NaKniSweMo Day 30 (or) I Win

Coming in at a total of 67,886 stitches, I’ve completed my Aran with little time to spare.  Luckily, I had someone on hand to model the finished garment (and think about waffles in the process).  I’m overall pleased with the finished item, I’m only concerned about the sleeves being long enough.

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This is the Aran for Frederick – something that has been in my queue for a couple of years.  It was delightful to knit, even with the miscrossed cable disasters.  I’ll give more of a background to this sweater after it is in the hands of the recipient, but know that it is a huge relief to me for it to have been completed.

The yarn is Berrocco Vintage in color 5175 (so original).  I adore this yarn.  It’s wonderful for projects that are going to see a lot of use, since it’s wool and acrylic, washable, but soft and warm.

And, now that November is over, I don’t want to pick up a set of needles for a few days.  I don’t really want to touch yarn for a while.  This was a lot more intense than I anticipated.

NaKniSweMo Day 29 (or) There May Be Hope

I had absolutely nothing to do today, so that’s what I did.  Nothing.  Except for knit.  I can’t believe how far I was able to get today.  The yoke is done, and the right shoulder saddle has been started.  I am only 5,000 stitches away from completion, which is a lot farther than I was expecting to be, and makes completing this thing by midnight tomorrow a strong possibility.

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I’m so excited!  The only thing I’m not excited about is how narrow the torso seems.  I keep telling myself (and others) that it will stretch.  It still needs to be blocked, and it will stretch more than I think.  I hope I’m right!

Total Stitches Knit: 63,406

Percent Complete: 93%

Total left to knit: 5,048

Keep rooting for me!

NaKniSweMo Day 27 (or) It Finally Looks Like a Sweater!!

I’m a little ashamed to admit that last night was when I joined the body to the sleeves (hence, not wanting to post about NaKniSweMo for a few days).  I’m behind.  I finished the second sleeve over the weekend,  but ended in a different place than sleeve one.  Since Sleeve 2 was perfect and we all remember the grief sleeve 1 gave me, I ripped out about half of sleeve 1 and reknit it.

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But now everything is on track again and I’m so relieved to have finally put the pieces together.  This has renewed my desire to complete this sweater, and I am working my little butt off trying to finish by Saturday.  I have a ways to go but 3 days off, so maybe it will even out.

Total stitches knit: 54,448 (of 68, 454 – that’s another thing, my math was off again in my spreadsheet, but I didn’t realize until I got to the yoke)

If I can knit 4,668 stitches per day, I can do this.  Seeing as how I’m working about 300 stitches per 15 minutes, I’ve got around 12 hours of knitting left.

Hmm…does it look narrow to you?  It looks narrow to me.  Oh no.

Explore Chicago: Hanging Out With Lorna’s Laces

I didn’t realize this could be an Explore Chicago post until I came face to face with that word at the top my screen that demands “Title.”  I thought about it – how do I sum about my awesome weekend in a few short words that makes you want to continue reading?  What did I really do and what do I want to share with you?  This weekend was actually a large exploration of Chicago, from it’s quaint and quirky neighborhoods to the suburbs and a vast exploration of the public transit system into the Loop, it was strange and colorful and chilly and wonderfully inspiring.  Honestly – a little terrifyingly inspiring, as strange as the concept may seem.  To sum up what I mean – I have been face to face with some amazing, beautiful, creative, and ambitious people doing fantastic things.  And I’m faced with the ability to be a part of it – and it blows my mind.  I feel like I’m standing on the edge of everything I have want to do and all that is required is to take that one last leap of faith, and to be perfectly clear – it scares the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of me.

But, I digress.

Saturday saw a most wonderful opportunity realized.  I teamed up with the gals from Windy Knitty and we went to the dye studio of Lorna’s Laces – a most lovely, colorful, wacky little yarn dyer that is based in Ravenswood, a neighborhood here in Chicago.  Take a look at that website – go on, I can wait.  Pretty stunning, yes?  The color combinations, the quality, and if only you could feel the amazing cloud-like substance the yarn actually is – you would be head over heels and “accidentally” swiping your credit card (I may or may not speak from experience).

The coolest part, besides seeing the hole in the wall where the magic happens and standing inside hallways of beautiful, colorful, tempting skeins of super soft merino…I got to dye my own yarn.

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We started with a base.  I had a skein of superwash merino fingering weight, as did a majority of the others there.  This was her famous Solemate – ideal for sock yarn because of the 15% nylon and 30% Outlast.  It is deliciously soft and has a lovely sheen to it.

