knitpicking

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Classy Stripe Raglan

Gotta spread out the photo posts...

Classy Stripe Raglan

pattern: my own
yarn: Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran (80% wool, 15% silk, 5% cashmere / 93 yds per 50g) - 3 balls Temple, 3 balls Empire, 3 balls Opal, 2 balls Coal
needles: Susan Bates US9 29" circular, Inox size 9 dpns
gauge: after washing, 16 sts x 23.5 rows / 4"
date finished: January 22, 2006

So here is my third sweater, my second full sweater design, and my first top-down sweater. (I thought about using the Incredible Top-Down Raglan as a guideline, but decided to measure another sweater of mine for the basis instead.) I think this is going to get a lot of wear - the colors are subdued enough for everyday use, and it is so soft and comfy.

Classy Stripe Raglan - front shotClassy Stripe Raglan - back shot

The fit is pretty good. The only thing I'd change is the upper arm, before the armhole (meaning on top of it, because this was knit top-down) - it's a little baggy. I think I could fix this by starting with fewer stitches in the arm section from the beginning, working the same number of increases, and then adding more stitches at the underarm. Obviously it's not going to stop me from wearing this sweater, but it's something I can keep in mind for next time. The stripes constrained my length options - I think I'd prefer the body a tiny big longer and the sleeves a tiny bit shorter, but again, the way it came out is more than acceptable. Also, the collar could be a little longer. I was worried about running out of yarn on the part that hangs over the back, since I had to leave enough for the bands running along the V-neck.

My favorite detail? The raglan increases, hands down.

Classy Stripe Raglan - closeup of increases

I diligently swatched different kinds of increases - and I normally hate increasing, so swatching increases was a Big Deal for me. But it helped me find the perfect pairing. A KLL followed immediately by KRL (by the designations here) leaves a stretched out upside-down V, so when you do a bunch of them lined up on a top-down piece, you get a neat line of right-side-up V's. Pretty!

I've heard rumors that this yarn is being discontinued - which would explain why it was so cheap on Elann. But it's a shame, because it is very soft, and warm, and wooly-feeling. It creates a fabric that is both cozy and light. And it was very easy to work with, with nice stitch definition. If you can find any, I'd snatch it up before it disappears.

see all project photos

And... I'm not the only one making stripey sweaters! My sister, who a few months ago said she didn't think she'd ever knit anything besides rectangles, just finished the back of her first sweater!

Sara's sweater

Pattern is Sesame from Magknits, yarn is Paton's Decor. She wants to call it "International Sesame" because she has worked on it in the US, Austria, Italy, Scotland, and Germany. Doesn't it look good so far?!? She doesn't have a blog, so I'll post more pictures for her as she sends them to me (she's in Vienna for the semester). And yes, it is hanging on her bulletin board. ;)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Berkshire Bulky hat and scarf

Better late than never!

Berkshire Bulky hat and scarf

pattern: my own
yarn: 3 balls Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky (85% wool, 15% alpaca / 108 yds per 100g) in Cream - 1 ball for the hat, 2 for the scarf
needles: US10.5 16" Denise circular and Inox US10.5 dpns for the hat; Susan Bates straight 10" US11 for the scarf
gauge: don't know
date finished: December-ish, 2005

I made this set so I would have a hat and a scarf to wear with my tweedy red winter coat, since the colors of it are almost impossible to match. It definitely needs a neutral - this cream color looks good with it, and I think most shades of beige, brown or black would work too. While the scarf does keep me very warm, it also adds a whole lot of bulk, so I don't like wearing it unless it's so cold outside that I have to.

The scarf is knit in Brioche stitch. The edges look a little weird because I didn't realize that I was slipping the stitches wrong until I was maybe 1/4 of the way through, and I decided to keep them as a design feature rather than redoing the whole thing. I don't think the edge is unattractive, just... a little uneven. On the other hand, I really like the stitch pattern, and I think it's great for a scarf because it's reversible and a unique enough technique to hold my interest throughout.

Berkshire Bulky scarf - closeup

The hat is my own pattern, and because I don't know how to measure correctly, it was knit both bottom up and top down. Don't ask. It's in a 1x1 broken rib, with a nice thick brim to keep out the piercing Boston wind. I think my favorite part is the decrease pattern on top.

Berkshire Bulky hat

Oh, and the yarn - I really like it. It sheds a decent amount, but that might get better with washing (which I'm probably not going to bother with, unless they get dirty). The alpaca makes it nice and soft, and it was very easy to work with. Plus, it has a really nice color palette, and the price can't be beat! I would definitely use Berkshire Bulky (or the lighter-weight regular Berkshire) again. Good thing too, because I have one full ball left - I figured it would be extra, but thanks to the Webs discount, it cost me -$7.46. Nothing like yarn for negative amounts of money!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

photos galore

I'm at my parents house for the weekend, so I borrowed their camera to make my blog a little more exciting and colorful than it has been recently. I have some old FOs to post about too, but I'm going to put them in their own entries for easy reference.

