Friday, March 31, 2006

Big Sighs

Does this look like a boatneck sweater to you? No? I didn't think so. Thankfully it hasn't been too hard to fix. I unraveled the collar, ripped out the raglan seams, and then frogged each of the body and sleeve pieces by about two inches. Bound off, re-sewed the raglan seams, and picked up for the collar again. And here is what we are looking like at the moment:Certainly bears a greater resemblance the pattern photo than before. I am not sure how it'll look once I bind the collar off (the stitches are all scrunched up on the needles right now), but so far it looks much better.

The question is, what went awry here? I really can't figure it out. My gauge is correct. I re-read the pattern many times, both while knitting (especially after I had my initial suspicions about the neckline being weird, as I mentioned in my last post), and again after knitting the collar and discovering that the neckline definitely was weird. I'm 99% sure I didn't make any mistakes knitting the pattern. So that seems to leave only two possibilities:

1) My body type is so bizarrely off the norm that the pattern as written would fit most people but not me. I'd be shocked if this was the case, since I generally have no trouble fitting into standard sizes. Also, I don't see how the collar as I originally knit it could stretch around anyone's shoulders, except maybe a three-year-old's.

2) The pattern is fudged up. The weird thing is that I found one other blogger, here, that knit this pattern and her's looks fine. I can't find a reference to any major pattern problems. I'm wondering if the original version of the book as published by Rowan was fine, but the reprint that I have by Trafalgar Square Press is screwed up?

Hmph! I may never know...but as long as I get a wearable garment in the end I'll be happy! At least the weather has been gorgeous--I think it was 60 degrees or more today! Hope you all have a delightful weekend! :)


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Denial, Anger, Acceptance

So while I was pinning out Cherie's pieces last week, I noticed a small detail that was bugging me. I tried to ignore it, but as the pieces were drying the problem continued to lurk in the back of my mind. The perfectionist portion of my brain informed me that I could not ignore it any longer. You see, the new ball of yarn I got must have been from a different dye lot (somehow I forgot to save one of the ball bands from the original yarn, so who knows?). Or maybe it was just at the opposite end of the natural variability that is characteristic of this yarn. Sorry about the teeny photo, but you can probably still see the "line" very distinctly across the middle. Gah! I spent three hours ripping back to the start of the raglan arm shaping and re-knitting it with alternating old and new yarn.

It is much better, but I can kind of see a stripe pattern if I look really closely. Hopefully no one will be staring at my back that intently!

After re-blocking, I started seaming and finishing last night. So far I have sewed three of the four raglan seams, picked up the stitches for the collar, and knitted about an inch of said collar. I suspect the collar may not end up as "boatneck-y" as the seems kind of pulled in to me. Actually, my suspicions started when I was knitting the front piece and the top bound-off edge looked narrower than that in the photo. I also tried holding the piece up to me to get a sense of fit, and the top seemed really high considering there would be another couple inches of ribbed collar. But maybe once the sides are seamed and I block the collar it will drape into place. Either way, I think it will turn out fine.

I finished up the Glimmer scarf Friday night. The whole thing only took about 2 hours, so that was fun! Speed knitting! Here is a photo:

This will be a fun spring scarf. I was worried the Glimmer yarn would be a bit itchy due to the gold flakes, but after spritzing it with water and blocking, it feels fine. Project notes: "Glimmer Scarf", "designed" by me! (I'm sure a million people have already done the same pattern hence the quotation marks around "designed"!) Knit on US Size 13 needles with two balls Rowan Glimmer Print in color "Lavish Pink".

Here's the pattern as requested (though I think you already figured it out, Joanna!):

Cast on 8 stitches. Knit two rows garter stitch. *Next row: Knit into stitches 1 through 7, wrapping the yarn twice for each stitch. Knit the last stitch plain. Next row: Slip every stitch as though to knit, letting the double-wrapped yarn drop to create an elongated stitch. Move all the stitches back onto the left needle without twisting (Maybe twisting would add an interesting look though?). Knit every elongated stitch. Then knit garter stitch for the next three rows. Repeat from * until you run out o' yarn!

