Unhealthy Obsession

Evidence of how one college student's obsession with knitting has completely driven her nuts.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

WIPs: One Button Cardigan, Everyday Cardigan

It's been a while since I updated. I've taken some pictures but have yet to modify or upload any of them, so I've held off on posting..

I just finished the right front panel for my One Button Cardigan (from Hollywood Knits). I have only the sleeves left. This has been the quickest project I've made to date. An entire cardigan.. so far, the back and both front panels have taken me less than a week to complete. I've already seamed the left shoulder too.

I'm learning a lot from making mistakes. I never finished my Everyday Cardigan.. it's sitting on my desk, pinned together but unwearable. Every single piece is too large - too wide. Sometimes it is due to getting the wrong gauge, other times it is due to the weird properties of cotton, other times it is just due to the pattern itself - I suspected it would be too large for my liking even if my pieces did meet dimension.

It's really frustrating, I've been working on the Everyday Cardigan for over a month nonstop and I am at the point where I have to essentially take it apart for the second time. It is going to be gorgeous and comfortable when it is done, based on what I can tell from trying on the pinned version, but until I can modify it to the point where it is wearable, there is no cardigan :(

The dropped sleeves are too wide. I am going to have to go back and totally hack off several inches in the width. I don't know what I will do about the fronts.. probably redo those to be skinnier. The back, b/c it takes the longest, I will probably leave as is, and just seam further in.

On the up side though, the One Button Cardigan has been a breeze, b/c I knew what problem areas to stay aware of after the whole Everyday Cardigan fiasco. I feel like I can almost confidently knit any plain stst cardigan correctly now. The other pro is that the yarn is bulky (Reynolds Lopi in 9981, a variegated red grey), so it knits quite quickly. This is my first bulky project - I am usually very anti-bulky yarns, I just don't like how they look and feel as garments - but this particular yarn and this particular patten spoke to me.

I had to modify the pattern b/c I couldn't get gauge (the pattern calls for an unusually bulky yarn), and it's been working pretty well. I am quite pleased with myself. The calculations are not as difficult as I originally thought they would be.

Also doing some experimental seaming, I am terrible at seaming. I've been consulting Nancy Wiseman's Knitters Guide to Finishing Techniques (or something to that extent). It isn't immediately clear what I should be doing, but I think if I read over the sections again I'll eventually get it.

That's all for now, I'll post when more progress gets made.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Procrastination and De-stashing

Trying to work on my take home final for my numerical analysis class, but it's slow progress.

I've been thinking a lot about getting rid of my Cascade 220 stash. I know I just recently acquired it, but I can't really think of anything I'd like to knit out of it. In an ideal world, I would swap someone all my 220 for 220 superwash (again, trying perpetuate my goal of 100% machine washable), but I see that as unlikely.

Cost-wise, I concluded that 4 skeins of 220 would be equivalent to 3 skeins of 220 superwash..

I'm trying to figure out the best way to get a good swap out of this though. I need to find someone who has a lot of the superwash they want to unload, hopefully in the colors that I want, OR find someone who wants the lot for some lump sum that will allow me to get some reasonable number of skeins of the superwash.

If anyone out there is interested in making a swap or a sale, feel free to comment :) I have a bunch of darker colors, some oranges, etc.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Cardigan/Bolero - Sucked In

I just gave in and bought the pattern for the Karabella Round Shaped Cardigan at the Weaving Works. Darnit.

It's a very cute pattern. Looks like it has a dropped shoulder though :P And I'm not sure if I like the ribbed sleeves.. may have to remove that.

To perpetuate my goal of knitting only machine-washable items, I anticipate this cardigan to be yet another item knit out of KnitPicks Shine. Why not? It's a really nice yarn, very soft, good stitch definition, decent colors, good price, gets gauge on almost everything I want to make, and machine washable. Biggest sellers being good price, gets gauge, and machine washable ;)

Last night I purchased a color card for Shine, since I figured with my eventual purchasing of practically every single color, I might as well just own them all so I can compare. Hope it arrives soon so I can start figuring out what colors to get for my brother.

What's terrible is that I went on a tea diet to save money, and I ended up spending all the money on yarn and knitting related items instead :P

Swatch Washing: Shine, Manos Cotton Stria

I sent my swatches through the wash again today. The Manos Cotton Stria went through a second machine wash and dry cycle (after having gone through two hand washes prior to that), and the Shine went through its first wash and dry ever.

The Manos is taking it pretty hard. After just two machine washes, it is already starting to pill (or is it giving off what people call a "halo"?). Definitely showing some wear and tear. The tag says to hand wash, partially dry in the dryer, remove while damp and let completely dry flat. I am going to take their word on the hand washing based on what I have seen with the swatch. It did not shrink any further after the first wash.

The Shine swatch shrunk 1/4 of an inch (of its original 3.5 inches) lengthwise after wash and dry. Still looks very good after just one cycle. You can see the marginal beginnings of pilling/a halo. Shine is supposed to be machine washable, so I am going to hope it doesn't get any worse. It didn't shrink at all widthwise.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Patterns On My Mind

I have been consumed with thoughts of potential projects for the near future. I don't know how I will finish them all.

