Time in a Bottle

October 7, 2008 at 9:23 am (Finishing, FO, knitting, Work in Progress)

Hourglass Pullover
Hourglass Sweater
Pattern: Hourglass Pullover by Joelle Hoverson
Source: Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Materials: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (55% Merino Wool, 33% Microfibre, 12% Cashmere) in Plum, 11 skeins; Size 8 24″ circs, Size 8 DPNs
Started: December 2006
Completed: October 2008

I finally finished this. I repeat, I finally finished this. And I love it. Why, oh why did I wait so long!

Primary knitting on this lovely pullover was actually completed back in February 2007. But due to the extensive hem knitting that I apparently wanted no part of, this languished in my knitting basket for a year and a half. Cut to a new me, a new season, and a very refreshing finishing spree, and I decided, “Hey! I don’t have to do the hems! I should just knit a new border on this and be done with it.” And a new sweater was born.

As for modifications, we have the aforementioned seed stitch borders, and I also did matching decreases. The pattern calls for just a bar increase in the body and k2tog decreases in the sleeve. I did a lifted increase to make it a bit more seamless and matching k2tog, ssk decreases in the sleeve. It fits perfectly and the yarn is so very soft. I’ve heard some mixed reviews about the pilling factor in this particular Debbie Bliss yarn, but I guess I’ll just have to cross that bridge when I come to it.

In other news, I’ve finished another clapotis in Noro Silk Garden; I’ll do a full FO post when I finally have a picture worthy of its inate loveliness. I’m also well on my way toward finishing the 28Thirty (just one sleeve to go) and I’ve cast on a new set of Dashings in Berocco Ultra Alpaca to replace my favorite fingerless mitts which were tragically lost in a drinking related incident last year. (sob!)

Here’s a sneak peak for you…
ClapotisDashing

Hope everyone is enjoying the crisp, cool fall weather, and busting out their handknits to keep them warm as we head into my favorite time of year…

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Fickle Knitter

January 26, 2008 at 10:49 am (FO, knitting)

I can’t quite put my finger on why I’m so driven to finish certain projects, and why I come to detest others. It’s usually some kind of roadblock that leads me to set aside a project—the need to seam or pick up stitches, or some kind or error that causes me to have to rip back. But other times, for no apparent reason I just no longer enjoy knitting something. This is why I have a growing number of projects in various states of completion. It’s fine most of the time; I figure it’s my pastime, if I don’t feel like working on something I’m not going to. But I can’t do that when I’m gift knitting. Which is probably why I’m much more likely to finish and not rip out something I’m making for someone else than a project I’m making for me. Case in point, the Swallowtail Shawl:

Swallowtail Shawl

Pattern: Swallowtail by Evelyn Clark
Source: Interweave Knits, Fall 206

Materials: Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk (50% alpaca/ 50% silk) in Amethyst, 3 hanks; Size 6 24″ circs
Started: October 2007
Completed: December 22, 2007

This is such a beautiful shawl, I just didn’t really enjoy knitting it. But the yarn is gorgeous, as always; it is one of my favorites. And the recipient, my sister, was just blown away by it. I’ve always really enjoyed knitting Evelyn Clark shawls in the past, I couldn’t put down the Lace Leaf Shawl and the Flower Basket Shawl when I was working on them. Maybe I’m just off shawls for now. I really don’t know.

Swallowtail Shawl

I didn’t modify the pattern at all, beyond the obvious yarn and needle size substitution. It turned out much larger than I anticipated. The pattern as written creates a rather small shawlette, and while I was knitting, mine did not seem to be coming out much longer. But I forgotten the stretch factor in silk—this baby grew by almost a quarter in size when I blocked it.

