Friday, February 29, 2008


(This word reminds me: does anyone remember the cartoon Jem? She was a big-pink-haired rock star who had some sort of Borg-like relationship with her earrings. I used to have the choose your own adventure Jem books.)

Remember the Biggest. Swatch. Ever. where I swatched a cable pattern that turned out to have the wrong aspect ratio? I wanted something more diamond shaped? Then remember I got 3/4 of the way through the Gathered Pullover, and decided I didn't like that cable right at the bust? That diamond shaped cable?


Synergy Cardigan
Yarn: Jaeger Extra Fine Merino DK, 6 balls, from the closing sale at The Wool Shop in Bray
Needles: 3.00mm Addi Turbos
Pattern: my own

Notes: Normally, I think short-sleeved wool sweaters are pretty pointless. But, um, I ran out of yarn. These little puffy sleeves, though, are so cute, so sweet, so...just perfect for this shape.

Things I love about this project:
  1. the cable provides all the shaping: love that cable; it's genius and perfect for this
  2. the attached i-cord finishing at the neckline: first time I've done this, and I think I'll be using this finishing technique much more
  3. those buttons! (found at Soton John Lewis)
  4. the sleeves: first time I tried puffy sleeves; had no idea how they would turn out until I actually sewed them on. Whew.
  5. the yarn: it is so sad that it's discontinued. I used its ersatz replacement by Rowan, Pure Wool, and it is nowhere near as soft, springy and nice to wear or work with

Things I didn't so much like about this project:
  1. I made a mistake with the short row shaping at the bust: for future reference, put them right next to each other, right at the side seam. Otherwise, it looks way obvious and totally like you've made a mistake (see below)
  2. my knitting has recently been getting horribly, horribly uneven. I'm rowing out like it's going out of style. In this next picture, you can see it everywhere, on the body, on the sleeves, everywhere

Still, I'm really pleased with how this cardigan turned out. I think I'll be wearing it a lot. All the edges except the neckline are hemmed. For the button bands, I basically picked up stitches and made two hems. It works really well, and I think gives a good finish, a bit more refined than ribbing or garter bands.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Still dragging out the Christmas knits...

Hopefully after this month, I will have more new knitting to show you. Work is absolutely crazy. The final report on the first phase of my project is due at the end of the month. This will pretty much determine whether the customer will renew the project and continue with phase two or not. If they don't renew, that's a lot of money we won't get. More importantly, it'll mean the loss of a big and influential client. This particular bit of work stress is very, very different from academia.

Anyway, onto the knitting. More Librarian Stockings!

Librarian Stockings, aka Anna Socks
Yarn: Patons Diploma Gold 4-ply, in grey, all of two skeins
Needles: 2.0mm dpns, 2.5mm dpns, 3.0mm dpns
Pattern: Anna Socks from Rowan 40

Notes: A (librarian) friend of mine saw the Anna socks I made my (librarian) sister last year and really liked them. So I knit her a pair for Christmas. (It turns out I know a lot of librarians. I take this as proof that I am living my life correctly.)

Some modifications: Basically, once again, I used the lace pattern on the Anna socks, but pretty much ignored everything else. I knit these toe-up, with a figure 8 cast on and short row heel. Again, I used the smallest size needles for the foot and ankle, changing to the medium ones for the shin and largest for the widest part of the calf. I also knit a few extra rounds on this pair, since the recipient is a few inches taller than my sister. From the picture, it also looks like her gams are more voluptuous than my sister's, so I could even have used larger needles on the calves. As I had done last time as well, I threaded elastic through the ribbing at the top, instead of using the ribbon called for in the pattern. Really helped them stay on when I tested it. Hard to say if they last well throughout a day of wearing, as I gave both pairs away!

Monday, February 04, 2008

More Christmas presents!

See, I haven't finished any knitting in a long time, so I'm just going to drag out the showing of my Christmas knits. Genius, innit?

(Sorry about the blurry pictures.)

Squirrel and Oak Mittens
Yarn: Patons Diploma Gold DK, just more than 1/2 skein of each colour
Needles: 3.5mm bamboo dpns
Pattern: Squirrel and Oak Mittens, from Hello Yarn

Notes: My closest yarn shop is the Singer Sewing Centre in town here. It doesn't sell very much yarn, but it has a really good selection of Paton's Diploma Gold, for some reason, in all the different weights and lots and lots of colours. So I buy basic sock yarn there now, and the yarn for these mittens.

These are sooo cute. I've wanted to knit them since I first saw them, but I don't wear mittens, so couldn't really justify it. Imagine how excited I was when my friend specifically requested mittens! I cast on practically before I finished reading her e-mail.

This is my second stranded colourwork project, and there are lots of long runs of one colour, so I had to twist the colours on the wrong side. My tension wasn't the best ever. Blocking helped a teeny bit.

A couple of small changes: I made the tips more rounded by doing two different slopes of decreases, and I left the last stitches live and did a three-needle bindoff instead of drawing it up into a point.

The only other thing I would change with this project is the cuffs. The corrugated ribbing isn't at all stretchy, and doesn't draw in the way ribbing normally does. If I were to do these again, I think I'd knit the cuffs with normal ribbing and make them longer.