Monday, March 31, 2008

A Sleeve A Day

On Friday I did a little inventory and discovered I’ve finished the following projects since October 1st:

3 Scarves
2 Hats
2 Cardis
2 Pair of Socks
2 Tank Tops
1 Shawl
1 Log Cabin Afghan

That’s not bad for 6 months. Let’s not discuss how many pairs of socks and the scarf I started but haven’t yet finished. (Notice I said “yet.”)

At that point I was just about done knitting the 2nd front panel of the brown Twist cardi, and I realized I had a shot (although not a good shot) at finishing the thing before the official end of the 6 month period. That got me motivated.

So this weekend I knit a sleeve a day. By last night I had the brown Twist on the blocking board. But by last night I also had to admit I can’t finish the thing before midnight tonight – not if I want to remain employed. There’s still seaming, button bands, and a 5 or 6 inch sailor collar that seems to take forever to knit up.

The decisions to knit a second Twist cardi right after I finished the first one and to use brown yarn may not have been the wisest for a knitter with the attention span of a gnat. I’m craving color, and I’m just itching to start something new.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Shopping Expedition

Today feels like a Monday. I missed work on Tuesday when I was sick. Yesterday I took John shopping for "work clothes" for his co-op. His field is industrial design, with the emphasis on design, so the phrase "work clothes" means dockers and polo shirts to wear when clients visit the firm and jeans without holes the rest of the time. He is 20 years old, and this is the first time in his life that he was glad to go clothes shopping. That made it fun for me. I spent a small fortune, but when it was all said and done, he was happy.

After I dropped John off at his father's house, I made a detour to Lambikin's Hideaway in Hamilton OH. I knew they carry Malabrigo worsted weight merino, but their website gave no indication that they have Malabrigo dk Silky Merino in stock. Oh is it yummy! I just had to have some.

That's the Teal Feather colorway.

Once upon a time I made a shawl with Sundara silky merino in a semi-solid colorway, so I was able to compare the leftover Sundara to the Malabrigo. (The Sundara is in the bottom right corner.) At first glance, you notice that the Sundara was spun with a twist (not sure of the correct terminology), the Malabrigo is not. They are both exquisitely soft. However, the Malabrigo is less than half the price of the Sundara. I'm anxious to cast on with the Malabrigo so I can see how it feels to knit some up. BUT first I must finish the brown Twist cardi.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nothing Exciting Here

I covered my agency's booth at a health fair on Saturday. Between 2,000 - 3,000 people attended, and every one of them must of coughed or sneezed in my direction. Hence, I'm home sick today. I've done nothing but sleep and eat, with maybe a little knitting, for the past 22 hours.

My son John is here for a couple of days. The school quarter ended, and he's leaving for NYC on Thursday where he will spend 10 weeks co-oping for a design company. He's psyched. Meanwhile, hanging around with his sick mom must be about as exciting as watching paint dry. I'll spare you the pictures.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Twist and Shout

[Warning: Photo-heavy post]

That's me wearing Twist, sans buttons. The buttons are on order and may take as long as a month to come in. Needless to say, I didn't wait for the buttons to wear it to work. I seriously love that sweater. SERIOUSLY.

I love that sweater enough to model it even with my hair cut too short. I hope you appreciate the sacrifice. (By the way, with short hair the difference between a bad haircut and a good haircut is about 2 weeks.)

IMHO Twist looks great from the back, too.

In fact, I love Twist so much I immediately ran out for more yarn and cast on a second one.

Last night I was happily knitting like gangbusters on the brown Twist (what the hell are gangbusters anyway?) when I realized that I already have a brown cardi.

Granted, it's store-bought, but it's still brown.

Then, just as I was about to finish the waist shaping I decided to count the stitches on the needle. That's when I discovered that the cabling isn't centered. There are 2 more stitches to the left of the cabling than there are on the right. I wanted to wad the thing up and throw it into a heap.

Instead, I set it aside and picked up my stand-by project - The orange Japanese Vines scarf.

I started that scarf in January.

Twist continues to live up to it's name.

