Saturday, June 7, 2014

FO: Grace v2.0 & Outfit Along!

Can I tell you something that super exciting? Well, exciting to me at least.

I finished my Southern Grace v2.0!

Ignoring the fact that I spent the time to make a 2nd cardigan exactly the same as the first, it feels like I brought an old friend back from the dead. I was going to take a side-by-side picture to show the felting on the first cardigan, but they looked pretty much the same (minus about 2 inches in length on the body). My Grace fit with negative ease, though, so the fact that the felted cardigan had NONE really made a difference.

As soon as I cannibalized the buttons off my first Grace and through away the useless body I cast on for Andi Satterlund's new cropped cardigan--Myrna.

Andi of Untangling Knots and Lauren of Lladybird are hosting an Outfit Along, which involves sewing a garment and knitting a garment that are meant to be worn together. The suggested knitting pattern is Myrna, a cropped short-sleeve cardigan with eyelet detail. I love Andi's patterns and have been wanting to make a cropped cardigan, so I jumped on this opportunity.

The dress portion of the Outfit Along is a little more daunting, though. I learned how to sew in 4th grade and have done it on and off (with a lot of customizing clothes in high school) since then. I haven't actually made a garment since my Alice in Wonderland costume in 2009, though. For some reason, I decided that Vogue's V1223 would be a great pattern to jump back into sewing with.

I was super excited to make such a fun dress and ordered some seriously colorful chiffon. I hemmed and hawed about what color cardigan would go best with the fabric and finally decided on Cascade Superwash 220 in Periwinkle.

I was a little nervous about working with chiffon for the first time so I ordered some extra fabric to practice hemming. I didn't expect it to be so hard to simply cut out the fabric, though! It's so light and stretchy and the whole experience had me frustrated. I'm nervous about starting this dress, so I may end up getting a new pattern and fabric to help ease me back into sewing.

If you haven't checked it out yet, this thread on Ravelry is where everyone is discussing their plans. It's amazing to see how everyone is interpreting the instructions. All of the participants who are adjusting their patterns really impress me--maybe I'll get to that level one day!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Stripes on Stripes on Stripes

You know how sometimes you get a picture of something in your head that you just have to make? And even when you keep running into problems you keep going because you know that it will be awesome when it's finished? Well...

When Knit Picks announced that Felici was being discontinued a few months ago, I panicked and purchased all of the remaining colors that I love. I didn't have any concrete plans for the skeins at the time, but I figured that striped sock yarn is a justifiable stash staple. After I saw all of the skeins added to my stash, though, I decided that I probably didn't need that many striped socks, and thus began my quest to find something else to make with some of the Felici.

My LINDEN mittens were the first project and ended up being a perfect way to use up a skein of Jingle. I don't wear hats (see my previous comments about having a big head), so those were out. My 2 skeins of Sweetheart were just begging to be made into something pretty for a sweet little girl, so I decided that I had a brilliant idea: I'd make a Sadie Baby Dress, a pattern that I've loved every time it came up on Ravelry, for my friend's daughter's 1st birthday in May. I looked through all of the project pages on Ravelry, and they were, of course, all adorable. The fact that all of the bodices were made in a solid or variegated yarn didn't register to me (ominous foreshadowing).

I knew that the seed stitch would look strange in self-striping yarn thanks to the purl stitches, so I dug through my stash for some white fingering weight yarn. I had some leftovers from some argyle socks but when I held it next to the Felici it seemed much more tightly spun. I knit the seed stitch band with one strand before deciding it was too holey, so I reknit it with the yarn held double. The fabric is dense, but works.

It was at this point that I start to consider the construction of the top of the dress. The bodice is knit in three pieces: a front piece and two back pieces that each have a button band. The seed stitch button bands would be knit using one strand of white to keep down the bulk, so I would have to switch yarns every row (is this technically considered intarsia?). Suddenly, it hit me: the top is knit in pieces. There would be no simple knitting around and around and letting the striped yarn work its magic. The stripes would have to be planned and matched up, and I would have to cut and weave in ends for each of the stripes on the top.

Now, let's talk about colors for a minute. To begin with, this is the picture that is on the Knit Picks website:

I see a deep raspberry color, a hot pink, a bubblegum pink, and a light pink. This is the assumption that I went on when I started knitting the top. I started chopping up a skein into the different colors and noticed that the light pink section seemed much bigger than the others, but for some reason I thought that was totally cool. Do I know that Felici colorways have 6 colors? Yes. Could I have check finished projects on Ravelry to see how other projects looked knit up? Yes. Did I? 
What do you think?

