Archive for December, 2006

here we go again…

I haven’t gotten as much knitting done during this winter break as I hoped to. I forgot how busy the holidays actually are. I do have the body and one sleeve finished on my Phildar cabled yoke pullover. I just have to finish the raglan shaping on the top of the sleeve—but I’m not sure what they’re asking me to do. There could be a very simple explanation (something along the lines of: I Don’t Know What I’m Doing, perhaps) and maybe I just haven’t tried hard enough to decipher them, but the directions read:

On right edge, leave 9 sts 5 times and 8 sts once on a holder.
At the same time, continue dec: 2 sts from left edge of foll alt rows, sgl dec 4 times.

I get the decreasing instructions, but how do I leave 9 stitches on a holder 5 times? Looking ahead at the directions for the yoke, it looks like you just pick up all the sleeve stitches at the same time. Is this just Phildar’s poorly translated way of telling me to put 53 stitches on a holder? But following these instructions is supposed to leave me with a diagonal edge on the top of the sleeve. Does any of this make any sense to anyone??

EDIT: I think I figured it out! I purl to the last 9 stitches, put them on a holder, knit back across the row, decreasing 1 stitch at the edge, then purl back to the last 9 stitches, add them to the stitch holder, knit back to the edge…and so on, making the rows shorter as you go.

(…doesn’t seem that difficult now.)

In better knitting news, I received Stitchionary I and II for Christmas. I’m probably the last knitter on earth to get my hands on these books, but I’m already thinking of the amount of damage I can do with these babies!

And these came in the mail the other day…about two days after Christmas, unfortunately. I’m still happy to have them. I remember when my mother gave some personalized labels to my grandmother, when I was much younger. I always thought it was so cool that the sweaters she knit had her own tags in them. It’s such a nice touch. I got these from Charm Woven Labels, which I found via Carrie’s blog.

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dad’s cabled raglan

My dad really loved his sweater. Or, at least, did a good job of convincing me that he did. 🙂 I finished on time and it fits pretty well, so overall, I’m happy with it.

I used using Elann Peruvian Sierra Aran on size 8 needles, and I would use this yarn again in a minute. The heathery colors are both beautiful and rugged looking, the yarn is soft, and it blocked really well. I couldn’t believe how much better the sweater looked after blocking, but then, I’m almost always amazed by the magic of blocking.

I followed the Incredible Custom-Fit Raglan formula using some bizarre measurements my dad gave me (yikes). But after making friends and coworkers try it on at various stages of completeness, I actually got something that was similar to the size of my father! But I’m disappointed with the collar. I had a bit of trouble following the directions for the collar and although I think I did it correctly, I ended up with something sort of square-ish. (Anyone else have this problem with this pattern, or know what I did wrong?) The worst part is how it bulges where the cable is, which has nothing to do with the top-down pattern, and everything to do with me not foreseeing this issue. He’s sitting down in this photo, and it’s not as bad when he’s standing up, but still. If anyone has any advice for how to fix it, I’m all ears!

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merry chickmas!

We had our knitting club holiday gathering and gift exchange last night! It’s always interesting when we knit at Lux, but last night was especially full of fun and surprises—and did I mention SURPRISES?! And also some irony. Who doesn’t love some good holiday irony? Anyway, I’d love to post pictures of all of us Chicks knitting serenely near someone’s cozy fireplace, sipping hot chocolate or something…but that just ain’t the way it works at Lux! Skulls wearing Santa hats. And wine. And headlamps. THAT’s the way it works at Lux. Of all our knitting venues, it’s definitely the most unique. You can view more photos of the holiday knitting shenanigans here. It was so nice to see everyone opening and admiring their beautiful, thoughtful gifts, most of them handknit. I received Kate’s Ms. Oni opera glove pattern and I could NOT be more excited! I’m going to get on that one right quick! I plan on getting plenty of knitting done over the holiday break and should have some major Cabled Yoke Pullover progress to show off very soon! Merry Christmas!

