Saturday, February 27, 2010

More Olympic News Coverage

We will now break away from the action on Cypress Mountain and take you into the living room of our knitter racing to finish her sweater:

She finished the second sleeve in a day! That's a personal best for her! (Many knitters crash on the second sleeve portion of the course. Some even fall asleep. The second sleeve is an especially treacherous part.)

It looks like she picked up some momentum when she entered the yoke portion. If she can keep of that momentum and get to the colorwork portion, she might still be in contention!

Her family cheers from the sidelines! Her daughter says "Pizza for dinner again, Mom?" (While it might seem unusual, that is a common cheer heard by knitters' families. Many highly trained knitters keep a well stocked freezer, for that "just one more row" situation.)

If she hits that color work section by this evening, and doesn't get hit with any more obstacles such as people needing dinner, somebody needing to be dropped off somewhere, or the dreaded kid-or-dog throwing up, she might......just........finish!

That knitter is going for gold!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

NBC News Update: Olympian Behind by a Sleeve

It's my own fault. My heart just wasn't in it this year. I picked a really boring project that just didn't keep my interest and I didn't knit enough during the first week.

I also didn't take into consideration how much yarn I would need to be dyeing each week of February to have enough for my booth at the Madison Knit-In in March. So, I've been a good worker bee yarn-wise, but my Olympic knitting has suffered.

According to my diagram (raise your hand, you geeky knitters who made a chart showing how much knitting you needed to accomplish each day to finish on time) I should be finished with the second sleeve and madly yoking around by now.

As it is, I have just started the second sleeve and am on schedule to be finished a day or two after the closing ceremonies.

The only thing that might save me is my sick kid at home yesterday and today, who is keeping me inside and in hovering range, instead of out in the garage in dyepots. I knit almost that whole first sleeve yesterday, and if I can keep up that stamina today, I might have hope to be knitting the yoke by tonight (ladies figure skating!).

I'm not giving up quite yet!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Olympic Knitting Update: Pass the Smelling Salts

Knitting that is this monotonous really gives a person time to think.

Just out of curiousity, I wonder how many stitches there are in that mile of stockinette?
Let's see:

Approximately 320 stitches per round.


Approximately 115 rounds so far. (No I didn't stop to count, I just know that there are 8 rounds between increases and decreases and a little extra for the waist and ribbing)
Equals (drum roll please): 36,800 stitches.

That's really all I have to say right now. I think I need to go lie down.
p.s. I held the sweater up last night and asked Dave to guess how many stitches. He said 2,400. Hah! Amateur!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Knitting Olympics: False Start

So here's my sweater for the Knitting Olympics! It's called Lloie's Cardigan (also known by the super-creative name "Yoke Sweater WG79"); I'm doing the cardigan version pictured on the left, my own hand dyed yarn, size 2 needles.

The main color is a very dark purple--the big ball above. The fair isle pattern will be greens and teal, with cranberry at the very top, where the pattern resembles petals.

So, I cast on during the opening ceremonies with Blogless Carla, and I'm knitting along, doing the ribbing on size 1s, and might I add, not enjoying knitting 300 plus stitches on those size 1s.

I got the sinking feeling that, because of the miles of solid color stockinette on this sweater, I had picked a marathon event. I am not usually an endurance athlete, I am more of a sprinter. But I kept going.

By day 2, I was totally psyching myself out. I was questioning my color choice, I thought the cast on edge looked wavy and bad, and I was more than a little worried that I wasn't getting gauge. At the end of 2 days of knitting (with only about 3" done), I took it off the needles and put it on spare yarn to measure.

Confirmed: it was about 3" too small, I was knitting too tight!

Ugh! Nothing to do but riiiiiiiiip.

Now.....I'm back on track and things are going well. As well as can be considered where you're knitting miles of stockinette, 300 plus stitches to a round, on size 2 needles, in a very dark color. Get me to that fair isle section- stat!

Are you participating in the Knitting Olympics? What are you making? Tell me in the comments--I want deets!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Barn Raising.....Almost.....Finished

I mentioned last week that the blanket was happily zipped away in it's little plastic ziploc marination chamber. Daunted by the blocking, I was happy to let it marinate for an indefinite period of time.
However, just a few days after I wrote that blog post I got an e-mail asking me to fill in with a last-minute program for our knitting guild (how could I say no--I love them so much).

I decided the lecture would be on color and creativity and a big part of the program would be about creatively using up your leftovers and orphan skeins. It would be the perfect time for Barn Raising to make her debut! I needed to sew those squares together, stat!

I borrowed my friend Blogless Carla's blocking board and was able to block all 49 squares in only 4 shifts (nearly painless, really.) I LOVE THIS BLOCKING BOARD!

