Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wavelettes Shawl - Body Repeats done on first half

Last night I finished up the 14th repeat of the body chart.  I've been weighing my yarn after each repeat and I have a spreadsheet where I can easily calculate how many repeats I can get with the yarn I have.  I played around for a little while with doing more repeats of the body chart than the pattern called for but decided that if I have extra yarn I will do extra repeats of the border chart.  The nice thing about the border chart is that I can do half of it if I want to, so right now I am planning on doing 5.5 repeats of the border chart, which would give me the most efficient usage of my yarn, while minimizing the risk of running out on the bind off.

14 repeats of the body chart used 86 grams of yarn.

Pattern:  Wavelettes Shawl by Janine le Cras published in Twist Collective Spring 2013
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Pashmi in White Queen's Castle
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Meris - Bust Shaping Done

I ordered 3.0 mm needles with a 40 inch cable last weekend and they came during the week.  Until I had that needle I had put this one on hold.  You need to be able to check the fit while working it, and a 32 inch cable was not long enough to do that.  I finished the bust shaping today.  I ended up doing 3 complete repeats of the lace pattern and did the bust shaping on rows 1, 5, 9 and 13 of the 4th repeat of the lace pattern.  Now I knit even until I get to the waist shaping.
So far the fit is perfect.

Pattern:  Meris by Elizabeth Doherty
Yarn:  Finch by Quince & Co in Crocus
Needle:  US 2.5 (3 mm)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Playa del Sol - Both Blocks Done!

Of course the May 2013 Unique Sheep Crochet Block came out earlier this month, and I actually wound the skeins shortly after I received it, but I didn't start the blocks until today.  I have decided to make it a rule to work the blocks no later than the last weekend of the month, and tomorrow marks the beginning of the last weekend of the month.  Bruce and I took the day off for his birthday so I decided to set aside my knitting and work on the blocks.  I spent the day with Turner Classic Movies and yarn, which is one of my favorite ways to spend the day.  Once I figured out a stitch I wasn't familiar with, the blocks were quick to work up and I've finished both of them.
Pattern:  Playa del Sol by Donna Kay Lacey, March 2013 Unique Sheep Crochet Block of the Month
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Sushi Socks in Leaf and Daffodil
Hook:  2.75 mm (C)

Wavelettes Shawl - one skein gone and 9 repeats of the body chart

I have been working steadily on my Wavelettes Shawl this week, doing a repeat or two of the body chart each evening.  The chart is a simple one and I quickly memorized it.  I've used up all of skein 4 and started skein 5.  Based upon my yarn usage I'm going to be able to do 17 repeats of the body chart instead of the 14 called for in the pattern.  I want to use as much of my yarn as possible.  I really love the colors and Pashmi is so wonderful to work with.  This is the first time that I've knitted with it and it is going to make a warm and snuggly shawl.  I've ordered some Pashmi in Doctor Blue to knit a shawl for a friend and I know she is going to love it.

Pattern:  Wavelettes Shawl by Janine le Cras published in Twist Collective Spring 2013
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Pashmi in White Queen's Castle
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Meris - Upper Fronts Done

This weekend I finished both fronts and joined all the pieces so now I am knitting the body.  I don't have a needle (in the right size) with a long enough cable, so the front is a bit scrunched, which is why I took a photo of the back.

Pattern:  Meris by Elizabeth Doherty
Yarn:  Finch by Quince & Co
Needle:  US 2.5 (3 mm)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Wavelettes Shawl

Janine le Cras has had a couple of patterns published in some of the major venues recently.  This pattern was published in Twist Collective, an online magazine that is one of my favorites.  I always buy several patterns from each issue.  The Spring 2013 issue came out while we were working on the Treasure Island Mystery Knit Along so some of us decided to do this shawl as a knit along while waiting for the next Unique Sheep Mystery Knit Along - Watership Down (as if we need any more projects).  Janine mentioned that she thought the shawl would be lovely in Pashmi and I thought it would look lovely in pastels so I picked the colorway above - White Queen's Castle.  I've been wanting to do something in this colorway for a while now.

