Friday, April 04, 2008

Peace out

I've officially moved. Update your address books.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Michelin Woman

There comes a time when you realize that you've been duped. We have all been victims of pretty pictures that we see in pattern magazines, and envisioned how magnificent our FO's will turn out. Such is the trickery of beautiful models and professional photography. I, on the other hand, have an iPhone camera on the day the FO shooting took place. No awesome cameras, grumpy knitter, and this is what you get.... just a "Meh...."

(Do not be fooled by this picture. That's the most flattering angle of the sweater)

(Notice how I am not smiling in the pictures. There is a reason. The truth will be revealed soon)

(Way too oversized batwings.)
(Trust me, I can gain an additional 50 lbs and this sweater will still fit)
(The side that the French model never bothered to show you)

Pattern: Phildar Gilet No 416-T4-159, Sz 34/36
Materials: Jaeger Baby Merino DK (13 balls in Teal), Sz 4 circs, 2 el-cheapo Walmart buttons
Notes: The pattern, though French, was pretty straight forward because it didn't contain complicated shapings. The finishing instructions though, were a hoot. Basically, this is what it said : "Attach fronts to the back piece. Don't bother trying to match up the stitches because it is impossible. Look at the diagram and use it as a guide." Hmph! Great. The yarn that I used is a superwash yarn, and when I wetblocked the pieces, it grew to monstrous proportions. What is it with superwash yarn and gigantic expansions? I think that's what contributed to such a floppy looking sweater.

I had grand hopes for this sweater, and spent 8 hours seaming this beast. I was going to find a kick-ass furniture store and look for a similarly shaped couch that the model was standing in front of and do the exact same pose for kicks and giggles. And then, BAM!, I tried it on. "Meh..." was about the best emotion the resulting FO elicited. Just "meh".

At first I wondered if I should just rip the sleeves apart, but it wouldn't be a cardigan now, would it? I have decided in the end to just make peace with it and move on. Oh sure I'll still wear it, we all need a tent sweater some time right?

And with that.. let's move on to better pictures of the Pimlico shrug in the outdoors. This is a drastic improvement from my bathroom shots. We must end this point on a high note. Yes we must.

Pimlico Shrug
(ahh..much better)
Pimlico Shrug
(collar up)
Pimlico Shrug
(and again, what the pattern doesn't show you in the book)

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Monday, February 11, 2008

New Year, New knits

Alright, I'm a little late for a new year post, but better late than never right, guys? Let's start with the end of year knits. First here, we have a pair of Lapland Mittens from Folk Mittens.

Project: Mittens from Lapland (Folk Mittens)
Materials: Leftover Baruffa Maratona (uber light pink and burgundy), and Knitpicks Merino Style (Pink), Sz 2 dpns
Notes: No mods to the pattern, and this was my first DPN project. I saw these short 6" balene DPNs at the LYS and decided right then and there that I need to expand my horizons and move beyond the magic loop. Love the DPNs, surprisingly, and went out to purchase more sizes in the 5-6" length for future mittens and socks. These mittens were a little tight on me, but they did keep my hands warm enough for my Mardi Gras trip to New Orleans two weeks ago. (Yes I saw breasts, and no they were not all pretty).

And because I didn't want my friend to lose me in the madness on Bourbon St, I brought along my newly knitted Moss Stitch Beret in super bright yellow. It is Big Bird on Sesame St yellow. Little do I know that Bourbon St attendees would show me up with even brighter costumes that obscured my yellow noggin. 

Project: Ken's Moss Stitch Beret
Materials: Cascade 220 (used less than a skein), Sz 3 for the knitted hem, and Sz 7 for the rest of the beret
Notes: I loved the provisional cast-on knitted hem. Look! Lovely. The beret turned out a little slouchier than Ken's, which is fine by me because I like my hats a little oversized. I may or may not have screwed up the decreases, but in the end my stitch count ended up just fine. Live and learn.
Moss Stitch Beret

So what is with the cold weather and wanting to live in your blanket? I've had 6 skeins of pure merino from Uruguay burning a hole in my stash the last two years and couldn't figure out what to do with them. Sure, a sweater would be nice, but this yarn pills too damn much. And then I found the perfect pattern.

Project: Pimlico Shrug from Knit2Together (Size S)
Materials: 5 skeins of 216 yd/skein pure merino wool from Uruguay, Sz 7 and 8 needles
Notes: Instead of 34" of lace knitting, I shaved off some length and ended it at 27". Since I CO provisionally, I just continued ribbing and joined the knitting in the round. No other mods to the pattern, and it is a dream to knit with this yarn. 
We've seen some cold nights here in California, and I've loved every moment of it. Why? Because I now have an oversized blankie to keep me warm. It's soft like buttah, and the perfect piece of clothing to keep me cozy while I knit. 

So there we have it. And lest you think I'm taking a break.. you'd be wrong. Project on the needles right now... tadah!

It's French, it's pretty, and it's..... one giant headache. Google translator to the rescue! 

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Saturday, December 22, 2007


When did you first learn to knit? And why?
Back in 2005, I wanted a wrap sweater. I have long arms and a long-ish torso, and could not for the life of me find a wrap sweater that fits. On one fateful Saturday in WalMart, I picked up their "Teach yourself to knit" kit and that marked the beginning of a new obsession. After a weekend of casting on and binding off, I picked up the Stitch'n'Bitch Nation book and knit my first sweater - the Lucky Clover Wrap. Ever since then, I've knit several sweaters -- cabled ones, simple raglans, boleros, and jackets.
Yet despite all that knitting, I have come to realize that the ones that I wear again and again, are the simple sweaters. Take for example, my Thermal. I wear it with a tank top underneath, or a 3/4 length shirt, and when the weather started getting a little colder, a long sleeved shirt. And my Raspy, a simple stockinette raglan that has seen numerous wears. And so when that Phildar Tendences 2007 issue arrived at my doorstep, this immediately caught my eye. But I really wanted to knit with Rowanspun 4ply - despite its slubby texture, and so I forged ahead.

