Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Jewel Box

In completely blowing my finish five rule, I have started two new pairs of socks. I don't feel bad breaking my rule - it was my own rule after all. I had a good reason (moving and thus the need to pack my unfinished items) and some inspiration. We are moving soon, and in the time before our move I have 3 major road trips (Chicago, Nebraska, and New Mexico). Thus I needed to plan ahead, to have knitting on hand while most of my yarn stash is packed away. I now have three pairs of socks on the needles. When I look at the colors all together, their bright tones remind me of precious gems: emerald, sapphire, ruby, topaz.

Emerald (Alligator Socks)
I have continued to work on the alligator socks for my husband. I am just ready to start the heel flap on the second sock. I am worried that I will run out of the dark green yarn before I am finished.

Ruby/Topaz (Blazing Sky Hiking Socks)
I am using the Uptown Boot Socks pattern by Jennifer Appleby. The yarn is my own handspun, from Bonkers Fiber in the Calendula Colorway.

I think the yarn may be a bit overspun (or perhaps overplied) and it is not a soft as I had hoped. I also had some problems with keeping a consistent grist. But overall I am happy with the resulting yarn and I think the socks will be fine.


Sapphire (Swimming Pool Socks)

The pattern - Nancy Bush's Child's French Socks (from Knitting Vintage Socks). The Yarn - Claudia's Handpaint in Electric Blue. The blue of this yarn reminds me of a deep blue swimming pool, with ripples of light. I chose the sock pattern because it reminds me of the ripples created from swimming. I'm just at the cuff right now, so I will have to see if it looks like I hope.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

No clever title, just an update

1. We found a place to live near Liberty. I am so relieved and the place is really nice.

2. I made another trip to Nebraska, but no pictures as I decided to not take the camera. The trip was not a productive as I would have liked, but I think the next trip will be better.

3. Now the packing has commenced.

4. Knitting has been taking place. I have decided on a lace edging. Pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Center Square




After ripping back to the mistake, the knitting of the square went quickly. Today I spent some time looking for a edging that I like. So far, none have seemed right.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Mistakes

Before talking about my reactions to making mistakes in knitting, a few notes about the Primrose handkerchief. The central portion of the pattern came from a book I bought on deep discount when I first started knitting, Traditional Lace Knitting by Furze Hewitt, published in 1997 by Kangaroo Press. The original pattern had a different border, which I did not really like and was having a hard time getting it down. So after so playing around, I ended up using the border from the Syrian Shawl from Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby. I also knit the border on larger needles (size 1 as opposed to size 0), which is why the edge has a more delicate feel.

So with the completion of one item, I was ready to start my next project. But then I remembered my finish five rule. So I dug through my unfinished objects. I finished this little cape, which will end up going to my niece.

This was originally 1/2 of a poncho. But I completely lost interest in finishing the second half (mainly because I had forgotten what I was doing, and it was an improvised pattern). So I picked up stitches along the side edges with a light blue ribbon yarn and knit a few rows. This provided the base for the ties. Now I have a cape, which hopefully my niece will wear. I don't think she likes playing dress up as much as I did as a kid. Last year I made her a mermaid tail (of which I need to get a picture) and she did not really like it. She is more into sports. But we will see.

So that was two things completed. I had decided from the start that ripping out unwanted or unusable items would count the same as finishing a project. So, I started ripping.

Gone - the tiny fortune cookie bag.


Gone - the handspun scarf that wants to be a hat.


Gone - the weird-shaped hemp towel/washcloth thing.


Well not gone, but returned to yarn.
All of this ripping was because I needed to start knitting on another wedding handkerchief. I am almost certain that the intended recipient does not read my blog, so it is not as much of a secret.

I needed new yarn for this project, having used up all my previous crochet thread. Knitting lace in crochet cotton has to be the most money efficient knitting. I bought DMC Traditions Crochet Cotton, 400 yards for about $2. And it is really, really soft.

So I chose a lace panel pattern from Barbara Walkers A Fourth Treasury of Knitting Patterns. I was motoring along on the knitting yesterday morning and when I had finished I noticed the mistake. A misplaced yarnover, about 8 rows down. My first reaction was to leave it. No one would probably notice. I even rationalized it - the mistake could symbolize marriage, potentially beautiful despite its imperfections.

