Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Should be Saving Money....

But instead I'm buying yarn. (and shoes)

I really want to make the Lion Neck Cardigan from Custom Knits. This book rocks! I would give it 6 stars if that was possible. The patterns are nice, some of them are outstanding in their simple but elegant design. But the true value of the book is the clean articulation of how to customize top-down seamless sweaters, including how to knit different types of sleeves from the top down.

I've read Knitting Without Tears and Knitting From the Top. Both are good (I especially like Barbara Walker) but Custom Knits summarizes the important concepts from both books and others in such an easy to understand and straightforward way that you wonder why you weren't able to figure it out yourself. (It's OK...Wendy Bernard has done it for you now so don't beat yourself up over it).

What does this have to do with not saving money?

The Lion Neck Cardigan pattern calls for Rowan RYC Soft Tweed, which is discontinued. I looked through my considerable stash for possible substitutions, checked Ravelry for other yarns that people used with that pattern and decided it was best to find some Soft Tweed.

After a little Googling, I found an amazing deal at Bargain Yarns which I immediately snapped up - 8 skeins of Soft Tweed in Bark. Then I looked around the site and found Cherry Tree Hill Silk and Merino Bulky. Bulky, people. 372 yards in each hank. I could not pass this up. I bought 2.

So you see, I'm not saving money because I'm buying yarn. (and shoes)

Do not tell my husband.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Unidentified Blue Blob

If I told you this is supposed to be the Two-Toned Shrug from Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel, would you believe me?

Really, it is. Except that it's only one-toned. And it's got 3/4 sleeves. I've always a pattern still the same pattern if you make a few minor changes like that? I think it is but some people have argued that it's different.

I started this a few weeks ago but haven't had much time to devote to it. The yarn is Dream in Color Classy in Blue Lagoon, which has been in my stash for about a year or so. This yarn is a must-have! It goes on and on forever (250 yds), is comfortable in your hands and the color is beautiful. My photos don't do it justice. Two skeins will be more than enough for the shrug in the 16" shoulder-to-shoulder width, even with the longer sleeves. I think, however, that this will be just a tad too big for me. The pattern says to size down if you're in between sizes. My husband took the measurement and he said he had been "generous."

Also, I should've tapered the sleeve. My arms are skinny-ish already. After seaming the first sleeve and trying it on, I noticed a slight puffing. So the sleeves won't be so fitted but that's probably OK. More than likely I'll wear this over a long-sleeved top anyway. If it really doesn't fit, I know who I can give it to.

In other news...well, there's no other news. My in-laws are here and we're going to San Francisco tomorrow to visit the California Academy of Sciences museum. I'm really excited because I want to see this place. It will be fun! My family (the Mailman side, that is) is geeky that way. I haven't been to a planetarium in ages. Hope to post lots of good photos soon.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Twinkle Shopping Tunic

Back to the knitting!

Twinkle's Big City Knits has been on my shelf for a while. Against my better judgment, I managed to convince myself that I could channel the models in the book: be tall, willowy and boobless (TWB).

My first attempt at TWB was the Skating Sweater. Have I blogged about this already? I can't remember. Anyway I shopped from my stash and used Muench Big Baby (and in the process I denied Karalyn a new crib blanket). The result was less than stunning. Instead of being TWB I was short, stumpy and stacked (SSS). The fuzzy focus doesn't help either. I was also 10 lbs heavier in this photo. I knit this sweater last fall. Afterwards I came to my senses and said No to any more Twinkle sweaters.

Since then I've lost 10 lbs and gotten back down to pre-baby weight. The weight loss has clouded my thinking. Again I pulled out Big City Knits, looked at the models and said, "Tall, willowy, boobless! That's me!"

Earlier this week I finished the Shopping Tunic. During the knitting I started to get anxious. The yarn is so thick! The gauge is so huge! The measurements are so tiny! I held up the finished piece to my person to provide perspective on how small the sweater turned out to be right off the needles. Remember, I'm a size 1 or 2 petite. In the photo the sweater is "inside-out" since the purl side is actually the right side. What's that big wonky blob of yarn? I don't know.

To have a sleeker silhouette I decided to forego the pockets and the cowl neck. The pocket instructions were confusing anyway, and the cowl would've been itchy. Who needs it on a short-sleeve tunic? When I put the sweater on this morning, Karl had to laugh when he saw me roll it down my body. "Every father's nightmare," he commented. "You're not passing that down to Karalyn." However he said it looked nice on me.

It's not that great. In fact, I look SSS! Karl said, "Yeah, the thick yarn adds another inch or two." Sheesh! I need another inch or two but not around my waist or chest. Do you see how the armholes are weirdly stretched out? And this yarn, since it's roving, will pill and fuzz and break down very quickly. Which will make me even more SSS.

Oh well. Live and learn. I have 4 more skeins of Soft Chunky. I might...might...try the Evening Shell with it. If I do, some adjustments will need to be made.

In the meantime I thought I would wear this expensive designer sweater at least once. The weather is perfect for it today.

Happy Friday!