Archive | October, 2008

Double FO: One Row Scarf & Calorimetry

31 Oct

Pattern: One Row Scarf by the Yarn Harlot

Yarn:Malabrigo Merino in Paris Nights, 1.3 skeins

Needles: US 8

Notes: Rarely do I repeat a pattern – I have far too much in my queue to feel the need for any repeats!  This is the second scarf I have made from this pattern, and it is officially my favorite.  I cast on one repeat more than the pattern called for, and I knit to around 5 feet long  – long enough to double up,but not too long to wear under shorter coats.  I do find that the pattern makes my fingers tired, but it makes up for that by being really quick once you get started.  The yarn (of course) is super yummy, and if I could manage I would knit only with Malabrigo in the future!

Pattern: Calorimetry

Yarn: Leftover Malabrigo from my one row scarf

Needle: US 6

Notes: Now I’m not the only one who hasn’t made one!  I made significant mods.  I cast on 92 stitches and repeated row five 10 times.  It fits my large head perfectly!  It’s surprisingly warm, and I can’t believe I finally have a matched set – I usually clash horribly all winter!

Actual color is somewhere in between the two here – less purple than the last photo, but lighter than the two above.

I hope everyone is having a happy halloween – we just handed out candy for the first time here, and I talked to a few parents in the neighborhood about piano lessons for their children.  Pirates seemed the most popular costume.  I’m sad that my perennial childhood costume, the hobo, seems to have died off.  Every year I wore my Mom’s army jacket and carried a bundle tied to a stick.  It wasn’t imaginitive, but it didn’t involve sewing!

We were invited to a party, but I’m thinking we’re going to skip out – Marc has to leave town tomorrow, and I’m tired today after a meeting last night that lasted til nearly 10 pm.  Ah well… many halloweens to come!

FO: Petersburg (sort of)

28 Oct

Pattern: Petersburg from Rowan 42 by Sarah Hatton

Yarn: Elann Highland Chunky, 9 balls

Needles: US 10.5 and US 9

Notes: I’m not sure when modeled shots will happen, so I’m going to go ahead with the FO post, but I promise modeled shots as soon as I can!

I made an exciting discovery with this sweater.  I can’t find one of my size 10.5 needle tips, so I tried using one 10.5 and one US 10.  I tend to have significant problems with rowing out (ie my purl rows being looser,) especially with a chunky yarn.  I tried combination knitting, but it made me crazy.  By knitting with the smaller needle for the purl rows my tension is nearly perfect!  Look at the sweater – even the wrong side of the stockinette you can see there looks super even!  I can’t believe I never thought of that idea before.  If you (like me) are a continental knitter with tension issues, give this a try.  I’m going to try this again in the future.

I knit this sweater to patterns specs with no modifications.  A few things to know:  because of the strange method of attaching the belt the sweater is several inches larger than it might be otherwise.  You could make the sweater using belt loops instead, but I would size down if you do.

I enjoyed using this yarn a great deal (as I have previously said.)  It’s nice and soft, with a slight halo.  The sweater is comfy, but perhaps not the most useful thing.  Maybe I just don’t get vests, but I’m not sure how it’s supposed to keep me warm… my arms are the cold part!

I actually finished the sweater a few days ago, but it takes forever for chunky yarns to dry.  In the meantime, I’ve cast on for both the sweaters I posted about in the last post.

Baby Cables was easy to cast on and set up (but be ready for two sets of markers!)  Garter stitch is always weird in the round because you have to purl, but I’m enjoying the cables so far (and the yarn – Sylvan Spirit isn’t the softest, but it is so beautiful!)

I also cast on for the Silken Scabbard with my Silky merino.  I knit for a bit before deciding that the yarn was wrong for the project.  I had trouble getting gauge, and I fear it would be too loose, and in addition it seemed like it would stretch out.  I want something more comfy for my sweater.

I decided to use the Laine du Nord Giunco I have in stash instead (see the stitch markers on Baby Cables above for the true yarn color – a lovely electric blue.)

