Sunday, February 24, 2008

An FO and a new challenge

The Star Wars scarf is finally complete and blocking. Above is the view as you stare at it, and below is the side view when the text 'magically' appears.

It took 2 balls of white and 2 balls of black Cygnet Superwash DK. Having washed a swatch ... well a mistake actually - a swatch implies every went smoothly. I washed the mistake as I couldn't face a 3rd frogging. Anyway, having washed the 'swatch' I have discovered that this yarn doesn't do well in the 40 degree wash as it's label suggests. It went fuzzy. Whether this is due to the high contrast colours I don't know. Maybe it would be fine if it was just one colour *shrug*

All I know is that I'm going to have to handwash this after all, despite an extensive search for machine washable DK wool *sigh*

Negative aside - I love this. The boy loves it too, and that's the most important thing. Non-knitters are genuinely perplexed by this and have decided it requires lots of maths (it doesn't). Shadow knitting is playing with knit and purl stitches to make stitches 'stick out' so that shapes appear. Wikipedia explains it well.

My pattern was 11 stitches either side to serve as a margin, and 15 in the centre to use for the letters. I got the idea and chart from this Craftster with a slight modification. I was going to do the one side of the scarf with black lettering for the dark side, and one side with white lettering for the light side and sew them together. The fabric turned out quite thick though, and I just don't have it in me to knit another ...

And so onto another project that must be completed by the start of the Beijing Olympics (165 days to go). The Glasgow socks were cast on with too few stitches - it wasn't my fault. The gauge swatch lied again - by a whole stitch!! So I frogged in and thus was able to start a new project, without breaking the promise of casting on anything new before finishing all these wips.

Since it had to come out I was toying with the idea of trying toe-up socks. For some reason I was a bit scared, the thought of the challenge was daunting me. Then I snapped out of it - how many new things have I learned in the knitty world over the past 3 years? Loads! And then a sign; a Raveler contacted me out of the blue asking for all the wool ends I had on my trade board in excahnge for Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks, Warm Feet book.

Once again knitty fate has struck. I'm doing a toe-up pattern with a Bosnian toe - a rectangle knitted with a provisional cast on, so you can out it on a needle later, then pick up the stitches around the 2 other sides and have the beginnings of a toe!

I'm struggling a bit with the whole 'knit til it fits' concept - I prefer having everything set out for me the first time I embark on something new. After frogging 4 rows (as I went too far with my increases) I think I am on a smooth path for now (at least until the heel...)

Still it's fun doing a 'new' project.

I believe I said that I would be trying Rogue as my project for the Knitting Olympics. It was pointed out to me that the Olympics are a mere 2 weeks long ... I will be revising my idea of what I plan to do - I suspect a pair of DK socks may be a more achievable goal ...

The B&B has been booked for this year's Woolfest - I'm so excited!! Cumbria is a lovely place, made all the lovelier by the big barn full of lovely knitty goodness - yay!

And Creative Stitches at the SECC in a couple of weeks with my mum - I can't wait!

And K1 Yarns have opened a 2nd shop in Edinburgh, in the place of HK Handknits I think. Anyway, Debbie Bliss will be there on the 1st March for a grand opening. I feel dizzy with all the yarny joy!! (I know my credit cards do not feel the same)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Project Fatigue

Oh what enthusiasm my last post held ... to systematically work my way through all the projects which have started to become guilty burdens so that I could be 'organised'. It is probably telling through my lack of posts of late that project fatigue and the reality of this challenge have hit home.

To try and not overwhelm I have concentrated on only two projects;

Summertime tunic - a project as boring to photograph as it is to knit... and it's a shame as this is a lovely top, and I'll surely wear it frequently once it is done (should Glasgow weather allow of course). The yarn is stunning, with a lovely drape too.

But the miles and miles of knitting in the round are testing me, creating a project that is almost as torturous to those around me as it is to me, such is my whining about it. It stuck at 7 and half inches from the ribbing for about a week, no matter how much I knit. The 'never ever ever growing no matter how much I sodding well knit' phase usually precedes the 'oh crap, I've knit 2 inches too far' phase.

Well not in this case - it's started to move slowly again, now standing at just over 9 inches. It has to be 11 and a half inches... Keep rooting for me, as I'm losing the faith here.

The Force scarf is faring a little better. Yes that is the 'M' of 'May the force be with you'. The end is in sight. Not least because Summertime Tunic motivates me to stick with this over round and round and round.

I realise that this was a Christmas Day present and it is Valentine's Day tomorrow, however, in my defence, there were 3 of us at last night's meetup knitting Christmas presents. I am not alone - and those that love us knitters are used to receiving promises and presents on the needles for Christmas/Birthdays.

Since I haven't been knitting much, I haven't been blogging much. I'm pretty close to throwing in the towel and asserting that I knit for enjoyment. If I want to cast on 200 projects and not finish any of them, what harm am I doing, really? But in my heart it doesn't particularly make me happy to have piles of unfinished projects about - I started them because I loved them, and I still do. I want them finished.

So I ordered a long-lusted after book; "The Opinionated Knitter" by Elizabeth Zimmermann. If anyone can put the fun back into knitting it's her. I flicked through earlier and felt the urge to start knitting 'proper' once more. (I also felt the urge to cast on about 8 new projects, but let's not go there)

Another person has helped to keep me motivated in my Beijing challgenge, although she may not be aware of it. Lilith is doing the Race for Life - a women's 5K run to raises money for cancer research. She's doing in memory of her dad, and I'm in awe of her efforts. As she states "running comes as naturally to me as flying does to a penguin", therefore this is no easy feat. If she can do this (and in the icey, foggy, freezing weather we're having), then frankly I can sit on my bum and finish a few projects!

She is trying to raise £1000 and there are loads of fabulous knitty prizes up for grabs - every fiver you enter counts as an entry. So please go over there and donate some cash! I'm rooting for you Lilith!!