Archive

Monthly Archives: November 2012

bistonI have alluded that I have a crazy knitting goal for 2012. Well, it didn’t seem so crazy when I set the goal, but it became crazy once I went on a serious bender knitting shawls.

My goal was: 12 Shawls, 12 Sweaters, 12 Pairs of Socks completed in 2012.

I was tracking to plan in January and February. Then, my sister’s wedding came up and it was unseasonably warm. I panicked, and knit her a second wedding shawl — which threw me off.

That second wedding shawl that I knit happened to be a BooKnits design. And, long story short, I got hooked on her designs (and her yarns, thanks, Bev!) and did a few test knits for her and before I knew it, I had WAY overachieved my 12 shawl goal. In fact, I believe the shawl I currently have on my needles is #29 for the year.

I told you I overachieved. Even for me, that is a nutty amount of overage.

As a result, at the beginning of September, I was faced with whether I was going to still try for the 12-12-12 in 12.

The issue was sweaters. I needed to really crank because I was more behind in units in sweaters.

Guess what?

I did it. Twelve sweaters cast on and completed in 2012. The last of them is Biston, by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark. Originally appeared in Brooklyntweed’s Wool People  Vol.3 collection, knit out of Loft.

Mine is knit out of Tess Designer Yarns Kitten, which is luxury in a skein. It’s 65% cashmere and 35% silk. In order to take full advantage of the yarn, I wanted to make changes to have the garment be really drape-y and cuddly, and not tailored at all.

I won’t bore you with all the changes I made, since I don’t want my blog to become, “How I changed the pattern to suit my needs”, but there are notes aplenty on my Ravelry project page.

Now, I am declaring December the month of the sock. I need to finish a few pairs in between some gift knitting.

Hurricane Sandy turned downtown Manhattan into a really surreal place. No power, no cell signal…I was lugging my electronics around and plugging into charge up every time I saw an outlet. I walked dogs in the evening with my headlamp on. It was strange to be able to see stars in the sky. I got off relatively lightly, particularly because I am a wimp and retreated after a day and a half of this to the comforts of my sister’s fully powered up apartment.

Two positive results from Hurricane Sandy. The first was that I was forced to clear out my freezer and refrigerator. Amazing waste of food, but a completely empty freezer for me to fill up (more on this on another post). The second was what I did while I waited for The Frankenstorm to show up.

Waiting for the storm, with two dogs that are super-sensitive to pressure changes was….interesting. I put my (nervous) energy into moving my hands, and cranked on my Pomme de pin Cardigan.

Post storm, it took me a while to truly finish the cardigan — and I had very good intentions. It took me longer for me to knit the button band than it did to knit most of the body of the sweater!

It is, however, the end of the month, which means that I do have to finish things up. And I have finished (and have already worn to work!) the sweater.

Pomme de pin is a cardigan designed by Amy Christoffers. I am attracted to her designs because there seems to be an element of something really cool about her sweaters. With this cardi, I think she’s managed to make a lace sweater really sleek and not grandmotherly at all. I love the way the collar comes up in the back and creates a really long line coming down the front. Do I dare say it? I think it’s SLIMMING!!!!

I knit my sweater out of Blue Sky Alpacas Metalico. The yarn is totally yummy — It’s 50% baby alpaca and 50% mulberry silk. It’s undyed, so all the colors are natural shades of baby alpaca. It’s sport weight, and it’s a single. The very first time I heard about this yarn was on the podcast Ready Set Knit, which is hosted by Kathy and Steve Elkins who owns WEBS. When I heard Steve describe this yarn, I ran to the computer. It just sounded amazing. My sweater is knit in Silver, which is a light grey. The yarn also comes in Platinum, which is an amazing deeper grey (and yes, I have that in my stash). I was a bit worried about how this yarn would knit up as a fabric, and whether it would be appropriate for a garment. I really wasn’t sure whether it had good memory — I knew it wasn’t going to be like wool (which is a super fiber, I’m coming to appreciate!) —  I swatched, and decided that it was a go.

I find that swatching is really useful when it comes to one thing. And it’s not determining gauge. Of course it is somewhat useful for this too, but I find that gauge swatches lie and my gauge changes depending on many different factors so it is just an approximation. What I find it more useful for is in determining (at least a little) how the yarn would act as a fabric.

