Archive for the “meta-knitting” Category

Before last week's vacation, I decided that I wanted to make a new scarf on the machine (since there was no way I was going to get new mittens finished in time)m using Loops & Threads "Woolike" yarn from Michaels that I bought as practice yarn for the machine. It's a light fingering weight, mostly acrylic yarn with a soft feel to it, and it's quite inexpensive - $2.99 for 678 yards, but with the ubiquitous 40% off coupons, it comes out to $1.80 a ball.

First, I spent some time using Excel as graph paper (tedious, but sometimes I have a lot of down time at work) charting out the design for the border and main body of the scarf. This is what I came up with, though it got tweaked a little before I started - partly to adjust the stitch count for the width of scarf I wanted, and partly because it's more convenient to have even numbers of solid-coloured rows to avoid breaking the contrast colour yarn.

A screen capture of a fair isle knitting chart, done in Excel

Then, I had to figure out how to get this chart into Designaknit, which isn't exactly the most intuitive or user-friendly program. With that accomplished, I then figured out how to load the pattern into the machine, and began to knit.

It wasn't long before things went sideways. I didn't quite get the contrast yarn into the carriage properly, and dropped a whole bunch of stitches as a result. After some time trying to rescue the piece, I decided that it would be easier to just start over... so I did.

The end of the scarf, with solid blue lines separating a small snowflake border from the main body snowflake pattern.

The second attempt went a lot better. Not that I didn't make mistakes! The major one was that I forgot to keep an eye on my yarn supply as it fed up through the mast, and at one point a big chunk of yarn barf got hung up in the tensioner and I produced one super-tight row. I successfully unraveled it and then didn't get the machine set properly, so my next row was the wrong one in the pattern... which I didn't realize for another ten rows.

It takes 2.5 minutes to knit a 28 row pattern repeat across 150 needles. It takes an hour to unravel ten rows of colourwork.

Anyway, that was the worst of it, and I made the rest of the scarf with little further problem. I brought it on vacation with me, optimistically thinking that the seaming wouldn't take the whole week... but it did, and I sewed the last bit of it up on the morning that we left for home. For the seaming, I used a small crochet hook to line up the motifs on each side, and then made an attempt at doing mattress stitch.

Seaming the long side of the scarf

As a test piece goes, I'm quite happy with this scarf. I've worn it twice now, and it's incredibly squishy, soft, and comfortable - and *warm*! I have no idea how well the yarn will wear or how quickly it will get fuzzy and pulled, but since it took a few evenings to make and under $6 in cost, I don't mind if it does. My seaming skills could certainly use some improvement, and I already know how I would change the design and making-up for the next time... because there will definitely be a next time!

A long scarf with traditional snowflake motifs in navy blue and gray colours.

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Happy happy new year!

As usual, this tally is more for myself than anything else, but you may find it interesting as well:

PUBLISHED PATTERNS
Hollis Hills Hat
Sneaux Zone Hat
Passing Days Hat

A collage showing the Sneaux Zone hat from a variety of angles.

INCOMING YARN: 7946 yards
Yikes, I got a lot of yarn this year. It's all on my Ravelry stash page, except for the ones I've already used up. I do have plans for (most of) the rest of it:

5 mini skeins Frabjous Fibres Mad Hatter (430)
3 skeins Cascade 220 Sport in Jet (492)
1 skein Cascade 220 Superwash Sport in Summer Sky Heather (136) (used up)
2 balls Cascade 220 in Crushed Grapes and Natural (440) (used up)
1 ball West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply in Rum Paradise (437)
9 balls Loops & Threads Barcelona in Wild Berry (2699) (used up)
2 balls Patons North America Kroy Socks in Spring Leaf Stripes (333) (used up)
1 ball Patons North America Kroy Socks in Gentry Grey (166) (half used)
2 balls ONline Supersocke 100 Sierra Effekt in Pinks (918)
2 balls Cascade 220 in Mallard and Silver Grey (440)
1 skein Cascade 220 Superwash Sport in Jasmine Green (136)
1 ball Sheep's Clothing Yarn Co. Fable Fingering in Nebula Speckle (460)
1 skein White Birch Fiber Arts 80/20 in Nothing Says Screw You Like a Rainbow (400) (in progress)
1 ball Zauberball Crazy in Tiefe Wasser (459)

A ball of "Zauberball Crazy" in greens and teals.

