the llama girls their oats (Emmy is the white one):
and conversed with Holly, the very pregnant dairy goat: ( I know about the pictures - they'll come later! I can only do so much at work).
The shop was filled with piles and piles of fiber in all states of doneness. I spent a happy hour or so browsing, and my dad marveled at the displays of handicraft. Look! You put the fiber in and the machine combs it for you! And then you put it in the wheel and yarn comes out! Can you do that? Um, no, Dad – I don’t have an electronic drum carder or a spinning wheel, or a farm. But yes! I will use my drop spindle to make yarn from the roving I bought. Then I’ll overdye them, and after that there will be something for you. Promise. And you too, Mom. Even my picky and formerly suspicious mother had fun and found something she liked. Good times were had by all.
I'm off now, in search of the elusive winter 2007 knit 1 magazine. My next project is the fishnet stockings (I've dyed the yarn already), but the pattern is AWOL. Wish me luck.
Voila! The Western Gentleman Gotta Do Some Shootin’ Stockings:
Beautiful, aren’t they?
Click on the pictures for a larger version.
They’re as yet unblocked, and I left the ends on the second sock unwoven so everyone could see what an excellent job my cat does of cutting the yarn for me. Right in the middle of the leg! She’s so helpful – and such sharp teeth!
What? You can’t see them? Hmm. Well, I’m going to knit circle tonight, and hopefully will have the use of a digital camera. Until then, you’ll have to believe me – fraternal twins as they may be, they’re quite lovely. Pictures galore! Thank you, Jazlan!
Pattern:Gentleman’s Shooting Stockings from Knitting Vintage Socks
Yarn:Sundara Yarn’s Somewhat Solid superwash sport merino in Grey over Petal.
Yardage: Roughly 400 yards, although application of a scale might tell me otherwise.
Needles: US 2, 2.75 mm Clover Bamboo DPNs, set of 5
Gauge: 26 stitches per 4” over stocking stitch in the round.
Finished dimensions (some of them, anyway): 10.25” from heel to toe, and 11” from top of cuff to bottom of heel flap.
Modifications: Plenty. Aside from adjusting the pattern to fit the yarn I used, I had to take into account my dad’s thin legs and huge feet. So, the ankles are tiny and the feet look like flippers when not worn. There’s a few purl lines in the basic 3x3 ribbing to set the eye up for the patterning (and because I liked it). I changed the decreases down the back of the leg for a more pleasing line. And, of course, there’s a good chance I’ll have to add some thin elastic to the top of the cuffs.
And next time? Hmm. Well, despite the changes I made to the leg decreases, I’m still not entirely satisfied with how the pattern melds. I’d like the disappearing pattern repeats to become a single line of knit stitches that then make their way into the finalized ankle pattern. This shouldn’t be too hard to do, and I look forward to knitting this pattern for myself.
I finished the first sock while in Tucson, and had my dad try it on. Such a perfect fit! Oh the joy! Oh the excitement! And will the next sock be finished before you go home? Well…hmm. The first sock flew merrily along, with a minimum of frogging. The second sock? Apparently it’s knit to a tighter row gauge, since there are more pattern repeats down the instep despite the fact the socks are identical in length. I also completely messed with the gusset and didn’t realize until partway through the toe decreases. I’d already frogged the toe three times (due to complete spaciness on my part), so eh. I grafted the toe and called it a day. As my father is extremely excited for his shootin’ stockings, I’ll send them off just as they are and fix anything that needs fixing when I go back to Arizona in March. Usually I’m more discerning about these things, but – hey! It’s my first pair of socks! And they’re awesome! And Dad is quite anxious to wear them, and he promised to take pictures for my knitter’s brag book blog.
I've got a few (heh) projects on the needles, and more yarn coming from Sundara. Seriously, it's like crack only lovelier. The Shifting Sands scarf (from Grumperina) is just over halfway finished, and I dyed some sock yarn last night with three different sorts of Kool-Aid. And yes - I promise pictures. Later.