December 30, 2014

The Only Thing I've Accomplished

I may have gotten little accomplished otherwise, but in the past week I've seemed to have gotten a lot of knitting done while everything went to shit. Well, ok, I also got my car back to street legal in the same time period, but the knitting didn't cost me $670 either.

You know what...I take my surprise back.  As I worked furiously on this hat:

Pattern here
and this cowl:

I start with this pattern, but I always add 20 stitches.  Honestly, there's a bunch of similar patters on's basic seed stitch in-the-round.
and this hat:

My own pattern...may write it up quick and dirty and release it as a free one...we'll see.

and started these things:

and messing around trying to plan a slightly more complicated pattern, I wondered to myself why I suddenly got more productive.  How did I finish a double layer color-work hat in four days, and a single layer one in the same amount of time (and the single layer one took that long only because that was my third attempt and I made up the pattern)?  Ok, sure, I did take two hour long trips on a bus and have to wait an hour dealing with my car, but that's not the complete story.

The complete story is that because things hit a iffy point elsewhere, I got more productive.  You see, yarn crafting is my crutch.  It's the one thing that, even when I want to throw it across the room, I'm still more successful in than anything else.  Because when I can't move forward and Murphy's Law is in play, I can usually still successfully make a hat.  A color-work hat (thanks to my knitting group for turning me onto that obsession at the moment...the first hat was one of our KAL choices).  A double-sided color-work hat with humping reindeer on the inside:

In which I can sub DK weight in for worsted and only screw up the math (because where was I when I thought 32 went into 112?) , and aggressively block it because it's still small fits.  Mostly. And if I really do screw up, it's just yarn, and you can just rip it out. It won't screw me over irreparably or have legal ramifications. It can be annoying but not as annoying as some other things I have to deal with.

Sometimes, that makes all the difference.

P.S.: My mom's sweater, while still damp when I took it with me, did survive the trip and was dry enough to give her that night. My sister's socks fit her, and she was so busy talking about how she loved socks that my mom had to remind her why this was her first knitted pair.  I think I may be able to get away with sock weight yarn next time...

December 19, 2014

Just One More Problem

The good news is that I got all the knitting done I needed for people's presents.

The bad news is I miscalculated.  You see, when I said 'I need to get this done by next weekend'. I was thinking 'I need to finish knitting this by next weekend'. Make sense, right?  Just one little issue: everything also needs to be blocked.  Well, since I got everything done by Thursday, I was able to start blocking it all:

But I forgot something.  My mom's sweater, made out of nice warm alpaca-silk yarn that is brittle when wet?  That one?  Takes forever to dry.  It's been sitting out there since Wednesday night and it is still wet. 

I have to pack it up tomorrow morning.  It may have to be in a bag in my knitting bag, the way this is going, and even that's going to be an iffy trip.  Even though I'm hoping re-purposing my space heater as a blow dryer for it will dry it....naw, I'm screwed.

December 13, 2014

Me? Learn? Never...

The computer ate my yarn again:

And I have no excuse, because I just bought the switch I needed.  I really should shove the computer under the desk.

But not right now.  Because the yarn broke free on it's own and there's still a bit wrapped around the fan:

However, the fan's still running, so I'll get it out when I turn off the computer. Serves me right for knitting with a long tail around the computer again.

So getting that out was a little harder than last time. Since this yarn was much skinnier, the yarn had got into the joint of the fan, and even with the top off I couldn't get a good angle to grab the yarn through the fan.  So I had to open up my computer and de-attach the fan to reach it:

Remember people: unplug the computer first and make sure you stay grounded.  Don't want to electrocute yourself or one of the boards.

I'm still lucky this case is pretty easy to mess with.  Then again, I wouldn't have this problem if it wasn't a custom case...oh well.

December 12, 2014

Trying Not to Get My Hopes Up

For a week or two there, I was under the impression that I would get everything done in time for Hanukkah. Then I was under the impression that I would never get close to getting my sister's socks done, so I started putting more effort into that and less into my mom's sweater.  Now I'm left a bit of a conundrum.

