Monday, December 8, 2008

Bianca, Complete!

I am so happy to finally be finished with this sweater! I got absolutely nothing accomplised yesterday aside from putting Bianca together. I was so excited that I even wore it today! It was surprisingly warm for this 38-degree morning.

I have to admit that I didnt' realize what I was getting myself into when I decided I could re-create the Lucy sweater from the Fossil Holiday 2008 catalog. The knitting itself was not difficult. But, first I had to take measurements and use them to calculate gauge - without the inspirational sweater, then draw a schematic, and improvise throughout. My head spun a couple of times!

First, I had a hard time figuring out how to get the hems to stand out from the rest of the knitting. In hindsight, accomplishing this was definitely easier and less time consuming than the method I chose. Initially, I knitted a very tight garter stitch for the hem but it looked way too homemade. I hated it by the time I was done knitting the back piece. So, I ended up doing a psuedo-steeking exercise to get them just right. There was something very horrific about cutting into my knitting, but the seams I sewed in (by machine) worked just fine. I even went back and sewed them two more times to be sure I wouldn't unravel!

As for the fit, I could be a little happier. I don't know whether to blame it on the mediocre yarn or the amount of cables, but the sleeves didn't block out as much as I would have liked. They are a bit tight - but I'm hoping they'll stretch. Maybe I'll use a little steam? It also annoys me that the edges of the button band tend to curl inward, and the side seams aren't laying flat enough. Again, I think steaming may help.

Aside from those few peeves, I love the sweater. It turned out almost exactly the way I wanted. And best of all - I had fun knitting it! My first thought was to knit it in some gorgeous Plymouth Tweed I have, but for some reason, I couldn't vision this sweater being tweed. Besides, I'd much rather stare at the skeins of yarn I already own than knit with it. That almost makes as much sense as buying yarn when I have plenty stuffed in various places around my home!!

The details:

  • Yarn: Patons Classic Wool (merino is missing on the label); almost 5 skeins; dark gray mix
  • Needles: US 7 for the body & US 6 for the hems/button bands
  • Began November 17, ended December 8 (took almost a week off for Thanksgiving)

Do you see that eerie blue glow? I forgot to turn the tv off.

I must say that after spending an hour taking photos, I have got to figure out how to take better indoor pictures on my digital camera. It does great outdoors in natural light and when I use the flash indoors, but the flash completely destroys the the colors and fine details. I've seen so many great pics taken with the same Canon Powershot I have on the Flickr group for this camera. I need to learn! Note to self: New Years resolution!

This will most likely be my last sweater for the year. Even though I don't have any knitted gifts planned, I really need to start applying myself to shopping......of course, I could always whip out a project with the aforementioned Plymouth Tweed.....

Friday, December 5, 2008

Progress / Unprogress

I was so excited last night to begin the final finishing process on my much-thought-about Bianca cardigan. Since I am not working with a pattern, its a little nerve-racking to see if it will turn out right in the end. And, I'll admit, I acutally like the finishing process. It's all about the process.

Last night, however, a bit of that excitement turned to frustrated defeat. Maybe I was just a little too excited to finish. Or, perhaps my multitasking is to blame: I was trying to talk on the phone with family, watch tv, and knit all at the same time. Either way, I picked up stitches along the front for the button bands, and ended up with way too many stitches. After knitting for four inches and casting off, I realized what I had done. I immediately frogged the section, as if quickly disposing of the evidence would make me feel better about the hours I wasted.
This morning I feel better about it, and when I pick it back up this evening, I'll be more attentive to it.

I did manage to take some pics this morning:

Maybe tomorrow, I'll be able to share modeled shots.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

And So It Begins

It appears that the inevitable has happened once again. The holidays are here! I am a little ashamed to say that I don't have any knitted gifts planned this year, for the same reason as last year: I just don't have the time or patience right now. I feel like I am constantly saying that!
I must confess that it has been taking a little more effort for me to embrace the excitement of the season. While I do love all the anticipation and joy, I let myself get so stressed.

