Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wooly Summer

I know it is currently 96 degrees outside, but I'm still excited about a giant pile of wool.  Particularly, my latest finished sweater.

Every October I go to SAFF in Asheville, NC.  The first few years I would go with friends as a day trip on a Saturday.  These days I make a girl's yarn weekend of it.  My big purchase of SAFF 2011 was two skeins of Yowza! from Miss Babs in the the "coventry" colorway.  I love that the massive yardage allows me to make a whole adult sweater with 1.6 skeins (929 yards) of yarn.  I have enough left over for a hat and some other small accessory.

Miss Bab's Yowza in "Coventry."  This colorway is actually kinda tricky to photograph accurately.

The pattern I chose to work with is the Acer Cardigan by Amy Christoffers.  I seriously love her style.  I keep finding patterns in new collections that catch my eye and it seems like they're always her designs.  A few of my favorite examples include Breckon, Pomme de pin, and Merryall.  Honestly, I have several more of her designs queued but I don't want to bore you with linkspam.

I cast on at SAFF and flew through the cardigan's body.  I had the entire body with button bands and collar finished in a week.  Then, I started the sleeves.  Those took me 8 months.  Why can't I commit to a sleeve?!?  Mostly I just fizzled out halfway through the first sleeve.  Then when I picked it up again I discovered that my sleeve caps were FAR too small to fit into the armscyes.  At this point I started researching what other knitters had done.  As it turns out the vast majority of knitters ignored the pattern and just picked up stitches from the armscye and shaped the sleeve cap with short row shaping.  Oh well, I already had the sleeve knit.  So, I reworked the math & designed a sleeve cap that fit (Go me!).  Next time I'll research what other knitters say about the sleeves before I start them.

I had one other factor that stalled me on this project.  I lost my buttons.  I purchased these lovely light grey ones back around January.  I remember putting them somewhere when I was tidying up my knitting before company visited, but they were never seen again.  So I went button shopping and actually found a perfect color match.  Imagine that?  I couldn't be more pleased.

This is actually the most color-accurate photo of the yarn yet.  Isn't it lovely?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Welcome to Hat City

It seems like I've knit a lot of hats in the last year.  Most of them have been cranked out in only 1 or 2 days.  Because sometimes you have a lot of slow projects on the needles and just need a little instant gratification.

About 2 years ago I knit the wildly popular o w l s sweater by Kate Davies.  I had a few balls of yarn left over, so I decided to make a quick hat for my baby sister.  Since she adores owls, I used the owl cable pattern on the hat.  Since RYC Cashsoft Chunky is a bulky yarn and I am a loose knitter I knit the hat over 60 stitches (6 repeats of the owl pattern), which was just a smidge shy of what I should have.  All the same, my sister has happily worn it for over a year now.

Is anyone else terrible about giving knitted items away and then realizing "D'oh, I forgot to take a picture for the blog/Ravelry?"  Seriously, I'm awful!  Thanks for the photo, Mom & Baby Sis!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Meet the newest stash!

Oh hi!  I'm going to be a sweater when I grow up!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Accidental Diets

Is anyone out there on a yarn diet?  I wasn't on one intentionally, but the other day as I was working on a second sleeve I realized I haven't bought yarn at all this year.  Seriously!   The last yarn I bought was in November of last year.  And that was for making Christmas presents.  Now, there are plenty of people who are currently going "Cold Sheep" and vowing not to buy yarn, but I'm not that girl.  I've been very methodical about my stash, and I *love* everything in it.  So, I've been happily knitting from my stash and I haven't wanted for anything.  

Last year I knit 5160 yards.  I'm a scientist; I like to keep records.  Don't judge.  I bought 1360 yards.  That's 3800 yards out of my stash.  That's like 4 worsted-weight sweaters (without cables)!  So naturally I've been casually "shopping around" for some new yarn that is worthy of joining my (most-fabulous) stash.  I really like knitting lace and sweaters.  I'm kinda over the whole sock thing because I rarely wear the socks I make.  I want to knit things that I USE!  So I went through my favorites on Ravelry.  I culled the herd and tagged the remaining patterns mercilessly.  (Some Ravelers use their queue to keep track of patterns the like - I use my favorites)  In this process I noticed that I am drawn to sweaters knit in light weight fabrics.  So I started shopping around less-casually for yarns in sport weight or less.  I love shaded solids, but I frequently can't justify the cost of a sweater's worth of yarn.  Nearly all of my sweater stash consists of discontinued yarn I got at deep discounts, or yarn snagged during Web's annual 40% off sale.  In short, I was having trouble finding anything that met my needs.

Until yesterday.

For those of you on a strict "cold sheep" yarn diet you may want to look away now.

I followed a little advertisement on Ravelry to a shop called Crazy 4 Dyeing.  The shop owner, Ellie, has tons of shaded solids and lots of deep jewel tones.  AND - It just so happens that she is running a Fireworks sale in honor of Independence Day and nearly all of her yarns are 50% off.  Sock yarns for $11.00/400yd skeins.  Or perhaps you would prefer 1300 yards of laceweight wool/silk for $16.  The sale lasts until July 15, so you have some time to ponder your colors!  Guys, this is some absolutely gorgeous seriously cheap yarn.  Even at full price her costs are lower than most mass-produced commercial sources.

Sometimes you see a yarn and something just hits you saying "THIS IS WHAT I SHOULD BE!" That's what happened here with  Artemis (teal, and my favorite of the Greek pantheon) and Goldenrod (well . . . the golden one).  They need to be a striped sweater.  Specifically, a raglan cardigan with a scoop neck (or maybe a V-neck).  I shamelessly stole these photos from Ellie's site.  I promise I will photograph them myself once I have them on hand.  I'm really excited to start swatching and designing.  I have a very specific idea of what I want, and so far I don't see any existing patterns that emulate it.  So I'll probably be designing this one on the fly.   

I.  Can't.  Wait.  (Except I will have to wait as I have already committed to knitting a sweater for the 2012 Ravellenic Games.  More on that later.)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Images soon to follow . . .

This weekend I finished knitting a sweater.  It's the Acer Cardigan by Amy Christoffers.

I'm in the process of setting in the sleeves (the first one didn't fit in too well so I need to try it again) and stitching the buttons on.  I have Wednesday off for Independence Day, so I'll be able to get some photos of the finished project.

I also have two finished shawls to photograph!

Is anyone else out there participating in Wendy's Summer Solstice Mystery Shawl Knitalong?  I'm enjoying seeing every one else's progress in the ravelry group.  There are some really gorgeous projects coming from this pattern!  I've been working on it in an undyed sport weight alpaca I got at a fiber festival.  The stitch definition isn't fabulous since alpaca is so fluffy, but it feels heavenly!  I'm up-to-date on the clues and am eagerly awaiting the release of clue 3 tomorrow.  I'm really excited that we'll have a day off work the day after the release!