SCHWAAN, finally

Back in April/May of 2013, I randomly got a bee in my bonnet to KNIT A SWEATERâ„¢ and I’m not really sure where it came from (probably Pinterest) but I decided I wanted to knit SCHWAAN, the cover sweater from Norah Gaughan Vol. 8. And so I started, with the wrong type of yarn and nowhere near gauge.

The first go didn’t work too hot but I was able to determine what did and didn’t work, and that I really did not want to handknit a whole sweater that involved purling in any way (there’s a reason that my other sweaters I’ve made have been in the round!) so I decided to uncover the Ultimate Sweater Machine from underneath the pile of mail and do a swatch.

I had a bunch of Knitpicks Comfy (a worsted weight cotton/acrylic blend) that I’d started a sweater with oh, last year or the year before, but it had gone to the wayside due to knitting ennui on my part and too many purls. I’m a Continental knitter and I’ve never really figured out a way to purl that isn’t completely annoying/slow, which is why I generally like to knit top-down/in-the-round*. I’m sure that’s not uncommon. Anyway, so once I determined that A) the sweater needed to be bigger and B) I really hate knitting boring stockinette in flat pieces (cursed purls) I decided to bite the bullet and go the knitting machine route for the solid stockinette sections.

In the case of SCHWAAN (yes I feel it’s necessary to capitalize every letter) I was interested in handknitting the edges and the front lace panel. The actual construction of the sweater was interesting to me as well – it seemed like it was put together slightly different than regular sweaters (set in sleeve or raglan – seemed a bit of a hybrid though mostly raglan).

That left me with the mass amounts of stockinette to knit once I’d done the edges and I had the sweater parts completed in about three evenings. Seaming took another evening and then I had a sweater about a week after I started the process (including the day or two that I spent handknitting and then deciding I didn’t want to handknit the whole thing.)

So, SCHWAAN:

IMG_1636

It has its problems – namely the armholes need to be a little bit bigger, as do the arms (I read later that several Ravelers had noted that the arms seemed tight) and it needs to be longer, though the latter is a personal preference due to fit – I have a long torso. However, it’s totally wearable! (#win)

I followed the pattern exactly for the largest size since my gauge was mega off. This only took just 8 skeins of Comfy – more like 7.5.

I ordered two more colors of Comfy and plan to make two more SCHWAANS – one a pale pale almost white turquoise, the other a rosey red. I ordered ten skeins of each which I think will be sufficient for the added inches, plus it will be slightly smaller since I’m somewhat smaller. The back only took 2.5 skeins so I wouldn’t think I’d need more than a half skein per front/back to achieve an extra 2 inches of length (maybe three – we’ll see). The white one will probably be completed as written but I’m toying with doing clean edges; i.e. a folded hem. The red one will have a 2×2 rib but no lace on the edge.

I also worked out a better way to bind off directly from the knitting machine – it’s a little time consuming but much nicer looking than the way I initially learned how. So I’m looking forward to incorporating that into the new SCHWAANS, including all of the tricks I learned while seaming SCHWAAN #1 together. Not sure which color I want to do next, or if at this juncture two years after the fact, if I want to still make two. Maybe the red wants to be something else. The white is definitely destined to be a longer sweater.

Incidentally, my sister, who took the above picture, asked me, somewhat critically, “Did you MEAN for your sweater to be this length?” A sisterly way of saying it is too short, haha! But she’s right, it’s too short. Doesn’t mean I won’t still wear it though.

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*This does not explain Vaila (or Flowing Lines! Newly knit in 2015!), which is a lace pattern on a sea of purl. Loved knitting that sweater, though I did turn the arms inside out and knit them in the round instead of purl, hah.

Socks for Boo

Knitted some baby socks for the first time for Ms. Boo Belle. The little lady is still a bit too little for them, but the important thing is that they fit, or will fit, eventually:

Yarn: Knitpicks Stroll Handpaints in Tiger (discontinued colorway, sadly)
Needles: Ehhh, 2 US probably??

I also made myself some fingerless mitts out of this yarn earlier this year but I haven't taken a picture of them yet. I will have to do that.

CRAFTING 2012

Even though I've been a remiss blogger this year, I did a lot of stuff – made a lot of jewelry and knit a few things. This year was not a big year for knitting. I had hoped to reach at least the same amount of items as last year (a whopping six) and I didn't, alas. I made four hats and one shawl. Two hats were great, two were kind of duds. The shawl was fabulous.

