Tuesday, November 15, 2011

could it be the year of the sweater?

I can't remember the last time I made a sweater. Sad words from a knitter! Why am I wearing all of these Polarfleece sweatshirts? This one is on the way to afghans for Afghans. It should fit a kid about 11 or 12 years old. I added length to the body and the sleeves, and added 4 stitches when I cast on for sleeves because Ravelry reports indicated that they were kind of skinny. It's all stash yarn, and has been in progress, or in time out, for at least two years. I think. The brown yarn was from two different dyelots, but I can't tell the difference.

brown Alafoss Lopi; red and gold Lamb's Pride Bulky. Pattern is Child's Fairisle by Design by Louise
It's so much fun to zip along at 3.5 stitches per inch (14/10 cm)! I love Lopi yarn. I'm already nearly finished another sweater, soon to appear on this page. That one is knit in the round, top down, so I won't have to beat myself up trying to achieve perfection in seaming.

(Someone was worried that this picture was taken on a grubby bathroom floor -- no, no, it's a charmingly rusticated painted porch.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Joplin Blanket: A Saga

Remember this?

Pat and I both like to try to use our knitting to help people out. We can't respond to every disaster -- we'd be curled up quivering in the corner if we even tried. But every once in a while one comes along that makes us feel the urge to do something. The tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri, last spring was one of those. It's just one of many in a year of terrible events, but this one hit a nerve, and we decided we had to respond. We recruited some friends, and here's what happened:

My sister was downstashing, and had plenty of Encore (machine washable and dryable was on our list of requirements for this one) from an early fling; she gave us 2 balls each of 6 colors. I added the darker of the two blues from my extensive holdings. I drew up instructions and a diagram, so that each of the five of us (thank you, Ann, Debbie, and Ruth) could see at a glance the color order for our individual strips and where each one fell in the greater scheme. I knit a test square and weighed it. According to that, we should have been able to get 3 blocks from 2 skeins. I set to work weighing out 65 grams of each color for each knitter. Of course, I'm the only one of the group who doesn't live within about a 5-mile radius, so I plunked these lovely packages into the mail. But -- apparently my scale decided it had had enough of being meticulous and fussy.  It wanted to be artistic! It lied. Many of us ran out of colors, or weighed them at home and found out the grams were off by a huge factor. . . extra yarn was purchased (some colors were conveniently in my stash, so extra investment was not too bad) and mailed or swapped around.

It was important to get similar row gauge, so the strips would match, so I went with what the ball band recommends, knowing that my own row gauge tends to be eccentric and assuming the recommended number would be easily obtainable. All of us (all experienced knitters who think we know what we're doing) struggled with that. We started knitting in July; I received the last strip back on October 28 and then sewed many, many miles of seams. (OK, OK, it was only 252 inches. It took awhile. But I felt quite experienced by the end.)

This blanket just looks happy to me. As soon as I get the address, it will be on the way to help someone through a very strange and difficult year.