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Monday, May 31, 2010

Thank You!

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Forest Featherweight

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I feel like this time of year always zips by with everything that's going on. Caleb is winding down third grade (which seems to mean that school is much more relaxed and things like moving your desk to wherever you want it and Pajama Day are the primary emphasis). He's worked hard this year and we're both looking forward to Summer break. This means that I have my sidekick with me again over the Summer and while he's been hauled all over Creation and back since he was a baby, there are certain things you don't really want to do with a 9 year old boy - no matter how well behaved (yearly GYN exam anyone?) So I've spent the last few weeks running around like a chicken-with-it's-head-cut-off (which I've never actually seen and don't particularly care to), trying to get last minute things taken care of and as much done as possible before he gets out of school so we can enjoy Summer break, go to the library, and make marshmallows.

The last unit of math they worked on was weights and measures and apparently, Caleb has no concept of these (either Metric or Normal American Whatever It's Called) in his head (I will admit that I can't really think in the Metric system, but isn't that what Google's for?) I decided that baking things might help him get a handle on some measures, and of course cookies, cakes and marshmallows make math so much more fun.

With all the running around, I'm getting along pretty well on my Forest Featherweight Cardi. I'm about 3-4 inches below the underarm area now and according to the pattern, I'm supposed to go 9 inches before starting the edging (I'll try it on to double check that when I get there). I don't know what I'm doing differently, but I feel like I'm actually getting some knitting done lately, whereas earlier in the Spring I didn't feel like I was getting anything done. Progress is nice!

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cerisara, Again.

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I've gotten the right front and neckband finished and at that point I was ready to join the fronts to the back.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cerisara

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I sat down while the house was quiet and set up for the left front and neckband of Cerisara. This is what it looks like all finished. (I clearly need to add the right front and neckband.) While reading through the directions before I knit didn't really clear anything up, I found that working through the directions step by step with the needles and yarn in my hands made a huge difference and it all worked out and made sense.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Forest Featherweight

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I've gotten the sleeve stitches on waste yarn so I'm working down on the body of my Forest Featherweight. This project is living in my handbag like a pair of socks in progress would and it's really a perfect project for working on out in the big, wide world. I had worried about taking a cardigan in public, but in laceweight yarn it's lightweight and small and it's not hard to work on at all. If I'm happy with how this one turns out, I might just knit another Featherweight Cardi or two - the design is pretty classic and I could tweak them each a bit so they aren't all the same. You can also see in this picture that while the fabric being knit isn't opaque, it's not as sheer and etherial as I was expecting from laceweight yarn on US 6 (4.0 mm) needles.


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As I was working on it last week, I kept feeling like I had seen the yarn before (not just this laceweight which has been living in my stash for ages) and then it hit me - the yarn I used for Solace! (Clearly our model has come a long way since he rolled and bit the knitwear.) Sure enough, I pulled out my Solace and compared the yarns and they are identical - one is laceweight and the other is worsted and of course the Forest Heather Shadow (laceweight) is from KnitPicks and the Forest Glade Heather Peruvian Highland Wool (worsted) is from Elann, but clearly they are using the same mill to produce at least some of their yarns. I was surprised, but I guess it makes sense since there are fewer mills out there than yarn retailers.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Sorbetto

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As quick and easy as eating sorbet on a Summer's day, this little triangle shawlette is just the pick-me-up for any wardrobe. Whether you toss it over your sunkissed shoulders in the cool evening breeze or reach for it in the frequently over air conditioned indoors, it's the perfect size to keep in your bag for anytime you need a little extra warmth. Made with fingering weight yarn, it's a great introduction to lace or a quick gift that will be much appreciated. Smaller than most traditional shawls, it's easy to wear and very adaptable, no matter where life takes you. Make it in your favorite bright shade for a little pop of color, or in a classic neutral for wear-with-anything ease. It can also be easily adapted to other yarn weights and made bigger or smaller as your needs dictate.
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Pattern is both fully charted and in written out format and includes thorough directions for making the shawlette as well as notes for adjusting the size and using different weights of yarn. As shown, it is 60 inches across the top and 27 inches from the top edge to the lower point. It uses 500 yards of fingering weight yarn and US 6 (4.0 mm) needles. Shown in Spud and Chloe Fine in Glowworm colorway (80% Superwash wool/20% silk, 248 yards/227 meters per 65 gram skein).

