WHEW! The Ivy Cap is finished and am I ever glad!! Even though it’s all one color and it’s knit in one piece I still found it to be one of the most challenging pieces I’ve ever knitted. I learned a lot along the way so I’m glad I stuck it out. Trust me, there were a number of times when frogging it didn’t even come to mind. I wanted to just open the front door and chuck it out and hope someone would run over it!
Even though it’s midway through January, I want to comment that I did make some New Years Resolutions before the clock struck twelve on December 31st. Oh yes, there were plenty of things I could have put on the list such as the need to lose weight, learn a foreign language, become a movie star etc, but I decided I should get realistic about my resolutions so for once I could look back and feel that it was a really productive year in terms of my knitting, spinning and weaving. I drank a significant amount of espresso, then went through my stash and took pictures of all of my UFO’s which includes knitting projects, a couple of crochet projects and lots of roving to be spun. As I’ve been job hunting I have realized the need to make some significant progress on my lack of knowledge of Excel, so I decided to make a spreadsheet listing all of my projects to be completed. I’ve also got columns to update my progress as I go along and the estimated completion time. Hubby found it somewhat amusing because he has been after me to make up some spreadsheets so I can practice but I think what he had in mind was getting the bills organized, not my craft projects. (I have a system that works for the bills it’s just that he says he can’t figure it out!)
I’m thrilled that the first item I can put on my new spreadsheet is the Ivy Cap! Now that we’re living where there is a definite winter, hubby is thinking the original Watch Cap may still need to be on my list. It’s a pretty simple pattern (I think I may have said that about the Ivy Cap) but I still figure I can knit it up rather quickly and not disrupt my UFO flow.
Off to the first project on my list-the Colinette socks……..
The Ivy Cap is definitely looking like a cap! It was really hard to get good pictures (as it always is in the RV) but I think this one shows some good progress from the last pictures. I’m hoping to be able to add it to my FO’s soon! (Hubby would like that too so he could finally wear the darn thing!)
I’ve also been able to make some progress on the magic loop socks from the Colinette yarn my sister sent me awile back. I have to say I am very very pleased with the pattern and how it came out. It fits perfectly and hubby commented that it looks professionally made! (Sweet!)
On to sock 2 and finishing the Ivy Cap!
I am FINALLY getting somewhere on the Ivy Cap. What started out looking like a small lump of coal is beginning to develop into something that could actually become a hat!
I’ve finally finished swatching for the English Driving Cap I want to make for hubby. I was satisfied with the gauge of 4 sts = 4 inches in stockinette stitch and the drape of the swatch with size 3 needles and 2 strands of yarn held together. I’m using yarn made from one of my border leicester sheep-Espresso. I originally tried 1 strand with size 6 needles (what the pattern called for), then tried 5′s and 7′s before deciding that 2 strands together was probably more what I was looking for. As I was knitting up the 4′s I realized 3′s were going to do it and did. I was so happy to finally get the result I wanted and dove into the pattern but couldn’t get past row 3. I wanted to make the larger of the 2 sizes but couldn’t for the life of me figure out the pattern. I even had hubby look at it as he’s very mechanically minded and many times can decipher for me what the pattern “really” means. (My sister and I often laugh that sometimes I should just hand the needles over to him and have him call me when the project is finished). Eventually I emailed the pattern writer and got a great explanation back from her the next day. I was impressed and thrilled to get all of my dumb questions answered so kindly and completely. There’s not much to photograph yet as you start from the crown and move down so for now it looks like a small lump of wool. Given the complexity of getting good pictures in the RV I think I’ll wait up until there’s something to actually see.
To take a break occasionally from all the swatching I pulled out a pair of socks I’d started awhile ago. My sister was anxious for me to get a different perspective on sock making so she sent me some Colinette yarn and the magic loop pattern. I was hesitant because after making 5 pairs of socks using the same pattern I wasn’t sure I wanted to expand my horizons and learn a new way. I’ve read so many reviews on the magic loop method and of course now I’m not surprised at why people like it so much. It’s so much easier! I’m still partial to my old pattern but I have to admit this is moving along quickly and I’ve really been enjoying it.
I’ve made several swatches for this project. I started out thinking I would make the English Driving Cap out of the same yarn I was going to use for the Watch Cap (I don’t know what I was thinking but it seemed like a good idea at the time). It was a black yarn from a blend of fiber from my alpacas Rosie and Dominoe.
I must tell you all that I miss my animals ALOT. And I mean ALOT so they will be included in posts ALOT especially since I’m carrying around all their wool with me in our travels (see my post on sock progress for more explanation of my craziness with this). Also, if you hadn’t noticed, some of them (the girls) are in my header picture. Anyway, back to the swatch. The gauge should be 19 sts and 31 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch on size 6 needles. The gauge of the first swatch with alpaca was off but more importantly I realized that it was too soft to hold the shape of the hat (you think I would have realized that early on in the swatch). On to swatch #2. While I was knitting on another project and finally getting to an episode of LOST Season 6 on DVD, it suddenly hit me (I actually think a skein may have risen up out of my stash and smacked me in the back of the head) to use yarn from my black/brown Border Leicester sheep Espresso.
The first swatch out of her yarn was with the recommended needle size of 6 but I still didn’t think it had the stiffness I was looking for (and the gauge was off) so I went down a needle size. As I expected the gauge was too small but I felt if nothing else I would have the results in my project journal for future reference. In the end I decided that using 2 strands together with a size 6 needle would give me what I was looking for. I haven’t finished the swatch yet but I think I’m finally onto something. My goal is to get the swatching finished and be casting on by the middle of the week. Progress reports and pictures to come.