25 February 2006

Progress, part deux...

Top: Yoke and back; Bottom: Close-up of the pleat.

I'm using Jaeger Matchmaker Merion DK in burgundy. Pretty close to the recommended yarn but it was about £5 cheaper overall. Also, the place I was at didn't have any colors I liked in the Extra Fine Merino.


24 February 2006


The Pearl Buck jacket is coming along smoothly. I joined the KAL over at A Bluestocking Knits a bit ago. It technically doesn't start until March, but I happen to have a deadline--my mom's birthday in mid-March. My parents will also be going on a trip shortly after her birthday and I think this will be nice for her to take along. So I've been working on this steadily for the last couple weeks (not counting the week I was in Amsterdam). I have the back, yoke, and left front so far. Currently working on the right front. This is definitely a nice project for learning how cables work. I never understood the technical aspect of cables but I think I'm starting to get the hang of it.

Also pulled out the pullover that was supposed to be my dad's Christmas present from under the bed and put it back on the needles. I figure if it's on needles, I'll be more likely to get around to finishing it. I'm actually surprised at how far I got before putting it down. I didn't realize that I had most of the body done already (just thought I had half the body done). So now I'm not too worried about getting it done before I go home for Easter Holiday. I may even be able to finish it in time to mail it home with the jacket.

I've decided on the type of yarn to use for my "inspiration" top. Well, almost. I've decided on Jaeger Siena. The local fabric store has just gotten in loads of cotton yarns (probably for the spring and summer), so I finally got a chance to see and feel the options. Still not sure which color. I've narrowed it down to cream, meadow, and phlox. Fortunately, this will be for the summer so I'm not in any rush to decide.


10 February 2006


I don't know what's sadder: that I can't watch Project Runway or that I want to watch Project Runway. Either way, I've been following the series online.

On a recent episode, the challenge was "inspiration." Each designer had to go around the city, take photographs, and choose one of the photographed objects to base a design on. Quite a clever idea. And now I'm doing it.

I've been inspired by oriental fans. I already like pleats, I like hand fans, and I'll in need of something "summery" to knit soon, so lets see if we can put this together somehow. I already have main color in mind. I just need to figure out what sort of image I want. Flowers are an obvious choice but I was also thinking of a bamboo design as it's consistent with the oriental fan theme (one of my favorite fans is made from bamboo). Then there's the choice of knitting in the design, embroidering it, or duplicate stitch. This will probably depend on the look of the design I decide on (solid colored or outlined?).



Anyway, I've gotten some nice feedback on the Union Square Market pullover from a couple places I've posted it on. I think one of the virtues of this sweater, which I forgot to mention in the FO post, is that it can look good on anyone. As I noted previously, I'd been following the KAL before I started working on it and have seen the many finished photos, and they all look lovely.

09 February 2006

FO: Union Square Market Pullover...

Pattern: Union Square Market Pullover by Kate Gilbert (Interweave Knits Fall 2005)
Start/Finish: Jan. 12-Feb. 9, 2006
Yarn: Peruvian Collection Baby Cashmere from Elann - Cashmere Blue (1620) and Parchment (100); approx. 1000yds/915m MC and 150yds/140m CC
Needles: 24"/60cm Inox circular size US3/3.25mm; 32"/80cm Susan Bates Silverado circular size US3/3.25mm
Modifications: Adjusted for row gauge change on divided part of body; sleeves


I hit gauge exactly when working in the round. However, when I divided for the front and back on the body, I found that my row gauge was looser (the stitch gauge was not affected, oddly enough). I'd been following the Union Square KAL for a while but thought it was too late to join by the time I decided to make this (turns out that I could have joined late). The KAL was a great resource, especially regarding the sleeves.

I, like several before me, modified the sleeve cuff so that it wouldn't be so wide. I cast on 76 stitches instead of the 92 in the pattern, knit the short row sections in pattern, increased evenly for the first half (to the elbow) where I worked the rest in pattern. I also made the sleeves about an inch shorter. I originally started the left sleeve with Prym DPNs (after a couple failed attempts at magic loop with provisional caston on another circ). Halfway through the sleeve, I got frustrated with the ladders that were occurring. I normally don't have a problem with ladders when using DPNs but then again, I normally use Addi or bamboo DPNs. I think the problem here was the combination of a lighter fabric and heavier needles. I ended up frogging back to one inch above the cuff and switching to magic loop (successfully) for the sleeves.

