Thursday, March 27, 2014

Finished!

I finished a fairly quick crochet cardigan for myself last night. 

There are things I like about it and things that are "okay".

My initial intention was to make up a quick and warm around the house cardigan. I confess I'm more of a knitting snob than I like to admit. I have tendency of not wanting to waste "good" yarn on crochet projects. I know part of it is yardage. Crochet projects usually take a lot more yarn than a knitted project.

I had swatched this project in all sorts of yarn. I think I even started in in an acrylic yarn that I love (my most worn around the house sweater is in TLC's Heather. So comfy and I can throw it in the washer AND dryer). Nothing was "right".

I also usually stick to really light yarns when I crochet projects to wear.

Bulky yarn + bulky stitches (like crochet) + bulky girl = not usually a flattering project.

So during this horrid winter, I decided I needed something warm and cozy (and that fits). I remembered this pattern. I had ordered the yarn for a knitted project, so I already had it (and I can order more for the knitted project, right?). Swatched it up and loved it.

The pattern stitch was easy. Huge hook, single ply wool/alpaca yarn in a pretty shade of blue. It went quickly. Then I hit the sleeves. Didn't like the sleeve cap shaping at all. So I spent some time doing a little trial and error and got a nicely fitted sleeve cap.

While working on it, there were times I thought it was going to be great. Then other times I felt it was going to be the type of project that gives crochet a bad name. Now that it's done, it fits the bill. Is it runway wonderful? uh, no. Is it perfect to snuggle up on a cold winter day? yep. and that's what I wanted. Let's do some stats!

Pattern: Pocket Cardigan from the book Plus Sized Crochet: fashions that fit and flatter

Yarn: Valley Yarns Berkshire in light blue

Problems with the pattern: I found the directions to be little on the light side. They are written for experienced crocheters. There is no schematic and the only sizing info is for the finished bust measurement. Not overly helpful. The sample does not fit the model, making it a poor reference for the whole "fit and flatter" thing. The yarn used in the book is equally vague. I had to do a lot of research to find it (ya, googling it by how it's listed only gets you to the distributor, the yarn is named Icelandic Wool and it's by Oasis yarns). It's also listed as a bulky weight yarn, but once I tracked it down, discovered that it is in fact a worsted weight (and no wonder I wasn't liking any of the earlier swatches). The Berkshire is an aran weight (knits at 16 sts to 4", the yarn used in the book sample knits at 20 sts to 4").

Changes to the pattern: I shortened the sleeves and the sleeve cap shaping for a more traditional fitted sleeve cap.

Overall impressions: this is not the best project I've ever made. However, it is exactly what I wanted/needed. It's very warm. It's soft and cozy. The color makes me happy. It was quick and fairly easy (I still hate seaming crochet projects. Knitting is soooo much easier). I will probably make it again, but in a very different, lighter weight yarn with lots of drape to make a little spring cardigan. I love the pattern stitch a lot. So we'll give it a B+...



Sunday, March 16, 2014

Respect The Niche Market!

So our local Barnes & Nobles hosted The Yarn Harlot yesterday. You would think by now that book stores would get the devotedness (is that a word?) of knitters. I mean all you have to do is look at her blog to see the volume of people that show up!

Since we knew that it would be fairly crowded (and to be honest, our B&N has not always been well prepared for us knitters. Our SnB has met there for years. They even started putting us on their schedule, yet there were many times we would show up and they had completely forgotten about us) we decided to show up about an hour and a half early. They were already out of chairs.

The Yarn Harlot lived up to her writing. She is a fabulous story teller and it was very enjoyable.

We waited in line for our book signing and knitters are a fairly laid back group. Standing in line we knit, we chat, we make new friends.

Here's Julie with Stephanie:





and here's me with Super Model Matt and Stephanie:




I had wanted Matt to wear his St. Patrick sweater (for obvious reasons. plus I love that sweater), but the wool/mohair heavy cables might just have killed him (it was a wee bit warm).

Normally, Julie and I head over to Pittsburgh for the Knit & Crochet show (which is this weekend), but we decided to take a break from it this year and do something in the fall (Stitches East perhaps? Maybe just a road trip up to Webs?). It was kismet! Even tho' I didn't get to buy yarn I don't need, it was an awesome knitting weekend!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Finish It or Frog It Friday

The white cotton blend cropped cardi is practically done. uh.. yay? It only needs buttons and you would think I would be very excited to have it finished.

I was until I tried it on. All I can say: UGH! I've made this pattern before and the alpaca version is one of my most favoritest sweaters evah. However, the little (okay, not so little) weight gain has made it unwearable right now.

So I figured when I was looking for a white cotton blend cardigan, this pattern would be perfect. I couldn't have been more wrong. While I did make the appropriate size, I'm not sure if the cotton blend vs. alpaca was a good choice. The Cotton Ease gave me fab stitch definition, but it of course does not have the same drape. I'm also not so sure that a cropped cardigan is really body appropriate anymore. I intended to wear it over a bright print dress, and it still may work for that, but as an everyday cardigan: it looks horrible on me.

So I'm not sure if I'm just going to go ahead and put some buttons on it and then try to adopt it out or if I should frog it. Since there's nothing wrong with it except how it looks on me, I'll probably find some buttons and put it up for adoption. So I guess I'll call it done.




