Friday, June 08, 2007

See that soggy mess of wool? (Otherwise entitled: Why My Room Smells Of Wet Dog)

Soggy Wool, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Believe it or not, it will soon be something strapless, something lacy, and something fitted. My godsister came to visit last week, and, to distract myself from the edging of the Dead Elmo Vest, we went to the yarn store, where I found some Cascade 220 in a colorway I liked. I had seen Lelah on Craftster back when it was new, but I can't say it made much of an impression on me. It was really the work of recent Craftsters (1 and 2) that caught my eye and made me consider making it. The knitting was pretty straightforward: the lace was knit on US 5 needles, until the row of eyelets, where I changed to US 2 needles (and increased to accommodate the new gauge). The change of needles was mostly because I didn't want to use small needles for the lace as well, (because it would take forever) and I wanted the stockinette to be dense enough not to be transparent. The pattern was more a set of guidelines than a real pattern, so my choice of smaller needles required no extra thinking.

And the wet dog part: wet wool has the tendency to smell of wet dog. It was definitely disorienting to discover, the first time I blocked wool (I was cheap before, and mostly just used acrylic) and now it's mostly just an annoyance.

I had a little trouble with the bust area. The pattern says to knit the entire section to be the size of the above-bust measurement. Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that that measurement would be too small for most of the section, but the pattern uses the fact that knit fabric stretches: the top and bottom of the section would fit exactly, with varying amounts of negative ease in between. Well that's all fine and good, but it seemed like stretching the knitting to fit my boobs would sacrifice the opacity I was looking for. So I added increases and decreases in two darts in the front panel - you can see one set of increases and decreases in that picture (it's just below the needles, and looks like an eye in a tree trunk).

Blocking Lelah, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Here we have Lelah, all pinned out on my bed. Unfortunately, because we could not share the bed, she exiled me to the futon for the night. I was quite comfortable there, but I have begun to wonder whether it is best for me to accommodate my knitting like that. I soaked and pinned her yesterday afternoon; now, the lace is dry, but the denser knitting - the stockinette - is still a little damp, and the hem, which is four layers of fabric, is still wet. If I may hazard a guess, I would say she will be dry later this afternoon or evening, and she will probably be wearable tomorrow.

In terms of time frame, Lelah went roughly as could be expected: I cast on Wednesday a week ago, and knit with varying levels of intensity through the week. I would definitely say the last two days were the most intense: I knit all but an inch or so of the bust portion, and the lion's share of my time was spent with knitting needles in my hands.

And here's a (albeit a bit blurry) close-up of the lace pattern.

Those size 5 needles almost immediately went to back to work: this time, on my birthday present to myself. The white Sahara was considered a birthday present to myself, but I like the pattern, and I couldn't really think of another use for that recycled yarn I had originally been using, so I am knitting another Sahara using that yarn. I haven't gotten very far yet: it's only a small strip of stockinette (which is why you won't be seeing it right now), but I'm getting gauge, so I'm happy.

Quote of the Day: "Oh, it's wonderful to be a woman musician, especially when you're a man! And the only thing that holds our strapless dresses up is nerve!"