Monday, September 15, 2014

A Wee Cardi

Neither of my daughters ever really asks me to knit anything for them.  Usually, I come across a pattern, show one of them, and inquire: "Would you like me to make this for you?"

This is just one example.

Six or so months ago, the younger daughter and I were in a book store. She needed something for school, and I waited at the magazine rack eyeing the knitting-related ones when this cover caught my attention:

The sweater was quite striking and looked age-appropriate, as in hip enough for a thirteen-year-old.

She agreed.

Once we returned home, I ran down the yarn used and allowed her to select what color she wanted. While it was Classic Elite yarn, it was called Woodland and described as 65% wool and 35% plant fiber, as in nettles...  Hmmm.  But, I ordered it anyway.

When it arrived, it appeared to be a single ply with a characteristic thick/thinness about it, but it was not particularly soft to the touch.  Immediately concerned, I swatched it anyway, hoping it would soften with soaking.

It did...some, but it is not something I would a) want to wear next to my skin or b) ever want to work with again.  Not surprisingly, Classic Elite has discontinued the yarn.  A good substitute would probably be Malabrigo's Silky Merino or Manos' Maxima.

The pattern is delightful!

It was very easy to knit from the bottom up to the arm openings. At that point, the sleeves are knit and attached to the body with nothing more than the yoke remaining to complete the body.

Were I to knit it again, I would knit the pockets first, then attach them at the bottom as I was knitting the body. I had a hard time getting the bottom seam on the pockets perfectly straight.  In fact, they are not perfectly straight and that bugs me...but, the child is pleased.

So much so, she begrudgingly agreed to a photo shoot:

This actually buttons quite nicely in the front, she just elected not to do it.  Speaking of buttons, she picked out the perfect vintage glass ones from my stash:

As to the fabric, she said it is soft enough and does not itch, but we shall see if she ever wears it...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Meet Luke!

He is a vintage green glass head.

The story begins, as it often does, with one of my daughters spying something in a yarn shop that she might like to have.

In this instance, it was a beret pattern:  Koigu Beaded Beret by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas.

Of course, with any interest from my nearest and dearest, I bought the pattern, along with the yarn and beads she selected, and carefully tucked them all away.  That was three years ago.

In need of a simple and quick project, I rooted around my stash and only just discovered them again.  Two days later, we had a beret.

Yarn:  Liberty Yarn Sockenstein in "Montol."

She was delighted or as delighted as a thirteen-year-old girl gets.  Moreover, she expressed that these might make nice Christmas gifts for a few of her friends...

  Yarn:  Spud & Chloe Fine in "Snorkel"


Yarn:  Abstract Fiber Temptation in "Springtime."

Yarn:  Wool Candy Meringue Merino Sock (I have no idea the color...I lost the band...)

Yarn:  Blue Ridge Yarns Footlights in "Dragon's Breath."

The pattern is lovely and easy, probably a two or three hour knit.

Even better, Luke did not complain about not using his "good" side, re-takes were not an issue, and he had no difficulty holding perfectly still as I fiddled with the head gear.

A good head is really hard to find.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Into the Wild

As my older daughter prepares to leave for a semester in Hong Kong, I happened to finish a sweater I started for her in December...

Yeah, so my timing is not the best, I realize. This will be of no use to her in Hong Kong, but I will keep it for her until she returns a few days before Christmas.

The lighting was a little off this evening and the beautiful coloration in the yarn and stunning texture is really hard to see in the photos above, so here is a close up of the sleeves:

Pattern:  Oona's Hoodie
Yarn:  Malabrigo Merino in Pearl Ten

Modifications:  Sleeves were knit in-the-round, instead of flat.  I added at least five inches to the length, too. We omitted the snaps and opted for no closure.

Overall, it was a really good pattern to follow. The cables and seed stitch were easy and fun to knit.  I love the way it turned out!

Sydney's only complaint was how pointing the tip of the hood is.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Irokata Tee


Pattern:  Irokata Tee
Yarn:  Shibui Knits Linen in Suit Navy for the front and Graphite for the back

This is a quick knit and an insanely clever design!

The Shibui Linen is actually nice to work with, just not as squishy as wool.  The fit is perfect!  The fabric is cool, loose, and drapey.

There's only one downside...the fabric is rather sheer, as in NSFW as I can see my navel and every detail on my bra through it...

