Archive | April, 2009

Decision made

25 Apr

The consensus was for either Jasmine or Blithe, and it was pretty evenly split.  I decided on Blithe, because it looks a little more interesting to knit.

I’m using 4-ply cotton, a yarn which I am unbelievably sad has been discontinued.   I do not consider either the new Milk cotton (too limp) or siena (slightly heavier and shiny) to be real subs for this – the only 4-ply matte cotton I have found that I like.  I like Siena too, but I can’t get 4-ply gauge with it.  I love this color too, which is slightly lighter and grayer than it looks here.   I had trouble getting an accurate photo – perhaps the blinginess of my nailpolish is distracting my camera!  I am inordinately proud of my nails right now… my entire life I had have a bad OCD habit of picking at my cuticles until they bled.  A few months ago I decided I wanted to stop, but it was so hard… until I realized that keeping my nails painted all the time prevents me from doing it, because it messes up the polish.  So now I polish them a few times a week, and I’m not longer embarrased by my hands!  I can’t have long nails because of piano of course, but one of the advantages of having giant  hands is that even short nails tend to look pretty long.

Still not quite right, but closer.  I can’t wait to get started!

We are in the midst of Kentucky Derby season here, and my neighborhood is insane – all the crazies are out, and I am hibernating (I did go to the neighborhood art fair this afternoon, and that was super fun, though the weather was really hot.)  I can also share with you all that I am trying to build up my teaching studio, in the hope of teaching full time by fall.  I auditioned for the Opera chorus this week, and I’m hoping the be in the chorus for La Traviata this fall, which I also think would be something super fun to do.  So overall – things are looking much brighter than they did a few weeks ago, and I have things to look forward to – spending next weekend with my Mom (an outlet mall trip, and then landscaping my back yard) and our trip to Wisconsin in a month to meet our new niece (her name is Sarah, and I haven’t knit anything for her yet, believe it or not – I am stuck on what to make!)

Thanks for sticking by me through my depression – I hope you are all right, and that the changes turn out to be a good thing!

What’s coming up?

23 Apr

Thanks for the kind words on my sweater – it is not such a tragedy, I don’t think!  I’m trying to figure out what I want to knit next.  One of my goals this year has been to not stash sweater yarn, because then I have to use it up, with occasionally bad results when I try too hard to make it work.  I’m doing pretty well – I have some wools still, but most of my cottons have been cleared out, so anything I make just about needs yarn (um… darn.)

First, the sweaters in my queue I do have yarn for:

Actually, I only have yarn for either Jasmine or Blithe (2nd and 3rd photos) and I can’t decide which one I like more (and which will look nice in purple.)  I bought yarn for dawn (1st sweater) and then got frustrated swatching the stitch pattern, but I’m willing to give it another try.  The last two sweaters are from a Classic elite book that I don’t own, but I’m planning to buy it.  I think the first might be nice in silky wool, since I still have several colors of that, and I consider it an all season yarn – I don’t find it warm.  I admittedly would have to buy yarn for the other, but I’m still not 100% on getting the book… I don’t think I can find it locally so I would have to order it (there aren’t any local stores that sell Classic elite are there?)

I’m also feeling a real crochet urge, and planning to purchase Blueprint Crochet, which I didn’t get when it came out because I wasn’t in a summery mood, and to me crochet it for warm weather.


Cute, right?  And the yarn it calls for is discontinued, and therefore really cheap!  I want to make the capelet on the right (from Interweave crochet) really badly, but I keep reminding myself that I will feel self-conscious in it and never wear it out… I never wear my other capelet, even though I loved making it and think it’s beautiful.

Even more Kim Hargreaves designs I haven’t gotten to yet… Sunlit (1st) is beautiful on Ravelry, but totally forgettable modeled here.  I want to use a soft cotton, but probably not the purelife organic called for in the pattern (I don’t care for the  colors, and it is too much for me to pay for cotton.)   I think I want to make Frankie (the boyfriend cardigan) out of a soft merino, so I’m saving it for fall.  Wispy (on the right) is one I have wanted to make since the kit came out, but I dislike Summer Tweed intensely, yet cannot find a reasonable sub.  I’m thinking of using Classic Elite Classic Silk, which I have used before – it has a similar nubby texture and silk content, and can knit up at the pattern gauge – plus it won’t kill my hands, as trying to get 18 st/4 in out of summer tweed would.

Finally, there are my two must knits from the upcoming IK… Laura’s cardigan and Connie’s design.

