Monday, July 28, 2008

Fly Home

Just a quick post to show you the wee owl I gave as a gift to a good friend.
And yes, this is yet another project that has inspiration rooted in those damn books*.
In this case, though, it was most definitely used for good.

I crocheted her from part of a crazy-ass-huge ball of Red Heart, and made a wee Fimo beak and eyes.

I had forgotten how fun crochet is. I need to crack open my copy of Happy Hooker again!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lucania: A Wooly Vesty Surprise in July

Can you tell that Green is my new Orange?
Pattern: Lucania (based on a vest I saw in Anthropologie ages ago)
Yarn: a few balls (3.5?) of Patons SWS

For the negativity first (hold fast, there is some positivity later!):
Not so damn keen on the Patons SWS after all. Unpleasantly itchy, and split/frayed far too much for my liking. Defo won't be using it again for a wearable knit. Maybe a chew toy, for a dog (who I don't like... get his/her mouth full of itchy, itchy green).
Sadly, this itchiness only dawned on me when I was more than half done the vest, and so, refused to turn back and frog. On the up-side, this is a layering item, so won't really touch all too much of my skin anyhows.
Second smattering of negativosity: due to this unfortunate itchiness, I sort of gave up hope on this knit's last legs, and didn't make the armholes as deep as I would have liked, and did a terrible job of the sleeve cap thingys. I had a total brain fart and didn't do the ribbing all the way around the armhole, which of course would have been logical. Instead, I opted for what I believed to be a short road out of PatonsLand, and did a sort of half-sleeve thingy...
Which, when viewed from the back, makes it look like I have big fat loaves of bread squeezing out the top of my bra-sides under those sad ol' arms.

That out of the way:
On the positive side, it mostly turned out how I wanted, and if I had actually picked up all the armhole stitches, instead of taking my easy-way-out approach, the vest would have had great little short-row shaped sleeve caps, just as I originally envisioned (I feel like a pompous gasbag whenever I saw "envisioned" - if anyone has a good substitute word, I've love to insert it there. I'm not a pompous gasbag, I swear. I'm actually quite self-effacing, lacking in confidence with a high degree of losery thrown in. Shit, is my insecurity showing much?)
Dammit! This was the positive paragraph.
Let's try again:
Anthropologie Vest - on blog
Lucania - on blog

I love how wonderfully Anthropologie photogs their clothes. So very imitatable. I think I replicated the correct double-garter rib and regular old garter rib for the bottom half of the vest, and the flower (a great little gem from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury) is a decent replica of the flower on the Anthro vest. I did have to add those little diamond-walls enclosing the rose, though.

I also think that given my a/c overloaded summertime environment at work, this vest may see some action in the near future. I like to wear an FO as soon as possible once it's completed! Even the comme ci, comme ca ones like this.
And, to send out some more good vibes: I'll be casting on for the second Corona within a day or two. Not sure if I'll do a total replica of the first, or if I'll change up the cable, and perhaps do the much-ado'ed over Kangaroo pocket.

I'm very excited about knitting these days. I think it's the Rav-monster that's bit me.
That's the best monster EVER. Even better than this guy, who I understand is on a health-kick and is now much more concerned with fruit and veggies.
Yeah nutrition!

***Pattern Notes***

Yarn: something like 3.5, maybe 4 balls of Patons SWS
Needles: 4.5 mm circular
Size: to fit 35" ish bust
Gauge: 4.5 sts=1"

I can't include the cable pattern, since that would be wrongity-wrong (you can find it in Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting. I believe it's called Rose Garden).

Cast on 120 sts and work in the round.
Working in double garter rib, knit until piece is 5.5 inches from cast on edge.
Row 1 - K2, P2, repeat to end.
Row 2 - K across all sts
Repeat these two rows.

When piece is 5.5 inches from cast on, you begin to decrease for the waist, and switch to single garter rib. I decreased down to 100 sts.
Row 1 - K1, P1, repeat to end
Row 2 - K across all sts.

When piece measures 8.5 inches from the cast on edge, begin the flower section.
The background is reverse-stockinette, so you'll be purling all the sts that are not the cable detail. I repeated the cable 3 times across the front, and here's how the numbers work out:
15 sts across - middle st is where the stem of the rose is placed. The little surrounding bubble curves out around the flower stem, moving from 1 st away at the bottom to 6 sts away at the widest part.
The whole cable is worked over 17 rounds.
There's also a K1-P1-K1 ribbing row separating each cable section.
My wording of this is rather confusing (at least, it seems so to me!) It's probably just easier for you to look at the photos.

When you've done half a cable repeat (so, that's about 1.5 inches), begin increasing for the bust.
Increase back up to 120 sts.

