Monday, December 29, 2008

The hat show

Just for those of you who are following the very slow progress of the Aran Sweater, I now present the back. Yes, after months of very sporadic work, I finished the first piece while in Florence for Christmas. (Oregon coast, hotel with one wall of windows, unimpeded view of the ocean.)
I have also been addicted to the Foliage pattern from Knitty. I made two from my handspun yarn. (A beautiful BFL roving dyed by Dicentra Designs). Here is Alexa's. (The white peeking through is the lining I put on hers so it wouldn't itch her forehead) And mine, arm out photograpy.

And my sister's Christmas present..(also arm out photography.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A newly discovered cowl, and another present finished.

This is something I made about a year ago from some my first yarn spun on a drop spindle. It was a BFL roving from Dicentra Designs, and I love the color, I meant it to be a headband type thing, or a sort of hat with a ponytail hole. This year, it turns out that it is a cowl..excuse the self-photography. And I finished another Montego Bay type scarf, although I altered it quite a bit due to different yarn.
I actually cast on 21 stitches and used 5 stitches for the edges instead of the 7 stitches in the pattern. I used a number 6 needle, and I can't remember what the yarn is called.
I took it to Ravelry knit night at Border's and no one else was sure what it was either. I think it is some cotton rayon blend, with one of the plies being a shiny one and the others more dull. I keep thinking maybe it was called Twist.
Alexa's doll is a wonderful model, she holds still and smiles nicely for as long as I need. The scarf is my mom's Christmas present, but I think I am safe because she never looks at this blog.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Alexa's Yoke Sweater

I finished Alexa's Yoke Sweater from Reynolds Yarn. I saw the sample sweater at Fiber Nooks and Crannies and fell in love with the yoke. The cables are so awesome, they decrease from being 6 stitch cables down to two, and thereby carry out the yoke shaping. The Hopscotch yarn is really neat too, a sort of underspun single thick and thin stuff. Very soft, superwash 100% wool. The sleeve striping here is different than the pattern calls for, they used two different colors and only one stripe of each, but honestly I didn't want to buy that other ball of yarn, so I just used one other color and did Fibonacci stripes, 21 rows, 13, 8, 5, 3, 2, 1..
Alexa isn't really into holding still for photos. I also made the sweater a lot skinnier. Alexa is a very thin girl, so I knit the 12-18 month stitch counts and approximately four year old length. I didn't separate the yoke and make a little flap for snaps either. I just skipped the final decrease round, and bound off loosely (I used the K2tog, transfer back to left needle, K2tog etc.-although I am not completely sure this bind off is significantly more stretchy than the basic bind off.) It goes over her head quite easily.
This was my first bottom up seamles sweater, and I really enjoyed it. I am hoping to make more in the future. I grafted the underarms instead of binding off and then sewing up, and they look good.
I am really please with how the sweater came out, but the pattern is awful. There are a lot of errors, I have detailed them in my Ravelry description, so I won't include them here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

So I finished the body of the Montego Bay Scarf, and I tried and tried to get a really nice photo showing the way the stitch pattern shows off the yarn, but I can't do it justice. Trust me, it's beautiful. I didn't have enough yarn to do fringe, so I am working on a buttoning arrangement. I'll show you how it looks when I get it worked out.

The aran sweater is coming along slowly. It feels lovely, and the cabling is beautiful, but those two side panels that move one stitch cables are time-consuming and tedious.

And here we have my current addiction. The Yoke Sweater I am making for Alexa. I have never knit a sweater bottom up, seamless before, but it is really fun. The pattern is irritating. Apparently no one proof read it, so there are errors, which I will detail on Ravelry. However, this mindless stockinette in the round is exactly what I need right now.
There are so many other things going on in my personal life right now that I don't want to think about my knitting too much. They are good things..I started swimming for exercise, and I can swim about 80-85% of a mile now. I am just beginning to lose a little weight which is really exciting. We are working on paperwork to adopt a second child, from Ethiopia! I am trying to figure out ways to help Alexa achieve some of her physical therapy goals. Anyway, busy in a good way, but busy nonetheless. Thanks to the two of you who read my blog now and again!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I am doing my homework