2012-12-28

Clockwise from top left Topiary Beanie (Weekend Hats by Cecily MacDonald& Melissa LaBarre), Ruche (Weekend Hats), Daybreak Shawl (Stephen West), Fern Glade Hat (Megan Marshall via Knitty), and Long Leaves Beanie (Weekend Hats).

At some point earlier this year I was on a hat kick and I went with it. The Weekend Hats book is pretty great and I started knitting through all the patterns I liked. There's still three or four that I wouldn't mind knitting. I don't feel like knitting hats much anymore (compared to when I first started knitting, that's all I ever knit) so when the urge strikes I just go go go until I'm tired of it. Of the above four hats, two are iffy in their success and the other two turned out fabulous.

Topiary and Ruche didn't turn out the way I hoped. Topiary is much (much!!) too long, but circumference-wise fits fine and it pretty cute even if I have to roll the back so it fits better. I knit it out of Madelinetosh Vintage which is soooo nice! Ruche – I think something might have been wrong with the pattern because I wound up with far too many stitches after the foldover row so I wound up doing five foldovers instead of three. Now it fits weird. Probably because my head is big. I will probably try to find somebody it fits and give it to them. I also didn't care for the yarn much (one of the Vickie Howell yarns – color's great but it was hard to work with).

The other hats, Long Leaves and Fern Glade turned out great. Long Leaves is one of my favorite hats ever, knit out of Lorna's Laces Shephard Worsted in Ysolda Red (I don't know if it's called that still, the website calls a similar color Bold Red). What a treat to knit with! It's a great color and pattern. It's also the perfect beanie length – it covers my ears perfectly! Fern Glade I actually did futz around with – it's not written for heavy worsted yarn, it's written for DK weight and I was using Madelinetosh Chunky so I adjusted the pattern accordingly. It didn't turn out quite as beret-ish as I wanted but I think a more severe blocking over a plate would help that. Also my mom wears her hats farther back on her head than I do, so her bangs show (I can't seem to do this without the hat falling off) so it may be baggier on her than me. At any rate, great pattern, great yarn!

Some jewelry highlights:

Hey, look at me, inserting a gallery into a post! Go me! I wish I'd taken a picture of the awesome Southwestern-style turquoise necklace I made my mom for Christmas, it turned out really nice.

This year I went to a lot of bead shows – both of the big ones at the Oakland Marriott, and at least two up in Sacramento. I believe I even popped over to the one they started having at the Hilton in Concord. I only consciously skipped one of them – at a certain point in October I was just plain exhausted and didn't want to drive up to Sacramento again so I bailed on that one, but it was like three weeks before the huge Bay Area Bead Extravaganza (BABE!) so I wasn't too bummed about it. I got pretty tired of driving around everywhere and being busy every weekend, so I can't say that I regret missing a Gem Faire, especially when I have a room full of awesome bead stash.

So what's on the agenda for next year? Well, more resin – I didn't do too much this year, but I bought a bunch of new molds in Texas that I haven't tried out yet (bracelet molds and other shapes) and my Michael's finally started carrying the new Jewelry Resin I've been wanting to try. At BABE! I got some of the Vintaj patinas and I did patina a bunch of my filigrees, though I haven't done much with them yet.

I don't have anything planned knitting-wise. Even though I finished a hat in December I'm just not in the mood right now. Maybe it will come back – I have to repair my King George Mitts which have some inexplicable holes in them, and I would like to knit a pair of gloves at some point, but I really have to be in the mood. Maybe going to Stitches in February will jumpstart it! Or not, hah.

2012 Knitting Update

So in January/February, I knit a Daybreak shawl to wear for Stitches West. (I wound up wearing the Eiki shawl.) This shawl really kind of knit itself – so awesome! I think because of the striping. I may make another one sometime. It would look great with black and a blending stripe yarn (like Knitpicks Chroma or similar).

It was knit out of Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga (love that stuff!). I forget what colors, alas. The brown is a rich, dark copper, and the blue is more of a turquoise, of course – turquoise being my most favorite color of all time. While the Sanguine Gryphon is no more, the two studios are still producing the various iterations of Bugga, and I picked up some from Cephalopod Yarns at Stitches in a rich royal purple blend. Not sure what I will make out of it, but I just purchased two fabulous shawl patterns from the new issue of Twist Collective. 

First up is Stellarina. This is a crescent shaped shawl with a beautiful lace edging by Susanna IC. I have knit her pattern Annis and really enjoyed it, so I'm looking forward to this one. It will probably be blue, but I had a hard time making a decision last night. I have yet to make a blue shawl (despite my rainbow of shawls!) so I have been considering some yarns in my blue cubby in the Expedit Of Yarn*.

