Monday, August 27, 2007

FO: Rusted Root

Thumbs down on this one, folks.

Pattern: Rusted Root, by the Zephyr Girls. Size in between the 32-35" and 36-39".

Yarn: Berroco Touche in Iris. 6 skeins.

Verdict: Blah. From the front, this knit doesn't look so bad (except for that weird spot where I joined a new ball of yarn. Looks like I have a nubbin' a la Chandler Bing). But, here's what's going on in the back.

Droopy Droopy Droopy.

In case you need to see it up close.

Did I know this was going to happen? Well, yeah. Kind of. When I tried it on as it was being knit, I had a suspicion that it was going to end up too big. But, given the stitch counts and gauge I thought I was getting, I was convinced it was going to end up too small. I think in the end, my gauge grew and ultimately screwed up the fit.

I also think that the waist decreases on only 1 side of the marker made this fit fine from the front but droop in the back.

Modifications: When I got to the point in the pattern to separate the sleeves, only 42 rows had been completed. At 7 rows to 1", this made for a 6" raglan seam. For me, that is WAY too tight. So, I did some more raglan increases, but I only increased in the sleeve section (thinking I didn't want the body to be bigger, but I guess that didn't matter after all!). To compensate for my increases in the sleeve, I did more decreases in the middle, mimicking the decreases that create the "poof".

I think this part was successful for me. I got a comfortable sleeve fit and kept the poofiness.

So, what does the future hold for Rusted Root? Not sure yet. The Touche is a great, soft cotton, so it will probably be frogged and used for something else. I really do like this pattern, but I would consider some serious modifications before trying it again.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

FO: One-Tone Fitted Knits Shrug

Taking advantage of the cool, rainy morning, here is my One-Tone Fitted Knits Shrug. This had to be my fastest non-baby knit ever.

Pattern: You all know this one, the Two-Tone Ribbed Shrug from Fitted Knits

Yarn: Kona Bay Cotton, 100% Pima Cotton. Cream, 3 1/2 balls. Scored from a WEBS closeout for $2.99 per ball.

Time to knit: August 9 - August 20, 2007.

Modifications: I made what came out to be a 14.5" size. I started with the 13" size, since that was my measurement from bra strap to bra strap, but my arm looked like a sausage squeezed into the first sleeve. I ripped back and added 3 more increases to the body. I think I could still use an extra stitch or two to the arms, but the body fit is perfect.

Verdict: LOVE it. I've found lately that there are projects that I obsess over (right now, I'm obsessing over Juno, even though I haven't started it). Usually, the ones I obsess over the most are the ones that don't come out so great. For instance, the Swan Lake Cardigan is something I just decided to knit - didn't stress over the yarn or sizing and just did it. Didn't rush through it or over-analyze it as I was knitting. And, it came out perfect. Same thing happened on this one - I started it less than 2 weeks ago and just went with it. And I love it!

Yarn Review: This Kona Bay Cotton is the softest cotton I've ever worked with. Softer than Berroco Touche. It doesn't have any fancy sheen to it, but it's fuzzy and cozy. I wouldn't recommend it for lace projects or things with too much detail, but for this little shrug, it was a perfect choice.

Do you like the necklace? I made it on Saturday. I also made a few other necklaces, which I will show you later this week. Knitting has occupied my crafty time almost completely in the last few months, so I devoted a day back to some jewelry crafting. I forgot about the instant gratification you get from it!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Why You Don't Want Lyme Disease

There are a lot of reasons why you don't want Lyme Disease. Fevers, aches, pains. About a month ago, Bill woke up with a strange red rash on his leg. It quickly grew to the size of a softball and had a "ring" characteristic to it. He was diagnosed with Lyme disease and put on antibiotics for 3 weeks.

He's fine, and the worst part was him just feeling fatigued (and not being able to drink beer while on the drugs). I had a mini-freak out and fortunately, because I work in a medical research environment, I was able to get the OK from an infectious disease expert who said this was the right treatment plan. Anyway, if you have deer in your area or are near the woods, check yourself for ticks regularly. We thought this was a rare disease, but it's becoming more common.

Onto knitting . . .

With my mom's sweater finito, I've made some good progress in the last week on some WIPs and started a new project.

Cable Down Raglan: I've made it to the point where the sleeves are separated. I'm making the 31 1/4" size. I'd like this one to be more fitted, and after putting all the stitches on scrap yarn, it seems to fit well.

This might be a slower-going sweater, only because of the cables. I like them and following the chart is pretty easy, but my hands do start to get tired after working on this for an hour or so. I don't use cable needles, so after a while, I just want some plain ol' stockinette.

