Sunday, November 30, 2008

Getting closer

Little by little, I'm getting closer to finishing up projects that I've had going. The first is another EZ Baby Surprise Jacket that I'm making from some friends of mine who are expecting. They've elected not to find out the baby's gender, so I tried to pick something relatively neutral.
This sweater turned out a lot more brown than I thought it would based on the yarn. I thought the light blue would be more obvious. In some ways, all that brown makes me feel like the sweater has a more "manly" feel to it, but I guess it's still pretty gender neutral. Just need to sew up the shoulders and put the buttons on. I wasn't in much of a finishing mood today, so I decided to just leave it for now.

Since I was in the mood to do some more brainless knitting, I decided to finish off one of those toe socks that have been on my needles forever now.
I am now exactly 50% done this project. Someday, I'll get off my butt and cast on the second sock. But today's not that day either. I made these with size 0 needles, and found those to be a huge pain in the rear. These will probably be the last pair of socks that I make on size 0's. That said, the small needles have produced a wonderfully cozy sock, but I'm just not sure they're worth the pain (quite literally too since my hands were starting to ache from those ridiculously small dpns).

Friday, November 28, 2008

Fabulous. Absolutely.

Yay! I finally finished knitting my mother's Absolutely Fabulous Throw, after 10 months of knitting. I started this beast way back in January, made fairly good progress on it during the winter, then put it away once the weather started warming up. Then some chilly weather descended upon us in October, so out came the blanket again. And now it's done at last!

Colinette Ab Fab Antique Throw_04

This is Colinette's Absolutely Fabulous Throw in the Antique colourway. I was under the impression that they stopped selling these in the U.S. a while back, and started selling other (similar) throw kits, but I think I've still seen some of these kits around so I don't really know what's happening.

Colinette Ab Fab Antique Closeup_01

After having experienced this finished product I dearly want one of these for myself, but I'm not sure I could bring myself to do all that knitting again. It's the mohair (3 different colourways) that really got to me. As well as the Fandango (chenille, ugh).

Colinette Ab Fab Antique Closeup_02

All that mohair makes this a very very warm blanket, though. Almost as good as having a purring kitty sitting on your lap.

Colinette Ab Fab Antique Closeup_04

My mom and I bought this kit together, so it's not exactly a surprise present. I hope she uses it, especially since it's basically the most awesome blanket ever.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Something a little different

I know this is supposed to be a knit blog, but I finished a fun little craft that I wanted to share. I made myself a purse organizer following the instructions here. It's a very easy and affordable little project, and costs much less than similar purse organizers that are on the market. For the fabric and interfacing, I paid about $7; I have enough interfacing left over to make another organizer too.


It folds up nicely, so I can put it into both small and large bags. Makes changing bags really easy now. If you're a rookie at sewing, I highly recommend this project as something to get you started.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I experienced my first sock casualty today. BOTH heels in a pair of socks completely gave way.

Stormy Days socks holes_01

Those are socks knit with Claudia Handpainted fingering yarn in the Stormy Days colourway. I thought I had blogged about them before, but apparently not. These socks were an experiment in knitting toe-up socks with a heel flap, and they turned out just fine except for the fact that the colours of each sock pooled pretty differently (not so obvious in this photo). However, I thought that knitting a slip-stitch heel was supposed to make it sturdier? Or maybe not?

I can't remember when exactly I knit these socks, maybe last year, maybe the year before, but they were far from the first pair of socks that I knit, nor were they the handknit socks that I wore the most. I have other socks (knit with Regia, Lorna's Laces, and Fleece Artist yarns) that I've worn just as much (if not more), and none of them show signs of biting the dust anytime soon (and I usually knit short-row heels, sans reinforcement). It seems like this yarn just doesn't hold up as well as the others?

I have other socks knit out of this yarn that I haven't worn yet (including my Monkeys), as well as yarn for 2 more pairs of socks in the stash. So now I'm thinking, maybe they shouldn't become socks if the yarn isn't that hard-wearing? Maybe they want to be something else? A Chevron scarf? Gloves/Mittens? Hats? Maybe I should put the other socks into the rotation and see how they hold up?

Stormy Days socks on Sophie_01

Sophie's not quite sure what to do either.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Curvy (the sweater)

Finished my sweater! Yay! This was definitely the quickest I've ever been on a adult sized garment of any kind. I started it at the beginning of October, and finished it last night.
Again, taking photos in the middle of the night is a bad idea. Oh well. I'll try to get some better photos another time.

Yarn: Zen Yarn Garden Gemilicious Worsted
Needles: size 6
Modifications: doubled the length of the sleeves, added length to the body.

There are lots of things I like about this sweater. The color, the yarn, the cables. It fits quite nicely, but can be a bit unforgiving if you're wearing baggy jogging pants underneath. I'm just going to assume that if I was wearing a
pair of nice fitting jeans, those odd bumps around my waist will go away (that remains to be seen however). The only thing I'm a bit unsure of is the wide yoke. I don't have enough...ahem...assets to fill the top part enough to feel comfortable with wearing it slightly off the shoulder without worrying about the whole top falling down (plus my bra straps show). But, if I don't wear it off the shoulder, there's too much fabric around the top that bunches all weird.

