Monday, October 27, 2008

The Sweet Smell of Accomplishment

It's a scent that I don't experience all too often, I'm afraid. However, I recently finished TWO knitting projects, both of which I am very proud of!

Ok so remember that scarf for the professor that I told you about a few posts ago? Done! I am really pleased with how it turned out. I hope he likes it too. I mean I don't want to insult him or anything. He's a nice person. So I just hope that my giving him the scarf doesn't send the message: "I think you look ridiculous wearing that crocheted nightmare as a scarf." Although he did give me a freakin' CAN OPENER for Christmas last year. Not kidding. Come on, I couldn't even make that up if I tried. Granted, it's a nice can opener, but still....

Anyhoo, here are some pictures:

Here's a close-up so that you can see the yarn. See all those colors? The depth of color in this yarn is amazing. It looks like Black Watch plaid in yarn form.

I knit this scarf lengthwise. The yarn didn't come with any label of any kind. But it seemed to be aran weight. So I cast on 200 stitches on size 9 needles. I got not quite 4 stitches to the inch. So overall, the scarf is about 52 inches long. The pattern is just out of my head; made to look like 3X3 ribbing. I worked in a purl row in the middle of the garter rows to help prevent curling. It put a knit channel on the WS, thus helping break up the fabric of the knitting on the back, which did help prevent curling. So much so, that I didn't even need to block it. Hallelujah! Here's the "pattern" if you are interested:

CO 200 stitches
row 1: Knit
row 2: Knit
row 3: Knit
row 4: Purl
row 5: Purl
row 6: Knit
row 7: Purl
row 8: Knit

Knit until desired width of scarf. End with row 4. Bind off.

That's it! It was a very fast knit.

Next, there is the Simon Tam. (Firefly fans will know that this is a delightful pun.) So, I made one of these as the donation for KDO back in September. I had used this boucle yarn, which I absolutely DESPISED knitting with. It was a total pain in the ass. But the pattern is sublime. So I made another one. This time I used alpaca yarn from Berrocco. Very nice to work with. I bought tons of Cascade 220 to make several of these hats to give out as Christmas gifts. They are fast to knit, only take one skein of Cascade 220 or any other worsted-weight yarn that comes in 200ish-yard skeins, and look fantastic. My only complaint is that the last 2-3 rows of decreases punch me in my SOUL. But the end result is well worth it! In fact, on this hat, I bagged the last 2 round of decreases because my hands felt like they were coming apart. So I just cinched the top.

Some photos:

Here it is (below) around a dinner plate. I would have modeled it, but I didn't want to frighten anyone.

Now, this hat calls for a tubular cast-on. When I knit the first one, in the awful boucle, I was like "WTF is that? Whatever!" And I just did a regular cast-on. The hat looked fine. At KDO, in one of my classes we actually learned the tubular cast on! Now hear this: the tubular cast-on looks AMAZING. So I did a tubular cast-on for the second tam (the one above). I couldn't seem to find where I put the hand-outs from KDO on doing a tubular cast on, so I went on-line a found a very helpful tutorial here.

Now, the only disappointing thing about that tutorial is that it didn't explain what to do about getting this cast-on done on circular needles in the round. Which is kind of important when you are knitting a hat! So I improvised and came up with a fairly decent method:

With waste yarn, cast on half the stitches, as usual.
Join project yarn. Place marker.
Join in the round and knit 4 rounds. If the cast-on is a little too tight to join, then purl one row first, then place marker and join in the round and knit 3 rounds.
Work the tubular pick-ups as in the instructions.
When done, remove the marker and purl one stitch. Then replace the marker. Turn work so that the RS is facing and then begin K1, P1 ribbing. The cast-on/join stitch is nearly invisible and there is no seam this way.
I started another hat and here's the tubular cast-on I did for it:

Ooh, sexy! Believe it or not, the cast-on/join stitch is in that photo. Can you find it?

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