Archives for posts with tag: finished object

…for knitting big gray sweaters.

Here is the first one I have to show off:

Pattern: DROPS 103-1 Jacket in Eskimo or Silke-Alpaca with A-shape –the chunky-weight version.

Here’s what DROPS has to say about it: ” – Wind, rain and falling leaves… Leave dreary days behind and dress up super elegant and classy, and still high fashion this fall !”

Size made: Small (33″)

Yarn used: Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Chunky in 550 Damp, a dark gray with blue, green, and white tweed flecks. I used a little over 5 skeins (600 yards).

Needles used: US size 11/8.0 mm

Date started: January 5, 2010

Date completed: June 23, 2010

Mods/Notes:
I knit on this at a pretty good clip until I got to the sleeves and finishing–I think the sleeves took about a month each and the finishing took another two. (Real time = maybe 2 hours, but it sat in a basket waiting for buttons, blocking, and sewing for a loooong time.)

I decided to knit the sleeves from the top down, two at a time, magic loop, to make them the same length and avoid extra finishing work, but this backfired because I got really tired of dragging out this enormous pile of wool and turning it around and around in my lap every time I wanted to work on this sweater. It felt like it weighed about 10 pounds by that time and it just seemed like such an unpleasant task. In the end, if I had just knit the sleeves the normal way, I think it would have saved me a lot of time and trouble.

The other thing about doing the sleeves this way is that I suck at picking up stitches nicely, so I found after a few inches that there were big holes all around the armscye where I had picked up from the wrong part of the stitch or something. I had to go back and sew these shut at the end–so I didn’t even save myself the trouble of setting in sleeves! It was exactly the same amount of sewing as if I’d knit them separately and set them in afterwards.

If I find my more detailed notes, I will edit this later, but to the best of my recollection, this is what I did for the top-down sleeves: I sewed the shoulder seam and picked up 60 stitches at an even rate around the armhole, placed markers for the top 1/3 of the stitches on either shoulder, and short rowed back and forth, going past the wraps 2 stitches each time, until I had a sleeve cap. Went back to pick up all wraps and knit both sleeves in the round, two at a time, until a bit above elbow length. Decreased 2 stitches every 2″ (working the sleeve shaping backwards, in effect) until I had 50 stitches. Worked the sleeve edging in double moss stitch and bound off. You can see the sleeves are sort of saggy under the arms/balloony in shape, but it’s not too bad.

I bought some big green buttons at Jo-Ann Fabrics to match the green tweed flecks. I only put on two in the end–they looked a little crowded with the third one on there. I’m not terribly satisfied with the way the bottom of the left lapel kind of sags down in front–a product of the double-breastedness of this jacket, and no interior snap or button to hold that side up. It might be worth putting something in to keep it up. I noticed the same thing, though to a somewhat lesser extent, with the shrug I made for Casey from this same pattern (well, kinda sorta the same. Similar.).

The back looks really surprisingly nice, nicer than the front, actually, though now that I’m looking at it I wonder what I did with the “A-shape” of this sweater, as it just looks like it hugs my shape instead of flaring out properly:

Here is a slightly closer view where you can see the weird sleeve caps, saggy underarms, two buttons, and collar fold in all their glory:

When I was mournfully knitting those Sisyphean sleeves for months and months, I was thinking I wouldn’t be very happy with the end product and that I should just give it away at Christmas. Now that it’s done and blocked, though, I like it quite a bit more and might hold onto it. It has a bit more ease than many of my sweaters, so it’s surprisingly comfy, and less heavy than I thought it would be. However, I still don’t love it as much as the other ones I’ve seen that first inspired me to add this to my queue–e.g., the Flintknits olive green version–maybe I just need to try knitting yet another one? Or style it with dark skinny jeans instead of a summer sundress.

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Those guys from Firefly would have looked a lot less sinister if they had worn blue mittens instead of gloves. Like these.


Pattern: Bodhi Mittens, from RiverPoet Designs

Size made: Medium, knit to the length suggested for Small

Yarn used: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Azul Profundo for the outer mitten and inner cuff (every last bit of one skein); Plymouth Royal Cashmere DK in Sage for the lining, about 90 yards/30 grams (I have about 20 grams left). I bought the Malabrigo at Stitches West in February and the cashmere, from DBNY, has been sitting in my stash for years now, periodically being swatched and frogged–somehow I just never found an application that seemed right for it until now. I think it’s a cabled yarn (multiple two-plies plied together) so it is a bit ropier-looking than you might expect 100% cashmere to be.

Needles used: US size 6/4.0 mm (magic loop for the main mitten, magic loop two at a time for the linings, DPNs for the thumbs of both shell and lining)

Date started: First mitten: June 6. Second mitten: June 16. Linings: June 18.

Date completed: First mitten: June 8. Second mitten: June 18. Linings: June 21.

Mods/Notes: I’ve been admiring this pattern for a bit; it’s not too well known, I think, but I saw a few FOs and KALs going on in the Malabrigo Junkies group, and I had wanted to cast on for these during Malabrigo March but just felt like I couldn’t commit to another WIP at the time. I brought the pattern and yarn with me when I went to Boston, and completed the first mitten there in just a couple of evenings. Worsted weight, non-stranded mittens are so gloriously fast!

I cast on for the size Medium (using a tubular CO) but realized as I neared completion on the hand that I would only need to knit it to the length specified for Small. I probably should have chosen the size Small to knit to begin with, in fact, because the fit was a bit roomy. The underside of the cuff is knit in seed stitch, which looks really sharp but obviously doesn’t draw in at all. So the wrist was outright baggy, and the rest of the hand was a little looser than I wanted.

To remedy this, and counteract the relatively thin and holey single-stranded fabric, I decided to knit linings for the mittens. I thought for a while about how to do it, and I think I got it almost right. I decided to use the rest of the Malabrigo to knit ribbed cuffs for the lining–it seemed perfect to have a combination of ribbing to draw it in tight against my skin, and the thicker worsted weight yarn to fill in as much of the empty space as possible. I was also worried that a) the cashmere would show if I used it to knit the cuff, b) it wouldn’t have as much elasticity as the merino, so the ribbing would sag, and c) it wouldn’t have as much body as the merino, so cold air would get up into the mitten.

I picked up stitches around the wrist edge, right side facing, at a 1 to 1 ratio (destroying my lovely tubular cast-on in the process). This is the only thing I think I might have done differently–if I’d planned ahead I would have done a provisional CO, and otherwise I might have picked up with the WS facing to create a purl ridge on the outside for a turning row, so the cuff could be folded in with a nice sharp fold.



I knit in 1×1 rib until I ran out of the Malabrigo. Serendipitously, this took me exactly to the end of the wrist area/beginning of the palm. I switched to the DK weight cashmere, which I chose because the finished fabric would be thinner and presumably would allow enough ease inside the mitten (particularly the thumb) for me to bend my fingers. Using the same needles, I knit in stockinette (RS facing), following the main pattern exactly for stitch and row counts but omitting the patterning on the back of the hand. After I finished the thumbs, and wove in the ends (not much weaving required–long tails can be hidden between the lining and the shell of the mitten) the lining could be turned inside out and pushed up inside the main mitten.

The mittens are extremely thick, warm, and cozy now. I was concerned at first about the little holes formed at the base of each blossom motif–holes in a mitten are no good for a Wisconsin winter!–but the linings will counteract those nicely. It will feel so luxurious to have these secret cashmere linings and gloriously warm hands to look forward to come winter. I love the way the mittens look, too–the flowery bodhi tree motif on the back of the hands is very pretty.

The pattern was nice to work with–I had no issues with it. It could have been condensed (I didn’t read the pages with the visual explanation of the mitten setup, but I can see how they would be helpful; and the left and right mitten instructions were spelled out line by line, instead of having one set of instructions with just the thumb placement reversed).

If I made these again, I would just go with a normal ribbed cuff instead of the seed stitch, even if I were doing the lining again. Seed stitch is pretty, but it looks really poochy in the wrist area.

The instructions provide a couple of methods for working the twist stitches–I used the k2tog variations (i.e. no cable needle).

Have you ever lined mittens? Do you have any tips for sizing, yarn selection, etc.? The sizing on these was easy since the gauge was the same between the shell and lining, but I’ve always been unsure about how to deal with it for stranded mittens. (Easy answer… gauge swatch for the lining in stockinette… but what a pain in the ass.) I’ve read that angora makes a fantastic lining, and I was thinking of experimenting with Kidsilk Haze or a KSH-type light and fuzzy yarn for a low-bulk lining that would still trap a lot of warm air.

I knit the Latitude and Longitude samples for the pattern photos in the garishly bright colors Noro is famous for, because they’re lovely and eye-catching. However, the very first Latitude and Longitude hat I made was actually in much softer shades of Silk Garden–one shade, color 267, is all earthy browns and grays, and the other, 241, was the most beautiful blend of purples ranging from the blue to the red end of the spectrum, in saturations from pale lavender to deep Tyrian.

I misplaced the finished hat (made in March 2009) for ages and thought it was lost for good, but recently, as we were cleaning around the house, I unearthed it again in a box under the bed. I thought I’d show it to you:

This seemed like a valuable lesson in color theory. I loved the two colors individually, or when I held them up against each other in skein form, but the purples and browns are too close in value and the stripes just kind of blend together in the finished hat. Not that I don’t like it, but it isn’t really the best pair of colors to show off a striped pattern.

Far more subtle–to the other version’s tropical macaw,

this might be more of a backyard bird–a purple martin or sparrow.

I also recently finished another Latitude and Longitude knit in calmer colors than the samples. This one a scarf, knit in Cascade Eco Duo.

Pattern: Latitude and Longitude scarf

Size made: Finished dimensions 5.5″ x 78″

Yarn used: Cascade Eco Duo, a kitteny-soft worsted weight singles blend of 70% alpaca and 30% merino. This is the softest, fuzziest yarn I’ve felt in a long time, and it comes in a bunch of naturally colored, subtly striping colorways: I chose 1705 and 1703, one colorway white and cream stripes and one colorway shades of gray, from palest smoke to darker slate. They were 40% off at an Easter sale at a local yarn shop, and each skein has 197 yards, so I only needed the two skeins instead of 4 like the Noro. I loved this yarn–I’m sure it will pill like crazy later on, but it is so, so, soft, it seems like a fair tradeoff.

Needles used: US 8 (5.0 mm) for the first few inches of the scarf, and US 9 (5.5 mm) for the rest. I cast on with the smaller needles since they were handy, but switched to the larger needles once I got a chance.

Date started: April 26, 2010

Date completed: May 30, 2010

Mods/Notes: Since my yardage was a little shorter with the 2 skeins of Cascade than with the 4 skeins of Noro, I decided to cast on 35 stitches to produce a longer/skinnier scarf. It came out to a very good scarf length, and I’m very happy with it, though I suspect there may be a lot of scarf stealing come winter–Rahul liked it a lot too, put it on as soon as I finished it, and asked (hint hint) who I had made it for.

Like the purple and brown Noro hat, it is in soft natural shades instead of vibrant dyed ones, but I think the colors contrast well enough in the scarf that the reversible vertical/horizontal stripe patterning stands out clearly.

Just look at how soft and fluffy this yarn is… does the fluff factor show up in this close-up?

I wanted to take some better pictures of the hat and scarf modeled, but since it’s high Midwest summer and about 90 degrees and humid both in and outside at all times, I instead opted for the ever-stylish “winter watchcap and alpaca scarf over cotton sundress” look. I had a black wool coat on over the dress for about 2 seconds before giving up and flinging it off.

And last but not least, because it fits into the color scheme, here is a picture of my current WIP–the Shalom Cardigan in Elann Peru Soft, color 801 (a bulky-weight but light and fluffy singles yarn–about half acrylic, half natural fibers–I resisted when it was first posted, but caved in and bought a bag when they had it on sale for 10 bulky-weight, 98-yard skeins for $18; decided to do penance by casting on right away instead of letting it marinate like all the other perfectly good yarn in my house).


The contrast between this and the last chunky weight gray yarn I used (Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Chunky) is striking. The Rowan feels very sturdy and rustic, heavy, rope-like–texture-wise, the Elann yarn is like an airy loaf of Wonder Bread, while the Rowan is like a tooth-breakingly dense loaf of whole grain, like black rye or Vital Vittles whole wheat. No wonder, as the Rowan weighs 1 gram per meter while the Elann weighs only 0.55g for the same yardage, though to be fair, the Rowan recommends only 12 sts/4″ and the Elann yarn a much lighter gauge of 15 sts/4″, so “bulky” doesn’t quite mean the same thing here.

Anyway, it’s nice, and I hope the cardigan fits in the end… this is a free pattern, and the sizing is a bit haphazard in the original pattern anyway (it only includes one size), so I took a seat-of-the-pants approach to gauge and sizing on my version. The stitch gauge turned out to match but not the row gauge, so I’m recalibrating as I go (and already had to frog and reknit an inch or two). I’m planning to add buttonholes all the way down, and add long sleeves.

It only took me a year and a half, but I have completed an actual pair of socks. Yes, two of them! One for each foot!

I only have a picture of the first one, which I completed back in February 2009, but use your imagination and pretend that there is a second one as well. (Actually, I realized to my horror after finishing Sock #2 that I did not have Sock #1 in that knitting bag as I’d originally thought, so let’s hope I can find it at home and don’t have to take another year to make a Sock #3.)

Pattern: Interlocking Leaves, by Kelly Porpiglia, from Knitty Fall 2008

Size made: Small

Yarn used: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in Redwood Mix, less than 1 skein. I liked this yarn–it’s apparently machine washable (haven’t tried it yet) but doesn’t have the weirdly plasticky hand of some superwash wools. The color, like for most of Berroco’s yarns, is fantastic–a deep red heather, warmer than what I’d call burgundy, but definitely more red than the auburn brown I think of when I think “redwood”. It’s somewhat hairier and rougher than the other sock yarns I’ve knit with (which are typically merino) but it’s not scratchy.

Needles used: US 1½ (2.5 mm) Knit Picks Harmony DPNs

Date started: Sock #1: January 15, 2009. Sock #2: can’t remember exactly, but I think it was around May 19? Just a little bit before Memorial Day, in any case.

Date completed: Sock #1: February 4, 2009. Sock #2: June 6, 2010. Sounds like a long time, but I still have a lonely Pomatomus somewhere in the house that I knit in May 2007, so it’s still not a record for longest time spent single. (I really should probably start knitting them two at a time.)

Mods/Notes: This is a lovely pattern, and the socks fit nicely and seem like they’ll be warm and comfortable. The only issue I had, which happened on both socks due to the long time elapsed between finishing Sock 1 and starting Sock 2, was that I kept thinking the gray shaded squares represented “no stitch” and skipping over them, which, since they actually represent purl stitches, led to a lot of issues at the end of each round containing gray squares.

These socks do not look very attractive when unblocked and not on a foot.

In other crafty news: I’ve been in Boston for work, so on commenters’ recommendations, I visited two yarn shops (Mind’s Eye Yarns and Windsor Button) but displayed admirable restraint and did not buy any yarn while in Boston despite the very tempting 25% off sale at Mind’s Eye and the overwhelming supply of gorgeous buttons at Windsor Button. I met longtime blog commenter Luise at Mind’s Eye (hi, Luise!) and got to spend some time chatting and browsing yarn and books, which was lovely. I limped around Boston all weekend–you never realize how many stairs there are in T stations until you’re semi-disabled–and picked up a Vogue fitting shell pattern on sale at Winmill Fabrics, which hopefully I can use to get a good fit on Vogue/Butterick patterns once and for all, if I can convince myself to be virtuous enough to spend time sewing a muslin instead of an actual garment.

I’m heading back home early tomorrow morning. It was a nice trip, and between the travel and not being able to walk around too much, I got in lots of knitting time! Aside from the socks, I’ve also finished one Bodhi Mitten (knitting them in dark blue Malabrigo) and expect to finish the second one in the next few days.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this on the blog before, but I have been rock climbing for the last 6 months or so and really loving it. And “love” is really not a word I apply too often to any kind of athletic activity. But it is really fun–good strength training (and for me, decent cardio; after a few months of it, I found I could run about 4 times as far as before without getting winded), fun to work out strategies for how to get up the wall, customizable to your particular skill level, highly social but without the “oh God I’m letting everyone down” feeling that comes to utter non-athletes like me when getting involved in competitive team sports.

For many people, particularly my parents’ generation and older (since rock climbing before the 80s or so was the real deal… on rocks that can crumble or saw through your rope, not in a gym with plastic screw-on holds and padded floors), the reaction when I would mention this was “Wow, isn’t that dangerous?”

My hubris-filled reply: “Oh, it’s perfectly safe, it’s in a gym, on ropes, with a padded floor.”

I bet you see where this is going.

My friend Liz and I signed up for an Advanced Movement class at the gym and I was really excited about it. Finally, we would advance into new and wonderful realms of climbing! Moving in an Advanced way! Learning fabulous new skills!

The first class was basically a diagnostic where we were told to just climb normally, and the instructors would watch and get an idea of our climbing styles so they could tell us what we were doing well and what we needed to work on. So the doors of climbing enlightenment didn’t really crack open on Tuesday.

For the second class, last Thursday, we were supposed to pick out the routes we would be working on–a problem that was just above our skill levels to complete–and we would figure out how to do each piece of it until we could complete the whole thing in one smooth climb.  Finally! Soon we would be levitating up walls blindfolded, like true climbing masters.

I picked out an overhanging route set into a corner that I had gotten about halfway up before, and set out. I needed a few tries to get onto it, but I got past where I had been stuck before, and was doing some beautiful moves to get up past the trickiest part. I was doing great! Finally, I was at the very last move of the climb. I had to reach up really high along the overhanging face to get the next hold.

Facing the corner, I put my left foot on the left wall, right foot on the right overhanging wall, and executed a drop knee maneuver by dropping my right knee down, which should have given me a few more inches of reach on the right side.

Unfortunately, as I pushed up with my right leg towards the final hold of the climb, I felt a horrible wrenching sensation in my knee–aside from the horrific pain, when I briefly put my hand on it I could feel that something was very, very wrong. Pop! goes the kneecap. So I had an exciting ambulance ride visit to the emergency room, will be putting a good chunk of change towards my health insurance deductible this calendar year, and am stuck on crutches for probably 4-6 weeks… and will be out of the climbing gym for even longer. Plus, now that I have dislocated my kneecap once, I’m at a high risk for it happening again.

All this happened while I was “perfectly safe,” in my harness, on the rope, being held by a certified belayer. And I was doing a move I’d done before with no ill effects. I guess I just had my knee twisted a bit too far, or was just too forceful this time, or something.

As if to taunt me, the weather here has been gorgeous. Rahul took me on a walk down to the park the other evening (we’re only a couple of blocks away, but on the crutches, it probably took an hour to go a quarter mile) and it was just filled with people enjoying their knees, zooming past on Rollerblades or bicycles or just jogging along. Much like this scene from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, but substitute a working pair of legs for the bikes.

The possibility of getting lots of knitting done is basically my only consolation. At least I can bend my knee again so I can sit up in a chair again instead of having to lie flat on the couch or in bed like I’ve been for the past few days… not that I’ve gotten a lot of knitting done; I finally started my second Interlocking Leaves sock–the first one has been sitting around for ages, solitary and lonely–but I screwed up the instep so had to frog back about an inch of it already. Bah.

Anyway, so that this post is not all griping and gloom, here are some pictures of my latest finished object–another Latitude and Longitude hat, made for my friend’s 30th birthday. (Rav project link) I only had time to take some overexposed photos with the flash before packing it up to give to her, so forgive the photo quality. This was a stashbuster with only one color striping, on a black background–I made it with some leftover black wool, striped with odds and ends of Noro Kureyon and Malabrigo spit-spliced together into a continous strand wherever possible.



Hope my mom doesn’t see this before the package arrives with her… but her Mother’s Day present this year was a hat I made a while ago and hadn’t photographed/blogged yet.

Pattern: Side Slip Cloche, by Laura Irwin, from Boutique Knits

Size made: If I remember right, this pattern is one size fits all.

Yarn used: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Pearl Ten, about 175 yards. Pearl Ten is an interesting muddy gray-brown semi-solid–but not very saturated, so not quite brown, even; I don’t know what to call it. Somewhere between raisin and mink.

Needles used: US 6 / 4.00 mm Knit Picks Options circulars, using a 16″ cable attached to the longer US-based needle tips. The 16″ cable isn’t sold in the US but is available through Knit Pro in Europe. Purchased from eBay.

Date started: June 9, 2009

Date completed: June 11, 2009

Mods/Notes: This is a cute hat with a fin-like double ruffle along the side, intended to have a 20s cloche silhouette; unfortunately, I accidentally knit this a bit longer than the pattern called for, so it’s a bit bigger/poofier than intended, more beret than cloche. It is a cute hat, but I think I’d make it with a brighter color if I make another for myself.

I have seen a lot of these on Ravelry and quite a bit of confusion about how to attach the ruffles. If you decide to make this and are in doubt, I advise carefully studying the diagrams in the pattern and looking at pictures of finished hats on Ravelry before forging onwards.

Pics:




In non-blog world, it has been an eventful couple of weeks since I last posted. I turned 30 in mid-April (had a lovely party with friends, and Beatles Rock Band, and cupcakes); demonstrated drop spindle spinning at the Great Midwestern Alpaca Festival; our good friends Steve and Jeanne came to visit and we had a really nice time with them cooking ramps, rock climbing, and drinking locally brewed beer; unfortunately, during said visit, we also accidentally ran over a deer with our new car (we just got it late last year) so a bit of energy and large amount of cash were expended in taking care of that situation. Things have settled down again a bit, and I’m enjoying the quiet and the nice warm weather we’ve been having lately. It has been so nice out that our knitting group has finally made the transition back to our summer venue, a bar with outside seating (although we were a bit overconfident and ended up having to go inside after it got dark, due to a wind advisory and chilly weather). Since it’s been in the 70s and blissfully sunny lately, it’s hard to believe that we’re still not past Madison’s last frost date for the year! (but I am dutifully holding off on putting tomatoes in the garden until I get the go-ahead from the Wisconsin gardening experts.)

OK, folks, ready for some magic?

Abra…
hatlat

Cadabra!
hatlong

Presto…
cowllong

Change-o!
cowllat

OK, it ain’t David Copperfield, but it’s still pretty cool, right?

My latest pattern release, Latitude and Longitude (Rav link for purchase: buy now), is a set of three accessories, meant to be knit up in two complementary colors of Noro Kureyon, Silk Garden, or another self-striping yarn: the PDF includes instructions for a scarf, cowl, and hat. All three are fully reversible and, as you saw, have vertical stripes on one side and horizontal stripes on the other. You only use one color per row, and there’s no real fancy business going on, stitch-wise–the basic pattern is just knits, purls, and slipped stitches. There are a few fancier things happening in the hat to keep the decreases as balanced and invisible as possible, but follow the written directions or chart and you’ll be fine.

I probably shouldn’t gush too much about the awesomeness of my own work, but seriously, I love these. (Sadly, one hat and the scarf have gone missing already. I seem to always lose my absolute favorite knitwear. At least I still know where two rainbowy cowls and a hat are.)
set

I first came across the stitch pattern a couple of years ago, in Jane Neighbors’s out of print Reversible Two-Color Knitting, which I found in the Cleveland Public Library system (one of Cleveland’s only redeeming points, in my humble opinion). It took a while, but one day I realized its full potential as I was contemplating another Noro striped scarf–previously my favorite renditions were the vertically striped two-color brioche rib or the horizontally striped mistake rib scarf. I realized that with this pattern, at last, there was no need to choose between the two.

So I worked up the scarf, then put the pattern into the round for the cowl, and last but not least, figured out some nice-looking decreases for the hat–I think it looks pretty good from both sides:
hattop
hattop2

The opposite directional striping shows up when you fold up the brim of the hat:
hat

Or when you fold down the edge of the cowl:
me6

Or when your scarf twists or folds, as scarves are prone to do:
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The hat and cowl each take two skeins of Noro–the scarf, a more budget-busting four skeins. The cowl, like most cowls, is pretty much just a big tube, but it is a nice portable piece of knitwear to tote around in your purse (or murse, or pocket, as the case may be) in case your neck gets cold.
me2

One of the hardest things about knitting these two-color Noro pieces is picking out colors that will work together.

Contrasting dark and light, warm and cool, dull and bright colors seems to work well. But there are always those surprising lengths of weird colors like neon yellow or muddy olive that aren’t visible from the outside of the skein, then show up with a vengeance when you’re halfway through. Liz and Other Liz, friends from my Wednesday night knitting group, were kind enough to test knit for me; Liz (or Other Liz?) had to frog a bunch of her hat because two nearly identical shades of green showed up in both skeins at the same time. I try to avoid these situations by keeping both the centerpull and outside end of each skein accessible, and switching them out as needed. But sometimes just cutting out a length of a nasty color is unavoidable.
IMG_1480

A perfect example of careful color selection: the hat I lost was knit in an ivory colorway of Silk Garden contrasted with purple shades, which seemed to go together really well when I held up the skeins next to each other, but the contrast all washed out when it was knit up. It was attractive and subtle, but didn’t photograph well–so it was a good opportunity to choose the two most garish colors of Kureyon in my stash and knit up hat #2.
me5

The two-sided stripes help camouflage everyone’s other least favorite thing about Noro (well, aside from twigs, breaking, uneven spin, and all the other things I see people complaining about on the Ravelry Yarn forum every few weeks like clockwork)–knots, with completely different colors tied together at the join.
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So there you go. Latitude and Longitude. Please consider them for your future Noro striped accessory needs! More info, including a chart of possible yarn substitutions and links to tubular cast-on and bind-off tutorials, can be found on my main pattern page.
me9

A couple of mice passed through our house over the last couple of months. The new-fangled, pleasant way, involving knitting rather than food scraps forgotten in corners.

This is actually Mouse #2–I don’t have pictures of Mouse #1, which I gave to Rahul’s little cousins over Thanksgiving, but it looks pretty much exactly the same as this one: i.e., very, very cute.

Pattern: Mousie, by Ysolda Teague, from Whimsical Little Knits

Size made: bigger than a rat, smaller than a ROUS

Yarn used: Caron Simply Soft Eco: about 0.3 skeins (74.7 yards) of Natural 0002, and about 0.1 skeins (31.5 yards) of regular Simply Soft in Soft Pink 9719. Scraps of black yarn for eyes.

Needles used: US 3 / 3.25 mm 40″ Knit Picks Options circular (magic loop). Well, given the US 3 size, these are not actually Knit Picks, but the compatible Knit Pro tips purchased off eBay.

Date started: December 12, 2009

Date completed: December 13, 2009

Mods:

  • Knit the gigantic ears separately and sewed them on later, rather than picking up and knitting.
  • Embroidered a friendly smile:
  • Stuffed mouse with gingham scraps from my fabric scrap bag, and weighted the bottom with pennies (the pattern suggests beans, but I was afraid if the toy was washed and the beans got wet, they would get moldy or soft or start growing inside the toy)

Notes:
This is a great little pattern for gifts, very quick and simple, but with adorable results–I knit up the mouse in about 4 hours total. With the worsted-weight yarn, it came out much bigger than I would have expected–here it is sitting on my hand for scale:

I didn’t have any suitable mouse-colored, machine-washable fingering-weight yarn, but I prefer to think the larger sized mouse is maybe less tiny and adorable, but more huggable for a small child.

I sent the mouse to my little cousin Emma, who is just about 3 years old now, for Christmas. I’m told she loved it, and named it Sally (without any prompting from Mom and Dad!)

Look, I made thrummed mittens! (Ravelry page.) And the picture is really terrible because I can’t take good pictures at night. I’ll have to try and wrest the mittens back for a proper photoshoot at some point.

If you’re not familiar with thrummed mittens, they are mittens with little tufts of wool (thrums, originally bits of yarn left over from weaving, but here referring to little bits of unspun roving) knit into the fabric to make a warm, fleecy layer on the inside that keeps the wearer extra-super-duper warm. The Yarn Harlot’s Thrum FAQ has more info and a great photo of an inside-out thrummed mitten. The mittens I made didn’t look nearly as fluffy and nice on the inside, unfortunately.

Pattern: Basic Mitten Pattern from The Knitter’s Book of Patterns, by Ann Budd

Size made: Used the cast-on and increase/decrease numbers for Men’s Large (to allow extra ease for the thrums), but knit to the specified lengths for Men’s Medium, 5 sts per inch gauge

Yarn used: Patons Classic Wool (looks like they don’t call it Merino on the label anymore) in 00231 Chestnut Brown, a little bit less than 1 skein; charcoal gray 70% superwash merino/30% alpaca  roving from River’s Edge Weaving Studio, about 2 oz.

Needles used: US size 7/4.5 mm 40″ circulars (Options)

Date started: December 6, 2008

Date finished: December 8, 2008

Mods:

  • Knit the cuff in twisted rib (knit every knit stitch through back loop, purl every purl stitch)
  • Thrums! I added thrums to these mittens by pulling off about pencil-width pieces of the roving. It was slippery and wouldn’t pull into short enough pieces, so I ended up knitting two stitches with each thrum, stranding it across the back of the three intervening stitches like for stranded knitting. I used more or less the following chart, where | = plain knit stitch, T = thrummed stitch. I had to kind of fudge the thrum pattern on the thumb and top decreases where the stitch counts didn’t quite work out right.
| | | | | | | | 8
| | | | | | | | 7
| | | | | | | | 6
| T | | | T | | 5
| | | | | | | | 4
| | | | | | | | 3
| | | | | | | | 2
| | | T | | | T 1

Notes: I made these as a birthday/Christmas present for Rahul because it’s cold here, and I thought they would be good to keep him warm on his way to school. I meant for them to be a surprise but, as it turns out, I’m really terrible at keeping things secret. He came home while I was knitting them and I decided to go on working on them anyway since he usually doesn’t pay attention to what I’m knitting until I’m done, and he usually sits in the other room to study.

He came and sat by me to study and I decided to act natural and go on knitting the mittens anyway.

Then I finished them and thought as I was weaving in the ends that perhaps I should block them and wrap them up nicely before giving them to him, but that sentiment lasted about 2 seconds before I burst out with “Guess what, I have a present for you!”

“Wow!” he said, laughing, when I presented him with them. “Why, I haven’t seen you working on these at all.” They fit him perfectly, and he says they’re warm.

The fiber I used wasn’t that great for thrums–I would try to avoid it next time in favor of a more curly, woolly yarn. I guess I can’t quite say “crimpier” since the superwash merino has crimp, but it’s so fine that along with the superwash process, it makes the whole fiber come out seeming quite straight and silky rather than in curly, fluffy locks. In its favor, it’s very soft, I had it lying around in a nice manly color that coordinated with the yarn, and the staple length was way shorter than the natural Icelandic roving that was my other choice (though still a bit too long, as it turned out).

My hope is that as the mittens see some use, the outer shell will felt a bit while the superwash roving knit into them will stay warm and fluffy.

OK, I really meant to go out and look at penguins at the zoo, but then about an hour ago I noticed the light was bright enough to take some photos indoors (albeit mostly very blurry ones) and got sidetracked by taking photos of my latest, favoritest FO: Eastlake. It’s still a little damp, but I can’t believe how great it came out. Once I finish writing this post, it’s off to penguinland. I haven’t made it to that corner of the Vilas Zoo yet, and I suspect those little guys are having a ball in this weather.



