Tuesday, September 30, 2014

fo: Grey Amber of Summery Goodness (and Winter too!)

Grey Amber
Look, I crocheted a sweater!

Grey Amber Grey Amber
I mentioned this sweater last month when I was suddenly obsessed with crocheting.  We're heading off to a warmer climate this summer, and I wanted to make something for it (well, a few somethings, but we'll get to that later).  This seemed like a great garment to toss over a tank top and shorts or bathing suit, so I bought yarn and started hooking as soon as it arrived.

Pattern: 152-17 Amber, by Drops
Size: Small
Yarn: Knit Picks Comfy Worsted in Whisker
Hook: 5 mm

The thing is, I didn't exactly read the yarn requirements properly before I made my Knit Picks order.  Which is totally understandable since it was a 2 am order...  ANYWAYS, I ordered worsted weight, not DK as the patterns calls.  (For those who aren't yarn affici, worsted is a bit thicker and heavier than DK, which can effect your finished garment size since the stitches tend to be bigger and thicker as well).  I really wanted to use this yarn though, so I just did some maths (urk) and made up the size small...

Grey Amber
...with a bit of finangling around the neckline.  There's technically supposed to be a solid stripe right up to the neckline, but that didn't work out with my gauge.  And honestly, I really like the lattice lace at the neckline better anyways, so WIN!  I did do away with the loopy finish on the neckline though, and opted to just do single crochets around the whole neckline, partially to finish it but mostly to give it some support. 

Grey Amber Grey Amber
I sewed up the shoulders and side seams (from body hem to sleeve hem) using just a whip stitch.  Nothing fancy.  (I'm mostly showing these pics because I wished someone else had when I was trying to figure out how to sew this up.)

Grey Amber
There's no shaping to this sweater.  The lace and solid striped panels just tend to conform to your body shape without clinging, similar to bias-cut fabric.

I'm pretty tickled by the final result, even if the sweater does emphasize why I probably shouldn't do drop shoulders - emphasizes my narrow shoulders and wider hips.  Whatever, it's cute and comfortable and I adore it!

And don't think this is only a summer top!  I'm totally rocking this sweater here in camp, despite the suddenly frosted campsite, by layering it overtop one of my many long-sleeve tees.

Grey Amber
(Please forgive the office photo.)

Because I picked a heavier yarn, I didn't quite have enough to get the 3/4 length sleeves.  I realized this pretty early and panicked when I realized that Knit Picks wouldn't be restocking this colour until the end of November.  :O  So I found a woman on Ravelry who would sell me a couple balls.  A couple balls turned into 6.  But then, I realized I liked a shorter length anyways, because at my gauge, the sleeve would wind up full length - not what I wanted.  So I managed to use up nearly every little bit of my original 7 balls!

Knit Picks Comfy Worsted
And completely forgot about the extras until this arrived in my mail box.  Oops.  :) Oh well, I'm sure I'll find something to do with it!

Do any of you crochet?  Ever thought of hooking a sweater?  I certainly hadn't until I came across this!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Plotting The Boyfriend Sweater

A while back, when WEBS was having one of their big sales, I sat the Boyfriend down and discussed sweaters.  What kind of sweater he'd like, what style would be best for him, and then made him pick out what yarn he wanted.

Yes, you heard right.  I am about to embark on the dangerous journey of knitting my boyfriend a sweater.

For those of you unfamiliar, there's something known in the knitting world as The Sweater Curse.  It goes something like this.
Amourous Knitter pours all of her love and devotion and months of work into a sweater for her One True Love.  OTL then winds up breaking things off and leaves, with sweater in tow.  Amourous Knitter weeps of a broken heart - in part due to the loss of the sweater.
The Ravelry forums are full of stories along these lines, and the fear of the knitter joining those ranks.

While I don't see wedding bells in our immediate future, I think I'll make sure that my name is on our morguage before I hand over this sweater.  Heh.

Swatching for the Boyfriend Sweater
Anywho, last time out, I made up a rather large swatch using the yarn he'd picked, Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Lichen Mix.  I also wanted to test out the stitch pattern on the arm of the pattern he'd picked out, one Sunshine on My Shoulders by Annalisa Dione.  It's a lovely and simple cardigan with a zip front and a love cable and moss stitch pattern on the saddle shoulders and down the arm.  Except my Boyfriend, who loves all sorts of details and textures, declared it a bit boring and asked for something with more...omph.

I know I know, I'm lucky to have a partner who doesn't want boring knits, but yeash!  The stitch pattern is lovely!  Come on, Boyfriend!

So I experimented.  I knitted up a swatch that included the original stitch pattern, along with two others I thought he might like.

Swatching for the Boyfriend Sweater
This is the original pattern.  It's a moss stitch surrounded by a nice little cable on both sides.  "Too quiet", he says.

