new(s)

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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

just shy of a sweater.

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I almost hate to make a post and knock my husband’s beautiful sweater off the top spot on the blog, but it can’t stay there forever. I’ve made quite a bit of progress on my Garter Yoke cardi since the last time I posted, and I figured it warranted an update, and I finally have time to write here again.

So, here’s the cardigan, as it stood by mid-day yesterday:

we have sleeve! [365.222]

All but one sleeve! I picked up stitches for the second sleeve shortly after that photo was taken, and am working my way down towards the end of a sweater. Fastest sweater EVER, this will be.

Except for one problem, which might be clear in the photo above: my garter buttonbands want to flip under. There’s just not enough of them to counteract the curl of the stockinette. I’ve asked around on flickr and Ravelry and have gotten a few good tips for how I can deal with this (and am open to suggestions from y’all, too!), but in any case, it might slow the finishing down a bit. I have already ordered some awesome buttons for it, though, and I can’t wait to show them to you once they’re here!

One other thing I wanted to point out about the sweater is the strategic use of different skeins of yarn. The Nature Wool is rather inconsistent, with some skeins having quite a lot of variegation and some having almost none, so what I’ve been doing is using the more variegated yarn at the top of the sweater, and then switching to the less variegated yarn as I work towards the bottom, so it sort of fades out. I think it’s a really neat effect:

garter yoke cardi, sans sleeve

By the way, I have a feeling I’m going to become something of a Sundays-only blogger (at least, in terms of my own posting) this semester. I’m a fair amount busier than last semester, since in addition to TAing and tutoring and symphony and such, I am participating in a pair of seminars that will be giving me plenty of reading and thinking to do. So if my posting both here and in the comments of all of your lovely blogs seems a bit light, that’s why. If you’re desperate to know what I’m up to on a regular basis, I keep a daily photo blog on flickr, and I’ve also caved and joined the ranks of Twitter (not that I “tweet” all that often). So, that’s that.

yoking along.

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yoking along. [365.214]

Since my last post, I ripped out what I had knit, and started over from scratch on my top-down, garter-yoked cardi. I just wasn’t happy with the gauge I was getting, and I wanted to reshape the yoke, using numbers more suited to doing a full yoke instead of half yoke, half-raglan as in the pattern from Knit.1. So, before I forget what I’ve done so far, I’m making note here.

Basically, what I’m doing is turning the yoke diagram in “The Opinionated Knitter” upside-down, using the percentages from the newer, 4-decrease yoke, but increasing instead. Since the gauge I’m happy with in this yarn is the same as the gauge I got with the Patons Merino I used in my Bohus Yoke sweater, I decided to use the same key number as I did in that sweater: K = 176 stitches (K, for the un-EZ-initiated, is simply your gauge multiplied by the desired chest-measurement).

This meant that for my neck opening, I would want to cast-on 40% of K, or 70 stitches. I used the Twisted German Cast-On, because it is one of my favorites. I knit 4 rows in stockinette to get a sort of “rolled” neckline, an idea which I stole from my Cobblestone Sweater. Then I began knitting in garter stitch, and did my first increase after only two rows in garter. My increase rows were as follows, always on a right-side row:

inc. 1: k5, *k3, kfb* until last 5 sts, k5 (85 sts)
inc. 2: k5, *k2, kfb* until last 5 sts, k5 (110 sts)
inc. 3: k5, *k2, kfb* until last 5 sts, k5 (143 sts)
inc. 4: k5, *k1, kfb* until last 5 sts, k5 (208 sts)

The k5 on either side of the increases are the button band stitches. Realistically, I should have added 5 stitches to my K to account for the overlapping bands in front, but I’m ok with the fit being a bit snugger for this cardigan than it is in my Bohus Yoke. I also added short rows after the first increase row, and the 4th increase row. In both cases, I knit almost 3/4 of the way across, then w&t, then knit halfway back and w&t again, picking up wraps as I encountered them. After the first increase row, I did two sets of short rows, and after the last increase row, I only did one. I found that spacing my increase rows about 2 inches apart worked well for me; your mileage may vary, depending on your desired depth for the yoke.

Once I’d finished the yoke (trying it on to ensure that I’d knit enough yoke to reach my armpit), it was time to hold off some of the stitches for the arms. I find it helpful, when trying to figure out where the sleeves should go and how many stitches I should use for them and so forth, to draw myself a little diagram, like this:

yoke chart

Of course, that drawing probably only makes sense to me as it is, so let me explain the thinking that’s behind it. I had 208 stitches to work with at the base of my yoke, after doing the increases laid out above. I wanted my sleeves to be somewhere around 30-32% of my K, because I have skinny arms and a broad ribcage (ie, I want to save more stitches for the body than others might…EZ recommends sleeves be 35-40% of K). I wanted the body to be about 34 inches around, given my gauge of just under 5 stitches to an inch.

Some basic algebra later, and what you see above is what I worked out as the ideal numbers. Each front consists of 33 stitches, while the back has 66 stitches. I placed 38 stitches for each sleeve on waste yarn, and cast-on 18 stitches for the underarm/sides of the body in place of them, helping to make the sweater fit nicely around my entire body, which is in fact 3-dimensional.

The next exciting part is waist-shaping, but I’ve got a few inches to go before I can start that (I’m high waisted, but not that high-waisted!). Next week is the start of the semester for me, so we’ll see what affect that has on the knitting progress. I’ll be TAing again, this time for the “Development of Mind and Brain” course, which sounds like a lot of fun to me! (I’m not a development person, in terms of my own research interests, but I do find the area fascinating). I’ll be taking or at least sitting in on a couple of seminars, and continuing my work as a Writing Consultant, as well as starting back up with the Symphony. I’ve had a nice break, but I am actually looking forward to having a regular schedule again…I start going a little crazy without some structure to my day!

a new project

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Remember how I talked last year about my undying love for yoke-style sweaters, and wondered aloud about making 2009 a “Year of Yokes”? Well, the Year of Yokes, it has begun:

something new. [365.208]

What you see there is the beginning of my first of many yoke sweater projects this year. It’s a top-down yoked cardigan, inspired by the pattern in the newest Knit.1 magazine, but without the raglan portion. I’m knitting it up in some Araucania Nature Wool I’ve had hanging out in my stash for several years, and am absolutely smitten with the color.

But that’s not all! See, I don’t want this Year of Yokes to be a lonely endeavor. So I’d like to invite all my fellow yoke-appreciators to join me, whether you plan to knit just a single yoke sweater, or a whole slew of them, as I do. As such, I created a group blog: the Society for the Appreciation of Yoked Sweaters Blog! If you go there, you’ll see a page telling you how to join in in the fun. Let’s all yoke-along together this year!