To start, Hanukkah technically starts on the 16th, but I'm not going to see my family until later, so I have a little more time than that (so, lets say I have about 10 days, max).  However, I also have a lot to do.  It is better place than I was expecting to be, but still not done, or close to it.  Believe it or not, this is the first time I've run the risk of missing a present deadline*.  I did get my brother's socks done at least:

Patten I used was Mr. Pitt's Socks, using a Zauberball.  I really could have dropped a needle size for it to be better, but my brother just trashes things anyway and they fit.
However, my sister's socks were a bit more of a hassle than what I was expecting.  To give a bit of background, one of my sisters loves crazy and colorful socks.  You'd think she'd be the perfect person to knit socks for.  Nope.  She told me years ago when I started knitting that she doesn't want knit socks; she hates hand-made socks.  At the time I left that statement as is.

This year, at Rhinebeck (yes, I went.  No, I doubt I'll be doing a debrief this year), my sister finally explained why.  She associates hand-knit socks with the only pair of hand-made socks she's ever gotten -- a wonky pair of worsted-weight acrylic crochet socks my mom made when we were younger (and promptly had a crisis in confidence about, so she went back to making blankets).  After a discussion where I assured her that knitted socks were usually nothing like that and I could even use lighter yarn than normal 'sock weight', and yes I'd make sure they were the same size...she picked out a skein of lace weight sparkly yarn for me to make socks out of:

This is Star Dust Lace by Bittersweet Woolery in colorway Cirrus
A couple of things turned out to be true about this yarn:
  • It is nice and soft.
  • The tinsel that makes it sparkly does like to stick out of the sock a bit when you knit with it.
  • It is really thin and fluffy
  • It has magical gauge properties that make everything wear bigger than the measurements suggest.
  • It requires a size US000 (that is not a typo) needle to work in a close enough gauge for socks.
It's the magical gauge properties that got me the most.  There are very few patterns for lace-weight socks (gee, I wonder why). Which is normally fine, since as long as there's no crazy patterning in the sock, I can adjust  it to my gauge.  But when you pair that with magic gauge properties and patterns that have a large end up ripping stuff out a lot.

You see, I first chose this pattern.  I thought it would work; even though it's a 16 stitch repeat, the math seemed to work out on it using the gauge I was getting in my swatch (which I even knit in the round!).  So I started.  I even tried a picot edge instead of the ribbing, thinking that would look cuter (my sister does cute). In the gauge I was using, the picot hem edging took forever and then I started on the pattern and...way too big.  It was too big for me, let alone my sister. Knowing I had to get this right and give socks that fit, I ripped out and dropped a repeat of the pattern.  I also did a k3, p2 ribbing instead.  That seemed nice, and a went for awhile with that, but the voice in my head kept nagging me about how it still felt too big.  It was ok for me, but would it stretch out too much because of the lace?  Would it grow when being worn? It was already on the edge of too big for my sister and...I gave up and ripped it out.  Due to the large repeat in the pattern, I really couldn't make it smaller comfortably. However, the pattern looked amazing in the yarn, I have to say, so I was sad it didn't work.

Since time was of the essence, I quickly went to my backup pattern, which is this one.  It seems to work, but I wasn't sure if I felt that way because the colors were similar and I could picture it in the yarn I had, or it would really work.  At least this kept the cute lace only on top, where fit wouldn't be as big of an issue. The ribbing would keep the rest snug.  So I went with the same stitch count I did for the smaller sock (which -1 ease, supposedly, though it doesn't look like it) and started.

Now I have a sock:

Yes, it looks small, but it stretches...if it wasn't shorter than my foot, I could wear it.
A couple of things about this pattern, though:
  • The lace is nice, but very fiddly, at least in this gauge.  
  • The yarn doesn't work as well for the lace as I would have hoped (the color changes obscure the pattern a bit), but it's good enough.
  • Once you get past the lace, it is smooth sailing. It took me two days to do the small lace top, and 8 days to do the rest of the sock, and part of that is simply life getting in the way.
  • Even though I changed the ribbing to be k6, p2 (mainly because p1's always look like crap when I do them; I can't seem to tighten them up enough), the damn sock still feels big to me.  The ribbing helps a bit, but not as much as I would have hoped.  I think it's just the yarn and it's light soft fluffy quality.  Nothing's going to feel tight using this stuff.

