April 25, 2007

Resolution? What Resolution?

Posted in Knitalongs, knitting at 8:34 am by nephele

I’ve been pretty quiet this month. I think my average has strayed closer to 1 post a week instead of two. So much for the new year’s resolution. Maybe I need to renew it each quarter year?

 I have at least been knitting. So far this month I’ve added 8 more swatches to the Walker Treasury Project. One of the contests they’re running is for the most swatches in the month of April. Think I have a shot?
wtp 12 to 19

As you can see, I’ve switched over to the new triad of colors for Project Spectrum 2.0. Just in time for spring! It’s given me an itch to make a lacy little spring cardigan. The challenge is trying to decide which lace pattern to use. I’ve got some bright pink Jaeger Trinity which would be perfect for it.

These swatches do come in handy when it comes to make stuff for myself. Remember that handspun sock yarn Sarah gave me? This stuff:
sarah1

I had to frog the sock I’d started with it. I was working toe up and had almost gotten to the heel but I’d used two thirds of the ball to get there! I might have made the heel turning but there wouldn’t have been any leg to the sock. Also, the fabric was coming out a little too dense. So, off to the pond.

On the second try, I went up a needle size and cast on fewer stitches. I also decide to try a lace pattern. This is where the swatches came in to play. Having knit several of them, I quickly picked this one:
Traveling Ribbed Eyelet

I did a provisional cast on and started with the leg this time. I figured I could always use something else for the toes and cuff if I needed to.  It turns out the changes were just enough. I finished the toe with a little bit to spare. I went back to the beginning, took off the provisional cast on and started knitting the other way. There wasn’t very much yarn left so I’m just going to do a couple of rounds of garter and bind off. I didn’t get a picture of it yet. Next time, promise.

elanknits said:

What issue of knit1 is your skirt in? I’ve got a purse in the upcoming summer issue.

First off, congratulations on your purse. I’ll be sure and look for it. Now to your question, the skirt was sent off last week. Given the usual lead time for magazines, it should be in the winter issue.

I have to clarify one thing though, it’s not my design. The designer is Wilma Peers. I’m a prototype knitter. Basically I take her swatches, sketches, notes and sometimes started project and make a finished garment, all the while trying to take good notes so she can write up the pattern. I get the fun part of knitting up a new thing, she gets the icky part of having to write up a multi-size pattern for publication. I get paid for my work, usually in yarn though cash is an option if I prefer – I don’t as a rule. I mostly enjoy the work – sometimes the deadlines can make things a little annoying, especially when they change it on you in the middle. In the middle of the two weeks I had to make the skirt the magazine decided they wanted it 4 days earlier! I work full time and they took away one of the weekends. That got a little crazy and resulted in some design simplification. The most iritating thing about it though was that I’d no sooner finished but they decided they didn’t need it early after all. -sigh- It’s still mostly fun or I wouldn’t be doing it. Besides, you know, free yarn. 🙂

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April 17, 2007

Back to What Passes For Normal

Posted in knitting at 4:09 pm by nephele

The prototype of the skirt for Knit.1 is finished. I still can’t show the whole thing but here’s another bit:

Oops, sorry.  The designer asked me to remove the picture until the Knit.1 releases images. The bit I had shown was probably okay, but only probably. Better safe than sorry.

I do have a few things to say about the yarn in the above. The yarn was one of the new offerings from Kollage called Delicious. It is a 100% soy knitted tape yarn in a worsted weight.

The picture above shows the piece as it was right off the needles, it hasn’t been blocked. I think you can tell from that the yarn is very even and stable. The hem may need a bit of steam but the rest of it is just fine as is. It also has an unevenness to the dye that is similar to that of kettle dyed yarns. I like that a lot, especially on a smooth stockinette piece like this. It adds visual interest. Being soy, the yarn is very soft in the hand but not at all snaggy. I probably wouldn’t want to use my pointier needles with this yarn but it was just fine on my Addi Turbos.