Then I had to go to work and set the piece aside for the day and overnight. After stepping back from the work for awhile I realize that I wanted to fix the mistake. I want the piece to be as perfect as I can make it. Then I realized that this is how I react to all my knitting mistakes. At first I think I can live with it. And then I set it aside for a few hours or a day. Upon coming back to it after that time away, ripping out to the mistake does not seem so painful, but rather the right thing to do.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The mystery unveiled

My mystery project is finished and no longer a mystery.
This piece of knitting was a handkercheif for my friend Beth to carry during her upcoming wedding at the end of June.



Here is the center of the piece, unblocked.



Here is the entire piece, with the edging attached, blocking. There has been a bit of drama with this knitting. Look closely at the ridge where the edge is sewn on. Can you see it? The hint of yellow?

Here is an up close picture of a yellow spot in the middle.



I was mystified for a while about what that yellow stain could be. Then I remembered, I had been handling old printer ink cartridges and ended up with yellow ink on my hands. Despite washing my hands, not all of the ink came off, until I was blocking the center portion. Let me tell you, I was very upset at myself.

Following advice from some of the women from my fiber guild, I placed the piece in boiling water containing a bit of dish soap. Worked like a dream. Whew. I really did not want to reknit the whole thing.


Monday, June 4, 2007

Plant of the Week - Common Milkweed



The common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is part of the milkweed family. The genus Asclepias is one of my personal favorites. Some day I want to have an Asclepias garden, filled with different species. The name Asclepias comes from the Greek god of medicine, Asklepios. The common name, milkweed, comes from the milky sap that oozes out of branches or leaves that are broken off.

The common milkweed is just starting to bloom here in NE Kansas and it can be recognized large, lavender ball-like inflorescences (an inflorescence is a group of flowers). The leaves are broad and oval shaped. They are arranged opposite each other on the stem. You can see, that butterflies love these flowers, as the plants produce lots of nectar and have a faint sweet smell. All of these pictures were taken today while I was doing field work.








Most of the flowers are a dusky lavender pink color, but today out in the field I found one individual with flowers that were a much brighter pink.



I have heard that you can eat the flower buds after they have been boiled. Hmmmm - maybe I should try it.


In other news, while doing field work today, I was visited by the Lord of the Flies. This fly was beautiful and really large (about 3/4 of an inch long).

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Sock Update

First, thanks for all of the comments about the tidepool socks. I still am waffling back and forth on them. Maybe I am being to precious with this yarn, but I want the resulting item to be stunning. And the current sock does not do it for me. So I will continue to think about it.

For the green alligator socks, I am trying to overcome "first sock syndrome". The last few times I have picked it up, it has seem like a real chore to work on them. But my husband is really enthusiastic about them, which does motivate me.

The secret knitting is progressing well. I need to work on it this evening.

I have also been spending way to much time exploring Ravelry. I signed up about a month ago to get an invite to be a beta tested. I got my invitation about a week ago. It is a cool site, but man is it easy to get lost in there. Major time vacuum. You can still sign up to be a beta tester.

And just because, an earth star fungus.
Hope you had a great weekend!

Jennifer

Friday, June 1, 2007

What to do about Tidepool?


I am in need of suggestions about what to do about this particular unfinished object - do I frog or finish?

The yarn is my first experience with the much lauded "Socks that Rock" yarn in a colorway called Tidepool. The picture above is my progress of knitting socks from Knitting Vintage Socks - the pattern is Bed Socks in Lemon Pattern.

I do like the look of the spiraling colors, but do you notice how the spirals are starting to flatten out so they look more stripey? I am not too excited about that.

My biggest concerns are 1) I won't like how the color patterning changes after doing the heel and 2) This yarn would be a lot better in another pattern.

I am leaning towards playing around with different pattern stitches - maybe even making a hat or scarf from this yarn instead of socks. But I am just not able to commit to frogging it yet.

Just curious - What would you do?