Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Qivuit hat

Pattern: Hat kit, came with 100% Qivuit, needles, and instructions
Yarn: Qivuit, teal
Needles: Size 3 dpn
Cast on: June 23

We sell the Qivuit hat kits in the giftshop of the property that I manage and we had one left in stock so I decided to purchase it. I ordered probably a dozen or so, with small bags of roving, way before I re-started knitting. I was walking through the mercantile earlier this spring, and it caught my eye. "Hey, what a great find! Right in my own backyard." And who can't pass by a knit-your-own $90 hat. DH (darling husband) chose to keep his opinions to himself when he noticed the pricetag. This yarn is so absolutely, amazingly soft. Softer than any cashmere I have ever touched! It is combed by Boy Scouts from the Musk Ox that we have up at the Large Animal Research Farm at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and then woven into yarn to sell to support Summer Camp advertising. I just need to purchase more!

info stolen without permission from another website...

Qiviut is the under-wool of the Arctic Musk Ox. It is one of the softest natural fibers in the world having a diameter on average of only 12 microns. Musk oxen are not shorn, as the time it would take for them to grow back their coat is considerable and would not leave them protected for the harsh Arctic winters. However, each Spring they do shed their under-wool and it is hand collected (or in the case of the domestication project - it is combed out) for processing into to fine yarns and garments. Each year a musk ox will shed between 5 and 7 pounds of qiviut.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Midnight Sun

Sorry, bad blogger. I am posting after the solstice. June 21/22 is the shortest night of the year.

All pictures taken the evening of June 21. 9:30pm, 10:30pm, 11:30pm, midnight, 1am, and 2am
Here comes the sun! Party til the sun goes down (in August)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Roza's socks caught a snag

Pattern: Roza's Socks, Interweave Knits Spring 2007
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill, superwash sock in Cabin Fever
Needle: Size 0 dpn Susan Bates, then size 1 dpn Susan Bates, now size 2 dpn Inox
cast on: cast off: June 17, 1st sock; cast on: June 17, 2nd sock

Oh, the work of the dreaded gauge swatch revealed that the size 0 was going to be too small, by just a hair. So why "waste" the time knitting a swatch with the next size up? Uhm, maybe because after 2 weeks of knitting nightly, your 1st sock that you finish might be a little too short and tight? Really? Never thought of that until two nights ago when I excitedly try it on only to find that the heel didnt make it to the vertical. Sitting on the horizontal, cutting off the circulation to my wee-little toes. Frogged the toe back to the foot and added another inch and a half so within 2 hours, I had a sock that had its heel in the proper place, but still very little circulation to the toes.

Okay, we will move to size 2 dpn. Did I make a gauge swatch? Ha, ha, sadly no! Why would I knit a gauge swatch when the size 1 was obviously too small, so the size 2 would HAVE TO WORK, right? I guess we will find out. I am at a bit of hiatis at the moment. I have not knit with Inox needles before and have to admit, it is like chewing through wool! It is right now comparable to the screeching of wet chalk on a chalkboard. I have to stop. But like many other shopping experiences in Alaska, I now have to scour the internet to find a supplier of Quicksilver Susan Bates. I have used wood (bamboo) but honestly refuse to spend $20+ on a set of Lantern Moon dpn. Not that they aren't beautiful, not that I don't have the money, I just have other uses for my hard-earned wages: golf on Saturday, dinner out on Thursday, toothpaste, more sock yarn, did I mention we have 5 boys? And with the 3 (and growing) different sizes of dpns that I have used, these gorgeous pair of socks would have cost me well over $100. Luxurious lifestyle? Yes. $100 socks? No.

The LYS only carries Lantern Moon in that size and Michael's and JoAnn Fabrics doesn't carry dpns. So, now I am off to research needles. And Canon's 30D DSLR. Why Blog with bad photos?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Dishclothes - busy work and filler

Pattern: Bright Kitchen Dishclothes
Yarn: the cheap cotton stuff at Fred Meyers
Needle: you guessed it.. Susan Bates, size 7 ala Freddies
cast on: June 3, 2007 pink one cast off: June 4, 2007 blue one

I have to admit, and not ashammed of in the slightest, out of all the wonderful projects that I have cast on and cast off, these washclothes are by far and wide, the best projects I have ever completed.

My grandmother passed away on Thanksgiving last year and no one received dishclothes for Christmas. My grandma always made them primarily for my mom because my mom used them all the time. I didnt want mom to go without, so I grabbed the Stitch and Bitch that had been sitting on the shelf for over a year and sat down and relearned to knit. Grandma taught me when I was 7/8 and I didnt really get the trick with the sticks. I miss Grandma more and more each day and feel closer to her the more I knit. I have three sweaters that she knit for me and I never really truly appreciated them until I relearned and realized how much work/time/effort/cost/preparation/dedication/etc it took to cast on/work/cast off in order to achieve a finished sweater. I now wear them with pride and realize the love that went into each. It is comforting to me to hear the clinking of the metal needles (something I dont get with the wood).

