Wednesday, August 30

And here's to you, Mrs. Marigold (she's no longer a liberated woman)

I know, I know. What manner of madness is this that has me posting two days in a row? It's nothing short of miraculous.

I prefer not to think of this photo as fuzzy, but rather, as helping to create a mood or affect. It's the FO-photo equivalent of a Monet.

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Pattern: Ms. Marigold
Yarn: Well, I "misplaced" the ball band, but it was a 50/50 wool-cotton blend from Anny Blatt. I have a feeling this yarn might not exist anymore? It's very much like the Rowan variety, though. Really spectacular to knit with (my stitches could do no wrong in this yarn). I used 3 of the teal, 1 of the purple (I picked these up for $2 a pop at a monster sale last year. I'm glad I was finally able to use them), and about half a ball of Rowan Calmer (also gotten at said sale) for the ribbing and ruffles since I completely ran out of the Anny Blatt stuff. Which is great because, even though the purples don't quite match, it means I was quite successful in using up stash.
Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm) Addi turbos
Notes: I pretty much knit this puppy as is. I crocheted two fewer rows on the ruffles, because they were flamboyant enough. I also added 2-2.5 inches to the length. Other than that, nada.

Tuesday, August 29

Hmmm.


Brief updates first: Ms. Marigold has been finished for a little while, but I haven't gotten around to the photo documentation. Jess is awaiting buttons, although I'm lagging on that one because I am not at all pleased with the neckline (too wide) and collar (too short). Also, months and months ago, I surreptitiously knit the Counterpane Carpet bag from Handknit Holidays. Two nights ago I finally seamed it and pinned the lining in place. At this rate, the poor lining won't be sewn in until Thanksgiving. I've started Rusted Root out of some Butterfly mercerized cotton in a lovely eggplant color that has been languishing in my stash for almost as long as the stash has existed. I love the way it is knitting up (I'll admit it--I'm such a sucker for a good cotton yarn. Even though I love merino, it's usually too hot for me to wear).

Meanwhile, I have tens of projects scrambling for a prime spot at the top of my fall to-knit last. I have some cherry red Cascade 220 for Forecast, the chocolate Cotton Glace forAgnes, and quite a bit of old, new, and blue (seriously, I have non-purposefully accumulated mostly lace yarns in the blue family) laceweight for IK's Swallowtail Shawl and Trellis scarf, and the Lotus Blossom Shawl, among other possibilities.

However, the yarn that is currently foremost in my brain is this lovely stuff that I bought last year at Rheinbeck:

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It's from Ellen's Half-Pint Farm, and it's soft and cozy and in a different kind of palette than I normally choose. I also am not usually a fan of variegated sweaters, but something about this yarn makes me eschew that habitual stance. I'm thinking something simple with few frills, easy and relaxed, so that the yarn can be the main design element. The yarn and an asymmetrical shape. I think I've narrowed it down to two patterns. This one from Berroco, possibly with a different stitch pattern at the collar:
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or, the Ram's Horn Jacket from Knitting Nature:
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There are obvious similarities between them, but at this point I'm leaning toward the second--I prefer the knitted hems to the ribbed bands, I like that the asymmetry extends to the collar shape, and in general, I feel like the Knitting Nature design is a bit funkier and more unusual.

What do you think?

*Edited to add: So the hank of yarn I have is pretty huge, but I stupidly lost the band for it and didn't know the yardage. Until I did a little research and found out that I don't think I have enough for the Ram's Hown Jacket (like, I'm several hundred yards short). Especially since I would have to add some serious length to the sleeves and body, since it seems to be kind of a short-girl sweater. This is very sad. Perhaps I will think of something else.

Anyone know of any similar patterns? For a floppy, cozy little asymmetrical cardigan?

