Showing posts with label Fall for Tosh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fall for Tosh. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Officially Ready for Fall

Though we're having a bit of a heat wave this week, I can now say that I'm ready for the chilly fall weather. Why? Because I have a new sweater that's roomy and cozy. What's more, in spite of the fact that I ignored it for about a week, I still managed to finish it before the end of the knitalong. Woohoo!

Pattern: Calligraphy Cardigan by Hannah Fettig
Yarn: madelinetosh tosh dk (100% superwash merino wool) in Silver Fox, six full skeins and just a smidge of a seventh
Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm) Chiao Goo Red Lace needles and US 4 (3.5 mm) Knit Picks Options (for buttonbands)
Started/Completed: September 22/October 21
Mods: eliminated about 2" of length in the body and made adjustments on sleeves to account for errors (see below)

Although this sweater turned out well in the end, it was plagued by some counting issues from the start. I cast on for it on a day when I was woken up by a sick child at 4:30 a.m. and spent several hours in the ER, so by the time I sat down at my LYS that afternoon to begin, I was having trouble counting. I had to have a friend double check that I'd cast on the correct number of stitches before I could start knitting. The next evening, as I was placing markers for my raglan increases, I was obviously distracted by the same sick child and placed my markers incorrectly -- a fact I only discovered about a week later when I was finished with all the increases. At that point, I decided that I didn't want to rip back and determined to fudge the numbers when I knit the sleeves, which I did. The result is that one shoulder is two stitches wider than the other, but I really can't remember now which one it is, so clearly it is not a major issue.

For the first time, I was a really good knitter and alternated skeins every two rows/rounds because I was working with a hand-dyed yarn with some variation from skein to skein. I figured that any variation would be more obvious in a light-colored yarn, and I was right. I didn't alternate skeins as much in the button bands, and I can definitely see a difference. It was a pain to be constantly untwisting and untangling, but I prefer that to the alternative of distinctive blocks of every-so-slightly different colors in the finished sweater.

The only intentional modification I made was to make the sweater a little shorter than called for in the pattern. As written, the sweater is more of a coat-like garment; if I knit it to the specified dimensions, it would have hit well below my butt. I decided that I didn't need a sweater to be quite that long, so I started the bottom ribbing about 2" higher, working the last set of waist increases into the first round of ribbing. As I suspected (because my yarn is a superwash), the sweater did grow some in length when I blocked it, so I think if I'd knit it as written, the sweater might be hanging close to my knees.

Despite eliminating some length, I still needed more yarn than called for in the pattern (just a little bit of an extra skein to do about four or five rows of the second button band) even after using every last bit of the six skeins I started off with. I suspect this is mainly because my row gauge was a little off, meaning I needed more rows per inch than the specified row gauge. I wasn't off a huge amount, but obviously it was enough to need to break in to that seventh skein. The good news is that I still have most of that skein left and it's enough to make a hat or cowl or something with.

My only disappointment in this sweater is the buttons. I picked them out on Saturday at my LYS after much deliberation, and I do like how they look. But as I was sewing them on on Sunday evening, I noticed a funny smell. It took several minutes before I realized the smell was coming from the buttons, and it got increasingly stronger as I kept sewing. I had hoped that the smell would go away after a nice bath with some Soak, but it's still there (albeit not as strong as it once was). It's kind of a chemical smell, so I'm assuming it's from something used to manufacture the buttons, but it is rather foul and might deter me from wearing the sweater if it doesn't go away. I'm hoping that it's just a matter of airing out (the buttons are kept in closed plastic cylinders at the LYS, so there's not much of a chance for a smell to dissipate), but if anyone has suggestions for getting the stink out of stinky buttons, I'm all ears.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this sweater. It was an easy knit (that I still managed to screw up, ha!), and the resulting garment is very much like a favorite boyfriend sweater -- roomy, comfortable, easy to curl up in. I suspect that, assuming I can get rid of the button smell, this will be a favorite sweater for the chilly days of fall and winter ahead.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Sleeve the First

It should come as no surprise that I'm still working on my Calligraphy Cardigan, though I am getting closer to completion. Over the weekend, I did finish the body, so I at least met that goal, and started in on the first sleeve. When it put it down for the night last night, I had it done about to the elbow and had only three sets of decreases left to do.

The sleeve is not going as fast as it could because I'm still alternating skeins every two rounds, which means at least a little untwisting and repositioning of yarn sources every round. Still, the rounds get shorter as I go, so I'm reasonably optimistic that I'll have the first sleeve done by tomorrow and make a good start on the second sleeve by the end of the week.