Oh yeah...I'm definitely counting the days 'til vacation! We're down to T minus 11...


Friday, March 24, 2006

Friday Night Knits

An anxiously-awaited package decided to grace my doorstep a couple days I managed to finish off the pieces of Cherie and get 'em blocking.

And there was much rejoicing.

Pieces look a bit wonky, I think because the gauge varied a little bit with each ball of yarn. But I think they should go together just fine.

And what else did I get?

A bunch of 4ply cotton in color "Bloom." I'm tossed up between 3 or 4 different patterns for this...more on that in a future post.

Just for fun, I also snagged two balls of this:Rowan's new Glimmer Print yarn in color "Lavish Pink." I adore this's so cool! I wanted to make a spring scarf with it, one that is kind of lacy and drape-y. After much swatching and ripping, I decided on this:Pretty simple, but fits the bill. Hopefully I have enough yarn to make a scarf of decent length. Each ball is only 44 yds. I so want to make a whole top out of this, but at 10 dollars a ball it would be $90-$100 for a sleeveless sweater. So we'll see...maybe I can find it cheaper or wait until it's discontinued. Not that I don't have enough projects right now anyway!

Have a happy weekend everyone!


Monday, March 20, 2006

Wrap Cardi Begins

Thanks to everyone for your comments on Tidal Wave! Yeah, I'm feeling the love. Unfortunately, I am NOT feeling the love from the on-line shop that I ordered my extra ball of Yorkshire Tweed's still not here. I suppose it's my own fault for ordering something else (ahem) that is now backordered, but can't they split the order up? Anyway, since I don't have any other projects going on (and nobody remind me of those two handbags I knitted a year ago that still need seaming and finishing), I decided to swatch for the Rebecca wrap cardi:

Mmmm...mohair goodness. I am in love with this yarn! The only problem is, how many mohair sweaters does one really need? Even so, I would like to use this yarn again in the future.

I was able to cast on Sunday and get a few rows done. Here it is, pinned out rather poorly:I think this is going to be really cute, based on other people's finished sweaters that I have seen. I love the eyelet pattern...hopefully I won't have any major malfunctions along the way!


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tidal Wave!

Guess what I finally finished?
Tidal Wave is done! I'm happy with how it came out--not too big as I had feared. I spent two hours over the weekend shortening the sleeves by four rows, and I am so glad I did. No monkey sleeves for me!

Pattern Notes:

"Tidal Wave" designed by Kim Hargreaves and found in the Rowan Plaid Collection. Knit in Rowan Plaid yarn, color #158 (Nuzzle) on U.S. Size 11 needles.

I had no problems following the pattern. The only thing I changed was to make the turtleneck about half the length called for in the pattern, because I hate really bulky turtlenecks. It doesn't quite have the design punch of the original, but it'll be much more comfortable for me to wear.

Like most Rowan yarns, the Plaid is really soft and nice, and I love the unique marled look. However, I found the pattern gauge to be a little looser than I would like. The yarn also didn't hold up to recycling that well. I knit the turtleneck from a new ball of yarn and the fabric has a lot more "squish" to it than the rest of the sweater, which is kind of flat looking. It is also a VERY warm sweater, due to the alpaca content. Good thing it has lots of ventilation!

In other knitting news, I'm now about halfway up the front of Cherie, and patiently waiting for the last ball of yarn to arrive...*twiddles thumbs*...I guess if I get too bored I can swatch for my Rebecca wrap cardi.

I can't believe I am only about 3 weeks away from my trip to Europe! Woo hoo!


