Monday, August 30, 2010

Ivy Cardigan

It was a lot of work, but Ivy is finally finished.  Unfortunately, I am not altogether pleased with the result

It just doesn't fit me right.  After Goddess, I think I erred on the side of "too big" when picking a size and now you see the result is a bunchy, baggy cardigan.  I'm hoping that raising the height of the ties will help with the bagginess in the waist, moving some of the extra fabric to the hip/skirt section--something you can really see in this back picture:

But I have no hope for the sleeves.  I even followed the "slimmer sleeve" instructions, but there is still way too much space, even for my guns.  That's the downside (or one of) to knitting sweaters in pieces like this.  You don't know how it fits until the thing is finished.

I might have been able to get over the extra space in this sweater if the yarn was soft, but unfortunately, that is not the case.  Elann Quechua is itchy, splitty, and very unforgiving when I made a mistake.  The stockinette in the back looks very wonky and sloppy.  I am definitely never ordering this yarn again, and I will consider carefully before ordering from Elann again. I think the only thing I like about this cardigan is the color.  Blerg.

I am also considering giving this away to someone who wears a size or two larger than I do and doesn't mind itchy yarn or wonky stitching on the back.  So if you wear M-L and really want a cardigan/jacket, let me know.  A Finer Peace Socks are also up for grabs. 

In other (better) knitting news, I finished the Que Sera cardigan and totally regained my faith in knitting.  It fits well and the yarn is so so soft.  Knit Picks saves the day again.  I also received my shipment of yarn for a few fall products in the Etsy shop.  I finished a new baby hat yesterday and have the materials for 3 more cute little sets.  Pictures of Que Sera and a few other goodies are coming soon.

The reason I don't have any pictures of the above is because we found out just this weekend that Walker's grandmother passed away.  We have to make a last-minute trip to GA tonight to be with his family for the funeral tomorrow.  We come back on Wednesday and then the family comes up to visit us for Walker's birthday on Friday.  Since we didn't have a lot of time to prepare, we had to spend much of this weekend cleaning and packing for this long week of togetherness with the in-laws, yay.  I am honestly looking forward to their visit up here, but less so about attending a funeral in South Georgia in August heat...   Arty will be making his first trip to his grandparents' house, which I imagine will be fairly interesting, as he's never really interacted with a dog.  We might have some interesting stories when we get back...

Next time: Que Sera, Mary Jane Slippers.  Also after a lot of deliberating, Walker and I have finally made a decision regarding our move.  Announcement next time.  Stay tuned!



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Finer Peace Socks

As you may have imagined, with the addition of birthday yarn and now with more Etsy yarn on the way, my stash has gotten a bit out of control.  So here's yet another (rather meager) edition of my stash-busting efforts:

A Finer Peace Socks:

The pattern is by Wendy Johnson and can be found for free on Ravelry (link above).
Enter at your own peril, however, for these socks are knit on (DUN DUN DUN) size 0/2mm needles.  I've never knit anything with needles so tiny, but I really really love the way these socks came out.  I would say that it took a really long time to finish them, but then if you were to visit my project page and see that it only took 10 days, you would probably roll your eyeballs out of your head.  I put in a lot of hours, okay...

Now how did I finish a whole pair of socks on teeny tiny needles without completely losing my mind, you might ask.  Well, the secret to that is frequent breaks (so your hands don't cramp up) and a very light touch with the needles.  That, and modifying the pattern so that k3tbl (scary on larger needles!) became S1, K2tog, PSSO instead.   I did break one early on the first sock, but I maintain that particular needle was faulty.  Knit Picks came to the rescue and sent me a new one immediately and without question.  I didn't have any other breakage problems...

The detailing is absolutely gorgeous:

I'm sorry it's so hard to see in that photo--both the yarn and our apartment are really dark. 

You might recognize the yarn from my Myrtle Cardigan earlier this year.  I had ~300 yards leftover and it was just the perfect amount to finish these little socklets.  In action they come up to about the top of the ankle on size 8-9 women's feet. 

