Wednesday, March 25, 2009

All's Well That Ends Well

The Urban Rattlesnake Socks are finished . . . and they have toes.

Whilst musing over the choice between blue and white yarn for the toes, I was wearing these socks, which I had knit from some Lang fake isle yarn in sundry shades of red. "Red, oh (went the thought process), the same as the Rattlesnake socks."

And then I remembered that Lang sock yarn typically comes with a little spool of matching thread to use as a reinforcer for the heels and toes. And I still had lots left. Too thin by itself, but . . .

Put together with the Knitpicks Essential Tweed, we could have a really cute multicolored, mostly red, toe yarn.

I grabbed a spindle and cabled the yarn and the thread together. Perfect! (Reminder to self—do not throw away bits of yarn or thread, cuz you just never know.)

Here's a close shot of the little toe cap. Pretty nifty, huh? I did a modified round toe on these socks, and there was enough of the original yarn left to get through two sets of decreases before it expired completely.

And in other happy endings – after an amazing rain and wind storm we had a lovely rainbow.

Apparently the pot of gold is right down there in the marina, somewhere among all those sailboats.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

An Absence of Yarn

When I began knitting my Urban Rattlesnake socks I had 100gm of Louet Gems fingering yarn. More than enough for a pair of socks one would think.

Heh. Apparently not.

Things began to look dubious after I turned the heel and launched into the gusset. This is all leftover yarn, of course, the remains from the Arctic Diamonds Stole, much of it in little bits and squibs. Hard to tell exactly what you have on hand without weighing it.

So I weighed it. Again. Barely halfway down the foot, and I had 8gm left per sock. Never going to make it. No, no, no. Must have been those yarn-gobbling cables that did the dirty deed.

Having reached the end of a pattern repeat, I immediately ceased cabling, decreased eight stitches (cuz plain knitting doesn't pull in so tight as cables) and continued in plain stockinette. This strategy will not save the situation, but it will allow the new, contrasting yarn to be joined close enough to the toe to, perhaps, look like a (ahem) "design feature."

And thus we come to the contrasting yarn. There are two possible colors – blue or white.

Two of the three possible blues are Brown Sheep Wildfoote, a potential problem as Wildfoote is a very skinny fingering, while Louet Gems is a fairly fat fingering. The solid blue is about the same weight as the Louet, a point in its favor.

A cream/white color would be perfectly appropriate. White goes with everything, right? I have plenty of cream Baby Ull. And the other is Knitpicks Essential Tweed Bare, more of a gray-white, with little flecks of color.

I'm having a teensy decision problem. The blue would be pleasantly daring. The cream is attractive, but rather tame, although tame can be okay. Sometimes. Perhaps the Knitpicks Tweed to get the best of both worlds? Perhaps?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's Blocking Time Again

It's shawl blocking time again, and I am not ready. My poor aching back is still recovering from the move.

Yes, I've finished knitting the Pastiche Shawl (my version of the Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl), which is exciting, but I will miss it. It's been my morning companion for the past three months. Every morning – tea and shawl knitting.

Binding off took more time and yarn than I had expected, but a few days later the shawl was off the needles and quietly admiring the view from the balcony. Unblocked it is 65" wide and 32" down the center back – nice and large, as I had wanted.

While the shawl was enjoying its new freedom I began to think about blocking. It doesn't need to be any bigger, just spread out enough to show off its laciness. The bottom edge is particularly important. It should maintain that feather-and-fan curviness. Without going into full-on blocking mode, I tried pinning out the center of some of the curves with one pin each.

Then I tried using three pins.

Much better, huh? So, here's the situation. There are 26 (13 on each side of the center) of these curves. Using three pins each . . . well, I'm sure you can do the math. Yes, I can buy more pins, and I might even have enough already. But can I survive the experience? That's a whole lot of crawling around on the floor.

I'm still studying the problem. Can't think of any way that blocking wires could help. About the only improvement I've been able to come up with is to fold the shawl in half at the center thereby reducing the curves to be pinned from 26 (whimper) to 13. It would take longer to dry, but so what. Since I have no furniture yet (just a bed and one chair) there's more than enough floor space.

As usual, suggestions are greatly desired. Has anyone ever blocked a feather-and-fan shawl? Or blocked something large and complicated without injuring their body?