I had trouble with the provisional cast on.  I usually use the crochet cast on, but in this case it seemed too bulky and I was having trouble with the cables so close to the cast on.  I went looking for a new way to do it, and I found the long tail provisional method (PDF file in the link.)  What a great method – so easy to do, and not bulky  at all!

My provisional cast on, let me show you it!

Now we will see how I do with these sweaters.  I am not a huge fan of top down you know, but both of these sweaters are lovely and modern, and I can’t wait to wear them!

Oh my aching queue!

25 Oct

Dear designers,

Please stop releasing pretty patterns long enough for me to catch up  My fingers are sore!

Thanks,
Jessica

Ok, just kidding… keep releasing them and I will queue away happily!  This week has seen the release of Amber, the new book from Kim Hargreaves.  I, of course, bought it right away – I have made more of her patterns than any other designer.

There are a few repeated patterns (for instance, if you liked my “Honey,” it’s here resized for Cashsoft Chunky) but most of the patterns are new to her books – some come from previous winter collections, and some are new patterns all together.  What do I want to knit?

It is sad, truly… and this is the edited down list.  Apparently I’m a sucker for the whole “english countryside” thing.  The first sweater up there is just gorgeous, but it’s knit in cashsoft chunky, and you don’t even want to know how much that would cost (or the weight of the thing, probably…)  The second sweater (Ginny) is in felted tweed, easily subbed with Silky Wool, which I have in a nice mossy green color.  The wrap is knit in the new Colourscape chunky, which I might want to try (or I might sub Silk Garden chunky, depending if I can find a good price.)  The scarf is knit in kidsilk haze, which I have never knit with, and I think it’s time to give it a try.

The sexy knitters club on Ravelry has chosen two patterns that I would like to make this time around (I haven’t participated in ages, because they kept choosing things I had already knit.)

Baby Cables and Big ones too, in Green Mountain Spinnery Sylvan spirit (I am slightly short in yardage, but it won’t break my heart to have to buy another skein.)

The Silken Scabbard in Malabrigo Silky Merino.  I love this sweater, and this may be my motivation to actually start it!  I never seem to make pullovers, but I think I should try more.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to buy these patterns yet(well, I have the silken scabbard, but I like the first pattern more,) since my paypal account is sort of broken.  I have a long history of hating paypal very much, but this is really annoying.  They insist that my account was compromised and are making me verify my identity in a million ways, including by phone.  But we don’t have a land line, and they won’t use a cell, meaning I have to wait for a letter… so annoying.

It had better get fixed before the Twist collective comes out in a week.  They aren’t doing as many previews this time, but I’m in love with this one already:

This is Knitscot by Norah Gaughan.  I know, I said never again, but this is a shape that is reliable on my body, and it looks like it won’t need resizing (although the sleeves look a little big.)  I can’t wait for the rest of the issue to come out, even though I haven’t made Linden from the last one yet (I had a yarn choice crisis, followed by a sizing crisis, so it’s on hold.)

Finally, check out the preview of the new Knotions, coming out in a week and a half also.  Lots of great looking patterns that are free(!)  I’m looking to see what Swing Swing looks like, because I have that exact amount and color of Colrain in my stash.  There are also some great accessory pattens (check out the isotope hat, I like the cables and the yarn it’s knit in (Cash Vero, very nice yarn.)

If you’ve read this far, I’ll give an update on my WIP.  Petersburg is getting there.  I’m halfway through the 2nd front, and it should be done tonight.  This is actually a quick knit with the chunky yarn, even with the cables.

I can’t wait to wear this one – the weather is just perfect for a vest right now!

First mitten!

21 Oct

My first mitten is complete!  I had to add a pattern repeat to the hand, but I left the thumb as written – it was short and tight before blocking, but it fits well enough now (I have really, um, muscular thumbs, so I have problems in every pair of mittens or gloves.)

Sarah Jane says that she’s going to start charging me for these photos (and for getting pet with damp mittens!)

