Sweaterday: Belated Edition

sweaterday

This weekend got away from me in a variety of ways, so I didn’t get around to posting this on Saturday. Or Sunday. But I wanted to show you all the progress I’ve made on my Roam Tunic, and how I went a little bit crazy after last week’s launch of the new Knitty issue.

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Look! It’s the front of a sweater! Taking two+ days to dry! I know some people have mentioned in their Ravelry knits that they converted this to an in-the-round knit. I didn’t, and let me explain why: As much as I love knitting in the round and don’t enjoy purling, the sweater, as written, (I think) requires seams. If you knit it in the suggested yarn, which is 100% alpaca, you want the stability and the support that seams provide. Alpaca stretches. It doesn’t have the memory that wool does (it definitely has more than any plant fiber out there). The shoulder join and the seaming of this sweater will help it keep its shape for a good long while. In a similar vein, it’s knit in a chunky yarn. Regardless of the fiber content (and mine is 100% wool) that’s going to be a heavy sweater. Weight + yarn = stretching. While knitting this in the round isn’t a disaster and it’s not a wrong decision, I don’t think it’s necessarily the best decision.

(If you’re concerned about bulky seams, Amy included a note in the pattern about splitting your yarn into fewer plies to reduce bulk, and this plan works.)

As much as I followed the pattern in most ways, in other ways, I went off into Crazy Panda Land.

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Bulky yarn takes FOREVER to dry. The front of the sweater, which I washed and laid out on Saturday morning, felt dry this morning. I don’t know if it was completely dry (and I didn’t exactly wait for it to be completely dry before I seamed everything up because I’m super impatient like that). But this is why I blocked it in pieces—if it took two days for one layer to dry, how long would it take for two layers to dry?

And then, because I find knitting on additions to sweaters that are already seamed to be really aggravating, I knit the collar and the sleeves separately. Because for me, sewing these pieces on is a lot less annoying, and indeed, a little therapeutic, than trying to twist the entire sweater around and around as I knit the collar in the round.

This is one of the beautiful things about knitting. Yes, if you follow a pattern, the journey is sort of predetermined, but there’s always room for excursions and day trips and sitting in fields reading poetry.

You know what I mean.

So in addition to making loads of progress on my Roam Tunic (…finishing it, actually, and hoping to get final shots on Friday before I leave for the holidays, because I do not want to take a bulky vest-tunic to Florida), I fell head over heels for Iðunn when the new Knitty Winter 2012 launched last week. (I think it’s pronounced i-thoon, “i” like “it” and “th” like “the,” but that’s based on a Wikipedia article on ð or “eth,” so.) I had two balls in contrasting colors of the Istex Lett-Lopi that my parents bought for me when they were in Iceland this summer, so I immediately printed out the pattern and came home to cast on.

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I made it that far before I ran out of the lighter purple color, and even though I ordered more yarn last Tuesday, it still hasn’t arrived. From Wyoming. Supposedly it shipped out on Saturday (!!!) and as of this morning was in Denver (which, PS, means it pretty much bypassed me entirely, as I’m closer to Wyoming than I am to Denver). I’m hoping it arrives before I leave to go home, so I can show my parents that I do knit the yarn they bring me, but that means it has to show up either today or tomorrow.

So far it’s knitting up quickly. As soon as I finish the colorwork yoke I think I’ll be ready to split for the arms and body, and if I can get the yarn in time, this will make a great project to knit while I’m traveling.

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FO: Age of Brass and Steam Shawl

This shawl was supposed to be shown off last month, but I never was able to get time to photograph it (that’s pretty much the theme of all my posts lately, isn’t it?)

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This is my Age of Brass and Steam shawl, and I knit it using two balls of JC Rennie Supersoft Cashmere DK that I picked up in London (the yarn is mostly wool, and feels a bit scratchy while you’re knitting with it, but softens up delightful with a wash).

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I added an extra repeat (which ended up being a shorter row count than the other repeats) because I wanted to use up all the yarn.

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As written, this is a pretty shallow shawl, I think. But it’s an easy knit, and very easy to add length if you’ve got the yarn. And it looks really nice “artfully” draped over a tree branch, if you ask me.

