Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Since the last update, I've been working on a few different things. The amorphous mystery sweater has only progressed little, and is currently out of favor and out of the knit cycle. This always seems to happen, when I get back into the knitting groove. I frantically go back and forth between a few projects, trying to figure out what I really want to, or need to be working on, before actually settling on something that feels right. In addition to the mystery sweater, I've been working on Tweedie, started a shawl and another sweater, and even finished something:

This is Amelia, Laura Chau's pattern from the -08 Winter Knitty. I used Louet Riverstone in color Burgundy. I think it's a very nice, solid worsted wool, one of those basic yarns that is always good to have around. I was between sizes, and cast on something in between M and L, because I didn’t want the sweater to be too tight around the bust. A couple of other changes I made were:
  • Button holes every 14 rows instead of every 10. I wish I would have started them an inch or two earlier.
  • I modified the sleeve cuff to twisted k1p1 rib, and I did the sleeve increases slower and made fewer of them than specified. Looking at other people's projects, sometimes the sleeves seemed too wide, at least to my taste.
  • I made the front neck line decreases one stich further in (k1, p1, ssk), and I added a button hole in the neck band.

Overall, a nice project, and a good, well written pattern!

After finishing Amelia I thought, what I really need is a couple of new sweaters I can wear to work. I searched through patterns and rummaged through my entire yarn inventory, and paired up yarns with patterns, deciding what is going to be what. The first sweater that got on the needles was a silvery gray version of Wendy's Something Red:

I'm using Rowan's Kid Classic and Addi Turbo 4.5 mm circulars. (Shocking news: Addi has changed the color of the cord in their circulars from the familiar gold to a transparent blue!) This sweater should take me another couple of weeks with the sleeves and the neck band, if I manage to stick to knitting monogamy from now on.

October is birthday-month for me, and despite having made a resolution to be on a strict yarn diet, I figured I'm allowed to splurge on my birthday. Right?

This was my "happy birthday to me"-gift: a soft pile of Malabrigo Silky Merino in color Topaz. I'm thinking a shawl, something in the style of Jared Flood. Jared is one of my favorite bloggers and designers, and I'm really fond of his use of thicker yarns for lace patterns. By using a DK or a worsted weight yarn in a lace, you really get the best of both worlds; the intricate texture and pattern, but also the substance (and warmth!) of the thicker yarn.

The weather has been absolutely miserable lately around these parts of the world, but only during the weeks. Somehow magically it always seems to clear up for the weekends, and this weekend is no exception. This of course makes me very happy -not only for the kids, but for poor old me, who has to take them trick-or-treating tonight, and if the weather was as bad as last night, no amount of knitwear could keep me warm! I hope you all have a happy (and scary!) Halloween. Stay warm!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

End of hiatus

I didn't even realize how long it had been since I last posted... Seems like time to end the hiatus and bring the blog back to life! The past year has been chaotic, stormy and challenging on a personal level, and posting in the midst of all that just didn't feel very appealing. But life goes on, and now that the dust has settled (and the weather is getting colder!), it's time to come out of the hiding, and take out the needles and yarn again.

So what is going on on the knitting front? Some of my work that I finished between the last post a year ago and before I completely stopped knitting for a while (that's right! completely stopped... didn't see that coming!) I have posted on Ravelry, available to those of you that are members there. Recently, I tried on a lovely cardigan at a store and thought, no way am I paying $ 119 for that! A two piece construction in garter stich, fairly simple and should be a quick knit. This and the afore mentioned cold weather were enough to get me to go rummaging in my yarn totes for something suitable that could produce the same cardi, albeit in a prettier color. I found a bag of fingering weight Knitpicks Gloss in color Cosmos, knitted a 5x1.5" test swatch, and cast on for a sleeve.

This will be one of those "make it up as you go" pieces. Yes, I'm taking a risk here, and yes, you may slap me, if it doesn't turn out because of the lack of planning. In my defence, I do have a couple of scetches in my notebook, and I have taken one measurement! The back piece measures from my elbow to my knuckles. Very scientific, no? And the reason I think this has any chance of working out? Well, the shape of the sweater is very "organic", not fitted in the least, so the exact measurements aren't absolutely critical. Famous last words, before a knitting disaster...

Maybe I want to think that I've still got the touch, and I can figure this out without spending two days planning. Maybe I'm just delusional... Or maybe I've totally forgotten anything I ever learned, and that unplanned pieces of knitting rarely turn out. We shall see. Until then, let's admire the magnificent October sky (the sky is so big here in South Dakota!) and the pretty view from my deck: