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.

Monday, September 18, 2006

do the shuffle

Taken from Adam, a completely non-knitting-related meme. I don't have an iPod but since I'm at my computer anyway, I just put iTunes on shuffle mode and here are the first 10 songs that came out.

  1. Poison Oak - Bright Eyes
  2. Continental - Alkaline Trio
  3. Caravan - Counting Crows (a Van Morrison cover I think)
  4. I'm Not Sleeping (live) - Counting Crows
  5. Kings Crossing - Elliot Smith
  6. Wanted It To Be - Sister Hazel
  7. Please Forgive Me - David Gray
  8. The Good Fight - Dashboard Confessional
  9. Bloodied Up - Alkaline Trio
  10. It's A Crime - The Magnetic Fields

Alkaline Trio is very over-represented on this list, and Ani Difranco is completely missing, which is a little strange considering the 133 songs of hers in the mix. (Counting Crows are second with 80 songs, including 10 versions of Round Here.)

Tonight I'm going to the Boston Museum of Science for college night (they don't need to know that I'm really a grad student :P) to see Body Worlds 2 for free. I'm worried that I might be a little squeamish around the plasticized organs, but the science geek in me is so fascinated by the idea and the process that I can't pass up the opportunity. And when I get home afterwards, I will post pictures of my finished (and still unnamed) purple top!

Monday, September 11, 2006


I don't really know what to say or post today... I've felt a little disconnected, just as I've felt on every September 11th for the past 4 years. So I guess all I can do is post this image I made for the 1 year anniversary (that sounds like the absolute wrong word) of the tragedy. The pictures overlaid on the top of the picture of the towers are ones that I took in and around Union Square on September 15, 2001.


Friday, September 08, 2006


I am so, so sorry for the craptastic picture. I was home alone last night and I had just joined the straps and I was SO EXCITED that I had to take a picture right at that moment. I've photoshopped to the best of my ability but it is still pretty awful. You can get the idea though, right?

purple top in progress

That part in the middle is the cable I was working on... top is seed stitch with short rows (which I think I have successfully conquered) and the bottom is stockinette with lace inserts. It's coming out exactly the way I pictured it in my head. Now I just need to finish the damn thing! I'm still not sure about the bottom edge - I'm so tempted to use the pretty beaded i-cord from Knitting Over the Edge, but I think there might be too much going on with it. Maybe a plain i-cord would be better. Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.

Friday, September 01, 2006

biting off more than i can chew?

I have become obsessed - absolutely, positively obsessed - with my purple top. I'm sitting here in my office on a Friday afternoon before a 3-day weekend and I can't focus on work at all, and can I just go home and knit a little please? Nobody else is here to even know the difference... and I have a friend staying with me for most of the weekend, so I might not get to knit much while she's here...

I think one of the things that's so captivating about the top is that it really is a challenge and a learning experience. I read so much knitting-related material that I know exactly what I want to do, and I know that it is possible, but I don't quite know how to do it. There is a good chance that the top will come out looking too busy, simply because I'm trying to cram so much into it, but I'm not sure yet.

The cables were just the beginning, really. I want to shape the bust with short rows, which I've never done before - oh, and it's in seed stitch, and I've never worked short rows in seed stitch at all. I'll swatch that later. I wanted a small lace motif to run down where darts would be placed on the front and the back; I had to swatch about 5 different things before I found one I liked. Next I need to figure out if I can incorporate increases into the lace pattern - maybe by just leaving out a decrease, and letting the yarnovers increase for me. More swatching! And I want to finish the whole thing off on the bottom with a beaded applied i-cord, even though I have never knit an applied i-cord, or beaded anything.

What am I getting myself into?? (And more importantly, why can't I get into it RIGHT NOW instead of sitting here and pretending to work for a few more hours? :P)