I'm a bit low on time to post this week, so this will be a shorter blog entry, by my standards anyway, than some in the past has been. I mainly just want to keep up on here. When I go awhile without posting, the number of pictures and the things I have to talk about can get a bit overwhelming.
I did finish the Saturday Market Bag for my mother in laws birthday. Sewing it together was somewhat laughable, but it did work, and in the end the bag looked just fine. A couple of errors were in there, but in the general confusion of the stringy lace, I don't think anyone but me would ever notice.
It was fairly quick, but it did feel alot of my "at home" knitting time. As I only stitch projects up at home too, I consequently haven't gotten a thing done towards stitching up the Peace in the Hood hoodie. That's ok with me though, as it's far from urgent. My main reason for wanting to finish it is just to be able to tuck it away and call it "done".
I'd like to tell you that my "Blooming Bloomers" are coming along nicely, and they should be by all accounts. It seems like I've spent most of my time since finishing the market bag, and all of my away knitting time even when I was working on the market bag, lately. Actually, it was moving along like gangbusters until I got to the lace edging on the bottom of the first leg. Then...well...things kinda slowed to a crawl. I think it's 5 days now I've been working on this edging (yes, 5), and I still have about 8 inches to go.
Here's the deal, which might prove valuable to anyone who thinks of doing the "Unmentionables" pattern. You knit right along in stockingnet stitch for what feels like forever, but really takes very little time at all. There's a purl row or two, and a bit of eyelet lace around the top to thread the ribbon into when finishing, but even including that, it's smooth sailing. Then you flip the whole thing over, pull out the other side of your provisional cast on revealing the live stitches, and start knitting the ruffle. I thought at this point that perhaps I should just use leftovers from an earlier ball of yarn, because visually (as in, in the picture) that ruffle and lace trim just doesn't look very big. In the end, I decided to play it safe and start it with a new ball. Good thing I did. Right after you begin the ruffle, you have to increase your stitches. In fact, you have to double them, which causes that nice ruffle effect. After this increase, for the medium size, I have 240 stitches, which means it takes longer to finish the rounds, but hey, it's still good old mindless stockingnet stitch. I increased the length to 3 inches rather than the 2.75 it called for (more about this later), and then got to the lace. That's when things got really nasty. The lace requires you do 8 rows, from 5 stitches on the needle, to 9 stitches in a triangle sort of shape. Each of these 8 row triangles only takes up 4 of your leg stitches. Now, doing the math, that means you have to make (gasp!!) 60 of those little 8 row triangles. As if thats not bad enough, you are working with 2 DPN's to actually do the triangles, plus one of your leg needles, where at the end of every odd row, you are k2tog'ing one of the leg stitches into the triangle.
This makes for very fiddly knitting. It also means it takes a long long time, or at least, it's taking me a long long time, to finish just the one lace edging. There's still another one to do on the end of the next leg.
I suppose the worst thing about all this is that, when you see then end in sight, in reality the end isn't anywhere remotely near, and it's a big let down when you realize that. As for the yarn, well, it's a good thing I started with a new ball, as I'm getting very close to using up that ball now, with about 15 triangles left to go. The jury is still out on whether it will make the distance or not, but certainly, it will be a close call.
The other problem I've found is length. When looking on Ravelry at "real people's" finished projects, I did notice that alot of the finished Unmentionables looked incredibly short, particularly when compared to what you see in the picture on Knitty. This is one of the areas where Ravelry really, really comes in handy. I'm short myself, but seeing this, it raised some red flags for me, and I kept a close eye on how long the bits were, particularly the legs. So I increased about 2 inches on the leg part, and a 1/4 inch on the ruffle, and right now it appears that it will be falling to about where it does in the picture, but I won't know that for sure until I finish them and try them on. If they are too long, I'll have to eat my words, but I'm pretty sure I'll be very grateful for the extra inches.
Another thing I saw mentioned on Ravelry by people who had made the project is that they hadn't used as much yarn as the pattern called for. This is likely going to be the case for me as well. Even with the extra length, I still will likely use only 6 balls, or maybe even 5 and a half, instead of the 7 recommended. I actually considered buying only 6, but then changed my mind when I considered how uncertain it would be if I had to add extra length.
I haven't started the scarf for my workmate Tracy yet, but I did start a pair of socks. I've only just got them cast on and a few rounds of the toe worked, but they are nice to have around for times when I can't concentrate on the lace. I stil haven't decided if I'm going to make them rather plain, or put some kind of pattern in them. I guess I need to make up my mind before I finish the toes.
You might have noticed the pretty bag underneath them. That's my new "sock" bag, although I think it's technically a linen shoe bag. I saw it in a home store just off Rundle Mall last week when I was birthday shopping for my mother in law and just thought it was the prettiest thing, and perfect for socks.
I will likely start that scarf this week, as my order for the yarn for Chris' vest has been delayed another week or so. I also intend to start another cardigan using the same pattern as I used for the Bustaroony to give to my daughter for Christmas, and I will if I finish the Unmentionables before the yarn gets here for the vest. I might anyway, as it's rather more urgent to get finished.
On the spinning front, I've plyed the second roving to match the Navidad, out of the merino I got from Kathy's fibres. Here it is just off the niddy noddy:
I've washed it, and it's now drying. I should have it skeined in a few days, and will provide a finished picture in my next post.
I've also started to attempt to spin the white alpaca that Woolywombat sent to me. It's my first shot at spinning pure alpaca, and it is fiddly. I'm having trouble with it breaking alot. The fibres are quite short, so I have to keep reminding myself to get more spin into them quicker. But what I have finished does look pretty good:
I actually had intended to dye this at first, but on further inspection, I decided to leave it white. I can always dye the yarn when it's finished if I like. I don't know what I'll do with it yet. If it's thin enough, maybe a lacy scarf, but that really depends on whether I need to ply it for strength or not. If so, it will probably be too thick. Still, it will make a nice scarf even then, just not a lacy one.
Mind you, I've spun very little. The short fibres are very messy, and I practically had to vaccum myself off after spinning just that little bit. But now that I'm done plying the merino, I will get back to it very soon. I'd love to learn to spin it well enough to get some thin singles to make a lacy shawl out of.
Well, that's about it for me this week. I did buy some plastic boxes and rearrange all of my spinning fibre, but I forgot to take pictures, so I'll save that whole sordid story for my next entry.