Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ooh la la!

Here's the chevron beret, all blocked and lookin' fine!

Here it is on a fine-lookin' knitter!

Here's some Lady Sweater progress. The bandwagon is a fun place to be!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Swatch Party!

The chevron beret is finished and blocking on a plate, and I'm quite pleased with how it came out. It is a really great pattern -- I'd recommend it to anyone, but would suggest adding an inch or two before beginning decreases, as a number of knitters on Ravelry recommended (and as I did).

In the meantime, I have swatched for a number of new projects, almost all of which are for me me me -- after all, I've got to make good on my membership in the "Selfish Knitters" Ravelry group. Can you see a trend in my color choices? Clockwise from the upper left, they are Reynolds Candide for a Radcliffe Cardigan for my mom, Lana Grossa Cool Wool 2000 for a new (and hopefully less pilly but just as soft) Radcliffe Cardigan for me, Jo Sharp DK Wool for a February Lady Sweater for me (I know -- Ravelry has turned me into a total copycat), and Karabella Aurora 8 for a totally plain cardigan for me.

That last one is the only one that will involve anything other than following a pattern and recalculating math for gauge; but then there's this:

More Cool Wool 2000 for a cardigan with diagonal lace ladders, design still in the works -- that one is pretty far away, but as long as I was throwing a swatch fiesta I thought I might as well do that swatch too. Now I've just got to label them all so I don't forget.

Now, I realize this looks like a lot of stuff to be starting. And of course I haven't forgotten about the chevron scarf, the February Baby Sweater with an arm and a half still on the needles, the Green Peach Jacket waiting for sleeve cuffs and i-cord, and the fair isle yoke cardigan. But it's the second day of summer, and I felt like starting something(s) new. I'll come up with a plan to finish them all -- after all, in the absence of papers to stress me out, I've got to come up with something to make myself feel guilty about!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

ahh... summer reading and knitting

The papers are all officially finished, graded, and taken care of! And I've dutifully started in on the reward yarn! (actually, to be totally honest, I may have started in on the reward yarn before I finished that last paper...) I'm happilly knitting away, while listening to The Age of Innocence on CD -- the first installment in the summer Comps-prep reading.

Though a chevron scarf is in the offing, I decided to start with a La Parisienne beret first, so that I could just knit until the yarn was through for the scarf. The two have very similar chevron designs. It's been a bit of a humbling experience for me, since I always think I know a better way to do something; I started out by using my go-to increase instead of the kf&b increase the pattern specified, because I thought it would look nicer. It is true that this kind of increase creates a clean, etched-looking line of stitches that matches very nicely the line created by the double decreases. However, all of that knitting into the row below was basically creating a line of EZ-style fake seams of slipped stitches that were much less vertically stretchy than the increases, and I had to rip out and start over again, following the directions as written.

It's also been a lesson in color theory. I chose these two colors because they looked good together in the skeins; they are pretty much the same value. Knitted up, the fact that they are the same value makes for a somewhat bright color combination, just on the edge of what I'd call garish, and not at all what I was expecting:

I think I like it though (and if not I'll gift it). The yarn I'm using -- Claudia handpainted and Koigu (the Gems sportweight was too big) -- doesn't stand up particularly well to frogging, which leads me to suspect that the finished product will not be very hard-wearing. I'm hoping that a scarf and a hat are not particularly hard-worn items.

The next knitting project in the hopper is to pop this baby on the swift:

That's one of a bag of Reynolds Candide, which I am going to use to knit my mom a Radcliffe Cardigan. It will be fun to follow my own directions like any other knitter, and see where they could be clearer. Candide is totally not the yarn I'd choose for my own sweater -- it's pretty darn scratchy -- but it promises to be very hard-wearing, and my mom is not bothered by itch. It is disappointing when your lovely hand-knit item starts to pill and stretch, as in fact happened to my own prototype Radcliffe (Swish DK? Not such a great yarn for adult sweaters). I am hoping that this Candide one lasts longer.

Hurray! Here's to summer knitting, finally here!

Saturday, June 7, 2008


I'm so close to finishing this blasted paper. Yesterday I bought myself this beautiful yarn:

Three skeins of Claudia handpainted merino sock yarn in the colorway "John B." It's going to sit there, eying me flirtatiously, while I finish this last paper (which, by all rights, was supposed to be done yesterday). I am going to use it to make a Chevron scarf by Domesticat -- I know, like everyone else in the knitting world. I was inspired by this gorgeous little number by Debby on Ravelry (here's her Rav profile):

It's a thing of beauty, but also beautifully photographed! Her colors are a little more muted than mine, in a colorway of Socks that Rock that no longer exists, unfortunately. I'm going to use my beautiful jewel-toned yarn with this leftover ball of Louet Gems sport in Sage:

But I can't. start. knitting. until. I. finish. this. paper.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Two saints down...

... and only one to go. Still feeling the end-of-term doldrums, but I'm slowly, slowly nearing the finish. At least the essay I am allegedly working on right now is a bit more in my field, being only half about a saint and half about a book...

Meanwhile great progress has been made, frogged and made again on the knitting front. I got the front bands done on the green peach blossom jacket, and am on a sleeve hiatus while I decide whether I have enough dark green yarn for both sleeve hems and i-cord closures, or whether I need to rip out the hem facing on the bottom and redo it in lighter green to conserve dark green yarn. That's a project that's destined to be done in front of the TV, I think, and too fiddly to knit on the subway, which is what I've been doing lately.

That barely-discernible fair isle sweater has been frogged (actually the second time I've frogged something partially-knit with this same periwinkle Baby Cashmerino), and I finally cast on something I'm happy with:

A February Baby sweater, a la EZ, only I was too lazy to go out and buy the book with the pattern, so I eyeballed it after briefly consulting a million project pictures on Ravelry and looking at Google Books (which will display only the second page of the Baby Sweater on Two Needles pattern). But, being me, I had to resize the whole thing, going for 26 instead of 20 pattern repeats on the body and casting on 56 stitches instead of 40. As other people have noticed, the yoke does seem to start too small and increase a bit too quickly -- were I to do it again I would start with a few more stitches and increase a little more slowly to keep its angle more in line with that of the rest of the sweater. Meanwhile, since I didn't actually consult the pattern so much as fake it, I did not realize that I should have cast on an extra two (?) pattern repeats under each armpit as I was dividing for the sleeves. I think, in fact, that the body looks perfectly fine the way it is, but I need to jerry-rig something now as I start the first sleeve. I'm thinking of just casting on another pattern repeat's worth of stitches and going with it -- the sleeves will still not be quite as wide as EZ's originals, but I think they will be fine.

I think it's perfectly clear what I have been expending brainpower on this week, as I claim to be working on papers...

However, honestly, this was the quickest-knitting, most fun baby sweater I've ever made. I did the whole yoke and body over the course of, I think, three trips to and from Lower Manhattan or Brooklyn in the last few days. Of course, each time I packed up stuff to entertain myself on these subway rides, I did diligently load like 3 articles and a book into the backpack as well... where they stayed, while I knit...