Blue Sky Cropped Cardigan

I’m kind of embarrassed to post this.  I swear, I do things other than sit around and knit (although admittedly I do that a lot!)  The cropped cardigan is finished.


My best attempt at copying the model photo

Pattern: Cropped Cardigan by Blue Sky Alpacas, size XS

Yarn: Frog Tree Alpaca Sport #12(charcoal), doubled

Needles: US 10.5 and 9

Notes: I think this would be a great beginner sweater.  Since it’s knit with doubled yarn on big needles, and since it has neither long sleeves nor a full length, it’s the fastest knit sweater I’ve ever made by far.  I swear, I wasn’t even trying to finish this thing!  It just sort of happened.   I followed the pattern exactly as written except for the needle sizes.  I was really nervous about making an alpaca sweater.  My verdict?  Not itchy.  It was slightly itchy, although not horribly so, before I washed and conditioned it, but now there’s no real itch factor.  I am not someone who is sensitive to such things anyway, so YMMV.  Apparently I don’t have a sensitive nose either, because while Marc could smell the “wet alpaca” smell during blocking, all I smelled was hair conditioner.  I wore it around for awhile to see if it would overheat me, but then I remembered – I’m the pianist at church who spends every homily in the bathroom trying to thaw out her fingers.  I have issues with the cold, so I’m not sure I can be overheated.  I loved knitting with the alpaca so much – it felt like butter sliding through my fingers.  I’m definitely going to be making another alpaca sweater soon!

The edges rolled before blocking, but they settled in pretty nicely.  I also like it with a pin.

 

This is a nice wardrobe basic for me.  I actually don’t have any other sweaters this color – I don’t buy black because of the cats, and I think this is a nice compromise.

Does anyone else have cats that go crazy over alpaca?  My cats are totally obsessed with it.  They want to smell it, and roll around in it, and I even think they would eat it given the chance.

Sahara

I promised pictures of Sahara today, and I deliver – even if it is snowing like mad!

 

This one says “The neighbors just came out, and they clearly think we’ve gone mad.”

Ok, the stats

Pattern: Sahara, from Stitch diva

Size: Small

Yarn: Cascade Pima Silk

Needles: US Sizes 6 and 4

Notes: This one blocked out a bit nicer than I thought.  The yarn is really gorgeous, and I would definitely use it again.  I love the color.  The hem in the front wants to pull up a bit because of the neckline, so I’m still considering redoing the hemline on smaller needles.. . although probably I’m going to leave it alone.  I think the neckline is definitely the best feature.  I really wish I could wear it without a tank underneath, but I don’t like seeing my bra through the lace (even a flesh toned bra) so I don’t think that will work.  I’m not that big on layering, I always feel lumpy.

My only real modification was the sleeves, which I made elbow length to cover up the too big armholes.  I think I like them better that length anyway.

I’m going to call this sweater a success overall – it’s cute, and did I mention I love the color?  I think I’ll wear it to work tonight and see if anyone accuses me of making it myself.  Hee.

Moving on, the cropped cardigan will be done in the next day or two.  This is a really simple pattern, but so far I love the results (I’ve just finished the body.)  After that I’m going to make the Cable down raglan from the new Interweave.  I got my yarn today!

That’s the recommended yarn.  I love the color, which is a little more gray than it looks here.  I think I’m going to make the 31″ size.  The modeled size is 34, and I think it’s a little bit big for the model.  I hope that works out for me.  The yarn I bought is really lovely and soft, and I can see how the cables will look nice in it – the twist seems to be tighter than most merinos.  And it’s superwash, although I will not be machine washing any of my handknits ever.

I’m going to go back to my cardigan now!

Upcoming books…

I don’t usually get too excited about knitting books.  I have quite a few in my collection, but I find that I’m more likely to actually make something from an online pattern or a magazine.  But this book… I need it!

That’s right… it’s Mr. Funky’s Super Crochet Wonderful! What is that creature on the left – is it a hampster?  A mouse?  A gerbil?  Well, whatever it is, it’s wearing a purse, and I need to make one.

Of course, I was at Amazon repeatedly adding to my cart, and then removing, Stephanie Japel’s Fitted Knits.

