Monday, June 28, 2010

Entrelac Socks

I'm back!  So sorry for the long wait.  My motherboard truly was fried due to a faulty video card and I had to completely replace the machine.  My computer guy was telling me about all the recalls HP has been doing lately, so I decided to go in a completely new direction and am now the proud owner of a brand-new Asus!  So far it runs great and I couldn't be happier.  All my data is loaded in and I am back in business.

 In the interim, I got a whole lot of knitting done.  The entrelac socks are finished and blocked, Moebius Cowl and Hat are done (but not yet photographed--too hot!), I finished a quickie lace pullover, the February Fitted Pullover (also waiting for a cooler day for a photo shoot), and made some excellent progress on my Myrtle Cardigan.  I'm really excited about Myrtle.  It's going to be in a lovely dark teal alpaca/merino blend and (hopefully) will be pretty.

I'm also pretty excited about these entrelac socks, too.
The pattern is by Eunny Jang and I used two of the ~2 million balls of Palette I have in my stash, these were Teal and Hyacinth.  The only modification I did was to make them much shorter.  The original pattern resulted in knee-length socks, but I knit these up to mid-calf--because that's how high my snow boots go.  Awesome, yet practical.

The hardest part for me was knitting them from the toe-up.  The Turkish cast-on was really difficult to wrap my head around (har har) and took a great deal of frustration and cursing before I finally got my first toe going.  The second time was much easier.

After that, at least for a while, the entrelac was really fun to knit!  Even though it looks like woven bands of knit fabric, it is nothing of the sort.  You actually knit each square individually in short rows, so a finished tier looks something like this:
And then the inside looks something like this:
See?  No weaving and the only sewing is sewing in a couple of ends.  Waay easier than it looks, but it does get a touch tedious toward the end.

Kitty update:
The Good News: Everyone is getting along great!  They are playing and wrestling and generally having a good time.  I do, however, think Arty feels more comfortable with Branwen than she does with him.  I've seen him try to rub his head against her or snuggle and she shies away, confused and agitated.  I don't think she's quite figured out that she can have kitty friends in addition to her human friends, but Arty remains as cheerful (and purry) as ever.

The Bad News: Poor Arty may have ringworm.  I am supposed to hear back from the vet today, but we're pretty certain our little kitty has a fungus.  It's not life threatening, but he seems itchy and we'll have to give him medicated baths to get rid of it, yay...  I haven't seen any signs of it on Branwen, though--thank goodness.  Giving her a bath would be terrifying.  Here's hoping it doesn't spread and it's easy to eradicate...

And here's hoping it doesn't spread into my stash...

Next time: February Fitted Pullover by Amy Herzog



Sunday, June 13, 2010

Computer Malfunction

I had grand ideas to do a post showcasing my now completed entrelac socks and moebius cowl this week, but unfortunately my laptop has crashed, so I can't upload any more photos until it's either repaired or replaced.  :(  I'll find out which is necessary tomorrow, I think.

Apparently for the last couple of years, HP has been manufacturing laptops with faulty video cards, causing the motherboard to completely shut down.  They had a recall last year, but didn't really tell anyone about it and closed the recall after two months.  So we're stuck cleaning up the mess on our own.  Thanks, HP.

So no more knitting updates until I have a working computer again.  Sorry everyone.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Chic Cables and Lace Cowl Sweater

Chic Cables and Lace Cowl Neck Sweater--Yikes, that name is a mouthful, but what a lovely sweater:
And what a refreshing change after the Autumn Rose Pullover.  I knit this piece by SweaterBabe in a chunky size yarn (Elann's Peru Soft, which is acrylic, wool, alpaca, and mohair) and was finished before I even knew it.  The yarn is very soft and VERY warm--hence my decision to make it short-sleeved rather than long-sleeved.  I wanted to be able to wear it before the weather gets below freezing.  Also, the wide sleeves looked a little funny.  There is a lot going on in the cowl and the body of the sweater--it really doesn't need cabled sleeves, too.

The cowl itself took me three days, because of the cabling, but the rest was mostly stockinette and took only two days.  Chunky yarn really is instant gratification.

