Sunday, March 28, 2010

Crazy in Aqua & Sideways Lace Vest

This weekend I jumped in head first.

The ‘need’ to cast on a new sweater has been eating away at me. Sunday morning was that day. I cast on for a sleeve of the Bias Fair Isle Pullover. Using size 7 needles and substituting Cascade 220 superwash for the worsted yarn in the pattern. After reviewing the colors again I decided that the order I originally intended wouldn’t work. After about 4” I measured, not on gauge. So I switched to size 8s and kept going. I seem to recall EZ using sleeves as swatching platforms. I wasn’t too far off to begin with so it wasn’t a surprise that I got gauge with the 8s. It’s hard to imagine how the colors will play out until a 28 row repeat is completed. I decided that the blue velvet should be substituted for the Lichen and the Lichen should be substituted for the army green. So that’s how I’ll do the next repeat.





I’m just going to go with it and continue to use this sleeve as a swatch. I’ll make the second sleeve match and perhaps the body. Instead of a 28 row repeat it’ll be a 56 row repeat. I’m fine with that. In fact I’m rather pleased with my ability to be flexible. I think it stems from remembering that charts and

Fair Isle aren’t the most fun I’ve ever had. I just happen to appreciate the finished results.
By Sunday afternoon I was tired of color work. And ready to move on to the new yarn I’d just picked up at the Spinning Yarns sale. Ok it wasn’t on sale but I was there for the sale and I fell in love with the pattern, so pattern and yarn came home. At least I didn’t buy the exact color of the pattern, although that went well with my coloring.
Knitting the Soft Linen Sideways Lace Vest was a welcome change in pace. It reminds me of knitting lace socks, or a shawl even. The pattern is simple enough and easily remembered and read in the knitting. So it’s virtually mindless. Purling back across the rows (it’s knit vertically instead of horizontally like most sweaters) is a bit time consuming.
After about 4” I’m picking up speed and finding it less daunting. You see I’ve purled incorrectly for 7 years. I wrap the yarn under the needle not over which makes twisted stitches. When you knit in the round or do ribbing this doesn’t matter. Which is part of the reason why it took me so long to figure out what I was doing and find the desire to correct it. I am trying and am wrapping correctly 85% of the time or catching myself before I finish an entire row of twisted stitches.
Overall this is a great pattern. I’ve already lengthened it by 1 repeat (20sts), 4” which I’ll add below the armholes to make sure it hits at my hips and not my natural waist. And the right front panel is supposed to be 13 repeats wide for 23”. I’ll do 14 to make it 24” ie a 48” bust. I bought an extra skein and I’m thinking that should be close enough to cover those additional stitches. Although, I am about 5” in and about half way through my first ball. If it keeps up like this I’ll have 3 skeins extra. I’ll keep you posted. Oh and the color, is so spring! It’s called Lupine.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Again

Here it is Friday again. Did I tell you that the yarn I ordered on Friday morning arrived Monday night? Shipping was free and the turn around time was amazing! Thank you Webs!

The colors look good. Well the Navy looks good (not so much the royal blue) and 3 out of 4 of the greens look good. I bought extra green colors and an extra navy just to be sure I would have enough choice once I saw the yarn in person so I should be ok. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to sit down and do a swatch to see how the colors work together. I’m thinking I should just jump in and start with the sleeves so I don’t feel like I’m knitting for no reason.

I wore my favorite sweater yesterday. It’s an angora wool blend in creamy grey. It is a cropped swing coat styling with three quart length sleeves. The closure is two buttons on a stiff turtleneck style collar. Oh and the detail that makes it special are the pleats around the collar at the chest. It’s lovely and it’s warm and I feel sophisticated when I wear it. Can you guess where I’m going? I’m going to measure out the back panel and see if there is any shaping. I think the neck pleats do the majority of the work, in which case it would be just 3 rectangles and sleeves. And I could knit the body in the round and steek it to make it even more mindless knitting. Hello, dark purple heather Ultra Alpaca yarn, yes you are now on deck.

And lastly, there was a hair change this week. I’m thrilled with it. And I definitely have short hair now. No doubt about it!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Placed Cable Aran pictures

Better to come, I promise!

4/2/10 ETA: Photos from a photo session with Mum...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Placed Cable Aran Sweater Review

Sunday I finished my Placed Cable Aran Sweater. I love it. I fits and it’s well constructed. It’s the first sweater I’ve finished that I am truly proud of.

Even though this is the closest to perfection I’ve come with a garment there are still a few areas I’d like to improve next time.

