Monday, November 20, 2006

Arisaig Finished

After almost 3 full months, Arisaig is finished!

Pattern: Arisaig, from the fall 2005 Knitty

Yarn: Jaeger Matchmaker Merino 4 ply in Cyclamen, 7.5 balls on size 3 bamboo straights.

Modifications: Yes, lots! I omitted the ribbing and did a 4 row seed stitch border on the hems and around the neckline (this was inspiration from Liz's version). I calculated a 34" size, in between the 32" and 36" given. I didn't do the belt tie closure and instead sewed the inside flap to the side and attached 2 clear buttons for the front flap closure with small crocheted loops. I tried several modifications of this. First, I tried small hook-and-eye closures for the inside but they tugged on the side too much. Then, I crocheted mini i-cords to tie the inside shut, but they tugged too. Finally, a loose stitch kept it together without an obvious gathering on the side. Oh yeah, then there's the whole cutting business with the sleeve (see previous post). Lastly, I ended up with the sleeves being too big, so I wet them and threw it in the dryer on high for about 20 minutes (I checked it every 5 or so). No felting, and the heat pulled the stitches in enough so the sleeves fit snugger.

Verdict: I really, really like it. I think I will love it as I wear it. This one was a real "take control of your knitting" for me. Thanks to all who commented positively about the cutting! I realized that proper fit takes time.

New! What I learned: I learned that I must knit a gauge swatch in a FULL 4" x 4" square AND block it, especially with lace patterns! I know that's why my sleeves grew - I probably would have ended up knitting these on size 2's if I had done the proper gauge swatch.

A few more pics:

A side view.

Unintentional artsy shot when trying to get a close up of the buttons.

The other side. See the little gathering (oops, sorry for the toilet shot, too. Like the 50's styling?) That was the best I could do with the inside closure.

Front and center. Sorry it's a little dark.

In other fun knitting news, I turned 27 yesterday and received some awesome gifts. My mom got me the Namaste Messenger bag in Mauve (but it's really more a brown):

And my brother got me 2 Elizabeth Zimmermann books. I started reading Knitting Without Tears tonight and can already see why she's such a legend in this field. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Yes, you can cut it

Over the weekend, I was making decent progress on Arisaig. I decided to seam up the one sleeve I had knit and sew the sides to get an idea of how good (or bad) the fit was. When I blocked the sleeve, it literally grew to be like 25" long. I did my best to fluff it into place, but when I tried the sucker on, all sewed up, it came down to the end of my index finger. Sigh.

I had one of those knitting-discouragement moments. I didn't want to finish it. I didn't want to rip the whole darn thing out and start over because that sleeve took forever to knit. I felt crappy. Then I thought of two projects I've worked on recently, the Prosperous Plum Tank and the Grannie Smith Cardigan, which both use provisional cast ons. I started thinking . . . maybe I could undo the sleeve from the cast on edge and undo 2-3" inches of it and get some live stitches to re-knit the 4 row seed stitch border? Maybe??

Well, I unraveled the cast on edge and discovered that you can't frog from the bottom up. It would take FOREVER. Every stitch needed to be unraveled individually. Then I remembered a post I read by Wendy about how you could use spit to repair a cut strand of yarn. This wasn't really applicable here but made me think, maybe I can cut the sleeve to where I want it and find some live stitches that way?? I tried Googling "cut sleeve", "shorten sleeve knit", etc, but didn't find anything helpful.

But I cut anyway. And pulled out lots of teeny weeny little pieces of yarn everywhere. And realized I didnt exactly cut straight across.

The bottom edge (left) is the cast on edge I unraveled.

Somehow, I managed to figure out where little mini-rows needed to be re-knit and got all the loose pieces back into the row and actually had a set of live stitches. I knit the 4 row seed stitch border and cast off.

It worked! The sleeve now comes just past my wrist. I ended up cutting away 16 rows, so the good news is that sleeve #2 will require 16 fewer rows. I went to bed a very happy, proud knitter that night. Who knew you could cut it?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Time flies

Wow, I can't believe it's been almost 2 weeks since my last post. Sorry everyone. Time really flies, especially now that daylight savings time is over. I've been waiting for a good chance to take some photos in the daylight, but I never get home in time.

Anyhoo, I've got 6 hats down and 3 to go. I've cut 2 people from my gift list and added another, so the total is now 9 hats. The 2 people I cut have 2 kids and they are receiving hats. I was hoping to do matching mom-daughter and dad-son hats, but I'm afraid time won't let me. If do end up with extra time, I'll make them. So here are the latest, for my husband's Redskin fanatic family.

Hats #4 and #5. For my 6 year old and 4 month old nephews. Their dad is a big Redskins fan, so I guess these things are inherited, but I'm not even sure if either boy is a Redskins fan (well, the 4 month old probably isn't yet!). I found the iron-on patches on eBay and they stuck right on without needing too much heat. Bill (husband) is getting one too.

I've got hat #6 done, but it's not photo-ready just yet. In other knitting news, Arisaig is moving along nicely. I finished the left front last night and connected it to the back using a 3 needle bind off. It's blocking now. Just 1 sleeve left to go!

I wet blocked it, and boy did this puppy GROOOOOW. I had to fluff it back into place and pinned it just so. I think when it's dry I'm going to sew in the first sleeve and sides to make sure the fit is going to be OK.

Last weekend was Stitches East. My friend Elizabeth (non-blogger) went with me. I think I realized something when I was there . . . I just can't stash. I know that it's like rule #453 of being a true knitter, but there were some great deals on basic merinos and wools and cottons, but since I had no projects in mind, I just couldn't buy it. I am like this in the rest of my life too, though. I am always cleaning things out, getting rid of clutter and organizing. I think if I had a place to keep my stash, it wouldn't be a problem. I need a craft room! I ran into my neighbor across the street and found out she's a knitter too (she teaches it) and she said her 2nd bedroom is her craft room. I should stop by her house for the inspiration. But, here is my sole purchase from Stitches.

Tahki Donegal Tweed, 10 hanks. This is for a sweater for Bill. No pattern in mind, but the yarn was a closeout from the Webs booth - $5.29/hank with like 190 yards.