Central Park Hoodie

The first real sweater for myself, now there is a concept. 2008 is looking to be a ‘selfish’ year when it comes to knitting since I have resolved to stashbust and most of the yarn is for projects for myself. Also have some small projects for others in there, but not too many. Can’t say I’m overly saddened by the idea. Up until this point, most of the projects I’ve done have been for others, and I avoided knitting myself sweaters because I had this stubborn idea that someday I will realize the Fantasy of Being Thin and why waste the yarn? But not anymore. I can make them with little to no ease now and they’ll still fit if it happens. Problem solved.

Anywho! The CPH is going very well. Not quite as fast as I would have liked since I had to rip back several times on this project. Unusual for me as I’m usually stubborn and insist I can make it work. But I am very happy overall with the results. Been taking notes on what I’ll change when I do this sweater or one like it again in a winter-appropriate fiber. (Current one is being made in KnitPicks Shine Worsted-a cotton/modal blend. Very soft but not the warmest. Has lovely stitch definition as can be seen in the pictures.) I’m considering lining this one as well since I dislike being able to see the wrong side of the sweater and it would give it just a little more chill protection.
Things to change when I make again:
-Knit body as one piece instead of three. Seaming turned out well but it was difficult to make all three pieces exactly the same length and the exact same gauge. Also, do not bind off shoulder tops and graft or 3 needle bind off instead of seaming. I think it would look neater that way.
-Knit sleeves from the top-down picking up stitches instead of knitting from the bottom up and then seaming. It was very difficult to get the sleeves right and that’s one of my problems with this current sweater. Altered to cut 1.25″ out of the sleeve as it was and it’s still far too long, though not as bad as it could have been. At the very least, I’ll knit them in the round next time for more accurate fit and remember the sleeve cap is absurdly long. (On this same note, must alter shoulder in the body to not be so wide, seams hit too far out on arm. Minor detail but one I noticed.)
-Knit with an easier to block fiber to ease with any seaming that may remain. Shine worsted did not block at all making things a bit tricky at times.
Those things may seem sort of big, but in reality, they’re pretty small points and issues.
Sweater is almost finished, but probably won’t be before another trip home. Should have the second sleeve finished and seamed tonight and may be able to start on the hood. First priority while home is making a Minimalist Cardigan for my mother. Can’t wait to start that one, the yarn is lovely and I’m excited to do a new stitch. My projects for others seem to turn out better then ones for myself and I think I could use a break for a week or two.
So here is the first–and long overdue–post of 2008. I’m pretty excited to see what this year brings.

Holy Cow! Catch up time…

My vacation home has left me overwhelmed and trying to get back into my usual routine. Still not ready to do regular blog updates again or knitting for that matter. (So sad, I’ve only knit a few rows on my latest project in the last week. Between being sick and everything else, I just can’t concentrate to do it right now.) That, and while home, I realized that I much prefer knitting when I have someone to talk to while I’m doing it. I’ve been trying to seek out a knitting group in this city. According to the phone book, this place is/was (?) a top producer of wool in the country. So WHERE are the yarn shops and knitters? Hmmm? Maybe they’re all hiding and I have to look a bit harder.

Anywho…some FOs are in order.

I finally finished the Manly Maze. There it is, magic orb and all. It turned out really well and I’m very pleased with it overall. The only thing I’d change is to add some more length to the sleeves. Lesson learned: check how they fit when arms are moved as well. May have helped if DH was a bit more accomadating during the try-on sessions as well.
Second FO is a Robin’s Egg Blue hat, made in the same yarn the pattern creator used. I plan to make one of these for a friend and maybe another in green for myself. Can’t get too far ahead of where I currently am though. My “to do” list is quickly running away with me and I have a list at least 20 projects long as it is.
Last FO is a fabulous One Skein Wonder that despite modifications, does not fit. Heartbreaking, in the most genuine sense. I’m too broad through the top of my shoulders. So when I make this again, I’ll make sure to start it wide enough that I can actually wear it. Tried to see if it would fit my sister better, as she has the same build I do but is a bit lighter. (When she was born, they thought 1) She was a boy and 2) she’d be a linebacker. So there you go.)

Now, I’m working on a lovely maternity cardigan, called the Petal cardigan and after, I have some presents to make for friends expecting babies in the near future. So I should be busy for some time. For myself, not sure if I’ll make my Green Gable next, or my Central Park hoodie. Hard to decide and not enough time in a day!