I'm not sure if I'll be keeping them or not.  They are up for grabs if anyone would like to claim them as a "Christmas gift" (or "miscellaneous" if your name is Jodi).  They are very warm, the lace inserts are quite lovely, and they would be perfect in a pair of short boots/other fall/winter footwear.  Let me know!

In other knitting news, Ivy is now finished.  I'm not entirely in love with it, though.  I'll give you a full assessment in next week's post.   I am also trucking along with my Que Sera--almost done with the torso section and right on schedule to complete it when the in-laws come to visit next week for Walker's birthday.  And then after that, I actually plan to give Venezia another try.  Wish me luck that this second attempt proves better than the first!

And now a cute kitty picture to close out this post:
I just love him, don't you?



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Goddess or Not so Much

Okay, first things first.  I finally got around to asking Walker to take a picture of my hair.  The lighting's really crappy and all of the colors look really dark (hair, skin, teeth, all of it), so keep that in mind:

Ta da!  We didn't color the whole thing, just did a foil on some of it, so it's rather subtle.  In a few weeks, I have the option of getting another foil done, which would reinforce the red that's already in there, and make the whole thing a little redder.  I haven't decided what I want to do yet.  I like it this way and have considered going redder...thoughts? 

You can also see in that picture that I am sporting the completed Goddess Top.  Here's a full shot of it:
The pattern is by Stitch Diva and to be honest, it was kind of a pain in the butt.  The pattern stitch was awful!  It was k2tbl, keep both stitches on the left needle and ktlbl of the first stitch.  Slow and painful.  It looks nice, but man, not worth the effort.  The band at the bottom was supposed to be 2.5" longer, but I couldn't stand it anymore. 

The stockinette was lovely to knit and the shaping was pretty straightforward, but I think I did a little too much fudging with the sizing--XS on top and S on the bottom and the bottom section came out a little too small.  The finished product is quite hawt in the bust area (even Walker noted this), but tight and bunchy in the hips.  I really don't think I'll wear it as is--why wear something that makes you feel fat?--so I plan to (at some point in the future) take the bottom portion apart, add some hip increases, and do some lace edging, rather than the horrible mesh Stitch Diva likes.  Bah.

And now something happy.  For my birthday, Walker's mother made a VERY generous contribution to my yarn fund in the form of a Knit Picks gift certificate and this is what I ordered:
Oooh....aahhhhh...almost like yarn porn, isn't it?

That plans to be (from top left to bottom) Starsky, Que Sera, Matilda Jane, and Pas de Valse.  Que Sera is going to jump the line ahead of Venezia because 1) I want to show Walker's mother something I made from her gift when they come up on a few weeks and 2) I want to knit something quick and easy once I finish Ivy, which looks easy, but is taking me a surprisingly long time--probably because there's just so much surface area in a wrap sweater.

Last piece of news: Sale in the Etsy shop!!
To celebrate the end of summer, I've marked down all spring and summer items by 30% and all orders over $25 have free shipping!  So if there was something you had your eye on, but were waffling about buying, now is the time!

Next time: A Finer Peace Socks



Friday, August 13, 2010

Knotty but Nice

So sorry for the late post this week.  I actually went through with dying my hair red.  We did a foil, rather than dying the whole head, so it's subtle, but a lovely dark red/brown color.  I'm not sure that I love it yet (one reason why there are no pictures--the other is that the lighting in our apartment is terrible and my face ends up looking redder than my hair), but I'm sure it'll grow on me.

And to distract you from the lack of hair photo, here's a cute kitty picture!!
Kitty update: Arty is getting so big!  He's about 5lbs now (was 2 when we brought him home) and he can now jump and reach things he couldn't when he was tiny--uh oh.  We think the ringworm has largely been eradicated from our house.  Arty still has a little bit on his back, but it's almost all gone, hurray!

And now Knitting:

Welcome to yet another edition of stash-busting.  I almost never use all of the recommended yardage for my big projects and here are a couple of results of the leftovers:
Even after the Gretel Beret, I still had a fair amount of the Elann pink alpaca and after scouring Knitty for a while, I found this little number.  The pattern is Knotty but Nice and was written by Natalie Larson.  It was originally written for a man, but what self-respecting man wants to wear a hat made of pink alpaca?  None that I know.  So I sized it down by using smaller needles.  It fits my medium-ish sized head.