Today I finally had enough of sweaters that don't fit. I have been storing several sweaters in my under bed boxes that just plain don't fit for one reason or another. There is the cardigan that I knit from Pima Tencel that expanded drastically, so now it looks like something for the saggy, baggy elephant. There is the Molly Ringwald sweater, that I knit in a smaller size to accomodate the tendency to sag, which worked in the horizontal direction, but now the armholes are too tight and the straps still slip off my shoulders. As I put these into the resale/donation bag today I vowed to not make that mistake again. So-I decided to use the sleeve of the sweater I am making for Alexa as the gauge swatch. I am making her the Yoke Sweater from the Reynolds Kids book (#82467). I tried to add this pattern to Ravelry, but I don't know if it worked, since I can't find it. I am hoping it is just pending some sort of editorial approval. Also I can't find a picture of this sweater online, so I can't link that. The LYS had a sample sweater that I loved, and the yarn, Reynolds Hopscotch was so soft, I just had to take it home with me. I made the sleeve striping different than the pattern, (Fibonacci stripes!! fun!) My gauge at this point was 5.5 st/in and the sleeve is 11.5 inches long with the end rolled. I just washed it, and now it is drying on top of the dryer. This is my new resolution, not just to knit the gauge swatch, but to wash it and dry it, and maybe even hang it for a day or two to assess its proclivity for growing. (My Apres Surf Hoodie is a couple of inches longer than it was when it was a newborn!)
No more wasting yarn and frogging whole finished sweaters. I am currently pondering frogging the Pimlico Shrug because I just don't wear it. It is really big and baggy, and I don't look slender and waifish and stylish in it because I am not slender and waifish..
Resolution #2: Follow Wendy Bernard's recommendations for choosing your projects wisely. In other words, evaluate whether this sweater fits your lifestyle and your wardrobe. Choose things similar to those store bought sweaters that you wear frequently. I am a mom, I was dishes, I do laundry, I cook...I need to be a little more realistic here about what I will actually wear. In fact I am thinking about scrapping the Backstage Tweed Jacket project for those very reasons. It is really beautiful though..opinions anyone?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Various catching up stuff.

A long time ago, way back in September, we had one of the semi-local annual fiber festivals in Canby called the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. This was my first year to attend, and I was so excited to go. Unfortunately I got sick on the day of the festival. I went anyway, but I had that major head fog and feverish feeling all day. This is not a good way to go to a place that is overwhelming in the first place. There are so many wonderful fibers and people and wheels and I wanted to see it all, and I wanted to take home that perfect thing, but I could hardly make a decision because I couldn't think clearly. Even at my best I am a slow decision maker...I finally bought these two things from the same lady.
Two 8 oz rovings of merino and alpaca (70/30 I think). Unfortunately the tag and receipt don't mention her name or business name..I think she was from Roy, WA. She was selling these for about 20$ each, which was a really good deal IMHOP. I also got some yarn called Inca Organic Cotton in a pretty cream color.
And here we have the Montego Bay Scarf..the picture doesn't do it justice. This open lattice-like stitch pattern really looks great in this yarn. I don't have enough to do the fringe, so I am going to try some sort of button arrangement..I will post a picture when I am done so you can see how it worked out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I am so frustrated with this sewing project..why is it that the sizing is so wierd on sewing patterns. I measured my waist to determine what size I should make this skirt. My waist measured 34", and the largest size, which was 16 said it was for a 30" waist, so I made size 16. I thought it was a little strange because I wear about a size 10 in skirts that I purchase at a store. It came out way too big, like it actually falls off.
Additionally, the fabric is really heavy, so it was hard to sew the waist yoke and the zipper smoothly. I bought this eons ago, and don't remember how to care for this fabric. So, if anyone out there recognizes it and has recommendations, they would be appreciated. I would just give it away, but I don't know anyone the right size who would actually wear something like this. I like it, but it does look a bit like curtains or a tablecloth...
Currently I am frogging the whole thing, and trying to cut it all down to a size that might fit, although who know what size that is, a 14, 12?

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Aran Sweater wakes up for Fall.

