KTS: fading back in

I did something today that I haven't done in two days — I knitted. Not much done yet, but it's an accomplishment, especially given that I only got out of bed at 2pm. (I'm allergic to coffee. The slightest little amount, I get ill. I had the slightest little amount mixed with some tea from a coffee shop.)

There's loads more to do, not just for knitting but for other things, but the row and a half I've got done is a start.

I still feel like the double-knitted jacket will go faster once I get to the damn armholes.

KTS: sprinted

I made it to about nine and a half rows for my knit sprint this weekend. Close enough to the finish line to count. I would have got more done, but the time in the squirrel cage constricted things in a bad way.

The second-last row of birds before the armholes start is now done, and the tops of the trees are now substantial enough that you can tell they are the start of the tops of the trees. It feels weird to not knit the same three alternating vertical lines for the trunks anymore.

So I'm about eleven rows from the armholes. If the day job is reasonable (which it won't be, but one can always dream), then I can be at the armhole shaping by the weekend.

KTS: surprise sixteen FINISHED

Today I had an appointment to get my hair done. The double-knitted jacket is getting too big to work in a hair salon chair, so I decided to pack up the yarn for the Doris Daymat MK II flowers. While I was doing that, I discovered that I had a sixteenth (urp) project on the needles:

It's a facecloth/dishcloth, and it's supposed to look like the one in the pattern I put in the photo. As it happens, however, I found out about a free leaf pattern facecloth this very morning. So ripped out the two spikes of the pinwheel that I already had done, threw the needles and the yarn in my knitting bag along with the Daymat flower materials, and headed out to the hair salon.

It turns out that the leaf facecloth only takes about forty-five minutes to make, and I can get two comfortably from a ball of the Bernat dishcloth cotton. I made one at the hairdresser's, and then another one once I got home (they're for a gift, and two is better than one):
The wee stems aren't part of the pattern, but I think they help them look a bit more leafy, and I just made them with the cast-on ends of the yarn.

This was a great pattern, and I'd definitely make it again (er, I already did, after all). The only other mod besides adding the stems was to add two stitches at the edges so I could make a chain edge instead of just a plain garter edge. That meant the start and finish were a little different from the pattern, but not by much.

At this point, if you read yesterday's blog, you may well be screaming at your screen, "but what about the double-knitted jacket???"

Things are getting done on that too. I've already done about three rows today. By the time I go to bed tonight, I plan on having at least one row of birds done (there are two before the armhole shaping). Tomorrow I have to do a stint in the squirrel cage, but it's still at least semi-plausible that I'll make it to the armholes by Sunday night.

Speaking of which, I better get knitting again.

KTS: another sprint

Usually I write these blog posts after I'm done knitting for the day (usually right before I go to bed, actually), but today I'm writing before I've even got anything done. If anyone has read these posts besides me, it's pretty clear what comes next on the double-knitted jacket: I need to work the twenty-odd rows that stand between the end the jacket's lower body and the start of the armhole shaping.

What's standing in the way of achieving that (besides the obvious knitting to do) is weekend overtime, an appointment on Saturday, the usual household chores, and the fact that this week's overtime has left me bone-tired. I'm only halfway through the working day, and I'm yawning my head off as I write this.

Still, onwards, so it's time to attempt another sprint. Ten rows done this weekend and it's a success. If I make it to the armhole section itself, that's fantastic. If nothing else, I'm very curious to see if working shorter rows with straight needles will speed up things overall or not.

Tomorrow's report will tell.

KTS: starting to see the forest

I knitted the start of the tops of the first tree today! And not much else, because it's been one of those weeks (and there's still one more day of it to get through). But I made it. The part where I start working on the armhole shaping is very near. Inspirationally near.

Stay tuned...

KTS: halfway

Tonight I finally finished knitting the last row of birds on the double-knitted jacket before I make the Great Leap Up the Chart. The leap happens in two parts. I recently leaped about twenty rows, and am now in this weird space where the only colourwork I have to worry about are the very vertical tree trunks (here's the most recent photo to help you visualise):
No birds, no side branches, nothin'. I haven't looked at the chart at all today.

Three rows from where I am now, I get to start the tops of the trees. It's exciting to think I'll be working something besides birds (all the birds are the same motif, I memorised it ages ago) and curlicues, which, while gorgeous, are just lead-ups to the main tree-topping event. On the other hand, that means a lot of gawping at the chart, and probably a lot of ripping back mistakes as well.

Deep breath. Be positive. Once I start the treetops, I'll have about twenty rows before I get to the underarm shaping. That will be another cause for excitement.

