In Search of the Next Thing

I had this dreadful thought yesterday – I have no idea what the “next” project is going to be!

Now, based on my recent project completion rate, and that I’m currently in the middle of two knitting projects, plus the miscellany, you mightn’t think this would be a problem. However. It has the potential.

Despite my absence around here of late (how is it mid-September? – I’m quite sure it must be only July!) I have been working on things. And, more to the point of my next-project panic, I’ve actually started (well, okay, just once so far, but I have plans) to go to a Wednesday night knitting group. Which means I must have knitting for Wednesdays!

This week–and until it’s finished, but once I conquer the problem of the too-tight cast-on, it will fly–the knitting will be the monkey bread hat for my mom. I’ve started and ripped out twice, plagued not by gauge so much as the cast on. Well, the first attempt was also slightly too small of gauge, but the second attempt would have been perfect (I went up one needle size), but the cast-on was tighter than the ribbed brim. All these years of knitting too loose, and now I can’t manage a cast-on!

les Abeilles in progress

The other knitting still in process is my Les Abeilles. Also attempt two. I had a moment of panic this week, where it seemed that it was still too small, even though I had gone up a needle size. But the lace edging measures the correct depth, and I did a quick gauge “square” in the middle of my knitting and I’m dead on, so it may just be my mind playing tricks on me. Regardless, I decided that whatever size it comes out I will use, so full steam ahead. The blocking will tell in the end.

But as far as actual on-the-needles knitting, that’s it. And no plans for what’s ahead. It looks like I may have to spend some quality time with my Ravelry “favorites” this week. (I don’t really keep a “queue” as I did for a while and it became both ridiculous and inaccurate.) And maybe a stash dive. That usually proves inspirational!

On the Needles – les Abeilles

I’ve spent some of my spare moments the past week running through my head what I should post on next here, when it dawned on me, les Abeilles!

Les abeilles shawl in progress

I didn’t even manage to have a photo on my Ravelry project page until just now, and I really didn’t want this to turn into a “forgotten” project. Not that it really could be forgotten–it’s been my go-to project lately–but I do like to have at least one progress photo for each project.

Abeilles started with the yarn–some fingering weight Classic Bamboo Merino I bought from Knitting Notions a couple years ago at the local wool & fiber show. I love her bamboo merino blend (although–thanks to the bamboo content I sometimes have to be careful not to split the yarn). It has such a lovely sheen thanks to the bamboo, and unlike a 100% non-superwash merino, I can’t accidentally felt it under my hands while knitting. (A problem I sometimes have…) I only had the one skein, 490 yards, so I decided to search for a one-skein neck shawl type project. Les Abeilles is…maybe that project. It’s another Anne Hanson pattern, and she offers it in three sizes: using 275, 550, and 800 yards. I didn’t want to use the smallest size because that would leave so much leftover, so I threw caution to the wind and cast on for the 550 yard-size. Yep, I’m banking on Anne having allowed extra yardage for safety. I went down a needle size, too (and have never actually measured my gauge because…well, I never do for lace…troublemaker, that’s me). Looking at it now, I actually think I’m going to have enough yarn. And if I don’t, I’ll rip back the garter stitch section and change the decrease rate (which I accidentally did when I started that section, so…).

This has also been a well-traveled knit. A few weeks back, a group of coworkers and I had to go out for a field measuring visit to three sites in West Virginia. We spent something like 7 hours in the car (which was more drive time than we spent actually working), so I decided to take my knitting with me. Shh…don’t tell anyone, but I was paid to knit! 😉 It was either that or stare at the landscape and try not to fall asleep. I don’t think anyone minded.

I’m nearing the finish-line though, and looking over my other on-the-needles projects, it may be time to start planning the next thing. Which yarn might call to me next?

Knitting at a Snail’s Pace

A week or so ago I was suddenly struck with the urge to sort through my knitting/knitting patterns. This is rare, but when it comes I just go with it. I try to keep everything nice and neat and organized, but it’s really more theoretical than actual; however, at some point in the past few years I managed to get my act together enough to put most of my printed patterns into a 3-ring binder. The original intent was to be one of those super-disgustingly organized people who keeps notes of patterns, needle sizes, swatches, start and end dates, etc., but it’s never really panned out. This doesn’t bother me too much, as I keep track of most of that (usually–I’ve been known to forget to add needle size) on Ravelry, but I do like to keep swatches/ball bands all together with the appropriate pattern. As I was sorting through various bags ensuring that I had all the swatches and loose patterns, I discovered yarn I didn’t recognize. It’s in my Ravelry stash, I know where (and thanks to Ravelry, when) I purchased it, but I don’t remember it. I see several possible reasons for this:

  1. I have a really, really bad memory.
  2. My memory’s okay but it needs jogged by seeing my yarn every once in a while and all the forgotten yarn was hidden behind cupboard doors.
  3. My stash is multiplying without my permission.

I’m not sure which option I prefer…

A more rational explanation might think that it is clear that I’m a) not knitting fast enough AND b) I’m using new stash before old stash. And given that it’s February and I still don’t have finished mittens I might have to concede to this. To be fair though, I’ve done a LOT of knitting to get this far.

DSCN9917

It took three (or four?) starts before I got gauge. Actually, the gauge is supposed to be the same as the hat—and the same as (similar to?) the mitts I knit for my dad and brother—so I thought I knew what needles size I needed. But. There are more stitches in the cuff for these than for my dad’s mitts, so in reality I needed to go down a few needles sizes to make a nice, snug cuff. (Also, the mink-cashmere doesn’t pull in on ribbing as much as Cascade Superwash.) Then, I was through all the cables and almost to the rib top when I realized that the thumb as written didn’t work for me. So I ripped back halfway and added a gusset. Fortunately, my best guess as to how many stitches to add and where worked on the first try.

Since I took the picture, I’ve knit the left thumb three times—the number made necessary by working out how fast to decrease the extra stitches. There’s probably an easier way to do that. Sigh. I now need to work out how to finish the flip-top. It shouldn’t require any modifications (I hope!), so I hope I can fly to the finish this weekend. Of course, it’s not supposed to be cold enough that I’ll actually need these super-warm mittens any time soon!