But I’m going to be rather boring and probably stick to the called for yarns (I would change the color of the 2nd… Blue sky skinny cotton comes in a  pretty blue green I’ve been dying to use.)

So what to make?  I am seriously totally puzzled on this one.  I’m not feeling so well either (I have terrible allergies and I have singing to do tomorrow) so I can’t make a decision… maybe tomorrow!

FO: Soap Bubble wrap

22 Apr

Pattern: Soap Bubble Wrap by Connie Chang Chinchio, Interweave Knits Spring 09

Yarn: Lion Brand studio Cotton Bamboo in Cherry Blossom, about 5 skeins

Needles: US 6?  I can’t remember, I started so long ago!

Notes: So… it’s probably a bad sign when I choose the detail shot for the first picture.  But I love that lace pattern, which was lots of fun to do, and not bad at all in spite of all the charts (1 for each front and 2 for the back.)  I really enjoyed the yarn as well, and would recommend it without hesitation.  It behaves more like a cotton than a bamboo, with a nice dry hand, but the bamboo gives it some drape without becoming too stretchy.   The pattern was really well written – I was always clear on what to do, as I always am in Connie’s patterns.  Sadly, we have some operator error here.

sorry for my windblown hair!

The problem?  It’s too big.  I made the 2nd smallest size at a tighter gauge than the pattern called for, and I got the size I was aiming for – about a 35″ bust.  I was hoping it would be nice and drapey without being like a bathrobe.  The fronts can easily wrap too far around me, and they don’t stay where I put them because they are wider than I am.  But that’s ok… really the problem with me and positive ease is that I have very tiny shoulders, and larger sizes tend to slide off.  The photo below (which I didn’t bother to color correct like the others) gives a more accurate view of how large the shoulders are for me.

I think I could have knit less length on the back collar and maybe that would have helped a little, but I don’t think that’s causing the problem.   The problem is that I don’t fit into grown-up sizes sometimes – I hate to shop because I am always consigned to shopping in the juniors department, as the continual upsizing of clothing sizes has sized me out of some misses brands entirely.  Every 6 months or so I forget this fact, and think I wear a bigger size than I do, and wind up with a too large sweater (my Nantucket Jacket shares a similar problem – the shoulders are enormous on me and continuously slide down.)

Note how I am standing, with one hand on my hip, slightly at an angle.  That’s because if I put that arm down normally the shoulder of the sweater will fall off.  It’s also not as flattering from straight on.  Let this be a lesson to you all about how models stand in knitting magazines (I’m not talking about this pattern – interweave is pretty good about getting different angles – but I’m looking at you, Vogue Knitting!)  I think it looks really good in this photo, but it doesn’t stay in real life.  I’m thinking of getting a wide belt obi style belt and belting it that way – I think that would hold it in place better than the knitted tie.  It might also make me feel better about how high waisted I am – in some of the photos my husband took, like the one above where I’m seated, I appear to be belting my sweater right under my boobage, but I am not.  That’s where my waist actually is.  I actually went looking for a belt today, but walked away empty handed after convincing myself that I was not trendy enough to pull that off.

I would totally recommend the pattern – I think this would be so cute on someone with more curves than I have (read: any *sigh*)  I wouldn’t recommend going for too much positive ease if you have narrow shoulders relative to your waist – since this is a dolman style it’s going to fit looser up there anyway.  I would also slip the first stitch of each RS row of garter stitch edging – I didn’t (except on the tie) and wish I had.  The pattern calls for doing your seam edges in garter stitch, which I personally find harder to sew up than keeping the selvedge in stockinette, but of course YMMV – I know people who prefer both!  I thought about grafting the top seam of the sleeves rather than doing a 3 needle bind off. I didn’t, because I was worried about stretching.

Right now I don’t think I’ll wear it much because of the falling shoulders, but I’m not giving up – I’m going to definitely try it out with a belt.  I’m not even upset that I made it too big, because I’m so happy that my knitting mojo is back again.  I’ve come up with a plan that I’m now working on for the future, and suddenly I want to knit instead of sit around and worry all the time!

Summer previews already

18 Apr

It doesn’t seem as though Summer will be here fairly soon, since I don’t think we’ve actually had any spring yet (today was nice though!)  So I was surprised when I saw previews for the new issues of Knit.1 and Interweave Knits.

Knit.1 seems to be taking a nice new path – you know, one where I actually would like to knit from their patterns.  I haven’t yet bought the spring/summer Vogue, and I’m not sure I’m going to – there just isn’t anything I see myself making.  One of the stories is knit in white tones too, and I have to tell you that nothing makes me ignore patterns faster than being knit in white.  I don’t know why… I think it’s too hard to make out details and I’m not fond of white anyway.

