Monday, January 28, 2013

Two-color brioche in baby steps

My goal in learning the brioche stitch and spending months on the one-color scarf was this two-color pattern. Nancy Marchant's Alex scarf is pretty darn stunning.

Well, now I grasp the concept pretty well, and even managed to get my head around working two colors at once. But my stitches are super-sloppy, the overall pattern is distorted, and I can see where I made several obvious mistakes.

Plus I am having my doubts about the colors – the first time he saw them, the Sergeant said, "Yay, Oakland Athletics!" So that's all I see now. The Green Bay Packers also come to mind.

(The easy solution would be to make the scarf for the Sergeant, but he doesn't wear scarves.)

So, do I:
  1. Struggle on with this piece and trust that my stitches will improve
  2. Struggle on, trust, and add a third color in one of the central leaves to add a focal point of non-sports-team color
  3. Start over with these colors
  4. Start over with a different coordinating yarn

That's about 40 rows of knitting there, so it's not a huge waste. I would just cut the strings and start with fresh yarn.

Oh, knitterly dilemmas.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The lace adventure begins

I have a new resolution for 2014: Finish this shawl.

Yes, 2014. This pattern has a cast-on of 361 stitches. You work 121 rows of knitting with short-row wraps and turns, then get to the lace proper. I haven't even counted how many rows that is.

This will likely be a background project I work on in between others with more immediate gratification.

Teeny tiny stitches! And I'm slow.

Maybe I should have my head checked.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pam Allen's State Street Cowl completed

Well, that was fun! A fairly quick, easy knit that looks more complicated than it was. I learned how bad I am at estimating how much yarn I have left – I could have done a whole 'nother pattern repeat. Really. Instead, I've got a bunch of ribbing at the end. Which looks fine.

I had planned to do a tubular bind-off, but instead went for the easier method of going through two stitches purlwise, back through the first knitwise, and dropping it off. Still took me a couple hours.

I wet-blocked it with a little woolwash, then dried it most of the way on an inverted five-gallon bucket covered with a towel. That allowed me to stretch it out a little without having to pin it.

Once again, the yarn is two skeins of Mirasol Ushya – 98 percent Merino and 2 percent polyamide – in Fern Green, from A Knitted Peace.

Thanks to Karen at Fringe Association for nudging me into knitting it, and to Pam Allen for the lovely design.

Now it's on to the next project, which might just drive me around the bend: a lace shawl knit sideways on Size 3 circulars. The cast-on is 361 stitches. Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sew then this happened

Over the summer I expressed an interest in getting a sewing machine, and my most awesome mother-in-law said, "I have an extra machine you can have." She and her stepmom had bought the same machine back in the '80s, and she later inherited it when her stepmom died. It's a very lightly used Husqvarna Viking 190, and my mother-in-law had it serviced before she handed it over.
I hadn't touched a sewing machine since eighth-grade home ec, so I signed up for Sewing 101 at a local craft store and made a couple of pillow cases. Not too hard!

The first thing I made on my own was a zipper pouch. I found a free Craftsy class by Kristin Link of Sew, Mama, Sew.
My mother-in-law got the pouch for Christmas.

Then I made a drawstring bag to hold my knitting (yeah, I learned the brioche stitch from another Craftsy class, "Explorations in Brioche Knitting.")
So handy! I made some more, also for Christmas gifts.
And some more zipper pouches.
Jackson thinks they're not very interesting ("No treats in there? Yawn!"), but I think they're pretty neat. I gave them away, too. I need to make some for myself!

There's just not enough time to do all the projects I have in mind (sewing! knitting! sewing! knitting!) but I keep plugging away and once in a while I manage to finish something.

What are you working on these days?

Monday, January 07, 2013


I got worried that I was going to run out of yarn before I finished. I have a third skein, but I really don't want to break into it for just a couple rows of knitting. I'd rather take it back.

So I skipped the last three rows of the pattern repeat and started the ribbing. Turns out I have way more than enough yarn.

So, do I rip back and finish it properly? (I put in a lifeline just in case)

Or do I just call it good and end here?

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Cowl me Ishmael

So the knit-along has begun. I actually got started on Sunday and I'm glad I did, as I needed different needles and also had to look up how to purl. And how to do a yarnover, SSK and K2tog. How pathetic is that?

As ever, lifelines and stitch markers are the key to my sanity. I had to rip back a couple of rows at the beginning. If I had to, I could go to the yarn shop and get help. It's not like brioche, where no one knows what the heck those stitches are doing.

Speaking of, here's the brioche scarf, all finished. It's being shipped off to Mom tomorrow.
I guess I could resolve to knit more this year, but that's happening anyway.