Manly Maze: part three

Oh my, it’s starting to look like a sweater!

Just a quick entry tonight.
*Sleeves have been divided out for.
*20-some rows of stockinette have been stitched.
*Started to go crazy, took a break and worked on the collar for a nice change of pace and to make it look like “something.”
* I think it’s about 1/3 of the way done, could be more? I’m a poor judge on a project this size.
*Going to do some minor tapering, not too much though.

All-in-all, I’m still excited and happy about this project. Can’t wait to finish so I can start something else though! I always have that problem, after awhile I get bored with what I’m working on and want to move along to the next new project.

Manly Maze: part deux

The part I was dreading, the colorwork, was finished this weekend in three sittings. It was much simpler and more enjoyable then I imagined it would be. If it stretches back out during blocking as it’s supposed to, I will be such a happy girl. Every single row had slipped stitches and I *think* I managed not to make things too tight.

Next process to dread: blocking.

Three more rounds to knit, and I can divide the sleeves from the body. Let the miles of tedious stockinette stitch begin. I may start to question why I thought this was such a good idea in the process. Ha.

The Manly Maze: Part one

About 10-15% of the way done and already learned a couple of interesting lessons. 1) I knit much smaller in the round then I do flat. I will have to learn to buy extra fiber to do gauge tubes and forget swatching all together for my round projects. (My frugal self does not much like this particular lesson.) Not sure why this happens, as I purl smaller then I knit, so it would seem logical that the opposite be true. It’s not though. 2) I really should read up on knitting theory and how things work before trying to be clever. I’m still too green to understand what I’m doing 9 time out of 10 until I’ve actually done them. For now, I *think* things will be alright, but we’ll have to see. DH is an odd size and one is just too small, the next one up would be way too big. So I was going to make one in the middle, until I realized that with the pattern, that just won’t work. Must learn to read ahead and pay attention to pattern details! So far though, it’s going well and I’m doing my first ever contrast color pattern. The world is still here.

But anywho!
Manly Maze is going well and I am thus-far pleased with it. Couldn’t quite get my gauge right while swatching, so I thought I’d be clever and cast-on the next size up and lose about 2 inches when all was said and done. (Mental note: learn how to properly swatch, as annoying as it is.) This didn’t quite work out in practice as it should have in theory. Luckily, I think I’ve managed to get it wide enough because, had I followed the pattern and ignored the nagging voice telling me to try it on him first, it would have been too long and too big. The pattern would have been too low on the chest and arms and the arm holes too low. So I’m pre-emptively calling this a good save and thanking the heavens that I’m overly-cautious and worried things won’t fit. (Mental note: this is a good trait to retain.)

There’s a slight pull on the back that the camera caught. It isn’t noticable otherwise, not to me anyway. It’s from when I realized that size 4’s were giving me too small a gauge and it was time to go up a size. Yes, I’m lazy, I didn’t frog back. I would think a good washing and blocking should fix it right up.And a side view. I’m currently 5 or 6 rows below this point and am optimistic this first large project will turn out. If I don’t drag my bottom, I should have it done before we go home, if not, I’ll just have to finish it there, no biggie.

Irritation can lead to a lack of updates…

…and I was irritated in spades by my latest project. So it’s been awhile since I’ve felt like blogging about knitting–though I have been keeping myself busy with small projects I haven’t been overly into. I will get into my irritation in just a bit.

First, happier things: FOs!

My Voodoo Wristwarmers have technically been done since the beginning of September, however, I was lazy and didn’t feel like weaving the tails in before moving on. I finally finished that small detail the other day so I can declare them finished. To knit these, I used the dual circular method, not dpns. I rather enjoyed knitting them that way and I later used the same technique for my Foliage hat rather then try dpns at that time. I also learned how to make a multiple stitch button hole with a twisted purl cast-on, which caused me much confusion and I cursed it several times before figuring it out. In the end, the only thing I don’t like about these is the thumb holes made by that method: six stitches is just a bit tight on my thumbs, should have increased it to 7 or even 8. Oh well, you live, you learn. They’re still wearable and match my first hat I made. Still have enough of the yarn left over for more wristwarmers, or possible even another hat. I never realized I’d get so much mileage out of that yarn.

