Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Project Spectrum, May

May 5 070May 5 051May 5 055May 5 054
May 5 072May 20 006May 5 052May 15 023
May 30 002May 30 003May 30 005Meridian VII
Scenes around Washington, D.C., Project Spectrum

I had too many WIPs - none of them green - to devote one entirely to this month's Project Spectrum. I suppose it would have helped if I had green yarn stashed, but I wasn't inclined to look at green yarn. That has changed. As you may recall, I bought pale olive yarn at School Products last week. I began this month's exercise tooling around with camera in tow looking for people wearing green and not finding many. Actually, none. Washingtonians wear lots of black, and I do too because it's easy and doesn't require much thought. I discovered that we frequently look as though we haven't given it much thought, but that's another topic entirely! Anyway, the exercise is subtly enabling me to really "see" things rather than looking beyond them, and changing the way I look at them. I probably would never have noticed that green house before. And I suppose that is the object of this exercise, or is one of them.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Tuesday Mermaid Update

The back is finished. Now, I'll begin the armhole (left side).

I-cord is looming...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

New York Yarn Shop Adventures

Made a quick business trip to New York Friday and managed to get a couple of yarn shops in, Habu Textiles and School Products. I've seen them on many blogs, most recently on the Knitting Doctor's blog and had to see them myself. Would like to have gone to the other shops she mentioned, but didn't have time.

Wanted to go to Habu first on 29th on the East Side, wasn't sure I was going to make it. My meeting was over about 4:30, which a nice New Yorker walking a yorkie told me was taxi witching hour, i.e. the time they change shifts and don't pick up anyone. After about 30 minutes on the corner of 52nd and 5th on the East Side, a cabbie took pity on me and said he'd take me to 29th, but if there was lots of traffic I'd have to hoof it to the West side. Better than nothin' I guess, and my bad back could use the walk.

I got lucky. Not much traffic, so he dropped me off at 29th and Broadway on the east side and walked to 135 West 29th Street about halfway down the block. Kind of a dumpy area, lots of wholesale shops, but hey, I love New York, so what did I care? I came to the address and there's no store, just the tiniest reception area with a doorman's station and no doorman. I squinted at the directory hanging behind the station and finally saw "Habu - 804" and took the elevator up.

The door to the suite was cracked about 5 inches, a tiny "Habu" sign next to it. Thought I'd made a mistake. I saw a young woman rummaging through boxes and decided to knock. I showed her my internet page print out and told her I was looking for a yarn store. She warmly threw the door open and I entered the most unusual yarn store I've ever been in.

The entry opens directly upon a small room with cloth hangings on the wall. Some of the hangings had skeins of representative yarn beneath them on a low shelf that runs the length of the wall. A collection of baskets filled with cones, skeins, and hanks of yarn were arranged in the center of the room.

The woman showed me the baskets containing sale yarns and then showed me to a tiny back room - actually a narrow hallway - with hanks of yarn hanging on one side and skeins in boxes and finished sweaters on the other.

I was immediately struck by how different Habu yarns are: linen "paper" yarns, silk and cashmere spun in different shapes and textures, wire yarns, alpaca, mohair, hemp, and wool of course. The colors seemed unusual too, maybe I've gotten so used to looking at bright variagated sock yarns lately, that muted earth tones and greys have become a novelty. That's not to say they are boring, in fact, they are among the most beautiful yarn collections I've ever seen.

Here's what I bought:

On the cone is 3oz. of cotton, which feels and looks linen tape, bottom left is 3.5 oz of the same, on the bottom right is 130 yds of silk.

Don't know what I'm going to do with any of it yet, I just bought enough to play with. Got to swatch and wash first. Since so few of my current projects lend themselves to commuting projects, I will knit swatches instead. There were no Japanese knitting books that so many of you love.

I was overwhelmed by possibilities I'd never considered.

My next stop was School Products around the corner on Broadway, where I picked up a couple of deals. Again, no storefront, instead a suite on the third floor, glass front so you can see in, but the door was locked, so I had to be buzzed in. I can see why knitters love School Products. Lots of sale items! Some left over yarn from the big design houses like Armani and Donna Karan in the garment district. The owner's husband told me that sometimes samples are big enough to make a sweater, others times just enough to make a scarf or gloves or something else small. Lots of cashmere, silk and wool on cones at discounted prices and yarn ready to dye too. There were two full walls of Karabella. Yow! I think she must carry the full line. I love Karabella. Can't afford it though. I know, I know! Stop buying so much small stuff and save for the bigger, more expensive projects. The owner's husband look alarmed when I said aloud, "I could camp out here!"

I bought 8 skeins of cashmere and silk in pale olive for $6.99 each, a one pound skein of cashmere for $25 (approx. 1200 yards, I hope this was a deal), and the Debbie Bliss' Baby Knits for Beginners. Yeah, I know I can get patterns off the internet, but I wanted it.

I'm going to be doing lots of swatching. Pray for finished objects!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Blocking and Swatching

Unknown Green House in South East Washington, D.C.
for Project Spectrum

Go on over to Eunny's site for an excellent tutorial on blocking. I was surprised to learn that she doesn't use a blocking board. She covers her mattress with plastic and pins through. I have a pillow top so that may not work, but I will give it a try. I wanted ask her if she swatches everything, but I know better than to do that...I just can't seem to bring myself to swatch socks though I understand that it might be necessary. Actually I swatched Hawaii Joy, but that's because I'm concerned about maintaining the integrity of the Pomatomus pattern, not gauge.
Do you swatch everything?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Lest you think that I've forgotten Mermaid...

