Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Nothing exciting

I feel like I've been showing you all so many FO's lately that I'm not sure how to start a "normal" post anymore. The past week, I've been making progress.

Rusted Root. Nothing exciting to tell you about here. This pattern is pretty straight-forward. I'm using Berocco Touche in Iris. I made some modifications to the sleeves, but I'll tell you about them in the FO post.

My mom's sweater. This one is almost finished - whoo hoo! The saga with this began back in January when she asked for a sweater 2 weeks before her birthday. She picked a pattern out of Luxury Knits that calls for 2 strands of Kidsilk Haze held together. Elann Baby Silk has been a fabulous substitute. I just have one sleeve to go.

Some seaming done, with one sleeve left.

Ribbing around the neckline.

I think the seaming looks pretty good!

Grow, second sleeve, grow!

Monday, July 16, 2007

FO: February Baby Sweater #2 and Saartje's Bootees

Here's a glimpse of last week's knitting.
Monday: Pregnant friend #1 has baby girl.
Tuesday: We hear from friends and learn of their new baby daughter. I cast on for February Baby Sweater #2 (you all know this pattern or have seen FOs of it).
Wednesday: Finish yoke and sleeve 1.
Thursday: Finish sleeve 2 and start body.
Friday: No knitting.
Saturday: Finish body, wash and dry sweater. Sew on buttons. Done? Cool! Hmm, how 'about some little bootees too? No problem!

Yarn: Rowan Handknit DK Cotton, color 310. About 3 balls.
Pattern: EZ's Knitter's Almanac

Zilch. I added the little flower pin, called a yo-yo, inspired by Elliphantom's version. A tutorial on how to make these is here.

Adorable. I like this one better than the first one I made, probably because of the little yo-yo. And because it's pink. I promise this is the last pink knit for a while. Seriously. I'm excited to gift this because the baby's mom is a fellow knitter. She doesn't blog, but she reads knitting blogs and last year as we drove together to the Stitches East Market, we were talking about blogs and she mentioned the EZ baby sweater she had seen on Elliphantom's site. I had seen it too, and we agreed it was so cute. I am excited to give her one for her new little girl!

Last week, I saw Brooklyn Tweed's and Silverknits' finished versions of Saartje's Bootees.

I couldn't resist. The baby sweater above is sized for about a 1 year old, so these were the perfect little "wear now" quick knits to go with it. They took only about an hour to knit and less than a ball of Cotton Glace, color 809. I found 4 little white buttons from my odds and ends buttons. Cute!

The week's knitting schedule is to give Rusted Root and Cable Down Raglan some TLC. It's almost time to start thinking about the fall knits.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I'm blushing

Something Blushy has made me blush. Well, actually it was all of your wonderful comments on it and Lynne's truly kind post in which she named me a Rockin' Girl Blogger:

I don't know what to say! Thank you. For a little history on the Rockin' Girl Blogger award, you can read here. I think now that I've been named one, I have to select someone else. So stay tuned!

Some of you asked about how I actually incorporated the cables into Something Blushy. Here are details:

I pretty much followed Wendy's instructions except for the cabling. The cable pattern I used was this 4 row repeat:

1: p2, k3, p1, k3
2: k2, p2, slip 1 purlwise, k1, slip 1 purlwise, p2
3: p2, slip 2 sts to cn and hold to back, k1, k2 from cn, p1, slip 1 st to cn and hold to front, k2, k1 from cn
4: k2, p3, k1, p3

This pattern occurs over 9 sts, so when you reach the point for cabling to start (about 3-4" past the armhole), count the total # of sts on your needle. So it fits, I would advise using your gauge (mine was 5 sts/1") and figure out how big around the garment is at this point. I wanted something close to a 35" bust with the button band, and knowing that cables pull in a bit, I ended up with 188 sts on the needle, which comes out to 188/5 = 37.6 inches around. I don't know the details of negative ease, so maybe my method is too much like guesswork, but I would say just try it on!

Now, count up how many 9 st repeats you could do over your total # of sts. I had 188 sts on the needle, so I could do 20 of the 9 st repeats (180 sts) and then have 8 leftover. Because the 9 st repeat ends with the cabled stitches, I wanted to have 2 purl stitches follow the very last cable on the RS row so it looked symmetric. So, add 2 extra purls, which brings you up to 182 sts. Now there are 6 leftover. I decided to just keep these in st st, with a k3 at the beginning of all RS rows and ending with a k3 on all RS rows. This made picking up sts for the button band easier. I guess the "ideal" situation would be to have exactly a multiple of 9 + 2 extra purl stitches + 2 extra st st so you can pick up the button band easily, but don't have these extra st st stitches showing (though I don't think they are a big deal). If you zoom in on one of my posted photos, you should be able to see the sts I am referring to.

