Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ready for the Big Snip

Here it is--both sleeves done (they're not short, by the way, they're just folded up).  Ready for the Grand Opening, cutting the center front steek to start the edging.  I was going to save the thrill for the knitting retreat this weekend, but I have to cut the main steek in order to reach the neck shaping steeks with the sewing machine to stabilize them, so the deed will be done tomorrow and I'll be working the edging on the weekend.  Still, it's cool to stand back and look at the whole sweater and how all those motifs line up.  I admit it.  I'm pretty pleased with myself.

But before I go,  I  have to do a little dance in celebration of the (at long last) coming of spring.  The picture on the left is of some incredible ice crystals in a puddle on the driveway.  Three days later and a few yards away there was this--little green things rising out of the just-thawed earth:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saved by Cordova

So I'm cruising along, very pleased with myself for how well the shaping of Sleeve #2 is matching #1, one more pattern repeat to go and then--uh oh.  The last ball of eesit is getting very very lean.  It will finish out the sleeve, but there's still the center and neck edging to go.  No way will it be enough. Rats.  I look up the web site where I got the Shetland yarn.  They don't have the eesit color any more.  Double rats.  I go to to look for other suppliers.  None in Washington, Oregon, or the California places I checked.  None with eesit, that is.  I googled the yarn and came up with a place in Ottawa, Canada that had it, but that seemed like a lot of trouble and shipping delay just for a crummy ball of yarn.  Triple rats.

Back to Simply Shetland.  I'll start with the Alaska stockists and work my way outward.  In Alaska the first choice is Inua Wool in Fairbanks.  They've got a new store location (remember when it used to be in the owner's house out in the woods?), but no eesit.  Next stop, the Net Loft in Cordova.  Gloryowski, they've got it!  They always have the natural shades, the lady said.  And, being Alaskans, they understand needing to have stuff sent to you, so they promised to pop my two balls (I know it's a bit late, but why not have some insurance anyway) in an envelope which will not only take a buck or two for first class postage and the whole deal will be on its way to me tomorrow.

So Thank You Net Loft, thank you Cordova, and if any of you Dear Readers are ever in  bind for some Shetland yarn, look no further than beautiful Cordova.  In fact, check out the shop in their blog.  Cool, isn't it?  Next time you're in Cordova, make time for a 1-shop yarn crawl!

P.S. In case you're wondering why I'm not fussed about dye lot numbers, I don't think it will show if I start the new yarn on the edging section.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Felt Like a Change

As I said before, sleeves can seem eternal, and sometimes a person just needs a break.  A change of pace.  Texturework instead of colorwork.  So I dipped into a stash of Plymouth Boku, a yarn I got cheap cheap cheap online somewhere hoping it was the poor woman's Silk Garden.  It wasn't.  The wool content (95% wool, 5% silk) was horribly scratchy and the yarn would make a miserable sweater, so it sat marinating in the stash.  Given the big wool component and the single ply structure, though, it seemed like it would make a good felting yarn, and an excellent substitute in the Greip pattern for a cabled bag in the Elsebeth Lavold #18 Third Viking Knits Collection book.  The original yarn is supposed to be Lavold's own Silky Wool (65% wool, 35% silk); the bag is supposed to be slightly felted.  Good match, thought I.  More wool, more shrinkage, so I'll make it extra big to compensate.

Into the washing machine it went.  That's one of the fun things about felting.  You never know what you're going to get.  And boy, was I surprised with this one.  It didn't shrink.  Let me say that again. It didn't shrink.  Welllll.....OK.  It's a bag after all, and size, to some extent, isn't a big deal.  But here's what did happen.  It got all fuzzy wuzzy like widdle bunny wabbits.  You can kind of see in the picture the furry haze (click on photo to enbiggen).  And I have a whole bunch of the stuff left.  I still don't trust it enough to make a garment out of it, but now I know what I can use to make a couple of dandy gift scarves at holiday time!

Meanwhile Winter Sunset sleeves march on.  I'm 2/3 of the way down Sleeve #2.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Good News and Bad News

So I've been beavering away on Winter Sunset. The good news is that I've completed one whole sleeve! Hurrah! Sleeves seem to be the bane of the knit-in-the-round sweater maker. You feel like it takes the same amount of time to knit a sleeve as it did to knit the whole body although there are obviously many fewer stitches. Maybe this is because you have to keep flopping the whole bulky sweater around and around as you go. Maybe it's because it's getting on for a gazillion times you've knitted the motif and although you're proud of having memorized it, it is getting a little boring. With all of it to do again on Sleeve #2. So imagine my pleasure at finishing the first sleeve and picking up and getting going on #2. Toodling merrily along until--uh oh--dun da dun dun--the bad news:
What you are looking at is the armpits of the sweater, the place where the fake "seam" is and the decreases take place. Finished sleeve is on the left; Sleeve #2 on the right. What's wrong with this picture is that on #1 there is an extra 1/2 of a motif. Eight extra stitches that don't belong there! Rats! Rats! And other cusswords that don't belong in a nice granny's knitting blog. [An aside: I learned to cuss at my mother's feet while she made our clothes on the sewing machine. Perhaps fiber work and cussing are natural companions.]

So my choices are:
  1. Frog the new sleeve and re-pick up with the same number of stitches as #1. Make the mistake symmetrical.
  2. Frog the first sleeve and pick up the correct number of stitches and re-do the whole thing. Make both sleeves without the mistake.
  3. Don't frog anything, rejoice in the fact that the goof is most obvious in the armpit where nobody's looking, and try to adjust the shaping of #2 (fewer decreases).
The Yarn Harlot says, "Knitting is a human activity. It's OK for it to look like a human did it." That makes a lot of sense to me, so I'm choosing door number three. One advantage of this alternative is it's a potential boredom-canceller. I'm going to have to be on my toes all through Sleeve #2 to make sure the shaping is right. I could easily screw up the shaping--I'm only human after all....