Swatching for the Boyfriend Sweater
This is a pretty weave pattern that I adore and WILL USE SOMEDAY, but not today because he went 'eh, it sort of just blends in'.  ARGH. 

Swatching for the Boyfriend Sweater
The last stitch I was willing to try is actually one of my favourite types of cabled braids.  Luckily for him he loved it and declared it perfect, because if I had to do another swatch to find something else that Mr. Picky liked, I think he would've learned to fear my knitting needles! 

I'd hoped to start the sweater this time in camp, but I've caught the Camp Plague (aka the flu), and can barely concentrate on one of my cheesy romance novels, nevermind the maths I need to do to start this sweater.  But I have a 3 week rotation coming up in October, and I think that'll be a great time to start plugging away on this sweater!

Because honestly?  I haven't knit a stitch for the Boyfriend, despite his numerous requests, and he was so taken by the swatch I made, admiring it and cuddling it a bit when he thought I couldn't see him, how can I not.  And no, I couldn't have stabbed him with a needle, even if I'd had to make another swatch.  Damn him and his cuteness.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My Favourite Fall Sweater

I don't know how it is where you all live, but fall has definitely arrived here in the Yukon (actually, it's been here for at least a month already), and the air now has that bite to it that says Old Man Winter is right on it's tail. This obviously means that it's sweater weather!  Although, short of a few days at the height of summer, every day is sweater weather for me, especially after moving north.

Andi Sutterland over at Untangling Knots recently wrote a post asking us to show her our favourite fall sweater, and it got me thinking about mine.  So far, I've completed 5 adult sweaters(which isn't too bad, considering I only started knitting a little over two years ago), and there is a clear favourite out of the bunch.

My Common Ground cardigan!

Common Ground 
I could've sworn that I'd posted about this sweater on my old blog, but I can't seem to find the post anywhere.  I finished it last October, and it took me about 3 months to knit.  Which, for me, is super fast!

Pattern: Common Ground
Yarn: Cascade Ecological Wool
Size: Uh...sort of a small/medium/large - I made a tonne of adjustments since the larger sizes got a little on the baggy side due to the raglan increases.  Details on my Rav page.

Common Ground
This is such a versitile sweater, probably because of the neutral colour and the fun textures.  The only thing wrong with it is that the neck is too wide and it tends to slide down the shoulders unless I have a long-sleeve top underneath.  Next time I make it (and there will be a next time - actually, I've been eyeing up yarn for it for a while...) I'll widen the front a bit and add buttons, sort of like how lucidfuse made theirs (sorry, that's a Ravelry link).

Common Ground
Oh, and the hood is kind of weird, but I never wear hoods up anyways.  I like the look of it down though! 

Common Ground
This sweater is perfectly warm for a cool fall day, but not overly so because of the deliberately open front and the lacework on the back and sides.  It's perfect for doing chores outside or going for a walk on a cool day.  And since it's made from wool, it's pretty tough material - great for hauling around firewood!

And you know what?  I totally forgot about this sweater until I read Andi's post!  It's been stashed away somewhere - probably my disaster of a sewing room - for the summer, and now I really need to find and wear this lovely sweater!  Especially since I have a cranberry picking adventure planned for my next time out of camp, and the weather has cooled right down.   Thanks for the reminder, Andi!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

fo: Silky Coral Laurel (say that 3 times fast)!

You know, I've been holding off sharing pictures of my Silky Laurel because I wanted to get some more pictures of it, both on me and off, some detailed shots, show off my hand-stitched neck/arm binding and hem, etc etc etc.

But I'm stuck in camp with the dress in a wrinkled mess on my sewing table at home, and I just want to share it for cripes sakes!

ETA: Now with less squished photos.  Sorry folks, our camp internet is being stupid.

For those of you just joining us, my cousin was getting married in August, and I realized 12 days before the wedding that I didn't have anything to wear.  While I really wanted to sew something, I'd lost interest in the dress I'd planned to make.  But then I miraculously found a dress already cut out, stashed underneath my cutting table.  I only vaguely recall thinking about this project ages ago.  Pretty sure elves came in and did some of the work for me.

They didn't finish it though.  I cut it pretty close, and I'm so lucky that whatever modifications I did originally worked perfectly, because I only just barely managed to finish all of the hand-sewn hemming and neckbinding the morning before I flew out for the wedding!

Please forgive me cutting out my cousins - I didn't have their permission to post their picture online.  The dress, for those who haven't realized by now, is Laurel by Colette Patterns.  I finally used some of the raw silk I bought ages ago on clearance at Fabricland.  I think I need to buy (and use!) this fabric more often, because was it ever a dream to wear!  So breathable and so so nice against the skin.

