Monday, September 24, 2007

Tofutsies Update

Friday evening I sent an e-mail to customer service at SWTC aabout my Tofutsies yarn problems, with a copy to the company president. The next day I got a reply from Jonelle (pres) saying, "I am very sorry you have problems with the Tofutsies. I will have a new ball of yarn sent out to you on Monday."

I appreciate the quick response and will appreciate the new ball of yarn when it arrives.

If they know which yarn to send me, it means that they did check out this blog (I included the blog info in the e-mail).

It should be interesting to see what they send.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Socks Tote Kids

There is no linear progression to this post.
I've been doing a lot of knitting. All I've finished is a couple of dishclothes. They're quick, fun, and useful. I have been working on a pair of socks for a KAL for the Zig-Zag Sock, but the yarn - Tofutsies - has been giving me a lot of trouble. I keep encountering knots, and after I cut them out and rejoin the yarn, about two rows later - there's another knot! So I tink back and remove the short piece of yarn, rejoin, and keep knitting. This has happened twice. I ignored a couple of small knots (which I may regret later), but then I did a cut and rejoin a third time, and look at what happened!

Can you see where the yarn actually changed? This is not a gauge change, it is a different dye lot, or something. Pisses me off good. Tofutsies is gonna hear about this.

On a happier note, I finally dyed the yarn for the Gryffindor socks that I am knitting for the Hogwarts Sock Swap 2. I found a really great pattern at Blue Moon Fibers, which I can't reveal until after my swap pal has her socks. But here's the yarn: Knit Picks Bare dyed.

I've cast on for the first sock, and am enjoying the process of knitting. I really like working with this yarn.

The Aran sweater looks better all the time (such modesty, ;-) ). I'm almost up to the armholes on the back, which should be nearly complete by the end of the weekend. I did take a picture, but the quality of the shot was terrible. So no pic for now.

I have a project, a to-be-felted tote bag, that sits next to me at the computer, and as I wait for something to upload, or read a long post, I knit a couple of rows. I ask you, who's afraid of a little color? I keep a basket of yarn (Lopi) next to me, and randomly pick colors to knit, most of the time.

I'm knitting it side-to-side in garter stitch, and I like the back, where the colors overlap more, almost more than the front!

Moving on to knitting related news, on Mondays the Malden Stitch 'n Bitch meets at a local pub. This Monday, I took my 7-year old niece with me. She's a knitter, too. I taught her last year, and after knitting in fits and starts, this summer she began to focus in. On a recent trip to New Hampshire with her parents, she knit in the car, and finished her first ball of yarn!

The SnB was a small affair, one other person showed up, but the three of us sat, knit, and chatted away. Jasmine loved it. I'm not going to bring her every week, but I think it's good exposure for everybody.

Gotta go and e-mail Tofutsies.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Here's a "New" Acronym

I "unvented" an acronym: to WILT, or WILTING - to weave (or weaving) in loose threads. The penultimate task before finishing a knit item. I was going to call the blog that I'm writing for Knit A Yarn "WILT," since I'm going to be gathering up bits of (hopefully) interesting information about what is going on behind the scenes, but after some editorial discussions, the new blog is "Loose Threads." I like the name for the blog, but I can imagine knitters starting to talk not only about UFOs and tinking, but adding wilting to their conversations and further confusing the uninitiated.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Creating an Aran Sweater

I got a commission (paid job) to knit an Aran sweater. It was an anniversary gift to replace an existing (barely) sweater. I did what I usually do when I'm knitting a sweater - took measurements, checked out the person's (Glen's) likes and dislikes, and then we started on the yarn quest. Glen liked the denim blue color in Lopi yarn. So Glen and his wife Carol bought the yarn and I took it home. After I knit a swatch, I had to tell them that Lopi was definitely not (IMHO) an appropriate yarn for an Aran sweater - it was too fuzzy for the patterns to show up. They agreed. Over the next few weeks the two of them were on a quest to find THE yarn. They finally did - Tahki Donegal Tweed Homespun - in a light gray that has little speckles of color throughout which gives the yarn more visual interest.

I knit a swatch. I liked the yarn - I have a "thing" for yarn that still has the lanolin in it. I knit several sections: stockinette; moss stitch; and one of the cable patterns Greg liked on size 8 (US) needles. I got a gauge of 4 stitches to the inch for the stockinette and moss stitch, and 6 stitches to the inch for the cable section.

Next I started to plot out the actual cable patterns and placement. Eight hours later, I had the pattern. The cable patterns that Glen had liked wouldn't work with the way the sweater needed to be set up, because Glen wants a longer cardigan with a shawl collar. I had to find a central pattern for the back that I could divide for the front. The math for the number of stitches wouldn't adapt to the chosen cable patterns. So I finally worked out something else, still using elements that I knew Glen liked, charted them out (by the way, my recent foray into lace knitting has sharpened my chart-reading skills, so that I found working with charts for cables to be much easier!), and started knitting.

When I next met with Glen and Carol, they were a bit uncertain about the changes, since they were unfamiliar with reading knitting charts, but were good enough to accept my explanations. I told them that we'd meet in a week and if Glen really didn't like how the sweater was progressing, I could rip it out and try something else (be still my beating heart...).

I was trying to get a balanced design: while it is mostly cables, the center panel is more open, and since the center cables are a repeat, this pattern can be split to go up the front of the cardigan. I used tight 4-stitch cables to delineate the larger patterns, and used a more closely twining cable pattern as the secondary pattern. Then I used bobbles (trinity stitch) and then for the underarm area, the moss stitch. I think the diagonals on the bobbles and the diagonals of the moss stitch, subtle though they be, complement each other.
The cat, Dilly Llama, can't knit, is smart enough not to voice opinions, but likes to hang out around wool.