Tuesday, October 30, 2007

FO: Bea

After lots of math, mismatched dyelots and fear of running out of yarn, Bea has redeemed herself to be a decent FO!

Pattern: My own, inspired by Kim Hargreaves' Bea. I have parts of this written up for a size 34". It has stretched a little and probably would fit a 36", too. There was a lot of math involved, mostly to get the purl knots to match up correctly at the ends of the rows and to get the eyelets to match up across the waist. I used a simple K4, P1 across to get the texture and garter stitch lower body (peplum), sleeves, neckline and button bands. To get the picot effect on the edges, I did a KFB at the end of every other row and then cast off the extra stitch on the following row (I copied this trick from knitternatter Amelia). For the sleeves, I did a picot bind off.

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Wool/Cotton, color 604. 10 balls exactly, with maybe 1/2 yard to spare.
I made the never-again mistake of getting 5 balls each from 2 different dyelots. The effect was very noticable, but well hidden by changing from stockinette to garter stitch. This is why I have garter stitch sleeves from the elbow down.

Verdict: Since this was only my second attempt at designing a sweater myself, I am happy with it. The finishing touches, like the purple shell buttons and i-cord, really make it work. If I had to do it over again, I would cast on fewer stitches at the neckline and make it just a teeny bit smaller across the chest. It's pulling down towards my shoulders, which is making the raglan seam get big under the arms.

What I Learned: Writing up your own pattern is hard! It does take a lot of time and thinking, so I really do appreciate what desginers go through when they are working out a new pattern. I also learned a cardinal rule of knitting (the hard way): DON'T MIX DYELOTS!

The wool/cotton is a nice yarn to work with, but I find that Debbie Bliss yarns come with lots of knots, and usually only a few yards into the skein. The yarn did bleed a bit when it got blocked, which I was happy to see. I think it helped the dyelots blend a little more. I am going to try wearing this over a collared shirt - the yarn is just a teeny bit itchy on my skin.

Thanks for all the suggestions and help along the way. You all are the best!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

His & Hers Scarves

Wow, thank you so much for all the wonderful comments on the Cable Down Raglan. I am really flattered! Today's post is just a quick update to show you what I've been up to this week. I am actually wearing Bea right now as a type, but due to the much needed rain that finally arrived, photos haven't been taken. But, I will tease you all and say that this FO came out pretty great (given all the things that could have and did go wrong!).

At Stitches East, I splurged on a skein of Tilli Tomas Disco Lights. I have used this yarn before, in Sahara #1, and I used the Exotica in Sahara #2. I tried making my own beaded yarn with Ms. Marigold, but I realized that unless you can bead directly onto the yarn itself, carrying along a string of beads on thread is not easy (or really worth it, IMO).

Inspired by a modeled version at Stitches, I wanted to make a simple but pizzazzy (heh, is that a word?) thin scarf to throw around my neck on days when I need a little shine. A little panache, if you will. I tried several different stitch patterns, and I finally settled on this reversible cable stitch, inspired by It Ain't Plain, Jane! by Dorothy. It has a simple garter st border and cables that are similar to what I did in Something Blushy.

I also started a scarf for Bill using the Kathmandu Aran I got at Stitches. Inspired by the Harlot's One Row Handspun, this has a reversible cable in the center.

I'm sure most of you have seen the new Interweave Preview. I saw the cover Aran Cardigan at Stitches and must say, it looked really nice in person. I think this is going in the queue.

Juno is also progressing nicely. Just one sleeve, the rest of the collar, buttonbands and seaming to go!

Have a great weekend and stay tuned for Bea!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

FO: Cable Down Raglan

This sweater was finished early last week, and is finally making its debut!

Pattern: Cable Down Raglan by Stefanie Japel, Interweave Knits Spring 2007
Yarn: Classic Elite Summer Set, color 3146. 11 balls.

Modifications: None. I followed this exactly as written for the 31 1/4" size. I still haven't figured out the whole negative ease stuff, but I know that when there are cables in a pattern that you should pick a size smaller than you normally would, so that's what I did.

