i hope you aren’t getting bored with this ongoing project of mine, because there’s more yet to come! i’m certainly not sick of it, which i find surprising, considering i’ve been working on it for almost three months! yikes.
when we left off i was working on the sleeves:
i’m not sure why they take longer to knit. i know part of it is correlated to the sighs i got whenever i thought about knitting the sleeves. but finally i finished! i was asked to show the front of the sweater, which i had been avoiding photographing… the back was a lot more cohesive and pretty, with a lot less yarn ends hanging about. you can see the striping between the two dye lots in this picture, and also my ‘steeking zone’ in front.
blocking, in the daylight, on the radiator. trying to speed along the process so i could get to the fun stuff: steeking!
once again, i used eunny jang’s tutorial for a crocheted steek. i looked at some other techniques, but i still felt most comfortable with this technique, for the majority of the reasons eunny lays out: it is the most secure steeking option, especially if you’re working with yarn less ‘grabby’ or less naturally felting than the yarns originally used for fair isle steeking. and it is more of a natural extension of the knitted fabric than the sewn steek.
so then i sewed down all of the crocheted edges and here we are now:
and those edges look so much better than the rest of them!
i decided to knit the button band separately and then graft it on at the end. when i have tried to pick up stitches from the garment, i am never pleased with the result. i always pick up too few or too many, which affect the edges. so i’ve cast on 350 stitches, and i’m hoping to work a shawl collar along the top. just the act of casting on 350 stitches is time consuming! and i was doing that while the oscars were on, so i kept getting sidetracked in the middle and having to re-start the count.
i want to do afterthought buttonholes, but i haven’t found a tutorial for a description that i find satisfactory. i might just wing it as i have a fairly concrete idea of how to go about it. but i think somewhere along the line i heard a mention of elizabeth zimmerman having an afterthought buttonhole technique, only i can’t find it in any of the three EZ books i own. so i might try to dig that up before i just wing it.
this may very well be my best documented knit of all time. what are you guys working on?
occasionally i struggle with whether or not certain subjects are appropriate for this blog. i do try to keep the focus on my knitting, crafting, and personal style for the most part. i have no problem talking about places i go, in case any of you find yourself in the same city, looking for something like it. but i get a little stuck about personal things, especially if they aren’t all sunshine and roses.
but what it comes down to is that i think of you, my readers, as friends, and also, this is a corner of the internet that i have curated as a place for my own thoughts. so why not?
but before we get to that, let me change the subject briefly. rewind the tapes to two weeks ago. i was making quite good progress on my stash-busting sweater:
i had a few inches of each sleeve and the body. oh, did i mention that of my 5 skeins of the base oatmeal heather yarn, i had 2 skeins of one dye lot, and 3 skeins of another, with a quite noticeable difference between the two tones? lecture to self: this is what happens when you don’t buy sweaters worth of yarn at one time, eliza. you have to get super creative, and figure out work-arounds instead of just knitting a sweater in a simple fashion. end lecture. my work-around was to do alternating rows of the two colors for 10 rows of each yarn, 20 rows total, to transition to the new yarn. it’s still visible, but it’s more of a gradient effect, and less of a striping effect. with lots and lots of yarns to keep track of from the three different portions of the sweater that were all actively being knit.
at this point, i was feeling quite cheerful about my progress. does this sound like a red flag? ha! well, i dove into my wardrobe and found a sweater that fits me the way i envision this one should: kind of chunky, with some positive ease, but still close enough to my size that i’m not swaddled or dwarfed in it. i laid the completely unblocked sweater down, with my store bought sweater over it, and lo! if there wasn’t about 5 inches (12ish cm?) of unnecessary fabric in the body, and about 2 inches in the sleeves (5 cm). cue the popped balloon whizzing around the room and floating sadly to the ground.
this is a very traditional point in a project where my bitter feelings instigate me tossing this into the pile of ignored knits until 18 months later when i either find energy to pick it back up, or i find energy to frog it and put the yarn back in my stash.
this time, however, i re-calculated my numbers, and pulled back to here:
it was at this point that i had a day off, and i was sleeping in that morning when my mother called. i let her leave a message, thinking i’d call her back in an hour when i got another 10 minutes of sleep and a cup of coffee. but a few minutes later, my aunt called. if two (related) family members call in quick succession, i always panic. about 50% of the time, it was just a coincidence, and i have a nice chat while my heart slowly returns to a normal pace, but 50% of the time i have reason to worry.
my grandma was ill. very ill. i won’t go into details, but the broad idea is that she has had some heart problems, which had just gotten compounded with pneumonia.
i have had the extreme good fortune to grow up living blocks away from my grandparents (both sets). and as the eldest child of two eldest children, my grandparents were fairly young and healthy. they all had quite a hand in raising me. my grandma taught me table manners. she brought me to dentist appointments. she was the one who, when the training wheels came off my bike, jogged along behind me, one hand on my bike, until i gained my own momentum. she took me to museums and fancy lunches. she nurtured a love of art in me, which in turn led to my interest and pursuit of art school. she visited colleges with me. i called her when i needed to talk through financial decisions. her input was considered and approval had to be rendered before i accepted student loans or bought my car. the extent to which she helped shape me cannot be calculated, and this list cannot begin to sum up what she was to me.
