Sunday, February 27, 2011

FO: Centipede Scarf

FO: Centipede Scarf

I've been trying to finish more of my UFOs, so tonight I have yet another FO to share. And I'm just now realizing that I haven't blogged about it yet.

FO: Centipede Scarf

Way back in 2009 I took a break from my blog, and life in general, due to illness. This included a hiatus from work.

At that point the Photogenic Scarf was my main project. It was simple but not too simple and I loved the yarn. It felt good to knit. And I left it in my desk at work before I took time off.

FO: Centipede Scarf

So I decided to start knit the Malabrigo Waffles Scarf by Sarah Florent. I used Malabrigo Merino Worsted in "Curacao" from Gauge. I used one and a half skeins, just like Sarah did with the original scarf.

FO: Centipede Scarf

I had trouble choosing a gauge for this project. I ended up using the pair of US Size 8 wooden knitting needles that I won at The Knitting Nest's Ravelry Weekend. The nice needles enhanced the knitting experience.

FO: Centipede Scarf

This picture shows both sides of the scarf. It's reversible, but both the sides look different. However, I think the mostly stockinette side of the scarf looks sort of like the "right side."

The whole pattern is only a four row repeat. This would be a good pattern for beginners.

FO: Centipede Scarf

I stalled on this project a long time ago because I couldn't decide on the length of the scarf. It was getting pretty long, but I wanted to keep knitting. I finally cut it off at about five feet or so. Some people have suggested that a scarf should be about as long as the person is tall. I usually "measure" scarves by holding them up to the top of my head and seeing if they hit the ground. Most people are taller than I am, but 60 inches seems like a nice length for most people.

Besides, the Photogenic Scarf was already really long. How many really long scarves do I need?

Blocking the Centipede Scarf

This is a stockinette based stitch, so it tends to curl. I gave it a light blocking. I used my usual blocking technique. I washed it in Eucalan (with minimal bleeding), pinned it and let it dry. I tried not to worry to much about getting the edges perfectly pinned. It's not perfectly flat, but it's good enough.

FO: Centipede Scarf

I'll leave you with this picture so you can see where the name of this particular scarf came from. Jules named this one. He said it looked like a game of Centipede. Of course, most Atari games from the era looked like this. But I can see the resemblance.

You can see all of my pictures of the Centipede Scarf are here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

FO: Multnomah

FO: Multnomah

I haven't blogged in much detail about my Multnomah shawl. It's been one of those projects that you start because you need to work on something that feels good. I started it in October, and last Wednesday I finished it.

FO: Multnomah

I started this so I'd have something to knit on a church retreat. It was a few of hours each way, I wasn't driving and there would plenty of time to knit while socializing. After much debate, I settled on Multnomah because it was in that sweet spot where the knitting is not too boring, but it's easy enough to work on while talking or watching television. Also, it was small enough that I only needed a 100 gram skein of yarn.

Multnomah - Close up during blocking

I ended up using a skein of Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock Yarn in "Birds in Paradise" (HS03) that I bought during my trip to Unwind. I used almost the entire skein.

It only bled a little bit

When I washed the shawl with Eucalan the yarn bled a little bit, but it wasn't a big deal. They intensity of the color didn't really change.

FO: Multnomah

I used a US Size 2 Addi Lace Turbo Circular Knitting Needle that I also bought at Unwind. (I think.)

Blocking Multnomah

I did my own version of wet blocking with this one. Basically, I washed it, and then I pinned it. Pinning Multnomah wasn't nearly as difficult as pinning the Strangling Vine scarf, but it took me a lot of pins and a lot of time to get the scallops nice and round. Mom and Dad let me take up some floor space in front of the television and use one of the "good" towels.

I was a little sore after all that pinning, but being able to do stuff like this is a good sign that my back is healing.

FO: Multnomah

I'm wondering about the best way to wear this. It looks great from the back, but I can't quite figure out how to tie it in the front. I need a shawl pin or a nice broach. I considered wearing it to Walmart one day because it matched my t-shirt, but it didn't work with my baggy pants. I tried it again for a church potluck with leggings* and it looked better.

If anyone has any fashion tips for wearing shawls, let me know. The fact that it's a "shawlette" makes it more difficult because there's less fabric to work with, but I enjoyed knitting this so much that I'd like to make something the same size like Citron or Coquille.

FO: Multnomah

You can see more pictures of Multnomah here.

* - I ordered some more leggings online, so hopefully I'll look less like a bag lady soon.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

WIP: Tree Sweater

Our tree

You may have read about A Knitted Wonderland in the Austin American Statesman on Monday. I found out about it on Facebook in January, but I'm just now getting around to blogging about it.

