Monday, January 17, 2011

Toe-Up Socks and Possible Knitting Adventures

There's a chapter of the Knitting Guild here in Lincoln, and although I've been going to one of their monthly Sit-and-Knit afternoons for probably a year off and on, I'd never made it to one of their 'actual meetings' until Saturday. They're doing several Knit-Alongs this year, and the first is for a Toe-Up sock. Well, I'd tried a toe-up pattern once, and although it worked okay, it wasn't as much fun to knit as the regular top-down variety. However, I was willing to try again, especially since there would be expert advice on which techniques really do work the best.

We're doing The Traveler, A Toe-Up House Sock with Traveling Cables by

It's a worsted-weight sock, which makes for quick results; very suitable for a knit-along. The photo below is my progress so far.
Traveler Sock Progress - Photo Link
We're supposed to do the heel next month at the meeting, so I will probably just do the second one up to this point, and then wait on both of them.

I should say that we didn't do the crochet-chain provisional cast-on called for in the pattern. Instead, we did a Figure-8 cast on, which worked well for me. I'd done the Turkish cast-on before, and it's quite similar, but this seems easier, or maybe I just don't remember the Turkish as well as I should.

I've also suddenly gotten the urge to knit a counterpane, or cotton coverlet. The photo below is something like what I'm thinking of. It shows 4 squares which total about 14" across, so there would be many more before I was done.
Megan's Counterpane
I'm planning to swatch a little bit to see if I really want to use tiny yarn (thread) and very fine needles, or if I want to use a larger yarn for faster results and a very different look (and a different pattern). I've thought about knitting one of these for years. Ever since reading an article in Piecework in about 1996, and would now need a pair for the twin beds in my guest room. So, not only a lot of work once, but twice. You can see why I'm a little hesitant at jumping right in.

I was wearing my Graceful Pullover yesterday, and have often thought the stitch pattern (Frost Flower) is so pretty that I should use it for something else. Well, maybe a coverlet would be a fine place.
Photo Link
The sweater is worsted, which is very pretty, and if I did the coverlet in worsted, it would go fairly fast, and I could do the main pattern once down the middle with cables and eyelets at the sides, or more probably twice down the top, with one or two of the sleeve cables in the center. Then for the 'fall' on each side I could either do another pattern repeat, or something much simpler. I would seam it at each edge of the top, and I can see putting ribbons through the eyelet rows (columns). Anyway, I need to finish the Verena sweater I'm knitting now before I begin anything major. I'm on the back collar now, so it will soon be done. I was going to make a matching skirt though, and I suppose I still can. We shall see.

It was a beautiful day here today, and I hope the weatherman is completely wrong about tomorrow, and they're saying it's going to be bitterly cold, with possible freezing rain, etc. I'm probably driving to Omaha tomorrow, so I'm hoping for another 45 degree day like today.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Knitting Progress - Verena Veronique

You may remember that before Christmas, I was beginning to knit the Veronique top from the Fall 2010 Verena knitting magazine. I'm still working on it, and I'm now finished with the main sweater pieces, and am working on the collar. It's done a little differently than any other sweater I've made. Usually you sew the pieces together, and then pick up the stitches for the collar and knit it in the round. Well, in this case, you do the front and back collar on the front and back before you stitch everything together. I can only think this must be because of the shaping of the collar since it has to fit down around the shoulders, and there's a lot of shaping to it as you knit. Anyway, it's different, and we shall see. Here is the front with the collar started.

Photo Link

Since it's only taken me about 2 months to mostly finish the top, I'm fairly sure I can get the skirt done as well. I hope so anyway, although now that I've read the skirt pattern seriously, I see that it's done on much smaller needles than the top, so that means more stitches, and longer to do it. Oh well, I need a project, I guess. I do seem to be doing more knitting than sewing though, and I'd like to change that.

I did alter some older turtleneck tops the first of the month. Quick and easy, but nice to have them to wear. These were much too big, and not even ones I'd made, and I had been not wearing them unless I needed something for scooping snow, etc. I'm glad to be able to wear them 'for real' now, as they're great for layering under things, and the colors are ones I like (Surprise!) I just put them on and pinned in the sides, and under the arms, then took them off, marked on the inside, trued things up, stitched and cut off the excess. I didn't even use my serger, just a very narrow, longish zigzag. 0.5 x 3.0 is what my machine shows. Pfaff's IDF system really is a wonder on knits.

An Outfit for 'The' Shoes

Photo Link

This is the vest/sleeveless jacket I made to wear with the wonderful Fergie shoes. It's the FSG #1960 Cardigan pattern, without the sleeves, and with the shawl collar modification in Nancy Erickson's newsletter. I think it is much more a sleeveless jacket look than a vest, and that's what I'm calling it. The color is probably truest in the first photo.
Photo Link

It's a nice, beefy knit with surface interest from the black raised threads. Since it was so beefy and almost thick, and because I used no interfacing in it, it has a very soft look and feel.
Photo Link
You can see that I stitched down the edges of the uppermost seam allowance after grading the allowances that lie beneath. The collar/band unit was sewn on as one, with the allowances all laying the same way, so this made a nice finish which allowed everything to fall as it should.

As noted above, I used the shawl collar pattern piece provided in the Nancy Erickson newsletter, and I think it's fine. I think I might make a less pronounced curve out to the collar from the band if I make another like this. I can't decide if it would make it too bulky where it closes, or if it would be better, but I can always try it and then change back if I don't like it.
Photo Link
I had thought I'd do patch pockets on this, but I was afraid it would make the front so much heavier than the back that it would hang funny, especially if I actually put anything in the pockets. So, I left them off, and for the look of it, I'm glad I did. I like pockets though, and I wonder if in-seam pockets might work next time. I really don't need the bulk though, so we'll see. I know I could have used weight in the back hem to make it hang straight, but this isn't a structured enough or 'important' enough piece to do that, in my opinion.

The top with this is from a set I made from this same pattern (there's a charcoal cardigan jacket as well) and the skirt is part of it as well, although not from the FSG pattern. I shortened the skirt from calf-length. I think it looks good, and I love a simple 4-seam straight skirt in a knit fabric. It's so much more slimming than without the CF and CB seams. It's an elastic waist, and honestly, you don't need a pattern to make one like it.

It's really, really cold here lately, and we have a bunch of snow on the ground, but at least more isn't coming down right now. I hope the bad storms and big problems are missing all of you, too.