Posted in Completed Projects, Knit Ramblings

Juneberry Triangle FO and 2011 Goals

Happy 2011 everyone! 🙂 It hardly feels like a new year to me and nothing feels that different, though I suppose that’s what happens as you get older. I hope everyone’s new year is off to a good start and that if you’re the type that makes goals or resolutions that you’re doing well with them.

My Juneberry Triangle took a few days to dry after I blocked it, but now that it’s all dry, I love it even more then I did pre-blocking. It’s VERY warm, which is something to keep in mind with this yarn. I think it’s great for anything you’d wear when it’s cold out. It also has a lovely drape and halo to it. I’ll definitely be working with this yarn more in the future and already thinking of things I’d like to make with it. I present to you my last FO of 2010!

Juneberry Triangle (Stretched)
Juneberry Triangle

Pattern: Juneberry Triangle (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: December 13, 2010
Completed: December 31, 2010
Yarn: Great Northern Yarns 70% Mink/30% Cashmere DK weight, just over 2 skeins in natural
Needles: US 7 bamboo circular
Notes: No changes made to the pattern, knit as written. As with all shawls I’ve knit, I didn’t bother to check gauge, which may be why I ran short on yarn. This was a great knit and well written pattern (as always from Jared Flood). It even helped me get over my hatred of bobbles! I think they look really nice in this shawl and I won’t be put off by knitting a pattern that has them in the future.

Juneberry Triangle (Worn)
Juneberry Triangle

Juneberry Triangle (Detail)
Juneberry Triangle – Pattern Detail

Juneberry Triangle (Edge)
Juneberry Triangle – Edge Detail

Since the last week of December, I’ve been contemplating what I’d like to accomplish in 2011. I’ve seen various people joining things like Self Imposed Sock Clubs (or this one that isn’t limited to just socks), Year of Stash Socks, 11 Shawls in 2011, and various “Knit from stash!” type groups. I thought a lot about what I really enjoyed knitting last year and what I’d like to knit in the coming year. Throughout 2010, I ended up focusing more on sweaters then I expected and even enhanced my stash with many sweater quantities of yarn, which I haven’t done in previous years. Much to my surprise, I find myself wanting to knit more sweaters then anything else! In 2010, I feel like I got a much better idea of sweaters I like and don’t like. Sweaters I know I’d wear and ones I wouldn’t. I learned a lot about fit and gauge and adjusting patterns to fit me better. All things I didn’t have a good grasp on previously.

Shortly after realizing that I’ve suddenly found myself to be a Sweater Knitter, I remembered seeing a group at the beginning of 2010 that had a goal of knitting a sweater a month. Of course at the time I thought this was a crazy idea and didn’t think that I’d ever be wanting to join that sort of group. Sweaters? Really? 12 in a YEAR?!? In my mind I was firmly Not A Sweater Knitter like that. Yeah, I’d knit sweaters, but felt eh about sweaters in general. Funny how things change in a year!

I’ve decided to challenge myself with sweaters in 2011 and I’ve joined the ranks of the International Sweater-a-Month Dodecathon. Yep, really! My goal is to knit up the 9 sweaters worth of yarn that I have in my stash, then buy whatever I need/want to finish off the last 3. My hope is that I’ll have 12 sweaters by the end of the year and I think this is a totally achievable goal for me. Some are fingering or DK weight sweaters (actually most of the sweaters in my stash are), but there’s a few worsted and aran weight sweaters I have planned as well. Shrugs, tops, and sweaters all count, so I do plan on at least 2 shrugs and one tank top in mind, though the rest will likely be pullovers or cardigans. Aside from 3 patterns, I’m leaving things pretty open as to what I’ll knit. My mind changes far too much to set everything right away and this gives me some flexibility for when I see a pattern that I Must. Knit. NOW!

Joining IntSweMoDo2011 fits along with something else I’d like to work on this year: knitting primarily from stash. I’d been thinking about this on and off for some time, but it wasn’t until seeing Michelle’s blog post about stashbusting in 2011 that I really wanted to commit to it. Currently, including all WIPs, I have 65,2904 yards (59,702.6 meters) of yarn. Less then I expected, but still more then I’d like to have. While I love my stash, it sometimes makes me feel a little limited. I’d like to have a smaller stash and learn to buy more for a specific project then “Oh I bet I can make something with (insert random yarn I’m thinking about buying without a project in mind here)!” That just leaves me with a lot of yarn I’m not interested in or don’t know what to do with. Besides, I change my mind far too often about what I want to knit for me to have a stash of yarns that I will “make something with” and never being able to find that something! This doesn’t mean “no yarn buying in 2011.” It does mean that I will need to be more aware of what I do choose to buy and stick with only buying things I want for specific projects.

Those are the two things I will be working on this year. I’m sure I’ll knit more socks, shawls, hats and whatever else strikes my fancy. And spinning! There will definitely be more spinning this year, though I don’t have any specific goals for that. Something has to break up all that sweater knitting after all! 😉

Do you have any knitting/crochet/spinning/crafty plans/goals/resolutions for 2011? I’d love to hear what you’re planning for this year!