Anyway, our family had a great Thanksgiving. My husband comes from a very big family and every year they hold a family reunion. We all stay in cabins in the woods and eat and visit. The group area is alongside a river. Across the river runs a pedestrian suspension bridge - it moves when you walk across! There is a seventy year old lodge made out of huge logs and a tin roof. We ate dinner there in the ambience of candlelight and two wood burning fireplaces on either side of the room.
This is the suspension bridge and just to the right of this is where the lodge was. Too bad I didn't get any pictures that captured the rustic beauty of it =(

And, who says you don't get to see the season change in the south?? Look at this!

Even though I had to put the knitting needles (my husband prefers "chopsitcks") down, and I would have already been done with Bianca, it was great to getaway and do something different.

By the way, I should be done with the sweater in the next couple of days. I finally made it to the finishing process. I actually enjoy that part though! I am excited for it to be done. Pics soon!

Monday, December 1, 2008

September Sweater Tutorial, Complete!

Please be advised that this was composed from pages of scribbled notes (I'll do better next time, promise!). I tried to proof to make sure it made sense, but it may look like absolute gibberish.

I can make a "free Ravelry download", just don't have the time at the moment.

If you have questions, feel free to drop me a line.
Contact me:

September Sweater

I am not a paid designer. I knit purely for enjoyment! I have never written a pattern with the intention of anyone using it besides myself. However, I had such a response on Ravelry from people who wanted to knit this sweater that I decided to try to organize my notes and come up with guidelines by which to knit something similar to it. I’ll include the cable patterns I used (on the last page), but I don’t remember exactly how I worked the decreases into the cable pattern around the neck area, so I’m leaving you to be creative and pick your own cables.
I will be happy to try to answer questions via my message box on Ravelry, but I can’t be an over-the-shoulder coach! For me, figuring out the quirks and researching to learn new techniques is part of the fun of knitting.

Notes on Construction:
This sweater offers unusual, but simple construction. It is knit sideways starting at the left sleeve. Stitches are then cast on either side of the sleeve to account for the yoke. Then, stitches are decreased to knit the right sleeve. The most confusing part (for me) is casting off and shaping the neck area.
Once the yoke and sleeves are complete, sections are picked up and knit to form the back and fronts. Then, the collar and button bands are picked up and knit last. There is very little seaming involved, but the picking up of stitches creates a type of seam that gives the sweater structure.

*2 skeins of Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool – or any other worsted weight yarn that will block nicely (blocking is important for this sweater)

*US size 7 (4.5mm) circular knitting needles

*Whatever materials you use to block – I use big beach towels, a windex bottle full of water, and a bunch of straight pins

*Darning needle

4 sts/inch – the gauge of the rows is not so important, since you will be measuring the length as you go.

Begin at Left Sleeve:
CO 100 sts
Work 2 inches in 2x2 rib
Cable set-up row
Work in pattern for 6-7 inches (or however long you want the sleeve to be).

Adding stitches for yoke:
Using the cable method, cast on 20 sts at the beg of next two rows.
Work cable set-up row – work to match cable pattern on sleeve.
Take the time to recognize how the sweater is already shaping up. Your left sleeve is complete and if you are looking at the RS of the work, the stitches on the left hand side are the front of your sweater and the stitches on the right hand side are the back.

Work in pattern until the piece measures 4.5-5.5 inches from the newly casted on yoke sts. (depending on your bust)

Next row (RS): work 71 sts and join new ball of yarn. Cast off 6 sts for neck, work to end of row. At this point, the back and left front sections are separate, and should be worked separately.
Next row (WS): work all sts in patt until last 2 sts, p2tog. Making sure you keep sts separate, work across the back sts.
Next row: work in patt across
Next row: work in patt, repeating the same decrease for neck as last RS row.
Now you will only work the sts on the front. The back sts will be worked later.
Next row: Repeat decrease at neck on EVERY row. RS rows decrease at beg of row, WS rows decrease at end of row. Work four more decreases – 6 total sts have been decresed at neck. Now cast off the front sts.

Continue working the back for approx 6.5 inches – end on RS row – and put all sts on holder (I kept mine on the needles since I have multiples)

Right Front:
Using new thread, cast on 47 sts (or the amount you casted off from the left front)
Work cable set-up row – mirror the cable pattern on the left front piece.
Next row (WS): work all sts in patt, increase one st at end of row. Then, increase one st at neck each row three more times, then every other row twice (same as the decreases you did for left front)
Next WS row: work all sts in pattern. Cast on 6 sts using backward loop method. Replace back sts to needles (if necessary) and join the front and back.
Work in pattern for 4.5-5.5 inches (or to your measurements).
Cast off 20 sts at the beg of next two rows so you are left with only the right sleeve sts on the needles.
Work so that the right sleeve is the same length as left sleeve and cast off all sts.