So...can I get it done?  Well, this is where I am now with the second one:

Almost done with the lace part.  So the possible answer is yes.  However, it will most likely be at a price:

I still haven't finished my mom's sweater.  I've been working on that collar for more than a week, and by working I mean mostly ignoring it and working on the sock.  So the socks may get done, and the sweater may get done, but I don't know if both will get done in time...

Better start working on it then, I guess.

*[Wait, I take that back.  I did almost miss a deadline for presents before.  The first time I made my mom socks, I was quickly finishing them and blocking them before I left her house so she could have them during Hanukkah...and the only reason I succeeded was because the yarn I had used for the provisional cast on matched the sock yarn, so I wove in the ends and left it there instead of making the sock longer. The socks were wet when I left, but they were done!]

November 10, 2014

Not the Problem I Expected

The other project I'm currently working on now-a-days is a cardigan for my mother, which will be her Hanukkah present.  The good thing is I've had this planned since around Mother's Day and, knowing this was a little more ambiguous than socks, started back in September. (Funny story with that.  I bought the yarn in front of my mom, on a special trip to WEBS, and explicitly told her I would use it for a sweater for her Hanukkah present. Fast forward to September, where I went to measure her for it.  She asks: why are you measuring me?  I go: for your sweater.  She goes: oh, you're making me a sweater?  I go: ...).

Anyway, fast foward to now and I've got the body done:

If you're interested, the pattern is Raindrop Cardigan from Twisted Stitches by Connie Chang Chinchio
So, after you finish the body, the instructions tell you to block it.  I debated about this for a bit.  After all, the yarn I'm using is mostly alpaca; why should I block it and then try to pick up for the sleeves?  What will that do?  In the end, since I was in the middle of hand washing stuff anyway, I decided to give it a wash. 

It bled like nobody's business.  But that wasn't the main issue; after all, it will get another bath and I'll set it then.  The main issue is this happend:

That is part of the bind off sequence for the armhole. Broken. With four stitches dropped down and saved with split stitch markers (by the way, always have split or locking stitch markers.  They suck for normal use but they're a godsend when you drop a stitch or four come loose in a wash).  I have no clue how that happened.  I didn't agitate it much.  I wove in all ends.  I didn't do anything wrong, did I?

Now, this isn't that crazy to fix.  I need to ladder up the four stitches back to the bind off, then re-bind them off with another piece of yarn.  At least that's what I think will work.  Unfortunately, it's still drying, and I can't try to fix it until it dries.

Now, hopefully this is the last would really suck if, say, the armholes are too big after I join the shoulders together.

November 7, 2014

Because This Seriously Just Occured To Me

That I could, when working a heel flap, just leave the other half of the sock hanging out on the needle cord instead of putting it on a holder like I normally do:

Um, yeah.  Though I still don't like the fact that all my sock-sized stitch holders have run the coop.  I have no clue where they are, and I just cleaned my apartment, so that's not an excuse. The last time I saw one of them was when I made the second sock of this pair:

(Sorry, I forgot to take of picture of them when I was done, and the recipient already absconded with them (it was supposed to be a Christmas present...but oh well)).

However, I can't for the life of me remember what I did with it after I used it on that sock.  Oh well.  Hopefully they'll turn up at some point.  If only for the sake of not losing my stuff.

August 30, 2014

The Computer Ate My Yarn

I'm not kidding:

I was knitting at my computer desk while surfing the interwebz when I heard a *slurp* and looked down to see a piece of yarn attached to the project I was working on sticking out of the back of my computer.

I may need to clarify a couple of things here.  One, there's a huge open space in the back of my computer due to the fact that I have a slim-sized motherboard in a full-sized chassis.  Two, one of the case fans is right next to that lovely hole.  Three, my computer is currently sitting next to my chair because I don't want to shove it in the corner it belongs until I get the switch I need to complete my setup (and of course I haven't bought the switch yet).

So I guess it was a matter of time before it ate my yarn.

Luckily for me, it only ate the piece left over from the start of my project and the top of the chassis comes right off.  So I was able to cut the yarn off the project and open the computer up to unwrap the yarn from the back fan:

 Now I know to keep my yarn away from the damn thing. Oye.

August 29, 2014

Here We Go Again

For one of the few projects I'm currently working on, I'm making a baby sweater for one of my cousins.  Par for the course; I usually have at least one cousin who has a baby per year.  Gives me an excuse to make baby stuff again.

