Monday, October 23, 2006

Mrs. McSpazzitron!

Okay, okay, I did it! I'm officially Mrs. DH! We had a great time at the wedding, and for the most part everything came off without a hitch. All I can say is that when they opened the doors to the church and I started walking down the aisle, I couldn't stop myself from smiling from ear to ear and had to restrain myself from giddy laughter. It was such a high. And marrying my DF, now DH, is everything I could have hoped for. But he still smells. Anyway, I posted a link to the photographer's webpage on my wedding blog, so if you're really all that interested, feel free to flip through the 1400 pictures...

But nothing's changed on the knitting front... I'm still madly knitting away.

Icarus Shawl by Miriam Felton
Pattern in Interweave Knits Summer 2006
Materials: Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud (100% alpaca. 440 yards per 50g ball) 80g in Horizon. Size US3 32" Addi Turbo circular needle.
Gauge: Does it matter on a lace shawl?
Finished size: 32" from neck to center point and 75" along neck edge.
Total yarn cost: $8 from Knitpicks

Started: August 1, 2006
Finished: October 9, 2006

Modifications: eliminated one of the stockinette repeats... so how did it end up this BIG?

One of my friends said that triangular shawls are like puppies, they start out all cute and small... and then they grow. I'd have to agree with this project. I just about wanted to pull all my hair out so that I'd match DH by the time I got to the second to last chart. Then he went away and left me to my own devices. Which meant that I ate too much junk food, drank a lot of soda and watched the entire first season of Grey's Anatomy as I finished the last two charts of this project.

I had intended to finish this shawl in time for the wedding. I did... and it was blocked 4 whole days before the wedding, but alas, it stayed in the car in the mad rush to get dressed. So while I was freezing in my reception for the first hour, it sat idly by and watched me freeze from the garage.

But, it's not too awful. I didn't have a shawl pin, and I have absolutely no idea how to wear a shawl. See picture at right. We'll see if this one's a keeper. Hard to say because it's just so yummy soft, but again, I'm pretty petite and this shawl certainly isn't.

Previous posts about this project:
Last post as Miss McSpazzitron on October 6, 2006
MIA again on June 9, 2006

Sienna Cardigan by Anne E. Smith
Pattern in Interweave Knits Fall 2006
Materials: Plymouth Suri Merino (50% alpaca, 50% wool. 109 yd per 50g ball) 340g in color 799. Size 8 24" Addi Turbo circular needles.
Gauge: 18 sts and 24 rows per 4"
Finished size: 32" bust, 20.5" long, 22" from shoulder seam to cuff.
Total yarn cost: $25 from Bo Peeps Wool Shop

Started: October 4, 2006
Finished: October 22, 2006

I changed the gauge because I didn't think that the published finished size was a good size for me and also because I didn't think I could get gauge with this yarn. I went ahead and just used the same stitch count and row count for everything and went with the principle that all proportions would shrink down appropriately with the smaller gauge. Also, picked up button bands and collar stitches all at once instead of separately and seaming the collar to the button bands.

Okay, so the style is a tad on the old librarian side, but hey, everyone needs a cardigan, right? At least it's not black. But more importantly, this is my first seamed set-in sleeve sweater, and I didn't have any major seaming issues this time! It took me the better part of 4 hours to just set in the sleeves, sew sleeve and side seams, but I honestly think I did a pretty good job. I even took a picture of it. Okay, most normal people don't take pictures of the inside of their sweaters, but I thought the seams and the places where I picked up stitches around the button band and collar look very nice. I'm taking a step away from the super Chinese mentality and actually allowing myself to say that something is good without wishing it would be better.

The shape is pretty classic, so what makes this sweater different is the details. First of all, I don't think that the picture in IK did a very good job at actually showing what the faggoting cables along the front edges looks like, so I took a close up here. I didn't realize that the inside of the cables was open until I started knitting the front... and that was a pleasant surprise.

I even had a good time picking out buttons for this piece. I chose these buttons because they're a classic shape and color, but the swirls of green in them picked up the color of the sweater so perfectly it just made it that much better. And by the way, when sewing buttons to your sweaters, how do you do it? I took one ply of the yarn I used on the sweater and used that, but the individual plies are so easy to break that I'm a bit worried about it.

And the cuffs. There wasn't a good picture of what the cuffs looked like in the photo spread either. So here's mine. The directions tell you to go back to the cast on edge at the cuff and pick up stitches and then immediately cast off. I tried this, but my usual cast-off is so tight and when I went up a couple of needle sizes, it still didn't look like anything much. So I decided to try out the lace cast off that was used on the Icarus Shawl. I like the way it looks... kind of like it was crocheted on, and it's stretchy!

So now what? I have absolutely NOTHING on the needles right now. How crazy is that? I guess I could start on my Christmas knitting, but I'm feeling really selfish right now. I think this is a holdover from last year's crazy holidy knitting blowout. How much fun will this be when I start to panic come November? Stay tuned...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Last post as Miss McSpazzitron

Because next time, I guess I'll be Mrs. McSpazzitron! and DF will turn into DH. Sadly though, dear husband just doesn't have quite the same ring as dumb f*&^#! or *sigh* dear fiancee. Wish me luck in the next week and hope that we come out on the other side of it okay. But, we'll be wearing these when all is said and done, and I LIKEE!

But in the meantime, I should probably show you all the pictures of everything that I've been working on in the past two months of non-blogging.

