A nice start

Camisa is off to a nice start!

I’m doing the top portion is stockinette rather than reverse stockinette, because I’ve decided I’m just not a fan of the reverse stockinette sweaters I have.  I’m wearing a (storebought) reverse stockinette sweater now, and it always takes effort to figure out which way is wrong side out!  Camisa is an easy knit – and I love that basketweave panel!  I’ve redone the bottom of the panel twice, trying to find the correct measurements.  It doesn’t have increases for the hips, it has a slit on either side instead, so it’s really hard for me to judge.  The first was too small, so I started again, and hopefully now it will fit (I am following the directions for the 32.5″ size with a few modifications for differing row gauge.)  My picked up stitches don’t look great there, but I don’t think they look that bad it real life….  and really, that was the best I could do after several tries.  I think it’s the basketweave making it look uneven.

My Montego Bay scarf is coming along as well.  I don’t expect it to be finished soon, but someday!  All those K2tog’s make me a little crazy after awhile, so I can’t do too much at a time.

 I’m trying to finish off my wedding invites today.  Tomorrow my aunt and friend are throwing us a shower, and I’m looking forward to that!

Up next!

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my sweaters!  I’ve already worn Josephine twice, and I’m wearing the shrug today.  I love them both!  I have to confess, I didn’t really enjoy working two at one time.  I just felt guilty for not working on one when I was working on the other!  So I think I’ll stick to my one sweater at a time policy, with one small carrying project (still the Montego bay scarf – I only have been working on it during breaks at work, so 30 minutes at a time.  It’s getting there!)

My next project is going to be Camisa from the Fall 06 Knitscene.

The yarn is Cotton Fleece in Candy apple.  I have yet to tire of cotton fleece, and I’m not sure it will ever happen!  For warm weather projects that need 5 st/in  I have found no decent substitutes.  I think Camisa will be lovely in the saturated red.  Knitscene Fall 06 is a great magazine.  I’m also planning on making Molly Ringwald (in Classic Silk) and the Tulips kimono cardigan (in Knitpicks andean treasure.)

I also have plans to make the Ingenue sweater and this cute little vest from the current issue of knitscene.  The Ingenue sweater has gorgeous details, the back is really pretty!  It’s knit in Classic Elite Wool Bamboo, a yarn I have been dying to try, and I might actually use the recommended color.  The vest I will use some ivory pima tencel to make… it looks like a quick project, and I do like little short vests.

 

FO: Two toned shrug

Pattern: Two toned shrug from Fitted Knits

Size: 14″

Yarn: Malabrigo merino in purple mystery, 1.5 skeins

Needles: US 7 and 4

Notes: It may have been quick and easy, and I love the finished shrug, but I didn’t find myself enjoying the process. I had to knit the Malabrigo on size 7s for the body and 4s for the ribbing because of my loose gauge, and I really didn’t enjoy that. The ribbed edging seemed to go on forever as well. But having said that, I love the color, and I love how soft the yarn is. It will be nice for cool evenings over dresses and camisoles. I made the size 14 instead of the 13 because my measurement was exactly 14″ and I had seen a few other people complain that the 13 was too tight. I love the results – it fits perfectly! The ribbing is not wonky the way it looks in that photo. You all know what this shrug looks like!

Also note the Lego Starship Enterprise sitting on our sideboard. Marc made it for me and I *heart* it!

FO: Josephine top

Pattern: Josephone by Deborah Newton, Interweave Knits Summer 2007

Yarn: Karabella Vintage cotton, 5.5 balls

Needles: US 2 and 1 Addi Turbos

Notes: I removed one repeat of the pattern (1 rib setion + 1 lace section) in order to create a bust size of around 32.5 inches.  I also chose not to make the knitted cord.  I prefer the contrast of the ribbon, and I hate making cord!

