Sunday, January 25, 2009

February Swatches

After finishing the Vine Lace Cardigan this past week, I found myself at loose ends--literally, because I still need to bury a bunch, but also in the sense of what to do next. Does that ever happen to you? You finish something big, or challenging, or even something small, stranded and worked on size 1 needles, and you just feel a bit off-kilter. It happens when I finish a book--I sort of knock about my office for a week, impatiently pacing about, not knowing what to do next--even though the obvious answer is right there--clean the darn mess of papers and notes up.

And it isn't like I don't have UFOs circling my knitting basket threatening to make crop circles across my living room carpet, but there is something else on the horizon that drones out their buzzing.

You see, the problem this time is that I am itching to start knitting a vest for the Vest-uary group over on Ravelry. The goal is to knit a vest during February. Yes, February. Still, ever since I joined the group I've been in that impatient, pacing mode because I want to start knitting it now. But the calendar still says January.

So I've spent some of my pacing trying to figure out what vest to make. I've been struck by two things as I've mulled my choices--the wealth of ideas that Ravelry affords you and that you can waste spend a lot of time searching patterns and yarns looking for the perfect project.

I winnowed my choices down to three yarns from the stash:
  • Emu Naturally
  • Mountain Colors Twizzle
  • Irish Aran Tweed

And the following patterns (all Ravel linked)

This weekend I dug out all the patterns, the yarn, the necessary needles and started swatching, which helped narrow the choices--sort of my version of Survivor: The February Vest.

I had thought to use the Emu for the Honeycomb, but the Emu had other ideas. I bought this yarn off a Ravelry swap to make a sweater for my son, but when I got the yarn I knew it would never do for a kid. Can you see all that wooly matter sticking out and screaming, "I itch! I itch!" So this yarn would never fly with him, but I actually have little problems with wool, so I knew it would work for me.

Unfortunately, this yarn doesn't show any kind of stitch definition, it just sort of blends away in the variegated-ness of the yarn,and the added wooliness of it. So ix-Nay on the Honeycomb with the Emu. I may do just a plain vest with a large cable up the front with this yarn, but not right now.

Next, I swatched this Irish tweed that I got off eBay ages ago. I had thought I would make a sweater out of it, but I'm not sure I have enough. And after I saw how it took to knitting the Veste Everest cable and aran inspired stitches, got gauge right on, and how it softened up when I gave the swatch a little bath, it came out the winner for the February 1st cast-on competition.

In the meantime, I am swatting at the UFOs, including these Toe-up socks I cast on in November. Considering my collection of sock yarn, I need to get a little faster with the socks. I turned the heel last night:

I'm knitting these at the suggestion of Tiennie, by knitting them both together. So I knit one sock up to the gusset, then knit the other to the same spot. That was were they were when I set them aside for a flurry of Christmas knitting. Last night I turned one heel, and tonight I'll turn the other. Then see how much yarn I have left to knit up the cuffs. Hopefully this will be one less project waiting around until my Vest obsession runs its course.

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