PunkconformityLife, history, and the pursuit of knitting.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Stashbusting: Pea Soup Sweater

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I've had this Brown Sheep Cotton Fine cone in my stash since...2007 or 8.  It was part of a Patternworks sale that seemed like a good idea at the time, because I was convinced of my wool allergy (which turns out to be an issue solely with lower-micron wool - pretty much anything that comes from Peru makes me itch just looking at it) and thought cotton was the only alternative (this was before I learned about Amy Singer's No Sheep for You).  Clearly, as it has been languishing in the stash since 2007, it was not such a great idea.  Four cones of lace-weight, unmercerized cotton might be perfect for weaving, but it's not as awesome for knitting.

But finally, as part of the great stash-busting event of 2013, I took some time to match these cones with projects, and found the Pickle's Plain Cardigan pattern.

I made the smallest size, and even with the yarn held tripled I still didn't manage to use up the whole cone.  The only changes I would make if I knit this again is to make fewer button-holes, and to make them smaller.  They sort of overwhelm this small garment, and it makes it difficult to find appropriate buttons.  I'm still searching - I think dark brown wooden or faux leather would look nice, but I haven't found anything I'm completely sold on yet.

Overall, the yarn turned out to be much more pleasant to work with than I was expecting, and produced a fabric with much more drape than the feel of the cotton on the cone led me to expect that I would get.  For my first major Knit the Queue project of the year, I think it turned out quite nicely.  And it worked up in a single weekend, so I definitely can't complain about that.
Friday, May 24, 2013

Bayerische Socks

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Based on Eunny Jang's Bayerische pattern, but knit with Blue Moon Fibers Socks that Rock Mediumweight in Strange Brew.  The pattern calls for an almost lace-weight fingering, to accommodate the 90+ stitches you're supposed to cast on, but even using needles which were far too small to use comfortably with the thicker STR (1.5 US), there was no way I was getting down to that kind of gauge.  So I cut out two of the charts, and replaced them with a ktbl, p1, ktbl combination.  I was also concerned about yardage issues, since I was knitting these for the Boy, whose feet are rather larger than mine, so I knit mine from the toe up, rather than the top down.

For those interested in doing the same, my mods are as follows:

Magic cast-on 22 sts.  Increased to 61.
For top of foot, worked chart D2, ktbl, p1, ktbl, chart B, ktbl, p1, ktbl, chart D1.
Continued in pattern until approx. 2.5" less than desired length (for the size 11s I was making, that was 5 1/2 repeats of chart B).
Worked gusset to 51 sts, then worked a short-row heel with twisted knit stitches (which I achieved by a sl1 as to knit, p1 across the right side).
Worked the leg pattern over 64 stitches, as chart D, k1tbl, p1, k1tbl, chart B, k1tbl, p1, k1tbl, chart D,  k1tbl, p1, k1tbl, chart B, k1tbl, p1, k1tbl.
Worked a twisted k1tbl, p1 rib for the cuff.

It required some finagling to match up the transition from the half-charts of D1 & D2 to the full D charts, but I think it turned out nicely and is the part of the sock I'm the most proud of:

I have heard a lot of talk about how complicated Bavarian twisted stitches are, but if you can cable and you can twist stitches, then there's no reason why you can't do beautiful things with Bavarian twisted stitches.  That being said, you might not want to be crazy like me; I knit these while watching panels at Kalamazoo, and while I  managed to keep track of my charts without too much trouble, it's not really something I recommend.

I am thrilled with how these turned out, and how easily the pattern converted from top down to toe up.  And the Boy is actually wearing them!
Thursday, May 23, 2013

On the needles

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Sometimes I struggle with the idea of blogging.  What is appropriate to post and what isn't?  If people come expecting to read about knitting and yarn, is it okay if some days I'd rather talk about the fact that I'm struggling to decide if I ought to flip my classroom in the fall, or that the potatoes in my garden clearly think that we live in northern Ireland this year?  Because I don't always have yarn-related things to talk about.  Having recently begun the adventure of cohabitation, I find (like all my foremothers) that my knitting time is being severely impinged upon by the responsibilities of a good housewife (and my thoughts on that are something best saved for another day).

I suppose the reality is that it's my blog, and I can write about whatever I want.  If I want to rant about Steven Moffatt and his desecration of the Doctor Whoniverse (don't get me started on River Song, or the repetition of the "impossible girl" trope, or even how he kind of ruined the Weeping Angels through overuse), I can do that.

What I'm doing: I just returned from the Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo, which was quite an experience.  I split my time between panels about things I teach and panels about things I enjoy, meaning that I learned equally about the role of Jews in medieval society and how to analyze textiles from extant images.  My favorite thing about the whole conference was that during the textile panels (put on by DISTAFF), over half the audience was knitting, and one of the only questions I received throughout the entire conference was about the sock pattern I was working on (a highly modified form of Eunny Jang's Bayerische pattern, about which more will be said later).  Knitters.  We are everywhere.

What I'm reading: All the things.  My attention-span is shot lately (conference nerves, mostly), so I'm jumping between Fighting the Great War: A Global History, Victorian and Edwardian Fashion: A Photographic Survey, and Fitzgerald's The Lost Decade.  The only thing that's actually holding my interest is something I'm reading for work: Holy Bones, Holy Dust: How Relics Shaped the History of Medieval Europe (which is a popular history that is rather suspect in places - his interpretation of Carolingian religious practices concerns me - but which references quite a few primary sources I had not come across.  This will, of course, soon necessitate the long and painful process of translating things from the Minge Patrologia so that I can inflict them on my students).

What I'm watching: Doctor Who, obviously.  We just mainlined the last of Series 7, and will soon be switching over to Game of Thrones.

What I'm knitting:  I'm working on secret knitting, which will be given as a gift next month (at which point I'll show a picture of it).  What I can say about it is that it was intended to be a stash-busting project, using a giant skein of Caron One Pound that had been lingering in my stash for ages.  For so long, in fact, that Caron has since switched the color of the yarn that goes by that name.  Which means that what was supposed to be a stash-buster has resulted in the purchase of three more skeins in the hopes of finding one that matched.  We have finally decided that said project will be ombré, and it will be a design feature.