Sunday, December 28, 2008

Just 9 more sleeve inches to go!

I'm almost done with this Lettuce Coat from Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard. I'm calling mine a "brown lettuce sweater" because it's about 5 inches shorter than the pattern's length, and it's brown. I have about 9 more inches to go on one sleeve. Everything else has been done, finishing wise. I'm one of those odd knitters who believes that finishing work is an integral part of the garment-knitting process and I do it as much as possible as I go along. That also allows me to get a much better idea of the final product as I go, and it spurs me onward.
My biggest customization is the front button bands. The patttern has an I-cord that covers the entire front length, with slits for the button holes, but that would cause way too much "gaposis" on the button front for me. With a cardigan, I always seem to get button gaposis unless I knit it with a lot of positive ease or use a sturdy button band. I don't like positive ease because the garment ends up looking too loose overall. In this case, the button band is double-knitted with a much finer gauge than the garment and it's sewn on. The double-knitting and the tight gauge makes it nice and sturdy and there is no gaposis whatsover. I used a tubular cast-one and an invisible bind-off for the button band.
I also did my I-cord a little simpler than the pattern's -- I just did a SSK before picking up the next attachment stitch instead of the YO p2sso. It is also 4 stitches wide instead of 3.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

FO: Xmas gift

I made this hat as a gift for the other half. The pattern is Thorpe, from Through the Loops. I love this hat -- it looks dorky, but in a good way. The body yarn is South West Trading Co. Gianna, and the trim is Plymouth Yarn Encore Chunky. I did not do the braids as shown in the pattern -- I just did a crochet chain stitch on each of the ear flaps on the front. With that style and color combo, he looks like Darth Vader dressed as a USC fan.
I have lots of leftover yarn, so I'm thinking of making a hat for myself. We'd be dressed so matchy-matchy -- yeesh.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Another blog contest prize -- woohoo!

I've been doing well with blog contests this year. Maryanne, a.k.a. Knittymuggins, recently had a bloggyversary contest, and I won! My prize arrived this past weekend, and it consisted of two chocolate bars (one can never go wrong with chocolate!) and a lovely hand knitted cowl.

The cowl pattern is the Darkside Cowl pattern from Ravelry, and the yarn is a very soft and lightweight Malabrigo Silky Merino. I've never worn a cowl before, and I must admit it's quite nice -- it's warm without the bulk of a scarf. This particular yarn is also very comfortable to wear. Thanks, Maryanne, for holding your contest, and for knitting such a nice prize!

Monday, December 15, 2008

GINORMOUS handicrafts giveaway!

There's a huge handmade goods giveaway going on over at Modish. The prize package is worth $724. Hurry over there and enter -- it ends soon!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Knitting is just everywhere

Clearly, knitting must be trendy. It's made it to the comics.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cat ornament, sort of

I have a friend who LOVES cats. As part of that love of cats, she collects cat ornaments. For a gift, I knitted this tank top ornament with a cat silhouette done with duplicate stitching. This is my second attempt. My first attempt used multi-colored sock yarn, and I knitted a top-down raglan sweater, but the multi-coloring did not allow for a good contrasting cat pattern, and the top-down sweater made it too difficult to do the duplicate knitting afterwards. For this second attempt, I used sport yarn, knit the two pieces separately, then sewed them together. That way, I could do the cat motif on a flat piece. The edgings are single crochet and don't look as clean as I'd like, but what heck -- it's just an ornament. I made a little hanger from some wire.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

FO -- tweedy sweater

This is a tweedy pullover from my own improvised pattern. The yarn is Elsebeth Lavold silky tweed, in an olive green. I also used a little bit of pinky-dirty-beige for the trim. The ruched shell from Interweave Knits winter 2007 was the inspiration for the top part. I really liked the gathering, and this pullover uses the same yarn, but at a tighter gauge. The bottom half is knit horizontally. I wanted to try a horizontal knit because I think they drape better and stretch in length more than in width after being worn.

