Stripes! is now available!

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Stripes! Front Page

Thanks to the fantastic efforts of my test-knitters and the friends who helped me edit the pattern, Stripes! is finally available as a Ravelry download. You can also visit its Pattern Page here on this blog.

I am so excited to be able to offer this pattern/tutorial! I decided not to make it free, which was something I agonized over a bit. But in the end, if I believe that creative people deserve to be compensated fairly for their work (which I do), then it makes no sense for me to not accept compensation myself. To alleviate my discomfort with charging for the pattern, I have decided to donate 20% of the proceeds to Heifer International to help support their efforts towards sustainability and the alleviation of hunger and poverty around the world. Heifer International is one of my very favorite charitable organizations, and I’m happy to use pattern sales to increase my charitable donation budget.

I hope those of you who have been eagerly awaiting this pattern will be delighted with the final result!

help!

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stripes! from below

I have not finished writing the pattern/tutorial for Stripes! yet. Part of this is because I have been absolutely crushingly busy since getting back from the conference, but the other part is this: I have no idea what I’m doing. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve got the writing part down just fine. But the schematics…that’s what’s killing me. I can doodle out my schematics with pen and paper, but I have no idea how to turn those doodles into something on the computer that I can put into my pattern. I’ve not done much in the way of graphics stuff since my MS Paint days, back in the late 90’s (and am running a completely different OS these days, too), so I am rather out of date when it comes to knowing what’s out there. And I don’t have Photoshop, either, but I do have the GIMP.

Anyway, any advice? What tricks do you guys have for making schematics?

a pattern/tutorial?

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stripes! in front of a tree

Holy cow, Stripes! is popular…every time I check on Ravelry, even more people have made it a favorite and more people have commented. I totally didn’t expect that! Thanks, everyone, for your lovely comments on my last post…I’m trying to respond to each of them, but have been crushingly busy this week.

Several people have inquired about whether I would make Stripes! into a pattern, and put it up for sale. I have to admit that I am somewhat hesitant to do this. Not because I don’t want other people to knit it up…I’d actually be quite giddy if tons of people were walking around in stripey yoked sweaters! It’s more that I feel like my sweater is, when it comes down to it, just such a basic yoked sweater that it’s hardly worth pattern-izing. Yes, my basic yoked sweater diverges in a few key ways from the classic EZ one that originally inspired it, and there are some particular techniques that make Stripes! look the way it looks, but it’s still just a yoked sweater.

But then I had an idea. What if I worked through the numbers for a few sizes, but then wrote up the pattern as more of a yoked sweater tutorial? A pattern where the whys and hows and which number do I use wheres of knitting a yoked sweater, generally, are worked out in great detail, in which the goal is to leave the reader with the ability to construct a yoked sweater of their own, with whatever mods they’d like? I realize this already exists in at least one form: namely, the EZ books I learned from. But would people like to read about it in the context of Stripes!? Because I do so love explaining things and teaching things to people, and since I appear to have become something of a yoked sweater evangelist (which is terribly funny if you know me well!), I think it might be a really great way to introduce people to the construction. What do y’all think? What would be a reasonable price for such a thing? (I’ll be honest…if it’s “free”, well, I don’t have loads of free time and might not find the time to put into making a nice pattern/tutorial, not because I’m mean and selfish, but because it’s a lot of work!). I’m open to suggestions!

(I’m cross-posting a version of this post on the Yoke Appreciation Blog, which has not gotten nearly enough attention recently.)

stripes!!

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Two days ago, I finally used up the first skein of Cascade Eco Wool, only inches shy of finishing the yoke on Stripes!, and had to ball up a new skein. The yardage is insane!

so close! [365.278]

By yesterday, I was furiously finishing Stripes!, ripping and reknitting the collar three times until I was happy with the look and fit.

furiously finishing [365.279]

It was all worth it, because after a good soak last night, and an overnight blocking, I have a beautiful, beautiful new sweater!

stripes! [365.280]

I could not be happier with how it turned out. Before I share more pictures and details, here are the vital stats:

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: My own, based loosely on EZ’s percentage system.
Yarn: Cascade Eco Wool, just over 1 skein. Noro Kureyon #165, 2.5 skeins.
Needles: Size 8 Denise Circulars and Knitpicks Harmony dpns.
Time to Knit: Feb. 8th – March 14 2009.

So now, some details on how I did the yoke: I stopped knitting the body and sleeves when there were two (of four) rows of Eco Wool in the stripe. When I joined everything together, I knit one row, and then did two sets of shortrows, at 6 and 3 stitches past the point where the front of the sleeve was joined, respectively. This gave me a larger grey stripe in the back than in the front of the sweater, but also raised the back of the sweater a bit, which is important!

stripes! from behind

I decided, for the yoke, to change the Noro stripes into garter stripes, knitting one round in Noro and then purling the next. I also shortened the height of the grey stripes from 4 stitches to 3. Every other grey stripe, I did a decrease round: the first two rounds were *k3, k2tog*, and the second two were *k2, k2tog*. Before the final decrease round (which was just before the collar), I did another two sets of shortrows, in the same manner as before (since I’d left stitch markers in the spots where the arms were joined, it was easy to find where to place them).