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stripy Bag

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I'm coming close to finishing my Stripy Bag! I'm doing the second round of pink and then I'll work an edging in the yellow green color. I just checked the pattern (I made an oval bottom instead of the round one Lucy did) and it looks like I won't have to learn any new stitches for the shell edging - it's all dc and slip stitches. (I just realized, I'll have to check and see if those are US dc or UK dc - may have to learn something new after all.) Then I make and attach a handle and add some embellishment. I'm thinking about adding buttons - white ones - instead of flowers, as the embellishment on this bag. I'll have to play around and see what I like. I've got some lining fabric because I was thinking about lining the bag and giving it a sturdy bottom, but again, I'll decide when I get there.

I'm so excited to get this finished! It's so happy and stripy!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cerisara

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I've completed the first section of Cerisara - the top back section. My next step is to add the neckband and start the fronts (I think it involves short rows, but I've decided to just take it step by step and not overthink it - it looks scary all written out in the pattern, but I've done enough of Bonne Marie's patterns to know that she knows what she's doing). Once I get the fronts to this same place, I think I'll be joining everything in the round and it should be pretty straightforward from there. The lace stitch pattern is really easy to work and fast to memorize so this first section has been pretty zippy. Of course once I have the whole thing (fronts and back) on the needles it will slow down some, but working in the round does that. I always feel like I'm getting no where, but really, each time around adds more to the sweater than one row would working in pieces. Does anyone else feel like this when they knit in the round?

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Another Something New

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I'm kind of between socks right now (a bit socked-out to tell the truth), but I still needed to have a portable project for my waiting times. After I finished the last pair of socks a few weeks ago, I cast on for a pattern and the sample is blocking now (yes, there will be a new Pink Lemon pattern this week as soon as I finish editing the directions and get photos), so I needed a new project. Since I'm in a non-sock mood at the moment, I would ordinarily cast on for a simple shawl as the simpler ones are pretty portable, but I decided to start another cardigan - The Featherweight Cardigan to be exact. It's knit of laceweight yarn and its knit from the top down. The genius of the pattern is that you start with the same number of stitches, no matter which size you're making and you just stop increasing when you've hit your size. If you look through the projects for this pattern on Ravelry, you will see a huge number of variations on this design - mostly in the collar section, but some people have made it with fingering weight yarn or even DK weight yarn. I think (I'll know more once I've finished knitting it) this might be one of those patterns that can be used as a template to add different stitch patterns and different details to really make an endless variety of designs. I'm using some KnitPicks Shadow in Forest Heather that I've had in my stash for ages. It's pretty great for mindless stockinette because the markers remind me where to increase, making it easy to watch TV and knit.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gauge for Something New

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After the last cardigan's complete and utter failure, I wanted to make sure I did a proper gauge swatch for my new one. (Note that I have no memory of making a gauge for Cassidy, but even if I had, it wouldn't have saved me from changing gauge as I went. Must. Recheck. Gauge.) I'm sure you're wondering what the "new one" is - it's Cerisara and I'm going to be using Classic Elite's Soft Linen for it (I'm using Kentucky Blue, AKA Navy). The pattern is written to use DK yarn at a worsted gauge - I'm guessing that's to add drape. This yarn is made of 35% wool/35% linen/ 30% alpaca. The wool adds some memory, the linen and alpaca add drape and the alpaca adds softness. It feels very soft - not as warm as a wool yarn does, but softer than cotton. Oh just go find some and squeeze it and you'll know what I'm talking about.

I started with Size US 7's (4.5 mm) which was the size recommended by Bonne Marie in the pattern (she didn't use this yarn for her sample though). I got gauge. I had a sneaky suspicion that the yarn might relax when it hit water, so I tried it on US 6's (4.0 mm) and US 5's (3.75 mm). Then I washed my swatches. I carefully squeezed the water out and laid them out to dry, but I couldn't help measuring to see where they were. Guess what? They grew! I was now getting gauge with the US 5's. So I wandered off and let them dry (periodically rechecking them just to see what was going on), but got the US 5's ready since that was what it seemed I'd be using. Last night, I was getting ready to cast on and I rechecked the now fully dry swatches and you'll never believe what happened!

They had gone back to their pre washed gauge! I was now back with the US 7's to get gauge. I have seen yarns that don't change gauge when you wash them and I have seen yarns that do, but this is the first yarn I've ever seen that changes when it's wet and then sneakily shrinks back to where it started when you're not looking. So I switched to the US 7's, worked a provisional cast on and swore not to panic when I washed the sweater. I'm two inches into the lace pattern right now, but you can't really see it (pre blocking and all).

