Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Knitalong

Oh yeah, I joined a knitalong. The Amazing Lace, to be exact. There's a button over there if you're interested.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

In which guage issues bite me in the ass again

Before we get to the tale of my guage woes, I just have to share this with you.

Please ignore the loose ends and lack of a proper closure and don't even speak of the need for a wash and blocking. The important thing is that the Lace & Ruffle Cardigan now has 1)lace and 2)ruffles. It is gorgeous and purple and I will finish and model it for you in the next few days.

Of course, now that the knitting portion of the cardigan is over with, I needed another project to keep me occupied. Sifting through my to-knit folder yielded nothing, but then I realized that I hadn't scanned in any pictures from the spring issues of Vogue Knitting or IK. A quick flip through those brought to light the inexplicably named Prairie Tunic, which satisfied my need for lace and something cool enough for summer. Besides, I had some nameless, thin black cotton in my stash that would work perfectly.

So I swatched it. You hear that, people? I SWATCHED.

Then I did some quick math and chose the second-smallest size to knit on 3s because my math told me it would work out to be the right size for me. A couple inches into the front it occurred to me that there was something wrong. The needle I was using was 29" long and when laid flat the edge stitches tended to pop off the points. To put that into perspective, my hips are 39". At the width this thing was working up I'd end up with almost 20" of ease. Yeahhhhh no. So I frogged, reswatched on 2s, did a bit more math, and started the second-smallest size again. Things appeared to be good, but 8" and four decrease rows into the front it was still coming out 23"-22" wide. Better, but that resulted in 12" of ease around my waist. Not good. I frogged again, spent the better part of an hour hunched over a piece of paper and a calculator, and came up with some numbers that weren't even a stated size but worked for my measurements. By this point my tendons were screaming bloody loss-of-feeling murder at me and it was close to dawn, so I called it a night.

I found time during my lunch break the next day to gingerly cast on 108 stitches (the size I was originally trying out called for 124) and work a few rows. Things looked good, but without a ruler I couldn't be certain. Later measurement confirmed the front piece width as 19.5" at the hem, decreasing a lot more sharply than the pattern intended to what will eventually be 16" at the waist.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Who wants this fluff?

The fluff is done blocking. The good news is that it turned out well. It retained its unbelievable softness despite being drenched and then handled excesseively, it's a gorgeous colour, and is warm without being completely stifling.

The bad news is that it looks like total crap on me. It looks so awful, in fact, that I refuse to take a picture of it on me. Something about that much material hanging right at boob level results in a very unflattering garment.

So does anyone want this fluff?

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Who cares if it's perfect?

I finished that blasted capelet last night and it still looked like, well, as one person put it, "like it was just cut off the sheep. A purple sheep at that." Said person doesn't exactly understand what unblocked lace looks like, I think. Anyway, for all of you skeptics out there who claimed ignorance of any such lace pattern, here you go:


Also, I know it's not perfectly symmetrical. I'm too lazy to go back and shift all the pins and felt that the slight imperfection will give it character. Because, you know, a bright purple fuzzy capelet is utterly devoid of personality until it's blocked into a slightly lopsided shape.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Gauge Check?

I am awful about doing gauge swatches. I tend to just dive right in with a yarn that seems close enough to that recommended and hope for the best. This usually works out, thanks to lots of mid-knit fittings and the forgiving tendencies of knit fabric, but occasionally I start knitting and reach a point at which I want to beat myself over the head with my oversized monstrosity of a Spiderweb Capelet. Seriously, I think this needs a picture.

Click it. You won't understand how ridiculously long it is until you notice how long my worktable is and the fact that the fluff will not fit onto it without dangling over the edges. You see that smaller fluff on the spoon handles over there?

That is fluff 2.0. It is about half as long as the original fluff. Specifically, 52 sts to the original version's 92. Of course, it didn't occur to me until I was almost done with the capelet and noticed that I was about to run out of yarn that this thing was perhaps a bit too long. You'd think running out of room on the needles would have given it away first, wouldn't you? Damn, I should have taken a picture of that.

