Monday, September 01, 2014

Summer of the Sweater

This has been the Summer of the Sweater.  Since May I've knit Harvest, by Tin Can Knits, Ardys, by Laura Aylor, and now Alice in Wonderland by Justyna Lorkowska.

That's three sweaters!
That's right, Alice is done, baby.  BOOM!

I would show you the front, but I haven't fixed the button band yet.
The front view's a bit ... revealing.
I am so pleased, and proud of this sweater.  It's my first time doing top-down set in sleeve construction--which wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it might be.  For the most part, the pattern was clear and well-written, though not for the faint of heart (or inexperienced).  There were a couple of places where it essentially said "keep doing what you ought to do in this spot..." so if you didn't know what you ought to do, you'd be kind of screwed.

I mostly did though, so that's alright then.

I used Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, which is a tonal sock yarn that has enough color variance to almost count as variegated.  I swapped out skeins every two rows to keep it from doing any weird flashing or pooling or what-have-you.  That seems to have worked pretty well, though it did make for a billionty ends to weave in.

Lessons learned:  I wish I'd made it a size smaller than I did. It's supposed to have negative ease, and it's a smidge loose throughout the bustular region.   I also decided to skip adding buttonholes to the front placket because I figured I'd never wear it open anyway.  I'm regretting that life-choice.  Not a major deal, but I wouldn't do it that way if I could go back in time and do it again.  

Project Specs

Needles: Knit Picks Options, size 6
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, Canopy
Pattern:  Alice in Wonderland by Justyna Lorkowska
Started: July 22, 2014
Finished: August 30, 2014


So now what?

I don't have a sweater problem. You have a sweater problem.

P.S. Don't worry, Sarah -- your Gnomes are back on the radar.  

Wee Gnomes All in a Row

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Finished! WendyKnits' Summer Mystery Shawl(ette)

Guys!  I finished a thing!  I know that's less of a cause for shock, alarm, or celebration than it would have been, say, four years ago.  But after four weeks of working on Alice almost exclusively it's nice to have something positive to report.

I started the Wendy Knit's Summer Mystery Knit-along on a whim.  I never finish the things, and often don't entirely care for them, but the spirit of along-i-tude swept me up and before I knew it I'd signed up and dug around in the stash.  (It should be noted that this happened right before or about the same time as my recent change in attitude about knitting.  This represents more of my old style and approach than it does what I'm trying to do now.)

Pros:  I could use old-growth stash on this, no problem.  So I got to feel virtuous.  The design included a "Knit According to Your Yarn" option that me use up every last drop of the skein.

That little tail there is straight up all that was left.
Cons: The size and shape I ended up with feels a little "old lady" to me.  (No offense intended to any ladies, old or otherwise.)   I tried it on before blocking and well it's okay.


I don't think I'd wear it like this?  I tried wrapping it up like a cowl.

G+ made me a fashion montage!  Alas, it did not also fix my hair.
That's a little better.

I've got it blocking now, and yoinked (technical term) on it some.  That'll open up the garter stitch, so I'll lose some squashiness (another technical term), but gain some length.


Summer Shawlette

Pattern:  WendyKnits' Summer Mystery Shawl 2014
Yarn:  Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet DK, bought at my local, The Knaughty Knitter
Needle:  Knit Picks Options Interchangeables, Size 7

Update on the Alice-Front

I'm to the bottom ribbing/patterning/hem thing-a-ma-jig.  The pattern has you shape the stockinette body of the sweater as an a-line.  The very bottom is a repeat of the faux-cable that makes up the front of the bodice. Five repeats of this bad-boy and Boom!


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Let Us Observe a Moment of Silence

... for the Watergarden fair isle sweater.  Alas, poor knit, we hardly knew ye.

The Watergarden sweater is a men's fair isle sweater from Interweave Knits.  I cast it on back in 2008 out of Knit Picks Palette and got maybe, I dunno, 4-5" done.  And then I set it down and never, ever came back to it.



Long-time friends of the show will note that it has appeared in every single February is for Finishing post since.  And even as recently as this past February I was still protesting that I was gonna knit it someday.

Yeah, no.

There comes a time in every knitter's life when she needs to get a frickin' grip, and y'all that time has come and come again.


What with my new-found resolutions to knit things I'll really wear and a healthy dose of reality checking I realized that EVEN.  EVEN IF. I should ever actually finish the entire mostrosity of a sweater, I would never. ever. wear it.

So, after 6 years of protestation and hand-wringing I ripped that sucker out.

Now I just need to figure out what the heck to do with eleventeen tons of Palette.   A variation on Funky Grandpa perhaps?


Meanwhile, Alice carries on.  I'm a good 4" into the stockinette and am at the stage where the end is both in sight and so very, very far away.

Maybe a beer will help.