The shawl is knit from the center out starting with a provisional cast on and at first I was going to knit it symmetrically, starting with the pink and working to the green.  Yesterday I wound the first skein into a ball and did a swatch, and while I was working with the yarn I decided that I wanted to knit it asymmetrically.  I am starting with skein 4 and will work the first half with skeins 4, 5 and 6 (in that order), then pick up the stitches from the provisional cast on using skein 3 and work the second half with skeins 3, 2 and 1 (in that order).  After deciding my course of action, I unraveled my swatch and used it to create the crochet chain for the provisional cast on.  Aren't the colors lovely?
Because I am not using the recommended yarn, and the 6 skein shawl set only comes with 1200 yards, I don't have the same amount of yarn that the pattern calls for.  Fortunately it is easy to adjust the pattern by doing fewer repeats of the body chart.  Before beginning I weighed my ball of yarn - 52 grams.  After working one repeat of the body chart I weighed my ball again - 44 grams.  So one repeat, for me, took 8 grams.  I then set up a spreadsheet to calculate how many stitches per gram I was getting and try to get an estimate for the yarn usage of the border chart.  I had to do some adjusting because the body chart has slipped stitches, which reduces the amount of yarn used.  I ended up coming up with 16 grams as an estimated yarn usage for one repeat of the border chart.

It them occurred to me this morning that I should wind all of my skeins into balls and weigh them as there is usually some variation in weight between skeins and I wanted to maximize my usage of the yarn.  It turns out that for my set, the skeins all weigh the same, so I don't have to do anything fancy, like use part of skein 3 for the first half of the shawl.  Based upon my calculations I am going to do 11 repeats of the body chart on each half (as opposed to the 12 called for in the pattern) and the 4 repeats of the body chart.

Pattern:  Wavelettes Shawl by Janine le Cras published in Twist Collective Spring 2013
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Pashmi in White Queen's Castle
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Meris - Upper Back Done - Really

This time the upper back is really done, all the way through the armhole increases.  I pinned it out on my gridded blocking board using the schematics to check the size.  So far it is looking okay.  Now I get to pick up stitches for the front.  The armhole increases were done with directional lifted increases, which I've always liked and use a lot.  The underarm stitches were cast on using the cable cast on.  This photo was taken with the flash.

Pattern:  Meris by Elizabeth Doherty
Yarn:  Finch by Quince & Co
Needle:  US 2.5 (3 mm)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Meris - Upper Back Done

Because I did not get the row gauge I did not do as many rows for the upper back as the pattern called for.  I did 48 rows instead of 52.  With the gauge specified, 52 rows will get you 4.9 inches (52*4/42).  My row gauge is about 1 stitch short per inch so I only did 48 rows.  Pinned out the measurements look okay, but I will try it on once I get the front knitted down to the armholes.  This one may take several tries to get right.

Pattern:  Meris by Elizabeth Doherty
Yarn:  Finch by Quince & Co
Needle:  US 2.5 (3 mm)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Meris - Cast On!

It doesn't look like much, but this is the beginning of a top-down cardigan with set in sleeves.  I've knit top-down raglans, but this is my first time knitting one with set in sleeves.  That is one of the reasons that I wanted to try this pattern - an opportunity to learn some new techniques.  You start out working the shoulders separately, using short rows to get the shape, and cable cast on to get the extra stitches.  I did shadow wraps for my short rows.  Then you join the shoulders and start knitting the back.  There will be some armhole shaping in there as well.

I ended up going with a US 2.5 needle (3.0 mm).  That got me the correct stitch gauge.  When I tried going with a smaller needle the fabric became too dense.  The pattern is very well written, with everything clearly laid out.  I'm not sure how long I will keep the stitch markers.  I so very rarely use them.

Pattern:  Meris by Elizabeth Doherty
Yarn:  Finch by Quince & Co
Needle:  US 2.5 (3 mm)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Meris - Swatching

I seem to have caught the swatching bug.  I used to hate swatching, but I seem to have become a process knitter and I credit (or blame, depending on your perspective) lace knitting, and maybe age.  I seem to be moving into a mind set of happiness and contentment and peace.  It is nice.  But back to swatching.  Sometime in the past year or so I picked up the yarn for a cardigan with lace inserts called Meris by Elizabeth Doherty.  The yarn is Finch by Quince & Co in the color Crocus.  The yarn tag states 9 stitches/inch on size US 1 and 7 stitches/inch on size US 3.  The pattern calls for a gauge of 26 stitches and 42 rows in 4 inches, presumably on the largest needles called out for in the pattern - US 3.  This works out to 6.5 stitches/inch.

