Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm back!

Apologies for the long silence.  It's just a busy time of year in the teaching world - not only are things gearing up towards the end of the year at school, but all kinds of extra commitments come up outside of school time as well.  We also spent the long weekend in Vernon, which was lovely, but meant we didn't have any catch-up-on-things-at-home time!

I finished the first sock of the pair I'm working on, and made some good progress on the second one while we were stuck in the end-of-the-first-long-weekend-of-summer traffic (yes, Dave was driving) on the way home yestereve (that's a word Jane Austen coined in a letter, and I like it).  Luckily we were only in the thick of the traffic between Hope and Chilliwack, and from there we were able to take secondary roads home and leave the jam behind.

I learned a new bind-off the other night when I finished the first sock.  It turns out that the super stretchy sewn bind-off that Frauke showed me is not the same as Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off (JSSBO).  Here is a wonderful video of Cat Bordhi demonstrating the JSSBO, as well as a nifty trick for prettying up the join between the last and first stitch of the bind-off on an object knit in the round.

Mookie decided that he wanted to be in the sock photo, so here he is looking out of the window.  In the background you can see the barbecue skewers that keep adventurous kitties from getting funky in the plant pots!

Taking pictures for the blog, or anything else, has become quite a challenge.  We're shopping for a new camera, but we're having trouble settling on a model.  In the meantime, our current camera is eating batteries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Basically, freshly charged batteries last for about 3 pictures, and have to be removed when the camera is turned off in order to keep them from getting drained.  It's very hard to get good pictures under these circumstances.  Hence the cat accoutrements!

I've knit the first sleeve for the little cardi.  Hopefully this week I can get the second sleeve knit and finish this little project - it's taking a lot longer than it should with all the other things getting in the way!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Plugging Along

The weather was so beautiful this past weekend that I spent a lot more time gardening than knitting!  It felt so good to be out in the warm sunshine.  We got most of our tomatoes in on Sunday, and the only things left to put in are the zucchini and cucumbers, and a bunch of basil transplants that we've been coddling to give them a head start.  The tomatoes are surviving their transition to the outdoors nicely.  I've raised them all up from seeds - four heirloom varieties - and I get pretty attached to them!  Last year all of my tomato seedlings perished in an unfortunate cold spring wind in a misguided attempt to harden them off, so I'm very glad this year's flock has survived to adolescence!

I have finished the body of the tie cardi.   Here it is, roughly held together with stitch holders!  It shouldn't take too long to knit the sleeves (I'm doing the long-sleeved version) and put it all together, and then I can get it to its new owner in time to enjoy the warming weather.

I modified the neckband design quite a bit, and the end result looks very tidy.  The instructions called for the lace band from each of the fronts to be knit until they looked long enough to meet at the centre back neck, and then bound off and sewn in place and to each other.  Instead I left the neck stitches live on the back, then picked those stitches up every row as I kept knitting the bands.  I grafted the band ends together at the centre back and it looks seamless, which I prefer to having seams all around.

The pattern remains very accurate, for which I commend Sirdar - I have often found pattern books like this to have some serious errors in them!

The striped sock is progressing slowly, but I'm most of the way up the leg now, so soon I'll be able to do the ribbing and then have another go at Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off (JSSBO)! It is a great bind-off for ribbing on toe-up socks.  Thanks to Frauke for first showing it to me.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

... bring May flowers

I'm working on my second project out of this pattern book.  The designs are really sweet and the models are adorable.  I'm finding that the patterns are very much written to be knit in small pieces and then sewn together, which is not my preference.  I've been modifying as I go in order to reduce the number of starts, stops, and seams.

I made this dress last year, in the largest size.  I used the Baby Bamboo DK yarn that was called for in the book, and it is very pleasant to work with.  It feels lovely when it is knit up, and it blocks nicely too.  I worked the dress in the round up to the armholes, rather than as a front and back, and I was pleased with the drape of it as a seamless garment.

The project I've just started is this little cardi.  I'm knitting the 1/2 years size, in a pale blush pink.  I've been tweaking the pattern on this one too, but decided to keep the side seams for stability.  I've managed to incorporate the tie into the left front so far, rather than knitting it separately and then joining it.  The instructions are very accurate, but a bit complicated - I think perhaps a chart might have been in order...

I haven't had a lot of knitting time because I've been finalizing the handout for the workshop I'm teaching at a knitting retreat in Sorrento at the end of the month (the brochure can be downloaded here, but I think we may be full up!).  I've been learning a fascinating way to design lace charts using Micosoft Excel.  It's time consuming, but kind of fun.  Check out the instructions here.  It's very well explained.