Verdict: Pretty good! I wore this sweater to work last Friday. In the beginning of the day, it fit great. But as the day wore on, the sweater stretched out a lot. This is my fault in yarn choice. The Summer Set is 64% cotton, 19% alpaca, 12% polyester, 5% lycra. The alpaca makes it warm and fuzzy, but cotton grows. If I had to do it over, I would have picked a merino wool based yarn for this project. But, I was able to hand wash it, let it dry slightly and then throw in the dryer to shrink it back into shape. I guess I'll just do this every time I wear it.

The Summer Set was great to knit with and produces a soft, although just slightly itchy fabric (I have sensitive skin). I wore this with a t-shirt underneath and it was fine. The pattern was easy to follow and fun. Although, I was sick of those cables by the end!

As always, thanks so much for the helpful suggestions on my dyelot nightmare with Bea. It's almost done and I'll debut it next week!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Stitches East Report: Tweed Alert!

Saturday was my big trip to Stitches. I went with my friend Elizabeth (non-blogger) and we had a great time. We both felt that there weren't as many vendors as there were last year, but that might just be that we knew what to expect this year. I was well behaved. I purchased items that were on my list and a few surprises, too.

I was hoping that Webs would have their new tweed, Williamstown, with them so I could check out the colors and feel. Let me tell you, this is really soft tweed. It doesn't even feel tweedy. It has 25% acrylic in it, which is probably where the softness comes from. I bought a full bag of color #5, a nice classic red. No project in mind yet.

Next on my list was to find a ball or two of a 4 ply tweed. I am going to make EZ' s Seamless Hybrid for Bill in some discontinued Yorkshire Tweed 4 ply. Inspired by Brooklyn Tweed's version with the folded hem, I wanted to find a constrasting color. Webs had some of the new Scottish Tweed 4 ply, so I picked up 2 balls in a blue.

I don't like the new Scottish tweed as much as the old Yorkshire tweed. Maybe it knits up differently, but it seems scratchier and more felted than the soft Yorkshire tweed.

I also found some clearance Queensland Kathmandu Aran in a hunter green for a scarf for Bill. It was a tweedy kind of a day!

Also on the tweed front, I picked up some Rowanspun Aran in Husk from Jan over on Ravelry. I'm thinking this might become the increasingly popular Drops A-Shape Jacket.

Last but not least, to balance out all this tweediness, I succumbed to the temptation of the beautiful Tilli Tomas Disco Lights (again). I picked up 1 skein in natural. It's simple and stunning and will become a thin, reversible cabled scarf to add pizazz when I need it.

My general report on Stitches is good: there were lots of yarns to look at and touch, but ultimately I only ended up buying from Webs and the other vendor where I bought the Disco Lights. A lot of the vendors just didn't appeal to my personal style. Many featured knitted sweaters and garments with novelty yarns mixed in and boxier shapes. There's nothing wrong with any of this; it's just not my taste. When I peruse Ravelry and blogland, I often find more updated, stylish FOs from knitters. I just didn't see much of that represented at Stitches. But I had a great time!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Stitches East is this weekend and I am going to the market on Saturday. I've evaluated my stash and am letting go of some items that I don't see projects for in the near future (and I need to make room for anything new that might be coming home this weekend...).

All of this stuff comes from my non-smoking but dog friendly home. It's been stored in plastic bags on a shelf away from the animals. These are my Ravelry stash photos, so there is only 1 ball pictured. For payment, I have Paypal, but let me know if you're using a credit card and not your Paypal balance. I am figuring that shipping will be in the neighborhood of $5-6, but I'll get you an exact number once I know your zip code. The only exception are the needles, for which shipping is $1. I've tried to price these well, but if you're interested in a yarn, please make an offer! You can either comment or send me an email at fpknits at yahoo dot com. Anything that doesn't go will be later listed on the Destash website.

