Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Meet the Bear

Let me introduce you to my knitting chair companion. This is Robert the Bear, given to me by my friends Robert and Anne when I visited Scotland in February. They gave me the Bear and a magnet that plays Scotland the Brave – the whole Scotland the Brave – all 3 ½ minutes of Scotland the Brave. Still I play it every once in a while when I need a smile. Do do da dodo do do dooo do do do dodo do do. Robert and I exchanged tacky Christmas gifts for several years until I moved away – he gave me a sampler paint pot one year and I sent him a cheesy Christmas yard decoration one year. Ah, good times.

Anyway, the Bear got put in the corner of my big chair when I got back from my trip and he seems to really like it because he almost never leaves it. He’s really helpful and sometimes even holds my patterns for me. Good Bear.

A couple of finishes or almost finishes. I've got almost 700 yards of wool spun for my planned fisherman's gansey sweater. I reckon I'll probably need about 500 more yards but that means I'm more than halfway there (and it's only taken me 2 years!) I wasn't pleased with it after I'd plied the first skein. I'm not that experienced a spinner and my plies are really only good for 2 ply unless you're after super big fat chunky yarn - and I'm not. Like I've been reading on other blogs, my 2-ply yarn was way under spun and I wasn't at all pleased. My friend, Karen, who is quickly approaching master status suggested I should put it back on the wheel and add more twist. At first it seemed like too much trouble but then I thought, "Isn't spinning any yarn way more trouble that just buying some yarn? Is trouble really the point?" I put it back on the wheel, added some more twist and Bob's your father's brother - it came out great. And I got enough twist put into the other 2 skeins that they were fine even after I'd washed them. I'm gonna love this sweater. The plan is simmering away in my strange little brain. I'll let you know when I get it started.

Anyway, back to the post. I finished my scarf that started out as a sampler to show the pattern on the Desert Sunrise yarn I dyed. I liked it so much, I decided to just keep going and make the scarf. Can’t wait for the cold weather to come back so I can wear it. I’m not, by the way, talking about the seriously cold weather, just the weather where it’s cold enough to wear things like this. I need to get some socks knit before the really cold weather comes.

And I wanted to show this project, too. Before I show this project, I want to share the stitch pattern I’ve been using. For some reason this has become my catch-all stitch pattern lately. I started using it because it was the cuffs of the Nancy Bush Norwegian gloves I finished last week. But it’s such an easy, nice looking pattern that you don’t need to think about (too much-see note below) that I used it for the scarf right up there and I started using it with this lime green Mandarin Petit yarn (100% cotton yarn from a Norwegian company called SandnesGarn).

(Cast on multiple of 10.)

Row 1: SSK, K2, yo, k2, yo, k2, K2tog
Row 2: Purl (unless you’re working in the round, in which case you would knit the second round)

Repeat as needed. That’s it. Yeah, the only thing you need to watch out for is that it can be easy to get into your mind that you should yarn over after every time you k2. Not so much. You’ll get into all sorts of Scotland the Brave if you do that because that last k2 is there to keep you on your toes. Ask me how I know.

You probably have gotten an inkling that I don’t generally like cotton yarns but this is one of those yummy soft cotton yarns that knits like a dream, kind of like the Katia Mississippi 3. It not only knits like a dream, it is a dream to knit with.

This, like many of my projects, started life as a shawl/stole. In fact, the reason I bought it was to make a shawl. I have about 6 skeins (180 meters each) and thought that would be a good use so I promptly cast on 120 stitches. I wanted a wide stole and figured almost 1,100 meters would be plenty to make something a decent size. What I didn’t know at the time was that this yarn actually was born to be a lacy raglan-sleeved cardigan. It wasn’t until I had about 6 inches knit with this lovely stuff that I understood what the universe had planned. I did a provisional cast on and will use that to crochet off a little lacy edging when I’m done. I’ll just wait until I have both fronts done and get it put together so it will have a continuous edging.

I’ve already started on one of the front pieces and in an hour tonight got about 6 inches done. I don’t know that I’ll do a formal pattern but I am keeping notes so let me know if you want directions after I’ve finished. It will have raglan sleeves but I haven’t yet decided on the front. My really narrow shoulders don’t do so well with the v-neck so I’ll have to wait till I get there and see what happens.

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