Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rainy day update

I snuck in a test knit amidst all the square knitting. Marguerite is a lovely, quick baby top. It's knit from the top down, no seams, and uses less than 200 yards of sock yarn. It's completely sweet. I used a cotton/superwash wool, so it should be comfy to wear and easy to wash. I'm very happy with it, even if I knit it about 2" longer than necessary (didn't read the directions as carefully as I should have).

I signed up for another baby project, another test knit, this time for drop-seat long johns. Way. Too. Cute.

I'll have to check my stash for the yarn, though. I don't have loads of worsted weight yarn, and I want something washable and girly. Hot pink? Purple? Oh yeah! I'm doing the 6 month size, so I will have a Xmas gift for Captain all ready to go, before she is even born! Am I the best auntie, or what?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More but the same

I finished the Debbie Bliss "Ribbed Baby Jacket" in two days. It was a completely satisfying knit. The cotton yarn was plush and easy to work with. The pattern was clever enough to keep me interested but easy enough to not fret over. The resulting sweater is precious. All good.

Looking over my projects, though, I seem to be in a rut. A quadrangular rut. I just started a baby blanket: knit on the bias, but progressing to squareness. I am knitting facecloths: squareness. I am toiling sporadically on my lacy Batkus: (mostly) rectangular.

At least "Leaves Dancing" will only be half a square.

I really need to find something that requires shaping, or fiddliness, or something. Socks? Do I hear the siren song of socks? Hmmm...

I'll let that percolate, along with the bamboo dress, and test knit a lacy baby top for Captain out of some Sockotta that I've had longer than I can remember. Should be a quick knit.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The up side of living in Minnesota... that you can knit a sweater in April and still get to wear it. As I look out my window at the snow, I'm toasty in my sweater. HA to you, spring!

Having finished an actual sweater and worn it and and having quite liked wearing it, I am all gung ho to knit another. I have been looking for a pattern to use ten balls of blue bamboo that I have had in my stash for a few years. Right now I am considering a couple dress patterns. Is that crazy? I mean, a dress couldn't be any more intense than some of those monster shawls I've knit, right? Right?

Bamboo Dress Swatch
I'm trying to be rational. I like quick results, so a top or short cardigan would seem like good ideas. But it seems silly to use up only half the blue bamboo on a little ol' t-shirt when I could have a blue bamboo sundress. I've flipped through all my magazines, and thumbed through my pattern files, but darn it if a bamboo dress doesn't seem just the thing. Some serious swatching is required, though - if knitting a sweater that doesn't fit is sad, knitting a dress that doesn't fit would be devastating.

As the bamboo dilemma percolates, I realize I have next to nothing to work on. The Leaves Dancing shawl, which is moving quickly but I'm not even halfway done. I need to swatch for the ribbed baby jacket that I am so in love with. I'll knit it up in Cotton Ease, so that will be a satisfying knit - quick and squooshy. I finished two facecloths with donated vintage cotton, I'll do one more than gift the girls at work.

Frogged Pea Pod
I picked up the "Pea Pod" baby sweater I started possibly ten years ago, because my sister happened to see it and thought it was cute. It had been completely finished (except for buttons) for a while, but the shoulders were stiff and bulky. I'd taken the sleeves off about fives years ago, intending to fix the problem. I wasn't sure what to do, so I just stuck it in a corner to let it think about how disappointing it was. I picked it up the sweater last night, with no idea of which size I had been knitting, or what needles I had used, but thinking I had a nearly-finished baby sweater on my hands. I kitchnered the shoulders and picked up stitches for a sleeve. After an inch and a half, I realized my sleeve was great - it was the rest of the sweater that had problems. I started it as a new knitter, when gauge was more important than the resulting fabric. The resulting little armor jacket was not salvageable. I frogged it all. I still love the yarn - a 75% cotton, 25% wool blend - so maybe I'll try it again.

I also frogged a little scarf project that my MIL gave me yarn for. The gauge was off, and I knew it. I wasn't going to enjoy working on it. The yarn is awesome, so I'll cast on again with bigger needles and avoid the black mohair madness syndrome.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Back to Leaves Dancing

With my Corona sweater done, it was time to look over the UFOs in my Ravelry projects list. It was a surprisingly short list, and not just because I sometimes randomly cast on and don't start a project page.