Here's me and my (big) little brother.  If we're looking a little rumpled and tired, it's because we'd just spent the day running around trying to get all of the little (and some pretty big) things done that got forgotten about/ignored/etc. and are pretty pooped.  Sadly, we were losing daylight by the time I thought to grab him for pictures, and I swear my dress wasn't this...bright in true daylight.  Also, my brother's tie was cream coloured...

This dress though?  So fantastic and comfortable!  It didn't matter if I was acting cabbie for all of the out-of-province inlaws in this country town, playing photographer, or frantically setting up 150 place settings a half-hour before dinner was supposed to start, this dress was comfortable enough to do it all!  I barely noticed I was wearing a dress (except for those times when I nearly forgot myself and bent over to pick up something or other).  Pretty good considering this is the norm for me:

Yep, that's me, posing in my underground gear before heading into the mine portal.  Similar colour though!

And here's a ridiculous outtake, one of the many bad photos one of my cousin's tried to take of this dress.  Believe me, this was the best of the lot!  And it shows off the dress the best.  Ick.  I'm so pleased with the hem length; it's not a length I would normally wear a dress, but it was perfect for a simple shift dress.  The sleeves, I'm less pleased about.  I mean, they fit great, but I'm not sure about the length.  And I think I cut these as per the pattern?  Maybe?!

Laurel is such a versitile dress, I'm seriously stunned.  I think it can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on your fabric and accessory choices, and I think I probably need about 3 or 4 more.  Maybe one in wool for a winter dress?  I wonder if I can find decent wool in Whitehorse...

Have any of you made Laurel up yet?  Or have you made a dress that exceeded your expectations?

And has anyone else had projects worked on for you by unexpected elves?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Instant Gratification Toque!

Okay, so I actually have a ton of finished projects to share (including the dress I made for my cousin's wedding).  But for some reason, I can't seem to get photos taken and post on here.  I open a new post window, start typing a few awkward words, try importing a picture, then close the thing down.  I think it's that whole oh-man-I-haven't-posted-in-forever block.

Just like with crafting.  I have a ton of projects on the go, but I haven't felt like touching any of them lately.  I pick them up, stare at them awkwardly for a bit, then put them down again.  Repeat...often.

How did I deal with this?  I made an instant gratification hat.

BAM, crafting mojo is back!  (Plus I really needed a new hat.)

This pattern, or rather "knitting recipe" comes from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka the Yarn Harlot) book, Knitting Rules.  While there's a few patterns inside, she really just guides you through the basic steps of making various types of projects, encouraging you to work out the right fit for you based on your gauge*, regardless of what yarn you use.  (The "pattern" for the sock I'm making is also from this book).

ANYWAYS, this is a just a long way of saying that I played with my pretty ball of yarn for a bit, did some Math (yikes!), and whipped off this hat in a day while camping last weekend.  Good thing too, because it was damn cold out.

I love this hat so much!  The yarn is Noro Nadeshiko, and I love how the self-stipes came out.  The yarn is a wool, silk, and angora blend, and boy is it fuzzy!  I find myself petting it often, especially when it's on my head.  These aren't colours I'd normally gravitate to, being more of a jewel-tone lover myself, but there was a sample hate just like this made up in our LYS**, and I had to have it so much, I couldn't even choose another colourway.  Go ahead and bask in my originality.

I'm kind of hoping that this post, as with my hat, will get me out of the blogging funk I've been in lately, and actually get some of these pending posts published.  I have a finished crocheted sweater that I'm dying to share with you all!
* Gauge, for you non-knitters, is the number of stitches per inch (or cm!).  Gauge is super important and can be the difference between a well fitted sweater, a monsterous beast or something only your Barbie could fit.

**Local Yarn Shop

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Inexplicable Sock

Hey everyone!  I've been back from my trip down south for a few days now, but between a headcold and general laziness, I've been slow to blog.  The trip was amazing and I got tonnes of compliments on my dress at my cousin's wedding.  I promise there will be a post on it soon!  It turned out too good not to share.

For now though, I thought I'd share my latest project (of many...).

Guess who got bitten by the sock knitting bug?  *sigh*

I swore I wouldn't get into sock knitting.  It's what everyone in the world asks me to knit for them, and I refuse REFUSE to get into it!

But then I ordered a set of sock needles (shorter and thinner double point needles for itty bitty stitches).  And then I dug out one of the many balls of sock yarn I've managed to collect.  And then I tossed them into my suitcase before leaving for Manitoba.

I swear, none of this was done consciously, it just happened.

And wouldn't you know it, but I finished off the other project I brought along and the only thing I had to work on was a sock.

Guess I'm sock knitting.  Maybe.  I mean, I'm sure I'll finish this sock, I'm too curious about the construction to stop now.  Whether or not it'll ever have a mate however, that'll be another thing entirely.