Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WIPW: Southern Grace v2.0

I have to say, working on the yoke for my 2nd Grace cardigan has been such a nice break from the Whisper Wrap. There's been shaping, there have been lace panels, there's been's great.

The lace is a super simple netting, but I love how it looks in the finished cardigan. It's enough to keep the knitting interesting but isn't so much that the cardigan won't work with literally everything else in your wardrobe.

I've finished the yoke, which means I'll be putting the sleeve sections onto waste yarn and working the rest of the body in stockinette. You know, the part I didn't want to think about? This feels like it's working up so much quicker than the Whisper Wrap (thanks, fingering weight yarn!) so I'll probably try to power through some more of the body before switching back to the wrap. The pink color is so bright and springy that I'd love to have it finished in time to wear it before summer, but that might just be wishful thinking.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


So, this Whisper Wrap situation? Oh. My. God.

Casting on 481 stitches was not the most enjoyable experience of my life. I think I counted them about 10 times, despite the fact that I put stitch markers every 50 stitches. I knew that the stockinette would probably drive me crazy, as would the laceweight yarn and every row appearing to be making no progress, but dude. Seriously. I promise I've been working on this regularly, and this is as far as I've gotten.

I did the math on the wrap--the pattern is 186 rows long. That's 89,466 stitches. Even worse, I timed myself and found out each row takes at least 20 minutes (depending on my level of distraction/the surprising number of mistakes I've made knitting a mostly stockinette item). That means that, conservatively, it would take me 62 hours to knit this thing. I'm going to go ahead and round that up to an even 70.

Looking at this makes me sad, but I want the finished wrap so much! I know I'm going to get through it, but I'm not going to be as faithful to it as I had originally planned to be. I can't. I would just go absolutely stir crazy, and I love my boyfriend way too much to let him see me like that.

In that vein, I'm casting on for a new sweater! I got 4 balls of Knit Picks Stroll Sock Yarn in Dogwood Heather a couple of weeks ago to make myself a new Grace (the yarn was basically a refund, so I'm not chastising myself for adding to the stash). I loved my original cardigan so much and am just never that happy when I wear the felted "cropped" version, so I'm going to be boring and knit the exact same sweater for a second time. Coincidentally, Jane Richmond put a call out for test knitters yesterday to test some revised yoke instructions. It seemed like a good sign to me, so I signed up and cast on tonight. I'm blocking the fact that this is, again, a mostly stockinette item out of my head because of my current cast on excitement.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March Madness

Although I'm right in the middle of the test knit and final review of my first pattern, my knitting and Internet time has been seriously affected by a very important event: March Madness. As a University of Kentucky fan I'm always crazy about basketball, but this year's tournament has been more intense. It's my first year out of school in which UK has been in the tournament (I still pretend that last year didn't happen), and I've actually entered a bracket into a pool with real money (instead of the homework coupons we used in elementary school), and I have to keep up on my basketball news so that I can defend my team against some of my coworkers.

In the small amount of knitting time I have found, I finished the pair of socks using the Stroll Sock Yarn that I received from the Knit Picks IDP. I'm really worried about how the pictures will turn out because the Sapphire Heather is such a deep blue. I've also come across quite a few issues during the test knit, which brings me to a (not so shocking) conclusion: designing is hard. I know that a lot of the issues are just beginner mistakes that I'll know to look out for next time, but I have swatched like crazy trying to figure out some of the issues brought up by my test knitters. Luckily, they are all sweet and wonderful and active and I haven't had anyone flake at all. 

My first pair of Archers was made using a slip 1, k2tog, psso centered double decrease on the arrowhead, which I really liked. When I was typing up the pattern, though, I used the double decrease on Knit Picks' standard list of abbreviations. I'm not really feeling the sharp line down the center of the arrowhead, so unfortunately I think I'll be ripping back to the end of the arrow shafts and fixing them. I'm aiming to rope my friend into modeling for pictures this weekend, so it looks like I'll be speed knitting some socks.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mitten Progress!

I've been working on the sample pair of my Archer socks to send into Knit Picks with the pattern, and I even managed to set up my first test knitter thread a few days ago. It's a small accomplishment, but it's kind of blowing my mind that other people have voluntarily chosen to knit something that came out of my brain. Trippy. I'm trying to be monogamous and get through these socks, but I keep getting distracted by the LINDEN Mittens KAL!

I started the project after work n the 10th, so I didn't get a ton of work done. The mittens have a short ribbing section and a nice long stockinette cuff, which I got about 2/3 of the way through.

