Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tangled Yoke Cardigan Finished!

Tangled Yoke Cardigan
Pattern by Eunny Jang in Interweave Knits Fall 2007
Materials: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool (65% wool/35% silk. 191 yds per 50g skein) 265g in color 13 (light blue). Size US4 and US3 Addi Turbo and Knitpicks Options 24 & 32" circulars.
Gauge: Flat - 24 sts and 36 rows/4". Circular - 26 sts and 36 rows/4".
Finished size: 34" bust when buttoned, 20.5" long from neck to hem.

Started: August 8, 2007
Finished: August 23, 2007

None - at least not any intentional ones. My sleeves were measuring a bit short when I came to the part in the pattern where I was supposed to join them to the body. I ended up adding in an extra increase spaced out the same as the previous increases and knit an extra 10 rounds to get the correct length sleeves. I then decreased out these extra stitches half way up the section that's knit even after joining the sleeves to the body.

I really like this sweater. After the initial shock of doing cables for the first time in many many months - perhaps even a year? - the cable section went by at a reasonable clip. It was utterly amazing watching the pretzels form before my eyes and those 5 into 1 decreases sounded a whole lot worse when reading the instructions than they actually were knitting.

The only thing that I might tweak on this pattern is to add some sort of turning row for the collar. Other than that, I think the design has everything I like in a sweater. Wearability, a little design element to keep things interesting, but not too much going on so as to take forever to knit or give you a headache. The pattern itself is well written - I might even say there's more instruction than you might really need. But it was appreciated as I didn't run into any problems at all or find any errors in the pattern in the size I knit.

I'm still not 100% sold on the buttons. The ones here are like perfectly round pearls, but they don't hold the sweater closed so well and they might be a touch small for the button holes. But until I find a better alternative, this is what I'm going with.

As for the silky wool, I'll reiterate how much I like the finished fabric, but not so much the experience knitting with it. It's probably the nature of tweedy yarns, but switching back to my Anastasia socks after spending two weeks straight working on this was heavenly. MMM - Koigu. Right... the silky wool was a great yarn substitute, and hey, it's even on sale right now at WEBS for only $3.50! I ended up yet again with a ball plus 0.7 of another left over, so I should be able to get a pair of gloves out of the leftovers. That would make 2 sweaters and a pair of gloves for less than a pound of yarn? Sweet.

BTW, I'm noting in the picture above that indeed I do have a sputnik shaped head. DH always teases me that my head is proportioned to my body more like a baby than an adult. I never notice this when I look in the mirror, but in the picture taken from above, my head is giNORmous! Maybe that's why he thinks my head is so large... he's always looking down on it! Or maybe it's the new haircut... I think I look a bit like a lightbulb with it. Eh... it'll grow out eventually. DH made me take the profile shot... I was thinking it was for the sweater, but now I think it's for the haircut. Damn that DH!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Ready she ain't

So generally whenever presented with a brand new baby to ogle, people try to hand the baby over to me. Some think this will make me want one more, I guess. Usually, I end up making a face that makes it fairly clear that this is the worst possible idea. It looks a bit like this:
Or if you're lucky and I managed to take the baby and get it AND me reasonably comfortable and not crying, I might still look like What the heck am I supposed to do with this now? For example:
But then a miracle occurred this weekend and I managed to actually hold BB and he didn't cry the whole time. Actually, we managed to spend a bit of time checking each other out. I'm probably biased, but I think he's really darned cute. This is also the FO picture I had promised for the Harvey Sweater. In case anyone is curious, I measured BB and his chest is about 14 inches, he's 3 weeks old and weighs about 9 pounds and the newborn sized sweater fits really quite nicely with some room to spare.

Also this weekend, I made a bit more progress on the TYC. The sleeves were joined, and the underarm stitches grafted and ends so far woven in. And then I hit the wall. I zoomed through the 3 inches of yoke (half a ball!) and then came to a screeching halt once I arrived at the chart. It took me a whopping 2.5 hours to do 2 rows of the chart (and one of those rows was just purling). My advice is to look at the chart carefully. I missed a knit stitch in between the two cable crossings on the first row of the chart and so had to tink back half the row. Add on to that the fact that I had an extremely hard time cabling without a cable needle with the 1 into 5 increase stitches and that's how you get one row taking 2 hours. Guh. I just hope that the rest of the chart doesn't take near as long...

At least it looks like it's fitting so far...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sleeve island

Thanks everyone who provided such positive feedback on my last post. The recommendations for cookbooks look great and I'll definitely look into them. I just know that there's a way that DH and I can compromise here - after all he's just looking out for my health. I'm starting with cutting back on the amount of actual meat that I consume and then I'll take it from there. DH pretty much went cold turkey and hasn't had any probelms adjusting, though he's not strict about it. He'll still have a bite of my food if he wants to try it.

Anyway, back to the knitting. I'm working exclusively on the Tangled Yoke Cardigan right now as I just bought a little spaghetti strap dress for my BIL's wedding over Labor Day weekend, and I think this cardigan would match nicely in case the weather decides to be cold that day. I finished the lower body up to the armholes over the weekend - and yes, it took less than two full balls (yardage still amazes me):

I will say that I didn't break the yarn after finishing the body as I didn't see a real need to do so - the instructiions for joining the sleeves to the body say to rejoin yarn back to the body exactly where you left off, so I figured I'd just use up the rest of the ball and have one less end to weave in.

