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Show-Off Ruffle Skirt

Must post … must post!

I wish I had more knitting progress to report, but I’ve only put a few more inches on the baby blanket. It’s very pretty, though. And soft.

Starting baby blanket

I love Andrea’s flirty red skirt. She wore it today and it looks just as great as you’d think it would. Nice job, Andrea!
I have some pictures of hail that fell a couple of weeks ago. That was a little interesting. Storms are such a love-hate thing. Love the energy of them, but hate it when they punch holes in the hostas and cut the throats of the irises.

Pea to marble sized hail on my porch
Shredded leaves on my front walk

We’re getting along fine with Steph’s cats. Elliot likes to hide under things and Bo insists on being as high up as he can get. So it’s unusual to get them in the same photo.

Bo (high), Elliot (low)

Also, last weekend a very special niece, Ali (right), came to visit. And Steph (left) is home on vacation this week.

Steph (left), Ali (right)

So things are busy and good. The knitting will be there next week!

Wishing for summer…

It’s early June in Minnesota. One of my most favorite times of the year. Everything’s green and blooming, the humidity and mosquitoes haven’t started yet, and you can finally experience the feeling of sun and breezes on bare shoulders.
Well, at least that’s how early June in Minnesota is supposed to go.
I’m prepared! I’ve got my SPF 55, plants out in containers on the deck, and a definitely feeling of longing for the summer. And I’ve finished my Show-Off Ruffle Skirt!


But so far it hasn’t seemed much like summer yet. We’ve had plenty of summer-like storms with thunder and hail and winds, but we haven’t really had a beautiful summer day yet. Well, I guess I’ll be ready for it when it arrives.

Show-Off Ruffle Skirt

Pattern: Show-Off Ruffle Skirt by Kat Coyle, from the book Lace Style. (Ravelry Link)
Yarn: Cascade Cotton Rich DK (Ravelry Link). This is a cotton nylon blend, which is nice because it has the coolness of cotton, but the nylon adds a bit of elasticity to it. It’s soft and has a wonderful drape to it. I just hope it holds up well to wear, as I’ve never used this kind of yarn before.
Modifications: I didn’t knit quite as many bobble lace rows as the pattern called for, partly due to modesty and partly due to the arthritis-inducing nature of bobbles. I like how it turned out, though. I also haven’t added the ribbon the pattern calls for; I haven’t decided if I’m going to. I kind of like it the way it is. That’s pretty much it for modifications, though I’ll admit I did have to fudge the decreases because I ended up with a mysterious number of stitches that was different from what the pattern calls for. Operator error, I’m sure.
Overall thoughts: I can’t express how much I love this skirt. I can’t wait to wear it. The pattern was well-written and if you can stomach the bobbles, the rest of the project is easy and goes quite fast. And if we ever get a warm day, I’ll get a photo of me actually wearing the skirt.

Naughty Knitter

Hey! Long time no post, eh?
So I went to Ireland. I had a fantastic time. I took about 900 photos and am trying to sort through them and figure out which ones to post (about halfway done with that monumental task). I think trip stories aren’t that interesting without pictures.
Just like knitting blog entries aren’t that interesting without pictures! So. I give you the latest photo of my Show-Off Ruffle Skirt. After decades of bobble-making, I FINALLY reached the end of the bobbles last night and got to start on the fun part – dropping all those stitches.

, originally uploaded by AMK.

Dropping stitches seems like such a naughty thing to do, doesn’t it? It’s a thrill. I love how this is turning out. And now that I’m done with the bobbles, I can actually believe I might finish this skirt in time to wear it this summer.
In other knitting news, some of you may be wondering about all those socks I anticipated knitting while I was on vacation? Yeah. Well, when I was at the airport waiting to leave for the trip, I started knitting my beloved Marina Piccola in some gorgeous green Panda Silk (the colorway is appropriately called Fern Tones and reminds me of all the wonderful shades of green in Ireland).
I got about four inches into it during the flight and realized the interesting pattern was completely lost in the color changes of the yarn. Discouraged, I put it down and resolved to pull it out and choose another of the three patterns I’d brought with me. But between all the food they were serving us and trying to sleep on the plane, I didn’t get to it.
As for the rest of the trip, I was far too busy with my travel adventures to cast on for a new pattern. I pulled out the four inches I’d done so far and decided to make the Quill Lace Socks instead, but I never even cast on.
In other words, my net vacation knitting was zero.
Do I feel bad about that? Not really. I think vacation knitting is something that I only really like in theory. It’s good for staying occupied on a plane (especially when I’m nervous about flying), but once I get to my destination, I’m far too occupied with other activities. Even when we spent four hours on a train from Killarney to Dublin, I preferred to stare out the window at the scenery. Somehow, I feel like that makes me less of a hard core knitter, but I’m okay with it.
Speaking of travel, I am gearing up to go to southern California next week for a conference I’m going to for work. It’s sort of a last-minute thing. I know there’s no way I’ll be done with the Show-Off Ruffle Skirt by then, but wouldn’t it be nice to be in the sun in my new skirt? Oh, well. I think I will be satisfied enough just being in the sun.

