A FO!

I’ve been holding out on you. I finished the Piecrust Basketweave scarf sometime in mid-March; I’ve been keeping the FO post back, knowing that there would come a time when all I had by way of new knitting is longer WIPs. Both my chevron scarf and Aran Pocket shawl are significantly longer than in their last viewing, but both being rectangles, longer is just, um, longer. And I think the tiki mug stole my sock knitting mojo as the sock remains the same. So let’s look at my finished scarf!

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Six feet of fuschia, alpaca-y goodness.

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Picot sevedges on ends (looks like the fluting on a piecrust, but don’t tell anyone, they’ll think I’m dorky).

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Piecrust Basketweave stitch pattern from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary: Vol 1, pattern #33.

Yarn: Plymouth Yarns Chunky Baby Alpaca in a hot pink, fuschia.

This is the third time I’ve knit something out of a “chunky” alpaca, and I think it may be the last. I think alpaca is better in the finer weights. It lacks the sproinginess necessary to take the weight of the chunky yarn without stretching too much. Based on my swatch, the scarf should be five feet long but is really six feet long. Because I cast on the length, knitting to the width (looked better with the horizontal nature of the pattern), the stretch runs the length. The longer the scarf got, the more it stretched and didn’t bounce back. I blocked it as I had done before, using wires and blocking it dry followed by spritzing it with water until it was pretty wet, which was what the yarn manufacturer recommended for the other scarf. I think if I had soaked the whole scarf, the weight of the water would have over-stretched the yarn perhaps to breaking point.

I like the stitch pattern (complete sucker for knit-purl stitch patterns!); it was very easy. I modified the edges which had a lot of reverse stockinette tacked on. In an attempt to make it look more finished, I did a 2-stitch picot at the start of each row, and it ended up looking like piecrust fluting, but I like it, and as the scarf doesn’t have a big sign that says it was named “piecrust basketweave” by the Vogue Knitting editors, I don’t think it’s really an issue. All in all, I’m looking forward to wearing the scarf in another 7-8 months when the weather here will turn cool. I clearly don’t live in the ideal location for handknits in natural animal fibers!

This is a long post so I’ll save the good smelling stuff I got in the mail today for a post later this week, as I suspect that my WIPs will still be merely longer.

Swamped

First, thanks for all the wonderful compliments on the VLT scarf I knit for my Grandma Adeline! Now if I could just get it packaged up and mailed off to her.

Work has been very busy this past weekend and week, and I have had to do quite a bit of work at home. This seriously cut into my knitting time. It wasn’t until Wednesday evening that I thought I could knit without making a mistake. Last Saturday, I procrastinated with the work stuff and managed to finish knitting the piecrust basketweave scarf. It still needs blocking.

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Mmmm….soft alpaca…

I also started a sock in Tofutsies. Since I hadn’t knit with this yarn before (and because my brain was goo), I decided on a simple 4×4 rib, but after 8 rounds I had two needles of pink/purple (16 st each) and one needle (24 st) of blue/purple. I wasn’t getting pooling, I was getting vertical segregation! I can be OK with pooling in some instances, but this was goofy looking. So I ripped. Last night while paging through Vogue Stitchionary 2: Cables I found “zig and zag” (#10), and I thought the twisted stitches might fix the color segregation problem. I think it might be working. It appears to be spiraling the hot pink; it’s on all three needles. I’m keeping my fingers metaphorically crossed.

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Last Friday I tried the Lenten Rose pattern from Sundara’s Petal Collections while watching Monk and Psych. That proved a mistake. After two repeats of the pattern I wondered why it didn’t look like Sundara’s picture. My double YO eyelets did not line up like Sundara’s. So I ripped. I tried again last night. I think this time I got it right. It helped for me to chart the pattern!?! That is so unlike me, I don’t know what to think of that, so I’m just knitting instead.

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The Fleece Artist Parrot (guacamole) sock is waiting patiently for my hair appointment on Saturday afternoon. I’ve promised to work on it then, and get it done very soon.

Good Swatch, Bad Swatch

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Bad light pink swatch. Good fuschia swatch.

In good news/bad news situations, I try to get the bad news out of the way first. That way, after I survive the bad news, I have the good to brighten me up. So I’ll start with the bad swatch.

While reading one of Margaux’s posts at tentenknits last week, I realized that I wasn’t as far along in my swatching with the light pink Shelburne yarn as I had thought. I can be pretty cavalier about row gauge, but thanks to Margaux I realized that row gauge is pretty important in a V-neck. I had stitches per inch, but rows per inch was off by an entire row (4.5 rpi vs 3.5 rpi in the pattern). Not good. I also knit the swatch the way I’ve knit all other stockinette swatches: flat. The sweater is knit in the round (a new thing for me). Not good. I tend to knit tighter in the round than flat. Really not good. So I knit on some WIPs (but that’s a different post) and swatched for a fuschia scarf.

The fuschia chunky baby alpaca from Plymouth Yarns made a good swatch, a very good swatch. I used the Piecrust Basketweave from Vogue Stitchionary, Volume 1 (pattern #33). I charted the pattern because the repeat of 8 stitches plus 10 confused me. It really is a repeat of 8 stitches plus 2, the swatch in the book has wide borders which is reflected in the 10 stitches for symmetry. The Piecrust Basketweave is a narrow, horizontal basket weave. To look good in a scarf, I thought it would be best to cast on the length and then knit to the width. My lovely gauge swatch indicated that I was getting 3.5 spi, and I wanted a 60-inch scarf. My calculator told me that would be 210 stitches which is a multiple of 8 + 2. Destiny! I cast on 212 stitches so I could have a knit stitch at each end for making a picot selvage.

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I’m almost half done!

I used a cable cast on, which looks nice given that the first row of the pattern is a WS row, so the decorative look of the cable cast on shows on the right side. I need to look at some bind offs to see if there is a good one to use as the opposite of this cast on. Montse Stanley has always come to my aid before, I hope she can again. If any readers have a suggestion, I would be happy to hear it!

Right now, I need to block the Sea Silk Berry scarf from Victorian Lace Today so I can send it to Grandma Adeline. Pictures to follow soon. I’m going to make another wide-bordered scarf from VLT next. I want to do the diamond insertion (p. 90), but I can’t decide between two different wide borders (Diamond Lace border, p. 90; Clarence border, p.82). Unfortunately, both work with the diamond insertion, and both are really pretty. Decisions, decisions!

Happy Knitting!