stripes! yoke closeup

For the collar, I went back to the 1×1 corrugated rib that I’d used in the hem and cuffs. I really struggled with figuring out how to bind off; I wanted the collar to be fairly snug around my neck, but I obviously also wanted to be able to pull it over my head easily! After several tries, I wound up using the kitchener bind-off from Nancie Wiseman’s “The Knitter’s Book of Finishing Techniques”, which worked beautifully! So incredibly stretchy!

stripes! collar detail

You might notice a row purl bumps just below the bind-off. I was attempting, as best I could, to mimic the look of the Twisted German Cast-On I’d used at the hem and cuff. It didn’t quite work, but I loved the look of it. The book says the kitchener bind-off can only be used with 1×1 ribbing, but it worked just fine, and with added decorative detail, on a row of purl stitches. It’s a slow bind-off, but totally worth it!

stripes! collar and cuffs

I am so absurdly happy with this sweater. I love the bright rainbow stripes, I love the way the Eco Wool and the Noro both feel after they got a good soak, I love the texture I added to the yoke, and I love the collar, even though it took forever to get right.

stripes! in the sun

My Spring Break is over now, and I’m not sure what I’ll be casting on for next on the sweater front. My plan for now is to start swatching for the quilt-swap sweater and continue working on my mom’s scarf, and just see which yoked sweater next captures my imagination.

a most wonderful trip, in photos.

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We flew to New Mexico on Saturday, to visit my grandparents:

above the clouds

I got to hang out with cactus in cool, sunny weather:

hanging out with the cactus [365.273]

We hiked at Tent Rocks, which is one of my favorite places in all the world:

happy place. [365.274]

Being at Tent Rocks is like being on another planet. It’s amazing:

like another planet.

(More Tent Rocks photos can be found here.)

We also went to the top of the mountains, to Sandia Crest (10,678 feet):

sandia crest. [365.275]

There had just been a snowstorm the day before, and it was amazingly beautiful up there:

mountaintop.

(More Sandia Crest photos can be found here.)

We had a wonderful time with my grandparents, and with my aunts and uncles and cousin who also happened to be in town. We saw great museums, watched fun movies, cooked delicious meals, and just relaxed together. It was fantastic.

But we had to fly back home yesterday:

sky above desert.

I mentioned in my last post that I would be bringing a more portable knitting project, since Stripes! was getting rather unwieldy to bring on a plane. So, for all of you who were wondering, here is the mystery portable project:

half a scarf

One half of a Flutter Scarf for my mom; the yarn is the leftovers from my Icarus shawl, and the pattern turned out to be absolutely perfect for plane knitting.

We got back very, very late last night. So I am extremely tired now, between that, and experiencing DST and a 2-hour time difference all in the same trip. But at least I have Stripes! to console me:

back. [365.277]

And now I have 1000+ things in my Google Reader to catch up on, so if I’ve missed something terribly important, please let me know…I may have to do the dreaded “mark all as read”!

wishing…

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wishing... [365.269]

…I could just be knitting and knitting on Stripes!. But alas, this has been one heck of a busy week, and I’ve got a full day of work to do today, and then packing, and then we leave before the crack of dawn tomorrow morning to fly down to Albuquerque. So the knitting is not so much happening. And Stripes! is too big and unwieldy at this point to bring along on a plane trip, so I won’t be knitting on it until next Thursday at the earliest. Instead, I’m hoping to cast on for a more portable (which is another way of saying “not a sweater”) project tonight, which I will leave a mystery for now, except to say that I have mentioned that I would be knitting this more portable project at least once on this blog.

I’m glad everyone is loving Stripes! I was playing on Ravelry the other day and noticed that Stripes! had been faved 40 times! Talk about pressure! I certainly don’t want to screw up the yoke, knowing that so many people are already in love with the sweater. You might notice in that picture above that I started turning the stripes into purl bumps at the yoke (I’m knitting one row in the Noro, and then purling the next, to avoid the weirdness of purl bumps at a color change). I hope this works out well. I also hope that the change in texture mitigates the slight weirdness that happens because of the shortrows (there are more rows of grey between the rainbow stripes on the back of the sweater right above the yoke than on the front). We’ll just have to see.

And with that, I’m off. No promises as to when I’ll post next, but I do promise to try to have a wonderful time down in Albuquerque, and hopefully take some pictures to share after I get back. Farewell!

busy bee.

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Oy, this semester has been rather exhausting so far! I spent all of last weekend (literally: about 18 hours) grading that huge stack of exams in my last post, and then most of last week meeting with students about said exams. In a class of 108, even having only 10% of the class show up for office hours (all at once, of course!) can be quite overwhelming. And of course, all of my tutoring appointments at the Writing Center have been filled, and the Symphony I’m in had our first of two consecutive concerts yesterday, so I’ve been quite the busy bee.

my precious. [365.265]

We played Mahler 1, which I absolutely adore (I’ve had the 3rd movement running through my head all day, and it makes me want to dance around the house), and a suite from Harry Potter, which I do not so much enjoy. We’re giving the concert again on Tuesday, out of town, which means that I will have a killer 14+ hour day between my normal Tuesday schedule and the evening concert. Yikes!

