Tuesday, October 28, 2008


So, I convinced my parents that they should buy me yarn for acing a graduate level psychology course. Oh, by the way, I'm an undergrad. I placed the order with knitpicks, enough to get the free shipping, by a whopping 29 cents. I WANT YARN. I haven't gotten any sort of confirmation yet, and it's driving me crazy. It's all small project stuff, since I have not felt the pull of a large project with mid-terms hanging over my head. I just want to know the order was processed so I can start the next wait - shipping!

Monday, October 27, 2008

"I'm like an ocean wave that's bumped on the shore..."

So, I can't seem to sink my teeth into a knitting project lately. After a rapid-fire update of all the projects I have on my needles, I realize that I have way too many projects in progress. And none of them really call to me the way the ruffled sweater, or Giselle did.

Then again, the crushing weight of midterms might have something to do with the lackluster desire to make anything. It's kind of annoying. I really want to get to the point where I can knit without looking, but I'm never quite there yet. It's so annoying. I like lace, because it demands that kind of attention, but nothing else I'm making is really that intricate. Unless you count the evil devil known as the nature scene shawl. It's a charted shawl that has NO REPEATED PATTERNS. The whole damn thing is a unique chart from cast-on to cast-off. And I'm doing it in super slippery silk. I must be trying to drive myself insane.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Giselle a go-go

Soooo, I'm nearing the end of the Giselle sweater. The sleeves are done. The bottom extension is done. The top, with all its modifications, is done. I should detail those mods, it was pretty intense. Other than that, I didn't deviate from the pattern.

Well, except maybe for the sleeve flares. I'm thinking of skipping one of the short row flares, because the flare is working out wonderfully. I don't particularly need the long endpoint in the center of the sweater, seeing how prone I am to trailing sweater sleeves everywhere.

Speaking of other unnecessary steps, I blocked the top and bottom half. Whee! Even after all the intense mods of decrease every 2nd row (essentially, every knit row), for 26 rows, the damn thing was still too big. Oh, yeah, I also stopped increasing at the neckline, umm... around row 20-something? Maybe row 22. I think. Anyways, I got it all bound off and it was STILL too large. I was 36 sts short of what the pattern called for, and I refused to frog back AGAIN.

Instead, I shrank it. :D The blocking may have been unnecessary, but it gave me the opportunity to semi-shrink the sweater. Bless ravelry and all their members. The two pieces got hand washed separately in the sink. First wash was warm water with detergent, followed by a cool water rinse, and then a warm water rinse with fabric softener. I must say, the fabric bloomed beautifully - AND shrank wonderfully! I was careful not to agitate the sleeves, which fit me perfectly. Go figure, right? But I agitated the center part of the sweater, shrinking down the neckline and bottom hem. From the amount of bloom from the yarn, I get the feeling that I almost started felting it. Thankfully, the yarn forgave me for putting it through so much stress. The loose gauge still has tons of wonderful drape. I agitated all of the bottom extension of the sweater, but not nearly as much as the top. It survived the process with little to show for it, but it fits well. We'll find out when I start piecing it together.

Which irritates me not a little bit. The pattern says that there's no seaming, however, the crochet trim version has seams! Yeah, the pretty crochet connects the sleeve flares to the sleeves, and attaches the bottom extension to the top. But they're still seams. No matter how decorative they are, they're still seams, with accompanying annoying ends to weave in.

I am happy to report that the bristol buckingham yarn spit splices remarkably well. It is a touch splitty when used at a loose gauge.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Shrinking Giselle

No, not the supermodel.

So, I finished the top bit of the Giselle sweater and it's still big. I'm 6 stitches short of the count, which is fine. I'm glad that I started the neckline much higher than the pattern recommended, it's perfect right where it is. The back seems a little big, but we'll see what happens when I put it together.

I still can't make my mind up on the color, however. It's a strange, fey sort of color, appearing red in one light and brown in another. It reminds me a lot of foxes, particularly the stories about the kitsune. Like the fox-wives of the old tales, the color changes with its background and light. I tried on the top half, and it's almost burgundy against my brown skin. However, it gets quite brown against my red satin bag. It's red in sunlight, brown in yellow light, and so strange. I'm learning to like it, but I'm never sure what to think of it. I don't think I will dye it.

