New Knitting Skills

As I catalog my knitting skills, I am kind of surprised at how many I have. I have made a sweater, a vest, and numerous scarves. I am now trying to make the Purl Soho Lightweight Raglan Sweater. I want to learn to read a knitting pattern so I can make other things. This is my test pattern. My local knitting shop sweater expert tried to dissuade me from choosing this pattern as there are a lot of techniques I haven’t done, but I ignored her.  I have excellent consultants (2 SILs) and have confidence I can do this. I have no timetable, though this century would be great. I made my first steps last night.

Nascent sleeve

At Craft Night, I cast on the sleeve of the sweater and did the first step, which was to knit in stockinette 8 rounds. I can’t tell you how pleased I am with this accomplishment. I know it doesn’t look like much, but I am completely thrilled.

I thought it would be a good idea to make both sleeves at the same time. Opinions were divided at Craft Night and I still haven’t decided.

I didn’t get the needles I usually like, but these are ok.

Finished: Scarf

Last year, during or after the Sisters trip, I started knitting a scarf. I had my usual ups and downs with the knitting, ripping out quite a bit, not knitting on it, etc.

Finished Sea Scarf
Finished Sea Scarf

Lately, when DH is out at a meeting on a Wednesday evening, I go to a knitting circle at a local shop in order to see people and have some human contact. I have been 3-4 times. I just sit there, knit and listen. This activity has helped to get this scarf finished. I still have to weave in the ends, but I am calling it done. This project is for me and I will wear it as a summer scarf, for those foggy days in August.

New Knitting Again

Kira K Designs
Kira K Designs

After my recent scarf finish, I think I need to learn to read a knitting pattern so I can knit more interesting items. I was thinking about some fingerless gloves that one of the ladies at the knitting circle showed me. She was using a much smaller yarn, which is what I have, so I know that it would work. The issue is that I have 3 skeins, about 1300 yards, and I don’t want to make 15 projects with the same yarn.

I started to ask questions about the pattern I chose to accommodate the yarn I bought at PIQF last year. I absolutely do not want stash yarn and loved the shawl, which I will knit to keep at work when the air conditioning gets to be too much. Apparently, the yarn is wrong for the pattern, so I needed to choose a new pattern.

The shop owner asked me to come back the next day as she was rushing to a board meeting. I went back the next day and she showed me how Ravelry works. It has a great feature where one can put in the difficulty of the project you want as well as yarn you have and the system will come back with projects that will work. I found a sweater that I like and will try.

I went back, again, the next day to talk to the sweater queen who didn’t really like the sweater construction,but was very kind and helpful.

It turns out I have been doing the stockinette stitch wrong. It didn’t matter when I was doing my own scarf pattern, but I would have to translate stitches, if I continued on knitting the way I was. Thus, I came home with videos to watch and knitting practice to do.

New Scarf

“New” is a little bit of an exaggeration. I have been working on it on and off since I was in Sisters. I finally got it right and am much happier with the result.

As is my process, I have already ripped the piece out several times. I finally realized that I didn’t like the weave. I was at my first knitting circle (local shop allows people to come in and free-knit once a week) and I talked to some of the ladies about it. I asked about going down a needle size or two. One said to knit a swatch. Since I don’t usually knit with a pattern, I have never knitted a swatch. I decided to do it with one needle size down. I wasn’t sure what to expect and ended up really liking the result.

Now that I have made some progress, I think this was a good choice. I always use the suggested needle size on the yarn wrapper. It worked okay this time; just not for me.

I also reduced the number of cast-on stitches, which I also think was a good choice. The image above shows the two bits of knitting. The top piece is the first piece I worked on using size 5 needles with 50 stitches cast on. The bottom piece is the piece on which I am working now. I cast on 45 stitches and am using size 4 needles.

Aside from the size, because of the differences in cast on stitches, I don’t see a difference in the weave of the fabric. I noticed that the top piece was much looser (more holes) as I was working on it. Seeing them together makes me wonder if the change was worth the effort.

I am not sure what I was expecting, but it is surprising how well the smaller needles work. I love the small needles.

New Knitting

New Knitting
New Knitting

I bought this yarn in Sisters and love the colors.  I started knitting in Sisters, but have ripped it out at least three times since then.

That is my process. I think this latest cast-on with stick.

One issue I considered it making a shawl. My office can be cold sometimes and if I don’t want to wear my fleece inside, a shawl would be nice. I heard of a pattern where you start with a cast on of 2 and then continually increase. I did this for about 10 rows and then ripped it out. It looked messy and was not soothing to knit. I will knit a large scarf for now and use that in my office and find a shawl pattern that isn’t such a PITA.

Finished: Green Donation Scarf

Green Scarf
Green Scarf

I finally finished the green donation scarf I have been working on for months. I can’t remember exactly when I started it, but I think it was earlier this year (not last). I bought the yarn at Tuesday Morning on my way to visit MIL.

I started this scarf sometime before April, but after March 1. Before that was the Knight scarf and a hat/cowl set.

Anyway. This one will head to my mom who will use it to make gifts for the women at her local domestic violence shelter.

I’m not sure if I can make another in time to be included in the gift boxes. Let me know if you have a scarf you want to contribute.

Donation Scarf

Green Donation Scarf
Green Donation Scarf

I have been quite remiss in writing about this scarf. I am already halfway through the second skein. My mom is heading up an effort to provide holiday gifts for women at a domestic violence shelter in her area. They can’t give a gift to a woman unless they have enough of the same types of gifts to give to all of the women. Since everyone I know has already received a scarf, I thought I would contribute to this effort.

