aswim in knits

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Off Sleeve Island!

The sleeves are done ... here is the progress so far.

Here's a close-up of the raglan descreases and the eyelet ridge ...

I'll be away until Thursday, so no news until then (unless I find a computer I can post from ...). The sweater is coming with me, but it's not great conference knitting, since it is getting kind of big. I'm hoping to find time to start a sock later tonight, and work on that for most of the week. We'll see when I get back!

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Here are the dresses I made for our nieces. The one on the left is for Gracie, who's 3 1/2. The one on the right is for Jane, who is 7. The dresses look almost the same size. Well, the girls are almost the same size too! I hope that they will fit right. We'll see them this weekend, so I'll check on that ... if they are too long, I can rehem them, but if they are too short or too tight, I don't think I can do anything!

Hmm, now that I am looking at the photo, I realized that I need to iron them! Oops. I'll do that before the weekend. I also need to do some sewing on Gracie's dress -- there are some parts of the lining that need to be hand sewn, and there is a hook and eye for the top of the zipper. Not too much left!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

SC progress and project inventory...

Here are the sleeves to the Sitcom Chic. The one in progress is a little further along -- I think I did another 2-3 increase rounds while waiting for my oil change and during my lunch hour.


I would love to finish the sleeves this week and have them joined to the body of the sweater before I go away next week ... I think that's probably quite do-able. I also have to finish some hand sewing on the nieces' dresses too ... and cast on for another sock. We'll see. Perhaps I'll spare you any more photos until I get up to the yoke.

I've decided that I am on a yarn diet. Not because I have too much yarn. Too much yarn? Never! (In fact, I just enabled Kaitlyn's stashing by suggesting that she start storing her yarn in her unused luggage when she runs short on storage space!) No, my problem is too little cash for the yarn acquisition. We've started the ramp-up to our "austerity budget". Once Thom goes back to school full-time in September, I don't think that the budget can accomodate yarn purchases, especially as I have a fine selection stashed. Although I'm making exceptions for gift knitting :)

So, here are the projects that spring to mind without checking the stash. This does NOT include the random balls of yarn, or things that I have since forgotten about :)

WIP's to finish:
- ,Sitcom Chic
- Koigu socks
- Broadripple socks

Projects that will require yarn acquisition:
- Baby blanket for T&C's baby (no known gender)
- Mittens for Da's Xmas gift

Projects in the stash:
- pink Cotton tots and red Cotton-ease for bolero sweater to match nieces' dresses
- white and pale green Rowan handknit dk for T&C baby hat (possibly also some booties to match!
- baby brush alpaca lace scarf
- Schaeffer Anne socks
- winter hat to match my scarf/gloves
- mittens for Thom to match his hat.
- Red cotton-ease for Scoop du Jour
- blue cotton-ease for another sweater
- grey something-or-other for Must Have Cardi for mom
- Jawoll sock yarn
- grey yarn for secret project for Thom (hee, hee!)
- purple DB cotton silk aran -- enough for a little girl sweater
- PLENTY of yarn for charity hats, mittens, etc.

I'll have to re-assess the stash and post if I forgot anything else :)

Bloglines ... grrrr

This morning, I went to check my Bloglines account. All of my feeds were marked as already having been read ... and I was really looking forward to some blog-surfing to catch up after having been away last week. Did this happen to anyone else?

Monday, July 18, 2005

I'm back, leaving again soon ...

I spent the end of last week here at a conference for work. Food was great -- mmm, lobsters and yummy desserts and smores and wine by the campfire...! (Side note: I still managed to lose a half pound last week! I wonder how I did that?)

At this conference, I was "outed" as a knitter by someone in my department on the first day. From then on, I was known as "one of the knitters", since I also have a knitting colleague who came with WIPs in tow. I decided that it was then ok to KIP while at the conference! Unfortunately, I had to take notes during several sessions, but did spend a bit of time knitting the sleeve to my Sitcom Chic. I now have one sleeve finished, and about 1/3 of the second sleeve done. I'll post a photo tomorrow.

I also spent Sunday sewing the dresses for the nieces! Note to self: read pattern directions BEFORE purchasing pattern. I have to hand sew some parts of this. Yech. This is what I was sewing the rest of the dresses with ...
That's a Singer 301A, circa 1958. And, yes, I did swipe that photo from the International Sewing Machine Collectors' Society, that's how old the machine is!!! Somehow, I can't seem to find (or identify) the zipper foot that goes with the machine, so I kind of worked around it ... photos of the dresses tomorrow too, I hope.

On Sunday, I leave for another conference, this time at Dartmouth. What WIPs to bring? Hopefully the Sitcom Chic sleeve #2 will be done, and joined together. I can also start the second Koigu sock. I think that's probably the plan for now...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

lots of craftiness...

This weekend, I finished the body of the Sitcom Chic, up to the armholes. I think that the fit will be good on this one! It's a little hard to tell, since I wasn't able to let the weight of the garment hang from my shoulders yet, but I think the width is right.

I also cast on for a sleeve, using the Magic Loop technique with the same needle. I think it's a 32" needle, which is just too small to do both sleeves at once. So far, it's pretty quick going.

Here's what the increases I've been using look like --

I've been using a M1 increase, but I wasn't sure that I got the right leaning one and left leaning one on the right sides! Looking at the photo, I think I did ok. And, if not, I still like how it looks!