The wrist is too big, but that is inevitable for me.  I could cast on fewer stitches for the ribbing, something to consider if you have teeny wrists like me.  This mitten took a long time, but that’s because I get wrist pain knitting with my right hand and have to take frequent breaks.

I got a start on Petersburg, and so far I am loving it (I am up past the belt holes now.)    I didn’t get this yarn color in the skein at all, but I love how it looks knit up (the color above is more accurate than my previous photo.)  My guage also loosened up, allowing me to knit the size small for about a 34.5″ finished bust (I want a slight bit of ease, but not too much.)  I’m not adding length because of my short waist, but I can see where it is a short vest and you might want to.

I love this yarn (Elann Peruvian Highland Chunky.)  It’s a soft two ply yarn, which knits up easily to 15 st/4 in.  It’s drapey yet sturdy feeling.  I will certainly use it again – I am already plotting what I will make in it next.

This is the ski jacket from Veronik Avery’s Knitting Classic Style. I have yet to make anything from this book, but I have really been considering this knit – I would love a classic ski jacket, and I have never cut a steek!  It calls for Lopi, but I hate Lopi  (sooo scratchy, I don’t care how well it wears.)  I like that it has color around the yoke but not over the whole sweater.  It would work well in this yarn, so maybe this will be part of my November yarn budget.  I might change the main color… it depends on the red for me.

Getting ready for the cold

19 Oct

This morning it was cold enough to wear a coat (though it had warmed up by noon.)  Every year at this time I seem to go through an accessory period.  First of all, I’ve started some mittens.

These are the Herringbone mittens (PDF file link.)  The colors are actually more subtle – the purple is a heathered lavender, not electric purple… silly camera.  I’m using lamb’s pride worsted for the contrast color and cascade 220 for the main color.  I love lamb’s pride, while I wouldn’t want a scarf from it, I think it’s a lovely mitten yarn.  So soft and fuzzy!

Other accessory projects in my queue:

Gretel, knit in Moda Dea Silk n wool left over from my chanson en crochet.

Squirrely Swedish Mittens – in knitpicks sock yarn.  So cute!

Silk Garden Beanie – because I have one lonely skein to use up!

Maine Morning Mitts – Because I need short fingerless gloves, all mine are long.

La Gran Mittens – because they look fluffy and wonderful!  I want to make mine striped.

Grace Lace Beret – I have lots of this yarn.

Instant Gratification Scarf - in manos?  I have an extra skein of the one I made Gem with…. I also might get some malabrigo aquarella.

Scrappy lengthwise scarf – because I have a lot of leftovers.

Luxe neck warmer – because I bought the coat below, and now I need something to fit inside the neck when it gets cold.

Finally, I’ve swatched for a new knit, peterson from Rowan 42 in Elann Highland chunky.

The photo from the mag is awful (what is up with the styling?) so I never would have given it a second thought without ravelry!  Go here to see it looking pretty.

I was not able to get 14 st/ 4 in, so I’m knitting a larger size – that’s ok, since I have 1300 yards of this yarn.  No chance I will run out.  The color I’m unsure of – is it teal?  Purple?  Turple?  I think it will work for a vest, and I really want to use up stash right now.  Guess I’ll try it and see!

FO: Robin

18 Oct

Pattern: Robin, from Thrown Together by Kim Hargreaves

Yarn: Knitpicks Gloss in Dusk, slightly over one skein MC, Mondial Extra fine for the pom.

Needles: US 0 and 1

Notes: This little beret was a fun and quick knit (well, as much as anything in 4-ply yarn can ever be considered quick.)  The pattern was clear, with only one error (the final number of stitches to tie off doesn’t match up with what you have, but I just went with it.)

I am not traditionally a hat person.  In fact, I think it would be safe to say that before I started knitting I hadn’t worn a hat since childhood.  I was convinced they made me look like a giant conehead, but I think I’m mostly over that now.

