Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Getting my feet wet...

with dying yarn! I've had this undyed fingering weight yarn from Knitpicks in my yarn stash for a while now, but haven't gotten around to ordering any dyes yet. Partly because I didn't know what to order, and where from. Claudia's post today inspired me to do that, though, and I ordered a whole bunch of different colors from prochemical. My goal is to turn the yarn into something slightly variegated, a mossy green that would work for Ene's scarf in the Scarf Style book. I would really like to get good at dyeing/painting my own yarns, and it doesn't seem to be too complicated of a task. I do have a chemistry background, so I should be able to manage it! The main reason for wanting to dye my own yarns is that the really nice hand dyed yarns are just so outrageously expensive that I just can't fit them into my yarn budget, and the not quite as nice ones are always missing that perfect color combination that I'm looking for.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Just barely started

The sweater, that is. The more I knit with this yarn, the more I fall in love with it. It's not a spectacular looking yarn, but it is oh-so-soft, and despite of the tweed look, very smooth, and the stiches turn out perfectly even. This color is hard to phograph, though -it's a very warm caramely brown, and I'm not sure my pictures reflect that very well:

Two inches of Filatura di Crosa 501 Tweed sweater:

Close up:

Oh, and the Addi bamboo needles: really like them! The cord is more flexible that other circulars I have, which I like. The union could maybe be even smoother, but it's nothing that would bother me too much.
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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Jaywalker progress:

From the picture from last weekend: the completed sock yesterday (sorry for the not-so-sharp picture, I'm not in good terms with my camera right now):

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I'm pretty pleased with them, wore them all day today. :) But like I already said earlier, this pattern works well only with a more springy yarn. I don't think I'll be knitting with Wild Foote anymore, I can't say I would have really liked the yarn.
But now it's finally time for something else. I went and bought Addi bamboo circular needles (first time I try the Addi bamboos) for my Filatura di Crosa yarn, and I have some sort of a plan for the sweater, but I need to make another swatch with the new needles to make sure my gauge stays the same. And I guess I need to stick to my vow of knitting something for a charity or other good cause after every time I finish something for myself. That means a quick square tonight while watching a movie.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

2 mm bamboo

Apparently, no pictures today. Even Picasa isn't working -that was the only way I managed to get pictures uploaded previously. Patience, Lotta, patience...

I started the second Jaywalker, and it reminded me of my maybe least favorite thing about working with these socks (as much trouble as they are ginving me, they better end up being darn nice!!). It is the 2 mm bamboo needles! Now don't get me wrong, I love working with bamboo needles. That is exactly why I picked out the bamboo ones, not something else. Somewhere between 2.0 and 2.5 mm must be where the bamboo just stops working for needles. My humble opinion is that they shouldn't even make them in the 2.0 mm size! They bend like rubber, and are very uncomfortable to knit with. I'm constantly thinking they will snap in half any moment now! Not a nice feeling.

But thankfully I only used the 2.0 for the picot edge (that I had a picture of, and can't post), and switched to 2.5 after that. Phew! I didn't frog the foot of the first sock yet, but I'm still thinking that's what I'll have to do.

I'm really looking forward to starting a project with the Filatura Di Crosa 501 Tweed -it knitted so nice and easy for the swatch! I need something nice and easy right now... soft and squishy -yum! I think it wants to be a cabled sweater. I haven't found the perfect pattern yet, and I might just have to come up with one myself.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Jaywalker experience

We only have two yarn stores here in town, and the other week I went to visit the other one, which is brand new. I was slightly taken aback by the -I must say -quite expensive prices, but I wanted to buy something just to support the local store, which we don't have so many of. Most of the time, I buy my yarns online, and that's fine, but you don't get to touch them, feel how soft they are, or see the real colors, which a local yarn store is good for. And sometimes you end up with something you didn't quite expect. Well, back to my yarn store visit. I found this sock yarn called Wildfoote, 75 % wool, 25 % nylon, and it was very reasonably priced. The color is called Forget Me Not, and is a touch more purple than in the pictures.