I started on Icarus and while it's STILL not done, it doesn't look that much different from this:

Sadly, this picture was taken two months ago, and it's still not done. At least now I'm done with the stockinette part and only have 23 really LOOONG rows left to go.

But here are the FO's in finishing order:
Two-Tone Bag
Pattern by Kathy Merrick in Fall 2005 Interweave Crochet
Materials: Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed (100% wool, 100 yd) 200g each in color 06 and 04. Size H hook.
Gauge: 15 HDC = 4"
Finished size: 23" wide and 16.5" deep

Started: August 4, 2006
Finished: August 28, 2006

I see why crochet is so popular. It goes just so darned fast! The only problem with this bag is that the handles stretch a lot and the size. I've decided that the red-headed Interweave model must be about 7 feet tall because in the picture it looked like a great roomy tote, but on my it's clown-sized. Completely out of proportion for my height-challenged frame. I was planning on using it only for a knitting bag since it's huge and well, knitting doesn't tend to be very heavy but can definitely be bulky. It doesn't keep stuff in very well, so I might consider felting the whole thing, but I'm still as yet undecided there.

Previous posts about this project:
Really MIA on September 24, 2006
43+ on August 31, 2006
Back again on August 13, 2006

Hooded Pullover
Pattern by Vladimir Teriokhin in Fall 2005 Vogue Knitting
Materials: Filatura di Crosa Ultralight (53% alpaca, 22% wool, 25% nylon. 154 yards per 50g ball) 270g in color 61. Size 7 Addi turbo circulars.
Gauge: 4 sts/in
Finished size: 34" chest

Started: May 4, 2006
Finished: September 18, 2006

Knit the sleeves in the round from the top down by picking up the total number of stitches called for in the pattern before sleeve cap shaping and reversing the sleeve cap shaping with short rows around the armscye. Lengthened the length of the hood.

I discovered yet again that I'm short with a long neck and sputnik sized head with this sweater. The high empire waist ribbing on the model looks cute, but on me, DF says, what's up with that weird ribbing thing around your middle? It's supposed to accent the boobage, I think, but I'm not sure. Instead it just sits in a weird place on my ribcage. Oh well, it's roomy and comfy and just a little warm. Not as warm as I had hoped because well, the huge slash down the neckline to my belly button allows for a lot of heat escaping.

Also, this was a good candidate for playing, "What's she hiding?" The model is looking down at the ground and has her hands up by her ears supposedly "pulling" on exercise rings on the beach. Okay, we all know that these models are starved to the point of not being able to hold themselves up, so what's really going on here? Well, it's the abysmal hood shaping really. The instructions have you knit until the hood measures 6.5" from where you pick up stitches around the neckline, then knit about 1" of top shaping and bind off. Well, the last time I checked, most people have necks AND heads, so the hood comes out to be way too small to allow for anyone to have both of those body parts without the shoulders of the sweater pulling up around your ears. So much for the "roomy hood" in the description.

A note about the yarn substitution... I'm pretty happy about the alpaca blend that I used here. It's a bit rougher than I'd have hoped for an alpaca, but it certainly gives the same fluffy appearance as the Skacel Alpaca Leggero that's suggested in the pattern. But given that I couldn't possibly afford (at least I don't really want to) 16 balls of the stuff at about $10 a ball, I was especially happy with my substitution at $25 for the sweater. The color really isn't that neon pink, BTW, it's much more muted, but still hot pink. Yes, my wonderful photographic skills when it comes to reds rears its head again.

This sweater was really pretty straight forward. The time it took me to knit it is not at all indicative of how difficult it was. I blame the protracted knitting time on alpaca not being terribly fun to deal with when it's 100 degrees outside.

Previous posts about this project
Really MIA on September 24, 2006
Decision point on June 2, 2006
Designing on May 31, 2006
Legacy on May 9, 2006

Cross Over Tank
Pattern by Gayle Bunn in Spring/Summer 2005 Vogue Knitting
Materials: Patons Katrina (92% rayon, 8% polyester. 163 yards per 100g ball) 240g in Lilac. Size 7 Addi Turbo circulars 24".
Gauge: 21 sts/4"
Finished size: 24.5" bust (unstretched)

Started: September 24, 2006
Finished: October 2, 2006

Omitted side seams and neckband seams.

Who in the world would want to seam with elastic yarn? With my finishing capabilities, I knew that the seaming would have been a disaster if I had elastic yarn thrown into the mix, so I deferred to seamless knitting. In the end I had a total of 6 ends to weave in. I like that.

And let me just say, never again will I knit a tank top with 6 inches of negative ease no matter what they say about the stretchiness of the resulting fabric. It's just plain scary to see something that small come off the needles. I like it too though, and with the help of Elann I think I managed the cheapest garment of the year. Okay maybe my super on sale t-shirts from the gap were cheaper, but can you really beat $8 for a hand knit garment? For an adult?

Oy, I just noticed that I'm wearing this tank backwards in the picture. There's supposed to be interior waist darts on the front that you don't see here. Oh well, at least it's mostly reversible!

Ugh. Gotta get my hair chopped off after the wedding. These last few pictures were just HIDEOUS! If you're still reading this, man are you devoted! Thanks for hanging in there with me and I'll be gone for at least a week or two. Hopefully there will be more non-knitting related pictures to share by then.