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.