and another!

Standard

I am seriously on a roll with the yoked sweaters…I just finished another one last night. And I love it. Here it is:

my new sweater!

Ravelry Project Page

Pattern: my modified version of Jared Flood’s "Cobblestone Pullover"
Yarn: Fleece Artist BFL Aran, in a blue colorway, just slightly over 2 skeins (the leftovers from the third are going to become thrummed mittens, someday).
Needles: size 8 Denise circulars and Knitpicks Harmony dpns.
Time to knit: Jan. 20th – Feb. 7th

I cast on for this sweater on Inauguration Day, and can hardly believe it’s already done! Of course, in my husband’s words, “it’s a pretty easy one.” It’s true, this is a basic yoked sweater if there ever was one, and I had already worked out the necessary mods with the last one I knit, and of course, I’m a small person so there’s not as much knitting to do. But still, a sweater in 2.5 weeks? Pretty awesome.

I’m madly in love with it, too. I’ve had this Fleece Artist yarn in my stash for quite awhile, and had been thinking of turning it into something else entirely (an Imogen cardigan, to be precise). But I knew this yarn wanted to be something else. I’m so glad I decided to turn it into another Cobblestone.

blue sweater, blue sky

And today was the perfect day to take photos of it, too…slightly above freezing, and gorgeously sunny. Between the blue skies and the blue sweater, I’m a happy camper.

new sweater.

So, what’s next? I’m actually not quite sure. I’d thought I would cast on for an Owls sweater, but I’m not sure the color of Eco Wool I have would look that great on me as a solid-colored sweater (it’s a sort of light beige-grey). I originally bought it planning to use it as the main color in a colorwork sweater, and I’m leaning more in that direction. So…do I start in on the more Spring-friendly yoked cardigans, like the Tangled Yoke or Coraline? Knit one last warm textured yoke sweater, like Wisteria, before the weather warms up? Launch myself into colorwork yokes, with Aftur? You’d think limiting myself to yoked sweaters would help me narrow in on a project, but I’m still wracked with indecision!

another week, another FO

Standard

Not a sweater, this time, though. Remember how I used to knit socks? Well, I finally finished a pair:

socks! [365.236]

Pattern: A hybrid of what I remembered from the “Giotto” cuff pattern, and the Yarn Harlot‘s “Basic Sock Recipe”
Yarn: Fly Designs Lace Wing Sock, in “Petrol”. Way less than one skein.
Needles: Size 1 Knitpicks Harmony dpns
Time to knit: For-freaking-EVER.

These are the socks that I cast on for when we took our trip to Ohio last summer, as part of the final theme for Project Spectrum. I finished the first one at the end of September, and kept the second one in my backpack, knitting a few rows here and there. Obviously I don’t get a ton of time to knit when I’m on campus, since it took me until the end of January to finish! I actually finished them (except for kitchenering the toe shut) on Friday, during an utterly interminable meeting. My Fridays are utterly killer this semester, by the way; I go straight from 2 hours of tutoring writing, to 3 hours of a Pragmatics seminar, to 2.5 hours of lab meeting, and then we run our weekly errands. Oy!

Progress continues apace on the second Cobblestone sweater. Here’s where things stood as of this morning:

cobblestone progress

I finished the first sleeve yesterday, while we watched the first Star Trek movie (thanks, Netflix!), and got a decent start on the second one. Later today I’ll be knitting with some friends from my department, and I’m hoping to make some good progress on sleeve #2. I’ll have another yoked sweater, soon enough!

PS. I think I know what my next yoked sweater’s going to be

new(s)

Standard

Well, this was quite a week. Between the inauguration and some of the other news we received this week (don’t worry, at least, not yet…things are still ok, they just might not be, at some point, depending on factors beyond our control), it’s been quite a rollercoaster of highs and lows. C’est la vie, I suppose. I’ve got tons to show you today (that’s what happens when you don’t have any time to blog during the week!), so let’s get started:

our long national nightmare is over. [365.225]

I finished the knitting on my Garter Yoke Cardi on the morning of Inauguration Day, and wore it (with my “Environmentalists for Obama” t-shirt) while I watched that historic event. I don’t even have words for how amazing it is to know that after having lived my entire adult life under Bush, I finally have a president who values the things I do. It’s so wonderful. The cardigan, as you can tell from that picture, needed a good blocking, because the button bands were flipping under like crazy. Last night, it finally got one:

garter yoke cardi!