The first concern with a hat like this is always “will it be too slouchy?”  I was a bit concerned with my yarn choice – I know from knitting thermal that Gloss grows insanely on blocking – and this hat did need blocking.  So I knit the hat to 8 st/in rather than the 7 st/in called for, and ended up after blocking with the correct size hat.  This pattern is knit flat, not a bad thing, but the purling got old… I might make it in the round if I made another.

The other question with this hat was “to pom pom or not to pom pom?”  Originally I said no… I didn’t want to look like I was wearing a funny golfing hat.  But the way the decreases pull the hat inward towards the crown, I thought it looked funny without one, like something was missing.  So I made a pom pom, my very first, and I am most proud of it.  It’s not too big, and not too funny looking I hope!

I would recommend this pattern to anyone – it was fun and made a hat that will not be too warm for fall.

Book Review: Glam Knits

15 Oct

Thank you for all the nice comments on my sweater – I’m going to wear it tonight to a debate party (go team Obama!)  I’m still working on my hat, which isn’t a quick knit, being in fingering weight, but I think it’s going to be cute!  I’m about to cast on for my next sweater, Ingenue from Custom Knits (as soon as I decide if my yarn is going to work or not.)

I have a book review for you today, but first you get to admire my new haircut/color.

The color is a little darker than usual (I wanted to be autumnal) and I have bangs!  I haven’t had them since the 7th grade, but I thought it was time to give my forehead a little break.  If I like them I will get even more cut next time.  It also has a lot more layers than normal.

Ok, bad photos of me over, on to my review!

I was about to place a knitpicks orders (I got a whole bunch of their DPNs) when I saw this book had gone into stock.  I loved her previous book, Fitted Knits, so I was really excited to see this one.

Initial thoughts?  Well, it is very different from her last book.  There are fewer raglans (although there are plenty.)  This book focuses on using luxurious yarns in your knitting, and uses such lovely fibers as Malabrigo, Silk Raphsody, and Cash Vero.

The book is basically divided by type of garment – pullover, dresses, cardigans, and accessories.  It should be noted that the dress section only contains one thing I would call a dress (the cover garment,) one skirt, and a few sweaters that I think are not long enough to be dresses… but perhaps that is just me.  One of them (below) is really cute, but I would wear it over pants or a skirt.

Sizing is not as great at the small end of the scale as it could be.  Fitted Knits had the same problem – plenty of sweaters that start at a 35 or 36″ bust.  This one has fewer sweaters that start there, but it is still a problem for a few garments, frustrating if you are considering making one.

Schematics are clear, and the instructions appear to be detailed.  I will confess to you that I bought this book primarily to get the pattern for the sweater Stefanie was wearing in her author photo for Fitted Knits, and it does not disappoint.

I will be getting yarn for this one immediately.  Smallest size is a 33″ bust, perfect for me.

I’m not sure how I feel about this book otherwise.  I think I will need to see some FOs – the highly stylized and posed way this book is styled is distracting for me, and makes it difficult to imagine the garments in real life.  The use of luxury fibers is nice, but it does make substitution a challenge sometimes.

I quite like the hoodie (knit in Malabrigo) I think, but again I find myself unable to visualize it outside of the book.  The kimono cardigan, knit in Lorna’s laces angel, looks pretty, but is hard to see.  Same with the others pictured below.  So, a mixed review at first impression, but I may revisit my thoughts later.

Items in my queue for now: the author sweater, the hoodie, and maybe the first sweater above (knit in Malabrigo aquarella,) but maybe I just like the yarn.

I suggest checking this one out for yourself!

FO: Lion neck cardigan

14 Oct

Pattern: Lion Neck Cardigan, from Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard

Yarn: RYC Soft Tweed in Mist, 7.5 balls

Needles: US 10.5

Notes: I didn’t really blog this sweater, but it was a really quick knit.  It’s knit in one piece from the top down, with the ruffle picked up and added on at the end.  This is the first sweater I’ve ever knit with bulky yarn, and I didn’t think the needle size was too bad.

