Monday, March 30, 2009

FO: Dropped stitch yoke pullover

This is a pullover from my own improvised pattern. The yarn is Knit One Crochet Two Merino Gold. It contains little bits of metallic stuff that's hard to see in the photo. The contrast metallic yarn is Feza Iplik Night.
I wanted to try making a top-down raglan that has a yoke for the top section by doing the same number of increases but spread evenly. The increases are the standard 8 stitches every two rows. The yoke has 3 rows of double YOs which are dropped on the following row. For those rows, I did not do increases, but increased 16 stitches 2 rows later. I dub this pattern Cleopatra (Cleo for short) because of this neck piece. I'm very happy with the sweater and how the yoked turned out.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New reading material

I recently purchased three (count 'em, three) new knitting books. My favorite one of the bunch is French Girl Knits, by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes. Most of the styles have that chic bohemian, vintage-y, Anthropologie-esque look. I may be old as dirt, but I'm still an Anthropologie fangirl. My favorite patterns are Sophia, shown on the cover, and Paloma (ravelry link).

I am lukewarm about Glam Knits, by Stefanie Japel. I think I like it better than her Fitted Knits book, mainly because the patterns seem more diverse. My favorite one is the Circle Shrug -- I think that's the pattern that convinced me to buy the book. I'm also thinking of knitting a shorter sweater version of the Lace Minidress, but it requires p4tog stitches, which can't be fun.

The Simple Style book, by Ann Budd, is a disappointment to me. I really like the Sixteen-Button Cardigan (ravelry link), but that's about it. A lot of other styles look sort of boring to me. Some of the sweaters have that dropped shoulder, wide armhole look that just gives me a baggy saggy look.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Recent cast-on

I recently cast on for the Ariosa Wrap Cardi from Classic Elite. I'm using the Malabrigo merino worsted that I purchased during my snow shoeing trip. This is a nice straightforward pattern with a simple and soothing lace rib pattern. It also goes pretty quickly. I adjusted the position of the middle ribbing so that it hits the middle of my waist (I hope). I used one size smaller needle for the mid section to get a little more shaping. I did a minor adjustment to the pattern -- I used SSK instead of K2tog for row 4.
This color is a really unusual shade of orangy-pink. It has undertones of blues and browns and who knows what else. I call it "dirty bubble gum pink", or perhaps just "dirty gums pink". My Other Half calls it "diseased organ meat pink". I actually like the color a lot.

Monday, March 16, 2009

FO: Lush and Lacy Cardigan

The pattern is the Lush and Lacy Cardigan from The yarn is Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran. I love all the details in this sweater pattern -- especially the peplum and the gathered sleeves. I did have to do a lot of little tweaks to get the fit just right.
First off, the pattern's width dimension as shown in the schematic assumes that the stitch gauge with the lace is the same as the gauge with the stockinette. This was not true in my case -- the lace has a slightly looser gauge. In order to compensate for this, I added some side decreases on the peplum and one more set when the lace section begins. I did the same for the front but decreased a little less since I don't mind if the front is a little looser to avoid pulling on the front bands. I also did 2 rows of decreases on the lower sleeve.
Secondly, I don't know if the sweater is supposed to have a dropped shoulder design, but it is written with a very wide shoulder. I decreased the shoulder width by just over an inch. I also increased the armhole depth a little bit and made the sleeve cap taller.
Lastly, I added about 1/2" to the bottom section, and I made the sleeves about 2.5" inches longer so that the gathering starts just above the elbow.
I made crochet leaves for the hook/eye closures -- the last post discussed these leaves.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Works in progress

It's time for a review of my two current WIPs. First up is the Lush and Lacy Cardigan by I had to make lots of little tweaks to get the sizing just right, but it's almost done. I'm finishing up the second sleeve now. Sleeves go quickly for me. I usually don't start them until I've finished the body as much as possible and know that it fits well. The sleeves are just the final dash to the finish line since I'm looking forward to a new sweater.
I wanted to use some sort of clasp buttons or hook & and eye closures but I couldn't find anything suitable in the local stores or at Stitches West. I decided to make some crochet leaves and put hooks and eyes at the tips and use these as closures. Crochet maven Ellen over at L.A. Is My Beat gave me a pointer to this URL for making crochet leaves. I adapted the pattern to make myself some smaller leaves that start with a 9-stitch chain. I think they are quite suitable.

My other WIP is from my own improvised pattern. I wanted to use this Knit One Crochet Too merino yarn with bits of metallic gold. I also have a ball of Feza Iplik Night gold yarn. I wanted to make some sort of slightly dressier sweater. The top-down raglan is the easiest way to go, and I wanted to try something where the first few inches have the increases spread out evenly to create the yoked look and then separate for the standard raglan division further down. This yoke consists of dropped stitches alternating with some garter rows. I call this sweater "Cleopatra" because the neckline looks like something Cleo might have worn back in the day.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A new not-local yarn shop

We took a snow shoeing trip to the Lake Tahoe area last weekend and stayed in historic Truckee, CA. We visit Truckee only once or twice a year, and I used to always stop by the Jimmy Beans Wool yarn shop. That Jimmy Beans location closed a few years ago, leaving Truckee with a knitting shop void. I was happily surprised on this visit when I stumbled upon Lake Tahoe Yarn Co. on our shopping excursion. It's located in one of these old homes that line historic downtown and shares it's retail space with another quaint shop.

Of course, I just had to buy something, so I decided to pick up more Malabrigo worsted yarn. This is a really unsual bluish-brownish-orangish pink that looks different in different lighting.