My current work in progress:

1. Ashburn, designed by Melanie Berg, knit from Woolfolk Tynd in colorways 6, 7, and 8 on a 4 mm (U.S. size 6) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Stick a Fork In It

inish052405 Stick a Fork In It

It’s done!

inish052405a Stick a Fork In It

Last night I finished the second sleeve, sewed it to the body, then sewed the side seams. Then I picked up the stitches for the collar.

Anmiryam asked the other day:
Did you join the saddle shoulders by seaming them as written or did you knit them together with the live stitches on the front and the back? I did that with Little Rivers and I’m considering doing the same with Inishmore. Anything to avoid seaming vertical to horizontal pieces!

I seamed as written.

inishstrap Stick a Fork In It

I have often knitted a shoulder strap directly to the live front and back stitches, but opted not to this time. The stitch gauge for this sweater (over moss stitch) is 22 sts/28 rows to 10 cm. The row to stitch ratio is approximately .71 rows to each stitch (did I figure that correctly? My math skills suck). So you can’t simply knit each row, or knit every other row, together with a live stitch from the body and expect it to lie flat. I didn’t feel like figuring out how to knit it to make it lie properly, so I seamed the sucker. And it actually wasn’t that painful. I mattress-stitched and it turned out looking pretty good.

Actually, I mattress-stitched the whole sucker together. Usually I prefer backstitch because I think it makes a stronger join, but I prefer the way mattress stitch looks when I am seaming moss stitch. I think it makes for a far more invisible join.

So I hauled Inishmore onto the train with me this morning. I no doubt looked a bit odd (well, odder than usual) with the whole sweater in my lap, knitting on the neckband. This is not really commuter knitting! But it was really quite pleasant.

Usually I detest knitting the neckband but I guess I had reached my moment of zen on this. This was the happiest neckband knitting I’ve had in a long time.

I was planning on doing 18 or 19 rounds for the neckband, but liked it at 15 rounds, so that was that. I have a somewhat short neck, so a deep neckband on a crewneck sweater is not the best look for me.

inishcollar Stick a Fork In It

Maybe I’m just glad the sweater is finished.

I finished at 4:55pm today. I checked the spreadsheet to see who came closest to guessing the winner — that would be Mary Beth M., who guessed this evening at 6:18pm. I’ve emailed Mary Beth and will be sending her this:

fiesta052405 Stick a Fork In It

Fiesta La Luz silk yarn, in the “Alaska” colorway. Two full skeins and one almost-full skein.

Speaking of Prizes

L-B has generously offered to send a prize to the person who comes closest to guessing her finish date and time, so stay tuned for that!

Speaking of L-B, here is the back of her beautiful Inishmore.

lbinish052405 Stick a Fork In It

And a close-up.

lbinish052405a Stick a Fork In It

Speaking of Prizes Some More

We will hold the drawing for the raffle prizes on June 1, so if you’d still like to contribute and get chances at the raffle, you can do so if you send your donation (see info in the sidebar) before June 1.

Thanks from L-B and I to everyone who has donated thus far.

And please note, that there is another prize on the prize page, kindly donated by Eklectika!

Oh and by the way — hand pain? None to speak of now (speaking for myself, of course). Sunday evening’s hand pain was simply brought on by hours and hours of weekend knitting. (Well, duh.) The paws were a tad swollen this morning, but it is after all, raining. They seem fine now.

Oh and double-by-the-way — in answer to Mary‘s question in the comments: I’ve never used a lifeline in my knitting. L-B hasn’t either. I asked.

I’m not saying that I’ve never been in a situation where a lifeline would have been handy — I have. Namely, knitting lace. Early on in my lace knitting days it would have been really useful, as ripping out knitted lace is a scary scary thing.

Speaking of Lace

I hauled out a bunch of lace patterns this morning to see if anything caught my fancy. (Lucy helped by obligingly sitting on the patterns.)

Stay tuned.

Lifelines? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Lifelines!

Okay, that title really has nothing to do with this post, but I like saying “We don’t need no stinkin’ [insert appropriate word here]!” Here it’s used in agreement with a commenter who surmised that L-B and I are not using lifelines in our knitting.

We are battle-weary at this point. Spattered with blood and gore (and wool fuzz), limping along, trailing our battle-axes (and needles) behind us. Hands throbbing.

That’s a bit of an exaggeration. All except the last bit: hands throbbing.

I stopped knitting at 9pm last night because of hand pain. I dreamed about my hands all night. So much so and in such startling scenarios that I was happy to see that they were still attached to my arms at the wrists this morning. And this morning? Not so painful, surprisingly.

Poor L-B is not so fortunate. She’s having some more serious hand pain (though I defy her dreams to rival mine), so she has been forced to cut down on her knitting time. But she’s still knitting along and making excellent progress, I think.

