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.


18 January 2013

Minimalist Update: Plan C

Plan C worked!!!  I purchased one skein of Bulldog Blue from a lovely and sympathetic Raveler in Massachusetts, and that skein arrived this afternoon!  It matches! (It's Lamb's Pride, and their colors tend to be pretty true, so I wasn't too worried but you never can know--there could have been some fading or something.)

My next update on the Minimalist Cardigan will come when the sweater doesn't look like this anymore.  Meanwhile, I'll post happier things, like today's earlier update.

Fireside Details

It occurs to me that the only picture of the finished(ish) Fireside Sweater that I've put on here was from relatively far away.  Here's a closer picture, although it's from before I put on the buttons.

And I neglected to post pictures of the fabulous back cables that I totally made up all by myself.  So here you go.

Here's a close-up of the upper back cable and the fabulous Kitchenered-cable neck.

14 January 2013

Minimalist Update

No word from the airline about the missing Sleeve B.  They said they'd call me "tomorrow" (which would have been Sunday) when I spoke to a real human being on the phone, and I gave it an extra day just in case the helpline person forgot that "tomorrow" was Sunday and they didn't make these calls on Sunday after all.  But today is Monday, a full 50 hours after I made the lost article report.  I'm pretty confident that Sleeve B is gone.

Commence Plan C: contact the one person on Ravelry who has some Bulldog Blue in her stash and is willing to sell it.  Let's all cross our fingers that she's willing to sell me just one skein, rather than demanding that I buy all 5 skeins she has.  Sigh.

I definitely bought an entire sweater's worth of yarn at The Knitting Studio today.  Retail therapy.

13 January 2013

The Saddest (Knitting) Story Ever in the Entire Universe

YOU GUYS.  The worst thing ever has happened.  (Well, there are worse things in general, but the worst knitting-thing.)  It's terrible.  Perhaps the worst knitting-thing ever to happen in the whole history of bad knitting-things.  I will burst into tears any minute now.

The Minimalist Cardigan is not nearly as finished as it appears in this picture.
Far from it.

Listen, children, to a long and harrowing tale:

I woke up New Years Day all filled with inspiration to Accomplish Something.  Seems like a good way to start the year, no?  So I dug out the long-marinating Minimalist Cardigan, which I've been threatening to finish for at least six months.

Longtime readers mayyyy recall that the Minimalist  Cardigan was on hold for two reasons: first, that I'd run out of yarn and couldn't find the same dye lot anywhere.  I eventually broke down (February of 2011) and bought a skein of a different dye lot.  The second reason (encountered in March of 2010) was a problem with the neck not matching the shoulders.  I really couldn't decide what to do, so I just waited until I was ready to figure it out.

On January 1, 2013, I woke up with my decision: take out the pleated shoulder seam, undo the Kitchener stitch on the neck, add a few inches and reattach the back.  Did it all in one day.  Just a few hours, really.  It was lovely, and gave me new energy for the whole project.

Now that's some beautiful grafting work,
if I do say so myself.

I was being meticulous.  I even took pictures of my measurements just in case I needed them later.

Also, I got a digital kitchen scale for Christmas, so I had to make sure it was working properly.  (So excited.)

The sleeves were the next problem to tackle.  At some point, I lost track of what needles I'd been using.  The sleeves were held on straight aluminum needles that I stole borrowed appropriated from my mom years and years ago.  But are those the needles I used to make the sweater in the first place?  I have no idea.  After all, it's been at least three years since I *stopped* working on this sweater.  I had one sleeve knitted up, but needed to do the other -- and if I was working on unknown needles 3 years ago, how in the world was I to get the same exact gauge on the second sleeve, no matter what needles I used?  No, both sleeves needed to be knit with the same needles so they'd match each other, even if they didn't exactly match the body of the sweater.  The finished sleeve would have to be re-knit.