Just in case you were skeptical about the existence of any sort of lace pattern in all that fluff, well, you can sort of see it there. In the large version. Okay, well, you can see YOs and YOs indicate lace, right? >_<

I think I just about used an entire year's worth of "fluff"s in this post. Remind me to never use that word again after this thing is done.

I am a project whore

I'm more than halfway done with one sleeve for the Lace&Ruffle Cardigan and I suddenly had the urge to start a new project. Something was drawing me towards the bag of fluff in my stash. The bag of fluff, otherwise known as Joann Sensations Angel Hair, that I purchased only for its softness and sale price, and with a vague notion of a sweater of some sort. I realized later that the yarn is much too thick to be even remotely flattering on me in sweater form, but that I definitely wanted it to become something that would spend much time against my skin. Seriously, this stuff is obscenely soft and fluffy. I looked around for a bit, fondled the yarn, swatched the yarn, fondled the swatch, started a thread on craftster to milk project ideas from other people, and eventually managed to google my way into the blog of someone who had used the fluff to knit up the Spiderweb Capelet from SnBN.

It was obviously fate that that very same capelet was in my to-knit folder, so I promptly grabbed the closest to size 15 needles I own (they're actually a size 17 16" bamboo circular) and dove in. For the record, I hate these needles. They are like sharpened spoon handles and my tendons absolutely hate manouvering them, especially in and around ridiculously slippery yarn, so I go slowly. Very, very slowly and with many breaks to work on the cardigan. Despite my slowness I think I've already done close to half of the capelet, although it's hard to tell with all the fluff.

Monday, April 24, 2006

I did warn you about the neglect

But holy hell, I had no idea it had been almost 2 months since my last entry! Damnit, why don't people point this sort of thing out to me?!

It's okay, I understand. Nobody actually reads this blog anyway. ^_^


Just in case they do, however, it's time for an update.

When last we spoke, I had finished up Butterfly No. 2 and was working on some other things. Since then I've continued to work on said things but have also finished two more items, neither of which are for me. First we have the Petit Chou lingerie from the sexy issue of Knitty, made for a swap. For someone with a bra size identical to mine. For the record, the Petit Chou bralette thing is designed to accomodate up to a C cup. This is not terribly helpful when the person you are knitting it for is a 36D. At least I got to make the knickers without any modification.

Yes, I know it looks awful just laying there on the table. I blame the elastic. Since I hate lousy unmodeled pictures of my FOs I just had to take a slightly better one.

If you never wanted to see me wearing lingerie, well, don't click that. Also, shut up, this never happened.


My second most recent FO is yet another Butterfly.

Mods for this one include more beads and a double-stranded tonal frill, picot edging, and straps.

Yes, I know. I'm very pale and do not look great in orange. Good thing this one's not for me either, yes? When it gets to where it's going and I have been sent pictures of it on its recipient I shall post those and tell you a bit more, but until then it's a secret. SHHHH.

In other project news:

That was, in order,

-I have finished the back, fronts, and part of a sleeve of the Lace&Ruffle Cardigan.
-I have finished the back and front of the Colchique sweater and am stalling because I don't want to have to figure out how to convert the sleeves to be knit from the shoulder down because I know that I'm going to run out of yarn but want to use up as much of it as I can.
-I am halfway done with the Pomatomus socks, which I love, but have run out of yarn and thanks to my yarn ban cannot go get more for them until I have destashed enough.

I think I need to start a new project.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

An Addition to the Flock

About a week ago I finished a second Butterfly for my best friend. Posts about it had to wait until it was received, but now my own little suspense hell can be banished by flaunting it all over the internet.

Isn't she adorable? ^_^

In case you wanted a brighter shot of it.

Pattern: Butterfly from Rowan 37

Yarn: Approximately 400 yds of Handpainted Yarn's laceweight wool in "roanoke."

Needles: US 8 for the frill and body, US 3 for the picot bind-off and the straps.

