Goals

Sometimes it’s really hard to keep myself from casting on for 15 different projects at once.  I have to remind myself that I really hate the feeling I get when I’m overextended, and set goals for which the reward is starting something new.  I promised myself I could swatch for the Open Waters stole as soon as I finished the body for the hex cardigan.

Mission accomplished!  It occurs to me that I’m basically knitting one and a half of these sweaters, since I got through the first front on the other one before realizing my gauge tragedy.  This one measures just what I would like.  I’ve started on the first sleeve, and what a relief stockinette is after all those hexagons!

I have a lot of sweaters I would like to make soon, but I’ve decided that first I will start a shawl, since I have fewer of those in my wardrobe.  You may remember that I was planning on using Manos wool/silk blend for the Open Waters shawl, but it didn’t work out.  Instead, I’m using another lovely wool/silk blend.

Here is my swatch.

I can’t get over how pretty this yarn is – it looks like all the colors of the rainbow reflecting on black.  I may make a few modifications to the pattern, but I’m not sure yet.   The swatch, once blocked, gets gauge perfectly on size 8 needles.  The reason I have yarn through the top is that it’s knit at a slightly looser gauge than the yarn calls for, and it distorts the measurements if I bind off, at least in such a small piece.  I will also need to cast on with larger needles.  The pattern calls for Lion & Lamb, but this is about half the price, and I like the color selection better.

Trying again…

My long (ok, 3 days) period of no knitting is over… I have swatched (this time in pattern!) and cast on again for the Hexacomb Cardigan.

I’m using Rowan Calmer in a color that is slightly more gray than it looks here.  It’s a beautiful color.  I am knitting to 5.5 st/in instead of the 5 st/in called for in the pattern, so I’m knitting a size up from my usual.  Calmer is lovely to knit with, and the stitch definition is of course excellent.  I’m going to have to knit the sleeves with a size smaller needle, since they are in stockinette and I get a large gauge over this stitch pattern.  Doesn’t that seem crazy?  I’m hoping for more success this time, because I’m not going to give it a third try!

I’m also faced, for the very first time, with needing some sort of baby gift.  Marc’s cousin is having a baby in April, so I’ve started the Tiramisu Blanket from Posie Gets Cozy.

It’s not the most exciting thing ever to crochet, but I’m sure it will be really lovely when finished.  This is Cotton Ease in Ice Blue, one of the old discontinued colors.   I had planned this for a sweater, but when I realized I needed something for a baby boy I changed my mind.   Ask me how I feel about this project after 30″ of single crochet… but for now I’m enthusiastic about the end product!

In remembrance… Wicked

Thanks so much to everyone who commented on my comfi cardi – I may not be able to respond to each comment, but you all have made me feel so special! I took the advice in the comments and tried wearing the cardigan with a long sleeved shirt underneath – much better with the arms! I wore it to work on Wednesday and was complimented, and it is indeed very comfy.

I had some sadness this week… the very first death of a handknit. Yes, my Wicked sweater has met a sad end – a combination of pilly yarn, a washing machine, a wool hungry cat, and my own really lousy job of binding off. Here we are in happier times…

*Sniff* Seriously though… if anyone tries to give you a bag of discontinued Debbie Bliss Merino Aran, just say no! I have never had any sweater, handmade or storebought, wear so terribly. And then, of course, the cat pictured in the photo decided to nearly chew a hole in it during blocking, and finally my crappy bind-off came loose in the washer, and I had to accept that the sweater’s time had come.

There is a bright side though… I had been wanting to make a sweater out of Dream in Color Classy, but I couldn’t find a design I wanted to knit that would show off the yarn (I think handpaints look best in plain stockinette.) I had even thought about another Wicked, but then I couldn’t bring myself to own two… problem solved! Now the only problem is choosing a color… my LYS only has Smooshy, so I’ll have to order online. Any color recommendations?

I had a little knitting mishap this week… the first time in a long time that I have had gauge bite me. I swatched twice for the hexacomb cardigan, and then went with the smaller needle in case the gauge was bigger in the stitch pattern. The body should measure a little over 16″ across for my size.

Oops. Apparently my gauge is much looser in the stitch pattern. Lesson learned – even though the pattern said to swatch in stockinette, you can’t always assume that will work out in the sweater. The gauge ended up 4 st/in instead of 5 st/in (give or take… anyway, it’s too big.) On the bright side (again) I was not really loving this yarn knit up into the pattern – it wasn’t showing the pattern enough for my taste, and was somewhat inelastic. So I’m going to try again, but I’m going to swatch in pattern, and I’m going to use a different yarn – something with a little more “spring” perhaps. I’ll swatch a few yarns in stash and see what I like. I’m sure it will be for the best!