I did the first swatch on size 3 needles.  I like the look of the fabric, the stitch density looks pretty good.  But the gauge is off.  Not enough stitches per inch.  And the hand feels to loose.  I think the cardigan needs a crisper hand.  So, tonight I did another swatch on size 2 needles.  The stitch gauge looks pretty good, but the row gauge is off.  The pattern calls for 10.5 rows/inch, and I'm getting about 9.3 rows/inch.  Frankly, the gauge of the pattern has me a bit flummoxed.  The ratio of stitches to rows just doesn't seem right to me.  I just don't see how you can get that gauge.  At this point all I am going to go for is stitch gauge.  I've never used this yarn before and I wasn't sure I was going to like  working with it, but I find it is growing on me.  It is definitely a fingering weight yarn.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mariposa Tee - Done!

Once I got past clue 3 this top went very quickly.  I did have to make a couple of more adjustments to the pattern because of the changes that I had already made.  I had to recalculate where to do the yoke decreases, which was easy thanks to an app on my iPad.  Once I did the initial 3 sets of decreases that were common between the scoop neck and the high neck I tried it on to see how it was fitting.  I really liked the neckline so I decided to stay with the scoop neck, but I really didn't feel like figuring out how to do the short rows with my pattern adjustments, so I just skipped them.  Instead I did another set of decreases and then started the neck edge, working another set of decreases into the neck edging.

Pattern:  Maripos Tee by Michelle Miller
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Worsted in Carnival
Needle:  US 8 (5 mm)

And the sun was out yesterday, so I got some beauty shots of my latest shawls.  First up, my Treasure Island Cape, front view.
 And my Ardent Spring Shawl

Have you heard?  It's time for Camp Loopy.  Camp week - the week you can get discounts on the yarn used in the camp challenge is this week.  I wasn't going to do it again this year, but I caved.  The first challenge is easy.  Knit or crochet something that uses only 1 skein (at least 375 yards), but it has to be a yarn that you haven't used before.  Well, that might be a bit of a challenge, but there is no harm in looking.  So I went to the Camp Loopy site and checked out the yarns, just looking, and found Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock, a yarn that I have never used before.  The first color that caught my eye was Queen of Tarts.  How can you resist that name.  Then I spotted Blue Morpho Butteryfly.  You have to understand, I have been haunted by the Blue Morpho ever since I listened to the ZBS radio play Dreams of the Blue Morpho.  I have been wanting to make something inspired by that radio play ever since I heard it.  Actually, I thought it would be cool to design a whole series inspired by the Adventures of Jack Flanders radio plays, starting with Blue Morpho.  And here is the yarn.  It was meant to be.

I'll use the Queen of Tarts for the challenge, and find a nice one skein shawl.  I have tons of patterns, and there are lots more on Ravelry if I don't have one in my library that suits.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mariposa Tee - Clue 3 Done!

Remember when I mentioned about a project coming together easily meaning that it was meant to be?  Well, the opposite is also true.  If a project is giving me a lot of trouble I figure it is time to rethink it.  Maybe the yarn and the pattern are not a good match, or there is something with the construction that is causing problems, or maybe I just don't approach a pattern the same way that the designer does.  This top was a problem project.  Beautiful yarn, beautiful pattern, but I kept making mistakes and it was frustrating me and making me work way too hard.  Knitting should be fun.  Life is just too short to spend time on things that are supposed to be fun but for some reason are not.

So a couple of weeks ago I was sitting in my office listening to a telecon working on this project when I made another mistake, which I didn't notice until I was knitting the row above it.  The pattern had been giving me trouble as soon as I finished with the ribbing.  You see, the round began at one of the sides, so it split up the lace pattern, and led to that horrible spiral jog that is inevitable when knitting in the round.  And then, you get around to the other side where the lace pattern is and the instructions say to knit the left chart and then the right chart, but as you're sitting there looking at your knitting the left chart is on the right and the right chart is on the left while on the pattern page the left chart is on the left and the right chart is on the right, which was causing me all manner of confusion.  So there I was, sitting in my office, listening to a telecon and staring at my mistake and I decided to just rip out everything that I had done and start it all over.

