Random Tuesday

Some random updates from my boring life:

1. The Husband’s Sweater Project is still on. I am at the last few inches of the body and then I will have two sleeves to work on. I had taken this (and only this) project with me on our recent trip to Coorg. Halfway into the vacation, the needle snapped, so I was left with no knitting for the last 2 days. I am blaming it on this incident that the sweater body is still not done. (I know that is a lame excuse, but atleast I have one this time). Considering November is three two and a half months away, I need to pull up my socks and get this sweater done.

2. About the needle that snapped from #1 above? Those were 3.75mm needles. After we got back home, I searched low and high for another pair of 3.75mm needles and I swear I had them, but can’t find them anywhere. After waiting for two days for the needles to miraculously turn up, I gave up. I am now using 3.5mm needles and even though the difference is 0.25mm I have a feeling I am going to regret this later. Blocking should fix this, yes?

3. I am in a constant tug of war between reading and knitting. I know there are enough hours in the day that I can do both, but somehow it never works out. The last knitting project I got done was Texo Shawl, way back in April/May. I haven’t worked solidly on any knitting project after that. Compare that to half a dozen books I read and you will know why. [I read three back to back Flavia de Luce books, Gone Girl (an interesting read), The Giver (can't wait to watch the movie), in case you are interested.] I am still in my reading mode and I hope I switch to knitting mode soon because …

4. I am waiting for some gorgeous yarn for my next design. A shawl again and I can’t wait to start working on it. Hope the yarn gets here soon and I can switch my knitting mode on.

So, what is up with you lately?

New Pattern: Texo Shawl

This blog post is way too late, but better late than never, eh?

I was on cloud nine the whole of last week. My feet were barely touching the ground. And with good reason. I had a pattern published by Quince. drumroll. At this point in my designing career, this comes as a much needed opportunity to reach a wider audience and also to know how publishing works.

Quince and team (special mention to Jerusha for putting up with my too frequent mails) were so easy and helpful to work with. I was apprehensive since this was the first time I was working with them, but they never made me feel out of place. Jerusha, the lovely lady she is, always replied cheerfully to my emails, even when she had to give me a bad news.

This was also my first time working with Quince yarn and the experience was equally pleasant. Tern is perfect for texture and the color Quince chose for this design shows off the cable texture very well. Photos are gorgeous, as always with Quince.

Photo © Quince and Co.

Texo Shawl is knit using fingering weight yarn and is knit from the top down, starting from a garter stitch tab. The shawl shown in the photo is 60″ deep with 26″ wingspan. It is perfect for chilly summer evenings. A knitter on Ravelry is knitting this as a nursing cover! You can buy a copy of Texo Shawl on Ravelry or on Quince’s website.

Charting Lace in Excel: Tallying Increases and Decreases

I have used Excel to chart lace and cable stitches and have found it very helpful and easy to use. I use the keyboard characters for standard symbols like k2tog, ssk, yarn-over etc. For cables, I sometimes use made up symbols (>>>> means right leaning cable over 4 sts) or rely on free knitting fonts that work with Excel. I chart one repeat of lace and once that is done, tailoring it to suit my needs is very simple with cut, copy and paste. Excel is very helpful in grading too, but that is not what I want to share here.

I was charting a large, complicated (for me) lace for a shawl recently. After the first cut was done, I sat down to swatch it only to realize my stitch count was off somewhere. On some rows, I had extra stitches, while on some, I was falling short. It is easy to manually count decreases and increases when your stitch doesn’t span too many columns, but in my case, I was dealing with a 75 column x 40 rows chart. Even if I did muster the courage to manually count it, I would never be sure I had done it right. I decided to use Excel’s in-built functions for help. I have used basic math functions like SUM, SUBTRACT, ROUND etc for grading, but had never tackled a problem like this before. A little sniffing around gave me COUNTIF.

I am using the above chart as a reference.  You can click on these images to see a larger version. There are too many k2tog, ssk and yos, so manual counting is a bit difficult. I want to tally my decreases and increases for every row. I set up a column which gives me the count of yarnovers. I need to know how many times the character ‘o’ appears in every row. The formula to use is COUNTIF(H3:AJ3, “o”).

This formula counts the number of times ‘o’ appears from celss H3 to AJ3. Similarly, set up formulas to count other characters also.

 

The last column TALLY should subtract the decreases from the increases, i.e. YO-SSK-K2TOG-2*DD. We multiply DD by 2 because double decrease reduces the stitch count by 2. If the cell shows zero, then your stitch count is fine, if not, you need to fix your chart. Copy these formulas on all the rows of the chart and you can verify your stitch count on the all the rows.

Here is my setup. See the number ‘2’ on two rows there? That is the reason my stitch count was off. I deleted the yarnovers at the beginning and end of both rows and now the stitch count is intact.

Here is the new chart with tally being all zeroes.

Happy Feet

I had been away from the blogging world for a while now. Knitting world too! Can you believe it has been more than a month since I held knitting needles? .Twitch. I had to take up a certification exam which is essential for my career and considering how much it costs, I sat myself down for a serious study marathon. The last time I studied like this (as they say burning the midnight oil) was for graduation and that was a good decade ago, so I had to get used to this studying concept all over again. I am glad that is done and dusted and I can get back to my regular routine.

