Pink Monkey Knits

Using my opposable thumbs to knit up a storm!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Swirl Power 

My little prolonged silence is the result of mostly good things happening in my life. Here, you can see some of what is sucking up much of my energy.

Knitting during a call

Here I am at work listening to a conference call, knitting, taking notes and taking a picture of myself (to submit to Chelsea's Work Knitting Photo Pool). I've been at my job for just over two months now and I've been really enjoying it. Every day presents a different challenge, which has required a large investment of initiative from me. This, combined with an hour long commute on the bus each way has left me pretty drained by the time evening rolls around. It's the reason my last few posts, at least to me, seemed really restrained.

I must admit that meeting the day-to-day demands has made me feel very fulfilled with my work in a way that I haven't felt in a long, long time. It's exciting and really makes me happy. On the other hand, I don't like there isn't as much room in my life for the other things I care about. How do you handle the balance between work and life?

Despite not having my usual knitting bravado, I decided to participate in NaKniSweMo this month. After Lauren's spectacular two-sweater performance last year, I thought I'd be a shoe-in to get at least one garment finished in this time frame. I've been trying to work from my stash in a "first in, first out" order, so I knew I wanted to work with a yarn I picked up a while ago.

the haul

These are the yarns I got at the 2006 MD Sheep and Wool festival; in the back, you see Botanical Shades Single Ply Silk Blend naturally dyed with indigo (similar to Lolly's but with a different fiber composition). Ever since I bought this yarn, I thought I would use it to make Jolie from Rowan Vintage Knits. When I was swatching, however, I discovered that I did not particularly enjoy working the slip stitch pattern. In thinking about other patterns that appealed to me, Norah Gaughan's Knitting Nature immediately sprung to mind. After looking again at Grumperina's fabulous sweater (and useful commentary on her modifications), I settled on the Swirled Pentagons Pullover.

Pentagons Start
Tubular Cast on!

Pentagon Progress 11.17

I'm doing a few modifications of my own. My yarn is a smaller gauge than that specified in the pattern, so I'm following the pattern for the 44" for an end size of about 39.5". I've also added waist shaping and made the length about the same as my favorite sweater.

The big question is: will I finish before the end of the month? I'm trying to stay optimistic but I'm not sure. I have one sleeve and 3.5 pentagons left to knit. At this point, I'd be satisfied if I completed the knitting by Friday, then worked on the finishing over the weekend. I'm doing my best and will just have to see where that leaves me.

Hopefully, I'll have a finished sweater to show you this weekend!

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

How Was Socktoberfest? 

Although it may not have been totally apparent here on the blog, I once again participated in Socktoberfest this year. I found that I've come to look forward to this yearly celebration of those warm, personalized foot coverings and their various forms.

While some people were very prolific in their sock knitting this month, I was less successful. I only completed one single sock, which I started on October 10th (at my first Seattle Knitter's Guild meeting, wee!).

First Tweed

This is my first Twisted Tweed sock and I love it! I'm certainly much happier with this combination of yarn and pattern than the first too-small incarnation. The simple slip-stitch pattern looks so beautiful with this Trekking yarn (color 76); indeed, it really looks woven. Unfortunately, the stitch pattern has a shorter row gauge than a usual stitch pattern, hence the longer than usual amount of time it took to knit it.

Side of Tweed

The pattern is very versatile, as it has directions for both a top-down and bottom-up sock. I went with my usual top down, but decided to follow the directions for the short row heel rather than change it to my usual heel flap and gusset. Socktoberfest is a time for experimentation, if nothing else!

Right Short Row

Left Short Row

I hadn't attempted a short row heel since about 2005, so I was concerned that it would end up looking shabby. I do have some small holes from not pulling the yarn tight enough, but overall I'm pretty happy with the result. While it's nice to have another to have another potential tool in the repertoire, I still like my reinforced heel and shaped gusset area.

I'm pretty far down the cuff on the second sock, but I've decided to change things up a bit. Instead of working it toe-up, as the pattern suggests, I decided to reverse the direction of the patterning so the socks will look symmetrical on my feet. I'm not one of these people who's obsessed with symmetry, but the amount of time I'm spending on these made a bit of a difference necessary to keep from getting bored.

I'm anxious to finish these soon, but NaKniSweMo and my Swirled Pentagons Pullover may distract me...

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