Saturday, January 31, 2009

More on the Garter Yoke Cardi

As you can see, I'm motoring along on the cardigan at a rate far beyond my usual. My attention has quickly wandered to other projects, and this is the rate I need to go at to try and outpace my impatience.

A few more things about the project to tide you (me?) over until the final summary:

--The yarn, Ornaghi's Merino Kind, does wash beautifully.

--Unfortunately, the yarn stretches when it's washed. I knit the swatch at 18 sts to 4 inches (the proper final gauge), and it came out of the bucket 16.5 sts to 4 inches (no change in length).

More unfortunate was that I had brain glitch between washing the swatch and casting on for the yoke, and began to knit at 18 sts to the inch, not 19.5. I did not realize what I'd done until I was ready for the waist shaping.

--The swatch does not lie. The entire sweater stretched 1.5 stitches for every 4 inches after--hoping against hope that the swatch *had* lied--I washed it.

I ripped the whole thing and began again, knitting at 19.5 stitches to the inch. And I was all the way to the end of the yoke again when it occurred to me that the yarn probably wouldn't stretch twice. So I decided that I would like negative ease in this cardigan and kept knitting.

All I need is another sleeve and buttons, and we'll see how this little shenanigan turns out.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Sweater I Never Intended to Knit

Where have I been? Not quite sure, but I have a new project to show off:

Garter Yoke Cardigan, from the Winter 2008 Knit.1 magazine.

I had absolutely no intention of knitting this sweater, but now I'm almost halfway done with the body (that picture's from last week). To explain how I broke so radically with form, we need to go back to the last day of Fall semester.

I had gone yarn shopping. After all the stress and sleep deprivation of the semester, I had about enough emotional energy to lie in a dark room with a rosewater compress over my eyes, but I felt the need to celebrate my newfound freedom.

Instead of going to my usual yarn shop, I went to the one in the next town up. Slightly pricier, it seemed like a better choice for a semester's-end treat. The trip started out OK: I browsed, finding some special skeins. Then decided to ask what I thought was an innocent question: how does Merino Kind wash?

I should've realized my error when they fetched The Owner. I explained what kind of sweater I wanted--an EZ cardigan with just a little bit of Fair Isle about the yoke. She assured me Merino Kind washed beautifully, and even showed me a sample sweater. And then I asked about colors--meaning "I have a thing for brown--could you special order some?"--The Owner matter-of-factly informed me that brown was not my color. This nice purple, however, would look lovely on you. And then she began to put together a color scheme for me.

In the time it took me to 1) get over the shock of being told that the color of half my wardrobe was "not my color" and 2) realize that this yarn was far too smooth for the steeked cardigan I'd wanted, I had enough purple to knit a sweater, plus coordinating jewel tones for the yoke. All my critical thinking skills (not to mention the will to resist) having been exhausted days before. You've seen the result:

Afterwards, I couldn't convince myself that I'd ever be caught dead in a purple fair isle cardigan (dim memories of the 80's haunted me), and I spent the next week wondering how I could possibly relegate a sweater's worth of jewel-tone yarn to the depths of my stash and still be able to show my face in this yarn store again.

It didn't seem possible until Christmas day, when I found the newest Knit.1 in my stocking. The Garter Yoke Cardigan had a classic shape, it didn't have seams, and it was knit out of a yarn in a comparable weight to Merino Kind. That's all I needed to convice me to cast on.

I'm still a little unsure of how this sweater will coordinate with all the brown and other earth tones in my wardrobe. However, I am determined to finish it by the end of this week. The yarn store's a good one, and I want to be able to show my face there again.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Look/Old Knits

What do you think of the new color scheme? I wanted something softer, without being too twee. Give me a poke in the posts if I've gone too far and you can't separate text from background.

And now (drumroll)...the results of my 2008 Stashbusting Mission:

I got the inspiration from Wendy's guidelines, adding only two modifications: 1, I had to be able to get the lid on my yarn tote closed at the end of the de-stashing process, and 2, I could buy yarn to help me use up stash yarn (both new + stash skeins had to get completely used up for this to count).

I used my one get-out-of jail-free for this:

And all Christmas gifts were sock yarn or purchased after September and therefore doubly exempt.

In the end, I think I was successful. The lid to my tote does stay closed now, and I've gotten rid of most of the yarns that were bogging me down. I'm going to keep de-stashing on the agenda for this year, though. There's a cake of sock yarn that will help me through my simmering sock obsession, a few skeins of laceweight I want to play with, some Lamb's Pride begging to be felted...

I guess it's always a destashing year.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I love New Year's resolutions--reading the many creative and ambitious lists out there as well as making my own. This year it's a short list, because although I have all of spring semester to myself, grad work begins summer 1 and after that, time to think (let alone do) will be in short supply.

1. Continue knitting out of the stash
I have a few lovely skeins that I want to turn into impressive FOs.

2. Read all the books that I own but haven't yet read
Flowers for Algernon, The Meaning of Everything, Here There Be Dragons, The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear, among others.

3. Knit a steeked cardigan à la EZ

4. Be a better blogger
More and better photos are definitely a part of the plan (above: aloe bud in the backyard), but I'd be happy to hear suggestions for other ways to improve!

Think I can do it?

Friday, January 2, 2009

This is the New Year

Gotta love Death Cab.

(Advance apology: all these photos are terribly lit. The fixture on my overhead died.)

To start the new year afresh, we packed away our Christmas decorations, y las hermanitas y yo cleared the deadwood off our bookshelves:

Alack, we are still double-stacking. I managed to fit my entire college education into one drawer of my filing cabinet (good thing or bad thing?)...

And I organized my stash, returning to whence they came the UFOs that I knew I would never finish. Now all my sock yarn is together,

all my yarn of unknown fiber content but definite Latin American origin is together,

and all my wools/wool blends are together, sorted by color family (red, for example).

I'm very against storage in plastic bags on principle, but in practice, I know I'm a messy knitter who has a tendency to chuck stuff into the stash willy nilly. The bags save me the hassle of having to fish through the entire stash to get what I want, and also reduce the chances of balls getting unwound and tangling. Any ideas for more sustainable storage?

Now: in with the new!