Friday, August 28, 2009

Idyllic Frog Pond

I went to a tree house resort last night for a sweet little concert with my friend Kolbe. So lovely! There are tree houses! There's also a pond and a river and hammock webs in the trees. I had a great time, but... While happily knit, knit, knitting during the concert I realized that I would have to rip back the nearly completed cardigan front of my Sunrise Circle Jacket to the top of the sleeve.

See, I'd done some fudging because of my larger gauge. Recall, I'm knitting at 3.5 rather than 4.5 stitches per inch. However, when I got to the top of the sleeve, which is actually a bit snug on my arms, I had 2 stitches more than the stitch count for the size small. Weird, hmm? I do have hefty biceps after all those years of rugby.

So I figured, good, good enough. I'd knit more or less the instructions for the size small, but I'd work my raglan decreases on every RS row instead of skipping every few rows to compensate for my bigger gauge. It seemed like that way I'd use up all the sleeve cap stitches before the piece measured too much more than the 10.5" in raglan shaping that the schematic specifies.

Not so fast, I found. After only 8" of raglan shaping I am out of stitches to decrease. What to do? I think I should tear it back and try following the pattern as written for the small size and see how that goes.

Done, ripped. I'll start over now on the front shaping.

I want to point out right now that this type of project is super hard for me. I don't follow directions very well, and I don't like having to refer to a pattern for every stitch line by line. There's no logic that I have found in the increases for the front pieces, nothing that I can just memorize or calculate on the fly while I'm out and about.
Ok, that was my plug for extra praise when I stick to it and finish this project. Finish. Yep, I'm committed to finishing. Finishing, finishing, finishing.... (oooo... there are so many ideas I want to start, start, start...!)

I know this sweater will be beautiful when it's done. I love everyone else's projects. I know I will learn a lot from following Kate Gilbert's thoughtful pattern. This is still a really good plan. :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sustainable Sunrise

In the vein of my new commitment to busting my stash, I've started another sweater. I'm starting with the most difficult yarns in my stash, the ones with the most finicky project needs.

First I used up that Soho in the last post in the Bold Lacy Cardigan. One bag of variegated wool appropriately used. Yeah!

Next up: This tweedy worsted that I ordered from KnitPicks originally to make the Emma Jacket from their site.

I've had the bag of it -- 16 skeins, I think -- in my stash for ages. I read on Ravelry that the Emma Jacket is not a great pattern, so....

Instead, I'm going to use it to make the Sunrise Circle Jacket from Interweave. It's still a very plain design with no complicated stitches that would be obscured by the tweedy yarn. Almost all the projects on Ravelry look really good.

This is how far I've gotten:
I finished the back and part of a sleeve.
At this point I do have some concerns. It seems illogical to me that the raglan shaping for the armpit is 11" deep. That seems very long. BUT I've already mentioned my habitual distrust of every single pattern I come across, and just yesterday I posted about how well my last sweater turned out when I did what the pattern told me. I will persist and trust in Kate Gilbert. I will learn from the success of others, who just possibly might know something I don't.

Having said that, I should mention that, as usual, my gauge is looser than specified. I'm getting 3.5 stitches per inch rather than 4.5. I'm just modifying the numbers to make my sweater match the measurements in the schematic. I really don't think I would like the fabric to be any denser. I like my looser gauge.

All this kniting was accomplished in an afternoon while touring a great permaculture farm up on Orcas Island. I went to Bullock's Permaculture Homestead with my friends Kolbe and Heather for a seminar with Robyn Francis. Robyn was incredible. She gave two presentations, one on intentional communities she designed in Australia and the other on Cuba, which I found particularly fascinating. I don't even know how to get into it here in my knitting blog, but here's one article about Cuba's community gardens as a response to their suddenly limited resources. Here's some info from Robyn's website that introduces what she talked about, and the Living Planet Report is pretty interesting so far as I've read.

