Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Simple Knitted Bodice

I took these mirror pics this morning prior to doing my mu & hair, so they've got the obligatory cropped off head look.

Pattern - Simple Knitted Bodice by Stephanie Japel
needles - size 1 & 7 KP circs
Yarn - Brooks Farm Four Play (wool/silk) in Brown C (color not online)
mods -
Started w/the medium size but had to add another increase repeat to get the thing to fit over the shoulders & armholes which resulted in ending up in the large size at the arm separation point. Not a big deal as it would give me more arm room. So while I added length & short row shaping in the bodice section, I decreased the sides down so I only had 3 sts to decrease for the lace section, bringing me back to the medium size again. I fiddled around w/the neckline shaping when I finished the short rows, so it's not quite the same as the pattern.

And for some reason, I decided that I wanted Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Sarah Michelle Gellar) length sleeves. I suppose that if the impractical length really bugs me, I can always undo the bind off and take off some length later.

As I stated in a previous post, I forgot the last 5 rows of the neckline hem, but it does make it match the other hems better, and moved the lace panel on the sleeves down to be approximately the same level as the one on the sweater body.

Notice the transition from the first skein of the Brooks Farm Four Play into the next? Lame me didn't notice this 'til I finished the body. Was so not going to rip the darn thing again and alternate skeins. H-E-double hocky sticks-no. Just frickin' no.

So while I'm waiting for my first Rockin' Sock Club package (still working on my BFF sock though), I practiced the toe-up sock method w/tapmouse's leftover STR med wgt Fairgrounds. For one toddler sock I used Judy's magic cast on, a short row heel using misocrafty's tutorial, and the EZ sewn bind off. The other sock I used the short row toe & heel (but using a regular method like in Nancy Wiseman's Finishing Techniques book) and a regular bind off so I could compare different techniques. So, yup, the EZ sewn bind off is definitely stretchier. I'll probably undo the regular bind off sock & try the Russian or crocheted bind off.

All I can say at this point is that if I do the toe up method on an adult pair of socks, I'll probably want to do Judy's magic cast on and a reverse heel flap. I'm not too thrilled at the way my short rows look and it still doesn't eliminate the need to pick up an extra stitch to close the hole made at the heel.

Last month on my trip to Sacramento, I stopped by the Twisted Stitch & picked up a ball of Tofutsies. I had a hard time believing this thin yarn would knit up on size 2 (2.75 mm) needles and not be too loose 'til I saw a bunch of their sock samples at Stitches West. So off I swatched and I'll be darned! It's actually pretty nice on size 2's. However, I'm going to wait to knit these 'til SWTC releases their sock patterns (free?) on their website sometime after this week to see what they've got though I've seen some samples on their blog & in blogland.

And lastly, monkey1 and I are debating the color selection for her Modella Guiditta. This is what she wants, but I'm having heartburn over the Carribean Sea (blue) and Holly Green (all Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece) next to each other. I've tried subbing in other colors for the Carribean Blue from my Cotton Fleece stash, but it's hard to get agreement since I don't have every single color of theirs nor does she like what little leftover I have in the same gauge in other yarns in my stash. Then again, she did tell me she's the one wearing it, not me. :P Out of the mouth of babes...

Friday, February 23, 2007

Stitches West = SABLE (Stash Aquisition Beyond Life Expectancy)

But hey, I'm done knitting my Simple Knitted Bodice! It definitely needs to be washed and blocked as the double purl ridge hems are wanting to curl right at the transition. I'll post a modeled shot later when I can get Monkey1 to snap a pic.

Pattern - Simple Knitted Bodice by Stephanie Japel
needles - size 1 & 7 KP circs
sweater size - a combo of the large & medium size as I have broad shoulders & other curves
mods/comments - short row shaping for the bust, mistakenly forgot 5 rows of the neckline hem, but it does make it match the other hems better, and moved the lace panel on the sleeves down to be approximately the same level as the one on the sweater body.

With the sweater done and my auto insurance deductible reimbursed, I was really ready for Stitches West! So, here's a peek at some of the stuff I bought:

I was a bad enabler and failed to convince tapmouse to hit Stitches West (SW) with me, but she did commission me to buy her Cookie A's pattern & hand-dyed yarn. (This obviously doesn't count towards my haul.)

And I can't buy her any Cookie A stuff w/o buying myself something. I had hit the BMFA booth first so by the time I hit the Bay Area Knitting Co-op booth, there were only 4 skeins of Cookie's hand-dyed left (Louet Gems Pearl base, BTW) and her Twisted Flower sock pattern was sold out 'til 4 pm (but I so could not stay that long!). I appeased myself w/a mostly green w/pink & mauve yarn and 2 of Cookie A's patterns.

And of course, I had to get other yarn (not just sock!) too. So in the pic below (in case I forget to bring it in to show tapmouse), the yarns are -

top: Shelridge Farms Peacock fingerling yarn
left to right: Brooks Farm Yarn Acero (wool, silk, viscose) in 2 different colors slated for shawls or scarves, Lisa Souza's new hardtwist merino yarn in Mardi Gras (though that's not what I picture Mardi Gras colors to be), Mountain Colors Weaver Wool Quarters in Painted Rocks (Wool-Gatherers LLC's sock yarn sale), and Baywood Yarns superwash merino in Aurora Borealis, a local dyer's product sold at Nine Rubies in San Mateo.

