See what happens when the rain finally stops here in California? Sweaters are finished–that’s what! This fine sweater was a super easy top down raglan with some fun short rowing at the back neck to make it fit nicely.
I didn’t really modify the pattern, other than change the closure from a button and buttonhole to a clasp. I had made the buttonhole and had the whole thing finished but I didn’t like the way the button twisted in the buttonhole and it didn’t stay closed. I’d also bound off the button band too tightly and it didn’t flatten out when I blocked it. Note that if you make this sweater, bind off much more loosely than you’d ever think. Bind off a few inches then give it a tug and see if it flattens out. Mine did the SECOND time, and trust me it’s a very long mo fo button band.
I bought a simple clasp closure and let me tell you, finding a simple one at Joann was hard. There were all the faux celtic looking hooks and high victorian hugely ornate ones. They made we want to scream all the way out of the button aisle, which is not really recommended shopping protocol-even at Joann’s.
Pattern – Something Red Cardigan from Knit and Tonic
Yarn – Knitpicks Shine Worsted (60% Pima Cotton, 40% Modal;75 yards/50 gram ball); 11 skeins in wisteria
Although I used 11 skeins of Shine worsted, I BOUGHT 15 skeins just in case. What to do with the extra skeins…hmmm…I saw a cute little scarf on Action Hero Melissa’s blog. It’s Vickie Howell’s Kick Ass-cot scarf and will take up about one skein of Shine. Perfect…
It’s funny, I know I knit continental-style, but today I noticed that my knitting is looking like a continent. Either I’ve mixed up the lapel chart of the Phildar shearling sweater with a map of South America, or those Phildar chart creators have a funny sense of humor. To give you an idea of my lapel progress, I’m working on Chile, Argentina and shooting for Uruguay.
I didn’t really enjoying the bumpy popcorn ball knitting of the collar, I’m getting to feel like this part of the project is jinxed – or at least has bad juju. Why do I say that? Just look at the worlds biggest collar made of popcorn yarn… I mean this collar has taken me forever to knit up and now it looks like my gym towel. In fact it would be rather nice to use after stepping off the elliptical machine. Absorbent, soft and HUGE! I’m hoping that when I tack the collar together and ease it into the neck of the sweater all will be well, but one worries when so much time and effort has been spent.
Perhaps I just focus on my other project, the colored mohair silk that I koolaid dyed to make a long skinny scarf. Sadly, the bit of this scarf that I’ve knit up so far looks like a big ol’ dildo cozy or a very ineffective mohair condom. Now, a mohair condom is more than slightly creepy and uncomfortable sounding, but here it is…pretty, yet disturbing. My plan is to make either a long skinny color block scarf or knit up three tubes and braid them together to make a scarf. I don’t think I’ve got enough yarn for the braided version so my best guess is the long, skinny color block version will win. I’ve got some Morehouse laceweight that I can over dye (I bought strange UCLA colored yarn for some reason–I’m a Berkeley girl so that won’t do) to make the braided scarf. That would be a good thing as working through some stash yarn always makes me feel virtuous. Curiously, that virtuous statement of mine would be more effective if it didn’t look like I was knitting up a big ol’ dildo cozy.
Today I’d hoped to show you the budding excellence of my skinny mohair color block scarf, but alas it was not to be. My digital camera has been on the fritz for a month or so and I’d made the camera operable with scotch tape and the judicious use of finger pressure. Sure it was hard to take the picture and impossible to see the screen, but it worked dammit! Unfortunately, today it decided it was time to stop humoring me and stop working AT ALL. I know I need a new one, but wanted to hold off until money magically appeared in my pocket and I could get one. This did not happen before my trusty old Olympus bit the big pixel in the sky. It was very old and was certainly a camera among men…well you know what I mean.
I’ve done my research and printed out and studied the Consumer Reports comparison of ultra compact digital cameras. I knew it had to be small or I’d never take it anywhere and it should be pretty basic point and shoot since that’s all I really use it for. AND the smaller the better. I’d narrowed it down to the highly regarded Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z750 (7 MP) or the slightly smaller and ever so slightly less glowingly reviewed Casio EX-S600 (6 MP). I really couldn’t decide, they’re about the same price. One had better reviews but is bigger. One is tiny, has good reviews and is ORANGE! Guess which one will be coming to my house? Yup, went for form not function; orange not big…I compared prices on www.bizrate.com and www.pricegrabber.com and there is some variation, so check both sites for the best deal. I bought my camera from this place, they have a 21 day return policy so I’ll test fire it and see how I like it. Fingers crossed and bringing lunch to work for a few weeks.
Next time, knitting content. Promise.
Who’s got balls? It’s me…What is it?
Madil Kid Seta from Imaginiknit (a really great store)
70% super kid mohair / 30%silk
230 yards – 25 g.
