Saturday, January 17, 2009

The fastest FO ever

The pattern is the cropped cardi from Knit.1 Fall/Winter 2008 (ravelry link). The yarn is a dual strand of white Cascade 220 and this pink LYS brand of yarn which is the same as South West Trading Company Optimum merino yarn. I knitted this in less than a week -- I guess using a high gauge really helps. My double strand is not as bulky as the pattern's yarn, and my gauge is 2.5 stitches/inch. I knitted the largest size minus six stitches because I wanted less flare on the bottom. The last post describes some of the other adjustments to compensate for the fewer stitches.
I decided to omit the collar after I knitted it and tried it on because it makes the neckline too narrow. I opted for just a single crochet border instead. The button keeps the cardi from flopping open.

I really like the way the back looks. This sweater was a really fun and quick knit. Even though I used a finer gauge, mine is still a looser knit that the modeled sweater, so it drapes more, which I like. The yarn color combo gives it a mottled look. The other half thinks it looks like a case of hives, but I rather like it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A really fun knit

After I frogged the garter yoke cardi, I wanted to knit the cropped cardi (ravelry link) from the same Knit.1 Fall/Winter 2008 issue. I was fascinated by the construction technique of this pattern, and I really got inspired to knit it after seeing Nakia's FO. I don't have any bulky yarn in my stash, so I decided to combine two yarns - the pink yarn originally destined for the garter yoke sweater, and some Cascade 220 white yarn from my stash. It's still not as bulky as the pattern's yarn, and my gauge is 2.5 stitches/inch instead of 2, so I decided to knit it in the largest size. Also, I wanted to alter the pattern to cut down on the flaring at the bottom. It took me a while to digest the pattern and figure out if my changes would work because of its unique construction and because both stitch and row gauge are important to sizing. I'm very pleased with the result.

The pattern knits up as two halves, so I could try on my first half, and it's a great fit! Even with the finer gauge, my garment is a fairly loose knit, so it drapes more than the modeled version. This is a good thing because I think the one in the magazine looks a little stiff.

I ended up casting on 6 stitches less than the largest size, taking the stitches away from the bottom segment. I decreased only 1 stitch on the decrease row, then added 2 decreases on each side of the sleeve because I ended up with more sleeve stitches due to the narrower bottom. I also did a couple of more rows on the sleeves, decreasing on the shoulder side.

It's really a fun knit because the sweater magically shapes up as you go, and each row has fewer stitches than the previous.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Frogging happens

I decided to frog the garter yoke cardi that I blogged about starting on the last post. It wasn't really bad or anything, but too many things bugged me about it.

My button band was indeed dense enough to prevent gaposis, but it still had the tugged look when buttoned because I just did not have enough positive ease at the bust line, and I really dislike the tugged look.

The garter stitch yoke does cling nicely to the shoulders, but it makes me feel like I'm wearing a wide elastic band just below my shoulders. I'd like to try knitting this
as a pullover, but with a shorter yoke section, and start the raglan increases earlier.

My body stitch pattern just looked too busy with that particular yarn, and also with the vast amount of pinkness. I kept thinking it made me look like I had a skin disease.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Now entering the zone of frou-frou colors

For some reason, both of my current projects are using yarns in these pretty pastel colors. Sometimes I think I'm too ancient mature to be wearing these girly-girl colors, but then again, why not. They will cheer me up when the weather is dreary.

The first sweater is the garter yoke cardi from Knit.1 Fall/Winter 2008 (ravelry link). The yarn is an LYS house brand that is the same as South West Trading Company Optimum merino yarn. I wanted to knit this because I like the way the yoke clings to the shoulders, sort of like a mini-stole. Originally, I thought of just converting it to a pullover to avoid the button band gaposis issue because the garter stitch is just not sturdy enough a button band for me. Then I decided to think up a different button band as part of my quest to build a repertoire of non-gaposis button bands. I ended up using this band that consists of 2-stitch twists, which gives it a diagonal pattern and is dense and non-stretchy. I decided to also intersperse 2-stitch twists in the body instead of just plain stockinette. While doing the yoke, I could not get my increase garter stitch rows to look just right, so I gave up hiding the increases and just used yarn-overs. The holes give a nice effect, so I'm happy with that.

My button bands are 7 stitches wide. Here's the stitch pattern:
RT = knit the 2nd stitch on LHN from the front, then the 1st stitch on the LHN and
slip both to the RHN
Row 1: Slip 1 as if to K, RT 3 times, do body, RT 3 times, K1 tbl
Row 2: Slip 1 as if to P, P 6 stitches, do body, P 7 stitches
Row 3: Slip 1 as if to K, K1, RT 2 times, K1, do body, K1, RT 2 times, K1, K1 tbl
Row 4: same as row 2
I did the button holes on the WS as follows: Slip 1 as if to P, P 1, P2tog, YO, P3
The holes aren't visible in the photo, but they are there on the right band.
The row gauge is a little bigger than garter stitche rows on the yoke, but the yoke tends to stretch when worn, so I think it will be fine.

My second WIP is the climbing vines pullover from Interweave Knits Winter 2008 (ravelry link). The yarn is di.Ve' Zenith. I'm doing my own sizing since the gauge is finer than the pattern's gauge. I also decided to move the pattern to the middle because I don't want the armhole edge to get too close to it since I may be narrowing the shoulders a bit. Finally, I decided to omit the emerging leaf at the bottom of the sweater.

I wonder if I can find something similar in a local hardware store..

These "phat knits" are so darn cuddly looking. I wonder if there's something similar I can just buy at a hardware store to knit up something big.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

First FO of 2009

Happy New Year, everyone! Here's my first finished object of 2009. It has survived about 1/2 day's wear with no problems. The pattern is the Lettuce Coat from Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard. The yarn is Filtes King Extra Stampato. My version is more a long sweater than a coat -- it's about 25" from shoulder to hem. I also did not do the I-cord on the cuffs with buttons -- I just seamed the cuffs. Buttons on the sleeve bottoms tend to get caught in stuff. My biggest customization was using a wide double-knit button band to solve my gaposis issue with front buttons. My last post talks more about the button band.
This yarn is really nice and soft when worn. It does split quite a bit, which made the brioche rib slow going. Also, because of the loose gauge, if a stitch or two accidentally slipped off the needle, things would quickly unravel and it was hard for me to fix the brioche stitch mishaps with a crochet hook. This resulted in more ripping back than I would have liked. Other than that, the sweater was pretty straightforward knitting. Regarding the sleeves, I picked the stitches up from the armholes as instructed in the pattern, but I knit them flat and seamed them. I really dislike small-diameter circular knitting and simple seams are easy for me.