Wednesday, August 31, 2016

K'done: Oblique cardigan


Pattern: Oblique, by Véronik Avery
Yarn: Dream In Color Classy, in Chocolate Night
Needles: 5.5 mm / US 9

Well. This sweater has been taking up headspace for me for rather a long time. According to my Rav project page, it took me a year and nearly two months to crank this one out. Not exactly a prompt knit. But remember, there was some drama involving me failing to read one of the pattern directions properly, which led to me producing an 85% incorrect sleeve along with a 100% correct back and 100% correct sleeve. There was a period of hibernation while I deliberately ignored the evidence of my carelessness, and then I decided I wanted the sweater enough and ripped back the bad sleeve to fix it.

You may notice that in the above image, the ribbing looks a tad crinkly on the would-be-button bands - I say would-be-button bands because I left off the buttonholes, since I have no intention of buying buttons for this piece. It's a layering cardi for me, and doesn't need to close, which means I can skip the part where the sweater sits forever in button purgatory because I can't be bothered to get myself down to a button store and buy the flipping buttons. But back to the ribbing - it's not blocked. This sweater's construction has you sew the main pieces - fronts, back, sleeves - before picking up for the collar and button bands. Since I like to block pieces before seaming, this means that the sweater was mostly blocked when I finished up with adding the ribbing, and I'll wear it a bit before giving it another wash, which should settle the ribbing a bit.

It may also be apparent that I did some downsizing of the pattern here. In part for aesthetic reasons - I didn't want a swimmingly big cardi - but also for the very practical reason of yarn chicken. I had 1000 yards - 4 skeins - of the yarn, and I had looked at others' versions on Rav, and one of the overarching themes of the comments seemed to be Eats more yarn than pattern suggests, and the pattern suggested that the smallest size should eat 936 yards for the smallest size, which was still bigger than I wanted anyway. I decided to ensmallen the XS version: I took away the foldover cuff on the sleeves, I shortened the sleeves to something like bracelet length (I'm always tugging my sleeves up above my wrists anyways), I shortened the body, omitted one waist decrease set and its corresponding increase set, omitted one row from the collar, and my gauge was a bit smaller than as written in the pattern, at 18 sts to 4" as opposed to 17. The resulting sweater doesn't cover my bum and has maybe 0.5" of positive ease - quite different from the modelled sample.

Clearly, I succeeded in making the sweater happen with my yarn supply. How close was it?

Um. Yup. That's all the yarn I had left when all was said, done, and seamed. Not very much at all. The ensmallening was clearly a necessary move for successful sweater completion.

The pattern was nice and clear, though I'm not sure about the pick up rate suggested for the collar and buttonbands - the designer recommends picking up 4 out of 5 stitches, which I did, and it all worked out fine, but it was only after I had finished with the collar that I remembered that I lopped a good three or four inches of length out of the body, so I should have quite a bit fewer stitches on those buttonbands than the pattern said I should have. I didn't. Since the collar is done after the buttonbands, I would have had to pull it all out in order to go back to try and correct the buttonbands, so I just left it. It doesn't seem to be flaring right now, and I'm sort of counting on the somewhat flexible nature of ribbing to save me in the end - I'm thinking I could block the ribbing to be slightly compressed to avoid flares or weird ruffles.

Oh, I also didn't do the very bottom edge of the buttonbands correctly because I failed to consult the pattern fully. Once I got set up in k2tblp2 ribbing, I just went with it. The very bottom two stitches of each buttonband are supposed to be knits on the RS, but on my sweater they're purls. Oh well.

This batch of Classy is a batch of 'old' Classy, which means it's a bit scritchier. I'm wearing it over a short-sleeved tee in these pictures, and it was a bit irksome on the arms. I guess that means I'll probably only wear it with longer sleeved tees underneath. That's okay. I still think it's a pretty nice sweater.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Seam away, seam away, seam away

I'm sitting here in my chair, sewing the last seam on my Oblique cardi.

I finally got the second sleeve finished at some point after returning home from our trip to BC, and blocked the sleeves, and then on Monday the seam-fest began. I did the raglan seams, and sewed up one sleeve, and that was it for my crafting time that day. Yesterday, I did the other sleeve, and that was it for my crafting time for the day. Today I've done one of the side seams so far, and what you see in the image above is the second side seam, which I intend to wrap up once this is posted.

While some avoid seams wherever possible, I have no objection to them. There's something rather satisfying about executing a nice seam. My first attempt at seams using mattress stitch are abysmal, because I didn't know what I was doing, and rather than ask Google and have a look at the myriad resources available online, I just winged it, doing what seemed right. It totally wasn't. I was picking up the legs of my selvedge stitches, so the seams were completely visible. Maybe I'll get over my pride and show you one day.

