Friday, January 21, 2011

A New Project

Since the start of January, I've been finishing projects. Made up my mind to get some of those things out of the way, and not start anything new. My drawers and closets are too full of things begun and not completed!

But today, S. came for a violin lesson and afterwards gave me copies of two nice "neck warmer" patterns. I've been thinking I need a neck warmer to go with my blue Goretext shell jacket that I bought for the coming trip to Chile. When I saw the patterns, I just had to try the one out. Found a nice variegated yarn in the basket and started knitting. This is the second version. The first one was too stiff, so I went up a whole size in the needles. These are U.S. 11's, so this is knitting up very fast. There are over eight inches there already, and the neck warmer is supposed to finish at 24". So I'm well on the way. Certainly didn't mean to start anything new, but there it is, and I think it's quite pretty.

Other projects underway: after I finished the girls' mittens I got out a sweater I had started in '07. It was supposed to be a "car" project for on our holiday, but was too complicated a pattern to follow while traveling. The back was almost finished, but I wasn't pleased with the way the knitted fabric bubbled over the intarsia section, so I put it away for a while. Last week I got it out and unraveled it to a certain level in the pattern. Since then I reknit the back and am well on the way with the left front. But it's very slow going in the patterned part of the sweater. Read part of the line in the chart, knit about 12 stitches, read some more, etc. This is the finished back.

This next
photo is a closeup of the back, and you can see in the middle of that center "V" how the yarn makes little bumps where the yarn not in use is "woven" in behind the yarn on the surface. Those bumps had extended all the way up to the point of the "V" and it just wasn't good enough.

But because I didn't want to carry the yarn across that space, I had to cut it each time, so on the back you can see a lot of hanging threads that need to be woven in.

Here you can see the inside of the back, with
the yarn not in use "woven" into the fabric, rather than carried across as a loose float. This is a technique I learned from Wendy Toye of Saskatchewan. She was teaching from the "Philosopher's Fair Isle" method taught in the book "Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified" by Ann and Eugene Bourgeois.
I've mentioned this book before, and it's worth every penny of the price.

Other progress: the "Red Square" quilt is close to finish. I quilted it in two sections, top and bottom, and then sewed the two together. Just the back seam needs to be stitched by hand when finishing this way. The quilting in that middle "join" section is almost finished and then we just need the binding stitched down. Some people stitch "in the ditch" on the front to tack the back of the binding down, but I always take the time to hand stitch it. It takes long: over two hours, but I think it's worth it in the finished product.

I've already started the next finisher up: a quilt top I made over a year ago and left that way. It needs a border, and the sides that hang down sewed. So I've started on that, using my bag of 2" squares cut from leftovers.

Other activities: working on the Rosetta Stone South American Spanish lessons and practicing the violin part for our quartet concert in February.

And HOORAY!!!! today it was finally warm enough to walk again. Well, yesterday was warm enough also, but was the day the country quilting group met (from 9:30 to about 3:30). The forecast for the next week look great! Above average for this time of year.

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