I'd been eying the
Jaywalker pattern for a while already, and thought this would be a nice yarn to try that with (mistake #1). I had to adjust the size a bit to accommodate my wide calf and foot, but that was no problem. I also wanted to try the picot edge with these socks (mistake #2). Mistake #1 was that I didn't realize that this yarn has absolutely no stretch, and would not be a good choice for Jaywalkers. All I was concerned about was the color... Mistake #2 was that I didn't realize the zig-zag pattern would make the picot flare out. This actually was much less of a problem once I tried the sock on, because the edge lies flat against my leg. But... mistake #1 made the top of the foot pucker terribly. And no blocking was ever going to fix that! It is so ugly, I don't even want to post a picture... But here's the rest of the sock, the leg, the picot edge, and the short row heel (my first, if I may add.)

the leg and the Wildfoote yarn
The picot edge

The short row heel

I think what I will do, is frog the foot and just knit it plain, and leave the leg as it is. I guess my words of wisdom are that if you are planning on knitting the Jaywalkers, choose a yarn with at least a little bit of a stretch.
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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Still having some issues...

I'm still learning how to use this service... I've enabled the comments, but only the first and the third post seem to have the comments link on there. Oh, well, maybe some day I'll figure it out. :)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

For the baby...

Well, he's actually a year and a half already, not a little baby any more. :) Just "mommy's little baby". Here's a pair of socks:
And matching mittens:

The mittens get used a lot more, since it's not easy to get a 1-year-old to wear wool socks.

I didn't use a pattern for any of the hats or the socks and mittens, or I guess you could say they were my own patterns. But I've knitted so many pairs of socks and mittens in my life, that it's like driving to work or the grocery store, you don't need a map. I was planning on writing patterns for all of them sometime later, though.
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Here's two hats I knitted for the kids. The blue one is for the 6-year-old, knitted from a Finnish Novita Nalle-yarn, a basic sportsweight wool. I added a lining to keep the wind out and to keep it from feeling itchy. I've knitted a couple just like it before, in smaller sizes, and adding the lining works great.

The bigger boys wanted just simple stocking caps, black of course. They are almost identical, so I only took a picture of one of them. I'm not sure what the yarn was exactly... a fingering weight wool that I doubled up to get a thicker fabric:
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Ok, I'm facing some challenges with the picture posting... the image posting tool is still not working, and I'm trying the Picasa software. Otherwise it's working fine, but I can only post 4 pictures at a time, and can't seem to be able to add them to existing posts or drafts. So if anybody has this figured out, I'd love to know...

Anyhow, here are the four squares for the afghan project I was talking about:

All the yarns were dyed with plants, a summer time hobby of my moms. She'll boil a huge pot of yarn, plant parts and yarn, and end up with gorgeous soft colors, sometimes predictable, sometimes not. And since I think knitting just plain solid color squares is WAY too boring, all of them have either color or other details, such as this:

It's just a simple purl pattern, but I think it turned out pretty cute.
Now here's a square that didn't fit... I tried something too fancy -knitting diagonally from corner to corner, kind of like a short row heel, and it totally messed up my gauge. End result: the square was much too big. I tried felting it, in hopes of shrinking it to at least close to the right size. No such luck. But it did turn out fabulously soft and I really like the colors -I think it'll turn into an oven mitt for myself. I might even have to try to make another one to match...

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Let's talk about some knitting...

I'm so excited to share some of my recent knitting projects with all of you. I really enjoy knitting hats, socks and mittens, since they are such quick projects and usually get used a lot. And with 4 kids between myself and my husband, there is plenty of knitting in just those items. I also like it that you can get a little goofy and creative with small items like that, especially when knitting for the kids. Other recent items include two pairs of socks for myself and one on the needles (Jaywalkers, of course -I will come back to those in a later post), a Clapotis, some wrist warmers, and a sweater that I'm still working on.

I've knitted some squares for an afghan project (web site in Finnish),

and decided that from now on, after every time I finish something for myself, I will knit something for a charity. Perfect way to use up left over yarn, and will hopefully brighten someone else's day later on. I know there are several of these similar kinds of afghan projects going on here in the US, too, but I was asked by my friends in Finland to take part in this one. We are having a square knitalong of sorts. :)

I will come back later to add the pictures, blogspot appears to be having a problem with that right now...

New blog!

For a while now I've been thinking I must start a knitting blog! Everybody's got one! Well, maybe not quite everybody, but in the knitting world, it almost seems so. So here's my brand new knitting blog -expect to see some pictures of ongoing projects as well as some jargon about life in general. I will probably post only once or twice a week, since between work, the kids, and all the knitting I have to get done, there isn't much time left.