Posted in Completed Projects, Knit Ramblings, Life

Two FO’s and 2010 Year End Wrap Up

This New Year’s Eve definitely hasn’t gone as expected, but I think that it’s turning out to be a good one anyhow! We originally had plans to go hang out with Matt’s friend just outside of Louisville, KY. He had been having some issues with the network at his work which ultimately lead to a part being shipped early this afternoon, arriving this evening, and currently being installed so that everything is up and running by Monday. I’m bummed that we aren’t able to make it, but Matt is a rock star at his job and has to play Super IT Guy instead. Just life how life goes sometimes!

Much to my surprise, I was able to get two more projects done just before the end of the year.

The first thing I finished was the Picot Edge Hat. I saw this on Grmperina’s blog earlier this week and knew immediately I needed to make it. I’ve been trying to figure out just the right project for this yarn and I finally found it!

Picot Edge Hat (Front)
Picot Edge Hat

Pattern: Picot Edge Hat (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: December 28, 2010
Completed: December 31, 2010
Yarn: Squoosh Fiber Arts Merinio Cashmere Sport, colorway Seaside, approx 3/4 of a skein
Needles: US 4 bamboo circular and DPNs
Notes: No modifications. Followed the pattern for the medium size, though I think my gauge was a bit off. Love the way it fits and it comes over my ears and is just what I need for winter.

Picot Edge Hat (Side)
Picot Edge Hat – Side

Craig, who runs Great Northern Yarns, was kind enough to offer to send me a skein of the mink/cashmere DK yarn that I need. I thanked him repeatedly, but I am just so blown away by his kind offer! The fiber community is such a great one and I’m so happy that I get to be a part of it. 🙂

The yarn arrived today and in a short amount of time I had my Juneberry Triangle finished! I didn’t think I’d get this one done before the end of the year. I’m glad I was able to, though. It’s officially off the needles and currently blocking. I’m waiting to do the full FO post once it’s dry and I have more pictures of it, but here’s a little peek!

Juneberry Triangle

It’s that time of year again! Time to recap the projects I’ve completed this year. I have less projects then I did last year, but last year I had a month off work after having surgery to do all the knitting I wanted and I did smaller projects last year compared to this year.

Project breakdown for 2010:

– Eight pairs of socks
– Seven sweaters (which includes the baby sweater I knit)
– Six hats
– Five shawls
– Three scarves
– Two pairs of fingerless gloves
– One iPhone cober
– One chicken bag
– One toy alien
– One pair of baby booties
– One tree

Completed Projects in 2010
Projects Completed in 2010

Overall, I’m happy with the projects I’ve completed this year. Less then last year, but last year I had a whole month of recovery after having surgery that I spent knitting. I knit more sweaters and more shawls, but less socks. The things I like to work on are always changing and I notice it most when I do this review each year!

I had a few goals for this year. I have to make a confession… I kinda forgot about those completely! I met my goal of knitting five shawls this year, just barely. I decided I didn’t want to knit Little Birds, so I didn’t meet that goal. I didn’t get around to the exercising goal until late in the year (around September), so there’s another miss. Eat Clean diet was a miss as well (life, it gets in the way!). I think my goal of “knitting with more luxury fibers” was a bit lofty, but I think I did alright there with my sea silk shawl, my mink cashmere shawl, and my Bugga sweater. I’m sure I could have met some of these better had I not forgot about them. I guess I just wasn’t as committed as I thought I was!

For the new year I have some knitting specific goals and some other ones, but I’ll share that in the new year. 🙂

2010 has been pretty good overall. There were a few down spots, like my dear beta fish, Fred, passing away (who I had for 5 years and was a surprisingly attentive, playful and a fish with his own personality), but life is pretty good. I know that some of my friends have had a rough year and I hope that 2011 brings better things for everyone.

Happy New Year!! May the new year be great for all! 🙂

Posted in Current Projects, Knit Ramblings, Life, Spinning

Not Knitting, Upcoming Projects, and a SAL/KAL

Since my last post and my mention of my back hurting a bit, I’ve had some further injuries. My right wrist started hurting suddenly and I was getting a very sharp pain when I moved it. Along with that pain, I started having some pain in my right shoulder as well. After a few days and it not improving, I decided to haul myself to the doctor to get it checked out. Doc told me it was tendinitis, gave me a few prescriptions to help, and told me to rest my wrist and shoulder as much as possible. Since the pain in the wrist started, I put aside the knitting, crocheting, spinning, and limited my computer use. I’m right handed, so at work I started using the mouse with my left hand and using my right hand as little as possible and really just trying to do nothing while at home so I didn’t further injure myself. I’m not entirely sure what caused it other then overuse/repetitive motion. I had been using the mouse more at work since a particular program I use can really only be navigated by mouse or special voice software (which I don’t have), so the repetitive motion of that for 4-5 hours per day for 3+ weeks is likely what put me over the edge into the “wow that hurts and it’s not going away” territory. Before the wrist pain even started, I did have some on and off shoulder problems, but it wasn’t sticking around until after the wrist really hurt.

