Saturday, February 28, 2009

Boosting the economy at Stitches West

I went to Stitches West today and did my part to boost the economy. First off, I bought some Plymouth Yarn Royal Silk Merino in two colors, a green and a butter yellow. This was a WEBS sale item.

I also bought some Debbie Bliss Stella in a shade of hot pink. It did not look as pink on the convention floor under the fluorescent lights. I forgot the vendor name, but they seem to be there every year selling bags of sale yarn.

Finally, I got some Malabrigo worsted. I bought 5 skeins of this bluish lavender color. This was not a sale item. The vendor is Imagiknit from San Francisco. I've never knitted with Malabrigo before, but tons of knitters rave about it, so it's about time I tried it out. I don't have a pattern in mind yet.

I also got these cool vintage looking buttons:

Finally, I got this sweater fastener pin that was orignally sold as a hair clip. They come in several sizes, look vintage-y, and have this great feature where the stick is attached so that you can't lose it, which can happen with normal shawl pin designs. They were very popular.

While we're on the topic of boosting the economy, I've been replacing a lot of furniture recently, including the bedroom pieces. I decided to re-purpose the old bedroom chest for yarn storage, and now I feel super organized and I have more space for quite a bit more stash. Woohoo! I discovered that these Ikea Komplement storage boxes make grest yarn organizers in the chest.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bulky cardi FO

This is the raglan jacket from Vogue Knitting Winter 2008/2009. This is a really fun cardi to wear and also fun to knit. The yarn is Cascade Bollicine Revolution, which must be a discontinued yarn because it came from the bargain basement of WEBS.
I think I must consider knitting more of these bulky styles. They have this aspect of almost-instant gratification knitting and they don't look that bulky when worn.

I used a 2.5 stitches/inch gauge instead of the 2 st/inch from the pattern and knit the medium size. The length of the lace came out shorter because of a finer row gauge, and I wanted that. I knit a longer bodice and used tapered increases to the bust to get some shaping. I used a much finer gauge for the seed stitch button band to ensure a dense band and reduce button gaposis. I made adjustments to the raglan decrease rate to get the right armhole depth and neckline width. I try for about 8.75" of raglan depth for a cardigan. The neckline, after being worn for a day, is about 25" wide.

I actually like the yarn because it's really soft and warm and easy to knit with. It does have one annoying aspect. The fiber content is 90% merino wool and 10% nylon. The nylon is a single strand that wraps around wool on the outside and holds everything together, but that single strand can get caught on things like my watch when I don the sweater and it ends up getting pulled and distorting the yarn. I might buy some more anyway because it's dirt cheap.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Super Bulky

I've been obsessing over this raglan cardigan from Vogue Knitting Winter 2009 ever since the issue appeared. I just think it looks like such a cool pattern. I found some Cascade Bollicine Revolution super bulky yarn from the bargain basement WEBS sale at a great price, so I'm off and knitting. I never really wanted to knit the bulky garments much before because they tend to look, well, bulky. Often it's because the pattern uses a lot of cables which tends to thicken the garment. This pattern is just flat stockinette for the bodice and the lace section does not look thick.
I'm using a 2.5 stitches/inch gauge, which is finer than the pattern's gauge. This also results in a finer row gauge so my lace section is shorter. I'm knitting a longer bodice section so that the lace will start below the bust line but just above the waist. I also am tapering the increases from the lace to the armholes.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Climbing Vines FO

This is a customized version of the climbing vines pullover from Interweave Knits Winter 2008. (ravelry link) The yarn is di.Ve' Zenith. My gauge and yarn are finer at 5 stitches/inch, so I did my own sizing. I moved the motif to the center because I wanted to narrow the shoulders and didn't know how close to the edge I'd get. In retrospect, a side pattern would have been fine and I think I would have liked it better that way.
The fit came out fine except for the sleeve length -- it's either too short or too long, depending upon how you look at it. I was aiming for 3/4 length sleeves and ended up with 15/16 length, or perhaps 31/32. I'm not sure how that happened -- I'm usually pretty good at getting my size dimensions correct. I knew it was too long after knitting one sleeve and attaching it, but decided that changing it wasn't worth the effort. This sweater might also do better with a little less negative ease because the leaves are a bit flattened and distorted. I chose a V neckline instead of the U, and I omitted the emerging leaf at the bottom.
My final conclusion is that I like the sweater, but I'm not jumping up and down with joy. I think I find it sort of boring because it's just a basic pullover and the color is monochromatic. However, the yarn is very soft, comfy, and durable.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Works In Progress

I generally work on two sweater projects at a time. Currently, one of them is SweaterBabe's lush and lacy cardigan. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. I'm working on the back and I had to make some size adjustments. I added some decreases below the gathering point because I discovered that my lace gauge is looser than the stockinette gauge. I also added 1/2" to the peplum length, shortened the length from the peplum top to the armhole, and am lengthening the armhole. I'm also narrowing the shoulders by over an inch.

The second sweater is the climbing vines pullover from Interweave Knits Winter 2008. The yarn is di.Ve' Zenith. My yarn and gauge is finer than the pattern's, so I'm doing my own size. I decided to put the pattern in the middle because I'm narrowing the shoulders and I wasn't sure how close the armhole edge would be to the pattern edge. My neckline is more of a V than a U shape. The body and most of one sleeve is done.

I worked on the sleeve while on a day-trip to Carmel-By-the-Sea -- this is my favorite beach knitting perch.

Here's my view from the knitting perch. We normally do Carmel getaways in spring or fall, but the weather has never been as pretty as it was on this January visit in the middle of winter.