  1. While the pullover was a great time saver as it was knit in the round, making it fast social knitting, it also means there is a field of stockinette. A field of stockinette over my belly. I choose this pattern thinking that the detail on the chest and the cowl would draw your eye toward my face and detract from my belly. That is solid logic but it results in the afore mentioned block of solid color which makes bellies appear larger then they are. In my everyday life I do not wear pullovers for precisely that reason, I don’t want to look like a big ole square of color on the top. Conclusion: next time, follow the same logic of detail on the top but make it a cardigan so that the it breaks up the space. And if I want to knit in the round, steeks aren’t that scary.
  2. I knit the sleeves in the round and loved it. I was worried however that they wouldn’t be long enough. I lengthened them 2”. And then when I tried them on they weren’t hitting my shoulder joint so I lengthened them another 1”. I like super long sleeves so it wont be a problem. After sewing the sleeves to the body and blocking the sweater I saw that the shoulder seam falls about 2” below my shoulder joint. Honestly the sleeves are about 2” too long. Conclusion: Look closely at the photos. If I had I would’ve realized it was a dropped shoulder design.
  3. Knitting sleeves in the round is great. I did all my increases along 2 ‘center stitches’ which makes a clean seam and a spot where the piece will naturally fold. Great. When sewing the sleeves to the body I made a point of pinning them along the armhole opening, which was a circle because I knit the sweater in the round as well. I pinned at 4 points, which included aligning the faux seam of the sleeve with the faux side seam of the body. I didn’t begin sewing at the top, but about 2” lower on one side and then moving along over the top. Mattress stitch is the bomb! And the seams came out perfectly. On the first sleeve I did end up shifting as a went along. Although I didn’t have any bunching. I did end up with faux seam shifted forward on the first sleeve. On the second sleeve I watched very closely and made sure that the seam used up all the fabric between the pins on both pieces. Conclusion: pin seams, and then double check to make sure things are properly aligned then follow the spacing of the pins. Sort of like carpenters that measure twice and cut once.
  4. The purl stitches on the cables are looser than I would like. This is the first time I purposely purled the correct way (normally I twist my stitches, wrapping the yarn under and over instead of over and under). On the stockinette portions the stitches look fine, the tension is good. But for some reason the stitches around the cables that were purled look sloppy. Loose. Conclusion: pay extra attention to tension in cables, don’t be blinded by the excitement of twisting stitches and forget to pull tight on the yarn.
  5. When I pulled on the sweater for work yesterday I realized that I do love this color. It’s a wonderful warm orange. But when did I make the decision that I needed an orange sweater? I don’t own any orange sweaters. In fact I only own, brown, blue, black, grey, white, and purple. Conclusion: Next time I purchase a sweaters worth of yarn, double check that it’s a color I currently have in my clothing closet. And not a T-shirt color.

So there you have the things I would change. And now the things I like… the drape of the Ultra Alpaca is great. It’s wonderful to work with and super warm to wear. Knitting with size 8s is like speed walking, just like regular knitting only faster. Lengthening the body by 2” and knitting the right bust size (my bra measurement plus 7”) makes a fit I like. It hits me right at the hips and it’s loose enough that I’m comfortable in it. Really long 4x4 rib cuffs rock. Big floppy cowl is cozy. And Orange looks awesome with dark blue jeans.

I really like having an new sweater. Why don’t I knit more sweaters? I looked back at the last two years worth of projects in Ravelry. In 2009 I knit 2 sweaters. In 2008 I knit 3. I’ve been crazy knitting on this sweater so I could finish and wear it. And before that it was a couple of lace shawls. Both mean I’ve done a lot less sock knitting than usual. And I’m not really in a rush to get back to them. So maybe I will jump right into another sweater right away. Maybe I could even knit 4 this year. I was fairly monogamous with this sweater and it took me 2 months to the day. So four in twelve months doesn’t seem too crazy. I’m sensing another goal…. And we all know how I love a good goal.

Photos to come.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Movie Reviews

I loved Up In The Air! Thought provoking and acceptable not happy ending. Maybe I felt that way because I've had the experience of being laid off, and of being up in the air. And yes I did think that flying was a clever metaphor. Very unusual for me to get behind a movie like that. Much better than Leatherheads. And could GC be any better looking?

In other news, 2012, not so much. I had heard it would be watchable since the main characters were OK. Not an end of the world movie since people survive. Yeah, no. I have decided I have absolutely no tolerance for death of any sort. Death is unacceptable in something that should entertain me. But really. I'm too sensitive. Absolutely No Death. "I promise I will never die!"

Two points for you if you know what ridiculous movie that quote is from.

Friday, March 19, 2010

SIze 7s!!!

11:26 pm: Samurai, stop watching The Office, I know you love it but it’s a school night.

12:04 am: Really, dozing? Come on body, help me out. I’ve got to work tomorrow.

4:10 am: Oh I guess I’m awake. But maybe if I lay really still I’ll fall back to sleep.

4:48 am: This has been less than successful. I’ll give it another ten minutes.

5:01 am: That’s it. I give up, I’m up!