Sunday, August 10, 2014

Go Ask Alice

Since I had that knitting epiphany I was talking about last week, I've started choosing my projects differently (which only follows after all, otherwise what's the point?)  I guess what I mean is that I am thinking about projects differently.   Time was I'd see a sweater and think "that looks like it would be awesome to knit" -- and don't get me wrong, that's definitely still a consideration.  But now I'm trying to stop and think "would that be awesome to wear?"

A subtle and important difference, methinks.


My current project is (I hope!) going to be both. I'm making Alice in Wonderland by Justyna Lorkowska. The construction is wicked clever. It's a fitted sleeve that's knit top-down. I feel confident that the designer is cleverer than I, but the pattern is well enough written that I'm doing alright.


This is my first stab at knitting an adult garment in fingering weight yarn.  I'm using Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in "Canopy" (it's much more variegated than I was hoping it would be.  I'm trying to be at peace with the occasional bit of pooling-weirdness.)  It's going a lot faster than I was expecting, but I'm still about to the point where I'm longing for a spot of worsted weight.

Project Specs

Needles: Knit Picks Options, size 6
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, Canopy
Pattern:  Alice in Wonderland by Justyna Lorkowska
Started: July 22, 2014

Monday, August 04, 2014

A Knitting Epiphany

I've had a bit of an epiphany about my knitting.  I know you're dying to hear about it, so I'll tell you.

I've been a process knitter for pretty much my entire knitting "career" -- I'll pick a project based on how fun it would be to knit, whether I'd learn a new technique, or (and let's do be honest here) if all the cool kids were knitting it.

Now, there's nothing wrong with that.  I've learned a ton from this approach, and I'm sure I'm a better knitter today because of it.

But what have I got to show for it?

Let me give you an example -- we had an "along" in one of my Ravelry groups.  Everyone cast on and knit Zuzu's Petals by Carina Spencer, and I am SUCH A JOINER, so of course I'm all in.  Knitting along is fun! Plus, the pattern looks interesting!

Yeah but...



I pretty much hate it.  It was a waste of good Chroma, and looks weird on me to boot (I look like the world's most rainbowdy gila monster in this picture).  (I should note -- this is not intended to be a slight on the pattern itself.  The pattern is fine, it just wasn't a good match for me and certainly not in that yarn.  What was I thinking?)

Anyway.

Here's a counter example.  Hitchhiker by Martina Behm (and to be fair, also an "along" but a better chosen one for me.)
















Much more my style. I love this pattern and I've knit it twice.

I wore the heck out of this last winter.  It's my colors, and I have a tee-shirt and sweater that match it perfectly.  It's not just some weird thing I knit...it's actually part of my wardrobe.

And therein lies my epiphany.  What if I knit things I want to wear?  What if I considered what I was making in terms of how it would fit into my wardrobe and lifestyle?  What if I remembered that I could be knitting actual clothes.

Y'all, I'm becoming a product knitter.



Meet Harvest and Ardys.  (Ardys isn't blocked yet in this photo, so imagine it slightly more smoothed down and tidy).   I am looking forward to wearing them (as clothes!) this fall and winter.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

February is Finished and Olympic Pride

From a strict "February is for Finishing" standpoint, I didn't do so well.  The Oregon Socks are the only things I finished that had been on the needles prior to February.   Ah well, I knew that my finishing would be sparse when I decided to cast on socks for the Olympics.

I finished my Olympic Pride socks on February 15, meaning they took just over a week to knit.  I'm not sure if it was the stripes, the concentration, the Olympic Magic in the air or what, but damn they went fast.

























I left on a business trip on the 16th -- the day after I finished Olympic Pride, so I decided what the hell and cast on another pair to knit on the plane.  (Also, it was weird not to have any socks on the needles.)

























Meet Olympic Pride II.   I didn't finish them during the Olympics (though I came pretty close -- I was on the heel flap of the second sock).   I did, however, wrap them up on February 28, which means that I knit 4.5 socks during the month of February.  I'd feel a little more badass, but I know that the plane trips contributed significantly to that number.

And then, because it was March 1 and I could (not that it being February had stopped me from casting socks on), I cast on a wee little sweater for my besties' daughter.  It didn't count against my total number of projects on the needles for long though, because I wrapped it up the next day.   Worsted weight baby sweaters are fast, yo.

























I'm going out of town again tomorrow, so of course I cast some more socks on.  These are going to be Hermione's Everyday Socks when they grow up.

























And lest you think I've forgotten all my old WIPs entirely, I spent the morning working on Multnomah.  I'm into 7 of 10 lace repeats and it's done.

So, that's what I've been up to.  Tons of Finishing ... just not much that "counts" if you're counting February...which I'm obviously not.

(Having just re-read all of that ... and having fixed some egregious mis-used homophone errors,  I realize this post sounds really choppy.   If you've actually read this far, thank you and I'm sorry.  I have been such a sporadic blogger for so long, I figure any post is better than none.   From my perspective, anyway.  I totally get why others might not agree.)