Coincidently, it is the same one that Alicia just wrote about here. I am going to have to invest in one of these suckers. Especially since we no longer have a guest bed for blocking (darn kids, taking up those bedrooms.)
Well, I wish this story had a happy ending, but I'm just keepin it real here folks. I did not get the blanket done in time. I sewed the squares into 7 columns, but didn't get all the columns sewn together. Here it is in it's final layout with 4 columns sewn together:
Next time you see it, though, it will be DONE!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

2010 May Be the Year of the Sock

For me, 2009 was the year of the square.

I kind of wondered what I was going to do with all that sock yarn, after I was done with the blanket. (And by "done", I mean, done knitting the squares and putting them all in a big ziploc where they will sit for an indeterminate amount of time before I get the mojo to sew them together, after which it will be "really, finally, done.")

Well, what about socks. Those are a fun, small, portable project that uses sock yarn. I used to like to knit socks. I had kind of fallen off the sock bandwagon last year, probably because I signed up to do a knitalong where I was supposed to knit socks.

It would be good for a sock yarn dyer to knit socks. I think I'll try socks.

So, it started back in November when I decided to knit my mom a pair of socks for Christmas. I don't knit socks for just anybody, but if anyone is deserving, she is. I've said this before, she is my biggest cheerleader. And besides that, she wears the ones I gave her last year every time I see her, which is a lot, so I know she loves them.

I was going to knit her a pair of socks, plus something else. I asked her what she wanted, and she said "I want a pair of socks". I said "I'm already making you a pair of socks but I'll make you something else too, so what do you want?" She said "Just make me two pairs of socks." I groaned and rolled my eyes and said "ugh--no way!" but of course I knew that was just what I'd do, and the drama was an effort to throw her off my trail.

Here are the first ones I made. Sophie's Toes in Starry Night. I knew that she coveted this yarn because she was here when I dyed it, and she really liked it, and she's always liked blue and yellow together. I was really happy with the way they turned out. Starry.

For the next ones, I wanted to do something different, so she'd have a variety, and I pulled out this Sophie's Toes in Chelsea. I really got fancy with the picot edge!

She was happy--now the owner of 3 pairs of hand knit socks. I was happy she was happy. And I was fully engaged in sock-knitting mode now. I delved into stash and made a pair for myself:

Sophie's Toes in Man in Uniform. A very old skein that had aged quite nicely in my Sophie's Toes-super-secret-save-for-self stash.

By now, I'm officially on a sock bender. New socks are flying off the needles every couple of days! It was fun but something was nagging at me. It's the Trader Joe's bag. I could see it out of the corner of my eye and it was taunting me. The Trader Joe's bag sits in the corner of my studio and holds my sock WIPs.
It's a big grocery bag, and as you can see, it's full. All the single socks with their second skeins of yarn, all the in-progress socks abandoned but left there for the day when I would come back to them but I never do. Basically, it is the sock graveyard.
Wondering how long some of these orphan socks have been languishing in the bag, I found this post which features several that are still singles! Pathetic.
So, I decided that I would use my sock energy for good, not evil, and diligently work through the (give or take) 13 pairs that patiently awaited me in the bag.

So far so good. Of the batch above, 4 of those are second socks! Here are the deets:
Black Koigu. There is a reason I put off knitting this second sock. Plain black 2 x 2 rib might be the ultimate boredom knitting. But I will probably wear these more than any other pair so I am happy they are done!

Deju vu: Plain olive green 2 x 2 rib might be the second most boring thing to knit. But I will wear these a lot too! Claudia's Handpaint yarn, very old and color number lost long ago.

Mountain Colors yarn, color number lost long ago. Deep purple with highlights of brown and blue. Not my favorite yarn to knit due to the mohair content making it fuzzier and splittier, but oh, so cozy to wear!

A big pair of husband birthday socks, finished a few hours before the birthday party. Regia Kaffe Fassett sock yarn, color 4255 Landscape Earth.
Whew! That was a lot of being a good girl. Then.....I might have fallen off a bit, and taken out some fresh and new yarn. Let's just call it a palette cleanser.

Pretty green stripey sock. Regia Design Line 4350. Full of Kaffe Fassett stripey goodness.
Fully refreshed, I tackled some more singles:

It's going to take me about another week or so but I'm going to keep on keepin on. When I am finished that will total 13 pairs since Christmas. But the best part is that the archaeological dig has unearthed some treasures at the bottom of the bag....

I'm getting down to the really good stuff! There's a skein of Just a Small Gathering of Friends and some Merino/Cashmere/Nylon. What am I going to do with myself when the bag is empty?! Cake? Confetti? Disneyland?
I get to buy more sock yarn.