Sunday, January 29, 2012

Failures and Successes...

While it may seem that I (among many other bloggers) sail through projects without any problems, need for lifelines, and never have to frog, I'm here to tell you, it ain't true.

Case in point: This January. Fail, fail, fail, fail and fail (with one or two successes along the way).

I already documented some of the fails (the ill fated slippers, which I even sent through the laundry and they still came out THE SAME SIZE), however, I've got a few more here.

1. Zipper insertion on sweaters. FAIL. I tried to do it myself. Failed miserably. Sent it off (with lots of trepidation) to our local tailors, who did an amazing job, but... used my beautiful attached i-cord as a folded under selvage and kinda sorta ruined the lines of the sweater. It's still wearable, and it looks totally fine, as long as you're not a knitter.

However, there is a silver lining here, as the attached i-cord looks really amazing around the top of the collar. And honestly, this is some of the best work that I've ever done. I'll have to get Bruce to model at some point.

2. Two major failures on Georgia's sweater. The first is the pattern. It sucked. Honestly. The second is my decision to put attached i-cord around the neck of the sweater. I thought that it worked out so well on Bruce's, that I'd put it on Georgia's. Not so much. (there is a third failure, but that was basically due to incompetence on my part, i.e. a really craptacular button band. Embarrassing.)

However, as I said on the above sweater, there were some high points. The steeking went really well. REALLY well. Totally not scary at all. Just make sure that you use grippy yarn. Here's a picture of the inside of the steeks (please ignore the embarrassingly bad button band):

3. I was completely felled by Ene's Scarf (by Nancy Bush). Totally. Yes, I can read charts. I absofruitly HATE them, however, because 99% are way too small and my eyes can't track across them very well. Even when I enlarge charts (or miraculously, they come REALLY big, thank you Jared Flood), I still have to mark them up pretty obsessively in order to be able to read them. I highlight every other row, I count all of the incredibly annoying little boxes and put the number of stitches in them so I don't have to put down my knitting and count 16 times just to make sure I'm knitting the proper number of stitches.

I knitted and ripped the first 15 rows of Ene's Scarf FIVE TIMES before I finally got the stupid stitch count right. It's supposedly a simple pattern, but it just didn't gel with my brain. Anyway, on try six, I finally got the stupid pattern right, and you know what? It still looked like crap. So I ripped the whole thing out and picked a new pattern. Which, by the way, I'm completely pleased with. It's the Vermont Shawl and I love it, and I'm already trying to figure out which yarn I should make my next one with.

Here it is:

Sunny and happy and just right for January (madelinetosh prairie in chamomile). The color also attracts the eye and I've had more people talk to me about my knitting since I've been working with this yarn than any other project I've worked on while riding the subway.

My next post will be with on January playlist, which I've been listening to all month while knitting. It's kept me out of the total emotional doldrums whilst being sick all month.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hap Blanket and a Felting Fail

My husband commissioned me to make a Hap Blanket (my rav link) for our (well, more his, but I know them, and they're great) friends that are having a baby in February. I grabbed some Berroco Comfort from Knitty City and cast on, ending up with a lovely little (machine washable) gift.

Pattern: Hap Blanket by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Berroco Comfort in Breezeway and Tidepool
Needle: US 11 (8mm)

I also attempted to make some of the Children's Felt Clogs for my daughter, which was a total fail. As you can see in this next picture, they felted with one foot opening far larger than the other, and one foot far larger than the other:

We also attempted to felt this by hand, having no washing machine handy in our apartment. FAIL. It took hours just to get a little felt going, despite adding boiling water, felting it with rubber gloves, abrading it, putting it in cold baths, etc. And yes, this is a very feltable yarn. I checked ahead of time.

So I sent it off with our laundry to be done, hoping that it would felt more there. NOPE.

Here they are on Georgia's feet. Far too large and oddly misshapen.

Maybe I should not do felty things from now on, given the washing machine/control issue I've got at home.

And I started a Cria by Ysolda, from her new book, Little Red in the City. The sweater is simple, but has amazingly cool construction, and I'm definitely learning a lot from it (like how to knit set-in sleeves in the round). I've also had to rip back a few times because I simply wasn't paying attention to the pattern. Oops. Might also be a function of having been sick for a while and attempting to knit things that actually require my attention.

I'm using Classic Elite Fresco for this sweater, and it feels really lovely. Unfortunately, the sweater knits up on size 4 needles and it feels like it's taking forever.

Additionally, the steeking on Georgia's sweater was quite successful, however, one of the button bands really wasn't. I think I'm going to have to rip it out and do it again (which will now make either the third or fourth time I've had to rip out that SAME BUTTON BAND), and I decided not to put a zipper in, due to the disaster of Bruce's Brigade sweater, which I suppose I should write about as well.

Next post, I suppose, will be the two failed sweaters of this winter. Sigh.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Juneberry Tricolor

Now that I have returned (more or less) to the land of the living, I figure it's time to post again. I've got a few posts lined up in my head, due to some new experiences (felting and steeking on two totally different projects).

However, first, the Juneberry Tricolor.

I love this thing so much. I even bought a shawl pin for it, which is a first. I've been wearing it around and getting tons of compliments.

It wasn't too difficult to knit, however, I did have to plan extensively, take tons of notes and mark up the pattern a bunch in order to get through it. I spent probably two or three hours reading the pattern, taking notes, etc. Amazing how much of a difference that makes. (sarcasm).

Prior to doing this, I could TELL how much of a difference it would make, but somehow, never did it? Go figure. I feel like an idiot for not doing this before, but of course, I've totally neglected this step on subsequent projects, and have either failed (or frogged) as a result. DUH.

I used three 230-yard skeins for this project. The lightest color and the medium color both used about half a skein. The edging used a full skein.

Charts A, B and C of the pattern were done in the lightest color. Chart D in the medium color and the Edging chart in the darkest.

After having declared numerous times that I am a bobble hater (I really do hate them), I actually found myself loving them on this shawl. I like the way Flood set them up, although I wish he had said (or I had knew) that the bobbles would stand up better if you pull the slipped stitch all the way over the entire bobble (kind of like a tiny little bobble bra), rather than just passing it over the last stitch knitted.

When I make this shawl again, and I very likely will, I will not make the mistake of using superwash wool, as I'd like the blocking around the edging to be more dramatic. As it stands though, I love it! It is still not the most complicated thing I've ever knitted, although I guess it kind of looks like it. (most complicated honors go to the Cherry Fizz scarf, which forced me to leap forward in my knitting skills in order to complete successfully.)

Pattern: Juneberry Triangle by Jared Flood
Yarn: Periwinkle Sheep Merino Worsted in Suede, Truffle and Oxblood Lily
Needle: US9 (5.5mm)

Made from yarn purchased at Rhinebeck! I've been very good at using up my purchases this year.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Been sick.

Hence the lack of blogging. I have, however, been productive. Finished two projects and started a sweater.

When I re-emerge into the land of the living, I'll post something substantial.