Saturday, April 29, 2006

Pi Update: Adjusting the Recipe

I've just finished winding a new ball from a hank of lace weight yarn from KnitPicks. I'm not happy with my PiR2 shawl and have finally decided I am going to start again. I will leave the current one on the needles and do a side by side comparison at some point. Not the frog pond yet, but it's resting by a lily pad.

The stitch definition seems fuzzy, and I'd like a closer knit. I'm not happy with the way the Snowdrops look with this size needle. I'm planning to buy size 7 (US) circ when I go to the Knitting Shack for the Knitting Social this afternoon. I did swatch my yarn in several size needles, but wasn't familiar enough with lace weight yarn to know how to evaluate my samples. After a bit of knitting, I can say my preference is to have my lace a bit tighter, so I'll try the 7s and see how that goes.

Another problem is the stitch count on the PiR2. EZ starts the half-circle with 16 sts, then doubles to 32, 64, 128 and more. As I try to substitute lace patterns I find that many are based on multiples of 12, which means I need a multiple of 3 in the mix. One thing I can do is change my start to 18 rather than 16. By the time I get to the outer rows this is an extra 32 sts, and I don't know if this will be too many sts for the shawl.

I put holds on Barbara Walker's "The Craft of Lace Knitting" and "Charted Knitting Designs" through the local library. Lace Knitting should come soon, but Charted Designs is currently out. This gives me some time to knit another beginning on the PiR2 and then use the library books to make my own adventure.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Two New Hats, One Old Favorite

Three hats this week. I have another started, but it won't be done in time to make it through the wash with the others. I don't know why the colors are all wonky, they are really pale baby colors. You will have to use your imagination, I'm not going to take another picture. (sorry)

The blue and white one looks very small, but it is all 2x2 rib, and actually has a lot of stretch.

I am very happy with the green hat. I used Seeded Rib Stitch and it is very stretchy with a lot of visual interest. I have used this stitch for socks and thought it might be nice for a hat. Here is Seeded Rib stitch converted to the round. Only 2 rounds, over a multiple of 4.

Seeded Rib (m4) Rnd 1: *K3P1* Rnd 2: P1*K1P3*

The pink hat is done in Ladder Stitch (June 5, 365 Knitting Stitches A Year Perpetual Calendar). This looked like a rib to me, but I was fooled. This pattern has no stretch, but is an attractive alternative to stockinette. I may do a few more with this pattern. The pattern is a multiple of 8, with 8 rows to one repeat. Don't let that put you off, it is only 2 rows repeated 4 times each. Again, I've converted it to knit in the round.

Ladder Stitch (m4) Rnds 1-4: *K5P3* Rnds 5-8 K1*P3K5* end P3.

Here's my old favorite, Kisar Sosay. She isn't that old, but she certainly is my one of my favorite animals. She's moving out with my son in a few weeks. She's a grumpy cat with a lot of personality, and I sure hate to see her go. She was sleeping in a patch of sun, and I took the picture with the sun streaming in from the window. First time I've ever been able to get a good shot of her face. Of course, she wouldn't look at the camera. Too grumpy to cooperate. Typical.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

More Pi, Please

Yes, since I'm The Mom around here, I can have as much Pi as I want. Thank goodness this Pi has no calories.

This is my second attempt at a Pi Doily. I frogged the first one when, plotting my color changes, I realized just how large that purple section would be. This time the very large section of Pi will be my favorite color in Cebelia, #747, a very icy aqua blue.

My Pi Doily is starting with #799, Horizon Blue, Cebelia #20 thread and #1 needles. For Clue 1 I chose Selection C, 3x3 Leaf. I must be making some progress, because after 100 or so double decreases, I no longer fear the K3tog. Loathe, yes, but no fear.

Clue 2 is Selection A, Snowdrop. Thank goodness for lifelines. I knitted Selection C, Corn, all the way to Round 23 before I admitted defeat. I even pinned it out and let it sit overnight. In the cold light of dawn, I could see no corn, not in my doily. I frogged and reknit, and am happy with Snowdrop. Don't know why Corn didn't work for me, it must have been my thread and needle choice. I'll be putting in another lifeline before Friday, you can bet on that.

