Saturday, October 22, 2011

Update Session, Recent Projects


Once again, winter comes.  Funny, when it's winter, I can't even picture summer.  And vice versa.  But now that I've been reminded that a very drafty old New England farmhouse will be in the near future, it dawned on me that drafts tend to run low to the ground, and my lower legs are always cold.  My at-home winter wardrobe consists of men's PJ bottoms in flannel; but as of this year, a fleecy flannel, the legs of which are way too big and too long.  So to kill two birds (horrible analogy), I made a pair of gaitors out of Berroco Peruvia Quick (a super bulky yarn) to wear over the pant legs.  They'd keep them off the ground and close them off at the bottom, but then also keep my lower legs toasty.  These sucker are 19" long so they can be rumpled a-la-slouchy (hides the bulky folded flannel underneath) and I also wanted length for a foldover cuff at the top.  The bottoms, I wanted slightly flared just in the front so they'd span over the arch of foot and not ride up.  So first photos, then pattern...

(ETA:  SEE CORRECTIONS BELOW.)  I used Berroco Peruvia Quick (2 skeins) and 3 needle sizes, US10.5, US10 and US9.  Cast on 36 sts onto US10.5 needles, join in the round and do 2x2 ribbing (k2, p2) for 5 inches (top).  Switch to size US10 and continue another 2-3 inches.  Switch to US9 and continue until long enough, depending on whether you want slouchy or not.  Stop when you are at the point where leg meets foot.  Create flare to accommodate top arch of foot.  (Becomes important if wearing over fitted boots, but also fills in the gap if wearing slippers or clogs).  To create that flare, on four consecutive K2 columns, do the following:  K1, M1R, K1, P2 and repeat one time.  K1, M1L, K1, P2 and repeat one time.  This gives you 40 sts now because with those increases, you've created 3x2 (K3, P2) ribbing on four ribs which will be worn in the front.  Follow stitch pattern for another inch or so, then bind off using Jeny's "Surprisingly Stretchy Bindoff" which can be found on youtube with "that" search criteria, and choose the video done by Cat Bordhi, one of my all time favorite teachers. Et voila!  Warm legs.  They kind of look like English riding half chaps (where I got the front arch flare idea). 
These are stretching out a bit from on/off-ing them.  No biggie, that's what elastic thread was invented for, but if doing over, I would likely cut down to one or two less ribbing sets AND I would also use smaller needle sizes, and I'm not so sure there's any reason to vary needle size.  I think I'd use a size US8 needle and cast on 32 sts if, say, a 12" calf at the widest point, measured while standing.  I'd try on after a couple inches knitted, aiming for a smooth slide over heel/arch point of foot, but not with a whole lotta leeway.  Say a smooth but snug slide over that humpy part.  All else regarding these stands, as written.
I'm so enamoured of these that I bought yarn yesterday in a less bulky (but still bulky) weight to make some that I can wear over bare skin under jeans.  I know, worsted would have done it, but I can only take so much knitting of tubes, maybe it'll go faster.  I'm going to use size 7 needles on those because now that I'm learning a bit about ribbing, the trick to maximizing elasticity is small needle-to-yarn ratio, and everyone seems to think that 2x2 ribbing has the most aggressive bounce back.  ETA:  Used worsted weight Berroco Ultra Alpaca, started with US7 and dropped down to US6 for that grist yarn. They are WIP (works in progress) as of this writing.

But I LOVE these dumb things.  I never realized what a difference warm calves make in cold weather in terms of your overall comfort level.  And since I'm practicing being an old lady, I'm already seeing that things like that just feel really nice. 
MY FIRST GRAMMY KNIT...  While this was a very tedious knit (all 10-stitch rows, each picked up from the preceding column, mitered corners done via shortrowing, the whole knitted in a continuous spiral) the finished result was absolutely worth it.  To make this a really large blanket would have been difficult because it's fingering weight yarn on a size 4 needle, namely Crystal Palace Mini Mochi.  Rather than go beyond my point of loving to work on it and into where it represented a chore, I didn't want that association, so stopped at 26" square which makes a perfect size for a car seat blankie because much bigger and tucking in becomes a hassle.  Daughter picked out the yarn and colorway, and says she has gotten compliments on it already.  I still have 2 more skeins which I will hold aside in my yarn stash, in case Squeak makes it her bankie, in which case I can add to it at any point and make it bigger.  