These washclothes are the best for learning technique, because the hand manipulations happen frequently enough to cement the concepts. SSK, p2tog, k2tog, sk2p now are there. I plan on attempting a couple cabled clothes. I have read a bunch of girls say they plan to keep their swatches to create a throw blanket, but I have yet to see one of these displayed anywhere. I make dishclothes. It is what keeps me happy, keeps me knitting between projects, or bides the time between internet shippings.

Monday, June 4, 2007

In the Summer Queue

In the summer queue. Since it is far to hot to start my second wool baby blanket of Koigu KPPPM for my sister-in-law that is pregnant with their third baby, I thought socks would be a great summer knit. I have had the worst luck with the needles. Living in Alaska, I have to be greatful for everything we have here, and the LYS is fantastic. But they don't carry metal dpns. I ordered online some Susan Bates, but accidentally ordered single point. So now, three weeks later, Roza's Socks are still in queue. I ordered a second set from Inox online so I can't wait to start these. Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill in cabin fever (I should hold them in queue until winter with a color name like that.)

From Interweave's Favorite Socks I am really excited for the Uptown Boot Socks in the darkest blue teal Superwash sock from Cherry Tree Hill. Can you tell the LYS was having a sale? Both days I came in for needles for other projects? Coincidence? I think, not. I havent done a project from the book, but Barnes and Noble just screams, buy a new book here when HH is looking for new travel books. He is thinking "Tahiti "and I am thinking "the farthest place away for more dedicated knitting time".

Spiral Boot Socks from Interweave's Knits Summer 2007 look promising. I ordered the Lorna's Lace Shepard Sock from kyarns in lakeview. I am seriously looking forward to wearing these to see how the nylon in the sock holds up to wear and to experience first hand the stretch and elasticity that has been so advertised everywhere. I can see how the Cascade wool might have needed reinforcements in the heel, but won't know until winter ski season opens.

And just so I don't have only socks all summer long, I threw in a super, soft baby hat for my bridemaid's 2nd baby. All of my friends hit the 30yr-34yr mark and are starting to realize the need to have a baby now, or go without. So everyone around me is either preggers or trying. What fun. Mine are 16, 15, 14, 11, and 10; with no babies in site for me. Boo hoo! So all my girlfriends and sister-in-laws will just have to let me babysit? Or at least knit for their babys. I just couldnt resist this hat. I just have to find someone to donate a wee-little bit of celery color for the top little stem. Can't bring myself to throw down $8.95 for 2 yards of green.

Well, that is my summer queue. Summers are really short, and I am really slow. If socks start to drive me crazy, or my needles never come, I guess I will just keep up with the washclothes. Everyone has to get a set at sometime in my life. I haven't gotten requests for them yet, but I assume I will soon. They make great dust clothes.

As well as... what?

Oops, sorry about that. It was getting late and I wasn't able to upload the rest of the pics. I have been a busy beaver (knitting beaver that is...), all while my home computer was given back to the front gate here on property. Using my husbands laptop or my work computer (as I am now) I can add more posts.

Felt (fulled) Bowls

pattern: felted bowl
yarn: Cherry Tree Hill; Lamb's Pride Bulky in Winterberry

needle: Brittany dpn size 15 (bought 24" circular, but couldnt use them, needed two pair for 22" diameter bowl

Okay, the pattern started off a little shaky, I started the pattern inside out, oops, backwards on the dpns.

Now, notice the laddering that happened with the dpn. This did not happen with my socks, but these are much thicker needles and much, much thicker yarn.

There is a HUGE hole right here, so I was worried about how it would felt up. It completely closed, so I was thrilled and surprised.

Okay, so the blocking didnt go all that great, but I started on the smaller second one. I did not put vinegar in the hot felting water so the colors are very muted. Both are attractive and I am pleased with the end result.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Socks completed, as well as...

Okay, so the socks are done, no dreaded "Second sock syndrome". Although, as you can tell, this whole process was a trial for comfort. My first pair of socks and I was thinking... how do I make a sock for MY feet? Well, the first sock was too long and far too pointy. I was thinking, take off nine rows and the 2nd (left) sock will be much better. 2nd sock is too short, 1st sock is too long and pointy. Alright, three rows shorter would have been great. These are for skiing next winter, so I have until Oct/Nov to wear them in. Cascade 220 is a heavy sock!

Check out the point! Like elfen feet.

The book that I was using has a little side notation:

A Better SSK?

Some sock knitters prefer using an alternative ssk at the gusset and toe for the shaping. Slip the first stitch knitwise, then slip the second stitch purlwise from your left needle to your right, and knit them together.

Don't know if I am feeling this one...