However, this time I decided that I should use some of the baby yarn I currently have in my stash, the majority of which is three mostly full skeins of some baby acrylic I bought for a blanket, all in different colors.  That shouldn't be a problem; if I use one of the other colors as an accent color I should have plenty of yarn for a sweater and...

Yep, I'm almost out of yarn.  And I still have another sleeve and the trim to do.  And the only reason I don't have less than that is that I realized that I was running low on yarn about four rows away from starting the striping sequence you see at the bottom of the sweater there, and therefore deciding to start it early and then make up the length using the other color.

That may not be enough, though.  I may have to rip out at least part of the other sleeve, and do some more hacking of the pattern to get them to match.  But right now I'm just carrying on as normal, hoping that the ball doesn't run out.

On the other hand, there are good endings to some things:

While I can't say she wore the shawl for that long, my sister did put it on at her wedding and show it off to some of the guests.  Good enough.

August 6, 2014

The Scrap Project Paradox and The Law Of More Yarn Required

After finishing the lovely but long and complex shawl, I was trying to be good and go back to the stupid scrap project I've been working on for far too long (try two and a half years):

To remind everyone (though I've mentioned this project before), this is a simple log cabin squares put into a small blanket project that I started to get rid of all the Simply Soft I had laying around.  I've been working on it on and off, but during the Olympics I made a effort to get all the squares done and sewn up, which I accomplished.  I, however, only started the border before dropping it to do the shawl.  Priorities, priorities.

Anyway, this, of course, has gone the way of every scrap project, which is it fell for the Law of More Yarn Required.  The Law of More Yarn Required states that if you do something trying to use up random not full skeins of yarn, such as undertaking a scrap project, you will need more yarn to complete it than you have in your stash.  It isn't the worse thing in the world if you use all that extra yarn, but this goes hand-in-hand with the Scrap Project Paradox, which is any scrap project doesn't actually use up your scrap yarn.  It may change the dynamic or amount of such, but it never will use up all the scrap yarn.  You will always have some left.

Trying to avoid that for my scrap project, when I started the border I planned out the design so that I would use more of the yarn I had more of while still maintaining some semblance of a design.  I would not fall for this rule...and yeah:

I made the black sections way too big, and ran out of black yarn on the last side I had to do (I'm also log-cabining the border). Ten more rows of black I don't have the yarn for, nowhere, not even in my stash (for obvious reasons the half-skein of black wool I still have would not work, unfortunately).  So now I need more yarn for the scrap project I was doing to get rid of yarn. Sigh.

Not that I wasn't falling for this law even without the black yarn shortage (though, to be far, less yarn than I started with):

Best laid plans of mice and men and all that.  Next time I may do the whole thing properly; that is, weight the damn yarn and see how much area I can cover with it.  Maybe then I'll actually defeat the Law and the Paradox...or at least I can dream, right?

July 19, 2014

Misadventures in Shawls, Part 4: For Better or Worse, It's the End of the Road

Hey, I had a productive time void for once:

I am done.

I have to say, the last chart and half the chart before were pretty fast and simple.  Actually, they were so easy I went on autopilot and missed the fact that the second to last row had a double decrease.  On both charts.  The first I really had to hack the fix, so bad I did some weird 5 stitch increase, then had to pick up a bar from a couple rows below it on the next right side row to attempt to fill up the gap the crazy decrease had made.  I was partially successful:

Unfortunately, at that point the life line was so far down I didn't want to rip it out to do it right.

Then, I missed it again with the last chart, but at least all that took was an extra row of knitting added to decrease down to where I needed to be.  That did cause a gap in the beads in the top band:

Oh well.

Of course, blocking it wasn't very simple either.  I'm not talking about the multitude of pins; that's to be expected.  I mean that I forgot what Madelinetosh yarn loves to do:

Bleed.  Two vinegar baths later, it's still bleeding but no where near as badly:

That's when I ran out of vinegar and therefore gave up.  I gave it one more soap bath and took it out.  Good enough.

That first picture, by the way, doesn't do it justice as to how shiny those beads can be.  They gleam blue and other colors depending on the light:

That picture still doesn't do it justice, but whatever.

