Knitting the Light Fantastic

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Archive for the ‘test knitting’ Category

Five and a half inches

Posted by notthatkat on November 4, 2007


That’s how much length I added to my Thermal over 20 hours of Continuing Education (in 2 ½ days). My brain is now officially full. In many ways, I find CE more tiring than working in the clinic. After so many hours in lecture, I’m exhausted. It will take me a while to process everything from this week, but the lectures I attended were very good. I did some urinary tract and upper respiratory topics, a couple hours on dentistry, and lots of wound care. Little of it was what I’d call revolutionary (although the information on lower urinary tract disease in cats was a fair shift in a direction the research has been headed for a while now) but much of it is very relevant to my practice. In years past, I’ve sometimes finished CE saying to myself, this is all very interesting, but not very applicable in a private practice situation.

Thermal Placket

I added a couple inches to Thermal on the ride home (once again, I didn’t have to drive, and made use of the rare occasion to knit on the road) and last night, I divided for the neck placket. I am raising the neck so I can wear mine without another shirt under it and not be “on display” I raised the start of the placket by about half an inch, but I am also lengthening the placket. I think I’ve got it all figured out, but we’ll see when I get there. I have about half an inch to go, then I divide for the armholes and work in sections, starting with the back. This is the first test of my “adapting for a very different row gauge.” Wish me luck.


I got home and found a package waiting for me from Anne. She told me she was going to send me something good for test knitting (which I didn’t expect). She does not disappoint. In the package was a lovely skein of Briar Rose Fibers Grace. This yarn is not on the website at present, but it is a superwash merino/bamboo/nylon blend The colors are fabulous and perfect for me, and it is soft and squishy, and I might just keep it around for a while just to pet it. Thank you Anne. (Gift yarn has no calories and doesn’t count as cheating on the yarn diet!)

I finished the first bobbin of the Merino/Silk singles I started spinning at SAFF, but the pictures I took came out horribly. I have two more ounces to spin, then I can ply. Then back to the lace weight. Probably.


Posted in spinning, test knitting, Thermal, work | 3 Comments »

Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

Posted by notthatkat on October 18, 2007

WordPress ate my first draft of this, just as I was ready to publish. I hate when that happens!

Snow on Cedars Mitts

I finished my Snow on Cedars Mitts last night. I love them so much. I have to say, these were a bit of a challange. Not hard, per se, but there’s a lot going on, and you really have to pay attention to what you’re doing. I hope this doesn’t scare anyone off, because they really are fabulous, and Anne has done her usual outstanding job with the pattern. Everything you need is in there and if you follow the instructions, you shouldn’t have too many problems. Just don’t plan on these for social knitting group or mindless TV/multitask knitting.

I sent my latest (and probably last) set of revisions to Anne this afternoon, but since she left for Rhinebeck this morning, I don’t expect to hear much from her until next week. And speaking of fiber festivals, mine is coming up next weekend and I’m getting really excited! I’m looking forward to meeting up with so many friends both old and new, and my class, and just the unique atmosphere of a good fiber festival.

Snow on Cedars Mitts

The Specs:

Pattern: Snow on Cedars Mitts by Anne Hanson, soon to be released in pattern and kit form (and since I’ve already been asked, I don’t know exactly when Anne is planning to publish this)

Yarn: Hand dyed Merino/Nylon fingering – they used a bit over a third of a 100 g skein. I was afraid the variegation in the yarn would fight with the pattern – I even had a Plan B solid yarn picked out, but I don’t think it would have looked so good.

Needles: 2.75 mm (US2) 5″ Brittany Birch DPN’s – this pattern could not easily have been worked on 2 circs. Maybe Magic Loop-ing, but definitely only one at a time.

Started: October 14, 2007

Finished: October 17, 2007

Modifications: None

My Clapotis is back to center stage, and should be finished by tomorrow night, with blocking taking place over the weekend.