B is red/green colorblind and I will admit to having some fun testing him on colors. I used to be genuinely intrigued by the fact that he couldn't tell colors apart, but no longer. I can now relate to his frustration, because the section I thought was light pink is actually 2 very similar shades of light pink and a white that I think ended up having a lot of dye bleed onto it. Since I didn't notice this until the left back was finished and had the ends woven in, I just decided to make the top have stripes of 4 colors and the skirt include all 6. Whatever. It's a design feature.

Despite all of the issues that have come up, I have finished the bodice and am now on the much easier, knit-in-stockinette-until-it-looks-good skirt. I think it will end up being adorable, which was kind of the whole point.

Monday, April 21, 2014

New Pattern: Archer

I'm so, so excited to say that I've finally finished my first pattern! To be honest, it's just been waiting on pictures for about 2 weeks. It's been a labor of love and a huge learning experience, but I can't wait to start on some of my other pattern ideas.

Archer is a  fairly simple sock with an arrow motif running the length of it. The cuff is knit flat for 9 rows before being joined it the round, which creates a notch in the cuff for the arrow fletching. This notch makes the cuff much looser, so it's important to get a good snug fit on the leg so the sock will stay up.

The hot pink pedicure showing through is optional, though.

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?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ravellenic Games 2014 Update

I've been plugging away on my Ravellenics project and have a revision to my last post: I'll totally be able to fit in a pair of socks by the Closing Ceremony. Seriously.

Since I'm in the Pacific time zone, the Opening Ceremony wasn't shown until around 8 PM, which was 12 hours after it actually happened. We don't have cable (which I'm okay with like 75% of the time), so my Knotty Gloves were cast on while watching NBC clips of the event. Still counts.

I finished the first glove on Monday night, which is waaaay faster than I expected. The only other pair of gloves I've made was in DK and very bad, so I figured fingering weight gloves with cables would take me much longer. Maybe I was just excited for an excuse to knit All. The. Time, but I managed to get this pointy-fingered beauty cranked out in 4 days:

Although I think I prefer Wollmeise DK (I love how sproingy it is after washing, so I'm waiting to make a decision until I've washed these gloves), it's hard not to love the stitch definition on these. The pattern is well-written, although I found the chart a little difficult to read. I could have blown it up, but I'm lazy.

I wanted to take a break from fingering weight yarn and also I'm using the Ravellenics as an excuse to break my sort-of-trying-to-stop-starting-four-projects-at-once resolution-esque-decision, so I cast on for my Isabella Bonnet on Monday night. I realized after knitting a couple rows of ribbing that 1) I'm not sure how great a cotton blend hat will be, and 2) the sweater that I made with this yarn stretches after wearing it for a while, so this hat will too. Since it's a stashbusting project that is meant to be adorable and not protect anyone in the Polar Vortex, I'd say these are issues that I can accept.

I should be getting my *cough* 14 skeins of Felici in the mail this week, so I'll probably use 2 skeins of that to make myself some socks--after I pile all of the lovely soft skeins onto my lap and pout about how I'll never be able to order it again.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Ravellenic Games 2014

Things have been quiet on the blog front, but that doesn't mean I haven't been knitting. I've been working on my first pattern and finally, finally got a finished product that I'm happy with. I just need to unscramble my pages of notes, take some awesome pictures, and figure out how to produce and publish a pattern, and then it will be ready to go! I'm really excited to finally get something out there.

I've also been planning my projects for the 2014 Ravellenic Games and have finally landed on a good combo. For Team TARDIS I'll be making a pair of Knotty Gloves out of Wollmeise Sockenwolle 80/20 Twin in Nazar Boncugu WD, which I caked up last night. This was actually the first skein of Wollmeise I ever purchased. I've knit 2 DK sweaters but have yet to break into my fingering weight yarn, so I'm excited to try it out.

For Team Knit Picks Lovers I'll be using the Knit Picks Shine Sport left over from my Sperry sweater to make an Isabella Bonnet. I made one of these for my friend's daughter and love that it's such a quick and easy knit. Plus, hi, bows. It's mostly an excuse to use up most of this leftover yarn and will be added to my handy dandy Gifting Basket.