I do still plan to back the buttonbands with ribbon, but I figured I’d go ahead and post some “FO” pictures. But before I do that, here are the details:

Pattern: My own, inspired by the Garter Yoke Cardi pattern in Knit.1
Yarn: Araucania Nature Wool, slightly over 3 skeins (yes, really! The yardage is crazy on that stuff.)
Needles: Size 7 Denise Circulars and Knitpicks Harmony dpns
Buttons: 8 Painted Strawberry buttons from Peace Fleece.
Time to knit: Jan 2nd. – 23rd. (including an initial frogging).

new sweater. [365.230]

It fits! I love my new sweater. I absolutely adore the buttons, and simply do not care if a green cardigan with strawberry buttons is too twee. You can’t make me! Here it is unbuttoned:

unbuttoned

And a closeup of those awesome buttons:

button-band even-closer-up

But that’s not all I have to show you! You see, I finished the knitting on this sweater early in the morning on Inauguration Day. That meant I had nothing to keep my hands occupied while I watched the festivities. So, obviously, I had to cast-on for something new:

something new.

The side shaping might give it away, but in case it doesn’t, I decided to cast on for a second Girlified Cobblestone sweater. I’ve had these giant skeins of Fleece Artist BFL hanging around for quite awhile, and since it’s been so very cold here, I was drawn to the idea of creating something warm and cozy. I love my Cobblestone sweater; it’s basically a nicer-looking sweatshirt, so soft, warm and comfortable. So I am excited to make another one! We’ll see how long this takes…I seem to be on quite a roll with the sweaters!

the yarn

thank goodness it’s friday

Standard

(or, um, it was when I started this post. But then I got tired and went to bed. And now it’s Saturday. Amazing!)

First of all, thanks SO MUCH to everyone who’s commented on Cobblestone and Demi. I’m doing my best to reply to comments, but thanks to classes, I’m sort of at my limit, energy-wise. That, and for some reason I’m not getting comment notification emails for some of them. So please know that I really, truly appreciate all y’all’s comments, even if I’ve not replied to you yet.

Mai asked if I would mind sharing my modifications for Cobblestone. I most certainly don’t mind! I didn’t keep very good notes, though, but here is what I remember (please let me know if this doesn’t make sense, as I’m somewhat braindead at the end of the week!):

  • For the body: To get a 35-inch sweater, I cast on 156 stitches (this was based on my gauge with my yarn, which was just a smidge fatter than the suggested yarn). In general, if you want to use these directions, you should pick the nearest even number to the one needed to get the measurement you desire. I followed the directions for knitting the 2-inch garter hem, and established 14-stitch garter rectangles on each side as directed in the pattern, with 64 stitches of stockinette between them on each side. To do the waist-shaping, I decreased just inside each edge of each garter ridge, decreasing from those original 14 stitches to 4 stitches. I decreased every 4th round, because I am pretty short-waisted…how often you’ll want to decrease will depend on how much length there is between your hip and your waist. I knit 3 inches even, and then increased just inside each edge of each garter ridge, every 4th round (again, this ratio will depend on your height and such), until I had 14 garter stitches on each side again. Then I just knit round and round until I reached the height I needed for the body to reach my armpit.
  • For the sleeves: To get a narrower bottom of the sleeve, I cast-on 40 stitches. I knit 2 inches of hem, and then, so that I could mirror the garter strips in the body, established a 1 stitch on either side of my end-of-round marker in garter. I did all of my increases as directed in the pattern for the smallest size, increasing just inside the edge of the garter band instead of on either side of my marker until I had 14 stitches in garter, and then increased 3 more times just outside each edge of the garter strip, in stockinette, until my sleeve was 19 inches long (I have long arms, so this was just about as long as called for in the original pattern). I ended up with 58 stitches at the top of the sleeve.
  • For the yoke: Here, I was just sort of flying by the seat of my pants. For the striping, I purled with the bright green, and knit with the blue, except during the shortrows, where I was knitting on the inside of the sweater and thus switched that around. At the center back, where you switch from knit to purl each round, I either knit or purled both colors together on the first stitch of the round, depending on whether it was a knit or purl round. If you try to do the striping like I did and you don’t do something like that, you get holes and ugliness. What I remember about shaping the yoke is that I placed the Short Row Markers at the end of the first sleeve and beginning of the second sleeve as directed in the pattern, ignoring the stitch counts (since mine were different). I then followed directions, but left out the first set of short-rows (so, I started mine by knitting 8 stitches past the marker instead of 12). I also followed directions as to when to decrease, but on the second decrease round, I did k3, k2tog around the round, instead of k2 k2tog as in the pattern, because I had fewer stitches to begin with and the latter would have resulted in a yoke that squished my shoulders. For the next short row section, I did my short rows at 24 and 28 stitches, respectively, and again left out one of the shortrows (because, as a petite female, I don’t have quite as much back to try to cover as a guy does!). I stopped striping on the 4 rows of stockinette at the collar, and knit that in blue. On the last decrease round, so as not to make a collar that wouldn’t go over my head, I did k12, k2tog instead of what the pattern directed. I bound off using the bright green, and that’s that!