i found a flight as fast as i could (they were wintering in new mexico), packed a bag, and my knitting, and got out there as expediently as possible.
my sweater got worked on in small bits and pieces as i spent time at the hospital, a very little bit after my grandma was moved to hospice, and was completely forgotten as she slipped away from us.
i’ve almost knit back to where i was before i pulled back. but as i’ve been knitting this, and going through what will certainly be a gigantic milestone in my life, i’ve been wondering how this experience will effect my perception of this sweater. will the fact that i lost one of the most important people in my life while working on this make this sweater difficult to wear? will the weight of it on my shoulders bring memories of my difficult emotions? or will i cherish it for being present in my last hours with my grandmother?
have you had any experiences with the imprinting of an experience affecting your knit or final object?
this is what my couch looks like when i’m… ‘experimenting’. i decided i wanted to start the year off with a project that would really make a dent in my stash. preferably using up multiple yarns that i only have small projects worth of. how to do that? fair isle sweater, of course!
i started off in a fairly logical manner, looking at patterns that i already owned, and settling on the nordic cardigan from vogue knitting, fall 2011. it’s really cute, right? and look how cute squidneyknits version turned out! so i made up a swatch in brownscale:
only… i hated this swatch. it’s hard to tell in the picture, but the base color has a kind of ‘clay’ tone, with a very slight green cast. and the brown is very very red-based. so, visually, it was not playing out for me. so scratch that… swatch #2:
ehhh…. that brighter blue feels kind of obnoxious compared to the calmer blues to me…
and then, even though i wasn’t happy with either of my swatches, all of a sudden i was fed up, and cast on for a sweater. that’s probably a *good* idea, right?
but, it’s actually going okay. here it was a few days ago, with neon red nails:
i decided that the cream was not high enough contrast with the beige, so i went back in with a tapestry needle and yarn and replaced it with grey.
and here it is now, with dark green nails:
i’m using barbara walker’s top down raglan sweater recipe as my base, using some gorgeous fair isle sweaters from pinterest as inspiration (this one but really mostly actually this one, ugh can you even stand how pretty it is?).
i’m making it a v-neck cardigan, though i haven’t decided if once i get to the bottom of the v, if i want to knit it in the round and steek it later, or knit it flat? and i really didn’t think this through, this was literally the only size 8 (5.00mm) i could find, and honestly, it’s meant for hats, and i have loads of stitches crammed on there. this project could really go south at any point. but it’s kind of fun that way, you know? i’m having fun winging it. speaking of which, i’m still not certain about the color of the little polka dots… that blue is still way too bright, and the grey-green is too similar to the grey that is practically next to it. but i’m okay with going back and replacing that later… once i figure out what to replace it with! i have a kind of periwinkle blue (from my dreiecke), maybe getting a slightly purple-ish yarn would add a bit of contrast? or like leaf green? maybe coral? or is that wayyyy too out there?
anyways, that’s what i’ve been up to, knitting wise! anybody horrified, think i should stop immediately and go back to the planning portion? or do you have any surprisingly happy stories of total on a lark projects turning out beautifully and becoming your favorite thing ever?
but mostly needles!
i’ve become rather terrible about sharing projects that are in progress, rather than done! so let’s see where i’m spending my time right now.
i picked up this lovely skein of pagewood farms chugiak sock yarn (colorway mardi gras!) from a cute shop in san diego in august. i originally cast on for the 2×1 rib sock you see above, inspired by hedgehog fibres effusive and colorful beauties. but i wasn’t 100% convinced about the pooling… and then i began re-reading all of the harry potter series from the beginning for the first time since the publication of the 7th book, via audiobook. sooooo gooooood you guys. anyone want to majorly nerd out and discuss harry potter in detail? then i found out about the free pattern hermione’s everyday socks, and i realized that the predominant colors were red and gold (for gryffindor!) and that clinched it. knitting was pulled out and re-started accordingly.
this has been queued for a long time. i fell in love with the aidez cardigan when it was first released, and i saw how good it was time and time again as other knitters made it. this yarn has been in my stash forever, too. why the delay? who knows! but it’s happening now! i finished the back, and i’m knitting up the fronts simultaneously. i’m pretty close to finished with the fronts, and then on to the sleeves!
the thing that i love most about the knitting of this cardigan is the inclusion of what i’m calling ‘cheater cables’. in every panel that you knit, there is only one ‘real’ cable that requires an extra needle. the rest are tricky little stitches that look more complicated than they are. which is ingenious! they contribute greatly to the aesthetic of the sweater, but not to the workload! i didn’t realize this before i started knitting it, so it was a nice surprise!