So I did re-knit it.  But I neglected to un-kink the yarn properly (or, um, at all) before I did it.  That was dumb, and the sleeve looked bad enough that I wasn't confident it would re-block properly.  I didn't even photograph it.

I had some traveling to do -- a week-long conference of sorts for professional development.  Perfect for knitting and re-knitting sleeves.  Brought the sweater body, plus the finished-but-to-be-re-redone sleeve and the skein for the second sleeve.  First two days of the conference, I knit up the second sleeve using the aluminum straights.  Then I unraveled the first sleeve and properly straightened the yarn in the hotel shower using the wonderfully-heavy ice bucket for weight.  I was fortunate to have a tolerant conference roommate, who happens to take baths.

Then I re-reknit the darn first sleeve.  I finished right at the end of the day Friday (our last day there) and had managed to get most of the side-seaming done here and there.  All that was left to do was sew in the sleeves.

I sewed in Sleeve A (because once they're both off the needles, who knows which is the first sleeve, which I knit three times, and which is the second sleeve, which I knit only once?) on the first plane home this morning.  The flight was the exact right length to get it done.  The most beautiful seaming I've ever done, frankly.  I really should take a picture of the underarm seam, 'cause it's a thing of beauty.

AND THEN I LEFT SLEEVE B ON THE FIRST PLANE.  I think it must have fallen down between my seat and the window-wall, or maybe even slipped off the armrest to the row behind mine when I stood up.  I'd even looked back in my row to make sure I didn't leave anything as I was getting off the plane.  I didn't discover the loss until I was on plane #2 an hour later, when I'd settled into my new seat so I could start sewing in Sleeve B while waiting for takeoff.

That's right.  Sleeve B is gone.

Fortunately my flight had a minor problem and was delayed just enough for me to report the loss.  I filled out a lost article form online and called the airline to talk with an actual person, who was very helpful.  Unfortunately, plane#1 was already on its way to Los Angeles.  I was in Washington DC.  That's incredibly not helpful.  Just a few minutes after I learned this information, my plane departed for Connecticut.  The official story from the airline is that the flight crew reports all lost articles at the end of the day.  Tomorrow the computer system will kick in and match the crew's lost article report with my lost article form--if the crew did indeed find Sleeve B and didn't throw it away.
Photo taken in Hartford.  The sweater looks really good,
except for the missing sleeve.
The blue sweater makes my outfit look silly, though.
I swear it looked great when I was
doing the monochromatic thing.

I'll get a phone call tomorrow if Sleeve B has been found.  If it hasn't... well, that's that.

Relatively quickly, I came up with a back-up plan.  I'd flown in to Hartford and was driving back to Burlington right away, and the route goes right past WEBS, pretty much the biggest yarn store in the country.  That's where I bought the extra skein back in 2011 in the first place.  They're open till 5:30 on Saturdays, and I had plenty of time to get there.  I called them to ask them to set aside a skein of Bulldog Blue for me.  The helpful woman on the phone looked in the computer... no Bulldog Blue on hand.  Would I like them to order it for me?  It'll come in in a few weeks.

No problem, I said, a few weeks will be fine.  (And if the airline does find Sleeve B, I will cancel the order.)  She checked the Brown Sheep website to be sure...

And the color is discontinued.  They can't order it for me.  Nobody can order it for me.  There is no more Bulldog Blue available for purchase.  

There is one person on Ravelry who has this colorway in their stash and is willing to sell it.  If I don't get a phone call from the airline tomorrow, you better believe I am contacting this Raveler.

Please, send as many prayers and vibes and whatnot into the universe as you possibly can.  So far mine kind of look like this:

Please, God, let the airline find Sleeve B and mail it back to me.  I can't promise You that I will never again take four years to finish a sweater, but I can promise you that I have learned some sort of lesson from this experience and when I figure out what it is I will remember it forever. Love, Holyknitter.  Amen.

I feel confident that God understands what I mean here.