When I first heard this book was coming out, I was not at all excited.  Other than the Simple Knitted Bodice (which I won’t be making because I fear the sizing issues,) her designs haven’t really appealed to me that much.   Too many bobbles etc thrown in there… I’m more of a simple girl.  But then I saw pictures of the projects, and now I must own it.  There’s a vest pattern I adore, and several really cute cardigan sweaters (the cardigan owns me!)  Plus, everything top down?  I’m all about that.

I’m interested in “No Sheep for you” and “Lace style” as well, but Amazon doesn’t have them in stock yet.    I think I’ll need to see them in person to decide if I “need them,” and besides, the library will no doubt get some copies, as they seem to buy tons of all the Interweave press books and magazines.

World’s fastest sweater

Yesterday afternoon I cast on for the Blue Sky Cropped Cardigan

It’s knit with sport weight yarn doubled on big needles (size 11, but I went down to 10.5 for a nicer fabric.)  I’m making the XS, which just looks ridiculously teeny here.  I’m trying to keep in mind that it has a low wide neckline and is not designed to meet in the front the way I’ve made it here (as a side note, you see how there’s only one end cap on my needles?  That’s because the cats are hoarding every single one somewhere, probably in the same place they lose all their catnip mice.  Give me back my stuff!) Ahem.  Anyway, I think I’ll take it off the needles and try it on now.  The Frog Tree alpaca is just yummy to work with.  After making a cotton/silk sweater, it’s so nice to play with some nice soft yarn.  The Pima silk was soft and all, but cotton always dries my hands out something fierce.

I’m trying to decide if I want to go buy some size 9 DPNs to do the ribbing on the sleeves.  I could magic loop them since they aren’t too long, but I do hate doing magic loop.  I’ll probably suck it up and ML it, since I’ve never before needed size 9 dpns, and I think it’s unlikely that I will start.

After this, my next project lined up will be the Cable Down Raglan from the new Interweave knits.  There’s already a KAL thread on craftster, and also a new KAL blog for knits from Interweave knits here.  I am totally all over that.  I always plan to knit things from the magazine but them forget about them.

I bought the recommended yarn for the cable down raglan (crazy, I know!) off of ebay yesterday.  I chose grape, which is a greyish lavender.

Picture from the ebay seller here.  They have a few other colors, and the price is fabulous.  I highly recommend their customer service – I had to call in my cc# since I hate paypal, and they were so nice about it!

I already got a shipping notice for the yarn (USPS, yay!) so it should be ready to start once I finish my quick cropped cardi.

Done!

Sahara is finished and blocking.

Two cats flew past me as I went into the dining room this morning.  I think I know why!

Two tiny kitty footprints.  They do love to nap on the sopping wet knitting!

My thoughts on Sahara at the end?  Meh.  I think I could have safely made the extra small, although mine is by no means huge (why do I always think I’m bigger than I am?)  The sleeves are big, and while I could have picked up fewer stitches, the problem is really that the armholes were too large, resulting in a drop shoulder look.  I am happy with the length of the sleeves.  They look short in the photo above, but they’re safely elbow length due to the long shoulders.

I may reknit the bottom hem on smaller needles, depending on how it comes out.   I was worried it would be tight, but it’s fine.

My neckline is doing something weird too.

See how it pulls up at the bottom?  That will not block out.  The collar in that back wants to stand up too.  I need to redo the sewing of the middle seam – I just kind of tacked it down, since I wasn’t sure exactly where I wanted it.  I will not wear this without a tank under it, because the way it falls you would see my bra through the lace, so I want the neck pretty low like this.

But I love the color.  And the yarn was really nice to work with.  My stitches looked uneven to me before blocking (my purls are always slightly looser than my knits because I knit continental) but with blocking that has completely disappeared.  And I will wear this sweater (hello, favorite color!)  I reserve final judgement until I try it on after blocking, as I find this usually makes a huge difference.  And if I’m not happy with it then, I can think of a few tweaks I can try (smaller needles on the hem, stretchier bind-off for the center lace panel.)

I’ll try for modeled shots this weekend!