And then I spent the next 90 minutes doing the leg work for my next Fair Isle, which has really spent 5 years on the draft table already but this morning was the time to begin. I bought the book Loop D Loop by Teva Durham when I returned to knitting. OK, not when I first returned, but when I began to spend a bit more money on yarn and tools than the items sold in the chain craft stores. From the moment I saw the Bias Fair Isle, in all of it’s red and blue empire waist long sleeve mock turtle neck sweater loveliness, I had to have it. To say I liked it is an understatement. I NEEDED to own it. In early 2005 when I stumbled across the pattern I wasn’t up to color work. I could do it on a small bag but the thought of the entire sweater, with carts and tricky instructions to make the fabric bias (diagonal) was beyond me. I accepted this fact and knit the loopy scarf instead. And then I put the book away, on the shelf in the back of the knitting closet.

Occasionally over the years I’ve pulled it out and flipped through the book. Seeing the sweater and knowing my skills weren’t ready yet. I’d put the book away and pull it out the next time I was looking for knitting inspiration. Eventually I looked at the book less and less frequently, substituting the internet for the shelves of books and magazines, until I all but forgot about the beloved sweater. At long last yesterday morning arrived and I pulled the book off the shelf in my search for books to bring to the book swap at knitting that night. I flipped through quickly double checking that I wasn’t interested in any of it. You know the feeling when you find your favorite pair of socks that have fallen behind the dresser for who knows how long? Well that’s similar to how I felt seeing the sweater. Thankful. Rejoicing. Thrilled to see an old friend.

I kept the book. And went about my day. Enter the night of no sleep and my whirling brain. It landed on the image of the sweater. I had to get up and go read the pattern. I could definitely knit it. Needle size would determine if I would or not. A 48” Fair Isle long sleeve sweater on size 4 needles would not be my idea of fun. I’d made it through the IVL but only by the skin of my teeth, adding the work of sleeves would be a deal breaker at this point and the sweater would have to sit on the shelf for a few more years until I’d developed more patience and perseverance.

5:03 am: Turn on the water for coffee and go find the book.

Size 7s! no wait, I must’ve read that wrong. Check the yarn weight. Worsted! Worsted and SIZE 7s. The angels began to sing. That would fly! I’d have to loose the mock turtle neck and change the color of course, but this could be seriously viable now. And so began my 90 minutes of Ravelry research on yarns and colors and review of other color work patterns for ideas of alternate color schemes. I ended up going with the color theme of IndigoMouse's Aqua Rose (making it color work instead of Fair Isle as these are anything but traditional color choices). And I substituted Cascade 220 Superwash for the yarn in the pattern. I wanted to use something softer than 100% wool but if I’m taking the time to do the color work I want to be sure it will last. Oh and I did end up choosing one color that I already had in my stash which saved me a little.

Now if only I had the yarn here to cast on tonight!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's coming along...

And Linus is watching my progress closely. Placed Aran Sweater from Interweave Fall 2007. In Berroco Ultra Alpaca color 6268.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Just getting home from Alice and Wonderland and Sushi. The movie was great! I felt like a kid smiling and gasping with excitement as each character appeared on the screen. The Cheshire cat made me giggle every time he was on the screen. We saw it in 3D which was interesting. I’m not sure it’s worth the extra but I did enjoy the giant screen and the closing credits were beautiful. The queens reminded me of Queens Mary and Elizabeth. I wonder if it’s a subconscious link between red queen and Bloody Mary. Of course the off with their heads didn’t hinder the association. And for some reason Johnny has a Scottish accent. Which made me wonder about some sort of Scottish uprising during the transition from Mary to Elizabeth. I’m sure that was not what Tim Burton intended but that’s where my head went.

Side note, the March Hare is completely adorable in a pitiably funny way. And yes I agree with the Times that Alice did looked washed out and tired but I thought the young lady did an excellent job considering who she was acting with. All in all I’d give it two thumbs up. Visually stunning with a simple sweetness.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Here are some of the trees I had to drive pass last Friday to get to work.

There used to be two almost identical trees marking my way along the road. It had always reminded me of The Argonath in Lord of the Rings. You know the two giant statues of men on each side of the river? I had to look up the name so don’t think I’m that much in the know.

The power came back on Sunday afternoon, although one of my coworkers was without power from Thursday to Thursday.

I’ve been chugging away on my Traveling Woman Shawl. I’m about half way through the final chart. This is my second lace project and it’s going well. I tried to choose more tonal yarn so as not to loose the stitch detail in the colors. It’s definitely better than the first lace attempt but it’s still too loud. And I’m not that wild about lace. So maybe I’ll knit one more, sold, just so see how that looks, but maybe not. Why fight nature? I’m a sock knitter who occasionally knits hats and more occasionally sweaters.
I’d like to knit more sweaters but we’re approaching tank season. I spent an entire evening searching for a nice summer lacey top I could knit with cotton or bamboo or linen. An entire 3 hours and I turned up 1 pattern. Maybe I was being too fussy. I was limiting myself to only stashed yarns so that might have narrowed the scope a bit too much.

And Miss Isitt is doing well, growing considerably. The Boyfriend remarked that she seems to always have her face in the food dish. I’ll have to post pictures of her big round belly. I know it’s not nice to laugh at pregnant people, but pregnant cats must be ok. She’s as wide as she is long and it’s hilarious to watch her waddle down the hall. Poor Is-Biz!