Thursday, July 31, 2008

Swing High Cardigan

This weekend we are celebrating my niece's first birthday. So a last minute FO was in order. I was getting worried that this would be too small by her one year, but I think it will be just right for this Fall.
Pattern: Swing High Cardigan by Louisa Harding
Pattern Source: Miss Bea's Playtime
Size: 1-2 years
Yarn: Mind's Eye Yarns DK Merino
Buttons: La Mode Buttons Hook 1519 Style 4782, four antique white 7/16" (11mm) buttons

I can't believe this yarn doesn't simply fly off Lucy's shelves even faster than it does. The base yarn is very nice to work with, smooth but easy on the hands. And the yardage is nothing short of incredible. This one skein would have been enough for a much bigger sweater. The smallest size of the sweater, shown here, called for 490 yards but I found it took closer to 300. That left me with over 180 yards left or 1/3 of the skein left!

The pattern itself though I did really like. This whole pattern book is just adorable, and I can see myself making several other patterns from it. The sweater is worked in pieces, but I am really pleased with my mattress stitch, so that was okay. This was the first project where I had to do any extensive amount of it before, so I am really glad that it went alright.

I am almost concerned that the neck seems too wide at the shoulders, but looking at the same project by other on Ravelry it seems fine on actual kids. Also I thought it a little weird that it is a little tapered at the hips, but it doesn't seem as severe when I look at the whole finished project. it is the picot edge that totally gets me with the cuteness though.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Time to Empty Some Needles

It has been a little while since I have shared for a "What's on the Needles Wednesday". I have been trying to finish up projects on the needles so that they will be free for my trip next week. There is nothing like a 20+ hour trip to make you appreciate portable crafting.

Since I know I am going to want to knit socks on the trip, that meant finishing up a pair of socks that I haven't even shared with you all yet. This yarn was another find at the Somerville Yarn Swap, and when I started I decided I didn't care if these were fraternal. So I just started at each end of the ball. After finishing the leg though, I just couldn't take it, which meant it was time for surgery.

Here you can see where I was removing a line of stitches to undo the old cuff and turn it into a new foot, completely in sequence with the other, completed sock. Amazing how much work I will do to avoid a little work isn't it?

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Owl Delivery

My HSKS5 package arrived while I was away for the weekend! Look what arrived all the way from Rebecca in Japan.

See that little owl? I have no idea how he was able to carry everything, but he is resting now in the kitchen. Poor thing looks exhausted. And that is no surprise looking at all of these goodies.

The needles came all the way from Australia on her recent trip there. There was green chai, which I have never tried before and am looking forward to. The Schaeffer Anne yarn, which is in a beautiful tone on tone green, would make lovely cabled socks or a shawl.

And the chopsticks were just too perfect with their green and grey coloring. I have a bit of a chopstick collection, but I think one of these sets may become my purse pair. (I carry reusable flatware on me all the time, so that I don't get stuck using plastic. These chopsticks would even match the rosewood fork and spoon I have from Greenfeet.)

Inside there was not one, but two different sizes of stitch markers, larger owls and smaller toads, but it was the bag itself that knocked me off my feet. Salvbard was a bit startled by the squee. As only a beginning seamstress, the quality of the sewing was so impressive to me. It makes me feel a little bad about the bag I sent her, which was not quite as nice.

Not only is it spacious, but it has these thoughtful pockets inside. The larger one is just the right size for:

this crafting case. It has several pockets just the right size for circular needles or other notions, and the small squares of felt on the front hold stitch markers and sewing pins for easy storage. Everything is so wonderful. Thank you so much Rebecca! I have already had to reconsider what I will pack for next week's road-trip. 

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Finished House Sweater

Last month at the Boston Knit-In-Public event, someone asked what I was making. I answered a "house sweater", not thinking about what that might mean to a muggle. The nice young man was a bit puzzled and asked me why I couldn't wear it out in public too. So yes, not that sort of a house sweater. This is a Hogwarts house sweater. In my case, of course, Slytherin.

Whew! I am really glad to have this project done, and I am excited about wearing it to Terminus. (Yay, I got my official registration stuff today!) This would be what we call a "quick take a photo quick while there is a break in the clouds and it isn't raining" picture.

Pattern: House Sweater by Amber Daniels(-Cook)
Pattern Source: Charmed Knits
Yarn: MeiMei Camel (in color 2014) and Jaeger Matchmaker Merino DK (putty and loden)
Needles: US 3 / 3.25 mm & US 7 / 4.5 mm

Modifications: I worked the body and sleeves until the split for the arms and sleeve cap respectively. Also I changed the cast on to produce a finished 35" bust measurement. The suggested positive ease on this sweater is crazy huge! I made the arm scythes the same size as the next size up, while working my smaller number of stitches to provide for my narrow shoulders and do less math in terms of sleeve cap shaping. Both aspects seem a success.

I am so sad that the Matchmaker has been discontinued, because it is such a great workhorse yarn. I only wish that I had been able to make the whole sweater in it. Instead I went with, what was to me, an unknown: MeiMei Camel. It was quite inexpensive, and the angora made it really soft in the ball. Unfortunately it didn't quite live up to expectations when knit up in terms of softness though. It actually comes across as somewhat scratchy, though not unbearably so to me. However, I certainly would not gift it. I am okay with the end result but wouldn't buy again.

