Sunday, September 27, 2015

Cardigan Progress

I thought I'd share my failure so far.

1) Knitted a sleeve for about seven inches, tried it on and was shocked to find it was far, far too wide.
I fought with myself for a little while, but ultimately decided it was time to frog.

2) Started the sleeve again this time completely ignoring the instructions and decreasing much sooner and much more frequently.
It looked a lot better upon trying it on so I decided to keep going and worked all the way down to the color change before putting it away for the day.

3) Finished the first sleeve and tried it on yet again, only to find that it was actually STILL pretty freaking huge, and the fact that it seemed so much improved probably reflected more upon the fact that the first attempt was ginormous than that the second was actually decent. I stared at myself in the mirror thinking, "I could deal with it... no I can't. Yes I can. No I can't."

I told myself, "It's supposed to be an oversize sweater! I imagine myself wearing it in Apple Hill, with leggings and boots- oversized is good!" and I responded with, "IT IS SAGGING AT THE PITS! THIS IS NOT OVERSIZE- THIS IS JUST NOT COOL!" And I replied with, "Well, I'm sewing up the sleeve seams, and I'm going to tuck in the excess fabric and we'll see. If it's still terrible we can frog it, and if it's decent, it's decent and I can start the second sleeve."


4) I'm starting the second sleeve- I managed to tuck in the excess fabric quite nicely and you can no longer tell that it once sagged at the pits and was not cool at all. Of course, with my luck I will knit the second sleeve, sew it up, finish the body, work the border, try on the completed garment and then... decide to reknit the sleeves again! Fingers crossed that it won't happen, but we shall see.

As a side note I rather like the Filatura Di Crossa multicolored alpaca blend that I'm using as the contrasting color. I think it will be rather nice once it's all tied in together with a border at both sleeves, on the body, and the border band. More pictures upon more progress.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Little Lion

Well I finished crocheting the lion my son requested.
It's adorable and all, but he said that it's fat, like me. I'm getting more hugely pregnant day by day so I guess he's right.
I did get work done on the sweater, as well but it's not really enough to share a picture of. I knitted half the sleeve, realized it was too wide, and frogged and reknit with fewer stitches. I'm almost done with the first sleeve and after both sleeves are done I'll share a picture again. I have ascertained that I will not run out of yarn. So that's a plus!!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

a bit of diversion...

Yesterday I felt like working on something new. The sweater had been progressing pretty steadily (I've started one of the arms and it's perfect for working on while doing homework) but I felt like doing something that requires a bit more concentration.
My son, meanwhile, has been asking me at night to "read" to him from a crochet pattern book called "Easy Crochet Critters". Of course we don't really read anything, we just look at the pictures while he tells me which ones he wants the most, and we decide what color each critter would ideally be. I've been telling him nightly that the reason I can't make any critters is that I don't have any fiberfill, but today I realized I DO have fiberfill that has been hiding in a closet. So, the sweater sat in its bag while the two of us watched The Hobbit trilogy and I worked on some animals for him.
The yarn varies. The alligator is made of Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton, the monkey is made of Red Heart Super Saver, and the hippo is made with Lion Brand Wool-Ease. If I had to guess I would say each one took 2 to 3 hours total to complete. This morning when I woke up, he had found me some yellow and orange yarn and said that the monkey, alligator, and hippo were "waiting for their friend, the lion." So he's probably next in line.
One thing I really like about being able to crochet as well as knit is that I get the satisfaction of casting on new projects without really feeling like I'm "cheating" on my knitting.
Either way, I still fully expect my sweater to be done within the next few weeks.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Is there a nice way to say "boring"?

I separated for the sleeves the day after I last updated here on the blog. Now it's just that boring back and forth of cardigans. It will be about 38" around, so it's got more ease for me than a usual sweater would. I would usually have gone for a 34" or a 36" if I wanted it roomy. However, with pregnancy comes a larger bustline as well as a larger waistline, so 38" it is. It sure won't close over my belly, in a few weeks' time, but I'm hoping it will get more wear at 38" around.

It's just so boring though, seriously. No cables, no color, no fun. All I can do is keep plugging along until I get to the point where I can add the second color of yarn. I have this, like, weird multi color alpaca blend that is very similar in texture and washability so I will use that for the border. I'll have to upload a picture soon. The only thing is I'm really not sure I'm going to have enough yarn to get it to the length I want before the border. THAT is concerning. Very much yarn chicken. I don't like yarn chicken. I had 5 skeins of this yarn to begin with, back in the day. That's 1075 yards, which definitely isn't enough for a whole cardigan. But is it enough for a whole cardigan minus 5.5 inches per sleeve and bottom border plus button band? Maybe.... I hope so, anyway. I already decided I'm going to knit this whole puppy out of stash yarn, so I don't know what solution I'll come up with if it turns out a bit short. Probably just add yet another funky color in there. I do have a dark blue alpaca, but I don't think it will mesh well. We shall see.

All I know is this is one of those projects where you just.... really want it to be a finished object, but you really don't want to put in the effort to make it into one. Like, provided the yarn issues work out, this will be a very wearable cardigan! But it sure isn't a very fun one to create. It does fit so far, though, so that makes me happy!

Hopefully my readers are having more fun with their own knitting and I don't expect to update you any more with this one until it's done or at least nearly done. Or at least NOT just a brown blob.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Fall Knitting

I love summer so much. Really, I do. I live in California, so I love the hot, 106 degree days. I love swimming at the river, I love going to the beach, I love wearing spaghetti strap dresses with sandals, I love eating watermelon and ice creams, I love barbecues and mosquitoes, and roasted marshmallows and camping. Most of all, I love how the days last so long it doesn't ever seem to get dark because I love love love love love the sunshine. But every year when the summer is beginning to wane, I begin to get the call of .... "make something warm."

