Saturday, March 3, 2007

Pictures at last!

I finished this bag about a week ago (except that I still need to felt it--I don't actually mean to use it as a car cozy). It's going to be a tote bag for Schaefer Yarns--which means I actually need to remember to ask if I can show it once it's felted or not.
Right out of graduate school (I have an MA in history and a masters of library science) I lived in Corning, New York, and went to knitting group there. Several of the women in the group knit samples and designed patterns for Schaefer Yarns, which isn't that far from Corning, and many of them knew Cheryl Schaefer, one of the owners.
I started knitting samples for Cheryl as well, and then designing. And I kept on doing it ever after I moved away--really, would you give up knitting with Schaefer yarn you didn't buy, then getting paid in more yarn? The one downside is that before I started knitting for Cheryl, I worked on one project at a time and I felt like I had this gigantic yarn management problem because I had a bunch of partial skeins left over from finished projects. Sometimes, if I was feeling especially rash, I'd buy the yarn from my next project, before I finished my current project. But knitting samples and being paid in yarn means that a great deal of my knitting isn't for me or my family (and doesn't use up my stash), and that when I finish something, more yarn appears in the mail to take the place of the yarn I've used (it's a hard life, huh?). And, because Cheryl and Laura (the woman who coordinates the pattern support and sample knitting) are wildly generous, often I get more yarn in payment than the project took (I know--poor me). So now I try to keep my WIPs down to three--one for Cheryl, one for me, and a sock--and I have a 6.2 mile stash that's about half Schaefer yarn. I'm the only person in the world who longs to knit with a nice tweedy grey.
Anyway, the bag: it's made out of Elaine, a thick and thin yarn, in the colorway Elena Piscopia (I'm especially fond of Elena, since I love browns and reds and she was a mathematician). Although I think this won't be clear when it's felted, the cast on is actually in the center of the front, and the bag grows out from there, so the handles are actually knit in the round, right before you turn to make the sides and base. Then you turn again, make the second handles, and decrease the back down to the original stitch count. I kind of hate to felt this bag, since the texture gets lost--but on the other hand, the felted fabric is really dense and squishy. I made myself a smaller bag out of it, and I'd kind of like to curl up inside it sometimes.
I'm also working away on the cuff of the sock from two days ago. The foot is a smidge too long, as feared, but not such a big smidge that I want to redo it. I mostly wear my handknit socks as slippers and with clogs, so a little extra room is fine (and if I write up the directions, I'll start the heel shaping a little sooner). After many sketches and several failed attempts which only made it through five or six rows, I've settled on a mini gansey pattern, with the lattice panels you can see, two side panels with triangles which are kind of hidden, and 2-stitch cables in between. The cables were what finally made it work--none of the other patterns I tried separated the lattice and the triangle sections enough. I'm going to be selling patterns through the Garter Belt, and maybe I'll put these socks there. My readers (hi Annie!) have suggested I could have a series of gansey socks--which isn't a bad idea at all, since it turns out the knit and purl combos are really fun to knit.
I worked on the sock at the gym this morning, because Kevin had to workout longer than I did. I sat near the hall leading to the childcare room, and this tiny girl in a pink tutu outfit was very concerned about the whereabouts of the second sock. If only she knew how precarious second socks are!

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