Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Laar Cardigan

Now that Spring has come (and gone again), I'm so glad to show you my latest finished project, Laar.  The translation of Laar means "light breeze," which is perfect for this floaty little top:

So pretty!  I am totally in love with the color.  It's a laceweight alpaca/silk yarn by Nightingale Fibers that I bought at the New England Fiber Festival back in January.  So soft, so light, and the skein had about 1000 yards in it!  I don't know that I would make another sweater entirely out of laceweight yarn, but I know where to look should I need more! (Plus $30 for 1000 yards of this quality is a bargain!)

Walker didn't believe me that I could make a whole sweater out of one skein of yarn, but with such a fine gauge and such huge yardage, here is the proof!

You can see where I pulled it down a little in the back, oops.  

The pattern is by Gudrun Johnson and is available on its own or as part of her Shetland Trader - Book 1.  I only got this pattern, but there are a few others in there that I would consider knitting, like Shalder or Solan

This particular pattern wasn't especially difficult, just time consuming.  I knit it on sizes 4 and 6 needles (so you needn't fear the laceweight--it's very breezy), but the stockinette "skirt" part of the pattern took a lot of time and discipline (i.e., it got really boring).  I think the lace bodice part of the sweater was the easiest and most interesting part.  

Everything was knit in one piece from the bottom hem through to the armpits.  The shoulders were knit separately, but bound off together, and then the sleeves were picked up and worked in short rows all the way down.  No seams, just the way I like it!

The only change I made was to make the sleeves shorter.  I like them to hit just about my elbows, rather than a couple inches below.  I probably should have either knit a size down or modified the bodice section because it's a little bit big.  I know it's supposed to be loose and floaty, but the notes say the bodice is meant to have 3" of negative ease and I have roughly 1-2" of positive ease with the 30" size.  Now, I know I'm not that tiny!  Either my gauge was a little off (it might have been in the lace part) or the pattern needed some adjustment.  

It's not bad enough that I would go back and fix it, but I will need to remember to check lace gauges in the future--something to keep in mind for anyone else attempting to knit a lacy knit garment!

Overall I love it.  I wore it out and about this weekend and a saleslady didn't believe that I made it myself!  I never get tired of hearing that!

You may not hear from me for the next couple of weeks.   Walker and I will be traveling to our sisters graduations over the next two weekends.  I'm sure I'll have plenty of time to knit on the plane(s), but probably not much time for blogging.



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pay it Forward: Part I

I'm sure you all saw that Pay it Forward message that was going around Facebook at the beginning of the year, didn't you?  In case you didn't, this is what it said:

"Pay it Forward in 2011: I promise to send something handmade to the first 5 people who leave a comment here. They must in turn post this and send something they make to the first 5 people who comment on their status. The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it must be sent to your 5 people sometime in 2011."
I only got 4 comments (I guess people were intimidated by my crafty prowess?), which meant I only needed to make and send 4 pretty things.  It took me a little while because I had a bit of a queue going, but I finished all 4 by the end of April and sent the two that needed to be mailed a couple weeks ago.  I still have two gifts waiting at home, but they will hopefully be delivered this weekend so I can address them in the next post.  
First, for Christina, the Springtime in Philadelphia Beret by Kate Gagnon Osborn:

Christina sent me this yarn (Palette in Lilac) for correctly answering a movie question on Facebook a while ago.  I thought it was appropriate to use it for her Facebook gift!  The pattern was totally easy and took me about 2 days to complete.  Yeah, I know I'm not a good gauge for time, but trust me, the pattern repeat is very easy to memorize and the project flies by, even though you're knitting on size 2 needles! 
Second, for Kristina, the Gretel Beret by Ysolda Teague:

I've knit this one before and while I don't really like knitting a pattern more than once, this beret is so quick and beautiful that I was more than happy to follow it a second time (and maybe even a third for myself one day)!  I wouldn't call this one easy--maybe advanced intermediate.  It's way easier if you cable without a cable needle and is also a great project to learn said technique.  She has a link to a tutorial right in the pattern.  You will have to purchase this pattern, but it's totally worth it.  The product is beautiful, the pattern is well-written, and it makes a fantastic gift you'll make over and over again.  Ysolda Teague is amazing.

I love the latticed cable pattern and the size and drape of the finished product.  I really think I need one for myself.  Kristina liked it, too.  She wrote her own blog post about it here: Kristina Cipolla Photography.  It's nice to be loved and appreciated. :)

Next time I'll either have more Pay it Forward gifts or the completed Laar Cardigan.  Hope for the latter.  It's going to be gorgeous!
 House update: We're preapproved!  So now we've started the process of viewing dozens of homes for sale.  Haven't seen anything good yet, but we've got some appointments coming up, including one with a builder--what little girl doesn't want a home built to her specifications?  This one sure does!  I'll let you know how things go.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Venezia in Action (and a Sewing Project!)

I wore the Venezia out and about this weekend.  As previously posted, my friend had her baby shower this weekend and, vain as I am, how could I resist showing off my beautiful handiwork?  I don't have any pictures from the shower--I may ask for those later, but here are some I got Hubby to take after the fact:

And a weird fuzzy one Hubby took as a joke, but I kept because it made me look thin:
You can also see the awesome clock I got a couple of months ago in the background, but I also owe you guys a post about my mad redecorating skillz...when I finish.

Something I did finish: a plastic bag holder!

The piles and piles of plastic grocery bags stuffed under the sink were starting to get on my nerves, so I took action!  I went to Joann, bought a couple of fat quarters and used this Tutorial to package them in a much more stylish container!  

The tutorial was easy enough so that  even someone with my very basic sewing skills could handle it.  I ran into some trouble with getting the elastic through the loops at the top, but felt pretty stupid when I finally figured out that I just needed to attach some thread to each end and pull.  Duh.  

Totally easy.  I finished it in an afternoon and someone at all adept with sewing could probably finish it in about an hour.  At least I got some sewing practice in before I tackle a much larger project, right?

By my next blog post, I should have distributed all, or at least some, of my crafty Pay it Forward projects, so I'll finally be able to show them to you.  And Laar is coming along beautifully--pretty, floaty, and pink.  All my favorite things :)

House Hunting update: we got our preapproval letter today!  Let the fun really begin!!  Wish us luck :)