I fell off the cold sheep wagon pretty hard when I found out that Knit Picks was discontinuing Felici. I wish I was joking when I said I'm having trouble coming to grips with this decision, but unfortunately I really am being that dramatic. I have 12 skeins that should be arriving at my house next week and may try to fit in a pair of Felici socks if I have time. I know that I won't have time, since I can only knit so fast, but for some reason that doesn't matter. I guess it's like how we always pack an absurd amount of knitting whenever we go on a trip so that we don't have to deal with the hell that is being stuck somewhere without knitting. Except that I'm not going anywhere and will be right next to my stash whenever I need it. And also that being stuck somewhere without knitting is not fatal, as much as I think it is.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mother Bear Project

A few days after I heard about the Mother Bear Project, an article about it was published on Huffington Post. I'd definitely recommend reading the article--it explains the history of the project, which was started by Amy Berman in 2003. The basic idea is that knitters all around the world use one single pattern to knit stuffed bears. Hearts are sewn onto the bears' chests, a tag with the knitter's name is tied around the wrist, and the finished bears are then sent to children in Africa who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. It's a simple enough thing to do, but the pictures and stories of kids loving their bears might make you tear up.

I was looking for a stash busting project for a bunch of Caron Simply Soft I had left over from making things for my friend's baby. What could be better than using it to make a child smile?

The pattern really is very easy. The bears legs, body, and head are all knit in one piece in whatever stitch pattern you'd like (I used stockinette with a seed stitch sweater).

The arms are then picked up from stitches on the front and back of the sweater and knit flat. 

You seam and stuff the bear, then make a running stitch around the base of the neck and cinch it in. After that, all that's left is embroidering the face and attaching the signed tag.

Honestly, this project could not be easier. My face embroidering skills need some work and there were a lot of ends to weave in, but I will be making many more of these in the future.

If you're interested in joining, the pattern can be purchased for $5 from the Mother Bear Project.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Odessa

This project came about during one of my many, many Ravelry searches for stash-busting projects. I originally bought the yarn (NaturallyCaron Spa in Coral Lipstick) for a slip/dress/thing that I made. I made a mistake right in the middle front of the body and never got around to fully lining it, so it was a casualty of the frantic de-stuffing before the big move.

The yarn isn't my favorite. It's silky soft but sooo splitty. I've lost track of the number of times I'v had to drop a stitch back a few rows to catch a split stitch. It's also been frayed a little by sliding all of the beads down it (they're pre-strung on the yarn before you start knitting). Side note: this is the first time I've used beads in knitting. Why? I love sparkly things and yarny things, this is a perfect combination.

Please ignore the fact that I can't seem to get the first stitch on the traveling sections to tighten up. I'm looking into it (and by that, I mean I'm going to start yanking the yarn really hard after making that stitch).

Make sure to check out Tami Ami's blog for more WIP Wednesday posts. That's how I found these awesome beaded socks last week!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

FO: Chuck, Extended

I finished my Chuck, and I'm so, so glad that I decided to make this sweater full-length. The original cropped design looks adorable on Andi, the pattern's designer (who is amazing, in case you weren't aware. Seriously, her designs are all adorable), but I just don't wear enough dresses that it would get a lot of use as it was written. Granted, San Diego is warm enough that it's not necessary to wear a full-length sweater for most of the year, but this one is so adorable and bright and cozy that I think I'll be able to work it into my normal wardrobe.

In addition to adding a 4th diamond repeat and reversing the shaping on the body, I added an extra 30 rows of stockinette after the last decrease on the arms before beginning the ribbing. They were a little short before blocking, but Wollmeise DK blooms a lot after the first washing so they ended up being the perfect length.

Shout out to B for being my fashion photographer. Hopefully I'll be able to keep convincing him to take pictures for me so you can actually see all the awesome stuff I'm planning.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Chuck, Extended

I finally bit the bullet and ripped back my Chuck.

I wasn't too crazy, though--I ran my cable needle through the stitches first. Yanking out inches of knitting can be cathartic but dropping a cable stitch past where you want it to go is no bueno.

I originally ripped back to 5 rows after the last decrease. I talked to a Raveller who had added length to her Chuck and this is what she recommended, but I thought this was too high to start increasing. Since the decreases ended 35 rows from the underarm, I started the increases 35 rows from the start of the ribbing (row 26 of the 3rd diamond).

The shape looks super curvy, but the fit is great and makes my waist look tiny. I also love the comparison between the nice blocked sections, the wonky bit of yarn from where I ripped back, and the tighter unused yarn at the end. I'm assuming this will all even out in blocking--isn't that what we always tell ourselves?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

FO: Looking Glass Clapotis

My Looking Glass Clapotis is done, making it my first FO of 2014!

