Sunday, October 28, 2007

Not my FO

So about a year and a half ago, I was reading Grumperina's knitting blog and I fell in love with this sweater. For a while now I've been really wanting to make this sweater, sans turtleneck, just like Grumperina did. However, I've never had quite the right yarn in my stash for the sweater, and it has been on the backburner ever since. Now and then I would think I had found the right yarn for the sweater, but then when it came down to casting on I realized I really wasn't sold. The pattern I was more than sold on, but the yarn? I wanted a nice smooth yarn, perhaps a merino or something along those lines. Many plies, very soft. Then came Grumperina's post about selling off her handknit sweaters. Having never worn many of them, she decided to part with the lovely works of art. So I bit. I emailed her and asked if the Swirled Pentagon Pullover she had knit last May was one she was selling, and if there were any prospective buyers yet. Well I guess I was the first one to email her about it, and after double-checking against my other sweaters and determining that the sweater would fit, I happily sent her the money to pay for the yarn, a small commission, and shipping (Grumperina, thanks for buying sale yarn!). And now this sweater is mine. With only one problem. I can't photograph the damn thing! These pictures are the best I could get, even though some are in daylight with someone else taking the pictures.

This sweater rocks. I am contemplating doing some very minor sweater surgery to lengthen the body and sleeves a bit. We'll see. In the meantime, I'm all about this sweater! I've already worn it twice. Yay for sweater weather!

I have always wanted a penguin...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Swatch Wall

Apologies in advance. It is dreary out and I had to use the flash. Pictures are somewhat sub-par and sometimes washed out. Now that you're so excited to read the post, I present to you...

My Swatch Wall. I got the idea from the book Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Basically, I had swatches lying around and decided to hang them on the wall. You can't tell from the craptastic picture, but It is actually kind of cool. And it is right above my desk, so I get to look at pretty yarn and knitting every time I'm in my office. Its pretty nice. So now my dirty secret is out. Sometimes I swatch. Not always, though. Swatches lie. But sometimes you need guidance. Like the following swatches:

This is cashmere. It was knit on size 6 needles. Frogging compromises fiber, and I don't want to compromise expensive yarn (even if it was wholesale) by knitting with the wrong size needles and then frogging.

This is from the LSD cardigan. The first time I started it, it was waaaayyyy too big. I was also concerned (this being superwash wool) about having the problem I had when I knit Tubey, I wanted to do a swatch with smaller needles and throw the swatch in the washer (and dryer) to see if it shrunk or grew. It did neither. So I cast on for LSD v2.0. I don't really like knitting it very much, and the yarn's not that great feeling, so progress is slow.

To make Zeebee, you have to swatch. You can't just guesstimate by the label (well, maybe YOU can, but I can't) because you knit the hat in garter stitch. You need to know both row and stitch gauge.
And, oh, what is this?

Its another Zeebee! In Noro Silk Garden. Thanks, Swatch! Quickie specs, since this is the 4th Zeebee I've knit, it doesn't need its own post. US 8 needles, 58 grams of yarn. I could have used less than one skein if I was knitting it for myself, but I wasn't. It fits the wearer nicely though!

This swatch was actually knit after I started the garment. It is from when I was knitting the Bluebell Boatneck, about which I did not blog (I don't think). The problem was that the parts of the sweater in stockinette looked fine, but where I did ribbing and garter stitch (and even reverse stockinette), it looked like the fabric was being knit on too-large needles. I was wondering if the yarn plumped up at all after washing, so I knit and washed a swatch. The swatch did plump up, so I knit on, and finished the body of the sweater. I tried it on and determined that I am not wild about the purl ridges that Stefanie Japel (the sweater designer) loves so much, unless it is on a more... delicate (?) yarn and smaller needles, like this sweater. So the sweater is waiting to be frogged and will become a top-down raglan in stockinette stitch with rolled hems/neck knit on US 7 needles (because I still think it would look better on smaller needles. Just for the hell of it, here is a picture.

This was knit for the Dollar and a Half Cardigan (I've got both fronts done now, but its not very blog-worthy. BTW, I hate decreasing for armscyes in lace. Though I think I might have it figured out, now that most of the sweater is done, HA). I was trying to figure out what size to knit, and I wanted to see if linen (or, rather, a linen/acrylic blend) grows much after blocking. It does not. So negative ease would be bad in this situation. 36" bust it is!

So there you have it, my secret is out. I am a sometimes-swatcher. And actually, I kind of like swatching. I like the little pieces of knit fabric, and I like being able to look at them and think of the sweater I have knit/am knitting/will kint (there are some swatches up there for projects I have not started yet).

