Monday, August 31, 2009


i got awesome birthday socks today from the world's best sock-knitter! love 'em, jess. perfect fit, extremely well-made (as always) and very comfy. what pattern and yarn is this?

i tried to take pictures, but i had to use the flash and it washed them out. i'll have to wait till daylight.

and the socks even came with a card signed by my favorite 4-year-old boy (and 3 other pretty cool people).

thanks, jess!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


The shrug is finished. I may have already mentioned that, but I can't remember. Here's a picture, though.

Ignore the fact that the shrug does not match what I am wearing. I'd just gotten home from work and threw the shrug on for a quick picture before it got too dark.

Also ignore the general suckiness of the picture. I asked Luke to take it, and he didn't want to because he was watching a tv show. Which he had downloaded, so it's not like he was missing anything by going outside to take a picture. But he was pouty and impatient and didn't bother to wait for the camera to focus or any other silly unimportant things like that, so the picture's pretty crappy. But it shows the shrug, and that's the important thing, I guess.

Also, by the time I coaxed him outside to take the picture, the sun had gone behind the building and everything had a bluish tint. So the color is way off in the photo.

I'll have to get better pictures later to put on Ravelry. In the meantime ...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Back to work

As of about 11 tonight, I am back to work on the shrug. Photos soon. I need to finish binding off the first sleeve, then I'll try it on and get photos. But I was afraid I'd forget to blog if I didn't do it now.

Update: photo. Trying it on didn't really work because it's still very much in a state of un-contruction. But here it is draped across my chest, even though it will not cover my chest (back and upper arms only) when finished.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I have made a little progress on the Printed Silk Cardigan. Other things have prevented me from working on it much, including an impromptu quick shrug project (more on that later), but I have worked on it a bit.

Wanna see pictures? You know you do... (Ignore the wrinkles, it was wadded up in my bag. Definitely will need blocking and maybe ironing when I'm done.)

Whole piece so far:

Stitch definition:

Artsy! (Looks long, doesn't it? It's only 16" right now and should be about 18" once washed.)

I should also note that those pictures have not been touched at all, as far as post-processing goes, so the colors may be slightly off. But they look pretty close on my screen.

(Photos and project notes are also available on Ravelry.)

At this point, I am a few rows past the first decrease row. I spent some time figuring out how many times and how often to decrease to get the fit right. I'm going to be doing a lot of math to make this sweater work. But Mom's worth it. And this much of the math is already done, and it'll be the same for the front, so ... looking on the bright side ... I'm nearly halfway finished with the math! Most of the measurements are in inches, not row counts. I should be okay.

Speaking of being halfway done. There are six inches of waist-shaping decreases in this sweater! But the good news with that is that once I finish the decreases, I'll be almost up to the center ribbing, which I'm supposed to begin once my finished piece reaches 10.25". I worked 3.75" before starting the decreases. Do the math. That only leaves .5" -- about 4 or 5 rows -- of stockinette between the last decrease and the center ribbing. And after the ribbing, I get to start the fun part. I say fun. I mean potentially complicated, as far as math goes. But at least it'll be interesting. I think.

So yeah, now I just have to plow through the 51 rows of waist shaping, and everything will be just peachy. I think I've worked 6 of those 51 rows so far.

Oh yeah, and my impromptu shrug project. Long story short, I have a dress that I really like but am uncomfortable wearing. I think I'll be more comfortable if I have something to wear over it. (Basically, the top is loose and flowy and not my normal style, and I think I'd prefer something more modest.) This is the dress I would like to wear to a friend's wedding at the end of the month. So, 3 days ago, I found a simple pattern, dug out some stashed yarn and started a shrug. Two days ago, I finished all the stockinette and started the ribbing on one sleeve. I was almost finished. But I left it in someone's car and can't get it back until tomorrow evening. I'll post pictures when I get it back. It may be finished before I get the chance to do so, but hey ... it was a quick project.

Last thing: remember, the Printed Silk Cardigan is a birthday gift for Mom, so please don't spill the beans!

Monday, August 10, 2009

It is begun! (Or, Lessons in Gauge.)

First things first: yes, I did finish the straps on Lelah in time to take it on vacation. They stretch a little more than intended and work much better when crossed in the back, but that's okay. I ended up not actually wearing it on vacation, but that's okay too. I just need to get a white ribbon to thread through the eyelets and I'll be pretty happy with it. I didn't bother blocking, but I don't think it really needs it.

Now, the more exciting news. I have started my next big project: a printed silk cardigan for Mom, as a birthday gift. It's a surprise, so shhhh. She knows I was thinking about knitting the sweater and even helped me pick out the yarn color, but she thinks I was looking at it for myself. She also doesn't know that I've started it or even bought the yarn yet.