Now, before everyone asks if I checked the pattern before knitting, the answer is yes, I did. It turned out as the pattern described, but I believe the main problems is that I didn't quite make the connection of needing boobs to hold up the sweater. I have no problems wearing a shirt that's off the shoulder, but I don't want to wear a shirt that will leave me flashing people whenever I bend over. I'll probably just wind up throwing a tank top underneath it or something though. All in all, I do like the sweater, and would like to wear it every now and then. Probably not to work, but maybe to other things.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lest we forget

One of the (many) things I miss about Canada is the wearing of poppies on our lapels in honour of Remembrance Day. I've seen a few people over the years with poppies down here in the U.S., but have never actually come across anyone distributing them. A few weeks ago I was even considering going to the Canadian consulate to ask if maybe they had some poppies to give away (I didn't, they probably would have thought I was a bit crazy). Which is why I was extremely pleased to see Laura Chau's pattern for a knitted poppy (Rav link) this weekend.


This one is made out of scraps of Calmer (brown, apparently I have zero black yarn) and Jaeger Extra Fine Merino Aran (red, more red than this photo shows), and took about an hour to make. And now I'll never have to go poppy-less again.

(I also want to say a big Thank You to all of you who said such nice things about my Malabrigo vest, and for all your suggestions. If blocking doesn't fix the the weirdness of the scoop, I'll think about redoing the ribbing to maybe add one extra round, since I have very little yarn left. It's funny how knitting one's own garments actually does very little to mitigate one's insecurities about clothing and fit and all the negative stuff that tends to happen in fitting rooms. =))

Sunday, November 09, 2008

See my (questionable?) vest

I love Malabrigo yarn. It is super-soft and smooshy, one of the most pet-able yarns out there. There's a reason why it's the 3rd most popular yarn used on Ravelry.

A few years back (June 2005, to be exact!) I bought 2 skeins of Malabrigo in the Loro Barranquero colourway, a gorgeous mix of maroons and reds with some pinks and yellows and greens and white thrown in. I originally used the yarn to knit a hat and scarf set, loved how the colourway knit up, but hated the actual finished products themselves. Here's a photo of the hat-that-didn't-really-fit, see all the pretty colours?

Loro Barranquero hat_02

Earlier this summer I decided that the yarn was being wasted as never-to-be-worn winter accessories, so I frogged the hat and scarf and cast about for something else to make with the yarn. I only had 2 skeins worth (~420 yards), so it definitely wasn't enough for a sweater. I couldn't find any coordinating solids that would have matched well. Eventually I came across the Scoop Neck Vest pattern from Blue Sky Alpacas, which only required 400 yards or so of yarn for my size.

Making sure I didn't run out of yarn required some reworking of the pattern on my part. I cast on provisionally and knit the top parts of both the back and the front first (i.e. the stockinette portions), then joined both pieces together and knit the bottom ribbing in the round. Then I picked up stitches around the neckline and armholes to knit the ribbing there. I have a very small ball of yarn left.

Malabrigo Scoop Neck Vest_02

I'm not sure how I feel about the finished product right now. It hasn't been blocked yet, but currently the fit is a bit off, and I feel like the scoop is too low, especially given my lack of, um, assets in that area. The straps are rather curly and the neckline is a bit wonky, but that will probably (hopefully) go away after blocking. In the photo below, I'm wondering where my waistline went, and why plain white shirts are flattering on everyone else except me.

Malabrigo Scoop Neck Vest_01

In general, I think I've realized something about Malabrigo. It's very pretty yarn, but there's something about it that feels a to me when I knit with it. Maybe it's that it's too "floppy" when knit up, I always feel like I like it better in the skein than as an FO. In this situation, I'm sort of feeling like the vest doesn't do justice to the gorgeousness of the colourway, and that it didn't necessarily live up to the promise of the original skeins. I mean, aren't these prettier than either the hat or the vest?

Loro Barranquero_01

So, who knows. Maybe blocking will "fix" everything. Or maybe this will go into the pile of knits-I-never-wear. In either case, I am NOT knitting this yarn up again for the third time. =)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Resistance is futile

Did you all get the email about the Webs Silk Garden closeout sale a couple of weeks ago? Did anyone else buy any yarn? Because we (Karen and I) sure did. We didn't go entirely crazy like I'm sure some folks did (did you see how fast it disappeared?), but when I put in the order for 28 skeins I admit to feeling a teensy bit faint despite the fact that the yarn wasn't ALL for me (hey, I'm on a postdoc salary and can't afford to buy too much yarn at once, ok? =P).

I thought maybe the box would be enormous. Turns out, yarn is squishy. Here's the box with an 8-pound cat sitting on top:

Silk Garden box with Sophie_02

The box of yarn balanced on my head:

Silk Garden box on head_small

And the spoils. I won't say who bought which yarn, but that's 3 colourways of Silk Garden, #47, #226, and #247.

Silk Garden Closeouts Oct 2008_01

The yarn is even prettier in person (top to bottom, #47, #226, #247). I love love LOVE this yarn. If I were stuck on a desert island with only one kind of yarn to knit with, this just might be it.

Silk Garden Closeouts Oct 2008_02