Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Puffy in the House!


I finished the buttonbands on Sunday night, wove in the ends, and gave her a nice wet block in some Kookaburra that Ellen hooked me up with. Let me just say, I am a convert! I've always used Lavender scented Eucalan for blocking, but was always disappointed that the scent didn't last. The Kookaburra has tea tree oil in it, and after drying, my sweater still carries that aroma. Of course, not everyone would enjoy that, but I love wearing something that's gently scented. Saves on perfume. ;)

Anyway, I went to Jo-Ann yesterday looking for some very specific buttons I had seen on someone else's blog and came up empty. I did, however, find these nice coconut buttons that compliment the yarn perfectly (a better blogger would have taken a closeup). I probably wouldn't have chosenn these buttons, but I have developed the habit of bringing in my finished project and trying buttons on it right in the store.


I made a few modifications to this pattern, one of which is detailed in the picture above. I noticed in the pattern that the lace on the peplum did not go all the way around. I didn't like that idea, so I changed the peplum. It was pretty easy for me to do this (after, oh, three or four tries), because my stitch count was different from the pattern, due to my gauge issue. I really, really wanted to use this yarn, but just couldn't get gauge. Unwilling to relegate the yarn to another project and search for something new, I decided to modify the pattern for my gauge, and while I was at it, add a new bust size. I had never done this kind of modification before, but it was surprisingly simple due to the top-down nature of the garment. I could try it on as I went! I added some length to the raglan "seams," added an inch or so to the waist, and shortened the sleeves by about six rows.


The yarn I used was well suited to this pattern, which needs a yarn with some structural integrity. I would definitely recommend a wool yarn, or cotton at a tight gauge. I used Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed in Granary. The yarn feels nice in the ball, but really softens up after a wash! I used US5 needles, and do you know, I can't remember my gauge. I believe it's right around 5 stitches per inch. I made a 35" bust. Now I'm hoping for some unseasonable cold so I can wear this a couple of times before fall!

Now on the needles? Rusted Root! I finally cast on for that bad girl, and I love it so far. The STR socks are in time out while I try out some stitch patterns. If I can't find something satisfactory, I'll just have to come up with a non-sock project!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Boy, I suck at this lately!

But I have excuses! Well, one excuse. I spent last weekend in Vermont with my best friend for her college graduation. No one likes to toot their own horn, so I'll toot it. She not only graduated Summa Cum Laude, but she received the highest GPA in her college! She wore a special medallion and everything! So, I always knew she was a smarty-pants, but now there's actual, physical proof. Go Michelle!

I did not knit a stitch all weekend, but this week I've really done some serious work on Puffy. As of right now, the body is complete, both sleeves are complete, and I have picked up the stitches for one buttonband. I took this photo before I completed the second sleeve.


That stripe in the finished sleeve is a lifeline. I decided to try shortening the sleeves, and I wanted to be able to rip just to where I reduced straight rows, just in case the sleeves were too short. Luckily, perfect sleeves!

I'd like to draw your attention for a moment to the peplum. I wonder if my knitting is trying to tell me something. This is the second garment I've made in the last month or so, that has had a tutu before blocking! Makes for a disappointing pre-finish try-on, but I'm confident a nice wet block will fix it.

I know I was going to work on other projects while I worked on this cardigan, but seriously, this project is so fun! Sure, those long stockinette rows start to get a little tedious, but just when you think you can't take it anymore, they're done! I loved shaping the puffed sleeves, and even though the peplum was a bit of a trial, the challenge was at least interesting. The yarn helps, too. It's soft, but firm, and I'm just mesmerized by the color and the tweedy flecks. Next time you see this princess, she'll be finished!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Blog Fodder: or, I lost my camera three days ago

So, as the title of this post suggests, I am unable to locate my camera at this time. Therefore, I have no new pictures of Puffy, which is probably just as well because in two hours of knitting last night I completed one row over and over, finally, yes, ripping it out, meaning that after two hours of knitting I had nothing to show for it. I'm having a tiny issue at the peplum. Not only do I have the wrong number of stitches (due to my gauge modification), but I also want the pattern to go all the way around the peplum. I'll hit it again tonight.

In other news, I was tagged by Casey for a meme! It's the seven random things meme that's been going around. The idea is to give seven random facts about yourself, and then tag seven people. I'm awful at tagging, so just consider this post an open invitation to take part if you'd like.

Seven Random Facts:
1. I can't stand mayonnaise or Miracle Whip. I remember eating both as a kid, and I can't remember what happened that made me hate them so, but if I so much as suspect that something has mayo in it, I can't even touch it. Though I will, for those I love, make a potato salad or chicken salad including mayo if asked.

2. Every time I need to have a shot, I think I'm going to be fine with it, but once the needle comes out I dissolve into an inconsolable mess. I have no problem at all with tattoo or piercing needles.

3. I love animals and insects with almost a crushing passion, but I don't like ferrets, and I always kill mosquitos and ticks.

