Thursday, July 29, 2010

I love ravelry shrug

I must confess that when I was a new knitter, nothing scared me.  In fact, I think I mentioned I knit some sweaters for my then toddlers right after having mastered dishcloths.  But why not?  sweaters are basically big rectangles and triangles.  While my results weren't perfect I learned some things that stick with me today.

And yet, lately I find myself afraid to take chances on things that I *really* want to make.  I'm finding I'm afraid. So that's the real reason I don't have a dollar and a half cardigan. It is also the reason that I don't yet have a shrug to go with my purple, green and black dress.  Ok, I have one that I whipped off, but I wanted a lacy purple one.

So, I picked out a pattern that I liked, which is more jacket than shrug from Ce Ce knits and hiked off to my yarn store, with the dress in hand to find DK weight yarn in this specific purple.

I love purple, but purples are hard to match.

The yarn store had two choices: Tahki Charles cotton classic and Debbie Bliss Baby cashmerino. There wasn't enough of either at the store, but she thought she had enough Debbie Bliss at the other store. I like cotton classic, I made a sweater in it once, and as cotton goes it is pretty good, but I didn't want to have to special order it (because of the weight! ha I bought this in MAY).  So the owner brought down the Debbie bliss from her other location, and 3 days later I had the yarn.

Now, Debbie Bliss Baby cashmerino is not DK weight.  But I thought... oh heck I do not know what I thought, I've seen too much Tim Gunn proclaiming Make it work! that I thought I could... well make it work.

After 3 swatches it was clear that either I'd need to do some major math, or find a new pattern.  And I tried the math and learned that "just making a bigger size" was only going to work if I made one size larger than the largest size listed on that pattern and that seemed to me just asking for trouble.

So off to Ravelry I went searching for a new pattern. And I found one.  Only is isn't a shrug, it is a whole sweater called Henley perfected.  It was in the Interweave knits magazine a while ago and I had the issue.  I guess I never thought of it as anything else until I saw all the variations people had done on it in ravelry.  I saw variants with all lace, no lace, short sleeves, all lace sleeves and then it hit me, I could do a short sleeve short sweater variant.  In other words, a lacy jacket like coverup that I'd call a shrug.

But of course there has to be adjustments made to pull this off. The first was that the directions for the hem were just whack. Basically it had you sew the hem in. Which is funny because Interweave knits online shows a better way. Then my hem rolled so I pulled out out and made it longer.

Actually that wasn't the first--First I had to figure out how many to cast on because the stitch count changes several times for shaping. Combine that with deciding how long to make it, and you see why I have only part of the back done.

Now I am busy doing the decreases for the sleeves into the back lace pattern--which by the way is not something I do well naturally. I am reasonably good at reading my knitting which is what you pretty much have to do at this point. But since I like to knit while I watch tv, I need to write it all out. So my knitting time today has been taken up by graphing out the lace repeats and blocking out the decreases. A tedious task, but it should make the lace come out right.

No pictures, but perhaps when I have a bit more to show.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I have some longer stuff to write, but am in the middle of a bunch of other projects and need to sit down and focus to really get this right. SO instead here are some quick updates.

First a picture of the completed jam socks--made from yarn that I swapped for making some strawberry jam.  I have swedish runner legs...

Second, all the tests have come back negative on my wrist (so it is not broken, or sprained and all my blood work came back normal, so probably not RA) and I have figured out some stuff.  First aleve makes it feel better.  My wrist brace does not.  Also, knitting does not seem to effect it either way.  However biking makes it worse (as does housework but I might be making that up).  So right now the plan is take aleve and hope it goes away in 4 weeks.

Third, a while back I was thinking about making a skirt for summer and then I got frustrated at the sizing and the pattern. Then my Mother-in -law brought back this cute already elasticized for sundress fabric to make sundresses for my girls and I thought--wow that would make a really cute skirt.  $8 and a few hours later I had:


I didn't make pockets because I was lazy. But I wore the skirt all day and feel very very flirty and summery, which was the goal to begin with.

More later.

Monday, July 12, 2010

my aching wrist

finished my socks, and while I don't have a picture of them, trust me, they are fun fun fun. And in September when the weather cools and I feel like wearing ANY socks again, I'll have to model them.
I;ve started in on my next project, which is a shrug that I've modeled on a sweater from Interweave knits. Details later mainly because I don't have them at hand--except to know that I'm using Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino and US size 3 needles mainly because of the color the baby cashmerino came in--it is a dead ringer for the purple in my dress.

