Monday, January 31, 2011

What's in that box?


I love it when the UPS man stops at my house. Not so much when he stops at my work, usually that means that there is yet another thing for me to do, but when he stops at my house that usually means something nice is in store.

So, what's in this box?

Well, there is a little of this...


And some of that...



And way down in the bottom there is....

Some Noro King! Andrea blogged about getting some at Vogue Knitting Live and I jumped on the band wagon and got some for myself.



A little treat for when I am finished this..

Part 3, Part 1....Although it just looks like something the cat dragged in right now, I am sure that once there are some sleeves and an edging this will be a beautiful pullover!

Now to work on Part 3, Part 2!!

~M

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What's on my needles Sunday





It feels like forever since I had a finished object to share, and not much hope of one in this post either! But, here is where I stand on the knitting front...

Madam is progressing nicely. I am starting to get concerned about how much yarn those beautiful cables are eating, so the body is on a holder (along with the pocket linings) while I work on some sleeves
I can live with a shorter body so long as I don't spend my life feeling like I have to tug on the cuffs, and after a couple of rows if the pocket linings are in a different color nobody but me will know!

Of course, she will languish just like that for a few days....Part 3 of Metamorphosis came out today!

Right now the red shawl and green cardigan are giving me dirty looks because the blue pullover is getting the first batch of attention! There is a method to my madness though.

Wow can you ever see the difference between where I trial blocked her before dividing for sleeves and where it is fresh off the needles knitting!

But, that wasn't what I was going to talk about with this one. The reason I decided to work on the pullover first is because I knit funky. Well, not if you are in Eastern Europe where lots of people knit like I do, but to them I purl funky! There is actually a name for how I knit, Eastern Crossed/Uncrossed and it means that for working fancy stitches like nupps flat I have an advantage. My knit stitches sit on the needles so that the back of the stitch is "open" and I can just slide my needle through 3, 5 even 7 stitches easily...but, when I work in the round my knit stitches sit the same way as most American knitters and I was dreading working those seven stitch clusters.

And then that little voice in my head spoke up.

Do you remember, it asked, how Andrea had you working nupps in the round for Snow Queen by putting the yarn over the top of the needle to make the second row go more easily? Why not just work you resting row before the cluster stitches the same way?

It works!

I have to plan ahead a little, and I am only wrapping the stitches that will be clusters that way so I can spot them easily on the next row, but I think I am saving myself a ton of time not having to turn those stitches around!

I have quite a bit more knitting to do, so I am off! What's on your needles this week?

~M

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Metamorphosis Part 2, Part 2

Pretty boring title for a post, but a pretty exciting cardigan to knit!

Here is where I stopped on my Metamorphosis Cardigan in Knit Picks Shadow held double. It has been lightly blocked, hey what can I say I wanted to try her on, and drapes beautifully. All those bits of dark sock yarn you see hanging mark where my buttonholes are and buttons should go when I am finished. I might jump the gun a bit and start sewing them on sooner than that, but we shall see...first I have to pick buttons!

The one disadvantage to having so many "big" projects on the go is that I doubt I will have any finished object posts this month. Not a very good start to beating last years FO count, I will need some instant gratification projects will be in order very soon. Got any suggestions?

~M

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Metamorphosis Part 2, Part 1

As those of you in the group know, new instructions were posted on Sunday for Metamorphosis.

This week was all about the sweaters, so the shawl is still sitting in its ziploc baggie.

Above you have the pullover version in a size 1. Isn't the color of that BB Toes just wonderful?

I have now divided for sleeves and converted the flat knitting into in the round knitting, with a little bit of start of round gymnastics to keep the lace pattern lined up. (I have to give a plug here for how well written this pattern is....I have been knitting a long time and was comfortable with just "flexing" the beginning of my round where I needed to without any help from the designers, but...for those who are not quite so daring there was a chart posted with suggestions for that "flex" that covered every imaginable starting point!)

You can tell from the picture that the top half of the knitting was rough blocked to double check my gauge and fit, but the bottom is all scrunched up freshly knit lace.

St Margaret progresses slowly.
Karen, I remembered that post by the Yarn Harlot last night too! I just now looked it up to link it and I did remember correctly how she put the cable back the wrong way! I think I remember that so well because, like many of her posts, I nearly choked to death on my coffee reading it! I don't know if it shows in this picture or not, but I did "sorta" decrease the noticability of the cable on the front..the rest can just stay the way they are! Perfection, it's a little over-rated in comfy house sweaters!

It is really hard to try and take in progress pictures on yourself!
More tomorrow!

~M

Monday, January 24, 2011

Addendum to Photos do not lie

Amanda said in the comments "I only spotted the one.(mistake) The others I could live with." Actually I am going to live with all of them! And she also said "You are going to spend quite a bit of time with this madam if this keeps up ;)"

That's the plan!