lastly, here’s a horrible picture of the orchids and fairy lights hat i’m almost done with. another pattern i’ve admired practically since its inception, but never gotten around to making! i’m using another dreamy skein of tanis fiber arts for this. the picture does absolutely no justice to it’s beauty. better pictures when it’s an FO! i’m loving the way it’s knitting up, but i do think bobbles are best served by single ply yarn, to increase puffiness. i’m hoping the blocking will help these bobbles fluff up a bit.
anything been in your queue for eons before you actually got around to making it?
who’s your favorite harry potter character? i find i love molly weasely more and more everytime i go through it. i also forgot that the majority of my fondness for snape derives from alan rickman’s casting and performance. he’s such a jerk in the books! i always thought he would ultimately be a good guy, though, because of dumbledore’s confidence in him…
FO: honey block hat
yarn: grey yarn recycled from a thrifted sweater, yellow yarn is brown sheep lamb’s pride superwash worsted (leftover from my honey cowl)
needles: US 6 (4.0mm) for ribbing, US 8 (5.0mm)
pattern: my own. pretty basic. 2×2 ribbing, switch over to bigger needles. eventually switch yarns. use a pom pom maker to make the fluffiest of pom poms, because i’m crap at making them without the assistance of the helpful device.
this hat was commissioned, but i’m totally in love with it. i will be so sad to say good bye to it.
i’ve been feeling a little stressed out recently. too much to do, not accomplishing nearly enough. so i decided today to focus on things i’ve already accomplished, like this hat. which i finished like over a month ago. take some pictures, proclaim the project finished on ravelry, write up a blog post, and presto! a little feeling of accomplishment to tide me over until i can catch up a little more.
i’ve been terrible about keeping my current knitting up on the blog, so:
i’ve been working on a toe up sock since new mexico. the yarn is wooly wonka fingering, which i got at a yarn store in sante fe. i took some pictures, which i’ll share with you later! the colorway is called winterfell, so i was thinking i’d call these socks ‘winter is coming’. i love it when my pop culture, nerdiness, and knitting combine!
what’re you working on? you got any stress deferring advice?
i’ve been reading north and south by elizabeth gaskell. i watched the mini series a few weeks ago on the suggestion of a friend, and fell in love with it. it took me a bit of hunting to get a copy in my hands, but i’ve been tearing through it at a pretty good pace.
i’ve been working on a test knit of sierpinski’s hat.
and i started margaret dashwood’s shawl the other night while watching game of thrones (season two). i’ve been enamored of this pattern since it was first released, so i’m hoping the end result will live up to my expectations.
other than that, i’m recovering from being ill. today is the first day i have really started to feel better. the world always seems extra cheerful and wonderful the first day after being ill, don’t you think?
i’ve been working on swatches for these christmas stockings this week:
they are for some friends, and hopefully they’ll be done for christmas.
the random people who have asked what i’m working on have laughed at the idea of me working on christmas stockings in early march. but considering the fact that i only just finished a sweater i started 15 months (it’s dry! FO shoot soon, hopefully!), and i watched jillie endlessly wrestle her way through a series of stockings last year, encountering unexpected problems at every turn, i don’t think nine months is a ridiculous amount of lead time.
and if by some miracle, i have no issues with the pattern, never become bored with the knitting and want to put it down, and finish these by the summer, then, hey! awesome. i can’t imagine i’ll hate being done early.
so far they are really fun. it’s ironic that i started swatching these (so that the recipients can pick which they want as MC and CC*) less than a week after coffee/tea meeting with chronographia. i went in to great detail about my dislike of purling colorwork. when knitting colorwork, i throw with both hands, generally MC in my right, CC in my left. purling colorwork does not lend itself to the same easy application. but after several swatches, i’ve found a method i find fairly comfortable. i’m terrible at describing things, but basically, i throw both colors with my right hand, and separate the two colors with two digits, one under my middle finger, and one above my pointer. the two digits keep them enough apart that they aren’t constantly getting tangled, and i have easy access to both colors to throw them. i don’t know if that was at all discernable or useful for anyone, but there it is.
like the terrible blogger that i am, my meeting with chronographia (and her lovely mother) is completely undocumented, again. i need to get better about these things. but it was nice to see her face, meet her mum, and chat about all things woolly, plus more. she’s hatting it up in preparation for a jane austen fest right now, and i am nerd-core excited to see some of the results.
ah, i’m rather shocked that i have so much to say on a post that is mainly about swatches. but while i’m here… since the palette of these stockings is very quiet and rustic (and i LOVE it), i thought i’d throw in a little braid in red or green around the tops of the stockings to give them a hint o’ the season. but i’ve never done any knitted braids before, so that’s fairly interesting in itself. i tried the latvian braid out twice. does a purl row always show between the two braid-y columns? do you guys have any good suggestions for a latvian braid tutorial?
i also tried a vikkel/lateral braid, with at least one false start. i like that it doesn’t have the purl row, but it’s a tad on the dainty side, and i still need to play with making it two tone. but i found this tutorial suuuuuper helpful.
which options do you like best? have you started any long term projects recently? are you prepping for christmas already?
*to my non-knitting readers, MC= main color, CC= contrasting color