Here she is:

You can see the back neck formed on the top right plateau, and the ridge you see extending downward from the neck is the center of the back. It's still an easy knit. I'm beginning to anticipate adding the i-cord, though I still have to finish the body and two sleeves. The i-cord application is the point at which I could really screw it up. I suppose if I can't do the I-cord bind off, that I can just sew it on.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Got my first my first Socks that Rock kit from Blue Moon Fiber Arts today. The colorway is "Fairgrounds." I was a little stunned by the vibrant colors because this is not a colorway I would choose for myself, but it's growing on me. The yarn itself is wondrous: it's really soft and I'm sure it will feel glorious on my feet. The pattern is Rock and Weave, again, something I would not choose for myself because I like a longer cuff, but I'm intrigued by the slip stitch pattern and I'm eager to try it. The kit came with a neat 3 ring binder containing a little background info about the club and the first sock, Cedar Creek; extensive sizing guidelines; a page for recording sock sizes for yourself and for those for whom you knit; and instructions for Rock and Weave. I need all the help I can get keeping myself organized! Oh, and a miniature skein on a keyring.

I swatched, washed, and blocked Hawaii Joy. I don't notice any bloom that I was told would appear. I'm afraid to start Pomatomus for some reason. Still really love the yarn and colorway. Maybe I'll just start Rock and Weave first.

I also bought hemp yarn on sale at StitchDC to make Mason-Dixon handtowels. Ann and Kay suggest using Euroflax linen in their book, but at their booksigning they said the hemp would be nice too and I loved the colors, so here's what I bought: All of StitchDC's notions are 10 percent off this weekend so I bought a set of Addi Turbos for sock knitting on my commute. Might buy one more circ tomorrow for Magic Looping. Did I mention that I bought several skeins of Phildar Cecilia on eBay to make turtlenecks in the fall? Then when I came home I discovered that Scout still had one skein of the gorgeous Rosalie on sale at Etsy, and I had to have it. Before you decide that I'm out of control, don't forget that I had a major knitting slump all fall and winter and bought absolutely NO yarn and knit NOTHING. Just making up for lost time I guess...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Mom came to visit for a week for mother's day and I kinda got off of my knitting schedule. While we were out shopping, I crocheted at least 10 squares for the Filatura shrug - waiting in rush hour traffic, and during Mom's fabric foraging.

It makes her so happy! She's a seamstress and actually has more fabric than I have yarn!

I finished a Ballband Wash Cloth and started another and began a swatch for the MD baby kimono. I'm embarrassed to photograph the tons of Sugar and Cream I bought! I want to start a logcabin blanket but can't settle on colors. Should just knit from stash like Abi. Check hers out - it's really pretty. I also bought Patons Grace in taupe for Soleil. The yarn I bought at Elann for this skirt, Soleil (2 planned!), and for this cardi arrived, as well as Regal Silk for the Annie Modesitt Corset Tee. Acquisition photos will follow. Finally, I joined the STR sock club during the late invitation period (it's closed again). Don't ask me when I'm going to knit all these things.

No work on mermaid or socks.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Knitting from Both Ends

While I love both the Traveler's Sock and the Hawaii Joy yarn, I don't think they are suited to each other. The Traveler's Sock pattern is best worked in a solid or semi-solid color, I think, and the sea-inspired colors of Hawaii Joy will be best shown off in stockinette or the sea/shell/scale motif of Pomatomus. I couldn't bring myself to frog the cuff of the Traveler's Sock (top), so I cast on Pomatomus (bottom) from the center pull. Now I'm concerned that Hawaii Joy is too fine a gauge for Pomatomus. If there was ever a case for making a toe-up sock this is it: I can try it on more easily to determine the fit, than a top-down. I shouldn't let this give me heartburn. It's just a sock, right?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Instructions for My Short-Row Heels

Meridian House, Washington, D.C.

A couple of you have asked for instructions for my short row heel. I improvised it and didn't take notes, so I had knit through it a couple of times to reconstruct it. I'm a novice at pattern writing, so I hope my instructions are clear. Please don't hesitate to ask for clarification.

The heel is worked over half the stitches cast. All stitches are slipped purlwise. Work stitches tightly.

Row 1: slip first stitch, knit across to second to the last stitch, slip this stitch to right needle, turn.
Row 2: Move yarn to back, purl across to stitch just before the slipped stitch, ( second to the end), slip this stitch to right needle, turn.
Row 3: Move yarn to front, knit cross to stitch just before wrapped stitch, slip to right needle, turn.
Row 4: Move yarn to back, purl across to stitch just before the wrapped stitch, slip it to right needle, turn.

Continue in this fashion until you have 8-9 unworked stitches left on needle (10 -11 depending on your heel size).

End with purl row, slipping last unworked stitch to right needle, turn, yarn to front, knit across to last stitch before wrapped one, knit this stitch together with the next stitch through the back loops. Turn.

Slip stitch, purl across to last stitch before wrapped one, purl this stitch together with the next stitch. turn.

Continue until you've worked all the stitches.

There's still room for improvement, and I look forward to getting tips from you all!

I've never the tried the following tutorials, but I've seen them cited on a few other blogs:
Alison's (Blue Blog) short row tutorial
Wendy's toe up sock pattern contains short row heel instructions, and on
Good luck!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


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