Right now is perfect fall knitting time. Right now is when all the project possibilities are beginning to ripen. Before I remember how much I hate the cold, when I can picture myself on long walks on the crunchy leaves, holding a latte and wearing a slouchy beanie and cute boots, with my hair longer than its ever been and for some reason I'm walking a white fluffy dog that I don't own. And the wind is blowing the leaves around in an artistic fashion yet for some reason has not messed up my hair one bit. I look like a picture in a magazine. Right now, before the sweater I'm bound to knit ends up having fatal flaws- gauge is off, lost a stitch, counted wrong, wrong size, wrong color, baggy puckering- right now it is perfect. It flatters me. It looks amazing. It doesn't itch. It's the sweater that people stop me on the street and ask, "Where did you get that beautiful sweater!?" to which I amaze them when I reply, "I made it last month." It inspires people to learn to knit. It comes along with me to the pumpkin patch, to Apple Hill, it looks good with my outfit on Thanksgiving or with my work clothes. By the time summer comes, it still hasn't lost it's luster and I love this sweater so much I'll wear it again next winter. It's all a beautiful lie that I begin to taste in the air right around September every year.

I've made many sweaters. My Ravelry project page tells me I've made at least 30 and I know there are a few that were never documented on Ravelry. So more than thirty sweaters, and not one of them has been that perfect sweater. One has bulging underarms, one is the wrong color, one pills, one has mitered corners that I have always regretted making, more than a few have unflattering seams, some are too short, one is too long, some are itchy, and one has a very saggy button band. The one I cast on yesterday will also not be that perfect sweater. I know I think alpaca is itchy, and the color isn't very pretty- it's just a plain, no-nonsense brown. It won't button, which will annoy me after this season is over and I no longer have a giant belly to accommodate. When I run out of the brown yarn I will avoid buying a nice contrasting color and find something in the stash which will clash with other things I wear. I will problem solve. But by winter I will have already started something new to be the "perfect sweater", which will have issues of its own, and before you know it I will have distracted myself with gauge, maths, and knitting until it's blossoming into Spring again. A clever trick my brain has devised, to fool me into not noticing how cold it is, how dark and drab, and how utterly depressed it makes me.

This year my sweater that won't be perfect is going to be based on Etude in Stripes by Diana Rozenshteyn. (I say based on because I'm getting a different gauge, not doing stripes, and probably changing the border stitch pattern.) The yarn is Berocco Ultra Alpaca in an unknown colorway.

It is knit top-down, which means I'm getting all of the interesting knitting out of the way first and after I separate the sleeves and body it will become a marathon. A behemoth of knitting to work on.

In the end, even though it is not perfect it will be exactly what I needed. It's funny how that happens. I am never unsatisfied with my sweaters, and I wear most of them even though they have their quirks. They do their job: Keep me warm, and remind me of the beautiful things in life like wool and needles clicking away. Stitch by stitch, I knit into them seconds of my life where everything is ok. And in the wintertime, I really really need that.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fish Lips Kiss Heel "Review"

Well, now that I have finally finished my sock, (Note: Sock, not socks) I am ready to talk a little bit about the Fish Lips Kiss Heel. Like I mentioned, I had a lot to say about it, and I decided in the end that making a short video would probably be easier as well as less difficult to organize than a blog post. Unfortunately it came out longer than I'd hoped, mostly because I apparently don't shut up.

So that's that.

And I'll show you some pictures:
The completed sock.

This is the reverse side of the heel, demonstrating the bumpy bit.

And also completely unrelated, but I also made a cute little baby hat out of this yarn and never posted a picture on the blog.

And I guess since now I have turned the subject to hats, I'll share a couple of chunky hats I worked on recently.

Other than the green one that is on the needles, I'm not really sure what yarn I used for these. I know it is chunky, and I know it is acrylic. No pattern for these three hats. The green is actually Red Heart's "Reflective" style yarn. It's a little itchier than I expected, because the reflective threads feel sort of like tinsel, but my son picked the yarn and requested a hat. I believe the other two are Bernat Softee Chunky, the new kind which has 11 stitches per 4 inches. The old Bernat Softee Chunky was not as heavy and I actually used it to make my very first sweater. I liked the old stuff better. But I made one other hat as well out of the Bernat, which I actually did use a pattern for.

This pattern came off of the ball-band and is available for free. But I don't really recommend knitting it as directed: I converted the flat pattern to work in the round.

I have been finding myself missing having a complex project to work on. Even with school, work, pregnancy and parenting- or perhaps BECAUSE of all that together- I feel like I need something to work on that might challenge and interest me. The baby blanket I was working on was a great project, and I really miss working on it. I think I might take up a sweater, and so I frogged my old Vine Yoke Cardigan (which may have been under the bed for 4 years now in its unfrogged state) and washed and hung the yarn up to get the kinks out. I'm not sure what it will become yet, but it wasn't doing anybody any good sitting under my bed.

Friday, September 4, 2015

FO Friday: Little Riding Hood Slippers

These slippers were so fun, easy and quick! They are a free drops pattern and have been in my Ravelry favorites for a sinfully long time, and when my husband picked me up some Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky on a whim (yes, I have an awesome husband who randomly buys me yarn) I thought no better time than today!
They took a very short period of time- I think the cabled portion took me about a movie (Carrie, the new one) and the slipper bits took another hour or two. So maybe a total of four hours per slipper, and eight hours for the pair. I definitely can see myself making more of these for the holidays! They are so cute, and I didn't even add buttons to them. The pattern itself is pretty self-explanatory but if you wanted extra help while knitting them, there is also a youtube video available that goes through how to do each step.