These problems have been discouraging me a bit these past few days. My lush cardigan is also stalled – I am not happy with the sleeve cap I have finished, but I can’t seem to bring myself to rip it yet, since I can’t decide if I’m being too picky or not… besides, I think I need a break from following the (uncharted) lace pattern. I’ve been doing some swatching, trying to decide what I want to make next. We’re in that weird period where it’s too cold to wear spring clothes still, but you don’t want to start anything for winter, in case that encourages it to stick around. I’m thinking this might be a good time to go ahead and crochet another sweater – Joy and short and sweet are both ready to start, even if I won’t be able to wear them for a bit.

I’m thinking about starting this though… so pretty.

Unfortunately, the yarn isn’t going to work for the pattern.  I must have been blinded by the pretty, and didn’t notice that this yarn is DK… but isn’t it pretty?  I’ll find something else and hopefully start this pattern soon!

I sound so scattered, don’t I? Ah well… it’s the time of year I suppose. We’re approaching Easter, which is super busy for me. I have a little drama going on with work etc, and that stresses me out. I am very ready for spring, but instead we had an ice storm on Thursday (on the bright side, Marc got to leave work at 10 am, so we got to spend one of my days off together, which is rare.)

Now I will go watch Dr. Who and swatch… hopefully that will work its magic, and I’ll find something to work on that excites me!

FO: Comfi Cardi

Pattern: Comfy Cardi from Crochet Me: Designs the Fuel the Crochet Revolution

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, 10 skeins

Hook: US C Clover Soft touch

Size made: 32

Notes: I cannot for the life of me decide what I want to say about this one.  Yes, the arms are too big (a common problem for me – no more sweaters without set in sleeves or at least a raglan!)  But on the other hand… I’m darned proud that I actually managed to finish this thing.  And it’s totally wearable too – it’s work appropriate, soft, and relatively warm.  I really enjoyed every second of making it.  But those sleeves… I advise anyone making this thing to measure yourself carefully, and then consider if you need to adjust the size.  They are huuuuge on me, more so than they look in the pictures.  Still, my Dollar and a half cardigan has huge sleeves too, and I wear it every week.  And yay- I finished a crocheted sweater – I even crocheted the ribbing!  It’s not as neat looking as knitted ribbing, but it is surprisingly stretchy (my last experience with crocheted ribbing went very badly, but I think I didn’t really get the concept.)  I’m not sure if I would crochet the ribbing again, but in this case I was glad not to have to pick up a billion stitches around the edges – Briar rose is a nearly identical shape, and I hated doing the ribbing on that one.

I will crochet more sweaters… this was fun, and it gave my hands a nice break from the constant knitting that goes on around here!  On the list: Joy from Rowan 41, something from  Everyday Crochet, Short and Sweet, and a few others.   I want to get better at adjusting the patterns to fit me – as I remind myself, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I made some darned poorly fitted sweaters when I started knitting!

The pain of substitution

One of the main reasons that I so often have extra yarn to sell is that I rarely use the yarn called for in a pattern. And since I refuse to force a yarn to work where it doesn’t want to, I often end up with yarn I bought as a substitution that just doesn’t work for some reason. Sometimes I end up using this yarn for another project, but more often I hold a grudge against it for not working the way I wanted.

My current yarn sub problem is for the printed silk cardigan in the new IK. I’m not buying the called for yarn, which is too expensive, and at any rate would pill in about 10 seconds. But I’m having some trouble finding a yarn to work. I bought silk from Colourmart, but I think it isn’t the right yarn for the pattern.

First of all, let me state that it’s lovely yarn, and really a great bargain at the price. However, in no way should this yarn be called DK weight. I’m not even sure it qualifies as a sport weight. The swatch above is 26 st/ 4 inches, and it’s a little on the loose side for my taste. I really think it should be knit to 28 st/in. This yarn is made up of many tiny strands of their laceweight silk twisted together. It’s a little splitty, but not excessively so, at least in the stockinette swatch above. However, I tried swatching the twisted stitch pattern, and oh my lord… I stared at my hands and still managed to snag plies of the yarn. I did learn, though, that the pattern is not as complicated as it looks, and it won’t be a problem with the right yarn, ie one that doesn’t split!

I think this yarn could work for the sweater, but overall I think it would irritate me. I’m also not so enamoured of the color, mostly because it’s too similar to the color of the comfi cardi I’m making right now, even though it is really pretty.

