Monday, February 27, 2006

Closing Ceremonies

You can see the lowering of the Olympic flag in the background. And in front, my Olympic attempt. A Raccoon Jacket with one sleeve.

In order to "stay in the game" till the end, and also because I was worried the sleeve wouldn't fit into the armhole, I did some sewing up while waiting for the rest of my yarn to arrive. I learned that backstitch does have a place in my finishing skills after all. I tried three different "sewing" methods. I did a crocheted seam on the shoulder seams. This wasn't easy with all that pile in the way. I sewed the sleeve seam using mattress stitch, my preferred method. This was difficult because the individual stitches are so hard to find. Then, to set in the sleeves, I used backstitch, as the pattern had suggested. This was easiest of all - the rest of the sweater will be "backstitched". It looks fine, and it's not hard. I used some of my daughter's tiny butterfly hair clips to fasten the work together, instead of pins. This also worked great.

The rest of the yarn ships today.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Yarn tales

One sleeve and some yarn labels. That's what I have to show for myself on Friday night. I will not win the gold medal. I will not, until next week sometime, finish. I am out of yarn.

People knit differently from one another. That's why "good" knitters do a gauge swatch -- because they can't count on the fact that their stitches, with a certain yarn and needles, match the designer's. But maybe people use up yarn differently too. I bought the yarn for this sweater at Churchmouse Yarns and Tea, not long after the pattern came out in Interweave Knits. I had decided to make the second size, in hopes that it might fit me and/or my daughter some day. This size called for 9 skeins of the gray/black (actually khaki/black) Funny Lux and 4 skeins of Funny in the black color. My receipt for this transaction shows that I paid for 13 skeins of this yarn. But, when I finally got ready to knit this sweater, there were only 8 skeins of the gray/black yarn in my bag. That's problem #1. Problem #2 was that when I was exploring on the web, I discovered that on the designers website, the amount of black yarn specified is 7 skeins.

First, I e-mailed Annie Modesitt to ask about the black yarn amounts. Her reply was, that she wasn't sure. She'd had people need more yarn, and others wonder why she had them buy so much.

Then, I called Churchmouse Yarns & Tea - only to find they no longer carry this yarn. Luckily, it is still available. I ordered the missing skein of gray/black and two extra skeins of black here. If you're doing the math, you can see I'm hedging my bets on the black --

Which turns out to be funny (ha ha, not the yarn) - because all the yarn I have left today is: two and a half skeins of black. So, the order went in today for 2 more skeins of the gray/black Funny Lux. It SHOULD be enough (notice I didn't say would).

So, to answer my friend Sue's question, "Is it better to be Michelle Kwan or Sasha Cohen?" My answer is: Emily Hughes.

I'm glad to be here -- I don't regret pushing myself, or being part of this huge group of knitters all working separately toward knitting glory. It would have been wonderful to win knitting gold, but someday I'll have a great sweater. Maybe I'll wear it to Vancouver someday!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

This is an unfinished sleeve

. . . in an untidy house. If it were a finished sleeve, there might be a slight but reasonable hope I could "podium".

Parenthetically, the word "podium" as a verb is my new grammatical peeve. It joins "gift", a perfectly good noun, which was used as a verb in too many ads this Christmas season. As in "should I keep it, or gift it?" Whatever happened to "give"?

Anyway, back to the knitting. I am not on track to finish. Yesterday, when I "should" have been knitting, I brought the twelve year old to pick out new glasses. Even though that out of focus overhead screen at school WILL be there next week. I also took the older one to a community concert last night. Today I've volunteered to help the girl's club at church with their sewing project, and tomorrow I'm driving for the ballet production's "school tour". Saturday I'm to learn how to be an appraiser for Destination Imagination.

Still, tonight I plan to knit like a mad woman & watch figure skating. It's almost a sleeve . . .

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Body done!

Here are the left and right sides of the body - finished! After I finished the right side, I did a three needle bind-off to form the back "seam". (This cleverness belongs to Annie Modesitt and her great pattern, not me.) You can see this seam in the photo, as the pile is somewhat distorted right in the middle of the back. I'm quite sure that a little hand-grooming will make this invisible.

I've started one of the sleeves, using the instructions from Annie's website which vary somewhat from the instructions in Interweave Knits. I suspect either would work, but the instructions I'm using make sense to me.

The pelt pattern on the sleeves are made with short rows. This is a great sweater for someone interested in experiencing short-row shaping.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Back on track . . .

I finished 4 stripes yesterday. Which means I'm back on track, if my initial estimate was correct. I'm starting to wonder if I was figuring in time to weave ends and sew seams?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Polyester Pelts

I'm knitting this jacket in "Funny" and "Funny Lux" by SandnesGarn. It's 100% polyester. The two yarns work well in this garment but they aren't the same. Funny - the black yarn, has 90 meters in 50 grams. The Funny Lux has 56 meters in 50 grams. I like the fabric of the Lux yarn a bit better, but I also think the contrast of the two yarns & textures adds to the faux effect of this design. I'm pretty much a natural fiber fan, but I am enjoying the texture of the fabric I'm getting. However, it has the pluses & minuses of most furry yarns. It was well nigh impossible to count stitches for gauge -- I just measured the whole swatch. Any mistakes are hidden, but if you drop stitches or want to fix something, you'll wish you hadn't. I'm trying hard to do things right the first time.

I had to make a decision last night about the right front. It's a mirror image of the left front, and the instructions take you through the first few stripes to help you think through what this means. But, it turns out this puts the color changes on the bottom of the piece for this half. I decided I don't like that for a couple of reasons -- mostly, because I was looking forward to my less than perfect transitions being hidden in the pick-up for the collar. So, I'm charting my own path, a bit, on this half. In the straight stitch sections, I can purl where it says knit, and vice versa. But in the garter stitch sections I'd prefer to knit. So I think I'll end up with some garter stitch sections being off by a row, one way or the other. I don't think, hidden in all that fur, that it wll matter. I hope. . .

Three more pelts (or stripes, if Chuck prefers) done last night.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Or a third of the way done, depending on how you count. This is the left half of the sweater body. Seventeen pelts. Which means I'm slowly making up for lost time. I knit 4 pelts yesterday. I was able to knit while waiting in the DMV, and during the haircut, and while dinner finished cooking. And while watching freestyle skiing, of course.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Will I be knitting's Michelle Kwan?

I knit three "pelts" yesterday, so I've kept up the pace. I am, however, two behind my total goal since I only knit ONE on Saturday. That would be OK, except I've stayed up until 11:30 p.m. two nights in a row to get this much done. I can't keep that up much longer. So, where do I find more time to knit during the day? Maybe I can sit & knit while the kids have their half hour of TV after school? Maybe I can refuse to shop, cook less? I really don't want to pull out of this Olympics.

Meanwhile, today I need to bring one kid for a haircut & to start the process to get a driver's license. No dinner planned yet. Maybe I can knit at the DMV?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I decided I need a place to record my "Olympic" progress in the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics.

We started on Friday - So on Thursday I had to finish this:

This is the Lace Dreams by Eugen Beugler from Knitters Magazine, Spring of 1996. Old stuff. Knitted in a Grignasco Merino/silk lace weight.

That's done, so I could cast on the Raccoon Jacket from Interweave Knits, Spring 2003 (I seem to major in historical projects).

I'm using the yarn, Funny, as called for in the pattern.

The body of the sweater is knit sideways, in "pelts." There are seventeen in each half. So, my goal is to knit 3 pelts each day. I'm currently off pace, having missed two pelts on Saturday. Right now I'm on pelt #10, when I should have finished 12 by last night.

Here's what it looks like now: