Archives for posts with tag: school products

Check it out, I finished something. It only took me 2 months to knit 150 yards. SO PROUD OF MYSELF.

Pattern: Anthro-Inspired Scarflet by Kim Seio (link to my project on Ravelry)
Yarn used: School Products Multi Strand Cashmere in taupe, unsure of how much but I’d estimate about 150 yards–left over from my Eastlake sweater
Needles used: US 8 (5.0 mm)
Date started: December 19, 2010
Date completed: February 19, 2011
Mods/Notes:
This little keyhole ascot is a knockoff of Anthropologie’s Toasty Rose scarf (pics may not work on that link, but there are more here.) Under 200 yards, simple knit/purl/increase/decrease, it should have been a quick little knit. So why did it take me two months? I have no good answer for that. I knit about the first third of the scarf in a couple of hours, then apparently knit about 3 stitches a day for the remaining 1 month and 29 days.

It’s worked in a tidy broken rib (“Sand Stitch”) that looks very nice but is still mostly stockinette, so has a tendency to curl a bit. It’s pretty cute, but note that the weight of the flower pulls it strongly to the front of the neck so it’s hard to keep it to the side or off-center, if that is how you want to wear it.

The pattern doesn’t come with a pattern for the flower. Here’s what I did:

  • CO 116 sts with tubular cast-on (this forms the visible edge of the flower petals, so it looks nicest with this CO)
  • Work in 1×1 rib for about 1 1/2 inches
  • K2tog across
  • Bind off, leaving a long tail
  • Using the long tail, sew a running stitch through the lower half of the strip of ribbing (ie parallel and close to the edge closer to the bound off edge), going in and out about every 1/2 inch, for 2 rows spaced about 1/4 inch apart, and pull tight to gather.
  • Roll up the strip of ribbing, folding/crumpling the flower until you like the way it looks, then sew down to the outer keyhole portion of the scarf.

I had meant to just roll this up like in the original Anthropologie scarf, but the flower looked bizarre and enormous, like a cinnamon roll or something, so I preferred the more gathered look in the end.

As an aside, it is astonishing how many photos you need to take to get even a few decent ones out of the batch. Kristen wisely demonstrated this FOR SCIENCE!… but still, it always amazes me; this time I probably had 50 shots that I thought looked great in the viewfinder, but when I got a good look at them on the computer, I realized I actually looked blurry, crazy-haired, fat, generally derpy, or whatever. This all with my best attempts at makeup, soft natural light, trying not to look like a total cross-eyed idiot, etc. and not even counting the dozens I knew were hideous right away and deleted without downloading.

I wore this white eyelet dress when I was a bridesmaid a few years ago. (How great is it that I have a bridesmaid dress that I got to pick–only the “white eyelet cotton” part was specified–and that I’d actually wear again?) My earrings aren’t really visible but they are these ginormous antiqued bronze flowers with pearls in them from Modcloth and I love them.


I’m going to pretend you can’t see those mop handles in the background. Or maybe you can imagine them as all part of an grand, artistic, high-concept fashion photoshoot. Also I just realized my bra straps are showing in several of these photos, whoops. Please imagine it is a $300, hand-stitched tussah silk bra from Anthropologie and this is all part of the grand styling plan, because I don’t want to go to the trouble of Photoshopping these, or, God forbid, taking more photos of this scarf.


The purple in this photo should be much more red-toned, but the scarf color is actually pretty accurate.

I need a haircut and this dress needs ironing.

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:

Sorry about the silence for a while there–I really needed that Thanksgiving break! I was drowning in work, and a week or two spent working into the wee hours of the morning paid off in allowing me to spend the long Thanksgiving weekend relatively work-free and relaxed.

On Thanksgiving day, we drove about 5 hours south to Rahul’s aunt and uncle’s house in rural central Illinois, and his parents drove up from Missouri to meet us there.  It’s deep in America’s flat, corn-filled heartland, the type of area where they show GM seed corn ads on prime time TV and you can listen to radio call-in shows dedicated to farm equipment classifieds (RFD Trading Post)–fascinating for an urban Californian! “Uh, hello, I’m interested in buying some billy goats, but I only want billy goats without horns. No horns. So if you have a billy goat with no horns, please call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX.” “I got some farm fresh eggs for sale. XXX-XXX-XXXX. Thanks.”

We had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner–turkey with all the fixings–but some yummy Indian food the other days, too: tandoori chicken, shrimp curry, biryani, a coconut-rice vermicelli dish called shevia (the last half of the word should be pronounced in a sort of slurry of vowels and approximants, sort of like Ozzy Osborne in that Samsung commercial).

We went shopping in Springfield on Black Friday and the day after. I feel sort of ashamed to admit that I had any part of this celebration of gluttonous American consumerism, but we were fairly practical, buying useful, cold-weather things on sale like chapstick and flannel sheets and a fake-down comforter, instead of silly things like Bacon-Waves and talking football-shaped candy dishes. We did buy a semi-frivolous Roomba at a doorbuster sale but found upon opening it that it didn’t have all the features we wanted: you have to manually start it–it can’t be set up to run automatically, and it doesn’t “go home” to charge afterwards, you just have to stumble over it wherever it happened to stop vacuuming and take it back to recharge. So we returned it, and my dreams of an amazing robot maid will have to be deferred. (An aside: I think iRobot is a terrible name for a robot company, don’t you?)

We did see some good old-fashioned Black Friday douchebaggery: a woman asked Rahul to hold her place in line for a sec when we first lined up, then she came back 45 minutes later, when we were about 5 people from the front of the line, and said “Oh, there you are! Thanks for holding my place” and shamelessly ducked back into line, completely ignoring her mortified husband telling her they had to go to the end of the line. Amazingly, aside from some complaining from us, a manager, and the people directly behind her, there were essentially no consequences for her jerkface behavior: she got to check out pretty much right away. But that was the biggest drama we saw, no fistfights over Wiis or anything like that.

Aside from that, we spent lots of time vegetating and hanging out with Rahul’s family. We watched lots and lots and lots of news about Mumbai, and I saw The Godfather for the first time, and the The Last King of Scotland. Both fantastic, of course.

Plus, at the same time, I did lots and lots of knitting! I cast on for Eastlake just before we left, and knit for a total of 20+ hours over the course of 4 days during car rides and while we watched movies or TV. I was trying desperately to meet my NaKniSweMo goal of finishing Flicca plus making one more sweater during the month of November, but fell short last night, only getting a few inches into the sleeves before calling it quits for the night. Still, I made good progress, and the sweater is going to be cushy and delicious once I’m done–I’m making it in a velvety taupe worsted-weight cashmere from School Products (via Klosekraft’s destash sale), and knitting as much of it as possible in the round. The leaf motif is so addictive I think I might even make an Eastscarf.

Last but not least, I finished the Malabrigo socks that were giving me such fits before, and wrote up the pattern! It’s available as a free download, with the caveat that this is a sock pattern by a sock moron and thus is not at all guaranteed to be any good. Here they are, the Tyro Socks, knit in the lovely Indiecita colorway:

Toe-up socks written for beginners, using the yarn-over short-row toe and heel described by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts in Simple Socks: Plain and Fancy (photo tutorial included in the pattern, for sock morons like me), and a simple, softly curving lace pattern mirrored on the left and right feet. The lace pattern is easy to read and to memorize, and it’s mostly stockinette (every other row is plain knit stitches).

You may notice some visual similarities to other patterns: the Pomatomus socks and Spirogyra mitts in particular. (There may be others, too, but those are the only ones I know of.) However, despite the similarities, which only occurred to me after I’d started, I can assure you that these socks were designed the old-fashioned way, from scratch, futzing around with a stitch dictionary and doing some swatching and math to mirror the stitch pattern and make it work with the stitch count. Namely, the parent stitch pattern is the Overlapping Waves pattern in The Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns.

This is a pattern of many knitting milestones for me. First pair of socks, first sock pattern, first short-row toe, and last but not least, first semi-creepy Flickr group request for photos of my feet. Ha! I’d read all kinds of tempest-in-a-teapot discussions on Ravelry about foot fetishists lurking on knitting websites to ogle sock FO photos, but this was the first direct encounter I’d had with them.

I flew back to Indiana last night, and boy, are my arms tired!

I had a busy weekend–had a Chinese foot massage, got kicked out of a psychic parlor because my “energy” was spoiling my friend’s reading, went thrift shopping, snuck my friend’s 18-year-old brother into a lesbian bar in DUMBO, visited MOMA and saw the Seurat exhibit, helped cat-sit a ridiculously flat-faced Persian cat named Sasha, had delicious brunch with some friends at an Israeli restaurant named Miriam in Cobble Hill, caught the first snowfall of the year in New York (so insanely cold! I need a new coat) so the only other yarn shopping I managed to sneak in was at Purl, right before meeting my cousin for shopping and hot cider.

I love love love Purl Soho’s online store and the Purl Bee, so it came as a bit of a surprise when I was thoroughly underwhelmed with the actual, in-person shopping experience. The stores were cute, nay, beautiful, but in the way that makes them nice to photograph for a Martha Stewart Living photo spread rather than nice to shop in as an experienced knitter. The spaces were incredibly tiny and cramped (I almost stepped on a tiny Chihuahua someone had brought in with her) and the yarns were shoved into the shelves so that you could only see the very end of the skein.

Admittedly, this makes the store very beautiful, but it’s also really annoying. If you see a skein you like, you have to pull it out to look at the label and price, and then shove it back in, and I felt like I was mangling the yarn every time I did that. I would also sometimes want to know if I was looking at the same yarn or a different one and would have to continually pull out and push back new skeins, because it wasn’t always obvious which ones were the same or where the boundaries between yarns fell.

The selection was gorgeous–so many colors of the Fibre Company Terra!–but pretty limited, with the pricing set the way you’d expect it to be for a bijou boutique in Soho (Kelp Knits called this “the Purl tax”) and between all these factors, I ended up feeling like I’d rather just go shopping online, especially considering Purl’s 40% off yarns are only available on their website.

It was nice to see the gorgeous shop projects in person. I’ve made the Child’s Rainbow Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts about 5 times, and I wanted to make it yet again after seeing their version in Alchemy Migration.

Because I’m not a particularly experienced or knowledgeable seamstress, on the other hand, I decided to buy some fabric at Purl Patchwork for aprons and bags.

1/2 yard of Kokka Trefle, a heavyish cotton-linen blend printed with chickens:

1 yard of Anna Griffin Blythe printed with a botanical pattern:

and some Amy Butler fat quarters in acid yellow and teal.

In case my own sewing doesn’t work out so well, I also invested in an absolutely adorable patchwork tote bag made by Along the Grain, being sold at a temporary holiday crafts store called La Superette, set up for this year in a storefront near Times Square. It has a zippered pocket inside, and little round appliques all over the front like bubbles. Floating in some of the bubbles are chickens and bunnies. How could I resist, especially when it’s such a cheerful color? (Mine looks exactly like the one I linked on Etsy)

So back to yarn shopping: School Products was wonderful. Thanks to everyone who recommended it! It was kind of the opposite shopping experience from Purl: hidden on an upper floor of a dark and decrepit-looking office building, it was totally empty when I went in, and had huge spaces with clearly labeled yarn spread out on tables and loosely stacked in bins and baskets.

There was So. Much. Cashmere. Brushed and smooth, chunky and laceweight, tweedy and handpainted, and so many droolworthy blends on top of the “plain” cashmere. It was kind of hard to shop for yarn here for a different reason, though: not all of the “special” skeins are labeled with yarn weight, yardage, skein weight, or recommended needle size, and many of them are sold by the ounce. In combination, all this makes it hard to compare prices in your head to see if you’re getting a good deal or not. You have to take any skein you’re interested in to the register to have it weighed and priced out for you.

I bought two skeins of Karabella Camissimo because they have a screaming deal on this yarn right now–normally $16-17, it’s selling for $6. It doesn’t look like it will be especially fun to knit, and it doesn’t look especially expensive–a chunky boucle, it has the look of something hairy and terrible from Michael’s. However, it is 50% merino and 32% baby camel and accordingly wonderfully soft and luxurious. (The rest is polyamide.)

The color I got was rather camelly, the brown/cream color labeled 18109 in the picture below:

I think I’m going to make a super-simple mistake-rib scarf with this. The yarn is so fuzzy, there’s no point in doing anything too special with the stitch pattern.

I also got two skeins of a chunky pale gray cashmere/merino two-ply and a skein of a redwood-colored, multi-stranded yak/merino worsted weight blend that, from the look of their shop sample, blooms into a fluffy, absolutely gorgeous fabric. I think the colors I got were 18 and 4, respectively.

I have one thing to say about MOMA. It was great to visit, but be advised that you cannot check in a suitcase at the bag check. The first time I tried to go, on my way from checking out from my hotel to my friend’s apartment, I was thwarted by the bag check people and had to content myself with buying some 3D sketchpads and lusting after the Reveal watch in the museum store–fun, but not quite the same experience as getting to see great art.

One of the sketchpads was a gift for the friend I stayed with–I also ended up showing him the Boku Hyphening wristwarmers and promising them at some future date. So I’ll have to add some wristwarmer thumbs to my knitting queue, and meanwhile my essential Christmas knitting has not progressed at all in the last week. A little less than three weeks left to go now…