Monday, April 30, 2012

Stripey Cardi

Stripey Cardi by Project Pictures
Stripey Cardi, a photo by Project Pictures on Flickr.
One of my goals this year is to do a sweater each quarter. I didn't finish on deadine, but here's our first quarter sweater!

Of course, my original plan was to work on sweaters that I had patterns and yarn to do. This has one quality--the yarn is from my stash (mostly). But the pattern? Not so much.

I started with a Noro pattern. Only that pattern was written bottom-up and in pieces that were seamed together. I had a bunch of unrelated colorways of Noro Silk Garden and quickly decided that there was no way I could handle letting it strip willy-nilly and mis-matched! No way!

So the first thing I discarded was "knit in pieces". I began to plan how to knit it as a whole. Then I realized that since I was modifying, and because I'm a long-waisted gal, that knitting bottom-up was a recipe for disaster, too. So now I figured I had to knit it top-down and in one piece.

And of course, there's all the different colorways. What's the best way to deal with Noro's crazy color changes when you want something with continuity? Why, two-row stripes, of course!

So, I began to re-work the sweater. I did the math and plugged numbers into a spreadsheet. Because I wouldn't have seams, I added a two-stitch cable at the raglan shaping. This gives the fabric more structure along that line, much like sewing a seam there would do.

I knit the yoke and as I went I double-checked my gauge. I was able to add that gauge into the spreadsheet and do some adjustments on the fly. When I got through the yoke and moved the arms to spare needle-cables, I knew I needed more ease, so I cast on extra stitches. Then I slowly decreased those stitches away to bring the sweater in under my bust. After that I increased again to give it some swing.

The ribbing eases in rather than switching between stockinette and 1x1 ribbing all at once. I added one purl every 8 stitches in the first row, every 4 in the second and every-other stitch in the third row. This reduces rolling so the ribbing is less likely to flip up.

   Stripey Cardi Stripey Cardi 

The buttons were in my stash. I frogged my Versatility a while back. That left me with a big pot of gorgeous buttons to play with. I did briefly consider using three vintage enamel buttons I had on hand, but I was advised to let the yarn shine in this sweater and devise something else for those lovely buttons in a less color-intensive project. It was good advice!

So now I have a sweater, designed by me, and it's lovely!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Way Behind

Well, school has certainly thrown a wrench in my schedule. I'm happy to say that I earned an "A+" in Statistics this last term.
With more work, something has got to slide. Since I'm still knitting, spinning, weaving and taking care of the rest of my life it's pretty obvious that blogging went on the back burner (and is going to stay there, unfortunately).

But I don't want to leave you all completely in the dark! Here's a quick run-down of some of what I have finished for February (and March will follow in its own post).

What we have here is a spindle project I finally completed. It is Spunky Eclectic Merino spun up into a 3-ply yarn. I've been working on the single off-and-on for several months. I wound it all onto a bobbin and divided it by weight in order to make 3-ply yarn. It's very fast using an electric bobbin winder. The yarn came out lovely and squishy, plump and round from the 3-ply. I do love a 3-ply yarn.

I also finished this 2-ply yarn. It is the last shipment from the first year of the Pro-Verbial shawl club from A Verb for Keeping Warm. One ply is superfine alpaca and the other is 50/50 cashmere/silk. They are both luscious blends. I really want to be madly deeply in love with AVFKW fiber, but I find that the natural dying process is simply not very kind to unspun fiber. It is rarely in the shape that I expect from ultra-premium fibers. I enjoyed the club and the patterns, but I did not re-up this year for more.

Since I have a lovely friend with a new baby, baby knitting ensued. This is the ubiquitous Baby Surprise Jacket from Elizabeth Zimmerman's book, The Opinionated Knitter. I used a fibonacci sequence for the stripes, which always comes out looking fantastic. The yarn is a very nice cotton yarn I picked up as mill-ends. I bought a pound, so there was a significant amount left over and I thought.. why not a blanket?!

But I sure as heck wasn't going to knit a blanket! I dislike knitting scarves, and a blanket is a scarf x100. It was a great opportunity to play on the loom. I consulted local experts, did a lot of math, and came up with a great plaid blanket that I had difficulty giving away!

We also had a February birthday. We wanted to do a cooking party, so I put together these child-sized aprons out of towels from Target and some grosgrain ribbon. They're adorable and easy!

There is lots more for March, but I don't have photos of everything yet. I'll have to get them taken, soon... especially since there are April projects to share, too!