Tag Archives: cardigan

Lost and Found

14 Jan

I’ve gotten well and thoroughly used to how convenient Ravelry is for keeping track of projects. I’ve used it to check the care instructions on yarn knitted years ago, I’ve used it to remind myself to rotate my shawls and hats from time to time so that some don’t end up completely forgotten.

But most of all, I’ve used it to know where I am and what I am doing.

I hadn’t appreciated this for a while until yesterday when I had a good look at my WIP basket and found a complete mystery project. The day before I took a moment to dump all my knitting tools and notions on the livingroom floor, and sort through them all. Apparently this also meant going to my WIP basket and picking up all the hooks and needles that had found their way to the bottom.

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All neat – ready to be messed up again!

I didn’t realize this was problematic until, on closer inspection of the WIPs themselves, I found the first 8 inches of a Fall Fields Cardigan. There was no hook attached. No matter – I was off to Ravelry. Where, for some reason, I hadn’t made a single note about this project, including that it existed. Uh oh.

At first I didn’t even know it was the Fall Fields Cardigan, or when I’d started it, or in what size. Finally a hazy recollection of Interweave Crochet helped me track down the pattern. Then I spent half an hour carefully counting stitches to figure out what size this was supposed to be (I can’t quite “read” crochet as reliably as knitting so counting stitches isn’t all that straight forward). The pattern suggests a size which would result in 6″ of negative ease, and I was fairly sure that I wouldn’t have picked that size but something bigger. This still left 4 possibilities.

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The hook was more problematic even still, but based on a notion of a general sort of pinkish orangeishness, I looked through my hooks and figured I had used a size 4, which happens to be that sparkly color.

And then I spent a while figuring out where in the pattern I was.

Now I’m working on it again, and I’ve updated all this info on Ravelry. It would appear, though, that some of the yarn I’ve bought for this project has wandered out of the WIP basket and has possibly been used for something else. What I have simply isn’t enough for a cardigan.

The whole thing may be doomed, but it is still kind of pretty. Besides, there are a lot of cut yarn ends for some reason, so I can’t rip back either. I figure I can always get more, and in a stripy thing like this, it doesn’t matter as much if the dye lots don’t match perfectly. Staying positive, that’s the thing.

I trust that without Ravelry this kind of thing would happen to me often enough to render this hobby very frustrating. But even Ravelry wouldn’t help if I didn’t update it religiously.

I’m here to tell you: there is life after knitting

27 Nov

Spoiler: It’s mostly knitting.

My blog posts have always been sporadic so that for a few months I post regularly, and then nothing at all for a while. This time, though, it wasn’t only that life happened and I didn’t have time to write, I also didn’t have time to knit. Last spring I wrote my Master’s Thesis, and in the summer I graduated. All is relative of course, and I did knit a Girl Friday cardigan over the spring, but it took me two months, and that was all I completed in that whole time. It wasn’t very enjoyable, I merely went through the motions out of a strange sense of duty. I went weeks without knitting, and am only just now emerging from a 10 month knitting funk.

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Girl Friday

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Paulie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The summer is a blur. As it began I remember thinking I’m going to knit so much and take back lost time over the summer, but that lasted all of one day. In fact, it seems the summer lasted about a week. I did knit a Paulie cardigan so I suppose I had more time than it seems. Also, I have photographic evidence, so clearly I have been outside at some point, doing something. Gazing out into the woods.

So I could go back and do a recap of the things I’ve knitted while I wasn’t knitting practically speaking at all, but that’s really no fun at all.

Instead, I submit to your consideration: am I unwise for buying acrylics today to knit a Faberge shawl? It was 90 cents per ball, fingering weight acrylic yarn, and it was as soft as a really soft thing. I was impressed.

Oddly enough, I had the most intense case of buyers remorse I have ever had about yarn. I figure my reasoning went like this: 90 cents per ball is  practically speaking free yarn. But I got four balls to be sure to have enough yardage, so suddenly I was paying 3,60€ for yarn that was supposed to be free! (Practically speaking.) I made myself feel swindled. Well done!

