Friday, May 25, 2007


I FINALLY got a hold of some Vesper sock yarn . When I first discovered it I hemmed and hawed about spending that much on yarn (as this was before I knew the difference between good yarn and mediocre yarn) and when I finally decided its popularity rose and the yarn has eluded me since. When her e-mail list got messed up, I pretty well gave up because I didn't have time to devote to checking the site all the time. Then the past several weeks, I've been checking pretty religiously, but have always missed it. Two updates ago I was only a couple of hours too late. One update ago, there was some available, but not in any of the colorways I preferred. Today though? Was my day! I arrived in her shop a mere 45 minutes after the update and had full pickins. I got Afterglo, which was one of my top two. I bought the last skein too!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

tulip socks

I started the Tulip socks and taught myself a new trick to boot. I realized the weaving in at the end was going to be completely ridiculous and I recalled reading somewhere about knitting in your ends as you go. Aha! So I googled and found a great tutorial on a blog. I had an idea of how it was done, just didn't have it quite right. I found that the trick is to only "knit" the end into every other stitch, which is what holds down the yarn.

I was also going to attempt to teach myself two-handed stranded knitting, but after reading that it can really affect your tension, I've decided to forgo it this time around. Sure picking up and dropping each color takes more time, but this is too tedious a project to have to worry about tension to boot. I think when I knit the Binary scarf for Mag I'll try it then as there are only two colors throughout and gauge doesn't matter so much on a scarf.

As is typical with me, I reduced the ribbing by half at the top of the Tulip sock. I hate knitting ribbing, especially in the round, but I also hate two inches of ribbing on the top of the sock. I'm really pleased with how the sock is looking so far and the chart pattern is very simple, so it's going along quickly.

That's what I love most about stranded knitting; while I know it actually takes longer than just out and out knitting, it seems to go faster because I can see the progress better. Having to do something different each row (or close to) makes it less mind numbing.

I'm going to have assloads of yarn leftover from these too, so I'll make the Tiptoe Through the Tulips socks next. Not sure for the remainder from that yet though.

Friday, May 18, 2007

I've not posted because I've not been knitting. Mesilla pissed me off enough to make me not touch it for a few days, so I worked hard on the booties because they were due to be given this past Wednesday night. Unfortunately I only got 1 1/2 done, so I brought my friend the one and told her I'd mail the set to her as soon as I've finished. Life this week has been really crazy and not conducive to time for knitting, so that's why I didn't get done.

I still have to frog the neck on Mesilla and go to the yarn store to buy another skein of the color I ran out of. I'm burnt out on the socks I've been knitting for the past few months here and there, so I'm going to start the tulip socks as soon as I have a chance. I need something that will keep my attention and not make me angry.

I did buy a skein of self-striping yarn from a seller on Etsy that is gorgeous; it arrived yesterday, but knitting just a plain pair of socks right now isn't what I want.

I have decided for sure to try out spinning and dyeing. Next time I have some extra money, I'll buy the spinning kit that was recommended to me and add some naked yarn to the Knit Picks order I need to make. I reckon I'll try kool aid dyeing first because it's cheap. I'm sure the dyeing will be very satisfying once I get the hang of it because one of my biggest hangups with self-striping sock yarn is I have a hard time obtaining colorways I like that are affordable. I can't afford to knit $25 pairs of socks all the time. ;)

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

more Mesilla woes and a question

This shitting pattern! Argh. The freaking neckline pattern is SO off. First of all it doesn't give an exact stitch count, which is annoying as all get out, but that's probably just personal preference. You have to pick up and knit along your cast on edge divided into the back, top left sleeve, front left sleeve, front, front right sleeve, and top right sleeve. Each of these calls for one stitch per cast on stitch or two for three. So there is a relative stitch count.

Then there is the five round repeat after the first contrasting color, just like for the sleeves and bottom band. I am pretty damn sure that something is wrong in this repeat. Round 1 you decrease a total of 8 stitches. Round 2 you knit all stitches. Round 3 you decrease a total of 8 stitches. Round 4 you knit. Round 5 you decrease a total of 8 stitches. Then this repeats twice more with the two consecutive color changes.

