Experiments

If this hat looks familiar to you, that’s because it’s the third one of these that I’ve knit — though you never saw the second, which I knit just last week and is already in the hands of its intended recipient. I knit the first one in 2009 as a replacement for a beloved non-handknit hat that a friend of mine had lost. As you can see in this post, it’s not at all the same as the original hat, but I took inspiration from it. Now he’s gone and lost the hat I originally knit for him, and was upset enough about it to commission two identical hats from me in case he loses another one. I was flattered, but when I went back to my Ravelry notes about the first hat, I found them a little mysterious. The pattern is Ysolda’s Cairn, and according to my notes I knit the first hat using size 8 needles despite the fact that the pattern called for 6s. Was this a choice I made because my gauge was off, or was I just being stubborn about the fact that I had a hat-sized needle in size 8 and not in size 6? In the end I decided to trust my notes, especially since John had liked the hat the way it came out, and once I had a finished hat I was pretty sure it fit the same way the other one did. The yarn is Koigu Kersti in colors K2420 and K2392. The first of this new pair is already in his hands, and this one will be soon. I hope to get modeled shots for you when Pat & I visit San Francisco over our spring break in a few weeks!

In addition to experimenting with trusting my own peculiar Ravelry notes, I have also suddenly and inexplicably been hit with the desire to learn how to steek. For those who don’t know, steeking is the act of deliberately cutting your knitting with scissors — it hurts my heart to even type that! — to achieve a variety of effects. It’s often used with colorwork, which is much easier to knit in the round than back-and-forth — so if you want to knit a colorwork cardigan, you knit it in the round and then you cut it open (carefully, after having made some preparations that you should definitely read about before you try it). I still haven’t really gotten on the colorwork train, since it makes such dense fabric and I live in such a warm climate, but I’ve gotten started on two projects that use steeks to make fringe:

This is the ultra-simple Bad Oyster by Alexandra Tinsley, whose designs and blog I have been enjoying lately. Right now it’s a cone-shaped thing that I’m knitting using the Magic Loop method (though as you can see, I’m getting close to being able to knit it in the round regular-like), but once I’m done with the knitting I’ll cut it open along the lefthand side there and unravel that part into fringe along the edges of a triangular shawl. Theoretically. Unless I mess it up. The yarn is Malabrigo Sock in the “Persia” colorway.

Aaaand instead of waiting to see whether I mess up such a simple steeking project so I can learn from my mistakes, I’ve gone ahead and cast on a much more complicated one:

This is Natsu by Angela Button. The steeking part is actually no more difficult than the other project; it’s just everything else that’s more complicated. The area of plain stockinette that you see in the foreground here will be the fringe; it will be cut down the middle and unraveled. And then this circular thing should become a lovely lace scarf with fringe at the ends! This project has already given me a lot of grief, though — I cast on for the “scarf” size, and after getting through 4 of the 5 repeats that the pattern called for, I realized that I wasn’t using up nearly as much yarn as I ought to and that the whole scarf seemed pretty short. I did go down a needle size because I’m using fingering rather than sport-weight yarn, but I think the scarf size in the pattern is just ludicrously short. I ripped the whole thing out and cast on the number of stitches for the wrap size, and am now much more satisfied with its length — I’m just going to knit it to scarf-width. But that’s not where my problems ended — about two weeks ago, I noticed that 10 long rows back, I had dropped a p2tog, which resulted in a big obvious hole in my work. I pouted about it and knit those two hats, and then I finally (wo)manned up and ripped out those rows, working painstakingly with a tapestry needle and a crochet hook to pick up the dropped stitches. It’s not easy to pick up stitches after ripping a lace pattern, let me tell you! It was about two hours work in total, but that’s much less time than it would have been to rip the whole thing out and start from scratch. The yarn has been standing up to all this ripping like a champ: it’s Sundara’s Fingering Silky Merino, in the colorway “Monet’s Basilica.” I’m a sucker for a nice purple-gray, and I like Monet a lot, so when Sundara’s Monet colors came out a few months ago I was powerless against this one.

I’ve also been spinning that blue merino fiber from Weaving Works in Seattle:

It’s kind of hijacked my previous spinning plans — I had been spinning a bunch of gray Jacobs wool from my friends’ farm to stripe with the blue Jacobs wool that I finished spinning recently, but this fabulously multitonal colorway was impossible to keep my hands off of!

And the last thing I have to show you is that I finally finished the front of one of those linen-stitch pillow-covers I’ve been working on:

I love the way it came out! I’m now working on the second one, and they’ll both get plain blue garter-stitch backings. There’s no pattern here; I’m just knitting them to fit my ugly, ugly throw pillows. Eventually you’ll get before-and-after pictures, I promise!

One thought on “Experiments

  1. Love the way that roving is spinning up! And good luck with the steeking, I can only imagine the anxiety you must feel when thinking about cutting up that beautiful scarf. But I’m sure that it will look amazing when you’re done with it!

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