Swallowtail ShawlSwallowtail Shawl

I’m working on a few other things right now, like the new 28Thirty pattern from Zephyr Style in Cascade 220, some Serpentine Mitts in Dream in Color Smooshy that appear to be coming out waaay to small, and a Quant for a co-worker in Reynolds Andean Alpaca Regal. Probably mostly due to lack of inspiration and a case of the winter blues, I’m also feeling the allure of some quick stash busters, like these lovely Noro fingerless mitts and this cute little baby cap in fingering weight sock yarn. However those unfinished projects in the bottom of my knitting basket are still calling me, so who knows, maybe I’ll have another finishing spree soon. Stranger things have happened…

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Le Slouch Le Deuxième

January 14, 2008 at 10:34 am (FO)

Le Slouch Les Deux

Pattern: Le Slouch
Source: Knit & Tonic

Materials: Rowan Kid Classic (70% lambswool/26% mohair/4% nylon) in Victoria, 1 hank; Size 8 and 9 16″ circs, Size 8 DPNs
Started: December 24, 2007
Completed: December 25, 2007

Upon wearing it a few times, I became less and less enamored with my Gretel. I’ve now officially decided that it makes my head look like a mushroom cap. And what was I thinking making it in brown wool? I hardly ever wear brown. Since I made a Le Slouch for my Mom in Noro that turned out relatively well (haven’t blogged about it yet, you’ll see it in a later post) and I needed a stylish cap, I decided to crank one out for myself. I used Kid Classic, which I love so much I either want to knit a full body suit from it, or just bathe in it, whichever is easier. I also fell in love with the color, which is an almost-black plum color. I just love Rowan colorways. This hat is perfect in every way, I didn’t even need to block it, it’s the perfect size and slouchiness as is. As I finished it on Christmas Day, I consider this a present for me.

I do have a few more finished items to tell you about, namely the Swallowtail Shawl (from hell!!) and the aforementioned Noro Le Slouch, but they will come in a later post. I’m in a full swell of January blahs and feeling very lazy. Which is why it took me three weeks to tell you about the Le Slouch in the first place. Le Sigh.

To come…..
Final Christmas Knits

Holiday knitting round-up, and a tiny little project to ward off the January chill…..

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Tell Me Your Size, I’ll Knit You a Sweater

December 22, 2007 at 4:16 pm (FO, knitting)

Edith Piaf was a knitter. I just discovered this when I recently watched the wonderful movie that details her tumultuous and often tragic life, La Vie en Rose. The above quote was my favorite from the film. She and the man who would turn out to be the love of her life are discussing their interests outside of his and her work (boxing and singing, respectively). She tells him that she knits, and then says, “Tell me your size, I’ll knit you a sweater.” There are a number of other references to her knitting during the film as well, and I found it notable that it was enough of a part of who she was that it was woven into the plot of the movie. It was an every day, natural part of her life, much as it is for many of us. That they highlighted this made her, and by extension the film, all the more relatable to me. I highly recommend the movie, even if its subtitles don’t make it the most knitting-friendly film. Just tackle your most boring stretch of stockinette in the round and settle in.

Since her voice was known as the “soul of Paris,” I thought it only appropriate to use my mini-review as an introduction to the ever-so-chic Clapotis, which will (begrudgingly) be given to my sister as a Christmas present.

Clapotis

Pattern: Clapotis
Source: Knitty

Materials: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool (50% wool/50%silk) in Rust, 2.5 hanks; Size 8 24″ circs
Started: Late October 2007
Completed: December 6, 2007

I know that everyone and their mother has made this, but I firmly believe that everyone and their mother, sister, best friend and aunt should have one. It’s that nice. I need one. And while it’s a whole lot of stockinette to take on, the thrill of dropping stitches every 12 rows carries you through.

ClapotisClapotis

I omitted the last increase row in the hopes of making a wide scarf more than a stole. This didn’t work, it still blocked out to about 20 inches across and roughly 70 (!!) inches long. I also used a DK/sport weight yarn with size 8 needles, where the pattern calls for worsted weight and the same size needle. This made for a drapier fabric; I think this is a nice effect. This sucker is huge, so I think that for a person with a small frame, like myself or my sister (seriously, it looks like you put normal-sized people in the dryer to create my family) the larger worsted weight version would overwhelm. What’s nice about this is that it is large enought to be worn thrown over the shoulders as a stole but it’s thin enough to comfortably wear it wrapped at the neck as a scarf. 