Debbie Bliss Merino DK: PENDING
color 606, 100% merino wool
Amount: 10 skeins, 1220 yards

Cascade Indulgence
color 522, 70/30 Alpaca/Angora - soft soft soft!!
Amount: 9 skeins, 1107 yards

Rowan Handknit DK
color 310, 100% cotton
Amount: 7 skeins, 622 yards

Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece : PENDING
color "Rue", 80/20 Cotton/Merino
Amount: 3 skeins, 645 yards

Filatura 501: PENDING
Content: color 1283, 100% Superwash Merino Wool
Amount: 10 skeins, 1380 yards

Skacel Addi Turbos : ALL NEEDLES PENDING
All needles are in great condition; I just don't use them! I always reach for my bamboos instead.
All Needles:
$8 each + $1 shipping

#6, 16"

#7, 16"

#8, 16"

#5, 40"

Thanks for taking a look!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

No FO, but here's Juno

First, thank you so much for all of the great feedback on the Old Navy sweater. After all of your comments, I've decided to keep it. Many of you said that there are too many patterns out there to knit, and how right you are! It's folded in my closet, waiting to be worn.

This late burst of summer we've had has prevented an FO sighting for the Cable Down Raglan. It's done, and folded in my closet with the Old Navy sweater, waiting for its debut. I think this weekend I might get to wear it.

I'm excited to say that I started Juno last week. Boy, does this project really fly. I finished the back in 2 days. TWO DAYS, people. Now I remember why heavier knits are so satisfying.

I made a few modifications to the back: made it longer and with some slight waist shaping. I'm also knitting the sleeves a bit smaller than the pattern calls for. Sorry for the bad picture, but with daylight disappearing earlier and earlier . . .

Bea is nearing completion, with mixed results. Earlier I mentioned a nasty dyelot issue with this project. My plan was to finish the sleeves by alternating between dyelots every other row. Well, that plan failed. The dye lots are SO different that you could see a striping effect. YUCK. I decided to knit as far as I could with the original dyelot and change the stitch pattern to mask the dyelot change. I'm getting to just above the elbow.

I'm not sure what to do next. I don't really want garter st sleeves from the elbow down. I was thinking of doing a garter st band around the elbow and then going back to the purl dots stitch pattern (Stef Japel does this effect with a lot of her patterns). I don't know.

Here's what it looks like on. See the sleeves? That's the total length I'm getting with the original dyelot (the second sleeve on the arm I'm holding the camera with will get down to the elbow - I just haven't knit it yet). Ideas? Suggestions?

Finally, on Sunday, Bill and I went to a wine festival at Boordy Vineyards in Hydes, MD. There was a lady with two alpacas and a small selection of yarn.

I purchased 2 sport weight skeins of this beautiful, straight-off-the-alpaca yarn. I'm thinking of making Gretel with it. Jenna over at Knits & Pieces made a beautiful version that has totally inspired me. Hope all of your fall projects are going well!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

FO: Irish Hiking Scarf

Another fall project has made its way off the needles!

Pattern: Irish Hiking Scarf from Hello Yarn
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky in Cream, 4 1/4 balls. A big shout out to Alex over at Languidly Knitting for selling me the 4th ball!
Modifications: Because I was using a chunkier yarn than called for, I omitted 1 of the cables. I wanted to get more length instead of width with this one, so I could wrap it like I did in the picture.

Verdict: Love! It's a super versatile scarf in terms of style and color. The cable pattern is super easy but gives stellar results. Yay!

I'm about 2 1/2 rounds from finishing the Cable Down Raglan. I think I will sneak out during lunch today and finish it. So stay tuned for an FO report soon!

Now, I need opinions from the only people I trust: my fellow knitters and bloggers. On Saturday I went to Old Navy to check out their new jeans (which were OK). While there, I saw this:

It caught my eye for several reasons. I love the big buttons, and it reminds me of two patterns that I've liked for a while: The Tangled Yoke Cardi (that everyone seems to be knitting on Ravelry) and the Karabella Cabled Cardigan that I thought about knitting last year. So, I bought the sweater thinking I could sketch it out, return it, and then knit it. Here's what it looks like on me:

I'm wearing a really long top underneath, so the sweater might look short - it's not.

The sweater is 70/30 Cotton/Lambswool. No acrylic = bonus. It cost $36.50, which is roughly what yarn to make this would cost (I'm thinking something tweedy). The neckline is really wide, which I kinda like because I don't have anything like it.

So here's the question: Should I just keep this sweater and wear it and love it, or should I try to knit it? Of course if I were reading someone else's blog, I would say knit it, but I have 2 projects underway (Juno and Wicked) that I've been dying to knit, so I wouldn't get to this until around Christmastime. Opinions? Advice? Thanks!