I found the yarn at Tuesday Morning, which had just opened. I had never been in a Tuesday Morning and wanted to take a look. It doesn’t feel icky even though it is partially acrylic. Mom said that a bit of acrylic is better so that the women can wash the scarf in the machine. It is kind of a cheerful color, too.

Cowl

Cowl
Cowl

Keeping my YM warm is a theme since Thanksgiving. We saw him last weekend and the question was why he was wearing two shortsleeve t-shirts rather than a longsleeve. Answer: out of clean laundry. Sigh.

To that end, I made him a cowl. I had some leftover yarn after making him the hat, so I decided to make him a cowl after realizing I didn’t have enough yarn for another hat.

It didn’t come out as well as I had hoped. It looks good but was too large so kind of flapped around his neck (when I saw it in the wild). I think I needed to cast on fewer stitches to start. Next time – there is always more yarn.

YM Hat Complete

YM Hat Finished
YM Hat Finished

I ripped out a bunch of YM’s hat and finished it. It is still cold in Portland and I want him to be able to wear it this winter.

The yarn was not a favorite. It was very slippery and seemed to shred. It was not very nice with which to knit. Still, I think the color looks very good. I like the slight variation in the yarn – the flecks of silver.

Hat with tube-tail
Hat with tube-tail

He had said that he wanted it long so he could fling the end over his shoulder. I decreased and started to knit, what I wanted to be, a tail. It ended up looking more like a weird tube. After knitting for awhile, it didn’t get any better in terms of looks, so I sent a photo to the YM and he agreed. I ripped it out and just finished the hat as you see it above.

I have a bit more yarn, so I will knit another hat – as much as I can and donate it somewhere.

On to Hats

Dubai Hat
Dubai Hat

The YM came home complaining of cold wearing a thoroughly disreputable hat. I have knit hats before, so while we were lunching with Mom before Christmas we stopped at a knitting shop and he picked out some yarn.

The yarn is not my ideal. It shreds and is very slidey. Still, now that I can easily discern when to knit and when to purl, I am on my way.

SIL gave me the first step in her hat pattern. I am getting to the point where I am going to need the next step. I will also need to be reminded how to decrease.

Knight Scarf Begins

My knitting needles were barely cold before I cast on a scarf for the YM. I want him to have one as well. Almost as soon as I finished the Cosmic Wonder Dust scarf, I started his.

He thought the Madeleine Tosh yarn was a little rough (he is very kinesthetic and also very tuned into the way things feel). At PIQF, I bought some wool and silk yarn from Thread and Ewe. It is Avalon yarn by Round Table Yarns – 50% superwash merino and 50% silk, DK weight. Even though I was annoyed at the “DK weight” – clearly designed for experienced knitters – I was eager to try it out.

Starting the Knight Scarf
Starting the Knight Scarf

The fibers are not as tightly wound (spun???) together, so I have to be careful not to knit only part of the strand as I progress along the row.

Like the Monarch scarf, this yarn is slippy, so the stitches tend to slide off the needles if I am not careful. While I cast on to straight needles, I am knitting with some circular needles and the line between them is a bit short, so I have to be careful.

I really hope this yarn is soft enough for the YM.

Cosmic Wonder Dust Scarf COMPLETE

Cosmic Wonder Dust scarf
Cosmic Wonder Dust scarf

I finished the Cosmic Wonder Dust scarf last Thursday! Yay! Now I have all of the scarves finished for the kids uh, young adults who helped the YM during his cast phase. They are not wrapped or boxed or mailed, but knitted is a good place to be.

This was made with Madeleine Tosh Chunky yarn. This yarn was a little different than the ones I used for the Lichen and Nighthawk scarves. it is Madeleine Tosh Chunky. It knitted up faster, though I didn’t have as much time to work on it. Good thing it was chunky yarn. The unexpected part is that it is not as long as the others. I should have bought three skeins, but didn’t. C’est la vie.

New Knitting

Cosmic Wonder Dust Scarf
Cosmic Wonder Dust Scarf

This is the new project. The yarn is called Cosmic Wonder Dust. I think it looks like a party. I really love the colors in this yarn.

I really wanted this yarn. They didn’t have the weight that uses n.6 needles. These particular skeins use n.9 needles and it feels really thick. Still, it knits very quickly. I started this project last night and already have a lot completed.

Cosmic Wonder Dust initial work
Cosmic Wonder Dust initial work

Before this morning, I had just a few rows of the scarf done. Three conference calls and I have a lot more done.

Also, my process must be progressing, because I only ripped the cast-on off once. I was happy with my progress after the second cast-on.

This might be the last scarf I need for Christmas gifts for the YM’s friends. We’ll see. He has roommate who wasn’t there, but found the house and I may make one for her just so she doesn’t feel left out. I think I will have the time.

I want to make one for the YM as well, but I have to find some yarn that is even softer than the merino wool.

Lichen Scarf

Lichen scarf
Lichen scarf

I finished the Lichen scarf. It was finished yesterday, a little later than I wanted, but I didn’t carpool last week, so I didn’t have as much time to knit.

The deadline was because I went to the knitting store on Monday and bought yarn for the next scarf. I don’t want to stash yarn.

The tightness of my stitches was a little off at the end, but I am pleased with how the scarf came out.