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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer FO

I have accumulated a number of projects that are "finished" with respect to the knitting part of the process, but are not yet completed - Poppy and Flair being the most recent: I often end up stalling at the point of weaving in ends, blocking, or sewing buttons on. I knit a pair of baby booties a few years ago when one of The Gambler's friends was expecting a baby - all that remains is to crochet 2 chains on each bootie and sew on buttons; the kid is now starting preschool, and the booties remain unfinished...

For example - I finished knitting these 2 Cable Baby Cardis during the Olympics; I even finished weaving in the ends before that final hockey game started. But it wasn't until last Thursday night that I finally got around to sewing on the snaps and the buttons so that I could give them to the moms-to-be (both of whom are due to go on maternity leave within the next week or 2).

completed baby cardis

I didn't get around to buying the snaps until that morning, and then realized that afternoon that I did not have could not find an appropriate sewing needle (all I could find were darning needles that were too thick), so I ended up picking up a pack of them when we went out to go see a movie. I stayed up late so that they could be delivered before anybody's water broke.

snap detail

Despite my awesome procrastinating skills, I decided that I would completely finish Dusk Jewel in time to wear it this season: this weekend I not only wove in the ends, but I also did the crab stitch edging on the armholes (several times, since the first attempt was too loose, the second attempt was too tight, and finally on the third attempt it was juuuust right)

Dusk Jewel: vest
Because there's an inch or 2 of ease around the waist and hip, it will definitely work as a vest. (Just not over a tunic length blouse - or maybe I can start a new fad.)

And here is some very blurry evidence that it will work as a tank as well.

Dusk Jewel: tank
(I really have to figure out where I can do mirror self-portraits other than our main floor bathroom) .

The Mumble Cardigan is progressing slowly - other than increases at each end of every 4th row, it's mindless stockinette. Unfortunately, the knitpicks needles have a tendancy to unscrew every so often, and the plies of the yarn often separate, so it doesn't zip along as quickly as you would think.

There are a few more summer tops that I have been considering starting, however, I am attending a course in Chicago next week, so I am possibly going to cast on an Eiffel Tower Shawl
to be my travel knitting. My rationale is that since it is knit from the top centre outwards, much of the early part of the shawl is stockinette with just enough pattern bits to keep it from being monotonous. I will use some laceweight merino/silk that I received from a Secret Pal 2+ years ago.

Speaking of Secret Pal gifts - to my current Secret Pal: Thanks for the second package! I opened it yesterday, and will do the photo documentation in the next few days.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

You know it's been a long time since you did laundry...

...when you can do a load of "turquoise"

Don't think that I have taken separating your laundry to a whole new insane level; I had a pair of turquoise jeans that hadn't been washed before, and as I was sorting the piles of stuff to be washed, I kept putting other turquoise things aside. When I was through, the turquoise pile was pretty substantial - I only had to supplement it with a (navy blue) bathrobe to make a full load.

For a change, the full hampers were not just due to work - we spent a long weekend in Montreal. The Gambler was competing in a fencing tournament:

The gambler in action

I had lots of time to knit (5 hour drive there, 8 hour drive back - nothing like hitting Sunday-of-a-long -weekend-traffic in 2 different provinces).

By the time we checked into the hotel, I was back to the point from which I had ripped back:

jewel waist 2

I am much happier with the silhouette of the garment now. I got much more knitting done during the tournament, and since we got back I made it down to the bottom ribbing:

Jewel bottom rib

The original plan was to do the same length of ribbing at the bottom as at the top, but that would have made it a few inches too long - an unusual occurence for me! The top is intended to be knit as a tunic, with the bottom ribbing split to provide the "vents". Instead of knitting it full length, I just kept knitting in the round until the end. Interestingly, the bottom ribbing is looser than the top - presumably because the purl stitches were purled every row in the round rather than being knit stitches every second row. I don't mind it on this garment, but will have to keep this fact in mind in the future.

All that remains now is to sew the shoulders together, and a crochet border for the arm openings. Hopefully I will get that done this weekend.

Instead of starting a new project, I decided to pick up a WIP that has been hibernating for close to a year - The Mumble Cardigan:

mumble - first version

I had finished the knitting, and was halfway through casting off the bottom when I realized that I would not have enough yarn left to complete the cast off. I was going to rip back the sleeves a few rows in order to salvage some yarn, but was not particularly thrilled with how it looked on me. Specifically, I didn't like the fact that the bottom of the garment took off from the shrug portion right at my armpit. I theorized that after blocking it would have less of a "garment I have grown out of" look, but didn't really believe that would happen. So it sat in a bag all winter.

This week I gave some thought to frogging the whole thing and using it for a Mythos Cardigan, but realized that I really didn't have any problem with the top part of the cardigan. So I ripped back the bottom and started it higher up in front.

mumble alteration - front

The pattern as written instructs you to knit 4 sets of short rows so that the bottom edge will be straight rather than curved. I knew I would have to do extra short rows to get that effect, and actually ended up doing the short rows all the way back to the middle of the back:

mumble short rows - back

This is going to lead to the bottom at the back being a bit higher than in the front. But given the popularity of "wrapigans" this year, I don't see it being a problem. Luckily I was able to pick up another 2 skeins of the yarn - I don't think it is dyed, because the colour looks exactly the same a year later.

The only decision I have to make now is how often to increase along the edge - as written, the pattern has you increase on every knit row, but I am thinking of doing it on every second knit row.

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Friday, July 02, 2010

Did I just go a whole month without a blog post?

Oh dear.

I was very close to having a June blog posting this Tuesday, but Flickr foiled me again! I wanted to upload a batch of photos from my computer to Flickr, but I could only do one photo at a time, and 2 or 3 photos repeatedly failed.

So finally, about a month after I recieved it, here is a great package I received from my SP15 redux Secret Pal:

Secret Pal gift

Literary Cat card, 2 skeins of some beautiful DK weight purple yarn, and some dark chocolate (which is long gone!) Thanks Secret Pal!

Luckily, I did manage to knit during some of my non-blogging time over the last month.

Some projects were secret:


Some were gifts:

ambar cardigan
(You'd think that I would have had the foresight to take pictures of knitted gifts with my camera before they get wrapped. Apparently not)

But this one is for me:
Dusk Jewel Hourglass ribbing

This is Jewel from the book "Custom Knits" by Wendy Barnard. The yarn is "Dusk" by Filatura di Crosa. Several of my non-knitting hours last month were spent at my LYS Passionknit, perusing the bags of yarn that they had on sale for 50% off. More hours (and yarn) than I care to admit to. The Dusk was one of the yarns they were clearing out that followed me home.

The pattern is written for 20 st/10cm, but my gauge was 21.5 st/10cm, so I started knitting the Large instead of the medium. This worked out OK until I got below the bust - then it started looking too loose in the back.
Jewel back

Because of the contortions involved, this shot doesn't really demonstrate that fact very well. However, at this point I only had 1 decrease left, and was not yet at the narrowest part of my waist. So I ripped back to a few rows before the bottom of the bust (over 2 skeins of knitting - sign!), started the decreases earlier, and added some extra decreases in.
More on that later...