Friday, October 03, 2014

Finish It Friday: Bray

So I had this brilliant idea to start and finish a sweater before I headed up to Hartford, CT for Stitches in October.

Let me introduce you to Bray. A lovely lace/cable pullover designed by Jared Flood. A lovely very feminine sweater.

It's well documented on how much I love the Kathmandu Aran/DK  yarn (sadly, discontinued). This is the 5th project I've knit with it (but the first for me). The green is soooo me.

I have tried several projects with the yarn, but none worked quite right. It had to be the "perfect" project. A discontinued yarn in my favorite color? oh ya, Bray fit the bill. The only real concern was that it was in two dye lots, and thanks to all the starts and abandonments, I lost track of which was which dye lot. So I crossed my fingers that there were close enough that no one would notice (success!)

Okay, so let's talk about the pattern. It's lovely, beautifully written and straight forward. Of course I screwed up the set up row on the back and didn't realized that I had an extra lace section on one side until I was decreasing for my shoulders... yep had to completely re-knit the back. This is after I decided to rip back half of a sleeve to go down a size (and I actually should've gone down one more size).

So there's the rub. It's a little too big. I followed the suggestion of 2-4" of ease, but with my full bust and narrow shoulders (plus this is slightly A lined), I should've gone with no ease or adjusted the raglan/saddles to compensate for my narrow shoulders. Don't get me wrong: I'm still happy with it, it's cozy and comfy. However, it's not nearly the tailored/classic design I was hoping for.

So let's do some project stats:

Pattern: Bray by Jared Flood

Yarn: Queensland Kathmandu Aran (a moment of silence while we mourn the discontinuation of this totally awesome yarn)

Problems with the pattern: ya, did I mention this is a pattern by Jared Flood. There is nothing left to guess. All directions are written out, from the cast on technique to how to soak and block it.

Changes to the pattern: shortened sleeves 2" (could've shortened them by 4") and lengthened the body a bit. I decided to have the st. st. side out on the sleeves, as I loooooove the way the Kathmandu looks in st. st. I twisted the purl stitches between the lace panels to help tighten up the yarn overs. I used a crochet cast on (which I prefer for 2X2 rib... I only use tubular cast ons for 1X1 rib)

Overall impressions: this is so close to perfection that the little things that are wrong bother me way out of proportion. Which is basically the fit (I will also confess this probably has more to do with my own body image issue than with the sweater). I know that I will wear this A LOT and I'm sure I'll knit it again (I want a smooth yarn version too, however, I will go down a size). So while I really am happy with it, I do feel that there were a few things I could've done better.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Finish Friday: CCTC

I finally got the zipper sewn in for the Can't Clean Toilets in Cashmere cardigan.

Not the best job ever, but for what this cardigan is targeted for, it's just fine!

I did end up with a heavier zipper than I wanted (drawback of online ordering... but it's not like they have any kind of zipper selection at Joann's). It'll do, and the blue is surprisingly a decent match (I had ordered a grey zipper just in case).

The pattern (Ribby Cardi by Chic Knits) is a favorite for a reason. This might be finished number 6 or so? I might need a break from it (or at least the next one will have buttons. I might just need a break from sewing in zippers... and I have two more to go!)

 Project Stats!

Pattern: Ribby Cardi by Bonne Marie Burns (the most knit pattern here at le Knitting Park)

Yarn: Red Heart Super Tweed

Changes to the pattern: well, I changed where I did my raglan decreases so that I ened up with a moving rib. My gauge was a little larger than the pattern, as I needed the extra room.

Problems with the pattern: uh, ya, there's a reason I've knit this a billion times. So no. No problems with the pattern.

Overall impressions: this is the type of project that reminds me that I am an equal opportunity yarn consumer. It's a Red Heart yarn. It's acrylic. The yarns snobs are gasping in horror. However, I can't (or want to) always wear high maintenance sweaters. This is for those chilly days that I don't have to worry about keeping it clean. It can be tossed into the washer and dryer. I looooove the colors (that blues is just stunning and I bought more of the grey for Matt).

So I have Suzy Too! to get a zipper in yet plus one of my earlier Ribbys. However, one zipper at a time!