And now, most of my BMFA Socks that Rock haul:
Patterns: Cookie A's shawl(ette?) pattern in Bambu and a new STR sock pattern
Left to right all lightweight: Little Bunny Foo Foo, Footzey-Foo, new to me Smokey Blue, Tide Pool (but you can see this on flickr.com & the Rockin' Sock Club blog), and Algae.

BMFA didn't have very much medium weight 'cept in the fair isle sets and in a basket of sock club extra skeins (Pink Granite & Fairgrounds). Kaci told me they were low in stock on their medium weight base yarn. They also had heavyweight, Seduction (mmmm!), Geisha (more mmmmm!), the other fuzzy lace yarn that I forget the name of, the twist yarn and Bambu. I was good and didn't buy any Seduction & Bambu which was hard 'cause they had 2 colors unfamiliar to me (Rock Creek and Dark Horse) that wasn't in the light or heavyweight sock yarns. Sigh. And Spring Fling looked so, so cute in Bambu. But I did manage to stay close enough to my BMFA budgeted amount.

Truth be told, my prep for Stitches West started a wee bit early. Last weekend I headed over to Full Thread Ahead in Los Altos (place of the Bay Area Yarn Harlot signing) after e-mailing Hollis back and forth about her having the Fleece Artist Merino in Seashore. I've been wanting Seashore for awhile, especially when the one I got from an online store looked way more like Hercules. Hollis told me she also had Seashore in the new Sea Wool as well. Well, we didn't find the Seashore in merino, but Hollis was kind enough to sell the Sea Wool to me early and I'm glad she did. When I stopped by their booth today, there was precious little of the Sea Wool left and definitely none of the Seashore. This stuff feels yummy!

So my yarn buying itch has been sufficiently scratched and I will be good for awhile. Mainly 'cause I need to shift my yarn money over in my budget to help a couple family members w/things.

Now off to knit a bunch of swatches so I figure out which slew of socks and things to knit next!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Project Spectrum Feb update

My 2 Noro Kochoran skeins have been all used up! Now to figure out who I'll give these to.

Feather & Fan Scarf from the Little Box of Scarves
Less than 2 skeins
size 10.5 needles
unblocked = 6"x83"

Because whoever I might give the scarf to may be okay w/a long scarf, but not a super long one, I knitted a Calorimetry from the other end. Since my first Calorimetry was too loose and the Kochoran being thicker than the Silk Garden, I cast on only 80 sts per discussions on the knitty board and repeated row 5 about 9 times more I think. I have basic black button to sew on still. The scarf is still plenty long as the Calorimetry took a lot less yarn than I had hoped it would, but I didn't feel like knitting a 3rd one.

Both Noro pieces will get washed & blocked when the weather dries & warms back up again. The wash is more to get any twiggy bits out I may have missed than it is to soften it up. The Kochoran is a lot softer than the Silk Garden I had used for my Clapotis, but it wouldn't hurt to give them a wash before they get gifted out.

My other PS knit has been rather neglected, so I hope to get to these BFF socks next, especially now that I've finished one sleeve on my SKB and started the other. I hope I can finish my SKB by the time I hit Stitches West on Friday. If I get the SKB done, I'll only have 1 project on the needles before my first Rockin' Sock Club package. After Stitches West, I can then figure out what my 3rd project will be, but it may most likely be that kiddie capelet thingie in Feb Magknits that I can't spell, much less pronounce.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ready for Christmas 2007?

Not! But my Retro Rib socks in STR Christmas Balls are. Whee!

Pattern: Retro Ribs - Interweave Knits (IK) Winter 2004 (& now the IK Favorite Socks book)
Yarn: Socks that Rock Christmas Balls
Needle size: KP size 1 (2.50 mm) dpn's & circs

The cuff/leg has been modified to be 6" vs the 8" in the pattern. The left foot is looser than the right because I screwed up and didn't reduce down the last 2 stitches for the gusset, so I reduced them in the toe area which is when I discovered my error. I'm going to try to wear them for a day w/the bigger one on the left foot since it's bigger and see if I can live w/it. Otherwise, it will be a PITA to frog back all the way to the gusset.

And now that I've got the size 1 circs free, I can continue on w/the sleeve of my SKB. Nothing more motivating than to free up my needles to knit up sweater sleeves. I so don't want to be stuck in sleeve purgatory from the lack of the right needle size & length.

And here's 1 skein of Noro Kochoran #21 in the Feather & Fan scarf (roughly 54" already), one of my Feb/Mar Project Spectrum projects. I was duly warned that 2 skeins would make for a really long scarf, but I really want to get rid of this yarn. I may try to knit up all of the second skein if the itching doesn't drive me mad so I can gift this away to someone who not only likes angora, but also likes really long scarves. I hope to finish this by the end of the week. Not only do I want to make room for stuff I'll get from Stitches West, but I would like to get things off the needle in preparation for my first STR Club package.