Today is not that day.

Once I stumbled upon some resources and read a bit on how it was supposed to go, my seams improved dramatically. I'm not sure I was ever the sort of person who shied away from a pattern because it promised seams, or the sort of person who rejiggers a pattern written with seams to be done seamlessly instead. Now that I understand it, seaming is a smooth, methodically relaxing process - much like knitting itself, I suppose. When I was a teenager, I went through a counted cross-stitch phase - I'd had a few little needlecraft kits that I'd worked my way through when I was a bit younger, and the last one ended in frustration when I ran out of yarn before the piece was finished. (I had intended to contact the kit's manufacturer to obtain the needed yarn, but I was twelve, and so never got around to doing that.) I then stumbled across some counted cross-stitch pattern books in a craft store, and it was like an epiphany - instead of relying on a kit to supply me, I could just select a motif and then buy what I needed! I think there were a few more kits along the way - in fact, I know I have an unfinished piece sitting in a box somewhere - but there was a definite shift in my crafting at that point, one where I took greater control of my projects.

This seaming I'm doing isn't the last step on this cardi, unfortunately. I still need to do the button bands (sans buttons) and collar. And I'm a pretty slow sewer, but it's not yet noon - maybe I'll have time to do some of that after?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

K'done: Entanglements socks

Aaaaaand here's the home stretch!

Pattern: Entanglements, by ShaylaMyst
Yarn: Invictus Yarns Master of My Feet, in Ambitious
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

Cables? Cables!

These socks were a fun knit, though I didn't get them done as quickly as I'd hoped. The pattern is written as an embrace-the-random sort of pattern - you set up 7 cables on the toe of the sock, then for each cable cross round, you use a randomizer to pick out 3 cables, and flip a coin to determine the crossing direction of each cable. Neat concept, though I found I didn't care for a truly random execution - and in some cases, you have to un-random things to get something that works. (For example, two adjacent cables can't cross towards each other at the same time.) One of my socks is closer to true random, the second is more pseudorandom - I allowed for random selection of the cables, but controlled the crossing direction so that I could avoid two adjacent cables moving in the same direction, or avoiding two cables coming together. (The pattern has directions for how to handle two cables coming together for those who prefer to stick closer to true random, but I just didn't use it for the second sock.)

These are done toe-up, but nothing in the pattern hinges on that, so if a person were more inclined to do a top-down version, they'd have no trouble. There may be a pair of these in my sister's future. And maybe my mother's future.

Monday, August 15, 2016

K'done: Six Tastes socks

Gah. So behind.

Pattern: Six Tastes, by Hypercycloid Designs
Yarn: Invictus Yarns Unconquerable Sole BFL, in Raspberry Creme, and Knit Picks Stroll, in Black
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

A photo posted by Jen (@pikaknit) on

I've realized that I sort of inadvertently deleted a bunch of photos when I needed to clear space on my phone to update an app a couple of weeks ago - I was rushing, and thought I was in the right place to delete device copies only, but apparently not! Good thing I have most of these shots on Instagram as well. I'll be going through and putting those back as best I can.

What do I remember, three weeks later? Let's see.

1. These are worked using mosaic knitting - you work with one yarn each round, slipping stitches as needed to make the pattern. So, work one round with MC, slipping any stitches that are supposed to be in CC, and on the next round you work with CC, slipping any stitches that are supposed to be in MC. I'd done a little mosaic in the past, but these socks kept it up for the entire sock, save the cuff and toe.

2. These socks maintained the colourwork through the heel and over the sole of the foot too. I like the visual effect, but I'm not sure the heel worked out to be the right shape for my feet - it's a little pouchy. We'll have to see how it wears, because I have not yet really worn the socks.

3. Reading your knitting with mosaic is not exactly like reading your knitting otherwise. I've gotten to be pretty competent with reading my knitting more generally, but the first leg of the first sock here was hard, because I was having trouble reading my knitting, and consequently was getting lost in the charts. I got it sorted eventually, and thankfully that was at some point on the foot of the first sock, because I was blowing a lot of time and getting frustrated with trying to sort out what was going on on my needles.

That being said, it is a really fun pattern. It's a choose-your-own-adventure type, meaning you have several different charts to choose from, and you can mix and match to make lots of different pairs of socks from a single pattern. I opted for matching motifs on my socks, but gave some serious thought to mixing the patterns - for someone who really likes matching things, I have an odd soft spot for this sort of non-matching matching, where the socks clearly go together as a set, but they're not completely identical. I've got a mind to make myself some more, using the other available charts, but that plan will have to wait until I figure out whether the funky patterned heel fits me well enough.