Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Stashbusting: Pink Edition

For some reason, this has been a year of pink for me.  Two lovely soft pink sweaters and a whole bunch of leftovers.  Here are some of those leftovers:

Because Charlotte was so helpful to me with setting up the Etsy shop, I made her this pair of mittens to keep her hands warm in the cold winters of NYC.
The pattern was written by goldenknits and were inspired by Eunny Jang's Anemoi Mitts, but fortunately this pattern was free (and more elegant in my opinion).  For materials I used leftover angora from my Arisaig Cardi and some leftover Palette from the Ivy League Vest (colorway Bison).  The cuffs are folded over for extra warmth and I made sure to put the angora on the inside to it'll nestle next to her wrists.

Here's a shot of the palm side:

What made it difficult (besides stranding on teeny tiny needles) was that the pattern felt more like a recipe, plus charts, so that the knitter is kind of on their own for the cuff and the thumb.  Since the cuff was meant to be straight stockinette, I didn't have much of a problem with that.  But every attempt I made at a stranded thumb came out much too tight, so I gave up and Charlotte will just have to have brown thumbs.

At least I didn't make the mistake of knitting two right-handed mittens this time...

I'm a little jealous of Ysolda Teague's talent.  She's only 25, but she's already published dozens of beautiful patterns.  Just a little bit humbling...

One of her loveliest patterns (in my opinion) is her Gretel Beret.  I'd been eying it for a while and decided that the leftover alpaca from the Fitted February Sweater was just the perfect material for a slouchy cabled beret.  I don't have a modeled shot for you, but I made this in the slouchiest size. Check Ravelry in the fall/winter and I may model it for you.  Ysolda's photos really do the hat justice, though.

With Ysolda's suggestion, I used this project to learn how to cable without a cable needle--so liberating!  Where has this technique been all my life?  My cabling is now so much faster and I don't have to worry about losing the extra needle!  The tutorial she recommends is by Grumperina and you can find it here.  The idea of switching the stitches by taking them off the needle is a little scary at first, but it's so, so much easier!  I would not otherwise have been able to finish this lattice cable hat so quickly.

Here's a detail shot of the cables:  

Sorry it's so dark.  I was trying to get some pictures up quickly and it was dark out.  The color is truer in the first photograph.  I'm so looking forward to fall when I can start wearing my knits again!

Plans are also underway to get the Etsy shop moving again in the fall--you may have noticed that there hasn't been much movement, but come Septemberish, I plan to have a bunch of fall harvest items--flowers, pumpkins, squash, etc to welcome the cooler weather.  It's just been much to hot to market mittens...

Next time: Finished Leopard Print Vest and its Aftermath



Monday, July 19, 2010

Meet Myrtle

At last, Myrtle is complete and she is just as pretty as I  hoped she would be!
Unfortunately, the weather's been much too hot to wear it out in public yet, but soon enough it'll be fall and I can start parading my creations again!

This particular pattern was written by Snowden Becker.  It's written more like a recipe than a pattern, though.  She charts out the "building blocks" you need for the sweater and outlines the basic structure, but the exact construction (and shoulder shaping) are up to you to execute.  The shoulder decreases were especially difficult working with such a complicated lace pattern.  This sweater is certainly not for the faint-hearted or the perfectionists out there.  I had to do a considerable amount of "fudging" to get the stitch counts right in the shoulders.

The only modifications I made were to add one pattern repeat to the waist section to make it longer and my gauge was MUCH too loose for the recommended needle size.  I had to go down two needle sizes.  If you do try this sweater, check your gauge first!!

I'm really glad I stuck with it, though--the results are excellent:

I like the back a lot better than I like the front.  Maybe this sweater would have been better as a pullover?  I still love it!

The yarn I used was Berroco Ultra alpaca fine.  You might recognize it from the Blue Mirasol Sweater (beware, Jericho pictures in that post).  I decided that since I really love this yarn--so airy and warm--and don't wear Blue Mirasol, since I made it much too short, that I would frog it and start over with that yarn.  I'm so glad I did.  Myrtle is definitely an improvement.

Here is a picture of the lace detail:

Pretty, no?

Next time: a pink edition of my stash-busting efforts--I'm down to 5.75 miles now!

Kitty update: everyone (except Walker and I) still has a fungus.  We think Arty's is starting to go away now, though and it's only a matter of time before Branwen's does, too.  We've started treating them with a lime sulfur solution that smells horribly like eggs.  I'll be really glad when everyone is fungus-free.  We think Arty feels bad about infecting Branwen, though.  We caught him trying to bathe her head last night, as if he were going to clean all the ringworm off it--too cute.  Unfortunately we didn't get any pictures of that, but I do have some other photos just waiting to be uploaded that I'll have to share with you next time :)

Other than that, our little family is doing just fine.  Walker is plugging away at his accounting classes (just 2 more weeks!) and after that we'll start discussing what our next step is going to be--exciting and scary at the same time!