My Progress

Very very close to having the second sleeve done.

inish052305 Lifelines? We Dont Need No Stinkin Lifelines!

Sunday afternoon I sewed the first sleeve to the body. Because that’s the part I hate. So what’s left for me is to finish knitting the second sleeve, sew it to the body, sew the side seams, pick up stitches and knit the collar.

And In the Unofficial Knitalong

Vanessa finished her Inishmore on Sunday! Isn’t it gorgeous?

VanInish Lifelines? We Dont Need No Stinkin Lifelines!

In L-B’s and my defense, I might point out that Vanessa was not working 40+ hour work-weeks whilst knitting Inishmore, as we have been. That said, she is a wicked fast knitter and we raise our needles in a salute to her knitting prowess!

Oh, and her hands hurt too. icon wink Lifelines? We Dont Need No Stinkin Lifelines!

What’s Next?

The completion of Inishmore is almost upon me. Hmmmmmm . . . what to knit next? Something light and lacy, I’m thinking.

lucy052305 Lifelines? We Dont Need No Stinkin Lifelines!

An Open Message

To Whom It May Concern,

I do solemnly swear that next weekend (that would be Memorial Day weekend, a-three-day-weekend-but I’m-taking Friday-off-so it-is-a-four-day-weekend-for-me) I will clean my home. Honest.

Love,
Wendy

Yeah, you know it’s really bad when even I am bothered by the clutter and crap present in my home. I could blame the Inishmore Challenge for my lack of interest in housework, but what’s my excuse for the weeks previous to that?

Lately all I do is run the dishwasher, do laundry, and wipe the lime juice off the kitchen counter.

So, I am optimistically expecting to have completed Inishmore before next weekend, so I shall devote some time to actually cleaning and putting stuff away.

Yeah, that’s what I say now.

Inishmore Update

Question in the comments from Leisel:
Question about the sleeve… is the center diamond pattern only done 1/2, rather than full width? That seems a little odd… it looks a little unbalanced.

The center pattern of the sleeve is a half diamond. The two sleeves are different — the half diamonds on the sleeves mirror each other. The left sleeve has the half diamond that’s on the left side of the front of the sweater, and the right sleeve has the half diamond that’s on the right side of the front of the sweater.

You may have noticed that that cables on either side of the central sleeve motif differ from the body. The body features a staghorn cable in-between the two twisty stitch cables. The sleeves have half a staghorn cable. And the half staghorn cables on each side of the center motif mirror each other.

I do so love me a well-thought-out aran design!

Here’s my progress since Thursday.

inish052205 An Open Message

The back looks narrower than the front because I’[ve got all the back neck stitches smooshed onto a holder.

L-B’s Progress

Here is L-B’s progress on the back — late Wednesday/early Thursday:

lbinish052005 An Open Message

And a close-up of the back:

lbinish052005a An Open Message

She’s made a lot of progress since then — I know she has finished the back.

A Treat From L-B

L-B very kindly had some of her slides from her days in the Aran Isles made into digital pix. You can view a selection of them here.

Sigh. I wish I were there. Right now, please.

Lucy is happy where she is.

lucy052205 An Open Message

The Textbook Definition of Insanity

Yup. That would be me.

Today’s title is taken from the comment that Stinkerbell left on yesterday’s entry:

I love you, I love reading you, but lady you are the text book definition of insanity.

Why, yes, I am insane. Thank you for noticing. And I love you too, my dear. icon smile The Textbook Definition of Insanity

This reminds me of an incident from a good long time ago — at least 20 years.

I had taught a girl who worked with me to knit, and she picked it up very quickly. We would hang out and knit together and we sometimes took trips to a LYS at lunchtime.

One day we both picked out the same pattern to make a little summer sweater. Knitted in cotton, it had a lace and vines pattern down the front. We bought our yarn and started it on the same day.

She idly said that she bet she could finish her sweater before I finished mine. Now we always had a vaguely competitive thing going on at work. So I pulled an all-nighter three nights in a row so I could complete the sweater way before she did.

Twenty-odd years later I can’t pull all-nighters to finish a sweater in three days. But I can do my damndest.

Clearly, maturity is not my strong point.

Anyhow, I finished the back of Inishmore.

inish051905 The Textbook Definition of Insanity

Kindly excuse the bizarre ghostly photo. When I use the flash it washes out the cabling so I’m taking flashless photos on a cloudy afternoon. In the above shot I jiggled the camera.

And here’s what I’ve done on the front.

inish051905a The Textbook Definition of Insanity

Same disclaimer on the photo, although I did a bit better on this one. But the color is off on both shots. The color in L-B’s photo, below, is much more accurate.