One thing I have noticed. When I knit my PiR2 shawl, my hands say, yum this is nice yarn. When I knit on the doily, my hands say yum, this is fun lace. My PiR2 shawl doesn't feel like lace to me. It has YOs, and holes, but it just isn't lace. The cotton thread tells my hands that I am making lace, like tatting and bobbin lace. My hands haven't yet learned that yarn can be lace, too. huh.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

PiR2 Mystery Adventure - Second Clue

I have two pieces of Pi on my plate, and I’m knitting as fast as I can!
The second clue for the KYOAMPi Shawl was published yesterday, and I decided to knit on my PiR2 shawl first.
I origianlly chose Clue B for my 12 row section, and I managed that with not many problems. I wanted to continue with the same group for the 24 row section, but Clue B had YOs on consecutive rows. There’s a lot going on with a PiR2, and I wasn’t sure I could handle YOs on all my rows.
The PiR2 increases EOR for the mitered fronts, and I am knitting the lace pattern all the way out to the diagonal. This is a challenge for me, and I'm carefully adding the lace pattern when I get enough stitches to make it fit. I’m just not good enough to add lace on my return rows, and use the chart ‘backwards’.
So I KISS’ed Clue B goodbye for now, and chose Clue A, Snowdrops. I am very pleased with how the two patterns look together. Mindy, Iris and Pat are doing an incredible job! Thanks!
Details: KnitPicks lace weight Shadow, 100% Merino Wool, color Oregon Coast, size 9 needles.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Four Baby Hats

This week I have four baby hats to drop off at the LYS. Three of them are the usual suspects, but the fourth one, the one on the far right is the new pattern I tried this week.

I found John's Basketweave Ribbing in a sock pattern on Marguerite's blog, Stitches of Violet. It is a multiple of 8, a simple variation of 3x1 ribbing, and it easily fits into my basic hat pattern. I'll be making more of this one!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Five Tatted Bookmarks

Today I blocked 5 tatted bookmarks for Lisa. It has taken longer than I expected, but I never counted on being sick for a month.
Each tatter develops an individual method of blocking. Here’s what I do. I soak my bookmarks in hot water spiked with a touch of liquid dishwashing soap. (Make sure your soap is not ‘enhanced’ with lemon or citrus. This will add color to your white tatting. I learned the hard way.)
Rinse well in cool water, blot dry on a clean towel. Mix a stiffener with cool water in the same shallow bowl. I prefer Elmer’s School Glue, it can be washed out if the tatting gets dirty or dusty and the item re-starched. For snowflakes, I want them very firm, and I use about 50/50 mix of water to glue. I like a bookmark to hold its shape, and still have a bit of flex, so my glue/water mix is lighter on the glue. It also depends on the size of your thread. Size 20 is fairly heavy for tatting, and the bookmarks will hold their shape without a lot of stiffening.
I soak each bookmark individually in the glue/water mix, then blot out the excess on paper towels and pin out on my piece of Styrofoam. I have the board covered with a piece of waxed paper, and re-use the same pins every time. When I pin out my tatting, I check picots for size, and make sure the rings are all laying flat. I also check the chains for shape and symmetry. When you block tatting, you can accent or modify some of the elements, but tatting will not stretch the way knitted lace will.
The bookmarks will be dry tomorrow and I’ll put them in the mail. Look out, Lisa, here they come!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Stepping Up

I mailed my baby socks for the Longest Line Contest. It warms my heart to think of all those toasty warm baby toes, but now I have to find something new to knit in the evening. Decisions, decisions.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Pi on my Plate

I have a double helping of Pi on my plate now that the baby socks are done. I am knitting along with the Mystery Adventure Pi Shawl at the EZasPi Yahoo Group. I started a PiR2 shawl in lace weight yarn from KnitPicks, and the first clue went so well I started another Pi adventure.