It still is really soft, though. I have also had very good luck with acrylic yarns staying neat, and I don’t mind it if it’s hot. I could do with a new, really warm shawl. They do say you should always buy the best you can afford to knit with, but I think, on occasion, it’s okay to splurge on something really cheap.

I have been very interested in icord knitting machines lately, especially after seeing one used together with a power drill. I’m not in that much of a hurry to get icord, but just the fact that the machine can be used like that makes it seem more likely to be durable and useful in the intended way.

There are mixed reviews of the Knit Embellish machine used in the above video, though, so I’ve been hesitant about ordering one online. I would probably just be so lazy I wouldn’t return a defective one if I was so unlucky as to receive one of those. I was therefore very pleased to see Prym’s Knitting Mill, their take on the same machine, at my local yarn shop. The machine was very hefty so I suppose it’s metallic, and less likely to break in my questionable care. This may very well be my Christmas gift for myself.

Maybe. I could really do with another spindle as well… But that’s a story for another day.

Achievement Unlocked

16 Oct

Back during the Olympics, I unexpectedly took part in (and won!) the Ravellenic games. I was able to do this only because, having broken my spindle bone (and how fitting is it for a spinner/knitter/crocheter to break their spindle bone, amirite? No, wait, that might actually be the opposite of fitting) I was off work for about 8 weeks.

For the first week or so after I face planted in a pretty impressive manner with my bicycle (wear your helmet, kids!) I was unable to dress, bathe or feed myself. Luckily the boy had his summer vacation right then, and spent it taking care of me. When he had to go to work, I scooted back home to mom. At that point I had already had instructions from a doc to try to use my broken arm.

Judging by my experience, I would vastly prefer it if I never had to recuperate from an actual, serious injury – although I have to say that there was a sort of bitter sweetness to moments such as being able to successfully use a fork or lift my arm up and actually touch the top of my head.

Well since I was under doctor’s orders to keep doing things as much as possible, I actively came up with stuff I could do even though everything just felt really weird and wrong in my arm, especially at first. Mom helped me with this, and bought me yarn enough for an Azilal cardigan. Since the Ravellenic games were starting, and I was pretty scared of crocheting an actual garment that had to fit and everything, I figured I’d take part. So for two weeks I watched all the Olympic games I could stomach, and crocheted.

The resulting cardigan is by far my favorite garment that I’ve ever made.

Finishing is always the hardest part to get right for me when I knit something. But with crochet that was a breeze and I couldn’t not get it right it seemed. The whole experience was so positive that I can’t wait to find the next great crochet pattern I want to make 🙂

I’m Changing My Mind (‘cos that’s what I do)

12 Feb

I’m a bit silly. I got me a pile of Garnstudio Alpaca with my Christmas gift card to my favorite LYS, having already decided I wanted to knit Zora. It’s a cardigan with a subtle lace pattern and some rib at the waist. With its generous positive ease, it looks quite comfy.

Here are the reasons why I’m changing my mind about knitting it (damnit):

It’s not necessarily the first thing I would go for because it doesn’t come with buttons, and I like to be able to button up my cardigan if I feel like it. I once had a cardigan with only a belt for closure, and frankly it stressed me right out. Considering that, it’s odd that I was so adamant that that’s the cardigan I want – nay, need. Until now.

I started looking around Ravelry, and found another, much more intriguing option. It’s the Paulie cardigan.

It’s knitted top down and seamlessly with raglan sleeves, all features I’ve realized I love. It’s also been designed for alpaca yarn and it’s always a good idea to stay with the same fiber when changing the yarn for a pattern. It’s stockinette stitch which is good. I have learned the hard way (hello 180 cm x 100 cm alpaca lace shawl) that alpaca has zero stitch definition – not a problem with stockinette. It’s pretty fitted, and it is known that I really just don’t like baggy clothes.

The Paulie cardigan also reminds me strongly of another stripy cardigan (Freya, Ravelry link) I’ve been dreaming about all week long. This one has seriously captured my heart, probably because I can’t knit it! It’s being test knit but I don’t have time to do that, and when it’s published, I won’t want to buy it because that way madness lies.