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We then picked out colors and watched Beth mix the pigments.

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She took a skein of the same base yarn and showed us what each of the colors was going to look like.  Once the 8 colors were ready, she let us have our fun.  There were 3 of us working on the tables at once, laughing our butts off as we spilled dyed across the table, played around with colors, and explored the studio.

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Seriously….color explosion everywhere.  I couldn’t help myself.

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And then we found this – a table of mill ends and one-of-a-kind skeins.  All of the samples they work with while they are trying to come up with new colorways – sitting right here on the table at ridiculously cheap prices.  I couldn’t resist.  I really couldn’t.  I keep wandering to the table, digging through the pile and finding all of these amazing little treasures.  I came away with a bag full of colorful pretties, and I have plans.

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In contract to the hanging skeins pictured above, our trial skeins hung in a row drying, but were no where near as stunning.  Granted, we all adored each others handiwork because it was a lovely surprise when they were finished.  We weren’t quite sure how everything was going to turn out, and each skein was beautiful.

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This is my Solemate.  It seems to reflect the icy chill of winter that is settling over us, with that lovely splash of color and beauty that you happen upon on those cold days.

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And then I couldn’t help myself, so I bought another base – this time a Superwash Worsted, and had another go; this time inspired by the autumn colors on the table.

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I can’t believe how lovely they turned out, and now I am racking my brain to think of suitable projects, because at this rate, my stash has an awful lot of souvenir, one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime finds that I really, simply, should not keep stuffed in plastic baggies inside of drawers.  They are meant to be admired.

NaKniSweMo Day 22 (or) I’m Always Behind

I can see progress, just not as much as I hope to.  The sleeve has 30 more rounds until it is complete.  I estimate about 20 rounds for the body, and then the join.  Can I get through it tonight?

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Total Stitch Count: 43,612

NaKniSweMo Day 21 (or) Second Thoughts

I’m about halfway through the second sleeve right now, and so far I cannot see a cabling error.  This is a giant sigh of relief, but I am cautious to become too relaxed, since the cables have already proven to be sneaky little mongrels.  I stayed up so far past my bedtime that by the time I went to bed, I was too wired to get much sleep, and had strange dreams about all manner of things that have been on my mind lately.  From circus, to people, to fiber tumbling everywhere, I can’t make sense of anything.

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I have a total of 40,208 stitches completed, with 4,452 in this sleeve alone (the total for the sleeves is 9,996, and for the sweater 61,582).  That sees the sweater at 65% complete, with November being 70% complete.  Yep, I’m consistently behind.

I really just want to be done with the sleeves and the body, so I can get to the yoke – that point when the sleeves join the body and it becomes recognizable as a sweater, when the end shows itself for the very first time.  According to sleeve 1, sleeve 2 has around 74 more rounds before it is complete.  I’m not sure how much more for the body of the sweater (I’m still 2 inches short).  Is it too optimistic to want that portion done by Saturday, so I can start the yoke this weekend?

I’m really starting to wonder if I can complete this in time.

NaKniSweMo Day 19 (or) Dear Cables, I’m Sorry

Day 19 dawned on the heels of a lonely, quiet evening spent knitting far into the night, determined to make headway.  The only thing that was really accomplished was that I’m no longer behind.  That seems to be my trend this month – knit, knit, knit and get a little ahead followed by busy, busy no time for knitting and fall behind.  It’s this exciting game of catch up that keeps up to the wee hours of the morning trying to raise my stitch count.

Last night did see the completion of the first sleeve, for which I am very grateful.  And I did work a few rounds of the body.  It measures a whopping 15 inches so far, with 2.5 left to go.  Side by side, it’s almost starting to look like a sweater, and maybe that’s renewed my hope in this project.

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Except for the fact that when I inspected my cables this weekend, I noticed more cross-over errors on the sleeve.  There are about 4 inches of cables that I must of been smoking something whacky, because nothing follows suit.  I started strong, and I ended strong, but somewhere in the middle I lost sight of what the cable should look like.  What did I do?

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I kept knitting.  I’m not going to rip back most of a sleeve to fix it.  There has to be an easier way.  I’m going to leave it alone for now.  The second sleeve has been started, and I think I finally understand these tricky little things.

Stitches knit to date: 36,046

Percent Complete: 59%

I have about 3000 stitches to knit tonight to catch up again.  I also have 2 hours of commuting ahead of me, so hopefully it evens out.

 

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