I'm using Knitpicks Shine Sport in color Terra Cotta. Don't be fooled by the picture on the web site. The color name is accurate. It's actually rather dark, very much like real terra cotta. Maybe a little more orangey. But definitely not the pinky, salmon-y color that shows up on my screen on the online color card. Oh well. Mom'll still like this color, I think, and I think it'll look okay on her. Not as good as a salmony pink. But she does like orange, and this is sort of like a deep burnt orange color.

I love this yarn. This is the second time I've used it, and I still can't get over how nice and smooth and silky it is. Definitely the best cotton I've used, by far. But I am having a slight problem with it. I can't get gauge. I'm apparently not the only one, either. A lot of people on Ravelry made this sweater with Shine Sport and had trouble with gauge. But it's kind of ridiculous. The recommended yarn, Fiesta La Luz, is quite a bit lighter than the Shine Sport, in terms of yards per ounce, but it appears to be a slightly heavier yarn weight. (That sentence would not make any sense to non-knitters, I know.) La Luz is DK, as opposed to the Shine's sport weight, and the gauge is 23 sts/4" on 6s whereas Shine is 24 sts/4" on 3s-5s. So you would think they'd be close enough to make it work. You would be wrong.

This is where the lessons in gauge part comes in. The gauge called for in the pattern is 25 sts/4". I swatched on 5s. WAY too big. 25 stitches was more like 5 or 6 inches. I swatched on 3s. Very close. Until I washed the swatches and they grew. My 4-inch swatch became a 4.5-inch swatch. Non-knitters, I know, that doesn't seem like a big difference, but do a little math. The pattern calls for 6.25 stitches per inch. The smallest size, which is the size I need to make, asks me to cast on 113 stitches, for a finished piece (the back of the sweater, in case you were wondering) of just over 18". So then do the math for my knitting on 3s. 25 sts/4.5" is about 5.5 sts per inch. Again, it doesn't seem like a significant difference from the pattern's recommended gauge, until you figure out how much of a change that'll mean over the whole sweater. If I followed the pattern as written and cast on 113 stitches, my finished back piece would be 20.5". 2.5" too big. And the front would be that much bigger, too, for a total difference of 5".

That won't work. I don't want to give Mom a sweater that is 5" too big for her. That IS a significant difference.

(Okay, my actual gauge was more like 5.25 sts/in. I couldn't remember exactly how big my swatch was after washing, so I just guessed. The basic principles are the same.)

So it looks like I'm going to be doing lots of math. I figured out how many stitches I'd need for the correct measurement, figured out the stitch count for the repeat (repeat of 16 stitches + 1 + 2 for edge stitches) and ended up casting on 99 stitches. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping it fits. Most of the lengths are measured in inches, rather than row counts, so I shouldn't have a huge problem there. I'll just have to do some fiddling with the increases and decreases. And I'm hoping that changing the stitch count doesn't mess up the embossed diamonds pattern. The alternate sizes change the stitch count by 12 and 14 stitches, not a whole repeat, so it's a little confusing.

Oh, and did I mention that I'm using 3s (rather than the pattern's recommended 5s) to get this gauge? That's why I don't want to drop any more needle sizes. I have a feeling I'd have to go down to 1s or even smaller to meet gauge. I really do NOT want to knit an entire sweater in two months' time on needles that small. It'd be like knitting plate armor, anyway. The drape is already a little stiffer than I'd like. 5s were too loose, though, and rather than trying to find 4s I like and cast on even fewer stitches, I'll deal with the slight stiffness. I'm sure it'll work out just fine.

It is looking rather nice. I've already made one small modification, in addition to changing the stitch count. The pattern doesn't have any sort of border along the bottom edge. It's just pure stockinette from the bottom cast-on to the waist ribbing. Rather than combat the curling, I worked 3 rows of 1x1 rib at the bottom. It'll match the waist and neckline ribbing, and it should keep the bottom from curling upwards. I think 2 rows would've looked better, but I was afraid it wouldn't be enough to combat the curl and would just flip upward. So 3 rows it is.

Pictures to come later! I know, I wrote out this long post and now I'm not posting pictures. But I don't have the real camera handy and I want to show off how nice the yarn looks. So just pretend I've included pictures. (P.S. I'm 10 rows in on the back piece.)

Oh, and for my own personal reference ... I cast on yesterday, Aug. 9, 2009. My goal is to have the sweater completed before Mom's birthday on Oct. 27.

Wish me luck.