Monday, January 7, 2008

Back to the grind...

...but not without getting a fair amount of knitting done. Ever since Christmas I've been all over the idea of instant gratification knitting. After devoting so much time to that infernal blanket, it's hard to look at a large project.

I made 2 more Mason-Dixon Washcloth Reloadeds - that makes 3 washcloths out of one ball of Cotton-Ease! I think there's enough left of each color to combine them into one more washcloth. I'm gonna go for it. This totally fits my definition of a perfect patter - it's beautiful, useful, short, quick, challenging enough to hold interest yet not intimidating and best of all - it's correct! Man, I hate when patterns are wrong. Aren't there people who get paid the big bucks to make sure patterns are right? That's a story for another day.

I finished one Cozy House Sock from 101 One Skein Wonders out of my leftover Shetland Chunky in Rich Teal from the Drops sweater. It's wonderful! I have yet to cast on for the second sock, but it won't be long.

What else...oh - and I got back to my Hourglass Sweater. I'm using Wool of the Andes in Sapphire Heather and it's gorgeous! I finished and attached the first sleeve and started the second sleeve this morning. I made it through the hem and I'm ready to start the shaping.

This whole knitted-in hem thing is a wonderful trick, but somehow it was a real problem until the second sleeve. Both on the body hem and on the first sleeve, I could not for the life of me figure out which loop to pick up unless I went to the wrong side, placed loops onto a fine dpn, then held that needle in my left hand and knit off both needles. With the second sleeve, however, everything clicked and I picked up the stitches from the cast on row as I went and it went as smooth as silk. Yay me!

I also finished the Spiral Rib Tweed Hat and one mitten from IK Holiday 2006. I'm a bit disappointed because the pattern said I should only need one skein of Lamb's Pride Worsted. I made it through the cuff and about 1" of spiral rib and then I ran out of yarn. The set is really pretty (though my husband laughed at me when he saw me wearing the hat) and I really want those mittens, but they will have to wait until Thursday when I can get over to Silver Creek Cabin and buy more yarn.

AND, I started a pair of Jaywalkers. I think I'm the last sock knitter on the planet to make these, but I finally jumped on board and began them today. I went out this morning to JoAnn specifically to get size 2 dpns (about the only size needle I didn't have) for these socks. I figured that since I knit tight, size 2's - rather than the recommended size 1's - would be perfect. Well, 3" into the leg I tried them on and they just skimmed my leg. I prefer a more snug sock and they did look off on gauge anyway. I didn't have the heart to frog them so I just switched to size 1's on a knit row and kept going. I'm 5" down the leg and hopeful that I will be turning a heel at some point tomorrow.

I bought some gray Wool-Ease today to futz around with a scarf design I've had in my head but it wasn't turning out as I'd hoped so I'll probably used the yarn for socks. I bought Ann Budd's new sock book "Getting Started Knitting Socks" today as well. I set out this morning looking for "I Can't Believe I'm Kntiting Socks", found it, but after flipping through it, discovered it really wasn't what I was looking for.

I hung around in front of JoAnn's horribly disorganized book display until I saw the Budd book. It's hardcover (yippee!) yet it still lays flat with minimal contortions on my part. I read it while I knited the Jaywalkers. This book is fantastic! I'm not totally new to knitting socks (I've knit 4 measly pairs) and I have Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks, which I thought would probably be the only sock book I needed, but I was soooo wrong! There were things I'd often seen in patterns or in Charlene's book and I'd think "ok, how exactly am I supposed to do that?" or "why the heck would I do that?"

Ann's book goes into detail, but the explanations are clear and concise. She gives her preferences and tips throughout the book as well, which I find very insightful. This book shows all the different ways you could pick up the stitches along the side of the heel. It has the best Kitchener illustrations I've ever found. I think I might actually be able to do it. It's a great book. If you're really super experiences at sock knitting, you probably won't need it, but I can see myself knitting the basic patterns and the other more embellished patterns for years to come.

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