I’m very happy with this sweater.  It’s delicate and light, and the fabric drapes beautifully.  The only modification I’m still considering is to removed the bottom edging.  It’s added on at the end, and I think it makes the body hang a bit too straight.  I’m not sure though – I may keep it!  My sweater is an inch longer than the pattern calls for.  I chose to add a bit of length to the section after the lace before the armholes, because my lace section came out about an inch longer than specified.  I’m happy with the length.  The modifications for size were easy, and I would encourage anyone wishing to make this size to give it a try – it really isn’t too bad.

Lots of love for this pattern, which was clear and easy to follow.  It does have a lot of finishing – the sleeves are picked up and knit with short rows, and the neckline and hem are both added on.  It really didn’t take too long, all things considered.  I had to go down a bunch of needle sizes, but that’s pretty typical for me!  I highly recommend this pattern!

sorry!

I’ve spent the past several days cutting paper for various wedding related crafts.  Things are shaping up nicely – today my friend who is playing the piano and I met for brunch and planned the music!  There are also changes going on at work, which I can’t really talk about yet, but there has been lots going on.

One of the consequences of business (for me at least) is an increase in the amount of insomnia I have.  Don’t worry, I don’t mind… I’ve been this way my whole life, and it does give me time to get lots of things done!  One of those things is a completed Josephine front.

I actually had to do one of those straps twice, because I forgot that I had added an extra inch in length to the back.  I’m pretty fast with 4-ply yarn in stockinette (or nearly stockinette, such as the texture pattern above) but not as fast in lace.  Even so, I’ve really enjoyed working with the small gauge, and I love the fabric it has produced!  The piece above is now dry, so tonight I will seam and get to work on the sleeves and edgings.

I’ve also been thumbing through some back issues of Interweave publications that I recently bought (I love ebay!) I’ve found some nice looking projects to consider… in fact, I may make Camisa (the blue short sleeved sweater with the basketweave waist) pretty soon.

 

From top left: Fiery Bolero, Vintage Pink Cardigan, Camisa, Molly Ringwald, Tulips, Josephine, Juanita, hemp necklace, pullover flair, ruffle scarf, Weekend pullover.

I could make any number of these sweaters from stash yarn – in fact, I’ve already earmarked yarn for camisa, the bolero, tulips, and the vintage pink cardigan. I found a surprising number of lovely things from old issues of Interweave Crochet, which is surprising considering that I passed those same issues over on the newsstand.  I think my tastes have changed (for the better I hope!)

Drowning in a sea of paper.

One of the best things about planning this wedding is the amount of crafting I get to do.  And not just fiber crafts – I get to step outside my comfort zone and try my hand at new things.  We’re creating and printing all the paper items for our wedding ourself, because I got a look at how much professional invitations cost and nearly passed out.  I am not a scrapbooker or a collage artist, or anything having to do with paper, so this was all new to me.  I bought some blank invitations, designed simple wording, added a little paper and ribbon, and voila… our invitations!

I am very pleased.  My paper happiness keeps me from getting annoyed at family members who say things like “You expect people to go downtown that late?” (um… 6 pm.  Yeah.)   Ah yes… my family the southern Baptists.  I specifically printed on the invitations the word “dancing” so that if they come, at least they know what they’re in for…

I have been knitting too!  Last night I finished the back of Josephine.

So far all the modifications have been pretty easy.  I blocked it lightly just to see how it would lay, but I didn’t try to get it to fit the measurements.  It blocked longer than the pattern and a little more narrow, both of which are just fine with me.  I’ll cast on for the front this afternoon if I have time.  Oh – and yes, there is an extra eyelet on the eyelet row, but I didn’t notice it until the back was nearly done… and it will be hidden by the cord, so I don’t care.

I should mention now that I really love the Karabella Vintage Cotton.  I am having absolutely no trouble with my hands on this yarn, and it has a really wonderful sheen.  It’s reasonably priced too, so I would definitely recommend it.

I’ve finished the raglan increases on my shrug,  and I’m off on the sleeves.  I’m not alternating balls, because I don’t mind the tiny bit of striping, but I am going to use the 2nd skein for the ribbing, just in case there is a slight color difference (I don’t think there is, but you never know!)

