Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One more day

Or, why I really should have thought a bit more about other projects while finishing up the honey baby blanket.

"One more day." That's what I have been telling myself for the last several days. One more day and I'll actually have something to show the blog. Of course, it's a bit tough to share new things (and by new things, I mean pictures) when weekends are the only chance I get to take pictures in natural light, but we'll ignore that for the moment, shall we?

So where was I? Right, I finished the honey baby blanket and then I . . . Well, I've almost finished a new pair of socks. The knitting is done - I just need to weave in the ends. Perhaps I should start taking bets on how long that will take. Actually, I really should get cracking on that since several of my go-to socks are showing some serious signs of wear. (Note to self: knit more socks)

I also almost finished Snug, an adorable and quick (when you sit down and work on it, not when you let it languish in the knitting basket) knit.

I've actually woven in the ends on this one but it still needs a bath and some buttons (and all of the ends need to be trimmed). I'll do a real FO post on this one when it's officially "done."

Let's see, I made some progress on my current black hole project, aka the alpaca cardigan that I'm making up as I go along. It took me a couple of days to work up the energy but I finally picked up stitches for the ribbing that goes up the sides and around the neck. There were a lot of stitches. I honestly don't know how many - I figured I would be more likely to finish that task if I didn't count (except for making sure that I had the correct multiple of stitches). I had some delusional hopes of finishing that sweater last weekend. This weekend may be a bit too ambitious, too. 

And then I frogged a few things. First, Bridgewater is off the needles and not in a good way. The pattern is lovely, the yarn I was using is lovely. But knitting garter stitch in alpaca laceweight yarn is not lovely. Not for me at least. I had to look at it too much in order to maintain something resembling a consistent gauge, and that cancels out much of the appeal of garter stitch for me: being able to knit while I read. There are several versions of this pattern on ravelry that are worked in malabrigo lace. I have a feeling I'll steal a page from that book once the stash diet is over.

I also frogged my Cardigan for Tadpole (loosely modeled on the popular Cardigan for Merry). I really liked how the yarn (dream in color smooshy) was knitting up in the pattern. But my sizing was off and I was agonizing about whether I'd have enough yarn for the hood. Plus, no matter how many times I started this project (3 or 4, I don't remember), I still couldn't get the join between the body and the cabled edges to look quite right. See that dip between the cable and the stockinette sections at the bottom of the picture? 

Ultimately, the pattern just didn't seem worth the amount of time I was putting into it. I'll give it another go soon (ish) in a heavier yarn. Now I'm flipping through Barbara Walker treasuries looking for a stitch pattern that matches the baby sweater idea I have in my head for this yarn. And if all else fails, this skein would make a lovely pair of Cookie A socks for me.

There's a secret project hiding in the wings, too, but it's for someone who reads this blog so I'm going to keep quiet about it for now.

Instead, I'll leave you with this since it's time for me to run and knit while watching the State of the Union:

(Nayyir and his toy beaver, who keeps him company while we're away at work)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Honey, I finished the baby blanket

I finished a little something this week.

What, you want to see the whole thing?

Better now? Before I forget, here are the specs:

Pattern: Honey Baby by Anne Hanson
Yarn: Briar Rose Fibers Sea Pearl, custom colorway, 2 skeins (there's enough left over to make a cap and booties)
Needles: size 4 circulars (16", 24", and 47" lengths) for the main part of the blanket, size 3 DPNs and 47" circular for the edging
Size: 42" square
Time to Knit: 28 days (wow!)
Mods: None. And I really mean it this time. I actually knit this piece exactly as written (I think).

You start in the center of the square, provisionally casting on 8 stitches, and then jump into the first section: bee hive. The first time I started this blanket, I used DPNs to start the center section and worked on them until the piece was big enough to transfer to a 16" circular needle. This time around, I used magic loop instead and was much happier. I'm just not a fan of DPNs - I find them awkward and it's often difficult to keep the correct tension on a yo at the beginning or end of the needle. Not only was I much happier starting with magic loop but the early rows seemed to go much faster.