Blocking made a huge difference here. I didn't block my first Clapotis, so it's still sort of a weird parallelogram that bunches up on itself. It's a scarf, so it doesn't bother me, but I wanted this one to look nice since it's a wrap and also a present. For whom, I'm not sure, but it'll be living in my gift basket for now. Blocking didn't change the width much, but it added about 7 inches to the length. 145 grams of Knit Picks Imagination Hand Painted Sock Yarn gave me a wrap that is 18" by 56". 

Poorly modeled self-taken picture, but this gives you an idea of the size.

My odd-length red Chuck has been begging me to fix it so I can finally wear it, so adding another diamond repeat to the body and lengthening the arms will be my next project. I've been trying to figure out projects for the Ravellenics as well, but given the recent events surrounding the Games I'm not sure whether I'll be participating (I'm firmly on Team Rainbow). I guess I'll wait until closer to time to see how things pan out.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Learning Curve

The first time he visited me after I went away for college, my dad handed me an envelope that contained $200. He told me to treat myself and do something fun with it. After considering some of my options, I drove to the LYS near campus and bought my first set of DPNs, a copy of Favorite Socks, and 2 skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Multi. I had decided it was time to become a Knitter (For Real), and it was time to make my first pair of socks.

It took me about 2 weeks, but I finished one sock. I distinctly remember grafting the toe, trying it on, and running down the hall of my dorm to show my friend that I had made a sock. A sock. I was still mystified by how it happened, but it had happened. I've never suffered from Second Sock Syndrome, so thankfully I started my next one right away and finished within a week.

These are in no way the best socks I've ever made. The yarn is great quality, but I know now that I'm not a fan of pooling. The pattern is Cable Rib Socks, which was enough of a challenge at the time but would be normal KIP work for me now. Doesn't matter. I have an emotional attachment to these socks (and the horrible pictures) and will never get rid of them.

After about 2 years of light use, I got a hole on the toe of one of the socks. I didn't know what to do about it, so I tied knots in the loose ends of the yarn and retired them to the bottom of my drawer. It was one of those, "Oh, I'll mend that when I have a chance" kind of projects that I put off for, oh, 4 years. I finally decided this week that it was time to learn how to darn.

Good news: I can now wear my socks again. Bad news: seriously, the toe looks ridiculous. It's my first pair of socks, though, so I guess it makes sense that these are my guinea pigs for new techniques.

Here's the toe after untying the super sophisticated knots and trimming all of the loose ends. You can sort of see the D-shape of foundation stitches I made around the hole. Fun fact: did you know it's not easy to make this look pretty when you're using a variegated yarn? Lesson #1.

Okay, stop laughing. I know. I know! I should have been a lot more careful about the section of yarn I chose to fix this, since it sticks out like a thumb. Or a big toe. And yes, the craftsmanship is a bit...shoddy.

But look! All of my toes stay inside the sock now! I'd say that's a big improvement. Hopefully my next darning attempt will be a little more presentable.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

WIP: Looking Glass Clapotis

I'm actually making progress on my Clapotis! The fingering weight yarn on size 4s makes it feel like I'm making no progress, but I just joined the third and final skein of yarn and am about 15 grams away from beginning the decrease section. In other exciting news, I hit this milestone while I was actually home during daylight hours, so I managed to get a picture that showed the colors pretty accurately.

The yarn is Knit Picks Imagination Handpainted Sock Yarn in Looking Glass. The color isn't nearly as bright blue as it appears on the website, but it has great depth and I really like it.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Project Planning

One of my favorite parts of knitting is planning out my projects. I'll spend hours on Ravelry looking up patterns, which is time that would be much more useful if it was put towards knitting. Since I'm planning to only knit from stash during 2014, though, I decided to allow myself to plan out all of my projects in advance. All of my stash yarns now have a project attached to them, which means that I should be able to power through a ton of knitting this year.

I'm an accountant and therefore love spreadsheets, so of course my first instinct was to create a spreadsheet for my projects. Looking at all of this organized neatly makes me very happy.

The blue table is all of the projects I made in 2013, which added up to 7,435 yards. Unfortunately, I bought 9,020 yards...hence this whole stashdown thing. I obviously won't make it through all of the projects on the left within the next year, but they're all in my Ravelry queue and every yarn in my stash is attached to one of them. It's a long list, but I'm actually really excited to finally get to some of these skeins that I've had for years.