Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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I've been wearing Norwegian Hat for a week and still haven't decided if I'm going to redo the lining. It's a little tighter than I'd like, but it sure is warm and all sewn up and stuff. I know I'll feel marginally better about the fit if I re-did the lining. But it's a lot of work for marginally feeling better, y'know?

I took a page from Ms Hello Yarn for the lining and used up some 4-ply DK cashmere I had leftover from my birthday scarf.

I guessed on the number of stitches I wanted for the lining, and after picking up stitches from the provisional cast on, decreased accordingly. The yarn is a similar weight to the Jaeger I used for the hat, maybe a hair heavier; if I had used a lighter weight yarn, I'd have less bulk issues, and therefore a looser fit. But it's so purty:

Norwegian hat - sewing in the lining

and though no one else can see it, it does match my scarf:

My Birthday Scarf

Too short a lining made the bulk more noticeable. I put the stitches onto waste yarn several times to test the look and fit and decided on a good sized lining. After pinning it into place, I basically kitchenered to a row of knitting using black JaggerSpun Zephyr.

Norwegian hat - sewing in the lining

I kept the kitchener stitches loose because I didn't want the point-of-kitchenering to pucker the row, but after the fact I realized they were too loose, so the purl row folding edge is not perfectly at the folding edge, if ya know what I mean. I could go stitch by stitch and tighten it up.

Off the head, the row does look a little puckered:

Norwegian hat

But on the head, it's not at all noticeable.

There is zero itch factor with the cashmere, and the hat really keeps my head toasty, even with the frigid temperatures we had last week. Because it's tighter than I would prefer, it does flatten my hair a bit. Again, I haven't figured out if I will make any changes. But... considering how much effort I put into this hat, perhaps it's worth re-doing?

If I did make changes, I'd reknit the lining entirely and with fewer decreases, therefore having slightly more stretch to the hat. If I were really serious about it, I'd switch to a lighter weight cashmere so there'd be less bulk to boot. But I don't have anything nearly as pretty lying around.

Maybe another week will decide it.

Meanwhile, here's my current Twisted Knitters project:

Lagoon on the Schacht
colors not quite accurate

It's the superfine merino I dyed a few weeks back and started spindling. I'm not a big spindler since the wheel, so if I'm going to get anywhere with Twisted Knitters, it's gotta be on the wheel. I'm not quite happy with how my Schacht is handling laceweight (it hiccups and tugs on the fiber supply) but I'll make it through this batch.

After several attempts and Pooh bear style thinking, I finally got a crown that works and that I like:

Norwegian hat - in progress
stretched over a CD case

Onto the lining!

Today would have been the perfect day to wear either pair of socks. This winter has been so mild that hand knit socks just haven't been in my head. On autopilot, I sailed out of the house in the usual black cotton socks. And my feet were COLD. Twenty minutes in a toasty work environment and they were STILL cold.

All winter my office stays warm. Overwarm. Most of my handknits don't get worn because I'd be sweating bullets by noon. In fact, these days, I usually have to take my socks off mid-afternoon because they get too warm. Not today. Today was a good handknit-sock-wearing day.


I joined me some knitalongs for the New Year. First, Stranded: The Colorwork Challenge:

Silly me, I was on the lookout for a repeat of MJ's Norwegian Knits-Along from last year and it took a while for me to realize Stranded is Norwegian Knits-Along (on steroids).

Second, I joined the 2007 UFO Resurrection:

Now, usually I wouldn't join something like this because the pressure is too great. I'm weak. I lack KAL stamina. However, I really want to whittle my WIP list further. Last year I downsized from 67 to 24 WIP's during my WIP Management campaign. I know. 67 WIP's. Doesn't it make you feel faint? I managed that in just over 6 months. My next goal is to get (and stay) within the 12-18 WIP's range. It's totally do-able. And it's something I want to accomplish. With the UFO Resurrection challenge, I have a whole year to wipe out some old knits.