My newest FO is a Punkin hat I made for my son on a whim. They don’t really do trick or treating in Texas, but we may go to a pizza party on the base, so I thought I’d pick up some cheap acrylic and get a hat made really quick so my son has a costume if we decide to go. Learned to do i-cord from this–had a good giggle when I found out the “i” stands for “idiot.” Also learned I refuse to use cheap acrylic in the future except for toys; it was so splitty and kept tangling on itself. Icky all around. It was so distasteful, I stretched the project out 3-4 times as long as I should have because I couldn’t stand to knit with it for more then a couple of rounds at time. The leaf, on the other hand, went very fast and was fun. I’m glad I did that part first or I may never have finished the hat. Didn’t stick to the pattern at all. Used sport weight yarn instead of worsted, and knit on size 4 dpns. Cast on for the child size and it ended up perfect for a toddler. Didn’t follow the length recommendations either, just stopped when I felt like it and tried it on him. Went well, I think.

But onto the vexing part. Weeks ago, I cast on a sweater for my husband, “The Manly Maze” from No Sheep for You. I decided to use the recommended yarn, sight unseen, never touched. Splurged a bit on it. I will say this: I hate working with hemp. I wasted time and money on that endevor. Finally gave up when after several sittings, countless restarts, I realized that no matter what I did, that fiber did not want to be happy and was going to cause me nothing but heartache. So I frogged the sweater and ordered some nice superwash wool from knit picks instead. It arrived the other day. The colors are different then I thought they’d be, but after one sitting, I’m already as far as I was on the other sweater and it looks so much nicer. And my blood pressure is not going through the roof just thinking of it anymore. Lesson learned: Hemp is not a beginner’s fiber. It will sit in my yarn tub until I decide what to do with it as my son destroyed the receipt before I could learn I didn’t like it. So I can’t even return it. Thus is life. Oh well, with some experience and given time to forget how much it hurt my hands to work with, and how tricky it is to gauge, and its unforgiving nature, I have enough I could eventually make myself an Eiffel out of it. If not, the maker’s site claims it makes fantastic dishrags. Or I have enough to make a couple of Market bags. I have options, I just need experience and time.

Not far enough on the Maze to justify posting pictures, should be next time I blog. (Unless for some reason unknown to man, wool decides to turn on me as well and then I guess we’re all doomed.)

Of FOs and Ravelry…

After months of waiting, I was invited to join the ranks of Ravelry (http://www.ravelry.com/) on the first of the month. I about jumped out of my chair and danced with excitement. I’ve spent a few days uploading projects and checking it out; I have to say, it’s pretty spiffy and I think after they put everything up they want to, it will be even better. How exciting that I can keep track of everything in one place: my stash, needles, FOs, WIPs…and I can see other people who have done the same projects or have similar yarn. Very cool site. I’m Wit over there. So shocked that this late in the game, I was able to get a name with no numbers or silly spellings! Clean, simple, brief. Love it.
So there was the Ravelry part of my entry. Onto Finished projects! Nothing makes me happier then a finished project…except perhaps petting the yarn and dreaming of what a pretty thing it will become–now that I know I am able to do it.

The sweater for my son was completed on the Second. I’ve been having quite the week! Overall, I am so happy with how it turned out. The bottom still rolls despite the garter stitch, but that’s so minor that I’m not going to try and fix it. I’ll just have to keep it in mind the next time I make this pattern. For the only thing I love better then a hoodie for myself is a hoodie for my son. (That would be his hand in the picture, by the way, on its way to reign Toddler Doom upon the poor thing!)

And a quick close-up of the hood. I think there is something so sweet about toddlers in hoodies.
The next project was supposed to be a sweater for Hubby, but I realized too late that I lacked both the dpns for the project and needles to get the sweater to scale. So I am now waiting on my second shipment from KnitPicks. In the meantime, I decided to keep myself busy making my Foliage (http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEfall07/PATTfoliage.html), since I already had the Malabrigo to make it. (Another birthday gift when I went shopping with my MIL; just so happy I could finally use it! For awhile, I was worried I wouldn’t find a project fitting for it and I’d have to pet it and keep it in my yarn tub.) Started on the Fourth and finished today. Very quick but lovely knit. Can’t see the leaf motif so well because of the colorway, but it’s still lovely and I’m so happy with it. Wisconsin, you better be cold so I can wear my hats!
The only real change I made to the pattern was to start it on 2 circular needles instead of dpns. I didn’t have the right size and trying to use such a soft wool on nickel-plated needles was a disaster.
Playing with some acrylic while the wait for my needles continues. Ah, the joys of being without an LYS.