The aran sweater that I promised to knit for my friend has been pulled out of hibernation. I started this in June after finally finding just the right pattern. My dear friend Barbara who lives in Australia asked me to knit her a sweater quite a while ago, like maybe a year ago (eek) and I finally got around to it. (some friend I am!) Anyway, she said she has wanted one of these classic aran sweaters her whole life, and we sent pictures of patterns back and forth for a while before settling on this one from Lion Brand Online Patterns. It only cost a couple of dollars, but the pattern is a disaster to follow in its original format. The whole pattern is squeezed into a single page, very small font, no chart, and furthermore, the cable pattern is written out without abbreviations. (slip two stitches to a cable needle and hold to the back, knit two stitches and then purl two from the cable needle...) I had to translate it into something I could work with, and with the help of my pattern row counter (thanks again turtlegirl76!) I have gotten this far.. I probably would never have knit a sweater like this on my own initiative..but it is really starting to grow on me. The yarn is lovely (Knit Picks Superwash Bare), and the texture is run your hand over the top of it and it feels so neat..smooth and bumpy at the same time.

And here is that stuff from Maine Woods Wool that I spun a while ago, but have not been able to photograph to my satisfaction. It looks really neat actually and is quite sproingy. I think this will be socks. Eventually. After I finish a billion other things..
And here we have a big, major, learning opportunity. My mother-in-law Penny and I bought some raw but washed alpaca fleece at the Black Sheep Gathering. We set to work trying to learn how to hand card, but it is hard..Penny is doing pretty well, but the stuff I did has these big lumps in it, like tangles. They make big bumps in the yarn. Maybe I just didn't card it enough? any suggestions anyone?
I may be getting too much fiber on the cards, but it is really hard to pull it apart into smaller chunks to load. Does fleece always stick together like this?

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Apres Surf Hoodie

I feel that no blog post, photo, or description will do justice to the amount of time that I spent on this sweater. I am very happy to report that I love it. I love the yarn, the color, the lace pattern, the fit, and the fact that I learned really cool new things while knitting it. I didn't alter the pattern in any way, and still everything fits me just perfectly. The waist shaping is in the right place, the sleeves are the right length. The amount of ease in the body and arms is similar. (Most garments that fit me in the body are too tight in the arms and shoulders.)
The hood seemed to take forever, but there was some interesting short row shaping on the top which I was a little worried about in combination with the lace pattern, but it worked out just fine.
I did knit the hood and neck edging narrower than the pattern required because where they are sewn in here was only about an inch. Instead of knitting 1.5 inches and then doing the i-cord bind off, I did 1 inch, and to me this looks right.
And though I blocked the edge down flat, I wore it all day to Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival and it started to roll again. I hope this will settle down a bit after it gets washed and blocked a few more times. I am really happy with this sweater, but after almost three months of steady lace knitting on size 3 needles, my hands are complaining, so I am going on some larger gauge projects for a while.
Pattern: Apres Surf Hoodie from Interweave Knits Summer 2008 issue by Connie Chang Chinchio. (A very well written pattern, I will definitely try more of hers in the future!)
Size: 39.5 " (.5-1 inch of positive ease)
Yarn: Wolf Creek Wools Toe Jammies Panda (color CARO 688) 4 skeins, small amount left
Needles: Addi Turbos, size 3 and 2
Alterations: Only the width of hood-neck edge mentioned above

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The last appearance of...

The Apres Surf Hoodie in a WIPs Wednesday post because it is almost done! Cool details on this sweater..see the i-cord bind-off on the sleeve. Isn't it neat how different this yarn looks in different lighting?
Meida's Socks are making some progress.
And a new project for my mother-in-law. A Christmas present. She chose yarn and asked for a scarf with a very open stitch pattern. So the Montego Bay Scarf seemed to fit the bill. The yarn is Mountain Colors Bearfoot.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Back to School U-Neck Vest

I finally give you the U-neck vest in finished form. I also have to thank David for pictures. We seem to be getting better at him taking pictures of me. I always feel stupid, so I make weird faces. However, playing the piano gave me something else to think about, which helped a lot! I had this Classic Elite Skye Tweed in my stash for a year or more from a closeout sale at Fiber Nooks and Crannies. (Whenever Michelle destashes, my stash grows!) Anyway, I loved this tweed and really wanted to make a vest, but there were only 5 balls of it. So I embarked on this vest from Stephanie Japel's Fitted Knits book.
I made some changes to conserve yarn. I cast on 144 st which was halfway between the 35 and 37" finished bust sizes, which for me should have produced about 2 inches of negative ease. I only knit 8" in the lower section instead of 9. I didn't do the last set of bust increases and I narrowed the straps a bit.
I also narrowed the neck and sleeve edgings quite a bit. I think I like them better this way anyway to be honest. I really like this vest. I think maybe the pattern is written a bit large, because FO fits perfectly, and I expected it to be a bit tight. My gauge is still right on, even after washing. The yarn softened up a bit after washing too. It was really stiff and harsh feeling to my hands while knitting it.
The one thing I don't love is the way the fabric bunches at the front of my arm. Partly this is because I should have made the sleeve opening longer, but I think it should also be written to bind off and/or decrease a little more there in the pattern.
Pattern: Back to School U-neck Vest by Stephanie Japel
Yarn: Classic Elite Skye Tweed, 5 balls
Needles: Size 8 Addi Turbo
Size:35-37", (3" negative ease)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Will I make it?

