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.

I need help!

Yes, I’ve been taking pictures of myself again.  Poor Marc is sick in bed, so I did my best.

I finished one of the sleeves on Sahara, and I am not pleased.

and closer…

It’s too big.  I saw a finished one on craftster with the same problem.  I think that the short row shaping doesn’t really allow for fitted sleeves.  I’m not going to leave it this way, since I know I would be unhappy.  This picture doesn’t really show the extent of the problem anyway… it’s actually larger than it looks here, and sort of stands out funny from the shoulder.(I have thin arms too, which aren’t helping matters.)

I have probably a little less than 2 balls of yarn remaining.  I’ve finished everything else, including the neckline (which I love, but I didn’t love those P3tog TBLs.)  I’m really not sure how long of a sleeve I can get out of the yarn I have remaining, but I’m pretty sure I can get them long enough to negate the giant floppy armhole effect.  Since the sleeve cap shaping is the same for the long sleeved version I won’t have to rip very far.  My other option would be to attempt adjusting the short rows, but I’m not sure I’m feeling that adventurous… and I like 3/4 length sleeves anyway.

I’m using my 16″ circulars for the sleeves.  I prefer DPNs, but I don’t have any in the right size, and the short rows would be annoying on DPNs I think.  But man do those little circs do a number on my wrists!  I may wait until tomorrow to attempt any sweater surgery.

But in good news I did finally recieve my UPS package.  He didn’t come before I went to work (and I don’t work til 5 pm!) but Marc caught him… and now I have lovely new yarns, which will get the full loving photo treatment tomorrow when there is sunlight.

Sahara progress report

Sahara is now down to the bottom ribbing. Here it is after I tried it on (the fit is perfect so far!)

I’ve made and ripped the shirt tail hem twice today. Apparently I lack skills at picking up wrapped stitches. I can wrap them fine, but when I pick up the wrap it always looks really loose. After the second time ripping I decided to try the sweater on, and since I like the fit so much I think I’ll just skip the shirttail hem and go to the ribbing. I don’t really like the look of it anyway, and it’s being a pain. I’m going to do the lace without going down a needle size for the bottom hem, and bind off with one size larger. I think this should compensate for the different hem and the lack of ease.

I also printed our “Save the Date” cards today. I love them!

Feel free to check out our wedding website. I know it’s lame, but I just couldn’t come up with much. I hate talking about myself (when it isn’t about knitting!) We also booked our photographer this week. Things are getting there!

Better

After my crappy crappy day yesterday (did I mention my sad attempt to find the new IW knits?) Something came in the mail to make me feel better.

Blue sky organic cotton in Thistle.  I’m going to make their Fitted Tank pattern once the weather starts to warm up. (Yes, I’m using the recommended yarn, isn’t that crazy?)

Of course, this yarn is the backordered part of my last WEBS order (the one that UPS won’t deliver) and was shipped a week after the other yarn.  I swear, I need to start some sort of USPS fan club.  My postman never lets me down!

I spend a lot of time taking photos on either the dining table or a nearby radiator.  Today I realized that I always look down and see the exact same thing.

Poor Leon.  He wants in on the action.
Today is apparently “fix things” day around here.  The dining room looks like this; we’re rehanging this door, which won’t shut properly.

(ignore the dust bunnies please, and look at Leon’s tail above… constant vigilance is required so that they don’t rise up and kill us in our sleep)

*sigh*

It’s one of those days.  Lots of blah and I’ve only knit one row.

Does anyone besides me hate talking on the phone?  I will avoid calling strangers at any cost, no matter what the reason.  Right now I’ve got a difficult call to make, and I keep coming up with reasons not to make it.  I’m naturally shy, but I can usually deal in person.  On the phone I feel totally useless.  Any tips for making difficult calls?

Thus ends my day of absolutely no knitting content.  Maybe I’ll try to knit a few rows before I go to sleep… usually that makes me feel better!

Warning… rant ahead.

Does anyone else hate UPS as much as I do?  I’m expecting a package from WEBS.  Yesterday I got a note, in spite of being at home until 4:50 pm waiting for them.  Ok, sure… seems a little late to me, but whatever.  I figure I’ll get it Friday.  Today I got another note… and I’ve been home all day.  They didn’t ring the bell.   They may have knocked, but honestly… Our condo is on the 2nd floor, so knocking downstairs does absolutely nothing.  I really don’t understand why they won’t leave packages.  They leave packages for one of our neighbors in the building.  According to UPS we live in a “high crime area” (which, of course, explains why the house next door just sold for 500k) and we don’t have a screen door.

And now, since UPS doesn’t deliver on Saturday they’ll try again Monday.  I think I’m going to call them and tell them I’ll just pick it up.   Picking up packages from UPS involves driving to the airport (which has a UPS hub) and driving all the way in the back, practically onto a runway, just in order to get your package which they’ve already tried to deliver 3 times.  This cannot be cost effective for them.  It also takes at least a week for any package to arrive UPS while the postal service takes only a few days (and leaves my packages for me!)  It’s gotten to the point that I don’t like ordering from places that only offer UPS.  I still order from WEBs because I’m weak, but I always have these problems.

I ordered from littleknits yesterday (GGH Java and Sir Galli from the full bag sale… a great deal, go check it out if you haven’t!) and noticed that they are now shipping UPS by default.  They had a very good list of reasons why on their blog, but I still made sure to change it to the USPS option.  UPS has better tracking, but their packages seem more likely to show up 2 weeks late, looking like the truck backed over them.  I appreciate them still offering options, that’s what I like to see in an online retailer.  I wish WEBs would do that instead of doing the “over 2 pounds ships UPS always” rule.  It makes me hesitate to order.  The post office has only lost one package for me ever, and that was during the Christmas rush.

Sorry for the whine, but I want my yarn!

Ok, calming down… or trying to!  I’m still working on Sahara, and have now joined in the round (yay for no more purling!)  I think the design of this sweater is really clever.  No pictures because it looks the same, just longer.  Also, photobucket sent me an email warning me that I’m about to hit my limit, so anything I post will die anyway.  It should reset soon, so if pictures go away that’s what’s happened.  If it happens again next month I’ll go ahead and upgrade, I just want to make sure that my amount of traffic is steady.

Tonight we’re going with my Mom to have dinner with Marc’s parents.  I am somewhat nervous about this, even if I shouldn’t be.  It just seems like world colliding that shouldn’t ever meet.  It will be ok though, right?

Ok, off to knit on Sahara and attempt to not be angry at my UPS guy anymore.

I have sleeves!

Last night I managed to attach the front and back of Sahara.

This photo shows the color much more accurately than yesterday’s.  So far Sahara has been a quick knit, since it’s all stockinette (ah stockinette… how I love you!)  Soon I will join and begin knitting in the round, which means no more purling (so exciting!)  I’m making the Small, the second size, and so far it looks teeny… but I’m pretty sure it will be just fine.

Phildar sent me an email informing me that (I think) they addressed my package wrong and are resending.  In the meantime, Wenday at Knit and Tonic has a new jacket pattern.

I will admit to having a great affection for swingy coats, but I’m not entirely certain how they look on me.  To add to the list or not?  Hmm…