The sizing was a little funky on this sweater.  It went from 30 to 31 3/4 to 36--not very convenient for me, but I decided that since I will definitely be wearing this as a tunic over something else to go with the pattern for the 36" size.  I did nip the waist in about 8 stitches (about 2-3 inches in this yarn), adding two increases and decreases so it wouldn't look too baggy:

I think I got the results I wanted.  Another thing I liked about the pattern is that the shaping is more toward the middle of the back and front, rather than right along the seam.  It's a little hard to see in this picture, but it puts an hourglass outline down the back, creating a sharper illusion of an hourglass figure.

My one big complaint about the pattern was how micromanaged it was.  Just about every round was explicitly spelled out for you.  Now it's nice to have the first round of shaping spelled out and then "repeat every 4 rounds,"  but every single shaped round was explained in minute detail.  It's just more for the knitter to wade through and more for the pattern writer to actually write out.

However, I think that would be an asset to a beginner-intermediate knitter looking to start their second or third sweater.  The cabled cowl and lace panel make it a tad complicated for a first sweater, but I would definitely recommend it to someone looking for their next project.  The pattern is available through Knit Picks Independent Designer Program for about $2.  I really love that they set up their pattern program--what a great way for budding designers to get their names out there and make a little money of their patterns.  Just one more reason to love Knit Picks!

Now, my next project was supposed to be my second attempt at Venezia, but I did a swatch for it this weekend and I'm still not satisfied with the color choices.  I need another medium blue before I can proceed.  Ugh, this project is going to be the death of me.  I will probably die with this silly sweater still on my needles.  Anyway, the next sweater is, instead, going to be Snowden Becker's Myrtle Cardigan.  I've got some lovely green yarn lying around that would be just perfect. 

I am still working on decreasing my stash (down to 4.75mi from 7.5mi), but since I promised myself that I could treat myself to more yarn once I reached $100 of profit on Etsy (which I did this weekend, yay!), I really need to make more room.  Most of it's been assigned to a project, but I just can't get through them fast enough!  My fingers cannot catch up with my ambitions!  Such is the life of a knitter.  She who dies with the most yarn wins, they say.  If only I could convince Walker of the same...  Sigh.

Kitty update:  Things are going great!  Branwen  clocked Moriarty a couple of times to assert her authority and now they are getting along just fine!  They have very energetic play sessions, which is great because we want Branwen to get the exercise, but I have yet to catch them cuddling.  In time, I hope.  More pictures next time!



Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Meet Moriarty!

We did it.  We adopted a new kitten last night.  The little guy is about 8 weeks old and is already quite comfortable in his new home:
 How could you not love a face like that??  We fell in love with him the moment we laid eyes on him at the shelter, but first they wanted to have us get Branwen checked out by the vet, so we had to wait until last night, when the vet could fit her in for an appointment.

He is one of the happiest, most confident critters I've ever met.  Here he is playing with the blinds at our back window:

He also has one of the loudest (and easiest) purrs I've ever heard.  I could hear him all the way across the room.  You barely have to pick him up before the motorboat starts.  And talk about adventurous!  He used Walker as a jungle gym all evening:

Poor Branwen is a little less pleased by the new addition than we are.  She has had her grumpy face on since we brought her home from the vet (although I'm sure that's part of it).

There has been some hissing and she took a small swipe at him this morning.  We're hoping she adjusts quickly, asserts herself as dominant kitty, and they get along well.  Besides, how could a little 2.2lb kitty be threatening? 

She certainly let us know how unhappy she was at about 1am last night.  Moriarty figured out that he could climb over his little cage, spilling out into Branwen's side of the living room.  She flew upstairs into our room meowing in alarm what I'm sure was something like "Guuuys!  He's getting out!! Put him back!!!"   It would have been cute if it wasn't so late.  

So now Moriarty is confined to the spare bedroom during this transition period while we're not around.  He's not very happy about this arrangement because he wants the attention, too, but it's his own fault for trying to escape.  We'll give you updates as the situation evolves. 

Knitting update later this week!