Since I'm working from stash yarn, this also seemed like a good time to take a real account of how well I'm doing with using up all the yarn without running out. This thing's been on the needles so long I don't know how many skeins I started with (there are knots in the skeins, so counting ends isn't a good measure). So tonight I put my big stainless steel mixing bowl on top of my digital food scale, hit the tare button, and then dumped the whole jacket into the bowl, working yarn and all. Then I took out the jacket and just weighed an empty circular needle that's about the same size and material composition as the needles I'm using.

The entire jacket, including needles and working yarn, comes to 787g as of tonight. The empty needle was 11g, so that means the yarn itself weighs about 776g. The skeins are 100g each, and I find it believable that I've trimmed off about 24g of ends in the course of making the jacket (that's 12g per colour, remember). So call it 800g, which means 8 skeins total, or 4 skeins of each colour.

I have 5 skeins of black left (and supposedly 5 of the blue, although it's been knitted up into something different that is hard to weigh out). Only one of them is in my current dye lot — the rest is in the very-close-but-not-quite dye lot. I'm about halfway through my current working skeins, which should take me almost to the armholes to use up. That means I'll be switching dye lots in the treetops, which is probably the least worst place it could happen.


KTS: seven weeks

Did you read the title on this entry? Go over it again, imagining the creepy little girl/demon from The Ring saying it. Exactly.

Today I took a glance at the little calendar I have tacked to my cubicle wall at work, and realised that in just over seven weeks I'll be on a mini-vacation with the ever-cool J-A in New York City.

Perhaps some of you may think that was an excuse to, I don't know, look forward to traveling. There is that, but more to the point of this DIY blog, what I thought was, "AUGH!!! I need to get the Central Park jacket done!"

Remember, the official designer name of the double knitted jacket is Central Park, which makes sense since it's an Art Nouveau rendition of trees and birds and all. I've been trying to avoid calling it by its name on this blog because there is a more famous pattern called the Central Park Hoodie. The hoodie is a great design, but it's not what I'm making.

So. I have about 36 more rows of the lower body, then about 60 rows of the upper body (two fronts and a back), plus the sleeves at about 90 rows each, plus the neckband... gack. If I didn't have the original KTS photo to compare, I'd think I was getting nowhere on this thing.

It's earlier for this comparison than I wanted, but here's the jacket in the state it was at the start of KTS:

And this is what it looks like as of tonight:

I've done a couple (as in two) more rows since this photo was taken. I have to get back into the squirrel cage as soon as I finish this post, but I would really like to get to the part where I skip several chart rows and move on to the tops of the trees. (The trees are the straight parts with the long curlicues sticking out of the sides.) At least once I get to the treetops, the end will be in sight.

On this project, the sky really is the limit.

KTS: caught up

Tonight I managed to knit up the rest of the slack yarn I had to rip out after discovering I'd followed the charts wrong for two or three rows. I'm also a little bit past that point, so I've started to gain ground.

Which is all to say, the photos of the jacket at its new point are about 30 rows away.

I am going to be sooo glad to be done with the branches and to start on the treetops — never mind the armholes themselves. Ten or so more rows until the treetops start.

KTS: perspective

Carla, Anne, J-A, and I spent the afternoon together today. Anne hadn't heard about the KTS meta-project yet, so I filled her in. When I told her I discovered I had fifteen projects on the go, she just said, "Sure, sounds about right." It was a good reminder that this isn't unusual in the knitting world — on the other hand, it's not exactly an enviable position to be in.

I still haven't had a chance to get another small project in play, so I brought the double knitted jacket along to work on. That was great and all, but I discovered at lunch I'd made a mistake on each of the four trees two rows down from where I was. I tried dropping stitches and latching them up correctly, but that's hard to do with double knitting if you need to do more than one row, so I wound up ripping out two rows entirely. But hey, I already have one row re-knitted. So the tree branches are once again just a few rows away from being completed.

The other thing that happened is that the blue yarn skein kind of... exploded. Basically a big chunk out of the centre came out while I was getting that pedicure on Wednesday. That wouldn't have been a big deal in and of itself, but it also sort of turned itself inside out, and got tangled with the tail end from the outside of the ball. In the end I wound up spending about an hour and a half untangling.

Still, net progress was made. I'm looking forward to getting this one to the point where it's worth posting a photo again.

KTS: symbols can be powerful

It's like this: about four hours ago I got home, ran to the grocery store, booted my work laptop to write one last e-mail, and loaded the dishwasher. I also wrote my weekly Friday Flash story.