Modifications: Knit in the round, altered the sizing to be S at the bottom and L at the top. I also made it smaller and used US 3s instead of 7s for the picot bind-off.
Notes: The pattern was much easier the second time through. This one only took me a couple of weeks, as compared to the month+ of the first one. I also taught myself to knit backwards in order to avoid switching around the needles constantly while doing the straps.

I knew I'd love this pattern enough to make 6 of it. ^_^

Anyway, on to what else I've been doing. I've of course been working on the Adrienne Vittadini Lace and Ruffle Cardigan, although only at work. It's just too much mental effort to work on while watching movies or surfing the net at home. The only time I have to work in it is during my break at work or when I don't feel like doing anything other than knitting, which is rarely. Picture 11" in mauve lattice stitch and you'll know what my progress looks like. Because it's sort of anticlimactic at the moment I don't feel the need to post a picture, but I promise I will once the back is done.

I've also made progress on my Colchique. The front is done and the back is temporarily stalled 7" in until the rest of the yarn I'm using for it unkinks enough to be usable. It's hanging in my very steamy bathroom as we speak, not exactly relaxing the way I hoped it would. I suspect I'm just going to end up winding it into balls without caring about its kinkedness. I also hope I'm going to have enough yarn for it. The stuff I'm using is discontinued; 10 skeins won off of ebay last year and made into Berrocco's Tatania pattern, which wasn't as nice as I wanted it to be. So far I managed to make the front and 7" of the back of Colchique without even touching Tatania, but now that I've had to frog it to make any more progress I'm starting to worry about how much yarn I have left. The skein wrappers were useless in that all the information they gave about amounts of yarn was "50 grams," so I'm really winging this. If worse comes to worst I can always shorten the sleeves, but one of the biggest things I like about Colchique is its ridiculously long thumb gusset sleeves, which I'd hate to sacrifice. If I try to work this out rationally it goes something like this:

-I used a little bit more than 3 skeins of yarn for the front of Colchique, which had to be modified to accomodate the boobage.
-My back has no boobage, so it should take 3 skeins or a little bit less.
-That leaves about 4 skeins, or 2 apiece, for the sleeves.
-If I make the sleeves simultaneously I won't have to worry about ripping either one out to make them even.
-I really, REALLY hope 2 skeins +/- is enough for each abnormally long sleeve.
-Oh crap. The collar.

Gee, that went well.

Ugh. In order to not think about the Colchique for a little while and have something fairly mindless to work on while watching movies I started the Pomatomus socks. I'm using the remaining skein-and-a-half of Silja sock yarn left over from my ruffled gloves. Which are not in here, but can be found on Craftster. So far I'm loving my new 40" size 1 circ which allows me to magic loop both socks simultaneously and the stitch pattern, which is unique and fun to watch while not being too difficult or tedious. If there's good lighting tomorrow I'll take pictures, but right now it would be just my worktable and uberwattage spotlight and it wouldn't be very flattering, so you'll have to trust me when I say that they look really good so far.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Start of a Flock

Pattern: Butterfly from Rowan 37
Materials: Approximately 400 yards of Handpainted Yarn's laceweight wool, about 300 seed beads, size 3, 7, and 8 circular needles.
Guage: This thing is so stretchy it doesn't even matter. Besides, how often do I actually swatch? o_O
Modifications: Knit in the round instead of flat, straps solid instead of tied (yes, I know there are little bows. They ended up too long after blocking and I didn't care to shorten them.), a little extra room added for the boobs.
Thoughts: After I got used to the pattern this went surprisingly quickly. I love how it turned out. It's a gorgeous, ethereal, complex-looking FO with a minimal time investment. Because I've planned on making more than one Butterfly from the beginning I've also planned on making each one with slightly different construction details. I think I'll make the next one flat and use a smaller needle for the @(#*%ing picot bind-off. Hell, I may just use a smaller needle for the whole thing. I also want to try the tiny crochet hook method of attaching the beads.