That’s the good news. There is a bit of bad. The biggest complaint I have is that every single hank of this yarn had at least one and sometimes two knots in it. I was knitting in the round so I didn’t even have seams to hide yarn ends in.  That was frustrating. Hopefully it’s growing pains on a new product and things will be better on later batches. The other concern is the dye. I noticed some transfer to my hands as I worked with this yarn. If I’d been using wooden needles they would have been stained. There are many yarns that do this though. If all it takes is a wash to to get rid of the excess dye then this isn’t a major issue. Just don’t wear you newly finished item with white clothes until you’ve check on this.

Overall I think the review is a good one. The yarn feels appropriately delicious and looks great. The knots would have bothered me less in a garment the had seams and I think the dye will settle down after a soak. I would happily use the yarn again if the price is reasonable, though I’d probably buy an extra skein to cover the inches lost to knots.

That’s it on that subject at least until the magazine comes out.

Now I can go back to knitting other things. I do have an item or two that I want to work on for Secret Pal so I’ll have to go to stealth mode for those but they don’t have as tight a deadline. I won’t have to work on only those projects and nothing else.

Oh the freedom! What to pick… After the rush job, I’m dying to start to something new – which is ridiculous. Maybe I’ll just work on WTP swatches for a day or two to satisfy the startitis. Which reminds me, I need to sign up for some new swatches. I’ve only got one left. I better go do that before somebody else snags my choices.

April 12, 2007

More Goodies!

Posted in knitting at 8:58 am by nephele

I’m one of those people who never seems to win anything, at least not when the contest is based on random luck. So imagine my surprise when I actually did win a randome drawing! The folks over at Romancing the Yarn often have drawings for destashing give aways. I usually don’t put my name in but this time it was for some sock yarn in a brand I’ve never tried so I though, what the heck. There were a few different batches of sock yarn on offer that day but I only put my name in for one of them and I won!

I got the package the other day and there was a bonus inside. The authors of Romancing the Yarn are all authors, that is to say published novelists. In addition to the yarn I got a book (my two favorite addictions in one package) see:
romance1

Barbara autographed the book too:
romance2

In case you can’t read it, the middle section says “Some knitting content!” I think this will go perfectly with the bath salts, chocolate and insense my Secret Pal sent me. It may be a bit cliche but it still sounds like a very relaxing afternoon to me.

So here it is Thursday already and I’m just now putting up my first post of the week. What gives? I am knitting. The trouble is I can’t really blog about it. I’m working on another prototype for my designer friend. I can tell you it’s a skirt and it’s planned for publication in Vogue’s Knit 1, I believe. Based on the timing (it’s due the 24th) I suspect it will be the fall issue but it might be winter. It’s hard to tell because they have to do the photo shoots so far in advance. When it comes out I’ll be sure and let you know. In the meantime, I’ll tease you with this:
knit1

Ingrid said:

Wow – those BW swatches are gorgeous! And I love the new layout:) Thank you for the great baby blanket square! I have photos posted of the finished product:)

Thanks! The layout is temporary though. It’ll change again in June when the Project Spectrum colors change.

I saw the photos of the assembled blanket – very cute. I’m sure it’ll come in handy real soon. 🙂

Sarah said:

Your Treasury Project swatches are gorgeous! And yes, there are a few shades of green I don’t love…not many, though.

The swatches are a fun little side project. I’m really liking the current batch of colors. They’re very happy. The finished throw that I plan to put them all in is going to be very… interesting.

Speaking of the WTP swatches, I’ve got another goodie on the way to me. One of the contests was for posting 3 or more swatches in April. As you saw last time, I’ve already sent in 4. So I’ll be getting a prize for that soon. I’m thinking of trying for the “Most Swatch Posts in April” thing too, but this skirt project is getting in the way of that. Oh well. Maybe once I get the skirt done I can churn out a few more swatches. Time will tell…

April 5, 2007

Goodies!

Posted in knitting, Secret Pal 10 at 9:09 am by nephele

The mail arrived a little late yesterday but when it finally showed up I found this:
sp10a

Interesting. What’s that label in the corner…
sp10b

Royal Mail… could it be? Why yes, yes it is, my first Secret Pal package! I could hardly wait to see what was inside. So I didn’t

All kinds of goodies. Once I unfolded the tissue paper and brushed aside the cute Easter confetti I found all of this inside:
sp10c

Looking at the non woolly items I foresee a very decadent soak in the bath in my near future. 
sp10d

There’s an assortment of regional chocolate, bath salts (how did you know I have hard water?) and jasmine insense.