I hope that’s helpful for anyone who is looking to feminize this sweater! I have a few other things I want to show off, while I’m posting. First of all, thanks to a schedule that allows me to work and rest from home most Fridays, a certain pair of mittens have been started:

with my hand, for scale

Yep, I’ve started the Escheresque Mittens! 104 stitches on size 00 dpns, cast-on using the Twisted German Cast-On (which I think makes a fabulous base for corrugated ribbing), and then corrugated ribbing (or rather, the modified version of it that appears in Eunny’s Anemoi mittens). It took me awhile to get to this point, but now it’s smooth sailing. Just in case anyone was wondering, when you’re casting on a bajillion stitches on tiny dpns, it really helps to count. Um, just sayin’. Oh, and that paper in the background…that’s the reading I’m going to presenting in class on Monday. I really was working, see!

(I also went a bit camera-crazy yesterday, and have a bunch more stuff to share, but for that, you’ll have to come back later…)

Modified Cobblestone is (almost) done!

Standard

Two sweaters in as many weeks, how about that? This one is a bit more problematic, though, as you’ll see. I finished the knitting on my Modified Cobblestone Pullover yesterday, and took some pictures despite the fact that I’ve not blocked it nor done any weaving-in of ends (though I did kitchener the underarm stitches together, which I enjoyed a whole lot, because I like kitchener stitch more than is at all reasonable). Here’s the finished piece (aka “the brightest, happiest, softest sweater ever”), laying on the couch:

Modified Cobblestone is (almost) done!

The late hour necessitated the use of flash, which made the colors come out sort of funny, though they’re truer in that picture, I think, than in the ones that follow:

It fits!

(wow, do I look tired in this picture)

It fits! And very well, too, which is a good thing, because I modified the pattern like crazy. But I’ve always been a firm believer in the power of math, and it did not fail me here. I got exactly what I wanted…fairly fitted, but with plenty of ease for wearing over a t-shirt or long-sleeved shirt, and with sleeves that go over the tops of my hands instead of being too short, which is what usually happens when I follow a pattern. Had I knit the smallest size as given in the pattern, it would have looked more like a sack on me, so I’m glad I downsized it and added the waist shaping.

Side view

This is the picture where I was trying to show off the side shaping, which is done by decreasing and then increasing the width of the garter band that runs up each side of the sweater, but the flash completely washed out that detail. The picture still amuses me, because I’m sticking my tongue out at my cat in it.

Back view (with cat)

Here’s the back. You can see a little bit of the “problematic” part running up the middle of the back, but for a better view without my messy ponytail in the way, there’s this:

Garter + Shortrows + Stripes = messy

As I say in the header of that flickr photo, “Garter + Shortrows + Stripes = messy”. In the middle section, where there were no shortrows, my “knit/purl both colors together on the first stitch of each round” approach worked nicely, and yielded that sort of “faux-seam” running up the back, which I don’t mind at all (so far as I can tell, there’s no good way to avoid the end of the round being obvious when you’re knitting garter in the round, and even moreso when you’re knitting garter in the round with two colors). The problem is at the top and bottom of the yoke, where the shortrows just made everything a mess. No matter what I tried, it just came out wacky looking at the end/beginning of the round, so eventually I gave up and decided I’d just do my best to clean it up when I wove in the ends. We’ll see how well I can do.

In short: I love the fit, the softness, and the colors. I don’t love the mess that the shortrow sections created on the back. While I really like the way the yoke of the sweater sort of glows with the bright-green yarn striped in, I’m not sure I’d recommend it to anyone, unless they are far more clever about striped garter stitch in the round than I am. What might work better, if you want a more colorful yoke, is to switch to a coordinating variegated yarn for the yoke section, and forgo any sort of striping. Because seriously, “Garter + Shortrows + Stripes = messy”. As it stands, I’ll probably do my best to clean it up and just leave it. After all, I intended for this sweater to be a cozy thing to cuddle up in this winter, and while the perfectionist in me is not very happy with the less-than-perfect back, it’s not the end of the world, and I can’t really rip it back at this point without buying even more yarn…I wouldn’t have enough of the blue to do it without stripes, and I’m not sure I’d want the yoke to be solidly bright green, and Malabrigo’s a bit expensive now to be buying more and more of it.