Twist I Specs:
Pattern: Twist by Bonne Marie Burns of ChicKnits
Yarn: Cascade 220, 6 skeins
Colorway: 8892
Needles: Sizes 6 & 7 Additurbo Circs

I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed knitting this sweater. However, I would caution other knitters not to following the pattern blindly. There are a large number of waist decreases. My waist isn't that skinny. I plan to do fewer decreases in the waist for Twist II. Also, the directions for the sleeves seemed long to me. I knitted the first sleeve according to the directions (18 inches to the sleeve cap). Then I decided to knit the second sleeve to my usual specs (17 inches to the sleeve cap and fewer increases in the sleeve - giving me a mite shorter sleeve cap). That turned out to be the right thing to do. Next, I had to rip back the first sleeve far enough to elminate the last 2 sleeve increases. Then I did not trust the notes I'd written and knitted merrily on when I should have begun the sleeve cap. So I had to rip and reknit the upper sleeve and sleeve cap of the first sleeve a third time. Some of us are slow learners, what can I say?

In the end it was all totally worth it. I expect to get a lot of wear out of Twist I. The jury is still out on Twist II.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Jacket or Bathrobe?

Last night I started the collar on Twist, but it’s taking longer than I anticipated. Natch.

In the meantime I found the perfect buttons. However, the Stitching Post only had 4, and I need 7. I placed an order for more, but they told me it could take as long as a month to come in. It seems Twist is living up to its name. Every time I think I'm close to finishing this thing, the project takes a new turn.

During the blog hiatus I finished the pink cardi. Well, it was intended to be a cardi/jacket, but it is fuzzy and pink – which calls to mind a bathrobe. I wasn’t sure I should even wear it to work, but the Knit Wits convinced me I could wear it to any meeting. (Thanks Molinda, Teresa, and Ellenmarie.)

Here's a closer look.

Yarn: Peace Fleece worsted weight, 5 skeins
Colorway: Moscow Magic Pink
Pattern: My own
Width: 36 inches
Length: 22 inches (I think)

This is the easiest cardi/jacket pattern in the world. There is no edging or collar to knit at the end – just the usual seaming. It’s a quick knit, too. I’m really happy with the fit and the drape. Still not sure about the pink, though.

The astute among you will notice I cut my hair. The experience has taught me a few things:

1. Even people with short hair can have bad hair days. Who knew?

2. It's possible to have hair that's too short. (Not in this pick. The hair cut I got on Saturday is REALLY short. Dave was both relieved and pleased when I admitted as much.)

3. Even short hair can require some work in the morning.

Live and learn.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Look! A Bog Entry!

Sorry about the long silence. In February I got side-tracked by the Obama campaign in the run-up to the March 4 primaries. The plan was to resume blogging on March 5th, but by then I guess I’d fallen off the blog wagon.

Although there hasn’t been any blogging, there has been knitting. The project du jour is the Twist cardi from ChicKnits. I love this pattern! It’s simple enough that I can watch TV while I knit, and I’ve been able to adjust the pattern to fit without having to alter the cables.

I had dreams of finishing Twist over the weekend, but it was not to be – largely because I had to knit, rip, and re-knit one sleeve cap 3 times due to stupid, stupid errors. I’ll explain when I post the finished cardi.

Last night I knitted the button bands. I followed Bonne Marie’s directions to the letter on the left side (which appears on the right in this photo) by casting off knit-wise on the wrong side of the fabric. For the right button band (which appears on the left in the photo) I took a cue from a comment posted on Ravelry and cast off in the knit 2 purl 2 pattern. Bonne Marie knows best. The edging with the knit-wise cast off from the wrong side of the fabric looks more stable and even than the cast-off in the ribbing pattern. Tonight I’ll rip back the ribbed cast-off and fix that.

I wasn’t clear about the directions for the last stitch of the ribbed button bands that forms the hem of the cardi. I did what I thought the pattern directed. Afterwards I decided I should have done my usual slip the last stitch with yarn in front, turn, then knit to the back of the first stitch. Of course I didn’t realize this until after I finished the edging on both sides.

I was at odds with myself about whether to rip back the edging on both sides completely or live with that wonky last stitch at the hem. By then it was late so I decided to sleep on it.

This morning I pressed one of the corners and decided I can live with the result. The next time I make Twist, and there definitely will be a next time, I’ll stick to my tried and true technique for getting smooth edges at the end of rows.

I plan to knit the collar instead of a hood, so with a little luck and determination I might finish Twist tonight. Ever the optimist.