I love these daily progress pictures, but mittens and socks are about the only things they would be interesting for. I can't imagine taking daily shots of a sweater! On the second day of the KAL I finished up the cuff and started on the hand shaping. Jane's pattern has shaping on both the thumb gusset as well as the opposite side of the hand, which I hadn't seen before (you know, in my long and storied career of mitten knitting).

On Day 3 I buckled down and did some Serious Knitting. I finished the thumb gusset and the hand knitting, and once I started the mitten top shaping I thought, "Hmm, trying these on might be a good idea." Why do I always wait to try things on?? The mitten seemed a little big, which might just be a personal preference thing, but I don't think things through too much when it comes to knitting so I ripped it out. The entire mitten.

And then I restarted it! It's amazing to see how much more I knit on this day than on either of the other days. I decided to add a few more rows of ribbing so that the switch from ribbing to stockinette would line up with the first color change. I also started the thumb shaping a few rows earlier to line up with the green/white color change, and I eliminated the hand shaping on the opposite side. 

I did some Serious Knitting again on Day 4, when I finished up most of the 1st mitten. I want to piece together the leftovers to make the stripes on the thumb match the rest of the mitten, so I'm going to hold off on making the thumbs until I've knit the 2nd one.

The ball of leftover yarn was looking small to me before I cast on for the 2nd mitten, so I decided to be smart and weigh it before I got started. The first mitten came in at 19 grams without a thumb, and the ball of leftover yarn came in at 30 grams. I have NO CLUE how my mind manages to incorrectly estimate things to that level, but I'm glad it worked out favorably this time! There should be plenty of leftover yarn to make my thumb stripes match.

I'm loving these mittens so much. The self-striping yarn keeps the project interesting, and each color change feels like a mini accomplishment. I keep looking at the rest of my Felici stash and at other mitten patterns to pick out a new project to make, and then I remember that I live in San Diego. I'm not even sure why I'm making these mittens, other than the fact that I like them. Oh well. Gift basket?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

So. Many. Mittens.

Yesterday was the cast on for the LINDEN Mitten KAL. Though it was so, so difficult for me to cast on another project (as I am usually such a monogamous knitter), I managed to suck it up and cast on so that I could squish some Felici for a little bit. I'm making some very Christmasy mittens in the Jingle colorway, which is a little darker than I would prefer for Christmas knits. Oh well. I imagine I'll probably survive this trauma.

I managed to finish up my Smitten Garland over the weekend as expected, so I only have one mitten project going at a time. I really don't like the color orange, so when my last 2 skein leftovers ended up being the 2 orange colors I decided to skip making a 4th striped mitten. I ended up with 11 mittens, which I plan to use as ornaments instead of a garland (because I love my boyfriend and he does not love knitted items hanging all over the apartment).

There was also a very exciting moment on Saturday when I opened my door and found a package including my first yarn support from Knit Picks! I requested 2 skeins of Knit Picks Stroll Sock Yarn in Sapphire Heather to make a sample version of my Archer socks, and it's the most beautiful deep blue color. This picture doesn't do it justice, but hopefully my final pictures will. The pattern is moving through tech editing (shockingly, there's a LOT of work to do on my first attempt at writing a pattern!), but hopefully it will be ready for test knitting soon.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

WIPW: My First Pattern and Too Many WIPs

It's been quiet on the blog front since the Ravellenic Games, but for good reason!

Remember how I said that I totally had time to fit in a pair of socks before the Closing Ceremonies? I lied.

I DID, however, manage to knit a 2nd sock and draft my first pattern! I submitted a sock proposal to Knit Picks IDP and it was accepted, so I'm currently waiting on yarn support. The draft is with a technical editor, and once it's been test knitted (for which I already have volunteers, which BLOWS MY MIND) I will send the finished pattern back to Knit Picks for them to review and hopefully approve. I've set up a Ravelry shop, so the pattern will be available whether Knit Picks accepts it or not. I'm excited to finally get a pattern out, and expect that there will be many more to come.

I've also not been too great at the "not casting on 80 projects at once" thing. I don't count my Beekeeper's Quilt as a real WIP, but it's always looming there in the back of my head. I counted the other day and found out I'm almost halfway to my goal, so at least that's something.

I also started a Smitten Garland to use up DK scraps, except that then I found a little bag of Lion Brand Bonbons at Michael's and so I bought that specifically to make this garland. Whatever. Look how pretty!

