23 March 2006

FO: Corinne...

Of course, when I finished this last night I realized that a) lace garments require solid garments to be worn underneath and b) I do not own anything to wear under this dress. For photo purposes, I made do with a tank top and leggings.

Pattern: Corinne from Knitting Fog
Start/Finish: Mar. 17 - Mar. 22, 2006
Yarn: Jaeger Aqua in chrome (306); approx. 5.5 skeins (633yds/583m)
Needles: Denise Interchangeables sizes US9/5.5mm and US6/4mm
Modifications: Adjustments for row gauge difference; shortened skirt by 8in/20cm


Gauge: The gauge given is measured over the parachute lace pattern. For some reason my stitch gauge was spot on but my row gauge was two times smaller than the one in the pattern. Rather than calculating the length measurement using 12 rounds as 10cm, I had to double that to 24 rounds to 10cm.

Pattern: This was a fairly simple pattern. The lace pattern was easy to memorize - only six repeats - and read. Although part of what made it easier to read the knitting was the cotton yarn. I could see the stitches clearly and note exactly what stitch did what in the pattern. It's also a fairly concise pattern. It only gives instructions for a size small. However, it would not be difficult to make adjustments for larger sizes. There were also a couple parts that could have used more details in describing how to work the pattern but it was generally simple enough that anything missing I could figure out.

Surpringly, this dress has worked out quite nicely. As I've mentioned before, I don't normally find knit dresses or skirts flattering, but this one is. I did decide to make it 20cm shorter, though. The original pattern has the dress going down to the knees on someone who looks on the tall side. Or at least taller than me. I considered only going 10cm shorter to accommodate my height (or lack thereof), but I decided on 20cm because that would make it short enough to wear with pants but not too short to wear alone. It ended up being about three to four inches above the knee depending on how much I move.

A note on yardage: If making the dress to the original length, I would recommend getting a bit more yarn than called for. While I did sub the yarn, the Jaeger Aqua matched the description of the yarn the designer used right down to the yardage (meterage?). I bought what was required and shortened the skirt quite substantially and still only had about half a skein (50m) left. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have had enough for the full length version.

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20 March 2006

My name is Kat, and I have a problem...

I'm addicted to lace knitting. Admittedly, I don't have a lot of finished lace objects. I do, however, have a nerdy tendency to knit swatches of stitch patterns just to see what they look like. Many swatches. The majority of which are experiments in lace patterns. They end up getting taken apart, though. Partly because there's some anal retentive characteristic of mine that just cannot waste yarn. All yarn I have must go to something useful and something useful is usually an actual project. Sadly, I've not found any uses for my many swatches, yet. Another reason why I frog my swatches is because I might be a little ashamed of this nerdy tendency. Just a little.

Anyway, lace is probably my all-time favorite technique but I've been good about not burying myself in lace projects. For a while, though, I'd been drooling over Corinne from Knitting Fog. I can think of a couple reasons why Corinne might be a bad idea. First is that I've spent much of my knitting life tsking at knit skirts and dresses because they just don't seem flattering. I've tried on many knit skirts and dresses while shopping because, on the hanger, they all just looked so cool. Unfortunately, they don't look so cool on me. So there's one reason why Corinne might be a bad idea. The other reason is it's knit in cotton and that could produce some blocking problems.

So what did I do?

I started Corinne on Friday. So far, it looks really cool on the needles. Just needs to be steam-blocked like there's no tomorrow. Let's hope it looks really cool on me...


14 March 2006

FO: Military Barbie Beret...

Pattern: Nancy Drew/Speckled Beret by Kate Gilbert (Interweave Knits Winter 2005)
Start/Finish: Mar. 9, 2006-Mar. 14, 2006 (had to restart)
Yarn: Louisa Harding Kimono Angora (color 4); one 25g ball (124yds/112m)
Needles: Addi Turbo DPNs size US1-sh/2.5mm
Modifications: Unspeckled; used a different type of tubular cast on than called for; renamed Miltary Barbie upon seeing the pink camo patterning

More notes plus progress pics below the flip.

The pattern uses a tubular cast on described here, which, if I understand it correctly, leaves live stitches. The impression I get is that you run elastic through the cast on edge, but the pattern in IK doesn't say anything about that.

I neither wanted to use elastic nor wanted worry about how solid the brim was, so I restarted the beret (rather than frogging completely, I just started from the other end of the ball of yarn and frogged and knitted at the same time) using the tubular cast on that Anna posted a tutorial on. Only made a slight alteration for working in the round, which was to purl for four rows in the beginning before picking up and knitting stitches.

Admittedly I omitted a row here and there for this particular beret. Since the yarn broke a few times--I later figured that the breakage was because the yarn was worn from being worked and reworked--I would not have had enough to finish without joining another ball by a little more than ten inches. I didn't really want to join new yarn for just a few, short rounds so I just worked a few rounds less. Didn't affect the overall result as far as I can tell but that did show me that one ball of Kimono Angora is *just* enough for a hat.

I'll conclude with one final image and a thought:

Does this make remind anyone of those paint stands at the fair where you have a frisbee or piece of cardboard spinning on a wheel while you squirt paint on it?

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12 March 2006

Spring is still not coming along...

And neither is the (un)Speckled Beret. I decided to unpick the waste yarn to see if the tubular cast on was actually done correctly, and the stitches on the cast on edge are live. I'm pretty sure I followed the pattern for the brim exactly, but I won't be able to double-check for at least another week (I let one of the ladies in my knitting group borrow the magazine for a look). All I have are some brief notes I scribbled down on where to make increases/decreases for the hat.

At any rate, I still get to frog angora. Fun times ahead! I'll probably end up referring to tubular cast on tutorials online and then working the beret pattern from there. Just to avoid another mishap.

In other news, I just realized that it seems like I'm on an Interweave kick what with all the projects from their magazines. In a way, I am. It's partly because all my knitting books are back home on the other side of the pond (magazines being much easier to transport) and partly because of the knitting resources I *do* have access to at the moment, Interweave is most likely to have things I'll actually wear.

However, I will be broadening my horizons soon. I've already cast on for a twist front top (my own pattern), which will be nice for spring. I will also be home for Easter holiday all of April, which is code for "I finally get to stock up on my stash and knit patterns from my collection at home." Along these lines, I'm sending my mom on a yarn hunt when she goes on her trip soon. I gave her a list with three yarn shops (could have chosen more but I decided to be nice) and types of yarn I'm looking for.


09 March 2006

Waiting for spring...

With something pink:

This is the beginning of the (un)Speckled Beret from the Winter 2005 issue of Interweave, which my Project Spectrum. I originally bought the Kimono Angora with the intent of making socks. Then I realized that I probably couldn't bring myself to wear angora socks so it is now on its way to becoming my first knit hat (took me long enough =P). The yarn is absolutely lovely to knit with--soft and doesn't shed--but it is on the delicate side. It has broken on my twice already and I'm even knitting looser than usual.

The beret pattern is a nice change from all the sweaters I've been knitting, as well. I am a little worried about the tubular cast on, though. I remember reading the tubular cast on tutorial on Amelia Raitte and the instructions given in the pattern do not really match up at all. So far, I can't really tell how the cast on edge stays intact once I remove the waste yarn on the hat.


07 March 2006

FO: Pearl Buck Swing Jacket...

She's finished and just in time. If I send it out tomorrow after class, my mom will get it in time for her birthday. =)

Pattern: Pearl Buck Swing Jacket by Kate Gilbert (Interweave Knits Winter 2005/2006)
Start/Finish: Feb. 8, 2006 - Mar. 7, 2006
Yarn: Jaeger Matchmaker Merino DK - Burgundy (655); approximately 1050yds/960m
Needles: Denise Interchangeables size US6/4mm
Modifications: Added hook and eye closure


This felt like a fairly easy/quick knit compared to the Union Square Market pullover. I love the bracelet-length sleeves. Functional but won't get in the way. I think my seaming of the sleeves was a tad wonky at the yoke (had a bit of trouble there) but overall, I'm very happy with how this turned out. I hope my mom will be as happy with it as I am...she's the one who will be wearing it!

I couldn't find a zipper (I can't believe how hard it is to find a zipper in this town) so I resorted to sewing hooks and eyes to some ribbon and sewing that to the inside edge of the jacket openings. Let it be known here and now that I can't sew to save my life. The closure device was whip-stitched in because it was the only way I could sew invisibly (well, invible from the outside, anyway). One thing I didn't take into account when I measured the ribbon was that the edges stretched by about an inch longer after a bit of handling. It worked out in the end but I think for future reference, if I ever knit a jacket with a similar opening again I will sew in some ribbon or tape to help it keep its structure.

Things I learned:
  • Long-tail cast on has its use.
  • How to estimate the length of a tail needed for a long-tail cast on.
  • How cables work...sort of.

    Things I need to work on:
  • Picking up stitches.
  • Seaming at intersections of pieces (e.g. where the sleeves met the back and yoke seam).
  • Sewing.

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  • 05 March 2006

    Nearly there...

    Sleeves and closure devices

    I couldn't find the right type of zipper in the right color or length so I went with the alternative: sewing hooks onto ribbon and sewing that into the jacket. It's not perfect, mainly because the hooks have a tendency to shift a bit, but it will do. I'll ask my mom what she thinks and if she prefers a zipper, I can change it when I go home for Easter.

    Also, the small sewing shop is having a sale on yarn. I did something that is kind of unusual for me and bought a few balls without having a project in mind (student budget and time constraints make it very difficult for me to really build up a stash). Anyway, I bought 1200m/1300yd of Wendy Supreme (100% mercerized cotton).

    I think I'll be using it for a project that I've sketched out a couple times. It's light top with half-length sleeves and buttons running along the top of the sleeves. For a while thought I hit on a nifty idea. Then I found out that Phildar beat me to it. Oh well. At least the pattern will be my own. The Phildar top is from Tendances Printemps 1, no. 443. I would just buy the magazine but that pattern is the only thing I'd actually make.

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    02 March 2006

    Thoughts while working on Pearl...

    I have the front pieces finished and have gotten quite a bit done on the sleeves. I'm working both sleeves at the same time just to see how this method goes, and I'm pretty happy with it so far. In previous sweaters, I've noticed that I usually take about a week to complete one sleeve. On this it seems that I can complete both sleeves in the same amount of time as one sleeve if I work them together. Nice to know when you're on a deadline.

    Another thing to note is that when I blocked the pieces, they seemed to grow when wet. Not sure if this has anything to do with the yarn or if it's my tension showing its ugly side when soaked, but it does shrink back to the correct size as it dries (thank God). I just pinned it loosely as close to measurement as I could get and re-pinned them a couple more times until they were the right size.

    I'm thinking about adding an invisible zipper or hook closure so that the jacket will be more, well, jackety. I think my mom will also appreciate the ability to close the front. Not sure how sewing these in will affect the edging detail, though.