Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Agony of Defeat.....

Well, it was fun while it lasted! I got sooooo many little projects finished in anticipation of the Ravelympics.....but, well, I am out. I will admit defeat in the boards on Ravelry today : ( I will definitely try again next year, but the sweater of choice didn't get out of the starting block, so to speak.

Here's how it's coming along:

During the peri-olympic time frame, we took a 4 day trip to Dublin, my daughter lost her first tooth, and I had to finish 20 hours of Continuing Education. The trip was fun, and Dublin was lovely, but I got zero knitting completed. My daughter lost her first tooth on Valentines day- which means she REALLY wanted, and has been patiently waiting for her tooth pillow- how long can I make her wait???!!!! The CE is self-explanatory- can't knit and read very well! So, that's how the odds stacked up- not looking good.

For the actual sweater- my very generous and thoughtful Mom gave me some Malabrigo Merino a little while ago. It is luscious and soft. She bought it at a shop in Key West (!) and the color is called shocking pink- it's lovely.

So, I decided to try the February Lady Sweater. The pattern is a swingy fun sweater- which I think will be perfect for the spring. There are tons of people who have made it on Ravelry, so there's lots of tips available. So far, so good. Test swatch was duly knit and washed- no big surprises to be had- the yarn behaved quite nicely.

Here's the first red flag thrown- the kettle dye process of the yarn leads to uneven coloring in some cases. The recommendation is to change the balls every couple of rows. I knew I didn't want make the changes on the edges and risk them being sloppy, so I figured I would hide the change in the back....well, it's not pretty. To me, it looks like a little worm just under the surface that's disrupting the even flow of the garter stitch. I agree, I am picky about my workmanship, but I have learned this, if it bothers me NOW on row 60 or so, it is STILL going to bother me at the end of row 260. I don't know if it will even out in the wash, but I do know that I will have put a lot more work into it by then. So, my prospects of completing by the deadline are dimming.

Can you see it in this picture? I think it looks better because I have spent a lot of time trying to even it out. I am not sure why it's behaving like this- I tried to get the tension just right.....

In this picture the trouble area is in the top- even with the red stitch marker:

The next issue is the sizing- I am on target with the gauge, but it is still too small for my liking around my torso. I know that garter stitch stretches like crazy lengthwise, but I am not sure about width wise.

So, there you have it folks- it's heading to the frog pond today. I am going to knit it again with bigger needles and I am going to change the yarn just outside the button band. I also MUST finish that tooth pillow today, so the fairy can work her magic!

P.S. While knitting with the Malabrigo, I have a cheating heart. I keep thinking- I must knit a scarf or something snuggly with this yarn!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sam's Cabled Vest....

The Ravelympics (trying to knit a sweater in 2 weeks, which starts at 3 am local time tonight) has spurred me to finish off several long-languishing projects and to tie up some loose ends, if you will : )

It has been my goal to make a garment for my nephew. There have been a couple of hats, but I wanted something more substantial for him. I don't know if the little fellow was ever able to wear the baby bunting I made for him- his size was a little "healthier" than I had anticipated, so if it fit at all, it was probably for about 10 minutes.

Enter the cabled vest:

Moose seemed like a good model- I don't care for those pictures with creepy-looking dolls in them.

The cables seem to allow for more stretch in the middle- just where a little one might need it if he had a bit of a Buddha belly...

The pattern is on the PurlSoho blog, and it is VERY well-written. I don't think I have ever knit such a thorough pattern before. It knitted up pretty quickly. I learned a new technique- knitting without a cable needle- as seen in pics on Grumperina's blog. If I hadn't, I think it would have taken me until Sam's 5th birthday to finish it. This project was a nice combination of easy+interesting=perfect :)

The yarn is a merino, machine-washable from our local store here in Oderzo, Italy. I got the buttons in Sacile. I modified the pattern to make it larger by using bigger needles and I made it a little longer to try to ensure good coverage- we'll see!

My lovely assistants- they always think it's so fun to go outside in their socks...I guess it's the little things in life that make it fun.

No animals were harmed in these pictures.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Pumpkin Hats

I made these back in October- and the girls loved them. The pattern is excellent and I love the way they turned out.

The first one I made, I added more stitches because I was concerned it would be too tight for H. The rim of the hat seems less forgiving after you attach the leaf section. So, in my infinite wisdom (!) the hat turned out to be much too big. So, I sent it to the Great Pumpkin in Ohio! (Nannio- you know who you are!) As she loves all things Halloween, this probably fit right into her repertoire....although I am still waiting for a photo!

I definitely recommend this pattern- it's clever in the increases and how the leaves are attached.

Yarn: Italian market variety- 70% wool, 30% acrylic.
Size: large
Needles: size 7
Pattern: Patrick's Pumpkin Hat

I see I should block them to make the leaves stand up, but they didn't care and wanted to wear them right away- cant' argue with that : )

Ravelry link

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Come and join the craziness : )

The challenge is to knit a project during the Olympics. We cast on during opening ceremonies...which is posted as 3 am in Italy, but I need to double check that. Then you have 2 weeks to finish the project. I have been yearning to knit my Malabrigo from Nannio for a while now, and I have decided to jump right in. I will attempt to make this cardigan: February Lady Sweater.

I oscillate between feeling confident I can knit a Lacy sweater in 2 weeks and feeling like it's mission impossible.....

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Great Cardigan Conundrum.....

This cardigan has been giving me GRIEF! (The alternate title to this post could be "Never knit any project that promises to be simple, fast, or quick.")

In the beginning, I let H pick out the colors...I am not crazy about the very pale rose, but, it was her choice. When reading about the pattern, several folks said the sleeves ran small- so I increased the size and knit along happily.

Alas, it was too small, and a sleeve with no ease looks ridiculous! By then, I had also finished the yoke because at this point I was excited about doing some color work. I liked this initial arrangement of colors on the yoke, but did I write down the sequence? Heavens no! Why, I was going to remember it, of course! Friends and dear ones tried to convince me to finish it up at this point and give it to my younger daughter- the sleeves would fit. I thought I could, but in the end, I wanted to fix it.

Ribbit Ribbit Ribbit........the first of many dips in the frog pond.

Then, I re-knit the sleeves a larger size. Problem solved! Now, how did that yoke section go????? I tried this one:

and I didn't like it. Then I tried maybe 4 more versions???? (I just could not bring myself to photograph them all.)

Finally, I ended up with this one. So, at this point, we are in decent shape, right?

Well, not exactly. You see, there is this problem....

The pattern calls for ribbing along the button's not so great! At first, I thought I could solve the problem of the shrinking edges of the ribbing by picking up more stitches- this, I reasoned, would make the button band thicker and counteract the dreadful appearance....not so much.

I also don't like the way it looks along the top, either.

Of course, I wove in the ends already....I would like to just keep knitting....I could be done this weekend. I only have the other side of the button band to knit. I even have button "stand ins" already- but I don't really like those, either. They are pale pink and the saleslady rushed me into choosing them. I only bought them to use until my USA scout finds heart-shaped ones. When the real buttons arrive, I can simply change them. Maybe I should forge ahead and finish with the weird button band, or maybe I should just ball this whole thing up and hide it in a distant corner of my freezing cold basement......what to do, what to do.

The other less than pleasant aspect is that I am already finished with 3/4 of another one of these....for my youngest daughter. The colors are different- they kind of coordinate- which is what the girls were trying to achieve....UGH!