Thursday, June 30, 2005

the good, the bad, and the ugly

In reverse order, because I like to save the best for last!

The ugly: the tank top was too big. My after-the-fact ribbing seemed to help, but not enough. So it has been ripped, wound into balls, and restarted. I don't mind redoing it in general, but that stupid picot hem was annoying enough the first time - I really hope I won't find myself doing it three times!

The bad: I got an order from Webs today (okay, so that part is good :)) of a bag of Berroco Pleasure to make this sweater. But after seeing the pattern, well... I'm not so sure about it. It says it should be made with zero ease but the smallest size is a 34 1/2" bust, and I'm about 2 1/2" smaller than that. Also, it has a difficulty level I've never even seen before - "ultra experienced." Ultra! I'm not too too worried about it, because I think it only gets that rating because of the short rows and the weird construction, both of which I can probably deal with. And the body of the sweater is just lots of stockinette, so how hard can it be? (I hope)

But, the good: Pleasure is SOOOOO nice! I haven't even started knitting with it yet and I think it's my new favorite yarn. The color is a little different than it looked on my monitor but I like it even better, it's more of a slatey dark blue than the royal blue I was expecting. And it is just so, so soft. I am so excited about knitting with it! Hopefully it won't be too much math to get it down to my size... hrm. But the purple tank still comes first.

(Pictures will come soon, but first I need to get the rest of my road trip pics up - maybe tonight?)

Monday, June 27, 2005

my weirdo back

So I thought my tank was going well - I was knitting to gauge, the width was exactly what it was supposed to be, the cable and lace patterns looked great. This afternoon, after having finished all the waist decreases and increases, I knit a few more rounds and then tried it on. And that's where the problems started. With the "seams" running up the side where they should be, the front fit really well - close fitting without stretching at all. But then I turned around to look at the back, and it looked there was just a ton of extra fabric! It was so loose! And the bagginess would have been fine in other cases, but the rest of it fit so closely that it just looked, well, bad.

The annoying thing is that I probably should have been able to predict this problem after what happened with my honeymoon cami. Looking at this picture, you can see that it pretty much hangs straight down my back. The fabric is very drapey and the top isn't all that close-fitting in general, so it wasn't a big deal in that case, but I was very aware of the few inches between the back of the top and the curve of my back.

So I've come to the conclusion that my back is just strangely shaped. It curves in a whoooooole lot. In the future, I guess I could cast on fewer stitches for the back than for the front, but I feel like the problem is more just in the midle of my back, so maybe I could do a second set of decreases and increases spaced 1/3 of the way in from the sides? I guess I'll have to play with it. I feel like it will only be a problem on tank tops anyway, because most sweaters aren't meant to fit that closely anyway.

But. The big question is, what to do about the problem now? I can't really work in decreases after the fact, you know? My only thought is to drop a few stitches down and then ladder them back up as purl stitches instead of knit stitches, to create a ribbing kind of effect. And if that fails, I guess I'll just frog it all and start again. :( Well, here goes nothing... ohhhhh I hope this works!

Friday, June 24, 2005

i'm back!

After a fun-yet-stressful last week at school and an 8-day driving trip across the country, my computer is all set up and back online! I'm in New York now, here for the summer actually until I move to Boston to start grad school at MIT at the end of August. Looking forward to a nice relaxing summer, because it's probably the last one I'll ever have free!

I got surprisingly little knitting done over the trip - I packed everything but a pair of socks I was working on, and then my sister accidentally got my free dpn stuck in her knitting and took it home with her, so I couldn't work on the sock anymore. However, I did buy a lot of yarn, lots of pretty New Mexico wool that I think I'll make a sweater/jacket out of. I took a ton of pictures on my trip - almost 300 - which includes Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Graceland, and also pics of my yarn purchases and the creative way I found to wind it into balls in the car.

For now, I am working on a tank out of the cotton fleece that my SP sent me, which is largely my own design so I'm a little nervous about it! I've only knit about an inch or two so far but I looooove the yarn and I think it will turn out really well. I'm tempted to buy more cotton fleece right now to make a cute shrug to go with the tank but I guess I should try to focus on one (or two, or three) things at a time.

(Also, thanks for the tip about Berroco Pleasure, Amy! I'm going to buy a bag as soon as I can decide on a color. :))

Monday, June 06, 2005

spring fling

spring fling - front view spring fling - back view

pattern: Spring Fling from
yarn: 4 balls of 3-stranded mystery eBay combo yarn (one strand pink mohair, one strand blueish rayon, one strand variegated rayon / 100 yds per ball) from spincityarns
needles: Denises size 5 and 7
gauge: 21 sts x 27 rows / 4"
date finished: June 2, 2005

I am SO happy with how this turned out! It was a big experiment from beginning to end - I used a different yarn and a completely different gauge (looooots of math), shortened the body, and changed the shape of the fronts. As if that wasn't enough, it was my first garment in a lacy pattern and my first sweater with set-in sleeves - not only that, it was my first sweater knit completely in pieces, so seaming was an adventure too. But with all that said, it came out exactly how I wanted it to! It fits perfectly, and in the future I won't hesitate to change gauges in other patterns because I know it can work in a sort of complex one (thanks for the help, SnB Nation ;)). If you're interested in my modifications, I posted them on the knitty board here. This pattern is great - it's just warm enough to keep out that AC chill, but light enough that it still feels like a summer sweater.

The yarn provided a few challenges of its own. The three strands weren't twisted together in any way, so I had to be careful not to split them up, especially in the lacy bits. The mohair made it difficult to frog, and for some reason as I knit I would occasionally end up with extra lengths of the mohair strand that I had to gather up at the edges and work into the seams later. And since it had no labels, I didn't know how to wash it... but a Eucalan wash seemed to work just fine. No bleeding, shrinking, or expanding found at all. Plus I still have a ball and half left over to make a matching skinny scarf or belt!

More pics:
in pieces before seaming
loopy mohair bits
shoulder seam closeup
sleeve seam closeup, shows color and texture really well
blocking board that takes up my entire floor