St. Margaret is destined to be my new "house cardigan". I have this red one that I have been wearing for the last...counts on fingers...fifteen years I think it is! Wow! Needless to say after 15 years of constant use my red cardigan is in pretty sorry shape. It still has all 5 buttons, but I never do them up as it is so pulled out of its original shape that there is no need to, I can just wrap the fronts around each other and hold it shut with my crossed arms if need be. There is a patch on the back that I darned with a different red, threadbare areas on the cuffs that hold together just on faith and I have noticed lately that there is the odd stitch that really isn't attached to the one above it anymore. How they don't run away is beyond me, but I honestly think that this well worn, well loved, cardigan is just holding it together until I get a new one!

A mis-crossed cable or two is one way of making sure that this cardigan stays on my back and isn't gifted to the first person who tells me that they love it!

I also need to point out that the pattern is very well written, the cables are fun to knit and watch appear out of no-where and where they grow out of the raglan increases is simply magic! Every mistake you see if the result of operator error, trying to do too many things at one time and just simply not paying attention to the clear instructions...the first of which was "Put in stitch markers labeled with the cable that follows them."....Did I do that? Well, no I didn't. So it is no wonder I mixed them up.

There are also several variations included in the pattern, ribbing on one, fancy cable bind off on another, would you like a pullover instead and pockets anyone? Those things alone mean I could knit this one a number of times and never have knit the same thing twice! Which I might have to do, The Drama Queen is already dreaming of one in purple!!

~M

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Photos do not lie


Sometimes, if I am being casual I will wear my handknits to work. A shawl with dress pants and turtleneck, or a sweater instead of a jacket. My customers are mostly oblivious to the fact that I have made them myself, but occasionally someone will comment on them.

A fairly long discussion was has with one of those observant customers, who mentioned that "home-made" seems to have a stigma. It is thought of as somehow less than store bought. Which got us onto the difference between "home-made" and "hand-made"......

Usually the pieces that I knit fall into the hand-made quality. The best materials I can afford, or get my hands on, hours of patiently knitting and re-knitting if I have to...and then there are the projects that teach me things, those usually get frogged and re-knit much more frequently than those that don't teach me something.

St. Margaret is obviously a Catholic School Teaching Nun!!

The first time through the beginning I was using a yarn that my cats absolutely adored...they thought it was so tasty to when my knitting was left unattended they took the opportunity to chew it up! I had barely enough of that yarn without sacrificing any to felines, so back to the stash I went.

My second time through, I completely omitted an entire series of increase...fine if I had wanted a sweater that fit across my back and didn't meet in the middle at the front. So frogged again.

Third time.....

There I am thinking things have finally settled down between us and that St. Margaret and I are going to get along.

Go on, click the picture and make it bigger!

Do you see them?

Not one, but TWO mistakes.

Here, I will help you out as members of my family couldn't spot them - of course you are knitters and have a keener sense of how these things should go, but anyway....

Mistake the first
Those two bits of cable are not supposed to touch! I knit the wrong chart way at the beginning. Now, in my defense I noticed that one when I took the picture.....
This one I didn't see until I was cropping the pictures!!!

I am pretty sure that cable was not supposed to do that.

These ones are right, and I hope they are the only ones that people notice because I am not frogging the Sainted lady again!

In response to the comment...No, Lara, I knit with metal needles so that they don't catch fire! :)

So what's on your needles?

~M

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Metamorphosis, Part 1, Part 3

I had this beautiful, well ok, lengthy, post written up to go with today's picture of Metamorphosis.

And then, I uploaded the wrong picture for Part 3 and lost the entire thing! (You did want to see the cardigan version this time, right? Not a rerun of the pullover from yesterday!)

This time you are looking at Knit Picks Shadow in Cattail held double and worked on a size 4(US) needle.....

Speaking of size 4 needles, did you see these? Done drooling yet? Ok, then back to my post...

Yep, that is a lace yarn. As it turns out, Shadow has the same weight and exactly twice the yardage of a similar sock yarn. Metamorphosis calls for a sock yarn, so it was easy, peasy, math.

There are many ways to work with double the yarn...You could wind and use two hanks at once, or wind two and then wind the two together, or go the expedient route like I did and wind one ball and work from both the inside and the outside at the same time. Hopefully I will be careful enough not to turn those last few yards into a knotted mess!

~M


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Metamorphosis, Part 1, Part 2

Confused yet?

The knitalong, currently has 2 official projects, the start to a shawl that you saw yesterday and either a pullover or a cardigan.

Or??

What is this "or" ?

Well for people who are not as fickle and indecisive as I am that would mean pick one of the options!

Here is one of the options.



Part 1 of my pullover style lace sweater.