As for my yarn search, it continues. I know now that the stitch pattern will look best knitted tightly, which is why the gauge is so small even though la luz is a dk weight yarn. My problem is that I have trouble knitting tightly – I wanted to use Shine Sport, but I cannot get 25 st/ 4 in with that yarn no matter how hard I try, and it’s an actual sport weight! I may try a few swatches and see if I can ever manage that gauge with a dk weight yarn, although I have my doubts.

In happier news, my Comfi cardi is nearly finished! I tried to get a picture, but the cat had other ideas.

I’ve actually completed half the ribbing since I took the photo, and I expect to finish it tonight!

And also… I am ashamed to admit that I started another sweater. It’s the hexacomb cardigan from the new IK.

The yarn is Classic Elite 4 seasons, and this is an example of a yarn that subbed easily. It’s actually more yellow than it looks here, and it’s going to be great for spring!

I haven’t touched the lush cardigan, but as soon as I finish the comfi cardi I will go ahead and finish it up. I always feel sort of scattered when I have this many projects, so I want to focus on them one at a time to actually get them done.

Slacker

I’m a slacker on posting this week, although not on crocheting or knitting.

My comfi cardi grows steadily – you see how the piece is constructed here?  It’s really an interesting way to construct a crocheted sweater.  I can’t wait until it all comes together.  Yesterday I crocheted on this for hours and hours, and I finally feel like it’s getting closer to the end!

This is somewhere over 1/2 of the Lush cardigan completed.  I won’t attempt the math, but it is closer!  I’m still nervous about my yarn, because I think it is going to be close – I hope I make it!  I’m not happy with the seams on that shoulder – I found one of the directions for the sleeve to be confusing, and then I couldn’t figure out where a measurement was pointing on the schematic, so I don’t know if I did it right, resulting in major easing in of the sleeve.  It looks fine on, so I’ll probably leave it, but I wish I could figure out whether it’s me or the pattern!  I also haven’t sewn in the pockets yet, because I’m nervous about the sewing, but I will be ok.

The first of the Knitting Daily galleries are up for Spring, and I’m happy that one of the models has similar measurements to me.  It makes deciding on sizes much easier – I’m thinking I won’t have to invent a smaller size for either the flutter sleeve cardigan or the printed silk cardigan.   The entire reason why I almost always need negative ease is because my waist is much smaller than my bust, and I swim in larger sizes, but the empire silhouette negates this problem.  My only question about the flutter sleeve cardigan is the extra fabric at the armpit, but I think that’s caused by knitting the sleeves with the body, and seems to be there with most of the models.  I don’t love the Mirabella cardigan, thank goodness, because I have enough to knit – I don’t look great in sweaters that button all the way down, I find.

Speaking of the Printed silk cardigan, I decided on a yarn sub (and I am so excited about this sweater!)  I ordered DK weight silk from Colourmart in a pretty purple.  I really wanted a silk sweater, and honestly it was cheap.  I’ve never ordered from them before, but I have heard good things, so I hope it works out (if not, I’m pretty sure I can find a use for pretty silk yarn!)

We went to Actor’s Theatre tonight to see The Clean House.  It was excellent – both funny and touching, with some very nice performances.   I wore my Karaoke Clapotis and was nice and warm, even though it was cold in the theatre, and even though we are currently experiencing some icy weather (let us not talk about how long it took to scrape off my car today.)  I love my shawls and wraps, but I don’t often make them for the simple reason that I find giant rectangles to be pretty boring to knit.  I went looking for non boring shawls, and rediscovered the designs of Ilga Leja.  You may recall that I bought her Lake of the woods kit (last photo below), which I have yet to make, but I swear to you that it will be mine for spring!  Her new collection has pieces named after opera heroines, which I love because I am an opera fan.  In particular I am in love with Manon.

 

I love the uneven edges and the ruching.  It’s so unusual, and it doesn’t look like it would bore me to death.  I have several other of her designs in my queue, including the Open Waters shawl and her Antique lace blouse (there are some pretty ones on Ravelry!)   I’m willing to admit that I’m not really a lace shawl person – oh, don’t get me wrong, I would wear them, but I don’t want to knit them… but I want shawls, pretty shawls that aren’t made of laceweight yarn and don’t take ages of careful concentration to knit (I tend to knit while deeply involved in Dr Who or some such program, so anything that needs a silent room is not for me…. which is my problem.  I want interesting but not too interesting, you know?  Clapotis was great for me, if a bit boring at the end, but I think 2 of them are my limit.

So I swear… sometime this spring some of these shawls are going to happen for me, in some lovely silk/wool blends.  And then I will have lots of pretty things to wear to the theater, which I keep swearing we need to do more often, as we both love going!