Now you will pick up sts for the back and both fronts.
Once these steps are complete, the piece needs to be blocked.

After drying, I sewed the seams up the side and sleeves. Next, I knit the collar then the button band. I did 1 x 1 rib for the collar and 2 x 2 rib for the button band.
A final blocking of the finished sweater may be necessary for the collar and button band to lie smoothly.

Encased Cable Panel (worked over 26 sts)
Row 1 (RS): p3, k3, p4, k6, p4, k3, p3
Rows 2, 4, and 6: k3, p3, k4, p6, k4, p3, k3
Row 3: p3, k3, p4, 3/3 LC, p4, k3, p3
Row 5: Rep row 1
Row 7: p3, 3/2 LC, p2, k6, p2, 2/3 RC, p3
Row 8: k5, p3, k2, p6, k2, p3, k5
Row 9: p5, 3/2 LC, 3/3 LC, 2/3 RC, p5
Row 10: k7, p12, k7
Row 11: p7, (3/3 RC) twice, p7
Row 12: Rep row 10
Row 13: p5, 2/3 RC, 3/3 LC, 3/2 LC, p5
Row 14: Rep row 8
Row 15: p3, 2/3 RC, p2, k6, p2, 3/2 LC, p3
Row 16: Rep row 2
Rep rows 1-16 for Cable Panel

2/3 RC: sl 2 sts to CN, hold in BACK, k3, p2 from CN
3/2 LC: sl 3 sts to CN, hold in FRONT, p2, k3 from CN
3/3 RC: sl 3 sts to CN, hold in BACK, k3, k3 from CN
3/3 LC: sl 2 sts to CN, hold in FRONT, k3, k3 from CN

Double Cable panel(worked over 12 sts):

Row 1, 3: knit
Row 2, 4, 6: purl
Row 5: C6B, C6F
Repeat rows 1-6 for pattern

C6B: sl 3 sts to CN, hold in BACK, k3, k3 from CN
C6F: sl 3 sts to CN, hold in FRONT, k3, k3 from CN

Please let me know if you knit this (or anything similar)!!!
By the way, I would have had this up a week ago, but my family vacationed for Thanksgiving. I'll post details (along with updates on my new project) later.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Old Penny, Finished!

Earlier this week, I finally finished my Old Penny cardigan! I really enjoyed this project despite being paranoid that I wouldn't have enough yarn to finish. In the end, I was left with over a half a skein of yarn and I probably could have gotten away with knitting the XS. Nevertheless, its finished and I love it!

The knitting of this sweater was really only half the battle. Blocking, seaming, and finishing felt like it took just as long. Out of anything I have ever knit, this project required the most amount of finishing. That collar and button band drug on forever! But I've come to the conclusion that even though "building" the sweater takes extra time, it produces a much more professional piece. Seamless projects offer more instant gratification, but in my opinion, seams give knitted items more structure, and in the end, I am more gratified with the result.

I may still add the snaps suggested in the pattern. I am also considering using my sewing machine to add buttonholes (again, more structure than ones knitted-in IMO).


  • Yarn: Queensland Kathmandu DK, color 423, just over 7 skeins
  • Mods: Blocked and seamed all pieces before picking up stitches for the collar, added cables up the back

A few knitters pointed out on Ravelry that there are several errors in the pattern. The pattern itself is pretty vague, and from the other Vogue patterns I have read, they are NOT for the beginner knitter. I found something else that no one else mentioned about the short rows for the shawl collar. I studied the picture of the sweater on the model in the magazine, and it appears that the YO increases begin on the front of the sweater where the v-neck begins, not at the sleeves as written. This isn't that huge of a deal, except it changes the way the collar lays on the neck.

The only thing I wish I could change about it is the sleeves. No wonder they took so long to knit! They are slightly too long and too wide at the top of the arm. I believe this to be a design element, judging from the model. However, they are very comfortable and will easily accomodate another shirt underneath, making it more usable in the cold.