There are men working outside, shoring up the foundation of our building.  They’ve been at it since 8 am, right outside my window.  I don’t get up at 8 am (I work nights after all) so I wasn’t too thrilled.  Ah well… I get to leave for work in an hour, so I can finally escape the horrible drilling noise!

Mmmmm

I started my shrug last night during breaks from Josephine (which is almost to the end of the lace on the back… I can’t wait to make up some shaping!) Malabrigo is so lovely. I expect this shrug to fly off the needles!

Josephine progress

I’m finally in a groove with Josephine.  The entire first pattern repeat I was cursing the chart, but I managed to get through it, and now I don’t have to refer to the chart all the time, perhaps once per row.  Yeah, I still hate charts.  But Josephine is looking so pretty!

Everything after the first repeat was completed yesterday.  Now that it’s going faster I no longer feel as though this knit will take me until the end of time to finish. I’m still swatching as a distraction, but when I get tired of that I’m going to cast on for the two-toned shrug from fitted knits, using Malabrigo in Purple mystery.

I’ve had this yarn in my stash for quite awhile, and I’m happy to have finally found a project which will use the relatively small amount I have.  mine will be mono-toned instead of two-toned, because I only have one color.  Isn’t it pretty?  This will be my first project using malabrigo.

Oh yes, the swatches.

Valley Yarns Amherst in periwinkle.  A nice inexpensive merino.  I knit this swatch to get 4.5 st/in, but it gts 4.25 st/in after washing.  I’m planning on using this yarn (although not this color) to make my long planned Nantucket Jacket.  This yarn is currently slated for a vintage cabled sweater pattern I have, although that could change!

Knitpicks ambrosia  – I love this yarn!  It’s so lovely and soft, with a slight fuzzy haze.   This swatch got bigger with washing.  I like this yarn for the Short Sleeve Blouson from the Knit.1 Summer 07 issue.  I don’t think I want to use cotton for that sweater, and I’m ok with relegating it to fall use.  This yarn is an alpaca/cashmere blend.  I do not find alpaca to be any warmer that wool, and I’m aware that makes me an exception… but then I am always cold.  I have to get myself to stop making tanks, because even in the summer I can’t stand to wear them (evil air conditioning – I’m so glad we have window units that I can turn off when I am the only one home!)

A note on washing swatches:  I never would have thought (in my non swatch washing past) that so many yarns would regularly change size when washed.  Most seem to relax and get a bit larger, but a few (mostly cottons) do shrink a tad.  I will never start a project without washing a swatch again!  And yes, my swatches are not as big as they could be, but I’m ok with that.

Swatching again

I’m still working on Josephine, but I ended up ripping the top from Runway knits.  Why, you ask?  My gauge in the lace section was bigger than stockinette, so I needed to go down 2 needle sizes in order to make it work out, but… that made my row gauge all kinds of funky, which would be fine until the armholes… but I looked and looked at the pattern, and I just didn’t have the energy to rework them, plus I didn’t really like how the stockinette sections looked at the tighter gauge.  Ah well.  Maybe it was not meant to be.  I’m not upset… I’ve just been swatching again!  It’s so nice to work with wool after all the cotton I’ve been using lately.  Here are the swatches so far…

Elann highland silk to make this eyelet sweater from the Winter 06 vogue

Laines du Nord Giunco for Veronica from Rowan 36

Rowan felted tweed for Bloom from Rowan 36 and Salina from Vintage Knits (Salina will actually be purple.)

Valley Yarns Colrain for Maude louise.

Thoughts on these yarns: I do love that Elann Highland silk.  It is perhaps less soft than I think it should be, but look at that lovely sheen!  And it comes in so many nice colors.  I am interested in trying the zephyr wool silk yarn and seeing how it compare.  This swatch did not change size when washed.

I bought the Giunco on major clearance at webs (I think it was maybe 3 dollars a ball?)  It’s 100% merino wool, and I am in love with that color… such an intense indigo!  It isn’t as soft as some merinos, but it’s softer than, say, Cascade 220.  It also did not change size when washed.

