Monday, December 13, 2010

Nancy Live Model Shot

Look look! My Nancy cardigan is finished. Told you it was going to be big. It is not slimming but it is SO warm and cosy! It is like having a very soft, squishy coat on. I am especially enjoying the double-thick chenille trim, it's really velvety and luxurious. I decided it did need a closure, couldn't make up my mind what kind, and then found this pewter pin with a Scottish thistle design that goes with it just perfectly. So there we have our finished garment and I am wearing it right now. I think it is going to be a favourite this winter.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Nancy hits the finishing basket.

All the knitting is done. Cuffs are done. I'm now weaving in the ends, then it is time to press and sew up.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Nancy: a big purple cardigan

So, I am busily knitting on the big purple cardigan that is going to replace the orange sweater that I gave my step-dad.

Here are some details.

The pattern: Nancy, from the Rowan Ribbon Twist pattern book.

The main yarn. Yay for stash-busting! I have had 10 balls of purple Ribbon Twist in my stash for a long time, and 10 balls is how many this pattern uses. Hooray for making yarn into a sweater that you can wear instead of keeping it in a plastic bag in the hall.

The pattern for Nancy suggests a kind of loopy frilled effect on the front edge/neck border and on the cuffs. Frankly, I could not quite understand the pattern. So I took some balls of Sirdar Wow (a synthetic, velvety chenille) and held the yarn together with the Ribbon Twist for the borders. It is creating a heavy smoking-jacket effect. I had to partially unravel a chenille scarf I was making to accomplish this, but that is okay, I want a really warm, luxurious sweater and I can make a scarf out of something else.

Progress. First I knit the back. That seemed to take no time at all and made me feel very ambitious.

Then I knit the fronts. You can see the Wow yarn here and how it is working with the Ribbon Twist.

Here's how it was looking by Sunday morning. Fronts done, both sleeves done, started the cuffs.

Almost there! Finish knitting the cuffs and sew up.

I have given some thought as to how this is going to hang together. See that big safety pin in the pattern picture? There's no joining mechanism on this cardigan, even though it has a generous wrapover front and is made in heavy yarn. Other bloggers have complained about this, and one person was even threatening to send her beautifully knitted Nancy to the frog pond! I have a plan. I once knitted the famous Baby Yoda Sweater which is a wrapover, and that has i-cord ties that hold it together. One inside, keeping the underneath flap supported and in the correct place, and one on the outside, to hold the upper flap closed. Hope that works out as I want it to! More news soon.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Impulsive Winter Sweater Live Model Shot

Dear readers, sorry to have been away.

Here's the Impulsive Winter Sweater, complete and modelled by step-dad, its new owner. As I came near to finishing the sweater, I sort of knew it was for him. I think it looks great on him, and it is as warm as toast so hopefully it'll come in handy.

How's that for impulsive. Now I have to knit another for myself. I'll have another look in my (tidy, organised) stash. Maybe I can find something with a teeny bit more drape. I like drape.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Impulsive Winter Progress

I set the troublesome sleeve aside and knit another on 7mm needles, a size smaller. The new sleeve turned out great, so I knit another just like it. Then I cast on for the body: I've just finished the ribbing.

I have never knit a sweater in the round before, apart from Green Silk Frustration, which is a top-down number. This one is bottom-up and I am loving it! Firstly, no seams to sew! A complete sweater is coming off my needles! Secondly, it is hilariously like knitting a large sock. Wish me luck for a speedy finish.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Colinette Socks

Here's a pair of socks with an unexpected history. I promised a pair to a friend, and picked this Colinette yarn out of my stash. I wanted them to be extra-special socks, so with the help of Cool Socks, Warm Feet, I went for the following options: toe-up (I usually knit top-down, and choosing toe-up proved to be a mistake, but at the time I was concerned about not running out of yarn); Bosnian square toe; Turkish heel; garter stitch turnover cuff.

As you can see, they turned out rather well. The Bosnian square toe is where you knit a square of garter stitch, and then pick up stitches all around to start knitting the foot. It was fun. The Turkish heel is just basically a wedge toe knitted at the heel end. That was fun too, and so was the cuff. The thick Colinette yarn made for quick progress and I finished these ahead of my gift deadline with about a day to spare.

Which was a good job, because it turns out I'd misjudged the length of the foot. My friend takes a size 4 shoe. These socks are a size 7. Because I'd knit them toe-up, there was nothing I could do to correct the foot length within the time available. Gah! What to do? I took my beautiful silk Jaywalkers out of the drawer, where they have been nestling all this time among scented paper, unpicked the toes and altered them to fit a small foot. My friend was delighted. A good save, I think. Now I know why we keep virgin pairs of handknit socks around the house.