I thought the stripes would be a problem, but then Ravelry very helpfully reminded me that I have those three balls of the same yarn in another colorway that I just can’t make work as anything. They’ve been a beginning of a shawl and another shawl and a hat and now have been at the bottom of my WIP bin for six months as an unappetizing cowl. But they could work with the green.

And yet… I can’t quite shake the feeling that I should knit the Zora because that’s what I had in mind first… baroo?

Silly brain. It’s like it got stuck on the Zora idea, got comfy in its groove, and is now hanging on out of sheer bloody-minded stubbornnes. Now, if there’s a problem with the Paulie, my brain’s going to be all “Told you so…”, I just know it.

Don’t Break My Heart: Finding the Right Sweater for Me

21 Sep

I’ve been wondering about how much of the same thing I repeat in knitting. I mostly look at cardigan and sweater patterns, but rarely knit those. I find this odd given how much I love knitting all kinds of tops: all the hopes and dreams that come with it, the pride of wearing something so obviously labor-intensive I made with my own two hands, the self-esteem that comes from sticking to such a big project and so on. The high of knitting, for instance, a sweater, is enough to provide a horrible disappointment if there’s even a little bit of fail in the finished object.

I did a quick tally of all my finished objects to see just how unrepresented tops in general are in my knitted wardrobe.

The clear winner was socks at 12 pairs finished, and the number goes up to 19 if  I count ones not on Ravelry and pairs currently on the needles. My second favorite type of project, apparently, are shawls, which add up to 13 ever knitted or on the needles right now.

After that it’s gloves, hats, scarfs, slippers, mittens, mitts, and then, with 3 finished objects, we find tops in place 9, tying with sweaters. Cardigans tally at 2 FOs, and I’ve also knitted one (1) shrug (that I’ve also worn about once). The one slipover I knitted was promptly frogged upon completion.

Why is this I ask myself? I love knitting actual garments. I firmly believe it can be the most rewarding form of knitting, yet I take on the challenge comparatively rarely.

Let’s look at my history.

My first knitted garment was, sadly, a cardigan designed by moi. After much hard work with a mohair & acrylic blend, I ended up with a dull-gray lopsided shapeless monster that I haven’t been able to wear, not ever. Not even at home. I could salvage the yarn, of course, but the thought of frogging that much mohair makes me gag, so I don’t.


My first love

Next up: the slipover I coveted for so long and finally knitted with much enthusiasm and pride, only to find out it is shaped remarkably similarly to a potato sack. I frogged that one, and used the yarn to make my first actual sweater.

Now you're just a bitter-sweet memory

At first I thought it was fine and much happiness ensued. It is a ribbed sweater with raglan sleeves and a boat neck. But that sweater turned out to be way too hot to wear, even in the deepest, darkest heart of nuclear winter,  and the neck itches.


At least the sleeves are long enough

Other memorable sweater events include my Corona sweater which at the time of knitting was like the best thing evah for me. Man, was I proud. But after about the third time I wore it, the sweater stretched sideways making it too short and too wide. Also, the combination of raglan sleeves, the big hood and the wide neckline makes for ill-fitting shoulders which makes me tug at the sweater all day long to ensure it’s in place. Which it never is, despite all the tugging. This stresses me out and doesn’t make for a good relationship with a sweater, no matter how much feelings I had for it in the beginning.

I trusted you

The only shrug I’ve knitted is simply too wacky for me to wear and also draws attention to features in me I’d rather not look at at all if possible.

I don't even know what to say to you

And the lates top I knitted was also of the potato sack persuasion, and actually knitted from that same accursed mohair blend my first ever cardigan was.

Wearing a belt only hides our underlying issues

After that I knitted another labor of love: the Cari cardigan,which I’ve neglected to blog about after I finished it. Well, let’s just say I learned cardigans with one button at the breast and no shaping at the waist aren’t the best thing for my body shape.

Et tu, Brute

What all of this boils down to is I’m terrified of making another commitment, of giving my heart to another garment and having it ripped to pieces once again. I’ve had so many disappointments I’m now afraid to fall in love.

