January 25, 2008

Haikus for You

Oblique needs buttons.
I still wear it often, though.
It sure is cozy.

Hemlock Ring Blanket,
Bigger on the circulars,
Looks like a white blob.

Rain is pouring down.
Futile or optimistic
To blow dry my hair?

We move in one week!
Too busy for a "real" post.
Be back soon, I hope.

January 16, 2008


My Oblique is all done except for buttons! Even without the buttons, I love it and wear it all the time. As soon as I make a run to my favorite button place and get those suckers attached, I'll take and post pictures.

In the meantime, I've started a Hemlock Ring Blanket in some white Cashsoft DK to use as a baby blanket for Minnie Purl.

Doesn't look like much right now, but it'll get there.

I also made the adorable Baby Bonnet from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. This is not for Minnie Purl, but for a sweet baby girl recently born to some of our neighbors.

The white is Cashmerino Aran and the peachy pink is Classic Elite Lush.

It really is a very fast, fun knit. It would have been faster, too, had I not ripped and re-knit various parts of it. I ripped not because I made any mistakes. I was doing everything the pattern told me. I was simply doing it very badly. Things improved on the second pass.

I am going to make one of these for Minnie. But next time, I'm going to omit the garter stitch selvage. If having a garter selvage helps you sew seams or pick up stitches, then by all means do it. But I'm more accustomed to sewing seams and picking up stitches in stockinette, so I found the garter slowed me down.

Finally, I have some very good news to share. We have buyers for our house and we're in escrow! We've actually been in escrow since before Christmas, but I didn't want to say anything until the contingencies had been removed. After haggling over credits, we've come to an agreement and everything is going forward. PHEW! It is a buyer's market, so we didn't get the price we really wanted, but we did get more than our "rock-bottom" price, so we're happy. And it's such a relief to have it sold. We move into the new house in just a few weeks!

January 8, 2008

Oblique Home Stretch

All major Oblique pieces have been blocked.

I picked up and knit the button bands for the fronts before blocking the pieces.

I modified the sleeves to omit the folded back cuff. Instead I just did the twisted ribbing for the same length as the hems. It looks like this:

I had two big reasons for changing the cuff this way. The first was that I don't particularly want the extra bulk of a folded back cuff. The second, and really more significant reason, was that as I started the sleeves, I was very worried I was going to run out of yarn. The twisted ribbing seems to have a voracious yarn appetite, so mostly I was trying to economize the remaining yarn supply.

Leaving off the folded back cuff caused a ripple effect of minor modifications. The first was that I figured I could work the ribbing on 4 fewer stitches. If the cuff isn't going to fold back, it doesn't need to be wide enough to do so. Again, I was also thinking about yarn economy. Plus I have small wrists and knew I could get away with it.

But starting with fewer stitches meant I needed to work 2 extra increase rows to get the sleeves wide enough by the time I got to the top. I did this by starting the increase rows earlier and maintaining the recommended rate of increases for my size (every 10th row). It worked out just great.

Except that I did run out of yarn before finishing the sleeves. ACK!

I had been optimistic that I could finish the sleeves with the yarn I had. I figured if I needed to introduce a new dye lot, it wouldn't be so very horrible if the new color was isolated to the collar and button bands.

As I crept up the sleeves, I could see I wasn't going to make it. I bought this yarn about a year ago so I was pretty freaked that I'd have no chance of finding more of the same dye lot anywhere. I don't know why, but the clouds parted, light shone down and the yarniverse smiled upon me. I found exactly the dye lot I needed on Ebay. Big shout out to Yarnbow for having the right dye lot, returning my email super promptly and shipping the yarn with lightning speed. Thank you!!

More yarn in hand, I pressed on. I have now seamed up the raglan lines. (Mattress stitching raglans is cool.)

I'm now ready to pick up and knit the collar. However, I'll need to make an LYS run because I don't have long enough circs.

But look how close I am to being done. I mean, it's even starting to look like a real sweater.

January 3, 2008

FO: Presto Changos


For my first post of 2008, I'm going to talk about some 2007 knitting I somehow failed to blog until now.

Over the summer, I became quite enchanted with Valerie's wonderful Presto Chango pattern. I went on something of a jag, actually.

The top left one was knit in Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton in Nut. The middle right one was knit in Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton in Stone. The bottom left one was knit in Suss Bomull in Raisin.

I made an alternate front panel for both the Stone colored one and the Raisin one. However, I only seem to have a picture of the Raisin one, where I used a fish scale lace pattern.

The extra panel for the Stone one was an interlocking, diamond chain, lace pattern. You'll just have to take my word for it that it came out very well. Actually, I liked it even better than the fish scale lace.

I fully intended to make another panel for the Nut colored one, but I got slammed with morning sickness and never got around to it. I never even gave the sweater as a gift. Now, judging by the picture of the baby on the family's Christmas card, he'll be too big for it. Whoops!

Since I still have that one, the originally planned recipient's loss will someday be the gain of another baby. Maybe even my own Minnie Purl, though probably not. I say probably not, because I plan to make her a Presto Chango out of some Teal colored Suss Bomull and really cute silverish buttons with little cutout hearts.

The Suss Bomull was an excellent yarn substitution, by the way. It's not as soft as the Blue Sky yarn, but it seems super durable and has a very crisp look with great stitch definition. I think that's because it's 4 ply compared to Blue Sky's 2 ply. The spinners out there who are much wiser on this stuff than I, can confirm or correct me on this point.

All three of these were made in the smallest size. The only modification I made, was on the Raisin one. When it came time to cast on stitches for the sleeves, I used a provisional cast on. Later, instead of binding off the sleeve stitches, I put them on waste yarn. This meant I was able to graft the stitches together for a seamless sleeve. I really liked the way it came out and will use that modification again in the future.

This is a wonderful pattern. It's a very fun, satisfying knit. And it impressed the hell out of the other guests at the baby showers. In addition to the always-fun-to-hear "you made that?!?", people were blown away by the cleverness and practicality of the design. Interchangeable front panels -- a genius way to deal with baby spit up down the front of a sweater. Well done, Valerie. Thank you for the spectacular pattern.