Pattern: Phildar Tendences Printemps'07 Cardigan #18, Sz 34/36
Materials: 8 skeins (with lots leftover for seaming), 0 mm and 2.5mm needles, 3 3/4" pearl buttons 
Notes: The pattern asks you to knit 8 pieces separately but I cheated. I knit the two front pieces and the back piece in one piece to the armhole, and continued separately. I added an extra stitch in the seam line to visually separate the front from the back, and also kept the beginning and edge of the rows with a selvedge stitch for easier seaming later on. Short-row shoulders, with a 3-needle bind off. The two front ribbed edges were attached to the front pieces using a crochet slip stitch (Note the slight puckering on one of the front edges), and the sleeves were knit the round.
The cardigan has 3 columns of stockinette detail in the fronts on a reverse stockinette background, so basically I would knit in the round in stockinette and just flip it inside out when I needed to seam. The collar was attached using simple backstitching.
(shown here: The knit column on the waist, and the decorative knit columns on the front)
(shown here: the right sleeve seam and the collar to body seam)

Now if you followed the pattern like I did for the buttonholes, that button size mentioned in the pattern will NEVER fit through the holes. Like, NEVER. So I settled for 3 el-cheapo 3/4" buttons from Joann's instead. Does the job if you ask me.

In the end, I like my yarn substitution. Wet-blocking Rowanspun really smoothed out the slubbiness and evened out my stitches, and I can predict many many wears in the future already.

And because I just totally raved about simple designs, I will now bite my own tongue and show you this.

(shown here: Fair isle swatch for my first Fair Isle Pullover)

It's a hefty swatch. I'm having a hard time deciding which shade of grey to go with the yellow. The yarn is Harrisville New England Shetland: Cornsilk for the yellow, and Charcoal --> Dove Grey --> Suede (darkest to lightest). I am planning a simple shapeless potato sack pullover, something to lounge in for the cold weather, but in a bold brocade-ish pattern. Feel free to chime in and give me your two cents. All suggestions welcome.

And oh, in case you were wondering, I did get that pair of crochet slippers from my friend. He done good, y'all. The darn thing fits!

(pink feet make me happy)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Demi - Delayed FO Shoot

I know when I read blogs about other knitters' FOs, I am always looking to see how it actually fits on a real person. Sure, just the act of completion is a marvel in itself, but let's be honest: We want to know how it looks on someone.
Finding buttons for this sweater took way longer than knitting it, and hence the delay in the photoshoot. I'm actually visiting a friend in Northern California this weekend, and she warned me that she was going to drag me Christmas shopping with her. I told her that I'll bring my comfy shoes :)

"Okay, but you have to take pictures of my sweater while we are out and about today so I can post on my blog.", said I. "And headless". She thought it was funny, but obliged nonetheless.

Pattern: Demi, XS from Rowan Vintage Style

Materials: 14-16 (ha ha I forgot) balls of Pingouin Shetland et Lin, discontinued yarn (a Shetland / linen blend yarn), Sz 6, 7, 8 needles, and 4 wood 3/4" buttons from Joann's.

Notes: No modifications, just knit to pattern. Seaming was a pain in the ass, and I misread the left collar instruction and botched the ribbed (placket) section. I thought I was outsmarting the pattern by not binding off at the left shoulder section. It wasn't until the seaming that I realized that the bind-off had a purpose. Duh. Oh, yea, and seaming was a pain in the ass. It is so painful that I have to repeat. Painful. There, thrice. But whatever, I can live with it.

And there you have it. I love the way it fits, the modified bobbles, the length, the color and the warmth. Trust me, this baby is warm. If I can shop outdoors the whole day without a coat, it is definitely a-ok in my book. And oh, I admit, I did check my reflection a few times today to marvel at my own work. Pfffftt..... Who wouldn't?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Acorns and Squirrels

Well, since my last appearance, it's been quite some time. Who knew "stay tuned!" meant over a month's absence? If I had held my breath I'd be purple by now. And no, I have not found the appropriate buttons. Again, who knew buying buttons would be such a pain in the butt? The search goes on. But that doesn't mean that knitting has halted. Oh siree no. I've since completed a pair of mittens for a shivering friend in DC, and am currently churning out a cardigan.

Presenting.... the mittens that I had a really hard time giving away..

Project: Squirrelly Swedish Mittens by Elli
Materials: Stash yarn (Rowan 5-ply soft - green, Knitpicks Palette - light blue, New England Shetland - white and brown, Henry's Attic Kona Superwash - more white), Sz 0 and 1 Addi's)

Modifications: Used sz 0 for the cuff, added the braids, and knit the rest without modification using sz 1 circular needles.
Pretty huh? I know. I want a pair too. But the recipient has reported back saying how much he likes them and that the mittens have already accompanied him on his recent Sunday trip to Whole Foods grocers.

Oh.. that's just me guarding my mittens in the apartment complex yard.

And this is me new love. I chose a wool yarn that may or may not be appropriate for it. But I am forging on. We'll see what happens. I am hoping blocking will work miracles, but we all know how wishful thinking gets us every single time (photo courtesy of Phildar Tendences 468, Cardigan #18).

Happy Turkey (or Tofurkey) week y'all.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Shh.. Demi is napping

We are experiencing extremely hot and windy weather here in Southern California due to the Santa Ana winds. It's causing my nose to bleed (ahem, bloody booger is more like it), but it's allowing my Demi to dry at record speed.

Stay tuned for modeled shots!

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