24 June 2013

Harvest Cardigan: Complete!

I finished the Harvest Cardigan yesterday.  The knitting was all done a month ago, but the buttonholes needed some reinforcing and I just couldn't bring myself to pull out my crochet hook and weave in all the darn ends.  But I actually went to Sunday afternoon knitting yesterday and made myself do it.  Now all the buttonholes have a lovely chain stitch edging around them, and all the ends are woven into the back.

I'll attempt to do more close-ups another time. It's blocking right now. I'm probably going to have to steam-block the button band and buttonhole band to reduce curling.

Oh! And I got a new (to me) washing machine. It has a just-plain-spin cycle. THRILLED. This baby will take far less time to block than it would have if it had to air-dry completely on its own. All my sweaters from now on will take less time to block/dry.

Also, I'm about to be gone for a week of travel/conference knitting. I'm thinking about cranking out a ton of socks. Stay tuned.

25 March 2013


The knitting is mostly done for the Harvest Cardigan.  I've completed one body, two sleeves -- all which traveled with me through Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio, AND Texas, then back through Massachusetts, Rhode Island (for the fun of it) and Connecticut, without getting lost -- and all I have left to do is the neck and button bands.  At some point I need to choose buttons, I s'pose.  But still.  The knitting of it is largely done.

I managed to reinforce the steeks while I was in Austin, Texas, at the home of my friend and colleague Abby (which is actually the parsonage of a church she serves) -- also the home-church-parsonage of the lovely Tina, both of whom are pictured here.  They are also fellow knitters and longtime readers of this blog, but that is of very minor relevance.  Mostly they're nice people who have a sewing machine and sat in the same room with me while I nervously sewed my steeks.  Good friends Cathy and Cindy were there, too.
This is me sewing steeks in the parsonage.
When I go to Austin during SXSW, things get craaaaazy. Clearly.
A couple of days later, while at a clergy women's retreat on the banks of the Guadeloupe River, I felt bold enough to cut said steeks.  I think it helped that I'd had a mimosa or two before the cutting (acting on the advice of my sister, also a knitter: have a glass of wine before picking up the scissors).  Surrounded and supported by friends through the process.  It takes a village, people!)

Very brave? or very foolish?  Stay tuned to find out!

21 February 2013

Making Quick Work of a Bad Situation

I was determined that the Minimalist Cardigan Situation wasn't going to get me down.  Or, more truthfully, I have no compunction about engaging in retail therapy when it's necessary, and it was definitely necessary.  I was in Montpelier, home of Vermont's Friendliest Yarn Shop, and I knew I would find some sympathy.  And some yarn.

So I bought (more than) enough for the Harvest Cardigan.  And I pretty much cast on the second I got home.

I love corrugated ribbing.  It's what I used on the cuffs of all those Selbuvotter mittens I did a few years ago.  And I looooove the idea of doing multiple colors so there's a gradient effect.  Very awesomely cool.

The yarn is Rowan Felted Tweed DK, and I'm following the pattern pretty carefully (using needle sizes 4 and 5).  So of course I didn't get gauge at all and didn't even bother checking until I'd knit half the dang body.  But once I'd gotten about 10 inches in, it started looking kind of...small.  Fortunately, 10 inches in is before the steeked armholes, so I could still try it on.  But 10 inches of a lovely 5-color Fair Isle is more than I want to frog and start again.  And sure enough, it's small, but not toooo small.  I can get away with it... but the sweater would have been way too short, particularly in the front.  Apparently midriff-baring clothing is back in this season, but I'm not so trend-driven that I'll let that bad idea be my excuse for making an ill-fitting sweater.  I have more control over this project than that, and I'm not an idiot.

The solution I chose was to short-row the front to add an extra vertical iteration of the charted pattern.  In short, the actual sweater pattern calls for four of the lightest stripe, and I added a fifth.  But using short rows.  Which effectively made a gusset for my chest.  It'll either look completely bizarre or completely subtle.  I'm hoping for the latter.

The back still has four rows, meaning that it's shorter than the front -- to balance this, I ended up adding short rows of the red after I got past the finished pattern.  Those short rows I added every inch or so, instead of all at once.

Then we had that giant blizzard that hit New Haven really hard -- 3 feet of snow, biggest storm in a century, shut down the entire city for days (church was cancelled on Sunday!  Weird!!!) -- Nemo, Charlotte, whatever we're calling it.  I basically sat on a piano bench in our bay window overlooking a busy-ish intersection (we have a second-floor apartment) and knitted for two days while watching cars get stuck in the unplowed streets.  I finished the entire body of the sweater, front and back.  I also started the sleeves, and as of this writing I have about 8 inches of sleeve done.  It's currently serving the purpose of a purse sock, which is helping me to delay making a decision about my actual purse sock.  Retail therapy, productivity, and procrastination--all in one blog post!

One of these days I'll get around to taking photos of all that progress I made during the blizzard.

Oh, and at some point I need to figure out how I'm going to get someone to reinforce the steeks so I can do the steek-cutting thing.  I am spending a lot of time with costume designers right now, so I can probably find someone with access to a sewing machine.  We'll see.

18 February 2013

What Now?

Sooooooooo I've messed something up with my purse sock.  Specifically, the first one I completed is too short.  Or, rather, I followed the pattern for the second sock and when I got to the part that said I should start the toe, I held them next to each other and...

Do I take out the toe of the finished sock and make it longer, or do I take out the inch-and-a-half of extra length on the sock I haven't finished yet, even though I know it's right?

Of course, I haven't actually bothered to try on the completed sock and see if it's too small (I'm guessing it is), so maybe one of these days I'll get around to doing that and make the decision that way.

