“Swellegant” Doily

After abandoning it several times I have finally finished the “Elegant Pineapple Doily,” a pattern which can be found in Patricia Kristoffersen’s Asolutely Gorgeous Doilies.

I did not abandon it several times due to frustration. It was out of boredom. Crocheting this doily is sort of anticlimactic. The center part is complex and interesting to crochet. Then from there it starts to get monotonous. I’m glad I finished it and I really like how it came out.

How fast can I post?

I’ve got 18 minutes until midnight, which means in 18 minutes Wednesday will be done and Thursday will begin. I am on the threshold between “Wednesday WIPS” and “Just Another Thursday.” Today was a bright, beautiful, glorious day with more sun than I could shake a stick at, so between classes I had some time to fuss with photography and get some somewhat OK photos of my WIPS.

First of all, why not talk about some socks I’ve casted on? A few months ago I said I wanted to make some red socks with some kind of triangular pattern on them. Well, I tried that a couple of months ago and it bored me. I just wasn’t feeling it. So, I frogged it, proceeded to finish two sweaters while contemplating what kind of red socks I wanted to knit. In the end, I fell back on my good old cable pattern I like so much. It’s basically cables slapped onto my vanilla sock formula. Here is my sock I’ve started, basking in the sunlight:

red-sock

Last week I started a Star Motif sweater with the “Blue Smoke” color way that could be from no other than Cascade 220. Over the weekend I finished my sleeves and by tomorrow I’m pretty sure I’ll be attaching them to the yoke because I’m just an inch shy of finishing the lower body.

blue-star-motif

This is what happens when you knit monogamously. In one week’s time I’ve knit about 3/4 of a sweater. I think it helps that I haven’t had to think too much. First of all, I’ve used this pattern before, so I pretty much don’t need to concentrate too much on it. Second of all, most of the knitting is “kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk” which means I can pick it up and put it down whenever I like. I can even knit this while drinking alcohol. Yes, I am certain because I’ve done it.

I have a WIP in the waiting. I winded some Gründl Hot Socks yarn and bought a second set of Hiya-Hiya mini circular needles. You might notice that my mini circular purchase found a way to duplicate itself:

socks-in-waiting

The way my new needles got duplicated is a saga that only an Amazon order disaster can produce. I ordered my second set of needles on January 16. They weren’t in stock so they were sent to me on Jan 26 with an estimated arrival date of February 1. February 1 came and went and so a new estimated arrival date of February 5 was established. By February 7 I was on the phone with Amazon customer service. If they weren’t going to arrive a week from then I would receive a refund – upon my special request because Amazon wanted to refund me right then and there. Last Wednesday the needles, in my mind, were lost forever, so I ordered some more from another shop I found on Google. On Saturday morning the needles I ordered from Amazon magically appeared at my doorstep, in a mangled package which, of course, did no damage to my needles inside. Yesterday my other arrived. So, now I have three sets of Hiya-Hiya mini circs for knitting socks. I’ve decided to keep the duplicates because I like to knit gloves with fingering weight yarn. Anyway, Amazon customer service is AWESOME and I am their number one fan. So friendly, helpful, and eager to resolve problems. I hope I never have to talk to them again, but they were enthusiastic about doing the right thing. Amazon has won itself some serious points with me and I will continue to shop with them.

My clock says it’s midnight, so I am posting my WIPs on the cusp. Happy knitting and crocheting!

Can you marry a pattern?

spread

The Alec XL sweater which I made with Rowan Pure Wool Worsted Superwash in the Green Wash color way is blocked, dry, and good-looking. Knitting this sweater could have become the bane of my existence because the wearer — my partner — was very impatient to see this done. If I ever knit another sweater for him — that is, if he’s lucky enough — I won’t tell him that the project in front of me on the needles is his. He will find out when it’s completed. If I worked on another thing that was not his sweater he would ask me why I wasn’t working on his sweater. Anyway, I’ve said it could have become the bane of my existence which means it did not. That’s because it was so much fun to knit. I truly love this pattern. I love it so much I might marry it. Since I’m already married, though, I’ve made plans to make two more for myself with more Rowan Pure Wool Worsted (not superwash).