I will say the yarn feels marvelous. It tends to split a little bit, when knitted at a loose gauge. I can't wait till I wash it, and have the yarn bloom. I do wonder about shrinking it before I piece it. I think that might be the best thing to do, since it's just a tiny bit big, even with how much I've changed it, which isn't much. The funny part is that I've made the smallest size of the pattern. And I even made a gauge swatch! C'est la vie.

Sigh. I ripped it. Well, just back to the 4th row underneath the arm. Now I'm doing a decrease under the arm every 2nd row. Somewhere along the line, I'm going to stop with the neckline increases, but I'm not sure where yet. It hurt to undo four inches of knitting though.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

And a good mornin' guv'nor!

Sooo, I've put all my projects on a really brief hiatus while I work on some fingerless gloves. Autumn - winter, rather - has arrived all unannounced, and I cannot stand the cold. The gloves resulted from some beautiful sock yarn that I bought in Nelsonville. Who knew there was a good yarn store there?

Originally, I had bought the yarn to make a drapey wrap from Vogue's Spring/Summer 2006 issue. Except, I hadn't counted on the superwash wool to be so un-drapey. I got 3 skeins of Plymouth's happy feet in their varigated red. As much as I love luxury yarns, I realized I've been buying things that require hand washing. And that creates a need for a LOT of drying space. Which, of course, isn't always available. So yummy sock yarn it is! I thought the thin nature of the sock yarn would make it drapey. Yeah, that didn't work at all. I hadn't counted on the way the yarn fluffs up on itself.

Then, 2 days into the Giselle sweater pattern, the weather literally dropped 20 degrees. It went from being in the 70's to the 50's. Being the tropical bird that I am, I can't stand anything cold. Some digging around produced Bronte's mitts, which I have, of course, modified heavily. They're completely fingerless except for the thumb. I've changed it so that I can have fingers. I used another pattern as a guide for casting on the fingers. Maintaining the lace pattern on the fingers was alot more challenging than I thought it would be.

The glove surprized me, though. It's alot warmer than I would have expected. I'm typing with the half finished glove on, but it's quite warm. I love them.

Talk about your DPN hell, though. I've knit the body of the glove in magic loop, but the fingers are less than 20 stitches each. Yeah. DPNS. And the rest of the edge held on DPNS. Imagine trying to knit with the active stitches on 4 needles, and then there are 2 MORE DPNS at the bottom, holding the other stitches for the rest of the fingers. It's like a bundle of twigs with yarn.

Mod notes: I simply left off 2 stitches on the chart D repeat to make it a smaller lace repeat for the fingers. It works well for the middle finger though, where I had 20 sts. I kept knitting the fingers on size 3 needles because I liked the gauge and it looks like it works well. I also did 6 repeats of the rib pattern before creating the hole for the thumb gusset. i used 10 repeats for to cover my wrists. I did NOT use the secondary lace charts for the tip of the thumb. Instead, I just used the lace rib for 2 rows. On each of the fingers, I used the picot cast off, but I only used 3 sts between each bump. For the arm cuff, I spaced 4 stitches between instead of 5. Pictures soon, but I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I finally get to start on the Giselle Sweater! I'm sooooo excited about it. I've made a gauge swatch that appears to be dead on. The gauge didn't change at all when I washed it, but the yarn did fluff up nicely. So when I knit with the yarn originally, it looked a little thin for the needles I was using. Bless alpaca for blooming when washed.

I'm so excited about this sweater, though. It'll be sheer delight just working with Plymouth's new yarn. It's an alpaca silk blend that I just adore petting. It feels wonderfully smooth when it knits up.

On other happy notes, I've finished 3 other projects. Which sounds impressive, but they weren't all knitted in 24 hours. I just had some ends to weave in on a sweater shrug, and a sleeve to finish on a baby sweater. But it's nice to get hem all done so my projects are cleared out a little.
Welcome to Crazytown, where my friends have proclaimed me queen. Why did they do that you ask? For some reason, there's very little that I fear about knitting. Hmm, a dress in laceweight done in lace knitting written by vogue? Sounds great! I have very few inhibitions when it comes to knitting, and that sometimes ends disasteriously. Apparently, other people think this signifies a level of crazy that only the royalty can attain. Follow along with my escapades as I dive head first into all sorts of insane techniques and projects without much more than an "Oh! That looks pretty, I can make it!"

Those will probably be my famous last words.