4. I adore Richard Nixon. I don't think he always made the best choices, but I think he loved America, and really wanted to make a difference. He also said, in the early seventies, that he believed we would have a woman president within fifty years. Pretty progressive.

5. Aside from my LYS, my favorite store is Staples. I have a wicked weakness for pens, especially thin Sharpies.

6. I used to work at FAO Schwarz in Boston, and to this day, I sometimes get the theme song for the store stuck in my head and it doesn't come out for hours. (There's a clock, tick-tock, where the children play/ where the fun and laughter take all cares away....)

7. I love to get mail. Part of the reason why I love to buy things online is the guarantee of a package. Even though I know what's inside, there's still a delicious feeling of anticipation when the box arrives.

Let me know if you play along. I love these things!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

So. Excited.

My life has been sucked into a new void. Sure, I've been knitting, but not much. I also haven't been doing much else. There are two reasons for this.
1. Two new wee babies came home with us last week. They just found their names today. Meet Laverne and Shirley.


Shirley is the one with the black head, of course. She's actually a hooded rat, and the rest of her is white. They're super shy and a little spazzy, so I can only let them play in the bathtub, with supervision. So yeah, I'm spending a lot of time in the bathroom lately (tmi?).

2. The second I finished reading my first blogger account of Ravelry, I hightailed it to the site to leave my name on the beta tester list. In general, I love beta testing. I love trying out new stuff and giving feedback and using every browser available to me. And also, hello, awesome sounding new knitting site? Sign me up! I was shocked and ecstatic last week to get the email with my invitation code! You know how people say that they go to Ravelry, and next thing they know it's been days and they haven't done anything else? That's been my life. For the first time since I can remember, I haven't even checked my Google Reader feed for new blog entries. I spent most of today organizing my stash, and then admiring how easy it is to see what I have. Now it's on to adding my completed projects, which takes longer, because I have to hunt for project information. I am so excited about this site, mostly because I have always thought it would so great to have a forum where knitters could connect and share information, without resorting to those email lists (I can never keep up with those), or communities where it seems the posts become so repetitive if you read for any length of time. From what I understand, the site will be live soon. I can't wait!

I've squeezed in a few more rows on Miss. Puffy. Finally the sleeves have been separated, and I'm about to start waist shaping. This picture makes me imagine it as a bolero. Could be cute.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Hey, Jealousy

Okay. So I've been reading everyone's stories about Maryland Sheep and Wool, and I can barely see straight through the haze of jealousy. I am about ten times more excited about Rhinebeck now. Didn't I mention? Amy and I are totally going! I can hardly wait until October, and I keep checking the website to see if they've updated the workshop schedule yet. I've never taken a workshop before, and I'd love to learn something new.

In other news, I quelled my jealousy somewhat by casting on with the STR, kindly given to me by Amy last summer. See, I just got my Summer issue of IK in the mail, and while most of the patterns didn't thrill me, I was intrigued by the toe-up sock tutorial by Ann Budd. In it, she describes a different cast on, called an Eastern cast on, where you cast on just a few stitches and increase to make your toe. Seeing as I can't stand provisional cast-ons (they make me nervous), I had to try it out right away. Took a few tries, but I ended up with a decent looking edge (little loose, but I'll tighten it up with the tail at the end). I'm going to try to increase until the yarn stops pooling and knit from there, but I'm not sure it's going to work. I'm reaching maximum circumference right now, and the yarn is starting to really stack up. I'll give it a few more rounds before I decide for good.


Just because I'm making eyes at another project doesn't mean I've abandoned the Puff Sleeve Feminine Cardigan! I thought I was finished with the increase section, but when I used all of my US5 circulars (um, I have way more than I thought, including another 32" one) to hold stitches and tried it on my dress form, I saw immediately that I would need to do some more increases. As it stands, the sleeve holes will be way too small. So I'm plugging along, trying to drown my discouragement in the delectable yarn. (It's working!) I have created a new mantra to get me through the long, lonely rows. "In a few more rows I'll have half as many stitches." Just knowing that all of those sleeve stitches will be cast aside gives me the push I need to make it through. When my discipline really begins to waver, I look at a photo of the finished cardigan and imagine myself wearing it. The little things we do to finish!


I love how those blue flecks really shine in the sunlight, but when I'm knitting away in the living room, I don't see them at all. I'm embarking on a love affair with tweed, I think. And just in time! I have a giant cone of green tweed in the stash with a 2003 vintage!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Work Continues

I haven't had nearly enough knitting time lately, but still, the Puff Sleeve Feminine Cardigan continues to grow.


I'm loving working on it, even though I'm at the point where the rows just get longer and longer.

I did think that I would cast on for Rusted Root, but it just hasn't been in the cards. First I lost the pattern, and then I realized that I'm using my only 32" US5 needle on the cardigan, and I also need it for Rusted Root! I haven't had a chance yet to buy a new needle. Maybe I'll cast on for some socks instead, and just start the Root after the cardigan.