Wednesday, 9 December 2009

How I started, Christmas, and what I'm working on now

After keeping a journal, both in writing (private) and online (semi-public) for most of my life, I've decided to start a blog. I have recently gotten very excited about knitting, and since everyone I know who can knit is scattered all over the globe and not near me, and I only get to see like minded knitters twice a month, I need another outlet to rave about everything I'm working on. My husband is beginning to get the hang of smiling and nodding with that glazed look in his eye when I talk about charts not making sense, or needles being annoying, or how much I love this yarn. Hence, another outlet is needed.

From October until the present, I've been mostly working on Christmas presents, pictured to the side and below. I actually got the idea to knit the beginning of October, when I decided that because I had so much free time on my hands and very little money, I'd knit Christmas presents. I already had the basics down, but I soon discovered I had a lot to learn. The projects I picked required double pointed needles, which I didn't master until I'd tried using circular needles. Then I had to master simple lace techniques - the YO, ssk, and K2Tog. I was making multipes of each gift, one thing for the women and one for the men, so it didn't take me too long to get proficient. I finished those before my deadline of Thanksgiving, and took them to my family in Columbus. Upon returning home to Bristol, I had a black scarf on the needles, which had been started on holiday, as well as a shawl and my husband's Christmas present. I had been itching to start a stole called Concerto which was designed for a KAL - I discovered it after the KAL was finished, but love the stole, so I decided to make it. I also had to make a scarf for my father in law. So yeah, a lot of projects in the works!

I had been working on my husband's present during the holiday as well, after getting advice from my knitting teacher (my grandma) on how to do a knit-front-and-back-increase, so it was almost done. I took about a day more to get it fully finished, given that I could only work on it when he was at work. Last night, I finally got it washed, and it's still drying, waiting for the finishing touches. Pictures to come after Christmas, when he won't accidently stumble upon it!

I needed the right size needles to make the scarf for my FIL, so I had those ordered, and they came in the next day. It's a one skein keyhole scarf, and after 2 days working fairly intensely on it, I'm half done. It's supposed to be 40 inches done, but I'm not sure that's going to be long enough. I have extra  yarn, so if I want to I can make it longer.

The scarf I started in Columbus was really just something I put on the needles to keep myself from getting bored. I had taken the shawl and Adrian's christmas present to work on, but was stuck on the shawl with the pattern (the charts are hard to understand) and coudln't work on the present just anytime - he was around. I had bought some yarn, and had most of my needles with me, so I just went through Ravelry's list of things and decided on an eyelet scarf. At first I had notions of selling it or gifting it, but then I lost my scarf on the plane ride home, so it's going to be my new one. I'm just as happy - it's a cotton/silk blend that's super soft and is going to be lovely. There are a few mistakes, but I don't mind those. This is the work in progress, badly stretched out to show something of the pattern. Proper blocking will come later.

The Concerto stole is going to take a lot of my time, I can tell. My original plan, based on something I'd read from one of the other members, had been to work on it one night a week for 7 weeks, based on the 7 parts of the KAL. I therefore sat down last night and did the swatch, which took about an hour and a half and turned out superbly after washing and blocking overnight. I love the yarn, which is a lambswool, for it's softness, and hate it for the fact that it's very loosely 3 stranded. Marl is like that I suppose, but it's tricky to work with. Tonight, I started with the first part. There's one chart for each part, with written instructions for people like me who have trouble reading rows and hate charts. This chart introduces me to repeats (I've done next to no chart work, except the one which has bamboozled me), and has 36 rows in it if I recall correctly. You go up to row 31, then back to row 12 and repeat up to 31 again for the size stole I'm making. I've got up to 31, so tomorrow I just have to do the repeat and complete the chart. I got about 6 inches done tonight, which isn't bad for a few hours work on a rather wide (65 sts) work. Yes, I've worked on wider. The first thing I did in the round, a horrid shrug that I still can't figure out and intend to frogg, was over 100 sts. The shawl is getting up to 135 and probably isn't done there. But for something which is going to be 6 feet long, I consider 65 to be plenty. It's going to be fun going though, and you'll probably read a lot about it over the next few months.

PS, if you didn't find me through Ravelry, and want to see my works there, my username is writerdahling - feel free to friend me!

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