Anyhow… all of that to say for the last two weeks I haven’t been knitting which leaves me with very little blogging content! I have been reading, but I’m a fairly slow reader. When I put aside the knitting and spinning, I picked up a copy of Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross at the book store and I’m now roughly 70% through it. I’ve really enjoyed it so far. My book queue has grown quite a bit in the last two weeks, that’s for sure!

I do have a little bit of knitting to share. Before I wasn’t knitting, I started the Fresh Mint tank top out of Spa yarn.

Fresh Mint
Fresh Mint

I’ve already attached the top edges together where they should be to make it easier to try on as I go. I’ve also modified it a bit by doing the garter stitch border on the edge, doing a different increase in place of the yarn over increase row, and doing more increases after joining the front/back together to account for my 45″ bust (I’m knitting the 44″ size and there is no ease in the pattern). I also plan on adding waist shaping to it. This is really the only thing that saw any progress that I hadn’t yet showed on the blog! Both the socks I’m working on haven’t really seen much progress. The Jaywalker sock is slightly longer and I’ve done 5 rows of ribbing on sock number two of Maelstrom.

This “knitting break” has given me some time to think about the next things I’d like to knit. I’ve even started considering my Rhinebeck sweater for this year. I’m still not 100% decided and I think that the amount of time it takes to get back to my regular knitting will decide what my choice will be.

The two sweaters I’m looking most at knitting next are: Cottage Garden and Jumper Cardigan.

Cottage Garden and Jumper Cardigan

One of these will likely be my Rhinebeck sweater. I already have yarn in mind for both sweaters. For Cottage Garden I have two colors of purple from Brooks Farms Solo Silk.

Brooks Farm, Solo Silk
Brooks Farm Solo Silk

The Jumper Cardigan is a vintage pattern that only comes in one size, but I think I can upsize by adjusting the gauge and using a bit heavier weight yarn. I’ve decided I’d like to do it in this fantastic pink and green combination. I have 4 skeins of Vesper Sock Yarn “Quick Sock” in the Ivy League colorway (this was a club color, which I received, then collected 3 others from Ravelers destashing) and 2 skeins of The Plucky Knitter MCN in the Ellen Arden colorway (also a club colorway from The Plucky Knitter Classics Club, which I got in a destash on Ravelry – from my Spring Fling roomie, Lauren). When I got both of these colors together, I KNEW it needed to be a sweater.

Possible Sweater
Vesper Quick Sock in Ivy League and The Plucky Knitter MCN in Ellen Arden

I’ve even knit a swatch and it looks like a gauge change will be just what I need to upsize the pattern.

Sweater Swatch
Swatch for Jumper Cardigan

Currently I’m leaning towards the Jumper Cardigan because I’m really in love with the color combination. Still trying to decide, though, so any thoughts are always welcome! 🙂

Along with the wrist/shoulder thing, I also seem to be getting some tingling in both hands and both feet. Not really sure what’s going on, but I did get blood work done yesterday and have some doctors appointments scheduled to try and figure it out. Because of the tingling in my feet (which is pretty continuous, in the left foot more then the right), I’ve limited what spinning related things I do. I did try a little spinning yesterday. It seemed to be okay on the right side (I have a single treadle wheel), but when I switched to the left side, it caused some pain in my lower back. At that point I stopped spinning trying not to over do it. I was just happy to get in some spinning time after almost two weeks of no knitting or spinning!

After that I prepped the fiber I’m going to use for the SAL/KAL that’s going on in Zarzuela’s Fibers Junkies group on Ravelry. The SAL/KAL is to spin a specific weigh of yarn (your choice) then incorporate it into a sweater (also your choice). You can even combine what you’re spinning with a commercial yarn. I thought this would be a great challenge for me since I’ve never spun enough yarn for a sweater before! I recently purchased 8 ounces of two different colors from Zarzuela’s Fibers. It was tough to decide which to use because both are really pretty!

Targhee from Zarzuela's Fibers
Targhee in Orange Dream and Emeralds

I decided to spin the 8 ounces of Targhee in the Emeralds colorway, aim for a fingering weight yarn, and knit the Featherweight Cardigan. So far the first 4 ounces of fiber are prepped (pre-drafted). Now I just need to decide if I want to finish the current fiber on the wheel (Cheviot in DC Sunrise from Zarzuela’s Fibers) or to put that aside and get started on the Targhee in Emeralds. I’ve never worked with Targhee before, so I’m looking forward to trying something new. It’s really soft! Reminds me a little bit of merino when I was pre-drafting it.

Time to get off the computer for now and enjoy the weekend! Hope everyone has a good weekend 🙂

Posted in Completed Projects, Current Projects, Knit Ramblings

Pattern Update, Finished Ishbel, and New Projects

I have plenty of project things to share today, but first I wanted to give an update about the the pattern I blogged about last week.

I did decide to write the designer an email. I think I was nice and offered constructive criticism, but really wrote to ask for an updated version of the pattern (which I was willing to wait for) or a refund. In all honesty I didn’t expect a reply, let alone a refund for a digital pattern. (I did let the designer know that I had deleted the file and will not be re-downloading it.) So, much to my surprise, the next day after sending the email, I received a reply letting me know she’s refunded me and the PayPal notification of the refund. I think that was probably the best outcome I could have hoped for and I’m glad that the designer stepped up and did issue the refund. I think secretly I was hoping for an updated pattern, but knew that was unlikely and not an immediate solution that could happen.

