Friday, February 29, 2008

A leap's year

I wasn't that inspired to post today, or lately, to be honest. Yet, I was over at Peaknit's blog, catching up on my blogstalking, and saw her sweet happy birthday message to her mom, who so happens to be a leap year baby.

Obviously, leap year birthdays are rare, and probably relished all the more so because of this and so I immediately thought it would be good to mark today's date on my blog for the same reason. But what to talk about, as all my knitting are slogs?

I'm still vacillating on whether to restart my La Digitessa's using a more appropriate yarn. It worked like a charm on my first pair of Firestarters. Yet....I'm just not ready to give up. I think as soon as I'm done with Blue Wavering, I'm going to hit these full force and not frog and restart.

Speaking of Blue Wavering, I frogged the first sock back to the start of the gusset two days ago and am just about to begin the short-rowing on the heel. I just might have these done this weekend if I stay project faithful.

My second to last attempt at the Lime & Blue malabrigo scarf, shown below, was frogged last night. It's been sitting in this state for about a week. I just couldn't commit to it. I cast on again last night, tweaking the cable pattern a bit and was quickly underwhelmed with what I had come up with. I frogged this iteration immediately.


My aunt made a thought-provoking suggestion of knitting a tubed scarf to recapture the striping of the hat, but I don't have enough yarn for even an 60" scarf at the rate a tube would eat up yarn. But I haven't given up the idea entirely. A little part of my mind is still juggling this and other ideas. I believe if I wait long enough, my inner designer will find the perfect resolution.

Lastly, I added a couple of interesting skeins of sock yarn to my stash last week, only one of which proved to be photogenic:


This yarn is from a local dyer out of Amesbury, MA, JKnits, and is sold at one my LYSes. I'm excited to see how it knits up.

P.S. Blogger's spellcheck is back in action!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Doing the right thing

Part of what fueled my fire in getting the mitts done was the fact that the first Blue Wavering sock had a gusset the size of Manhattan that I knew was a problem. I also knew my inclination to ignore rather than fix was strong. The Giftee would never, ever know.

Knitting the mitts gave me time to get over my lazy ways and do the right thing. I haven't frogged yet, but as soon as I'm done with the second sock, I will.


I thought I'd err on the side of caution with a gusset of 17 increases. But when I turned the heel on the sock and had hubby try it on, it was ginormous. Seriously ginormous.

On the second sock I increased the length of the foot by seven rows and reduced the gusset increases by five. Although, once I reduced the gussets, my heel was understandably short. On the original sock, it is 34 rows tall (17 increases x 2). On the second sock it would be 24 rows tall. I didn't take any measurements, but it isn't hard to fathom that a heel 10 rows shorter might be an issue.

When I finished the second sock's heel it definitely looked stunted. On socks for me, I never mind the small heel, but in the eyes of the recipient, and one who may or may not be used to getting gifts of hand made socks, this little design element may get noticed and not in a good way.

I didn't ponder too long on what to do (for once!) because it dawned on me, almost immediately, I had a solution. An ages old post over at Grumperina's blog was my inspiration. When I finished the heel decreases and began knitting in the round again, I knit the front in the rib and the back of the sock in the same sl1k1 heel pattern for four rows.

It worked. When I turned the heel on Monday night and had hubby try it on, it fit perfectly and looked right. As long as the Giftee doesn't have a size 14 foot, it should fit him reasonably well.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My sister received her socks, the Christmas Balls socks, and she wont try them just yet, even though I need her to tell me if they are too tight. She's parsimonious like that. Me, I have to jump right into things immediately, or they lose their charm. Not my sister, she is doomed to save, save, save. Being the opposite, I've always assumed she's missing out by being frugal, hence the "doomed," but maybe she enjoys the savoring, more than the wearing. I can't believe I'm just realizing this possibility now, as in right this minute as I write.

The first real socks (real-life, foot-shaped socks in sport weight yarn, as opposed to christmas-stocking size socks, in worsted weight yarn, the likes of which hubby still wears around the house) I ever made were for her. And you know after I sent her the pair I realized she might never wear them. Why? She's a hoarder. It's just her way. So you know what I did? I made a second pair immediately and sent them along with a directive that she must wear at least one pair. I don't know if she ever wore both pairs, but I did see one worn pair years ago in her laundry pile.

During these passed five weeks, as I waited to hear back about the second job interview I had in January, I contemplated my tendency to lose interest. I grew anxious as the job's appeal ebbed as each day came and went. Add the painful yin to this yang, my fear of failure and the sting of rejection, I've been jumbled, body and soul.

The waiting is over and I'm thankful for it. On Friday, I learned I didn't get the job and I'm disappointed and relieved simultaneously. More mixed feelings to wade through. More future choices to ponder.

But at least I know which direction I'm going in and it included a pitstop at a LYS. Shortly after learning the news on Friday, we received an early release from work due to weather and what goes with snow and self-pity better than yarn? Well, maybe chocolate, but then when yarn keeps on giving, it isn't in the form of love handles, now is it? Pictures of my purchases will wait for another day, as this post is already too wordy and I still have an FO to get to.

To comfort my mind on Friday, I resolved on finishing the striped mitts. The knitting went quickly, and even though I wound up frogging the top three quarters of the first finished mitt, the final pair were completed by Saturday evening.


Yarn
Artyarn's Handpaint Stripes in colorway #104
100% Merino, worsted weight
I used aproximately 3/4 of the skein, so about 140 yards

Needles
Size US4/3.5mm addi turbo circulars

Pattern
I made the pattern up as I went along. I cast on 54 stitches and worked in the round on two circs using a K2P1 rib. The tight gauge and rib make for a dense, but still pliable fabric. I knew right away that the density would be too great for the palm, so I changed over to stockinette for this part of the mitt.

On the first go around, I hoped in vain that the change to stockinette would provide enough ease for a thumb gusset and allow me to forgo the need to knit increases. It didn't. When I separated out the stitches for the thumb and knit the rest of the mitt and the thumb, the fabric twisted. I think the rib helped visually accentuate the twist more than plain stockinette might have.

On the second mitt, I shortened the wrist portion by half. The original was longer than necessary considering these are to be worn with long sleeves. I also began the thumb gusset sooner, to improve on shaping of the mitt. The original thumb was a bit too highly placed on the palm. The second prototype came out very well, and so I frogged the first mitt back and reknit using the same guidelines.


When you look at the first pic, don't they look too small to be full-sized fingerless mitts? My hands are chubby, but very small (like the rest of me.) I'm loving these a great deal and am wearing them as I type. With over one skein left, I thought I could knit a hat to match, but I think a better use for this yarn will be a pair of thick house socks.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Mush for Brains

Maybe it's the barometric pressure, or too much political punditry in the air, but in the past week I've had knitting mush for brains. I'm closing in on a few things but I also feel like I'm getting no where. (I so wanted to add an "s" on that!)

Monday night, desperate for a new hat, I took out my needles, cast on eight stitches using Judy's magic cast on, and just knitted. I wasn't sure I was going to like what I came up with, but I needed an FO in this yarn, in the worst way. By Tuesday evening my mission was accomplished.


Because of the overal ribbing, and the width I chose to knit in, it fits like a cloche. I expect it to expand more after its first wash. I have a strong disinclinition for tight clothing, so hat sizing is always a gamble for me.


I'm in love with the striping going on as the hat's circumference increased. I just wish I could get the companion scarf to do that. After multiple tries last night, I had to give up. I'll get splotching at best, no striping.

Yarn
Malabrigo worsted merino
Lime & Blue Colorway

Needles
Size US7 bamboo circs.

Pattern
I just cast on eight stitches using JMCO and made eight increases every other row, using the increases to define the pattern. The pattern itself turned out to be a repeat of c2/p4/k2/p4, with at total stitch circumference of 112 stitches. I used a nine row cable repeat and staggered where I cabled every other cable.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Yarn Lust, Managed and Not

Last month, my Dad and his wife, Chris, came to stay, and wouldn't you know it I was charged with planning a yarn crawl for her and myself. We hit my three fave LYSses that Saturday, and then braved a morning squall on Sunday to visit a not-so-local LYS that I had yet to see, The Woolpack, in Littleton, MA.

Even with the fabulous sale at Wild and Woolly, I bought nary a thing that Saturday. Luckily, I had just finished Project Stole, as I don't think I would have had the fortitude to resist the 20 skeins of forest green Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran they had on sale for $120 (that's $6 bucks a skein!) otherwise. I was a good girl, I lived vicariously through Chris, ogling in safety as she purchased a couple of sweater kits.

On Sunday, though, I succumbed. The Woolpack was a great shop. They have a huge book section, as well as an expansive yarn selection. There were oodles of new to me yarns, and a goodly number of novelty yarns which were easy for me to resist. It wasn't until I hit their sock yarns that there was any hint of weakness on my part. Most were easily dismissed, which is why I am now unable to remember what they carried.

One thing I do remember is that they had a prototype for an interesting new variegated sock yarn that is being marketed and sold as a swath of stockinette fabric, rather than en skein. The proprietess had picked it up at a trade show. You unravel the fabric as you knit. Considering that what you knit is all bumpy, because the yarn has been in a different shape, there has to be good reason to market yarn this way and there is.

How many of us have purchased a variegated skein only to be miserable with how the colors interact once knit? I know I have. But more often, I think, how often have we knitters passed up a skein because we couldn't see past the mess of colors, only to see some intrepid blogger make the most beautiful object out of that passed over colorway? With the yarn already knit, knitters will see how beautiful or fugly the colorway really is. Crazy cool, wouldn't you say?

Walking around the shop, I was comfortable in my ability to manage my yarn lust until I happened upon the following variegated worsted yarn. It stole my heart at first sight.


Right now, for whatever reason, I am a sucker for blues and greens. And particularly then, I was looking for a heavier weight yarn for a pair of socks for me. This yarn was my Borg. It is Artyarns Handpaint Stripes, a worsted weight sock yarn, in colorway 104, being marketed with a sock pattern with each skein.

Each skein has about 188 yarns and costs about the same as most sock yarns with twice the yardage. So it's expensive, the wrong weight for socks, and has skimpy yardage. Me? I was sold, sold, sold. I bought two skeins and consider myself the luckiest (albeit, not the smartest) knitter in the world.

I resisted immediate cast on, as I already had two socks on needles, but at one point a couple of weeks ago, I lost my resolve and began a toe on a set of 3.00mm addis. The resulting fabric was far too tight, so I had to frog. Reality was setting in: there is no way I'm getting a comfortable sock out of this yarn weight. I was blinded by the stripes.

So, I fretted and I plotted and I fretted and I abandoned plots until last week when I was knee deep in the monotonous blue gift socks (recently named Blue Wavering). I was desperate for a color diversion.

It wasn't just that I needed color, I needed warmth too. My office was an icebox all last week and even with Project Stole and a space heater to provide warmth, my hands were exposed and on one day they began to hurt from the cold. Très misérables. That's when I realized that the yarn would make PERFECT fingerless mitts to keep at work. So Wednesday night I put aside Blue Wavering and began this knit:


The colors are scrumptious and so cheery! They'll be perfect for work.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hello, Goodbye

A Lesson in Knitter's Denial

I finished up the Malabrigo Foliage Hat from the Knitty pattern this weekend. It's ready to fit a pumpkin, but me? not so much.



That is a full size towel wadded up inside the hat. So, yeah, a little big, and a total bust. My problem started when I printed out the pattern on portrait instead of landscape mode and the right side of the instructions were cropped. I thought I knew what I was doing and winged it. By the time I had gotten my hands on the full instructions I was deep in denial, and therefore, on a one way road to completion.

So it'll be froggsville as soon as I figure what kind of hat I am going to knit with this yarn. It is treacherously obvious that the variegation and the lace are a poor fit. I was considering EZ's Snail Hat, but the variegation will still get in the way.

Ugh! What do to, what to do?!?!

(Thanks for all the generously wonderful comments on my chevron scarf!)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Have we met?


Ahem. Good day. I was in the area, so I felt it my duty to introduce myself. I think in this kingdom I am known as The Queen's Forest. (What a pretentious mouthful! I assure you this is not of my own doing. )

A little about myself, you say? Well only a short while ago I was a respectable 81 inches long. And before I knew it a steam iron was put to me (I must not be considered good enough for a Eucalan soak! What impudence!) and now I am a vertiginous 90 inches. What was that foul person thinking?!?

I come from a long line of ancient peoples, known as Last Minute Knitted Gifts Chevron Scarves.


I am a distinctly new variety. Rather than superwash merino, I am made of a unique mixture of 80% alpaca and 20% merino wool. I am in no way concerned that my brethren prefer to be made of BMFA STR. No, I am not. I am a unique flower and damn proud of it. Oh, I am so soft to the touch and visually distinctive, I dare say my benefactress had it right in naming me. Yes, I think it only proper to concede this.



Yarn
Marshmallow by Decadent Fibers
A sport weight loosely plied yarn made of 80% alpaca, 20 merino wool
Approximately 550 yards
The yarn was purchased at their booth at the New York Sheep & Wool festival. The yarn tags did not indicate colorways, but looking at their website, I am almost sure they are Salsa and Mesclun.

Needles
Because I purl much tighter than I knit, I experimented with needles sizes. I began using size US3 bamboo straights. With stockinette, this isn't much of a problem, but with the knitting through the front and back loop increases I found my tight purling made the knit side increases prohibitive. I finally settled on a US3 for the RS rows and a US5 for the purl side.

Pattern
The pattern, as noted above, is from Joelle Hoverson's Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

I started the scarf on November 11, 2007 and finished on February 16, 2008. Although it got a bit touchy towards the end, the finished scarf is beautiful. I may even try to knit a pair of fingerless gloves with the leftover yarn. But not anytime soon, mind you. ;-)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Where'd the time go?

I really appreciate all the support on my scarf slogalong, you guys. I feel really guilty to have to report that I barely looked at it this week. I've been grudging on it. I just read the comments and I feel bolstered enough to face it this weekend. We'll have my nephews up and an easy knit will come in handy.

In my defense, I have a few elephants in the room these days. As time passes the intensity of feelings they engender fade, but they are still there all the same. And my knitting? It's a bit all over the place and that makes for poor posting fodder. Tack on to this afternoons too cloudy for picture taking and my blogging inspiration evaporates.

In all the muck though, I've been making headway on my next pair of gift socks, which I cast on last Sunday night. It was slow going at first because it lacks the one thing that motivates me in knitting - visual stimulation.


On the one hand, this yarn is fabulous to work with. It has a great feel and crisp stitch definition. It's the same yarn I used for my Cornucopia socks, Aruacania Ranco. The colorway? Not so much. It's a bit dull for my sensibilities, but requisite for the project. These are for a man, and for a man whose tastes I am almost 100% ignorant of. They're sort of a surprise gift so I went with a highly conservative colorway, as well as a basic sock pattern.

A little bored with the stockinette, but fearful of anything with too much flourish, I settled on a K3P1 rib. I think it's just the ticket for this project without a name. (My naming inspiration is decidedly feminine, which these socks are not.)


Once I got past the ribbing math, it's been smooth sailing. I love the subtle pooling of this knit.

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My husband and I are not the romantic types, with me being much less romantic than he is. We're definitely more sentimental, than romantic. I've kept clothing I purchased for him at the start of our relationship which has since lost it's wearability. I keep them in a box full of fabric meant to make a family quilt (one of those someday projects). Flowers and lovey dovey stuff really isn't our thing.

With that said, I got a little itch yesterday and so I scratched it. When I was a tween, my sister and I spent a great deal of our spare weekend time at our local drug and stationary store. We collected cards and we coveted all the cool stuff they had on hand, like the fabulousness that was Le Pen. In the month following Christmas the ostentatous Valentines Day display came out and so we spent many an afternoon ogling at the three foot high chocolate heart boxes with a longing so intense, I can still feel it now across the span of some 28 or so years.

It's only been in the past five years that we've been comfortable enough to not think twice about buying freakishly large, heart-shaped, chocolate boxes for St. Valentine's Day, along with everything else I spent so much time coveting as a kid. I'm still in the phase where I muse over how the vastness of my desires are waning as my ability to obtain them wax.

I often marvel at all the tacky, nonsensical stuff I just couldn't live without at age 12 (and well beyond). Contemplating my not-so-romantic response to another Valentine's day, I found myself thinking about those large chocolate hearts. I was struck with a desire to get the largest one I could find for hubby. He would appreciate it, and I could satisfy the longings of a 12 year old girl.

Turns out my local CVS didn't sell the three foot variety, but I didn't leave empty handed. Hubby appreciated my one and a half footer in all its ironic glory. Right after the photoshoot with hubby and the heart, he unwittingly mimicked that famous Say Anything pose and so of course I forced him to do it again and again with the hope of recapturing that sponteneity. Here's the best we could do:


Happy Friday everyone. On a side note, does anyone know what's up with Blogger's spell check? It hasn't been working for me for weeks and weeks now. Is it just me?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Not the FO I had hoped for, but an FO all the same

I'm glad you guys like my stitch holder idea. It definitely helps keep the well of motivation filled.

Friday evening I had to actually muster the energy to measure my chevron scarf, The Queens Forest. And wouldn't you know it, the scarf grew a bit; it was now at 66 inches.

By this point I was blaming the scarf for all manner of irritants. Yeah, I'm mature like that. Every stitch I knit over the weekend, I begruged. Non-sensical as that is, I have to own up to it. Instead of wrapping up this project, I was only able to add another four inches to it. She now stands at 70 inches and I keep telling myself that if I can just knit an inch or two a night, it'll be an FO in no time.

Instead, I found myself drawn to my Christmas Ball Socks.


This gets the balance due on my sock gifting down to two.


I love this lightweight Socks that Rock yarn. I love to watch the shifting colors as I knit, I love the gusset pooling. I love it so much I feel compelled to knit stockinette socks. Ribbing or other texture just gets in the way. The recipient of this pair of socks prefers ribbing, so I used a long 4 x 2 rib cuff to pacify these competing desires.


Yarn
Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight
100% superwash merino in the Christmas Balls colorway

Needles
Size US0/2.00mm addit turbo circs for the whole foot. Size US1/2.5 circs and 2/2.75mm circulars and size US 1/2.5mm rosewood dpns for the leg. I really wanted to prove my mettle using the US0 needles, and I did, sort of. I found the heel turning to be an uncompromising bit of knitting with the US0s. This yarn is a bit too sturdy and inflexible at that gauge. I would be wise to use US1s or greater on heels knit in this yarn and weight in the future.

Pattern
To begin, Judy's magic cast on toe. Just my basic knit as you go pattern from there after. I used larger needles, instead of stitch increases, for shaping as I went up the leg.

Note for the future, at 60 stitches, the foot is snug. Good for giftees, but not for me. I'll need to add at least 4 to 8 stitches when I knit socks for myself at this gauge and weight.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Knit one, measure too

Before launching into my knitting slogalongs, let me just say that the Malabrigo sock yarn isn't on the market yet. I heard about it in the Ravelry "malabrigo junkies" forum. It seems that they are looking to put out an initial 12 colors, but the colorways haven't been decided on. Neither has a launch date been set, at least as of yesterday when I read parts of the New Superwash Sock Weight thread. (Those able to get to the Stitches West exposition may at least be able to fondle some, or so I think based on what I read in that thread.)

--------------------------

Once again I succumbed to the blahs this week, finding no comfort even in reading my favorite blogs. Although, there is an upside to falling behind on blog reading in that when I finally rejoin the world, I'll have plenty of posts to catch up on. I count myself lucky that knitting always makes the blahs bearable, and so I am making headway on at least two projects.

The Queen's Forest is coming along, but it has been kicking my butt this week. By the end of last week I measured it at 48 inches and that felt good. Really, really good. I had come up with a little technique to keep me motivated: a visual clue that helps me keep track of my progress, as nothing saps one's interest in a project than the seeming lack of progress, wouldn't you agree?


See that little stitch marker? Well at the beginning of each session I ratchet the little bugger up to the row right below the needle. By the time I tuck it away at the end of the evening I can see how much I've accomplished.

That has been a great motivator until a couple of nights ago. After knitting what I thought was over 10 inches (at least!!!! I had to put it down a couple of times and I made the mistake of moving the marker up each time I restarted on it) I measured the scarf again and it measured a pitiful 54 inches. Big ARGH!

Now I've thought on this some. How could I have been so off in my estimate? I saw the visible progress and it was definitely more than six inches. Maybe I stretched the scarf when I measured it last week. Or maybe, just maybe, my scarf shrinks during the night. Really. Maybe the yarn contracts after its knit. Is that possible?

I laid it out horizontally before measuring last night and tonight I'll remeasure it in the same fashion before I sit down to knit. If it's the same 65 inches it was last night then we'll know I must have been stretching it as I measured, otherwise I'll have to accept that the scarf partakes in a little post knit shrinkage each night. Wish me luck it's the former, pretty please.

I've also made progress on my Christmas Balls Socks. I'm in the middle of the gusset increases on the second sock and will have hopefully turned the heel by the end of the weekend, depending on how much attention I give my chevron scarf.


If the scarf fails to keep my attention, then these might get done a whole lot quicker.

I'll see everyone on the other side of the weekend. Enjoy yourselves!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Did I just die and go to heaven?


Malabrigo Superwash
Originally uploaded by tobiasfeder
Malabrigo sock yarn. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Shoulda, woulda, coulda

I shoulda started Cornucopia's companion gift socks, but I didn't; I started Christmas Balls socks, instead. In my defense, these will be gifts, too. And I shoulda waited until I finished The Queens Forest (48 inches!) before starting another scarf, but I didn't. My defense, your honors? Malabrigo.


Understandable, no? Ever since picking up some awesome variegated Manos del Uruguay at Rhinebeck, I've been mulling over a hat, scarf and glove winter set. The Manos winter set is meant for my work coat, a camel hair car coat. The rest of my coats, which I wear far more often, are almost all exclusively blue. Light blue, dark blue, navy blue, teal blue. The wish for a new winter set for my non work coats grew stronger as my indecision on what to do with the Manos grew. And then Hobbygasa knit her My So-Called Scarf in a very similar colorway. How could I improve on that?

Then after day in and out of looking at the fabulous colorway of Ripley's latest sweater, the whole delightful and astonishing truth* dawned on my thickset brain: I should knit a winter set in this colorway. And so, after a (constant and) vigilant effort to not acknowledge the inherent cheesiness of being all matchy matchy with my dog (yuck!), I decided I couldn't live without this yarn. And so I didn't.

All that was left was settling on a pattern, which is the hardest job in the world, isn't it? Especially after a December spent ogling Peaknit's** Koolhaas and Nell's Shedir and Odessa.

No, those fabulously cabled hats would not do for such a sharply variegated yarn. And even though I had a bag full of WIPs packed for our trek to the baby shower in Saratoga Springs, NY, I couldn't help but spend a few minutes Saturday morning browsing hat patterns on Ravelry. (Oh yes, roll your eyes, but you know you've done it too, haven't you?!?)

Once I happened upon the Foliage hat from the Fall 2007 Knitty I knew I had hit paydirt. Since my printer was out of ink ($#@&) I ferretted out my Harmony stitchionary. If I couldn't knit the hat, I could at least start on a scarf. Once I found the stitch pattern, knit in a fingering or sportweight gauge, I realized I had come across this stitch before. At the end of November I had even tried to incorporate it into a pair of socks I intended to gift:


The decreases were far too bumpy in the mediumweight STR. I was shortsighted, too, I just couldn't see my way past the uneven knit and so I frogged. But now, in the glory of the worsted weight merino (and with the assistance of a steam iron), it's looking fabulous. It is a might busy in the variegated Malabrigo, but after some initial hesitation, I'm completely in love with it.



*Fabulous Jane Austen quote. Anyone?
** In foraging Peaknits' blog for the Koolhaas link, I see she knit a Foliage hat, too. I think I was so in awe of her malabrigo Koolhaas, the Foliage hat didn't register. It's fabulous too. (Sorry to be such a suckup!)

Monday, February 4, 2008

It's a surprise!

My EZ baby surprise jacket is done! done! done! But I don't have a half decent photo to show for it because of lack of light and lack of time. Here's the best I have.


Half the battle for me with projects like this is facing the finishing touches. First, I couldn't decide on the buttons. I found these cute little mice at an LYS.


