Monday, July 31, 2006

Wedding dress!

Okay, I know I shouldn't post it, but I just can't help myself. I just picked up my dress over the weekend and I LOVE it! The manufacturer doesn't have a size chart, so they just cut the dress to your measurements, and let me just say, no alterations for fit are necessary. Whew! I just have to get the train bustled and that's it.

Anyway, for anyone who may be curious to see what it looks like, CLICK HERE or HERE. Please ignore the bad tan lines and funny look on my face on the latter... I didn't want the dress shop to have to stand there taking pictures of me all afternoon until I looked right. I think I showed DF already, but just in case I didn't and he wants to be surprised (which the answer is, I'll look if you want me to - how frustrating to not just get a yes/no answer!), I didn't want to just put the pictures up for accidental viewing.

Also, I finished two more objects... or at least one plus close to another. One is a baby sweater and the other is a tank top for myself. I'm not quite done with the tank since I need to weave in the ends and block. But it should be done tonight with no pics until later this week since I'm in San Francisco almost all week.

BTW, it's cooled down here significantly... I was walking at lunch wishing that I had brought my Blackberry it was so cool: 60-65 degrees!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Men's Zippered Raglan

Men's Zippered Raglan
Pattern: in Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson
Yarn: Malabrigo (100% wool, 215 yards) 6.5 skeins in Burgundy. Size 10 circular needles.
Gauge: 4 sts/in.
Finished size: I'm guessing here... 46" chest, 22" sleeves, I have no idea how long.

Started: January 14, 2006
Finished knitting: June 28, 2006
Finished: July 24, 2006

Yarn substitution resulted in a smaller gauge than the pattern, so I had to modify everything to correct for my new gauge. And I decided to make a size that was between 2 of the sizes in the pattern. I used the sleeve modifications from Alison to get the raglan to look nice on the front and back. I added 1.5" of armpit depth before starting the armhole shaping. I decreased to the neck until it looked right rather than the specified raglan length. I ripped out a bunch of times.

The verdict? DF says he likes it! It's soft, warm, and apparently fits okay. He must like it okay if he'll model 1.5 pounds of wool in our 90 degree apartment. But only if you give him a popsicle. I must like him if I'll keep 1.5 pounds of wool in my lap for hours on end installing the !@$#%^ zipper!

I'm actually quite proud of the finishing on this sweater. You can barely tell the difference from the inside and the outside of the sweater and the neckband seam and zipper installation are both quite nicely done if I say so myself. I backstitched the zipper in place at virtually every row of the sweater front. There were times when I skipped a row, but not that many! I am still, however, paranoid that the thing will fall apart. I'll blame it on the softness of the Malabrigo though if you ask for my official stance.

This is the longest enduring project I've ever finished. I love how five months ago I called this sweater something that's been on my sidebar for ages. Little did I know. To give some perspective on how much I dilly-dallied on this project, in the time it took me to cast on for this project and weave in the last end:

  • I cast on and finished 5 pairs of socks (finished a 6th pair that I cast on for two weeks before), Clapotis (if you count the second time I knit it), a pair of armwarmers, 4 hats (one pattern I knit twice and never mentioned it), 2 baby sweaters, a bolero sweater, 2 headbands (I knit the second Molly without mentioning it and one headwrap I ripped out), a baby dress, and a tank top - 19 objects.
  • 3 different seasons of Knitty have been up.
  • The temperature has gone up 70 degrees.

Much angst went into this project so I'm happy that I managed to finish it in time for DF's half birthday. Now I need to find a meat locker for him to stand in so that he can get around to using it!

Since this one's been blogged to death, I'll leave you with just a list of previous posts if it's been so long you've forgotten how I felt about this project.

Previous posts about this project
Pictures galore! on July 21, 2006
Dried berries on June 30, 2006
Tweed indeed on June 29, 2006
Do I look like the FBI? on June 26, 2006
Candy Cane Hat on April 17, 2006
No knitting pictures here! on April 10, 2006
He's too sexy for his sweater on April 3, 2006
It's not election day but... on March 5, 2006
Hey that's not burgundy is it? on February 23, 2006
So much for being regular on February 16, 2006
Let's play a game on January 19, 2006
gotta love having a camera on January 17, 2006
Beware! on January 16, 2006

Next up: Another baby sweater finito!

Monday, July 24, 2006


Pattern: Deciduous by Marnie Maclean
Yarn: Rowan Calmer (75% cotton, 25% acrylic. 175 yards) Exactly 2 skeins in color Laurel (474). Size 7 Addi Turbo circulars (24").
Gauge: 22 sts/4" in st st.
Finished size: Length - 12", Width at bust - 12" relaxed and laid flat.

Started: July 19, 2006
Finished: July 23, 2006

Followed pattern exactly except omitted last 4 rows of chart and used 3 st i-cord for straps.

As I mentioned before, I absolutely loved working with Calmer. It couldn't be nicer stuff... so soft, so springy and the color is just so... calming. Which is good because right about now I about want to tear somebody's head off I'm so miserable from the heat. Anyway, I highly recommend the yarn, but it can take some getting used to to get a consistent gauge and the yarn has a tendency to split.

