Sunday, May 31, 2009

You Know....

....your dishcloths are too fancy when your family assumes the swatch on the counter drying is another dishcloth. LOL.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Power of Numbers

Thanks for the compliments on the February Lady Sweater. Like other knitters, I sometimes get "PPLD".....Post Project Let Down Syndrome. You pour so much into a project, and then it's done. And gone. Truthfully, it's not a 'bad' syndrome, but it can take some time to recover from. I've been working on little things, things on the knitting machine, even a bit of crochet. Not much is interesting. But I'll continue to plod on.

I have posted in the past about how Bernat/Patons yarns can create some interesting patterning with their variegated yarns. I ran into this again this spring. On the Wool Soaker group I'm in, someone was looking for a baby earflap hat. Someone posted a link to one other member's website, and a really cute hat called "Elvish". I decided to 'whip one up' with some odd ball acrylic worsted from the oddball drawer. I'm not keen on acrylic for hats, but it doesn't bother some. I used Patons "Canadiana" in I Don't Know But Might be Equivalent to "Pampered Pastels". LOL. I'd search for the label, but I"m sure you probably don't care too much. I cast on for the toddler size, and got started. It didn't take too long until I realized something terribly funky was going on with the yarn. But I kept going. And going. Eventually, nearing the end, I realized that it was too funky, even for me. Rip.

I didn't think changing the needle size would have much effect, and the needle size had been quite fine already. So, I dropped down to the infant size, (it was either 6 or 12st less) and started again. I got sidetracked by the beautiful stripes and kept going a little bit too long, LOL. But here you have it. If at first your variegated yarn gives you pools, keep trying until you get rivers. I whipped up some i-cord ties on the knitting machine which took about an hour, and tied them to the ear points, which took about 2 weeks. I wish I had a baby head to model it on, but that's not happening. I posted this on Ravelry too; I'm TracyKM there, if you couldn't guess.
The next time I post, I will give another example of perseverance when colourful yarn gives you something icky. Although, one person's ick is another person's yum!

Sunday, May 03, 2009


....February Lady Sweater!

This sweater is over twenty years in the making.
Back in February 2008, we were visiting my parents for the very first "Family Day" (new Statutory holiday in Canada), which happened to fall on the weekend nearest my mother's birthday. While there, she was clearing through stuff that has been hanging around way too long. She came across a lace sweater her sister had knit for her, maybe 25 years ago. She really liked the lace, and she liked the colour, but the style was a bit dated, and it was a bit too small. I immediately grabbed it and started unravelling before we even left for home.I did think to snap a photo of the original lace pattern!
I wanted to do a top down cardigan, with lace. That's all I knew. I started off with 'designing' my own, but I wasn't keen on how it was turning out after a few tries. I then bought a Chicknits pattern, but when it came, found out it's not top down.
And then, in early June 2008, the February Lady Sweater . Instantly I knew it was the right choice. I cast on and got going. The gauge seemed a little stiff, so I went up a needle size, and as I went down the body, I increased needle size a few more times. I left the bottom on spare yarn, and worked the sleeves, then went back to the body. But I just wasn't sure about the fit.
At Thanksgiving (October) I had her try it on with her eyes closed. Yeah, I wasn't happy with the amount of ease. It needed more ease, and more length, and there was not more yarn. She peeked when she took it off and said "Oh, I love the colour, and the lace". Umm, yeah, I didn't change the colour :)
I immediately got shopping for some charcoaly-heathery yarn and found Bernat Wool Blends at Wal-Mart. Snatched up a couple balls and packed the project to get working on it on the flight down for the cruise. Well, I won't go back into detail about that fiasco. Look back to December or November if you really need to read it.
It was going well, but something caused it to go to time-out in December/January. Don't even remember what exactly.
I picked it up in earnest again, hoping to finish it for her birthday, however, Family Day was earlier this year, and left me shortchanged a week. Well, a week wouldn't have been enough anyway, LOL. She did try it on again, and I decided to rip the yoke back, or something, don't remember the issue (see, this is why I didn't blog about it right away. Didn't want to bore you with too much negativity!).

I thought I'd be smart when it came time to pick up the button bands. I measured the gauge of the garter stitch yoke, measured the length of the buttonband, and figured out how many sts to pick up. Of course, I couldn't remember what size needle I had used for the button band. I picked up the sts, but got two extras, I figured that was close enough. It looked good until the last couple rows and I noticed it was rippling. I left it, and started the other side, trying to pick up fewer sts. I couldn't do it, LOL. So I went down a needle size, finished that side. It was okay. So I redid the first side. Made "Better Buttonholes" a slightly more detailed way to make a buttonhole, but it looked great. Not sure off hand which website had the instructions, but I think they are also in Maggie Righetti's "Knitting in Plain English".

Just about done, in the above picture. Just needed the buttons, which we had picked out from Mom's button jar. I remember them from when I was little. I wasn't happy with the increases for the yoke, so after about an inch, I changed how I did them, and I thought it puckered out a little around the armhole.

I've written before that knitters are headless; well, so are their mommies :)
It looks better on her than on me! The striping on the yoke went right across my bust and wasn't too flattering on me. Despite what the picture shows, I am certain the buttons are evenly spaced. I made the sleeves that length on purpose. I ended up with about a golf ball size of yarn (loosely wound), but I didn't want the sleeves to fall in that strange spot where they look like either your arms are too long or you ran out of yarn and tried to make 'bracelet' length sleeves, LOL.

I'm so glad to have this finished, and gave it to her for Easter. There were SO many crazy issues with what should have been a quick, easy knit. But in the end, it worked out, and she loves it. I hadn't made my mom anything in a long time, so this was nice--knit a current pattern but with yarn recycled from a favourite sweater from my favourite aunt.