Monday, July 17

A hint no longer


Remember this?
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One of my stashbusting efforts (modeled in the freezer aisle):
Minisweater
Pattern: Everyone knows it. Everyone loves it. It's the Minisweater
from Glampyre.You've probably made one. Heck, I've even made one. (The inexperienced knitter in me didn't stop to calculate that cropped, short-sleeve sweater + 100% wool would not equal weatherappropriate fun in that first attempt. See previous post for my rant about project-fiber compatibility.)
Yarn: The sadly discontinued Lion Brand Cotton Ease, about 1.75 skeins. I think the color is called Blue Popscicle, or something like that. It is definitely a color that will stain your tongue.
Needles: Addi Turbo 5.0 mm (US 8)
Modifications: A few. I made up a little stitch pattern--basically stockinette with staggered purls; I say I made it up only because I figured it out on my own, but I'm sure it exists elsewhere in patterns and/or stitch dictionaries. It's kind of a no-brainer in terms of stitches, but it created exactly the kind of dotted texture I was going for. It reminds me of swiss-dot fabric, which is a special love of mine. I used seed-stitch instead of garter for the edging, because I thought it matched the purl dots better. I also made the sleeves more cap-like by knitting fewer rows after separating the sleeve stitches from the body. Finally, and obviously, I made it a wrap-around sweater instead of closing it with a button. I simply crocheted two long chains with yarn doubled and sewed them to each of the fronts. (I wanted the ties to be long enough to wrap around and tie in the front).

Et voila. Easy-peasy knitting that took me less than a week.

Thursday, July 13

For now


Even though I've had what could be described as, at the most generous, inconsistent energy for knitting (and at the least generous, "what's with all the yarn and needles around here?"), I have managed to complete several little things, and I am well on my way to completing a third. And since I'm an incorrigible tease, they won't have their internet debut just yet. (In truth, they haven't been photographed yet. It's been all temper tantrums and pouting over here, and we certainly do not reward that kind of behavior with fashion shoots.)

However, I will reveal some of my in-the-works projects, first hinted at in my last post. That lovely cotton glace (purchased from the always-reliable Jannette), which, however it may look in photos, is in reality the most delicious shade of chocolate brown, is the last yarn I will be purchasing for a while. Although my stash is rather modest, and I'm sure it is a mere molehill when compared to the mountain that constitutes the stashes of others, I've decided I need to use what I have instead of purchasing blindly and then putting away indefinitely, or worse, forgetting about it completely. Anyway, I've had my eye on this pattern for a while (this pattern being Agnes from Rowan 35). Or, to be more forthcoming, I've been lusting after this sweater for months and months. I can't wait to get started.

Then there's these. I know I keep threatening to start knitting socks, but I'm really going to do it. Soon. Seriously. I just have to decide on patterns. Baudelaire? Hedera? Pomatomus? Jaywalkers? (Yes, I know I'm late to that party, but wouldn't they be perfect in the self-striping stuff in the lower left-hand corner?) These embossed leaf socks from IK? Something else entirely?


Finally, we have these two works in progress:

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On the left is Ms. Marigold, though clearly mine will be more like Ms. Stripey-Plum-and-Teal. Or perhaps, Little Miss Stripey-Plum-and-Teal, ala this charming childhood throwback. This is another stashbuster for me; I'm using Anny Blatt wool/cotton (seems to be exactly like the Rowan version) that I picked up last year on the super cheap. I really love the way it is knitting up (both the yarn and the pattern) and I think this fiber will be much better for me than the alpaca called that's called for. (As a sidenote, what is UP with designers using yarn for garments that seem wholly seasonally inappropriate? I don't know about you, but I don't want to wear a wool or alpaca tank top. I think half the designs in the Summer IK were guilty of this.) Anyway, I am about to join the neck and begin knitting in the round. I'm crossing my fingers that I won't run out of yarn.

That itty bit o' knitting on the right will be Cherry. (Have you seen this gorgeous version by Carolyn?) I'm using the called-for yarn, Jo Sharp Soho Summer, which I am also thoroughly enjoying. This sweater is just so perfectly my cup of tea, it's as if Anna was poking around in the recesses of my brain for inspiration.

Friday, June 30

Pictures worth at least 100 words


Hot off the needles:

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*this* close to being done:

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In the works:

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Coming attractions:

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Schemes for different needles:

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New diversion:

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Monday, April 10

In lieu of

First, thanks so much for all the lovely comments about my Somewhat Cowl. It makes a gal blush in places that are shown off to their best advantage in her new sweater. I guess there's nothing like a finished project to bring the lurkers out of hiding, huh?

Anyway, I've been uncharacteristically indecisive about new projects to take on. (It's too bad sarcasm is poorly conveyed in writing. If only there were a way to illustrate sarcasm dripping off of the words of that sentence. I am known among my friends for avoiding definitive decision-making.) In life, whenever I get stuck about a particular choice, or I don't really know how to start something, I almost always fall back on the same old trick: organization. Can't move forward? That's ok; you can tidy things up as long as you're stuck here.

