I blocked the back and fronts of Grace during the weekend. Usually I block all the pieces once I am done with all the knitting, but since I was going to knit the sleeves down from the armscye, blocking the whole thing was going to be cumbersome. Besides I wanted to be sure that fronts and back matched well and that I had a neat edge from which to work the sleeves.
It's much easier not to have to fight rolling stockinette when one is picking up stitches, a step that always makes me a bit anxious. This is also why I pinned and steamed the pieces on the reverse stockinette side. It was easier to flatten the edges this way.
While the sweater parts were taking their sweet time drying off, I gave myself an afternoon to play. Back in the Fall, the wild design called Lizard Ridge called my name loudly and persistently. I just love its pop-art cheerfulness. So much so that I bought my first couple of skeins of Noro Kureyon to try my hand at a square or two.
I wasn't happy with my first try, and the Noro became a striped scarf instead. But then came Stitches West, a good class on short row techniques, combined with some discounted Noro Kureyon at the Webs booth. This Sunday, I took out the yarn and the class handout and proceeded to get to work.
It took a couple of hours, and a visit to this brilliant blog for reinforcement, but I finally produced a Lizard-Ridge worthy square: here you see it post-ironing. Without the ironing, the squares look like the most colorful egg cartons ever.
So, I can now tackle the afghan... except for my mixed feelings about Kureyon. Surfing the blogs, I see some lovely designs with it. In the yarn shops, most of the colorways I encounter just don't appeal as much. For one thing, what's with all the brown and black? On this square, I used two skeins of colorway 194. I can't imagine using this square in an afghan. For one thing, the black brings way too much of a contrast to the other shades. I still love the afghan pattern, but I am going to have to proceed gingerly in figuring out which of the colors of Kureyon would work best for me. As for my learning square, it will probably be frogged and turned into a hat if I can find a way to improve the color combo.
There was a bit more play with color after my labor-intensive study of short rows; I test-drove my first ever skein of Noro Silk Garden, knitting diagonally to get a sense of all the striping potential in this colorway. I like it a lot and I have just about enough to make a cardigan, once I figure out a pattern for it. (This is Colorway 84)
I also took out a few skeins of Manos collected over the years. I have been thinking of yet another afghan, something simple like the Moderne blanket in the Mason-Dixon Knitting book. Then again, the sleek, modern look might be better served by a smoother yarn. I need more thinking and dreaming time on this one. Besides I still have a log cabin blanket to finish.