Friday, August 29, 2014

It's Photoshoot Friday!

and no.. I am not drunk.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I HATE having my photo taken. However, my dressform doesn't always cut it. So with a beautiful day out, a willing husband (and the promise of a beer later), we did a little photo shoot of my last two finished projects.

The super warm and cozy Letitia Crowley (the link takes you to my Ravelry page with more photos)! Ya, it's gonna be fab this winter. The yarn is AWESOME! (for those who need reminded: Valley Yarns Berkshire. Ya, that's right baby! Wool and alpaca in a beautiful shade of blue). It actually crocheted perfectly for this project.

As you can see from the modeled photos, I still have issues with the shoulders being too big and the sleeves are too long. However the entire intent of this project was for fast and cozy. It's certainly cozy (and looking at the forecast for the winter, that's gonna come in handy!)

Now Twyla! This is definitely one I'll make again. Granted it's a wee bit dressier than I intended (looks better with my black skirt than with my cropped jeans... but there's only so much wardrobe change I'll do for a photo shoot. I mean I have make up AND jewelry! Ya even my legs are shaved).

So hopefully that's enough distraction that no one notices that I didn't get the zippers sewn in this week (hey, I have them pinned! Just not sewn).

Friday, August 22, 2014

Finished It Friday: Twyla

So Twyla is finished! Whew, that took me longer than expected.

The original intent of this cardigan was for a simple crochet around the house sweater. Ya, not only was it not a simple crochet project, it ended up being more tailored and dressy for just around the house.

I did a glob of mods which is one of the reasons it's so tailored (and here's something I don't say very often: it actually looks better on me than on my dress form. I am much much fuller figured than my dress form and this fits me well. I'll get some modeled photos when we have some decent light... and my hair isn't soaking wet from my shower...)

The yarn crocheted up much better than I expected. I have no idea why I even thought of this yarn for this, but I'm glad I swatched it. The silk gives it the weight and drape while the wool helps with the shape.

So let's do some project stats!

Pattern: Twyla by Berroco

Yarn: Moda Dea Silk n Wool in Sangeria (discontinued, of course)

Problems with the pattern: can't really say if there are errors, as I did so many mods that I can't verify the pattern. I will say that I wasn't even close on yardage. I had a panic that I wouldn't have enough yarn (I miscalculated how much I had in stash). According to the pattern I was going to need 2200 yds for my size. I ended up using about 1500. Granted, most of my mods cut down on how much yarn I would use, but that still seems like a huge discrepancy.

Changes to the pattern: lots and lots. I started with the sleeves, which were the same width from cuff to armhole. I'm not a fan of wide cuffs, so I chained fewer stitches then increased. I added 2" to the sleeve width to deal with my heavy upper arms. I changed the neck shaping to a more V neck (the original is a sorta crew/v combo that a lot of people seemed to have problems getting to sit right, luckily, I prefer the deep V). I narrowed the shoulders by two cluster on each sleeve. After doing the band, I didn't like the wide band around the bottom, as it changed the drape, so I only did front bands. I also changed the sc band to a textured sc stitch. I didn't do the bands around the sleeves (as even without them, the sleeves are a smidge too long). Whew! I think that's it!

Overall impressions: Love it! While my intention was for a cozy around the house cardigan, this ended up being one of the best fitting/stylish things I've made for myself. The yarn was perfect. The crochet stitch is awesome (as Matt said "don't take this the wrong way, but that doesn't look like a crochet project"... meaning it doesn't look like I'm wearing an afghan).

The only thing I'm a bit disappointed in is where I ripped back the yoke to fix the shoulder width. The stitch pattern is much more open in that section. I was hoping it would block out when I re-blocked it, but there's still quite a difference. Luckily, it's on both the fronts and back and looks like a design element.

 Now that I have all the mods figured out... I still might get a cozy around the house one done yet!

Coming Soon! Zippered Cardigans! (I have 2 cardigans with the zippers pinned in, just need to sew them... plus a third that's actually a fix).

Friday, July 25, 2014

Finishing Friday is Overrated!

