Friday Gauge Check: Autumn Afternoons

Friday means it’s time for our Friday rituals, the ceremonies of escorting one week out and preparing the next one. Which, around here, is the Gauge Check, where I take a look at my week and figure out where I’ve come from and where I’m going. Sometimes there are goals, sometimes I just talk about what’s going on in my life and my crafting. You are all welcome to join in in the comments.

Happy Friday, everybody!

I’ve had one of those weeks that feels generally very successful.  Not one major thing, but lots of little ones, and the failures are minimal enough to make the successes even sweeter.

Gretel TamThe whole week has been chilly and rainy, and I’ve unpacked my sweaters and started to get serious use out of my handknits. The December Little Shawl has been blocked, and so have the Codename: Wintergreen gloves.  You know how I mentioned that one was shorter than the other, but I hoped to fix it in blocking?  Well, it worked!  They’re now both the same length.  Blocking: knitting magic.

Goals for this winter include a sweater and some handknit socks for me.  While I’ve knit a lot of socks, only one pair has been for me.  The first pair I ever made was a twisted rib in a bright pink acrylic, and they’re really too thick to wear with shoes, though I’ve been getting plenty of wear out of them at night.  However, when it’s damp out, the store-bought cotton socks I tend to wear myself are just not warm enough, and it’s just going to get colder as winter comes along.  Jack, on the other hand, keeps bragging about how warm his feet are in the socks I’ve made him, so I think I need to get some of that warm handknit action going on my own feet.  I do have this Cookie A sock book lurking on my shelf that I picked up at the Knit Picks warehouse sale, after all, and some lovely fingering-weight yarn in colors that Jack just wouldn’t wear.  Admittedly I was thinking about shawls when I bought it, but socks would also be a lovely choice.

And then there are my sweater daydreams.  Living in Arizona, I didn’t feel the urge to knit sweaters.  Not only are they something you don’t get to wear very often, the idea of having a wool sweater sitting in my lap in an Arizona October is fairly off-putting.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, though, sweater weather is much more significant, and I feel like kind of a fraud wearing store-bought sweaters along with my hand-knit accessories.  So: sweater.  This will require some research and a not-insignificant yarn investment, because at present I don’t have a sweater’s worth of yarn.  I tend to buy one or two skeins, on par with the sorts of small projects I tend to knit.  I’m open to recommendations, particularly since I’ve never knit a sweater for myself, I’m not entirely sure about what sorts of decisions to make.  There is a copy of Big Girl Knits on my shelf, so that’s likely where I’ll start.

I’m in a good place with my knitting, too.  Iyawo MittsThe first iteration of the Iyawo Mitts are complete.  I’d no sooner got the first one off the needles then I was already making mental notes to alter the design.  It turns out that a design that works well on my tiny little hands doesn’t look as good on other people.  (Modeled, at left, on my tiny little hand.  On broader hands, the cable looks seriously off-center.)  So, there will be several versions of these mitts with different cuff lengths and cables.

Did I mention that I was going to do an afterthought heel on the Conwy Socks?  I’ve placed the waste yarn and started knitting the foot.  It feels kind of strange to be working on a foot without having turned the heel, but it’s something I can get used to, I think.

The Pine Forest Blanket also got some love this week.  Now that I’ve learned that it’s the same lace as the February Baby Sweater, I’m kind of inclined to think of it as the February Baby Blanket.  I’m making decent progress on it.  When I actually pick it up, it goes fairly quickly (benefit of large needles and worsted weight yarn), and I’m familiar enough with the lace repeat to be able to talk while knitting it.  That said, a four-row repeat where half the rows are straight purling aside from the garter-stitch edge?  Not the most engrossing thing in the world.  I will persevere, though.

The Gretel Tam is making good progress; I’m up to round 27 and still have the correct number of stitches. Still adoring the yarn (Knit Picks Felici in Sorcery), both in texture and color.  Incredibly soft, and the striping is fantastic.  That’s the progress shot up at the top of the post – isn’t it cute?