OUTGOING YARN: 4623 yards
(links go to Ravelry project pages)

Sneaux Zone Hat (220 + 136)
Couch Blanket (2788)
Passing Days Hat (246)
Secret Socks for Michael (333 + 80)
Green Traveling Socks (460)
Wild Tide Socks (360)

A red and teal blanket with a cabled edge is artfully arranged on a black leather couch.

So uh. That's 3323 yards of yarn that came in and didn't go out. Oops.

INCOMING FIBRE: 32 ounces
(links go to pictures):

8 ounces Superwash Targhee from Hipstrings in Invincible (picture below)
16 ounces Ashland Bay Multi Merino in Sage, Granada, Borealis, and Riverstone
8 ounces Ashland Bay Merino/Tussah in McKenzie and Del Mar

Eight ounces of Targee wool in teal and pink

OUTGOING FIBRE: 35 ounces
I spun up an entire kilogram of "Unicorn Spit," a custom blend that I ordered from World of Wool. As a side note, this was absolutely glorious to work with, and I will definitely order from them again in the future! I may even have already picked out the colours and types of wool, because of course I did, and I'm planning to make the order as a reward for whenever I make it through my next two big spinning projects: my half of the fleece that friend Carrie and I bought at MDSW a few years ago, and that pound of Ashland Bay merino that I'm going to spin as a fade/gradient yarn.

Six completed skeins of yarn with a bundle of unspun fibre perched on top.

And whooooo do I have some exciting plans for the coming year! I'm planning to publish all three patterns in the Twisted Sock trilogy, I'm restarting those colourwork fleeps, there are two big spinning projects, and I've got the plans to build my own lazy kate... and, most exciting of all, I got the software that will let me connect my computer to my knitting machine!

The CD case for Designaknit 9

Now the holdup is that my laptop doesn't have a CD drive. Hopefully there's an option to download the software so I don't have to go get an external one. I get that they're trying to prevent piracy by using the CD itself as a dongle to activate the software, but seriously? I wrote to the distributor and am waiting to hear back, but grrr, what a frustration to have the software in my hand and be unable to actually, you know, use it.

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I have a collection of Cascade 220 leftovers, and thought that it would be a good idea to make a scrappy pair of Fleeps (convertible glove-mittens) with stranded colourwork for extra warmth. First I charted out a colour pattern and then I colour-coordinated the leftovers with the remaining yarn from my Acres Wild hat, which will be used as the lining for the cuff and mitten top.

A collection of small balls of yarn in shades of greens, purples and blues.

Then I started knitting. I couldn't tell at first if I had the size right, though I'd measured and done some math and re-measured and re-calculated. It looked small. But knitting always looks small, and once I had it well past the cuff and into the hand section, I tried it on.

It's too small. (It's lumpy over my wrist because I didn't take my watch off when I tried it on, since I wouldn't be taking my watch off in real life, either.)

The back side of a colourwork mitten in progress.

While I like how the colourwork looks on the back of my hand, I'm not really fond of how it looks on the palm or the thumb gusset. And there are going to be far too many yarn-ends to weave in at the end of this project. Just look at that cuff! Ends everywhere - blargh.

The palm side of a colourwork mitten in progress, showing the start of a thumb gusset.

So I ripped it all out, wound the yarn back into balls, charted out a different colourwork pattern over more stitches with the thumb gusset increasing more sharply, and started again. I'll laugh if this attempt turns out to be too large, instead of too small. And then I'll cry, and then I'll start over again with a happy medium of stitches. Knitting is supposed to be fun and relaxing, right?

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It's rare that I go to a yarn shop and don't sigh over a pile of Zauberball Crazy in all the colours, and now at last I have one of my very own! Friend Monica returned from a trip with this beauty as a souvenir for me: a ball of Zauberball in the "Tiefe Wasser" colourway, which coordinates perfectly with at least 75% of my existing wardrobe. I feel so loved. Next, I get the fun of deciding what pattern I want to knit with it! I'm leaning towards a small shawl - perhaps together with a navy blue, something like Dreambird?

A ball of "Zauberball Crazy" in greens and teals.

Meanwhile, Michael and I are working on plans for a lazy kate. The one I have doesn't fit my WooLee Winder bobbins, and anyway it only holds three. I'd like to be able to ply four singles together, so we're designing a box-style kate much like my current shoebox, but not made out of cardboard or tensioned with a binder clip. I've been admiring plans and pictures on Pinterest, which has, of course, given me more ideas than I have time to accomplish.