If I had this project to do over again, I would do a few things differently pattern-wise too. First of all, it turns out that I really like a 1-2-1 stripe pattern better than a 2-2-2 pattern. But since you do the stripes right at the beginning it wasn't worth changing by the time I realized.

Also I have no negative ease at the bust, but since there is no waist shaping it still looks a little big on me. I think you could add a little waist shaping without changing the look to be too fitted, and then it would flatter more.

Finally the sleeves are a little oddly shaped in the upper arm area. I found it to be way to baggy until I blocked the heck out of it, perhaps because I am fairly petite. If you like lots of room at your upper arm you would be in luck with this pattern though. If I was to do it again I would change the increases to the larger number of rows apart as soon as I got to the elbow.

Despite my minor grumblings though, I am satisfied with this sweater. Now I just need to pack it!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ravenclaw Hat

I have been in the mood for making a hat. With all the projects I was working on, none was a mindless knit anymore. Well, okay. That just made it seem like an excellent time to make a hat, since I hadn't done that in a while.

I am afraid, however, I have been the victim of gauge. Looking at the suggested gauge on the Ecco yarn, I cast on for a child's hat. After finishing the turned brim though, it was clear I was getting 5 stitches per inch rather than the 6 I was expecting. Well then, it seemed like an excellent time to try the Rosemary's Turned-Brim hat, which I have been wanting to try.

Pattern: Turned-Brim Hat by Rosemary Waits
Yarn: Berroco Comfort and Zitron Ecco
Suppliers: Webs and the (now defunct) Knitting Room
Needles: US Size 8

Since this hat decided to go its own way gauge wise, it is probably just destined to go in the Christmas box for holiday gifting. I know a Ravenclaw that might like the silver and blue stripy-ness.

I love this hat pattern so much! Even Salvbard greatly admired it and suggested not so subtly that he might like one like this. I think it is the turned-brim that is so appealing. Not only does it give a nice line to the hat, it is also quite stretchy and not binding in the least.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

As You Like It (Or Not)

I am beginning to think that I may not get to see "As You Like It". Shakespeare on the Commons seems at first glance to be perfect. It is free. It involves getting there early (which I have time to do these days), and several hours of guilt free knitting or crocheting time. And this year it happens to be one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, so chosen for sentimental reasons.

Friday I went with the lovely Pigbook. I brought the first of 2 wedding afghans I need to get done. Fortunately they are washable, as everything was bit damp when I got home. The show was stopped slightly before intermission due to thunderstorms.

Tonight I tried again, as there was talk of Ravelers meeting up to see the show. I never did find the swatch flag making the group, but I did once again get a good seat. This time I was working on a UFO baby sweater. Good thing that it is in superwash, because if anything everything was more wet than on Friday. The show was once again stopped, this time slightly after intermission for severe rain.

I was hoping to see it with Falathwen, but at this point I wonder if I would only be cursing everyone to getting rained out again. It isn't a real trend without at least 3 data points though...

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

House Robes

As I mentioned previously, I have been planning some house robes. Beginning with the Simplicity 5840 pattern I am following the adaption for a Prisoner of Azkaban style robe, as described here.

First I am starting with the lining as practice before moving on to the outer layer.
Um, please ignore the pajama pants.
It still seems a little long, but I can take up the extra length when I sew the outing robe and lining together.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

House Sweater

Although I have started a whole bunch of projects, the only one that I have been working on recently is my house sweater. I am hoping to be able to attend Terminus, so that added a bit of a deadline for this project.

It is moving along well though. The body is done. The sleeves are half done, and after I finish them and sew them in, I will need to do the neck. Given that I know the sewing in will take me a little time (both for blocking and for me to fiddle with sewing up the set in sleeve), I will need this time to finish up and to work on the house robes that I am re-drafting.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Making Magic

My Ravenclaw swap pal, Olive Bladvak aka Rebecca, for the HSKS5 Exchange is back from Australia, so I can finally share photos of the fun projects that I included in her package.

There was definitely more playing with fabric this time round. I made another Charlie bag, this time adding a lining and skipping the pouch, and I really like the results. (Salvbard was a little sad that we weren't keeping this one, so I may need to make some for us.) It is reversible, with one side having magic wands and the other suns and moons.

I also made a needle case, since she had specifically requested one. I found a great free tutorial I really like the shorter pockets at the bottom for chunkier DPNs or just odds and ends.
And I even broke out some beads to make some stitch markers.
There were so many fun blue textures and prints I found to work with. I had such a great time picking out fabric and beads.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Winners

Thanks everyone for the comments and notes on Ravelry. I did indeed successfully defend my masters thesis work. Now I just need to make the suggested edits and resubmit it. What a relief! I have been taking it a little bit easy since then and have a whole bunch of stuff I have been working on, none of which have I actually finished or pictures to share today.

But in the mean time I have the names of the winners from my birthday giveaway. Chiquita pulled the names for me, and without further ado they are:

Rebecca of "Re: Becca"
Shannon of "Knitting and Musings in Southern Maryland"
and Tikabelle of "Largely Unrepeatable"

Congratulations everyone! I will mail these out just as soon as I get everyone's mailing addresses.