This sheerness actually stikes me as odd, as I used the exact same yarn called for in the pattern (perhaps, slightly different colors) at gauge and the orginal pictures of project from the designer do not even suggest any see-through-ability of the fabric.  Curious, no?

Any thoughts?

UPDATE:  Now that I am studying the above picture, it appears she is actually wearing a tank shirt underneath the tee.  You can see the outline of it just below the neckline.  Additionally, the fabric at her shoulders is sheer...  Without the under garment, you can get an idea of how sheer it is on this project page.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Putting MadKim to bed

She is done!

Pattern:  Kim by Perl Grey

Yarn:  The pattern called for aran weight, but I used two strands of fingering: Wool Candy Meringue Merino Sock in MadHatter and Miss Babs Yummy Superwash Sock in Roasted Pumpkin

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Snatching a small victory from the massive jaws of defeat

In other words, I managed to snap out of my snit...

As reported in the prior post, I was ready to cut up, drive over, and burn the MadKim project, but after a few days of fuming, I looked at the yarn and fell in love with it all over again.  The yarn is simply beautiful!

So, I ripped out the sleeve, un-seamed the collar from the back, and gingerly unpicked the kitchener closing of the collar. The last feat was something I had not before undertaken, and it wasn't that bad...relatively speaking. After all, I have had a root canal.

In any event, I committed anew to the project and with the visual aides of several of the other well photographed and finished projects on Ravelry, I finally figured out the construction, re-seamed the collar (with a three-needle bind-off this time), seamed the back, and picked up stitches for the first sleeve.

 While I am still not convinced about the design, I just so love how these yarns have come together!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Switching Gears

When we last visited, I was deep into the wools; however, as mistake as to construction on the Mad Kim, threw an unpleasant kink* in my plans, so I cast on for something new.

Throughout my knitterly life, I have been in search of the perfect top-down vee-neck sweater.  I have made dozens of them, but they have never fit quite right, particularly with raglan sleeve construction.

I tried again with Sablier, but two days in, I realized there was a problem with numbers for the size I was making.  Assuming the issue was with me, I spent several afternoon hours graphing the increases and decreases, then sat down for a couple of more hours with a good knitting friend (who happens to be an engineer with a degree from MIT), to go over the pattern and my numbers, when we realized, the issue was not with me.  So, I chalked the wasted hours on Sablier to a knitting mis-adventure, to be re-written and re-caluculated on another day, even though, the prospect of a non-raglan sleeve, top-down vee-neck was quite enchanting.

For those who are counting, this equals two knitting failures:  Mad Kim was all my mistake.  Sablier...not so much.

So, back to the stash I dived and came up with several cones of the lovely Habu Tsumugi silk lace in a wine color. Holding two strands together, I swatched from size US 3 needles up to size US 8 needles.  I washed the swatch, let it dry, then examined the different fabrics achieved by the different gauges. Armed with that information, I perused my queue and came up with yet another top-down vee-neck with raglan sleeves; however, this one was slightly different, as the pattern appeared to contain some thoughtful shaping without the standard increases every other row until the bust was complete.

Having learned my lesson with Sablier, I spent some time graphing the increases and doing the math to ensure the pattern numbers were correct.  They were spot on!

The original pattern called for fingering weight wool; however, my lace weight silk knitted up perfectly to gauge with US 5 needles.

Two days of knitting resulted in this:

Not too bad.

The fit was good on the mannequin and on me; however, I was a bit concerned with how deep the vee was.

As soon as I got the end of my first set of cones and before I added a second pair of cones to knit from, I decided to pick up the stitches and finish out the collar to see if that would draw up the deepness of the vee.


Although, I have to admit, instead of picking up 61 stitches along each side of the front vee as directed, I only picked up 51, but the vee is much more modest now.

So, I again have miles of stockinette ahead of me, but I am well pleased with how this one is going.  It's a good thing, too, for a brief period there, I actually thought I was going to have to give up was becoming far too stressful.

*Said unpleasant kink resulted from my managing to seam the collar together, then to the back, and picking up stitches for one sleeve and knitting for a few hours before realizing there was no twist in the collar and no way for it to be worn as pictured.  The personal disgust at my own stupidity means that this mass of knitting is sitting in time-out until such time as I manage to scrape up enough care not to drive over it with my car, or burn it, but to actually rip out, pick out, reseam and what-the-hell-else it requires.  Likelihood of ever being completed:  Zilch.  Yeah, I am that pissed off.