Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lustful Silk Corset the Second - Sleeved


Yes, it's true. Two sweaters in 3 days.

Pattern: Annie Modesitt's Silk Corset
Yarn: Alchemy Silk, colourway Gold Grace (I believe) not sure how many hanks, I think it was about three

I'll admit to the innumerable souls who read this bloggy that the first silk corset I made does not get much wear. There's three reasons for this:
1 - The no-sleeves aspect makes the corset slide off my shoulders, annoying me to a rather high degree.
2 - The silk stretched, too much for me to be happy. By normal-people standards it's fine, but in my highly self-conscious mind I feel frumpy.
3 - (and this one is just mainly a by product of reason #2) I think I look fat in it.

So, to allay these fears, I made it longer, added sleeves, made it smaller around the ribcage/waist, and blocked it much less.


I feel like a boxed chocolate wearing this (in the very best way one can feel like a boxed chocolate). The orange-filled ones have always been my favourite.

I was playing with the idea of adding beads, but am unsure as to the best way to attach them. I'd like very small beads, which don't fit onto the yarn.

Off to knit on another long-neglected knit.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Malabrigo; an Ode

Garn Studio Jacket (at least, inspired by the ubiquitous Garn Studio Jacket)

Pattern: Garn Studio A-Line Jacket
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in colourway Sunset - 4 skeins, almost exactly
Buttons: retro find at MacFab
Things I'd change: Not really so much this time. I have issues with the yarn dye, because during knitting it kept coming off on my hands. It looked like I was a smoker.
I soaked it in a vinegar/water mix, then some Soak (the citrus scent). It smells great so far, but I suspect it's still going to let loose some dye.
I credit the Malabrigo Lovers group on Ravelry for some yarn guidance - they mentioned something about microwaving yarn to set in the dye, which will be my next step if colour issues persist.


How I modded:
I didn't really follow much of the Garn Studio pattern. I was inspired by randomcyn's jacket, being a top-down raglan.
I made sure it was extra wide, so it would sit on my shoulders. I just worked a regular ol' top-down raglan, keeping the whole body straight and maintaining the double moss border until it was as long as I wanted (that was just as I finished the second ball).
I put the button holes wherever I felt like.



The neckline was just picked up after I finished the body and sleeves. I had to nip in at the shoulders a bit because it was quite wide - I picked up every 3 stitches, skipped the fourth.
I added an extra button at the top of the funnel neck.

If anyone would like some more mod notes, I'd be happy to oblige!


The Malabrigo, other than the dye-coming-off issues, is gorgeous. It survived all the soaking and washing wonderfully, and feels so soft. Highly recommended. Possibly my new favourite!

One with the collar down.


***Pattern Mod Notes***

Needles: 5.5 mm (now orangely stained)
Yarn: used thusly
2 skeins for body (plus a very small bit from the third. The last inch of the body is from the third skein).
1 skein for both sleeves (I had a very small bit left over from the third skein)
1 skein for the collar (once again, I had a very small bit left over. I just kept knitting til most of the yarn was gone).

I cast on 164 stitches. Sounds excessive, but here’s how I divided it up:

RIGHT SLEEVE|20 sts (that's "Right Sleeve" when you're wearing it)
| 14 sts
| 20 sts
| 20 sts
| 20 sts

52 sts

You can see some good instructions on how to do a top-down raglan from Grumperina’s Picovoli.
Be warned: I didn’t make exact notes on how I increased for the sleeves. I started by increasing every RS row, but found that due to the gauge of the yarn the sleeves were getting far too big far too quickly. The beauty of the top-down is that you can try it on as you go. I highly encourage this.

Once my sleeves fit, I just maintained the pattern for the body all the way down, doing no shaping, but adding the button holes when I thought they’d look good (one above the chest, one right below the bust, and one near the waist for definition. I was afraid that the sweater would make me look boxy and frumpy without it).

The bottom edge is just about an inch of 2x2 ribbing. Make sure to cast off semi-tightly. The first time I CO for the sweater it was far too loose, and flipped up unattractively.

