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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Learning to Count

Canal Grande wrap 
I've gotten quite a bit more work done on my Canal Grande scrap wrap.  It's moving along nicely and I can tell that the bag of yarn is less full than it was when I started.  That's always a nice feeling - being able to see that you are actually using up the yarn you're trying to use in a stash busting project.

Remember the other day how I mentioned that I was counting stitches every four rows?  Well, I'm not doing that anymore.  I'm now counting stitches every wrong side row.  Also some right side rows.  There have been a few problems.  It's totally my own fault.  Once you get the pattern established, you knit the same four rows over and over and things only happen on two of those rows.  There are markers, color coded, to tell me what to do on the rows where things happen and I'm still making stupid mistakes.  I have no excuses or explanations.  I just have counting issues.

I am really liking the colors!

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Striping Along

Pink Lemonade socks 
My second Pink Lemonade sock is moving along nicely.    When I bought this yarn, it was a limited edition colorway and it came in a matching pink lemon sock bag (I'll try to get a photo of the bag next time I blog these socks - it's super cute).  Naturally, I was morally obligated to purchase the set.  This all happened a few years ago and the yarn sat in stash until this summer when I cast on for these socks.  At some point after I cast on and started these, Biscotte and Cie announced in an email that this "Lemonade" colorway was part of their regular line up!  The bags seem to have only been part of the limited offer, but the yarn itself is now available from their website.  This makes me un-explainably happy and I wanted to make sure I shared this critical information with you.

Carry on.

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Ribbing

Bentley cardigan 
I've started the lower ribbing on my Bentley Cardigan.  It's a bit more autopilot than knitting the back in stockinette and the fronts in the stitch pattern, so it won't be long before I'm binding this lower edge off.  I should probably try it on too, just to decide how much ribbing I actually want.  The pattern gives a length of course, but since I'm duplicating the general shape of a cardigan I already own, I'm going for a specific look.

Is it weird that I'm actually a little sad to be this far along on this project?  It's one of those combinations of interesting knits and great yarn that has combined in a project I don't want to end!

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Friday, August 25, 2017

More! More! More!

Canal Grande wrap 
As the final blog post going into the weekend, I give you even more stripes in the Canal Grande wrap!  This is moving along nicely and it's actually growing quicker than I was expecting it to, which is a nice surprise.

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

More Sock!

Pink Lemonade socks 
(The word of the week seems to be More!)

I started these socks back in July and then set them aside when I started the Beccs Cardigan.  It's time to get them back into the regular knitting rotation.  I've finished the first sock and started the second (and it looks like I started at the same place in the stripe repeat).  I always keep notes about the first cast on when I knit with self striping yarn, but there's a chance that I might not understand what I was talking about when it's time to actually cast on the second sock.  That adds a little bit of mystery to the second sock.

I'm past the mystery now though and the sock should move along pretty quickly.  Stockinette socks are fun that way!

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

More Stripes!

Canal Grande 
I've been knitting more stripes on my Canal Grande (scrap) wrap!  The more colors I add to it, the more I like it.  To be honest, when I first started, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it or if it was just going to be weird.  At this point, I'm really liking how it's working and it's really fun to knit.

I have discovered that I need to check my stitch count periodically because I had lost a few stitches.  I don't know if I was forgetting random increases or dropping them on subsequent rows, but I've started counting stitches every four rows to double check things.  That seems to be keeping me on track.  It's funny how simple knitting projects are the ones that seem to cause the most trouble!

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Monday, August 21, 2017

More Cardigan

Bentley cardigan 
I'm moving along nicely on the body of my Bentley Cardigan.  I haven't gone button stash diving yet, but I probably should do that sooner rather than later.  I'm leaning towards gray shell buttons, but I'm not sure if I have enough.  Fortunately, they're pretty easy to find.  I'm also thinking of trying something I've never done before on this cardigan - facing the button bands with either ribbon or fabric.  I've been wanting to try this for a while but I've always chickened out.  I think this is the sweater to try it on!

I've found a few tutorials online, but if any of you have a favorite tutorial for this technique, feel free to link to it in the comments.

Also, just FYI, I won't be doing this until I've knit the entire sweater.  I don't want to get anyone's hopes up that this will happening later this week or anything.  I've got a ways to go before any button bands get faced!