To get things started right, I picked up the Norwegian Hat I started last April at the end of the Norwegian Knits-Along. Here's where it was:

Oh hat - in progress

It's basically the Bea Ellis Ufserud (modeled after MJ's) with modifications and knit at a finer gauge. I didn't want to buy the kit, so I had reverse engineered the pattern, adjusted for gauge, and added side panel details to make my stitch count work out. After a good evening's knit it looked like this:

Norwegian hat - in progress

I had been working on bamboo dpn's but they were aggravating the hell out of me. So I switched to Addi circs and Ahhhhhh. My stitches evened out and I settled into a good rhythm.

Unfortunately, when I transferred to 2 circs and tried the hat on, it was tight. Tight enough that I knew it would be uncomfortable. Tight enough that it wouldn't stretch with wear.

So I left it on the needles and cast on again. This time I noodled and adjusted the pattern for more stitches and knit an inch and a half before trying it on. Too LOOSE! Too many stitches and looser knitting.

You see, it all makes sense. I blithely laughed at Anne's misfortunes the other day, and in the back of my head, I knew the knitting gods would smite me. They did. Boy did they.

I frogged back. After many calculations, I decided to try my luck with what I had before, hoping that my looser knitting would compensate enough for it to be wearable. It did. Just. Enough.

Norwegian hat - in progress

I was quite excited to be almost binding off last night, I never imagined it would go so quickly!

Norwegian hat - in progress

And then I realized today at lunch that I was knitting on crack. While I really liked the way the decreases don't disrupt the pattern:

Norwegian hat - in progress

I found no less than 3 mistakes in the side panels post-decreases:

Norwegian hat - in progress
too many rows

Norwegian hat - in progress
what was I smoking???

Norwegian hat - in progress
too many rows

It's pretty funny. Only 1 panel was fine.

I'll frog back and pay a little more attention, finish it up right. I'm not sure how those side panels ought to meet up yet (at the top), but I'll figure something out.

Meanwhile, there is one mistake I'm not bothering to correct:

Norwegian hat - in progress



Finished: 4/8/06
Pattern: Grumperina's Picovoli, with modifications
Yarn: Classic Elite Provence in a to dye for red (color # 2627), almost 2 full skeins
Needles: #5 bamboo circulars
Notes: For starters, I didn't get gauge. Next, my size is between the pattern sizes. So, all actual numbers were recalculated and fudged to fit. And boy does it ever fit. I suspect that it's either too short or small, or I'm not used to baring the midriff. Scott loves it, though. Any thoughts? I could always add some rows near the waist to make it longer.

Modifications aside, this was an easy and relatively fun knit. The plain stockinette stitch makes for good TV knitting, while the shaping details give it interest. Plus, the fact that you can try it on as you go helps make a garment that fits. The instructions are clear and in-the-round knitting means minimal ends to be woven in.

I enjoyed knitting with Provence. Soft and silky with a nice sheen. Good yardage, too.

The bottom edge won't stay down. I've tried steaming it to no avail. Any thoughts on that one, too?

More Knits??

I'm making a liar of myself, where's the spinning content?? Actually there's been some spinning and dyeing, but today's post was determined to be color coordinated.

Sock one of The Red and The Black is done! My first handdyed handspun handknit sock, hehe.

The Red and The black - sock 1 done!

I added a simple 1x1 rib only in the last black band, because it looked odd any other way.

The Red and The Black - sock 1 done!

Sock 2 is in progress and I'm curious to see how they match up. These I will be sad not to be wearing until the Fall.

Oh hat

I wanted to knit a second hat for MJ's Norwegian Knits-Along, and ran into some troubles. Adrian helped me brainstorm and I tackled the project anew. On my first stab, the gauge and stitch pattern were not cooperating to make a hat to fit my head. I considered:

  • adding larger motifs separating the panels
  • adding an extra repeat to the "front" and "back" panels
  • adding an extra panel to make 5 (Adrian's suggestion) 

In the end, I went with the first option. I'm pretty sure there was a good reason. I distinctly remember trying the second option and having one of those, "<sigh> this is not going to work" moments. At this moment I can't recall what the issue might have been.