Knit.1 has some really cute sweaters this time.

I especially love that cardigan – no surprise, right?  But I’m kind of digging short sleeve turtlenecks right now too.  This issue also has some nice socks (hard to see in the preview) and some home items.

The new Interweave looks to be an issue that will divide people (but really, what issue isn’t?)  I like it loads better than last summer’s issue, even if every pattern isn’t for me.

These two are my favorite – Laura’s cardigan by Annie Modesitt and Ribbons and Lace by Connie Chang Chinchio.  Both are knit from yarns I love (Brown sheep cotton fine and Blue Sky skinny cotton.)  And they are cardigans that don’t look exactly like something I would buy at the store.  I want to make Laura’s cardigan in those colors – how gorgeous is the combo?  I’ve never knit an Annie Modesitt pattern, in spite of owning one of her books, but this is calling my name.

I will say that sizing on some of the sweaters puzzles me… I am no fan of positive ease, but I can understand it for certain styles.  But why does the Stanwyck sweater have a 40 1/4 inch bust as a small?

I wonder if that takes into account the lacing or ribbing or what… because anything with 7″ of ease is going to fall off me, but I think this model is about my size based on her other photos.  I don’t know if I would make this anyway – I like the vintage style, but sometimes sweaters with high ribbing like that aren’t flattering on me.   I will have to wait and see!

I love the Akomeogi Tunic, but I do wonder whether it is something I could pull off.  The elemental Boatneck (right) is a great basic with a twist.  It is knit in linen stitch, which is not a favorite of mine, but I really like the easy style.

Thanks!

16 Apr

Thanks so much to everyone who responded to my job woes with well wishes and stories of their own.  It really helped me out of my sadness a little bit.  I am angry, but I feel that’s healthy too right now.  I am trying to think about the future, and about what I want from life.   I have been neglecting some of the things in my life that I love, and that isn’t what I want… I’m just not certain how to fix things.  I hate working so many jobs, even though the hours aren’t terrible.   I want to rearrange my schedule so that I have less hopping around from job to job on the same day.  Hopefully the coming months will seem brighter!

I have managed to knit some more… but I’m still on the endless sleeve rows of the cardigan.

It takes about 12 minutes to do one row right now, but it’s getting there!  The size is about a 35″ bust, and I hope that’s enough ease for this sweater style.

Thank you all again… you don’t know how all the comments and stories helped me out!

What’s going on with me

14 Apr

Yesterday I went to put on my Millifiore cardigan before I did my makeup.  While doing my makeup, foundation managed to squirt all over the sweater (the nozzle was clogged apparently.)  I tried everything I knew to get it out, but it would appear that it has stained.

I know it’s hard to see in this picture – my camera has washed out the contrast, but trust me when I say there is a line of beigey yellow running from the arrow down to the 3rd button, as well as furthur down the button band (it was a really bad squirting accident.)  I’m really upset because this was such a recently finished sweater – I only got to wear it maybe three times, and it represents nearly a month of work.

Also today: I found out that I am being cut from full to part time at my main job.  It’s not completely unexpected, but it has thrown me into a really upset state… I know, at least I still have a job, but I am really terrified of changes sometimes.  And I do have another job, and hopefully I will be able to take on more students now.   I’m trying to tell myself that perhaps this will be a blessing, as it will free me up to work on the things I really love.  Lately I’ve been so stressed out, in large part over this job, and so worried about being cut, that I’ve barely even been able to knit.  And I love knitting, so you know how bad things must be.

I have been working on the soap bubble wrap, and I’m partway up the back.  I’m at the point of knitting the sleeves together with the back, and with that many stitches it is slow going – but after this piece I figure I am 3/4 finished, so that should motivate me.

I am very lucky at this time to have my husband, who tells me “We will manage, no matter what,” and uses his mathy skills to point out that I will easily make up the cut salary with the students I have taken on since last year.  He’s also taking me to lunch tomorrow after what promises to be a distressing meeting with my boss.

And I do have my kitties… sad though it may seem, nothing makes you feel better than seeing this while typing a blog entry about your troubles.

Sarah Jane is doing so well now… she’s getting along (or at least ignoring) the other cats, and her blood sugar levels are stable on just medication (no insulin.)  Every night she sleeps on my pillow, and every morning she wakes me up to let me know that she needs pets.

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter – I hope to get to feeling less depressed soon!

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