My October Booty Club shipment arrived today, (don’t follow the link if you don’t want to be spoiled) and while I doubt I would have picked out these colors for myself, I love them so much. Since no new yarn has entered my home in just over a month, I’m trying to decide if that is upping the yarn love factor, but overall, I just think Georgia rocks!

ETA: WordPress bug seems to be fixed.  If the edits take here, I’m deleting the link post. 

Posted in FO, Snow on Cedar, test knitting | 3 Comments »

What’s In It For Me?

Posted by notthatkat on October 17, 2007

Excuse me while  I wax a bit philosophic in this post.  I’ll try not to do it too often, but every now and then ideas rattling around in my brain just scream to get out.

Snow on Cedars Mitts

When I told a non-knitting co-worker (we’ll refer to her as C) that I was test knitting a pattern for Anne, her first comment was, “What are you getting for doing this?”  I was a bit taken aback, and mumbled something about getting a free copy of the pattern, but in my head I wondered, why do I have to get anything out of it?

C is a mundane and probably has no concept of the knitting and fiber community both local and online that I’ve come to know and love so much.  I thought that was that, but I found myself pondering this question over the next few days. (while happily knitting away on the mitts).  Why did I offer to test knit to begin with, or agree to do this project when asked?  What am I looking to get out of doing this?  After much reflection I’ve decided that I do get a lot more out of doing this than might be immediately apparent.

The response I gave to C is the most tangible benefit.  I do get a free copy of a pattern that I almost certainly would have bought at some point.  Many of Anne’s patterns have made their way into my inbox, and I have nebulous plans to buy more in the future, (once I work some of those patiently waiting their turn).  I don’t mind paying for patterns in general, or Anne’s specifically.  I find them well worth the cost, well written, and easy to  follow.  Not to mention beautiful designs that go hand in glove with my own knitting tastes and preferences.

I also get to be one of the first people to knit it.  In exchange, the pattern did contain a few errors, hence the reason for test knitting.  I actually enjoy the challenge presented by sussing out the errors and figuring out how to correct them.  While I realize this is not everyone’s cup of tea (and I would have been annoyed to find many such errors in a finalized pattern), I like puzzles.  Also, the errors in this pattern were minor and easily figured out by comparing charts to written instructions (none of the errors were repeated in both)  Had the pattern been a complete mess and I needed to practically re-write the whole thing, I doubt I would have enjoyed it.  But that was not the case (nor would I expect to receive such a pattern from Anne).  Your millage may vary.

I consider it a huge complement that she chose me to test knit for her.  It is a validation of my knitting skills and a bit of an ego stroke.  Those who know me well know I’m not all about the ego.  I tend to under-estimate my skills and abilities in lots of areas, not just knitting.  Not so much that I don’t think I have skills; more that I tend to consider my skills to be not that extraordinary.  We all need a boost now and then, and this provided a bit of one to me.

On a more esoteric level, I get to help out a fellow knitter who I like and admire.  I like helping others – in work, in crafty endeavors, in life in general.  I’m not the only one, as this is one of the reasons for charitable acts and contributions.  When you help someone else, you feel good about yourself.

Finally, I consider it good kharma.  Not to get all hippie-dippy on you, but I think that what you send out into the universe affects what you get back.  I had 5 test knitters for the sock pattern I released yesterday, and several more volunteers.  This was for a pattern I stated from the start would be offered up for free.  I found their input to be invaluable, and lead to such changes as adding sizing options (not a specific suggestion, but a comment from one of my testers got my brain going in that direction).  If I continue to design and release patterns (and I hope to), I will need such help from my fellow knitters in the future.  I consider part of being a member of the global community of knitters to help when I can.

And in the end, I’ll be one of the first on the block to have this really kewl pair of mitts.

Bad Hair Day

You thought you were having a bad hair day? 