Impulsive Winter Sweater: Sleeve dilemmas

Ok, so here is the sleeve of the winter sweater I am making. It is on top of the black jumper I'm trying to replace, because I'd like them to have similar dimensions.

My gauge must be slightly off because for a start the orange sleeve is an inch longer than the pattern suggests, and 1.5" longer than my black sweater. Also you will notice that orange sleeve is much narrower than the black one. It is at this point that I need to realise that these two sweaters are not the same, no matter how much I might imagine they are related.

  • The black one is made of very old and threadbare chenille: it is limp and floppy. The orange one is made of new, sturdy and thick wool with lots of depth and spring. A sleeve as wide as the black one in that orange wool would be too big and heavy to wear, I think.
  • The black one has set-in sleeves but the orange one is going to be a raglan. I think you have to plan extra armhole depth with set-in sleeves, which could account for the underarm depth difference.

So I shall not worry that they don't look the same. However, that orange sleeve is still an inch longer than the pattern says, which is a problem.

  • I could reknit the whole sleeve, resetting all the inreases, which would allow me to have the full 48 sts when I reach the new, shorter length.
  • I could reknit the whole sleeve on smaller needles to correct my row gauge.
  • I could just rip the sleeve back to the right length and suffer having a narrower circumference and fewer stitches at the point of the sleeve reaching the underarm. I haven't thought this through yet and need to check the pattern to understand the likely implications.
  • I could leave it the length it is and turn the cuffs back.
  • I could put it on a length of waste yarn and try knitting the body to see if that helps me know what to do about the sleeves.

I'll let you know how I get on.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Impulsive Winter Sweater

All right, I think I've made a decision. I've got some Rowan Plaid yarn in the stash. It is very soft (42% merino, 30% acrylic, 28% alpaca) and I have just noticed it needs huge 8mm needles! 3 stitches per inch! That settles it. Yarn that fat promises quick results.

I've also just measured my ratty old black sweater and discovered that it is a massive 44" chest circumference! No wonder it is cosy. It would never have occurred to me to plan a sweater with that much ease, so I'm glad I measured! I think I will make a swatch which hopefully will also be the first sleeve. Unless I decide to knit in the round from the bottom up.

Let's return to our knitting

Well well, I am sorry to have been gone so long. I have been experiencing some life changes, and investing some serious hours in various responsibilities. I also took up a new hobby which I'll perhaps tell you about another time. So that has taken me away from my knitting.

However. I recklessly promised a friend of mine a pair of socks, which are newly complete (kind of, it's a long story) and which I will show you a photo of next time, so knitting forced its way back into my busy schedule. I finished the socks ahead of the deadline and ever since I cast off the last stitch I've had itchy, twitchy fingers. Today I found myself reading a knitting book on the bus and fantasising about a sweater that I want to make.

So here we are. I had quite forgotten that it is supposed to be the year of finishing the UFO, and that I was making a doll sweater. What I want right now is a jumper to replace the one I'm wearing, which is utterly threadbare. It is such a simple and comfy shape. Winter cold is setting in here, and I want a jumper this shape, in a soft, cosy yarn, in a nice colour. I'm thinking cornflower blue. It's a generously-propotioned garment, so I think we're looking for a chunky yarn otherwise it'll take forever to knit. I might go and have a look in my stash now, actually.

Hooray! A new sweater is coming!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Green Silk Happiness has a sleeve.

Ugh. I am so sick of Green Silk Happiness. But this is the year of finishing the UFO, and this has most definitely got to go. I am determined to finish the bugger now. The other night, I did nearly a whole sleeve, look!

In other news, I'm making a doll sweater for Clara.

And Sven wants winter socks. I am thinking of making the Retro Rib socks, from the book Favorite Socks, by Interweave Knits. I'll show you a pic next time.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Embossed Leaves Socks completed

Oh, I am on a roll. The Embossed Leaves Socks are complete at last. I started in March and completed the first sock some months later.The second sock took barely a couple of days. Here they are, sitting wetly on the sock blockers. When they're dry, weave in a total of four ends and happily wear.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Little Devil Pin Cushion

Here is the Little Devil at work. No room for unemployed ornaments at my house! So he is holding all my pins.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Little Devil is complete.

