Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cool Sipalu Inside and Out




Loving It

I finished the front panel of the Sipalu Bag in the Cool (Alternate) Color Palette. OMG I absolutely love it. I will upload pictures when I get home. I just had to pick up the 240 provisionally cast on stitches last night and knit a row. I will complete the welt tonight and get started on the back panel. The coolest thing is that each row is shorter than the last so just as you start seeing the pattern develop the knitting goes faster and faster. Before you know it you are finished. There are very few ends to weave in because you only join new colors in one place, about every 6th row - there are only 40 rows in the panel. It has only taken me a few days to knit this bag - just think if I had not had to rip out 10 rows and pick up that 240 stitches again . . . . . moving on. I cannot wait to cast on another bag. I am not sure if I want to stick with the Cool Palette and knit the primary charts or if I want to switch to the Warm Palette. The biggest question is what the heck am I going to do with all this yarn? This bag uses very little yarn, I have not made a dent in it. Maybe I will cast on the laptop bag too. My poor WIP projects, they are being neglected again. I have scheduled another 4 day weekend in March, I will have to focus on my socks and scarves that weekend. I am also flirting with the idea of frogging the Kenobi Jacket. Hmm, we'll see.

Jade Starmore Glenesk Sweater kit. I have a new Ravelry friend who is also planning on knitting this sweater. She has some WIPS to finish and she wants to do a couple of practice projects too before casting on the sweater. We should be starting at just about the same time. I don't know about her, but I spent a small fortune on the kit and I wanted to make sure my stranding was near-to-perfect before delving into my Hebridean yarns.

There should be a Wollmeise Sock Club shipment on the horizon. I wonder what the colors will be. I am designing something in the gorgeous blue yarns I bought from the other German based dyer, Kristen. I cannot wait to see what her yarn looks like knit up.

I'd rather be knitting

Monday, February 23, 2009


Horrific - that's a good word for it, I had a horrific knitting weekend.

Practice #4
I got lots of practice casting on using the invisible/provisional cast on. Luckily I had viewed Lucy Neatby's DVD and used her crochet onto the knitting needle provisional cast on. It is much better than the first method I tried. I had to rip out a whole portion of the bag so I got to cast on 80 stitches with this new method TWICE.

Pitfall #5
My join got twisted not once but TWICE. The 80 stitches which are cast on to make the fourth side of the bag are very flimsy and twisted around the needle. Instead of watching Deadwood I should have been watching my knitting. I had to rip out 10 rows (x 320 stitches per row - you do the math) and do that dang provisional cast on again.

Pitfall #6
I bought a new circular needle with a longer cable and it was broken. I will have to return it to Knit Picks. That turned out not to be a problem because each row of the front panel decreases by 8 stitches each round and I actually needed a SHORTER cable not a longer cable. I could not visualize how the stitches were decreasing until I got past the 10 rows - AGAIN. With no twist in the round the bag panel lays flat and it is easy to see how the sides will meet.

The bag is smaller than I expected. I may try to recreate this pattern with a worsted weight yarn and larger needles so I have a larger bag. I hope the laptop bag is bigger. Even with all of the pitfalls this is a very easy fast pattern to knit. I look forward to making the other three bags, they will make perfect gifts.

I know I finished the hat in my WIPs list more than a week ago, but I like the little red hat icon so I am going to leave it on the sidebar for awhile.

My Sister offered to transport me to Stitches West. Isn't that sweet? She does no crafting whatsoever but when she read there was going to be more needles and yarn in one place than there has ever been before she thought I might want to be there. I don't think she was thinking about more socks, hats or scarves - no of course not. But I don't want to go. I have a cruise and family reunion coming up back-to-back and I just bought a car. SO, I will knit from stash. Besides I happen to think I already have more needles and yarn than has ever been seen in one place ;-D

Monday, February 16, 2009

Progress and Practice

I made some progress on my Black Dimple Scarf. I completed 10 4-row repeats while watching the first 2 DVDs from Bones Season 3.
Knit Picks Dimple Shale Scarf in Karabella Aurora 8

I knit a Funky Eclectic Fake Fair Isle Hat in a couple of days. I like the effect and it was another opportunity to practice stranded knitting - this time in the round. My floats and tension are much better with flat stranded knitting. I will need to cast on the laptop bag which is knitted in the round and steeked. I still cannot figure out where or why the laptop bag is steeked though. More on that later.

Noro Kureyon colorway 143A and Knit Picks 100% Merino in Coal. No knots in the Noro, but some twigs.

Hope y'all had a good Valentine's and President's Day. You would think someone with the last name LOVE would be more into V-Day, but since I worked for American Greetings Card Co, the commercialization of many holidays has really dulled my senses.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kreative Blogger Award

Thank you CiCi for nominating me for a Kreativ Blogger Award. I was surprised and happy to receive it too. I still feel like a blog rookie sometimes so I appreciate your vote and interest.

Here are the rules for the nominees:
1. Copy the award to your site.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate 8 other bloggers.
4. Link to those on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominated.

Okay .... and the winners are..... drum roll please...........You inspire me to continue knitting and blogging.