Maybe I’ll just knit myself a second one in a single color (of something a bit less expensive than Malabrigo!)…

It came!

Standard

The yarn for the Modified Cobblestone yoke, that is:

It came!

I love how bright and happy that green is. It didn’t take long for me to start knitting the yoke:

The Yoke Grows

I love it. The decrease round doesn’t look quite so messy in real life as it does in that photo, I’m not sure what’s up with that. But I’m sure it’ll look even cleaner after it gets a bath once I’m done, anyway. The striping does make things a bit more complicated that it would be otherwise, though:

Inside of Yoke

Stripes + Shortrows = lots of ends on the shortrow rounds. I just couldn’t come up with a way around it. There are similar stacks of ends where the shortrows turn around on each side. I’ll just have lots of careful end-weaving to do when I’m done. Such is life. To keep things neat at the switch between knit rounds and purl rounds, I’ve been knitting/purling both colors together on the first stitch of each round. It makes that nice looking “seam” that you see above the stack of ends in the above picture. I did one less pair of shortrows, and have skipped the second decrease round (since I have a fair amount fewer stitches than called for in the pattern, and fairly broad shoulders for being such a petite person…I’m sort of flying by the seat of my pants with these downsizing-type mods!). It shouldn’t take too much longer to finish up the knitting, and then I’ll be spending some quality time with my yarn needle.

In the meantime, look what’s getting its traditional pre-seaming bath:

Something's getting finished soon...

one yoke short of a sweater

Standard

one yoke short of a sweater

This is where my Modified Cobblestone Pullover currently stands (which is really where it’s stood for the past couple of days…the yarn is so lovely and knitting round and round so addicting that this has knit up very fast!). The three little balls of yarn at the top are what’s left after knitting the body and sleeves. I think it would be enough to knit the yoke on its own, but was so enchanted with the idea of striping a really bright green (Malabrigo’s “Apple Green”, to be precise) into the garter yoke that I’m doing that, instead. So now I’m just waiting on that yarn to arrive. My plan is to use the bright green on purl rows, and the blue on knit rows, so that the green stitches sink in and the blue stitches make the more obvious ridges, so that the striping is sort of subtle, yet (hopefully) awesome. It will take a bit of thinking to get everything to line up appropriately for the short-row sections, but hey, I’m feeling clever, so I think I can make it work beautifully. We’ll see if my optimism is warranted or not, in a few days time!

I’ve made yet another modification to the Cobblestone pattern, by the way. I decided I wanted to mirror the garter columns running up the sides of the body on the sleeves, so, I did:

Modified Cobblestone Sleeves

I cast on 40 stitches, did my two inches of garter stitch, and then kept one stitch on either side of my beginning-of-round marker in garter. I followed the directions given for increases on the smallest sleeve (increasing every 14 rounds), but increased in garter until I had 14 stitches, to match the number of garter stitches in the body columns. Then I increased 3 more times just outside the garter “gully” to get 58 stitches (I basically increased until the sleeve felt appropriately wide when I tried it on…so precise, I know!). I wound up knitting the sleeves to the same length called for in the pattern (which is for men, who are presumably much taller than I am), because while I am a rather short person, I do have very long arms (I’m 5’3 but have the arms of someone who’s 5’7 or so). I’d much rather have these sleeves be slightly too long than slightly too short (I can always fold up the garter cuff if they’re too long), so I erred on the side of length.

Well, that’s enough of the gory details of my modifications. Now it’s just waiting patiently for the Apple Green to arrive. Here’s one last picture to keep us all going until then:

Looking up the garter gully

In Which we discuss weather, weight, a new sweater, and a “blogday”

Standard

Ah, I’ve always been fond of the “In Which…” sort of title, it reminds me of Winnie the Pooh (my favorite book, as a kid, and one which I’ve been collecting in a bunch of languages, because I really enjoy playing with translated children’s books).