Can you believe that I’ve already posted more this month than I had in the last three? What can I say, I thrive on a deadline, and I’m too lazy to post most of the time unless I have an exciting FO or feel like showing off my shame for the multitude of things I keep on the needles at any given time! That being said, the FO parade will continue up until the holiday. I’m currently blocking Mom’s Le Slouch, and even though it felt like death was creeping up on me every time I picked it up, I just cast off the Swallowtail shawl this morning. I’ll begin blocking as soon a I wrap up the post. So now I’m back to selfish knitting, or, I could finish the three unfinished projects languishing in my basket. The possibilities are endless!

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Four Hours

December 16, 2007 at 3:54 pm (FO, knitting)

Was all it took to turn this . . .

Blue Sky Bulky

Into this…

Neckwarmer

ohmygoditssooooosooooft

Pattern: Cashmere Neckwarmer
Source: Yarn Abuse

Materials: Blue Sky Bulky Naturals (50% Alpaca, 50% Wool) , Polar Bear (1004), 1 hank; Size 13 straights
Started: December 15, 2007
Completed: December 15, 2007

While on a day trip to Buffalo yesterday I stopped by two yarn shops to get the supplies for my substitute Christmas present for Mom. I wanted the hat and scarflette to match, but not be too matchy-matchy. Although I hemmed and hawed about the yarn choice (Cascade Magnum, Takhi Baby, and Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grand were all choices), I eventually settled on this very bulky, and very soft alpaca blend. The yardage is on the skimpy side (only 45 yards) but it’s just so soft and fluffy that I couldn’t pass it up. I needed every last bit of those 45 yards – this only reached the pattern’s 25-inch length with some aggressive blocking. And I had only about an inch of yarn left.

The button was a bit of a surprise; I thought I was buying one of the regular $3.00 wooden buttons, but after I paid I realized I’d picked out the $7.50 version, which the store owner informed me was made out of “antler.” Ok. Well at least it’s pretty.

The pattern is fun to do and goes so fast – I got home from Buffalo at 3:00 and this was blocking by 7:00. I love that! Thanks Kim!

So now, I’m working on turning this…

Noro Kureyon

Into this . . . I’m thinking it will take more than four hours. Oh well, can’t have instant gratification with every project! I have to pat myself on the back for restraining myself while in the yarn shop, as they had stocked Noro sock yarn!! While I found a lot of the colors to be garish, they did have one or two really beautiful neutral, natural colorways that I absolutely loved. Well, they had two, 149 and 150. But, since this (I can’t believe I got my hands on some Vesper!!) just came in the mail this week, I held back. All in good time…

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Oh Sh%&!

December 8, 2007 at 11:09 am (FO, knitting, Work in Progress)

Has anyone else noticed that Christmas is in 17 short days? Is that fact making anyone else break out into cold sweats?

Yeesh – How did I manage to do this to myself this year? Three shawls did not seem like an overwhelming undertaking back in late September. While I’ve finished Clapotis for my one sister, I still need to do the border lace (including nupps) on my other sister’s shawl, and I may or may not have enough yarn to finish the remaining 2/3 of my mother’s Arctic Lace Stole. This may be a short post, my fingers are needed elsewhere!

ClapotisWIP SwallowtailArctic Lace Stole

Maybe the problem is that in between stuffing my face with the closest food item over Thanksgiving I decided to knit Calorimetry and finish my Gretel slouchy hat. I know, I lack focus and direction.

Gretel

Gretel

Pattern: Gretel
Source: Ysolda

Materials: Cascade 220 (100% wool) in brown, 1 hank; Size 5 & 7 24″ circs, Size 7 DPNs
Started: Late October 2007
Completed: November 22, 2007

It’s so cute, it may just be worth the stress it’s caused me, since I sacrificed Christmas knitting time to finish it. I didn’t do the tubular cast-on, mainly because I’m lazy and mostly because the directions made my eyes go googly—I did the regular long tail. I like it, but I think I need to block it again, because it’s just not slouchy enough. The cable pattern is just gorgeous though, and it was a lot of fun to knit.