Leaves Dancing has been in limbo since January - so long I had forgotten where I left off! Since the pattern is in German, and I had scratched down only rough notes about the different symbols, it was hard to figure out where I was on the charts. It was tricky remembering what I had been doing for the edge stitches... and for the decreases!

I carefully frogged back a couple rows after realizing I couldn't find my place on the chart because I had made a mistake and my stitch count was off. With a fresh start, though, things have been moving smoothly. The pattern is easy to read, and progresses pretty quickly.

I'll be doing several repeats of the second chart, because my yarn is very fine, and I want a nice big shawl. I have lots o' yarn, so I'll just keep going until I can't stand it anymore.

The other UFO in my projects list is actually an un-started object. I've tried several time to work the first charts of the 2011 KALendar, but my yarn and needles just won't cooperate, and I end up with a wonky bunch of loops that resembles nothing.

I have other projects in mind, including a summer sweater knit from my stashed blue bamboo, and another baby project or two, but right now I just have a couple washcloths from my favorite pattern in the works.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


It's done!

I have a lovely, warm sweater. I haven't blocked it, of course, because blocking is boring and things take a long time to dry. I will go do so this afternoon, though, because it deserves it.

Corona is a great sweater. It's super toasty and surpisingly thick and heavy. I guess I've been wearing only lightweight sweaters for a while, because I feel like a polar bear in this.

Still, it fits. I finished it. I'm happy.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Oh, yeah - THIS is why

I hate knitting things that don't fit.

I have now frogged the sweater body of my test knit 1.75 times. The first time, my gauge lied and the sweater was huge. I frogged the whole thing and restarted with smaller needles. I just frogged to the ribbing yesterday because I hadn't read the directions carefully, and only did 6 repeats of the waistline ribbing... instead of 12.


I've knit one sleeve 2.5 times, because I had one done when I went down a needle size on the body of the sweater, but after restarting with the smaller needles, my colorwork looked too tight after so I frogged to the cuff and started again.

I'm hoping this is the last knit of each part of the sweater. I know there are yoke issues ahead, but at least I will have something sweaterish when I get there!

In happier news, Northampton is awesome yarn. Despite the frogging, there is no pilling or untwisting or other bad behavior. It's still sproingy and luscious.

Is it wrong of me to hope that the 30 degree weather hangs on a bit longer here, so I can wear this (potentially) beautiful sweater?

Completely unrelated, here are pictures of Jayne, who doesn't care if her sweaters fit or not.

Jayne loves knitted things. Unfortunately, she does not limit her love to wearing knitting things. She also eats them. She nibbled both of the Sandman's beer mitts; I was able to darn one but the other one is beyond my skills - she ate right through the wishbone cable on the back of the hand.
This weekend, she completely destroyed one of my colorwork mitts. Completely destroyed it. I can't blame her - she is a puppy, and I knew she liked those mitts. My fault. I bought her a new hard plastic chewy thing to distract her.

Back to the body of my sweater. 14" of stockinette... again.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Test Knitting

I signed up a couple weeks ago to test knit a sweater, which is crazy. I have only completed two adult sweaters in my 13 years of knitting. I have completed a handful of baby and toddler sweaters, almost as many dog sweaters, but I don't really do people sweaters. At this moment, I think I have 3 unfinished sweaters stashed in various closets in my house.

It's not that I can't knit big projects. I have several monster shawls under my belt, and I jump into those with abandon.

I'm not afraid of making mistakes. I frogged 1200 yards of laceweight because I ran out of yarn with fewer than 5 rows to go; I reknit an entire sock because my gauge was better on the second sock. I'm ok with starting over, I'm fine with lots of knitting.

I have tons of sweater patterns in my pattern stash, so it's not that I find sweaters unappealing, and since I live in Minnesota, so it's not like I don't need sweaters.

So why no sweaters? Maybe it's the cost. I am cheapcheapcheap. While I have lots of single skeins for quickie projects, I don't buy yarn in quantities. I can't go to my stash and find several choices for a sweater.

I ordered yarn for this sweater, even got an extra ball just to be safe. It's lovely smooshy yarn in a color that makes my mouth water and will look great on me.

I've had gauge problems, and had to start over after knitting 6" of body and one sleeve. I could probably go down one more needle size (gauge swatches lie), but I'm afraid if I frog again I will ruin the yarn.

When I signed up to test knit, I knew I would have to actually finish the sweater. It's like a little trick I pulled on myself.

I hope it works.