My current work in progress:

1. "T-Rex," designed by Rebecca Danger, knit from Blue moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock in the "Lucky" colorway on U.S. size 3 needles.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Bloggie Blahs

Blog-wise, I’m feeling particularly boring these days. It seems like I don’t have much of interest to say. Perhaps I have some sort of “Blog Malaise?”

Fortunately, a couple of you asked some interesting questions in yesterday’s blog.

Cheryl asked: “What do you do about cat hair on your yarn and sweaters? My cats love to sit on my knitting, chase and chew the yarn and generally make nuisances of themselves. I find sweaters with cat hair incorporated into the stitches and won’t come off.”

Cheryl, the same thing happens at my house. Izzy loves wool and will sit on my WIP whenever I leave the room. Fortunately, now that she’s a dignified old lady cat (will be 17 this summer!), she no longer chases or chews yarn. But I do find that I knit a little bit of Izzy into everything I make. This doesn’t bother me, and hopefully it doesn’t bother any of the people I knit for. If I were knitting for someone with cat allergies, it would be a problem. If I were you, I’d just consider the cat hair an extra special feature that makes your knitting unique.

Here is Izzy, asleep in the absolute center of my bed.

izzy apr22 Bloggie Blahs

Dennis asked: “I do enjoy seeing your progress, and you’ve given me some incentive to learn how to knit with more than one color ! I’d like to do something simple first. Whats easier for a beginner to learn, Intarsia or Fairisle ? and is the somewhere that shows how to do them?”

Ah, sucking yet another victim into two-color knitting (insert evil laughter here)!

In my not-so-humble opinion, fair isle is much easier than intarsia. But then, that might because I have very rarely met an intarsia design that I liked.

If you want to get your feet wet in two-color knitting, you might want to start with a two-color Norwegian design. That way you can get accustomed to two-color knitting but not have a lot of different colors to deal with. Start small, like with a hat. Dale of Norway has lots of hat designs in their pattern books, and I know that Bea Ellis has a bunch of really great hat kits on her site. And I’m sure there are a bunch of other places you can get small two-color projects too.

If you want to dive right in to fairisle, check out Sweaters From Camp, which is available from Schoolhouse Press. Lot’s of great designs in there, and good instructions too.

Anyone else have any ideas?

Hank

Ooooh! So close . . .

hank apr22 Bloggie Blahs

No actually, I’m just messing with you. I finished Hank last night. You get the full photo tomorrow (gotta keep you coming back somehow, right?). I did take a photo last night but the light was bad. And I’ll do a photo shoot this weekend so you can see Hank on a human body.

Oh, okay . . . here’s the not-so-hot photo:

hank apr22a Bloggie Blahs

Not a Great Start to the Week . . .

. . . But it could be worse I suppose.

Over the weekend at work we got new computers with Windows XP (we were still running Windows 98). All in all, a good thing, but our frigging IT people have so limited and disabled it that I find it insulting. I am capable of setting the time lapse on my screensaver and power saver settings, although the system administrators seem to think otherwise and have disabled user access to these settings, and much more.

Oh, and half my software is missing and the network drives went bye-bye. Sigh.

At least I do have a new kickass computer and they didn’t take my 21″ monitor away.

In knitting news . . .

Well, I worked some more on Hank. Here it is:

hank apr21 Not a Great Start to the Week . . .

Next Project

I think I’ve pretty much decided next on the agenda is Dale of Norway St. Moritz. I’ve got the pattern, and got the Heilo wool all set for colorway that is sorta light blue/off white/tan.

Izzy had a nice relaxing evening after sleeping all day.

izzy apr21 Not a Great Start to the Week . . .

Interesting to hear everyone’s experiences with stranding and which color they hold where. As I said, I always hold the darker color above, and the lighter color below, being a one-handed strander.

Have a good day, all. It could be worse — it could still be Monday.

Monday

Monday. Again.

Q&A

More Q&A from my comments!

Vanessa asked: “While stranding, do you carry the lighter color underneath, or on top?”

I always carry the lighter color underneath, the darker color on top. To be honest, I don’t notice any difference in the appearance of the knitted fabric if I reverse this. I did reverse it once halfway through a test piece, just to see if it looked different. Not to me it didn’t. But I still strand consistently. Just because.

Cheryl asked: “Since you mentioned that you won’t get to wear Hank until the fall, do the projects you knit in the warmer months change as well?”

No, I’ll be knitting wool sweaters all summer long. Ah, blessed a/c!

Selma asked: “Are you a picker or a thrower?”

I’m a thrower! A left-handed, continental-style, thrower. icon smile Monday

Jo asked: “What do you do about the ‘dreaded jog’?”

Nothing. I don’t care. icon smile Monday

And “Do you have a secret pile of UFO’s somewhere?”

No, I almost always finish what I start.

And “Also,how big is your stash?”

Fair to middling. Not huge, but not small either.

And “Where do you put all your sweaters and such,after looking at your FO page I think your closets must be popping.”

Um, no. Not all the sweaters I knit are for me — I do give a bunch of them away.

Lolly asked: “On the delicate subject of, er, errors. Since I’ve ever noticed any pattern errors in any of your stuff, what are you doing? A) My knitting is perfect, I don’t make mistakes; B) I rip back if I spot one so my knitting can be perfect; C) I make a judgment call about how noticeable it is and move on; D) Other?”