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Friday, August 18, 2017

A Cardigan Takes Flight

Bentley cardigan 
Or at least it begins to take shape.  I've separated the sleeve stitches onto holders so I'm just knitting on the body now.  I will need to go back later and add front and neck bands to the cardigan.  They aren't knit on as you go like the Beccs cardigan.  Maybe I'm weird, but I don't mind doing the front and neck bands separately.  I know a lot of knitters hate them, and when you're trying to get a sweater knitted quickly for some sort of time challenge, having them knit in as you go does save some time; but I've never minded working them separately.

I added a second ball of yarn when I separated the sleeve stitches, so now I'm alternating skeins.  Even though this is a pale color, it's still a hand dyed yarn and I don't want to be surprised by differences in the skeins.  I've figured out the hard way that it's better to just blend them together.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!  I'll be knitting and watching The Defenders on Netflix!

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

More Blanket!

Meditative blanket 
I'm still hooking along on my Meditative Blanket!  I've added two more rows since you saw it last, so there are now 18 rows.  My plan was to make it 36 rows tall (by 24 rows wide), so if I stick to the plan, I'm halfway there.

I started this in 2014.

I'm going to go weave in some ends now.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

More Stripes, More Fun!

Canal Grande 
I've gotten some more done on my Canal Grande scrap wrap (and I've learned that I need to recheck my count periodically - holy magical disappearing stitches Batman!)  The more colors I add to this the more I like it.  I still haven't worked through all the colors I sorted when I began, but I'm enjoying working on it.

Just in case anyone was curious, I'm weaving in the ends as I go.  The pattern gives directions for working them in as you knit, so I won't have to go back later and deal with them.  That could have been a problem!

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Bentley

Bentley cardigan 
I'm moving right along on my Bentley Cardigan.  I know that compared to the Beccs Cardigan I just finished in 10 days, my progress looks glacial, but not only is this project fingering weight (compared to worsted weight), but the gauge is pretty tight as well.  This should make for a cardigan that lasts forever which is perfect for a design that I'm pretty sure will get a lot of wear.  I have a store bought cardigan in ivory cashmere that I lived in last fall, winter, and spring and the lines of the Bentley cardigan are very similar.

I'm almost to the division of the sleeves from the body and I've now done enough on the fronts that you can see the texture.  The texture stitch is only on the fronts; the sleeves and back are stockinette.  This makes the finished sweater interesting, but the knitting moves quickly.  Or at least as quickly as fingering weight knitting at this gauge can move.  Forward progress!

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Another New Cast On

Canal Grande 
In addition to the Bentley Cardigan, I also cast on for a new wrap.  After knitting the Marled Magic MKAL earlier this spring (or whatever it was called - the WestKnits MKAL), I still had leftovers.  Quite a few leftovers.  I had seen the Canal Grande pattern and thought that would be nice for my leftovers so the other day I sat down and sorted through them.  The design has a very Missoni feel to it and I think the more colors I use, the better it will look.

I decided to only use the solids and hand dyed tonal yarns and set aside the multicolored hand dyed yarns for another day.  According to weight and assuming 400 yards per 100 grams as an average, I have over 2000 yards of these leftovers.  The smaller size (which is still a very healthy sized wrap) takes about 1500 yards so that's what I'm making.  Once you've knit a few rows the pattern makes sense and you can start to see the zig-zag design.  I think this will work as a fairly portable project.  It's not as small as a pair of socks, but it's definitely not a high attention project.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Casting On!

Bentley cardigan 
Since finishing my Beccs Cardigan (and therefore not trying to finish anything in a specific time frame), I've been casting on a few things.  The first thing I cast on was another sweater, another cardigan actually.  This is the Bentley Cardigan.  I'm knitting it in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Cloud Nine in Winter Solstice.  I've used Cloud Nine once before and I love it.  Where most of the MCN (Merino/Cashmere/Nylon) blends are crazy soft and drapey, this one has much more body and a velvety hand (while still being crazy soft).  I think it will make a very nice cardigan and in this pale gray it will go with anything.

You can just barely see the texture stitch on the fronts at this point.  Once I get farther along it will be easier to see.  I'm making the cropped length with the 3/4 sleeves like what is shown on the pattern page, although there are also directions for a full length version and long sleeves.  I will do the little opening thing on the cuff because I think it's cute on the 3/4 length sleeves, but if I were making long sleeves, I would just do a solid cuff.  I'm not racing to finish this and I will be working on other projects while I'm working on this, so you won't see this all finished up by Monday morning.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

A Sweater in Ten Days!