Just picked up and knit down. I only decreased about an inch, made them about a ¾ length, and had 2.5 inches of double moss at the bottom edge.

Simple simple simple!
All I did was pick up every 3 stitches along the neckline, skipping every fourth (because it was just a tad too wide, and fell off my shoulders.)
I worked the whole thing as a continuation of the double moss from the lapels. I must admit I did nip in the sleeves, but only slightly. I did this by placing markers in the same spot they were for the sleeves. I just decreased once on each side of each marker (taking off 8 sts in total), then worked for a while. Remember when you’re working to keep in the double moss pattern. The “odd stitches” created by decreasing disappear into the collar; I can’t seem to find them now! (sorry I can’t be more specific on where I put the decreases – I didn’t write it down, and can’t see it now in the collar!)
I tried it on along the way, and I decreased the same way I did above once more.
The entire collar is about 11.5 inches long.
Don’t forget to add a button hole into the collar – I put mine just about at the collar-bone level.

Happy Knitting!

Any questions, clarifications, etc, please comment.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Wintery Waterhouse Wallhanging

Or; how I got my feet wet in quilting.


Interesting beaded close-up:


From the back:


How I made it:

Got creative. As with most of the crafting endeavours I involve myself in, I sort of winged it. I took out a book of quick Christmas quilts from the local library, and that's where I got the fancy star-pointy corners.
The lovely silk Waterhouse print was an eBay purchase.
Most of the fabric came from Fabricland, but some also came from the Quilt Rack.
Ribbon, from Michael's:

Wallhanging - on blog

I haven't mastered the art of hanging the thing (or any part of quilting, for that matter). The binding I did for this was my very first, and it was like magic when I flipped over the lip and saw an (almost perfect) edging!

I had to fudge an awful lot of the pieces - clearly, I cannot measure, or do even rudimentary geometry. Thankfully, this was a small project, and I bought loads of fabric for the inevitable mistakes.

This one now "graces" my bedroom door.

Here's a puzzle for you: it's now very floppy. How can I make it flatten out and lie neatly against the wall? The batting is acrylic, so ironing is out (at least, I assume so).

Wallhanging - on blog

Monday, December 17, 2007

What to do with Leftovers? the Felicity Hat Edition

Yet another reason why I love ravelry:

Here's the latest FO from the sanctuary.
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Pattern: Felicity Hat
Yarn: about 1.5 skeins of leftover Karaoke from my Central Park Hoodie
Things I'd change: absolutely nada. I love this hat very, very much. It fit so perfectly, and I didn't have to change a thing from the pattern. Highly recommended. Thanks so much to Wanett (I've just used her ravelry name). My head will be warm and fashionable this winter!

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Canaries deserve Christmas too

And here they are with their stockings:
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A reluctant Ives and his stocking.

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A very worried Butters and his stocking.

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Hilts, checking out his stocking.

Now that a winter storm is here, I settle down into my warm bed for some sleep.
And the boys on their perches, spheres of feathery cuteness.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Things that are Yummy

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Some of my favourite yummy things: lavender tea, handmade yellow mug and a lemon Larabar.

A time out from your normal knitting blog, and a quick survey:

What is it that most attracts you to a pattern?
I know I've scoped out patterns for their infinite change-ability, their intricacy, their wear-ability, and in some cases the fact that the pattern is just what I need to use up x yarn.

I have a thunderingly long queue on ravelry, and I'm trying to make it coherent. I suppose it doesn't have to be, but if I can get to the bottom of what I likes about a pattern, then perhaps I won't make mistakes in selecting appropriate knitting activities (as I have done in the past). Castastro-knits. Yes, I've had my share.

Oh, and a quick side note: any of you use Malabrigo yet? I've heard only good things, but I want to hear the bad! Prepare me, man. I'm set to undertake the ubiquitous Garn Studio A-Line jacket in Sunset. I loves me my orange yarn.
I even found the perfect button* for it in Mac Fab on Tuesday.
Mmm, buttony goodness.... (I will spare you the unnecessary button photos for a later date. As per usual, I couldn't make up my mind and bought about 4 or 5 different buttons, so I could decide later.)

*of course, the perfect button had not a mate in sight. I was sold the button off the front of the box, but alas! What to do with only one perfect button when you need three matching ones? These and other gripping tales of the fascinating journey from yarn hanks to finished jacket to follow.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Alpaca - the first in an ongoing series

Alpaca, my dear friend;

I've knit a few items with this lurvley, soft and rather inviting yarn. And who could resist something that comes from such an adorable critter?

Since I made the mistake (twice, at least) of mismatching fibre and project, I thought it may be helpful to someone out there (and it will certainly help me!) to clarify the pros and cons of certain fibres, illustrating of course with all my knitting mis-steps.

Alpaca: the warm South American

usually very soft
hollow fibre allows for even greater warming-capabilities than wool
animal secretes little lanolin, making this fibre nearly hypoallergenic
natural colours of alpaca come in over 20 shades, for those of us interested in fair isle knitting avec natural colours
(depending on how you look at it) alpaca doesn't felt as easily as wool

has less elastic memory than wool
may have a tendency to shed
because of the smoothness of the alpaca, it'll show all your mistakes (even the teeny ones)

These are important points to keep in mind when knitting with this luxury fibre. I quite admire the alpaca's warms and buttery-softness, but did not take into account it's tendency to stretch (and not sproing-back). Victims of this have been my Fair Isle U-Neck (knit with an alpaca-silk blend) and more recently my bulky Pithy hat (knit with %100 alpaca).

Seems to me that if you don't mind the stretch, then a pure alpaca (or a blend of alpaca with an equally in-elastic fibre) would be suitable for many different projects. If you don't much care for a stretched-out garment, then stick to alpaca blends with fibres like wool, which does have a wonderful sproing-back-to-the-way-I-made-you tendency, or just use your precious alpaca for garments that don't have to fit (eg: scarf, shawl).

Knitter's Review reviews of several alpaca yarns.

Alpaca Yarns I've used with satisfaction:
Elegance (Knitpicks)
Sulka (Mirasol)
Blue Sky Alpaca Bulky

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Gots to get: the Santa Hat Edition

Just a quick one...

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Pattern: Santa Hat from Handknit Holidays
Yarn: Lion Brand Thick and Quick in deep garnetty red and cream
Things I fudged: Quite a few. I cast on something like 60 stitches. I used yarn that was not on gauge (as per my usual MO). Since I wasn't on gauge, I had to get creative with the decreases. In the end, I have a santa hat that's a wee bit big, even for my noggin.
I've had this book for over a year and a half now, and this is the first FO I have from it. I'm quite pleased.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Warm December Greetings to you...

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While I sit here pondering the possibilities of cashmere-golden goodness, as-yet-to-be-formed Christmas gifts and the surprisingly tasty/incongruous pairing of chili spice and dark chocolate, I find my brain whizzing through the imaginary library catalogue I maintain and coming up with no satisfactory results for my next read.
Can anyone suggest any wintery/Decembery sorts of novels to put one in the merry-making spirit?
Last year it was Dickens' "Christmas Carol" (slightly obvious, I know. But I was having difficulty coming up with a seasonally-themed novel then, as well).
They say a storm is on the way tonight. It's perfect reading weather!

Now, if I could only fit a fireplace in my apartment...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Quilty and Shiny and Soft

A place to rest your head...
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a pillow to throw...
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a useful first-quilting project...
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(well, not really quilting. Cutting and piecing, and rather sloppily at that. But that's how I roll).
Just a quick update re: latest crafting progress.
I've had my head full of quilting day-dreams.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Scarves Abound

Or, in this case, two scarves abounds.
Can just two scarves abound?

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Pattern: Lady Eleanor, from "Scarf Style"
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden, #245 , 4 skeins
As you can see, it's wee. Using only 4 skeins left me with enough to make fringe, and a scarf that can wrap around my neck once. Usually I prefer longer scarves, but the colours on this Noro are too beautiful to pass up (and, truth be telt, I cut out one of the colours. For shame! you shout, and wave your fist in the air. Noro knows what it's doing when it so artistically, beautifully and sophisticatedly combines it colours into a palette which ensues to dance with chromatic delight on the rods and cones of the viewer's eye. This is true. But it is also true that I dislike baby blue.)

