Saturday, March 31, 2007

Finished Object: Scout Sweater

What can I say? Knitting blog readers have discriminating tastes. With so many blogs out there to read, it’s easy for one to ignore boring blogs. So I’ve noticed.

So, as a desperate attempt at lighting a fire under my blog readership and as a pathetic plea for new readers, I present the following:

I'm adorable!

Pattern: Doggie’s Kitty’s Soy Silk Sweater from Men Who Knit & the Dogs Who Love Them, size XS
Yarn: SWTC Karaoke, 50% Soy Silk, 50% wool, 1 ball, color 281 Bloom
Needles: US size 8 (5mm) and size 9 (5.5mm)
Modifications: Obviously, I used only one color of Karaoke instead of the three specified in the pattern. The mod that I should have done was to shorten the length of the collar. The collar doesn’t lay flat on Scout. I’ll keep that in mind for the next sweater that I make for Scout.

I'm so relaxed that I'm looking out the window.Pattern Errata: In this back view photo you can see that there are four distinct sections in the sweater: ribbing around the neck, an eyelet section, a reverse stockinette section, and a long ribbed section. This is identical to the sweater shown in the book. However, the instructions do not include the reverse stockinette section. Instead, it has a panel of stockinette set off by purl ridges. I could have made the sweater either way, but I thought the reverse stockinette added more visual interest.

The chest area of the sweater has some lovely shaping between the legs. If you follow the shaping instructions in the book for the X-Small size, you will end up with a front that is much too long. To correct for this, I omitted six of the eight plain rows that are knit before the shaping starts.

I'm such a show off!


Play time!Before any of you start accusing me of drugging Scout or having a stuffed cat, look! She moves! Here she is playing with a purple bunny toy. Not the greatest photo, but it proves that Scout is alive and alert. I would never hurt my baby Scout. Scout loves me. She loves the sweater that I made for her. She is more than happy to wear it and have her photo taken.

I started knitting this on Thursday night and finished it on Friday afternoon. While I was knitting it several people questioned my sanity and doubted that I could ever successfully put Scout in a sweater. And when I say several, I mean several.

I'm well behaved.Knittyheads Valerie, Barbie, Theresa, Miko, Sarah, Karen, and Bean* all called me crazy and gave me strange looks. (As much as one can give strange looks over the internet.) Of course, some of them started by encouraging me to make the sweater, but as soon as I actually started it, they began saying that I was insane. I think they wanted me to make a fool out of myself. I showed them!

Houston SnBers Meredith, Kelly, Amy, S t a c i, and Drew* all doubted that Scout would stay in the sweater for very long. But as you can see, Scout wore the sweater for THREE different photo shoots. (The first photo shoot was before I weaved the ends in. I asked Scout to try on the sweater before I cut the yarn. She was so obliging.) And in fact, after the second photo shoot, she wore the sweater for 45 minutes before starting to try to squirm out of it.

I'm to cute for my sweater!Getting Scout into the sweater is not very difficult. Getting her out of it is much more of a challenge. The difference may have something to do with the fact that I put the sweater on her when she’s sleepy, and by the time I take it off, she’s wide awake and a little bit annoyed. Or perhaps she just doesn’t want me to take off the sweater. Maybe she really likes wearing it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

*Note another ploy for getting people to pay attention to my blog: linking to lots of other blogs.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Poor neglected blog! Poor neglected knitting! I have no excuses. Well, I do have one. My parents were visiting. But that only accounts for 5 days in the last two weeks of very little knitting and very little blogging or blog reading.

During my parents visit, I went to the Hong Kong Food Market #4 for the first time. I'm still kicking myself for not having a camera with me. Where else would I find an aisle marked "De-Ter-Gents and House Holds?" And what about that gallon jug of yellow food coloring?

A lesson learned:
People are not impressed with ummodeled knitwear. Either that or people are not impressed with stockinette. So a big, hearty THANK YOU to those of you who did comment. And thanks for all the suggestions on ways to modify the neckline. I like the idea of frog closures or clasps, but nothing will be done until I get the sweater back. If you want to see Tori modeled by something other than a hanger on a doorknob, you can look here.