Since I have no plans to knit this pattern and in interest of full disclosure since the designer did step up and “do the right thing” here, the pattern I wrote about is the Lamb’s Lace Cardi (Ravelry link). There are a few finished projects in Ravelry, so obviously my concerns aren’t the same as everyone’s, which I am well aware of. Others may have different expectations about patterns and can certainly decide if this is a pattern they want to knit for themselves. It is a lovely sweater and if there ever is an updated version of it fixing my biggest issues of no stitch counts and no schematic, I will purchase it again. I definitely think there’s more room for improvement then that, but those were my two biggest hang ups with it and if those two things were present, I likely would have knit it anyway, not emailed the designer, and just mentioned the other issues in my project comments. (I still feel that it’s a bit high of a price for the pattern without the other improvements, but I digress.)

Now that I’ve said my final piece on that, I have an FO to share!

Ishbel (Full)

Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: April 19, 2010
Completed: May 28, 2010
Yarn: 1 skein Handmadien Fine Yarn Sea Silk 150 (larger skein) in Sangria
Needles: US 5 bamboo circular
Notes: Since I had the larger skein of Sea Silk, I knit the largest size. My gauge was slightly smaller then the pattern called for, but since I was knitting with silk, I knew it wouldn’t bloom much in blocking and only stretch out, so I figured a little smaller would be better. It still ended up rather large even with the smaller gauge. I haven’t weighed it, but I have quite a bit of yarn leftover. I probably could have added an additional repeat of Chart A and B. Of course then it would have been even bigger, so I’m glad I didn’t do that! Like all of the Ysolda patterns I’ve knit, it was very well written and I’d knit it again.

Ishbel (Front)
Ishbel – Front

Ishbel (Back)
Ishbel – Back

And of course, one on my lovely model, Matt!

Ishbel (Matt)
Ishbel on my lovely model

In my last post, I mentioned frogging the Labyrinth Socks and that I was still working on the Ampersand socks. Well on Friday I frogged the Ampersand socks, too. I just didn’t love them and was rather bored with the pattern (plus the leg was a bit tight). Since I finished Ishbel Friday, that left me with one project on the needles – my Spring Fling Vesper socks. Actually, that project wasn’t even really ON the needles then because I’d finished the first sock and never cast on for the second one. I looked through my stash and my queue and decided on two projects: Daybreak and Cubist.

I cast on for Daybreak first, using Dream In Color Starry in Punky Fuchsia and Happy Forest.

Daybreak Shawl

Last night I made it up to the stripes. It’s a bit out of the range of “portable” now, though. It no longer fits in my large Oh Snap bag from Namaste because of the two balls of yarn, so it no longer fits in my purse. Since I figured that was going to happen and because it’s been so hot out that it may not make the best outdoor knitting, I cast on for Cubist on Sunday. I decided on using Wollmeise in Campari Piccolo. I was through to the heel yesterday, when I noticed that on the front leg of the sock there was a double decrease where I’d not picked up all the plies of the yarn. I tried to correct it (a full repeat back), but I couldn’t get it back to looking right after 4 attempts. This wasn’t the first time I’d have ripped back (more like the 5th) and I was having a lot more trouble with the pattern then is normal for me, so I gave up and frogged the whole sock. The problems I was having were mostly me not reading the directions or chart correctly. I don’t blame the pattern for that!

I totally forgot to take pictures before frogging, likely due to being so frustrated with it. The sock does look great in a solid/semi-solid yarn, though. I think the pattern is a bit obscured with the variegated sock yarn used in the sample photo. The double decreases do pull the yarn in, which was making the leg a bit difficult to get over my heel. I’ll likely knit it again sometime, but probably on larger needles and with slightly thicker yarn to make up for the double decreases pulling it in.

With that sock being frogged, I decided it was time to get back to my Spring Fling Vesper sock. I started the second sock this morning and I don’t think it will take me long to finish, so I’ll hold out on starting a new one until after that. Maybe. The Diagonal Lace Socks are tempting me. I plan on using the yarn I tried to use for Cubist. This will be the FOURTH project with this yarn and I’m determined to make it work for something! 🙂

Posted in Knit Ramblings

What do you expect from a pattern?

With all these sweater thoughts going on here, I’ve been thinking about patterns and what I expect from patterns, especially ones that I pay for.

Recently I purchased a sweater pattern. (I won’t say which pattern because I’m still debating on emailing the designer about it and if you know what pattern I’m talking about, please don’t post it in the comments.) The pattern was on the higher end of what I usually pay for a pattern. I’m used to spending $5-7 for a good pattern without thinking too much of it. This one was over that amount. Because of this, it was one I really thought about before making the purchase. I asked myself if it was really something I would knit and wear a lot. I thought about it for a few months before making the purchase. Now, I’ve purchased $7 patterns and been very pleased with them. They are usually quite detailed and I don’t feel like anything is missing from them, besides the occasional close photograph of a particular part that I want to see (which is what Ravelry is great for). Twist Collective is a great example of this. All of the patterns I’ve purchased from there have been $7 and I think they are worth every penny. There are also many patterns out there for free that meet this same standard of quality I have come to expect from pay for patterns, but today I’m only talking about pay for patterns, specifically sweater patterns.