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Pattern: Knitty's Clapotis
Yarn: Noro Kureyon, #164 , 4 skeins
I made it thinner according to the instructions so thoughtfully included in the pattern by the designer.

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Pattern: Hurry-Up-Spring Armwarmers from Stitch n' Bitch Nation
Yarn: Noro Kureyon (and you'll have to forgive me, I can't recall the colour)

I started these many, many moons ago and only just finished off the thumb tonight. I've yet to decide if they're destined for a Christmas gift. The colours are very particular - not sure I can rightly pick who'd like them!

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Christmassy Apartment, or Apartmanty Christmas

Christmas is my second favourite time of year.
In accordance with this, and my recently-gained apartment-dweller status, I have endeavoured, over my week-long holidays, to Christmas-up the place.

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My lights for those long dark nights.

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Reminders of Christmas past.

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Reminders of Christmas present (the golden bear made by an artful friend!)

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And my tribute to the glittery, nearly-ostentatious, and quite possibly tacky Christmas wreath.

I do promise that I'll be updating with my actual crafting work. The all-encompassing holiday spirit has spurred me on to creating Christmas gifts, which I shall not be blogging about.
There are too many repercussions, and I do like a surprise!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fleece Artist, Romni Wools and Me

Many a year ago (and truly, it's gotta be going on two and a half of those), I took a trip to Romni Wools with a good knitting friend and stumbled across the most prettiest yellow and golded shades of Fleece Artist Merino 2/6. This yarn's first incarnation was the Pithy Hat. Amazed as I was, I had a substantial amount of yarn left over when I completed this beauty.

I love me my 3/4 length sleeves, and short sleeved shirts. This poses a problem, because of the sometimes chilly climate of my fair province, and my always chilly climate of my fair workplace.

Hence were born the golden lacy armwarmers.

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Pattern: my own, and it's truly quite simple
Yarn: Fleece Artist Merino 2/6
Things I love:
Their functionality. I was envisioning what I actually got. That's a rare happening around the sanctuary.

The lace pattern I used was the "Oriel Pattern" from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. This is a wonderful book, filled with dream-inducing lace stitches and other patterns. It comes highly recommended by Ms. Canary.

I don't think I can give you the pattern here, but I'll tell you how I made it:

gauge: 6 st = 1"

Oriel Lace Pattern:
multiple of 12 sts plus 1.

CO 42 on straight needles.

1x1 rib for 1 cm.

Work straight for approximately 65 rows.
When working this section, you insert your lace pattern. I only put the lace pattern on what would become the top edge, because as many of you know, I am, how you say, a Lazy Knitter.
If you are not a Lazy Knitter, you can do your lace pattern the whole way round.

I then increased gradually over the next 60 rows, bringing the stitch count up to 51.

When the piece measured 11 inches, changed to 1x1 rib. Do the rib for 1 cm, then cast off.

Now, all you have to do is stitch up the long edge of the armwarmer, making sure to leave space for your thumb!

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Here I present you with Butters. Not a fan of the camera. Or of being disturbed during sleepy-time.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What to do with leftovers? or - the Silken Wimple

This one's been a long time coming.

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Pattern: Never Wimpy Wimple from Interweave Knit's "Lace Style"
Yarn: Art Yarn's Regal Silk (left over from Annie Modesitt's Silk Corset)
Things I'd change, and things I changed:
I used a yarn that is quite a larger gauge than the one called for in the pattern. That was easy enough to mod for, because the pattern adds the measurements you need to create this one-size-fits-all garment (quite helpful! I love when they do this).
I knit it flat, with teeny needles (I think they were 2.5 mm or possibly 3 mm). The tedium of knitting with slippery silk on such small needles made this project last longer than it needed too. I was determined, though, to have it for the cool weather, and I have triumphed!
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It actually turned out nicer than I was suspecting. Just a wee bitty of blocking and it fits quite nicely over me huge noggin. I doubt I'll wear it as a wimple - it makes me look like a large-headed golden turtle.

