Monday, November 27, 2006

yakety yak

Made a little trip to the yarn store today. I definitely got myself into trouble this time.

Jade Sapphire Cashmere
More Jade Sapphire 2-ply cashmere. This is for some lace for my mom. Can you tell that this is my favorite yarn ever? This will be the fourth project I've made with it.

Road to China
Pretty Road to China - Alpaca, Cashmere, Camel, Yak, Soya. All in that little skein. The colors are very beautiful, I wish it was daytime so I could get a better picture. This is for a hat for me, which I will get to wear at Christmas when I go somewhere cold. I picked that color because it makes my eyes sparkle nicely.

(See the eggnog? Yeah, I know it's still November, but I love eggnog and have been drinking it already for the last two weeks. I think that's what makes people fat at Christmas - it's not just one day, it's a whole month!)

Karabella Superyak
Karabella Superyak, for two hats: black for Mikey and tan for Dad. Yak is really pretty soft - this yarn is 50% yak & 50% merino. Yummy. It is bulky weight, so it will make some nice warm hats.

Mountain Colors Bearfoot
Last, Moutain Colors Bearfoot in a lovely brown and copper color. This is sock yarn, but I'm going to make a sweater out of it. I couldn't resist the colors - they are sort of metallic and shiny, like really pretty hair. This yarn comes in so many pretty multicolors, so one day I'll have to get some to make socks out of.

Most of this is for Christmas presents, and I do need a new hat for Virginia. The hats I have are all out of style now, and my favorite hand knit hat is from 1995 and is a bit too scruffy for me to wear now. I just want to start everything right away, but I have to finish the Alpine. I have one more repeat of the inside pattern and then three of the diamonds for the end. It is only now starting to get boring, so I would say it's been great knitting. I should have some pictures of it done by the weekend.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

mrs. jane gaugain

May I present a sneak preview of the Alpine Knit Scarf:

Alpine Knit Scarf

This is an absolutely beautiful pattern. I noticed it when I first looked through Victorian Lace Today, but didn't like the garter stitch edging very much. The edging has definitely grown on me. I started the Myrtle Leaf Shawl (the picture in my previous post), but I think there is either an error in the pattern, or I just did something wrong. I tried it twice, but it didn't work out right - the leaves weren't forming properly. After seeing it knit up, I didn't like the pattern enough to figure out the mistake.

Then I started a new Print o' the Wave, but I wasn't excited about it in black - when I make another one of those I want it in a pretty Miami blue color. After looking through the book about five more times Sunday night, I settled on the Alpine. And then knit and knit and knit and it's nearly half done. There are 25 repeats of the diamonds by the time it's finished, and I have 11 1/2 done now. I like to keep track of things like that so I can see how much progress I am making. I also like to time how long it takes to finish a repeat of the pattern and see if I can do it faster each time. Right now it's about an hour and a half for each 16 rows. An hour and a half for only 16 rows! This makes me a little crazy, but it also helps me to keep pace and get the thing done on time. With all of the calculations, it's only 20 more hours of knitting. AH! :-) I have almost four weeks, though, so it will be no problem.

I was a little worried about time when I started, as the book says it's "experienced lace". It's not hard or anything, I think they just say that because the diamond border is patterned every row, so you have to pay more attention. I like it because it's making me more aware of how lace patterns are made, and why they have the yos on one side of the decrease sometimes and on the other side other times. There is an error in this pattern, too, but it's just slight. There is a k box where there should be a p box on the chart for the center pattern. (Sometimes I wonder if anyone proof reads these charts. I have heard Kathy talk about errors in patterns quite often, and if the patterns are test knit, then they should pick up the errors. They have all been knit because there are pictures of them in the book! I guess I just don't understand how that all works.)

Anywway, the red sweater is done, but I'm not thrilled about the neckline. I wore it today and it's better than I thought originally, but I'll probably end up fixing it during the Christmas break when I have time to think about it. It has quite a square shaped narrow neck after putting the edging on, and I think I would like it better if it was a bit wider. We'll see. By the way, does anyone know where to buy a sweater shaver?

PS Thanksgiving was pretty fun this year. I was an orphaned child and ate at my boss' house. I ate too much stuffing and could barely eat my turkey leg, and couldn't even get a bite of pumpkin pie in me. That stuffing was damn good, though. :)

Friday, November 17, 2006

sweater destruction

José wanted to know how the red sweater is going. I loved it until I tried it on two nights ago.

Christmas Hybrid

You can see in this picture how as the back of the sweater (right side here) lays flat, the shirt yoke (left) lays bubbly. Somehow it didn't work, though I'm not completely sure why. There is too much fabric in the yoke compared to the body of the sweater, so I have rippped it all out and am starting over - just the yoke, not the whole thing. The picture above is just after I pulled out the kitchener join. I am going to tighten it up and possibly use smaller needles and see what happens. I want to have a finished shot of it by Sunday afternoon and be done with it already.