This one is going to be a Pi Doily, in #20 Cebelia, with size 0 needles. I sorted through my considerable stash of crochet cotton, and found 5 springtime pastels. I don’t know how big this will get, that’s the beauty of EZ’s Pi design. I can finish off when I run out of thread or patience, knitter’s choice. The only problem I see is that my circular needle is 24” and it might be quite awhile before I can switch from dpns to the circ. I am ready to increase from 72 to 144 sts, and plan to add two more dpns and change color after that round. Fortunately I have an abundance of sock needles, and they are idle at the moment. I started with aqua (#747) and plan to switch to baby blue (#800). I am impatiently waiting for the next clue, and will focus on baby hats until Friday.

More spiral rib baby hats for the local hospital. I took them to the lys Saturday when I went to the knitting social. Left is the baby version of Magknits' Odessa, center is a k2p2 spiral, and right k3p3 spiral, Lorraine Major’s hat from Woolworks. The k1p1 rib for the cuff is my modification of the pattern, it worked just as I hoped. The k2p2 diagonal rib is not as clearly defined as k3p3, and I won’t be making that one again.
Why spiral ribs? I don’t know. Ribs add a bit of stretch, spirals add a bit of visual interest but no bulk. I think I want to try a k3p1 spiral next. If I shift the rib 1 stitch after 2 rows, maybe I can get a nice slant from k3p1. I’ll do a swatch during the hockey game tonight. Go Red Wings!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Winding up for the EZasPi KAL

I have my lace weight yarn from KnitPicks, the color is Oregon Coast. I know it's boring beige, but vibrant colors make me feel conspicuous, so I opted for a color I know I can wear.
I’ve made 2 swatches, #8 and #9 needles, and still can’t decide which one I like best. I think I will have to buy a new circ, no matter which way I go. Both my 8 and 9 have blunt tips, and I will definitely need a sharper point for the fine yarn. I may opt for a wooden needle, still thinking about that.
I did find an easy way to wind the yarn into a ball without a swift. The music stand did a wonderful job, except it didn’t turn as a swift would. My DH ‘helped’ me the last time I wrestled with a hank of yarn, and it turned into a tug of war. I wanted it relaxed to avoid stretching, he kept it taut to avoid tangling. It was a jerky, stop-and-go session that I didn’t want to repeat with lace weight yarn. The music stand didn't argue, and I wound a nice ball with no tangles in about a half an hour. Not bad for a beginner.
I am knitting my last baby sock for the Longest Line Contest tonight, and plan to tag, box and mail early next week. I won’t win the contest, but I will warm 38 pairs of baby feet. That warms my heart, too. How’s that for Dual Duty Plus!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Have Needles, Will Knit

I'm still alive and knitting. Here's the latest crop of baby hats for the local hospital. Three of them are based on Michelle's Preemie Booties and Hat Pattern, but I did a 3x1 rib instead of stockinette. The hat in the lower left is from a pattern I found on Woolworks site, Lorraine Major's Spiral Rib Baby Hat. The pattern says the cuff is a bit loose, and hoping to correct that I started with size 4 needles, then switched to size 5. It didn't work, and the brim is still loose. I do like the way the spiral reverses itself when you fold the cuff, but will start with 1x1 rib for the next one. It's on the needles now, and I think it will make a nicer hat with that change.

I plan to finish up with the baby socks this week, and then get back to my lacey bookmarks for Lisa.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Warm hats, warm babies

I've been knitting baby socks and hats this week. Here's a picture of 3 hats I'm taking to my LYS today.
I am using Odessa from MagKnits. I have changed a few things, but not much. I omitted the beads, and changed the multiple from 10 to 8 by k4 instead of k6 in the pattern row. I cast on 64 or 72 stitches and knitted a 2x2 rib for 2.5 or 3", then switched to a size larger needle and knitted in the Odessa pattern for another 2.5 or 3". My decreases followed the pattern as written, only starting with round 6 because my multiple is smaller.
This gives me a small newborn hat 10" around and a newborn size about 11" around. The yarn I am using is Cascade Yarns Cherub Collection D.K. with size 4 & 5 dpns. Bernat Softee Baby is also working up about the same. I get two hats from one skein of the Cherub, and enough left to make a cuff for a third hat. I switched to Bernat Softee Baby and finished the hat with white.

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