I still have plenty of Regal Silk left over. Now, what to make with golden silk? The wheels are turning, my readers.

Stay tuned - another FO to come quite soon.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Wanna Trade?

As of late, I've become nostalgic and wistful for the good ol' swap days. I've fallen out of the habit ever since I moved in March.
It's occurred to me that a swap may be palatable to some of you, my wonderful readers!

So, here is a sampling of what I've got:

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I've also some small bags, which will be photographed and posted within the week.
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If anyone is interested, just leave a comment here with some way to get in touch with me, and we can talk. I assure you, I am a very trustworthy swapee.

In other news:
Newest obsession is beaded/ribboned knits. More details to come, but for now I'll say this "I'm designing patterns for myself, thank-you-very-much" attitude is alive and well.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Tangled Yoke: A Tragedy in Yarn

Finally, having found a more-than-appropriate end, I can blog about the Tangled Yoke Cardigan.

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Pattern: Tangled Yoke Cardigan, Interweave Knits, Fall 2007
Yarn: Jamieson's DK in Port Wine
Oh lord, things that I'd change:
But what?
I'm not exactly sure where I've gone wrong here. My gauge was actually smaller than called for in the pattern, yet I knit a tent. A tent with a phantom-hump in the back.
The cable is beautiful - it turned out lovely. And I think my new favourite rib is garter! But this knit turned out absolutely terribly (and I'm not taking the blame this time. I maintain that sizing in the pattern is the issue. What else could it possibly be?)

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For shame! Criticize a pattern? Yes, I do feel bad for saying it, but this is truly a no-fault-of-my-own issue.

Mods: As you can see, I've shortened the sleeve length, and to reduced the effect of the phantom hump, I threaded some chocolate-brown ribbon through the back.

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I wore this one day to work (because I refuse to let go) and everyone said how great it was. But really, I knew how frumpy it made me look.

And so,

I had my mom try it on, and with a few adjustments, it fits! She says she'll wear it (I hope so!), and I'm sure I could not find a more appreciative recipient. (Can you believe my boyfriend suggested I give it away to Salvation Army? I'd rather rip the whole thing out than do that!)

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Forgive my Quietude.

For the past week I've been rather swamped, so please, dear reader, excuse the aforementioned quietude.
I've been book-readin', pumpkin' carvin', diet-takin', sleep-wantin' and critter-sewin' (and clearly apostrophe-over-usin'...g). The eyes, they do cry out for respite.
My hands have been knit-needlin', but nothing completed as yet.

I do have a question for you, of unhinging importance (as they all are):
Where the hell can I go to find a decent, ginormous tote bag. And yes, preferably not an ugly one. Online stores would be of great use, too.

See how important that was?

But I digress (as this entire post is a digression :p)
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I'm working, rather obsessively, on tiny wee felt owlies (and I find the term "owlies" to be cuter than "owlettes", though amongst those I've asked, there has been some contention).

If I put up a shop on etsy, do you think anyone would be interested in buying them? (well, perhaps not the owlies, since the copyright issues seem dubious.) Or the stitch markers? I have yet to work on/perfect the markers, but I trust my abilities may successfully carry me that far. I'm at a loss as to what else I could reasonably create/sell.
Any suggestions?

Until I bring myself to post about the sad, sad Tangled Yoke Cardigan, I must be off. And wish you all happy crafting!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Faith Restored: the Bulky Pithy Hat

After a rash of knitting-disasters, the wonderful Pithy Hat has revitalized my zest for fiber. (I find it demoralizing to even think about the current knit-disaster. It will be blogged about, but I haven't the strength right now!)

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Pattern: Pithy Hat, modded for bulky yarn use
Yarn: Mirasol Sulka (60% merino, 20% alpaca, 20%20 alpaca 20% silk)
Things I'd change:
Actually, not much this time round. It's a wee bit too long in the back, but I can live with that.

I really really quite love this yarn. It does shed like a mad, moulting canary (hey, d'like my apropos simile there? eh? I try!), so I would personally only use it for accessory knitting.

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