Here he is! All the time I was knitting, I thought 'what shall I do with this useless toy?' Then I realised: pincushion. Perfect. I have lots of pins, and only a small and raggedy pincushion, so the Little Devil will do beautifully. From this moment on, he will be put to work, resembling a hedgehog.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Central Park Hoodie model shots

2010 has been a good year for finishing UFOs. Here is the Central Park Hoodie that I started circa 2005. It is modelled by my sister, who is now its owner. I am going to knit a larger one in blue.

Little Devil Head

At the time of writing, Little Devil is actually complete. There will be photos tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a shot of him in progress. I decided to make the face first, so I could be sure of getting one I liked, before attaching a body to it.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Little Devil

Look! It is for me! It is in Simply Knitting, issue 72, on sale today. Pattern by Alan Dart.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

One completed sweater, one slightly embarrassed model.

It's so great when your mom wants to stand in the street taking photos of you wearing your new jumper. (I don't care, lol. It is finished, and it fits, and I am getting photographic evidence.)

Monday, September 06, 2010

Edan sweater complete.

Edan is complete! Started December 2007, finally finished September 2010. I have sewed all the seams and woven in the last end. It is pret a porter. Photos coming asap, when it is daylight. Hooray!!!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Orange Bamboo Dilemma: Finish or Frog?

This is the orange bamboo top by Phildar that I'm currently knitting. I can't decide if it's 50% done, or 0% done. I can't decide whether to frog it.

I'm very concerned about the size. I have ostensibly knitted the size for a 38" chest, according to the pattern. I had to block it to death to make it this large. I am very worried that it is too short, even though I added an extra repeat of the lace pattern on the bottom edge. I know it is wide enough to go around me, but I had to block it quite hard to make it that wide, and it is supposed to loosely drape, not stretch.

I think it will have to be frogged. I hope this yarn is okay and I haven't wrecked it. It is going to need re-knitting in the next size up. Same as Rosa. Sigh.

Sooper Seekrit Project #1 is complete

I can only show you a limited number of photos, in case the receipient of this gift looks at my blog. Here's what I can post here, for now.

Cups of tea:

Apples and bananas:

Somebody else is making the other half of this knitted ensemble. Then we will gift it to the recipient. I look forward to showing you the rest of my photos and the complete set of tea-time-related knitted items then. For now, my part is done!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Frill Sleeved Top & Sooper Seekrit Project #1

A few photos for you. Firstly, proof that I've finished the Frill Sleeved Top. I've sewn on the buttons, made button loops and everything. The only thing I haven't done is ironed the sleeves and commissioned a live model shot. But despite its unironed sleeves, it is entirely finished. Here it is.

I think this is a truer colour, although it does change in the light. Aren't those sleeves just so cute. Like angel wings. I also like the way the buttons are set in pairs, rather than evenly spaced. Adds a bit of interest, seems quite a 1930s touch.

My first attempt at button loops: a bit rustic, but overall not too bad. I did a kind of blanket stitch to get these; next time I might try making a crochet chain instead.

And one more look at those sleeves, which drew me to this project in the first place. I'm sure they'll look even better when ironed. They are like fish fins.

In other news, Sooper Seekrit Project #1 is coming along well. I have done a lot of knitting that I cannot show you. Also, some of the worst sewing of my entire life. What I can show you is these little items:

Bloody hell, making 3D objects with yarn is hard. The knitting is easy. But the rest of it - heck. You have to use card. Superglue. Hairspray. And you have to have better sewing skills than the family dog, which is all mine amount to. Anyway, more on that next time.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Frilly Green Completion

I have just finished the Frill Sleeved Top. I had to put it down for a while, called away by more work and travel. When I returned, I finished it off quickly. Knit a second sleeve, a neckband, sewed the seams and weaved in all the ends, just like that. I didn't even block it in pieces, as I normally would. I will give the sleeves a press with the iron when I an finally done, which just means attaching the buttons.

Photos tomorrow, hopefully. I've tried it on and it fits like a dream. I am happy.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Frill Sleeved Progress

I have been knitting up a storm on that Frill Sleeved Top. The front and back are complete, thanks to a lot of furious, repetitive knitting. Now I can at last do the fun bits, and the reason why I wanted to make this project: the frill sleeves. Watch this space for more news!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sudden Thoughts

1. Central Park Hoodie is done. Central Park Hoodie is what I was using to procrastinate and keep from finishing Joe's Edan sweater. Shit. Plus, Joe returns from college in a matter of days.
2. I bet I knit the front of Rosa in a size 36". I'm going to have to rip the entire thing.
3. Ooh, I think I have a good idea. Back in 2007, when I was buying Rowan Soft Lux, just as it was being discontinued, I acquired some in blue that I haven't used yet. I had in mind to make a hoodie. Something like the Central Park Hoodie. I could make a blue one, in size 38". I could. Why not.