In the meantime, I'm still working on my Peckish sample for Knit Picks and am about two-thirds of the way through the stripes. Unlike my sweater sleeves, the further I go on this project, the longer the rows get. The Mister and I are leaving for a little anniversary trip (our fifth was last month) on Saturday and we'll have a fairly long plane ride, so I'm hoping all that uninterrupted time -- Rainbow is not coming with us! -- will mean a finished shawl. Ideally, I'd like to have this done, blocked, photographed, and shipped back by next weekend at the absolute latest.

Of course I will be taking a back-up project with me just in case I finish a lot faster than expected. We're experiencing unseasonably chilly weather here this week, so I'm thinking that a handspun hat for Rainbow might be a good thing to take. I've already selected a pattern and have a skein of handspun that just needs to be wound, so that's one more thing to add to my to-do list before we leave.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

In Which I Visit My LYS

Although it's Sunday, I haven't touched my wheel all week, so this isn't your run-of-the-mill Sunday post. Instead, this post is all about how I've enhanced my stash this weekend. If you can believe it, I visited my LYS a total of three times in the last two days -- and made a purchase at each and every visit. Lest you think I'm blowing my paycheck and going crazy due to wool fumes, I can tell you that two of the three purchases were for very specific things.

The first trip was yesterday morning, right as the shop opened, and I had Rainbow with me. In return for her accompanying me to get a flu shot (she had hers last week), I took her to the shop to pick out yarn and colors for the sweater I promised I'd knit her this fall, Hiro Petite. She'd picked out the pattern herself two weekends ago when she was sick and I was trying to cheer her up a bit, but she'd been coming up with different color combinations all week, ever since I'd told her I was going to take her to the yarn store to pick out colors. In the end, this is what she chose:

The colors are not quite accurate here, but the two skeins in the back are a gorgeous deep royal purple (the colorway is Pansy). The two skeins in the front -- Pool Party and Banana -- will be the contrast colors. All four skeins are Berroco Vintage, a wool/acrylic/nylon blend. Normally I'd choose a regular wool, but given all the messes she gets into these days, I needed it to be washable, and obviously I had to give her a lot of color choices. This really fit the bill. I've used the yarn in the past and really enjoyed it, so I'm sure this'll be another pleasurable knit.

I was back at the shop in the afternoon for my usual Saturday afternoon knitting time (working diligently on my Calligraphy Cardigan) and decided that I would treat myself to another sweater's worth because the store's pre-inventory store was in full swing. I've had Heidi Kirrmaier's Vitamin D pattern in my queue for quite some time but have almost no sportweight yarn in my stash. I'd also had my eye on a yarn line at the shop for a while and decided this was time to give it a try.

This is Imperial Yarn Tracie Too in a colorway called Rain. The color in the photo is pretty accurate -- it's a slightly blue-tinged gray. I'm really looking forward to knitting with this.

The third LYS trip was this afternoon and was necessitated by the fact that I had just about finished the bottom ribbing on my Calligraphy Cardigan before going to bed last night. Despite the fact that I'd cut about two inches of length from the body, it was pretty apparent when I put it down last night that the two untouched skeins left for this sweater were probably not going to be enough to finish both sleeves and the (pretty wide) button bands. So today I ran over to pick up one extra skein, which, thankfully, they still had. Then I came home and finished off the ribbing. This isn't the best picture, but you can see just how much yarn has gone into this sweater so far:

I've got just a small amount left in the third and fourth skeins (probably less than 10 yards in each), so I'm glad I picked up the extra one!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Sweater Growing

Still here, still working on the same old sweater. I'm spending time working on my Calligraphy Cardigan just about every day; in a good evening, I can add about two inches to the body, which is not too shabby. After a productive evening at knit night last night, I'm now through three (of five) sets of increases and the body is now measuring about 12" below the underarm.

Last night I took a closer look at the schematic and pulled out the measuring tape to realize that if I knit this sweater as specified, it's going to end up covering my tush. Now, I often add length to my sweaters so that they don't ride up when I sit or bend over, but this might be a bit too long for me, so I may remove a couple of inches worth of length.

This is all related to the fact that I've reached that inevitable stage in the process of knitting a sweater: the moment when I begin to panic that I will not have enough yarn to finish. At the moment, I have two untouched skeins of yarn, and I believe that finishing the body will use the better part of the two skeins that are attached at the moment (I'm alternating skeins every two rows). Once I finish the body, I'll still have two sleeves and a total of 6 inches of 2x2 ribbing to do on the button bands. I keep reminding myself that I'm using the yarn specified in the pattern, I bought the specified number of skeins, and my gauge is off just enough to work in my favor (I'm getting just slightly fewer stitches to the inch than I should). I also had way more than enough yarn when I knit my Effortless Cardigan, which was by the same designer and in the same yarn, so chances are I'll be okay this time around, too. It's still not stopping me from knitting faster (because knitting faster makes the yarn last longer, right?).

