Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sweater musings

Admittedly I am a sock fanatic but late last year I had several sweaters on the needles and refused to finish them. So the week before the New Year I started seriously looking at these sweaters, mumbling to myself all the while about my procrastination. Then it hit me. I didn't want to finish the sweaters because they just wouldn't fit me right. They were sized for a large, but looked unbecoming, like putting on a sack. Now I might be bigger, but my disability is enough of a self-esteem dasher. I don't need my clothes to do the same.

Okay, so back to the drawing board. From scratch. I like knitting from the top down. I like to knit in the round because I have trouble with my hands when it comes to seaming. I need to have set in sleeves to make my football shoulders less obvious. Drop sleeves make me look huge, and raglans emphasize my large shoulders. I like fit and I like to have some waist shaping. I know there isn't much there, but hey, I might as well use it while I have it. Ribbing accentuates my fluffiness, so plain or lace is good. Hmmm, does such a pattern exist? I know I could use Barbara Walker's From the Top Down, but I like more detail.

Along comes Ravelry. What a wonderful place to find yarns and patterns. While perusing the top down selection I came across The Tailored Sweater Method. Interesting. But I had spent so much money on what I thought were promising patterns, did I really want to fork out 18 Euro for this.  So I thought and thought, then took the dive. And haven't looked back.

I am only working on the sample sweater right now but I am in love. I have learned to do short rows (finally) and really neat tricks for making a set in sleeve top down sweater that will actually fit. The pattern meets all the criteria I was looking for and is very promising. There will definitely be more to come on this method.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Back to socks

I promised myself that I would do some different socks this year rather than the plain vanilla ones I have been doing. I have been using the U.S. 1 9" Hiya Hiya circulars and love them, but they have tightened up my gauge a fair bit. Okay, back to the drawing board to design a new sock that would fit nicely.

My first choice was Giles Sock which I thought would look amazing with self striping yarn.With adjustments of course. I started out with Addi 2.5 mm needles (I thought they were the stainless steel 2.25's until I got them). I like a looser top so I cast on 72 stitches and worked 20 rounds of rib. Since the pattern was a bit loose, I decreases down to 66 stitches for the leg and increased back up to 72 stitches before starting the heel. The heel was done Eye of Partridge on 36 stitches but this time I made sure it was square. This gave me more stitches to pick up from the heel flap and more room around the ankle. Of course I did the EZ shaped arch (I love the fit of this shaping) and toddled off to the end of sock one. Sock two is now in the works and hopefully won't take me quite as long.


I didn't continued the pattern down onto the foot because that usually annoys me when I wear the socks.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Introducing Dakota

I now have a new member of the family thanks to Daryl and Stuart. He is a cute 8 week old pup, lab/husky mix who is just beautiful. I have raised and trained dogs for 40 years but haven't had a pup in a while. He is a handful but I wouldn't give him up for the world.

Dakota is going to be trained to be my service dog. I have a severe sleep disorder and suffer from non REM and REM intrusions during the day. This means that I get 5-30 seconds of sleep intruding while I am awake. I have become used to the NREM intrusions but the REM ones are scary because I lose all muscle control and end up falling flat out. Dakota may be able to sense when these are going to occur, but since I don't know, I am not sure he will. In any event, he will be used to stabilize me and as a security for me when I go out. The last time this happened I fell in the middle of downtown and no one stopped to help me. That terrified me and I have pretty much been a shut in since. Dakota will at least protect me if I go down and I won't feel so helpless.

We have a lot of work in store for us but I am happy and looking forward to it. I was very down over the winter and I feel that now I have a new lease on life, thanks to Dakota.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Socks, socks, and more socks

Okay I am passionate about two things. Hand knit socks because they are the only things that keep my feet warm, and shawls. No shawls on the needles right now but I do have socks.

The one thing I love about knitting is that there is no right or wrong way to do things.  If it works for you, then go for it. For socks, I prefer top down because I do Elizabeth Zimmerman's shaped arch and I know where to place it. I am a row counter and created a sock that gave me a perfect fit. Until my ankles expanded that is.

So I have been looking at my socks and they really look unhappy, all stretched around the ankle. The problem was taking the plunge, altering that tried and true sock pattern that had done me well so many years.  I tried increasing stitches but wouldn't you know that those ankles expanded some more, taunting me to try and accommodate them. Well here came one of my New Year's resolutions - to redo my pattern so my socks were happy again.

More stitches didn't work so I decided I was going to have to increase the depth of the heel flap. Not a problem. Then I decided to widen the heel turn. Deep breath, okay, I can do that. But I have been stumbling because I don't know what my row count for the foot should be. Egads, take my numbers away from me and I flounder like a fish out of water. Okay, a deep breath and I think I can do this.

Friday, January 22, 2010

First post

Okay, I have done it. I have become a blogger! Something I said i would never do, but I guess the world of technology tends to take over these days :)

Watch for upcoming posts on knitting and crocheting. I think this is a great way to express myself.