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.