Fun Fact:
Ima Hogg really, really liked azaleas.


Odd Fact:
There is a petrified tree stump in Ima Hogg's garden. I suspect that it was placed there (i.e. the tree did not originally grow in that spot), but it seems very out-of-place in the finely manicured, formal gardens.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Finished Object: Tori


Pattern: Tori from Rowan Bamboo Tape Collection, second size
Yarn: Rowan Bamboo Tape in Tissue (I think), 9 balls
Needles: US size 8, 5 mm

1) The astute observer will notice that I am not wearing this sweater. It’s not because I don’t like the sweater. It’s because I didn’t want to be bothered with the self-timer this morning. Also, the sweater will be traveling to Yarntopia soon, so I don’t want to mess it up. However, the sweater is amazingly comfortable. I love the fabric and most of the fit.

2) Maybe yellow ribbons were not the best choice, but it was better than the other ribbon I had.

3) The neckline is funny. It’s very, very high and rather small. (Do I have a fat neck or something?) The construction of the neckline is a bit odd and I was worried about it when I was knitting it. Had I not been making this as a store sample, I probably would have modified the collar a bit. At this point I’m trying to decide if I should rework the neckline when I get the sweater back.

4) Instead of reworking the neck, I could find a different way of closing the “slit” in the neck. I’m thinking lacing it up like a corset and letting the top edge “gap” a bit so that the silt forms more of a V-shape. Decisions, decisions.

Blabby Technical Notes That May Bore You:
As I worked the body shaping and the armscye shaping I decided to use invisible increases and decreases as opposed to fully-fashioned increases and decreases. Fully-fashion increases and decreases are visible and are often used in decorative ways. But I generally prefer to use invisible decreases in my garments.

When I started the right shoulder panel, I realized that my choice of invisible increases and decreases was going to be problematic. The right shoulder panel has an increase on every row. Not every right-side row. EVERY ROW.

My invisible increase of choice is make-1—right-slanting on the right side and left-slanting on the left side. When I use a make-1 increase on every row the resulting fabric is butt-ugly. The stitches around the increase were horribly uneven.

So I had to experiment with different increases. Some increases were not invisible—yuck. Some increases couldn’t be used on every row—darn. I finally settled on the cast-on increase from Montse Stanley’s Knitter’s Handbook. This increase has the same structure as a make-1 increase, but it is worked differently. This difference was enough to make a startlingly big difference in the appearance of the finished fabric. See how pretty? Click photo to see notes.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Yarn Review: Rowan Bamboo Tape

bambootape1.jpgOnce again, thanks to Amy and Sheryl at Yarntopia, I have a chance to knit with some delicious new yarn: Rowan’s Bamboo Tape. As you can probably guess by its name, the yarn is made from bamboo and it’s a tape yarn. (Yes, Valerie, it really is a tape yarn!)

Bamboo Tape is delightfully soft to the touch. It’s very smooth and silky. In fact, it has a slight sheen to it that is somewhat similar to the sheen of silk. But not exactly like silk, just similar. I was actually surprised by the extreme softness of the yarn. I’ve never worked with bamboo before and I guess I expected it to be somewhat similar to cotton. But Bamboo Tape is not similar to cotton at all.

The yarn is a tube of woven threads that is pressed flat. This construction give the yarn a bit of resiliency and springness that is usually absent from yarns made from plant fibers. As a result, the yarn is easy to work with. People who complain about working with “stiff” cotton yarns will not have an issue with this yarn. The construction of the yarn also prevents splitting. I occasionally catch the yarn with my needle tip and the needle just stops. The needle doesn’t go through the yarn and doesn’t distort the yarn very much.

Swatch.JPGThe resiliency of the yarn is evident in the knitting fabric as well. The fabric feels squishy and is stretchy. It has a fairly nice drape—somewhere between the drape of silk and the drape of wool. I think the yarn will be wonderful for summer knitting. But be very careful when you are swatching with this yarn. I promise you that the yarn will grow when wet. And then it will grow even MORE when it dries completely. So wash and thoroughly dry your swatch before measuring!