Today's lesson? Swatches lie.

By the way, I have a whole bag of this yarn in the Smokey Rose colorway that I'm offering for sale on Ravelry. There are 10 skeins, still in the factory bag. It's a lovely rose color with brown undertones but in artificial light it pulls to a more terracotta color. I can't do terracotta, but someone with warm tones to their skin would look lovely in it. If you have cool tones to your skin (like I do) it won't work. (I tried, I even considered wearing it only when I could control the lighting, but then I realized that would never work in real life and I'd just end up looking like a corpse and someone who had golden undertones to their skin would look so much better in that color than I would but by then it was too late to return it, hence the Ravelry sale listing.) If you're interested, PM me on Ravelry - PinkLemon.

ETA: The yarn has found a new home!

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Something Un-Dramatic (for a change)

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After the high drama of frogging an almost finished sweater, I figured we could take a breather from the drama today. Here is a nice, finished, uncomplicated bobbin of singles. This is the Kiwi colored Border Leicester lamb's wool and kid mohair that Finn and I started a couple weekends ago. Relaxing to spin and to blog!

Tomorrow, a discussion of gauge!

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What Once Was Cassidy

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Apparently, frogging a sweater is a great activity for a Monday night. I sat down and just started frogging. The only ends I had actually woven in on the thing were in the sleeves - everything else was just dangling. When I started, I took a look at the back versus the fronts and sleeves and I could SEE the gauge difference. If I'd only double checked (they say you should double check your gauge several times throughout the entire knitting process) or compared pieces. Hopefully I will learn something from this (and if you're the type of knitter that can learn from other people's mistakes, feel free to take away your own little lesson here). I might have to wash the yarn before I reuse it, but for now it can have a little time out and we'll see how it looks when it's time to use it again.

I guess the most shocking thing for me through this whole experience is that I'm really not upset about having to frog. I'm not too thrilled about the wasted time, but hey, I was knitting all that time. I do like the design for Cassidy and I'd like to do it again someday, but not right now. I don't know, maybe I'm in shock, but I really feel OK about having to frog all that - hey, more yarn!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cassidy

Last night I was happily knitting along on Cassidy's hood and I realized that I hadn't really measured any of the pieces of Cassidy. I blocked everything, but I didn't measure it. I didn't check things against schematics, I didn't recheck stitch gauge or row gauge once I got going. I just went. I had just knitted and knitted and knitted and here I was on the last big section before finishing and I realized I hadn't done any double checking. Hmmm...

I went and checked the sleeves - too wide and way too long. I checked the body of Cassidy - the back is fine, the fronts are way too long. I knit the fronts to the same row numbers as the back, which tells me that somewhere between the back and the fronts, my gauge went wrong. It seems to be primarily a row gauge issue, but there's no real way to fix it properly. I could frog the sleeves and fronts and leave the back, but I don't think I have it in me right now to reknit another Cassidy so I think I'll be frogging the whole thing. At some point I'll knit Cassidy in something else, but this yarn will be frogged and used for something else. I'm not particularly thrilled about frogging Cassidy, but I'm honestly not heartbroken. Maybe Cassidy wasn't meant to be in this yarn. I don't know.

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Friday, May 07, 2010

Still in the Hood

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That would be Cassidy's hood. I'm somewhere past the 1/3 mark but not quite to the halfway point (according to my own figuring). I was getting snuggles from Ramius last night when I was trying to work on it and in order not to upset him, I have to keep the main part of Cassidy beside me, instead of in my lap (where Ramius is). I've been trying to work on this during the day when Ramius is catching up on his sleep but this week has been crazy busy and the only time I've had to knit has been in the evening. I'd love to get some serious headway on the hood this weekend, but we'll have to see what Ramius' schedule is.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Ramius and The Babette

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I am taking over the blog today and I wanted to show you a couple of squares I made for Mommy's Babette last night. I realize that most of you didn't know I could even do the crochet, but here you go - proof. The crochet is very easy to do, you sit on Mommy's lap and purr unless she makes bad color choices and then you continue to purr while you direct her in the making of the block - unless she drags the yarn across your beautiful coat, which is very itchy twitchy. That's really all there is to the crochet. I can't figure out why she hasn't finished this project yet, I keep purring and purring (and correcting her mistakes - I'm such a helpful cat), but she still isn't done with this Babette thing. Doesn't she know that air conditioning offends me? I will need to be wrapped in the wool in order to survive the summer. Get a move on, woman!