Meanwhile, the socks will sit on the living room coffee table and I will stare at them with mild disgust.

16 February 2013

Delayed Gratification

Look, Ma!  Two sleeves!

The saga of the Minimalist Cardigan ended happily.  Thanks to a wonderful knitter I found on Ravelry, I was able to purchase another skein of yarn and the dye lot was a good match for what I already had.  I knit up the sleeve, sewed everything back up (in the process of making sure things matched, I discovered that I'd sewn on Sleeve A inside-out, so I had to take it off and do it again.  Sigh.)

I haven't bothered to block it yet, but that hasn't stopped me from wearing it.  Much.  I really do need to block it, though.  I just... well, I moved to Connecticut about two weeks ago, and that takes some time and energy, y'know?  And then I had some computer issues and couldn't update, but that got fixed.

Here are a couple of action shots before a meeting at church just before I left.  I probably shouldn't have worn this sweater with this dress, but I was so excited about wearing each item that I didn't really care if they actually went together.  It turns out they don't, but I didn't know it until I saw these photos.  Oh well, it is what it is.

Oh, and I haven't left-left my church, I'm on sabbatical.  It's wonderful so far.  I do miss home and think about my friends and church people quite often, but it's been nice to live with Husband and know it's for three whole months rather than just a week or two. (Being married to a grad student is hard.)  So far I've gotten my hair dyed, sat through a blizzard and watched lots of people drive like idiots in the snow, spent a couple of days in New York City (watched some Fashion Week nonsense and a dress rehearsal of Parsifal at the Met; both were great), and seen a lot of theater.

And yeah, I've done a bit of knitting, too.  Watch for updates.

24 January 2013

More from the Archives

Hey look!  Baby booties!

(Don't get any ideas, they're not for any current or pending babies).

Speaking of Secret Santees, these are baby booties I knit for a college alumni Santee a couple of years ago.  She was pregnant at the time, and someone I actually knew (not always the case in this particular exchange), so I did something specialish for her.  Unfortunately, I have no memory of what yarn I used.  Frog Tree Alpaca, maybe?  Not fuzzy enough, I think.

I don't remember what pattern I used, either.  But they're supercute, and I think I enjoyed the pattern at the time.  They're seamless, and there was some cool and magical cast-on that started from the middle of the sole.  

I have no idea if the Santee actually used them.  But that wasn't really the point, so I'm okay with not knowing.

22 January 2013


That whole Finishitis thing was for real, by the way.  I mean, I still haven't done anything more about Henry, but one of these days I will.

Shortly after that Finishits post, I realized that Christmas was coming.  And I wasn't doing anything terribly ambitious in terms of knitting gifts for people, but I thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of the energy I was feeling.  And although I had acquired That Amazing Stash back in February, I hadn't used much of it -- or even fully integrated it in to my own stash yet.  How silly of me!

So one Monday afternoon when the light was good (difficult in Vermont in the winter), I went shopping in my own piles of yarn.  And boy did I find a ton of leftovers.  Time to make some stripey hats!

Although this picture has two hats and the very beginning of a third, I've completed four so far.  The one not pictured here was for my Secret Santee, and I mailed it off to her before I remembered to get a photo.  So I'm hoping she takes a picture and sends it to me, if she actually got the package.  I still haven't gotten confirmation from her that she received it.  (Sigh.) (That one was leftover blue worsteds -- some Malabrigo and some Rio de la Plata, maybe?  Two single-plys.  I like single-ply yarns.)

The purple hat went to a two year old girl as a Hannukah gift.  Who besides a two-year-old girl could love that purple (Lamb's Pride Worsted) and crazy green/pink/yellow/purple/with-gold-sparkles (Berocco Oasis) combo?  Plus, that same night she happened to get an awesome ice skater costume for her dress-up box, and the hat matched perfectly!  She loved the hat and wore it all night, even after taking off the costume.

The gray one is leftovers from Husband's sweater and some unknown sparkly/fuzzy yarn from The Stash.  I gave it to my friend Angela, who says she loves it (but I haven't seen hear wearing it yet).

The yellow one hasn't been given away yet.  I think the plain yellow is leftover Malabrigo, and I know the variegated yellow/white/orange is leftover from this hideous sweater I never seamed (but maybe I will one of these days, given the finishitis).  I've worn it a couple of times, and it's very effective as a hat. I will figure out who should have it, and I will give it to them -- but meanwhile, it'll sit around my house being pretty.

That's all I've done for now, but I'd imagine there will be more.
All the hats are made with the same pattern: Turn-a-Square.  Modified, of course.  No tubular cast-on.  And usually a little longer so that it's slouchy instead of skullcappy.

20 January 2013

More Fireside Ogling: Buttons!

My colleague from Los Angeles says that photographs taken from above have a slimming effect.  I'm not sure it shows off the knitting to best effect -- and what's more important? -- but maybe it provides an interesting perspective.  I would like to note that standing by a window on a sunny day after it's snowed means there's a lot of light and an English Rose like me can look realllllly washed-out.  It's winter in Vermont, and I guess I'm going to pretend that I have amazing porcelain skin.

Okay, moment of vanity over.

That last post about Fireside didn't have any pictures of the buttons.  Here they are -- leaves!  I'm thinking about putting one more button on and making a hidden i-cord for a buttonhole, because my instinct when I put on this sweater is to button it up higher so it feels cozier.  Since I actually bought seven buttons (for five buttonholes--whoops), I may add a completely useless button above the one I'm thinking of adding for increased coziness, just as a fun design detail and so I don't lose that extra button.