What I didn’t enjoy: the yarn.  Seriously, I know why this stuff was discontinued.  I saw a comment on Ravelry that it’s like knitting with polar fleece, and I think that’s pretty accurate.  It’s firm and unyielding, with no real bounce.  It grows like mad in length after blocking.  It isn’t tweedy, no matter what the label says.  But I used up stash yarn, so in spite of the unpleasant knitting experience, it can’t be all bad!

Sizing for this pattern is strange.  It isn’t meant to close in the front, so the finished sizes are really tiny looking.  I knit the medium at a tighter gauge and probably got a size close to the small.  It is about 2 inches smaller than my bust size without the ruffles.   The sleeves are short, which surprised me – I’m usually fine with sleeves as written, but these could be a good 5 inches longer.    They are also tight,  and I have small arms, so keep that in small. The crocheted ties could be more sturdy, and I’m thinking of replacing them with icord.

Having said all that, for a bulky sweater this thing is really flattering.  My husband really loves the neck, and I agree – it is such a nice feature, though it was a pain to knit.  I would recommend this pattern, keeping in mind the problems that I have mentioned.  I am happy with mine, and will wear it often!

The antidote to all this bulk yarn?

A nice hat knit in fingering weight (gloss by knitpicks.)  Ah, tiny needles… how I love you!

Book Review: Custom Knits

8 Oct

I haven’t bought a lot of knitting books lately, but since I found so little to love in the newest IK I thought it might be time to add to my library.  Custom Knits is written by Wendy Bernard, author of the “Knit and Tonic” blog.  I have previously made three of her designs – fad classic, the not so shrunken cardi, and something red.

I was predisposed to like this book, but I have to admit that at first my feelings were mixed.  I am not always a big fan of top down or one piece sweaters.  I don’t like having so much on the needle at once, and feel the designs are necessarily limited.

Having said that, I love this book!  There are so many designs that I want to make.  The patterns are divided into sections – top down raglans, top down with set in sleeves, round yoke, and a chapter with a few other ways of knitting.  I have not, in the past, had great luck with set in sleeves on top down sweaters.  I have small shoulders and have found the cap to inevitibly end up looking rather like a drop shoulder.  But I’m willing to give it another try!

The size range in this book is great – every sweater comes small enough for me, and sizes extend up to (I believe) a 52″ bust.  Almost all the sweaters are presented with two options, and a little box telling you how to customize the sweater that way that you want it.  I found this information very useful.  The back of the book includes formulas for the types of sweaters in the book, so that you might design your own sweaters.

My only real criticism of the book is a superficial one… the styling.  Although I haven’t shown any of them, I swear to you that half the sweaters in the book are modeled without pants – sometimes swimsuits, sometimes underwear.  Seriously, who lounges around in a swimsuit and a wool sweater?  It just seems strange to me…

That’s minor though.  I love the book, and I have already started a sweater – the lion necked cardigan in RYC Soft tweed.  This is a strange yarn – it’s like knitting with strips of a blanket or something.  But I’m happy to use up stash yarn, and I hope it will work out.  The sizing looks teeny, because it isn’t supposed to close in the front.  I’m knitting a medium, but my gauge is a little small, so we will see where I end up.

FO: Minimalist Cardigan

7 Oct

Pattern:Minimalist Cardigan, Interweave Knits Fall 07

Yarn: Valley Yarns Colrain in Chestnut

Needles: US 5

Notes: This sweater is really easy to knit (if you don’t mind moss stitch that is…)  I enjoyed working with Colrain again (one of my favorites!) and the result is an easy going sweater that isn’t quite like anything else in my closet.

Either the biasing didn’t quite block out or I knit one front longer than the other.  Either way, I think it works with the sweater and isn’t a problem.  I kind of like assymetry anyway.

It was a quick knit, and I would recommend the pattern – just be aware that it does bias, and block before seaming.  If you use colrain, please remember that it does stretch.  I knit a 30″ back to get 32″ after blocking.

Overall I am pleased (especially with the color!)

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