Posted in musings, Snow on Cedar, test knitting | Leave a Comment »

Odds and Sods

Posted by notthatkat on October 15, 2007

Hand Painted Socks

I finally finished my hand painted socks over the weekend. The actual knitting was done on Wednesday night, but I was so busy I didn’t manage to get them bound off until Saturday.

The color bands lasted about a round and a half each, which resulted in skinny stripes. As I said earlier, I am planning to take my drill to my warping board and add some different (shorter) lengths. It’s not that I’m unhappy with these socks – I love them – but I like playing around with stitch patterns on socks and this color repeat length just doesn’t lend itself well to that.

Since these were the first socks I knit with the yarn I dyed using this technique, I decided to knit them toe up, so I could see how the colors worked up before committing to a stitch pattern. I knit the foot in stockinette stitch, but decided to add a bit of lace on the leg á la Dublin Bay (see the sidebar).

Hand Painted Socks

I put a twisted rib at the top and did a sewn bind off, which is my usual for toe up socks. Also my usual short row heel.

I was thinking about taking a break from socks for a while. Yes it’s right in the middle of Socktober, but I’ve done a lot of socks over the last several months and the cooler weather has me thinking about mitts and hats and other little projects. I tend to try to keep myself to only a few projects at any given time, otherwise I find that perfectly fine projects tend to languish unworked in the bottom of the knitting bag. I don’t have any hard and fast rules, but I try to limit myself to one big non-lace, one lace, no more than a single pair of socks, and possibly another smaller item or two. But that’s about pushing my limit. I tend to have more mentally lined up for the future, but not a lot OTN at any given time.

So imagine my surprise when I got an email from one of my favorite designers on Friday asking if I would test knit for her. Since I was already thinking mitts, and am done with deadline knitting for a while (and taking a break from the monster projects), I jumped at the chance.

Snow on Cedar Mitts

I am knitting her Snow on Cedar Mitts, which will be sold as a kit at Wooly Wonka Fibers with the yarn Anne used. I am using some more of my hand dyed fingering (sock) yarn. I figured the variegation on this yarn was subtle enough not to fight the pattern. So far, so good. I am through the wrist section and have only found a couple minor mistakes so far. I am knitting the first one using only the written instructions (I consulted the charts to help figure out the couple mistakes). I will knit the second one from the charts. This way, I will have checked out both thoroughly. Normally I am a chart knitter, to the extent that I will write out a chart for a complicated stitch pattern if one is not provided in the pattern.


My Clapotis, she grows. I have finished the straight section with 15 repeats and have done a single repeat of the decrease section.


I love how she is knitting up. The colors are so me. And soft, squishy, pettable alpaca – no complaints here. The only downside (besides the not so pretty joins I mentioned previously) is that the yarn is fairly grippy, so the dropped stitches don’t just unzip but have to be coaxed to unravel all the way down each column. If that’s the biggest knitting problem I have all year, I am a lucky knitter indeed.

Burn Day 1

This is my biggest problem lately. Last Tuesday I burned myself on the autoclave at work. While it wasn’t quite at full heat, it was probably about 250°F (120C). And I managed to whack my arm against the door, which is the only external part that isn’t insulated. I held it under cool running water immedieately, and the picture above is what it looked like about 20 minutes later. I started treating it with silver sulfadine (Silvadene) right away. The blistered skin came off with my shirt when I was undressing Friday evening, which left a lovely open raw patch. Since then I am keeping it covered with Telfa pads and liberal quantites of Silvadene cream. When I changed the dressing this morning it looked like this (warning: semi-gross wound picture) It has a good granulation bed, and has begun to re-epithelialize. I have been treating this myself, mostly because there is nothing an MD would do for me that I’m not already doing. If it begins to look unhealthy, I’ll go see someone, but I have a lot of experience in wound care, and everything looks good so far. Not pretty, but good from a wound healing perspective.

Posted in Clapotis, misc, Snow on Cedar, socks, test knitting | 4 Comments »