Breaking news: Central Park Hoodie

I have sewed all the seams of the Central Park Hoodie, and attached wooden toggles.

I still need to weave in all the ends, but otherwise it is a finished garment. Here it is glimpsed at dusk. We'll do a final photoshoot in daylight soon.

It is a perfect size 36". It is a great pity *I* am no longer a perfect size 36", but nonetheless, it fits well enough, and I am actually thrilled with how it's turned out. I can't wait to show it off to you properly.

update to the update: It's done. I sewed in 60 ends. It is officially a finished object.

Frill Sleeved Top

So, I needed something to knit on in Texas. Wool was right out, you don't want to be working with wool when the temperatures are in the mid 90s, with humidity to match. I don't, anyway. Also, where I'm from, you can't have your knitting in your hand baggage on the plane, so that meant not taking any project that I couldn't bear to lose to the airline baggage systems.

A new, low-engagement project was in order, and quickly. Knitting magazine (issue 77, June 2010) showed this little sweater by Pat Menchini on its front cover:

Reasons why this is a low-engagement project.
- It is a weird colour.
- It is VERY frilly and dainty. I honestly don't know if I'll wear it.

However, I *want* to make it. The main body is an interesting textured pattern, where you alternate two rows of moss stitch with two rows of stocking stitch. The sleeves look like great fun to knit: I love their shapes and the way they hang. I very much want to make a nice example of this garment, this project will be entirely about the process. So I ordered the exact yarn specified (King Cole Bamboo Cotton: 50% bamboo/50% cotton, in Lime Green, knit 22sts/10cm) and set to work. I am making it to fit size 38", as this is the magnificent girth I have recently achieved.

The bamboo/cotton yarn is soft and cool to knit with, just as I'd hoped, and the textured pattern helps the rows fly by. Here's where we are up to:

I'm knitting on this quite assiduously, hoping it will be a quick one because of the short sleeves. It is terrific fun.



Monday, May 31, 2010

Green Silk Happiness lives on.

Here's a project you haven't seen for a while: Green Silk Happiness, aka the Simple Knitted Bodice, in green silk by Tilli Tomas. I had a sudden burst of activity on this top-down sweater last night, cast off the bottom edge, and I'm calling it 50% done.

I have had terrible sizing angst since this project was born in 2007. At first I knit it way too large, and had to unravel, which the yarn did not like at all. Then I couldn't be bothered to unravel the bust, so I re-knit it from the bust down in a size smaller and left the top part big. Then I had angst about the top being too big, and finally I let it sit in the UFO pile for a good long time, about two years.

Anyways. In the extremely long time that this sweater was in the UFO pile, I apparently have put some weight on. Because when I tried on this sweater again, quite recently, it seemed to fit. So I am just going to finish it. It has awaited completion long enough. I am just going to do the sleeves and wear the damn thing.

I'll let you know how I get on.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sooper Seekrit Project #1

There is a Seekrit Project. I will occasionally show photos, but the finished product is a seekrit until the end. Here's the first snap.

Silky orange bamboo, thank you Phildar

Sometimes you can have too much pink. The eyes grow tired. That's when it's time for some orange. Orange bamboo! That feels like silk! I heart Phildar.

What we are making:

CPH photos

Photos! The Central Park Hoodie blocked to the right size without any problems, and now I've finally photographed the evidence, I can sew it up.

As you can see, the front pieces are in no way too small, or smaller than the back. They just look tiny when they are still on the needles.

I decided to knit the button bands separately, so I could block them to the right length before attaching them.

Even the button holes are being blocked! I did the classic cast-off 2/cast-on 2 button holes and of course they looked classically ugly. So when the button bands were wet, I found some egg-shaped glass beads and wedged one into each button hole, to block it into a more attractive shape. They are now perfectly round.

I dried this sweater with the hood already on. I pinned out the front and back of the wet sweater, then I arranged the hood facing to the back and left it until it was dry, and then I flipped the hood so it faced the front, and dried the other side. It worked out okay. You can see how I've put paper and whatnot inside the hood to keep it from collapsing on itself while it was still wet.

