Thursday, February 12, 2009

In which she figures it out.

The internet has been abuzz with the February Lady sweater for a while now (with renewed interest since the Yarn Harlot started hers, I notice). Now, when the pattern first came out, it didn’t really speak to me.

However. (Isn’t there always a “however”?)

I only dislike the sweaters in close-ups. I like the general shape of the sweater, with the buttons just on the yoke and the slightly belled sleeves. However, I can’t stand the look of the garter stitch. I’ve started thinking about the possibility of replacing the garter stitch with stockinette, moss stitch, or something else entirely…

I also think it would be a good match for my long-neglected (due to inadequate yardage) Lana Grossa Royal Tweed:

Ahhhh, that yarn still makes me happy.

Granted, this is all purely theoretical, as I doubt I’ll have time for big-project knitting until the end of the semester. (Did I mention I’m graduating this spring? :D!) Maybe I’ll try to get it done over the summer so I have it ready when things cool off this fall.

In which it has been a while.

There hasn't been much knitting chez moi lately, as school has kept my incredibly busy, and then winter break wasn't much of a break at all. Has it really been that long since my last post? Crazy talk.

On the knitting front:

I last posted about my <a href="">Secret of the Stole III</a>. I fell horribly behind when school started up, and so was able to watch the pattern get revealed... and decided I really didn't like the finished product. To the frog pond it went! I'm now keeping my eye out for a pattern that will look good in my lovely orange Zephyr...

Last fall I went to Europe, and decided I needed cowls to keep my neck warm. The first attempt:

Not horrible, but with a lot of room for improvement. I didn’t use a pattern: just cast on and started knitting. The diameter wound up being far too large for such a drapey yarn (no idea what it is as the skein was a gift, but it's a silky single), so I made an impromptu brooch by sewing a matching button onto a pin back. It's pretty enough, but lacks any warmth, so not so much the goal.

The second try:

This one is The Fidget (Ravelry), which was a quick knit. I’m pleased with the pattern, though I cast on extra stitches to make it wider, and wound up wishing I hadn’t. I’d like to replace the buttons with something more appropriate, but these ones were in my stash and aren’t too horrible, so they’re okay for now. The Lion Brand Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton is a nice squishy yarn, and the loosely-spun nature meant it didn’t hurt my hands to knit with like cotton usually does. However, while it’s soft against the neck, it’s not terribly warm; again, not much protection against cold winter winds.

Enter the hat:

This was my first attempt at actually designing something, and while it could have gone better, it also could have gone a lot worse. I knit Mountain Colors Bearfoot doubled in a simple 2x2 rib, and threw in a twist every five rows on every other column of knit stitches. I tried to work the decreases to keep the pattern intact as long as possible, which kinda worked… but not really. I didn’t decrease quickly enough, so there’s a little bit of a point at the crown instead of being a smooth curve. I may go back at some point and reknit the last dozen rows or so to make a product I’m really happy with.

I finally managed to finish my simple ribbed scarf out of the yummy di’Ve Autumno that I scored a while back. I managed to splice the three balls so that the gradient remained constant, and the ends even almost match. As soft as the yarn is, I’m concerned that my skin just doesn’t like wool; it scratches a little bit (when it really shouldn’t), and I’ve had similar problems with other wooly things. I think I need to stick to alpaca (woe!) and cotton for against-the-skin knits like scarves and gloves.

There’s something new on the needles (which is a gift, so no photos outside Ravelry just yet), which is horribly behind schedule. Was going to be a Christmas present… not even close. Bumped back to Valentine’s Day, and that’s not going to happen. At this rate, I’ll be lucky if it’s done as a birthday present come November…

Thursday, August 21, 2008

In which she finishes in time.

So, my rule about not starting the sweater? Definitely too vague, as I instead started a new project...

This is the swatch for the Secret of the Stole III. I'm using Zephyr Laceweight in (surprise, haha) a nice orange. It changes intensity depending on the light it's in, and it usually photographs a bit more vibrantly than it appears in real life. It's soooo soft and squishy...!

I finished Hint #1 this morning, and I'm pleased with how it's coming so far. I'm going to go ahead and put a lifeline between clues; I know what I've done so far is right, and the changes in charts make for easy rip-back points if needed (cross fingers I won't need to do anything that drastic!). And since I can't help but take the beauty shots...


I can't wait to see the final stole!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In which her toes are warm.

(I'm a bad blogger. I'm still trying to figure out why it's so much easier to post to Livejournal, even though I've got clients for both... Hm.)

When last we spoke, I pledged to finish some projects before I started a new one. I think I might have been a little vague in the specifics of that rule... So, I have to finish both the socks and Stag Bag before starting the Opulent Raglan.

Socks? Check!

