knitpicking

Sunday, October 22, 2006

movin' on up

I've wanted to do this for, um, a year maybe? And I'm finally getting around to it now... say goodbye to Knitpicking, and hello to definitelyMaybe Knits!

http://knit.definitelymaybe.org/blog/

Not much there yet, but I'm working on it. Please update links accordingly. :)

Friday, October 20, 2006

quick meme thing

Because I'm bored, and I've tinked or frogged more than I've knit in the past week, here's a meme.


1. FIRST NAME?
Joanna

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
My great-grandmother, though very indirectly... her name was Yetta, but a Yiddish "Y" is like an English "J", so my parents wanted a name that started with a J. I was almost named Jackie.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY?
Not sure, but I've come close quite a few times recently.

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
I like it when I'm paying attention; when I zone out in class and get sick of taking notes, it becomes almost illegible.

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT?
Ooooh, a tough one. I love a good (real) corned beef sandwich.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
I think so, it depends on what other person I was. This is kind of a silly question.

7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL?
I have this knitting blog, and a few paper journals that I haven't written in in a while, and a bunch of random text files saved on my computer that serve the same purpose.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
Yep, but I've been appendix-less since I was 6.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
Over one of those giant air cushion things, absolutely. Over something less squishy... I'd have to think about it.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Ohs! They're gold-colored rings with some stuff in the middle and they are impossible to find these days. I haven't had them in years but the taste still reminds me of when I was 5.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
Nope. I never untie them at all. Only retie them when they come undone on their own.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
Mentally, I like to think so. Physically, I weigh 95 lbs, so you can figure it out.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR?
Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby... though like the Ohs, I think it might only be my favorite because it's so hard to find.

14. SHOE SIZE?
Used to be 6, now I think I'm more of a 5 1/2

15. RED OR PINK?
pink

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
I procrastinate, on everything, all the time. And I'm always late. I'm not sure if the two are related.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
My two best friends from college - one lives in Texas and the other lives in California so I never get to see them

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU?
Um, if you want to fill it out, I'd love to read your answers, but don't feel compelled to

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
turquoise-bluish PJ pants, grey tanktop, fuzzy green slippers (I haven't left my apt yet today)

20. LAST THING YOU ATE?
leftover chicken pad see ew

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
iTunes party shuffle, currently "The Space Between" by DMB

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
cerulean

23. FAVORITE SMELL?
freshly-cut grass

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
my sister

25. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO?
their smile, and how they carry themselves

26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from?
No, actually, Emily, I hate you. That's why I read your blog. :P

27. FAVORITE DRINK?
It's hard to limit it, but I love hot chocolate and white grape peach juice (not together). My favorite alcoholic drink is a good amaretto sour (to be "good" it needs to be at least half amaretto, otherwise you might as well drink plain sour mix, both because of the taste and the alcohol content).

28. FAVORITE SPORT?
Baseball! The Yankees will come back next year, I have faith.

29. EYE COLOR?
brown

30. HAT SIZE?
erm... small?

31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
yep, I'm blind without them

32. FAVORITE FOOD?
another silly question, I like so many types of food, but I guess sushi

33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
happy endings!

34. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO TO WASTE TIME?
sudoku!

35. SUMMER OR WINTER?
summer

36. HUGS OR KISSES?
hugs are always good, kisses are only good from certain people

37. FAVORITE DESSERT?
anything chocolate, or chocolate with raspberries

38. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CANDY?
Twix

39. SOMETHING RANDOM...
I can count to 31 on one hand, without doing anything weird like bending certain knuckles. And I don't have 31 fingers - imagine making those gloves!

40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING?
The Poisonwood Bible, Julie and Julia, and my sister just gave me The Namesake but I haven't started it yet

41. WHAT’S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
don't have one

42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV?
I watched the Mets lose. :(

43. FAVORITE SOUNDS?
laughter, harp music

44. ROLLING STONE OR BEATLES?
Beatles

45. THE FURTHEST YOU’VE BEEN FROM HOME?
Hawaii

46. WHAT’S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT?
What, you think I only have one? :P Erm... I can curl my tongue into a W. It's very special. Trust me.

47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
White Plains, NY

48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU?
I stole it from Emily. (Also stole her extra questions to fill in for the missing ones!)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tapestry - officially!

Tapestry in the park
Tapestry on a park bench

The week after I graduated from college, my father and I drove my car from Los Angeles to New York. We took a southern route through Arizona and New Mexico and I may have dragged him into a yarn shop... or ten. I stayed away from the more generic ones, opting instead for hand-dyed or natural-dyed wool yarns local to the area. I came away with a broad spectrum of colors; it wasn't until months later that I decided to try and use all the yarns together in one garment.

A lot of swatching led to the garter stripe pattern in this sweater, which is very good at making different colors play nice with each other. The stripes remind me of woven fabric not unlike the tapestries displayed throughout New Mexico. Waist shaping, vertical stripes, and belled sleeves make this structured, zippered jacket both feminine and flattering.

