Monday, October 8, 2007

Lots of little stuff (continued).

I have a terrible hankering to start a "major" project but have been prevented from doing so by a) a lack of adequate yarn for such a project; b) realization that the Holiday season is coming up; c) lots of my friends are having babies; and d) a lot of UFOs and WIPs are hanging around the house. Now, my perception of having an inadequate yarn supply is perhaps simply a perception, and not based on reality. I do confess to having a trunk in my closet that often cannot be closed properly due to the yarn inside of it. But, as any self-respecting knitter with a stash knows, the yarn in the stash is not the yarn I need right this moment for the yet undetermined major project. Why, might a non-knitter ask, is the stash inadequate? If someone has to even ask that question they clearly don't knit and don't have a stash. It the Law of the Stash - it is never enough, what one has is never what one needs right now, and more is always better.

To address the Holiday question I am continuing to churn out my fingerless gloves. I've added 8 new pairs to the supply left from last year, and have another pair on the needles. These gloves are perfect commute knitting - I can almost finish a pair in a day, with the small bit left to be done by evening quickly finished after dinner. I think I have a total of about 15 pairs right now and am aiming for around 2 dozen. The very bright white pair in the picture is an elbow-length style in a very fuzzy yarn left over from a commissioned pair. The yarn is very soft, entirely synthetic, and so fuzzy that it is almost impossible to see what I am doing while knitting them. The solid black pair is the same yarn and if the white was almost impossible, the black was completely so. Copious use of markers is the only way to figure out where I was in the pattern. The remaining black fuzzy stuff became cuffs on a pair of taupe wool gloves - much more manageable knitting, and looks very nice as well.

The zig-zag gloves are my own very loose adaptation of a mitten design in Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Almanac. It's a lot of fun to knit and has a very sleek shape. The first pair I did used the same number of stitches from wrist to fingers, but for the tan and brown pair here I experimented with increasing the number of stitches in each zig-zag to allow a little more room in the finger area. Now I want to adapt the entire thing to being knitted from the fingers down to the wrist, which is my preferred way to knit these gloves. I'm usually using scrap yarn and often run out a little short of finishing, and I find I can work in some design variations at the wrist a little more elegantly than at the fingertips.

A coworker is having her first child in November, and I wanted to make something for her. Some stash yarn that indeed did prove to be adequate to my needs was some very bright white Cleo cotton yarn, which is now underway as a February baby sweater from, once again, the Knitters Almanac. It's begun at the neck and worked down to the lower edge, with the sleeves worked just after the yoke area.

As the mother in this case has chosen not to know her baby's gender I changed the stitch pattern for the body of the sweater to a Scottish Triangle stitch, which is less frilly and lacy than the pattern EZ originally designed the sweater in. The closeup of the sleeve shows the stitch (albeit sideways). I also adjusted the pattern slightly by knitting the sleeves in the round on DPNs, and picking up the underarm stitches once I returned to knitting the entire body, so that instead of being "practically seamless" as EZ called it, my version will be completely seamless.

An lastly (goodness, what a long post) my Mom's vest is still in progress. I don't know if it's more properly considered to be a UFO or a WIP. It is a unfinished object for certain, but it is also a work in progress; it's just progressing very slowly. Any thoughts?

Either way, I have completed one of the side panels that will join the front to back. They need to be slightly wedge-shaped and I've pondered a number of ways to adapt the very linear designs in the rest of the vest to an area that will include short rows, and therefor contain some slight angles. The panel I just did centered the largest of the body patterns, a Greek key design, in a field of the background colour, but added extra plain and short rows to create the wedge. Size-wise it worked very well, but the large expanse of plain background colour seems to be too much. In addition, the background yarn knits up very smoothly, while where I stranded the yarns for the two-colour area is very texturey. I don't like the contrast at all, but now that I know how many rows I have to work with to make the panel turn out right I am going to start the other side and rework the idea to include less plain background and have some other texture/colour in there somehow. I will also weave in the stranding less compulsively this time. Once the side panels are done then I can graft the side seams together, add the borders, and at long last it will be ready for my Mom to wear. Thanks for your patience, Mom!

1 comment:

hovercrafteel said...

I agree with your statement about stash. It's odd how it seems to grow more than it shrinks despite how much one knits, and that one's brain is forever determined to knit something for which adequate materials simply aren't in the stash.

The baby sweater sure is coming along nicely. Your stitch pattern works with the sweater pattern very well. -- Kirsten