So I did:

k3, [9 st repeat here 20 times], p2, k3 on the right side rows
p3, [9 st repeat here 20 times], k2, p3 on the wrong side rows

When you do the increases for the flares (I followed Wendy's guidelines), all the p2's in the pattern and extra p2 you added become p3 and then p4 (and p5 if you need more room, I did). The p1 between the cables do not get any increases.

The math can get a little tricky. For example, if you had 180 sts, this is exactly 20 repeats. But, you need the extra purl stitches at the end. So to get 182 sts I would do another increase at the neck on each end to get the extra 2 sts before starting the cabling, because if you do only 19 repeats of the pattern, this leaves 9 sts: 2 purls at the end and 7 leftover. This 7 doesn't split in half evenly.

I followed the same plan for the sleeves, except I didn't do extra sts in stockinette. I just kept them in reverse st st. I believe I had 59 sts for the sleeves. This gives me 6 repeats of the 9 sts (54 sts) with 5 leftover. I added the extra 2 purl stitches at the end of the last pattern repeat, so I still had 3 leftover. I just tacked on 2 purls at the beginning and 1 purl at the end. Since this was going to be where my seam was (I don't knit sleeves in the round....), the extra purls were OK. When I did the increases on the sleeves, I only increased the p2's that were sandwiched between cables and not the ones at the ends. I did 2 increase rows on the sleeves.

This was tricky to try and explain, so I hope it's clear! Try and have a plan of attack as you're increasing the v-neck past the armhole. If you need help or want a second opinion on your stitch count and how it converts into cabling, please feel free to email or comment!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Something Blushy Finished

Not only another FO this week, but a pink one! Ha ha, I think I've satiated my need for pink knits for now. Here is "Something Blushy":

Pattern: Wendy Knit and Tonic's Something Red

Yarn: Valley Yarns Southwick (cotton/bamboo) in color Blush, 8 balls

I changed the 2x2 ribbing to a cable pattern, inspired by Ivy from the fall '06 Knitty. Because of the cabling and the disaster of my last cabled cardigan, I did 2 more increase rows to create the flare in the body. I also did 2 increases across the sleeve so it flared. For the buttons, I debated between doing buttons all the way down or just one. I had this pair of buttons and decided the two together would give it a unique look.

This sweater was really challenging to photograph. This is a pretty spot-on representation of the color.

Verdict: I went back and forth on my love for this while knitting it. I started thinking it was going to be too girly, especially with the cables. But as I was finishing the button band, I felt like it had a vintage-y look to it, particularly with the buttons. So, in the end I am really happy with it. The Southwick yarn was a little splitty, but this is a lightweight yarn considering its DK gauge. It's really soft and much lighter than other cottons (or cotton blends) I've worked with, like Touche, Elann Sonata, Tahki Cotton Classic, Cotton Fleece, etc. It held its shape through blocking and hasn't stretched out. I'm not familiar with the characteristics of bamboo, so we will see how it holds up, but I think the bamboo is what gives it the lovely drape.

I chose to knit it in this color because I needed a replacement for a longtime loved pink cardi with 3/4 sleeves that I'd had for many years. It was my favorite summer cardi and one day, it met its end when it got washed with a new pair of jeans that bled all over it (and nothing else in the wash!). I think Something Blushy will be a good replacement.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Ms. Marigold Finished

After a bit of frogging and re-knitting, Ms. Marigold is finished.

Yarn: Berocco Touche, color Bubblegum #7932, 6 skeins.

Pattern: Zephyr Girls, found here

Bill finds his inner-photographer.

Modifications: When it was all said and done, I pretty much followed the pattern as written. I added the shaping past the armhole at the sides instead of only in the front, and I also added some waist shaping. I sewed down the ruffles on the sides so they didn't just "sit" there. I did seed stitch borders instead of ribbing.

Verdict: Good! It's a cute little summer top, and I wore it out to dinner on Saturday. It's just a tad snug, but I am expecting cotton to stretch a little, so we'll see. I LOVED working with the Touche. It's a cotton/rayon blend and totally soft and a little shiny. Not splitty, just real nice. Softer than Cotton Fleece. I got some in the dark purple to make Rusted Root next.

I decided to fancy it up a little more by adding beads along the neckline. I tried to string them directly onto the Touche yarn, but that wasn't happening easily. So, I bought matching sewing thread and carried it along with the yarn and pulled up a bead when I needed it. They are a little loose, and carrying thread along with yarn is a pain in the you-know (there was an event involving me, scissors, curse words and a tangled mess), but I think it was worth it.

See the beads?

I'm glad this one's done, but funny thing, it really isn't. I re-knit the bottom hem twice and the neckline twice. Got the ruffles on the first try. But, after wearing it on Saturday, I decided it could be a tad longer, so it's on needles right now awaiting an extra inch or so of seed stitch. Then, I swear, it will be finito!