Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fantasies, Math and Willie Nelson

I have a very nice digital kitchen scale that gives me valuable information; it tells me how much yarn. I don't have one of those devices that measures the actual length of a skein of yarn, but set my scale to grams and do a little math and I have a pretty good idea.

I used 15 grams of a skein of Cascade 220 on Kate's leg warmers. It's called 220 because there are 220 yards in the 100 gram skein. 15 x 2.2 = 33, therefor I used 33 yards of the skein, leaving 167 yards for future projects.

That's a good little bit of yarn, so I fearlessly set out to knit a watch cap for another friend with it. The watch cap weighed 72 grams, times 2.2, makes 158.4 yards.

Now to weigh the remaining yarn. 13 grams, times 2.2, makes 28.6 yards.

Let's check for accuracy. 33 + 158.4 + 28.6 = 220 exactly.

Woo-hoo! Math works!

A side question to this is: In my Ravelry stash, should I declare this skein of yarn to be "All used up," or should I let it stay listed with 28.6 yards remaining? It certainly isn't enough for another project, but I don't want to forget I have it -- one never knows when what might come in useful.

This is Willie Nelson.

No, obviously not the country singer with the gray braids.

Willie Nelson is an alpaca. Here's his baby picture.
He's a Utah boy, born and bred, from Blue Moon Ranch.

The lovely skeins of yarn are hand spun from his first sheering. Three skeins, natural Willie color with no dye, and no idea how much yardage.

I have a serious case of yarn lust for these skeins. I pat them, I rub them on my cheeks. I want them! I've been knitting for 22 months now and have yet to knit anything for myself. I deserve this yarn!

The weather is also adding fuel to my yearning. It was 9° out this morning. Never got up to 20° all day. I want a warm cozy for my neck and head. I'd like a tapered scarf, kindof a half scarf, half shawl, that I could flip up over my head like a kerchief or fold down around my neck like a collar.

Do I have enough yarn?

Weigh the three skeins: 59, 61 and 62 grams. Measure 10 yards from one skein, weigh it: 7 grams. Do the math 59 + 61 + 62 = 182 ÷ 7 = 260 total yards. Do it by the skein and I get 84 yards + 87 + 89 = 260 yards - if I spit splice to maximize my yardage.

That's not a lot of yarn. Guess I'd better look for a high mileage lace pattern and plan on frogging my swatch to use in the project.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Oh So Stylin' Puppy Ear Hat

You can wear it with the dangles hanging.

Or you can knot them snug under your chin when the cold wind blows.

If it's a bit warmer out, you can tie the dangles up top for the classic Dutch girl look.

But wait, there's more!

Don't you think the tassels look like puppy ears and tail from the back?


Back From Hiatus and Off On a Project

Took off for a month of trying to write a novel. Didn't finish it, but got it well under way. I did do some knitting during the silence in BlogLand.

PixelChick asked me to knit her a hat because her ears get cold when she chases wild horses in the winter time. She's a would-be professional photographer, that's why she's chasing wild horses. She surely doesn't want to catch them, just have them smile pretty for the camera.

"What color?" I asked.

"My coat's black, so I guess black," she answered.

Okay, black... I never quite understood my Mom's reaction for so many years when I told her I wanted black mittens -- Mom knits the best mittens in the world. I lose mittens like it's my avocation, so Mom's knit me a bizillion over the years. Now that I knit, I understand her "Are you sure you wouldn't like some other color?" It ain't easy to see all those little stitches on black, plus it just doesn't have a whole lot of pizzazz.

So I munged it around in my head trying to think of a way to make black more interesting.

Hmmm... PixelChick has a cocker spaniel. More accurately, she is owned by a cocker spaniel. She is a devoted slave to a cocker spaniel. She has cocker spaniel themed everything.

The dog is black and white. Cold ears. Stranded color work -- if you can call B&W color.

Now we're getting some place.

So I scribbled around until I came up with the concept drawing. An ear flap hat with a parade of cockers around the circumference.

How many stitches do I have to work with? Measure the head, make the swatch, get gauge, do the math. How to do the cocker spaniels so that they're recognizable? First draw some simple cocker outlines then translate them to graph paper.

But regular graph paper has square holes and knitting stitches are wider than they are tall. I've done my swatch, I know my gauge -- go to that Japanese web site and print out some knitting graph paper. (Pay attention gentle readers, this is an excellent resource, http://www.tata-tatao.to/knit/e-index.html.) Draw cockers on graph paper.

Knit them puppies.

Note what works and what doesn't.

One of the things that doesn't work is my eyes.

Draw the dang thing bigger. Figure out how to do the ear flaps without seams. I'm not real fond of seams.

Now... Start Knitting.