Beccs 
It's all finished and blocked!  This is my Beccs Cardigan, knit for the Q3 KAL for Eat.Sleep.Knit.  It's knit in Dream in Color Classy in the Juliette's Blush colorway.  I used exactly 900 yards according to the weight (you've got to love worsted weight sweaters!)  I chose this pattern because it was worsted weight, it was top down, and it has no additional bands to add on after knitting the main part of the sweater.  The cabled front bands are worked with the fronts as you go.  I did alternate skeins as I knit it to make sure there was no hand dyed color weirdness, but I'm honestly not sure if I even needed to.  These skeins were really consistent colorwise; more consistent than Madelinetosh or Malabrigo tend to be.  I tend to overlook Dream in Color for those other two, but knitting this sweater reminds me I really shouldn't.
Beccs
It was a fun sweater to knit, with the cables adding just enough interest to an otherwise simple design.  It's also something I think I will wear quite a bit. 

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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Some Sewing

While I wait for my Beccs Cardigan to block, I thought I'd show you a little bit of sewing!  I've been trying to figure out the perfect pajama situation and I think I've got it sorted out now.  I've been making the Margot Pajama Bottoms from Love At First Stitch for over a year now and paired with a store bought knit t-shirt, this works really well for colder weather.  I needed to figure out a warm weather pajama solution though and that took a bit of experimenting.
Sewing
I started with a pair of Lexi Chick Boxers which is a bias cut pair of boxer shorts shaped for women.  This worked out really well but I made them in flannel which has a bit more body than what the pattern called for, so I knew they weren't fitting and hanging quite the way they were supposed to.  They still fit well and were comfortable, so I paired them with a knit tank and have been sleeping in them all summer.
Fifi pajamas
Then I tried a set of Fifi Pajamas.  They are from Tilly and the Buttons, just like the Margot Pajama Bottoms.  The Fifi's have a bias cut camisole style top and shorts cut on grain.  Since there's a top and bottoms, the potential exists for a matched set (which really appeals to me).  I made those up and while they fit, they don't move the way I really want them to while I sleep.  I have no idea why I'm fine with full length pajama pants cut on the straight grain, but I really prefer bias cut pajama shorts.  I figured out that I preferred the bias cut of Lexi Boxers to the straight grain cut of the Fifi bottoms, and despite the top being cut on bias, it's no where near as stretchy as a knit top, which is what I really prefer.
Lexi boxers
So now that I had a plan, I knew it was time to try the Lexi Boxers in a more drapy, fluid fabric.  I got some rayon from Cotton and Steel and made up a second pair of Lexi Boxers.  The drape was perfect and paired with a store bought tee, they made a very comfy pajama set.  Last night I tested them and they were very comfortable.  I think I've finally got a warm weather pajama plan!

Lexi boxers 
The really great thing about these boxers is that they take less than two hour to cut out and sew up!

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Monday, August 07, 2017

Almost There!

Beccs 
I've completed the first sleeve (ends woven in and everything), and I'm almost finished with the second sleeve!  I've just got a few more rounds and then the edging and bind off.  Once I weave in the ends on this second sleeve I'll block the whole thing and it will be done.  I plan to get the knitting finished today and I'll probably block tomorrow.

It's a good thing I'm finishing this up.  In addition to the extra star for my team from the KAL, I may be able to wear it sooner rather than later.  It's been unseasonably cool here for the past few days - only the low 90's!  (Actually, that is cooler than it usually is in August - usually we're in the triple digits in August so I'll take the cooler weather.)

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Friday, August 04, 2017

Nice Body!

Beccs cardigan 
I've finished the body of my Beccs Cardigan and I've even got all the ends woven in!  I wove them in as I went for a change, so they aren't all dangling around the inside of the sweater.  The things you see at the underarm area are the stitch holders for the sleeve stitches.  I tried something new for my stitch holders for the underarms - the Leather Cord and Needle Stitch Holder Kit from Cocoknits.  After reading about it in Knitter's Review, I thought I'd give it a try.  As many top down sweaters as I knit, if it could make picking up the sleeve stitches faster it would be worth it (particularly on a sweater like this with a time deadline).

Last night, after taking this picture, I started the sleeves and the leather stitch holders worked great!  Not only did I not "lose" my first and last stitch on the holder like I do when I use waste yarn (they aren't really lost, but they do try to hide and make themselves hard to find if I'm not counting carefully), but I just knit the stitches right off the stitch holder needle onto the 9-inch circular I'm using for the sleeves.  Easy Peasy!  I will no longer be putting sleeve stitches on waste yarn.

Now I have two sleeves to knit and this sweater will be finished!  It could also use a nice blocking.

Have a great weekend!

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