Next episode, I will answer Bek's question: "What are you actually working on right now?" She asks that because she knows the baby sweater and hats were finished a couple of months ago, but I didn't want to blog about them until I'd gifted them, on the off chance that the wearer's mom would come across them (she is starting to knit, a tiny bit).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

There's a baby coming

...but it is sure as hell not mine! My co-worker is having a baby in less than two weeks. Her shower was a couple of weeks ago, and she was gifted with loose tea from Stauf's (the tea is for her, not the baby) as well as three knitted things from me.

Placket Neck Pullover from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts knit with two skeins of Debbie Bliss Rialto on US 7s for the smallest size.

The small and the large Umbrella Hat from Oneskein knit from one skein (both hats were knit from the same skein) of Classic Elite Lush on US 7 needles. This yarn was AMAZING to work with! Sosoft.

It was interesting knitting for babies... short, squat bodies, tiny arms, big-ass heads. And the knitting flew by, which was nice. Sorry for the bad pictures... normally I try to photograph FOs on the wearer but this wearer is in utero. Maybe her mom will give me a picture at some point?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

What a Koolaass haat!

I present to you the Library Hat (scroll down, the hat is called "Koolhaas").

While it does not resemble books, it has a really cool backstory. It incorporates two of my favorite things (libraries and knitting) as well as something that I bet would be a favorite thing if I had ever been there (Seattle). It is also a very cool-looking hat. And snug and and the perfect length. I knit it from 70g of Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran, a really great machine-washable merino yarn. I used US 6 and 8 needles (size 6 for the brim). The pattern itself was not the most fun to knit (it kinda made my hands crampy) but it was well-worth it, and this made things easier. Overall, I love the hat, and will be knitting another at some point. Although, not soon... what the hell happened to my sweater goal? I guess there are still two months left in the year. I could always knit up a couple more chunky sweaters, right? All of this fun hat and scarf knitting has gotten in the way. Instant gratification, my friends.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Scarf for Me!

I am very excited about this scarf.

Knit from two skeins of Manos on US 11 needles, it was a total Instant Gratification Project (2 days, I think?). I love how the herringbone stitch of the sweater is perfect for Manos's variegated colors. Plus it is a nice thick squishy scarf, of which I have few. Bring on the scarf weather! And the sweater weather and the glove weather and the hat weather...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Zeebee for BeeZee and Zeebee for MeeBee

Two more Zeebees, knit on size 8 needles in Manos del Uruguay

and just for fun, here are two Octopodes, crocheted by Bek

and action shots:

The Octopodes are MeeBee and BeeZee

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Buttony and a long-term WIP

The last of my streak of sweaters knit on large needles

Meet Buttony. I'm a little "meh" about this cardigan. The design of it is great, but there were some problems with the pattern. It calls for 9 balls of Debbie Bliss Merino Chunky, knit on US 9 needles. Well, I decided to knit the sweater smaller than the one size that the pattern is written for (cast on 80 stitches instead of 96), and I decided to add waist shaping. I also knit the sweater on US 10.5 needles. So theoretically, I should have used less than the 9 balls of yarn. But I used 12. That's right. Twelve. And I didn't even lengthen the sleeves and torso (they were written long enough in the pattern). I'm wondering if the yarn that the pattern author used wasn't Cashmerino Chunky, which has 72 yards per 50g (for a total of 648yds) instead of Merino Chunky's 55 yards per 50g (for a total of 495yds). I used about 650 yards. Also, looking at the pattern photo, the yarn has a certain sheen that Cashmerino Chunky has but Merino Chunky does not. So that's my verdict.
Finishing this sweater was a bit of a pain. I had knit to where you separate the body from the sleeves (it is a top-down sweater) and I had used 3 1/2 balls of yarn. I realized that I probably wouldn't even be able to knit a 3/4 sleeve sweater with the 10 balls of yarn I had. So I set out to find more. Well, this yarn is discontinued. And apparantley the color I used (401) was discontinued before that. So I ended up having to beg someone on Ravelry to trade with me so that I could get a few more balls of yarn because the yarn was impossible to find from ebay or an online yarn retailer.
In the end, its a bit too tight and the neck is a bit too wide. I was trying to conserve yarn and thought the yarn would block out so that I could stretch the sleeves a bit, and thus knit the sleeves kinda tight, but no such luck, this yarn doesn't grow very much with blocking (maybe because it is superwash wool?). I might end up re-knitting the whole sweater at some point, as I have 5 balls of yarn left over. Lastly, I knit buttonholes every 16 rows instead of 10, as I wanted the sweater to be a bit less "buttony."

And now, for a much more brief introduction to a WIP that will most likely be long-term.

This is an Elizabeth Zimmerman-inspired seamless hybrid, and it is great movie theater knitting. It is for a man, so no waist shaping needed, thus it is perfect auto-pilot knitting. At least for now. So I only work on this when I'm watching a movie in a theater, hence it'll probably take a while to finish.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Dead Leaves and a Solution?

