Archive | March, 2008

FO: Shetland Triangle

30 Mar

Pattern: Shetland Triangle Shawl from Wrap Style

Yarn: Handmaiden Silk Maiden in Peridot, 1.2 skeins

Needles: US 7

Notes: This pattern was such a joy to make.  I had no issues with the lace pattern, and the yarn was just beautiful!  I knit 9 repeats of the main chart, 1 more than the pattern called for.  I could have knit more, but I wanted a smaller shawl.  I left off the last rows of the edging.  I would absolutely make this pattern again – it was so quick and easy to keep track of that it hardly seems like lace!  I would recommend this project to new-ish lace knitters – other than the edging it really is the same repeat every RS row.  I think this will be lovely this summer – now all I need is a summery white dress to go along with it!

 

Dear Knitpicks…

28 Mar

You have my eternal love for realizing that not everyone wants to knit with pastels in the summer.

L to R: Shine worsted in Hollyberry, Crayon in Kingfisher, Shine Sport in sycamore, and Comfy in Pomegranate

It’s not that I don’t like pastels, but rather that I look pretty lousy in them. I do like the bright colors that already existed in Knitpicks’ summer lines, but I was longing for something a little more muted. I’m so pleased with all of these yarns! The Shine worsted is to make the Lutea shell from last summer’s IK, the crayon is for a face cloth because I’ve never tried crayon, the shine sport is for my printed silk cardigan, and the comfy… well, I’m not sure what it’s for.

But I did swatch it up right away! The thing that strikes me most about this yarn is how soft it is. I was expecting it to feel like cotton ease – and while I like cotton ease, it is not what I would call a soft yarn. This yarn, though, is super buttery soft. It feels like pima cotton – I can’t really see the acrylic content at all.

This swatch is 4.75 st/in. The ball band states 4.5-5 stitches an inch, and that seems accurate to me! The fabric has a really nice drape to it, which I love, but it means I’m not totally certain if it will work for the project I was thinking of.

This is currer from Norah Gaughan vol. 2. I worry that the peplum might droop in this yarn. I think Berroco “Love it” is a more sturdy yarn… am I correct about that? I haven’t knit with it, but I have felt the yarn in person. I’ll have to think about this. There are a few other sweaters that would also work with this yarn – I got a good amount (almost 900 yds) so it should work for lots of things. I’ll have to consider my options. But my verdict on the yarn? Love it. To me it feels sort of in between the other two worsted cottons made by Knitpicks – sturdier than Shine worsted, but softer than Mainline. I can imagine it would be great for lots of projects, and I really think the color selection is fabulous.

Hmm… maybe I could knit Green Gable?  I bought the pattern ages ago, but I’ve never made one.  I could go for a quick knit raglan soon!

Last night I knit for far longer on the Shetland Triangle than can possibly be healthy (my excuse? I was finishing up Torchwood Season 1 and I couldn’t stop!) I have finished 8 repeats of the main section, and I’m going to add 1 or 2 extra before starting the edging. It’s getting close to finished, and I will be sad to not have the yarn on my needles anymore. The good news is I will have enough Silk Maiden left for another project – maybe a hat for me!

Babette Progress

27 Mar

Sections 1-4 of Babette are completed and sewn together! I’m very pleased with the color combo, I even don’t mind the orange so much (although I’m using it sparingly.)  It really hasn’t taken too much time to get to this point (except for that 12 round square… ugh, it took forever!)  Of course, each section gets larger, so I still have lots of crocheting to do.  I did not block the squares individually, but I did block each section once it was sewn together.  Since I’m combining Cascade 220 with the heathers, which are thinner than regular 220, the squares are not all exactly the same size.  That’s ok though, because one of the things I love about this blanket is how impefect and sort of folk arty the squares look together.  I’ve seen some blankets that were perfectly blocked, and while those are nice too I think I prefer my way.

It took a little over an hour to seam these squares together.  I used a whip stitch, and I’m happy with how it looks, and with how flat the seam is.  I’m weaving in ends as I go, because I would go insane if I kept it all to the end!