First, the back of the cardigan I'm going to frog:
soon-to-be-frogged cardigan back

and a closeup of the stitch pattern:
fluffy brioche stitch closeup

I finished the cuff of the second pink Pomatomus:
1.5 pink Pomatomuses

The completed sock looks a little wider than the other one because I've taken it on and off a few times, while the other one hasn't been stretched out at all yet.

Baltic Sea Stole swatch:
swatch for Baltic Sea Stole

Almost-finished mini-Clapotis:
mini-Clapotis

And last but not least, some yarn purchases from Goldman's Yarns. The store is going out of business so everything was 25% off. (I don't know why they're closing... but I can't imagine that offering yarn at $25 off retail helped them much.) I actually bought a few other things, but they're for my secret pal so I can't write about them yet. This is a hank of Noro Daria (for this bag) and 2 balls of yummy KFI Cashmereno for my Sockapaloooza socks. (Now I just need a good pattern... I'm thinking of something cabley...)
going out of business sale purchases

Isn't color fun? ;)

Friday, February 17, 2006

rrrrrrrrrrippit

As I mentioned in my last post, I think it's time for a trip to the frog pond. I've been really excited about this wrap cardigan from the beginning... and I was hoping to get a nice, submittable pattern out of it, but that's looking less and less likely. (Tope suggested Knitpicks as another option in addition to MagKnits, and I really like the idea, but I feel like there would be a lot of pressure on me to get all the details absolutely perfect if people are going to pay for the pattern.) I still think the stitch pattern is really fun, and the fabric has both a lightness and a drape that are fabulous. I had finished the back and a little bit of one front before I really sat down and looked at my work - and there are two big problems so far:

1. Edges. All of them. The fabric has a lot of horizontal spread, so I found that I had to cast on to a much larger needle. I'm using a US8 for the body, and in order to get top and bottom edges that weren't binding, I had to go up to a US10.5. While this worked great at the beginning and end, I forgot/ignored it for the armhole bindoffs and just used the 8. Well, my armhole bindoffs now pull in a lot, which could be a bit uncomfortable. Then, there's the side edges. To make seaming and shaping easier, I tried to leave a 2-stitch selvedge in stockinette stitch. But my row gauge for fluffy brioche must be smaller than my row gauge for stockinette, because the side edges are doing this weird ripply thing. It might get a little better once the whole thing is seamed and blocked, but it looks bad enough now that I don't want to wait and find out. I think a garter stitch selvedge might match better.

2. Gauge. My problem here isn't a lack of consistency in the knitting, but in the measuring. It's hard enough to count stitches and rows in the pattern; when you add the fact that I'm knitting on larger needles than are recommended for the yarn, and the fact that the fabric has a lot of spread and give in all directions, figuring out gauge is nearly impossible. I tried blocking a swatch, and I did get some numbers from it. But while knitting the back, I think I just ignored those numbers and tried to measure while stretching the fabric some random amount. Uh... don't really know what I was thinking there, but I was on a 7 hour flight at the time, and had gotten 4 hours of sleep the night before, so I'll use that as my excuse. Anyway, I guess if/when I reknit, I'll make sure to do everything by the numbers from my washed swatch. It's just tough because those numbers have little to no relation to the numbers I get before washing. Also, this makes me very hesitant to offer the pattern to other people, because the sizing will be that much harder.

So that's where I stand. I'm putting it aside for the time being because I have enough other projects to keep me busy, and it will be a while before I can wear a thin short-sleeve cotton cardigan without at least 2 layers over it anyway.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

long time no blog

Classes started last week, and between them and my research, I've been fairly busy recently. (I specifically decided not to participate in the Knitting Olympics because of the overlap with the beginning of the semester.) But right now I have Matlab running a simulation in the background, so I'm taking a few minutes off to blog. :)

My trip to California was fantastic. It was warm and sunny and I got to see lots of old friends. And perhaps the most important part of it is that I visited my old college, and... it wasn't perfect. I was still very happy to be there, but... I guess for most of January, I was pretty depressed. On good days I would think "okay, I guess I can get through this" instead of being excited about where I am and where I'm going... and on the bad days, well, it was bad. And a little part of me believed that my life used to be perfect, that I would never have it so good again. But then I went back to that school, and I saw the place where I spent the last 4 years of my life, and I realized that... yes, life was good then, but it wasn't perfect because nothing is ever perfect. I had problems then just like I have problems now, because that's how life works. So in that sense, the trip gave me some much-needed perspective, and I've been much happier since then.

