Sunday, June 14, 2009

Crazy for Casting On

I have to say I have been casting on new projects like a fiend the last week or two. Most of them I already had the supplies ready to go, or they just kind of fell in my lap. And how can I resist when the perfect yarn comes for a pattern I have, or a perfect pattern for a stash yarn?

Plus I have finished a couple bigger projects (like the Pencil Sketch Camisole--final pictures still to come as I am currently covered with inflammation from Poison Oak and will not record it for all posterity) and finished my last UFO [UnFinished Object], the white baby sweater. This has freed up my project bags and liberated my casting on spirit.

So first up I can show you a little hint of something started on May 28.
Believe it or not, it is the beginning of a Christmas surprise. (Already!) I will not be giving many details but I can tell you that the first go-around did not work out and I had to completely frog it and start over. The second time is going better. This project is perfect for taking with me anywhere as it is compact and I have the pattern memorized, and it will go on and on but you probably won't hear much more about it. (Remember? It's a surprise.)

Then on June 7 I cast on for a girl's Pinwheel Cardi because I had the yarn (rescued from an unfortunate crop sweater) and nothing else to do at the moment.
I tried out the most amazing cast on for starting knitting in the round. I'll share the details another day.

Next onto the needles was a new pair of socks:
I'm following this tutorial but adding some details of my own. This yarn really did just fall into my lap as Amy surprised me with it as "payment" for delivering some yarn from Lorna's when we took the tour at the end of May. It's a custom colour Amy is having done for the shop.

And finally, yesterday, I cast on for the Deep V Argyle Vest. You may recall that I had some trouble with the first colour combination (leading, very happily, to the Pencil Sketch Cami) and have had a gauge swatch on the needles for a while. I finally took it out again and measured my gauge. 25 st/4". The pattern calls for 22 st/4". That works out to more than 4 extra inches over the whole width of the vest!

I sighed for a while. And looked at it again. And sighed. And remeasured. I really didn't want to go up a needle size because the fabric was thin enough. Then I had a thought.

Thinking of how much my Pencil Sketch Cami (that really is an awkward name) changed with blocking, I should...dat ta da...block my swatch. (You're really supposed to do this with any swatch but I rarely go that far.) So that's what I did.

And I was rewarded with a perfect 22 st/4" gauge. Can you see my smile from where you are? It's pretty big.

Today I allowed myself the time to sit for a bit and cast on, and count, and recount the 198 stitches it took to get this started. And of course, once they're on the needles, you have to knit a few rows to get things going...
The row counter says I've got 4 rows done; only 14 more of ribbing to do. Then I'll have the fun job of setting up the argyle pattern. That will be a lot more counting and rechecking.

Since most of these projects are still rather small, I can easily take them with me. In fact, this week I've had the first three all in my project bag and it's been handy. When I get stuck on one (when I need to see that pattern again, for instance) I just haul out a different one.

I've gotten quite obsessive about the socks. The variegation is working into some spirally stripes that I'm just compelled to see through. (But they never really end, so I just keep going.) And then when I got to the heel, I would push myself to finish each step, but once I got it done I just felt I had to start the next step. The socks are growing quickly but so is the pain in my left hand: I have to take a break.

Or switch to another project...


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