I’m a little surprised I haven’t completely ruined my hands yet, but they’re holding up just fine. Though Lucy seems concerned about me. This morning before I left for work, I was sitting on the side of the bed, banging out a couple of rows, watching the CBS Early Early Early Early News. Lucy sat on the bed with me and gently licked my fingers as I was knitting.

Awwwwwwww!

lucy051905 The Textbook Definition of Insanity

L-B sent me a photo of her finished sleeve:

lbinish051905 The Textbook Definition of Insanity

Looking good!!!! She is now working on the back, I hear.

Anmiryam asked a very good question:
Ok, I’m knitting behind, waaaaay behind you and L-B and I’m curious about one of the cables in Chart B. In row 7, when you cross the seven stitches to make the figure eight the way I’m reading the chart, for the four stitches in the back you end up knitting stitches that had been purled, while knitting the previously purled stitches. This is a switch that is deliberately avoided in the ribbing cable (Chart A). Did A.S. decide it wouldn’t be noticed in the bigger cable or is it a mistake? Have you knit this cable as written or do you do something different?

Yup, you are reading the chart correctly. When you cross the cable on the last 4 stitches you end up knitting the purls and purling the knits. I work mine as written because you totally cannot see the switch behind the cable twist. It’s avoided in the ribbing cable because on a 3-stitch twist, it would show.

Ze Raffle

A question in the comments about when the raffle will be held. The raffle will be held shortly after a winner in the Challenge is determined. I am maintaining a spreadsheet of all contributors — each contributor has a number of rows in the spreadsheet equal to the number of raffle “tickets” they have — one ticket for each $1 contributed. Rather than draw numbers manually, I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winners.

And of course as soon as the Challenge winner crosses the finish line and is clocked in, I’ll be able to tell who wins yarn from me for guessing the winner and coming closest to date and time of the win.

The latest prize donater is Kathy, from Holly Spring Homespun! Check out the addition to the prize page here. Thanks, Kathy!

I’ve put a link to the prize page in the sidebar as well.

Oh, and just in case any of you are thinking it’s all knitting and no stash enhancing chez Wendyknits, let me set you straight.

koigu051905 The Textbook Definition of Insanity

This is Koigu, purchased at Knit Happens.

By the way, Lucy has a new West Coast buddy.

(Lucy says “Don’t worry, Lucky, my heart still belongs to you!”)

Charitably Yours

I want to take time out from my own little self-centered world to point out other folks in the bloggy ‘hood who are involved in charity events.

Claudia and her hubby will be participating in a bike ride to raise funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. They will be riding their tandem bicycle (which, by the way, I think is wicked cool) on June 25-26th for 175 miles over two days. Claudia’s got a button in her sidebar where you can donate $$ to support them. And Claudia will be drawing for prizes! You can read about it here!

Greta designed a beautiful scarf that is one of the Autism Awareness Patterns that are available here for a donation. There are also prizes available here — check out the information on the Autism Awareness blog linked above.

Knit 4 Paws is an organization inspired by Critter Knitters. There are several ways to help out — you can donate blankets or yarn, or shop in their soon-to-be-opened store. They’ve got a knit-a-thon and knit-outs planned, so have a look around the site.

Speed Kills

Cath asked:
So, a question for an expert: what goes into speed in knitting?? Obviously, time & dedication – you’ve been knitting for how many hours a day for how many years? And technique affects speed. What other factors come into play? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Yup, all of the above.

Actually, I think my knitting technique slows me down. I’m basically self-taught, and that was long ago when I was a little kid. My knitting is pretty streamlined at this point, but my purling is very slow. Still, my tension is always great and I’m not trying to set any speed records (present situation excepted).

The number of hours per day that I knit varies quite a bit. On weekdays the absolute maximum time I can knit is about 4 hours. More on weekends. But I don’t usually knit four hours on a weekday. I am this week, though.

Another thing that speeds me up is my ability to memorize charts easily. With the Inishmore charts, I actually remember them from the last time I knitted Inishmore (July-August 2001). How’s that for good long-term memory?

And of course, I can make cables faster without a cable needle then with a cable needle.

More Prizes! More Prizes!

I have made a prize page for the Inishmore Challenge Raffle because we’ve gotten donations for prizes from several lovely people. I though we needed to have ‘em all in one place!

Most recent donaters are Bob and Jenny. Thanks guys!

And I’ll be adding another prize in the morning . . .

Oh. You Wanna See Progress?

Here is L-B’s progress she made on Monday:

lbinish051805 Charitably Yours

And a close up:

lbinish051805a Charitably Yours

Here is my progress as of right now:

inish051805 Charitably Yours

The back is seven rows from completion. Lucy is jazzed!

lucy051805 Charitably Yours