19 December 2006

FO: Swallowtail Shawl...

My one piece of Holiday gift knitting.

I'm not too creative with labels.

For Grandma.

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark (IKF2006)
Yarn: Sirdar Country Style 4-Ply in "sage." Less than one 100g skein.
Needles: US4/3.5mm Clover bamboo circs and KnitPicks Options
Time: 5 days


This shawl was easier and faster than I expected. I wonder if part of it might be because the Peacock Feathers Shawl was my first lace shawl? It seems quite a few lace projects would be a piece of cake compared to that one. Only thing is the P5 for the nupps was a little hard to work. I ended up switching from my bamboo needles in favor of the sharper-tipped Options needles. That helped a lot but there were still a couple moments of struggling.

I made this with an acrylic/wool blend (mostly acrylic) since my grandma machine washes everything. She's never had much patience for housework, and it would be difficult for her to learn special washing instructions. It's a combination of age and a slight language barrier--As she gets older she uses a dialect of Cantonese more frequently that I have trouble understanding (I grew up speaking regular Cantonese at home).

I decided to make this a couple weeks ago while staring at the pile of stash yarn I've been working through for the last couple months. It occurred to me that the Swallowtail Shawl would be perfect for my grandma who is a very small woman and gets cold very easily. She won't drown in it, and she can drape it over her shoulders when she's playing mahjong or watching TV.


Part of the reason for my lack of Christmas knitting this year is I had to reknit a gift I gave my mom last year. The Sirdar pullover was way too big for her because she was between sizes (what else is new?) and I went with the larger size. I finally got around to taking it apart and reknitting it in the next smaller size, which fits her perfectly.

I made the body a little shorter since my mom is petite. I also modified the sleeves by making them narrower and shorter. The flared style of the original was just too flappy.

I'm also in need of sweaters. A couple of my sweaters need replacing but things in stores are either not quite my taste or are too expensive. So I've been trying to remedy this.

Another bottom-up raglan in the round (one of these days I need to learn how to knit top-down) without a pattern. One raglan side will have a button band extending up along the turtle neck. There will be six buttons total. I could only fit four in when drawing the diagram. The turtle neck is meant to be worn unbuttoned for a split neck look. I just happen to be going through a button phase right now so the more buttons the better! =) The sleeves will be worked separately and sewn in so as to avoid really long rows of working back and forth. I also plan on double-knitting the button band for extra strength.

Finally found a project for the Felted Tweed.

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02 December 2006

FO: Brilliant Retro...

It's missing the snaps but I'll call it finished.

Pattern: Brilliant Retro by Teva Durham (Interweave Knits Winter 2005)
Yarn: Patons Brilliant in "crystal cream"; 6.5 skeins
Needles: US5/3.75mm Addi Turbos
Time: 1.5 months


It's finally done! While this cardi is pretty and sparkly, it's probably one of the more boring projects I've worked on. I think the combination of small gauge, lots of stockinette and ribbing, and a plain shape made it so.

After working on several projects requiring mods (and one without a pattern), it's nice to be able to knit straight from a pattern and not think about it. Normally I'm not into shiny materials, but I ended up using the yarn called for in the pattern because it was on clearance and I really liked the cream color. It reminds me of champagne when knit up. The fabric is actually nicer than I expected considering the metallic thread in it, but the yarn can be annoying to work with. The ends frayed easily so I had to tie a knot at the beginning and end of each skein. When I went back to weave in ends, I took some sewing thread and sewed up the ends to help prevent fraying over time.

The pattern description wasn't kidding when it said the cardi was close-fitting. I made a size larger and the arms are still skin-tight while the body is a touch looser than snug (this might be due to the ribbing in the back).

I also have no idea why I have so much of this yarn left over. I used less than what the *smallest size* called for even though I did not make the smallest size. I'm guessing the designer overestimates the requirements, but I wonder if part of it is just me since I always have an extra skein when I finish a garment.


Not much new knitting to get done. I'm re-doing a sweater I knit for Mom last year that ended up too big. However, I did get some new goodies--the KnitPicks Options set.

The shiny, pointy tip and the join.

I bought a bunch of Addis in smaller sizes while in the UK as they are way cheaper than in the States (about £3 compared to $15-20 here) and got spoiled used to them. When I had an opportunity to use my Denise needles again, they just didn't feel right anymore. But since Addis are so expensive, I decided to give the Options set a try. They are very similar to Addis but not quite the same. They do feel slightly heavier but not really noticeable. I like the pointy tips and the cords feel the same although I might just be crazy but I think the Addis' cords are still more flexible. My other concern with the Options is that the thread (where the needles and cords are screwed together) will wear out over time. It's still a great deal, though.

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