I am going to chime in this Wednesday with the WIPs. The Back to School U-neck Vest is almost done, and I am still not sure if I will have enough yarn for the edgings to be done as described in the pattern. I may have to go begging on Ravelry for someone's leftovers. (Classic Elite Skye Tweed anyone?) It is discontinued of course. Meida's socks have made it through the heel flap and turn, but I have been pretty wrapped up in other projects, so these are a bit neglected.
Still spinning the Maine Woods roving.
And the Apres Surf Hoodie, still on the sleeves. All that lace and the fine gauge makes it a bit slow. I seem to have a fingerprint on my camera lens..

Monday, August 25, 2008

Almost (but not quite) FO

So I am in the category of people who didn't finish their Ravelympics project. I set myself a goal that would have require the whole 17 days of intensive knitting, and due to many other life events, this simply did not happen. So this is how it went. I wanted to finish my Apres Surf Hoodie which I started July 2nd and was 42% done at the start of Ravelympics (This is according to the weight of yarn I have total and the weight left, and I am making the assumption that I will use all the yarn. I realize this is a faulty assumption, but it was the best I could do.) I had finished the back and the decreases up to the waist. I finished the front and the I-cord bind off at the hem and blocked it.
And I started the sleeves.
I have 174 g of yarn out of the original 440, so that makes me about 60% done. Sooo..this was fun, but I need to learn to plan for the fact that I cannot sit and knit for 2 weeks when I have a non-knitting life to attend to. I still love this hoodie and the yarn is a joy to knit with. The pattern is challenging me but not frustrating me, what more can I ask for in a knitting project?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Abundantly Delicious

Last weekend we were in Portland after dropping my parents off at the airport and I persuaded My DH and DD that we should go to a yarn shop I have been dying to see. Abundant Yarn and Dyeworks is in a really cute little neighborhood/small town in a big city type of place and has a cafe as well. Soooo, in addition to the incredible selection of yarn and books, there is a play area to keep my daughter busy and YUMMY food. If I lived closer than almost 2 hours away I would be there every day. It is probably good for my pocketbook that I don't. Here is what I came away with this trip.Alpaca Merino Silk 50/30/20 in a colorway called Improv by Abstract Fiber. This was so noticeably beautiful that as I carried it around the shop people were asking their friends, "What is that?" and reaching out to pet it.
Now if I can spin it without destroying its beauty...

Monday, August 18, 2008

FO Cap Sleeved Sweater

I finally got my mother, the sweater and me with my camera in the same location, which turned out to be beside a hotel pool. I don't know what to say about this sweater because the main thing that I see when I look at it is that it is too big. Mom says she doesn't mind, that she likes it. My husband thinks it is fine too. What I see is that the neckline is too big and she always has to pull it up to keep her bra straps from showing. The cap sleeves are not really cap sleeves, the waist shaping is too low.
The pattern on the front is pretty, but doesn't pop out very much. The underarms hang low so you can see the bra there when she raises her arms. The yarn is really soft and the sweater itself is pretty, it just doesn't fit her right. Part of the problem is the pattern itself. Other Ravelers have experienced this same problem. The sweater sizes as listed are not right. I knitted the size that said it would fit a 40" bust for someone with a 44" bust, and had the knitted fabric not relaxed so much I think it would have been fine. So my lesson for the day my homework with the gauge swatch..knit it big, wash it, hang it. Such a pity to knit something this time consuming that doesn't come out right. I like the feel of this yarn, and the look and the price, but it is a pain to knit with, it splits like crazy. I doubt I will knit with it again.
Pattern: Cap Sleeved Sweater by Debbie Bliss from the Pure Silk book.
Size: Largest listed
Yarn: Plymouth Royal Bamboo, 12 balls
Needles: Size 3 Addi Turbos