As for the pattern, who couldn't resist a pattern that calls for a measley 2 balls of yarn? Especially when the requested yarn is more than I'd usually pay for yarn and it magically appeared on sale right when I wanted it? Anyway, I was superpsyched to make a whole top for about $17... the only problem was the yarn shortage.

I'm not sure if my gauge was a bit off or what, but I most certainly ran out of yarn here. I started to panic as I was ending the chart and watching my ball of yarn dwindle down to nothingness. So I aborted the pattern 4 rows early in hopes of managing to get the back to stay up. Thankfully, I got to about here and weighed the remainder of my yarn. I decided to plow ahead and add straps using an i-cord instead and I even had a whole 1g of yarn leftover! If the i-cord straps didn't work out, I was planning on using a length of wide ribbon to hold the thing up. Honestly, the lacing appears to be what's holding the top up - not the straps - but I figured it'd look pretty dumb without any straps at all. I do absolutely love the back of this top. The pattern also gives alternate instructions for making a straight across high back. But the combination of the heat, my cheapness (I'd have to buy an extra ball for the high back), and DF's fondness for seeing my back made me give the low back a go.

All in all, I'd recommend the pattern for its simplicity, lightning quick finishing time, and super sexy (at least I think so) results. I might just warn those who are thinking of making the smallest size: buy 3 balls if you want wider straps or don't want to unravel your gauge swatch or want the last 4 rows of the chart I omitted. You could probably also omit a few rows at the beginning (I'd guess 5) to get away with 2 balls without making any other changes.

Next up: DF's zippered raglan is done!

Previous posts about this project:
Pictures galore! on July 21, 2006

Friday, July 21, 2006

Pictures galore!

It's been a really long time since posting, but I completely blame it on Delta Airlines once again. This time, in touring the Lewis and Clark region of the country where the explorers picked up the lovely and indispensible Sacajawea, I had to endure two cancelled flights in a row! Can we call that fun? Brownie points go out to anyone who can name what town the Spaz was working in at the time. Hint: I picked up some less than half price rain pants at the Patagucci outlet in this town of approximately 5000 where the closest airport is an hour away up I-15 and has a grand total of one gate and three flights daily.

But, of course, flight delays do mean that I get a good bit of knitting in. I cast on July 11 for another baby sweater since they're also super portable knitting and DF has told me that I have too many knit socks. This one is the hooded sweater in the Debbie Bliss Special Knits for Babies book. Again, this one is going seamless, so I've finished the body and half of the hood. I tried to sew the shoulder seams so that the seam is invisible, but I think it looks a bit funny. The 3 needle BO seems to be the least bulky of all shoulder seams I've tried so far.

Upon my return, I spent a good day relaxing and knitting in the park. If you can call it knitting. I decided to push through and finally finish DF's zippered raglan. It took me something like 2 hours just to baste the zipper in place so that the zipper lined up on both sides. Then, actually sewing it in place with backstitch... just shoot me now. This is how much more I have left to do on the last side after 3 hours of sewing by hand. The white thread is the section that's just basted in and remains to be sewn. I sure hope that sewing down the collar doesn't take as long.

Having burned myself out on sewing, I decided that some good old-fashioned knitting was in order. Some of you may have noticed that I went yarn shopping with Jillian a couple of weeks ago. I decided to turn my purchases into something a bit more in season than the fuzzy alpaca long sleeve hooded sweater I've also been sorta secretly working on (working on the sleeves top down like you all egged me on to... it seems to be working!) So, I cast on for Deciduous by Marnie Maclean on Wednesday in the oh so delectable Rowan Calmer. I'm so in love. Just for scale, here's Deciduous on top of DF's zippered raglan. The thing is so SMALL.
On the wedding front, it's less than 3 months away and I'm getting more nervous. My Dad sent me a CD of my baby pictures to be used in an unabashedly cheesy, tear jerking video story of the two of us for the reception. Most of the pictures contained were just awful Go Fug Yourself moments (see them on the wedding blog, but please come back here to comment). But since this is a knitting blog, I thought I'd share these two:

I want to say that this little cardigan was hand-crocheted by my grandmother, but I can never remember her having crochet needle in hand. Even now, I think this one's too cute! I might however have to question my parents' judgment at pairing a pink cardi with a red checkered pant suit and sailor themed bucket hat.

Same thing with the crochet look here. And um, no, I didn't have the mumps. Clearly, it's drug store cheap acrylic, but darn it if there wasn't some impressive stitch pattern and colorwork going on here. Go grandma!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Ribbon Tied Dress

Ribbon Tied Dress
Pattern: by Debbie Bliss in Special Knits for Babies
Yarn: Lion Brand Microspun (100% acrylic, 168 yds in 70g ball) 2 balls in French Vanilla. Size 4 Addi Turbo Circulars, 24" and 32".
Gauge: 22 sts x 30 rows = 4" square in st st.
Finished Size: 19" chest

Started: July 2, 2006
Finished: July 10, 2006

Many pattern modifications. I wanted to use stash yarn but my gauge at 5.5 sts per in was larger than the pattern gauge. As it was, the fabric was stiffer than I like, so I wasn't about to go down a needle size to achieve gauge... hence recalculating all the stitch counts. I also downsized the pattern by about 1 inch in length and width.