Well I must have been thinking about the next FO I was going to blog about when I accidentally typed "drop stitch" instead of "drop shoulder" in my last post (well, my last real post). That's because there is a non-intentional dropped stitch somewhere in this sweater:

Meet Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground aka the Lace Leaf Pullover from Loop-d-Loop. Dead Leaves was knit on US 11 needles using Rowan Polar in color Combat. I used less than 5 balls of yarn for this sweater. Modifications? The usual- waist shaping. I decreased a total of 12 stitches and then increased 12, following the shaping on Marilyn, since they were knit at a similar gauge. Verdict? I like it a lot. The yarn is a little itchy, but I guess I'll usually be wearing a tank top under it at the very least (or a long-sleeved shirt if I wear it to work), and I have thoughts about re-blocking the neck so that its a bit wider. Good idea? You can also see the graft line (cuts my boobs in half laterally), but I'm thinking that will even itself out after a few wearings. Why is there grafting involved in this sweater, you ask? Well, I guess you can't knit lace leaves upside-down, so you knit the bottom half bottom-up, then the top half top-down, and then graft them together. Which some people hated, but I loooooove grafting. Seriously, love it. Its a way to knit with a darning needle- how darned cool is that?! Sorry, moving on... Oh and speaking of grafting- seaming and grafting with this yarn is a BITCH. It gets fluffier and loftier until it is essentially roving and really easy to pull apart. In fact, I'm going to blame the yarn for my dropping a stitch when I was grafting the top to the bottom. I realized it after I was done and didn't feel like going back, so I just pulled the offending stitch inside the sweater and tacked it down with some yarn.
As an aside... I accidentally bought a lot of this yarn (we won't say how much or how one "accidentally" buys too much yarn. But it honestly was a mistake, and lets just say that British currency was involved and leave it at that) and was thinking that, especially since they are 100gm balls, a whole sweater would make a dent in the pile I had, right? Nope, less than 5 balls used. So, it looks like I'll be knitting a simple all-one-piece raglan out of this yarn, because I'm not freaking seaming anything with it ever again!

Ok, onto the promised "solution?" to my drop-SHOULDER sweater problem mentioned here. Well, here is the body and cowl of the sweater

This is the Placed Cable Aran. And I love the sweater. But yeah, drop shoulder, not for me. So I think I might rip everything out to the armpits and re-knit it as a set-in shoulder sweater, so that I can keep the cables the way they are. I'm afraid that if I knit it up as a raglan, I'd lose a big chunk of the cables along the way. The one and only thing that pains me about doing all of this is that what I've knit so far has already been blocked out. I guess that shouldn't matter, but I've never re-knit already-blocked yarn. Well, here goes nothing!

Sunday, October 07, 2007


oops, i meant drop-shoulder, not drop-stitch... hehe :D

A FO and a WIP

Wip wip! wip wip! What a funny sound. So believe it or not, much has happened since I last posted, even though (gasp!) it hasn't been ages since I blogged. So here is a Fabulous FO. Meet Marilyn.

Marilyn was knit with 8.5 skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky in color 26. This bad girl was knit on size 11 needles. September was an instant gratification knitting month for me. I knit not one, not two, but three sweaters on size 10.5 or 11 needles. Yikes! And I love them all, actually. But back to Marilyn. Marilyn was heavily modified. The XS size had a bust measurement of a whopping 41". Thanks, but no thanks. I ended up casting on 112 stitches total for the body (this was knit in the round instead of flat, like the pattern calls for) and did the decreases and increases as written. For the sleeves I cast on 24 and increased when I felt it was necessary (sleeves were also knit in the round). All in all, I love this sweater. Its very cozy and still cute... but this thing is HEAVY. 8.5 skeins of yarn, 100g per skein equals .85 kilograms, which equals 1.873 lbs. Yikes! Good thing I live in Ohio.

As promised, I cast on for the $1.50 cardigan

... and wow, the back is done already. How did that happen? Am I not working with size 5 needles and linen yarn and half lace pattern? Well yes, I am, but this pattern somehow seemed to fly by anyway. Before I knew it I was ready to decrease for the underarms. I then put it aside to treat myself to some new knitting with some nice merino, and I cast on for the LSD cardigan. And holy moly my gauge is way off. I'm substituting Debbie Bliss Merino Aran (pattern calls for Artyarns Supermerino) and so I knew there would be some difference, but this cardigan is clocking in around 40" (I'm knitting the 33" size). So time to frog, swatch, and cast on again. Sigh.
And lastly, I think I've made a decision regarding the drop-stitch mess in the aforementioned post. Details to come.