Friday, June 30, 2017

Grape Chevron Sweater

This is a slightly older project, still pending. It was supposed to be a project for Winter 2016 term (so started Jan 2016). Planning started before my now-husband had proposed. I even got him to pose for a silly photo for my proposal to 'use up my stash before it swallows him whole' photo.

And the specific stash in question is my favorite acrylic - Red Heart ... yes, they do make nasty yarn, but they also have a nicer yarn that they make... Red Heart With Love. Which is a nice, bouncy, acrylic. My biggest complaints is the small list of colors they do, however, they have recently added self-striping to their options... so it will get better (I hope).

As you can see, it's a grape-y purple (my favorite color).

The pattern is the Chevron Chic pattern which I have in a 2009 Verena Knitting magazine. So, pattern bought almost 8 years ago in the magazine, yarn bought at least back 2 to 3 years ago... and project began in 2016. Yeah... I'm quick like that, lol.

In all fairness... Jan 2016 was the month when wedding prep planning struck me pretty hard. There was a lot I wanted to do to prepare for the wedding (which wasn't until October 2016), but I also knew with my health that I could have a relapse at any time and if I wanted to do a lot of DIY for the decor, and the ceremony, and the snacks, etc... well, then I had to start early so that I would be ready. 

I managed to get the back finished before I ran completely out of steam (my camera seems to like to turn purple into blue):

And then I picked it up again in December of 2016 (break month) starting the front; only I hadn't done a good enough job of noting where I was in the pattern and what size I was making (woops). I got to the chevron bit of it before I realized my counts for the pattern were off (mistake 1) and when I compared it to the back I realized I was off by more than the counts, I was a good 3-4" wider than the back because I had cast on for the completely wrong size (mistake 2). I had to frog the whole thing and then I put it in time out (where all the naughty projects go).

Then this last April (another break month), I picked it back up again and got the right number of stitches cast on... and I managed to get a couple of repeats of the chevron before it was time to start the new term. I had hoped to get through the chevron by picking it up here and there during term, but working on 'bigger' WIPs during term always seems to be such a waste of crafting time.

I found it sitting in my project bag, mid-row even:

I figure I probably easily have another 20 hours of knitting to finish the front of this sweater and another 40 hours or so of knitting for the sleeves. Then easily 3-4 hours of seaming up and weaving in ends.

It should be a warm and cozy sweater when finished and something I could easily wear into the office or when visiting family and friends. Assuming I can find time and health remission to work on it.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Color Dipped Top - WIP

My next WIP is also a top for me, this time a bit of an intentionally oversized, comfortable in jeans, comfortable for around the house, type of sweater.

Due to health issues, my temperature sense/balance is a bit out of wack, so cottons are great for year round wear and soft, cozy cotton? Well, that is just comforting even if you are just too tired to move, tired.

With comfort and casual living on my mind... I picked out a great, slightly boxy pattern: Patons Color Dipped Top. I dug through my stash and I had two sets of skeins that I originally purchased with the intent of making a top with them - a dark blue along with a heathered blue/white ... only... sigh. I bought them not realizing one was a heavy Aran and one was a light DK. Um... woops!  Thankfully when working my guage swatch, I realized there was a sizing difference (apparently the tag and the feel of the skein wasn't enough to trigger an ah ha moment, sigh!).  But, I'd already fallen in love with the Aran yarn. So, I went online to purchase the bright blue to use (the heathered wasn't available in Aran weight), 😒

The yarn itself is Universal Yarn Cotton Supreme, and it is lush to the touch and I think it really shows off the stitch pattern.  I bought the dark blue Aran weight as well as the Heathered DK weight from Heartland Fiber Co, which I visited for the first time a little over a year ago during the Eastern Iowa Yarn Shop Hop. It is a delightful store and I just kept coming up with new ideas for projects (and then the yarn), which is the best thing ever for both a knitter and for the shop owners. Lovely store filled with lots of little odds and ends (not just yarn) and great customer service. I'd love to go back any time, it's a little bit of a drive, but the shop is definitely worth a visit.

Since the second set of DK yarn wasn't going to end up working for the project, but I was deeply in love with this yarn for this project, I popped online and ordered some additional Cotton Supreme from Webbs. Loved the simplicity of the online ordering process and it certainly surpasses the quality of experience enough to want to add it to my beginning knitters references for my classes in the future.

When I was knitting up my guage swatch, I was thinking it was a broken rib pattern... where you K1, P1 on one row, and knit the second row. But, instead you K1,P1 on the first row (wrong side), then K1, K1 below; coming back on the second row. On a four row repeat where you then alter to P1, K1; and then K1 below and K1.... well, it makes this very interesting fabric which isn't truly stockinette even though the K1 below eliminates the purl stitch in effect... quite fun and interesting to knit up. Not totally mindless knitting like the broken rib would have been, but delightful none-the-less.

Sadly, this too is sitting sadly and forelornly in the corner... no knitting for this broken knitter. But it's going to make a truly lovely sweater one day.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Orange sherbert - a tank top WIP

I won a lovely grand prize of $75 coupon at a not-quite-local LYS (about 250 miles away); but close enough to justify a destination change for our Spring Break this last spring. Such a GREAT gift from StevenBe (in Minneapolis, MN).

I picked up lots of lovely yarns, and we don't really need to tell my new husband how much OVER the prize I spent, now do we?

Since I'm stuck flat on my back and unable to knit for a bit, I figure maybe I could spend a little time resurrecting my blog and posting some progress pictures.

First the swatch & yarn:

I picked up four skeins each of white & orange Be Sweet Bamboo, very soft, lovely drape and while a little bit splitty, still a very nice yarn.

My 'swatch' was an attempt at this tank that I started back in March, before I realized that the needles I had chosen was working great for seed stitch (the bottom edge), but was wrong for the stockinette portion. I ended up frogging this attempt and started with a needle, one size smaller, this last May.

I'm making the pattern up as I go, with an intent to add bars very similar to this pattern:  Block Theory; but using that color-work idea and some modifications from this pattern: Soliel; just substituting seed stitch for the bottom edge instead of lace (since the colorwork is intended to be the 'point' and the lace would only distract and make it too busy. I'm also knitting this flat, where there will be one side seamed in order to simplify the use of intarsia to build in the colorwork blocks.

Only, ha! With the needle size down one size. And even after re-working and re-verifying my guage swatch (lying gauge swatch)... I got into trouble at the mid-way point.

Bet you can't see the issue, can you? Neither did I for the longest time... happily knitting away and adding blocks of color on a whim.

Yeah, it's not WIDE enough for this not-quite plus sized person.

Hmmm... I've already frogged this project once. Because it was going to be too big and the knitting too loose. Now, the knitting is fine, but the guage is too small, sigh.

Got my thinking cap on and decided to add another block of color, this time up the 'seam' side, and in seed stitch... not sure why, maybe to make it look more like an intentional design element as opposed to an oops, did she mess up cover up (?)...

Anyway, a couple of inches in (was planning on continuing it until I matched the height of the other work, then continuing to work flat until I needed to start armhole decreases.

(hard to tell from this picture, it's a bit pinkish, but it's the same delightful orange as the bars in the picture above which is more true-to-color)

Then I got a flare up and repetitive activities causes problems. Now it's sitting in my beautiful project bag, around the corner from where I lay so I'm not too sad about not getting to work on it right now.