Arm holes and Neckline:
They both begin at 16" up from the cast on edge. For the arm holes, I just cast off 6 sts (and of course, had to begin working back and forth instead of in the round). For the neckline, I put the centre 17 sts on a stitch holder.
Over the next few rows, I decreased one st each on either side of the neckline and armholes. At its thinnest, the front panels are decreased to just 15 sts. This makes the 2 cable panels pretty cramped, so I'd suggest leaving a few extra sts on there for your own sanity and ease of knitting.
The armholes are 8.5" long. When you reach this number, you can graft the front and back panels together.
Oh yes, and here's what I did for the back:
Kept knitting up until the armholes were 7" long. Then I put the centre 17 sts on a holder, and decreased on each side of the newly created neckline until each back panel has 15 sts, to match each front panel (again, I'd suggest adding a few sts here).

Picking up for Ribbed Neckline:
Pick up every 3 out of 4 sts along the neckline, and knit (in the round) single garter rib until the neckline is about 1.5 inches wide. Cast off on Row 1 of garter rib. That way the sts sit a bit nicer that if you just cast them all off knit-wise.

I truly don't recommend doing these the same way I did, so I'll give you what I should have done instead.
Pick up edge-sts of armhole, and do 1 round of single garter ribbing. Mark off, on each side of the armhole, the spot that's about 1.5 inches up from the bottom of the armhole. That's where you'll start short-row shaping so that the cap does a little cappy thing and curves outwards towards your shoulder.
What I did for the short rowing: from this starting point of 1.5 inches up from the bottom, I began knitting flat, working back and forth across the arm, knitting 2 sts less each side.
When the cap is about deep, start working in the round again and pick up all your wraps along the way. Do another complete round, and then bind off.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bamboo My Friend?

I'm holding back on proclaiming a deep affection for the sweet panda treat since I have yet to actually wear the garment, but so far, me and Bamboo are getting along juuuust fine.

Here it be (namely some Alchemy Bamboo in "Scarlett's Dark Secret")
I've never used a bamboo-based yarn before, and am rather pleased with how silky it feels (though, I must admit: per metre, this is definitely at the top of the most-money-I-could-reasonably -spend-on-yarn list, and I buy a hell of a lot of silk yarn... so yeah, it was tres cher.)

I understand that bamboo stretches. A lot. And so, I've tried to take that into account with the design for this here knit (which I'll be calling Solana.)
In fact, I'm sort of counting on it stretching, at least in one direction; I'm thinking about making some sweet little wrap-around ties, and I only have so much of this tres cher yarn to go around.
(three hanks, precisely. Apparently that gives me about 380 metres for this sultry wee halter. I think it can be done. Needs must, right?)

I'm still attempting to master the skillz of short-row shaping in designing. I get how to actually do it, but the logistics of sticking it into actual garments has thus far evaded me (wonder why you've never heard any more about that yellow silk web-thing I was making? Yeah, short-row disaster, that's why.)
This knit has a semi-successful use of it (so far). And (so far) I like how the bamboo is living up to its drapey reputation.

Stay tuned: the hot hot heat of this summer is spurring me on to finish this sucker before it gets too cold cold cold for a halter top.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sleeves as the Wings of a Bat

A quick thank you for the lovely comments on the Lovegood! Pattern notes will be posted soon.

For a while now I've been shamefully enamoured with the look of bat-wingy sleeved tops.
I tried it on the Flying Fox (didn't turn out exactly as envisioned).
This one, sported by Heather Graham in an issue of InStyle from October 2007, is a bit closer to what I'm thinkin about.
I didn't grow myself the kind of statuesque figure sported by Ms. Graham, so there's a few things I'd probably have to fiddle with for my own version.
Incidentally: please correct me if you know the true name of this sort of top. I have a limited lexicon for clothing.
For example: neckline would not be as voluminous, and length would probably not be as... long.

Here's a good ol', gee-whiz-honest-to-goodness retro top from a 1977 pattern book.
PhotobucketAm I going to Retro Hell for even thinking about making this sort of sweater? I don't want to end up being a thoroughly-qualified Fug candidate.
My usual tactic for this type of situation is to hunt one down in the wild (ie: head to the mall for some research), try it on, and hey-presto! You have your answer.
I'll have to admit this process usually ends in a "nay" vote.
In this case, I haven't spotted one of these sweeties in try-on-able reality just yet. And, if you've read my bloggy before, you might have noticed I'm a wonderful combination of knit-lazy and knit-impatient.
Would you delve into the coutourily-questionable zeitgeist that was/is the 1980s?
Being a child of that decade, I should truly know better than this!
But, perhaps my recent purchase of that gloryful 1986 movie Labyrinth has damaged inspired my brainwaves.
I'll be having nightmares about those freaky Fierys again. I realize it's all the same actors doing the muppet voices, but it's kinda funny when one of those head-detaching Fierys opens his mouth and out comes Elmo's voice.
Did anyone else have a kid-crush on David Bowie in that movie?
What, did I go off-topic?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lovegood; Or, Yes I Can Make a Cardi