"A Knitted Wonderland" is a project by Magda Sayeg, who you may know from her Knitta, Please work and/or her installation on Lamar Boulevard. Heather Sutherland of the Knotty Knitters Club is helping organize the event.

The idea is to cover the 99 trees in front of The Blanton Museum of Art with "tree sweaters." Everyone has to use I Love This Yarn in Orange and Turquoise, Red Heart Kids in Pink and Lion Brand Vanna's Choice in Olive, and everyone has to make horizontal stripes.

And I'm working on tree number 34.

We got tree 34

I almost didn't make the meeting for volunteer knitters because I found out about it the night before, and I wasn't able to drive at that point. Fortunately, Katie has a parking permit that allows her to park a few blocks away from the Blanton. At the last minute, she agreed to take me and be part of the project. She even ran to grab a tree for us since she can move a lot faster than I can these days, and there were more knitters than trees. (Also, I finally met Noelle in person after years of talking to her online. I was able to lag behind and talk to her while Katie was in line.)

After getting our assignment, we took pictures with our tree. Unfortunately, both Katie and I had our eyes closed. Then we took some measurements before heading out. Our tree is about seven feet tall.


Here is an early picture of our work. The crochet is Katie's, and mine is the knitting. We had some bumps in the road getting started. At first we were both passing our knitting back and forth. Each of us was going to use a different stitch. (That's why there's the beginning of some basket weave at the bottom of the knitting.) Finally, we decided to sew together four pieces and make a Frankensteiny creation. Katie is more comfortable with crochet, and this way she can crochet and I can knit.

Originally, I was going to make two pieces, and Katie was going to make two pieces. However, Katie got busy once the new semester started, so we got Mom to work on one of the pieces.

My knitting

These are my finished sections of the tree sweater. I got through them pretty quickly. You can see all four colors here.

I'm not sure why these particular colors were chosen. For a while all the yarn was pretty much sold out in Austin. The "I Love This Yarn" was especially hard to find, since it's only sold at Hobby Lobby. Everyone received a skein of the pink when they got their tree assignment, and Mom snagged the Vanna's Choice the next day, so we started with those two colors.

A close up of the cables

The knitters in charge are trying to allow everyone to be creative with their tree while maintaining a cohesive vision. At the meeting there were lots of questions about style. They don't want lots of visual holes, so crochet needs to be half double crochet or smaller. They recommended no needles smaller than US Size 13. Chevrons are ok. Other stitch patterns are ok.

I asked about embellishments like knitted or crocheted flowers or buttons. They said they didn't want too many. Then they kept responding to everyone else's questions by saying "that's better than flowers or buttons." Katie and I would look at each other every time they mentioned it. After all that, I think I need to include one button and one flower. I'll probably put it at the very top of the tree.

The embellishment thing was no big deal to me because I had cables in mind before I left the meeting. When I got home I decided to use the middle cable from the Braided Cable Scarf by Miriam Felton, and flanked it with two simple, symmetrical cables.

FYI - The "cross 2 over 2 right/purl bg" and "cross 2 over 2 left/purl bg" in Miriam Felton's pattern tripped me up. Both refer to knitting the "middle" stitch off the cable needle. Felton is referring to the stitch farthest to left of the cable needle (as you are facing your knitting.) I messaged her directly on Ravelry. This was her response:
"It’s the center stitch of the whole cable, not the center stitch of the ones on the cable needle. Effectively the cable looks like this before you cross it: ||-|| where the - is the purl stitch in the center of the cable and the | are knit stitches. You cross the knit stitches over each other, but the purl will remain in the same place. You just have to move it to the cable needle first so it doesn’t get tangled in the knit stitches."

Katie's portion of the tree sweater

This is Katie's portion. She tried something different for the first few rows, then she settled on half double crochet. She's done some more work since this was taken.

When she first started it was wider than she had calculated, so she decreased rather than unravel everything. Sewing up this tree will cover a lot of sins. Considering that plastic zip ties were mentioned at the meeting (but discouraged), I don't think they'll notice a little fudging on the seams.
I worked on the piece at the very base, so I started wide, and got more narrow to account for the change in circumference. I ended up decreasing too much and had to increase to compensate. So I did the same thing Katie did.

Mom's Section

Mom chose crochet over knitting so it would go faster. She's using single crochet. Here's her piece as of yesterday.

"A Knitted Wonderland" will debut during Explore UT on Saturday, March 5, and it will be up until Saturday, March 19. Go check it out.