Oh, I also need to clarify a detail that came up in a previous post - something about me making noise in the middle of the night? I have no recollection of any such activity. I would never do anything so vulgar as knock something over accidentally. Clearly there were ninjas that broke into the house without tripping the alarm (they're ninjas after all) and knocked something over. Naturally they were horrified by the ruckus they made and snuck back out of the house to regroup. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Stripy Bag

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I'm working on what will be the last stripe repeat for this bag! I might not work the full repeat because I think I'm pretty close to where I want this bag to end. On the other hand, if it's a little bit deeper than I had originally planned, that's probably OK too. I should probably measure it and see where I'm at before I go too much farther - just to be sure. Part of what you see in the picture is the base of the bag, so in reality, it's not quite as deep as it looks. Decisions, decisions.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Awwwwww!

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Do you know how hard it is to sleep when a Pink Lemon shoves a camera in your face? Probably as hard as when a certain cat knocks noisy stuff over in the middle of the night. Of course he followed the Cat Handbook exactly (the directions under the heading Middle of the Night Activities, Accidentally Noisy) and quickly abandoned the scene so by the time I got out of bed* and down the hall muttering some not terribly complementary things about cats, he was upstairs taking a bath. When he saw that I was up, he came running to me purring the whole way as if to say, "Mom, did you hear that big noise, I wonder what that could have been? That was crazy!" Knowing what I know about cats (most baths aren't actually for cleaning, they're used for developing an alibi), and knowing that Finn was asleep with his fuzzy belly in the air (someday I'll have to post a picture of his fuzzy belly - it's out of control) and that no one else was roaming around, I knew that the big noise was Ramius related. I scooped him up and shoved him under the covers and he quickly purred himself to sleep. Thanks Cat!

I have no fibery stuff to talk about today because I spent the day yesterday on a wild goose chase. I'm looking for a butterfly chair for Caleb and all of the ones in boy colors (that aren't on plastic frames - really? A plastic frame sounds like a good idea for a chair?) are back ordered. (To be fair, Target.com has one with a metal frame and skull on the cover/seat part of it, but I'm not sure how they got the skull on the fabric. If it's screen printed on, it will stick to him when he's wearing shorts, which doesn't sound like fun to me.) This is sort of the "off season" for these anyway (they'll be all over the place at the end of summer before the college kids go back to school), but I wanted one for him now. So anyway, no fiber, but you do get a picture of a noisy cat.

*Just so you don't think Mickael is slacking off on his husbandly duties, I'm the best one to check on stupid pet tricks in the middle of the night, he's in charge of checking on weird noises that aren't pet related. Like if an alien sneaks into the house and uses the bathroom. That's all him.

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Monday, May 03, 2010

A Hood For Cassidy

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This weekend I began the hood for Cassidy! It's pretty easy knitting as it's mostly stockinette stitch with a couple of simple cables. Great for TV knitting in the evenings. I'm really ready to get this cardi finished up (I know, you would have never guessed), and the next cardi is sitting very patiently staring at me (actually it's just yarn at this point, but it's definitely staring which is impressive for an inanimate object without eyes) and challenging me to finish up Cassidy before doing a gauge swatch.

On a non knitting topic, I'm thinking about teaching etiquette lessons to birds. We have some serious pig birds around here who can empty the bird feeder in 24 hours. Unfortunately, most of what they're doing is flipping the seed they don't want onto the ground. After they empty the feeder, I make them eat off the ground for 48 hours before I refill the feeder. They have beaks after all and they are pointy beaks (there are no ducks at the feeder - I'd probably have a heart attack if a duck showed up as I was tormented by ducks as a small child. I have duck issues.) Why can't they take their pointy beaks and pick up the seeds they want and leave the others where they are? Instead they sweep their beaks back and forth in the little seed pile and knock 95% of it on the ground. It does give the bunnies (can't fly to the feeder) and the lump birds (too fat for the feeder) something to eat, but we're going through bird seed around here like Big Bird does. I'm not even asking the baby birds to learn manners, they can keep squawking and fluttering their cute little wings all day, but I think the older birds (who are supposed to be setting an example for the little birds) could do better.

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