Monday, March 4, 2013

She's gone plum frog happy!

My February has been perfect for knitting.  The Tennessee valley saw frequent dustings of snow that weren't dangerous, but just pretty!  With my unemployed status, I spent it in my pajamas knitting and spinning and drinking buckets of yummy coffee.  If it weren't for the Sunday knitting group at the bookstore and the newly started Tuesday spinning group at the Yarn Haven, I could burn my bras. 

So yeah, I've gotten lots done, most importantly is the Child Surprise Jacket for Jada!  It needs the buttons put on and a few more tales woven in, then it can ship.  Y'all, she was 7 years old when I started it, and there was a real worry that I wouldn't get it finished until it could be given as a bridal shower gift, with the slow pace I had.  But my recent knitting mojo got channeled into that jacket, and I gotta confess to being right proud of it.  I hand stitched a ribbon to the inside of the button band for some stability, which was a first for me - learned it from theKnitmore Girls' tutorial.

 In knitterly news, did y'all see the Ola hat pattern that enjoyed the most faved spot on Ravelry for a week or so?  Most reactions I heard to the pattern's promo photo was, "There was a pattern???"  It definitely went viral amongst internet knitters and kept our Sunday group giggling that week.  That photo cropped up all over Ravelry, with a common joke being to post "Ola" to someone as a greeting, but with it linked to that photo.  I even saw it on Pinterest boards.  A lot! 

Speaking of the knitting group, Mary Beth, creator of the Blue Footed Booby, struck twice more.  The first one requires you to know the back story.  Somehow, merkins came up in conversation at one of our knit-togethers. 

Just google it sometime when you're alone. 

But that day, I couldn't remember what the word was for it and asked, "What's them cooter wigs called again?"  Yeah, we were in one of those sophomoric moods.  Mary Beth knew it was a merkin, and looked up 'cooter' on her iPad -  just for giggles, I reckon.  But what she came up with is a type of turtle, which was even funnier since our knitting group is called The Fertile Turtles.  So the week after, she brings me this:


More recently, she gave me a Nefarious Web shawl she had knitted.  I know - I was speechless!

 Being in a sock-ish frame of mind, I spun merino/nylon blend in a 2-ply, with one being worsted and the other ply being woolen.  I know, but I was curious, okay?  Haven't knitted with it yet, but it's on deck for real soon for something socky.

While I'm on about socks, I gathered up my sock yarn leftovers and loaded them into a basket, along with a Ziploc bag of wool-combing leftovers.  Can ya guess what for?  I started making hexipuffs for a future bed for our cat, BeBe.

I also carded up the combing waste from the shetland that came with the beginning comb/card kits I got from the Woolery.  After spinning it, I see why it's considered waste - what a lovely, lumpy mess!  But ya know, the lumps are so consistent, I'm thinking I'll take advantage of its texture in a weaving project someday.  Lesson learned, but I'm still gonna act like it was on purpose (wink!). 

The combings from it, however, are spun up and are dreamy!  There's something to be said for spinning freshly combed wool that hasn't been compressed and tangled with handling, packaging, shipping, etc.    It's part of this bag of handspuns I'm collecting that will all go into a shawl.  Ya know, all undyed shades, all spun by me, and then just mix and match 'em in a free-form kinda shawl.  I started the knitting on it the other day, and it's what I took to work on this past Sunday.  But my supposedly circular shawl was stubbornly remaining semi-circular.  Huh.  I double-checked the instructions for increases against my increases, and couldn't find the reason.  Another look at the pattern's listing on Ravelry showed where others had the same results.  It was errata.  Should you decide to do this one, the increases should be every other row, not every fourth row.

So I frogged what I had this morning and started over.  I'm happy to report that its shape is perfect!  As early as it is in this shawl's development, I'm loving it already!

It's very liberating to just mix 'n match yarns for this type of project, allowing me to experiment with different spinning and plying methods since nothing had to be identical to any previous skeins.

And now that the fleece I got at SAFF is all washed up, I'm just twitching to card it up and spin it!  I took some photos of some of the steps I do to wash a fleece, and aim to share my process here soon (stay tuned).

And with Jada's sweater being all but done, I turned my attention to the next item on my gift list, my cousin's scarf.  He asked for a Ravenclaw Scarf like in the later Harry Potter movies.  Now that scarf has already proven to be a bit of a tale.  It's already reincarnated four times.  He chose what, in my opinion, is the fussier one of the two HP scarf models, this one being a 1x1 rib for miles.  I got a good start on it, but wasn't happy with the lumpy tales at every color change.  Then I got the bright idea to modify the pattern.  I know, but you do it too, I'm sure!  I frogged what was done, and re-knit it in a tube of stockinette stitch, giving me the inside of the tube in which to hide the yarn tales.  And it got me out of having to do 1x1 rib.  It would look the same, but in my crazy head seemed more logical.  At the time, it was.

But then (insert heralding trumpet sounds here) I discovered the Norwegian Purl stitch.  It's for continental knitters and is a brilliant way of making the purl stitch without bringing the yarn forward!  That's right, the yarn stays in back, right where it already is for the knit stitch!  Clicky clicky for the video tutorial that I watched.  Folks, it not only changed my approach to this scarf project, it was a life-changer for me!

 So, yeah, I frogged the tube version and re-cast on again, following the pattern as written with its 1x1 rib.  But now, that rib doesn't seem like a daunting obstacle, instead it's an opportunity to practice this new purl method!  Them little god-winks happen in knitting too, I'm here to tell ya.