Knitting backwards!

Every once in a (long) while, I get a chance to learn some new knitting technique that makes me feel like a knitting rockstar. Toe-up socks was one. Three-needle bind-off was another.
Well, add to that list the latest new technique that makes me feel like a knitting rockstar: knitting backwards. Actually, to be more accurate, I have been purling backwards.
As you know if you’ve been reading thus far, the Show-Off Ruffle Skirt contains endless rows of bobbles. Each bobble is constructed of five stitches knitted into one stitch, then worked back and forth for four rows, then reduced back down to one stitch. That’s a lot of turning the work, especially as the rows are interminably long and as I knit more rows, the fabric is just getting bulkier and bulkier.
So one day I thought, what the heck, this is already taking me ages and ages – why not take a little extra time and learn how to do this back and forth without turning the work? The bobbles are reverse-stockinette, so this meant I had to learn how to purl backwards.
I could have gone to Knitty and read this excellent article on the art of knitting and purling backwards (both English and Continental methods are shown). Or I could have watched any of a number of YouTube videos showing how to do the same. But the truth is, if you understand the mechanics of knitting, it is not difficult to figure out how to knit and purl backwards. I figured it out in about 10 seconds, but then it was a matter of getting my hands used to this new motion.
I’m happy to say that I can now purl backwards about as fast as I can purl forwards. If you want to see how to knit backwards, check out this video:

I haven’t been able to find a video of purling backwards, since most people who knit backwards do so to avoid the purl-back row. But it’s there in the Knitty article. And, shhh – don’t tell anyone! – it’s really not that hard.

Bobble Blister Bonanza

Internet, meet my Show-Off Ruffle Skirt:

, originally uploaded by AMK.

I’ve finished a few more rows than this picture shows, which means I’ve arrived at the point where I’ll be knitting the next bobble row. The bobble rows each take a minimum of an hour – closer to an hour and a half, as my knitting gets slower and slower throughout the row. I’m hovering on the edge of a blister on my pinkie finger, though I’m hoping I’m taking enough breaks from knitting this that I’ll just develop a lovely little callous instead.
I can’t say I’m loving knitting this. Cotton yarn, metal needles, almost 400 stitches, and an interminable number of bobbles. It all starts to get pretty hard on the hands. But I keep going because I just know I’m going to love the finished product. And despite the long, long bobble rows, this thing really is knitting up more quickly than I would have thought.
Things I have watched while knitting this project, mostly while I was home sick yesterday:
- Matlock. Oh, Matlock. How many times have I been home sick throughout my life and been strangely sucked into this show? It’s shameful, really. I never intend to watch it, and then it comes on and I am riveted despite all my instincts to turn away.
- How I Met Your Mother. Yes, I’m afraid to say I watched this online because Britney Spears was in the episode. Not a great actress, that Britney. But I was reminded of how much I like this show. It’s clever. I like clever.
- Every available episode of Quarterlife on NBC. Eh. I wouldn’t have watched this if I hadn’t been home sick and bored out of my mind. My impression was that it tried a bit too hard. Also, I really wanted to identify with the main character Dylan, but in the end I thought I probably was more like the sort of pathetic Debra, which was kind of depressing.
Good thing I’m starting to get over this cold. I’m running out of stuff to watch.

New project Wednesday

Last night, Mom and I got together for a bit of coffee and knitting. We both had new projects we were attempting to get started.

Mom was trying out the magic loop technique on a toe-up sock. At various points, I observed the needle in her mouth, flipping through the air, and almost poking her eye out. Magic, indeed.
I was wrangling something a bit different: casting on 307 stitches using a grabby cotton yarn and a not-at-all slippery Denise circular needle (I see some Addi Turbos in my future). At one point the stitches were so bunched up and stuck on my needle that when I went to tug on them to move them, I ended up yanking a whole gaggle of stitches off the ends of my needles by accident.
This is what I was casting on for:

Show-off Ruffle Skirt, originally uploaded by kat coyle.

The Show-Off Ruffle Skirt by Kat Coyle, published in the book Lace Style (my current favorite knitting book). I’m making it in a red cotton/nylon blend (Cascade Yarns Cotton Rich DK). I hear that the bobble rows take eons to knit, but I’m so motivated to have this skirt and wear it, that I can endure the pain. I know I can.
My mom gave me a good piece of advice before I started casting on for this. Because there were so many stitches to cast on, she suggested using two balls of yarn instead of one. I just tied the ends together and cast on as though it was a regular long-tail cast on, but I never had to worry about running out of my yarn. It took a lot of the anxiety out of casting on that many stitches.
And after an evening’s work, I’m only four rows into the thing (and that doesn’t include one of the infamous bobble rows). This is going to take a while! I’m leaving for a business trip tomorrow and I usually only take sock projects with me on planes, but this one is definitely coming with me.