Now, I don’t feel that I’m that picky about what I expect in a pattern I’ve paid money for. I’ve paid for really well written patterns and I’ve come to expect this same level of quality from all patterns I pay for. I think this is the first time that I’ve really felt let down by a pattern I paid for more then I “normally” would. In a sweater pattern, there are a few important things aside from decent pictures, correct yardage requirements for each size, tools needed, and gauge. What I’ve come to expect from sweater patterns is a schematic of the sweater with finished measurements, stitch counts between moving from section to section and where needed (ie how many stitches you’re splitting off for the arms or how many stitches you have after splitting off the arms or doing a decrease/increase section), and if there are charts, I expect there are written instructions included or it that it is noted if there aren’t written instructions included. Now the chart thing isn’t a huge deal for me because I prefer working from charts, but occasionally I get confused on a part and it’s nice to see it written out.

This particular is 8 pages. With 8 pages of pattern, I’d expect that all of these things would be there, especially the schematic and stitch counts. Sadly, that is not what I got. What I got is an 8 page pattern that goes like this: a large picture on the first page that fills the entire page, a page about the pattern (how the design came to be/got it’s name) and all required materials and gauge, a page with all the instructions for the sweater (including a small picture), 4 pages of charts (no written instructions), and the last page with a large picture filling the whole page. Did you catch that part where I said “one page with all instructions“? Yep. ONE PAGE. On this one page, there are no stitch counts aside from the initial “cast on so many stitches” part. Before dividing the sleeves off, it doesn’t tell you how many stitches you should have. It also doesn’t tell you how many stitches you’re dividing off or how many you should have after they are divided off. Heck if it had that, I could let go of the before dividing stitch count not being there. For the sleeves it just tells you to put the stitches between the markers on waste yarn. When you pick those stitches up later, there’s no mention of how many you should have. Best of all is the total lack of a schematic with finished measurements and the fact that none of the charts have written instructions and it is not noted ANYWHERE on the pattern purchase page. I’m sorry, but not everyone knits from charts and in my opinion, it’s very important to note this to buyers before they pay money for it. None of the charts given on the 4 pages are very large, so I don’t think writing out directions would have been a lot to add, but the charts were created by Knit Visualizer, which generates the written instructions for you, so I don’t understand why there aren’t any included.

I’m sure it doesn’t need to be said, but I’m pretty disappointed in this pattern. It’s written the way I expect a free pattern to be written. I can forgive that with free patterns because I didn’t pay for a product, however I paid a good deal of money for this pattern which feels like it’s lacking a lot of things I have seen in every sweater pattern I’ve knit. I waited a while to blog about this to see if maybe I was just having a rough day and that skewed my perspective. It didn’t. I feel the same way days later as I did the day I purchased it. Frankly, I don’t even want to knit this sweater despite how much I like it because I’m afraid it will just make me frustrated to not be able to check my stitch counts at any point without doing all the math myself.

The same day, I purchased Lyttelton. It’s very well written and has everything I’d expect from a pattern. I paid a bit less then $5 for the pattern (£3.00). I’m fairly certain the schematic is hand drawn, but it has all the necessary information. I can’t wait to get started on this one.

The fact that I’m excited about one pattern and no longer excited about the other made me think about what I expect from patterns. I’m certain part of the reason I’m excited about Lyttelton is that everything I expect to be there is there. Looking at the pattern I don’t have questions about any parts of it and I don’t feel it’s lacking any information. This is the exact reason I’m not excited about the other: it’s lacking information that’s pretty important and that I expect to be there.

All of this left me wondering about how others feel about this topic. What do you expect in a pattern that you pay for? Is there a price you’re willing to pay for a pattern that lacks information you expect to be there that isn’t? Would you complain to the designer if the pattern didn’t meet those expectations? Would you just knit it anyway?

And just so this post isn’t pictureless… here’s my Poppet that arrived yesterday.

Poppet from Strange Studios

In case you’re curious what a Poppet is, you can find out here on Lisa Snelling’s blog.

Posted in Knit Ramblings

Thoughts on Sweaters

I’ve been thinking about sweaters and sweater patterns lately (well, really knit garments in general). It all started with a conversation Matt and I had after I finished all the knitting on Tempest. He commented that this is the first sweater that’s really been “me” – a color I would wear, a fit that’s flattering, and overall something that would likely see a lot of use. This made me think about previous sweaters I’ve knit. Most of the sweaters I’ve knit up to this point have had something I didn’t like about them.

The first garment I knit myself was Bad Penny out of a cotton/wool blend. I wouldn’t say my choice of yarn was a poor one (I do like it), but I didn’t realize that any wool in next to sensitive skin (ie my back) makes me itchy, so this doesn’t really get worn. After that I decided to knit a sweater. The first sweater I knit myself was Rogue. The body ended up shorter then I liked, so all my t-shirts hung out from under it. I never wore it much because of that. I was pretty happy with the color, fit (aside from length) and style of it, though.