One of the suggested yarns was a yarn I had not encountered, but hearing that both Jeri and Andrea thought it was great led me into temptation and I ordered enough to knit myself a sweater...well maybe a little more than the suggested yardage jumped into my cart, so depending on how long I make this pullover it might end up with matching socks!

That is MochasFibers , BB Toes in Maine Blueberry and my sweater is being knit on size 4 US needles because I am obviously a very relaxed knitter. (Jeri is using a 5 and I am still knitting a little more loosely than she is!) So far, I absolutely agree with the ladies, this is great yarn!!

So there you have it, my second project (Part 2) beginnings in the knit along. Still section 1 of the pattern (that would be the Part 1 in the title, get it?) with Part 3, the cardigan yet to come. :)

Amanda, are you sure there isn't someone who needs a cardigan as a gift?

~M

Monday, January 17, 2011

Starts of Metamorphosis


Holiday weekends are a wonderful time for the knitter in me. One intense evening of cleaning my house (you would not believe the stuff I found under the beds in children's rooms!) and I was able to settle in with some yarn and some needles.

Saturday was for finished object photo's - you have seen those already, and I might have given in to temptation and swatched for St Margaret.
St. Margaret is another top down sweater, I seem to have fallen in love with the lack of sewing up side seams!

That is the start to the Yoke and if you look very, very closely you can see markers for where raglan seams go.

We have had our disagreements, St. Margaret and I, but I think that we have finally decided that we can work together.

Sunday charts went up for Metamorphosis, so of course I had to drop everything to play along with that!
Shawl 1 - not a very dramatic name, but certainly in a dramatic color! This is Colourmart 3/15 Shiny Cotton in a very nice red, Granate. Shhh, don't tell anyone, that is also my swatch! For a shawl what matters is that you like your yarn and needle combination, that you get a nice fabric, because bigger or smaller it is still as shawl!

More pictures soon, there are two sweaters to talk about, but I have to finish some more knitting before I can show them to you!

~M

Sunday, January 16, 2011

It's Ok Amanda, you can look

Although charts and instructions appeared in the Metamorphosis Group today, I have something else to show you! (And you know even if you are having eye surgery and going to be traveling soon there is still time to join, collect charts, and be ready to knit when your eyesight is where it should be!)

Presenting :

Tea Leaves
Yet another beautiful pattern from Andrea of Bad Cat Designs, in some lovely Jade Sapphire Cashmere/Silk 2 ply. Can you see the glitter of some beads?
I am pretty sure that if you click to embiggen that you can see them more clearly!

Unfortunately my model had enough posing early into our photo shoots of finished objects yesterday, so you get to see this on a chair, laying on the table and finally in a window.
Tea Leaves is a tip up, triangle shawl, fancy cluster stitches and a knitted on border picked up after the triangle is made, without any need for cutting the yarn - I love that there were next to no ends to weave in!!

For better pictures check out the blog post that Andrea put up! I wonder what she has in mind for those bright, beautiful skeins of Madeline Tosh???

~M

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Presenting Ingrid


I finally got some pictures of my Ingrid that I can share, she has actually been finished for a couple of days now, but lighting in my house did not do the cables justice! If you know how to get cables to show nicely when using the flash on your camera can you give me some tips?

Without further ado, presenting Ingrid by Jeri Riggs. (ravelry and blog links)

For those new to the party, this was knit with yarn that was gifted to me at Christmas. My deal with everyone who doesn't knit has always been, give me yarn and I will give you a finished object!

Stats:
Yarn : Plymouth Encore and I used all but a few yards that were sent to me!
Size 9 (US) needles
Worked to size 38
No closures yet, I wasn't sure if she wanted buttons or zipper and not only will I let her decide once she has the sweater, she is clever enough to add them herself!
Techniques: Top Down, seamless, set in sleeves, cables, provisional cast on, cabled cast off, reversible cables.

Here is a shot of those reversible cables.

And some shots showing the reason that TDQ isn't going to keep this one!!

It is just too big for her!
As there is still a little time before the start of the Knit Along, I scoured my stash looking for enough yarn to knit Ingrid in a slightly smaller size for myself.

Guess what?

My stash failed me!

I have enough yarn to knit socks for everyone I know, including myself, and enough yarn for shawls to keep everyone wrapped in cashmere, silk and wool.

What I don't have?

Worsted Weight!!!

I guess my love of small needles and fine yarn got the best of my stash. So, what was a bored knitter to do?
Meet Inga, seriously stolen from the pattern Ingrid, but in DK weight!

The math for the cables was driving me nuts so I opted to use a yarn with the same wpi's as what I really wanted to use and knit without most of the cables and then use cabled swatch to create a percentage system to come up with the for real sweater.

I have just picked up the stitches for the sleeves and put the piece on one needle here, now all I have to do is keep my notes straight for when I want to knit the cabled version.