On weather: We’re having some absolutely gorgeous weather right now (temps in the 60’s), and I’m soaking up as much as I possibly can with short walks and things, because I know it’s only going to get hot again in a few days. But for now I am really, really enjoying this little taste of fall. Fall is my favorite season, and September (which is approaching at a shocking pace!) is my favorite month. It’s back-to-school, cross-country season, and the beginning of “sweaters and cords” weather (speaking of which, I haven’t been able to find cute corduroy pants in a couple of years now…have they gone out of fashion? If so, that’s really too bad, because I so love corduroy pants), all at once. I just love it. It was always my favorite time of year up in MN, too, because it just got so gorgeous there right when the leaves were about to change. But alas, while we’re getting this taste of fall here in Upstate NY, my poor hometown is suffering under a deluge of rain (after a long, long drought). My town is essentially an island in the Mississippi River, so flooding isn’t unfamiliar territory, but it sounds like things are very, very bad up there right now.

On weight: I’ve been thinking a lot about weight and body image issues lately. I think it’s particularly on my mind because of the fairly massive weightloss I’ve had due to illness, which is sort of blowing my mind on the body image front. Not to mention the glares and rude comments I’ve gotten from other women when I’ve gone out on errands recently…it’s pretty awful, and makes me wish I could wear a sign that says “I am sick” so that these ladies might think twice before sneeringly whispering to each other about “that skinny anorexic chick” when I walk by. But body image is something I’ve always been rather sensitive about, as someone who is a very small person (even when I’m not sick), and it’s been even more on my mind in recent years specifically in relationship to knitting. I’m mostly bringing this up so that I can link to this fantastic post over at Knitting Kninja. She captures, even better than I could, my thoughts on the whole “Real Women” debate that comes up whenever knitwear sizing is discussed. Seriously, go read it. It’s that whole “Real Women” terminology (and the associated slamming of smaller people as “anorexics”) that drove me away from the livejournal knitting community, where I used to be a fairly active member (thank goodness I had the broader blogging community to turn to after that!). Every time there was a new issue of knitty, the comments section in the knitting community there inevitably turned into a nasty place where, as a wee little thing, I feared to tread and often had my feelings hurt (I mean, what am I, then? A “Fake Woman”?). I do understand that larger women are often ignored by designers, and I think that is horribly unfortunate, and I do know that in general, larger women take a lot of crap from society, and that, too, is very, very wrong. But that doesn’t make it right to throw insults at those of us on the other end of the spectrum. And what’s sad is most of the nastiness comes from other women…and we just really don’t need to be doing that to each other. Like Kristen says, what’s important is that we’re healthy, and putting all of this negative focus on both ends of the spectrum of body types does nothing to help that cause. Healthy is what’s beautiful, no matter what size is “healthy” for you! And seriously…I may be model-thin right now (though at 5’3, I’d have no shot in that industry in the first place!), but I’m not looking “good”. I look sick, because I am sick. I’ve been this size before while healthy, and the difference in my appearance between then and now is huge, and it has pretty much nothing to do with weight.

On a new sweater: Because I apparently have a nasty case of “startitis” alongside whatever this mystery ailment might be (that, or I have the attention span of a gnat, take your pick!), I started a new sweater yesterday. Yeah, I know. But when I saw Jared‘s “Cobblestone Pullover” in the latest IK, I fell in love with it. The clean lines, the clever use of garter stitch…so nice. But the man in my life is not a pullover-wearer at all, only cardigans. So I decided I wanted a me-sized version, and cast on (using 20 fewer stitches than the smallest size in the pattern) using some Handpaintedyarn.com Worsted Merino that’s been hanging out in my stash for a frighteningly long time (since well before it became “Malabrigo” and started costing almost twice as much!). I’m already almost done with the body:

Girlified Cobblestone Pullover

I decided to “girlify” it a bit, and borrowing an idea from “Rogue”, I put waist shaping into the column of garter stitch that runs up each side of the body:

Girlified Cobblestone Pullover

I have a feeling that this sweater is going to pill if I look at it funny, but c’est la vie. It will be a soft, comfy sweater while it lasts, and if it works out, maybe I’ll get some sturdier yarn to knit another one in. I hope I have enough yarn to make this; I only have four skeins, and have already used up one, though my plan, should I fear running out, is to buy a single skein of Malabrigo in a complementary color, and stripe it into the garter yoke (which I think could look very cool, almost like illusion knitting). I think this will probably knit up very quickly, so maybe y’all will get to see my sickly self modeling it soon.

On a “blogday”: In 10 days, this blog will be 1 year old (an event I think most people refer to as a “blogaversary”, but I like “blogday” better, because it’s shorter and not so weird to spell, and it sounds like “birthday”, and birthdays are fun!). That’s pretty exciting! I’m hoping to have some sort of contest-type-thing to celebrate, but I’m a bit braindead from exhaustion right now, so I haven’t thought of what I’ll do quite yet. I suppose y’all will just have to stay tuned…