Pattern: Swirl Socks by Sulafaye (Ravelry) in Large
Yarn: Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks Kona Superwash Fingering in Embers
Needles: US4
Modifications: Short row heel, ankle-high. 
Started: March 15, 2008
Completed: July 12, 2008

I'm really quite pleased with how these turned out, especially considering they're my first socks. They are a little loose in places, and a little tight in others, but they're warm and squishy and soft, so really, I don't have a lot of complaints. Were I to knit them again, I'd go for the medium size and just make them longer, increase a couple stitches over the arch, and use a different heel to give me more room there. I also think a longer, 2x2 rib cuff would be a nicer finish, as the 1x1 strains and breaks up the color too much.

All that said, however, the pattern is great for variegated yarns, with the slipped twisted stitches providing that little bit of pop without being busy. They've already gotten some wear around the house and are starting to fuzz a bit, but they're still just as fab. I've got the remains of this skein, plus a whole 'nother skein, with which I plan to make more ankle socks. Just have to find a suitable pattern... Nutkin, maybe?


Friday, July 11, 2008

In which she lusts.

Meet the Opulent Raglan.


She's from the new Fall Knitscene, and I have fallen head over heels. Seriously, if I could take this sweater to Vegas and marry her, I would. I looked her up on Ravelry and cross-checked the yarn requirements with my stash, based on the listed yarn weights, and lo! A perfect match!

Lana Grossa Royal Tweed. Unfortunately, Ravelry lies. The suggested yarn, GGH Cumba, is an "aran/10-ply", at 150 yards per 50 grams. Royal tweed is also listed as an "aran/10-ply", but is only 110 yards per 50 grams, and has a suggested needle size a full two US sizes larger. Since the Raglan's suggested needle size is 6, and I was last swatching the Royal Tweed on 9s... I'm sorry, my pile of red loveliness, your time has not yet come. I will find a sweater for you someday, my dear, yes I will....

With the Royal Tweed a bust, I glanced at my stash again... and what's that?

This lovely Henry's Attic Peruvian Tweed crossed my path at Stitches West '08, and I couldn't leave it in that bin, soft, squishy, and oh-so-forlorn. After doing a little math, this yarn is only sliiiightly thicker than the Cumba (if grams per yard is any indication), so all that's left is to swatch and see if I can match gauge while creating a fabric I like. Note to self: WASH THE SWATCH. The alpaca will do funny things, and you know it, so just wash the damn thing. (On a related note: My birthday's in a couple weeks. Who wants to buy me a swift so I can turn these behemoths masquerading as skeins into neat little cakes?)

I'm terribly excited to start on this, as I think it's high time I knit a sweater for myself (and while I love Drops Alpaca, the gauge is so tiny that I'm hesitant to start a full sweater's worth of knitting before my size stabilizes). Thus, a deal with myself: I can swatch now, but I'm not allowed to cast on until I finish both the Stag Bag (half done, just need to knit the back, then sew a lining and strap) and the second Swirl Sock (had to rip back to below the heel to add an extra inch of length). Since the sock is maybe two hour's worth of work, if that, and the bag should be easy, if time-consuming, I think that's a more than reasonable goal... especially since I have something else on the needles that is keeping me distracted...


Thursday, June 19, 2008

In which she reflects.

Last weekend was WWKIP Day, and being dutifully exhibitionist, I went down to Marin Fiber Arts to join the outdoor knitting group for a few hours. I spent the time working on my Intricate Stag Bag by the incomparable Norah Gaughan (Ravelry).


I've got the front completed (about time, since I cast on in July '07), and now I'm just trying to decide what fill pattern to put on the back. The pattern calls for a plain stockinette back (black, in my case), and that's just boring. Right now, it's looking like I'll just repeat the chevron chart over and over to make zigzags.

Anyhoo, I bring this up because another knitter was astonished at the stranding, and asked how long I've been knitting. "A year and a half," I replied, and she just stared at me.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that's a lie. I've considered myself a "knitter" for a year and a half, ever since I finished my first real object (the Medallion Mitts) at Thanksgiving '06. However, I'd been stumbling along for a few months at that point, with little skill or real "knitterly" tendencies. And really, when I sit and recall properly, a friend and I would spend rainy recesses knitting in the library way back in elementary school (somewhere between ages 8 and 10).

I find this kind of throw-back is true in most of my creative endeavours. I haven't been "a knitter" for very long, but I've always been knitting. I've been "a costumer" for the past several years, but I've always been sewing. It makes me wonder what I consider myself in the future.. I've made a couple quilts, but will I one day consider myself "a quilter"? I can write blog entries and clever emails, but will I ever be "a writer"?

Just some food for thought.


In which she contributes.

IMG_2137Pattern: Sampler Afghan from Cables Untangled (Ravelry)
Yarn: Garnstudio Paris 
Needles: US9
Modifications: None
Started: May 15, 2008
Completed: May 15, 2008


Tabby, from the Marin Fiber Arts knit night group, is pregnant, so the gals got together to create a baby blanket for her. Everyone picked a color of the cotton Paris and knit an 8" square with a garter stitch border, and Renee seamed the squares together and added a border.

After seeing everyone else's squares, I realized I may have been a little overambitious with the cabling.....