Tonight I’m going to put in a good amount of time on the Shetland Triangle.  I love the lace in the thick yarn – I’ve already set aside my Manos silk blend (dk weight) to make  Swallowtail shawl with soon!

Shawl love

26 Mar

Prior to the beginning of my knitting career, I’m pretty sure the last time I wore any sort of a shawl type thing was the mint green and white marled poncho my great grandma made me when I was 6.  I wore the heck out of that thing, along with the pink rhinestoned cowboy boots my Mom bought me (in my mind they matched) but after that I pretty much ignored shawls.  I didn’t even wear scarves very often, determined as I was to overturn the stereotype of the professional singer who is always swathed in scarves to protect her instrument.

Really, I can’t imagine what I was thinking.  Nothing beats a fancy shawl or scarf for drama, and nothing is better that knitting this one.

This is 4 repeats of the Shetland Triangle shawl.  The yarn is every bit as lovely and soft as it looks here.  They may be expensive, but I’m just about to the point of thinking Handmaiden yarns are worth the price – everything stitch of this yarn (Silk maiden) is a joy. The pattern is super easy to memorize, meaning this is a shawl that even makes good tv knitting!

Closeup of the lovely leaves.  I am so happy knitting this!

I haven’t worked on Joy anymore, but the Babette blanket is coming along – I’ve finished the first two sections, so next I will go ahead and seam those up.

I’m happily planning my Chicago trip.  This is my second trip this year, and we will likely go again (I want to go to Stitches Midwest this year.)  This time we will also be going to Wisconsin to visit one of Marc’s best friends who is in a monastary there (yes, he is becoming a monk.)  We’re staying downtown, since Marc’s training is there, and that makes me happy since I can wander on my own quite happily in the middle of a city.  Since I’m currently obsessed… are there any Chicago stores that sell Handmaiden yarns?  No one in my city does, and I’d love to see some in person, and maybe be able to get some Sea Silk to make Tuscany.

Speaking of yarn, Knitpicks has put up their new spring colors/yarns at last!  I ordered Comfy, their new cotton/acrylic blend in Pomegranate (red) to make Currer from Norah Gaughan Vol. II… or at least that’s the plan, although I don’t trust the design enough to make it before I see a completed one modeled.  I also got enough shine sport in a pretty new green (sycamore) to make the Printed Silk Cardigan.  I know I can’t get gauge with Shine Sport, but I would have to make the sweater smaller anyway, because a 34 is going to be big on me… and shine sport is one of my all time favorite yarns.  I threw in some Shine Worsted to make the Lutea shell from last summer’s IK as well.  I have used Shine worsted before and was underwhelmed, but that was because I chose poorly – I was making Something red out of it, and the yarn was too drapey.  I think it will be nice for a shell, and not so heavy without sleeves.

I’ve been planning my summer/summer knits happily – I think this may be the summer of shawls and sleeveless sweaters.  I’m also, curiously, interested in revisiting some patterns I made before.  I have been wanting to make Rusted Root again forever – I made a poor substitution there, and it was my first sweater, and it’s too big.  I got some Cotton Fleece in Sedona Red (yes, the color in the pattern, what of it?) so that I can finally have one exactly the way I wanted.  I’m also going to try Something Red again, this time in the recommended Blue Sky Cotton (in Pickle, not in red.)  I made a tank with this last year and hated it, but again I think the yarn wasn’t great for that purpose – it was thick with no drape.  In other words – pretty much things that are ok in a cardigan.

My Ravelry queue is now 7 pages long. Admittedly, at least half is socks, but still… 7 pages! Thank goodness I knit quickly!