Well, almost everything.  I ripped back to the ribbing and picked the stitches back up, but this time I put the round marker in the center of the back.  Then, on my set up row I made sure that the lace pattern would line up with the ribbing (it wasn't before, and that was something else that was bugging me).  I also cut out those two charts on my pattern instruction page and taped them back down again so that I could work the charts in order, from right to left, the way knitting charts are supposed to be read when you are working in the round.  I also adjusted the waist shaping, which was really low and seemed very compressed to me, so that it would match my shape, which is somewhat high waisted.  After I did all of that this project just sailed right along, no problems at all, which is the way it is supposed to be.
Here is a picture of the lace panel, lining up with the ribbing just as it should.  It is a little thing, but as we know little things matter (right Frodo?).

Pattern:  Maripos Tee by Michelle Miller
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Worsted in Carnival
Needle:  US 8 (5 mm)

Open Eye Tunic - Swatching

Have you seen the latest issue of Interweave Knits?  The picture above was taken from their web site.  When I saw this pattern I knew that I had to make it, and I knew that it would be stunning in a Unique Sheep Gradiance.  First I checked out the yarn called for - Anzula Luxury Fibers Breeze (65% silk, 35% linen; 750 yd [684 m]/4 oz [114 g]), worked with the yarn held double.  Ah ha, I said to myself, maybe I can substitute one of the Unique Sheep fingering weight yarns and then not have to work with the yarn held double, which frankly I just don't like to do.  At first I thought about using Luxe, because it is my favorite Unique Sheep fingering weight yarn, but then I was working on my Ardent Spring shawl and realized that Tinsel Toes would be a better choice.

Once I finished up my Ardent Spring shawl I had a little ball of Tinsel Toes left over from the border so after that shawl was blocked I started swatching.  First I swatched with size 5 needles, my default needles with fingering weight yarns.  The eyelet lace instructions were written only, no chart, and I am a chart knitter when it comes to lace so I charted the lace pattern as I knit it.  I tried charting it before I knit it, but it is one of those lace patterns that changes stitch counts on some of the rows so it was a bit tricky.  As I knit that first repeat of the pattern I realized that I wanted to make some modifications to it, so did a further two repeats with my modifications.  This resulted in the following swatch:
This swatch is a little smaller than the gauge called for in the pattern (5 stitches and 5.5 rows per inch) so I pulled out my size 7 needles, which are the size called for in the pattern and did two repeats of my modified chart.  This resulted in the following swatch:
Which is just about perfectly on gauge.

I also charted and knit a gauge swatch in the Cane Stitch that forms the side panels on the size 7 needles.
And once again had everything work out perfectly.

When things work out this perfectly, this easily, I take it as a sign from the universe that the project will go well so I went ahead and ordered my yarn.  Because I am not going to have to hold my yarn doubled I will need about half as much yarn as the pattern calls for, with some extra for buffer, so I decided to get 300 g, which will give me about 1200 yards.  It didn't take me long to settle on a color - Electric Blue Flame.  I am going to do the inserts in the light yellow, and then start the body with the dark skein.  I am also going to get some silk and sew a lining for the tunic so I don't have to worry about what to wear underneath it.

Pattern:  Open Eye Tunic by Deborah Helmke, Interweave Knits Summer 2013
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Tinsel Toes in Electric Blue Flame, swatches done in Rumpelstiltskin
Needle:  US 7 (4.5 mm)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Ardent Spring - Done!

I originally called this shawl Crocuses, because of the colors, but the name just doesn't flow, so I decided to call it Ardent Spring.  This name actually works the name of the colorway - Ardent - into the name of the shawl, which I like to do with these leftover shawls.  The yarn for this shawl was left over from my Robin Hood shawl, which I renamed Maid Marian, because purple just is not Robin Hood's color, but it is Maid Marian's.  I picked up a skein of Rumpelstiltskin for the border.  When I ordered it I had no idea that it was a gradiance set, so I got the darkest skein.

I did make a mistake when I was knitting this shawl.  I missed an increase row.  The shawl pattern is based on Elizabeth Zimmerman's pi shawl, where you periodically double the number of stitches.  I missed one of those rows very early on, but I didn't discover it until I got to the border.  I had actually kept track of my rows so I knew how many stitches I should have had, but I counted them anyway and was very surprised that I had less than I expected.  A lot less.  I counted twice, just to be sure.  So how much of an impact did my mistake have?