The buttons are from C&H Fabrics, a local fabric chain and more or less the only place to buy craft materials around here. I thought about looking for buttons the last time I was in London but then, I'm not normally too picky about my buttons. Either way, I really like the ones I picked up. I wanted something silvery but also natural-looking and got just that. I also cheated a tad on the button loops. For the sake of efficiency (and laziness), I took leftover lengths of the twisted cords from the first set of button loops and just attached them for the last set.

This is probably my best sweater-knitting effort so far. I've knit about four sweaters and of all four, I'm especially proud of this one. My seaming has improved a great deal from last fall, let alone from my first sweater a year ago. I also love the color. I normally prefer darker colors but the cashmere blue is nice and subtle for a sweater with such a unique structure. The fabric is light but warm (yay, alpaca!). This one will definitely be worn many times.

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06 February 2006

I must be insane...

When I was living in Iceland last summer, I fell in love with Icelandic sweaters (a.k.a. lopi peysa). Subsequently I bought The Best of Lopi hoping that would satisfy my new love. However, it doesn't have everything I like that I remembered seeing just walking around Reykjavík (read: more modernized/trendy version/whatever you want to call it). I already knew that Ístex offered free patterns to download but not in English, so I usually just shrugged it off and decided it wasn't meant to be.

But then I looked at Ístex again and 'lo and behold:

I want this sweater. I downloaded the pattern and am currently in the process of translating it. With my very basic Danish skills and whatever Icelandic I may possibly have picked up (which is to say I have no skill in Icelandic) while living there. Luckily I know the process of knitting Icelandic sweaters--bottom up, in the round, attach sleeves onto circ once you know everything to the underarms, fair-isle yoke, and steek the front if it's a cardigan. So I basically just need the stitch count and shaping. The chart doesn't seem too complex so I think I'm okay there.

Oh and yay, if I do go through with this, it will be my first time steeking. I'm actually looking forward to it. I think I'm mildly destructive--like I was one of those kids who was tempted to cut a handful of hair off (which I did last spring as a self-haircut), and I guess I'm one of those knitters who gets tempted to take chops at her knitting.

FO: Ballet Wrap...

Pattern: Ballet Wrap by Norah Gaughan (Interweave Knits Spring 2005)
Start/Finish: Dec. 18, 2005-Jan. 10, 2006
Yarn: KnitPicks Andean Silk in slate (23519); Approx. 1110yds/1015m
Needles: Denise US6/4mm and US7/4.5mm circs
Modifications: Adjustments for different row gauge; shortened sleeves


This was a very quick and easy knit--I would say it took me about two weeks for the actual knitting. However, I tend to get lazy when it comes to seaming so this piece wasn't actually finished until a bit later.

My stitch gauge matched the pattern, but the row gauge was off. Sometimes it matters, sometimes it doesn't. I would say that due to the way the garment is constructed, it does matter in this case. I had to cut out a couple short row sections on the sash and adjust for the length of the body.

I didn't care for the long, wide-ish sleeves in the pattern. I personally prefer 3/4, fitted sleeves as they make my hands and wrists feel freer to work. I ended up casting on 54 stitches instead of 66, worked the ribbed cuff for two inches instead of five, and only worked one more inch of stockinette before starting the increases in pattern. I cut off about seven inches from the total sleeve length (cuff to shoulder cap).

I used less than 11 balls of Andean Silk. I originally bought 16, two extra balls from what I needed because I'd read of a couple people who needed an extra ball or two than what the pattern calls for. Of course, since I did shorten the sleeves I had extra left over, but after some calculating I found that I probably would not have used more than the amount specified in the pattern if I did make the full sleeves. Well, each knitter knits differently, I suppose, but it's always safer to have more yarn than less.

Overall, I love this sweater. I've worn it twice so far. My only complaint is the length of tied ends of the sash. I originally wanted to make each end about four inches shorter, but when I tried working it out, I couldn't figure out where the extra length was coming from in the photos. It wasn't until it was finished and I tried it on that I realized that the slit in the back was why the ties were so long. That was a *smacks self* moment.

Now if only I can figure out how not to look stoned in photos...

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