29 August 2006

FO: Orangina...

I'm on a roll.

Drying in the window.

Pattern: Orangina by Stefanie Japel (Glampyre)
Yarn: Jaeger Java (5.5 balls)
Needles: US4/3.5mm Addi Turbos; US3/3.24mm Inox aluminum circs
Time: ~2 months of on and off knitting
Mods: Joined front and back at base of armholes; went down one needle size for ribbing.


  • This pattern is really simple and easy, which is great for "in-between" moments. I accidentally knit the lace part about an inch short--I knit the 36" side but for some reason, I must have looked at the 34" instructions when I checked for length. It's not too bad, though. My mom will be wearing something underneath, and she has a shortish torso so it should be fine.

  • I read in a couple places that a few people have gone down a needle size for the ribbing so that it draws in more rather than hanging loose. I can't really tell if it made a difference for me as the yarn has pretty much zero elasticity nor do different stitch patterns seem to produce very different gauges.

  • Yes, I finally found some info on the Java! According to the ball band, it should be a fingering weight (and it looks like it, too) but the wiseNeedle entry calls it DK. I swatched in four different needles sizes and I think it's closer to fingering. The fabric is just too open and floppy on US5/3.75mm needles. However, the fabric is also a little stiff so you can't really knit it at anything less than US3/3.25mm's, either. Anyway, the yarn was fairly coarse to work with, which did start to bother me after a while. Once knitted up, the fabric does have a nice and pretty sheen. I just hope it softens up enough after it dries.

    In other news, I cast on for Antoinette. It's pretty straight forward stockinette in a chunky yarn on large needles (well, large compared to the needle sizes I normally use). Perfect for my multi-tasking habit.

    The least cluttered part of my desk...

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  • 26 August 2006

    Read, knit, write, knit...

    Throw in job searching plus figuring out how I'm going to pack for the move back to the other side of The Pond and this pretty much sums up my life right now. Things are busy and stressful, but I still knit here and there to help keep from going crazy. (By the way, thanks for the nice comments on the argyle stockings! I really appreciate the feedback.)

    I finally installed a zipper into Saranac, and it was my first time doing so. It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be but it's not something I care to do again in the near future, either. I'm sure I've mentioned this before but I am simply bad at anything that involves a needle and thread. So even a small task such as sewing in a zipper is very frustrating. However, I took my time and I got some passable results. It's not perfect but the imperfections are unnoticeable on the outside. That's what counts, right?

    As shown in the sidebar, I'm now halfway through Orangina (for Mom). I've mostly been knitting this at knitting group or while waiting for research documents to load into .pdf format for downloading. It's going by fairly quickly as the lace pattern is easy to memorize and my mom is much smaller than my dad (never making him a sweater again). I decided to join the front and back at the base of the armhole rather than at the beginning of the ribbed section. This will save me from having to seam the sides and cut out some purling time. I generally don't have any issues with purling (unless I'm knitting Continental style), but this yarn is a little difficult to work with, especially when purling long rows. Normally I wouldn't just work any lace garment in the round as the presence of seams would give it more structure. However, the lace pattern seems pretty sturdy and it's not a large piece so I'm okay with knitting it in the round.

    I also broke down and bought 12 balls of Rowan Cotton Rope in "parma" that were on sale for less than £2 each. To be fair, though, I did buy it with a project in mind. I've been in need of a simple cardigan or two and was eyeing a couple patterns in Rowan 39--once I was able to differentiate between the, um, extra styling and the actual knitted garments, I noticed quite a few nice patterns such as Antoinette.

    Of course, this doesn't really help me with my packing issues...

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    18 August 2006

    FO: Argyle Stockings...

    Inspired by Eunny and my impatience to wait for the pattern:

    Pattern: The chart that Eunny posted; the rest I figured out myself.
    Yarn: Dale Baby Ull in purple (1.67 balls/300yds/275m) and pastel purple (1.33 balls/240yds/220m)
    Needles: US2/2.75mm Clover bamboo DPNs
    Time: About 1 month.


  • The first stocking took a while because I made a mathematical error that I didn't realize until I was halfway through with the foot. I had to frog the whole thing, go back the the drawing board (or in this case, sheets of graph paper), and start all over. The second was a breeze since I had the pattern down.

  • 1x1 Twisted rib for the top.

  • The measurements I needed were multiples of 12 sts, so I did not knit a "back seam." I just decreased at the beginning and end of every couple rounds (I guess you can call this an "invisible" back seam). This created a tiny bit of a job between the decrease section, which probably wouldn't be noticeable in anything else but it stands out among the colorwork. Or at least it does to me. Blocking will probably take care of this.

  • I did the toe and heel in just the purple because I didn't want anything to distract from the argyle pattern. I used two strands, alternating every-other stitch, to make them thicker and stronger. I think the technical term might be tvåändsstickning but I'm not sure if I did it exactly this way.

  • While I generally like the end result of heel flaps and gussets, I don't really like the process, especially when I'm already dealing with colorwork. Instead, I decided to try doing an afterthought heel. Basically, once done with the leg, you knit about half the stitches onto waste yarn and continue knitting around in pattern for the foot and toe. Then you go back, pick up the stitches on either side of the waste yarn, remove the yarn, and knit around while decreasing in a similar fashion as the toe. I found that this heel also fits me really well and is very comfortable. I think I'll use it more from now on. Only problem is I still have a little trouble with picking up stitches on one side of the waste yarn, but maybe this will clear up once I try it on a single, solid-colored sock.

  • Originally, I thought knitting the sole in just pastel purple would look nice. I soon realized that this wouldn't work because I still needed the darker color for the top of the foot. Duh. So I charted out an upside-down "V" pattern that would look mostly pastel purple but still allow me to carry the purple around.

    I love, love, love these socks. They're comfy, warm, and made to my measurements so they're a perfect fit. And, of course, I love the color (I love anything that's purple). I think I might make more.

    Also, I'm thinking that the key to getting me into sock-knitting is colorwork. I really enjoyed making these and the Norwegian Stockings (despite all the frustration). Lace socks may also be addictive but I haven't gotten around to knitting them (I've only done one pair as a traveling project) enough to tell.

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  • 16 August 2006

    FO: Saranac...

    Pretend there's a zipper.

    Pattern: Saranac by Rebecca Hatcher found on Knitty
    Yarn: Sirdar Aran with Wool in shade Indigo (#0931); 8.5 balls
    Needles: US7/4.5mm and US8/5mm Denise Interchangeables
    Time: About 2 months
    Mods: None, really, although I did have to buy a longer zipper. Either my row gauge ended up being bigger or the designer meant for it to zip up to the base of the turtle neck. I wanted it to go all the way up.


    This started out as a very plain, all stockinette pullover as a Christmas gift for my dad. Yeah, oops. I'd finished the body and realized I hated it so I started over with this pattern instead. This was a really easy knit and would-be quick if it weren't so big. It usually takes me three weeks to knit a sweater for myself, so I did a size comparison to help illustrate why this took me relatively long.

    I don't think I ever want to knit a men's sweater again. That's the USM pullover I knitted early this year, by the way.

    Now I just need to figure out how to install a zipper.

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