In addition, I changed the instructions to be completely seamless. For the body, this was straightforward. For the sleeves, I decided to knit from the top down to avoid seaming the sleeves into the armholes.

The sleeve is a modified drop-shoulder sleeve. I re-calculated the number of final bound off sleeve sts from the pattern to adjust for my different gauge. Then I picked up half that number of sts up the front and the other half down the back. Finally, I picked up 1 additional st per bound off stitch at the base of the armhole. These additional stitches were decreased at either end of the sleeve one at a time every two out of three rows, kind of like turning a heel on a heel flap sock.

This is where I differed on either side. On the first sleeve, I used SSK with the body st and the first sleeve stitch, knit to the the last sleeve stitch and k2tog with one body st. On the wrong side, it was p2tog, purl to last st, then p2tog-tbl. This left visible strands (picture on left), so I reversed the decreases on the second sleeve. I think the strands disappeared into the faux-seam (picture on right), so I think this approach is worth doing in the future.

I love the look of this dress, but for some reason, the fabric came out really stiff despite being a chunkier gauge than what's specified on the ball band. Weird, huh? Anyway, if I make this dress again, I won't use Microspun. But hey, I used up 2 out of the 3 balls in my stash. Only 2! According to the pattern, I was supposed to need more than 3 since the labeled gauge for Microspun is the same as the recommended yarn, Baby Cashmerino. Hence I opted to downsize the dress by an inch in width and length. Apparently, I over-did it. I guess I'll have leftovers for a hat and booties for the next time.

The modified drop shoulder sleeves knit from the top down were great! I don't think I described it very well, but it really was pretty easy. The armhole "seam" is not bulky at all, and it would have been even less bulky if I had picked up sts a half st in instead of a whole st in. Given my track record with seaming, this was the perfect solution for me. Now if only I could figure out how to tie a proper bow...

BTW, these drop shoulder sweaters just scream to me, "Hug me! Pick me up!" which is good since they're for babies. I just need a baby to actually model these sweaters to see if they don't look so home-made when on a real body.

Previous posts on this project:
Nightmares on July 6, 2006

Thursday, July 06, 2006


I've been having nightmares lately. I'm not sure what it says about me that I dream about my wedding, but I have the wrong dress and it doesn't fit. Or that I'm getting on the plane to go to New Zealand for the honeymoon and all of the sudden, the flight went from being a 12+ hour flight to an 20+ hour flight and darn it if the only thing I have in my knitting bag is a sweater that I only need to weave in ends on.

After waking up in a cold sweat from the last dream, I made sure that for this last trip, I had plenty to keep my needles busy despite recognizing the need to sleep on the redeye on the way out. I did manage some progress though:

Molly's Headband
Pattern: by Pam Allen in Interweave Knits Summer 2006
Yarn: Zen Yarn Garden Superwash Merino (100% superwash merino wool, 250 yards.) ~20g of a 117g skein in color Passionfruit.
Gauge: Didn't measure it! Knit on size 6 Addi Turbo circulars, 24".
Finished size: 17" long without ties and 3.25" wide.

Started and Finished: July 1, 2006

Quick to knit and easy to memorize. It's a great use for leftover sock yarn sitting in your stash. In fact, I still have enough Zen Yarn Garden to make a slightly smaller version. I think I made it a bit too long and too wide for my head. Despite what DF would argue (my head is not the size of Sputnik, nor do I need snaps at the shoulders of my shirts to allow for the passage of my ginormous head!), I think I have a relatively small head. The next one I make will have one fewer stitch in the stockinette panels and I think I'll make it shorter.

For the cheapskate in me... How cool is that? A pair of socks and 2 headbands from one skein of yarn?

For the rest of you, would anyone be interested in taking this larger version off my hands? Leave me a comment if you know someone who might like a very girly colored headband...

Okay, if you can tear your eyes away from the train wreck that is my hair in the above picture, I actually have more knitting projects previously unblogged. Having completed the above headband in record time (for me anyway) I cast on for a baby present on Sunday after an all day and not quite all night Fourth of July picnic - my hands were a bit twitchy from not having knit all day... I had to at least cast on and get a few rounds in!

My friend is due any day now, so I'm feeling the heat to get this one done. The pattern is the Ribbon Tied Dress in Special Knits for Babies by Debbie Bliss. I'm using up some Microspun left over in my stash. Yay for stashbusting! Anyway, I have woven in all the ends on the body and am getting ready to add the sleeves. Of course, I could just give up now and call it a jumper, but I sort of like the idea of a winter dress. It's freaking huge at 19" across the chest (despite downsizing from the 3-6 month size specified in the pattern), so by the time the baby has any chance of fitting into it, it'll be winter anyway.

The ladybug is just because it seemed appropriate for a child's sweater and the SD card is for scale.