ETA: Doh! Calorimetry! Heh, it took 2 discussions w/my knitter friends at work to realize that I can stop the scarf when I think it's long enough (74"?). I can then knit up a Calorimetry w/maybe 94 or 90 sts w/the remaining Kochoran. My 108 st Silk Garden one's a little loose so hopefully a shorter one will work. Plus, I'll have 2 gifts to give away instead of one. Now I'm content w/the solution.

Four projects on the needles was one too many for me, so I'm glad the socks are done. Hopefully the scarf will be next and then the SKB.

I'm still having fun w/the Polar Sea socks because its my first cable project. I'm using Cookie A's BFF pattern. And gee, now I understand why knitters prefer cabling w/o a cabling needle. It's a PITA to handle 4-5 dpns plus a cabling needle. So much hardware I had no room for my fingers!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Yarn regret?

Not sure if I should laugh about this or cry, but last summer, my friend L & I made several trips to Article Pract to ponder what sale yarns to get, especially the Noro. I fell in total love w/colorway #21. 'Cept in the Iro, not the Kochoran. I don't remember my rationale other than I didn't want something so bulky as Iro to knit into whatever, so I chose the thinner Kochoran in the same colorway. Sure, the royal blue portion wasn't the same in Kochoran as it was in Iro, but I thought, eh, close enough. Little did I know that when I started knitting the Kochoran, the angora would annoy the heck out of me. I suppose I should be grateful it's only making my exposed arms itch and not inducing my asthma, but I am bummed that this scarf I had intended for myself will be gifted away to someone who does like angora. Next sale, I'm going to follow my initial feeling, and go for the Iro.

And in other ambivalent knitting news, I've finally made it through the cheveron lace section and bookin' through the hip shaping on my SKB. I think I won't need to add to the 5 rows of straight knitting in bottom portion before I finish off w/the purl border as I think it'll be long enough. Apparently the majority of my torso length is above the bust line, not below it, proportionally speaking.

The photo monkey1 took of me makes the sweater look like it fits okay, but it's hard to tell w/the neckline curling in. After all the drama I generated in adjusting the bodice portion, it feels a little loose. And nothing like getting the Michelin Man effect in having the chevron lace section highlight my muffin belly (I've been slacking on the gym time mightily). Of course, I shouldn't be surprised that knitting a light worsted weight yarn on size 1 needles would give a corset effect. I probably won't do that again as it's not good for the wrists either, even with a nice yarn.

Friday, February 02, 2007

It's a "collection"

So, the knitty.com article got me thinking, why are knitters concerned about the stash we accumulate when others think nothing of their CD/music collection, their electronic games, or other "stuff." Is it simply because most knitters are of the female gender? But then, look at Imelda Marcos w/her shoes or women w/a closet-full of designer handbags. Or for that matter, me pre-knitting, with my Stila and Nars collection. Did I angst over having too much makeup? Hell no!

The only thing I had angst about was that I didn't use up certain favorite lipsticks or lipglosses before they went bad (ie dry up, get funky smelling, change color). But did I beat myself up for it? Hell no again! Instead, I and other mu addicts on certain mu boards lamented how certain brands couldn't manufacture their lipsticks/lippies from going bad too quickly. And if that dc'd blush or e/s still worked after more than 2 years, more power to that mu item.

So I've gotten a personal resolve never ever to feel guilt over my stash unless it's the guilt of not having enough time to knit with them. That said, after Stitches West at the end of this month and all my BMFA's orders (not even mentioning the sock club, but that's 1 skein every 2 months), I should be good for awhile (ie a vaguely defined amount of time that seems long enough).

Anyway, because I couldn't decide on what my next order from BMFA's website would be (I knew it would be Barney Rubble, but not in med weight 'cause they said the dye for some reason didn't look good in that yarn :p, Thistle, and GRocks 'cept I couldn't decide on what weight for either), I ended up ordering some medium weight from The Fold to knit at least one of them into Cookie A's Monkey socks. L to R: Citrine ('cause I love tapmouse's), Pisgah (an interesting combo of my color preferences), and Peacock, which ended up being more teal and burgundy that I anticipated, but still good.

And finally I finished my first STR Christmas Balls Retro Rib sock. I cast on for the second one along w/the blue (Polar Sea?) Fleece Artist merino for Project Spectrum (it is February after all). I hope to finish the second Retro Rib sock much faster if I don't get too sidetracked w/Project Spectrum.
And there's still my darn SKB. After 3 misfires, I'm well on my way into the chevron lace panel. After the first misfire, I did swatch another skein of the Brooks Farm yarn on KP size 1 & 2 circs because I was concerned about the abuse the yarn took from being moved over the join on my Boyes circs and that I wasn't really getting the pattern gauge I originally got on my swatch. The KP size 2 (3.00 mm) was of course, a tad too big, but the KP size 1 (2.50 mm) on 32" circs (bought in case I want to try the Magic Loop method for socks) worked really well. But now the only issue is that my row gauge is so small that I've got to add quite a few more rows to make the 3" panel. On the plus side, it'll make me think the rest of the sweater back on size 7's will go really, really fast.