The answer is “A.” Of course I’m perfect.

No . . . just near-perfect (heh heh). The answer is: “It depends.” I tend not to make errors, but if I did make one and it was in an un-noticable place, I might leave it. If not, I’d rip back and fix it.

I remember when I was knitting Inishmore, I made really bonehead move and had half of the second sleeve done before I noticed it — had to rip back to the cuff. Which I did. I remember telling Geane that I felt like a really Inish-moron.

But I think that’s the last mistake I’ve made . . .

One more question. Sheila asked: “Yours is the first Henry VIII I’ve seen using pure Jamieson Spindrift. Have you had any opportunities to compare it side-by-side with one built of the AS Campion? I’d be interested to hear what, if any, differences you note.”

No, mine is the first Henry I’ve seen “in person.” And I’ve never knitted anything out of Scottish Campion, period. I know the Jamieson “Autumn Substitute” is different from the original Scottish Campion “Autumn.” The “Autumn Substitute” is made of of two colors — one in each ply. It’s one ply of a rust color and one ply of a light mint green.

Here’s a close-up that shows my Hank’s colors pretty accurately:

hank apr20a Monday

Speaking of Hank, I got a lot of weekend knitting in. Watched two great movies to knit by: The Captain’s Paradise, a fun old British comedy from 1953, starring one of my all-time favorite, Alec Guinness, and A Beautiful Mind, neither fun nor a comedy, but a great movie. So here are my knitting results:

hank apr20 Monday

Izzy had a relaxing weekend too, but now she’s ready for Monday!

izzy apr20 Monday

Is It? Yes!

It’s Friday! Woo-hoo!

izzy apr17 Is It? Yes!

Question du Jour

A new blog reader (Hi Dennis!) asks:

“How do I keep the “line” that forms between my dpn’s when knitting in the round on dpns ?”

Okay . . . um . . . don’t hate me, but . . . um . . . I never get a line that forms between dpns.

But I do know what you mean — that line of loose stitches that makes it obvious that you were knitting on dpns, right?

I can tell you this — I do consciously tighten up on the first stitch on each dpn when knitting socks. I’ve also heard that using 5 instead of 4 dpns helps alleviate the problem — I always use 5 dpns.

Any of you guys have any other ideas?

Hank

Finished the first sleeve:

hank apr17 Is It? Yes!

And I’ve started the second sleeve. I haflheartedly attempted to phootgraph the start of the second sleeve, but kept getting blurry shots, so gave up. Hint: it looks like the first sleeve.

After I finished the first sleeve and cut open the second armhole steek, I did try it on — just to see how it’ll fit. Looks good! Sleeves aren’t too long and on me and it’s a nice tunic length. Too bad I won’t be wearing it for real until next winter. But weather permitting, I’ll be puttin’ on the Hank for a photo shoot upon completion.

More on Sleeves

Yesterday Karen asked in my comments:

“When you write that you are working the sleeve from the top down, was that your own choice? All the instructions I have tell me to knit sleeves from the bottom up on 3 double pointed needles. I just finished a two-color baby sweater and the sleeves were not so pretty — they turned out bumpy because of the increases and had 3 “lines” going up the sleeves where one needle ended and the next began (if that makes sense). It was a Norwegian sweater and had a facing at the end of the sleeve.”

Traditionally, fair isles have sleeves that are made by picking up stitches around the steeked armhole and knitting in the round down to the cuff, decreasing as you go.

Dale of Norway sweaters have sleeves that are knitted in the round from the cuff up, increasing as you go. You then sew them into the armhole and sew the self-facing over the cut edge of the steek on the inside.

On a baby sweater, you normally can’t knit the sleeves with a circular needle because the circumference of the sleeve is too small for the smallest length of circular needle. But you could knit it using two circulars, or by doing the trick of pulling out the loop of the cable of the circular needle while you work. What’s that technique called? The Magic Loop?

Could you alter a sleeve up pattern to be knitted from the top down? Sure you could, and pretty easily, reversing the shaping. But there are a couple of things to remember. Dale steeks are simple two lines of machine stitching around the area where the armhole will be, then cut open. I’d be hesitant to pick up stitches around such a narrow steek. If you want to pick up stitches and knit down from the armhole, you might want to cast on extra stitches for a wider steek.

You also want to pay close attention to your row gauge before you change direction on a sleeve. Your instructions may tell you “increase 2 stitches every 4th round until you have 60 stitches, then work straight until the sleeve measures 8 inches.” You need to know approximately how many inches of straight knitting is at the top of the sleeve after the last increase so that when you knit from the top down, you can knit “x” number of inches before starting your decreases, and end up with a sleeve of the proper length.

Make sense?

My darling Hank is a very easygoing fellow. He’s letting me use a 12-inch circular down to the very end, even in the cuff ribbing. No dpns for me. Wheeeeeeeee!

hank apr16 More on Sleeves

And Now For Something Completely Different

google More on Sleeves

This is not meant to imply that I thought the sleeve question was a stupid question. It was a good question. The graphic was sent to one of the email lists I read.

Well, I thought it was funny. So sue me.