Howdy from a sunny July day and the just-finished Lovegood.
Pattern: Lovegood
Yarn: about 3.5 balls of Manos Silk Blend

I likes this yarn so very much.
I don't think I can say that enough.
Originally I was envisioning belt loops for this one, and the ability to wear said belt at either just under the bust or natural waistline. As it happens, I've made it a touch too short to wear the belt at my waist. Methinks it'd look a bit funny. And, the belt stays put, so no need to add the loops.

The neckline turned out how I wanted (thankfully!) in that I wanted it wide and almost off the shoulders. The sleeves aren't as big and flowy as I wanted, but I'm satisfied with them.

I'm undecided about the wood buttons, though. In my zeal to get this one completed, I grabbed the only flat-fronted, right-sized wood buttons the store had - and now I suspect they're too contrastive to the yarn. * le sigh.
But, my enthusiasm level for this one remains at the moderately high level (I gave it the smiley, but not super-smiley, face on Rav). It's certainly wearable and much needed for my summertime wardrobe.

The lace panels are just "Snowflake Lace" from one of my few stitch dictionaries.

And here's a little guy who hopped on by during the outdoors photo shoot.


******Pattern NOTES*******

Lovegood Cardigan Notes

Made to fit me, which is approx 35” bust.

3.5 hanks of Manos Silk Blend
9 buttons (15mm across)

3mm, 3.5mm, and 4 mm circular needles

(Don’t ask how, but)
On 3mm – 5.5 sts/1”
On 3.5mm – 5.5sts/1”
On 4 mm – 5 sts/1”

Cast on 165 sts using 3mm circs.
Divide stitches with place markers as follows:
28 (for left front)
27 (for left sleeve)
56 (for back)
27 (for right sleeve)
28 (for right front)

Do garter rib for 6 rows.
Right side: K1, p1 to end.
Wrong side: Purl across.

On next Right Side (RS) row:
Switch to knitting in stockinette st.
Begin raglan increases.
To do this: increase one stitch on each side of each place marker each right side row.

Begin lace panel on arms. Place this in the middle of the arm.

LACE PANEL (6+1 multiples)
Row 1 – knit 1 *yo, skpo, k1, k2tog, yo, k1. Repeat from * to end
Row 2 – and all wrong side rows, Purl to end
Row 3 – Knit 2, *yo, knit 3. Repeat from * to last 2 sts, then yo, knit 2.
Row 5 – Knit 2 together, yo, skpo, knit 1, knit 2 together, *yo, sl 1, knit 2 together, psso, yo, skpo, k1, knit 2 together. Repeat from * to last 2 sts, then yo, sl1, psso.
Row 7 – knit 1, *knit 2 together, yo, knit 1, skpo, knit 1. Repeat from * to end.
Row 9 – Work like row 3.
Row 11 – knit 2, * knit 2 together, yo, sl1, knit 2 together, psso, yo, skpo, k1. Repeat from * to end.

Work this way, making raglan increases and knitting lace panel, until piece measures 2” from the cast on. Switch to 3.5 mm needles.
Add two more lace panels on each arm.
To do this: place them halfway between the original lace panel and each stitch marker.
Continue in this manner, creating raglan increases and working each arm’s 3 lace panels, until piece measures approx. 5” from the cast on.
At this point the arms should have a couple inches of positive ease on your arm.

Now place all of each sleeve’s stitches on waste yarn, and knit across all body stitches.
Place a lace panel directly under each arm pit.
Work back and forth across body, knitting each side’s lace panel for approx. 2.5”.
Switch to 4 mm needles.
Add a lace panel to each side of already established lace panels.
Work in this manner, knitting stockinette across and 3-repeat wide lace panels under each armpit for approx. 2.5”.
Now add one more lace repeat to each side of each panel. Now you’re repeating the lace 5 times on each side of the garment’s body.
Knit in this manner for approx. 4”.

Begin Garter Rib for bottom:
Switch to 3.5mm needles, and work garter rib for 6 rows.
Cast off.

Take stitches off waste yarn and begin knitting in established pattern with 3.5mm needles for 1”.
Switch to 4 mm needles, and knit in established pattern until arm measures approx. 4” from armpit.
Work 6 rows of garter rib.
Cast off.

