Monday, July 21, 2008

Secret Pal Question #6

For some reason, I haven't been getting any of the previous 5 questions that my Secret Pal hostess has sent to all of us, but I did get this one so I think I should answer it. The question is: What kind of knitting do you like to take on vacation? This is very good timing because I am going to Nova Scotia in August to get some more wedding stuff done, so I will soon be tackling this very issue myself. Most people automatically say "socks ans shawls" and that's all well and good. I definitely have at least one small project (or a large project that's still small in size) for when I'm travelling around within my destination, but I have no problem pulling out a big sweater in progress on a plane, especially if it's a long trip, or packing it in my suitcase to work on if I'm just going to visit family. The last knitting I took on a plane was the Rocketry sweater for Amy's baby Grace and I discovered that the armrests of airplane seats are excellent for winding remaining yarn into skeins.

For this trip east, since it's only a 2 hour plane ride, I'll probably take something more portable. I like taking things that are simple enough that I can watch the satellite TV that they have in airplanes now (isn't technology wonderful?! Gone are the days when we actually have to talk to our fellow passengers). I'll definitely have the purple sweater done by today or tomorrow, so I won't be taking that. I'd like to try making the baby surprise jacket on the thinnest baby weight yarn I own on really tiny needles to see if it comes out preemie-sized so I might bring that along. I may also bring the Spring Up socks, which I have almost definitely decided to rip back to the cuffs and re-knit including those 2 rows of stocking stitch that I forgot. I know for sure I'll be bringing Mom's Lighthearted Leaves scarf, if only because she's convinced that I'll never get anything knit for her completed and I want her to see me working on it. :)

Until next we knit!


Friday, July 18, 2008

If you wait, the universe will provide

I started knitting the Orphans for Orphans sweater with charity in mind, right from the off. Children's sweaters really excite me as a project because they allow for design experimentation on a smaller scale than a full adult-sized sweater. They take up much less wool and are much quicker to knit; I can play around with colour or stitch patterns or shaping with less risk and with the hope of getting something I would want to size up to fit myself or someone else. Of course, charity knitting is what started my knitting obsession in the first place 8 years ago, so the two just go hand in hand.

Although I'd had the sweater earmarked for charity before it was even a cast-on row, I had no idea who I would give it to. I spent some time searching online, but I couldn't find anything that satisfactorily met my criteria; I wanted something where the donation centre would be local, or would at least had a drop-off location in Toronto so that I didn't have to pay for postage, and I wanted something that would stay in the country and help people in Canada. Not that I'm downplaying the great need in many countries all over the world, I'm really trying to keep it local, to help people here at home before I start to send things off to far-off lands. So I was thrilled when I found a post on the Ravelry GTA Fibre Faces group about Warming Hands.

Warming Hands accepts donations of children's sweaters, hats, mitts, socks, and baby blankets. They are an official collector group for the Dulaan Project, but they have also just begun a charity drive for the Innu children of Northern Labrador. They re based in Ottawa, but they have a number of drop-off points in Toronto (including Knit Cafe; I've been wanting an excuse to go there more often). How perfect is this? It meets all my criteria for being Canadian and with local drop-off locations, plus it sends the items to the Maritimes! I couldn't be happier. Especially since I've been re-reading all my Elizabeth Zimmerman books, so I've got future design ideas swirling in my little head.

Until next we knit!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

The lost post

While looking back over the last few entries, I realized that I hadn't posted the pictures I took of the front and back panel, as I thought I had. I'd posted it on the Stashalong blog, but not here.
In the disappointment from my ill-fated Classico Twinset I decided to do some stashbusting with a charity sweater. I picked the Orphans for Orphans pattern from Knitting for Peace because it had interesting construction and was a great blank canvas for playing with stitch patters. It's knit in 2 panels, one front and one back, and then the side stitches are picked up from each panel and knit horizontally. The sides, as I've mentioned, are grafted together and the sleeves just keep getting knit horizontally until you come to the cuff. I looked on Ravelry to see some of the sweaters other knitters have knit from this pattern and to look for any relevant advice. One thing I found was that people who did the sleeve cuffs and border in garter stitch, as it's called for, complained that it flared out (as it would, because garter stitch is longer than stocking stitch), so I decided to do the cuffs and (when I come to it) the border in moss stitch to keep the theme going.

Here is a close up of the panels, which I finished last week. The sweater is designed to be a pullover, but still a little gun shy from my recent skirmish with neck holes, I've decided to make it into a cardigan with an off-centre button band. The stitch pattern I chose came from Gladys Thomas's Patterns for Guernsey, Jerseys and Arans and is a band of diamonds up the centre with moss stitch on either side. As I said on Monday, this pattern is repeated on the sleeves, with 2 (smaller) strips of the above pattern separated by 2 stitches of stocking stitch. The decrease section of the sleeves is left in stocking stitch so that I didn't have to fiddle with the pattern on an ever-decreasing number of stitches.
Until next we knit!

Monday, July 14, 2008

A little sweater getting bigger

I've been work diligently on the charity sweater, and I quite like how it's coming along. It's also a great way to get more practice at kitchener stitch, since each side of the body is kitchenered together. I'm still not able to do it without it looking up on youtube, but I'm getting there.

Here's the latest photo.

I wish the picture had come out clearer, it's kind of hard to see all the stitch definition. If you're interested, see it on my flickr page. The pattern up along the top of the sleeve is the same diamond and moss stitch pattern on the front and back panel, but smaller and doubled with a 2-stitch length of stocking stitch to separate them and mark the mid-point. There's also a band of 10 stitches of moss stitch across the side that meets in the side seem, although it didn't quite mtch up when I kitchenered the sides together, for some reason. Maybe i'll have more luck on the left side.

Here's a picture that Nyron took while I was working on it that I think is really cute.

Spirit is the perfect knitter's cat. She can't be bothered to chase my yarn unless it actually rolls over her paws, she's grown out of the stage where she used to bat at my needles while I knit (plus, I use circs almolst exclusively now, so there's no tempting ends for her to play with), and she's knows her place while I'm knitting is on my sholder, not on my lap (most of the time).

Until next we knit!