After swatching, I decided to make a modification (LOL, I know, I know) and I changed all the ribbing to a twisted 1×1 rib. I thought that this would help the sweater keep more structure. Other than this adjustment for the yarn, I made only a few changes, and they were for sizing — I wanted the sleeves shorter, I wanted the sleeves a bit more slim fitting.

I have already worn this sweater to work. I was a bit worried about the sweater shedding a bit because I felt like the yarn was shedding a little as I was knitting, but I wore this sweater over a black dress and black tights and I was fuzz free (trust me, with two dogs I roll myself with one of those sticky rolly things when I get to work!). The lace didn’t completely stretch out, and I didn’t feel like the sweater was dangling at my knees at the end of the day. And this sweater is SUPER warm, while being light.

I have a feeling that this sweater will become a staple in my wardrobe….and that I will be on the look out for more lacy cardis to knit out of the yarn!

Me!

I love light weight sweaters that I can wear all year long. (Hmm. Maybe this is why I love shawls so much) Knitting sweaters out of laceweight? Outside of some periods in my life when I weirdly rationalized that knitting complex cabled sweaters out of laceweight was economical from a yarn $ used/time metric, (logically, it makes sense. But we all know that these projects are very likely to end up in the UFO pile), I haven’t ventured into laceweight sweater crafting in quite some time.

Well. I’ve finished a laceweight sweater. It is out of Wollmeise Lacegarn, so it is a heavy lace (and some may say it’s really fingering), but it is laceweight nonetheless.

The sweater is Laar, by Gudrun Johnston.

I love Gudrun Johnston’s designs because there seems to always be an element of the classic Shetland in her designs. I’ve written about Flukra, which may be the single most worn shawl in my wardrobe (I really need to knit another), and I have been swatching for Audrey In Unst for months now. (OT, but should I knit it in DK or fingering? That is the question.)

I have been staring at Laar for about a year. The one thing that held me back was that I was convinced that this sweater was way too girly for me. It’s got an empire waist, pleats at the waist, picot edging, a lace bodice….all kinds of girly.

But I decided a bit of girly would be good in my wardrobe, but since I am no longer a young girly, I decided to modify it a bit. (OK, maybe a lot.)

  1. Decreased the pleating at the waist. I wasn’t sure if a baby-doll shape would look good on me, so I wanted the sweater to have more of an A-line silhouette. This had one very positive effect of decreasing the amount of stockinette fabric I had to knit.
  2. Increased the garter edging after the picot. I thought that this would take the emphasis off the picots as it became a smaller part of the overall edging. This also let me raise the neckline a bit, and also gave me a bit more stable edging to help the fabric from curling up at the bottom.
  3. Increased the length of the stockinette portion of the sweater. I’ve noticed that Gudrun seems to like cropped sweaters. I have a longer torso, so I wanted to make sure that the sweater came to slightly below my hip bone.
  4. Increased the twisted rib in between the stockinette and the lace portions of the sweater. I just thought this looked better 🙂
  5. Increased the lace panel portion of the sweater in order to make a deeper armhole. I think the style of this sweater was for the sleeves to be very fitted. I do not like being constricted in the underarm area, nor do I like tight sleeves. So while I kept the construction of the short rowed sleeve cap, I made the sleeves a lot more relaxed. I am actually quite picky about this and have a tendency, if I am to rip back a sweater to redo something about it, to make sure the sleeves fit properly.
  6. Picot bind-off on the buttonhole panel. I just thought it was strange that this was the only edge that was showing on the sweater without a picot edging.

I have yet to road test this sweater, but I think I like my new girly addition to my wardrobe!!

Back home from the mountains last Sunday to hunker down for Sandy. My entire life, personal and work, needs power — of course I knew that, but perhaps not to this extent.

I was so stressed out that I overdid it on the knitting. The sleeves and the ribbing was done on this sweater as of Sunday evening around 8pm.  The photo below shows where I was as of Tuesday afternoon….at the separation of the fronts and back on the body. I think I knit about 30 hours in the next 2 days. Even for me, that is a lot.

 

I’m going to give my wrists a bit of a break.

How did you fare in the storm?