The detailed photos below explain why I want to marry the Alec XL sweater pattern.

Let’s discuss the left-hand photo first. See how nice the button band looks? I don’t think it’s all thanks to my masterful knitting (although I’m pretty good). The button band is very carefully planned so it looks like that on purpose. The designer included it in the knitting of the sweater itself, not as something to sew on afterwards. The way it is included in the knitting is very clever. In the same photo you can see how nicely the collar is planned, too. Again, not my idea. The designer gives good directions for some very quick and simple short-row shaping in the back so it looks just right. Also, check out the stitch pattern. It’s a two-row repeat. That’s all. This is not an invention the designer came up with. Barbara Walker documented it in A Treasury of Knitting Patterns and it’s called “Grecian Plait Stitch.” The interesting thing is how it looks different “upside-down,” which the designer did indeed play with on purpose, including it in a top-down construction. If you move your eyes to the right-hand photo you can see how the choice of raglan increases was very tasteful. The placement of the garter stitch border on the collar is absolutely essential too, not only to keep it from curling up but to decorate it nicely, also.

folded

The sweater just looks great when you wear it, when you sprawl it out on a table, or even when you neatly fold it.

Alec XL does get some help from some very light blocking, though. This is especially true if you choose the garter stitch option for the hem and cuffs. Without blocking they flip upwards. The same is true for the collar, which is quite unruly without some wet blocking.

So, yes, I want to marry a sweater pattern. It’s just perfect in every way.

My WIPs aren’t worth the fuss

Today is Wednesday. That’s when we yarny bloggers talk about and photograph our lovely works in progress. Today, like most Wednesdays, I started working at 8 AM and finished working at 9:30 PM. So, let’s see, I’m super excited to talk about my WIPs, but they’re mostly the same old stuff and I, the-earning-my-bread-with-the-sweat-of-my-brow type, didn’t really feel like fussing with photos. Enter the Wednesday WIP text version — so totally vintage — with helpful links to photographs already posted to refresh your memory about my lovely WIPs — so totally not vintage. Also, you might notice that one thing I like to talk about just isn’t here in the WIP category. That means it’s finished. In fact, it’s already been worn by the wearer, before blocking, and now it’s drying on its blocking rack because I’m sly (and thank God, it looked so wrinkled and awful on the wearer). But that’s all for now. It isn’t FO Friday yet (please can Friday come faster? I’m tired.)

In the Paleolithic times I started crocheting a doily called “Elegant Pineapple.” It has this name because back in the vintage times Leisure Arts was all that and the convention of naming patterns something other than a number was just in its toddler stage, so there wasn’t this attempt at being all chic and stylish with the one word titles for patterns. Now we can enjoy knitting and crocheting such things with an unpronounceable word for a name. I’m waiting for the day Knitty publishes a pattern with a title like “ñlkjsaiwhtg.” Pattern titling is taking the path of baby naming these days. Anyway, I crocheted a couple more rounds on the swellegant doily I like to call “All Year Round and Another Year Too” and so I am approaching the finish line, but I got distracted. If this doily had a one word name I guess it would be something like “Crochetyoulongtime.”

That’s mostly because I’ve been working on my Tunisian crocheted squares afghan, which Trinidad, from the “Tejiendo de Corazón” YouTube channel, named, in her rebellious old skool style, “Manta de bebé 2” which is Spanish for “Baby blanket 2.” You might recall I mentioned I’ve adapted the pattern so it’s bigger and not for little babies, but rather big grown-ups.

I also casted on another vintage Star Motif sweater. This time the main color is blue. There’s no photo because it is not much right now. I’m starting with the sleeves again. If you want to see a photo of some ribbing with a few rows of stockinette stitch above, I’m sorry to disappoint you. However, you can Google pictures of the same thing. I’ll even wager there’s a blue one out there! I know, I know, I’m so lazy I didn’t even bother with a stock photo and call on you to enhance your reading with whatever photo (is that the same thing?)