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I know that the Stash-flashing happened all across the internet last week, but I've always done things at my own pace. Besides, I don't think of this so much as flashing as I do spring cleaning. In a fit of organization-fever, I dumped all of my yarns and needles and assorted knitting accoutrements on the floor of my living room. It was a yarn-splosion. It's really a good thing my husband is such a patient man. I got rid of the stuff I'll never use. That's right, got rid; perhaps I should have issued a warning for the faint of heart. But you know how you buy a bunch of single skeins of crappy stuff when you first start knitting? Because you don't know any better? I'm past the point of pretending I'll ever find a use for them. I also inventoried everything in a pretty little notebook, and included all the yarn details and project possibilities. Really, this was kind of an excuse to use a pretty little notebook. I'm an absolute sucker for them. Then I packed everything away as neatly as possible. There's another big basketful that's not captured in photos, but you get the idea.

And what's that in my newly Spartan project basket? I'm glad you asked.

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This is just a little spring cardigan I'm working on. The yarn is Berroco Softwist, which is pretty nice. I like the sheen and I love the color. It's my own design: just a top-down raglan, with puffy sleeves, deep ribbing, a little ruffle detail, and perhaps a tie at the waist. Dripping with, in this case, sugar, not sarcasm. But not so much sugar that you'll get a cavity. Just enough to sate your sweet tooth.

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So, new Knitty, eh? I can't say I'm especially thrilled with the projects in this issue. I'm not sure how I feel about Mesilla; I really like the shape of it, with the square neckline and the darts. I even kind of like the embroidered circles. I think it's the colors. They are obviously very influenced by the Southwest, and I've never EVER enjoyed Southwestern-style design. Nautie is adorable, and Hedera is a lovely pattern. It's only edging me ever closer to that fateful and inevitable day when I throw caution to the wind and give sock-knitting the old college try. Other than that, though, I'm feeling pretty feh about most of the patterns. Oh well. They can't all be for everyone, right?

Tuesday, March 28

Happy Blogday

Well, it's official. This little blog is one year old today. And look how far we've come. We're not just celebrating first steps and the wide world of solid foods here at mimsy. No, we are going all out with an FO. Say hello to my somewhat Somewhat Cowl.

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(Sorry, she's a bit of a ham.)

Pattern: Somewhat Cowl by Knit and Tonic Wendy
Yarn: Louet Gems Opal, superwash merino, about 4.5 skeins (I actually have 1.5 leftover--perhaps for socks?) I am in serious love with this yarn.
Needles: This project was an orgy of needles (hmmm, wonder what type of Google hits that might inspire). Let's see, for the body I used US 5s, both custom-sharpened Clovers and Susan Bates Silvalumes. The bottom ribbing was done with US 4 Susan Bates Quicksilvers. The sleeves were magic-looped on US 5 Inoxes, and US 4 Addis. And the neck ribbing was done on US 2 Quicksilvers. This, however, was not on purpose. Even though I thought to myself, gee these needles seem small for 4s, I never bothered to check them out because it didn't even occur to me that the 2s might have snuck into my knitting basket in the first place. There's nothing like making that 6 inches of 2x2 ribbing last as long as humanly possible, I guess.

Pattern Notes: I did fewer armhole increases than indicated to prevent baggy-gappiness. That, and eliminating the cast-on stitches when I joined under the arms really helped. Also, I worked a series of paired decreases on both sides so that the sweater would taper in at the waist, aiding in the illusion of that perfect, sweater-girl silhouette. You can see the mock seam that they created in the last picture above. I didn't bother doing an matching increases below the waist, and I like the way it looks. I increased the body length by about three inches and the sleeves by 1.5.

The biggest alteration was to the cowl itself, and the reason I call this the somewhat-Somewhat Cowl. (Actually, I suppose my modifications make it more of a "Closer-to-Cowl-than-Somewhat.") As you can see, my neckline is folded outwards, as opposed to Wendy's, which is tacked down on the inside. Once I had finished all the knitting, I played around with several collar options. I had a weird bulge along the neckline on one side, either because I screwed up the increases at the very beginning or I was clumsy in the picking up of stitches. Either way, I wasn't sure that blocking alone would cure it. Folding the collar out, however, at least hid it. So that's what I did. I stitched it down in the front, but mostly it stays put because I pinned it in place while steam-blocking (my first steam-blocking experience, by the way. It may be my new favorite way to block.)

I adore this sweater. As soon as I weaved in the last end on Friday evening, I threw her on and jaunted off for pizza and beer. And, I wore her again today. I simply can't get enough.

See?
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