Thursday, June 26, 2008

We're getting there

I meant to post yesterday, but I wanted a picture of the first finished sock of the pair for Younger Daughter, actually on Younger Daughter's leg. She didn't sit still long enough for that, and the light's bad right now (yay for the morning marine layer!), so I thought it'd be better to post than not. I'll take some pictures later.

I've finished the first of the two socks, and am past the heel gusset on the second, so that should get finished today. I also started a hat for me to take on the trip (I hear that laughter in the back of the room there -- I can too finish it before we leave Saturday night!). It's the Keara hat, which I loved the moment I saw it, and I'm knitting it in some leftover yarn that I had in the stash (of which more in a moment). I'm starting with the gray alpaca that I used for Rick's Paris-Roubaix mitts for the cabled brim, and then if it doesn't look like I'll have enough, I'll do the top in the rest of the black BMFA yarn I used for Simurgh (it'll have to be doubled up to match the gauge, I think, but that's OK). I'm not so fond of the way the pattern's written up (I'm apparently spoiled by Anne's skill at writing clear patterns), as it leaves a lot to the imagination, but I think I can recreate what should go in the lacunae.

I spent quite a bit of time yesterday charting out the patterns that I wanted to use from BW's books for the projects I'm taking along on the trip. Especially for the wide scarf I want to knit with the SeaSilk, I wanted to see how the motifs charted together (there are really just two, but you've got to start somewhere, right?). I think I've got something that I'll like, and I ended up being pretty proud of my charting. It's not nearly so easy as it seems like it should be, especially since several of the motifs I chose to work with had shifting stitch counts; it's easier, I think, to write those out -- when charting, it seemed to me to be important to line up the "missing" stitches with the places that they would be, so that the chart and my knitting would read the same. And that's not all that easy. However, I've got something I'm happy with for the scarf, for the border of the half-pi, and for the socks. I'd show you what they look like, but I can't seem to find an easy way to upload an image of the chart, so you'll have to take my word for it.

I also spent some time winding yarn into balls to take along. Since I want to use as much of the SeaSilk as humanly possible, I'm knitting the shawl from the ends to the middle, where I'll graft the two sides together. This meant dividing the skein into two even balls. I don't have an accurate scale to weigh yarn with, but I came up with another idea (I apparently have mad workaround skills). I put the skein on my swift and then counted the number of strands in the skein (by fives, and yes, it was sort of a drag). I figured I'd then wind half of those onto the ball winder, but was left with the question of how to keep track. Utilizing those mad skills again, I tied a piece of yarn to one arm of the swift, and called that the beginning of a turn. Then I wound on for half the number of turns as there were total strands of yarn in the skein, and bob's your uncle, I had half the yarn in a ball. Cut yarn, start a new ball, and repeat. I'm fairly pleased with myself (and yes, I do realize that each and every one of you had probably already thought of doing that, and it's on the internet in various fora all over the place, but I'm the sort of person who is occasionally quite pleased with herself for reinventing the wheel).

We also spend some time yesterday searching for warm clothes for Older Daughter to take on the trip. Can I just tell you how hard it is to find long sleeved shirts for kids this time of year? She's also getting big enough that she's not quite fitting into the kids' clothes anymore, but the tween clothes are too "old" for her, so we had a bit of a struggle finding something. We ended up getting some boys' shirts, which we're both happy with. We also got the boys' jeans, which were much more sensible and comfortable than the girls' jeans, which appear to be built on the same principle as women's pants: a bigger size is for taller skinny people, rather than for people who have gotten proportionately longer. Older Daughter tried on a smaller size, then one size larger and complained to me, "But these are just longer, not bigger!" Welcome to the world of America's weird female body images, kiddo. Luckily, she's completely unselfconscious about the idea of wearing boys' jeans because they're more comfortable (I do the same thing; they don't make 501s for women any more, and they're my favorite jeans, so I buy them in the men's department). We'll see if that survives middle school.

Today: finish the second sock, and work on the hat to get a realistic sense of whether I can get it finished; do laundry; start putting gear into the suitcases; walk the dogs; take the girls swimming at a friend's house; go to piano lessons. Enough to be getting on with.


Anonymous said...

I am impressed and have a question too! Please tell how do you count the rounds with the swift sign? My swift goes too fast to count anything. I usually wind fast from the swift and then rewind the ball to get it relaxed - probably my weird way of doing things,,,
It is good that the girl likes to wear what she likes and not what's expected of her, I hope it will survive higher schools :)

Nana Sadie said...

Wow. I think I followed that. :)
(see, this is one person who hasn't done it - so for me? you're not reinventing the wheel!)

Helen said...

I think workaround skills are the sign of true intelligence myself, but I would say that, wouldn't I?

Bea said...

I got lost somewhere in the middle of this post. Too much distraction around here. I hope you have super fun on your trip. I used to wear guys jeans until I found some female ones that I actually liked! Shocking. I totally think you can finish a hat and a sock in time!

Marianne said...

What a gorgeous hat! You can do it!

I've always worn guys' jeans, always. levis... 501s are my favourite but I also wear the 505s.

Well... that's one way to figure out half a skein... and not a bad one either. I keep thinking I'll go to one of those big sports/fishing stores and get the fishline dealie that measures line which is what's on the yarn meters. yep, another one of those 'one of these days'...

Have a fabulous fun time!

EGunn said...

Whew! That's a list! I'm sure you'll manage to finish the hat before you go, and it sounds like the important stuff (the yarn, of course) is already all set to go.

I know what you mean about being spoiled by Anne's patterns...they set the bar really high for other designers! It's hard to complain about being so spoiled, though. =)

Anonymous said...

That would be unventing the wheel, I believe.

What an awesome list! I'm not excited about my stuff right now, so I'm excited to see how the SeaSilk and the half pi and the sock and the hat and

Well, you know.

Good knitting!

Anonymous said...

I lived in "boy" Levis jeans until after having the second child. Most comfortable, affordable and practical. My frustration with finding pants that fit know no end. grrr (not all women with hips also have the round waist to match.)

Love the Keara hat!!! How's it coming?

Anonymous said...

And bob's your uncle? Good gravy. I never would've thought of that dividing, much less managed to do it.

Second sock? You mean you have to knit two? Ohhhh.

the boogeyman's wife said...

congrats on those charts - i figure if a chart should look like the knitting, but not all charts are created equal. lots of times i end up redrawing them, and they do take more time than you'd think. especially with lace.
glad you could find your daughter clothes that fit. boys clothes seem to have a logic to the sizing that's missing in the women's. i'll spare you the clothes rant fot today though :)
good luck finishing the hat and have a fun trip!