Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Finished Object: Starsky

When I moved from suburbia to the big city, I knew it was a compromise. I knew that I was giving up things that I loved, such as my rose garden, my built-in bookshelves, and my sunny window seats. But I was gaining a better location, fancy-schmancy floors, and shiny new kitchen appliances.

However, it never occurred to me that I would be losing some other important things when I moved. For example, I don’t have a front yard or a back yard anymore. So I have no place to take outdoor photos. I don’t even have a driveway in which to take cheesy hey-look-at-my-cute-car photos. AND I don’t have a photographer anymore. Peter has been taken away by an alien species that calls themselves a “law firm.” He’s allowed to visit me briefly in the evenings before it’s time for bed, but by then there isn’t any good light for photographs.

So bear with me with my finished object photos. I’m still trying to locate a good location to take photo and I’m trying to master the art of using a tripod and the camera’s timer.


Pattern: Starsky from Knitty, size small
Yarn: Berroco Pleasure, 66% angora, 29% merino wool, 5% nylon, 130 yards per ball, 10-ish balls
Needles: US size 10.5 (6.5 mm) for the body and US size 9 (5.5 mm) for the belt and the belt loops

1) I was between sizes for the sweater and I knew that I should probably size up, but I was my usual ultra-paranoid self and worried about running out of yarn. Technically, I had enough yarn for the medium size, but I still worried. I worried even more when I realized that I wasn’t even close to getting the right row gauge. Instead of 18 rows in 4 inches I was getting 23-ish rows in 4 inches. So, I reasoned, I would need to knit more rows than the original sweater. More rows = more yarn used. Did I make the right decision? I think so, I have less than a ball left and I don’t think it’s enough to make up the size difference.

2) As a result of my size choice, the sweater doesn’t fit quite the way I thought it would. I thought it would be longer and more jacket-like. But, oh well, it still fits and I still like it.

StarskyBack3) I must have incredibly short arms. I had to reverse-seam much more of the cuffs than the pattern said to.

4) Because my row gauge was so different from the original row gauge I had to rework the armcyes, sleeve increases, and sleeve caps. I started using math and being a good girl, but then I ended up winging all the shaping in the sleeves. Luckily it all worked out.

5) I made this sweater in 12 days, beating my previous record of 14-ish days for Grace.

6) My new lack of a driveway made it impossible for me to do the traditional shooting with the finger gun from behind an open car-door pose. (Yes I suppose I COULD do this pose in my townhome complex's common drive, but I'm not ready for my new neighbors to think I'm crazy. Yet.)

7) I put on this sweater today despite the 75-degree weather to be long-distance sweater twins with Rachel—even for just a few minutes. Hi Rachel!

BTW--does anyone know why the leading (i.e. the space between the lines) in my posts always gets smaller after I place a centered photo? How do I stop that from happening? I don't like scrunched up text.

Yay fixed! Thank you SuzannaBanana and Joanna!

Friday, February 16, 2007

For Rachel, with Love

When we last saw Lotus, I had finished the body and had been lured away from all that stranding by SHINY RED! As soon as Shiny Red was finished (which was last week), I cast on for a Lotus sleeve. I was a little sad about it because I had just come to the realization that I couldn’t knit both sleeves at the same time. Oh sure, I could do that “two socks on two circulars” trick but I know that four needle tips and four balls of yarn plus the need to keep track of the colorwork pattern would have driven me to the insane asylum. So one at a time. Drat.

After I cast on and knit a couple of inches, I did what I seem to be doing a lot of with this sweater. I frogged. I started the sleeve doing the magic loop and it was just not a pretty sight. I couldn’t keep floats loose enough particularly when switching from one side of the loop to the other. And fiddling with the loops? UGH. So I started again. This time with double pointed needles (DPNs).

LotusSleeveStartThe DPNs made me happy until Rachel happened to mention somewhere in this mammoth post that her gauge on DPNs was a full stitch smaller than her gauge on circular needles. I fearfully stared at my sleeve. I didn’t want to touch it. I didn’t want to approach it with my Knit Chek®. Would there be more frogging? Would this be the first project that ever truly elicits tears from my eyes? The answer is: No, not yet.

If anything, my gauge is off by about 0.25 of a stitch over two inches. Changing needle sizes won’t help that. Plus it will block out, right? (This is what I’m telling myself, don’t spoil the illusion.)