Wedding crafts and the new IK

I am not a flower person.  I don’t particularly want anything in my house that’s going to die and leave dust everywhere, plus I’m allergic to lots of flowers.  But ever since I got engaged all I hear is “Oh, what colors will your flowers be?”  The problem is, I don’t want flowers, either to carry or decorate with, but I felt like I had to.  I had decided to just do some simple arrangements myself, but then I saw these:

Paper flower kits from Papersource.

I love these!  Some people over on Indiebride have used these.  They recommend getting one kit and then just buying paper for the rest.  After all, I’m crafty, right?  I’m already making all my own stationary products (save the dates, invites, programs, place cards etc) so why not go all the way?  I also want to make myself a shawl for the church.  I like the shawlette in the new Interweave Knits (which I finally got today!) because it looks easy to tie on, and because it isn’t massive (I have no patience for huge lace projects I think.)

My comments on the new Interweave layout?  I like it better.  I agree with the editor, the patterns will be much more usable in this format.  I don’t think it’s much like Vogue at all.  Most of the patterns are lovely (except the apron) and I even like some of the designs I passed earlier, like the bonsai tunic (although I don’t think it would look great on me.)  I am somewhat displeased with the big giant chart for the Swan Lake Cardigan.  I dislike charts intensely, although I do see the point here.  I hate reading backwards, and I hate it when the same symbol means different things on different rows.

I want to make the dollar and a half cardigan right now.  Patternworks is now showing the info for the Soft linen yarn here.   It isn’t in stock yet, but it does exist!   I have a lovely dark blue silk/wool blend that I would like to use up (Elann Highland silk), so I may swatch that.  I won’t be able to wear it in the summer, but lets be honest…. I won’t wear a long sleeved cardi in the summer anyway, and I’m cold all the way through May usually.  I love the cable down raglan still, but I’m not sure on a yarn for that.  It’s made in lovely merino, but I’m thinking a blend would be nicer and more versatile, especially with those lovely 3/4 length sleeves.  I’m even considering a cotton/acrylic blend.  Oh well, plenty of other patterns to try first.  I can’t wait to see some of these sweaters being made in blogland!

New yarn!

I ripped back the sleeves on sahara, and I’m really hoping I have enough yarn so that they don’t end up at a dorky length (at least elbow length.)

But I have new yarn to cheer me up! I did my best with photos, even if it is an incredibly gloomy day.

This is the Cascade 220 that I’ve chosen for my Nantucket jacket. It’s a little more brown than it looks here. My plan is to work the jacket off and on during the spring and summer, so that it will be ready for fall without being too stressful.

Charcoal frog tree alpaca to make the Blue Sky cropped cardigan. This is my test run for Alpaca. I’ve been terrified of making an alpaca sweater because of the itch factor, even though I’m not really at all sensitive to such things, and I’ve never found Alpaca scratchy. This should be a super quick knit, on big needles with doubled yarn, so we’ll see. I think this will be next after Sahara.

Jaeger Trinity in water, on closeout for a great price. This is a silk/cotton/nylon blend. I bought it for Zephystyle’s glee sweater, but we’ll see if that works. This one is cheating since I got it awhile ago, but I realized I had never taken proper photos of its crunchy loveliness! Amazing yardage – each of these balls has over 200 yards.

And just to show that I’m not totally living on neutral island, Cascade Pima tencel in Teal. This is a seriously intense color, and so soft! I love yarns with Tencel, even if they do tend to be a bit sheddy. I want this to be a sizzle tank. I had some red yarn stashed for that knit, but with my hair being what it is now the red was clashing. I think this yarn has enough sizzle!

My current insane knitting pace (and some destashing) has led to me being short on yarn for sweaters. There was a question about my pace in the comments. I think it’s a combo of knitting small sweaters with my lack of a stressful work situation. Since I work in the evenings I have all day to knit, and I do. I also knit a lot of things with acres of stockinette stitch, and I am pretty quick with that. I also knit continental style, which is much faster for me. And I have a Netflix subscription, which leads to a compulsive need to watch 4 Star trek episodes at a time.

I also think that since I work with my hands for a living as a pianist, my fingers are pretty good at moving really quickly. I’m in a knitting period… eventually that will slow down, and I’ll go back to turning out a sock every few weeks.