In addition to the two Butterflies I already have yarn for (both for me), I've ordered enough yarn for 3 more, all for other people. Hopefully when they're all done I can get a picture of them as a flock. ^_^

So the Butterfly is done and the Jaywalkers are stalled. Of course I needed a new project, so I started in on the immense challenge of simultaneously translating and knitting this gorgeous French pattern.

I joined the knitalong sometime last year, and it's so far been immensely helpful. They've managed to translate a large portion of the pattern into English and even though I haven't been working on Colchique for more than a couple of weeks I've kept track of enough posts to not be completely lost. So far the only real downside to this pattern is that it's a terrible strain on my fingers. Because it's knit with worsted weight yarn on size 4s the resulting fabric is ridiculously dense. Pretty, yes, but very, very tight. After realizing that I can't work on Colchique for more than a couple of hours each day I decided that another project would have to be started to give my joints some relief.

In the middle of my search for the perfect pattern salvation found me in the form of a surprise package. Apparently my Unconditional Swap recipient loved her stuff so much that she felt the urge to repay me in kind. Her package contained an altered tin that she'd made from one of the Altoids tins I sent, handmade purple stitch markers, purple glass gems, 2 balls of a chunky mauve cashmere blend (CASHMERE!), and something I've been lusting after for almost a year.

Yeah, you heard what I said. Adrienne Vittadini Spring '05 pattern book featuring the utterly gorgeous Lace and Ruffle Cardigan, pictured on the cover. Oh. Baby. I spent a few days drooling over it, then put it on the shelf while I mentally went through my stash to find a suitable yarn. Nothing was really coming to mind until I reached into one of the stash crates to get another skein for Colchique and espied a cake of purple cotton that had once been part of a huge thrift store sweater. Ah-HA!

Last night I finally swatched (shush, I know.) and, having gotten gauge on the first try, cast on. The stitch pattern is fabulous, even though it took me the better part of the evening to work through 2 12-row repeats and I couldn't really do anything else while working on it. It may have to be set aside for awhile when the yarn for more Butterflies arrives, as I have self-imposed birthday deadlines to meet, but I'm going to try my best to have it done before Spring gets here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


This was apparently the wrong year to make a resolution to not buy any more yarn until my stash is no longer all over the floor.

Friday, January 20, 2006

A Crewneck in Disguise

My tripod finally arrived and, as promised, I took pictures. So without further ado, the nameless mohair sweater.

Pattern - Some random pattern from the Fall 2005 issue of Family Circle Knitting. I have no idea who wrote it or even what the pattern is called.

Materials - Almost 7 skeins of Cervinia Softer knit on US 5s.

Modifications - Additional length in body and sleeves, waist shaping. I should have modified the neckline too.

Review - Nice mindless knitting. The stitch pattern of the sleeves kept this from being nothing more than mindless stockinette, and I like the construction (knit top-down, sleeves first, then each side picked up from the sleeve edges). What I do not like, however, is the neckline. I was expecting it to be, well, more like the one on the model. I can't do a great deal about it now, but I'm going to see what effect removal of the neckband has. Neckline issues aside, this is soft, warm, and fits well.

By the neck time I post I should have some completed Jaywalkers to whore out, as well as another pattern for you to guess.

Holy shit, I wrote "neck" up there, didn't I? See? See how I keep dwelling on it? Something must be done!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Lace, Ladders, and a Bit of Blinding Ignorance

Having designated the Butterfly (yay, you guessed correctly!) my "work knitting," I've made not as much progress on it as I would like, but it's enough to whore out, I think.

It's always enough to whore out.

But it still looks like a crumpled mass of purple ramen, so to satisfy my growing urge towards a spray bottle and iron, I decided to pin out the lace to see how it might eventually look.


Apparently my stitch markers are causing the "side seams" to ladder. The @(_#%^@)*#% Stitch Markers!!! I mean, those St st blobs look bad enough on their own but are sort of unavoidable when one takes a flat pattern and knits it in the round without an excruciating amount of mathematics, but seriously now, LADDERS?! Way to smack a huge neon "HEY THIS IS WHERE THE SIDE SEAMS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE" sign on my gorgeous Butterfly! Arrrgggh...