But the use of DPNs was still going to cause me problems—soon the work wouldn’t fit on my needles. I have stubby little 6-inch DPNs because, for some reason, I thought I liked short DPNs. I knew this impending doom was fast approaching and I knew that I wanted to get the work on circulars as fast as possible. So I ordered some 12-inch circulars. Well, the 12-inch circs aren’t here yet. What’s a girl to do? Cast on for another project, of course.

For months now, Rachel has been hounding me to start Starsky. I’ve been threatening to knit it since the pattern came out, but it never seemed to make it to the top of my knitting line up. But Rachel just won’t get off my case about it. “Knit it! Knit Starksy!” she says. The wheres, whens, and hows of me starting the cardigan have been dominating my conversations with Rachel because she can’t seem to let go of this obsession. Rachel claims that she wants me to knit Starsky so that we can finally be “sweater twins,” but I suspect that she wants me to knit the sweater so that she can lord the fact that I’m “copying her” over me at any time.

Despite my worries about Rachel’s true motives, I decided that it was Starsky’s time. I grabbed my bag of discontinued *sniff* Berroco Pleasure, knit a swatch and cast on. That was Wednesday. By Thursday night I had finished the back and started the fronts.

Why am I showing you this and giving you a timetable of the events? Yesterday, in an email conversation, Rachel indicated that she was jealous that I knit half a Starsky back in one day. So, naturally, I had to finish the back by the end of the day. In other words, I wrote this post with the sole purpose of driving Rachel insane with jealousy over my knitting speed. I have to do something to get to Rachel now because once I’m finished knitting this sweater, I’m going to have to endure Rachel’s taunts until kingdom come. What are friends for?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Don’t Tug on Superman’s Cape

I am a Super Cat!When I was a young kitten, not much older than Scout is now, my mother sewed a cape for me. It was made from red wool felt and lined with red satin. It had three buttons to keep it closed—red with white polka dots. I loved that cape. I wore it whenever I could. Even though the cape didn’t have a hood, everyone called me Little Red Riding Hood. Ever since I out grew that cape, I wanted another one. And now, I finally have one.

Hey there Little Red Riding Hood!

Pattern: Karis from Rowan 36, modified
Yarn: Kid Silk Night (67% kid mohair, 18% silk, 10% polyester, 5% nylon) in Dazzle (Shiny Red!), 3 balls
Needles: US size 6 (4 mm)

Into the Woods to grandmother's house!1) Obviously I made this into a cape rather than a poncho.

2) I worked the edges and the center similar to the way that many shawls are worked. Each edge had 2 garter stitch stitches followed by a YO increase on the right side rows. In the center, right side rows were worked YO, K1, YO. In order to do this modification, I had to add a stitch to each edge and decrease a stitch in the center.

3) I worked a single crochet edging along the front edges to neaten them up.

button.JPG4) Added a button to close the front, but I didn’t make a buttonhole. I just shove the button through a YO close to the edge.

One more thing:

Friday, February 02, 2007

Feeling the Handspun Love

Remember when I went to Alaska and came home with some fiberly goodness? Well, I asked spinner extraordinaire Sarah of Morg to spin the fiber for me. Sarah—in her complete amazingness, spent months working on my fiber. It wasn’t the cleanest fiber in the world (that’s an understatement) so she had to do a lot cleaning and prep work before she could spin it.


Thanks to Sarah’s hard work and dedication, I now have over 300 yards of lace-ish-weight qiviut! It’s the ultimate souvenir from my Alaska trip: fiber bought in a fishing village from a local artist and spun by a dear friend. Sarah also sent me a copy of Arctic Lace aka The Qiviut Book. Soon I will use my lovely yarn to knit one of the patterns from this book. But for now I’m enjoying petting my skein of fluffy softness. It’s so light—holding it is like holding a cloud.

And as if all the hard work Sarah did wasn't enough, she decided to send me some more of her handspun yarn. The purpley pink hank is yarn that she spun from some Spunky Eclectic roving. I think it will make a nice contrasting trim on a sweater someday.

Thank you SO MUCH Sarah—for everything.

For you yarn p0rn addicts, gaze upon the fantastic photos that Sarah took. The photos show off the incredible spinning job that she did.