Six months later I knit a vest. The Back to School U-Neck Vest. Turns out I’m not really a vest person. I like the idea of vests, but wouldn’t ever wear one.

It was a year and a half from the vest that I attempted my next sweater, which was a total disaster. The Green Gable Hoodie. Looking back there was nothing about this sweater that was “me.” It’s big and bulky and heavy and… well the pattern was a disaster, too! Turns out I’m not a fan of bulky knits. My first 4 garments? Not that successful, but I did learn more about what I want out of a sweater from each one.

Sweaters 1
Top: Bad Penny and Rogue
Bottom: Back To School U-Neck Vest and Green Gable Hoodie

I took a break from garments after that hoodie disaster, but eventually decided to try again. I finished Decimal and was immediately disappointed. It was too long. I was able to shrink it some, but not nearly as much as I thought it needed. Part of it was my own fault. I knit another repeat of the lace pattern and didn’t take into consideration that that would add to the length of it and I should make adjustments in the body to compensate. I think part of it was that I didn’t pay much attention to the schematic in the pattern. If I had, I would have known that I didn’t want the body of the sweater as long as the pattern stated anyhow. Sigh. You’d think by this point, I would have given up on garment knitting, but NO. I didn’t. I started Hey Teach right away and it wasn’t long before I finished it once, realized it could wrap around me twice, frogged it and knit it all over again. I did finish it, though. I don’t really like the neckline of this sweater or the really floppy button band it has or the way the buttons are so spaced out that it gaps horribly in-between them (especially on the chest). Two sweaters within a few months of each other that I didn’t really love once they were done.

Sweaters 2
Decimal and Hey Teach

The next sweater I finished was Liesl. I actually DO like this sweater. This is the first sweater I finished that I really liked and wanted to wear. I think I need more tank tops so that I can wear it more. I only own one tank top I can wear with it and I think that’s why it doesn’t get worn as much as it should since the color doesn’t go with my much else in my wardrobe. Once Liesl was done, I worked on Starlight non-stop so I could wear it to Rhinebeck. I made the deadline and like how the sweater turned out, but the yarn choice may not have been the best one. The yarn pilled like nobody’s business the one and only time I’ve worn it. So disappointing! I’ve since tucked it away because I don’t want to see it get completely pilly. It’s too pretty to be pilly!

Sweaters 3
Liesl and Starlight

This year I’ve knit three sweaters. First one I finished was the February Lady Sweater. Only thing I’m not super fond of is the neckline on this one. It prevents me from wearing it with any shirt I want and only feel comfortable (or “put together”) wearing it with the one tank top I own. I love the finished sweater, but it doesn’t go with everything in my wardrobe so it’s only worn occasionally. Next I knit the Camber Cardigan. Love this lightweight cardigan that can be worn over just about anything. I foresee this one getting a fair amount of wear, but it’s been too hot for sweaters lately! Initially it was longer then I thought I wanted it. After wearing it a few times, I decided I liked the length of it. Still doesn’t go with everything in my wardrobe, but I do feel more comfortable wearing it with various tops, unlike the other two sweaters I finished that I like.

Sweaters 4
February Lady Sweater and Camber Cardigan

Most recently I finished Tempest, which I talked about in yesterday’s post. Time will tell on this one, but I put a lot of thought into what I wanted from that sweater and I haven’t found anything I don’t like about it (at least so far!). Thinking about all of these garment knitting experiences, I’ve learned a lot about the things I don’t want in a garment and the things that I do. Color seems to be a big factor. If it’s not a color I can wear with most of my wardrobe, it doesn’t get worn. I don’t really like bulky knit garments. I prefer that cardigans have a v-neck shape. All sorts of little things that I’d not really considered when picking out yarn and patterns previously.

Taking the time to think about all of this helps me going forward. I have a much better understanding of what I will wear and what I won’t. Just because it’s a pretty, interesting, or that it’s the latest “OMG everyone is knitting it” pattern doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for ME. I’m glad I can see and understand that now. Part of the learning curve of knitting. I think I learned a lot more knitting sweaters and finding things I didn’t like, sweater construction, and color/yarn choices by just doing it. Sometimes that’s the best way to learn! 🙂

Posted in Knit Ramblings

Klean Kanteens – A Review

Today I wanted to do a little review of a product I recently purchased. Not something I’d normally do, especially since it’s not even knitting or crafting related, but I have been quite smitten with this recent purchase, so I wanted to share!

I drink a lot of water. I’m probably one of those few exceptions since it seems like so many people tell me they don’t drink much water. I grew up drinking lots of ice water, so even now it’s a staple for me, especially at work. It has to be COLD, though. I don’t like drinking room temperature water at all. I’ll do it, but much prefer it cold or iced. At work, we have a water and ice dispensing machine. For quite a while I was using that and my Nalgene bottle every day while I was there. Some time last year, the water machine started tasting off to me after they had someone come “fix” it. The guy came out a second and I think a third time, but it still just didn’t taste right. In fact it tasted downright disgusting to me. I couldn’t handle it. So, I started buying bottled water and bringing it to work with me. I was going through about 3 bottles on average per day. Since I work somewhere that’s very environmentally conscious, recycling the bottles just didn’t seem enough to me after a while.