Well, it made it a little harder to block.  The shawl just didn't seem to pull out as cleanly or easily.  It definitely took some tugging and adjusting.  Obviously I did not do as many repeats of the border pattern, which resulted in the border being stretched more horizontally.  It looks okay, but I definitely felt like there was very little border to spare while blocking.  On the other hand, if I had had as many stitches as I thought I had, I would not have had enough yarn for the border.  Of course, if I had done the increase row I probably would not have gotten as many rows out of the yarn and would have ended up with fewer stitches when I started the border.  Would it have been enough fewer so that I wouldn't have run out of border yarn?  I don't know.  Probably.  Interestingly enough, I compared the shape of this shawl with one of my previous left over shawls, and the shape is almost identical.  As expected, the border is not as stretched out horizontally on the other leftover shawls.

Pattern:  based on Over the Moon by Vick Mikulik with a knit on border adapted from Damask Rose by Janine le Cras
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Tinsel Toes in Ardent and Rumpelstiltskin
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Country Road - Done!

I finished this up last night, having spent all weekend on the border.  It was an easy pattern to remember, although I still messed it up if I wasn't paying attention.  I really like the shape, it is very evocative of wings.  I wouldn't normally have picked these colors, but lately I've been trying to push my color boundaries.  It was a beautiful weekend, but today it is gray and rainy, so in order to get a shot of the shawl off the blocking mats I had to resort to using my studio.  It has natural spectrum lights, but it is also where a lot of the library lives, so no plain white background.
The shawl is a really great shape and should be easy to wear, and warm.
You can catch a glimpse of some of my overflow stash peaking into the picture on the left.  And before you ask, those white things at the base of the spines are book labels.  Our books are cataloged in a database according to the Library of Congress card catalog system, and I print labels with all of the pertinent information on them and put them on the books when I shelve them.

Pattern:  Two Roads by Meghan Jackson (Country Road)
Yarn:  Serenity Silk Single in Silver Moon and Bronze Age
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Country Road - Clue 3 Done!

Clue 3, the border set up, was a pretty quick one.  Once again there were two options, I picked the "Picnic" option which involved doing a Lateral Braid, also known as a Vikkel Braid, with my contrast color.  I was a little too tired to figure it out last night, but approaching it again this morning with a fresh brain it seemed really easy.  The only complicating factor was the fact that I was doing it with two colors of yarn.  Fortunately, having learned to crochet, I am comfortable with having a working yarn in my left hand, even though I continue to knit with the yarn in my right hand.  So, I had the Silver Moon in my left hand and the Bronze Age in my right hand and things went very quickly.

Pattern:  Two Roads by Meghan Jackson (Country Road)
Yarn:  Serenity Silk Single in Silver Moon and Bronze Age
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Country Road - Clue 2 Done!

Now that my Treasure Island Lace Cape is done I can get back to a couple of other projects.  This is the most recent Zen Butterfly Mystery Knit Along.  The last clue came out on April 21, but as befits a country road I've been taking my time.  This has been a fun mystery knit because you had two roads that you could travel - country or city, and you could mix them up if you wanted to - and several folks did.  Me, I'm a country girl at heart, so I will be sticking to the country road.  I actually redid clue 1 because I decided to twist the purl stitches on either side of the center panel.

Pattern:  Two Roads by Meghan Jackson (Country Road)
Yarn:  Serenity Silk Single in Silver Moon
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Treasure Island Lace Cape - Done!

I finished this up Monday night, but didn't block it until Tuesday and then decided that I needed to tweak the blocking but didn't feel like doing that until tonight.  The dark line is where the fronts overlap, and where I needed to make the adjustment, the fronts really stretched and were distorting the shape.  Now at least all of the edges that are supposed to be parallel are parallel.  I like the way my extra clue came out.  I wish that I had enough of skein 6 to do the complete border with it because I really like the contrast, but I was a little short.  Once I had the border memorized and felt confident that I wouldn't screw it up things went very quickly.  I really like that part of knitting a shawl, the gradual unfolding as the border goes on and the shawl comes off the needles.

While I was working on it Monday night I had it draped across my lap and the daybed.

Pattern:  Treasure Island Octagonal Shawl by Janine le Cras, converted into an Octagonal Cape by me
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Tranquility
Needle:  US 4 (3.5 mm)