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Sweaterday: Masochist Edition

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What kind of idiot leaves the house before 8 AM when it’s about 20° outside to take photos of knitwear? Masochists, that’s who. The thought process was “The light will be awesome and the high for tomorrow is supposed to be about 20°, so it will actually be warmer if I do this today.” And I was right. But don’t look too closely at my hands in these photos, or you’ll see how they’re BRIGHT PINK from being frozen.

(Not to fear, all of my digits are safe and sound now.)

I’ve talked about this cardigan a lot. If you want to see more about the process, click the “stonecutter’s cardigan” tag. This post is mostly going to be pretty pictures. At least, I think they’re pretty, and I’m in them. (Also, forgive the blurriness, as I was a one-woman show this morning and didn’t always manage to get my camera to focus, but in some of them I really like the way it turned out.)

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Stay warm, my friends.

Haruni and Fashion

About a week or so ago, I finished my Haruni!

Haruni

I loved the way this came out, though I’m not in love with the pattern itself. I believe I discussed this before, but the “choose your own adventure” approach to knitting is both liberating and frustrating. However, I do greatly appreciate that Emily Ross provided a hint as to how to knit this using any amount of yarn. My skein of Fresh from the Cauldron MCN Fingering only had about 365 yards, and I used 95% of the skein to get a good sized shawlette.

Haruni

And as much as I love the little crocheted loops on the edge of the shawlette, blocking out this shawl was such a headache. I have to admit my part in that headache, as I brilliantly thought to block it out before I went to work on Friday morning. Anyone with sense in their head knows that half an hour before you have to leave for work is not the time to start trying to block a shawl. As I have never claimed to be one of those folk, you can see where this is going. I also didn’t have enough pins to do all of the shawl at one time. Nonetheless, it turned out well and the lace portions really opened up and I was able to block and define all of those bloody crochet loops.

In other crafty news, last night was the grand opening of Mama Said Sew, Fort Collins newest fabric supply store.

Inside Mama Said Sew

The store has been open for a couple of weeks, and I stopped in last weekend while I was cycling about Old Town, but for their celebration, they put on a fashion show. A few local designers were featured, having used fabrics that seem to all be available at the show, and everything they showed was absolutely amazing. There was a green halter dress that is going to haunt my dreams for a while. I really need to get better at sewing.

Mama Said Sew Grand Opening

Angela, the owner, already has an amazing selection of fabrics, including Amy Butler and Michael Miller, and when I spoke with her last Sunday, she mentioned that what she had in stock was only 25% of what she hoped to have total.

My credit card may have chosen that moment to fake a heart attack. It revived itself long enough to allow me to buy some fabric to make a skirt, I just have to actually make the thing now.

The store is amazing, Angela and her staff are wonderfully sweet and helpful (I’ve only met Susan, who also showcased some designs last night, but I’m making assumptions about the rest based on my experiences so far), and hopefully soon they’re going to have sewing classes, which I desperately need. If you happen to find yourself in Fort Collins and need some snazzy fabric or sweet ribbons (they had this awesome knitting-instruction ribbon; I haven’t bought any yet, but I will soon), you should definitely check them out.

Sweaterday: Vivian is done!

I’m very excited to show you my finished Vivian! My friend Drew was able to snap some shots of me wearing the jacket while we sat in The Bean Cycle on my day off, and she did a fabulous job!

Finished object

If you look at the sleeves, you can see that I’ve folded back the cuff a good five or six inches. If I were to make this sweater again using this yarn, I’d probably leave off the last cable repeat on the sleeves. Perhaps another yarn would not grow quite so much in the blocking process, but this was a little ridiculous.

Back and modified collar

Now, I love Ysolda’s designs and think she is a brilliant designer, but I’m really kind of annoyed that stitch counts are not provided, following the shoulder shaping. That’s the biggest reason why I don’t have a hood on the back of my Vivian. My stitch count is obviously wrong, based on how the hood is supposed to flow out of the shoulders, but without anything to check myself against, I figured that ripping back to the shoulders would be a waste of time, since I could get it wrong every time. Instead, I worked the hood portion for a few rows, and then worked two short rows on either side in the seed stitch portion of the back, to give it a little bit of lift.

Cabley goodness

Overall, I’m happy with the way Vivian turned out, but between the sleeves (my fault) and the hood snafu (not entirely my fault), I’m not as thrilled as I wanted to be. I must say though that the sweater is super comfy and snuggly to wear.

Details!
Pattern: Vivian by Ysolda Teague, Twist Collective Winter 2008 (My project notes)
Yarn: Cascade Eco+ in Spruce. I used about 3½ skeins
Needles: US 8 (5 mm)
Modifications: The only modifications I made are in the hood/collar portion, otherwise everything is as written in the pattern.

Feats of strength?

Last weekend was not such a great weekend for me. It wasn’t terribly awful, either, but it was marked by a persistent headache that only went away late on Sunday when I gave up and went back to bed for a nap, as well as personal troubles and an unwillingness to deal with the world. So I did what any woman with two sticks and some pretty yarn does. I knit.

Apparently I knit a lot. I finished my Swallowtail Shawl in two days. Cast on Friday night after the Olympics’ opening ceremonies and finished before 6 pm Sunday evening.

Swallowtail Shawl

Now, having a headache and knitting a lace pattern may seem counterintuitive. However, the beauty of Evelyn Clark’s design lies in it’s simplicity. A simple 6-stitch lace pattern forms the main body of the shawl, two Lily of the Valley borders give the shawl stability and the opportunity to add pretty beads (or nupps, if you prefer to actually follow instructions), and then a simple lace edging opens the whole thing up and adds those glorious lacy points that we all love.

Swallowtail Shawl

I was worried that the beads might be add weight or make the shawl cumbersome or clanky but the Lily of the Valley pattern spreads out the beads and allows them to simply sparkle and shine without distracting too much from the rest of the shawl. Although, good luck in achieving that, thanks to the punk rock neon pink and yellow set against the lavender, charcoal, and black of Fresh from the Cauldron’s one of a kind Maleficent colorway, on her MCN lace.

Swallowtail Shawl

The overall size is a bit smaller than I’d expected. This may be due in part to the yarn, the MCN Lace is a little heavier than most lace weights, or may just be that I had different expectations. I’d estimate that the long edge is 40″ long and the height down the center stitch is 18″-20″. It’s the perfect size for a bandit-style scarf, much like my Ishbel. I’ve worn it a few days now, especially since we’ve got colder weather and constant snow (but nothing too bad like the East Coast had a couple of weeks ago).

I’ve started working on my Bandelier socks for my other Ravelympics project. Because I goofed and bought sport weight yarn, I’ve had to make a few adjustments, such as the needle size, length of leg, and the depth of the short-row heel. But it seems to be working out so far!

FO: Owls sweater

So yeah. On Sweaterday (Saturday), I got busy and lost track of time and didn’t post. Rinse repeat for Sunday and Monday. Aaaaand I don’t have any new pictures either. But I figured I should probably go ahead and just post my modifications and whatnot so we can all move on with our lives. Okay, so I can move on.

Owls sweater, pre-eyes

Look! You can see where I changed yarns in the arms. Not so much once I sewed in all the ends and blocked! Use your imagination.

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Also, I wussed out chose the minimalist option for the eyes and only gave one of the owls the gift of sight. But I really rather like it this way!

Mods:
• After discussing the sweater with a few other folks, I decided to add some length to the body and sleeves, as I am tall and therefore have a longish torso. I did 2½” of ribbing at the bottom and worked for 3½” before beginning the decreases. My overall body length, from hem to armpit, was about 21″. I did a similar process to the arms, and the overall arm length from hem to armpit was about 23″.
• Speaking of decreases, I moved the decreases from the back to the sides. I think this was a good move and would recommend it for any other curvaceous gal out there who’s knitting this seater; having the extra nipping on the sides emphasizes the waist.
• While I didn’t do it for this sweater, if I make this again I’ll probably add a few more rows to the neckline (it’s entirely likely this has been edited in the revised version, available for sale at Kate Davies’s site, as well as on Ravelry).

And for the record:
Pattern: o w l s by Kate Davies in size XL
Yarn: Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds in Bluefaced Leicester, approximately 5.5 skeins, and Steel Grey Suffolk, approximately 1 skein
Needles: Size 10, 10½, and 11, as called for in the pattern.
Gauge:…I wrote this down in a notebook that is inconveniently at home, so I’ll have to get back to you.