I started to look at other options, since using the water machine just wasn’t one of them. I tried and tried again to drink that water, but I can’t. The taste and aftertaste are just not bearable for me. I decided I could bring water from home, but how? I already had one Nalgene bottle, but with the amount of water I drink per day and the fact that I couldn’t have cold water at my desk all day with just one 40 oz Nalgene bottle, I knew I needed to get more based on my needs. I’d looked into getting a Sigg, but they are a bit out of my price range and unless you have a special ice maker, you can’t get ice cubes in them because the opening is so small. Thought about getting an additional Nalgene, but I was worried a bout BPA’s (though I’m fairly sure they have changed materials now). Then, Matt pointed me to Klean Kanteen. I wanted to order, but hadn’t really heard much about them. After a while, I gave up and stuck to plastic bottles.

This month, it started bothering me again. I went back to the Klean Kanteen and saw one of their banners at the bottom that read something like “The average person consumes 168 bottles of water in a year.” I immediately thought, “I must drink double, maybe tripple that amount!” It struck me pretty hard and knew I just needed to make the switch. So, last week I ordered three Klean Kanteens. Two in the 27 oz size and one in the 40 oz size. One 27 oz bottle was for Matt, and the other two were for me.

Klean Kanteen
The black one is Matt’s and the two pink ones are mine.

They arrived on Monday. I was surprised that they showed up with sports caps along with the loop caps. I didn’t see anything on their website about this or that they were supposed to come with one. The colored ones don’t specify a cap type, but the all metal ones do. Hm. Anyway, I was pretty excited that they arrived with both caps. I’ve used them all week at work and I have to say, I love them!

The sports caps are really great. They don’t leak at all! When you turn them upside down when it’s open, you do get a steady drip, but not a pour. When you drink from them, you do have to suck a little. When you tip them over (yes I did try this to see how much they’d spill), you get very, very little spillage, if any at all (depending on how it falls). Otherwise, they are leakproof when closed. They stay nice and cold, too. Much longer than plastic bottles, especially if you have ice in them. What I do for work is fill my 40 oz one with water and my 27 oz one full to the top with ice, then water. I keep the 27 oz one at my desk and the 40 oz one in the fridge at work. When I need a refill, I just pour from my 40 oz one into my 27 oz one (which is actually really easy and not a mess at all). The prices are quite reasonable (especially if comparing with Sigg) and you get a discount if you buy two of the same size bottle. Shipping was really quick and they are easy to care for (dishwasher safe!). The only thing I could even mention about improving is the opening. I’d like it to be just a little bit bigger if I were going to drink directly from it rather than from the sports cap. Overall, I’m very happy with the bottles so far! I’m also glad I can stop buying all that bottled water :o)

Posted in Knit Ramblings

How to fix a hole in your sweater.

I’ve been putting off updating because I’ve been lazy, but also because I was trying to decide if I wanted to talk about the hole in the sweater that I fixed and how much of it. With the help of some Plurk friends, I decided I’d show you what I did to fix my sweater! (Fair warning, this will be a photo heavy post!)

So about a year ago now, when I was moving all my stuff out of the ex’s house, I found my beloved Rogue sweater, which had been folded up in my craft room, had two holes in it. To say I was devastated would be an understatement. I was absolutely crushed by it. This was the first sweater I’d made for me. (The first sweater I made was Folly for my mom, which needs a different collar so she’ll wear it more.) I love this sweater and I had no idea how to fix it. Plus, at the time I was too heart broken about it to figure out how to fix it. It has sat in my stash for all this time, just waiting for me to get up the courage to try and repair the hole. I still have no idea what caused the holes in the first place. It really just looks like the yarn wore down in those spots.

Over the weekend, I was cleaning up my stash area and found the bag it was in with the extra yarn. I decided it was time to fix it. I sat down and looked at it. I decided that ripping out the row(s) and re-knitting would be the best way. There were two places there were holes, so I did one at a time. I started with the “worse” one.

Here’s the sweater:


Here’s a close up of the hole if you can’t see it that well in the above picture:


First thing I did was unravel enough of a hole so that the yarn bits were long enough to weave into the back of it.


At this point, though, I noticed there was another hole quite close.


Noticing this, I did some swearing, took a deep breath, and ripped another hole so I could fix this, too (might as well, right?).


I don’t have a decent picture of how I closed this up, but since it was only one row that I unraveled, I simply grafted it together. Yes, I’m crazy enough to just have the live stitches and graft them together. It’s similar to doing a kitchner and knowing how the stitches connect together, it wasn’t too hard to figure out (though it did take me a minute to get right). Here’s how it looked after I grafted it back together:


After that went smoothly, I tried to do the bigger hole, but it was late and it came out pretty awful. I put it down, quite frustrated, and went to bed, set to work on it the next day. I ended up dreaming about it and what I needed to do to fix it! So, the next day, I sat down, set to fix this sweater. I pulled out what I had done so that I had the live stitches back on a needle. Then I knit three rows. I did this by using a different piece of yarn for each row so I was only knitting across the stitches, but not back the other way (purling):


Next, I bravely took the needle out and grafted the live stitches together (last row, for 4 total rows “re-knit”). I got better shots of how I did this the second time around.