Monday, March 13, 2006

Quiet Weekend

Inspired (or dis-inspired?) by recent political events, I took this Margaret Atwood book out of the library and read it over the weekend. I first read this book when I was about 12, which was too young to understand a lot of the finer points though certainly not too young to understand the general concepts presented. I have since read it a number of times (along with other Atwood books) and I am constantly amazed at the creativity of her works and the disturbing moral questions that she poses and leaves for the reader to decide. All served with a delightful sprinkling of black humor and infused with an engaging writing style.

Amidst the reading, I managed to finish up Cherie's arms:

Yup, another picture of big gray blobs. Boy, I bet I am just thrilling you all with the photos of this project! As I suspected, I am not going to have enough yarn to finish. Thus, another ball of this yarn is now on order, and hopefully it will be here this week.

My oxalis plant started blooming, so I had fun using the macro feature to take a picture of it. I love how this photo came out...the flower is only about a quarter-inch in diameter!


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Finally, Some Skiing

So, for the second time this "winter" (note the quotation marks), I went x-country skiing! Sunday was a beautiful day (actually a little too warm) and I hit the local trail with G. There I am! Whee! Did you notice I'm wearing my Panta? The picture's a little small, but trust me, I'm wearing it!

I learned how to go dowhill with less fear and more control. Only after G MADE ME DO IT, though. The first time I *screamed* as I went down. Then I realized that I had, indeed, survived, so I didn't have to scream any more. I also learned to snowplow to control my speed. Snowplowing on x-country skis feels a bit different than on downhill skis! All in all, I had an awesome time! This is such a great is so fun and I really like that it gives your arms a workout, which most physical activities I enjoy don't do (does knitting count?) I'm going to try to go a couple days this week after work. The last time I checked the weather, it might rain this weekend, which unfortunately may mean the end of snow this year. Then again, we sometimes get storms into April, so who knows?

I was very excited to receive the Knitting Pattern-a-Day calendar from my friend L in the mail! She got this for me for Christmas but forgot to bring it on our ski trip a few weeks ago. It was kinda fun getting to tear through the first two months of patterns right away...but now I'm gonna be patient and only look at the pattern on the day I'm supposed to. I found a few intriguing patterns that have been added to the pattern stash (which is actually scarier than my yarn stash).

Cherie's arms are growing: And in a sure sign of spring, I started my seeds this weekend:

Pretty much all flowers, except for some Early Girl tomatoes and Sungold cherry tomatoes. I grow tomatoes in pots, and between that and the short, frigid growing season here they never really thrive. But darn it, I try every year, and the few tomatoes I get out of it are worth it. We'll see how everything does...I usually have some brilliant successes and some abject failures when it comes to my gardening.

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Friday, March 03, 2006

My New Toy!

Yes, I finally sucked it up and bought my very own digital camera! Hooray! Now I don't have to use my crummy work camera anymore...and man, this thing is a dream compared to that old thing! (ahem...I am now going to forget the statement I made back in 2003: "Film Forever!"...Yep, I'm a little slow to adapt). The camera is a Canon A610, so far it is great.

I am having a great time learning all of the fancy features on the camera. Most importantly for knit-blog purposes, we have this:

Macro you can all enjoy my uneven stitches! ;>) Until I took this picture, I didn't even notice that there are purple flecks in my tweed.

Now here is my absolute favorite part: Trippy pictures of my sleeping cat! I also took his Warol-esque portrait (or demon-cat portrait): Poor Quincy. Hopefully all this photographic razzle-dazzle has now distracted you from my (woeful lack of) knitting progress. Cherie's sleeves still look about the same as they did last time. I had made it about halfway up the cuffs when I decided that the cuff ribbing needed to be tighter than the ribbing at the bottom of the body. So I ripped out what I had done and started over. Also, Tidal Wave is on semi-hold until I decide whether I should rip back and shorten the sleeves...I probably will but I don't wanna!

Ahhh...I'm loving tonight...just me, a spring training game streaming on the computer, and some creme brulee (thanks to my neighbor who is also a trained chef)! Life is good!