Pattern: Eastlake, by Norah Gaughan, from Norah Gaughan Volume 3. Used the errata corrections shown here. My ravelry page for this is here.

Size made: smallest (32″)

Yarn used: Taupe/mushroom School Products Multi-Strand Cashmere, bought from Stephanie’s destash sale, 450 grams used total (no idea of the actual yardage, unfortunately, since the yarn doesn’t have ballbands and it’s not on the School Products site anymore).

I LOVE this yarn–it knit into a dense, plush, velvety fabric, and the stockinette looks beautifully rich and even. However, it’s made up of three chainette strands wound together into a ball with no twist added, so it was very snaggy indeed, and I encountered a pretty high number of knots in one strand or another, at which point I would have to cut the yarn.

I felt kind of bad about this yarn for a while. Stephanie was destashing a lot of yarn at a very good price because she wanted to give it all a new home where it would be loved and appreciated, and then once I bought this, it sat around in my closet for ages, with no project in mind, and somehow I felt vaguely like I’d let her down, or snatched the yarn away from someplace where it would really be loved and confined it in a new, neglectful, unloving home. No such worries anymore; I think this is the perfect pattern for this yarn, so it’s time to transfer my stash guilt to something else.

Needles used: US size 5/3.75 mm for the ribbing, US size 7/4.5 mm for the rest of the sweater

Date started: November 25, 2008

Date finished: December 6, 2008

Mods:

  • Knit the front and back in one piece in the round up to the underarms, and knit the sleeves in the round, two at a time, magic loop.
  • Due to knitting in the round, I subtracted 2 stitches where each seam would have gone. If you also choose to do this, note that the ribbing in the back has to start with p2 k2 rather than k2 p2 to line up right with the front ribbing. Also, on the even-numbered rows, the YOs have to be purled, not knit (this is obvious, if you think about it, since these are WS rows in the original directions, but it took me a couple of rounds wondering why I was knitting the stitches on one round and purling them on the next before the shoe dropped and I realized I hadn’t fully reversed the pattern directions).
  • Also due to knitting in the round, once I split for the front and back and started doing the armhole shaping, I omitted the first decrease round after binding off the armpits, to get to the proper stitch count. (Otherwise, since I omitted 2 sts for the side seam, I would have had 2 sts too few.)
  • Accidentally left out the plain knit round before the eyelet round on the eyelet decoration round on the chest and the first one on the sleeves. I noticed my mistake and knit the extra round on the 2 eyelet rounds at the elbow.
  • Knit 3 reverse stockinette rounds for each purl ridge. (I think the pattern calls for only two rounds on one piece, either the front or the back)
  • Because I didn’t have the right length cable handy when I knit the purl band around the neckline, I knit it back and forth rather than in the round, and seamed it at the back neck.
  • Twisted the stem stitches in the front panel on every round rather than every other round, since I was working in the round and it was easy to see which stitches these were
  • Didn’t twist my M1 sts in the front panel, so they came out as eyelets along the main stem. This was actually an accident at first, but I liked the effect and left it alone.

Notes: Norah Gaughan is a genius. There are no words for how much I love this sweater–I think it’s my new favorite. It was an easy knit, addictive to work on because of the interesting, constantly changing but also predictable front wheat sheaf panel, and the finished product is gorgeous, flattering, and elegant, if I do say so myself.

I have to admit the pattern is sort of hard to follow. Not because it’s poorly written, but because it’s written to follow particular style/space guidelines, so all the directions are crammed into these slightly cryptic running text paragraphs, and I kept losing my place. Also, the wheat sheaf pattern isn’t charted. You can get a chart from someone on Ravelry if you can prove you own the pattern, but I didn’t bother. It would have been nice, but it’s not terribly hard to follow the written directions; the pattern is very intuitive as long as you pay attention to where to start the top decreases for each leaf and where to start each new stem.

I only finished the sweater so quickly because I had some huge blocks of time during the Thanksgiving holiday to work on it–about 12 hours in the car, plus hours of idle time spent watching movies and such.  I wouldn’t have rushed it so much, either, but I was trying to finish it during NaKniSweMo as part of a Stash and Burn challenge/knitalong. I didn’t make it, but I came really close–I finished the front and back and several inches of the sleeves before throwing in the towel at midnight on the last day of November.

This photo is not especially nice or exciting or anything, but it might be helpful for anyone making this sweater who wants to see how the back neck extensions get seamed: