Sunday, May 31, 2009

FO: Crocheted for the cure

This is a crocheted beret that I'm sending off to Knit For The Cure
. I first found out about this organization from Ellen over at L.A. Is My Beat. They sell donated knit and crochet items at Susan G. Komen foundation events and the proceeds go to the foundation. The only requirement for the hand-crafted items is that they incorporate the color pink. Being mainly a sweater knitter, I get lots of leftover yarn, and some of it is pink. I figure this is a great way to use up some of those leftovers.

This pattern is Phannie, a freebie from Berroco. I used Berroco Nostalgia yarn.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

FO: Paloma

I recently finished Paloma (ravelry link) from French Girl Knits by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes. he yarn is
Jaeger Trinity, a silk/cotton/polyamide blend.

I just LOVE the vintage-y look of this sweater. My chosen color also adds to the effect -- it looks like something I unearthed from an attic trunk. Wearing it makes me feel like I should be stepping into one of these garden party scenes in a PBS mystery.
I made the neckline narrower, and changed the distribution of stitches at the underarm, as described in this post and this post. I'm very happy with the customizations. I don't need a ribbon to keep the neckline in place, and I have just the right amount of ease at the bust line. In addition, I never changed over to the largest needle size in the bottom section. I just used the middle needle size and did 4 repeats of the 13-stitch pattern and 3 each of the 14-stitch and 15-stitch patterns. I think it would have been way to big at the bottom if I used the largest needle.
Finally, I used an eyelet border on the bottom and on the sleeve edging which looks like the neckline, more or less.

Friday, May 8, 2009

FO: The 9 day sweater

This is probably one of the quickest sweaters I've ever knitted. It is the Twisted Cardigan by Sarah Punderson (ravelry link). It's really more of a fall/winter sweater, but I just HAD to knit it once I saw it because it's just so unique. I figured it wouldn't take very long at 11 stitches/4 inches and I could finally use up the Cascade Venezia bulky merino yarn that I had saved from an unsuccessful skirt I frogged some time ago.

I'm pretty happy with the end result. It does give me a linebacker look because of the extra bulkiness in the shoulders, and the front sort of looks like I'm wearing an armored breastplate or something. The Other Half says it looks like "a springtime female Klingon outfit". I'm actually okay with all of that because I think the overall look is artsy.

I did make some minor pattern modifications. I always make customizations because, gentle readers, that's just how I roll. I really liked the two top cables on the front, but I didn't like the bottom smaller cable, and I didn't like the rising front at the bottom. The pattern (smallest size) calls for casting on 20 stitches, doubling up the stitches after the ribbing, then distributing 4 M1 increases on the bottom. I cast on 30 stitches, doubled the stitches only on the top 14 stitches, and omitted the increases along with the bottom cable. In addition, I knitted the back for only 9 inches before casting on for the sleeves so the front and back sides are same length. The pattern calls for 11 inches and easing the back when seaming, but that seemed like too much extra material. Finally, I did a little short-row shaping in the front to make the bust area a little wider and the bottom narrower, and I narrowed the back bottom also.

The buttons are decorative only -- I did not bother with button holes.

Hot pink FO

This is the Mirabella cardigan from Interweave Knits Spring 2008. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Stella, which is a silk/cotton/rayon blend. I love the ladylike style of this sweater. In particular, I love the crochet button band, discussed in this post, and the stand-up double-knit collar. My collar is a little narrower than the pattern's, and my sleeves are a bit shorter. I think a also added a couple of rows to the bottom section. If I had to do it over, I'd move the ribbing section up by 1/2 inch or so. I used an invisible bind off for the collar because I like the rounded edge look. I used a provisional cast-on for the folding hem instead of picking up a row of inside stitches from a cast-on bottom. I have plenty of leftover yarn, and I thought about doing 3/4 length sleeves, but I figure that much pinkness would be blinding to anyone looking at me.

I really like the feel of the yarn and the way the sweater drapes, but I didn't like knitting with it that much. It splits way too easily, and I could not produce regular stitches. I'm hoping this is a case where stitch irregularity just
adds to the charm of a hand knit garment.

I do feel ever so au courant with this color. My recent catalog mailing from Nordstrom features quite a few pages with clothing and accessories in very similar shades of pink. I just call it hot pink, but in the catalog, the names include watermelon, pink punch, magenta, sorbet, poppy, Arabian pink, hot pink, princess pink, and fuchsia. I wonder who thought of "Arabian pink".

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

FO: Mother's day project

I took a brief break from sweater knitting to make this neck warmer for my mother as a mother's day gift. I had some Plymouth Yarn alpaca boucle left over from my card-shrug that I wanted to use. A neck warmer doesn't take much yarn, and knits up quickly. The boucle does not need any fancy stitch pattern -- I just wanted something that lays flat. I ended up casting on 18 stitches, and every row consists of K2 P2 stitches. I slipped the first K stitch on every row. The two button loops were done on one end with a single crochet edge and chain stitches for the loops. I added one more chain stitch row to give a sturdier loop. The buttons are from some vintage-y ones I bought at the recent Stitches West. I had just under 3 balls of yarn and used it all up. The neck warmer is about 24" long and 6.5" wide.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sweaters for chickens

While on a mid-day break, I picked up a copy of Knitting magazine from the UK. I don't really want to knit anything from the magazine, although one of the freebie Rowan supplements had a nice pattern. I did, however, read this article about and their sweaters for rescued chickens. YouTube has quite a few videos -- here's the main story:

Ravelry has the pattern in its library here.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


I've been knitting the same two garments listed on the last post. I've made good progress on Mirabella. The only thing left are the two short sleeves. I really like the crochet button front on this sweater. In addition to the two rows of slip stitches, I added a single crochet row on the button side just in the lower section where the buttons sit. This provides a firm surface for the buttons and eliminates any chance of the dreaded button band gaposis. My button loops are done as 3 chain stitches each, skipping over one chain stitch on the row below.

Paloma is a much slower knit, at least for the top part. I've reached the bottom section, where things will go much faster. The top section had k2tog tbl stitches on every other row, which just took forever with this sticky yarn. I also kept making little mistakes here and there. Most of them were fixable, but if they weren't, they're hopefully buried in the stitch pattern. I changed the number of stitches for each section at the underarm division point. I used 60 stitches for the back, 70 for the front, and 60 for each sleeve. I wanted a little more ease at the bust line, and I don't mind a little less fullness in the sleeves. The pattern
(smallest size) called for 45 stitches for the back and 75 for the front, which makes for a pretty narrow back section. Most of the 15 underarm cast-on stitches would have landed at the back, but I was afraid too much of my back lower underarms would leak out of the sweater -- not a pretty sight.