Saturday, October 22, 2005

Ah, the sweet kiss of fall....

Today is a beautiful day. It's a crisp 45 degrees (F), which means I'll be able to wear my Cafe Bastille Cables sweater when we go pick out pumpkins, and I began the day with pancakes and sausage. Can't get much better than that! I want to knit everything I see and knit all the time. I'm going to have to devise a way to get more portable with my knitting. Seeing as I have plans for wee mittens and hats coming up, that shouldn't be so hard.

I finished the body of the toddler sweater, seamed the shoulders, knitted on the collar and wove in the ends before beginning the sleeves. One sleeve down, and I expect the second will follow soon. I plan to attach the sleeve and weave in the ends before I even start the second sleeve. I love the yarn I'm using, Artful Yarns Jazz. (I'm using color 55, Miles... and I would just like to point out that I paid nowhere near $22 for it!)

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Even though it makes me sneeze, and if I hold it up to my face it's like itching powder, I can still recognize that this is a soft yarn with great body. It's more of an aran weight than worsted; I'm using US7 needles (the Addis... I still prefer Inox), and getting about 4 stitches per inch. The sweater is thick and cozy. I decided not to make the sleeves with rolled cuffs because it's about a size too big for the boy, and I think ribbed cuffs are easier to roll up.

So the deal is, once I finish this sweater, I will cast on for some mittens (probably using the leftover yarn), and always have either mittens or a hat going while I work on sweaters. I have several things to attend to, including finishing my Ribby Cardi, sewing a zipper into Zippy, and ripping back Rogue so I can fix the throat cable. I would really like to have Rogue completed by Christmas for a present. I only have one other knitted Christmas gift planned, a shawl for my Gram. My most pressing deadline right now is to finish at least one baby sweater by November 12 for a baby shower. Because I don't anticipate any problems, the project will probably be rife with them. Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Knitting? What's that?

Not too much knitting happening this week. I got some more done on my nephew's sweater:

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Seeing as it's a toddler sweater, I don't anticipate it taking much longer to finish. I just need to find five consecutive minutes to work on it.

I picked up the new Family Circle Easy Knitting and Vogue Knitting magazines today. FCEK actually has some decent stuff in it, aside from the glaring red sweater with a primary green Christmas tree on it (as if that's not garish enough, it also has a turtleneck collar decorated with primary hued buttons). Vogue Knitting has some nice stuff, including two things I would like to start immediately. First up is this gorgeous jacket. Truly stunning, I believe I audibly gasped when I first saw it. Secondly, the beautiful Michael Kors sweater. I just love the simplicity in everything Michael Kors does. I think, though, that knitting one of his designs is the closest I'll ever come to owning one. Unfortunately, the VK site does not have an image of his sweater, I'm sure one will be posted soon somewhere. I finally found an image of the Astrakhan cardigan. I've not done battle with that in a few days. Something strange happens when I begin to knit, my gauge grows. When I swatch, it's perfect, but as I knit it gets more and more loose until it's huge. It looks like I might have to go down to a US5, which naturally makes me wonder what to do when I get to the shawl collar. I don't think I'll have the gauge issue with the Cashmerino Aran, so I don't know if I should just do one needle size up or stick with the one recommended by the pattern. This is why I wish designers would include the gauge for all yarns used in a pattern.

Hopefully next week I'll have a little more to show. Ciao!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Oh, bother....

*New and improved... now with pictures!*

So I finally got my act together yesterday and took some pictures for ye olde blog, and now I'm having issues getting the pictures off the card. Long story short, my card reader doesn't seem to work with the brand spankin' new iBook I just got (I love it though!), and my PC is refusing to find the card reader now, as well. I am ready to pull my hair out. As soon as I get my act together and am able to retrieve pictures, I'll be sure to post some, until then, a pictureless post.

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I zipped along happily on Rogue, finishing the body and back in short order. The yarn is wonderful to work with, and the pattern is excellent for movie or reading knitting. Or so I thought.
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I got about, oh, 12 rows into the throat chart on the front, when I stopped to look at my work. "Hmm, that doesn't seem quite right," I thought. It looked very... flat, and... ugly. Kind of like a mishmash of garter and seed stitches. Obviously, I did my increases incorrectly somehow (that's the only explanation I can come up with), though when those same increases were called for before, I did fine. I thought of dropping down stitches and picking them back up correctly, but I think with all the increasing in that tiny area, it would be more trouble than it's worth. I will have to rip out what I've done for the front so far. Since I am loathe to do it, enter new project #1.

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I'm making a sweater for my youngest nephew, who turns two on Wednesday. Just a simple rollneck in this beautiful alpaca yarn, Artful Yarns Jazz. I have the same yarn in a blue color that I plan to use to make a sweater for my five year-old nephew (he turns six on November 30). My sister is okay with handwashing, so I don't feel the least bit guilty about giving her sweaters that require it. I have to use up my alpaca somehow, anyway. I get about three rows into this sweater before I start sneezing. Such a shame.

Yesterday was the annual sale at one of my LYSs, and my favorite knitting buddy, Amy, and I went. This year, I knew exactly what I was buying. You know that Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan cardigan in the new Vogue Knitting? I am all over it. I planned to make mine in black, but they didn't have any black when we got there. I like the way the brown looks in the photo shown in the magazine, but I wasn't crazy about it in real life. It wasn't as dark as I would have liked. I was beginning to despair when Amy pointed out a beautiful shade of blue toward the bottom shelf. It didn't take me long to decide that the cardigan would work in blue. And blue is my favorite color, after all. I have a dearth of it in my wardrobe. I made a swatch, and couldn't wait to cast on for the sweater when I was done.
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Due to the nature of the yarn, I did my swatch a little differently. I casted on for the numbers of stitches I should have in four inches, and measured the entire piece. As for casting on, the pattern has you do just two rows of garter stitch in the beginning before switching to stockinette. I didn't feel this would be enough, so I did about a half inch of garter stitch instead.

I'll come back and edit this post when I can get my pictures off of the memory card. Maybe by the time I do that, I'll have the damn cardigan finished!

***Now that I'm a couple of rows into the Astrakhan cardigan, I can see that it's way too big. Now, granted, the smallest size says that it's 41", but what I have looks even bigger than that. Since I have a 34" bust, I'm thinking I'm going to have to do a little creative math. Maybe I'll wait and see what Becky does, since she's a skinny minny and she's making the same sweater.

Also! I totally forgot to post pictures of my completed Branching Out. Here goes:

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The GGH Mystic I used for the scarf is quite slinky, so the scarf is not so full anymore. I don't mind though, it's the look I was going for. Kind of a touselled, casual elegance kinda thing. You know.