As I promised myself, I am busy finishing a baby blanket. She is not due until the beginning of December, but several circumstances have led the doctors to plan a C-section for the 24th of the month. Just over a week left to finish! I'll be done.

I am also very excited to announce that I am currently writing up a tutorial for the September Sweater. So many people on Ravelry have asked for a pattern. I really didn't want to go through the time and stress of a bonafide pattern, but I am giving detailed instructions and notes regarding the construction. You guys won't believe how easy it is! Hopefully I will be ready to share the .pdf by mid-week.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Getting Back Into the Swing.....

Even though I have not been feeling well, I can't manage to find the time to rest. This time of year my knit creativity meter won't simmer down! I stayed home yesterday and between taking care of my one year old, who has an ear infection, and getting him to the doctor, I almost finished the sleeves for the Old Penny Cardigan. I'm planning on blocking tonight, and depending on how long it takes to dry, I may be seaming this weekend. In my past experiences, the pieces don't take very long to dry. I am excited to finish it up, because I just found what I want to try to knit next:

This sweater is from Fossil (I had no idea they made clothing!). It's called Lucy and I think it's adorable! I have some Plymouth Tweed in this color:

I bought the yarn hoping to knit the Central Park Hoodie. Even though so many people have knit it, I think the basic hoodie sweater is simply a good item to have in the cold-weather wardrobe. I have been hesitant, so maybe this sweater will be a good alternative??

But first I must finish a baby blanket that I am running out of time on. The baby is due in four weeks and I know that if I don't want to be totally stressed out, I should pick it back up.

Next time, hopefully I'll have an FO to share!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Geez, I'm a slacker!

To put it lightly - I stink at this blogging concept. I haven't posted anything in almost eight months! I am resolving to be better at this. I have thought about updating so many times, only to become discouraged about the amount of catching up I need to do!

So, I have decided that I am not going to play the catch-up game. I think back tracking would be a waste of time. Who wants to read old stuff?

I do have one project for which I intend to post details and someday, even a pattern! Here she is, September Sweater.

Back in August, I saw a cardigan in Buckle that I liked a lot. It was cheap - I could have definitely afforded it. But it was acrylic. I don't know why I have suddenly developed an aversion to sweaters made with synthetic fibers. They just don't last. Besides, I was up for the challenge of knitting it myself! To me, that is the best part of knitting - a challenging project is so much more rewarding than a thrown-together quickie.
Anyway, I got the some ideas on how this could work from this Drops Blouse and the Sideways Spencer, and casted on. If there was one thing that kept me going, it was patience. I knew what I wanted from this project, and if a mistake was made, I corrected it. I didn't give myself a time frame, so there was no pressure.

The details:
  • Yarn: LionBrand Fisherman's Wool, in natural brown, 2 skeins
  • Needles: US 7
  • Began: August 10
  • Finished: October 6

There are some other details here on Ravelry. Now I realize why I stopped blogging - I put all the details in Ravelry.

Pattern to come, someday.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring is in the Air!

Wow, it's been a while since I took some time to sit down and think about all that's going on around me. I've been a busybody lately!

Two weeks ago, I spent the weekend in Destin for a bachelorette party. It was a great time and I was very glad to get out and party. I was equally glad to pull back into my driveway Sunday afternoon. I had never spent a night away from my kids, much less a whole weekend.

Last weekend was the wedding, which was also a blast!

A couple of pics:

This is my girl Rita and I at the rehearsal. Below, the bride Tabatha and I.

And here I am, pregaming it:

This was the first thing that came to my mind when I opened the bottle of champagne, and it started bubbling up all over the place. Oh well!

What a wonderful day! Everything was perfect and gorgeous.

Now, on to the knitting portion of this program...

Needless to say, I haven't had a chance for much knitting. I have been trying to get my head together for a couple of warm-weather projects, and I did cast on for the Drop-Stitch Lace Tank, from Stefanie Japel's Fitted Knits. I have wanted to knit this since I bought the book last summer. I was pregnant then, so I had to wait almost a whole year to do it! For the first time ever, I am using the same color of the same yarn suggested in the pattern. I bought the Cascade Pima Tencel in teal from, hoping it would turn out to be nice and soft. Yay! I love it, and now I'm just hoping it wears well. I'm always scared to use cotton yarns because in my experience, they get a little fuzzy and lose their freshness. Anyway, here's a peek of my (slow) progress:

I swear I must have done about eight different swatches of the drop-stitch lace, and I just wasn't happy with it. After being so excited and waiting for so long to knit this tank, I was getting very frustrated and almost gave up on it. Then I decided to browse Ravelry to see if anyone had modified the pattern. I can't even count how many times Ravelry has saved my day (three cheers for Ravelry !!!). I found NoKnitSherlock 's version of the tank she confirmed for me how she twisted the knit stitches to make the dropped stitches more obedient. To do so, you would knit into the back of all the knit stitches on the RS of the piece, and (if you are knitting flat) purl into the back of all purl stitches on the WS. Success! I was so happy when I realized how good it looked that way.

As much as I'd like to say that I'll be knitting this all weekend, my yard is beckoning for some much-needed planting and attention. Unless, of course, it rains. We'll see!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I got a new camera - YIPPIEEEE!!

After about two weeks worth of research and reading through reviews online, I finally made the big decision today about my new camera! And I am stoked! I bought a Canon PowerShot S5 IS. I am in loooooove. It's my first "advanced" digital and I'm still learning, but she does all kinds of neat tricks. Best of all, I can take pictures of myself while looking at myself! No more guessing!

Since I have no brilliant recent FOs, I decided to revisit my Cropped Sweater Jacket shoot. Those old pics really did it no justice. I guess I had this sweater on the brain since my blogger buddy soknitpicky recently finished her version of this cute coat. She did such a great job too!

Yay! I still need to practice with it. I took these quickies using the self-timer. But I am definitely looking forward to many great pics with my new baby!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Mardi Gras and a little knitting

I have been neglecting most of my projects and housework lately while trying to recover from Mardi Gras (see link below). My husband's very large family comes to town and everything else gets put on the backburner. I usually don't participate in it very much on account of our children, but this year I decided to get out and take the kids. We all had a lot of fun!

Here is my sister in law and her husband and little girl dressed for Joe Cain Day:

Lots of people like to dress up and walk in a parade through downtown Mobile. Below, my father in law is holding my little girl. As you can see, she loves beads!

Oliver mostly snoozed in his stroller during the parades. He got his moonpies second-hand, if you know what I mean!

Mardi Gras was a lot of fun this year. I was definitely glad to see it end and have a chance to get back into the normal routine.

I have a couple of projects going on right now. When don't I??!? Much to my displeasure, I completely screwed up my Gallery Jacket. I have decided to set that one down indefintely. I was just knitting away watching House and forgot I was supposed to be doing twisted rib. I got so frustrated with myself that I realized it wasn't worth frogging and re-doing. Maybe I'd be more excited about it if I restart in a nicer yarn. I loved the color I was knitting, but I'm beginning to hate wool-ease.

I hate when that happens! I was really looking forward to this sweater. I guess it happens eventually to everyone.

Anyway, here is my progress on the Leaf Tee. This pattern is yet another reason why I truly love Ravelry. It has been a huge source of inspiration for me. I'm about halfway done, but I need to get with it if I want to be able to wear this one. Our summers here in Mobile make wearing anything wool downright impossible.

The yarn I chose for this sweater does not photograph well - Euro Yarns Peru Luxury DK. It either looks too violet or too brown. It's actually a plum/eggplant shade. It's very earthy and feels exquisite! It's probably one of the nicest yarns I have knit so far. I may pick up stitches around the neckband to eliminate the rolling. But I think I like it that way.

I am happy to say that I've recently added a few goodies to my stash, but I'm fearing a knitting slump as the season changes. I've been looking for more spring/summer pieces to try. It's a gamble though to order yarn sight-unseen. I miss having a real yarn store here. Business venture?!?!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Before I Learned to Knit

I have always loved making things. Ever since I can remember I have been called "crafty". My husband, bless his heart, has dealt quite nicely with having a house full of everything from paint and fabric to yarn and beads. Before I learned to knit (also before I became a mother of three) I was obsessed with jewelrymaking. One summer I even earned a pretty good bit of money making custom jewelry.

