Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Yes, I am a geek.

Jorun asked in the comments:
Just a thought: Are you knitting "twisted stitces"?

- No. Definitely not. The pink cable sweater (my very first sweater in fact) was done completely in twisted stockinette stitch. Not on purpose, mind you, but I twisted every last stitch in the thing, and didn't realize it until a dormmate asked me what stitch I used. I said "stockinette" and she said no, that wasn't stockinette. Didn't know what it was, but it wasn't stockinette. Later, I found the "twisted stockinette stitch" in a stitch dictionary. Aha! Justification! It wasn't a mistake, it was a design element. Ahem.

Another thought: Could the 55/44 discrepancy be blamed on very dry air/yarn? I am used to my skeins being slightly heavier due to air humidity.

Good thought. It can be very humid in Italy, where the yarn was made. It can also be pretty humid in Ohio, where I bought the yarn, but we use a lot of air conditioning here, and thus maybe I dried the yarn out? So I did a little experiment. First, I had a moment of panic, and weighed a number of new skeins of yarn that I have bought at this store and another in town. Are all my skeins lighter than advertised? For the most part, no. My weather station says that my house was at 35% humidity last night. Skeins that were supposed to be 50g weighed in at 49, 51, 51, and 52 g. A 100g skein of lace came in at 99 g. So, at most a 4% discrepancy, and generally they err in my favor.

Next, I took some leftover fingering weight merino (44g), shown below, and brought it into work (I work in a lab). Initial weight: 43.912 g. Placed it in an oven (60 C) with a beaker of water for an hour (saturated atmosphere): the skein actually lost a bit of weight (42.93 g). Placed it under vacuum (~100 mTorr) for 1 hour to remove as much water as possible, skein weighs 41.98 g. Let it rest on the countertop for an hour to reabsorb moisture from atmosphere: 42.4 g. So, at most I was able to suck 5% of the weight out of the skein, and that's going from a very humid environment to a near vacuum (0% humidity). The skein then regained a third of that lost weight just sitting in the room. Conclusion: difference in humidity does not account for a 12% discrepancy in ball band weight vs. actual weight. Company is shorting the customers.

On to more cheerful topics:

Bamboo on bamboo
I did not work on the Lucky Tank last weekend. I left my pattern at work, and didn't feel like driving back in to get it. So, I did some swatching, and started working on Bamboozelle, a pattern from Knitty for a little basketweave stitch basket. Cool stitch. Tricky and requires a lot of attention, but looks really nice. I am using SWTC Bamboo yarn in Parrot, and am currently on US8 needles (bamboo of course).

I also did some sample lace swatches for an upcoming scarf project. Nothing good there yet. I plan to get back into the Lucky Tank tonight, and at least get the lace part done before I go on vacation.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Do I have to tell you how frustrating this is? Hello!!! Yarn manufacturers!!! If you print "50 g = 180 M(yds = 196)" on your ball band, that is how much yarn your customer thinks she is buying!

Well, mystery partially solved. I finally thought to weigh an unused ball of the Filtes King Color Baby yarn I am making the Lucky tank from. Turns out the 50 g ball only weighs 44 g. So of course there is no way 3 balls of this yarn is going to be enough for a pattern that calls for 600 yds. 3 balls of yarn only bought me 517.5 yds. The back of the tank took a little over 2 balls of yarn, or a total of 94 g. If the front requires as much, I will need 4.27 balls of yarn to complete this project. Now, there will be less yarn for the front because of the scoop neckline, but then there is a little extra needed for the armhole and neckline edging. I'll play it safe and go pick up a 5th ball.

Astute readers may notice that 4.27 balls is equal to 736.5 yds, which is still way over the designer's claim of a 600 yd project. Here's my guess as to the discrepancy: the pattern calls for cotton or silk, which tend to lie flat and the stitches don't moosh together as much as merino, which I am using. I got the recommended gauge (even the row gauge - that never happens for me!), but I'm guessing the difference in yarn type is enough to throw off the yardage. With the exception of socks, I don't think I have ever finished a project without going over the pattern yardage requirements. I think it just has something to do with the way I knit.

Photobucket is down right now, so I can't upload a pic of the finished back. Trust me, it looks just like the partially finished back in the post below, only a bit longer.

I finished last night around 9:30 p.m., and my religion does not allow me to cast on yarn, or cut quilting fabric, after 9:00. Experience has shown this to be a good rule. Will start the front tonight. Unless I have a couple glasses of wine with dinner. Helloooo Weekend!!!!! Lace and wine do not mix.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

And the tank goes on...

The Lucky Tank is progressing nicely, as you can see:

The pattern is from the new WendyKnits book. I've finished the armhole shaping on the back, and just have to follow the pattern up to the shoulders. I've still got doubts that I will finish this in the recommended yardage; I bought an extra skein just to be sure. Still, I got a great price on the yarn, and even at 4 skeins, this will be a very affordable project. I've got doubts too that I will finish this in time to wear it in Seattle, and I'm not sure I want to try to bring 10" metal straights on the plane. Oh well, I'll have to cast on something new for the trip! Darn! Perhaps the Regia sock yarn languishing in stash?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Jumping on the bandwagon....

Well, everybody else has a blog, I want one too!
So, this is my first blog post. Needless to say, I'm speechless. Complete writers block. Struck down by fear of HTML.
I'm hoping to use this space to chronicle my fiber adventures (wheee! Another knitting blog. Just what the world needs.), the books I'm reading, and keep track of my thoughts and musings on my hobbies.

So here goes:

WIPS: knitting: the Lucky tank top from WendyKnits - My Never-Ending Adventures in Yarn. Yarn: King Color Baby Stacato in color 800. 100% Merino. US3 needles. I just finished the first ball of yarn (200 yds). According to the pattern, I'm 1/3 done! I suspect I will need that 4th ball of yarn though. But we'll see.
Project started last Thursday.

Quilting: still working on Jack's Baby Quilt. Project started summer 2003. Why yes, I do procrastinate finishing quilts.

Reading: none right now. I bailed on this month's BookClub book, "Reefer Madness" by Eric Schlosser when I realized I couldn't make it to the meeting. Next month is fiction again.

I've got so many projects running through my head! I just need more time so I can actually do them. Projects in the bull pen: quilted needle holders, a valence for the living room, lace scarf for MIL, more socks (more socks!), a sweater for DD.

Well, off to find some graphics to add to the blog. A picture is worth a thousand words, and two thousand lines of HTML code... Did I mention I have a great fear of HTML? Your patience is requested.