Thanks for all the nice comments on my Flutter Sleeve cardigan – it should be warm enough to wear it this weekend! Sarah Jane thanks you all for the compliments on her as well. She has a clean bill of health, so we are now trying to introduce her to the other cats. I won’t say it’s going great – lots of hissing and growling, but no fights, so it could be worse. Right now, when she’s out of “her” room she wants to be in the room I’m in, and she follows me around. She gets into the room, and then stares at the other cats until they run off… poor kitties. It’s sad, but also funny because Leon is 3 times her size and yet he’s a little afraid! It does seem to be getting better – hey, they don’t have to be friends, all I ask is that they ignore each other! Let me know if anyone has any advice to make the transition easier – we’ve followed most of the advice I found online for introducing a new cat, and it is going better than the last time I tried this with them. Mostly I need a way to get Sarah Jane to relax a little around them, but I know it will take time – her time on the streets made her wary of other cats, even though she still loves people to death.

FO: Flutter sleeve cardigan

23 Mar

Pattern: Flutter Sleeve cardigan by Pam Allen, Interweave Knits Sping  2008

Yarn: O wool Balance in Lapis

Needles: US 5, 4, 2

Notes: This sweater turned out so much better than I expected! I liked the sweater in the magazine, but I didn’t think it looked too great in the Knitting Daily Gallery. Even so, I had the perfect yarn, and exactly two perfect buttons, so I gave it a go. The smallest size in the magazine is a 36, which would have been large on me, so I removed around 18 stitches in order to make a size 32. It wasn’t too hard to make the adjustment. I knit fewer rows in the ribbing section, because my row gauge was larger than the pattern – I ended up with 20 rows instead of 24.

The pattern was clear and easy to follow. It did have rather a lot of finishing, which I don’t love, so keep that in mind – for instance, the button bands are knit separately and seamed onto the fronts, and you have to knit two little tabs and sew them on for the cuffs. The buttonholes are the only problem – the holes the pattern calls for wind up rather loose and stretchy, as you may be able to see in my photos. I don’t really care about that – I may sew them up a little bit, or I may not. I’m fine with it as is, but if I could do it again I would use a different buttonhole.

Unlike the sweater in the magazine, mine does not have a ton of extra fabric under the arms – there is a little, but not in a bad way. I think that’s because I chose to have negative ease – about one inch. Postive ease, due to the way the sweater is constructed, is going to probably give a lot of extra stuff under the arms.

I love this sweater for my body type – I am short waisted but have a long torso. For the record, the ribbing is hitting near my natural waist – only the top part is on my rib cage. I love empire waists because they are very flattering on me, but if I were longer waisted I would probably choose to make the ribbing happen closer to my waist.

The yarn was nice, but it wasn’t my favorite ever. It contained a lot of vegetable matter, and was a little harsh/dry to knit with. I could not really feel the wool content, to me it was like a slightly tweedy cotton. It was impossible to sew with (kept breaking) so half the sweater is seamed with a different yarn. I love the tweedy appearance, but I would most likely not use it again.

In the grand tradition of having cats appear in my FO posts, I would like to present the newest member of our kitty family, Sarah Jane.

She was found hiding near the expressway by a friend, nearly starved to death without any claws (even in the back.) She weighed only 6 pounds when we took her to the vet. She was clearly someone’s pet – in addition to the lack of claws she’s the sweetest kitty ever – her favorite place to sleep is curled up on top of my chest. We could not find her owner after an effort, and she is not microchipped, so now I suppose she’s ours! The vet says she’s somewhere between 2 and 7, it may become more clear when she gains some weight and her fur starts to look nicer – we gave her a bath, but starvation and living outside are not nice to kitties.

Bonus points if you guess where we got her name!

On fire!

19 Mar

Thanks to a bit of a throat infection, I’m staying home.  I stayed at home yesterday too, except for an outing to an unavoidable rehearsal.  I’m hoping to make it through holy week with my voice intact, so while I know most people would ignore a little infection, I’m super paranoid.  The result of my super paranoia?  A whole ton of knitting time!  I’m finished with the back of the flutter sleeved cardigan, and I’m 3/4 of the way through the first front.  I love this pattern – the use of short rows for shaping on the fronts is so clever and pretty.  I really hope it looks good on me!