Yay! All blocked! Now to ruin it by sewing it up.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Blocking the cabled CPH

Okay, I have it pinned out. That cabled fabric opens out a lot when you get it wet. The cables double in size. I am no longer worried about the front parts not covering my boobs. The size is perfectly fine. The sleeves are the size they should be, and I could easily have made the wet knitting go a lot larger, they are not stretched, if anything, I had to smoosh the stitches together. So the only thing I have left to worry about now is this rumour about the sleeve caps not fitting. Stay tuned for news on that when all this wet wool is dry.

Wool jumpers, just in time for summer!

There has been sudden knitting progress. I eventually found the rest of the pink yarn for my Central Park Hoodie, and set to work. Astonishingly, I have finished all the knitting, except for the button bands. I have done the back, both fronts, both sleeves and the hood. It is in a warm bath right now, awaiting blocking. I am full of trepidation. Here's why.

This is a heavily cabled pattern, and that means the freshly-knitted fabric that comes off your needles pulls in a lot. It looks impossibly narrow. It is super-difficult to believe that the fronts are going to cover your boobs, and that the sleeves are not going to cut off the blood supply in your arms. But the fabric is stretchy. So when you flatten out your knitted pieces, the size can be whatever you want. So this is a bit disconcerting for the average knitter. The size the cabled fabric wants to be just seems impossibly small.

Anyway, the CPH is an immensely popular pattern, so I knit on. As I came close to finishing the hood last night, I had a read of the Central Park Hoodie group's forums on Ravelry. Crikey. People were worried about size. It is just impossible to tell how many people had some sort of problem, compared to how many people followed the pattern and had it turn out fine (of which there are a lot).

- Some people said they knit the body and it came out 4" smaller than the schematic predicted. This, I am not too worried about. The back is fine. It easily measures 18", and I am trying to achieve a 36" circumference with zero ease, so that's okay. The fronts do scare me, they are about the width of pencils, or so it appears in their unblocked state. So we will pin it out wet and see.

- Some people said their body was okay but their sleeves turned out too tight and had to be re-knit in the next size up. Relatedly, some people complained that the sleeve caps are too small for the armholes, resulting in tight sleeves. But did they block? People never tell you this stuff. I am a bit concerned about the sleeves now I've read all this, so I'm blocking the sleeves too.

I will let you know how we get on.

In other news, I have completed the entire front piece of my Rosa sweater, which is a clingy, sexy little number in 4ply. Next to the CPH, it looks tiny, and now I am disturbed about that too, even though the tape measure says it will be okay. Wish me luck. Photos next time.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Jaywalkers & Embossed Leaves

Hey, guess what, I have been knitting and I even have a finished object to show you. But first, let me share with you my latest socks. I've finished one, and waited to start the other until I had a chance to photograph the yarn in the skein, because it is yummy.

The yarn is Lorna's Laces hand-dyed Shepherd Sock yarn in colourway 58, Valentine. I bought it ages ago and saved it in my stash for something special. A couple of weeks ago, I was looking for a knitting treat, found a pattern I wanted to try, and fished the yarn out of my stash.

The pattern is Embossed Leaves Socks, published in the book Favorite Socks, by Interweave Knits. You can see the model version on the cover here.

It's a moderately complicated lace pattern that you more or less have to do on dpns if you don't want to lose count the whole time. I used the same short, 4" wooden dpns that I used on my Jaywalkers, and it was a lovely marriage of pattern with needles, until I inevitably lost one and had to substitute a 6" blue metallic monster by Susan Bates instead.

Here's how it's turning out in the Valentine yarn. I'm liking the results a lot, although I think the socks would be even better if I had picked a plain yarn. So I am going to finish these and then I might just knit a second pair, with a solid colour, and without making any alterations to the pattern (the ones you see here have an extra-long leg, and I omitted the decorative aspects of the ribbing, which I now wish I'd included).

And here's my finished project. The reason my short dpns were available for Embossed Leaves is because I actually finished my Jaywalkers. Yes, really. Look.

I am happy.

In other news: I restarted my Central Park Hoodie, knitted confidently to the end of the ball and then discovered that I can't find the rest of the yarn. I have also had another go at Joe's Edan sweater. The third version of the hood is going to be good enough, I think. It will have to be. It's done, except I don't like the way I reduced at the top, it's gathering a bit, so I'm going to undo the final couple of rows and see if I can make it neater. Then he is getting his jumper, whether he likes it or not.

That's all for now! I might go and have another look for my CPH yarn. See you soon.