Part of me feels I should still do a proper debrief but...meh.  I covered most of what I would put into a debrief into this post series.  The only thing I can think of that I didn't mention was row 67.

Row 67 was the only row where I did it, checked my work, checked my work again, and still couldn't figure out why it was wonky because as far as I can tell, I followed the pattern right.  You see, row 67 did something weird.  It shifted the pattern over by a couple of stitches.  It also seemed to want 8 stitches for the end of the row section, yet there were only 6 before that and 6 after.  It made what I thought were small leaves look a bit more like spirals, or at least leafy blobs with something trailing off the left side.  It jagged the lines of yarn-overs and stockinette sections.  It looks better after blocking, but still.  I don't get what happened there or if I screwed up somewhere, or the pattern was the wonky one.  No one else on Ravelry who has done the pattern has mentioned it.

But oh well.  I guess it worked out well enough in the end.  As more than one person has said to me (and I've said to others, not that it stops me from doing the same thing), no one else notices all the mistakes you do.  So while I'm beating myself up about how it's not my best effort and it's got so many mistakes in it, and it's a wedding shawl and it should be my best effort and so forth, the two people I've sent the picture to have both complemented it.  One of these was the recipient.  So I did something right.

June 22, 2014

Misadventures in Shawls, Part 3: The Pitfalls of Combined Knitting and Stitch Markers

I have to say, despite my semi-laziness in devoting time to working on this, I've gotten pretty far.  Things are speeding up a bit, as I'm well into the part where there's a lot of decreasing going on:

On row 81 yay.

When you hit chart C and beyond, though, it may lose stitches but it gets way more fiddly for a good section of it.   Unfortunately, my tension during that part was shot to hell, and there are stitches and yarn-overs that are small, and others that are huge.

Also, I have two running problems with my stitches at the moment:

1) The markers denoting the repeats are after a purl stitch, which means my purl stitch there is waaaay to loose, as it's eating the slack going around the stitch marker (this is not the first time I've had this problem, but I haven't figured out how to correct it yet other than taking out the stitch marker, which isn't an option here):

This is the back of the work, if you're wondering.

2)   My usual knitting style is a combined style. For me and many combined knitters, this means I knit 'normally', where I twist my yarn around the needle so the right leg is facing the knitter, but I purl in a manner that results in the right leg facing away from the knitter (I've talked about this before).  There turns out there's one issue with that.  When you yarn-over counter-clockwise after or before a stitch that was knitted or purled clockwise, the yarn-over pulls the other stitch down, and makes it really hard to find the right leg of either one.

It took me more than a few rows to realize why my stitches looked screwed up, or where my 'missing' yarn-overs went.  There is several places in the shawl where I knitted the stitch wrongly by working the wrong stitch or side of the stitch.  Luckily, since this always happens near a yarn-over, it just looks a bit messy and the yarn-over is a bit smaller or bigger than normal. I might have ripped it all out when I realized I had been reading those stitches wrong, but I don't have the patience or time for that at the moment.

So, how do you read this mess to work it correctly?

If you have a stitch with the right leg out before a yarn-over, you'll usually see it as this:

Ignore my lovely pajama pants; it might have been around midnight when I took these

The first stitch you need to work is not that string that looks like a loop below the weird twist (that's the stitch below your last one), it's the outer loop tilted away from you here:

Green arrow, not the red

There's the right leg...

So just work that loop as instructed:

Once you drop the stitch, you should be able to see the yarn over much better: 

Work it as instructed, and then you're done with that.

On the other hand...

If you have a stitch with the right leg out after the yarn-over, it'll look like this:

The difference to the set above is that the first stitch you see there is longer and usually angled more to the left, and the twist where the two stitches meet is more towards the knitter (this is because the YO is pulling it down towards the knitter, vs above where it was pulling it away).  Also helps to know where you are in the pattern.

The yarn-over is actually the yarn bar slightly below the needle towards the knitter:

Use that loop to work as instructed:

Once you slip the yarn-over off, then the other stitch will look like a normal stitch (for combined knitters at least).  Work that as instructed.

And that's it.  Now, if there were some easy way to correct those darn huge purl stitches.