I have managed a little bit of knitting on my beloved Stripes!, though. Most of it was accomplished today, during a marathon of Planet Earth watching, thanks to Netflix. So here, in all it’s nearly-ready-to-be-joined glory, is Stripes!:

Stripes!

Just a couple more stripes to go on the second sleeve, and then it will be time to join everything for the yoke. I’m 99% certain that I will be turning the rainbow stripes into purl ridges on the yoke, but reserve the right to change my mind on a whim, as I often do when it comes to such things.

The last bit of crafty business I got around to this week was sketching out some ideas for a sweater that I’ll be knitting for a friend in exchange for a quilt (yes, a quilt-sweater swap! I’m absurdly excited about it). Here’s what I’m thinking:

sketching for C.

A fairly plain v-neck, with garter-rib accents, and a garter-eyelet trim on the v-neck (and possibly at the bottom of the sleeves, if there isn’t going to be ribbing). I’m really eager to start swatching for this…I’ll be using the same yarn (right down to the color!) that I used for my husband’s sweater, which I very much enjoyed knitting.

Anyhow, that’s what I’m up to. This time next week, I will be down in Albuquerque, visiting my grandparents during the first half of my Spring Break. I’ve not been down there since almost a decade ago, so I’m quite excited about this! I’ll try to post again before we take off, but I’m not making any promises, given what a crazy week I have ahead of me.

more stripes!

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Just a quick post today, as I’ve been taken down by the respiratory bug of DOOM, and am feeling half-dead. And also completely and utterly voiceless, which is rather inconvenient given that I’ve got a review session to be running in a few hours. Thankfully, two of my awesome friends have offered to help me out, since they’re familiar with the material already. I am very grateful.

Anyway, I’ve made a bit of progress on Stripes!, despite feeling too sick to knit at all for an entire day last week, which is sort of unheard of for me. Here’s what I’ve got:

sweater progress.

The body is finished, and I’m inching my way up the sleeve, but since I have monkey-arms, there’s still a long way to go. I am still madly in love with the rainbow stripes, and especially with the corrugated ribbing. And I’m still undecided about what I’ll do with the yoke, although I’m leaning most strongly towards doing the rainbow stripes as purl bumps to add some interesting texture, and leaving everything else the same. We’ll see.

Let’s see, what else? I got a fun package in the mail on Friday:

new goodies

I’ve been wanting Poems of Color (the Bohus book) for a long time, so when I saw that Schoolhouse Press was offering a discount if you bought it together with a DVD about Bohus history, I was sold. As we’ve seen with the Tour de Ganseys, I really love learning about traditional knitting techniques and patterns, and this fits right in with my current yoked sweater obsession! I’m looking forward to watching the DVD tomorrow while I’m stuck at home sick. Of course, I have plenty of work to be doing, too, but I’m trying hard not to push myself, because I don’t want this respiratory bug to turn into a bout with pneumonia like last year.

stripes!

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Thanks for all of your lovely comments on my last post! This is a rare mid-week post from me, I know, but I just did not want to wait until the weekend to share the newest thing I’ve cast on for. Basically, I ignored all y’all’s suggestions, and cast-on for something that wasn’t even on the list of yoked sweaters I gave in my last post. Here it is:

stripes!

Stripes! I’m quite excited about this one, really. I guess I just wasn’t really in the mood to follow someone else’s pattern quite yet, so I cast on for a yoked sweater of my own design. I’m using Cascade Eco Wool and a rainbowish colorway of Noro Kureyon, and it’s working beautifully. I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do when I get to the yoke. Right now, I’m doing wider stripes of grey than of color, and I could reverse that; or, I could do the colorful stripes in purl instead of knit to make an interesting texture. It’ll be awhile (but let’s be honest, given the pace I seem to be knitting sweaters lately, not that long) before I get there, so I’ve got time to contemplate, but what do y’all think? (Yeah, I realize that I just said that I ignored all your suggestions on my last post. I still like getting suggestions!).

The thing I am most in love with on this sweater is the corrugated ribbing. I just love how it looks with the color shifts in the Noro against the columns of solid grey stockinette. So nice:

stripes!

Love love love.

This new sweater isn’t the only bit of stripey goodness in my life right now, actually. There’s also this:

more stripes!

This is my current sock in progress, which I keep in my backpack, in case students don’t show up to my Writing Center appointments, and for a certain weekly meeting whose content fascinates me, but which is so very long, and whose leader has such a very somnolent voice, and which is so late in the day on Friday after a busy week, that I need something like a sock to keep my hands busy so that I don’t fall asleep during it. Everything below the ribbing there, I knit during the last such meeting. The yarn is Vesper Sock, and I believe the colorway is called “Sweetwater”. I love it…it is so bright and juicy, which is exactly what I need during these dreary mid-winter days.

Well, I’m off for a busy day of TA-ing, swimming/physical therapy, a seminar, and a meeting with my advisor, so I’d best get off the computer and get myself to campus. Here’s hoping I get a little more time with my stripey sweater this week.