This stuff is the softest mohair ever and I’ve had an idea for a scarf, but until now have done nothing to implement the genius that is my head. I had my idea and then saw a similar implementation of my idea in a Japanese knitting book at Kinokuniya in Japantown. I didn’t buy the book since it’s not a really "complex" idea. Since this idea requires colors and I didn’t feel like buying 3 skeins of mohair to make a novelty scarf, I bought ONE skein of white kid mohair and Koolaid – I can be surprisingly thrifty if it doesn’t involve leather goods or cute little wool coats. From left to right you see Cherry, Pink Lemonade and Grape. Yup, microwave dyed the mohair with the Koolaid and a glug of white vinegar. Super easy. The cherry is still leeching dye, but I used the whole packet and it probably only needed 1/3. Oh well, they’re about 10 cents a packet and smell so deliciously fruity, what the hell. I will try to work on this project tonight so you can see what I have planned…cue devilish laughter…(really I’ll do anything not to work on the shearling sweater.)
Yesterday while I was at work, gas went up 12 cents a gallon. In eight hours! Crikey. I don’t fret too much about gas prices because a. I don’t use much and b. my little car gets 30 mpg. It must suck to be all those people in their v8 cars passing me on the freeway incline. I even stopped and bought gas this morning (I didn’t need any) because it was under $3 and who doesn’t love a bargain. Between the gas craziness and the Bush visit to Meadowood craziness, you just want to stay inside, sitting quietly. For those locals, I heard on the radio this a.m. highway 29 will be closed in Napa for el presidente. And don’t even get me started on the cheapest off season room at Meadowood being $450 and he’s rented out the ENTIRE resort and members aren’t allowed there this sunny weekend…seems like those are his peeps he’s screwing. Me, I’m heading for SF to see this exhibit at the SFMOMA to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the "Big One" (not Arnold). Looks cool doesn’t it.
Knitting progress has been made, but sleeves being completed and a button band cast on for doesn’t make for interesting pictures. The Something Red Cardie is almost done and I’m off to find one button to complete the picture. I’ve been neglecting my "Maryland" shearling sweater in favor of the Something Red, so this may be good news for that shearling to get done in the short two weeks ahead.
Since a post isn’t complete without pretty pictures, check out the cute linoleum print of sheep I just bought on etsy (I love etsy). This is from RainyPrints‘ store. I’ve never bought yarn or fiber things off there (don’t need yarn ya know), but I’ve got a few necklaces and earrings that are cute and fun. Another great link I’ve just come across is the CondeNastArt site. If you like old magazine covers, art or photos check it out. Cool stuff.
As Maryland approaches, I feel I must organize the myriad of projects in my head. This sounds like a nice thing to do, but let me tell you–it’s like a classroom full of kindergardeners when you’re passing out the candy. Me!! Me!!! Here!!! My Maryland shopping list will be EXTREMELY brief–like "don’t buy anything bonehead", or something along those lines. Let’s face it, my yarn is in the garage and my car is on the street. Does that sound like I need more yarn? Yeah, I didn’t think so either.
Since I can’t fantasize about yarn aquisitions, I can think about patterns to use up said yarn. I will not mention projects currently being worked upon–boring…Patterns in my future are Lisette from Rowan 36, Marilyn’s Not So Shrunken Cardigan and Green Gable. I’ve got the yarn and the patterns for all these, so that’ll be about the doin’. Unless I change my mind.
What’s new in the pattern world…hmmm Interweave has some nice sweaters coming out. I know, I’m as shocked as many of you because that mag has been beaten by the ugly stick (and the blurry camera stick) something fierce of late. Uh yeah, I wanna make a sweater that’ll make me look like I’m smuggling 5 lb sacks of potatoes out of the grocery. Good one. That said, the preview up on their site has some nice (albeit blurry and oddly art directed) sweater photos. My fave is the Cambridge cardie on the dude. Nice, simple wearable–collar down of course. The Evening Star Top is cute too–looks like it needs mods though. We shall see. The proof’s in the pattern.
Shall we step over to the sometimes horror show of Vogue Knitting? This knit/crochet hybrid caught my eye. A few mods (color and button choice) would make this a cute, wearable sweater. Unfortunately, by the time I got around to making this, it’d be way out of style. I may not make this exact sweater, but it would be worth playing around with the juxtaposition of knit and crochet so I thank Vogue Knitting for the inspiration. The 40s inspired sweater has some lovely use of texture and cable stitches. I’m choking looking at the model in that collar, but a wearable sweater. We won’t EVEN go into the bedjacket or the bikini…wtf! I must say, I like their art direction and styling. Props where props are due people.
Enough of the talking and back to the knitting. Cheers!
Okay, show of hands–who ate so much at Easter dinner they had to lay down? I suspect you know my hand is up, way up. It is with this lay down in mind that I bring you up to date on progress of the Something Red Cardie. You can see that the cardie is also having a lay down. It could be the shock that I finally finished the body ribbing. The incredibly long body rounds are a drag in the one piece knit game, but it really does work well and also minimizes the amount of sewing to be done.