Now I'm working on both sleeves at the same time. The garter rib in the round is much more bearable as I had predicted, but I was still happy to switch to stockinette above the cuffs. And I had wondered why people call it sleeve island. Now I think it's probably because people feel like they're trapped on a desert island they've been working on these sleeves for so long. Mine are coming along okay - about 2/3 of the sleeve rows are complete here. But it looks kind of short. I can never figure out how long sleeves are supposed to be in seamless sweaters, but seeing as I'm not terribly tall, I'm guessing that the sleeve length in the pattern should be just fine.

BTW, I experienced a rarity with this project. I met stitch AND row gauge. I didn't block my swatch, so we'll see if this stays true in the end. I know, I know - I'm totaly living on the wild side.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A slight detour

Normally I post nothing in the least bit controversial because honestly I'm just not a controversial person. And you're all knitters, so you naturally want to see my knitting. Which, by the way, I will digress back on track to say that the Tangled Yoke Cardigan is progressing nicely. I've finished the main body up to the armholes and have just started the sleeves. So far so good.

Oh, so the detour. A fair bit of whining and temper tantrum-ing has been going on at Chez Spaz as of late. Okay, so maybe it's just the Spaz doing the whining and not so much DH. But anyway, I just want to put this out there. DH read a book recently which has made him convinced that a vegan diet has enormous health benefits. He claims that the book gives plenty of evidence that eating animal derived products has a high correlation to not only heart disease (as I probably would have expected) but also to cancer, osteoporosis and a host of other diseases.

Now I would never try to argue against eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes and reducing the amount of fats, cholesterol, and processed sugars that seem to be everywhere. But I can't buy into the idea that skim milk, eggs, cheese in moderation, and lean meats and fishes are bad. Maybe I'm a product of a highly effective ad campaign launched by the meat and dairy industry, but an entire category of food can't simply be BAD. I'm sure that anything in excess is to be avoided.

So anyway, this has sparked heated debate about what Chez Spaz as a whole should be eating. I apologize in advance if I offend, but I can't help it. I LIKE meat. I was raised on meat. I ate meat at just about every meal. A meal felt like a side dish if there wasn't some sort of meat involved. I've always been a picky eater, and many dinnertimes in my youth were spent in a stare down to see who would give in first. It wasn't easy to get me to eat at least the minimum amount of food, so my parents often resorted to bargaining with me to at least eat the meat if nothing else. So I'm used to the idea of meat being a highly integral part of my diet. I don't change readily, so I'm not doing so well with the idea of mostly NOT eating meat.

Anyway, the question for you is, are any of you vegan or mostly vegan? If so, why are you vegan, how did you successfully make the tranition, and do you have any recommendations? I'm currently aiming for most meals to be meat free and allowing dairy products. But even this is hard for me.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Enough of the cute stuff

It's time for some boring WIP pictures. Or rather 2 WIP and one semi-FO.

Harvey Kimono
Pattern by Louisa Harding in Natural Knits for Babies and Moms
Materials: Jaeger Extra Fine Merino DK (100% wool, 131 yds per 50 g) 100g in color 218. US5 and US6 needles.
Gauge: about 5.5 spi
Finished size: 17.5" circumference, 7.5" long. I supposedly followed the 3 mo size, but it looks closer to newborn size.

Started: July 20, 2007
Finished: August 7, 2007

Uncomplicated pattern and awfully cute. The length is a bit short, but that's mentioned in the pattern errata which I didn't consult. Oh well. I'll just need to find buttons, and then find BB and get a real life FO shot for y'all to up the cute meter. Also, I'm guessing that the fact that I ended up with a sweater that's newborn sized may answer the question as to why I only used enough yarn to get a newborn sized sweater despite following the directions for the 3 mo sweater. Eh. Babies change sizes quickly and I'm told this on is a bit on the skinny side.

As you can see, I cast on for something new. Yes, this is the much hyped Tangled Yoke Cardigan by Eunny Jang in the Fall 2007 Interweave Knits. The Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool seemed a perfect substitute for the Felted Tweed since both yarns appear to be sport-DK weight and have a wooly tweedy look to them. And I just so happened to have the exact amount in my stash that the pattern called for that's been marinating for two years since I finished Hopeful. But, oh, how I forgot how much I dislike knitting with Silky Wool. Don't get me wrong, I love the knitted fabric, but the process ain't so much for me. Good thing I'm a end-product knitter.

Also, can you believe how much sweater I'm getting out of one ball of yarn? That's half of the body you see up there. And thank goodness the garter rib is done! I couldn't see the difference between reverse stockinette and garter stitch for squat on the wrong side of this piece. At least the sleeves will always have the right side facing so I won't have to worry about that again...

Lastly, here are the Anastasia socks that I started on July 29. I whipped out this much progress by Friday, but then put them down when I got home from my business trip. I feel un-productive working on socks at home when I know I can be working on full sized garments. Is that weird?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Okay, you can puke now

from all of the cutesy baby pictures that follow. But hey, I can't help it, I want to see more of BB at least virtually since I can't be there in reality for another two weeks.

So I present you with the cutest knitwear model of the year (a bit pinker now that last week's jaundice has subsided):
Grandma and grandpa also like to get in on the cute action:

And dear brother - he looks like he's a bit jealous of his wife's pregnancy, dontcha think?
There would be actual knitting content, but let's face it, even knitters prefer cute baby pictures over boring WIP pictures. Quickly though, I finished one baby sweater, am 99% done with another, turned the heel on a pair of Anastasia socks, and need to rip back on a pair of grey socks now that I know the recipient's correct shoe size. I'm also likely to cast on the tangled yoke cardigan from IK Fall 2007 and maybe even the summer sky pattern from August Magknits, both because I have stuff in the stash that I can use for these. Never mind that I just bought like 4 bags of yarn for projects for lace style. Oh, knitters are a fickle bunch...