Here’s how I started:


If that’s not too clear with the stitches, let me show you how it looks with a little work done in Paint to show the path of the stitch:


I started by going up through the bottom of the first stitch, then up through two loops (first one through the front, second one through the back), then back down into the first stitch and into the one next to it from the back of the stitch. Above, I was working on the second stitch. Up through two loops, down through two loops, always in through the front on the first stitch and in through the back on the second stitch. Here’s what the needle looks like on the bottom (down) stitches:


Do this all the way across and it now looks like this:


Here’s what the back looks like (oh all those ends!):


After sewing in all the ends, I started on the second hole.


I ripped out a bigger hole:


This time when I knit it back up, though, I did it a little different. I knit one row and purled the second row. I think this worked out about the same as the “use new yarn each row” method, but was a slight bit harder to sew together and make neat (was a bit more fiddly).

After I did that, I was ready to graft it together, using the same method I used above. Once it was grafted, it looked like this:


I sewed up the remaining ends and here’s views from the front and back:



I was a little worried about how it looked, even after I was “done.” I hoped that it would look much better after a good washing and blocking! I think it definitely looks better after, but I’m not 100% happy with the first one I did because of the way I crossed/twisted the yarns when I was weaving them in on the back side. I did it differently on the second hole and that part looks better. I am satisfied with how it turned out overall, especially it being my first time doing this! In this picture you can see a bit of a line where the first “fix” I did was, but can’t really see any sign from the second one:

Fixed Sweater

My sweater is now wearable again!! I don’t think it was as hard as my brain made it out to be and now I won’t be so scared to do this should it ever happen again.

Posted in Knit Ramblings

Changing Seasons

Originally uploaded by Gorillapond

Fall is here and it feels like winter is moving in pretty quickly. The last two days I’ve woken up to 37 degree temperatures and it’s cold in the apartment. All I want to do is stay under the big squishy comforter snuggled up with Matt rather than get up and get out into the cold weather, all bundled up, but still freezing.

I love this picture that Matt took when we went to Sharon Woods last week. The colors remind me of my first fall and all the subsequent falls in Connecticut. I don’t think I’ll ever forget driving on the winding roads there, the trees all in full color, the air crisp, the sun shining, and my favorite music playing on the radio. Just like this time last year, I find myself really missing living there. The fall in New England is the most colorful I’ve experienced. That’s not to say there haven’t been beautiful trees in an array of colors here, it’s just that there seems to not be nearly as many trees. Fall is definitely my favorite season.


I’ve been working on the sweater – the yoke seems to be taking forever to get done, plus the pattern is a little vague as to what you do once you run out of purl stitches to decrease. I’m trying to wing it and just write down my modifications as I go.

Today I started the Crofter’s Cowl with Malabrigo Silky. It’s a pretty teal color and I think it will come out nice.

Pictures of the sweater, cowl, and the Twisted Flower socks soon. Right now I’m busy trying to keep warm! ;o)

Posted in Knit Ramblings

A few ramblings

KnitSteph Plurked about Dish Rag Tag sign ups and after reading about it, I couldn’t help but sign up for it! For some reason I’ve been wanting to make dishcloths lately, but I don’t have any cotton yarn! I sold it a while back when I suddenly found myself not wanting to knit a dishcloth ever again. I can’t remember what brought that about in the first place, but I find myself wanting to make them again. I think that this will be a lot of fun to do and I’m looking forward to knitting dishcloths again!


The first issue of Knotions is up! There are some great patterns and I really like the layout of the website. I’m considering the Terra hoodie or the Autumn Leaves cardigan for the sweaters worth of yarn I have. Both look like something I could wear a lot. I love how they have Ravelry links on each pattern page so you can see how many people are working on that pattern and it takes you to the Ravelry page for that pattern. It makes it easy to cast-on, queue, or add it to your favorites.


I need some ideas for what to make with this yarn!

I have four skeins of this Kikki yarn that I bought on sale way back when I was still new to knitting. No idea what I thought I’d make with it, but the time has come to knit it up! I don’t knit for kids (don’t know many folks with kids that aren’t knitters, don’t have any myself), but I’m open to just about anything else! I’d consider myself an advanced knitter, so anything is fair game aside from kids knits. Here’s a photo of the yarn and some details:


Weight: Worsted
Yardage: 82 yards/50 grams
Gauge: 19.0 = 4 inches (according to yarn specs)
Needle size: US 7 – 9 or 4.5 – 5.5mm
Fibers: Cotton, Acrylic, Rayon, Linen
Texture: Plied (splits easily)

Ideas anyone?


One last thing. A friend of mine on Plurk (Robin) is doing a fantastic yarn raffle for Breast Cancer on her blog. She’s supporting her friend who is doing the 2 day 40 mile Walk for Breast Cancer in Charlotte, NC. For every $10 you donate, she’ll put your name in for one chance on the yarn drawing and anyone who donates $40 ($1 for each mile), will get an extra chance in the drawing. Even aside from the great drawing being held, this is a cause I really like to support, so please consider donating for this great cause and help Helen get to her goal of $2,200!