The pattern itself was very straightforward.  The cabling looks like it was hard, but so long as you're paying attention, it looks a lot more demanding than it really was.  An excellent choice for a quick Christmas gift.

For some reason 2010 has been a year of pink for me.  Lots of pink sweaters and therefore lots of leftover pink yarn. This is the very last of the angora from the Arisaig sweater.  It was sooo soft, it really had to be used to comfort someone's hands and so I chose Knotty by Julia Mueller.  Funny that both designers came to the same name and same design independently--I wonder if one was inspired by the other.  In any event, the two projects (even if they're not EXACTLY the same pink) will make a nice set for someone for Christmas--I can think of a lovely budding photographer would might appreciate some fingerless gloves...

As you can obviously tell, I didn't have quite enough yarn to make these full gloves, much to my chagrin.  I don't usually like fingerless gloves/mitts, but I didn't have the heart to tear out such a pretty cabled pattern.  Plus they'll be great for photography practice!
I will definitely make these again--and finish the pattern next time!!

Next week I'll have to post twice to make up for lateness this week.
Next time: Finished Goddess Top



Monday, August 2, 2010

Leopard Print Vest

I know I've been talking about it for ages, but it's finally here!  It's finished, pressed, and delivered to its recipient.  No action shots yet--still too hot for wearing a vest, even if it is cotton, but here's a photo of the completed vest:

For the shape, I used the Geek Chic Argyle Vest from Picture Perfect Knits.  Rather than knit the front and the back separately, I knit the vest in the round to the armpit and the knit the front and back separately, ending with the 3-needle bind-off.  I have to say, avoid stranding when knitting flat.  It's doable, but such a pain that I would really rather steek. Unfortunately, cotton doesn't hold up to steeking, so I was stuck purling.

Intarsia's kind of a pain in the bum, though, so I used the "Tarzan" pattern from Vogue Knitting's Stitchionary of color motifs.

Here's a close-up of the leopard pattern:

This photo is a little truer to color.  We really need to move into an apartment with more light for better knitting photos!  (Might be happening fairly soon--stay posted!)

I'm really really pleased with the way this turned out.  It was a little tight on Vicki when she first tried it on, but that was before blocking and since it's cotton, it should stretch some.  The cotton will also make it easier to care for, even if it's not my favorite fiber.

Unfortunately because I changes the color pattern around so much, it was difficult to estimate how much yarn to order and I had a lot of the cashew color left.  So I searched through my library (Man, I sure do love Ravelry) and dug up this little number, the Citrine Socklets by Marylin Webster from Interweave Knits Holiday 2007.
I had just the right amount to whip out a pair of cute little socks.  I had to make the leg section a couple of pattern repeats shorter, but they'll make great little slipper socks for Vicki, whose yarn it is in the first place.

Right now I'm having a very hard time being faithful to one project.  I'm working simultaneously on the Goddess Top by StitchDiva and the Ivy Sweater from Knitty.  Not making much project on either since I can't decide which one I like better.  And then to make the sluttiness worse, I've got about 300 yards of the yarn left from the Myrtle Sweater and cannot for the life of me find a pair of socks this yarn wants to be.  I tried Bayerische by Eunny Jang, which has a 7-stitch cable I couldn't wrap my head around, and the Cablenet Socks from Knitty, whose teeny-tiny cables don't show up well in the heathered yarn.  I'm thinking I'll have to find something ribbed or lacy...wish me luck...

In non-knitting related news, I have made the all-important decision to dye my hair red.  I have always admired auburn hair, but have never dyed my own.  This changes now.  As soon as I can fit in an appointment, I am going to show up at my hairdresser and demand that she imbue my locks with my alltime favorite color.  Hopefully by this time next week, I'll have some photos for you of my new tresses!

Next time: Knotty but Nice patterns, new hair?