30 November 2009

Garter Stitch Love

About a year ago, a yarn store on the South shore was having a going out of business sale. Mr. Peabody trekked down there on his bike and bought a HUGE backpack full of yarn. There was so much that he had to tape an extra bag to the outside. The bag was so heavy that he could only walk his bike back through the Metro system. He ended up going a couple of times and bought me a bunch of yarn as well.

In this huge batch of yarn I got some Pingouin Grège (wool, silk, alpaca, rayon blend), like 12 skeins of it. I've had in mind (since the pattern came out) to make a February Lady Sweater with it. It took a misbehaving sweater and a Ravelry request for my Grège to get me to cast on for it last week. I swatched a bunch of times in garter stitch for gauge and steam blocked each one to pick the most satisfying fabric before finally casting on. My gauge is a little different from the pattern, but the fabric has nice drape and according to my calculations will result in a well sized sweater, including the arms. I checked a bunch of times 'cause now I'm all paranoid.

I'm working on the yoke and I'm in garter stitch heaven! I have a few rows to go before I divide up the sleeves and the body and it's taking all my restraint to keep from doing it right now!

24 November 2009

YAAAARRRRGGGGGGH!

I swear I am cursed with sweaters. I've knit and finished many sweaters but have only had one or two come out somewhat wearable. I've improved my habits, at least I think so. I swatch. I think I choose patterns that suit me. But I have yet to have a sweater come out so awesomely that I wear it ALL the time. The closest yet is Amelia even if it's not exactly perfect.

I have store bought sweaters that I wear all the time! What's the deal?!

I was really looking forward to this sweater. I envisioned it to be a nice sweater coat to be worn in the super nice extended fall weather that we've been having. Not too loose fitting but not super tight. My gauge was a little bigger than what it called for in the pattern so I thought things would work out nicely. And it seemed like they were going to.

Once I had the fronts and back seamed together, I tried it on to make sure I liked the fit. I continued on with the collar as specified in the pattern. Tried it on again after the collar and button bands were done and blocked. The very last step was to put in the sleeves. I seamed away. Worked in all the ends. I was preparing a trip to get the perfect buttons by trying on my sweater one last time. Just to double check that everything was hunky dory. Not so much.

The sleeves. are. too. tight. The armholes dig into my armpits so badly that I had to wrestle my way out of it for like 5 min. Disaster! How could this be? My gauge is pretty much on! I went to the pattern to check the measurements on the schematic and there it was. The sleeves are designed to be the size they turned out to be which is small. Or at least small for me. I mean I may not be a 35" bust but I didn't think my arms were that enormous to be out of wack with the size I usually make. I'm cranky.

Yes. I should have read the measurements as laid out in the schematic. I would have realised that this would be an issue if I had. And I will definitely be more aware before picking sizes and casting on in the future. And I can fix the sweater. I can pick out the under arm seam and knit a gansey style gusset to give it some more room.

But for now the misbehaving knit is here:

in a time-out.

Until it's thought about how it's behaviour and is ready to apologise, I'm going to be working on a February Lady Sweater. I checked the measurements and went through several gauge swatches. So far things are looking ok. So far.

16 November 2009

Marvelous Mattress Stitch

Last week I learned how to Mattress Stitch and now I'm in love with seaming. Other than my very first knit sweater (Ravelry link) I haven't really knit (or completed) any projects that needed seaming. Until now.

I've been working on a Girl Friday and am nearing completion. After finishing the first sleeve I decided I should start putting the sweater together. A quick internet search for mattress stitch, a quick glance at the instructions and I was off seaming up the sweater back and one of the fronts. I was so stoked by the resulting seam that I stayed up late just to finish my perfect seam.

There's something about seaming with Mattress Stitch that is just SO satisfying. Looping through all those rows of knitting and then pulling tight to line them all up perfectly. And inside the result are these nice little selvedge stitch ridges compactly lined up. Maybe it's that seaming appeals to the perfectionist in me.