To be honest, I have been so into knitting lately that I had forgotten how much I loved my beads. They got relegated to the top of my closet (right beside a plethera of faux florals). Knitting became an easier, less cumbersome hobby for me and I just rolled with it.

I don't exactly recall why, but at some point in the last few days, I started jonesing for some new necklaces. So, tonight I decided to pull down those boxes and look through my stuff. Isn't it the greatest feeling to rediscover your treasures after long forgetting exactly what they are?!?! The hubby and two oldest kids went to Mardi Gras tonight so I had some peace and quiet around the house. Here's what I came up with:

That's the pendant anyway. The goal was to be able to match pretty much any color. Honestly, it had been so long since I'd looked at any of it that I wanted to use a little of everything. It's so hard to find good lighting in my house at night. So I whipped out the old "flip the book open" backdrop. It's a Webster's dictionary opened to a random page.

Here is the necklace on:

I wish I could've gotten a better shot. Maybe I will try during daylight to get the detail of it. I love it!

Okay, now I have to get dressed and go somewhere tomorrow so I can wear it!

Here's one more look:

Yay for rekindling an old relationship, and a little change of scenery!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Happy New Year!

A couple of projects later...

In true fashion, I'm only a couple of weeks late on that one! That's me though. Anyway, I'd like to share my first FO of 08 - Gretel. I was working on her right after Christmas, but I didn't officially draw up the last stitches until after the first of the year. This was quite monumental for me since I don't even wear hats. I've worn this one though! I love it.

Yay! A hat for me. I knit it in Lion Brand Wool-Ease, Oxford Gray. Cheers to a few firsts: first project of the year, first hat for myself. Cool.

Now, on to the second FO of the year, Juliet.

Let me begin by saying that I have a rather large stash of yarn that for some reason I buy and have a hard time using only knows why. Anyway, I have resolved to cleanse myself of it, so I am working or planning projects right now so it can serve its purpose. I mean, yarn is intended to be knit, so knit it!

Back to the subject at hand:

I did my research on this one. I searched every Juliet on Ravelry. I found a couple that I absolutely loved. For some reason, I had a feeling going into this that the bulkiness of the yarn would cause me to have a hard time with it. But in keeping with my stash-busting mentality, I had to do this. I casted on for the small, not sure whether to do the XS (still trying to lose baby weight). Then I had to decide whether to do the shorter yoke, or have it fall right under the bust. I chose the latter because it didn't do much for me at the shorter length. FAT!

I was so excited to finish that it only took 4 days total, which is pretty damn good for me. When I tried it on, I immediately decided to wash it in Woolite on gentle cycle to try to soften the yarn a bit. It was pretty stiff coming off of the needles and I wanted the lace to be more flowy. I suppose I can't really hope for "flowy" with a bulky yarn. The washing did help as well as a quickie tug or two during the drying process. Before adding the buttons, I tried this:

Cute, but I'm not sure if I pull it off well. I may go back to the buttonless look after its all said and done. Here it is with the buttons:

See that terrible look on my face? I'm thinking, "Why did I knit all those garter rows on the bottom hem?" That could be another reason that it's not draping the way I want it to. I'm going to rest on this for a couple of days then I may decide to frog a couple of the rows to see if that helps. If I decide to stick with buttons, I may move them over about 1/2 an inch to make the top fit tighter. You can't really tell from the pics, but its a little loose. Guess I should have done the XS!

I do have two other projects (stashbusting!) on the needles that I'm hoping to finish soon. First off, the Gallery Jacket that I started in November hoping to have done by Christmas. Needless to say that didn't happen. I am about halfway up to the armholes. Maybe I can get some of that done over the weekend.

Also, I am about halfway done with the Leaf Tee, a super-easy top-down raglan t-shirt with a lace panel down the middle of the front that adds just enough interest. I have about 9 balls of this really pretty wool/alpaca/silk blend that I got dirt cheap. Here's a peek:

I'm not sure what's going on with the coloring here. I was trying to take advantage of some natural light (hate the flash!). The yarn is not nearly this blue. It's more of an eggplant or plum color.

Hopefully I can post some more finshed goods before the end of the month. I guess I have been lazy about this blog since I post all the details of projects directly on Ravelry. I am so addicted to that site.