Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hooded Duck Blanket FINALLY Done!

Yes, I'm happy to report I'm finally done with the Hooded Duck Blanket. I used the pattern by Susan Backus Starr.

I initially had a bit of difficulty with this, as the pattern says to knit until you have 150 stitches and then decrease. If you do that, you don't end up with a 35" square. I got gauge, so that wasn't the issue. I ended up adding some extra rows to get the blanket up to 35" - I had enough yarn. I also decided to frog what I'd done so far at that point, as I wasn't wild about how the blanket was looking, doing bar increases. It was causing the sides to tighten up too much. I just did the backyard yarnovers (a la Elizabeth Zimmerman) instead, which worked out beautifully.

I'm happy to report the recipient was thrilled with the final product. I've been telling a fib for months now...I led her to believe that I was knitting this for a coworker. It worked, because she had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA until she opened her present at the shower this past weekend!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Knitting in Technicolor

...or why does my right eye keep twitching???

I've just completed the cuffs of the sleeves for my Rune Sweater. I always like to do the sleeves together, as it makes it easier to keep track of increases and to keep them the same size and gauge.

My morning gripe, though, is about the process of two-color knitting. Some call it "fair isle," although I don't think my pattern quite ascends to that exalted level. I'm actually working with three colors here (navy blue, gold, and silver), but I made sure that I only used two for each row. I decided to keep the sleeves somewhat sedate, and to save the more complicated pattern for the yoke. I just wanted a small bit of accent near the cuff. The whole idea was to make tiny little Thor hammers, but you can't really see that in the design. That's okay...I figure I can refine this a bit more once I get to the yoke.

We have a woman in our SnB group who's just fantastic at two-color knitting. She knits the most beautiful things, and makes the process look effortless. I can never quite master holding a strand of yarn in each hand and knitting with both. I also always screw up and knit either too tightly and end up with a puckered finished product; or too loosely, and end up with weird, baggy stitches that have to be tightened up after the fact. Our expert at the SnB insists that all you have to do is to just make sure you stretch out the stitches on the needle to keep a steady gauge. Well, I'll admit it works for her, method this morning consisted of me taking a spare DPN and cursing under my breath as I re-threaded and tightened up each stitch. In my defense, I've never attempted "fair isle" knitting on DPNs before.

Thankfully, I finally got the sleeves to look presentable. The question I'm now asking myself is: Do I REALLY want to go through this for the 26-row yoke pattern??? Actually, 28 rows, once I correct for the mutant Thor hammers and what are probably going to be the anemic Goddess figures, if the hammers are any indication. I'm almost tempted to try duplicate stitch for the entire yoke, but I don't know...

Will my twitching eye then require a trip to the local walk-in clinic???

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Afghans for Afghans Campaign!

Afghans for Afghans has just announced their new Youth Campaign! See link:

The due date is December 2010 - January 2011.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Creep of the Yarn Stash

I know...countless knitting and crocheting aficionados over eons of time have raved about their yarn stash. One must be very careful about telling people one has a “stash.” Tell the wrong person, and you may end up on the wrong side of a police raid. People who are not familiar with the ways of the yarn look extremely taken aback when I talk about my stash, especially when I go on about its size, where it’s hidden, the variety, the quality, etc.

My stash resides in those plastic bins you slide under beds. You’ll notice here I say “beds” – plural. I have some yarn in enough quantities for a project, but a lot of it is in random skeins of ones and twos, which is a little tougher to use, as they tend to all be different textures and thicknesses. I’ve searched through those “one-skein” type books, hunting for suitable projects, but I can’t get excited about making fingerless mitts or tea cozies. I also don’t get the cowls that seem to be all the rage lately. NO...when I put something around my neck in the dead of winter, I want something that I can wind around and around my neck several times and with which I can also cover my chest, because it’s DAMN COLD up in these here parts.

Anyway, I digress... my stash has started to grow again. I’ve been trying to (no pun intended) keep a lid on it by my membership in the Crochetville Forum “Stashbusting” group. This is a group where we make a searching and fearless moral inventory of our weekly yarn usage, and confess our yarn transgressions. For a while there, I was doing pretty well, going through a few skeins a week, or at the very least holding steady. I’m not sure what’s been going on lately. I strongly suspect my skeins are having wild yarn orgies overnight in the bins, because they have started to reproduce – I’m sure of it. All of a sudden, my stash has busted out of the confines of the bed bins and is now residing in random project bags or in plastic bags by the bed.

I also find that I’m frequently a victim of stowaway yarn. I’ll be in Michaels, Wal-Mart, or the LYS, innocently minding my own business. One might say this is like going to the cathouse to hear the piano player, but I convince myself every time that I’m only going there to a) get a pattern book, b) search for the pattern freebies, or c) browse. Sure enough, I’ll go by the skeins and before I know it, they’ve leapt off the shelves and into my cart. You’re going to ask why, if I’m only getting a few things, I have a cart – and you can just hush up right now. This isn’t just limited to the usual haunts, either. I’ve been known to find yarn just about ANYWHERE. I’ve discovered they have yarn at Ocean State Job Lot, of all places (again, it just leapt out at me, before I could defend myself). I’ve even found yarn at True Value stores on Cape Cod.

I feel it’s just only a matter of time until I find yarn at Stop & Shop...