I also broke up with my boyfriend about a week ago. We had been doing the long distance thing for many months, and we both acknowledged that it was not working. I thought I'd be at least a little upset about it, but... I've been relieved. The last month or so, the relationship was just dragging me down. Ending it lifted a burden off my shoulders.

I'm really enjoying this SP round. My downstream pal got her first package a few days ago and I think she really liked it. She's a lot of fun to shop for. And my upstream pal has been so nice - both of her cars broke down in the same day, and she felt bad that she couldn't get my package out. Can you believe that? Through all the stuff she had to deal with, she still thought of me. I'm so touched! Oh, and she sent me the most adorable e-card last week - really put a smile on my face. :)

Knitting WIP Roll Call:
  • pink Pomatomus socks: I'm almost done with the 2nd repeat (out of 3) on the cuff of sock #2. Usually this is the point where I'd be getting sick of the pattern, but I'm still completely enamored with it! So much so that I'm thinking about making a second pair for my Sockapaloooza pal... the only problem is that she said she didn't want lacey socks. While this pattern does have holes, I wouldn't really describe it as lacey, so I'm going to ask her how holey is too holey before deciding.
  • mini-Clapotis: Just 3 or 4 more stripes in my last ball to go! I think I'm ready to start the decrease section. I haven't worked on this much recently though, because it's getting a little tedious.
  • Baltic Sea Stole: I swatched on my new Bryspuns and it came out well. I loooove the needles, the tapered tip is perfect for lace and the plastic surface has just the right amount of "grabiness." The colors are just as pretty knit up as they are in the ball, though the deep teals and greens are probably more Caribbean Sea than Baltic Sea. I think I'll have to blow up the chart and highlight it before I start the actual stole, because I kept mixing up the k2tog and ssk symbols. Also I don't like the purl increase used in the pattern, so I need to find something else to use.
  • fluffy brioche wrap (design project): Ugh. I'd rather not talk about this right now. I'm probably going to frog everything I've done, and I have no idea yet whether or not I'm going to redo it. More on this later.

My simulation finished a few minutes ago, so I'm off to look at the results. Fun fun fun.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

jetlag

I am in California right now, on what is probably the craziest vacation I've ever planned. It involves visiting friends in the 3 big cities (San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles, in that order) in 5 days/4 nights. The plan also involves 3 flights, one car rental, and lunch with another friend halfway between San Diego and LA. So far things have been going smashingly. I really needed a break from my life and I think this will be the perfect stress reliever.

Except that... I'm realizing just how much I miss it out here. And it's not just the weather, it's... the whole atmosphere. I am not happy in Boston, I am not happy at MIT. Only another year and a half though, and then I can move on with my life to better things. Like the west coast for example. ;)

I'm staying with my friend Lauren right now, and it made me so happy to see the Branching Out that I made her hanging on a hook on the back of her door. She told me that she wears it a lot, since most of her other scarves are too heavy, and she's gotten lots of compliments on it. Yay! Also, after being reunited with the scarf, I have to say, I'd forgotten just how nice it is. The pattern is so pretty and delicate, and the Andean Treasure is SO SOFT - plus, it shows absolutely no signs of wear. I think I might have to make one of my own - maybe in a nice browny-taupey color to coordinate with my red coat? (That's meant as a subtle hint to my secret pal. ;))

The Knitty SP6 round started a few days ago and I'm really excited about it! My downstream pal is making things very easy for me... she has strong preferences, but they're very varied, so I've gotten a ton of ideas for gifts that I can be fairly certain she'll like. Me, on the other hand, well... I don't know how helpful I've been to my upstream pal. I'm very easy to please, I promise! I'm just very bad at articulating exactly what I would like. If I come up with anything more specific I will let you know!

Knitting-wise... let's see. I got my needles for the Baltic Sea Stole but I still haven't swatched. I'm about 2.5/3 balls through a Silk Garden mini-Clapotis. I frogged the foot and reknit my first Pomatomus sock so now it fits perfectly, which gives me incentive to finish the second. And, the most exciting of all is my current design project. I was planning on keeping it a secret in case I wanted to submit it anywhere, but it's too late to submit it to the Knitty spring issue and if I submit it to Magknits it will be okay if I've mentioned it here. (I can't imagine submitting a design anywhere else at this point in time.) I'm making a short-sleeved wrap cardigan in fluffy brioche stitch, and I'm planning on adding a beaded crochet edge around the bottom of the body and sleeves. I cast on for the back at the beginning of my 7 hour flight this morning, and I'm already past the armhole bindoffs - this thing is going FAST. Exciting!

I'll try to borrow Lauren's camera tomorrow, and finally show some pictures, since I know this blog has been severely lacking recently...

(Also, apologies if this post is a little rambly and nonsensical - I've been awake for a very long time!)