Does anyone see the first issue? Rounds 1 and 5 contain decreases and they are supposed to be knit one right after another. That's not very common in patterns, so that could be the mistake. The other thing I'm thinking after looking at the photo with a magnifying glass is that the creator didn't do a FIVE round repeat. The bands of color look a lot slimmer to me than on the sleeves and bottom band. I'm thinking she did only three or four. When all is said and done, there is a total decrease of 72 stitches. For a top that has a squared scoop neck. This is going to end up a flipping turtleneck if I do anymore decreases. I tried it on after the first set of five and the neck was already looking smaller than in the photo.

I see I have two options in how to correct this. I only do half as many decreases, though I'm not sure how that will affect the squaring. However, I think this is the option I will try first. My second option is making the color bands slimmer, which, contrary to what the photo looks like, I'd rather not do. I think in person it will be glaring that the colorbands are slimmer by one or two rows.

So if I decrease the decreases, I think trying a few different things will yield an acceptable result. Maybe knitting two rows between decrease rows and just continuing that regardless of color changes. That will give only a total decrease in stitches of...40 instead of 72. If not that, than perhaps skipping round 1 and going to round 2 for each color change, just continuing a decrease round, a knit round, etc. That will give total decrease of...40 also. Maybe that will actually be the way to go then instead of putting two knit rows, which could potentially alter the shape too much.

Also I have to go BACK to the LYS AGAIN. My SECOND contrasting color ran out today three rounds (and a wee bit of embroidery) before it should've (the aggravating rounds of above...).

I need to knit up some baby bootees too before next week, as I am meeting my expecting friend for dinner. I'd like to break from Mesilla to do this but I am at the point in that bastard now that I don't want to stop.

The question, for anyone out in knitting land reading this, can anyone recommend how to start spinning? I'll be honest and I know next to nothing about it other than it looks fun and relaxing. A book you can recommend? Tools that I'll need to start?

Sunday, May 6, 2007

the last skein

I went to the LYS and bought THEIR LAST SKEIN of the color I needed. I also bought some bright pink sock yarn. I can't even remember what kind it is because I have been woefully sick since Friday (actually Thursday, but Friday afternoon was when I began feeling especially poorly). Poor Mesilla has been sitting untouched for days while I've been sleeping in bed and taking care of the baby when he's needed to eat or husband needed a little break. In my getting ill stupor I forgot to ask them to wind my skein of sock yarn. Bugger.

I caught Porter gnawing on my sock and its needles the other day too. Freaking dog.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


I hate when designers make very stupid mistakes in their patterns. Or, to be fair in case it wasn't the designer, but the person who adapted the pattern into different sizes. Early on in Mesilla I discovered the stitch count for the stitches put on waste yarn for the sleeves was incorrect. It was off by 3 stitches per sleeve, for a total of a 6 stitch difference. That is huge! I feel fortunate that I am intelligent enough to not only have caught it, but to be able to figure out what the eff was going on and not just take the pattern at its word.

Now I'm on the second sleeve and have just looked at what remains of one of my contrasting colors (the most important one) and thought, "Shit." I doubt I'm going to have enough to even complete the sleeve. Nevermind all of the embroidery that needs to be done. Oh, yeah AND THE FREAKING NECKBAND. Argh.

I first doubted my own pattern-reading skills, thinking I mistakenly read one skein instead of two. So I double-checked that first. Are we surprised to find that it is the pattern that is incorrect and not moi? I'm not even certain one more skein will be enough; it will be very close if it is.

My gauge was perfect when I started this, so I know it's not anything I've done. I fortunately had the foresight to purchase an extra skein of my main color, especially since I was debating on nixing one of the contrasting colors and using the main color in its place. It will be used, but only for that reason. I've never purchased extra contrasting color yarn because typically you're left with tons anyway.

Why does this most annoy me? Because I was just at the LYS yesterday. It's not horribly convenient to go to (about 25 minutes away), but at least I'll be near enough it tomorrow that I can stop in. More importantly, we're on such a budget now that I only went in to see and touch all of the pretty yarn and inhale the fumes (I was next door to it already and couldn't stop my feet from going through that door). I showed enormous restraint and didn't. buy. anything. despite everything I wanted to. I'm not sure I can handle that pressure again and buy only my one skein of Mission Falls 1824 cotton. ;)