The Bullocks farm itself was a real treat to get to see. They've been practicing permaculture there for 30 years. As I understand it, "permaculture" is a synthesis of sustainable agriculture practices with a conscientious lifestyle, including an emphasis on community. At the Bullock's farm you can see that it is a very beautiful way to live.

Here are some pictures of me knitting, knitting, knitting on the farm. If you look closely at the group shots you can see my sweater slowly growing. (I'm in the pink t-shirt)

The day ended with a fun top-your-own pizza party and bonfire.

And here's a picture of Heather because she's so lovely.
Kolbe posted more pictures here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Crochet Cardigan

I finished my Bold Lacy Cardigan by Sweaterbabe from her book, Fabulous & Flirty Crochet. It was fun and actually really fast. I did both sleeves in one knitting night with my new group, the University District Knitters. I finished the back in another afternoon and both fronts during one of Kolbe's Monday evening BBQs. Then I just did the sewing and edging in a few hours and finished the button stuff. It was certainly less than 15 hours total.
Here's a crappy picture of the back:

I'll take nice pictures soon. There was a crappy picture of the front, too, but it was really terrible. My belly was hanging out, and I am not going to threaten my vanity by posting it right on my own blog.

Actually, the hardest part of making this cardigan was only my own distrust of the pattern. I'm not very good at trusting other people's designs. I messed around with the first sleeve for about a week before I really got into it. I thought that it just looked impossibly small. So I added a set of the pattern repeat, but that was huge. So I ripped it out. I started over. It looked small. I ripped and added stitches. It looked big. Finally I settled on just following the pattern with one extra stitch on the edge. I blocked that sleeve skeptically and, sure enough, it blocked into a reasonably sized sleeve.
With that good omen I commensed on crocheting the whole sweater. I finished, and, sure, it looked like it would fit an 8-year-old. Faithfully I blocked all the pieces, and the thing ended up fitting perfectly. Yay!!

My only mods were the one extra salvage stitch on each edge of the sleeves, which I'm really glad I added for my bulging biceps, and one extra row of ribbing on the edging.

This is how much yarn I had left. Whew! I really thought I might not have enough. The varigated slub is Debbie Bliss Soho in a discontinued color. The lovely worsted weight is Berroco Ultra Alpaca Worsted in a really nice brownish purple.

This sweater was part of my new commitment to stash busting. I had bought that Soho ages ago, back when I had been knitting probably less than a year. Originally I had intended to use it for Teva Durham's Corrugated Asymetrical V-neck from her Loop-d-Loop book. Thank goodness Ravelry showed me the error of that intention!
Of course, to bust that stash yarn I had to go buy some more yarn to carry with it.... But both are nearly used up, so good on me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I really should write...

I really should write about my trip... I left all those teaser entries that are still blank. I'm sorry! At least no one actually reads this, so no one out there is actually disappointed in not yet hearing about all the knitting excitement south of the border. Note that I use "yet". Oh yes, I'm am surely gong to write those entries someday.

For now all I have is a brief acknowledgement of my insatiable and irrational knitting lust. The new issue of Twist Collective is out. Though I have more knitting projects than I will ever finish on my needles and far more patterns and books and magazines in my collection that even a dedicated team of Kninjas could finish in two decades, I have just purchased two more cardigan patterns.

I love Ysolda's Vine Yoke Cardigan, which is made side-to-side seamlessly. It is worsted, and I have many sweater's-worth-of-yarn bags of worsted to use up in dark colors that would be better for lace than for cables. I wonder if the sideways construction would make it difficult to tailor to my big boobs...

I also bought the pattern for Gudrun Johnston's Audrey cardigan. It's sweet, simple, and also seamless. This cardigan is knit in one piece to the armholes, and then the shaped set-in sleeves are picked up and knit down. I'm really interested in trying this type of construction. I think I'll love it. It seems to me from the gauge info that it uses a DK weight yarn, and I have a lovely wool DK that I bought for cheap in San Cristobal, MX in a nice deep red color.
Projects!!! Hope springs eternal. :)