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slouchy beret

Well, I finally figured it out, I guess. Wendy, of Knit and Tonic, did post her Le Slouch pattern last week, which helped me figure out exactly how long to knit this hat to get the right amount of slouch. I was able to rip out some of what I had started a while ago and just re-knit the top half, so I didn’t follow her pattern exactly. Le Slouch is knit in seed stitch and I already had this one going in garter stitch. Actually, it’s not technically garter stitch. It’s more like reverse stockinette for cheaters or something. You knit the whole thing on dpn’s then turn it inside out to show the purled side. I stole that trick from Wendy’s Last Minute Purled Beret pattern, which was one of the patterns I referred to when I first tried to knit this hat. (Of course, my sister told me it looks exactly like I just turned my hat inside out…but whatever…) I used 125 yards of some cheap tweedy yarn that I picked almost all the tweed out of and size 9 needles, so it went pretty quickly. It was satisfying to finally conquer this hat and get it to do what I wanted, even though I don’t know how much I’ll really wear it. I’m not much of a hat person to begin with, so a slouchy beret might be a bit much for a girl like me. I’ve got low hat-esteem. 🙂

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i order my yarns

I received the yarn AND the pattern for my Phildar cabled yoke sweater on Thursday! Both orders arrived very quickly. Something told me to swatch at knitting club and Sweet Fancy Moses was I glad I did! There was much figuring and calculating and hand holding and chest measuring and speculation of European measurements and the metric system and high school foreign language courses and gauge and so forth, which culminated in my frustrated exclamation of “How big ARE my boobs in France?!”

Well. Not my most demure public display ever, but I think we got it figured out. Thank goodness for my Chicks. I soon realized that I had definitely NOT ordered enough yarn, and had to e-mail Kaleidoscope Yarns to beg them to send me three more skeins of the same dyelot. Which they were able to do, thankfully. After a couple hours driving over the river and through the woods yesterday, I’m about one skein into the sweater. I will probably be holding my breath throughout the project, hoping that all my calculations are correct. I am knitting several sizes larger in order to make the pattern work with my gauge, and I will also be knitting it in the round. The front and back are mostly the same, so I don’t expect that it will give me too many problems. However, looking ahead at the pattern (which is something I rarely do!), it looks like I might run into some translation issues. Browse the English version of the Phildar website for a bit and you’ll see what I mean.

I just ordered a used copy of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac, specifically for the baby sweater pattern. See numerous cute examples here. I have (another) pregnant friend and was planning on knitting the Placket Neck Pullover from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. But the other day I found out that she’s not having just any old baby…she’s having a baby girl. So I wanted a pattern that was pretty and girly, but not too over-the-top ruffly froufrou. The EZ baby sweater seemed like just the thing.

I also knit a hat this week. Actually, I knit it twice. I had high hopes of a post about wearing my jaunty red beret while Christmas tree hunting, peppered throughout with French phrases and maybe a reference to a Prince song. I had high hopes for this hat. This quick little satisfying project, which was to be a nice little pick me up between more daunting projects. I guess it was not meant to be. Ultimately, I knit two variations of some kind of mushroom head shower cap monstrosity. It was…how do you say?…tres dorky. Perhaps I’ll try again if Wendy creates her slouchy cap pattern. But forging ahead sans pattern? Non.

(My dad’s sweater is pretty much done. Blocked and everything. It just needs one more special touch, and then I can post photos…)

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empty needles…?!

Since I’m weaving in ends on dad’s sweater, that means I am pretty much DONE with my Holiday Knitting! Grand total: 1 cabled raglan sweater, 20 Christmas ornaments, 7 votives sleeves, and 1 pair of Fetching gloves. Now that I look at the total, it’s not too grand at all, but that’s A-ok! Who knows? I might decide to bust out another pair of Fetchings or something. But the important thing is that I don’t feel like I have to. I have my Christmas bases covered. However, I realized that I have nothing waiting in the wings! No projects that I’m excited about, anyway. I’ve decided that Lucy in the Sky cardigan will probably be better off as a gift, and I already have a recipient in mind…for next Christmas. And the socks, eh. That’s something I’ll continue to work on when I get bored/frustrated with a larger project.

So it’s back to the selfish kind of knitting that I find so fulfilling. 🙂 I was browsing the Phildar website last night and came across this cabled yoke sweater. (I then remembered coveting it when I first saw it in Jess’s Future Projects set on Flickr a while ago.) I was even going to go ahead and order the Phildar yarn it called for, something I hardly ever do, until I noticed that the shipping on the yarn alone would be about 30 bucks. Yikes. So some Frog Tree Alpaca in a similar color (I hope) is now on it’s way. And of course I will be omitting the superfluous bling on the yoke.

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