My hexagon afghan has once again been abandoned for the time being. Just too many other things to knit and crochet. I’ll probably never finish it. Or maybe I will. Who knows? It is more than welcome to inhabit the afghan cubby as long as it needs to live there.

As I work on my WIPs I plot and scheme what else I would like to knit or crochet. I’ve been held back from starting anything more due to a lack of available project bags and a lack of energy needed to sew another one. The idea of finishing another project so a bag becomes available has crossed my mind, but naaaaahhhhh nope.

I hope you’re enjoying your WIPs. I totally love mine and I feel so much better when I have time to unwind and knit or hook a little bit at the end of, or in the middle of, a hectic working day. I had the chance to watch an episode of Vikings between classes today, which is why I was lucky enough to cast on a sweater sleeve.

Has my sock obsession declined?

Today I have begun to break a record in my knitting and crochet history. In three months I will be finishing precisely three sweaters. I finished my gray cabled “Evergreen Aran” sweater in December. I proceeded to complete a crocheted “Telegraph” sweater in January. Now I am finishing the first sleeve for an “Alec XL” and, since the latter is for my partner and he can see what I’m working on most of the time, the second sleeve will be done next week because … WEARER PRESSURE.

I started a pair of red socks last week but that’s about it. I haven’t finished a pair of socks, actually, in a very long time. For the past, I don’t know, decade and a half, nothing has been more enjoyable for me than to knit a pair of socks.  That’s a loooong binge on socks. Am I entering a sweater bender period of my life?

As I’ve been knitting the sleeve on the “Alec XL” I’ve actually been asking myself, “Which sweater shall I make next?” I’ve been checking out knitting stitch dictionaries because I want to make my own easy-to-knit cardigan with some Cascade 220 Quattro I’ve got in my stash. And then I ponder the vintage “Star Motif” sweater I want to make (can’t decide on the colors). I also wonder about if I feel like starting another Alec XL for myself – I bought yarn for two. Sparks of gansey thoughts have floated through my brain also – which color is hard to say, I’ve got orange, brown, and green yarn to use for a gansey. Perhaps my indecision about which sweater to start next means that once I get the green Alec XL done I will get back into my sock craze.

Only time will tell. At least my knitting mood has made my blog more varied. A few months ago I was worried I was blogging too much about socks.

I did order some Arne & Carlos 3rd edition sock yarn – I have some limited edition of the same line in my stash , yikes! I certainly have plenty of sock yarn just in case I feel the urge to get back into my sock obsession, so that’s a relief. Whew.

The afghan cupboard

For the longest time I’ve been storing large afghan projects in a box. The box has been hidden in the spare bedroom. Do I knit and crochet in the spare bedroom? No. I knit and crochet in the living room. It’s gotten to be a nuisance to work on afghans because I’ve had to drag out the box and then put it away. Finally, I decided to claim some wasted space in the living room: a cupboard that had photo albums. I don’t look at photo albums nearly as often as I knit and crochet. Soooo… the box that once stored the afghan projects now keeps the photo albums safe. The cupboard (which I now lovingly call the “afghan cubby”) now has all the yarn and the afghans in progress.

afghan-cubby

As you can see, my hexagon afghan in progress is sitting cheerfully on top of the yarn skeins. The Tunisian afghan was sitting on the sofa waiting for me to work on it when I snapped this photo.

I’ve been using my new system for a couple of weeks now and I love it. When I feel like crocheting a hexagon I just grab some yarn and get going on it. If I feel like working on my Tunisian crochet afghan, I just retrieve it from the cubby. No more taking out and putting away boxes. Added bonus: the cubby is about 4 feet away from the sofa!

Sleeve stitches, please step aside

It’s that time of the week to talk about WIPs. I’ve made a lot of progress on my Alec XL. Now that I’m done with the increases for the sleeves and set the sleeve stitches aside on some scrap yarn it’s really looking like a sweater. If you remember from last week, the sweater was all scrunched up on the circular needles. Now with the sleeve stitches out of the way you can truly appreciate its top-down charms.

alecxl