Project Summery:

Pattern: Design 4 from Patons Canadian Living Booklet

Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease

Problems with the pattern: none, third time I've made this pattern. Easy peasy.

Changes to the pattern: I lengthened the body a few inches (so there's also an extra button). I added some moss stitch in the center of the main cable.

Overall impressions: while there is nothing wrong specifically with the finished project, I can't wear it (when Matt gives you a head shake, you know it's bad: he's Mr. Positive). So more body issues than project issue. Disappointed, but definitely won't be making any more cropped projects. I'm not 25 with an hourglass figure anymore.



and now we remember why Matt ends up with more finished projects!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Seemed like a good idea at the time


Let's face it: it's been a harsh winter. Everyone is tired of the snow, the ice, the freezing temps (and losing power is never fun). We all cope the best we know how.

I decided to remind myself that spring will be here... eventually. Since it's my turn to have a finished project (I'm trying to alternate finished for Matt, then me) I went thru my WIP's and found this cute cropped cotton blend cardigan (a favorite pattern: third time I've knit it. I might be thinking of an other in wool).

When I stashed it away, I had the fronts done and the back better than half way done. The back is just moss stitch, and I got bored. Well, Olympics hockey and moss stitch actually work really well together and I got the back done fairly quickly.

As usual, the first sleeve wasn't too bad. I love the staghorn cable (it's easy and I don't need a cable needle). Now I have just a few more inches on the second sleeve. That means it's almost done. I mean I have less than 4" to knit. There are no front bands, so there's also not a lot of finishing. Yet I am slogging!

I'm tired of white. White snow. White fog. White ice. White yarn. I should've chosen a project that is wildly colored!!!

Normally I would say "next project will have a bright color!", but since I'm alternating between projects for me and Matt, he's up next. He's sorta anti-color. Certainly nothing bright. So it will have to wait for the next next project!

Meanwhile spring will eventually get here... and I will have a white cardigan ready for it!!!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Finish It Friday: Rowhouse!

I've been procrastinating on the finishing of Matt's Rowhouse. I knew I wanted to try something a little different with the closures. After much browsing and playing, I ended up making some toggles using a dark grey ultrasuede.

Of course this required me to set my sewing machine up again (we had guests for the holidays, and so my studio is converted to a guest room). Oh, then we had that whole pesky winter thing with too much ice, snow and no power for a few days.

However, it's Valentine's Day and someone deserves a sweater (ya, the 20" of snow yesterday means someone has been doing a lot of shoveling).

I wasn't too sure about the closures at first. I haven't been sewing much, and just like anything that you don't do on a regular bases, I'm a bit out of practice.

I used a light grey for the sewing (as the flecks in the yarn have a light grey) and some wooden toggle buttons that Matt picked out.

The straps are probably too long, but I'm not sure I can get it off of him to move them over a bit. I will block it at some point.


Let's do some project stats!

Pattern: Brownstone by Jared Flood

Yarn: Queensland Kathmandu Aran (yes, I am heartbroken that this yarn is discontinued)

Problems with the pattern: none. This is a very well written pattern (see previous post gush)

Changes to the pattern: NONE!!! What??? Yep, thanks to knitting to gauge and the man friendly sizing, I did not make any changes to the actual knitting. The only thing I changed was the closure where I made ultrasued toggles rather than twisting the yarn to make the loops.

Overall impressions: this sweater is awesome. The pattern: awesome. The yarn: awesome. The color: awesome. Yep it's awesome.





I will readily admit that I it's more than likely that I'll knit this pattern again. Maybe in a nice cotton blend...


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sneak Peak at Rowhouse

Just a quick update on Matt's Rowhouse. Basically it needs some closure and a bath.

Took some photos of it on my dressform today, but that's not a great representation of how it fits (girl vs. boy, plus there that whole sizing difference).

I do love the Kathmandu yarn! It's not the easiest yarn to work with (and don't even think about using it for seaming), but the colors, the feel, the texture. It's one of Matt's favorite yarns and combine it with a pattern that he loved, and I think we're going to have a winner here.

I have some wooden toggle buttons for the closure, but I'm thinking I might head over to Etsy and look for something a little more in the grey scale color range. We'll see what he wants (he actually already picked out the wooden toggles, but that was before we decided on this yarn).


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Timeout!

This is a cardi I started for myself based on an Anthropologie cardigan. It's exactly what I've been looking for for around the house. I love the heathered grey with a bright contrast. I like the casual fit and the neckband styling. Plus who doesn't love pockets! Looks like a fun easy knit that I could do a little math and come up with something for me!

I had a bunch of yarn leftover from my Can't Clean Toilets in Cashmere cardi (that has it's own issues and is in a timeout until I fix the neckband) so decided to use that.

The pattern stitch is different from the inspiration cardi, as I didn't want to do the shaker rib of the original (time consuming and it does eat a lot of yarn). Ack! That means math, measuring, and an accurate gauge! Okay, did that. Cast on and it flew off the needles.

As the picture shows, I have the back done. However there is a huge issue: my butt. I don't normally make sweaters this long and I underestimated how much ease I would need. I want this to hang loosely and it's not going to do that with the size I decided on.

So I do think the stitch pattern works, I love the heathered grey and I like the blue. However, since I have to do a complete restart anyway, I'm debating if I should change up the contrast color.

Hmmm... I think it's an other project headed for a timeout while I knit on one of Matt's projects where these kinds of issues don't seem to appear. Well, at least as much.