Saturday, January 16, 2010

Project Ponderings

Such a long time between posts! It's been a weird week, trying to get myself all caught up on sleep, housework and projects. I've been so tired in the evenings to get anything coherent written down, and didn't want to subject anyone to my weary ramblings. So, since I am currently awake and relatively energetic, here's what I've been up to:

I've finished off my Alpakka Entrelac Scarf. This is one of those projects where I hmmmed and haahed about whether or not I should block it. Laziness, I suppose, but also the irrational fear of wrecking it somehow. I argued with myself, "Now listen. I'm sure that alpacas encounter rain sometime. It's not like they run around and freak out, looking for umbrellas and raincoats when the sky clouds over. I'm sure they just find whatever shelter they can, get a bit wet, and chew cud until the sun comes out." So, I blocked it. The yarn has been a little annoying - lots of little hairs floating about in the air and getting stuck in my throat, and a few too many guardhairs poking out. However, now that it is dry, I love how it looks, and how the yarn bloomed and lengthened after washing. I'm just going to have to spend some time picking out guardhairs!

In the meantime, I've been trying to finish Branching Out, a lace scarf knitted in Elsebeth Lavold's Hempathy in a beautiful shade of aubergine. I started it waaaaaaaaay back in September, and it has been tumbling around in my yarn basket, getting tangled up and lost amongst all the other balls o' yarn in there, that I figured that I should finish it before it gets destroyed!

It's been a frustrating knit, probably because I don't knit much lace, and because I have neglected altogether to use lifelines. There are certain things you should remember when knitting lace:

1) Lace has a way of reminding you in a heartbeat that you are not perfect after all.
2) Lifelines are a way of life in lace.
3) It is generally not a good idea to watch Criminal Minds while trying to follow a lace pattern.

I figured out that I was forgetting some yarnovers because every so often, I had the wrong stitch count at the end of the row. A couple of nights ago, after a frustrating hour of knitting one full repeat that resulted in a mutated leaf pattern, I sat down and ripped out two inches. Miraculously, I got back into the right stitch count and finished the scarf. Ask me if I added any lifelines...

One really neat project I'm starting soon is a sweater for a friend's husband's birthday. I know - it's sort of the advanced version of the boyfriend sweater curse (i.e. thou shalt not knit a sweater for your boyfriend if you want to stay together), but this is a project I think I can do without too many struggles. It's a Charlie Brown sweater - polo-neck pullover with a sewn hem on the bottom and the sleeves. I've swatched, figured out my gauge, got all the yarn... now, I'm just pondering how to do a polo-neck. I'm going to enlist the help of the pattern in Not Another Teen Knitting Book, by Vickie Howell, using the polo shirt in the book to help me figure out the collar. I just got it home from the library, and so I am going to cast on today. At first, I was going to follow the advice from webgoddess and knit the front and back separately up to the armpits, then join the sleeves with the other pieces on one big circular needle, then do the raglan sleeves up to the top. I've changed my mind, though, since I'm knitting it in an acrylic (at my friend's request, for any wool snobs out there), and I'm a little worried that it would be too heavy to be knit in one piece. I think I might just bite the bullet and knit it in pieces and seam them the ol' fashioned way, just to be sure there are no gaping joins. At a gauge of 6 stitches per inch, I think it'll look sharp!

Another one I'd like to start pretty soon is the Featherweight Cardigan, by Hannah Fettig, but I'm pondering what I'm going to do with the border. I plan to use the laceweight I got from Winnipeg by Tanis Fiber Arts... I'm so excited! I saw such neat adaptations by lots of people on Ravelry. I think I might change the stockinette stitch collar into some kind of lace, but I'm not really sure what kind yet. I want it to still have some structure, but, truth be known, I think I'm being pursued by the not-enough-yarn curse, because I'm not sure I'm going to have enough yarn to do the border in stockinette, as I want to make the overall length greater. A swatch would tell me all...

Do you ever feel like not swatching because you don't want to waste any yarn on one square of knitting that you'll never use for anything else? I know of people who save their swatches and then stitch them together into a blanket or something after the fact, but I just never seem to know where the heck my swatches go to. I cleaned out my yarn basket this morning, and only found one partial swatch hiding in there. I have a feeling that, one of these days, those swatches are going to materialize behind the fridge or under the couch or some other weird place. Is there a swatch fairy out there? She's probably hanging out with the Tooth Fairy and the Boogeyman, playing poker and drinking beers while sitting on cushions made out of my missing swatches.

Hmm... that actually would explain a lot...


ABCDawg said...

That scarf turned out amazing! Glad it paid off. :)

Also, those foam puzzle squares look like they're working well for blocking, which is awesome.

Despite not knitting myself, I feel like I'm knitting by association. I'm even learnin' all the lingo!

konagirl said...

Looking good! Persistence and patience pays off!

Arron K-W said...

These are great!I love the alpaca scarf! I will have to add it to my queue!

Speaking of which, where did you get the great Ravelry widget? I'd like to add it to my blog.

Arron K-W said...

I don't think you read your comments very often :) I'd love to steal that widget if you can share the source or html - thanks!

AdrieneJ said...

Hey Arron,

I sent you a private message on Ravelry on how to get that widget on your blog. Hope it makes sense!