Which works out well, because I can pick up this new project:

One-tone Shrug from Fitted Knits: I cast on for this on Thursday and quickly made it through all of the increases for a 13.5" size by Friday night. I finished the first sleeve last night and seamed it. Tried it on, and it's too small. There doesn't seem to be a general consensus in blogland on the fit of this one; I've seen some say they've found it too big when knitted to their measurements and others have said it's too fitted. So I've ripped back and am going to do some more increases and re-divide for the sleeves again. My arms looked like stuffed sausages in the 13.5" size!

I'm knitting it in Kona Bay Cotton in cream, which is ubersoft (softer than the Berroco Touche I've raved about).

Rusted Root is done, ends woven in, but not ready for primetime yet. It's a little big and needs a run through the washer and dryer.

Monday, August 06, 2007

FO: Mom's Sweater

Her birthday was in January, but last night at my brother's birthday dinner, I gifted my mother her long overdue sweater!

Pattern: Wide Neck Lace Sweater from Luxury Knits by Amanda Griffiths
Yarn: Elann Peruvian Baby Silk, 11 1/2 balls, Cornflower
Time to complete: February 1 - August 1, 2007. I set this one aside for a while sometimes, and I did knit a lot of other things in between!

Modifications: I changed the wide, boat neck to a simple v-neck. I also lengthened the sleeve caps so they wouldn't be too tight under the arms. My mom wanted 3/4 length sleeves, but these ended up being closer to full length. The first sleeve was way too long, so I ended up snipping it at one end and unraveling the stitches. I picked up the live stitches (think provisional cast-on-ish) and re-knit the ribbing edge. I first used this method this last year on my Arisaig. Fortunately, my mom tried on the sweater after I got the first sleeve set in, so I knew to knit the second sleeve shorter.

Verdict: Absolutely wonderful. It fits her perfectly, and she loves it. I got a big hug last night. She had given me one of her store-bought v-necks that she likes and I blocked it to match that in size. The lace really bloomed, and the color is great. I also really, really enjoyed working with the Baby Silk . . . amazingly soft. I am almost tempted to make something like this for myself - something lacey and airy and fluffy and soft. I have 6.5 balls of this color left, but Elann is out of it, so I'll keep it stashed for now.

Of all of my knitting projects, I'd have to say I am really proud of this one. Because it was for someone else, I think I was overly picky about details and making sure the fit was right. I am also really happy with the pattern itself. The lace was simple and easy to memorize but has really flattering results. And, I love that Baby Silk!

I have looked forward to this FO blog post for a while. Now I can move on with some knits for myself without feeling guilty about it (during the past 6 months, I always felt like I should be knitting my mom's sweater when I was working on something for me). Next up is the Fitted Knits shrug and a revisit of the Grannie Smith Cardigan. The Cable Down Raglan is going to get some love and attention first. Aaaah, feels good!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

New project and Rockin Girl Blogger

It's now August. If you live on the east coast, it's probably hot and humid where you are. I finished a few warm weather knits this year and haven't really had much opportunity to wear them. I am finishing up Rusted Root and last night I finished my Mom's Sweater completely (I'll see her Sunday, when she will model it for me. She doesn't know this yet, but I will make her put it on - no matter how hot it is outside!). While I love the summer knits because they are quick to knit, I could probably use more 3/4 length and warm, cozy winter sweaters for the 8 months of the year when it's chilly enough for them.

Ravelry has been a great thing because it's encouraging me to get the WIPs done and get to the new projects in my queue. One of the projects I am starting to work out is Juno, from Rowan 40. After scouring Ravelry and seeing what others have knit this in, I scored 7 balls of Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Aran in Wild Plum from Janette's Rare Yarns. It's squishy and soft and tweedy.

Juno is a beautiful pattern, and other knitters have had gorgeous results. You see, the only minor problem is that I don't have a copy of Rowan 40. Ooops. Well, thanks to Ravelry and all the WIP pictures of Juno posted there, I've figured out that it is a basic v-neck sweater in 2x2 rib with a Celtic Cable, or Saxon Braid, collar that is knit separately and sewed on afterwards. I am working out the details and will post them every step of the way. So stay tuned for that!

I haven't forgotten that I need to choose someone as a Rockin' Girl Blogger. I have picked Jillian of sknitty:

Not only does Jillian produce beautiful FO's, but she always has an interesting fact, tidbit or suggestion about what's happening in knitting today. She quickly posts about sales and specials on-line, and she's not afraid to speak her mind.

Enjoy the weekend and stay cool. Next week: Mom's Sweater FO report and maybe a Rusted Root and Trellis FO report, too!