Monday, February 26, 2007

Cabled Hat Finished

It was an unexpectedly snowy Sunday yesterday, so we decided to take the boys (our dogs) for a walk in the snow. It was so beautiful out. I finished this hat a long time ago, and I was waiting to have the matching scarf done before posting about it. You know, show the whole matching set. Well, with all my WIPs now, I think the scarf might be an over-the-summer knit. So here's the hat in its full glory, snow-covered and keeping my ears warm and toasty.

Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky in Cream, 1 1/2 balls.

Pattern: My own. I made up a cable and bobble pattern over 20 sts and repeated it 4 times around. The decreases at the top aren't great looking, but I don't care.

Verdict: It's a fun little hat that keeps me warm and looks good. For about $9, you can't beat it.

I haven't decided on what scarf pattern to use. My plan was to do a matching pattern, but I really like the Irish Hiking Scarf and Sharfik.

My little snow bunnies, Toby and Oscar.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

For the love of Ikea

I've been adding to my stash recently, with some new (but on sale) purchases:

Debbie Bliss Merino DK in lavendar, Filatura 501 in Papaya and Karabella Aurora 8 in Pink. I love pink, and when I saw this stuff on sale (like $5 a ball!) I had to buy it.

And, I started playing with it already:

Sorry for the darkness, but I'm not running upstairs where the lighting is better - I'm watching American Idol, people. But, I have to say - these men aren't too impressive.

Anyway, back to knitting . . . I think I want to make something along the lines of the cabled cardigan in Stefanie Japel's Fitted Knits, which I got over the weekend. What a great book. I love it for the recipes she provides for top-down garments in different shapes and textures. So, that's something I'd like to start. But, I gotta knock out some of these WIPs first.

So . . . Ikea. Gotta love it. We went there on Friday to buy a corner TV stand for the GIANT television my husband bought (like 50" or something totally ridiculous). With my stash growing and organization/storage becoming more challenging in my house, I found this perfect little bookcase with some boxes for my yarn and knitting books. I think it's totally cute and totally practical. I even got a compliment from the hubby, who said, "Your knitting thing looks really nice. I like it." But, he also said, looking at the pile of yarn before it was organized into these boxes, "I think you're getting a little obsessive about the knitting." They just don't understand, do they?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A little frogging and frustration

Thank you so much for all of your wonderful comments about Sahara. I am thrilled with it and was even more thrilled to get such awesome feedback from all of you!

I have been knitting a lot lately . . . and frogging, too. One of my WIP was an attempted re-creation of Karabella's cabled, ribbed yoke cardigan. Well, I have learned that when trying to do these knock-off designs, it is important to first swatch the stitch pattern you
think is used in the original design. I started off knitting this from the top down using a k1, p1 rib and increasing 4 times up to a k1, p5 rib. I know that this wasn't exactly the way it was done in the real version, but I thought it would be close enough. I got to the underarm, divided for the sleeves and did a few rows of the cable pattern. And I realized that I really, really, really did not like it.

I didn't like the way the ribbing looked, and the transition to the cable (which you really can't see here) looked weird. So, I frogged.

Then I decided this yarn might be a good candidate for the knock-off of Bea, from Kim Hargreaves, that I'd been thinking about. Long story short, after about 5 or 6 attempts to try and mimic the stitch pattern in Bea, I couldn't figure it out. It looks like some kind of crossover, and I think I was close, but everything I did looked weird.

So I've settled for a simple stockinette with a decorative raglan increase. I think this will look very nice with the pretty buttons I've got.

I am not abandoning the attempted knock-offs, because they are fun to figure out and ultimately, I think I am learning something. All that frogging, re-knitting, frogging, re-knitting does get a little frustrating, but I think in the end I will have some successes under my belt.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sahara Finished

In all her sparkly fashion, Sahara is finished!

Pattern: Sahara, by Wendy Bernard

Yarn: Jaggerspun Zephyr DK in Elderberry (50/50 silk/wool), 1 cone; Tilli Tomas Disco Lights in Dusty Purple, less than 1 skein. I lucked out big time that the two yarns are a near perfect match. I ordered them both on the internet and crossed my fingers. Funny thing is, the whole cone of Jaggerspun (1200 yds) cost less ($34.50) than 1 skein of the disco lights ($38). The sparklies were worth it to me, though.

Needles: Size 6 and 4 circulars. My sleeve stitches fit comfortably around the 16" circulars after decreasing, so no DPNs needed! Added bonus.

Modifications: Just a few. I made a size between the S and M. The schematic scared me a bit because even the M was less than 34" around (my usual size). I know negative ease was built into the pattern, but since I was wasn't working with the 100% silk yarn called for, I knew I wouldn't get as much. I got a gauge of 20 sts/4" and in the end, it fits perfect. The other mod was that I made the sleeves longer than specified. I think in the end they were about 19 1/2 " before I started the ribbing. I don't normally make longer sleeves, so this must have been due to how high up under my arm the sleeve started.

Verdict: Great. I really love this one because I can dress it down with jeans and fun earrings to go out casually, or I can glam this up with a saucy skirt. And I love the sparkles, which is what drew me to it in the first place.

What I learned. Short rows, which are a great shaping technique if you are curvy in some areas, or they're great just to create a lovely hem, as in this case. I had never done the diamond rib before. And, I had never knit a garment that picked up stitches to create sleeves - brilliant!

Would I knit this again?

Well, actually, yes. I'm all smiles about this pattern.

I already have a skein of TT Exotica in a light green for a short-sleeve version. But, no yarn for the body yet.

This pattern is freakin' brilliantly written. Wendy is a genious. Sahara has all the features of an expertly designed garment - shaping darts, set in sleeves, shirt-tail hems, and the best part - it required zero finishing. My favorite part was picking up stitches around the armhole and using short rows to create the sleeve cap. So. Smart. No bumpy sewn in sleeve seams!

I started this in mid-December and really took off with it in January. Although I was tempted to just knit away, I did take it off the needles about 3 or 4 times while knitting the body to check the fit. I did one extra decrease at the waist. It only took an extra 15 minutes or so and was worth it to get a custom fit.

Side shot. I heart darts.

Close up of the neckline. I've got a light purple lacy cami thingie on here. I want to find a dark purple one.