Details: The bottom has short row shaping. It was cast provisionally and three-needle bind off was used to join the last row to the start. Stitches were picked up for the top part and knit in the round until the armholes. The sleeves were cast on using tubular cast-on and knit with cap shaping and then sewn on.
A double strand was used for the crochet edging. The bow is purely decorative.

The neckline came out a little wider and lower than I'd like, especially after a day's wear, but it looks great with a layering piece underneath, so I'm happy with it. I thought about using a wide ribbed border to close up the neckline, but I really like the look of the crochet edging.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I'd like one of these

I'd like one of these pouf/ottomans, but I don't want to pay $1360 for one! I would really like to know what size diameter needles were used to make them.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Works in Progress

This is the tweedy pullover of my own design. I just need to do some sleeves. I'm going to knit some short sleeves with shaped sleeve caps and sew them on. I thought about picking up stitches around the armhole and shaping the cap with short rows, but I think that might result in too many stitches for the sleeve circumference and they would look baggy in the upper arm. I used a double strand of contrast yarn for the single crochet neck border. The slip stitch bow is purely decorative. I left the ends there because I want to attach one or two beads before knotting the ends. I think the sweater will have an Anthropologie-esque look, which is a good thing.

I've also cast on for the lettuce coat, from Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard. I'm going to make mine about 6 inches shorter than the pattern length, so it will be a long cardigan. The brioche stitch looks far better up close and personal than in photos. Photos don't capture the fluffiness and loftiness of the ribbing.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Eyelet front vest is done!

The pattern is #11, the eyelet front vest, from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2008. The yarn is Plymouth Yarn Royal llama silk. I'm not gloriously happy with this garment, but I'm happy enough to include it in the wardrobe rotation. It was a risk knitting it since the photo in the magazine does not show that much detail. I could tell from the schematic that it had large armholes, but I figured that would be okay since it is supposed to be a vest. On the model, it looks like the wide shoulders form a small sleeve capping. However, when I initially tried it on, the shoulders actually fall over the arms and I ended with GINORMOUS sleeve holes. This just looked bad. After the initial disappointment, I looked at it and decided I could just seam up about 2" at the bottom of the armholes and this would create a narrower sleeve. I did that and it still has these pseudo sleeves that are larger than I would like, but it's wearable now. Other than the sleeve seaming change, I added one additional row each of increases and decreases. This pattern is a really quick knit, and the lace section is actually fun to do.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Works in Progress (WIPs)

It's time for an update on my WIPs. First off, I'm working on this pullover that is of my own design. Right now, it looks like a micro skirt, but it's the bottom half of the pullover, knit horizontally. I wanted to knit something horizontally because the horizontal knits tend to stretch in length and drape better, especially if the gauge is fairly loose. The bottom half of this pullover should drape nicely -- at least that's the theory. I used a provisional cast-on and I'm about the join the edges with 3-needle bind off. I'll pick up stitches for the top half. I'll probably put some gathering in the front.

Next up is the lace front vest, #11 from Vogue holiday 2008. Knitting this is a bit of a risk -- I can't see that much from the photo. There is this nice FO on ravelry, but it's on a dressmaker's form, which is still different from being on a real human. I'm done seaming it up -- I just have to do some crochet around the bottom and weave in some ends. I didn't like one aspect of it when I first tried it on, but it's much better after some seam changes. I'll explain the issues when I model the FO later.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ingenue is finished!

The pattern is Ingenue from Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard. The yarn is Fibranatura Mermaid. My main customization is with the sleeve width. I cast on for the smallest size at 116 stitches, but divided them up into 20 stitches per sleeve and 38 for the front and back. This changes the sleeve to body size ratio and I end up with narrower sleeves. I find that loose upper sleeves on a pullover can make my upper body look saggy. Sagginess is not a good thing. I did 18 rounds of increases, but increased only on the body for the last round. The sleeves are tapered and not flared. My sweater is also a little longer -- I did 5 rounds each of decreases and increases and spread them out a little more. I'm thinking this will be a very wearable sweater.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Knitting and dining (not at the same time)

First, on the knitting front, I've made good progress on Ingenue from Custom Knits. I'm doing the sleeves now, which shouldn't take much longer. I'm doing skinny tapered sleeves because I'm not a big fan of flared sleeves. Also, I changed the sleeve/body ratio of stitches so that my sleeves are narrower at the top than the pattern's sleeves for the smallest size.

On the dining front, we traveled to Las Vega$ this last weekend and enjoyed some great dining. The photos here are from Japonais, in the Mirage. I mention this restaurant because I first heard about it via Robin's Yarn Crawl blog. She blogged about the Chicago restaurant, I clicked on the link, saw that it had a Las Vegas branch, and the menu seemed very interesting. There were three of us dining and we ordered everything to share. Some of the smaller plates were just barely big enough for three, but the larger plates were fine. Here's a photo of some Kobe beef and a rock on which you cook it. The beef was wonderfully marinated.

This is "Le Quack", one of the house specialties.

Here we have one of the sashimi appetizers.

And for dessert, we shared some sorbets in watermelon soup.

The waitress told us that the Las Vegas menu is about 70% of the Chicago one. It's a bit pricey, but it's definitely a special occasion kind of place.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A finished object!

This pullover is my own pattern. The yarn is Debbie Bliss cashmerino DK, which is very light yet warm. I’m very happy with this. I got what I set out to achieve, which is a simple top-down raglan t-shirt-like sweater with a little cable detailing.
I put the small cables down the raglan sleeve. I did fuss with a swatch a bit to get the concentric diamond pattern correct.
The neckline finishing is just a few purl rows rolled under. The neckline does have a small amount of scooping in the front, so it was not knit and joined in the round immediately – there were a few rows of castings on in front to get the scoop.
The only thing I would do differently would be to add about 1" more to the length, but I can wear it as is.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


It's time to review my works-in-progress. First up, I'm almost done with this top-down pullover that's not knit from any pattern. I wanted a pullover with some simple cables. The concentric diamonds in the front keeps it from being totally plain. The yarn is Debbie Bliss cashmerino DK, which is lovely to knit with. I fussed with the neckline a bit. I'm happy with this second attempt, which is just a simple purl border that rolls to the inside. My first attempt was a garter stitch collar that was supposed to fold to the outside, but it just didn't come out as envisioned. I'm going to just do some short sleeves. Long sleeves would be too warm.

Next, I've cast on for Ingenue, from Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard. Just for ducks, I folded the collar and knitted it it along with the last row instead of sewing it down later. It looks good enough for me, although I probably would not like it if I were an absolute perfectionist because it does lead to some looser stitches at the junction. I included a collar stitch with the main stitch only on every other stitch.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I won a prize -- woohoo!

Kim, over at hand eye crafts, holds this yearly Knitters' Hunk contest. The idea is, you nominate one or two candidates for knitters' hunk, and votes are gathered over some period of time, and if your nominee wins, you win a prize. Well, I nominated Hugh Jackman, and he somehow won the votes at every round, and ended up as the 2008 knitters' hunk! I was pleasantly surprised to receive this big box in the mail the other day.

Inside, were all these lovely items, including 4 balls of Knit Picks yarn, a big ball of sock yarn, some sock patterns, some hand cream, and some stitch markers made with tiny photos of the ever-hunky Hugh himself. This was all contained in a lovely tote bag made with cotton imported from Japan. Thanks, Kim, for organizing the contest, and thanks to all who contributed items to the prize package!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

FO: A little bit of glitz

The pattern: Gathered pullover from Interweave Knits Winter 2007
The yarn: Blue Heron cotton/rayon/metallic
The small amount of metallic gives this sweater little bits of glitz, although it's hard to see in the photo. I omitted the gathering tucks at the bust line, and also placed the cables about 1/2" lower than called for in the pattern. Even so, the sweater is still a smidgen too snug at the bust line. I knitted the 32" size which would normally result in the perfect amount of negative ease, but the cables reduce the stretchiness. I started the neckline about 1/2" higher and made each shoulder 2 stitches wider. I wanted to be sure that I could wear this without a layering piece underneath. The sweater is so close-fitting that another layer would make me look like an over-stuffed yet lumpy sausage. With luck, the cotton in the yarn will make it stretch out with wear.
Other customizations: I made 3/4 length sleeves and put in some waist shaping. On the knitting technique front, I used 3-needle bind-off for the shoulder seams, and I actually knit the sleeves flat and sewed up the seam because it's faster for me to do it that way. Oh, and I also knit the neckline finishing in the round, starting at a shoulder, and increased a stitch at the V on each of the last two rows, figuring this would make it roll nicer.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

WIP and reading material

I'm almost done with the gathered pullover from Interweave Knits Winter 2007. I have just one sleeve and the neck finishing to do. I had to re-do a little bit of the sleeve cap on the one completed sleeve because the cap was a bit too small for the armhole. I slowed the decrease rate at the top to add about 6 rows to the cap height and I'm much happier with it. The sleeves are 2/3 length.

I recently bought a new knitting magazine that I'd never seen before. It's a Debbie Bliss magazine, but presented by Vogue Knitting. This is the premiere issue. I bought it because the photos look lovely and the knitwear looks lovely. I sort of like a few of the patterns, and I say "sort of" because each has some feature that I don't like. I probably won't be knitting any of them.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The last LYS of the road trip

The last LYS visited on the great 2008 road trip was Jimmy Beans Wool in Reno, NV. This shop has a fun website because it features many photos of her dogs modeling various pieces of knitwear. It used to have a satellite shop in Truckee, CA, which is where I first discovered it. I'd never seen the Reno store before. Amazingly, I did not buy anything. Perhaps I was just all shopped out from the other LYS visits. The store had many hanks of variegated lightweight yarns in the center displays.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Yet another LYS visit

As part of my quest to visit local yarn shops on the great 2008 road trip to/from Wyoming, I checked out Black Sheep Wool in Salt Lake City. This is a well stocked shop located near Temple Square in the South Temple historical district. It has quite a collection of yarn, including lots of Noro and Debblie Bliss.

I bought some of my personal favorite yarn -- some Elsebeth Lavold silky wool in this intense blue color.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Another LYS on the road trip tour

I've been visiting local yarn shops on the great Wyoming road trip. This last stop was a visit to knit On Pearl in Jackson, Wyoming. This is a cozy shop packed chock full with yarn. I was greeted by Lulu, a lovely German shepherd mix dog, who kept following me around with her nose sniffing my pocket, which held dog treats for my own Large
. I did not find too much I wanted to buy, because the shop stocks mainly wools. This makes sense, since it is in Wyoming. I decided to make a small purchase of 3 balls of Berroco Comfort, a nylon/acrylic blend in a sea foam green color. I've never knitted with a nylon yarn, so it will be interesting.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Yarn shop visit and stash enhancement

While on my road trip to Wyoming, I paid a visit to Yarn Connection in Idaho Falls. This is a nice shop with a good selection of yarns, especially lots of yarn by Brown Sheep. I've never knitted with the Brown Sheep yarns before, so I decided to enhance my stash with a purchase of Serendipity Tweed. I was debating between this and the cotton fleece and decided to try this because it feels softer and the "tweed" colors are nice. I also bought a set of Brittany size 7 birch needles, which I've never used before.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Road Trip Knitting

I'm on a road trip to Wyoming and back. I've been able to work on my gathered pullover from Interweave Knits Winter 2007. and I'm halfway through the cable section. I think I'll be doing 2/3 length sleeves, and eliminating the bust gathering. Also, I added some waist shaping.
I'll be trying to visit some yarn shops along the way. So far, I haven't had much luck -- Deluxe Yarns in Reno, NV, is no longer there, and I did not try to find Sheep-to-Yarn in Winnemucca, NV, because its phone number is disconnected so I'm not sure if it's still in business. There's still Idaho Falls, ID, and Jackson, WY to go, and perhaps Jimmy Beans in Reno on the return leg of the trip.

