Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Pass Me Another Pi

OK, I know I said I'd never do it again, but last night I cast on for another pi shawl. Heaven help me.

I knit my first pi shawl in 2006, and had grand plans of doing the beautiful patterned one in the Knitter's Almanac. However, after many many problems with deciphering the pattern and getting the stitches to work, I cast it aside and instead opted for the simpler concentric circles one.

It's amazing what a fresh eye (and a better understanding of EZ) can do. I sat down yesterday and attempted to figure out what I was doing wrong the last time, pulled out a calculator, and figured it out. You see, when EZ says, "K5, *YO, K2tog, K57*, ending with K5, she really means "K5, *YO, K2tog, Kx to last 59 stitches, ending row with YO, K2tog, K5." That was my hangup. I was trying to do the full repeat at the end and squeeze the "ending with k5" into stitches that just weren't there, no matter what the math. Dumb, dumb, dumb mistake.

The yarn is Helen's Laces in the Black Purl colorway, and so far I love the way it's knitting up. This shawl is not destined for my shoulders, but rather for a silent auction at my husband's school in two months. They have a huge fundraiser for the school, and he's pitched my lace work for an item to be auctioned. I opted for this colorway simply because of its dark purples -- the winner can immediately drape it over her little black dress (the school is CHILLY!)

To repeat: Heaven help me.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Happy New Year!

In 2006, my first blog post of the year was filled with some resolutions. I accomplished all of the knitting ones. For 2007, I had wild plans to do the same, but I'm already a week into the year and just now getting around to blogging. I don't think that makes them resolutions anymore... so I give you Spinneas's List of Knitting Goals for 2007.

1. Learn to knit with two hands. Non-knitters reading this blog are not likely to know what I'm talking about here, but in order to do colorwork, rumor has it it's easier to knit one color with one hand and one color with the other. On New Year's Eve, I set out to train myself to do this. It was awkward, to say the least, but I figured it all out. You see, I knit continental-esque with my left hand, and I've been "picking" for years. It's more awkward (and slower) to "throw" the yarn with the right hand. Here was a preliminary result of my efforts:

Just a little test with some Katia Austral, but it worked out fine, and leads me to Goal #2.

2. Tackle Fair Isle. Hence the goal for two-handed knitting. I've done lots of knitting, but one thing I've never done is something truly two-color (I don't think that stripes really count here). On Thursday, I headed to my LYS and picked up a Philosopher's Wool Color Your Own kit for a Fair Isle cardigan and got started.

I dove in that night and finished about 4 inches of a sleeve, but my gauge was way off, so on Saturday I started again. This time, gauge was much better, I cut the cuff short by a repeat and was well on my way. I cannot yet tell whether Fair Isle knitting goes faster than regular knitting, but I'm already past my elbow with the one sleeve, and could conceivably finish one sleeve today if I hunker down and go exclusive (not likely, since my house is a train wreck).

3. Complete another Clapotis. I finished the clapotis, and decided that I'm not crazy about the varigation that I chose. I'd like to try again with something a little more neutral (or at least less pastel). It's an easy knit, and one that can be put down and picked up frequently without worrying about losing one's place on a chart or pattern.

4. Complete the patterns from the Smith Island Pattern Factory. I finished Maude, Parthenope is moving along nicely, and I make it a habit to purchase all of Courtney's patterns as they come up. So I'm going to finish them all in 2007 . Right now, her portfolio is manageable, and if I'm going to be dedicated to one designer, now is the time to get started. Here's Parthenope on her third repeat. I'm not sure how many more repeats I'm going to do, but I probably won't take it all the way to 10 reps, just because I'm smaller than average, and I generally have to cut things short or have them end up gargantuan.

5. Get my sock mojo back. I've lost it somewhere, and the loss has stranded two separate No. 1 socks into UFO land. I'm hoping it will turn up soon.

6. Take more pictures of non-knitting. I took the following photo one morning when this sunrise caught my eye and I couldn't resist. I even woke both my kids up to see it.

I think that's enough for now, though I'm sure a technique or other idea will come around that I'll add to the list!