Several photos of this because it does such amazing things in different lights.

Shot from above (back side where you can see seam joins)

Shot at an angle

And sometimes it glows...

While under construction (shows how it's done)

MY SECOND GRAMMY KNIT...  I'm having "second sock syndrome" about the other one, but it's going to be a while before she will be big enough for them anyway, so there's time. 

No pastels for this little kidlet...

Learning crochet because I wanted to make her this hat (part of a photo op set).  The yarn might be too thick for that, but might work for a to-be-worn hat.  Will see.  In any event, it was practice crocheting.

So this is how it goes.  I hate spending time on something that won't work out.  I read TONS of feedback comments on the Central Park Hoodie to find out what any complaints were, and it was time well spent.  They included "sleeves too tight" and "this pattern runs small."  But then there were just enough (barely, but they were there) where people said "great fit."  (Doh?)  Try as I might, I couldn't establish who swatched for gauge and who didn't, so I checked MY gauge and even washed my swatch.  Revised pattern so it WOULD fit. 

I LOVE this sweater and I wear it all the time.  I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca which is a soft, squishy, wonderful yarn.  I even got the sleeve length I wanted, which isn't always easy to dope out because (a) it's really hard to measure that on yourself; and (b) everything changes once the pieces are seamed together.  But hey, some luck too.  ;-)   I only have the zipper basted in (still!) so it has the wonky-ness at the bottom, but I know how to fix that.  Turns out you CAN ram a needle right through that hard plastic coated bottom zipper stop tab.  Yay.  Until then though.... 

I have another CPH finished and seamed together.  All that's standing between it being in a UFO bag (knitspeak for "unfinished object") and wearable is the button bands and collar.  On that one (more fitted, with waist shaping), I want buttons.  I'm researching the best buttonholes.


One for me, sort of a 1920s look.  Not great in an icy wind because the seed stitch used on the band has holes.  Otherwise though, very warm, and it does pretty well with not giving too bad of "hat hair."

Liked it enough to do one for Jenny in her color ranges (jealous, I just can't wear this color)

This one really works great.  Sort of a baseball cap. 
Does not give "hat hair."  Does keep rain off my glasses.  Yay.


I have a warped button band on this, and I will never be happy with it as is, so I have to frog it out.  That is not a minor thing.  Both button bands AND the collar are all knitted in one piece and attached stitch by stitch as you go.  Not only that, button band and collar also have facing.  Arg! 

As for the way the collar inside corners miter together, I also don't like the original pattern because it only works if the collar is worn as a stand-up.  I want to fold mine down.  I might have to wait on getting that figured out until my design skills are farther along, because what I want to do is above my head at this point.  

Additionally, sleeves not done yet.  (Those have to be re-designed also, I started one and the original pattern just misses the boat.) 

This is what I don't like about the construction of the collar's facing.
If worn folded down and open, the inside corner is just flat out wonky. 

SCARVES:  Two for now...

A very simple but lovely stitch pattern called Feather and Fan and also called Old Shale lace,
I bought a single skein of a very lovely CASHMERE yarn.  There's just nothing like cashmere.
Ridiculously expensive yarn, so it's not a long scarf.  It's a length you'd wear inside your coat.  But that's how I wanted it anyway, so it works out. 


And my latest contribution to scarfdom, this is the first mohair I have ever put near my skin that didn't itch to death.  It doesn't itch at all.  LOVE it!  Warm, snuggly and not run-of-the mill.  We are talking a LOT of tail ends to weave in.  Every six rows, in fact.  23 x 2 = 46 tail ends and then some. 

While it took two skeins of the mohair, the other yarn is Lana d'Oro Alpaca (worsted) and I am low on what I want to be a big fingerless mitts wardrobe, so made a pair from that yarn.  Matchie matchie!  But hey, they are soooo soft, they'll also be nice and warm.  To me, fingerless mitts are just the way to go. 

During construction and a better representation of the actual colors in some lights...

An even better photo for the real colors.  The changes very subtly done...