I'll leave you with a photo of the Snake River Canyon, in Twin Falls Idaho.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Trying to use the right side of my brain

It was time for me to try and be creative and knit a sweater without using a pattern. I decided to go with a basic top-down raglan sweater, since I've done a couple of those and I know how to start them and how to do the raglan increases. I decided to put some small cables along the raglan line. I needed something on the body besides all stockinette, so I put a couple of concentric diamonds on the front. This pullover does have a slight scoop in the front, so I did not join cast-on stitches immediately. I find that the sweaters that start with a joined loop are usually too close to the throat on the neckline, which bugs me. It's going well, and it fits well so far. I just have about 11 more inches of a stockinette tube to knit. I haven't quite decided on the sleeve length but most likely it will be short. For the neckline, I'm thinking of doing this garter stitch collar with increases that folds back over the front, sort of like a mini-cowl, if there is such a thing.
The yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK. I see why knitters love this yarn -- it's really soft and looks great knitted.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Knitting while exercising and vice versa

Ellen over at L.A. Is My Beat got me thinking the other day. She blogged about walking for exercise and not quite figuring out to knit and walk at the same time. Walking and knitting would be quite difficult for me because I usually walk with Large Dog pulling me along. However, I realized that I could probably knit while sitting on the recumbent stationary bike at the gym. I tried it out, and it's great! I do knit a little slower, and I can only do basic stockinette or ribbing, and the yarn can't be too splitty, but that's fine by me.
I would have loved to take a photo, but I think the gym frowns upon such things as cameras in the gym. Instead, I can show you what I worked on. It's the gathered pullover from Interweave Knits Winter 2007. The yarn is Blue Heron cotton/rayon/metallic. You can't see the bits of metalllic in the photo, but it adds that little bit of glitz.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Finished skirt

I'm very happy with this skirt. Tomokee (a.k.a. Large Dog) does not seem to care. This is the kilt skirt from Knit 2 Together, but without the kilt flap thingie. The yarn is spaghetti by Gerifil, which is springy and crunchy and should be good for a skirt because it will not result in any waggin', baggin', or saggin'.
I wanted to use a texture pattern stitch for the main body, and this texture makes the skirt narrower and stretchier. This allows it to hug my almost-non-existent rear end better, and the texture hides any lumps or bumps that do exist on the non-existent rear end.
Other customizations are just size related: I knitted 17 repeats of the bottom ruffle, 180 stitches for the body, 170 stitches for the ribbing, and 160 stitches for the waistband. I did use a 2-stitch garter stitch border at the bottom.
My texture stitch (for knitting in the round) is a multiple of 3 stitches:
row 1: *K2tog, leave on LHN, K first st again and slip both off LHN, K1, rep from *
row 2: K
row 3: *K1, K2tog and K into first stitch as for row 1, rep from *
row 4: K

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

GPS: 1 Betty: 0

This last Saturday, I argued with the GPS and lost. I was driving in San Francisco, and I figured I could do better because, after all, I am a native San Franciscan. I kept insisting on going a different route, and the GPS kept saying "recalculating" and giving me directions in a British accent. Well, my route kept me going in circles, due to one way streets and "do not enter" signs, so I eventually gave up and followed the instructions. The moral of the story is, when in S.F., don't argue with the GPS.
Anyway, my destination was the wonderful Imagiknit yarn shop in the Mission Dolores neighborhood. This is the largest yarn shop I've ever set foot into. It is piled high with yarny goodness in two big rooms and has a very nice vibe.

And of course, I had to buy something, so I got this lovely berry-colored llama/silk yarn on sale.