My only plan thus far is to block the everliving crap out of this thing when it's finally done. Hopefully with patience and a lot of steam I can coax those laddered stitches into conformity, and if not, well, you see those 2 lovely balls of yarn in the background? Guess what they're going to be. ^_^

I promised you some painfully blinding ignorance too, didn't I? I'll try to transcribe this as accurately as possible.

The Scene - I'm sitting in front of the TV at work, watching some horrendous movie on Bravo and happily knitting away on Butterfly. A woman who has just placed a carry-out order and must now come to grips with the new 15 minute hole in her life spots me and wanders over.

Woman - ...I guess I'll come watch some TV. sits down

Me - I warn you, this is an absolutely terrible movie.

Woman - giggles

a few minutes go by and the movie gets worse

Woman - What are you making, a bag?

Me - Actually, it's a camisole.

Woman - What?

Me - A camisole.

Woman - What's that?

Me - It's like a tanktop but...lacier.

Woman - Ohhh, so is that, like, sewing?

Me - .........................No, it's knitting.

Woman - Oh.

silence ensues

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Guess the Patterns!

That's right, it's time to guess the patterns I'm currently tackling. Why am I currently tackling new patterns? Well, because I finished that nameless mohair sweater and have yet to take decent pictures of it. I'll try again when my new tripod gets here, although I can't make any promises about lighting.

Right, so, Pattern 1:

aaaaand Pattern 2:

I'm going to see if you can get them right before I go and give you a hint.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I am Such a Slacker

Oh.....oh dear. I haven't updated in a month? At least I knew when I started this thing that there would be long periods of time between entries, but still, seeing the archive dates next to each other really makes it sink in.

In my defense, I spent the last month frantically making all sorts of things and, well, it's not as if anyone reads this anyway. Good. Now I feel better about being lazy in this one respect. I'd love to show you all the lovelies I made for people, but somewhere in the midst of the gifting scramble I had the brilliant idea to hold off on pictures until things had been received, and the pictures never actually got taken. Now I have to contact everyone who got handmade stuff and demand pictures of them or decide that I don't care that much about flaunting their gifts all over the internet.

Astoundingly, I managed to knit quite a bit for myself in the midst of all the madness. I finally figured out why the Corset Pullover pattern hated me and ultimately decided to attach the straps to it in the way I'd imagined raher than the way the pattern dictated.

I'm sorry, that's a horrible picture. >_<

Anyway, I absolutely loved the stitch details in this. The twisted rib has one of the most awesome textures ever, the columns of slipped stitches form a nice, neat border between things, and the plain stockinette side panels prevent added waistline chunkiness. I also loved the lace on the sleeves, even though it was eerily similar to the stitch pattern for the Adrienne Vittadini Eyelet Cable Jacket which has been put on indefinite hold (more about this later).

I haven't quite figured out a decent format for project details yet, so please bear with me.

Corset Pullover. Written by Robin Melanson. Published in Interweave Knits Fall 2004.

Materials Used
4.5 skeins of Lion Brand Cotton in black on US 5 circular needles. The cotton is sort of heavy, but it works with the stitch pattern beautifully and didn't cost me a ridiculous amount of money. It also made seaming much easier than it usually is and was substantial enough to not make my hands cramp up while trying to hold onto it. If I could have afforded a silk/cotton blend I would have definitely gone that route, but I'm pleased with my cheap-o yarn selection.

I honestly have no idea how long I spent on this. I've always had a lousy sense of time, but I get so wrapped up in knitting that it makes it impossible to keep track of any increment smaller than months. I suppose for this reason it's a good idea for me to post in here on a regular basis.

