Friday, 17 December 2010

New skills

So, I haven't posted in awhile. Part of the reason is that for half of November, I was in America with my family and didn't really have access to a computer very much. I've found that using someone else's computer is like visiting a bed and breakfast; you're never really sure how everything works, despite it all being the same. Anyway, what I lacked in computer time, I made up for in yarnwork time. I acquired quite a lot of new yarn, courtesy of my mother (who got me a bunch of wool) and various shopping trips while I was there. I then learned to crochet, so I've added that to my list of skills. So far, I've made a scarf and a hat, the former in wool from a Jacobs sheep and the latter in yarn from my LYS - a multicoloured merino. I'm really quite pleased with how quickly and easily I picked up crochet. I think it's because I've been knitting so long and understand how yarn works.

I've also been knitting. Since I finished the Christmas present, my big project has been a cardigan out of some lush purple yarn I got from a destash. It's called Mirasol K'acha, a combination of merino, alpaca and silk. I really enjoyed working with it and the sweater, finished yesterday, has turned out lovely. I really have only one gripe with it: either I badly misjudged the length of the arms, or the yarn has gone and stretched itself. The whole cardigan, in fact, seems huge on me. Still, it's warm, and that's what is important. And it looks good.

Another thing I've been working on for ages now is a stocking for my hubby. I've never made socks before, and thought I would start with something that doesn't have to be worn; plus, I had some Christmas yarn that would be perfect for one stocking. Grandma gave me a pattern that she has used for years to make stockings for the family, but it was impossible to read, being a scanned copy of something old and taped together in places. I chose another from the vast database on Ravelry and got to work. At first, it was fine. I did the leg, and then moved into the heel turn. That's when I ran into trouble. First, I picked up the stitches wrong and knitted it backwards, which was picked up by the ladies at Get Knitted when I brought it there to ask why I couldn't get it right. So I ripped back and got it going the right way, only to have trouble picking up stitches - turns out you're supposed to knit them as you pick them up - who knew? :) Once Grandma put me onto that, I had the yarn where I needed it to be, but was still having trouble with the instep. I took it to America for consultation, and Grandma gave me a better copy of the pattern she uses. We managed to get the heel turned, using both patterns - mine, for the numbers, and hers for the sense of it all.

Using two patterns, however, is trouble. I started to have trouble reconciling the two patterns, and then I realised I'd made a huge mistake in turning, and in despair have given up the project as a lost cause. When I went to try and rip the yarn back, it knotted and stuck and I can't figure out what end is up and what is down (figuratively speaking) that I've had to bin over half the skein. That, I think, is the worst part, since I had planned to use Grandma's pattern solely and try again. Now I'll have to source some more yarn and try doing multiple colours, which I'm a novice at. I'll probably use the Christmas yarn for coasters or something, since what I have left has been cut a few times and really isn't suitable for a larger project. *sigh* So that is my Stocking Saga.

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