 

After my period of knitting ennui, I’m really thrilled to have found some exciting projects once again.  After I finish this sweater I will finish up Joy.  Thanks for the advice on the seaming – I’m going to try your suggestions and see what I like the best for the armholes.

I’ve got the yarn all wound up for the Shetland Triangle shawl, but I’m waiting until I finish a thing or two before I start – I don’t want my attention to get too fragmented.  Even so, here is yet another photo of the yarn (I can’t help it, I’m so in love!)

It’s looking likely that we’re going to be in Chicago during my spring break (we follow the public school schedule.)  Marc has a training seminar for his new job, and I want to get out of town after the Easter stress – after all, with Easter being so early this year I haven’t really had a break since sometime last fall.  I have no idea what we will do there (or more specifically, what I will do while he is training) but it’s always nice to travel I think – I really wish my job allowed for more opportunities to travel, but if I miss any weekends I have to hire substitutes for myself, which is sometimes more trouble that it’s worth. 

I was hoping we would be settled in a house by now, so that we could plan an international trip, but that will have to wait until later I suppose.

I hope you’re all having luck with your needles and hooks this week!

Oopsie

16 Mar

I always feel a little sad when I don’t have a sweater on the needles.  To combat this, I decided to cast on for the flutter sleeved cardigan from the current Interweave.  I’m using O-Wool Balance in Lapis.

Shortly after I took the photo I measured the sweater, and found that although I am making up my own size 32 sweater (I’m sorry, 36 is not a small) it was coming out too large.  I was frustrated because I swatched.  I always swatch, yet I have been plagued by gauge problems lately.  I was using size 6 needles, so I went down to 5s and swatched… and the gauge was dead on.  Then I started thinking… you know my ill fated hexacomb cardi, the first one where I blamed the pattern for my gauge problems?  It was swatched at the same time as this yarn a few weeks ago, both on size “6″ needles.  Um… I went back and checked on a few other yarns, and those weren’t size 6 needles I swatched on.  They were 5s.  Oopsie.  Actually, it’s quite a relief to realize that I haven’t miraculously started knitting tighter lately.  I was getting really discouraged about my inability to get sweaters started well, but now it’s all better!

I’ve cast on again using smaller needles, and all is well.  The O-wool balance knits up beautifully, but be forewarned that it contains a ton of vegetable matter.  We’re talking almost Noro level here.  I don’t mind so much, but it’s something to realize.

I have a photo of joy, over 50% complete!  I only have 1 front and one of those tiny sleeves remaining. 

The pattern has been nice in general.  I don’t like the way the collar is coming out, and I’m not sure about my seaming… I left the ends out so I can take this apart and try again.  I used whip stitch for the body, and that worked great (this is what my comfi cardi called for, and unlike in knitted pieces the whip stitching is invisible.)  I used mattress stitch for the shoulder and sleeve, but I’m not thrilled with is.  The pattern recommends back stitch, which I don’t know how to do, but I may try to learn in oder to fix it.  Does anyone have a suggestion?   I think this will be a cute sweater when it’s done!

I’ve been in kind of a funk lately… Marc was gone all week to a conference, though he’s back now, and we’re almost to Easter, so I won’t have any days off for a week.  Last year I played all the Easter masses, but this year I will sing them.  That means I won’t have to save my wrists for all the extra work, so I’ll be able to get in some good stress knitting!

Forget what I said…

12 Mar

 

I started the Shetland Triangle last night, using the Wollmeise yarn, and well… I love the pattern.  Absolutely, very lovely and intuitive.  What I don’t like is the way it looks in the yarn.  Unlike some sock yarns, Wollmeise is pretty hard, and without any spring to speak of.  I’m just not enjoying working with it in lace, nor do I think I will enjoy wearing the result.  That’s ok – I found a pattern I love, so I can deal with a restart in a new yarn!

There are a number of Shetland triangle shawls on Ravelry done in a worsted weight yarn, and I really like the way they look, so I’m going to restart mine using Handmaiden Silk Maiden in Peridot.