DIFFICULTY
Intermediate

SKILLS NEEDED
Decreasing, short rows, picking up stitches, basic crochet and sewing skills

SIZE
XS[S, M, L, XL, 1X, 2X] (shown in size XS with 1 inch of ease)

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Chest: 33[36, 38.5, 41, 44, 46.5, 51.5] inches
Length: 21.5[22, 22.25, 22.5, 22.75, 23, 23] inches

MATERIALS
[MC] Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride [85% wool, 15% mohair; 190yd/173m per 4oz/113g skein]; color: Onyx; 1[2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2] skeins
[CC1] La Lana Wools Knitting Worsted [100% wool; 200yd/183m per 4oz/113g skein]; color: Black Raspberry; 1[2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2] skeins
[CC2] Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride [85% wool, 15% mohair; 190yd/173m per 4oz/113g skein]; color: Ruby Red; 1[2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2] skeins
[CC3] Rio Grande Worsted Singles [85% wool, 15% mohair; 190yd/173m per 4oz/113g skein]; color: Winter Plum; 1[2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2] skeins
[CC4] Tierra Wools Organic Rambouilett [100% wool; 220yd/201m per 100g skein]; color: Lt Indigo over Chamisa; 1[2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2] skeins
[CC5] Tierra Wools Organic Rambouilett [100% wool; 220yd/201m per 100g skein]; color: Cutch; 1[1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2] skeins
1 32-inch US 8/5mm circular needle or size needed to obtain gauge
1 US H/5mm crochet hook
1 16-inch separating zipper
Stitch holders or waste yarn
Tapestry needle

GAUGE
17 sts / 24 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch
17.5 sts / 36 rows = 4" in garter stitch

NOTE ON YARN SUBSTITUTIONS
Unless you find yourself driving on the same route through New Mexico, it would be difficult to replicate my yarn choices exactly. I recommend using Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride as a substitute for the entire garment; any heavy worsted or aran weight wool yarn should work as well.

Go ahead and experiment with your colors; the stripe pattern really does help unusual combinations look like they belong together, especially with black or another neutral as the MC. It's also a great way to use up yarns from your stash!

Pattern price: $5.00

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

tapestry

This isn't really how I wanted to start the week, but oh well...

tapestry

As soon as I can figure out how to set up automatic downloads, the pattern should be available to buy. The sweater is called Tapestry and I'm going to pretend that Knitty didn't want it because it really is more of a fall sweater than a winter one. That's also the reason why I'm just going to publish it myself, so I can get it out there before fall ends. Big thanks to Tope for taking the pictures, and to Pam for reading through the pattern for me!

Friday, October 06, 2006

the good, the bad, and the ugly

... in that order.

The Good

I finished the first sock of the pair I'm making for my mom.

side view of mom sock #1 mom sock from the back

My mom was actually the recipient of my first pair of "real" (meaning, made with sock yarn) socks, seen here. But she told me a few months ago that the socks had worn out somehow, and the cuff seemed to have stretched a lot in width while getting shorter. I'm still not sure exactly what happened, but the point is, she obviously needs a new pair of handknit socks. She wants to wear them with clogs, and she loves green, so I used the green yarn I had leftover from the toes of these socks (which were made from the leftovers from the first pair for my mom) for the heels, which will be the most visible part. I also used the yarn for the toes and cuffs so the green heels would look like they belonged there. And because I was worried I'd get bored with plain stockinette, I put some cables and ribbing in the socks - two 4-stitch cables on the front that twist towards each other, and a braided cable along the back. I'm not sure how I feel about it all... it's not exactly a cohesive look. It kind of looks like I threw a bunch of different elements together - which I did - and maybe not in a good way. I'm going to my parents' house next weekend so I'll bring the sock to get her opinion and also make sure it fits before I start the second of the pair.

The Bad

I decided to give the periwinkle top a test-run by wearing it around my apartment for a few hours to see if it would stretch out of shape at all. I made it with plenty of negative ease, so I hoped it would be okay... and in the "around" direction it was fine. But in the vertical direction? Well, here's the before-and-after:

periwinkle top periwinkle top after wearing it for a few hours

I completely forgot to account for any possible stretching of the straps, and the results ain't pretty. The problem should be pretty easy to fix, but it makes me hesitant about writing up a pattern for the top as-is. Actually I have a few hesitations - the cable grafting, for example, and the fact that it forms a circle so you have to be very careful to line up the top and the bottom, and the i-cord edge which might curl up over longer distances (i.e. in larger sizes)... there are quite a few things that need to change before I can even consider writing up and resizing the pattern. But I have plans, I have Big Plans, and all will be revealed in time.

The Ugly

Here is exhibit A: one of my favorite sweaters.

one of my favorite sweaters, though it's seen better days...

I bought it a few years ago, definitely in my pre-knitting days. It fits pretty well, and it's very comfortable, and I love the style, and... it is a mess. The yarn might have been a little nubby to start off with, but I'm pretty sure it was smooth. Over time, it's started to pill, and then the pills have turned into long thread things, and it's all gotten matted down, so close up the surface looks like this:

up close and personal

I'm sad to say that the green sweater is nearing the end of its life. So what is a girl to do, except recreate it, and make it even better? :) I want to change quite a few things.
  1. The armhole has always been a little tight. The arm itself is fine, and the body is fine, but where they meet isn't great. This should be very fixable by working a few more raglan decreases on each piece.
  2. The bottom edges of the body and sleeves aren't ribbed, and they don't have the same elasticity as the rest of the sweater. So as it stretches out over the course of the day, the edges stay the same width, and the fabric kind of bags out over the edge. The fix: a little ribbing with a very elastic cast-on edge.
  3. Another edge issue - at the v-neck, there's nothing to stabilize the reverse stockinette, so it curls like crazy and just looks unfinished. Again I think a little ribbing will solve the problem.
  4. The green sweater is made of cotton (maybe with a little acrylic, I can't remember right now) so it provides a nice amount of warmth, but it also sags and bags a lot. Something wooly would probably hold its shape much better.


This all brings me to exhibit B: the replacement yarn.

suri merino swatch

Plymouth Suri Merino, a merino/alpaca blend that I got in a very good sale a few months ago, in a great pinky color. It has just the right mix of elasticity and drape, and I think it will work really well in the new sweater.

Hey, have you made it this far? I sure am verbose today, but I think I've finally run out of things to talk about. So on a completely unrelated note, if you're wondering how to make the most of your hard-earned yarn money, check out Tope's great post about knitting on a budget.

And have a great long weekend! :D

Thursday, September 28, 2006

coming up for air

I'd like to pretend that the only reason I haven't posted since I finished the periwinkle top is that I'm so happy with it that I want it to stay on the top of my blog for as long as possible, but the real reason is that I just haven't gotten any knitting done since then.

I'm working on a pair of green and gray socks for my mom which were coming along well until I got to the reverse heel flap. I had some issues that resulted in my knitting the flap 3 times, and ripping it out 3 times. I think I know what the problem is, and how to fix it, so as soon as I have some time to sit down with the sock, I'll try to work through it. Hopefully the 4th time is the charm.

I've also been busy with pattern-writing. Designing set-in sleeves in general is a pain; designing set-in sleeves in 7 different sizes kind of makes me want to tear my hair out. But it is done, mostly, and I just need to put the finishing touches on the pattern before I submit it to Knitty. (In... uh... 3 days. Yikes!) Not to mention, school has been a little intense this past week. I'm feeling a bit swamped and I would love to take some time to relax and sit and knit.... maybe in another week or two?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

periwinkle top

It seems I have a Passion (or Perhaps just a Penchant) for Producing Purple tank top Patterns with yarns whose color names have a Plethora of P's, such as Prosperous Plum or Pastoral Peri Premiere.

(okay, enough of that...)

periwinkle top from the front periwinkle top from the back

pattern: my own
yarn: 4 hanks Classic Elite Premiere (50% pima cotton, 50% tencel / 108 yds per 50 g) in color 2407 (Pastoral Peri)
needles: Inox size 7 29" circular
gauge: 22 sts x 28 rows / 4"
date finished: September 17, 2006

This top was a huge learning experience for me, both the knitting and the designing. And the end result is, in a word: Perfect.

I discovered that the best natural light in my room occurs first thing in the morning, when I barely look awake, so the modelled shots are headless. And yes, I am wearing pajama pants. Just look at the tank top and ignore everything else...

periwinkle top periwinkle top periwinkle top from the back

I've discussed a lot of the details in previous posts so I won't bore you with them again. The general recipe was: 1) knit cable band until it fits under bust, 2) graft ends together, 3) pick up stitches for the top and work in seed stitch, with short rows for bust shaping, 4) pick up stitches for the bottom and work in stockinette with lace insets and fake seams, 5) after a few inches, increase for hip room, 6) finish off with beaded applied i-cord.

My favorite detail is the edging along the straps. They are worked in seed stitch with the first stitch slipped to give a chain edge. For the transition to the straps in the front, instead of trying to decrease in pattern, I got rid of the extra stitches by using the method for curved bind-off edges. This made a perfectly smooth switch from the neckline bindoffs to the chain edge along the strap. It's incredibly difficult to photograph but I tried in the 4th shot.

periwinkle top - closeup #1 periwinkle top - closeup #2 periwinkle top - closeup #3 periwinkle top - closeup #4

I have a feeling I'll be wearing this as a vest more than a tanktop, because the weather is starting to change. I think it will work well over a plain white button-down - maybe I'll wear it that way to the Boston Knit-Out this weekend. Between the cables and the lace and the beads, it's much fancier than the clothes I usually wear, but it makes a great dressy piece. I have some concerns over how long it will last, since I've heard that the yarn pills very quickly, but I plan on treating it as delicately as possible. I'm not sure if I'd use the yarn again, only because of the pilling issue... it is so soft, with great drape and stitch definition. It just glides through your fingers. But... it leaves a good deal of fuzz behind as it glides. Let's just say I am a little weary. This is kind of the cotton equivalent of Malabrigo - really great to work with, but you get the feeling it will pill and look fuzzy and matted if you turn your back for a second.

Either way, I think it worked well for this top, and I couldn't be happier with the results.