In other craftiness, I am planning to make dresses for my nieces. Hmm, I'll have to find a recent photo of the two of them. Jane turns 7 tomorrow, and Gracie is 3 1/2. This is the pattern I am going to use. The fabric on the left with the strawberries is for Gracie and one on the right with the polka-dot flowery things is for Jane. The strawberries are about the size of a dime, and the dots are around the size of a pencil eraser, although some are larger and some are smaller. Both prints are 100% cotton.

I washed and dried the fabric over the weekend and ironed it last night, so I know it's all pre-shrunk! I also bought some pale pink to line the bodices with -- the pattern calls for the lining in the same fabric as the dress, but I think that because the backgrounds are pale pink, the strawberries and dots of the lining would show through to the front side. So, I hope I will have some extra patterned fabric left over! If so, I might make matching bags or something. I was also thinking that I might make matching bolero sweaters so the girls can wear the dresses in the fall too. I might borrow my friend's "Junior Knits" book (Debbie Bliss) since they have a bolero jacket pattern that might work with yarn in my stash!!

This is the pattern --

I would make Gracie's sweater in red, to match the berries, and Jane's in a pink to match the dots. I have some red cotton ease and some pink Cotton Tots by Bernat. I need to look at the pattern first, but might modify it to make 3/4 length sleeves. I think those might be cute with the dresses. We'll see ... I have all day Saturday to sew, so I'm thinking that I might be able to do most or all of the dresses that day. I'll keep you posted ...

I'll be gone for work for the next couple of days, so hopefully I'll have more of the sitcom chic to show you over the weekend!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Sitcom Chic

Kristen was right! I am making a Sitcom Chic with my Cotton-Ease. The color is called "Mint" although I don't think it looks like mint at all. It's really more of a toothpaste shade of blue-green.

I started the sweater once before but had gauge issues and also chose the wrong size, so it was huge! This time, I am making the 40" size and am getting gauge, so I think it should fit better. I finished up to the armholes last night and wrapped it around me and the size seems good.

I started a sleeve tonight, but I'll wait til daylight to take a photo.

I have enough red and blue Cotton-Ease in the stash to make another sweater, and I'm thinking about the Scoop du Jour cardigan, also designed by Bonne Marie Burns. What do you think?

Friday, July 08, 2005

Guess the WIP

Here is my latest WIP. This was taken on Wednesday, so it's grown a bit since then.

Here's a closer view ...

Here are a few hints ...
1) I just finished a sock on size 1's and switched to this project for some "size 8 instant gratification".
2) I'm going to a conference next week and wanted to have a relatively mindless project to bring with me.
3) The yarn is from my stash. It's now discontinued, much to the dismay of many knitters

Know what it is? Take a guess!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Socks 101

I fniished the first of the Koigu socks!
Another view --

Yes, it is extremely boring. There is no fabulous stitch pattern, and no exciting twists or turns to keep you amused. In fact, that's why you haven't seen any progress pictures. Boooo-ring! But, I love the sock anyways! Since these are the first socks I've made for me, I thought I'd get good at making a simple sock before I move on to something more complex. I really want to learn how to get a truly well-fitting sock, since I hope to make many more pairs for me, and I want them to be perfect :)

Here's what I did:

- 2 skeins of KPPPM
- knit from the toe up on size 1 needles.
- Gauge: umm, around 8.5 sts/in, I think

Start with a short row toe from Wendy's Generic Toe-up Sock Pattern. I used the one with 30 sts cast on.

Knit until "the sock is almost long enough to fit your foot up to the front of the ankle". Use the Cybersocks' directions for how to turn a heel on a toe-up sock.

Keep knitting in stockinette until you have a small -- but not too small -- amount of yarn left. Increase to 64 sts, then knit 3 rounds. Increase to 68 sts, and knit 3 more rounds. Change to 2x2 rib. Rib until it looks like the right length for ribbing, and cast off, using the Cyberknitters' directions for EZ's sewn cast off.

- Gauge -- yech! I started these socks several times, and I'm still not sure that I got the right gauge. I was aiming for 8 sts/in, but got more like 8.5. Yet, I was swatching with the same yarn and needles and got 8sts/in. I think I must just knit tighter as I get going...
- The length of the socks is perfect. They are a bit tight, but not uncomfortably so. If I used the same yarn and needles again, I'd use 4 more sts to start with. But, since the KPPPM is 100% merino wool, they are stretching to fit.
- I have big calves. So, I added 8 sts at the top of the sock. I probably could have gotten away with 4, but due to the above mentioned gauge issues, I played it safe and went with 8. Also, I was afraid that the cast-off would not fit around my heels at 60sts. However, the sewn cast off really is stretchy! Again, I probably would have been safe with only 4 extra sts, but the 8 extra is working okay.
- I didn't love the heel directions I used. The heel flap piece is worked over only 10 sts, and that seems too narrow for me. If I used this heel again, I would increase that # to 16 or so. I might also look for another set of directions for the toe-up Dutch heel.

Overall, a successful sock experience. I learned a lot, and got a relatively well-fitting sock. Since I insist on symmetry, the next sock will be knit to the exact same specs. But, I will make some changes for the next pair. More stitches around (if using the same gauge yarn) and a wider heel flap for sure. If I start with more sts, I might not need to increase for the calves. Also, if my gauge is not as tight, I think the fabric will stretch more to allow for the "over the heel" issue.

Anyone have any good ideas on how to get a reliable gauge measurement? I guess I might just have to swatch, then guess that I will go a bit tighter in the real piece, as that seems to be my pattern when knitting with wool, and accomodate for that, and remeasure as I go ... besides, I'm not the first knitter to say that gauge swatches lie.