I Slipped

I cast on another new hat. Well, it was an accident actually. I logged into Ravelry to update my projects list because I finished my Black Ribbed Scarf. And while I was in there I decided to take a look-see at the hat patterns, hoping to find a good match for my scarf. One thing led to another, or should I say one pattern led to another and I came across the Funky Eclectic Fake Fair Isle hat made from Noro Kureyon and any solid worsted yarn. I have a metric B*tt load of Noro because after completing two shrugs in knotty nasty twiggy Kureyon, I swore off the stuff. Unfortunately I had purchased a sweaters worth for a project. The hat requires a single skein, SO, I cast on and knit the first 16 rounds of the pattern while watching Lost. Casting on yet another project is bad enough, but it's not the worst - I went back into Ravelry this morning to move the hat from my queue to my projects and a couple of queue spaces above it are not one - but three ribbed hats. Right. Now I remember what I went into Ravelry for in the first place - yes, 16 rounds later. I tell you I have the attention span of a . . . well, of a crafter.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Another Long Weekend

My first stay-cation this year allowed me to get a lot of knitting and crocheting done. I watched three of my TV series on DVD while working on my projects: The 2008 Idatarod Discovery Channel series, 24 Seasons 4-6, and Bones Seasons 1-2. I still have Season 3 to watch.

My Sipalu bag has required some new skills. At the top is the welting which is like making I-cord in the middle of a piece of knitting. The alternate color palette I am working on does not have enough contrast to make the side panel pattern stand out. But the rest of the bag should be more distinct in the pattern areas. I am looking forward to seeing what develops.

The Candle Flame Scarf is looking great in this Wollmeise. I cannot wait to finish this scarf. My yarn ball is shrinking so I will be done soon.

I did a couple of pattern repeats on the Leafling Socks. I am not sure if they are going to get finished any time soon. I can't work up any enthusiam about them.

I am almost finished with the ribbed scarf. I ended up giving the hat to my Mom, but I will make myself one in wool.

I thought I would give Amigurumi a try. I did not enjoy it. Too much sewing and finishing. Not enough bang for the buck - it takes too long to make one. I will stick to wearables and warmth providers when it comes to crochet.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sipalu Swatch Practice #3

Practice #3
I have developed a way to easily wrap the non-working color when it is not used for 4-5 stitches. I bring the yarn to the front, as if to purl, knit the stitch in the color being worked, then move the non-working yarn back to the back of the work. This catches and wraps the non-working yarn at the back of the stitch just worked. The chart I am currently working on had a span of 9 stitches in one color, so there would have been a large loop of yarn at the back if the non-working yarn was not wrapped in some way. In previous color stranded projects I would stop the work twist the yarns then continue knitting. This method allows me to continue knitting without stopping the work and re-situating the yarns.

Pitfall #4
I need a longer cable, the pattern called for 16-32 inch circulars. I am using 24 inch and the work is too bunched up. I don't have a US 2/3.00 mm circular though - gee guess I have to go shopping on Knit Picks again 8-] (at least I have satisfied my restriction about not buying any new needles or hooks until I freed at least two from pending projects.)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

What, It's February?

February ALREADY??? I would like a rebate on January. I hardly felt it come and go. Speaking of hardly feeling it, I knit two short row hats in just a couple days. They knit up so fast they did not even make it to my WIP list. I started a 4x4 ribbed scarf to go with my hat.

I watched my Fair Isle Without Fear video by Alice Starmore a couple of times. Then I cast on the Knit Picks Sampler pattern, the Sipalu Bag Kit 40060. The bag is a supersized swatch. I am not concerned with a great bag, I am making it for practice and pitfalls.

PITFALL #1 My provisional casting on with yarn is pitiful. I will go back to using an options cable for provisional cast ons.
PITFALL #2 The Palette yarn is splitty and I have to be careful with the yarn I hold in my right hand.
PITFALL #3 Once the yarn ball band is removed it's easy to mix up the colors. I taped a piece of each yarn to it's yarn ball band for reference, and stuck them in the bag with the original copies of the pattern charts.

PRACTICE #1 I discovered I like the purl rows better than the knit side rows.
PRACTICE # 2 I figured out I would need a little snippet of each yarn color to go along with the color charts. Some of the colors are very close and just eyeballing the chart and balls is not going to work.

I started to just make a color stranded swatch with some of my leftover Palette yarns. But this is better. There is enough yarn in each kit to make a couple of bags so I can get in some good practice on this first one, then make the second third and fourth ones with much more skill. I bought two sampler kits, the blues and the autumn color palettes. I love the colors, and the bags that turn out nicely will be great gifts. Once I feel really comfortable with my tension and technique I will cast on the Glenesk sweater.

In reading the instructions it emphasizes blocking the bag over some books and lining the bags so the stranded yarns don't get snagged. I am going to go a step further, I am going to insert plastic canvas frames in each bag. I used to do a lot of plastic canvas needlework and I have many sheets left. I have made several plastic canvas tote bags and they are sturdy and last forever. A plastic canvas frame inside each bag will not only serve as a great blocking tool, but it will also make the bags sturdy and protect the stranded yarns.