Pretty, yes?  I seem to be developing something of a problem with Fleece Artist/Handmaiden yarns.  I cannot resist the beautiful colors, even when I secretly think they’re overpriced!  Ah well… small price for happiness, and as long as I’m not using them for sweater coats or something the cost per project isn’t insane.  I own 4 different wool/silk blends from the company, and I don’t regret a single one – they are all simply some of the loveliest yarns I have touched!  Now all I have to do is start using them up – I have two Ilga Leja designs ready to go (Manon in Lady Godiva and Lady of the Woods in Woolie Silk 3-ply) as well as the yarn above.  And I wonder if I could get Tuscany from “No sheep for you” out of 1 skein of Mini Maiden?  It’s roughly the same gauge as sea silk, but the yardage is better, so I suspect that I could.  Lots of people on ravelry have used 1.3 skeins of sea silk.  If I have to leave off a repeat it can just be more scarflike or something.  I’m a smaller person, so I don’t need big shawls anyway.

  

I hope you have enjoyed your yarn loveliness of the day!

What next?

11 Mar

Sometimes I have a really hard time deciding on a project.  Right now I’m working on Joy and Babette, but I need a knit project too… crochet is much harder on my hands, and I do much better if I switch back and forth between the two crafts.  The problem is that neither I nor the weather can decide what season it is.  Plus, although I have tried to start several sweaters (the two I recently showed here) I have been blocked by my mind’s refusal to let me do lots of stockinette.  It’s funny, because I usually love stockinette, but I think I’m being haunted by my last two unfinished sweaters.  I need a break.  So I’ve decided to try something new… my first real lace project!

 

The yarn is Kürbis in the dark colorway by Wollmeise.  The color is closer in the 2nd photo.  Kürbis means pumpkin (I think) but this yarn is closer to the color of flames.  It’s so beautiful, and I’ve been stymied by what to use it for since I bought it – too pretty for socks, but what else to make?  I’m going to make the Shetland Triangle shawl (thanks to the several commenters who suggested it for me!)  Above is a copy I made at the library of the pattern, but I’m going to go this afternoon and buy the book – this will be the 2nd pattern I have made from Wrap Style, and my personal rule is that if I make more than one I have to buy the book, rather than using the library.  Plus, I think I might like to make a few of the other designs, so it will be good to own!  While I’m there I’m going to pick up Mason Dixon too, as I’m planning to make a piano bench cover of my own.

Wish me luck as I attempt my first all lace pattern since I made branching out in 2006!

I have also finished the back and 1 sleeve on Joy, and it’s moving along nicely.  The bodice pattern is a little mind numbing, but I think it should fit.  The sleeves are tiny, but they seem to fit around my arms!  Hopefully this one isn’t going to drag on forever.

Yup, still winter

9 Mar

Indeed.  11 inches of snow fell here from Friday – Saturday, although we only got 7 inches on the ground (don’t ask me how that works!)  I got my first snow day in about 4 years, as I decided I wasn’t going to forge a path to church for mass on Saturday night.  Fortunately, today the temp is up above 40, so it’s melting pretty rapidly.  Snow in March is a sad thing indeed.

In defiance of the snow, I’m planning to start this top. 

I’m trying to decide whether to do reverse stockinette or not.  I’ve already swatched, so maybe I will start tonight!

I also made great progress on Joy – the back piece is nearly finished!

My gauge in the lace pattern is smaller than in the top patter, so it actually has a tad bit of unintentional shaping, which I think will work out.  I’m getting a 32″ bust size using the smallest numbers with a C hook.  I’m quite enjoying this very much, and plan to knit to pattern except for possibly the flower… I may leave that off.

I’ve started the Babette blanket and completed 5 squares (hey, they’re all big squares!)

I love the colors of these three squares.  I also crocheted the center 12 round square, but I’m not happy with it.  I don’t care for the orange color, so I’m going to rip part of that square and use one of my 3 extra colors, below.

 

(the two blue skeins to the far right under the green are not part of babette, they’re just hanging out with my wound yarn!)

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