Hand-drawn plans for the construction of a lazy kate.

I'm sure the final version of our lazy kate will look a little different from the plans. We'll make at least one rough draft with plywood first as a test piece for both our skills and the design. Then we'll try it with the good stuff, though I'm a little nervous as my primary expertise in woodworking is in making large useful pieces of wood into small useless pieces of wood. We shall see...

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Meant to be worn either slouchy or as a beanie with the brim folded for double warmth over your ears, the Passing Days Hat is just perfect for crisp days! The colours of the yarn remind me of the woods in autumn, after most of the leaves have fallen and everything has turned to subtle dark shades.

Check out the Passing Days Hat in Ravelry's pattern library, or click the button to add it to your cart:

A profile picture of Pirate wearing the Passing Days hat and a plaid jacket which is unzipped and has a poppy tucked into the lapel.

I was reminded of the "Fall" section of John Denver's "Season Suite":

Reflections in the water like shadows in my mind
Speak to me of passing days and nights and passing time
The falling leaves are whispering, winter's on its way
I close my eyes remembering the warmth of yesterday

And so this became the Passing Days hat. I hope it keeps you warm as the days grow colder!

A 3/4 view from above: Pirate wearing the Passing Days hat.

YARN and GAUGE
The hat is knit in a variegated DK-weight yarn over 144 stitches, and fits a 21.5”/54.6 cm head with quite a bit of ease if worn with the brim unfolded, and more closely with the brim folded up. The size can be adjusted by changing yarn and/or needles, or by adding more repeats of the stitch pattern (just make sure to end with an even number of stitches in your final decrease round).

The sample hat was knit with one 100g skein of Shirsty Cat Just DK SW in the Alstroemeria colourway, with about 15g left over. If you make the hat bigger, you may need more than one skein of yarn. Gauge is 28 stitches/4 inches in stockinette, and one repeat of the eight-stitch pattern is about an inch, unstretched - the slipped stitches pull the work in a little.

A 3/4 view: Pirate wearing the Passing Days hat and a plaid jacket that's zipped all the way up.

YOU WILL NEED
16" circular needle (optional, but recommended) and a set of double-pointed needles, size US 3 (3.25 mm) or the size needed to get gauge for your particular yarn, a stitch marker for the beginning of the round, plus a darning needle to weave in ends. You may want to use a split stitch marker as a cable "needle".

Pirate, wearing the Passing Days hat and a plaid jacket, poses with a red maple leaf and smiles at the camera.

The Passing Days Hat is available for purchase on Ravelry.


Important Copyright Information: The Passing Days Hat knitting pattern is © 2019 Knitting Pirate. You may not sell or otherwise distribute copies of this pattern, but you may absolutely sell the hats you make with appropriate credit given for the design. If you have any questions about what you can or can’t do with this pattern, please feel free to contact me on Ravelry.

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I have just one last skein of the Unicorn Spit fibre to spin!

Six completed skeins of yarn with a bundle of unspun fibre perched on top.

840 yards of finished (though unwashed) three-ply yarn and just over a hundred grams left to go. It's really neat to see how the big stripes of colour in the fibre get so blended into the yarn, which is exactly the heathery desaturated colour that I was hoping for when I chose the "ingredients" for the blend.

I really hope that I come up with enough for a sweater - and if not, I have more yarn (of course I do) that I can use as a supplement. I think a few navy stripes on the sleeves or around the hem might look really nice.

I finally figured out how to do the patterned crown decreases so that I could finish knitting my Passing Days hat, just in time for an unseasonable cold snap.

Pirate, wearing the new Passing Days hat, looking out the window of a moving train at autumn leaves.

It fits wonderfully and I'm so happy with the way it came out! Friend Stef came over earlier this week to take pictures of me wearing it, and we had a lot of fun doing the photoshoot. I'll be writing up the pattern for release in the next few days, so keep an eye out for it!