Some Christmas knitting ahead:

jade sapphire

My favorite yarn to knit with - Jade Sapphire laceweight cashmere. I bought it at a real store last night where they make fresh cookies, coffee and tea, so it always smells yummy. I found a nice stole pattern from Victorian Lace Today, the book some people are talking about. The patterns in the book don't blow me away, but there are a lot of nice edge patterns and a section in the back that talks about designing your own lace.

I started last night, but at the end of the first repeat I had one too many stitches. The pattern lined up as it should have and it all seemed in order, but it was 12:30, so I gave up and went to bed. I'll sort it out after I finish my red sweater. I am still contemplating just making another Print o' the Wave instead, since I love it so much. The shawl above is nice, but it seems like it will be too boring to knit. I'll decide this weekend.

Oh - this is for my boss' wife. She's been asking for one since I made mine, so I figured it's time. They're going to be in London for Christmas, so I want to get it finished before they go so she can wear it over there. Then I have to make something like this for my mom! I should have started sooner.

Monday, November 13, 2006

thick & quick

Mom calls Thursday - I have a great idea, can you make something for the auction? (The school I went to has an auction every year as a fundraiser.) Sure, mom, when is it? November 18th.


Thursday night is the late night for the yarn store here, so I went over there and looked and looked for about an hour. I wanted to make a shawl with dk weight wool, like
this one, since it didn't take very long to make and it was really pretty. Anyway, the yarn store didn't have anything soft enough that wasn't $$, so somehow the owner of the shop convinced me that kidsilk haze would be perfect for what I wanted to do. I don't know what I was thinking when I agreed that it would be perfect, since it's laceweight, and the last laceweight project I made took about a month. On my way home, my nose wouldn't stop itching - I don't think I'll be making anything with that kidsilk haze. I think I'll be taking it back and exchanging for some cashmere for a Christmas present.

So, the next morning I woke up about an hour early trying to figure out what I was going to do and the brilliant idea came to me - a velvety baby outfit made out of that
chenille you can get from Michael's. That cute baby surprise jacket from Elizabeth Zimmerman and a little hat. I was thinking dark red, but I ended up with some lovely dark green and cream. Normally I find chenille to be quite tacky - too mid 90's for me, but somehow this works.

Baby Surprise Jacket & Bonnet

Baby Surprise Jacket

The baby surprise jacket is made in one piece and you decrease and increase in different places to create the shape. You end up with seams only on the top of the arms - it's pretty neat how it works. The pattern is written for yarn at 6 stitches per inch, and my chenille knits up about 2.5 stitches to the inch. So I just figured out that it's about 42% of the pattern, and made all of the numbers 42% of what she has in the book. It worked very well, which was fortunate, as I had no time for errors.

I got the measurements for the bonnet from a baby pattern book and then just sort of made something up. It only took about an hour to make, and I think it looks pretty cute.

I put an i-cord edge on every edge I could find, which makes it nice and pretty for the holidays. It's easy to get away with things like that when it's for a baby.

Picture 77751 Picture 77752

I found the cutest buttons to go with this - the ones on the left. This had to be for either a boy or a girl, so I had to ditch those pretty pearl buttons and go with the other ones. They still look good, but aren't nearly as cute. I'm going to have to find something else to make so I can use those pretty pearl buttons.

For my records:
Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket from Knitting Workshop, and made up bonnet pattern
Yarn: Lion Brand Thick & Quick Chenille
(I am such a snob, I still can't believe I used this yarn and it actually came out nice.)
Needles: Size 10.5 bamboo circulars
4 buttons instead of 5
Buttons from JoAnn (they had an exceptionally bad selection of buttons yesterday)
Time to make: About 8 hours total
Jacket Size: 20" around, 12" long
Bonnet: 13" around top, 5" deep

Monday, November 06, 2006

when there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire

Christmas Hybrid

Wow, this is one of the most boring things I've ever done with my knitting. Unraveling 200 stitches of cast-on. It's working though, so it will be worth it when I'm finished. I am a little worried about the incredible amount of fuzz on this sweater. You can't tell from the pictures, but it is really fuzzy. It worries me because I'm pretty sure it will just get worse. I guess I will have to get a sweater shaver.

I ended up with some seed stitch cuffs on the sleeves, and I actually like them. There is a neat Elizabeth Zimmerman cast-off called casting-on casting-off, or sewn casting-off. I like calling it casting-on casting-off, it sounds better. You do it with a sewing needle and it makes a nice not too obvious cast-off. It takes longer, but it looks better than the standard cast-off.

Christmas Hybrid

I'm back in Florida, back to the heat where people make fun of me for wearing sweaters in November (it was about 80 degrees here today). I was inside all day, so I do have a valid excuse for the sweater. :) At least I can pretend that it's really fall right now.