A Very Late Christmas Post

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By “very late christmas post” I mean very late.  I made these Christmas tree decorations LAST Christmas and never got around to posting them.  Then Christmas came and went, and I never took a photo for the blog, and then the decorations went in a box, and the box went in the storage unit.  I got the decorations out again this year, but the holidays are so crazy that I still didn’t get around to taking a photo of them until just now.

Better late than never, no?

The trees are pretty simple to make – I just followed the directions as written.  I didn’t add buttons, obviously, but I still like the way they look.  What was unexpected was how long the project took.  It’s kind of like socks – you finish one and you have to start all over again.  Only this time I had to start over three times.

Festive Baby Cardi

A co-worker “commissioned” a baby cardigan – but there was pressure!  The baby was already here – must…knit…quickly!

This cardigan is based off of this DROPS design (free pattern on Ravelry).  Clearly, I played a little more with color, but otherwise mostly followed the directions and gauge.  I followed measurements for the 1-3mo size.  I think there may be an error in the charts for the yoke – I followed the directions exactly, but the chart pattern didn’t fit correctly on the remaining stitches (yes, I re-did this like three times, so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t user error).  I just kept on knitting through the frustration accepting the fact that the pattern would just be cut off on one side.  But then!  Suddenly!  The pattern lined up again on it’s own???  Crazy, but true.

In any case, I’m happy with the way it turned out, and I hope it keeps the new baby warm this winter!

Cecilia: a conundrum

Photo on 6-30-12 at 6.25 PM #4

Oh, Cecilia, I had such great hopes.

I pre-ordered Essentially Feminine Knits because I was really impressed with the designs.  It arrived earlier than the estimated delivery date, so I was really excited to get started! Generally, I really like the book.  The patterns all seem pretty well written (of course, I’ve only done one pattern so far, so we’ll see how it goes in the future), and most of the designs are things I could see myself wearing, perhaps with some mods.

One of the big negatives about this book is (nearly) every pattern is knitted with a yarn that is either not available in North America or would be ridiculously expensive to order.

I wanted to knit Cecilia first since the lace design would be nice for summer, and I’m really liking dolman-shaped sweaters right now.

Photo on 6-30-12 at 6.25 PM #3

A few things went wrong, well, maybe not wrong, but definitely strange:

1. The pattern calls for size 7 needles for a finished S/M sweater.  I had to increase to a size 9 to obtain gauge, which I felt was strange because usually my knitting is very loose and I have to go down a needle size or two.

2.  The lace pattern was actually really fun to knit, but then I got to the “body” portion of the sweater, which is just plain stockinette stitch (st st).  At this point, I had nearly 400 stitches on my needles, so knitting in st st was about the most boring thing I’ve ever done. The pattern called for nearly 1″ of st st after the lace, which I felt like would make the sweater really long, but my gauge was right on and the measurements were matching up with the pattern, so who was I to argue?

3.  So, the “body” and “sleeves” ended at about my natural waist after all that st st-ing, at which point begins the ribbing.  And here’s the major problem – I can barely move my arms.  Unfortunate picture below.

Photo on 6-30-12 at 6.25 PM #2

4. I actually bought more yarn in terms of yardage than the pattern called for, but I still “ran out” in the sense that the ribbing was only a few inches instead of 5.5″ as called for in the pattern.  But frankly, if I did have enough yarn to keep going, an additional 3″ would be too long on the sweater as it is now.

Photo on 6-30-12 at 6.24 PM #2

Otherwise, I really like the sweater.  The lace is simply stunning.  I tried to take a close up, but since I had to be my own photog today, I couldn’t get a shot that was in any way representative of the lace.

Final thought: I think I’m going to have to rip it out at least to near the bottom of the lace pattern so I can finish the st st earlier and make the rib longer.  Hopefully, that will give me more arm movement.

I’m disappointed.  I followed this pattern exactly as written, and sometimes you just have to have faith in the patterns as they are.  I guess I should have followed my instinct and shortened the st st when I had the chance.  I’ll update if/when I am able to fix Cecilia.

Cabled Pencil Case

A part of Operation: Use up Yarn

Based on my recent entries, you’d think I’d become a full-time crafter.  Unfortunately, no.  These are all the projects I was working on while not blogging.

This Cabled Pencil Case is a free pattern on Ravelry by Dissolved Girl.

I started this project on the airplane to Japan.  I finished it in about two hours on a 13-hour flight.  Bad planning on my part.  The pattern is not too difficult as long as you keep track of what row you’re on, at which I am terrible.

The finished knit portion looked like a floppy shell.

Now the project needed a lining.  Great…sewing.  Yes, I just finished my first real sewing project, but I still barely know how to use the sewing machine, let alone create my own pattern for a bag lining.  I had to do this lining twice because the first lining was a hot mess.

So, I ever so carefully traced the bag, cut out the fabric, and seamed…

And soon, I had something that more or less resembled the shape of the bag (the angle in this photo is a little odd, but the bag was actually very symmetrical)…

Next, I inserted the lining and pinned the zipper in place…

I really need to get appropriate needles for sewing knits because the regular needles tend to pull the knit awkwardly.  Oh, and by the way, this is what happens when you accidentally sew over the metal part of the end of the zipper…

In the end, I got the zipper in place…

And here is the finished bag!

Works well as a makeup bag, too…

Knitted Style

I realized yesterday as I was posting my latest projects that the pictures I post are simple shots of the project.  Meaning, I don’t pose “styled” or how I actually wear my finished garments.  So, here is my look for work today, wearing Sampson and toting Avonlea with a crop jacket from Banana Republic.  I admit that this outfit may be a little knit-heavy, but I hope the linen jacket separates the pieces appropriately!

(BTW, I never take photos with my head in the shot because I always make these silly faces, and my photographer gets tired of taking the same shot over, and over, and over…and over.)

 

Date Night

A part of Operation: Use Up Stash

Hello, date night.  This is a free pattern on Ravelry from Nikol Lohr.  I decided on this project because the yardage would use almost exactly the amount of this red sport yarn I had from Bernat.  Plus, I thought it was super cute.

A word of warning: the yoke is not quite long enough, and since you’re knitting from the top-down, I recommend adding more to the yoke while you can.  I started knitting this before there were many other projects of Date Night on Ravelry, but since then, it looks like a lot of others have had the same yoke issues as me.  I probably should have gauged more closely in the first place, so it’s ultimately my fault.  The shell turned out within tolerable tightness ranges, but it would be slightly more comfortable if the yoke were just a wee bit longer – I’m talking just like three rows more.

Neck detail

The lace detail itself, though, is really gorgeous.  The yoke and body lace patterns don’t line up, but it turned out to offset evenly and in the middle on the XS size:

Lace detail

I made the shell longer than suggested in the pattern, and finished with EZ’s sewn bind-off, which, by the way, is my favorite bind-off now.

Hem detail

And just for fun, here’s another view of the front…

Front

and the back…

Back