Monday, July 12, 2010

More Stash Busting

Remember that adorable Cable and Cowl Neck Sweater I made a couple months ago?  Turns out the pattern called for way more yarn than I actually needed, especially since I decided at the last minute to leave it at short sleeves.  So what do you do with 400 yards of bulky yarn?  Turn it into accessories you'll probably never ever wear, especially not in the middle of June.

And that's how this little beret was born:
Nothing extraordinary, just a simple moss stitch with a sort-of cross decrease detail, but it's rather understated in its elegance.  Here's a close-up of the moss stitch:
Very easy--excellent mindless tv knitting.  Unfortunately, I didn't take any notes on the construction of this beret, so if anyone wants to duplicate it, you are SOL.

But the beret, of course, did not eat enough of the ~400 yards I had left, so I dug into Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Around and decided to give the moebius scarf a try:

I'm still not entirely sure how to wear it without strangling yourself, but I guess I'll figure out when it gets colder.  I was thinking about listing them and a pair of mitts I finished a little while ago on Etsy, but have been putting it off because 1) it's waaay too hot to want to buy an alpaca shawl thing and 2) I haven't been seeing much action on Etsy since the summer really started.  I'm thinking I'll leave the shop be for now--probably until September--and then start gearing up and marketing it for winter/Christmas.  No sense in wasting my energy while there's no interest in my market, right?

So although I'm not so wild about this stash-busting endeavor, at least I finished that yarn and freed up some space in my stash for something more exciting (down to a modest 6 miles now...)  Next, time: something I'm really, really excited to show you.  I finished the Myrtle Cardigan and it fits!!!  I finished it late last night, so no pictures yet, but soon!

Kitty update:  Arty definitely has ringworm.  We got the lovely lime sulfur treatment this morning, so we'll get the full measure of how awful it is tonight.  We saw a vague sign of it on Branwen, but it hasn't been getting worse, so we're not very concerned.  It looks like Arty's symptoms are already starting to abate, so we're hopeful we won't have to deal with this much longer.  Poor Goofy Kitty :(.



Wednesday, July 7, 2010

February Fitted Pullover

Man, three-day weekends are lovely, but they really throw off my schedule!  So after a bit of a delay, I present to you the February Fitted Pullover:

I've set an unofficial goal for myself to complete 12 sweaters in 2010 and right on schedule, this one is No. 6.  I cheated a little and picked one I knew wouldn't take much time, but still, I'm proud of having completed 6 by the end of June, 2010. 

I knit this one in Elann Peruvian Pure Alpaca, a decadent worsted weight yarn in 100% alpaca.  Amazingly soft.  If it weren't so dang hot, I would be wearing this sweater all the time.  I really love the color, too. This particular colorway is called "Creole Pink."  Now, I don't know what makes a pink creole, but it is lovely.

The pattern itself was written by Amy Herzog, who is also in the middle of writing an excellent series of blog posts about choosing and modifying sweaters to best flatter your figure.  She's calling it Fit to Flatter and it's already been helpful to me.  She breaks it down by body type, sweater elements, and a number of ways to make a great sweater a perfect sweater. Definitely check her out.

She based this pattern on Elizabeth Zimmerman's February Baby Sweater, which unlike Pamela Wynne's February Lady Sweater, is more "inspired by" than "scaled up."  I may give the FLS a try later in the year, but this one is an allover fitted lace that I found to be really flattering on most figures.  I think the reason these modeled shots don't look ideal is my choice of undershirt.  Next time, just a cami.

The sweater really was a joy to knit--it was clearly written, precise, and the lace pattern was really really easy to memorize.  Plus lace in worsted weight has the same instant gratification as bulky yarn.  And, besides, when do I not love knitting with alpaca?  The only modification I made was adding 2" of length before waist shaping.  I tend to favor a longer sweater and I think that did the trick.  Otherwise, I got a great fit and didn't have to change anything.

Other knitting: I haven't made much progress on the Swirly Mittens.  Not very into fair isle at the moment, I guess.  Can't say the same about lace, though.  Myrtle is about > < this close to being done.  I just need to weave the ends in, block it, and sew on some buttons.  So excited!  I should be able to show it to you some time next week!  I'll be starting on Vicki's leopard print vest by the weekend!!

Next time: Seed Stitch Beret and Moebius Cowl