Oh, and I made it down to the truly lovely Twisted on a dark and rainy night to pick up another needle.  The Kollage square needles advised that you swatch before you use them, as you may need to go up a needle size to get the same gauge.  This seemed like a bad idea for a project that was already on the needles, so I grabbed a set of HiyaHiya Bamboo Circulars and a set of the same in DPNs to complete the hat.  For curiosity’s sake, I also grabbed a set of Kollage in a size up from my favorite sock-needle size, just to try out.

One of the things that Kollage advertises is that their square needles are good for people with hand issues, including RSI and arthritis.  I have tendonitis in my right arm, but I don’t generally suffer from hand pain when I knit – except when I knit with larger needles.  Since I don’t often do this, I had forgotten this particular detail, until I had to put down the Gretel Tam the other night because my hands were hurting.  Also, when I say “larger,” I’ve had pain from knitting too long with size 5 needles and worsted weight yarn.  This may be the real reason why I like socks and mitts, though the idea of knitting a sweater with fingering-weight yarn on size 4 needles makes me want to cry a little.  However, if the Kollage needles really do help with hand pain, this may be a solution for my sweater knitting dilemma.

The HiyaHiyas, if you haven’t tried them, are quite nice, though I wouldn’t recommend them for lace knitting (at least not in this size).  They’re not as pointy as I like, but the polish is enough to make sliding the stitches easy, the join is smooth, and the cable (at least in the 16″ length) is usable right out of the package.  I’m definitely willing to pick up another set if I were to have another needle emergency.  I hear rumors that they’re coming out with some pointy circulars, too, so we’ll see how that works.

One charming little thing about the HiyaHiyas, though, is they come with a free gift.  The circular needle came with a stitch marker (of the coilless safety-pin variety) and the DPNs came with a… pointy thing.  It resembles nothing so much as a cocktail toothpick, as if it had lived an earlier life stabbed through some fruit on the edge of your glass, but it’s great for catching stitches when you’re cabling without a needle, and it’s saved me a lot of headaches on this hat.  I’m not entirely sure what it’s actually designed to be used for – maybe this! – but it works wonderfully.

My Gratitude Job (because I’m grateful to have it, even if I’m not sure if I want it) starts on Tuesday.  It was supposed to start Monday, but I got a call this afternoon saying that it was postponed – maybe because of Columbus Day?  I’m not sure, but I’m not going to argue with a surprise holiday, certainly.  In the meantime, I’m applying for other positions that will hopefully require less gratitude.

Jack had an interview on Tuesday for a position he’s really interested in.  It was one of those postings that he wasn’t on-paper qualified for, but he knew he could do, so he crossed his fingers and applied.  He’s been through a phone interview and an in-person interview, and now he’s been called back to do a second in-person interview with them.  If you guys could send good vibes/prayers/well-wishes his way, we’d really appreciate it.

That’s been my week.  Next week: the job!  Goals include enjoying the week as much as possible, knitting every day, and posting at least twice.  Wish me luck.

Check your own gauge in the comments, or let me know what you’re feeling grateful for.

 

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~ by Amber on October 7, 2011.

8 Responses to “Friday Gauge Check: Autumn Afternoons”

  1. My week has been… kind of a disaster, on the whole. Major sleep issues are trouncing… everything. Blargh. Today, though, I got four skeins of yarn dyed up and half a Lacy Ribwarmer knit, so I feel like I’ve accomplished something. Tomorrow, my first (and probably only) solo Burlesque performance in LA. I’m too tired to be even remotely terrified. Wheeeeee.