Then, after a little breather (aka, 4 plain rows), you switch into the bee swarm pattern. This was my least favorite section to knit. It was interesting - it had better be with lace patterning on every row, but it looked rather wonky while I was knitting it. Also, while the lace was easy enough to read (at least to be able to catch when I was doing something wrong), it wasn't so logical that I could just knit without often checking the chart. Happily, this section is relatively short.

This last section was my favorite. It was just so much fun! The bee pattern is very similar to the insect pattern in Kai-Mei. As with that sock pattern, just trust the chart until you've done one iteration of the bee. I promise it works, even if the directions sound strange.

Put it all together and voila:

Yes, there's edging, too. A lot of it. And I'm pretty sure I've blocked all memory of actually knitting it.

Here's a quick pick of the blanket and its recipient:

6 more weeks to go!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I actually finished the edging! I put in a big push on Monday evening and it's done. Now I just have to weave in four ends (that's right, four, for the entire blanket) and block the piece. There will definitely be pics this weekend, assuming the sun comes out to play.

Meanwhile, I'm working my way through a couple of WIPs in the knitting basket. Snug is almost done so I hope to have a couple of FOs to share this weekend.

Since I'm fresh out of knitting pics, here's a quick look at what else is growing around here at chez Tinks and Frogs.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I spoke a little too soon

Ever since I cast on for the honey baby blanket, I've been sticking to a pretty good schedule: one section per week. Honestly, it just worked out that way for the first chart pattern and after that I set each succeeding section as my knitting goal for the next week. I finished the final lace chart last weekend and only the edging was left to do. Naturally, I expected to have finished the knitting by now. Does this look like a finished blanket to you?

Nope, it doesn't look like a finished blanket to me, either. I keep asking the other members of chez Tinks and Frogs for help with the edging but to no avail. Mr. Tinks and Frogs has been hard at work clearing out our second bedroom in preparation for the painters who are coming tomorrow, so that seems like a reasonable excuse. Nayyir, on the other hand, has been hard at work not being hard at work (he might have mentioned something about the difficulties in knitting when one doesn't have opposable thumbs but it's sometime tough to tell when he's talking in his sleep). So what gives?

I was going strong through Sunday and into Monday. And then on Tuesday I managed to fall asleep over the knitting. Don't get me wrong, as far as knitted on edgings go this one is fairly entertaining. That said, working the same 8-stitch, 4-row repeat over and over while sitting in a warm, dimly lit room and listening to an audiobook can get a bit soporific. I've learned my lesson: no more knitted on edgings in bed. It's just too dangerous. Thank goodness Mr. Tinks and Frogs noticed what had happened before I poked an eye out with one of my addi lace needles (those things are pointy!).

I confess, after the excitement of the various stitch patterns in the body of the blanket, I'm getting just a little bit bored. Any and every new thing has the power to distract me these days. Maybe that would explain where this came from:

That sock just came out of nowhere. I even cast on for its mate yesterday and have managed a few rows of ribbing while waiting for an appointment this afternoon.

At least my distraction can help serve as motivation to finish up the blanket (I hope!). I was extra good the other day and walked home from work, as opposed to taking the train. The last, windy leg of my little trek reminded me that I've been meaning to knit up a pair of lined stranded colorwork mittens to help keep my fingers warm. After spending more time surfing ravelry than I care to admit, I finally settled on this pattern. A bit more project browsing later, I decided that I absolutely had to have this kit and screw the stash diet (it was one of those weeks, what can I say?). But then I looked at the exchange rate and saw that the Canadian dollar is worth more than the US dollar right now and just couldn't justify spending over $60 for a mitten kit when I'm supposed to be working down the stash. Happily, this made me think a bit more creatively about the yarns that I do have around the apartment and it turns out I have a great option after all.

But I can't cast on until the edging is done. Wish me luck!