Sunday, February 14, 2010

Knitting Progress...Slowly But Surely

Purple Socks I finally finished a pair of socks I started around Thanksgiving, which, although nearly complete, had not been touched since I sprained my wrist and thumb two weeks before Christmas. I call them "the Purple Socks," for obvious reasons, and I pulled them out last week and worked on them. I had two motivations for finishing them: 1) they are a birthday present for my youngest sister, who will be here next weekend to celebrate her birthday, my dad's, and my oldest niece's, and 2) I need the needle for another pair of socks, for my other sister. The pair of socks for my younger sister is my entry in the "Sock Hockey" event in the Ravelympics.

Grandniece's Sweater-TunicFor those of you who have not, perhaps, heard of Ravelry, it is like Facebook for knitters and crocheters. The Ravelympics is a knitting Olympics, in which you are supposed to challenge yourself, the same way the athletes do when they compete.

In addition to my "Sock Hockey" entry, I have three entries in the "WIPs Dancing" event. (A WIP is a work-in-progress.) My first entry is a sweater-tunic for my oldest grandniece, which I started in November. The front and back of the sweater are finished. I knit the shoulders together on 05 January, but have not been motivated to knit the sleeves and neckband. (I also haven't had much time to knit the past month, but that's another story.)

Adult Surprise JacketsMy other WIPs Dancing entries are two variations of Elizabeth Zimmerman's Adult Surprise Jacket. The top one, which I call the Coat of Many Colors, is made of---so far---six different colorways of Noro Silk Garden Worsted; the bottom jacket is knit with Dream in Color Classy in the Dusky Aurora colorway. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)

Why am I knitting two of these jackets at the same time? I love the mathematical basis of this pattern, and the cleverness of the design, which is knit in one piece. Even more surprising, I'm making both of these for myself. (I generally always give the things I knit to one of my loved ones, but this year I've decided to do more knitting for myself.)

The Coat of Many Colors is closer to being done. The next row is the buttonhole row on the placket, but I can't knit buttonholes until I know the exact size of the buttons. But I don't know their size because I ordered them online from my LYS (local yarn store), but said I would pick them up, which I haven't done yet. Part of the problem is that my LYS is 25 miles away from my house, and about the same distance from work. And the LYS closes at 4 pm, which is about two hours before I ever leave work. The other part of the problem is that the Dean has wanted to meet with me the past three Fridays at 12.30 or 1, which meant that I wasn't able to join the group of ladies who knit at the LYS on Fridays. (The group is known as the Friday Lunch Bunch.) The Coat of Many Colors needs the buttonhole row, then five more rows to finish the placket, plus the sleeves. The placket rows, however, have about 800 stitches, so knitting a row is not a matter of moments. Finishing the knitting before the Olympic Games end shouldn't be difficult, if I can pick up the buttons on Friday. Finishing the jacket, so that it is ready to wear, will take more effort because, with all the color changes, there are dozens of yarn ends that have to be woven into the stitches on the inside of the jacket.

The second Adult Surprise Jacket, the bottom one, has a bit of a problem that I haven't decided how to solve. The fourth skein of yarn---the one closest to the knitting needle---is noticeably lighter than the first three skeins. But since I do most of my knitting at night, in artificial light, I didn't notice how much lighter it was until about a week later, when I was nearly finished knitting that skein. The difference isn't quite as bad as it appears in that picture, but there is a very obvious difference. Since Dream in Color yarn, which is hand-dyed, doesn't have dye lots, there's no way tell what you are going to get until you get it. The remaining skeins of yarn range in color, too, and while none are quite as light as the problem skein, there are a couple of lighter ones. I may ask the Friday knitters their opinion, if I am able to join them this week.

How likely am I to knit the socks for my younger sister, finish my grandniece's sweater-tunic, and complete both Adult Surprise Jackets before the Olympics end? Not very likely, unless I don't give my students any assignments between now and then. (And, much as they might wish it, that is not going to happen.) But the Ravelympics are to challenge yourself, which is what I have done.

Stay tuned for reports on my progress.