I am having serious commitment issues — though not about knitting. I’m planning a honeymoon to Costa Rica and I am having the absolute hardest time choosing where to go, where to stay, what to see. I’ve read no less than 790 pages of travel guides in the last 3 weeks and have spent countless hours browsing hotel websites and I think I know where I want to go, but two things are stopping me: 1) thinking about all the lovely things that I’m NOT going to get to see in different parts of the country since I can’t be everywhere in one week and, 2) the cost. Oooooooh, the cost. Pulling the trigger and committing to spending that much money on one trip all at once — oooh boy, is that hard. (Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful to have this “problem”, but this will be the first big trip I’ve ever planned/taken so it’s kind of scary! I want to get it right! Costa Rica-related travel tips appreciated, if you have them!) Anyway, when it comes to my knitting, I’ve actually been extraordinarily committed. Remember my recent failures? Well, I resolved one of them.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that my two previously not-matching socks, now match. I frogged back the heel and shifted it over three stitches in order to get the purl columns to occur at the edges of the instep next to the gusset, like they did on the first sock. It wasn’t a big fix, just time-consuming and a little bit face-palmy, but thanks to three hours of Monday meetings the fix hardly set me back time-wise at all. Onwards!
My Kelpie shawl is progressing nicely, as well. The Loft yarn is probably not for everybody, it’s not “scratchy” but since it’s woolen-spun, it has an unusual “spongy” texture while knitting and the finished fabric is very matte. It feels a bit like pebbly velvet… sort of. Hard to describe, but very interesting!
Stitch Block Blues:
To reward myself for so much committed knitting, I started a new project: Purl Soho’s Stitch Block Cowl. What you see above is my swatch, to test out how my lovely new yarn from Maine would look in the pattern, and the very beginnings of the cowl. This project is a great example of why you should always swatch, even for a simple garment. [Cue mini swatch lesson!]
The pattern is written to produce a cowl that is 12.75″ wide with a 51 stitch cast on and a gauge of 4 sts/inch using worsted weight yarn on size US 7 needles. I know that I personally like knitting worsted weight yarn on size US 8 needles, especially a thicker, nearly-aran weight yarn like Osprey (which I am now madly in love with,by the way. Delightful stuff!). So I swatched, measured, washed, let dry, and measured again. My gauge was 3.24 sts/inch before blocking (5.25″ wide swatch divided by 17 sts that I cast on for the swatch) but it stretched a bit width-wise after blocking (to 5.5″) giving me a blocked gauge of 3.01 sts/inch. Now, if I had cast on the ‘required’ 51 sts at my gauge, my cowl would have turned out to be nearly 17″ wide! Since this is a simple pattern that just requires an odd number of stitches, it is easily customizable. Therefore, I cast on only 35 stitches so my final cowl should be about 11.6″ wide (35 sts / 3.01 sts per inch = 11.6 — plenty wide enough for me). In summation: always swatch, if you care about the look/feel/proportions/size of your final project!
StB #1: Alpaca for Mom:
And finally, here’s some solid progress on my first Spin the Bin challenge for 2014. Those bobbins hold 6 oz of lovely alpaca fiber, waiting for plying (my favorite part). My goal is to do finish by Friday so I can gift the skein to my mom when I go visit this weekend. (We are going wedding dress shopping. I’ve been dreading this experience for a long time solely because I hate dresses and I hate shopping, so if I never blog again, you will know I did not survive. [Cut dramatics.])
Well, I’d say that’s more than enough out of me this week! Hope you’ve been making good progress on all of your projects this week, as well. Check out more WIPs at Tamis Amis!