Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ninebark in the Round: Part 3

Finished! Nice knit with awesome yarn. However, I wish I had read the reviews and comments on the Ultra Alpaca yarn that I used (Berroco). Now I am worried that it will stretch. I also wish that I knit a bit tighter. At some point, I checked my gauge and I wound up knitting looser than I intended. Oops...I was getting something like 12 stitches per inches. Not good. However, I was able to compensate in time (I think). I like my clothes a little tighter fitting though. Oh well, my bad.

I want to make another one, with different yarn. I was thinking something in cotton. I have the Rowan Purelife Cotton that I bought last year from Babs'.

One thing I have to note is that the Ultra Alpaca knit up like a DK, although the gauge listed on the ballband is 18 sts/4 inches. This is why I was able to use the Silky Malabrigo for the cowl portion. The drape on both is very similar. I liked using them together. The silk in the Malabrigo gives the yarn just enough sheen to contrast with the fuzzy alpaca to make it an interesting top.

Would it be crazy to frog the whole thing and reknit it tighter? I must be nuts.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ninebark In the Round: Part 2

I am feeling pretty proud of myself. My calculations seem to be working out. Plus I have gauge. Woohoo! I am almost at the last increase for the body, when I will be at 156 stitches. At the required gauge, that would give my top about a 34 inch bust. I am so happy.

To celebrate, I plan on going to my FLYS tomorrow to get 2 different color skeins for the cowl portion of my project. The directions suggest 4, but I plan on using two more of the skeins that I already have. I still am resolved not to buy anymore yarn than necessary. However, I think I deserve a little splash of color for my extra work on this particular project.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ninebark In the Round: Part 1

I saw the Ninebark Cowl pattern in the most current Knitscene. First of all, I couldn't tell from the picture if the pattern would be for the top or the cowl. Hmmmm, it's for both. How intriguing!

When I read the articles in Knitscene and saw that some of the patterns were knit in one piece, and that there is an article that included patterns devoted to knitting in the round, I was sure that this pattern would follow this theme. Imagine my disappointed surprise that it was not! I mean, really, the body is simple with easy shaping. The pattern even states that the back portion should be knit like the front until you come to the armholes.

Armed with determination, I faced the challenge of rewriting the pattern for myself so that I would not have to seam more than I have to...meaning reinterpreting the directions so instead of going back and forth, I wrote it so that I would just repeat the written instructions twice on the same row i.e knitting the front and back at the same time. Wow, what an idea :/ Then would only need to seam the shoulders - woohoo!!

The original instructions were pretty clear, as far as I could tell. I wrote my directions on a scrap piece of paper. Basically, I doubled the number of CO stitches, minused 4 (for the end stitches that would be seamed), and for my particular size, I also subtracted 8 more stitches. I like wearing a size 34 bust and the pattern only has instructions for size 32 and 36 - what, no 34?? From there, I added in the shaping decreases and increases and repeated those directions. Like I said, just like knitting the front and the back at the same time.

When I reach the armholes, I will divide front and back by putting the back stitches on scrap yarn and then following the instructions as written.

...to be continued...

Spring Shrug

My favorite patterns, hands down, are the ones from Knitting Pure and Simple. They truly are pure and simple. Most, if not all, are top down. Although they do not do much in terms of shaping, they offer easy blueprints onto which you can add cables, lace, and other knitting touches that you can use to make the project your own. The ones that I have used start out the same...come to think of it, I think the only differences are the sizes that I have knit, the yarns and needles that I've used, and what closures the pattern suggests (buttons, zippers, or a tie closure). They are so easy and predictable, in fact, that I have hesitated to buy a new pattern because I sometimes think that I can just figure out the pattern on my own. My most current project was one of those... I kept going back to it at my FLYS (in fact, I bought one a long time ago and forgot about it, what a dork). I kept telling myself that all I have to do is take my measurements for the yarn that I wanted to use, yada yada yada. Well, darn it, why do I want to rewrite the wheel? For a small cost, I could already have the directions, all with the gauge and needles required. So I went ahead and bought it (again! aaaargh!)

It was the best quick project I have ever done. Quick as in three days (which is really quick for me because I don't knit as often as I want to). I think it only took 6 hours, given the actual amount of time that I was able to work on it. And instead of using a traditional button closure, I opted for a shawl pin. How's that for cutting down the finishing even more. I deviated a little from the written pattern. Instead of using YOs for the raglan shaping increases, I used Kf&b. I dislike immensely the holes that would have otherwise resulted from the YOs. I also added a few more rows to the body than the pattern states. If I remember correctly, the body measures (from the bottom of the underarm) 12 inches before I started the K2P2 ribbing.

I will definitely knit this again. I love that it is a pattern for bulky yarn, because all I have to do is combine yarn to get the gauge. What a great knit for the springlike weather we are having!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ewww...but it works

I've been avoiding spit splicing for the obvious reasons. Yuck. Unsanitary. Just plain gross. However, I had to get past my disgust for this joining technique. My current project is a top down shrug from Knitting Pure and Simple and the yarn that I am using is too bulky to do a Russian Join or the Weave-In method. To make the whole knitting experience worse, I was using yarn that I had used for a seamed project...meaning, instead of having whole skeins to work with, I had a couple of skeins in pieces (yet, another reason to never do a project that involves breaking the yarn and seaming!). This also meant that I would have to spit splice more than 3 times (the number of skeins I needed for the project). Gah, as if once wasn't bad enough!

But, I did it...When I had to combine 2 yarn pieces together, I closed my eyes (so to speak), unraveled the ends, frayed them (so they would stick together better - yech), placed one end on the other, put them in my mouth so they were good and moist, pulled them out of my mouth, and rubbed them in between my fingers. Then I placed the union in between my palms and rubbed them some more. After a minute or so of this, holy cow, they were spliced. When I continued knitting, I didn't even notice where the join was.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not a convert. I am just accepting the fact that knitting is not always prim and proper. Hell, I'm not either, so who am I to judge...