~M

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Moving right along





For the followers of Ingrid's progress, we are sort of in the middle of the 12th page of the pattern. By sort of I mean, I hit the bottom of it once, went back to the middle and when I have finished this sleeve will be back in the top/middle again.

The top of page 12 has you starting the waist shaping, I worked my way through all the decreases and the first set of increases before that ball of yarn ran out. Perfect opportunity to work on sleeves!!

The first one is done and the second has reached the point where I am working through sleeve decreases. It is times like this that I realize I am not the brightest bulb in the pack, all I have to do is count to six rounds and work a decrease, then count to six again.

There has been tinking to get back to the sixth row several times now!!

Who knew it was so hard to count to 6?

Having read some notes on Ravelry when it came time to cast off the first sleeve I arranged things so that it was on a cable row and rearranged the stitches before casting them off. Wanna see?

It certainly avoided any flaring at the cuff, and is still flexible enough to get over my hand with room to spare.

In other knitting news, Metamorphosis is starting to heat up. Swatch charts were posted yesterday, but I think that there is still time to join if you want to!

I have swatched two different yarns, one for the pullover, one for the cardigan.
BB Toes in Maine Blueberry and Knit Picks Shadow held double in Cattails.
I used size 4 needles for these swatches, but might swatch again trying on 3's to see if I like that fabric for BB Toes, and maybe go up to a 5 on the Shadow. I got gauge on the Shadow, but the fabric feels a little dense to me, and I have confidence that if I am close to gauge, even if I am not spot on, I can adjust a sweater to fit!!

Happy Knitting!!

~M

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bottom of the Eleventh

Page that is!

My Velma's Ingrid is slowly growing into a cardigan. I tried it on myself and I think it is just the right amount of too big to fit the intended recipient!

Now I have to decide if I am going to put the body on hold and work the sleeves, or a sleeve and back to the body then the other sleeve, or keep going on the body until I reach the "just right" length and move on to the sleeves.

Now scroll back up and take a good look at the cables that run down the opening of the front...got that pictured really well in your head?

Take a look at the other side!
Pretty clever, I say! So clever that I think I will be stealing this chart to use on something else later this year.

I showed you the start of DS#2's sweater a week or so back. I haven't touched it since.

Why?

Because if you want to watch tv at my house you can see this :

And boys who throw things at tv screens don't deserve hand knit sweaters, computer time or video games.*

Which means that Ingrid is my only active knitting project at the moment. All that will change when we get past collecting materials for the Bad Cat Knit Along, but until then I am dragging an adult size sweater to and from work each day.

Rather convenient that I got this in the mail to help!
Salsamelie won a cone of yarn from me in the ColourMart Fall Knitting contest and sent me this bag as a Thank You.

Perfect timing as I needed a knit toting bag this week.

Off to do some more knitting!

~M

* and you would not believe how mean the fact that I will not run out and buy another tv makes me!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Progress shot


Actually from last evening, the last row for the size 38 on page 10! 4 more pages to go. :)

As to if this is a fitted sleeve or raglan sweater, on one of the pages the pattern does say to "Begin raglan shaping", but depending on the size you are working that shaping could be as few as 3 increase sets. I don't think it really counts! These sleeves will be fitted and "set in" without any of the hassle of fitting a sleeve.

The most amazing thing about this sweater I haven't even shown you...maybe tomorrow! That edge cable has another complimentary cable on the back side.

Ok, off to salvage what I can of my house. 11 year olds throwing temper tantrums leave a terrible mess.

~M

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Beginnings

Did you have a nice New Year's? Mine was good, nothing too exciting, but good.

New Year's give everyone a fresh start, if they decide to take it, and my fresh start for this year was to learn a new technique.

This past year I knit several top down, raglan cardigans, but you know, there is something about the fit of set in sleeves that I love. Enter Jeri with an answer! A few needle gymnastics and she has created a top down, fitted, set in come raglan sleeve sweater. Actually, she has patterns for a couple of them on Ravelry, but I dove in with Ingrid.

As you can see, I am not too far into the actual knitting, but that would be page 9 of a very well written 14 page pattern!

Jeri is also half of the team that is bringing Metamorphosis KAL to life. Materials lists and measurement worksheets are up on the group, I just need to find a helper for my own measurements...anyone got a young, handsome, handy with a tape measure, male they want to loan me? No ? Then TDQ will have to do it.

I still need to stash dive for those projects...yes projects! If you thought all that was coming was a transformed lace sweater you would be wrong. Three shawls or two shawls and a scarf, along with two sweater versions could mean a lot of yarn!

Speaking of yarn, my Ingrid is being knit with gift yarn, which can mean only one thing.....when I am through with it someone get's their yarn back as a finished object!

I am off to stash dive, you never can tell what might be lurking in there!

Here's hoping your New Year is off to a good start!

~M