Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An abundance of knitting time :-)

Lately my schedule is such that I have almost every weekday evening alone at home.  I've been plowing through audiobooks, clearing out my WIP basket, and thinking about Christmas.

Since I'm on the opposite side of the world from my family and close friends and have all this time to knit, I figure if there's ever a year to try and knit a bunch of Christmas gifts, this is it.  So I've cast on a royal ton of things in the last week or so, even though I said I wouldn't start anything new until all my WIPs were finished.

Since I'm knitting gifts, of course I can't show them yet but I will talk about what I'm knitting for my immediate family, since I don't think they even know what a blog is hehehe.

Here's the deal. I've got all this Knitpicks Palette laying around (21 balls to be exact) from a kit to make a bag.  I really want to make that bag at some point, but even if I cast on today there's no way I would finish it before leaving Singapore, and it would become a headache come moving time.  Meanwhile, I've got six family members who live in a cold place (well, depends on your definition of cold I guess), the need to destash over the next four months, and a burning desire to knit colorful mittens.

The only rational thing I can do is try to knock out six pairs of mittens over the next two months. Right?

I'm going to take patterns from Charlene Schurch's book Mostly Mittens.  First up, surprisingly, is Mitten 1 from the book.  I'm not great at combining colors but here's what I came up with, if it looks awful I'll change out a color or two:
I've only knit one pair of  mittens before but it was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to this megaproject.  And if they don't get finished in time, oh well I'll send a gift card.

I also cast on for something to leave at my desk at work, something uncomplicated and time insensitive (I've been spending less time at the office itself lately, so I can't predict how much time I'll have for knitting at work in the coming months).  I cast on for a scarf using a pattern from Nancy Marchant's book Knitting Brioche.
 This stitch is called "Siemens stitch" in her book. I chose it because it combines brioche knitting, which is a new technique for me, with double knitting, which I've dabbled in before.  It was great to be working them in the same piece, and I think I understand both better because of it. Both require you to slip a lot of stitches, but the brioche sections put a lot more yarn on the needle:

The resulting fabric is thick, reversible, and cozy.  The yarn is Colourmart, by the way, but I'm not entering it in the current contest because I don't think I'll finish it in time.

Taking the pics for this post and the previous one were fun - I took bf to the gardens at my work on a Saturday afternoon.  Don't worry - I am not a crazy workaholic, but I live so close to my work that the gardens there are the closest pretty place.  The heat made us a little silly:
but it was better than staying home and taking pics in my cruddy little room.

We were not the only ones in garden.
I don't know how many of these little guys live there, but I see them all the time. They are lightning fast though, and I'm surprised bf caught a pic of one.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

FO: Socks

I've finished two pairs of socks recently.  One of these pairs was originally cast on something like two years ago (or maybe more?) so it's a relief to finally  be done with them!

Both pair are plain, since the yarn is multicolored.  As you might see from the pic, though, they achieved this end via different constructions.  I'm slowly expanding my sock construction repertoire.  I think it's neat that such a simple functional item, which most (non-knitter) people don't think twice about, can hide a rich topic for contemplation and experimentation.

For the blue-ish pair (which I mentioned before, and is the pair I started recently) I followed the Gusset Heel Basic Socks pattern from Wendy's book. I tried to use up all the yarn but they got too huge, I've got some leftovers.  I usually use 2.0 mm needles, but for these I used 2.5 mm, since the yarn has nylon in it I'm confident these guys are gonna last despite the loose gauge.  This pair goes to my bf, who looks forward to living in a climate where all these things I'm knitting for him will actually be useful.

The yellow-y pair is not from any pattern, I just knit a tube and did an afterthought heel.  I didn't use a particular resource for the heel, but the Yarn Harlot has a clear description.  In fact the first sock's heel was done differently as I mentioned earlier, but the second heel was done as the YH did.  The end result is nice, and the color changes are remarkably uniform throughout the sock.  These will go to a good friend whose has probably forgotten that I promised him a pair of socks, it was so long ago.  I'm not going to remind him before sending these off, because the thought of my friend checking the mailbox one fine random day and finding a pair of handmade socks is too funny!

Anyway, of the two methods of heel construction, I'd say the afterthought heel is more annoying to make but does look prettier.  For self-striping yarn I might do it again, if only because it prevents the heels from messing with the color changes.  With solid yarn though, the boredom of knitting such a long tube from toe to calf of plain stockinette without even and increases or decreases is not worth it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I haven't been blogging, but I have been knitting.

I think I can finish a few WIPs soon and then I'll write something about them. Really, I can only show the same half-finished blue sweater so many times. 

Hopefully this is the last time: