Wednesday, October 31, 2007

World Champion Socks! Also, an impasse.

So if you are the type of person who cares about such things, you will know that the Boston Red Sox just won the Worlds Series and so can officially be called the Best Team in Baseball! This was a really fun playoff season for me because I've probably paid more attention to baseball this season than ever before, and especially because I got to attend the first game of the world series through being lucky enough to have an awesome dad who is also lucky.

But I also feel like I deserved to be at that World Series game, because the Red Sox would never have gotten there without my lucky socks:

I bought the yarn for these socks just before the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years, back in 2004. Then the yarn kind of languished, half-knitted into a boring plain sock during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. I frogged that sock and started knitting these ones a day or two before the Red Sox home opening game, and posted about them on the day of said home opener. I finished them back in August while watching (on TV) a game in which the Red Sox pummelled the White Sox 11-1.

So clearly, they were lucky socks. I crammed them into my clogs (they're pretty bulky socks -- I'm thinking I need to get some bigger shoes for wearing with handknit socks) and wore them to the World Series game last Wednesday. The Red Sox dominated the game! I couldn't wear them during the second and third games on the series, but I had them with me anyway. And I proudly wore them on Sunday night, when the Red Sox finished off the Rockies. They're powerful socks! I'll be knitting another pair of fancy red socks next baseball season, if anyone wants to join me. White Sox fans and fans of any other potentially knitting-related teams are also welcome to join in.

I've started a Henry scarf. I've just about finished the second pattern repeat of seven, so that makes me more than a quarter of the way finished. I'm hoping to finish it in time to give it to my dad for his birthday at the beginning of December. Here's what it looks like now:

Nothing to set the world on fire, and very time consuming, but very nice too. The yarn is Gloss from Knitpicks, which is also very nice. I like it a lot. It's an easy pattern to memorize so long as you don't get bogged down with line numbers and things. I knit a lot of it this past week while watching baseball games.

I'm also trying to start the Dale of Norway sweater I've been wanting to do. I've got the yarn, but the trouble is I can't seem to knit small enough. I could buy new, smaller needles (we're talking size 00 and 000 circs, which are only made by one company anyhow), or I could try and train myself to knit tighter. I'm afraid if I tried to knit tighter, I would get less even gauge. I don't know. I may just suck it up and buy the tiny needles, though it hurts me to do it! And the yarn will split like a bastard. Alas!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Buy local!

My roommate and I have been getting a veggie share through the rather excellent Stillman's Farm CSA, and we have been enjoying it immensely although sadly it's coming to a close. They also have a meat share that I've been sorely tempted by, but it's a little spendy and I'm trying to cut back on meat anyhow, so I've stayed away. I love the CSA concept though, especially in places like New England where farming is not all that lucrative.

So imagine my delight when I heard about the Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm Yarn CSA! First of all, there's a Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm -- I had no idea. Second of all, goats on the beach:

Goats on the beach, y'all, goats on the beach!

I have been trying to confine my spending to the first weekend of the month* but I'm sorely tempted by this. On the one hand, I might get yarn that's not exactly what I would choose for myself, but hey, I never would have tried beets if I hadn't got them in the veggie share, so I'm not that frightened. I think I will wait until my appointed spendy time and buy it then if it's still available.

Oh, shares are $100 and they estimate you'll get around 10 skeins of yarn -- not cheap, but not ridiculous. Not Martha says the yarn is nice.

*Long story, but basically it's a way to keep my spending and consuming urges in check.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Hanami, and new directions

So, Hanami is blocked at last:
Photo  11

The good:
  • OMG, the fabric is so lovely. The drape! The silkiness! And it is so lightweight and non-bulky!

  • It looks basically just as advertised -- the petal effect is absolutely charming.

  • My "mistakes" in the final dense-yarnover portion totally worked -- the effect is much more random-looking than in the pattern photo.

  • It's done!

The bad:
  • I blocked it out to a rectangle, but because of the relative tension of the middle (low-yarnover-density) section and the end (high-yarnover-density) sections, it was really hard to block so that the width stayed even top to bottom, and I wasn't comfortable with the amount of tugging I had to do.

  • It's not as big as it was supposed to be. This is largely my fault, but seriously, I'm unconvinced of the utility of gauge swatches for lace. Maybe this is just because I don't like to swatch. But still! A 10x10" square of lace doesn't act the same as a 19x70" rectangle. It just doesn't! And I don't know how I could have gotten the same number of stitches/inch in both ends and the middle.

  • It's a little itchy.

If I had it to make again, I'd do something different in the middle. Maybe I'd go up a needle size or two, maybe I'd even increase a few stitches at the beginning of the petal section (leave out a few decreases?). I really like the finished object (wore it to work today, even), but I wouldn't make it again as designed.

New things
So, I said I was going to learn myself to knit continental. And it's going pretty well -- I knit another Bzzz Hat with the yarn in my left hand almost the whole time. I'm also working on a simple 3x3 rib scarf in Noro Silk Garden. I love Noro yarns -- somehow they manage to make hot pink and acid green look like earth tones, and it is so cool. I'm going to start a Wisp out of the mohair-blend stuff I dyed a couple weeks back:
Photo  31
I want to see if I can handle decreases in continental. (I did not have fun with the decreases for the Bzzz Hat, but partly that's because I was doing them on two circs, which I don't really like but I was literally too lazy to go in the other room to get my dpns. I know.)

Today I made myself a needle wallet, because I was annoyed that I couldn't find all my 000 dpns. So hopefully this will help me hold onto my needles. I'm also going to get rid of some older Susan Bates aluminum needles, in case anyone wants them (I don't).

Coming soon
I think I'm going to try a Dale of Norway ski sweater. I really like the women's Sapporo pullover in the red and gold colorway, as seen here. I've been wanting to do a big colorwork project, and this seems like a really cool one. Now there's just the question of yarn -- I could make it in the recommended yarn (Daletta, by Dale obv.) but I could probably make it cheaper in something else. But I can't find any local shops that carry Daletta to see what would work for a substitution. If, say, I made it in a Knitpicks yarn, it might cost around $30-$40, as opposed to $80-$90 for the Daletta. Assuming there's a sensible yarn to substitute, which is hard to say when you've never seen the other yarn. I'm going to check A Good Yarn tomorrow and maybe call over to Woolcott to see if anyone can show me some Daletta.

And another thing
I never posted my finished Blackberry Mittens!
Photo   2
Bonus points to anyone who notices the slightly glaring error...