What would help me immensely would be coming to terms with my own body – knowing myself as it were. It’s so easy to be enticed by garments that simply aren’t for me when they’re modeled by someone who fits my image of the perfect body. It’s as if my brain believes that knitting this garment won’t just give me the garment – it will also give me the perfect body I see in the picture.

I have to learn to look at the garment itself and to know what fits me and what simply won’t (I guess all my failures can help me in this). Realizing this is one of the reasons I haven’t knitted sweaters in a while. I only have myself to rely on when I’m making these decisions, and past experiences show I’m not to be trusted in this matter.

Another good idea would be to learn to really pay attention to the measurements provided in the pattern (if any), and maybe even *shock, horror* adjusting them for a better fit. I can only blame myself for all the times I knitted something with no waist shaping only to be surprised by this fact the first time I pull on my brand new top or whatever.

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Lately I’ve been cautiously flirting with Thermal. It looks like a sweater I could live with and even love. It’s got long sleeves, it doesn’t look like it’ll turn out too short easily. The model on Knitty seems to be pretty much the same shape I am, and the sweater looks lovely on her. But it’s a big commitment, and I’m not ready to make it yet.

There’s saving money to buy enough yarn for a sweater, there’s finding the perfect yarn, and lot’s of thinking to do before I can plunge in once again. But one day I will get there.

I’m a believer.

Center Pull Balls, Shawls, a Cardigan and Cable Needles

20 Apr

Evilla A-52

I learned a new trick! It’s a center pull ball, made by winding yarn around an empty toilet paper roll. Before I saw a tutorial for this (which I cannot now find again, but it was basically the same as this one) I never believed in center pull balls… I’ve never had any problems with my yarn balls rolling around when I knit even though I’ve always knitted every ball starting from the outside. I simply never understood what the big deal was.

But then I saw Evilla artyarns winded in a kind of disc so the changing colours show beautifully. While searching for ways to achieve this, I learned about this method of winding yarn. And the result is just so elegant. A beautiful disc of yarn that sits still on the table while I knit. The yarn runs without snags from it, and it’s all just so neat.

Evilla A-46 Panache

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my bf gave me three skeins of Evilla yarn as a birthday gift. I’ve had a hard time deciding which shawls I want to knit the most. There are so many pretty ones. Lucky the search options in Ravelry are so well thought-out.

It’s nice that I have three different colors and don’t therefore have to choose just one shawl pattern, but at the same time that adds the trouble of choosing which color to knit first and which colors and patterns fit together the best.

I would like to knit a Haruni. Someone had knitted a Haruni with Evilla artyarn and it was beautiful… but on the other hand I have a skein of Elegant by teetee (a lace weight yarn) that I’ve been reserving for a Haruni. And I usually don’t like knitting anything twice.

At some point I got tired of browsing through all the patterns and just chose one of the shawls I’ve been meaning to knit at some point anyway: Panache.

When I started knitting the shawl, I was at first a bit worried because there are no charts in the pattern. I’m used to charts. They make sense to me. I like being able to actually see what the lace pattern is supposed to look like as I knit along.

I’ve tried knitting a shawl once without charts and it didn’t turn out right. This time I was surprised to discover the pattern is well written and easy to follow, and in some ways the work seems to go faster… Maybe it’s easier to memorize what has to be done on each row when the pattern gives verbal instructions, instead of the knitter having to first find the correct row on the chart, then interpret the symbols on it and so on.

We’ll see how it turns out. It’ll be pretty, no doubt, but I think the color changes don’t emphasize the lace pattern in the best possible manner (or vice versa).

But it’s never a good idea to judge a project before it’s been blocked 🙂

This post is all over the place, but oh well, here’s a couple more thing:

Cables

I’m also knitting a cable trim cardigan called Cari and oh boy, the new KnitPro cable needle (part of a set of three, which was part of the b-day gift from bf) has made the job much easier. I try to do entirely without cable needles, but when I have more than two stitches waiting to be crossed, I find it reassuring to use a cable needle. Sometimes I use a double-pointed needle, but those can be too long, or a cable needle with a bend in it, which I just find clumsy. So far I’ve found nothing wrong with the KnitPro one. I lerv it a lot.

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