I'm excited about it, and working through the technical issues I'm encountering--like for example, the original pattern calls for a hemmed edge, which I've never done, but I couldn't figure it out from the instructions, so I had to do it differently following instructions from my very handy Knitter's book of Finishing techniques. And so far so good--I'm only on step 4 of 5 steps. What's bothering me, quite literally is my wrist.

A few years ago, I had this weird thing that when I was knitting (or more when I was sewing up) my pinkie and ring finger would go numb. After many tests later, it was determined that I "wrenched" my elbow picking up one of my "babies" who were 3 or 4 and weighed in the neighborhood of 35-40 pounds. After I stopped lifting them and slept for 6 months with a hand brace on, I gradually got better. This is different.

It started a few weeks ago, by feeling that I'd slept wrong on my hand an that my wrist needed to pop. Like you'd pop your knuckles. Except it won't. Steadily it has gotten worse. Nothing seems to make it better--I've even had days when (gasp) I haven't knitted anything. In fact on vacation, I went days without knitting and all the while that pain was still there. I should also note that it does not hurt to knit, but it does to scrub sinks. It does not hurt to sew up, although writing anything longer than my name is painful. Yoga has been excruciating at times. Mornings are worse than evenings. The hand brace does not seem to make a difference one way or another. And tomorrow, I'll be having it checked out. I'm hoping that it doesn't take weeks of (painful) tests to decide that I'm doing something stupid like lifting a 35 pound child regularly and calling her a baby (and scaring the doctor who wanted to know how old my "baby" was). I'm also hoping that I don't get the kibosh on knitting.

Sunday, July 04, 2010


We went on vacation! We drove a grand total of 22 hours and so of course I needed some car knitting. I know Elizabeth Zimmerman recommends lace knitting for summer because it is light and portable for the car. Obviously Mrs. Zimmerman did not fulfill the same car role as I do (book on cd changer, fight referee, video set-up artist, navigator, and toll change counter). I usually make socks in the car because they really are small tuck anywhere projects. I've done patterned socks in the past, but I've also lost row counters in the car, only to find them months later. This time, fate was on my side. I had no projects on the needles and none of the fancy patterns for socks were coming out to my liking.

I was also in the midst of jam making. I love strawberry freezer jam (well and peach and cherry too) and we were afraid given the warm spring we've had here that if I didn't get the jam done before we left we'd miss strawberry season. Turned out to be a good thing too. I made my three batches of jam and still had enthusiasm left over, so I posted on facebook that I loved making jam so much IU'd probably make some for you. And Cinnamonamon took me up on it. In exchange for the strawberries, sugar, containers and sock yarn, I made her a lovely batch of Strawberry jam. And suddenly I had sock yarn that I was excited about. Because you know--i don't have enough sock yarn of my own? Of course, but mine is boring. behold:

vacation socks

Just a plain toe up pattern, started a few nights before we left just to make sure I was happy with the tension/fabric combo. After we'd crossed our 4th state line I had the idea to take the sock's picture with the state signs so you could see my progress. Sadly, I didn't. But I did finish the first sock on the road and started the second. I had the heel all turned by the time we pulled into the driveway. I probably could have had more but the stars had all aligned. Good movie for the kids, familiar navigation and no tolls for the driver and so I whipped up some lace! Naw just kidding, I had a good book and I read.

We also got home in time to hit the very very short sour cherry season. So The day after I got home, I tackled 7 loads of laundry and 2 quarts of sour cherries. I ended up with a batch of jam, 2 freezer containers of pitted cherries for (small--read serves 2) crisps and a chocolate cherry crisp that was divine! We also ate 2 quarts of sweet cherries, which have a slightly longer season. Although my favorite farm at farmer's market is done with all cherries, so the ones we have this week are kinda eh.

I'm feeling better about knitting and have an idea for a new project. I need to work out the details sometime when I am awake and yet not busy--but given that we've entered the great toy purge season as well as fresh produce that needs to be dealt with regularly season, usually it is all I can do to knit a few rounds of socks before falling asleep. It is lace though.....