I chose to make this in the Medium size, but added some extra decreases and increases both to make this large enough in the boobage area and to make a finished shape that followed my curves closely. The suggested length of not-quite-hitting-the-top-of-the-pants would have looked ridiculous on my elongated hourglass shape, so I added a good 4" to the overall length. Speaking of length, I would have liked the sleeves to be a bit shorter. Mine ended up longer than they were supposed to, so if I ever made this again I would space the decreases a bit closer together. I would also read the pattern thoroughly before even casting on; I didn't notice the "at the same time" instructions until I was well past the point where they applied and ended up frogging half the front as a result.
I noticed that a lot of people decided to leave off the cinch straps, but I have a fondness for hardware on clothing that cannot be dimished by lousy model photos and illogical strap placement. The d-rings combined with the lacyness and black make me think that this is what Lip Service knitwear would look like.

Well, that wasn't the only thing I was selfishly knitting. Having finished my gothy sweater I raided my stash for ideas and discovered the 13 skeins of black Cervinia Softer I'd gotten on sale from Mohair is not something that lends itself to any old pattern, but fortunately I had one laying around that it was born to be used with.

At the moment I've gotten all of the knitting done with the exception of the neckline edging. That and seaming are all I have left. I actually wouldn't be nearly so far along on this if I hadn't had travel complications. Being stuck in an airport on standby for 4 hours means that I got to knit something like 9 hours total on Dec. 22nd. I finally gave it a rest when my right pinkie refused to stop aching, but continued to work on it at a leisurely pace for the entire week of my vacation until I ran out of yarn a few hours before my return flight. I finished the body of it last night and would be working on seaming right now if the ball of my thumb didn't ache and I wasn't drunk on Dayquil. Expect to see it done within the next week.

Also in progress is the uncomparably gorgeous Butterfly. I couldn't exactly afford the recommended kidsilk haze, but's lace weight wool was suggested as a more affordable substitute. I spent something like 2 hours just scrolling through the different colours and drooling. Having finally settled on 3, I reasoned that at $5.95 for more than enough yards to make the camisole version of Butterfly I could easily afford all 3. This of course means that I will be knitting at least 3 of this pattern, although most likely more. You see, I think this would be perfect for my mother and best friend and sister, even though they all live in the sweltering wasteland that is San Diego. I should perhaps use something not as warm for their versions, and they're all "autumns," so the 3 decidedly "winter" colours I got will apparently have to be used

This is, by far, the most complicated pattern I have ever attempted. It's also the first lace knitting I've ever done, and even after the relative thinness of the Softer yarn this stuff feels like thread. Delicious purple wool thread, yes, but still !%#!&^# thread. Reportedly the frill is the worst part of the whole pattern, however, so once I've finished and grafted (*retch*) it into a circle this should go a lot faster. I've decided the make this first one pretty much exactly as the pattern intended, although I refuse to graft more than I absolutely have to, so the frill is being done in one long strip. Other than that I'll probably just make it a bit more roomy up top for the boobs, but if the lace is really stretchy I can probably leave it as is.

Oh, I also made some armwarmers a while back.

They are, to date, the most useful thing I've knit. I wear them almost every day at work as a defense against the bipolar climate control that interprets 70F as "alternately 50F and 90F." They're toasty enough to banish goosebumps but easy to slip off once the in-store temperature reaches its "sweltering inferno" setting. They're more or less based on the Hurry up Spring armwarmers from SnBN, albeit longer, black, and done in a smaller gauge. I used some random sport weight acrylic for them which, while not the softest or prettiest stuff in the world, is warm, durable, and washable.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about the Eyelet Cable Jacket! Right, so it's knit up, seamed together, and I've done one side of the ribbed neckband, only to discover that I've run out of yarn. Normally this would be no big deal. I'd go to the store, buy some more, and resume knitting. However, the yarn for this project lived a previous life as an ugly XL GAP sweater that I picked up in a thrift store to recycle. Because it was an XL I figured I'd have more than enough yarn to knit the size small jacket, but apparently I made an error in calculations somewhere. Now the only way this jacket is going to get done is if I miraculously manage to find another GAP sweater that was made with the same kind of yarn. Considering that I live out in the middle of nowhere and rarely have the opportunity to go thrifting, this is not likely to happen any time soon.

Damn you, recycled sweater.