If there's a bright side to all of this it's that it's looking very good that I'll finish this sweater by the end of the knitalong, which is the end of the month. We have a fairly uneventful weekend ahead of us, and I'd like to finish the body by the end of it.

Meanwhile, on other needles, I'm working on yet another Peckish, this time in Knit Picks Stroll (or, as I like to call it, the Yarn Formerly Known as Essential), for the KP IDP program. I haven't used the yarn in quite a while, and it's a lot softer and fluffier than I remember (though it's quite possible that it didn't used to be merino). I've been working on this primarily during my lunch breaks during the week but will have to step it up a bit soon because I've promised to get the sample back before the end of the month. I will likely take this with me when the Mister and I go on an anniversary trip the week after next; I think it will make for great airplane and waiting around knitting because I won't need to refer to a pattern.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Under the Arms

After recovering from the counting debacle, I regrouped over the weekend and starting knitting the body of my Calligraphy Cardigan. There is little to think about at this point -- just some fairly widely spaced decreases -- so I was able to go on autopilot during my regular Saturday-afternoon knitting time at my LYS. By Saturday night, I was able to join the third and fourth skeins of yarn (I'm being really good and alternating skeins every two rows). I put in a little more time yesterday afternoon while the other residents of the house napped and am now ready to work my final set of waist decreases.

I should be able to get to the first set of increases, at least, tonight, and perhaps I'll get to the bottom ribbing by the end of the week.

I took a little break from knitting last night and spent a little quality time with my wheel, which had been ignored for more than a week. I started spinning up the last unspun Crown Mountain Farms fiber club shipment, from July, which is 4 oz. of Portuguese wool top (essentially a regional variety of merino). I don't really love this colorway, but the fiber is easy to spin and I might change my mind entirely when it's plied. It really just felt good to spin a bit and lose myself in the rhythm of treadling.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Falling for Tosh (and Failing a Bit)

As I think I mentioned at least once or twice before, I'm participating in the Fall for Tosh knitalong over in the Madelinetosh Lovers group on Ravelry. It started last Saturday, on the first day of fall, and runs through the end of October. That's a decent amount of time, so I thought I'd challenge myself and knit myself a sweater. I chose the Calligraphy Cardigan by Hannah Fettig, a fairly simple top-down raglan. It's a lot of knitting, but the pattern is straightforward enough that it doesn't require a whole lot of thinking and will knit up fairly quickly.

Last weekend was a mixed bag for knitting. I was awakened 4:30 a.m. on Saturday by Rainbow, who had a high fever and was complaining of a tummy ache. We actually ended up in the emergency room with her that morning (having had an appendix that wanted to explode, I was worried hers was acting up!). Fortunately, it turned out to be nothing serious (they initially diagnosed an ear infection, but then a rash appeared on Monday, and at the follow-up with the pediatrician on Wednesday, the diagnosis was changed to some sort of virus -- she's fine now), but it was a long day for all of us. While she (and the Mister) took a long nap on Saturday afternoon, I headed over to my LYS and cast on. By Sunday night, I'd finished the 7" ribbed collar and was ready to start my raglan increases.

Collar ribbing, before it all went wrong

Unfortunately, that's where I went wrong, though I didn't realize it at the time. I worked on the thing all week and finally got to the point where I was ready to separate for the sleeves last night. I counted my stitches after the last set of increases and had the right number. It was only when I was counting the sleeve stitches as I was putting them on waste yarn that I realized that I'd royally screwed up when I placed my markers. Although I had the correct number of stitches for the fronts and back, I had two additional stitches for one sleeve and was two stitches short on the other. I'm not sure if I was reading the wrong number in the pattern (entirely possible, as I made the mistake of highlighting my numbers in a yellow highlighter that's not showing up too well), if I was distracted by a whiny toddler, or if it was just my exhaustion setting in; most likely it was a combination of the three.

I briefly considered ripping back to the end of the collar, but considering that it'd taken me all week to get to this point and it was only a matter of two stitches on each sleeve, I decided I was going to make it work. For the sleeve with two extra stitches, I kept one on each end for my underarm allowance and cast on four (rather than six) stitches to bridge the gap between the front stitches and the back stitches. For the sleeve that's two stitches short, I made myself a note to pick up two additional stitches when I come back to finish the sleeves. The sleeves should still fit just fine, and I think it's pretty hard to tell a difference of two stitches when you look at the shoulders now -- I know I didn't see an issue all this time!

Consider this a public service announcement: When you're placing markers and dealing with a reasonably large number of stitches, count twice! Better yet, have someone else double check your pattern and count for you!