I also got Elysium by Janel Laidman. This will be out of Fleece Artist 2/6 in their pale grey "Smoke" colorway. I have been wanting to make something with my two skeins of that yarn for a long time. I previously had started a Laminaria shawl with it, but didn't like knitting the pattern (which is a shame because it's a beautiful shawl). I want that yarn to be involved in an heirloom piece, and I think I've found it in Elysium.  I really like Janel Laidman's patterns – the Eiki shawl I knit last year is one of my most favorite pieces I've ever knit. 

I have also completed two hats from the Weekend Hats book. Pics at some point. 

2012 project completions: 3 (half of last year's! Doing okay.)

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*Lo, the Expedit of Yarn (uh, much more full since this picture was taken in January 2009… and the room itself is crammed full of other stuff too. Oh dear.):

Knitting Review 2011

So! 2011! Let's review the notable knitting projects from last year (about 2/3 – 3/4 less than the year before! oops):

  • The mustard yellow Brandywine shawl! All that garter stitch – heaven. Also notable for being the first project I ever made out of Sanguine Gryphon Sknny Bugga! – a major new favorite.
  • The magenta Bellingrath shawl! This too was a darned pleasure to knit with. This was knit with Madelinetosh sock yarn.
  • EZ's Katmandhu bonnet, knit in Dream in Color Classy. I can't remember if I ever told this story, but I spied the book (Knit One Knit All) at the local Beverley's and had to have it. I assumed it was about $30 or so, but there was no price. I figured they would scan it at the register and the price would pop up. Except – it wouldn't scan! The number wouldn't load either! So the teenager behind the counter sold me EZ's new book for $11.99. SCORE, Y'ALL! Poor Beverley's. I never did look up what it really cost. Anyway, this hat was really fun to make and I will likely make more. There is another version with a different back design. 
  • Started a pair of Hedera socks (Cookie A) from the Knit. Sock. Love. book, which I have a digital copy of. These are knit out of the Loopy Ewe Solid Series sock yarn that is on the Dream in Color smooshy base (if I recall correctly). While these are taking forever, they will be a worthy addition to my sock collection once I complete them.
  • Janel Laidman's Eiki shawl – this is truly a beautiful design and my very favorite thing I knit last year. Because it's knit out of regular Bugga!, it's soft and squishy and gorgeous. And one of the few things I managed to knit with my Stitches West haul the very same year I purchased it! hahaha
  • Boutique Stripey Socks – knit from Knit Picks Felici Sport, my new favorite striping sock yarn – I like regular Felici a lot, but Felici Sport knits up super fast! One other thing about Felici – it wears like iron.
  • Peeps socks – I finished these in the summer, but forgot to take an FO picture. And right now they need to be washed, so it may be awhile (if ever)
  • Bas-Relief socks in the Emerald Isle (?) colorway from Three Irish Girls. I need to finish these but they are further along the second sock now. I really like this sock yarn.

So, I didn't get a whole lot of things completed last year, but the shawls definitely make up for lack of quanitity with their amazing quality! I hope this year I feel more like knitting – I lost my mojo over the summer and it hasn't really returned. I do feel like making a couple of new winter hats so we'll see where that takes me. Whatever I do knit this year it will ALL BE FOR ME. And maybe try to finish those rainbow socks for Abby. 

I do currently have some things still on the needles from last year that I need to decide whether to FINISH or FROG. A couple of shawls, several socks, etc. etc. So, we'll see. 

I kind of feel like knitting a sweater this year, so maybe that will happen too! MAYBE. No promises.

At any rate, I don't have to work too hard to beat the actual number of FOs from last year (six).

Enstriped

There is a finished object in the house. 

I know, it's been awhile since I've finished a pair of socks, hasn't it? (about a year)

 These are knit out of Knitpicks Felici Sport (Boutique colorway) on US 2.5 needles, 64 inches around. I was completely ridiculous about matching the stripes, and thus the second sock is actually bits and pieces of both skeins so they would match relatively well. It was kind of a pain. BUT I like stripes to match, it's how I roll. The second skein didn't start anywhere near the stripe sequence of the first, I wish they'd be a little more careful about that, it would make my life easier. 

These are the never-ending bluebell rib socks. They are so never-ending I can't remember what yarn they are made of. The colorway is "Peeps" though, and I do heart these socks. I only have 5 more pattern repeats before the toe, and when you are trucking along on the pattern, it moves pretty swiftly. 

Finally, another pair of stripeys:

Knit Picks Felici in what colorway I do not recall (Picnic or Summer or something – the colors are prettier in real daylight) but it is currently available. This one is ribbed and I am trying out a new-to-me technique: afterthought heel! I am interested to see how they turn out and fit because I don't really care for the fit of short-row heels. 

