Monday, August 24, 2009

Yarn crawl

I just returned from a short vacation to the northern California wine country and San Francisco, and of course I had to check out some yarn shops. My first stop was at Knitterly in Petaluma. This shop has a really cute store front and a lot of unique yarns. I also like that vibe of lots-of-yarn-everywhere look.

I purchased some more Knit One Crochet Too 2nd Time cotton there.
Next up was Sonoma Yarn in Sonoma. This is a relatively small shop, located away from the main shopping area. The staff does include Frances Purl, the dog. I did not find any yarn to buy, but I did get some long straight Bryspun flexible size 3 needles, which are also known for their sharp points.

In Napa, I visited Yarns on First. This shop has a modern look with great lighting, and all the yarns are organized by color. The owner is friendly and the front of the shop has a table where friendly knitters were doing their thing. The wall shelves do go quite a ways up in height. I purchased some Berroco Lustra there.

My last yarn shop stop was at the ever-so-fun Imagiknit in San Francisco, where I purchased some Plymouth Fantasy Linen.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

FO: Felting experiment #2

After using the big felted bag for a while, I decided I really liked it. I wanted to try another felting project, but making something smaller. Between knitseashore talking about felted bags and Mr. Puffy talking about beading, I got inspired to try making a beaded felted small bag. This is what I would call a "casual dressy bag", whatever that means.

I really love the end result. I used some Cascade 220 sitting around in my stash, knitting with 2 strands, using an improvised pattern. I had to fuss with the bead placement and the decrease rate on the flap to get it just so. The beads were purchased from Global Beads, Inc., a local bead shop. They were only a dime a piece. The bag came out nicely dense and shrank a goodly amount in the wash cycles. I was a bit surprised that it did not fuzz up as much as I thought it would. It's mainly air dried. I did not want to risk using the dryer and having the beads bang against the walls. I stuffed a wash cloth into it while drying to shape it a bit.
It's large enough to hold a small wallet, phone, and a few other essentials. After all, what more does a girl need when attending some fancy soiree.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


This is one of my current works in progress. It is from an improvised pattern. I decided it was once again time to do something on my own. The yarn is Plymouth royal silk merino. It's going to be a simple single-button cardigan, where the button will sit below the bust line. This is the bottom section, which has a narrow folded hem and a simple pea pod eyelet pattern. This is my favorite type of stitch pattern -- I don't need charts or cable needles, it's simple, and I can fix errors one or two rows further on. I guess I'll just leave it at that and post a couple of other pics as I move along.

I also cast on for slinky ribs (ravelry link) from Custom Knits. There's not much to show there since I only have 3/4" done.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Geeks and knits

I don't know what this is, but it's sort of cute. It's something sited at Gen Con. I think it's crochet work.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Nadine is finished!

I've finished Nadine from French Girl Knits, and I love it! The yarn is Tahki Yarns Sierra, a silk/linen/nylon blend. When I first saw this pattern, I liked the overall look, but not the tunic length, and it looked like it required a lot of fiddly assembly work. After studying it more closely, I decided that this pattern can be highly customized for fit. As long as you know your own gauge, are comfortable with short row shaping, and study the schematic, you can make this fit any way you want. My gauge was a little finer at 15 stitches/4" and I wanted to shorten it by 5 inches.

Here's a summary of my size adjustments (omitting the gory details like number of stitches, which are specific for my fit)
- knitted 4.5 repeats for the lace panels, which establishes the length. I knit the pattern symmetrically.
- shortened and narrowed the lace insert short rows
- shortened the hip increase short rows
- lengthened the back bust short row increase rows.
- added a little bit of short row shaping for the front bust
- I made the back extension piece 7" wide instead of 9" -- 9" would have made the back way too wide the the sweater would fall off my shoulders.

The biggest technical difference was using the 3-needle bind off instead of grafting the lace panels. I discussed more of that in the last post. I also used slip stitch edging for the top edges, and a single crochet row for the bottom. I got lazy and did not want to pick up and knit stitches for the bottom.

I got a little frustrated with the assembly and finishing, which is rare for me because I like finishing work. I learned a technical lesson from this -- if I'm going to be sewing, picking up stitches, or adding a finishing edge, don't slip the first stitch of each row. The pattern calls for slipping the first stitch of each row on the lace panels, which looks nice if they will be standing alone. However, if I'm going to be adding more stitching, having the full number of stitches makes it easier and might look nicer because you get more options as to where to put new stitches. I should mention that I was not concerned with making the sweater reversible, which is a design feature, but is much more troublesome to accomplish.

A note on the yarn -- it's very soft, but feels like soft string. I'm not sure that I liked knitting with it, but the end result is very comfy. The yarn does tend to break when you do seaming and pull on it over and over -- it's fine for just knitting or crocheting.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Nadine on the needles

I'm currently working on Nadine from French Girl Knits (ravelry link) The yarn is Tahki Yarns Sierra. My gauge is a bit finer at 15 stitches/4" instead of 14 stitches. I'm also knitting it about 5" shorter than the pattern's length. I knitted 4.5 repeats of the side lace panels. I did one less pair of short rows on the bottom lace flutes and also made them 2 stitches shorter because my top is shorter and I did not need as much fluting on the bottom.

The biggest technical difference is that I used 3-needle bind-off to join the front panel with the side lace sections instead of grafting with the Kitchener stitch. The 3-needle bind-off is much easier to do. There's already a discontinuity between the center horizontally knit piece and the vertical side pieces, so I figure a little more discontinuity wouldn't hurt -- I could just consider it a design element. The main reason I did it is because I wanted some stability to prevent the sweater from stretching with wear. This yarn is like very soft string, and with the loose gauge, I could just see it reaching my knees with a little wear unless there is some kind of seaming.

I'm working on the back panel now, so it shouldn't take much longer. I'm hoping to get enough wear out of it before summer weather ends.