Oh hat - in progress

Assuming it will fit, it's looking good. I'm not happy with the way I increased stitches before starting the main pattern, so I'll probably have to rework the first few rows. But, with the Norwegian Knits-Along ending and Spring seeming to be around the corner, there's no pressure to finish anytime soon.

Curlycue scarf

My niece loves her scarf! I think it looks fabulous on her. Even in 80 degree weather.

Curlycue scarf

I was surprised by how much longer it is on her than on me. Which just means it'll last longer. :)

Curlycue scarf

Wheeee, thanks for the 'grats on the wheel!

I don't know what I'm doing here in front of the computer instead of the wheel. What's wrong with me??

I started a swatch for the second Norwegian Knits-Along hat. Sadly, my gauge and the pattern repeat do not play nicely. It's either cut off the circulation of my head, or have a floppy hat. Meh. Pretty yarn combo:

Frogged first attempt at second Norwegian Hat

I'll try again this fall with a different pattern.

Picovoli progresses, not long now.

Picovoli - in progress

Off to spin!

I like checking my stats each day. Since IE users generally can't post, it lets me know if anybody's out there or I'm talking to myself again. I find it hilarious that getting mentioned on the Yarn Harlot's website spiked my traffic by, oh, an order of magnitude. And climbing. Hehe. Never mind being tickled to death at being mentioned in such a nice way.

I'm so impressed at the range and quality of knitting projects that were tackled. I hope to go through the list, a to z, and see what everyone worked on. Actually, I'll start with the other 3 Monica's that have blogs. Then I'll check out the two Monique's. Then I'll go a to z. :)

Lookie here, it's my gold medal:

So shiny and new.

There were a few folks who were, shall we say, sceptical that I'd be able to finish the knitting in one day. I have 9 words for them: The Lord of the Rings boxed set, extended version. 3 movies spread over 6 DVDs, with each DVD the length of most feature films. I finished spin-dye-knit-a-scarf by mid-disk 4 (I remembered surprisingly little of the first movie so got very little knitting done), sewed in the ends of Arrrgh during disk 4, and finished Gram's sock one during disk 5. I was all knitted out.

The extended versions, especially the second movie, has a lot more exposition, explanation, blah blah blah (read: good knitting time). There were times I appreciated getting more of the back story, but it made for a looooong movie (50 additional minutes in that one).

At the same time, it was really cool watching them back to back to back. Each part in context and fresh in mind made a lot more sense and the emotional throughlines were easier to follow and get involved in. I recommend it.

(Nota buena: Don't start watching TLOTR boxed set, extended version, after 4 pm. Definitely do not start after 5.)

Gram's sock number one, finally complete:

Gram's sock - first sock done

I took that photo to take advantage of the bits of sunlight, with the intention of turning it around in Photoshop:

Gram's sock - first sock done

A little disorienting, no? Take a moment to imagine the angle I would have to stand to take that one.

Gram's sock progresses at a snail's pace. Part of the problem is knowing that, most likely, they won't get much wear and probably not the care they need. Even with still swollen ankles, Gram wears pumps all day long. No room for socks in pumps. Still, it's the thought that counts, so I will continue to plug away.

Norwegian Knits-Along

Arrrgh was unofficially my Norwegian Knits-Along project:

I started it with that intention but didn't officially get added until just before I finished. So, yay, finished my Norwegian Knits-Along project! I'd like to do another before it ends, now that I see it's not so intimidating. Shh, don't tell Scott, cuz I'd rather work with wool next. Oh wait, that doesn't work...

And while I'm being random and scattered...

I realized I've been holding out on you:

Yarn room - partially filled shelves

That's an early pic. The shelves are packed now and I'm still trying to make room and figure out what needs to go. The good news: there's room on the floor for my wheel!