My new Pal didn’t scrimp on the woolly goodness either!
sp10e

A ball of dark brown Donegal Tweed and three ballls of very pretty teal wool. In the card, my Pal explained why she’d chosen those particular yarns and mentioned that the Freedom wool felts beautifully. I’m already plotting what I’ll do with it.

Great job Secret Pal, I love it all. Thank you!

In other blog news… I’ve posted four new swatches to the Walker Treasure Project using the new colors for Project Spectrum 2.0.  You can see the details on the WTP site but here are thumbnails showing the colors:
Twin Leaf LacePersian LaceTraveling Ribbed EyeletKing Charles Brocade

I love these colors. They’re so fresh and spring-like. I’m getting the urge to start a lacey spring cardigan. Can I restrain myself? Not likely. I’ve got some hot pink Jaeger Trinity in my stash that would fit the bill nicely. Time to get out the graph paper.

jujuridl said:

The yarn is amazing. I would suggest wearing these socks on your hands, so you can get a better look at them throughout the day.

I was debating making armwarmers with this yarn for just that reason. But my feet deserve a treat too. Also, I think this was Sarah’s first attempt and sock yarn and I wanted to test it out. I’ll just have to put my feet up a lot so I can look at them.

Sarah said:

Love the new blog colors — I like this shade of green. And I am glad to see you’re enjoying the handspun!

Come on, tell the truth. Is there a shade of green you don’t like? This is a very cheerful green though isn’t it?

I am enjoying your handspun – a lot! It’s knitting up into a nice firm fabric which should wear well. The plies are staying plied – no splitting or other irritants and of course the color is fabulous. You’ve definitely got the knack.

Your UK secret pal said:

The Capecho is wonderful!!! It looks like a cross between shawl and shrug… is that about right? The patterning is gorgeous, and such a light coloured yarn really shows off all the countours. Fabulous! Well done.

I am looking forward to the pattern for the mesh bag… I would like to try to make one.

Thanks for the nice comments and thanks again for all the wonderful goodies!

The Capecho is more shrug than shawl. Vogue Knitting labelled it a bolero which is almost right. There’s a reason I took to calling it “the … garment.” It’s neither fish nor fowl but it is interesting and a fun knit.

You’ve probably already noticed but the mesh bag pattern is up. There’s a link in the free patterns section of the side bar.

I think I’m going to like this Secret Pal thing 🙂

April 1, 2007

Let the New Colors Begin

Posted in Knitalongs at 11:30 am by nephele

As mentioned last time, I’ve temporarily change the blog theme to go with the current Project Spectrum colors. For April and May the colors are – appropriately for spring – green, yellow and pink. This theme is definitely green, like fresh spring leaves. I also cast on this morning for my next WTP swatch using yellow yarn (the pink and green are waiting in the wings).

 Speaking of the Walker Treasury Project… If you’ve been thinking about joining now would be a good time. There are some contest coming up for contributors and one of them is only available to people who sign up and post their first swatch in April – no fooling.

Sarah said:
I love your idea of coordinating the blog colors with Project Spectrum — cute!

How do like this green? I actually have several little household items in this sort of green (like my dishwashing brush, and my bathroom soap dish) so I like it. There was a pink option. It even had pink and yellow flowers in the header but it was a little too pink. I had a bedroom that pink when I was nine. Not something I feel the need to re-live.

By the way Sarah, I started the socks with your handspun yarn see:
Sarahsock

Just a simple toe up sock with a garter rib pattern. I didn’t want to compete with the pretty colors of the yarn and I do want to use every bit of it. I think I may have mentioned previously that I split the ball of yarn into two by weight. When the first sock is almost done, I start the second so I can make sure they come out the same height. To give you an idea of how much I’m enjoying this yarn: I cast on yesterday and I’m already halfway through the gusset increases.

Once I finish these I’ll have to pull out some of my pink and green yarns so I can do spectrum-y socks. There is a bit of yellow in these so they sort of count. They’d have worked even better for the early fall color group of orange, brown and purple but I didn’t want to wait! I’ve been itching to play with this yarn. And let me just say, half a sock in, I’ll be happy to give a good home to any other yarn you spin (hint, hint).