June 19, 2014

Tappan Zee Tank

Yes, I actually have another pattern completed.  I've been working on this on and off for the past year, mostly under the radar.  There's a couple of reasons for that.  One, it's a garment, which is by nature bit more complex.  Two, while it's not a super complicated pattern, it's not a beginner's pattern either.  Three, I corrected my design process, went through a few ideas until I found one that worked with the yarn, and then actually sat down and most everything correctly, including hiring a tech editor.  The last is that I did this on top of everything else I do.

Much of this is also related to the fact that the other thing I decided along the way was that I'd put enough effort into this pattern to warrant selling it.

Anyway, all that is done and I'm proud to say, here you go!  My first for sale pattern.

Tappan Zee Tank

Pictures copyright Samantha Thomaier

I named this tank after the Tappan Zee Bridge because, not only was it the second plan of another bridge-named tank, but also the tank's diagonal line design mimics the strong diagonal lines that make up its superstructure. 

The pattern is for sale only on Ravelry, and is as of now priced at $5.00 (US).  Click here for the Ravelry page, or click the following button to purchase: 

Craft Type


Skill Level

Intermediate level, as it involves standard increases and decreases, shaping, basic crochet, and following multiple directions at the same time (including a element that occurs at different rates). 


32” (34”, 36”, 38”, 40”, 42”, 44”, 46”)
[81.3 (86.4, 91.4, 96.5, 101.6, 106.7, 111.8, 116.8) cm]


20 stitches x 30 rows per 4” [10cm]

Yarn and Yardage

Valley Yarns Goshen (Worsted weight, 92 yds/skein, 48% Cotton, 46% Modal, 6% Silk):
3 (4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5) skeins for color A
3 (3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4) skeins for color B

Needles and Hooks

US 5 [3.75mm] 24” circular needle
US G [4 mm] crochet hook

Happy knitting!

Ug, code generators.  The markup's a bit messed up.  Think I fixed it but if it looks wacky in your browser, I'm sorry.  I'll clean it up at a later date.

June 3, 2014

Oops, I Did It Again

Since I can't really do the shawl anywhere but at home, I've been knitting a sock for my subway project:

'bout time I used the wound-up skein that's been sitting on my coffee table for at least 6 months
It's not a bad pattern, and I love the design and the yarn.  Might have had to rip it out twice due to issues, but none of that was the pattern's fault (first time I screwed up the chart, the second I realized I had to make it a bit smaller to fit...well, ok, one size fits all isn't for socks, so that may be the pattern's fault). This is my first time doing toe up socks, and therefore the style of heel involved is completely new to me:

I'm not a fan of being blind to the pattern, but having got past the heel now, it seems like it'll work out, and at least now I understand how this heel works.  Well, I'm ok mainly because according to the swatch, this yarn will grow a bit so being slightly small for my foot is a good thing.  But I'll take it.

However, that's not what I'm hear to talk about.

I'm here to talk about another needle.  My brand new Knitter's Pride Karbonz circulars, size 0 since I tend to do a lot of socks on 0s.  I bought them a bit less than a month ago when my knit group made their what's turning out to be annual trip to WEBS.  I was being splurge-y, and since I tried out the Karbonz at VOGUEknitting Live, I've wanted to get one.  So I did.

I like them.  As someone who favors metal needles, I still liked them.  They're not as slick as other metals, but still slick enough for my comfort without feeling like I fighting it too much, yet not so slick it feels like you're slightly out of control. They feel solid, but not heavy.  It's an interesting sensation, and I find them very usable.

So when I had to rip out my sock the first time, I switched to my new needles as was happy.  Until today.  Because I broke them:

Oh, they don't seem broken, unlike the last needle I broke (also on a sock, of course).  But they are broke.  You see in that picture up there that the tips aren't the carbon material but are metal?  Sepreate pieces of course. So, I was knitting along on the subway into work today, only to have one of those tips dislodge just enough so that it wiggles back and forth with the slightest of pressure.  Including trying to pull a stitch back with it, because of course it was the side I was holding in my right hand. I managed to complete the row very carefully, then I put them away because I was afraid any more knitting would cause that tip to come off completely and anyway, it's not easy to knit with a tip that bends when put under the slightest of pressure.

Am I really that hard on my needles?  I mean, I'll entertain that thought because I know I'm a tighter, rougher's why I prefer metal needles for most yarn.  Or just unlucky and got needle with an issue?

Anyway, there is a happy ending to this story.  I emailed WEBS and asked if they had a broken needle return-and-replace policy, because I couldn't find it on their site and, I mean, it's only been a month.  I was fully prepared to pay the shipping to send it back and have them send me a new one because it's still cheaper that way AND I won't have to deal with the switching needle gauge problem (because I do have a metal size 0 circular for socks here already).  They replied that they have a no-questions asked replacement policy on Knitter's Pride needles, and that they would send me a replacement right away.

Hopefully I don't break this one.  The only suck-y part right now is that I don't have a travel project to work on.  Unless I just finish this first sock with the metal needles.  How much could my gauge change for the upper part of a sock with a crazy design, anyway?

May 30, 2014

Misadventures in Shawls, Part 2: Well This isn't So Bad But it is a Snail

Now being a little more of a month into this shawl (I am including last week in that count, despite the fact that I made no progress on the shawl at all since I had to make garb instead), it's not as bad as I feared, though it is as slow as I've feared:

Up to row 43, woot!  Though there's a lot more beads on this shawl than it looks; flash washed them out.

This pattern has two things going for it: it's not that complicated (the pattern's written and charted well to boot) and it's pretty repetitive.  At least so far.  Beading turns out to be easy as well; you just slide the bead onto a small crochet hook and then slide it onto the desired stitch.  However, 20 repeats of lace with beads still eats time, especially at the bottom there where you had to place 2 or 3 beads a repeat for every right side row.  I guess the other good thing I got going for it is that the stitch count is decreasing (you start at the bottom of the shawl).

I decided to alternate between the blue square beads (for which I ran out of rather quickly and had to go find the store I bought them from to buy four more boxes.  They went fast) and the iridescent silvery round beads that I bought last. The result is not something I love 100%, but it doesn't look bad:

Way less yellow colored; more silvery with color accents, but you get the picture.

But this is where I have to remember that it's not for me.  I don't like that the beads that stand out so much and don't quite match, but my sister's a eclectic person who loves shiny things.  In one of my self-doubt moments I texted her a picture (better colored than this one) asking how she liked it and her answer was 'pretty!'.  So I'm on the right track.  I do have to say it's kind of grown on me at this point, though I still would have picked darker beads.

Some notes about this pattern so far:
  • The cast on for this shawl is rather interesting and I don't know if it comes from somewhere but I've never seen it before.  It involves creating a crochet chain that at certain chain counts, you YO over the knitting needle to create a stitch.  Row one is knitted using the YOs, with the chains hanging off like decorative eyelets:
After the CO is done

What it looks like on the shawl

          I'm sure it'll look better when it's blocked out.  And if I had a clearer picture.
  • As I stated, pattern makes perfect sense so far.
  • This is a simpler motif than my last lace shawl.  Maybe it's because I have more experience under my belt that it seems like that to me, but I'm thinking this is easier.  The last shawl I did I couldn't figure out the pattern for my life, but it was wall-to-wall lace with cables.  This has more stockinette dead space in it.  It's a lot easier to see where the lace will be going, and therefore I'm not glued to the chart. 
  • Which means I'm most likely faster than I was last time, but knitting 400 and something stitches of lace weight still takes 30-50 minutes for a RS and WS row.
  • However, I haven't had to rip it out to a lifeline yet (note: the green-white stripes in the shawl in all the pictures...that's a lifeline.  They get removed).  I have had to hack fixes for a couple of mistakes, but at least I can do that in this pattern.  The worst mistake so far was when I decreased one off of the center stitch of one of the repeats and didn't notice until the next RS row.  I managed to drop a stitch down one side and ladder a new one up on the other side to fix the stitch count, and keep going as is.  It's noticeable if you look hard enough, but the other beauty of lace weight is that each stitch is but a small dot in a sea of stitches; one being off isn't too obvious when looked at as a whole.
  • The crappy part about lace weight yarn is that it's soooo thin and loves to tangle in everything.  It took me a day to wind the damn thing because it didn't quite fit on my swift and managed to tangle up in itself.  It could have been worse, but I now have three separate balls from one skein because there was a couple of times I had to cut the current ball off and start another to get rid of a knot that developed.
But all in's going.  Almost done with chart B; we'll see what holds up on the next chart.