Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Continuing through the backlog,

we have arrived at July and August, 2009.  I had a month off between semesters, and I spent almost this entire time with needles in my hands.  These projects traveled with me on the subway to and from school, and between my new apartment and the dorms, when I moved.  I called this month the Summer of Lace, because I knit one lace shawl and two scarves with two skeins of cobweb weight in a little less than a month.  First was Autumn Arbor, and the whole reason I started knitting lace to begin with.  From my limited understanding of japanese, I bought a skein of what I thought was cotton lace weight.  When I got it on my needles, it was more like cobweb, so I worked with it held double.  There's not much to say about this project, mostly because it raced by.  The lace was easy to memorize, which helped considering how much it traveled with me.

Finished Autumn Arbor, Blocking, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

End detail, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Pattern detail, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Graft detail, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

I had to buy another skein to finish Autumn Arbor, and after I finished it, I had more yarn left, more than enough to make Fernfrost.  So, I cast on and again knit this with yarn held double.  Fernfrost didn't travel with me quite as much as Autumn Arbor did, mostly because I had moved in by then and my time off from school had already begun.  Still, it was an easy, enjoyable knit, and it kept my hands busy.

Fernfrost in progress, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Fernfrost Unblocked Detail, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

And after Fernfrost, I guesstimated that there was enough for yet one more lace scarf, so I cast on for Elm Row.  This, too raced by, and there's little to report.

Summer of lace, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

I love knitting lace, and these projects were the highlight of my school vacation.  I enjoyed watching how each stitch fit into the pattern, and watching the motifs grow and develop under my needle tips.

However, this was not the end for my summer of knitting.  I liked Vivian, and I was happy with the finished sweater, and I thought my wardrobe could use another.  I cast on for a new Vivian in white, even though a bulky-weight sweater isn't the smartest summer knitting, and I raced through it.  Though the first Vivian was made exactly as the pattern specified, with a few modifications for a bigger hood, I made a lot of changes for the second.  I did an extra repeat of the pattern at the bottom for added length, and knit the sleeves all one width - the same as at the bicep - to make a more jacket-like sleeve.  I cut out a repeat of length in the sleeves to hit at the wrist, instead of mid-palm.  I believe the hood also got some extensive modifications to make it bigger.  It was a fun, quick knit, especially because I had already made one.  I finished the knitting before school started again, and stopped when I got to the finishing stage.  I thought, "Meh, I'll do it later," and didn't get to the finishing stage until a year later.

Vivian number two blocking, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

A year later, I pulled Vivian out of the back of my closet, and I discovered some distressing news.  First, there was a yellowish stain about the size of a half-dollar on the left front.  Looking at the stain, I remembered making pancakes one day while I was still knitting it, and there was a mishap involving a spill.  How I managed to not clean it is still a mystery to me.  The project still needed blocking, so I used its soak and wash time to work on the stain.  It was a stressful few minutes, but the stain came out, and now, it looks like it was never there.

But the hits kept coming.  Then, I discovered a hole, about the size of the tip of my pinky.

Vivian 2: oops., originally uploaded by rubychan4.

A year later, the fuzzy memories came back.  I was using acrylic/merino blend, and I hoped very much that the wool in the yarn would hold up to a spit splice, and save me having to weave in ends.  I was very stubborn on this point, and attempted my felted join, even though it didn't seem to be holding together.  It didn't hold together, and it created a hole in the knitted fabric.  I had to give up, and adopt a more conventional join for the rest of the project.  But the hole remained.  So I very carefully wove a new piece of yarn through the hole, and now, it is invisible (at least, to everyone but me).

Vivian 2: fixed!, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Next came the zipper install.  I spent a very long time on this stage with the first Vivian, and this was no different.  Hand-sewing anything makes me nervous, because it just seems so flimsy, especially when compared with something like machine-sewing.  But I didn't have a sewing machine, and I wanted to install the zipper by hand, anyway, so I used lots of teensy stitches, and I also relied on the fact that I would later add grosgrain, and with it, an extra layer of stitching.

Vivian 2: zipper install, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

I finished one side of the zipper and began sewing the grosgrain on before I stopped.  It was very hard to be patient with all those tiny, meticulous stitches, and there were more interesting things to catch my attention.  I still intend to go back to it and finish the zipper, but it will have to wait until it's cool enough that I can stand to have a bulky-weight sweater in my lap long enough to sew it in.

After all this activity, I went through a dry spell with my knitting.  Except Rose Green, I didn't knit anything until December.  So I will leave you for now, dear reader, with the promise of reports of the projects from December to come.

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