Carolimetry

Calorimetry

Pattern: Calorimetry
Source: Knitty

Materials: Filatura di Crosa 127 Print (100% wool) in brown, 1 hank; Size 8 24″ Circulars
Started: November 18, 2007
Completed: November 18, 2007

This took about a day to knit. But now I’m kind of wishing I’d picked a more neutral color, since it’s a little loud. Oh well. Also, if I ever make one of these again, I’ll go down a size and to make a denser fabric. It’s really stretchy, and a little bit too big. Still have to add a button too. *sigh*

In other news, I finally made it to my local knit night last week. Not surprisingly at all, I had a wonderful time. The lovely Jenna found me on Ravelry and invited me to come, which was just the push I needed. Everyone was so warm and nice, and I can’t tell you how great it is to sit at a table of women who are just as nerdily obsessed with the same craft as you are. Nerdily in a good way, of course. Yay fun!

And one last thing. Just as soon as all this Christmas lace knitting is done, I’m casting on for Dahlia in the new Knitty. So cute, and I have the exact yarn in the exact amount called for in the pattern in just the right color, just sitting in my stash waiting to be used up. Serendipity!

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Harvesting Some FOs

October 30, 2007 at 6:53 pm (FO)

I really have no excuse for not blogging, I’ve been reading a lot, work has been busy…blah blah blah. As usual though, I have been knitting. I’ll throw out some FOs, that’s what we all want to see anyways, right? Right.

Just in time for Halloween or “Harvest Celebration” as my third-grade-teacher sister is forced to call it, a lovely pumpkin-shaded scarf. This was also done just in time for my dear friend’s birthday.

Misty Garden

Misty Garden

Pattern: Misty Garden
Source: Scarf Style

Materials: Morehouse Merino 3-Ply (100% merino wool) in pumpkin, 2 hanks; Size 8 SPs
Started: Late September 2007
Completed: October 21, 2007
I’m in love with Morehouse Merino. I happened upon it by chance at my LYS, spotting it from across the room and immediately recognizing it as the perfect color for my aforementioned friend. It’s very soft and buoyant and blocks very nicely. I can’t even imagine how lovely a whole sweater made of it would be. I’ll have to try out their laceweights next. Oh, and the pattern was simple and great. But I’m sure you knew that already since everyone and their sister has made it.

Coquette Lace Tube Top
Coquette Lace Tube Top

Pattern: Coquette Lace Tube Top
Source: Fitted Knits, Stefanie Japel

Materials: Cascade Pima Tencel (50% cotton, 50% tencel) in navy, 5 skeins; Size 5 24″ circulars
Started: July 2007
Completed: August 2007
This was a fast, fun knit, however the top is a bit too loose. If I were to do it again, I would probably go another size needle size down for the ribbing or do a tubular cast on. As it is, I will have to sew in some elastic thread, which won’t happen until I pull this out again next summer. I also feel a little va-va-voom in it, so outfit negotiations may have to be made before it’s worn out of the house!

That’s it for now, I’m in the thick of Christmas knitting, so I’ll give you an update on that soon. I’ve decided to just make shawls for the lovely ladies in my family this year – a Diamond Fantasy for Mom, and a Clapotis and Swallowtail for each sister. I’m also plugging away on a Gretel slouchy hat and the ever present Broad Street Mittens. Oh, and the Monkey socks. All I have left is to kitchener one toe, so once I get that done, hopefully before the second coming, I”ll be able to debut my very first completed socks.

You can also check this all out on Ravelry, where I’m listed as maureenwell. Stop in and say”hi” if you’re signed up.

Happy Halloween everyone!

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Serendipitous Waste

September 3, 2007 at 12:15 pm (Finishing, FO)

I hope everyone has enjoyed their Labor Day weekend; we spent ours puppy-sitting Max, a lovely German Shepherd mix. Naturally, he and Oliver get along famously.

MaxOliver & Max

Sleepy puppies…

Now. On to the knitting.