Having finally reached the desired length of the ribbed portion of our sweater, I had to decide on a cast off. Had this been a 2×2 rib I would have immediately begun the tubular cast off–a very nice cast off for rib. Sure, it’s a royal pain in the ass, but it looks very nice in the end. Sadly, I’ve got 2×4 rib here, and trying to figure out tubular rib for this combo of stitches was way too hard for my ham engorged body. I pulled out my Montse Stanley and tried the decrease bind off that she’s recommended before my regular all occasion "basic" bind off. Sadly, the decrease bind off looked like crap, so rip rip and "basic" saved the day. It looks quite nice from the right side, which is the side that counts. As soon as the queasiness passes, I’ll sit up and work on those sleeves. Promise Easter Bunny!
I’ve been allotting time to the three projects I’m actively knitting based upon whim and willingness to use puffy popcorn yarn (yes I’m talking to you shearling collar). The three are this Something Red sweater in Knitpicks Shine, Phildar Shearling jacket and Six Socks along socks knit in STR pebble beach.
Today, we’re talking increases and how they hate me. The Something Red pattern has you increase across during the ribbing to make a nice fitting bottom (that one’s for you perverted googlers). The pattern has you increase on the WS and blithely continue on. I tried every type of increase in my Stanley Knitter’s Handbook (the best book ever), and it being the best book ever had one million different types of increasing methods. All of them look crappy when executed in the Knitpicks Shine (which is a slippery type yarn–not grabby like some cottons or wools) on the reverse side knit stitches. After ripping back about 5 times I finally figured out that increasing on the RIGHT side might work better–uh hello synaptic vesicles where are you? I tried about three or four more increases (this time done on a purl stitch) and found one to be acceptable in this situation. I combined two methods–I picked up the loop below the knit stitch I’d just knit then PURLED it. Voila! Increase with minimal notice-ability to my critical eye. I’m hoping for even more flattening out of increases when it’s blocked. I also highly recommend the Montse Stanley Knitters Handbook, I use it on every project.
After the stressful series of snafus with this sweater, I retreated to my bathtub. While in Long’s (love Long’s) the other day I came across this bubble bath. Who wouldn’t buy bubble bath with a goat on the front? I would I would!. I scooped it up and took a tub. It was delightful and not at all goaty. In fact it has a subtle fresh scent, and the goat face looking at me while I was lounging in the tub, made me realize that Maryland is almost here! If you’ve been through the barns at a fiber show you know what I mean. Lots of goats there, but probably not freshly bathed in Goat’s Milk bubble bath.
The picture of what looks like a bad toupee for a really old guy, is really the more than halfway point of the shearling sweater collar. After completing this collar horror show, I’ll have to make what looks like two furry lamb chops for the lapels and then I’ll be done. I’ve set the completion date of "Maryland" and it’s looking good. It better not be freaking 80 degrees like it was one year though. I’ve also been thinking that this collar will benefit from a bit of non fusible interfacing. When sewing a collar you interface one side of the collar to help keep it in shape. This seems like it will be a flopsy mopsy without a bit of interfacing backbone. Any opinions out there regarding some interfacing in this collar?
And just in case you take the above evidence of me working on just one project in a focused planned way, I will disabuse you of that silly notion by showing you the beginnings of a sock made of the Socks that may perhaps Rock (I’m not over my snit about their slow shipping methods) in the Pebble Beach colorway. I’ve reserved judgment about the marriage of this sock pattern to this yarn. The pattern I’m using is the current pattern from the Six Socks Along group, called Sixth Sense Socks and you can get a peek of the finished product at Susan’s blog (she designed this sock – April 2nd entry has a picture). I joined up the other day–I really never took in what they’re doing over there–but they make a different sock from a posted pattern every two months. Now I get it, six socks per year. I thought it might make me move forward from my comfortable 60 stitch stockinette sock. So far so good, but I’m still making short-rowed heels and toes. I mean change is good and all, but let’s not go nuts.
Despite not making too much progress on my "Maryland" wear shearling sweater, I did work on the Simply Red Cardie. This is a great take along project for me–just stockinette and some ribbing is fast approaching. "Fast approaching ribbing" cracks me up. I digress–which is allowed on a Friday afternoon. For those not committing my every project to memory, this cardigan is being made of Knitpick’s Shine Worsted. I am enjoying this yarn very much, it’s soft and not splitty (my peeve with cotton) and so reasonably priced, you couldn’t possibly talk yourself out of buying it. If you’re tempted, give it a try.
Now back to the sweater, this top down raglan will have a picked up button band and collar and is super cute, if I do say so myself. You wanna see my eyelet raglan lines? I thought so…