On the subject of cold snaps, I need a new pair of Fleeps (some people call them flip-top or convertible mittens). I'd like to use this Corriedale handspun for the outside, and line the wrists and mitten-top with this blue silk. I spun both yarns last summer with this project in mind, and I'm excited to get started. So far I've swatched the Corriedale:

A swatch of tweedy gray yarn

I like the drape of it on size 5 (3.75mm) needles, but I want my mittens to be a little more dense, so I tried again with size 4 (3.5mm). It's not much difference - 18 stitches/4 inches as opposed to 17 - but enough to be noticeable, and I think the finished fleeps will be better for it. Hopefully they won't be so thick that I can't move my fingers!

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Friends, I cannot thank you enough. Another six copies of the Sneaux Zone pattern were sold in October, bringing the total sales up to 18. I added some of my own money to the sum, and together we donated ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS to the ALS Association.

The Sneaux Zone Hat, in burgundy and white stranded colourwork, is displayed on a hat form.

Here's a snip of the donation receipt:

A screenshot of a donation receipt for $150 to the ALS Association

Thank you, thank you, thank you - and I hope you enjoy knitting and wearing your Sneaux Zone hats! :)

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I sold twelve!! copies of the Sneaux Zone pattern in September, which is pretty awesome - that's just about $60 that I'm going to send to the ALS Association. I'm thrilled... but I would like to send more! So I'm going to keep the fundraiser going for another month. All sales of the Sneaux Zone pattern through the end of October will be donated! Tell your knitting friends that the Sneaux Zone Hat is available for purchase and still raising money to fight ALS!


A collage showing the Sneaux Zone hat from a variety of angles.

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A blizzard at the top of the mountain falls softly onto the existing base, leaving beautifully smooth mounds of snow for you to play in. The Sneaux Zone hat is perfect for keeping your head warm before you put your helmet on - and after a long day on the slopes, you can stylishly hide your messy hair while you walk to dinner or back to your car.

Of course, you don’t need to be anywhere near a ski area to rock this hat! Sneaux Zone has an optional facing or even a full lining, which is knit in a lighter-weight yarn on the same size needles. Three layers of wool make it a super-warm hat for any time you’re in need of extra protection from the elements.

**~~~~~~~~ IMPORTANT NOTICE ~~~~~~~~**
In memory of friends, *all proceeds* from the sale of this pattern through the end of September 2019 will be donated to the ALS Association to support treatments and research towards a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). You can find out more about ALS here.
**~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~**

A collage showing the Sneaux Zone hat from a variety of angles.

YARN and GAUGE
Sneaux Zone is knit with two contrasting colours of worsted weight yarn, plus sport weight yarn if you wish to include a lining or a facing. The sample hat was made in Cascade 220 in burgundy and white, using approximately half a skein (110 yd/201 m) of each colour, and the lining with almost an entire skein of Cascade 220 Sport Superwash (136 yd/124 m) in aqua, all on US 6 (4mm) needles at 23 stitches to 4”/10 cm (for the outer hat; the lining is a little looser), and fits a 21.5”/54.6 cm head with a little bit of ease. Omitting the facing will result in a looser-fitting hat.

The hat is charted for 120 stitches, but can be adjusted for size by changing yarn and/or needle size.

YOU WILL NEED
16" circular needle (optional, but recommended) and a set of five double-point needles, size US 6 (4mm) or the size needed to get gauge for your particular yarn, a stitch marker for the beginning of the round, plus a darning needle to weave in ends. Stitch markers to indicate each section of the hat can be helpful.

The Sneaux Zone Hat is available for purchase on Ravelry.


Important Copyright Information: The Sneaux Zone Hat knitting pattern is © 2019 Knitting Pirate. You may not sell or otherwise distribute copies of this pattern, but you may absolutely sell the hats you make with appropriate credit given for the design. If you have any questions about what you can or can’t do with this pattern, please feel free to contact me on Ravelry.

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I'm super excited about this one! It's been a long time coming and some folks have been asking me when it will finally be released. How does tomorrow sound?

A collage showing the Sneaux Zone hat from a variety of angles.

That's right - the Sneaux Zone hat is in the final proofreading stage, and it should be going live tomorrow! You'll have plenty of time before the weather turns cold (see note below) to knit a few for winterholiday presents... or maybe just for yourself.

In memory of friends, *all proceeds* from the sale of this pattern through the end of September 2019 will be donated to the ALS Association to support treatments and research towards a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). You can find out more about ALS here.


Note: For those of us in the northern hemisphere, of course. If you're in the southern hemisphere, you'll *really* have plenty of time before the weather turns super cold again...

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