In all that time, the only work I got done on the KTS project was to take the cotton handbag, lining fabric, parchment paper, and sewing pins into the bedroom (easiest to pin the outline through the paper and into the mattress). Besides that, nothing. Nada.

So, before I head to bed (because I have to be at work an hour earlier tomorrow than I was today), I'm going to knit. Just a few stitches. Just on principle.

So there.

KTS: multitasking

Today my dental recovery was sufficient that I finally went out and got that pedicure that I'd been meaning to get the whole time I've been popping painkillers and living with five stitches and tissue from a cadaver in my mouth. I thought the pedi would be a nice relaxing thing to do, especially since the nail place is practically across the road from me and wouldn't be a big effort to get to.

Of course, what I didn't factor in is that in order to walk across the road to the nice relaxing nail salon, you need to be relatively awake in the first place. That's hard for me to do while I'm on antibiotics and ibuprofen.

Anyways, I finally made it over, and brought the double knitted jacket with me. I knitted while I waited for a pedicure chair to become free. I knitted while my pedicure was being done. I knitted while I waited for the new nail polish on my toes to dry.

Altogether about four rows got done, which considering that the jacket is 420 stitches of solid chart work each row is pretty good.

The jacket is still about six rows short of being in the same place it was when I noticed the issue with the dye lots. Still, it's moving along.

As for the "short and easy" project to replace the now-finished hearts & harps socks: there are a lot of candidates this early in the game, but ultimately I decided to go with lining the cotton handbag, if only because if I get going on it now I might actually get some use out of it this summer. Thus far I've retrieved the handbag and found some suitable fabric in my stash. The next step is to pin out the handbag so I can make pattern pieces from parchment paper. Say that fast three times.

KTS: one down

Today I finished one of the KTS projects! The hearts and harps (Kristi) socks are done, done, done. That means they get their own page, and a FINISHED date on the main KTS page.

It didn't take very long to do the last part of these. The gauge is a little bigger than what I usually use for socks because the cables make the fabric tighter, so that means that the toe shaping goes more quickly (fewer stitches to start with once the sock switches to plain knitting).

Here's the grand finish shot (taken in the Starbucks at Davisville this afternoon):
It feels so great to actually finish one of the projects on the list. Plus I got some of the double knitted jacket done while waiting for The Dark Knight Rises to start.

One down, fourteen to go...

KTS: countdown

I have three more rounds of pattern and the toe shaping to do, and then the hearts & harps socks are done. There will be great rejoicing. Finally there will be a finished object to gloat about in this meta-project!

As it happens, I also came across another skein of black yarn for the double knitted jacket today. It must have fallen out when I moved the knitting stand from my bedroom to the living room. Unfortunately, it's in the odd-one-out dye lot, but it's comforting to know that I now have a skein and a half of the black to work the sleeves in. It's something. I still think I'll wind up working some of the fronts in a different dye lot, but that's a fret for another day.

KTS: crash

Today was an unexpectedly bad day for knitting. I wanted to catch up on things for my Friday Flash reading, so I did, and my ongoing surgery healing-up really knocked me for a loop, so I wound up sleeping a lot. Recovering is so boring.

Then again, I did get the third and final set of motifs started on the hearts & harps (Kristi) sock. I'm about a quarter of the way up, and may do a few more rounds before I go to bed. Then again, I might just go to bed. I'm yawning already... did I mention how boring recovery is?

KTS: appointments

I always hate it when people ask how long it takes to knit something of type X, where X is a pair of socks/mittens/gloves/a hat/sweater/cardigan/blanket. There are so many variables, and they're not always obvious. For instance, from a purely mechanistic viewpoint, a plain item may take less time than one with a complex pattern, but that doesn't factor in that the plain item may well bore the knitter to tears, whereas the patterned item keeps things interesting.

Another variable is that knitting tends to get done when you're waiting for other things to happen. Today I knitted a bit on the streetcar, then knitted while I waited for my chiropractic appointment. Then I knitted on the TTC some more, taking a streetcar, bus, and subway to my dentist's. Then I knitted in the waiting room until it was time to check the bone graft and make sure the swelling that happened when I was asleep last night was indeed no big deal (it wasn't).

Naturally, I knitted all the way home, before spending some quality time with an ice pack and dropping into unconsciousness having a four-hour nap.

All that time in between other things means that the instep is now completed on the hearts & harps (Kristi) sock. In fact, I'm almost done the second of three rows of motifs on the foot of the sock. In theory, I could be done this thing tomorrow.

It just depends on how much waiting around I have to do, I guess.