Sunday, March 28, 2010

Arisaig Cardigan

I cannot say enough good things about this sweater. It took a lot of work to complete and nearly destroyed my thumb muscles, but it was so worth it. The pattern is by Ysolda Teague and was published in the Fall 2005 Knitty. When I first saw it, I didn't like it at all--the photos in the original publication are so unflattering--the color's not that great and I don't think the model is wearing a bra. Yuck. Fortunately, I found it again not too long ago on Ravelry, where I can look at versions by other (bra-wearing) Ravelry users, and fell in love with it.
What makes it even better is the yarn. is a new discovery of mine. They sell luxury fibers, like cashmere and angora for cheap because they sell it in large quantities, mostly on cones. Their name is a little ironic because their color selection isn't that great, but this yarn was a real find. It's an angora/merino mix in the perfect shade of pastel pink. The angora makes it super soft and the merino gives it shape. Love it. I still have a little left and might have to make some gloves out of it. We'll see.

Another thing that turned me off the original pattern was that it was so short on her! I had to increase the ribbing by 4" to make it the perfect length you see here:

I also shortened the sleeves to 8" before the sleeve cap, to make it more of a spring cardigan. This decision was made last weekend, when the weather was beautiful and the temperature reached 70 degrees. This weekend, unfortunately, was back to near-winter temperatures. Boo. Here's hoping it warms up some more!

The part I did not like about the pattern is that it was knit on sizes 1 and 2 needles--the whole thing! It took forever, but in the end I have a sweater that almost looks like I bought it in a department store. Worth it.

I really should have invested in wooden size 1 needles because I am certain the metal ones were the root of my thumb pain. I plan to phase out my metal needles in the future. I've contacted some of you about them, so if you would like some, let me know by this weekend or I'm going to list them all on Amazon or the like. I want to replace them with wooden needles that are a lot easier on my hands.

In other news: I am again making progress on the Etsy project. I have (I think) some great ideas for some hats and berets that I just need to work out the final details for. So, soon! I'll keep you posted on that progress.



Friday, March 12, 2010

Tangled Yoke Cardigan

Here it is, finally! This sweater was such a pleasure to knit! I love patterns that are knit solely in one piece and that require very minimal finishing, like this one. While it feels good to finish a panel of a sweater that's knit in pieces and say "I finished the back!", it's so much easier to just cast off the knitting and be completely done. Plus you can sometimes try on the latter if it's a top-down sweater, which was not the case here, but that's not the point.

Here it is in all its glory:
Great length, very comfortable. My only complaint is that it's a little tight across that shoulders, but that's more my fault than the pattern's. I have rather broad shoulders and should learn to accomodate for that by adding a few increases here and there. I guess it was a little tougher in this case, since there is a cable band right where I should have added the extra inches. Oh well! Here is a close-up of the cable pattern. Sorry the picture is so dark--the yarn color wasn't exactly helping.
The yarn I used was Knit Picks City Tweed DK, which is very soft and VERY warm. I was almost uncomfortably warm when I wore this to work. That is probably due to the alpaca mixed in with the wool and donegal tweed. My only complaint about the yarn (apart from the meager color selection) is the presence of so many slubs. You can see it pretty well in the above photo that it gives the piece a tad more of a "rustic" feel than I was going for, like it's almost too "comfy" to wear to work. I wish they would let the main color speak more for itself. Super cute, though. I will definitely be wearing this sweater a lot.

Here is the back of it, fitting just as well in the front.

For the buttons I honestly just found them around the house. You know when you buy clothes with buttons and they come with an extra button or two attached to the tag? I've been keeping mine over the years and when it came time to sew some on this sweater, I went through that collection and found nine of near perfect similarity. Now they're not EXACTLY the same, but who cares? It adds to the "homeyness" of the sweater. Plus I used a bunch of buttons that others might deem useless.

I think the only thing I would have changed about the pattern is the garter stitch ribbing. It got really tedious and I don't really care for how it looks. If I were to do it again, I think I would just change it to regular 2x2 ribbing.

Since this project, I have been working on the Arisaig cardigan with that delicious angora yarn I got from colourmart. I cannot say enough good things about this yarn. I want to be done with the project already so I can cocoon myself in its softness. Unfortunately, the pattern is executed on size 1 and 2 needles, so I've only managed to make it about halfway through and have experienced some serious hand cramping in the process. I'm trying to take the rest of it slow so I don't succumb to injury and have to take time off altogether from knitting.

I am also still working on the Etsy project. I started the experiment in cables and color and figured out a good cable pattern for the band and started it yesterday. Unfortunately, Jericho got ahold of it this morning, so that set the project back aways. I'll let you all know how the recovery goes and if I actually manage to make a real pattern out of it. Keep your fingers crossed!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Baroness Beret

Okay, okay, so I finished the Baroness Beret a while ago, but I have not had much of a chance to take pictures of it until a couple days ago, so here it is.

We've had a pretty cold winter, despite the lack of snow, and I don't always want to wear such a close-fitting hat like the Jacques Cousteau hat. It messes up my hair :-p. So the obvious solution was to knit myself a nice slouchy hat and Baroness Beret was what I chose:

The pattern was written by Susan Power and was well-written and easy to follow. The lace pattern knitted up quickly and was really a pleasure to complete. I used Knit Picks Andean Silk, which is 55% Alpaca, 23% Silk, and 22% Merino wool. So, so soft, with the loft of alpaca and the sheen of silk. I will definitely be using this yarn again!

I didn't make any changes to the pattern, it was that well done. I am very pleased with the way this hat turned out and have been wearing it quite a lot this season. Here's a picture of it during blocking:

In other news: I finished the tangled yoke cardigan. I've posted pictures of it on Ravelry and I'll discuss it here in the next post. I've also started the Arisaig Cardigan and will soon be working on an experimental hat with colors and cables. I may try to create my own pattern from that experiment. We'll see!