I am working on numerous other socks too, but I will photograph them another time. I am a half-repeat away from the heel turn on the second Bas-Relief sock and I actually turned the heel on one of Abby's rainbow socks, and a pink striped Jaywalker. I don't know when those pairs will be done, though. I'm trying to bust a move on the rainbows, and since I seem to be feelin' the stripes at the moment, I'm hoping to get going on those for real. There is a lot more stripey goodness in my arsenal too, so I'm trying to strike while the iron is hot. 

A Bevy of Beautiful Shawls

Since I'm clearly on a shawl kick at the moment, I pulled all my finished shawls out of their special shawl drawer (yes, they really have one) and laid them out on my bed to compare with each other. I was curious to compare the different sizes of the different projects with each other, since Eiki turned out a bit larger than I was expecting.

Eiki, Brandywine, and Aeolian are basically the same size, with Aeolian edging out the others by a bit. By virtue of its construction, Eiki is larger than Brandywine, which is more of a true triangle shawl – both Eiki and Aeolian are curved to some degree.

The smallest shawl is my small orange Ishbel, then the Swallowtail shawl.

My least favorite shawl is Charlotte's Web, my favorite is Eiki. (Favorites are, as always, changing and somewhat subjective.)

The best shawl I've made is Aeolian, by far.

From left to right, in order of when I knitted them, oldest on the left: Charlotte's Web, Swallowtail Shawl (yellow-orange), Aeolian (turquoise, beaded), Ishbel (small; orange), Ishbel (large body, small edge; purple), Annis (light turquoise), Damask (olive green), Brandywine (mustard yellow), Bellingrath (hot pink), Eiki (dark red). Not pictured: Multnomah, which lives at my mom's house.

Considering the trouble I went to to get the Charlotte's Web pattern, and the Koigu to knit it with, I'm super irked that I don't really like it all that much down the line. I may take the unholy fringe off and reblock, which will help, but at the end of the day, I just don't really like the colors. At the time I knit it the pattern was at the height of its popularity, in 2004ish. I really liked all the different ones I was seeing on the blogs and was just dying to make one. I finally tracked down the Koigu and the pattern at Hill Country Weavers in Austin, TX. My friend Daphne and I were staying in Austin with her mom, who was at a teacher's conference there. That was a fun trip – we were only there for a couple of days, and went to Plucker's, a delicious hot wing restaurant, the world's biggest Half-Price books (so big, in fact, that neither of us bought anything – we were both a little overwhelmed!), a mall, a couple of bead stores, drove through UT Austin (Longhorns, boooo), and stopped at Hill Country Weavers, which is one of the best yarn stores I've been to in this country (and Lord knows I've crossed off quite a few on my list). Here, I finally found the koigu I'd been searching for. I liked the colors I chose at the time all right (they didn't have a huge selection), but they never won me over. I'd like to make the shawl again, but in my signature blues/greens/turquoise. 

Under-the-sea colors, if you will. And I wouldn't use Koigu, I'd likely use stash yarns. 

I was unable to resist piling the shawls in rainbow succession:

I could go for a few more colors stuffed in there, yes? A true green for sure, and a blue, both of which are on the needles, actually. More on those later, I'm terrible at photographing WIPs. But I'm working on a Snuggery Shawl in the Sanguine Gryphon Eidos I got at Stitches in an awesome green colorway (Hydra), and the Holden Shawlette in a yarn that I lost the ball band for, but got at Stitches I think 2 years ago in a lovely royal blue. 

I'm still sick, what is this plague???

Eiki Shawl

Since I last posted, one of my friends had a baby, and I got sick! Suck! I also managed to sucker a couple of people into driving me places go to Ikea and SuperWalmart, which were both fun excursions. 

Today I stayed home from work as I lost my voice almost totally from all the coughing I got up to over the weekend. By now it's mostly back, but I can only imagine what a day of answering phones would have done to it. I'm looking forward to getting back into the groove of things tomorrow. 

I napped part of the morning away, then managed to stay awake in the afternoon and since I had some free time I decided to photograph my latest FO, which is the Eiki Shawl by Janel Laidman. I finished it last Friday and blocked it on Saturday.

Turned out MEGA nice. 