Button Band:
Using 3mm needles, pick up every 3 of 4 sts, for a total of 81.
Work garter rib for 6 rows.
Cast off.

Button Hole Band:
Using 3mm needles, pick up every 3 of 4 sts for a total of 81.
Work garter rib for 2 rows.
Make buttonholes:
RIGHT SIDE: Knit 2 sts in pattern, cast off 2, continue in pattern. Repeat this so that buttonholes are approx. 1.5” from each other. There should be 9 buttonholes. (When I made mine, I placed them a little askew. But I blocked it out, and you can’t tell the off-placement).
Next row: WRONG SIDE: purling across all stitches, cast on for the two stitches you cast off on the previous row in the places where they’re missing.
Knit one more row in pattern, then cast off all stitches.

Belt: Cast on 331 sts with 4 mm needles.
Do 6 rows of garter rib.
This makes a belt that’s just over 5 feet long.
  • Number of stitches to cast on: 166
  • Number of stitches for the lace pattern : 6+6+1 (if you want all the instructions to be done)
  • The 3 omissions in rows 5, and 11 of the lace pattern
    (added March 2011)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Depths of Canary Despair

Not my despair, the actual feathered guys.
Currently undergoing their moult, the normally loud-mouthed bastards have fallen silent and are concentrating on regenerating their plumage.
Butts and Ives - on blog
This yellow-bellied quietude has had an effect on productivity here at the sanctuary,
as well as a renewed adoration for etsy and all the lovely jewellery therein. (Truthfully, I'm not sure how these events are interrelated, but for the purposes of this post I'll assume that they are).

This painting was inspired by a print from that great bastion of beauty.
and a little ribbon detailing along the outside edge:

And I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to this beauty of a necklace.
Maple Leaf Necklace - on blog
See seller here.

And this one.
See seller here.

Oh yeah, and this one too.
See seller here.

I've reconciled myself to the fact that etsy and I are in a long-term relationship that involves periods of intense adoration sandwiched between eons of indifference.

On to the knitting!:
I've flown (hardy-har-har) through the little green cardigan I'm calling Lovegood. It's blocking.
I refuse to take blocking pics.
My photography skillz are not such that I can make said images in any way visually interesting.

Though the humidity is purported to get to obscene heights in the next few days, I hope some savvy ceiling-and-oscillating-fan usage will accelerate dry-time.

In other yarn news:
I have (once again) enhanced the stash to include some creamy-coloured Cascade 220 for a second go-round with Corona. I've never used this yarn before. Any thoughts? It passed the "rub against the wrists & neck test" for itchiness, and seems to be just about the right softness. And at a third of the price (truly, I did the math) I suppose I shouldn't expect the elegant beauty of Dream in Color.

In season-appropriate knit news:
I've got the next-on-the-needles-knit in mind. A halter with that gorgeous scarlet bamboo yarn from Alchemy. I'm thinking flowy and skimpy. Do those two go together? Or is it some kind of terribly oxymoronic statement like "romantic and tarty"?

And, in forcibly-dragging-my-sad-ass-to-the-couch-to-knit-it news:
My personal deadline for finishing the cable-swallowing Lucania vesty thingy I've got languishing on the needles is this Friday. We shall see.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Miss Lovegood in Love with Manos

Yes yes, those damn books have done it again (more specifically, those damn movies) and given me an idea for a new knit.

I do realize that this is crocheted, and that it's been done already, but my idea slightly varies from the original.
Here's what I gots so far.
And here's a preliminary sketch.
I was thinking of something that would be more figure-flattering than the movie version. Something I can cinch. Generally loose-fitting garments don't float my proverbial boat.

Once I get to the "finishing details" point, I'm going to have to make a decision: where to place the belt.
First I was thinking "duh, at the natural waistline", but methinks this will be a rather short cardi, and might look funny with a belt placed at that point.
A second option I came up with was to put it right under the bustline - an empire-waisted cardi.

I'll get pics up of each option shortly.

On a yarnny note: I am so very much in love with Manos Silk Blend. Buy it now! I've used it for this knit as well as Hew, and it behaves very well and looks absolutely lovely.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Tent Sale.
Yarn overload.
Plastic bag bulgingly full of fibre.
Rav stash doubled overnight.
Obscene amount of money saved.
Happiest find.
What to make with one ball of Glimmer Print?

Actual post with grammatically-satisfying sentences: tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Canadiana Nostalgiana

Revealing my age, possibly.
Making me smile, definitely.
This one's been going in my noggin for the past few days.
I haven't made it a habit to add video to my blog, but

Happy Canada Day!