My thoughts on Felted Tweed are well documented… I love it!  I want to make every sweater from Felted Tweed!  Having said that, this yarn changes size when you wash it.  It relaxed quite a bit, so I will have to swatch again on smaller needles.

The Colrain is the big surprise yarn though… I suspected I would love it, and I was right!  It’s really soft… softer than the merino, softer than the wool/silk.  That comes from the 50% tencel content.  It also has a lovely sheen and drape.  When I washed this yarn the swatch got bigger, going from 4.5 st/in to 4 st/in (the gauge listed on the band.)  I will have to swatch again, as I need 4.5 st/in, but still… lovely, lovely yarn, and a blend that I’ve never tried before.  I recommend this one highly!

On today’s agenda?  That’s right, more swatching!  I think I’ve actually trained myself to look forward to the process now.

Book Review: Lacy Little Knits

Lacy Little Knits: Clingy, Soft & A Little Risque by Iris Schreier

I do love preordering books from Amazon.  This book will supposedly not be released until July, but it arrived almost a full month early.  Iris Schreier designs for Artyarns, and all of these patterns utilize Artyarns and her signature modular knitting technique.  I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting too much out of this book, but it was pretty cheap at the Amazon price and I needed to qualify for the free shipping.  I find myself a bit pleasantly surprised, as there are several lovely patterns to add to my list.

The book begins with a detailed explanation of the techniques used and includes directions for several test swatches.  This section seems thorough, and I’m sure I will find it useful should I decide to make any of the patterns.  The patterns (because I know that’s what we all came for) are divided into 5 sections, each of which showcases a different technique.  The patterns build from easy to advanced knits in each section.  Here are a few of the patterns I’m interested in.

The Good: The ruana.  Do you see the ruana?  Look at the back!  I love it.  Of course, it’s knit in Silk Rhapsody and would cost a bajillion dollars, but I could find a sub somewhere.  I’ve been trying to find a good ruana pattern for ages.  I even like the variegated yarn, and I almost never do for sweaters.  Modular knitting really shows off multicolored yarn. I also adore that little cropped vest/bolero thing.  It only looks crocheted.  I could definitely see myself wearing that.  The little cap and the scarf are good basic patterns (the scarf is really lovely up close, and is shown in two different versions in the book.)  That dress is really amazing.  I’m not going to knit a dress or anything, but it’s a really unusual piece.  I know you can’t see details on the sweater with the ruffle, but it has a center panel with diagonal patterns and the sleeves are knit the same way.  I would like to see it with the model standing though… I am always suspicious of sitting.  I like that there are a variety of models in this book, including those of all ages.  The patterns themselves look well written, with clear schematics.  She tells you how much yarn you need, and what weight, but only includes a note at the end of the pattern mentioning a specific artyarn that it is knit in.  I like that because I think it encourages substitution.

The not as good: The sizing is ok but not great.  Most sizes go down to a 32 or 34″ bust (and I really like that she tells you how much ease to allow for each sweater) but I don’t see many sizes above 42,” and some end a bit short of that.  I’m iffy on the technique of alternative rows of two weights of yarn in a lace pattern (the cover sweater and several others use this technique.)  I think the photo styling could be better, although I’m able to overlook that.  There are a few too many mohair sweaters for my taste, but for the record I think one is too many (I do not like mohair.)

The verdict: This book is $13.57 on Amazon right now.  That’s what – the cost of two magazines?   2 online patterns?  Anyway, it’s pretty darned cheap.  The patterns are pretty, and there are a lot of them (and mostly sweaters too!)  If you love variegated yarn I think it’s definitely a good purchase.  If you’ve knit the  famed multidirectional scarf, you’ve already done modular knitting.  I think it’s an interesting technique.  This book is definitely different from any other on my shelf.  I’m recommending it based on one reading, and I’m adding 3 patterns to my list (the vest, the scarf, and the ruana.)