Thursday, July 16, 2009

Awakening the Halo

So, to celebrate the paper being accepted for publication (wow, I'm writing in passive voice already?) I bought yarn to make a commemorative project. Yarn really is the best way to celebrate, honestly. I got two skeins of misti alpaca lace, in their beautifully heathered purple colorway. It's just gorgeous, honestly, with this blue that just pops. And there's this really subtle pink hue that peeks out every once in a while that I just wasn't expecting.

To celebrate, I started swatching. I've been swatching alot lately, it seems. I've started swatching for the infamous lace circle jacket from Feminine Knits. I'm going to use the misti alpaca lace for the jacket; I'm hoping the alpaca has enough halo to substitute well for the mohair. I don't think I could stand that much mohair next to my skin. The pattern states that it should have 16 sts for 4 inches on size 9's. What I got on size 7's was 4 stitches to the inch after washing and blocking. Have I mentioned I'm a loose knitter?

I'm not entirely sure what I want to do next. I'm spot on for gauge... at two sizes SMALLER than what the pattern calls for. I'd like the jacket to be a little more snug than what the pictures show. The pattern says it's 19 inches from armhole to armhole, at best I'm 16 - 17 inches at that measurement, so I definitely need it smaller. For now, I'm just going to see if I can bring out the halo of the alpaca more. So far, I've wound each ball 3 times, and it's starting to get more halo. The third time, I held a very fine grit nail file to the yarn as I wound it in a ball, which seemed to bring out more halo. We'll see.

In other ADD project related news, I started the panache shawl. I'm using knit pick shimmer, in their sherry colorway. Oh my god, it's gorgeous. I decided to do the 9/16 version, mostly because I want a capelet look instead of a wrap-around shawl. Using the picot cast on, I started on row 13 which has 39 stitches. I wanted something that had a defined neckline, where I could attach a shawl pin or ties to hold it closed. It's totally mindless lace, I'm on row 27 already. I'm using size 6 needles, and I won't change sizes until row 63.

It's nice to have mindless lace, though. Currently, the older projects are languishing, mostly because they're being annoyingly complicated. I've somehow made the sleeve too big on the hourglass jacket, so I need to rip back about 4 rows and figure out how I want to change the sleeve cap. So that's changing pattern short rows in broomstick crochet = NOT easy. I think I'll probably tackle it this weekend.

The swatch for the lace bolero is done and hanging on the wall right now. This is more for me to remember than anything else. I did half the swatch in the centered double decrease, and the other half with the traditional sk2p stitch to see which one I liked better. So far, I like the centered decrease. The traditional stitch reminds me of varicose veins, a not attractive look. Now, why is it hanging on the wall, you ask?

I'm hanging it on the wall to see how much drape it will develop. I picked that trick up at a talk I went to at Knitter's Connection, where they hammered into my head the importance of swatch. A great way to check how much a fabric will grow is to wash and block a swatch - and then hang it on the wall for a week. Simply pin it to a bulletin board (cork, foam, whatever) but ONLY pin the top row. This leaves the weight of the swatch to hang from the top row, so you'd get an idea of how much the knitted fabric will grow when you wear it. Leave it there for a week, and check gauge then. Don't forget to include row gauge, because it can change! It's interesting, like a minature experiment for me to do at home, so I'm excited about it.

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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.