Each bonbon was enough for about a mitten and a half, so I have 3 more striped mittens to go before I can sign off on this project. I've also made a few mittens out of leftover Wollmeise DK to use as gift tags (look at me being all proactive on the gift-giving!), but I don't count those as part of this project.

I have 3 skeins of Knit Picks Shimmer Lace in Silver that was originally purchased for a Featherweight Cardigan before I realized that laceweight garments are Serious Business. It's been languishing in my stash for about a year and half so I've decided to turn it into a Whisper Wrap. This is also Semi-Serious Business and involves miles and miles of stockinette. It might not be the most exciting thing to knit, but I know I'll love the finished wrap and use it all the time.

My final WIP is a pair of Kalajoki using the Wollmeise Twin left over from the gloves I knit during the Ravellenics. I've loved this pattern since I made a pair for B's mom and figured that the blue color was perfect for river-inspired socks. I thought that the 82 oz of yarn I had left would be plenty, but after finishing the first sock I (because I'm an idiot and didn't weight the yarn as I went along) found out that I used 42 oz for one sock. Hmm...unless I can somehow bend the physics of knitting to my will, I may have to shorten the foot of these socks and gift them, too. 

I have also been fighting the urge to knit with some of my beloved Felici stash, but then Jane Richmond went ahead and started a KAL for her new LINDEN Mittens pattern. Sooooo looks like I'll be starting that as well. I have a few days to finish up the smitten garland, though, so at least I'll only have 1 mitten WIP at a time.

Make sure to check out this week's WIP Wednesday posts over at Tami's AmisFrontier Dreams, Made by ME, and Yarn Along to get some moral support that having 18 unfinished projects is totally normal!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

FO: Team KPL Isabella Bonnet

I finally finished a project for the Ravellenic Games! This one took me a little longer than expected, since I couldn't work on it as often during the week, so I may have to revise my statement on the extra pair of socks.

This is my second time making an Isabella Bonnet, and I think it's such a cute pattern. I knit both inside out so that I could knit the body instead of purling. I usually think the wrong side of my ribbing looks a little neater anyway, so it works out well.

The original pattern just calls for knitting a rectangle for the bow, then bunching it up with a smaller rectangle. I thought that added a lot of bulk in the middle, so I added shaping to my bows as follows: 

Cast on 10 stitches
Row 1: S1pwyf, purl across
Row 2: S1pwyb, knit across
Row 3: S1pwyf, purl across
Row 4: S1pwyb, m1r, knit to 1 stitch before end, m1l, knit 1
Rows 5-20: Repeat last 4 rows (end with 20 stitches)

Row 21: S1pwyf, purl across
Row 22: S1pwyb, knit across
Row 23: S1pwyf, purl across
Row 24: S1pwyb, ssk, knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, knit 1
Rows 25-40: Repeat last 4 rows (end with 10 stitches)

Row 41: S1pwyf, purl across
Row 42: S1pwyb, knit across
Row 43: S1pwyf, purl across
Row 44: S1pwyb, m1r, knit to 1 stitch before end, m1l, knit 1
Rows 45-60: Repeat last 4 rows (end with 20 stitches)

Row 61: S1pwyf, purl across
Row 62: S1pwyb, knit across
Row 63: S1pwyf, purl across
Row 64: S1pwyb, ssk, knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, knit 1
Rows 65-80: Repeat last 4 rows (end with 10 stitches). Bind off 10 stitches.

It's amazing how stretchy this hat is. It's listed as being for a 1-2 year old, but I can actually get it on to my huge head. It doesn't look good there, but it does physically fit. This one is going into the gifting basket, and I'm moving on to my 2nd Knotty Glove (henceforth known as the Frozen glove now that I've watched and fallen in love with the movie!)

In other exciting news, I got my shipment of Felici in the mail today--my last ever. I hate that Knit Picks has discontinued this yarn because it's so soft and awesome. I love the self striping colors, but if it had ever come in solids I would have made a ton of sweaters out of it.

It also turns out that I only ordered 12 skeins, which I think is somehow a much more reasonable number than 14. I'm planning to make a pair of Skews out of 2 skeins of the Jellybean and the Jingle will most likely be used for some LINDEN Mittens. I;m breaking one of my stashdown goals by no longer having a plan for everything in my stash (let's ignore the fact that my purchase of this yarn broke my #1 stash rule), but sock yarn doesn't really count...right?