Then I found some more buttons at Joann Fabrics and decided, afterall, to forgo the mice and forgo making the harder decision of which of the Joann Fabrics buttons to use. Alternating these latter two seemed like the way to go.


Then I struggled with seaming up the shoulders. This sounded easy to me unitl I realized I would be seaming a garter stitch edge to my cast-on edge. Yikes! I've never seamed garter stitch bumps. Though, once I got over the thinking on it, and actually focused on the doing of it, I muddled my way through quite well. But I have no pictures to show my prowess. :-(

And there was a window between the stressing and the ah ha!, I might add, wherein hubby found life in the dining room to be a tad inhospitable to those of the homosapien persuasion. But life goes on. ;-)

What I found delightful is how washing changed the sweater. Using Yellow Toot for comparison, here you can see the expansion and contraction of the sweater:


The left half of the photo above shows the sweater after hand washing and air drying. The right half of the photo was taken before this first wash. This emboldenend me to throw it in the washer and dryer with regular clothes and wouldn't you know it, it returned to its prewash size. Perfect for the parents of a newborn.


So on to the wrap up

Yarn
About 352 yards of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted (175 grams, or 1 1/2 skeins) 100% superwash wool
This yarn felt wonderful knitting. In the first handwash the red bled, but not excessively. The wet garment looked as stringy as a cat when wet, but once dry it was once again soft and lofty. After the machine wash and dry there was some loss of color. It was barely noticable, but I did notice it. The garment felt just as soft and lofty and there was no evidence of pilling.

Needles
Size US6 bamboo dpns and one circular needle.

Pattern and Size
The pattern is from Elizabeth Zimmerman's The Opinionated Knitter. My success with it is directly attributable to the hardwork of Dawn Adcock and her cheat sheet which I found linked at the knitting blog, Doulicia. I would have needed four times the time and an untold amount of patience to have waded through the brief newsletter directions that comprise this pattern.

As far as size, I'm not entirely sure. I just followed the pattern and hoped for the best. The recipient is a 6 month old and it fit her (even though poor Yellow Toot couldn't make it over baby's head!). Based on the EZ's pattern notes, the growth of this garment when wet, and finally, the nature of garter stitch, the sweater is expected to expand with use and grow with baby.

I almost forgot the ARGH! moment. If you follow the directions to a T, you will make button holes on BOTH sides of the cardigan. It was written before the advent of the ultrasound machine to inform expectant parents of the baby's sex. EZ brilliantly made it easy for buttons to be added to the correct side of the garment once the baby's sex was determined, after birth. Well, I knew the baby's sex so I was a little aggravated to have to sew up five holes. I wish there had been some forewarning, but what can you do. This still may come in handy as there are always parents with the will power to wait the nine months and be pleasantly surprised.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The end of the Yarn and Me Weekend. For reals.

Last night was a scramble to finish the BSJ and make some cookies for the baby shower tomorrow. And with the exception of maybe a wash and dry for the sweater, I'm all set. So, I thought I'd take this opportunity to finally catch up. Oh yes, I still have one more story from the yarn and me weekend. Itsy bitsy, and here it is.



What the heck is that, you ask? Well, it's a thing for animals to sleep on. Exciting. Thing. Yeah.

This project started out as a fly-by-my pants knit and felted knitting basket. The only problem was when I felted it, the sides bowed out like a concave lens. I later learned that lighter colors felt at a slower rate than dark colors. I also learned I didn't know what I was doing when I designed the project. Good times.

As far as the felting, I understand now, I should have used a much tighter gauge on the yellow Lopi. When the yellow failed to felt at the same rate as the dark green, the bowl became a concave mess. And this mess lay ignored in the laundry area of the basement, for who knows how long. I think it may have been a year. Then, the yarn and me weekend whirlwind hit, and it pulled this project into it's vortex. I threw it in the washer once more and attempted to shape it:


The good news, it's no longer a WIP. The bad news, well, isn't all that bad; instead of a knitting bag, I have a badly made kitty pi.

So there you go. Done! No more stories from a weekend three weeks ago. Now all I need to catch up on is last weekend. Here's a big yummy hint:

 

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