It's not how you finish, but how you start! Right? I've come down with a total case of startitis while I have globs of projects that I "should" be finishing up. I blame the pleasant summer weather we are having. I know I'll need/want these wool sweaters in 6 months... but I can't bring myself to concentrate.

These sweaters need zippers. Ya, first I gotta order them.

These sweaters need sleeves. Some are even started (one was even done, but knit on the wrong size needle so it needs a third sleeve. Awesome, as I do love knitting sleeves)

These hats need pop-poms.

These have fitting issues that need to be fixed (not a full representation: I have more stuffed in my WIP/UFO closets)

Not shown are the projects that I'm chugging along on that are sorta boring. Or really boring. Or simply put aside as I'm limited to how many projects I'm allowed sitting around the house.

Meanwhile I keep casting things on (usually frogging them right away). At some point I'll have to just focus and get a bunch of things off my WIP list to FO list... meanwhile, I have empty size 7 needles....

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

How many mods does it take to make me a cardigan?

A few weeks ago, Cathy at Webs posted this cardigan from Berroco on their Facebook feed. You know, that's exactly my kind of project!

I swatched a bunch of stash yarn. Berroco is now recommending Ultra Alpaca. While I love the Ultra Alpaca, I didn't swatch it. I found something in my stash before I got that far.

The Moda Dea Silk n Wool has been a favorite of mine (I've knitted two projects with it... and of course it's discontinued). I loved the Sangria colorway, and I thought it would make this cardigan. It swatched beautifully. As a matter of fact, I might like this yarn crocheted better than knitted!

Started with a sleeve and ran into my first issue: No shaping. The sleeves are the same width from cuff to bicep. I hate wide cuffs, so I decided to chain fewer stitches and increase to the width. Then I noticed that the sleeves weren't going to be wide enough for me to wear anything under them. So I made the sleeve width wider.

I also didn't like the combo of V and crew and decided to do a straight up V neck (more flattering for me).

All was good until I dug out the rest of the yarn: I only had 12 skeins* and the pattern told me I would need 15 based on their yarn requirements! PANIC! (sleeves were already done and I was in love with the pattern stitch in this yarn. I really didn't want to start over with a different yarn).

At this point I had the back done, the sleeves were to the sleeve cap and I felt that if I seamed with a different yarn and didn't do the bottom border, I might squeak by. So I optimistically went on ahead.

Finished the fronts and the sleeve cap shaping with globs of yarn left over. (I had 2 full skeins. Most of on other and about half of two other: almost 4 whole skeins left). Good to go!

Blocked it yesterday and started seaming it up today. Got half it of seamed up with the second sleeve in and slipped it on...

OH NO! I didn't look closely at the schematic! The shoulders are way too wide for me. These have fitted sleeves, and a 2" drop isn't good. I need to rip back and decrease at the armhole on the front and back.

Not today. I need a break. I feel that this pattern has been nothing but a rework. Other than the pattern stitch and the A-line shaping, I feel that I have had to change everything.

Next time? I'll do it top down and seamless... now where did I stash that Ultra Alpaca?

*in full disclosure: I did have this yarn listed at 12 skeins in my Ravelry stash. I would save myself a lot of heartache by using my info on Ravelry. This is the second time recently that the info was there, but I didn't check. Which is why my Ravensong is not done...

Monday, June 09, 2014

The Beauty of Grey

It's not a black and white world...and I'm digging the beauty of grey right now.

That's the pile of current WIP. Grey is the dominate feature on all of 'em. They might be wide in fiber choice: There's a 100% wool, a 100% acrylic, a 100% alpaca, a cotton/silk/wool blend and a cotton/acrylic blend (ya, when I say I'm equal opportunity yarn consumer... I ain't kidding).

Normally we can assume that these are for Matt. He's Mr. Neutrals and I lean towards the brights or... green (yes, I do loves me some greens!). However, these are evenly spread for each of us.

Grey is a lot like green tho'... there really are so many shades of grey that you can get so much variety.

Keep an eye out for more details: especially that seamless yoke/marled/striped one that is front and center. I'm in major love with that project right now.

(these projects also inspired me to put on Live's Mental Jewelry. My very favorite Live CD).