    I’m finally leaping into a sweater, too! The Blackberry Cabled Cardigan in Knitpicks Swish DK in Rainforest Heather. I’m excited. I’ve been itching to knit a sweater for a couple of weeks now. I just received a late birthday check fro my grandmother who has knit me a dozen sweaters throughout my life… I figured that buying yarn to knit myself one would be a fitting way to spend it. 😀

    I love all of your projects. The hat is really cute. Can’t wait to see you start knitting with your handspun! It’s a glorious sensation to see your own work beginning to end. 🙂 Also glad you and Jack are settling in so well! Give each other a hug for me. <3<3

    …I just realized I don't know enough html to link patterns. Well, they're both on Ravelry. 😀 Also, I talk a lot. Oops. ^_^

    • Ugh, sleep issues ftl. Time to break out some chamomile and lavender tea, maybe? At least the weather is breaking; maybe that will help.

      After stalking your Ravelry queue, I have to say I wholeheartedly approve of that cardigan. GORGEOUS. Plus, it totally looks like it’ll be engrossing to knit, which we all know is the best reason to knit something. 😄

      I’m thinking about joining the Beekeeper’s Quilt craziness with some of my handspun, actually, since I don’t have that much of it. (I am a VERY SLOW spinner, and when I’m not paying strict attention I tend to end up with laceweight singles.) Plus as a small-project knitter I have lots of leftover sockweight yarn!

      • I’ve tried all the natural remedies. Miseryyyyyy! Blargh. The guided meditations were interesting. 0.o;

        KnitPicks had better hurry up!! So excited! 😀

        Joooooiiiiiin us! I know you do a lot of little knits, but puffs are AWESOME as a “yay! I finished something!” mojo boost. 😀 Plus, they’re stupid cute. I have a leeeeeeeeeetle handspun left from my Ocean waves shawl that I plan on puffing. Lots of sock scraps from my sock obsession, too. Come to the dark side… we have cute things. 😀

      • OH- And speaking of needles: Have you heard of ChiaoGoo? Awesome little needles. Metal, with plastic-coated cable (wire-like) cables that straighten out the second you pop them out of the package. Suer nice joins, and nice tips. I have two pair to use as sock needles, and I am in luuuuuurve.

        Half the cost of addi-turbos. I order mine through an Etsy reseller (lolwhut). http://www.etsy.com/shop/grandmashandknitting?section_id=6829053

  2. I’m busy hiding from my week before I get eaten by a maths book. School is WORK, but we knew that.

    I’d never even heard of square needles. Hunh. 8| /not sure if want: NEW AND DIFFERENT, WHAT IS THAT?

    I’ve seen a few sweater patterns wandering around that could be conceivable worked with small amounts of different yarns provided the gauges can be matched up, though most of them, obviously, are striped or fair isle-d out the wazoo. Tho I saw a girl today who had an empire waisted thing that had an orange bust, and orchid purple body, one teal and one green sleeve. it worked on her? I could not pull it off. I’ve also seen my grandmother ‘recycle’ garage sale sweaters by unraveling and reknitting them, but was never brave enough to try this myself.

    Glad to hear things are going along for you! Good luck with the job and all that.

    • *crochet! Grandmother crochets, she does not knit.

      Wow, my brain is further gone than I thought. ^^;

    • Kollage is the only company that makes the square needles, AFAIK. That was totally my reaction when I first heard about them, but I’ve heard several podcasters talking them up and then I saw them at the Carolina Homespun booth at OFFF, and have since been FASCINATED. Also unlike a lot of Super Fancy needles, they don’t cost a million dollars (or $40) a pair; they’re priced about the same as the HiyaHiyas… I think they ran me $15? For $15 I’m willing to experiment.

      I do have some thrift-store sweaters I’ve picked up for recycled-yarn purposes, though I’m really hesitant to use them for a first sweater, since I don’t know exactly how much yarn I have and if I run out there’d be absolutely no way to get more. XD. I’m also curvy enough that stripes are probably a Very Bad Idea. Knit Picks has great yarn at good prices, I just hadn’t made the mental leap to Creating Sweaters yet, so I don’t have a sweater’s worth in my stash. I just need to convince myself that it’s okay to buy a sweater’s worth of yarn for a project for myself… which has much more to do with my own issues than it does with how much it will actually cost. I AM WORTH A SWEATER’S WORTH OF YARN, &c.

  3. Happy work thoughts for both of you!!

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