Maybe I’m a bit on the compulsive side, but I find myself…uncomfortable….with the number of stray yarn balls I have hanging around. I’ve had a number of projects recently that used almost a full ball of yarn less in practice than was stated in the pattern. Now, I’m the type of knitter who will keep knitting until all the yarn is gone, but sometimes the look you’re going for overrides my distaste for yarn waste. Not everyone likes a Dr. Who-style 10-foot-long scarf, even if I’d be ok with it. Exacerbating this problem is the fact that I am incapable of throwing things away, especially things I love as dearly as yarn, and I’m way too lazy to try and sell these skein by skein. I can barely manage to mail my Netflix back. So what’s a knitter to do? Let’s just say that it’s a good thing I’m a fan of the quick-n-dirty project, two of which I finished last week.

Bainbridge Scarf

Bainbridge Scarf

Why hello there chin….

Pattern: Bainbridge Scarf
Source: Pepperknit

Materials: Debbie Bliss Merino DK (100% merino wool) in 46, a dark green,1 skein; Size 5 24″ circulars
Started: August 12, 2007
Completed: August 17, 2007
After seeing some lovely versions of this on Ravelry, I started thinking that I needed a little scarflette to ward off the chill that comes early to Upstate New York. I decided I wanted it in a dark green color, and immediately started casing DK weight yarns on the old Interweb. It then occurred to me that I had a stray ball of Debbie Bliss Merino DK left over from the Irish Hiking Scarf I made for my father last Christmas in, wait for it, a dark green. Five days later, a fun little scarf was born. Almost two weeks later, I finally got around to weaving in the ends and blocking it. Such is me. Once again I was amazed by the yarn’s transformation upon blocking—it really blooms and becomes much, much softer. I swear the color even gets prettier. So bottom line, this was an easy, fast knit that will look sharp and unique in the fall.

Cloche du Boise

Cloche du Bois

Yeah, it’s a little on the long side…

Pattern: Cloche du Boise
Source: Make Me

Materials: Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton (100% cotton) in Ink,1 skein; Size 8 16″ circulars, DPNs
Started: August 26, 2007
Completed: August 27, 2007
I have a tendency to cruise around on the Internet and save free patterns as I come upon them. I then promptly forget about these patterns and they never see the light of day. Recently, I happened to be cleaning out my “My Documents” folder and came upon a “Patterns” folder I had handily set up. I opened a random PDF file, remembered the cuteness of the pattern and then noted that it called for a yarn that I had: 1) enjoyed thoroughly, and 2) had a stray ball of sitting in my stash, all alone, shameful in its solitude. It took me about 15 minutes to wind up the yarn, and two nights of knitting to finish the hat. Voila! It’s a little on the long side (or my head’s a little on the short side), but it’ll do.

Cloche du Bois

So there you have it, two lovely little projects borne of leftover yarn. Now if i can just figure out what to do with the bag of yarn scraps, taunting me from the bottom of my knitting basket!

And finally, my apologies go out to the Child’s Placket-Neck Sweater and Broad Street Mittens. I’ve been sucked in by the allure of Fitted Knits yet again. I’ve abandoned all other WIPs for the Two-Toned Ribbed Shrug. It’s a bit on the addictive side; I’m already about to pick up stitches for the collar. Speaking of Fitted Knits, I’ll have an FO post for the Coquette Lace Tube Top very soon; just as soon as I can get my s#$t together.

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Back in the Land of the Living

June 9, 2007 at 9:00 am (FO, knitting)

Ahhh . . . the big work event that had taken over my life for the last month-and-a-half finally happened this week. And it went really well!! Yay for me. And yay for my blog, because I actually have the time and powers of concentration to post again! Here’s my latest FO, Tivoli, or the fastest knitting T-shirt ever . . . .

Tivoli

Tivoli

Pattern: Tivoli
Source: Picovoli from Magknits by Grumperina

Materials: Blue Sky Dyed Cotton (100%cotton) in Ink, 3 skeins; Size 8 24″ circulars
Started: May 4, 2007
Completed: May 9, 2007

This only took five days to knit. Can you believe that? And I’m not one of those freakishly fast knitters either. Love you, worsted cotton. And the pattern? So addictive. Modifications were the straightforward gauge switch, and I did the matched increases and decreases from the Honeymoon Cami instead of the K2Tog/SSK. If anyone wants to knit this in worsted instead of the prescribed Sport weight, let me know, and I can send you my specs. Also, I went for the Tivoli version instead of Picovoli, as I didn’t want massive worsted weight picots.