At this point, I’m not sure how the fabric will wear. I’m not ready to abuse my swatch because I’m not sure if I will need to unravel it to finish my sweater.

Now that I’ve sung the praises of this yarn, I have to admit that there is a down side. This yarn is heavy! Not thick-heavy, but weight-heavy. Even before I finished knitting the back of my sweater I was surprised at the weight of the fabric on the needles. But I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised. A 50 g ball of Bamboo Tape contains a mere 82 yards of yarn. Even the smallest size of the sweater that I am making requires 9 balls of Bamboo Tape! And the pattern is a simple a short-sleeved “T-shirt” (it’s Tori shown on this page). At about $10 per ball, even a small garment will be pricey.

Yarn stats:misprint.JPG
Rowan Bamboo Tape
100% bamboo
Approximately 4.75 sts/in. (worsted weight)
50 g balls (82 yds/75 m)
And despite what the misprinted label says, it should be knit on about a US size 8 needle

Monday, March 05, 2007

A Tale of Two Sockies

SusannRachel.jpg(I guess this is really a Tale of Two Pairs of Socks or a Tale of Four Socks, but neither of those titles is as punny as the one I picked.)

Our story begins one afternoon in the autumn of 2006. That day, Susann was treating the people in KnittyChat to photos from a German knitting magazine. Among the photos that she was flashing was a photo of the cutest socks ever (click here to see Susann’s version). I admired the socks and told Susann how much I loved them. Susann kindly offered to translate the pattern for me, but I told her no. For as much as I liked the socks, I didn’t think I would knit them. (Yes, I have a great appreciation for handknit socks. I even have a list of socks patterns that I’m considering making because I like them so much. However, my appreciation for socks is not enough to make me knit socks.)

Fast forward a couple of months. Susann, having learned that I was in possession of sock yarn that she really liked, proposed a trade. (Yes, I have sock yarn! It finds it way to me, I can’t help it!) Susann offered to knit me a pair of the cutest socks ever in exchange for sock yarn. What a deal! I accepted her offer immediately. The trade with Susann came on the heels of the greatest trade ever—the trade in which Rachel sent me cashmere laceweight in exchange for a lace shawl. Because of the similarities between the two trades, I told Rachel about the arrangement I had with Susann. Rachel agreed that I had made another great trade.

Susann.jpgSusann proceeded to knit the cutest socks ever in the cutest sock yarn colorway ever. Aren’t they adorable? The moment I saw these socks I had an impulse to buy lots of yarn in the same colorway just to have it. (And you know, maybe, if I ever got around to it, perhaps, I could knit socks with the yarn.)

These socks are fantastic in every way. They fit perfectly and just look at how perfectly the stripes match up. Susann did this because she knew how obsessive I am about making my OWN knitting perfect and she felt that she needed to be obsessive with my socks, too. (I didn’t know it was contagious.)

Anyway, around the same time that Susann’s socks arrived, Rachel wrote a post in which she apologized to me for abandoning the Apathetic Sock Knitters Club. In a comment to that post I wrote, “I have to admit that I actually want some wool socks this winter. . . . However, I’m trying to find ways to have socks knit for me rather than having to knit them myself.” I was, of course, referring to the socks that Susann had knit for me. Don’t try to read between the lines, I wasn’t asking Rachel to knit me socks.

Rachel.JPGBut Rachel took it upon herself to knit me socks as a token of our friendship. And what a pair of socks! Purple with pink and CABLES! Happy cables with the cleverest cable transition at the ankles! Rachel knows me too well—picking color and a pattern that I liked without assistance from me. These socks were packaged in a very funny sock sleeve that made me laugh out loud.

I adore both pairs of socks and I bow down to the sock-knitting prowess of both women. I appreciate their kindness and generosity. I will treasure these two pairs of socks forever. Thank you Susann and Rachel for the socks and for being you!

And for those of you who came over here to ogle the person who was slanderously mistreating Rachel, rest assured that all of the teasing that goes on between Rachel and me is good-natured fun done with affection and respect.