Later while working on the second side seam I read ahead in the sweater pattern and realised that the side seams are the last thing that gets done so I stopped it half done. Here's the sweater as of Sunday morning:

I have since finished the second sleeve and am now halfway through the neck & buttonband.

I was so stoked about seaming that I pulled out my good old Cabled Eyelet Ribbed Cardigan which hasn't seen active service since August '08. After finishing the body and one sleeve, blocking the pieces it looked like the sleeve was too long. I planned to seam the shoulders and put in the sleeve to make sure but never got around to it. But with all the seaming fever I picked it up and got right to it. I seamed the shoulders, tried it on and put the sleeve on my arm. It was way too long. After consulting my notes, I measured where the underarm was actually supposed to be and ripped back to that point. Here's where the sweater's at now:

Not much more to go. So after Girl Friday's done, I'm going to continue on and finish this cardigan too. It's going to be like 2 cardigans for the price of one. I'm super excited. Especially with all the seaming ahead of me. Yay seams!

9 November 2009

Sample Sock Knitter

On the topic of blog commenting, to bring up my last post. I got some great comments from people that definitely make me feel much less dweebish in commenting on the blogs that I read (and make me feel less guilty for not commenting in the past). it's been a few weeks of me actively trying to comment and I'm happy to report I now feel like I have something worth adding rather than just 'nice scarf, great colours.' And I give myself permission to not force a comment for the sake of commenting (ie. not comment).

Someone asked me how I feel about people commenting here. I personally really look forward to getting comments. It kind of bums me out if I don't get many, making me feel like no one reads this blog except my family. The smelly thing is that my motivation for posting also wanes if I don't get many comments, hence the sporadic posting this last year. I should just get over it and post as I like and not care about the comments. But I do really like them even if Blogger doesn't let me email reply to each one (I do try to for the ones it does let me).

Right. So back to knitting. I've started hanging out a lot at Effiloché and I've been knitting many socks lately. One day Ginette asked if I'd be willing to knit some sample socks for the store to show off the different sock yarns. I was like, uh yeah! All the fun of knitting a sock AND getting to work with all the pretty yarns? You betcha!

Pattern: Interlocking Leaves by Kelly Porpiglia
Materials:Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering Weight
Modifications: Plugged the lace repeat into a 60 st top down sock
Start Date: October 31, 2009
End Date: November 6, 2009

This latest sock is using Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering Weight and I am really enamoured with how the sock turned out which is why I'm posting about it. I had the hardest time settling on a pattern to use for this yarn. The request was for a lacy sock and I had the hardest time trying to find a sock I thought was lacy enough but would be a good display sock for the yarn. It was down to two contenders, Hourglass by Bev Elicerio and Interlocking Leaves by Kelly Porpiglia. I even worked a couple of pattern repeats of the Hourglass pattern before switching. The pattern just wasn't doing it for me. I think the acid green in the project photos is just too perfect for the pattern.

I really just used the lace chart from the pattern and plugged it into my usual top down sock construction. I was partway through knitting the foot of the sock before I realised that the pattern is for a toe up sock and that my leaves were going the wrong way. Duh! Don't tell Ginette! I also kind of goofed when turning the heel. I started leaving out the k1 after the decrease and unintentionally made a square heel. It looks really cool so I went with it rather than taking it out. Oh and for the final repeat of lace on the foot, I changed the reverse stockinette to stockinette so that it would blend more seamlessly into the toe of the sock.

Now I'm going to rave about the yarn. I really LOVED working with the Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering Weight (longest yarn name evers). It was super nice to knit with. And the colour! Really nicely saturated Peacock blue with nice subtle variations of other blues in there. Nothing strong enough to draw your attention to any kind of patterning but enough to give depth. And when I steam blocked the sock, the yarn really got a gorgeous drape to it. Slinky silky wonderful.

Oh and I did really enjoy the lace pattern too. This pattern (in all it's toe-up glory) is in my queue for a future pair of socks.