The last time I picked up my knitting needles was when I joined the Sock-Along in our very own SAC group. I had been wanting to make N a pair of socks forever now, so naturally I signed up. There was quite a big group of enthusiastic ladies who cheered one another. I have made a pair of socks earlier, so I knew what I was getting into. I chose a safe pattern (with ribs so that sizing does not become a huge issue) and a well know, tried and tested pattern: Susan Anderson’s Kids Ribbed Socks. (I actually typed that as Ribbed Kids Socks, that’s not the same thing, is it?)

I initially picked the cheerful Knit Picks Felici in Botany (of, I love those colors), but changed my in the last minute for two reasons. One, I wanted to play it safe by using a not-that-precious yarn for my first attempt and save the Felici for the second pair and two, which is more important, I couldn’t find the Felici for the life of me. (While I was knitting the socks, the mystery of the missing Felici was eating me away, so I did end up finding it). So, I chose Plymoth Yarn Sockotta. This was a gift from Rima, an SACer, so it made sense to use it for a SAC Along.

The first sock flew off my needles and to beat the notorious second sock syndrome, I cast on for the second sock as soon as I grafted the toe on the first one. The second one took its own sweet time and waited for me patiently to graft its toe shut, which, you will not believe, took me a whole month to get done. This was the time my studies peaked and every time I saw this poor little sock with its mouth wide open, I felt a pang of guilt, but exam was of higher priority. And finally when I did get it stitched up was on the last day of the Sock-Along. Huh.

So, here is the pair of sock modeled by happy, little feet who were too happy to wear handmade socks. Next up, he wants socks with a Mickey Mouse motif on it.

New Pattern: Punto Shawl

Punto Shawl is an asymmetric, crescent shaped which is easy to drape and interesting to knit. The shawl features plain garter rows interspersed with colorwork wedges with pointy edges half the way and curved edges on the other half. The shawl is worked sideways with wedges and the crescent shape achieved using short rows.

Punto Shawl uses the variegated yarns to its benefit by breaking up the colors using slipped stitches. Use the same CC yarn as shown in the sample or be adventurous and use different yarns for each wedge. Instead of using variegated yarn, you can use different solid yarns for each wedge.

Punto Shawl makes a great set with Punto Cowl and Punto Hat. You can buy the shawl pattern alone or grab all the three patterns in one ebook. You can get 30% off either the Punto Shawl pattern or on the Punto ebook using coupon code ‘PUNTO!‘. Hurry, sale will end May 11, midnight, India time.

Ravelry Pattern: Punto Shawl by Anjali M.
MC Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Worsted
CC Yarn: Malabrigo Sellecion Privada
Needle Size: US #9 5.5 mm for the body

Random Thursday

1. The Husband Sweater Project is moving at snail’s pace. Not because I am bored of the sea of stockinette stitch, but because I am not getting enough time for knitting. Whatever little time I get, I am investing on the new design, so the sweater has taken a back seat. Add to it the fact that summer has set in this part of the world, so I want to be as far away from wool as humanly possible. I am sure it will get done by November. I think. I hope.

2. I started my new job and still settling down in the new place. It has not sunk in yet.

3. For the very first time, I have two designs tested and ready to be released. That doesn’t happen often and I am in a huge dilemma as to which one to release first. Not a big deal, but, you know, first world problems.

4. I am working on a new design as we speak (see note #1) and am super excited about it. It is a shawl that should go with my Punto Hat and Cowl. I love the asymmetric shape, if I say so myself.

5. I have been using Feedly as my RSS reader after Google Reader’s demise (actually I never used Reader, but once it died, Feedly was the talk of the town, so I decided to give it a try and I liked it). I usually catch up at work and during my 1-week break between jobs, I never read Feedly, so I am far behind and need to catch up. The plus point is I get to read posts without having to wonder when the blogger will post again. Case in point: Yarn Halot’s blog: 10 unread posts. Score!

6. On the sewing front, Pony finally stocks Quilting Rulers now and I bought one for myself. I am yet to put it to use, so keeping my fingers crossed that the rotary cutter will now stop being such a pain.

Random Monday

1. The Husband’s Sweater Project is chugging along. I have split the body and sleeves and preparing myself for the imminent never-ending,  boring stockinette. No, don’t get me wrong, I love stockinette. It is mindless knitting which makes it perfect for multi-tasking with TV watching, but I shudder when I imagine how long the body needs to be (tall husband is tall).

2. A shawl design I had submitted for a collection didn’t work out. This was a first for me and I was very low. I learnt a lot of lessons from this experience. Good news is they are ready to publish this design outside of the collection, so all is not lost. But I wonder what they think of me. After all, first impression is the best one and I kind of messed it up.

3. I am switching jobs in 2 weeks time. My current job was great for me as a mother and a knitter. My office was 5 minutes away and I would come home for lunch to spend time with N. Short commuting time meant lot of knitting time at home. Alas, this luxury is coming to an end and I may not find any knitting time on weekdays. You must think I am crazy to quit such a great job, but there are other things to consider in a job than just the commuting time.

4. I have made absolutely no progress on the sewing and quilting front. This reminds me I still haven’t blogged about my drawstring bag.

5. You know the kid is a knitter’s kid when he says ‘Y for Yarn’ while playing the alphabets game. And his friends ask him what’s yarn and he goes on to explain what yarn is and what it is used for. Also the fact that he sees the merry-go-round in the play area and suddenly gets an idea that we can use that instead of the swift to wind yarn.