It's one of the largest shawl(ette)s I've knit, and has rocketed straight to the top in terms of favorite. The yarn, Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! in Landlubber Grasshopper was purchased directly from the company at Stitches West. I don't think I've ever purchased yarn and finished a project so soon with it before! The pattern calls for 440 yards of yarn; I not only chose a yarn with 412 yards, but I used a bigger needle than called for as well. Let's just say it was a bit of a nail biter towards the end as the yarn ball kept getting smaller and smaller – and I have no other yarn this particular shade of red in the stash, so I wasn't sure what I would do if I ran out early. Luckily, while I worried about it extensively it turned out I didn't have to, though there is very little yarn left. 

OKAY so I just weighed the shawl and the leftover yarn and the yarn weighed 4.25 oz, so if my calculations are correct, that actually means that I had 437 yards, in which case, I was fine. Hmpf.

Here's some detail shots:

The colors are actually pretty accurate on my monitor – you can see the flecks of purple and gold in with the deep red.

This was truly one of my favorite knitting experiences – all that garter stitch plus leafy lace? It's basically my favorite things! Plus my new favorite yarn so it was doubly nice. 

Here We Are

Winter is having a hard time letting go – a big storm has whipped through the Bay Area, leaving a BUNCH of palm tree branches on my roof thanks to the heavy winds. We even had a tornado warning Friday morning. So it's been pretty rainy and not sunshiney. Happy Spring, yeah? 

I finished the Bellingrath shawl and blocked it last night. When it's actually sunny, I will try to get better pictures, but here is an idea of what it looks like on the blocking wires: 

Pretty nice! I'm curious as to how it will "fit" since the sides of the shawl don't come to a point, they have that edge – so it's not a triangle, it's more of a, well, Superman logo shape. 

Anyway, so that's done for the most part. 

Next up is the Eiki Shawl, pattern by Janel Laidman. 

From now until the end of April, all pattern proceeds go to fund Japan disaster relief. How could I NOT buy the pattern?! It really amazes me the way the online crafting community comes together to help people in need. 

I'm knitting the shawl out of Bugga! I got at Stitches last month in the Lubber Grasshopper colorway, which is a dark red with flecks of purple, super pretty and SO soft, I don't even. 

The rain's at it again, just bracing myself for the tell-tale thump of a palm tree branch hitting my roof. Again. 

Work(s) in Progress

Despite all evidence to the contrary, I have, actually, been knitting. I even finished a pair of socks. Too bad they do not match, heh. I have been trying to finish the yellow bluebell rib socks, but I left them at my sister’s a couple of weekends ago and just got them back last weekend, so they are still not done. Since I forgot them, I ramped up work on a couple other pairs.

First up, the Bas-Relief socks from the winter/spring 2011 Knitscene. Very nice socks –

You can probably see that the pattern comes to a point over the instep – that’s my favorite part of the whole thing.

These are knit in Three Irish Girls Adorn sock (colorway a mystery; misplaced the ball band). I like it a lot. I’ll obviously have to give it the old wash’n’wear test, which other yarns I’ve enjoyed knitting with have failed (like Socks That Rock, my god, that stuff felts if you look at it wrong). Being me, I of course made mods: only one pattern repeat on the leg, and gusset decreases on the sole.

THEN I actually managed to knit a vanilla sock out of Knitpicks Felici Sport. Incidentally, the sport version of Felici seems more like fingering weight to me, though yes, heavier than the regular Felici. I love stripes. I can’t believe I managed an all stockinette sock.

I love the colorway (Boutique), it’s so cheerful! This one I kind of messed up the heel a little, but I haven’t done a short row heel in a long time. They work better with striped socks, I think. I did cut the yarn at the heel to maintain the stripe sequence on the leg/foot. Yes, I am that ridiculous. Sometimes I don’t care about the stripes matching, but… mostly I do. Heh.

Finally, here is the shawl I’m working on – the Bellingrath shawl. It is worked in Madelinetosh Sock in an unpronounceable colorway – Leopeditra or something. Yep, lost the ball band! (I’m noticing a trend.) This shawl is easy, but you have to pay attention – the lace is worked on both right and wrong sides, and when you’re working the wrong side, you have to read/interpret the chart from the left to right. Argh!

I’m on the last repeat before the edging. Looking forward to the final product!

I hope I have more time to work on this one this week! Last week I didn’t feel very good and one day had a major nap right after work. I suspect Daylight Savings has messed my internal clock up like whoa because right now it’s midnight and I’m TOTALLY AWAKE, argh argh. Yay work in the morning. A stockinette sock sounds just right, yeah?

I got some awesome new jewelry supplies this weekend, so there will be some more posts about that too. I’m thinking about if I want to designate days of the week to particular posts here, so we’ll see. And I want to get back into drawing, too! Too many interests, so little time…

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