I think part of the reason this went so fast was my extreme love for the Dyed Cotton on Size 8 needles. I’ve used this yarn before for the Fitted Tank pattern from Blue Sky, but it was on Size 9 needles and I absolutely hated it. Too loose and pilly. But on Size 8 needles, the yarn is divine. And it’s so comfortable to wear too. I can’t wait to try it for Flair.

In other knitting news, I’ve frogged the Clementine Shawl. The trip to Mexico ruined my mojo on it, and there was no way I’d finish it in time for my sister’s birthday. (She got Kiehl’s Original Musk instead, quite possibly the best smelling perfume oil on the planet. Not a bad trade I think!) Besides, I wasn’t too thrilled with the way the line of grafting looked across the back on the versions I was seeing out in blogland. And besides, I’m still really unpracticed at grafting, and figured my version would look worst, causing ridiculous amounts of knitting rage. Not. Worth. It. So it is frogged, and will likely become an Adamas Shawl or Shetland Triangle for her Christmas present.

On to the latest stash enhancement and current projects – I made some yarn purchases this week . . . which I feel is deserving as Ravelry has shown me that I have a really small stash in comparison to some! Must rectify that situation . . . .

Rowan 4-PlyElann Lara

Rowan 4 Ply Cotton in Steel Blue from Yarnmarket and Elann Endless Summer Lara in Burgundy for the Prairie Tunic and Orangina, respectively. Also, I got gauge for the Lace Nightie from the Spring 2007 Interweave Knits in Paton’s Grace and immediately cast on. I’ll have some progress pics once it’s beyond the beginning stages.

Have a great weekend!

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Second Honeymoon

May 2, 2007 at 8:05 pm (FO, knitting)

We’re taking a trip to Mexico in a few weeks for a friend’s wedding. Since Matt is in grad school and I work full time, we’ve spent precious little time together lately. So as the trip falls on the tail end of Matt’s quarter and I’m finally taking a much needed break from work, we’re viewing it as a sort of second honeymoon.

It’s absolutely perfect that I will have this lovely item to wear . . .

Honeymoon Cami

Honeymoon Cami

Pattern: Honeymoon Cami
Source: Knitty

Materials: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece (80% Pima cotton, 20% merino wooll) in Nymph, 2.5 skeins; Size 6 24″ circulars
Started: July 2006
Completed: April 30, 2007

I started this last summer, as I’ve stated previously, while on a vacation with Matt’s family. This was my second attempt at a garment, after a botched One Skein Wonder that ended up in the trash. I worked on it all through our travels to Georgia, the week spent on the boat, and the travels home. And then I was spent. The weather became colder, I became more interested in knitting hats, scarves and sweaters, we moved . . . the reasons it went on hiatus are many. But when I cleaned out my knitting basket last week I rediscovered it and finished it up in just one night.

HoneymoonCamiBack

There’s definitely something to be said for putting a project aside when you’ve just lost interest. As much as I’ve been trying to wrap up “loose ends” in my knitlist, I think that at the core, I knit because I love it. Not because I have to have whatever I’m making. So if I’m not enjoying a knit, I say put it aside and let it marinate. If you come back to it and love it again, wrap it up. If not, rip it out and find another project for the yarn. That being said, I’m really glad I finished this one, because I love it. It’s my first finished garment, actually, and even though the gauge is off (I didn’t yet know about swatching in the round last summer) it fits perfectly. Julia Trice, the designer, worked in some beautiful details that really make a difference in the simple design.

HoneymoonCami Detail2HoneymoonCami Detail1

I particularly liked her unconventional decreases and increases. She has a perfectly paired counterpart to the SSK. Going through the trouble of making her left decrease instead of the more common K2tog is worth the effort. I’ll likely use it in other knits; it’s really lovely.

So while it took a while to finish, this knit was definitely worth the wait, just as our trip and resulting one-on-one time will be for Matt and I.

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