1) Sweater for my brother
2) Debbie Bliss cable cardigan
3) Karabella bolero
4) Zillions of socks (at least one pair for my grandma)
5) Another X-Back
6) Short sleeved cardigan from Vogue Knitting
7) Greek Pullover and possibly other patterns from the upcoming fall Interweave Knits
8) Tweed pullover (to use my Donegal Tweed)
9) Semi-chunky tweed cardigan/bolero

And more..

Friday, June 03, 2005

Vogue Knitting, Spring/Summer 2005

To add more great news to great news, a wonderfully nice knitter out there in cyberspace somewhere offered to send me a copy of the current issue of Vogue Knitting!

I was perusing this magazine at WW today and noticed that there was a pattern I really really wanted to knit in there. It's a short sleeved summery silk cardigan, very cute. When I get the magazine, I can provide a better description of it ;)

I didn't want to buy the $7 magazine for ONE pattern out of the 20 or so that it had, so I asked around to see if anyone knew where I could get someone's discarded or used copy for cheaper.. and lucky for me, someone offered to send me hers. Thanks!

The internet has really changed the way that people with common interests connect with one another, and for the better. It is really fascinating to observe the evolution of interest-based online communities.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

KnitPicks Shine and Merino Style

I recently received my order of one skein of KnitPicks Shine in Cream (an off-white) and Merino Style in Harvest (a butternut squash). I had a free shipping code, and I really wanted to try out these yarns without a large committment, so I purchased a small sampling!

As you can see, the skeins really are as small as people say they are:
KnitPicks Yarn May 05 002

But don't let that deter you from purchasing them! Both yarns are incredibly soft (in skein and knit form), a dream to knit with, knit evenly with little effort, have nice stitch definition, AND are incredibly affordable to boot. The colors in the picture are relatively accurate, I know sometimes people have been surprised when they got their colors in the mail and found them to be substantially brighter than they thought!

Shine is a 60% pima cotton, 40% modal blend. Apparently, modal is some sort of derivative of tree cellulose fibers. It is a little bit shiny, as the name implies, but is not overly noticable. I made a little 3.5" x 3.5" swatch on size 6 needles and was able to get 5 sts/in and 7 rows/in:
KnitPicks Yarn May 05 006 Edit

The color in the picture is darker than the actual color of the yarn. In actuality, it is a fairly close to a white off-white.

My first project with Shine will be a sweater for my brother. He seems intent on me knitting a sweater for him for his birthday (end of July), so we will see if I can get that done in time ;) I am having problems figuring out exactly what pattern to use and what colors to use. I think he'd like a V-neck, but I was also thinking that the Adirondack Pullover from The Garter Belt might be a decent choice. Trouble is, he is kind of small, probably smaller than the smallest size of that pattern.

My second project with Shine will be for myself ;) I want to make the cabled cardigan from Debbie Bliss's Cotton Knits for All Seasons, in Cream. Since it calls for 5 sts/in and 7 sts/row, I am all set! :)

I am going to throw my swatch into the wash and see how it fares. Shine is supposedly machine washable, so I hope there isn't too much shrinkage if at all. If you know me, you know I don't like anything that isn't machine washable ;)

I also knit a swatch out of the Merino Style, but I'll talk about that another day.

Busy Bee - Branching Out, Prize Winner!

Wow, a lot has happened since I last posted. It can get really tedious to constantly update, especially since it means taking pictures, uploading them, and posting them. Anyways, I am rounding the corner to finals, so you can understand why I haven't posted ;)

For starters, I did finish my Branching Out scarf at long last. I finished blocking in mid-May, and I started the project early May. Two weeks is not bad for my first lace project!

After I blocked it, the length of the scarf increased maybe 6-8 inches! The stitch definition was much better, and the scarf more even-looking, but I definitely preferred the original size of the scarf. That is something to keep in mind if I choose to make another one for myself.

This was my first time blocking anything, so it was mostly experimental. I saturated the scarf, and pinned it down to a towel with seamstress pins. They didn't stay in place very well. It was also difficult to shape it in such a way that it was of even width from one end to the next. For my cardigan, I'm going out to get some foam core for a blocking board, and hopefully some T-pins, which should hold better.

An overview during blocking:
Branching Out 051605 002 Edit

A close-up during blocking:
Branching Out 051605 004 Edit

I gave the scarf to my mom several weeks after Mother's Day. Unfortunately I never got to take a picture of the finished product. Today my brother sent me some pictures he took of my mom wearing the scarf (he claims they're paparazzi photos ;) Finally, some proof that she actually wore it! ;)

You can see my post about finishing in the Branching Out KAL here.

Project Details:
Branching Out Scarf from Knitty.com
Yarn: Jaggerspun Zephyr, 50% silk, 50% merino wool - about 1.2 oz.
Cost: $3.75/oz at Weaving Works, about $4.50 total.
Needles: Brittany Birch DPNs, size 8 - would prefer pointier tips for lace
Start to Finish: Approx 2 weeks

In other great news, I was picked as the winner of the first Branching Out KAL monthly drawing! I was so surprised and so excited! I never expected to win at all. The prize is a skein of 100% merino lace wool, hand dyed by Danielle at NoNoKitty. You can see all the prizes here. Thanks April and Danielle! :)