Monthly Archives: March 2009

Some small projects and big trees

Jill P.:

There’s been a lot of knitting going on over here, but not much to show for it.  My larger project is the Debbie Bliss Drop Collar Cabled Jacket.  I feel like I should have finished this a while ago since it’s in chunky yarn but I keep getting side-tracked.  Mostly with gift knitting and you know, the flu. 

My sister’s birthday was earlier this month.  I knew that I wanted to knit her a headband, since she recently told me that she’s been wearing headbands a lot.  Usually I would just easily pick out a pattern, use some yarn I have and be done with it.  But for some reason I really labored over this one.  I could not make a decision!  First I used the Dream Swatch Headwrap pattern and made it into a headband.  I used some super glitzy GGH Velour-Lame yarn from my stash.  I kind of liked the result.  It was pretty flashy.  And it ended up being pretty thick in the bottom.  I made mine into a loop, with less repeats, grafting the cast-on and ending sections together. 

Since I was already going light on the presents for her, I really wanted this to be right.  I ended up spending the next week or so figuring out my own pattern for a headband.  I was planning on having the bottom of the headband be elastic, like one you would buy at a store.  But after some searching on Ravelry, I was inspired  by Pepperknits to use I-cord instead.  I used Lorna Laces Shepherd Sock held double on US4s.  The stitch pattern was from the Vogue Stitchionary Knits/Purls book.  I am pretty happy with how it turned out.  I like the way colors lined up using the yarn doubled.  I had to modify the stitch pattern while decreasing back down to the I-cord so that it didn’t flare, but other than that, very straight forward. 

Hard to photograph though!

Since it was a landmark birthday for my sister (30!) we went on a family vacation to Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Parks.  I almost couldn’t go because I got the flu two days before I was supposed to drive up there!  Thankfully I got past my headachy feverish phase in time to go. 

We stayed in the Wuksachi Lodge and saw some massive Sequoias and went snowshoeing.  I guess I was well enough to go on a 3.6mile snowshoe trip!  I had never been before and it was a lot of fun.  I managed to get a bunch of weird, uninteresting pictures.  Why didn’t I think to get a picture of someone next to a tree!?  I just have random pictures of trunks.  Oh and this one:

It’s not obvious from the picture, but this tree, the General Sherman tree is the largest tree in the world by volume.  I guess Coastal Redwoods get taller, and there’s some other trees in Oaxaca that are much wider.  Tell a friend!

I also made a beret for a friend’s birthday.  I’ve been lazy about sending it out to her though, because I wanted to buy some fun stuff to send with it.  But because I’m not making personal purchases it takes me much longer to get out to the store. 

It is the Spring Beret by Natalie Larson

I used some early handspun that I had lying around.  The fiber is Shetland roving that  I bought from Stick and Stone Fiberarts way back.  Since I was getting a gauge of 16st/in instead of 18st/in I just made the less slouchy version.  But in hindsight I would have wanted it even more slouchy so would have had more stitches.  Since I was using wool I needed to block the beret to add size.  I let it dry with a giant wad of plastic bags inside.  I used a little over 2oz.

I hope that Amy likes it!  Of course I need to actually send it to her first!

I am currently working on a couple of other gift projects that I can’t share yet.  But I really want to be finishing my sweater.  Well, I have the day off today because of Cesar Chavez Day so I guess I have time to work on both! 

Oh, and now I really really want a new kitten since Adrienne just got one!  He is adorable.  I’ll post pictures next time.  I am almost certainly not moving to rural Virginia, but need to figure out if I’m moving apartments before I add to my family.

Talk to you soon!

Jill B.



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Converting soles

Jill P.:

Here is the other finished project I was telling you about.  They are the Bettie’s Lace Stockings.  I have decided to call them my Flower Lace Stockings, because the double possessive was a little annoying, and I think the stitch motif looks like flowers.  This was one of those rare projects were I started as soon as I got the magazine.  I’ve been working on knee socks for a while, with not good results.  But these didn’t take any more yarn than regular socks.  And they were a perfect occasion to use my STR Raven yarn!

Pattern: Bettie’s Lace Stockings by Hana Jason from Interweave Knits Spring 2009

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight in Korrpi, a smidge under 1 skein.

Sorry for the trampy pictures, but all of the ones with me standing were from a crazy angle and out of focus.  I will maybe change the ribbons but I am not buying things and I wanted them to be finished.

So now the mods.  After getting all excited about the pattern I realized that the pattern goes all the way around the foot.  Those little flowers are a little chunky and probably not comfortable underfoot.  I decided to make the soles solid.  After I did the short row toe, I increased a total of four stitches over two rows on the bottom half.  With a gauge of 6st/in this should match half of my foot circumference.  I worked straight until I got to the heel.  Because the sole is solid it was not as stretchy as the top of the foot.  I ended up doing 2 extra repeats than in the pattern.  From what I’ve been reading on Ravelry, this was not uncommon even with lacy soles.  I did some discreet decreasing before and after the short row heel to get me back to the right number of stitches. 

On the top of the foot, I had K, P, 4 st of feathered fagoting, P,  10 sts of narrow gathered lace, P, 4 sts of feathered fagoting, P, K.  This centered the lace motif over the foot and was a lot less confusing than the pattern directions to center.  I also didn’t pay enough attention and did k2tog instead of ssk.  Is that regular fagoting?  Maybe.

Here is an in-progress shot that kind of shows the sole.  With a solid bottom you lose out on the cool flower on the side of the heel, but I’ll live with it. 

Next came my calf mods.  It is no secret that I have curvy calves.  After some experimentation, I figured out the best rate of calf increases for me.  After about 9 repeats, I switched to the wide lace pattern and went up a needle size.  I knit a few more repeats and increased another needle.  Then finally, I switched needle sizes again.  Ending with a US4!  Finally it could comfortably fit on my calf.  I ended up with something like 20 repeats on the leg total.

I spent a couple of nights on the top edging.  The purl rows they call for with a picot bind-off were way too loose.  It was comical.  I tried knit rows on a smaller needle and then the picot.  But the picot just looked a little too cutesy.  Not as good as some others I’ve seen.  Ultimately I ended up with a couple knit rows, a yo row, then 3 more knit rows and a EZ sewn bind-off.  The top rolls down a tiny bit, but not much because of the ribbon.  I’m happy with the simpler edging. 

And that’s the whole story!  I don’t know when I’ll wear them, but they aren’t too chunkifying for knee socks so they might make it out. 

Hope you’re having a good weekend!

Jill B.


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FO: Dovetail Pullover

Dear Jill P.:

As promised I just finished two new things.  One is the Bettie’s Lace Stockings from the latest Interweave Knits, but those will wait until I blog them this weekend.  This guy, I finished on Monday.

Pattern: Dovetail Pullover by Kathy Zimmerman in Interweave Knits Spring 2008

Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Cotton in Colorway 404, 13 balls.  My size called for 14 balls.  I went ahead and used the recommended yarn because it was on sale last year at Compatto

Needles: US 4 and US5.  It felt really tight, but I guess that’ll be good so it doesn’t stretch. 

I’ve talked about it before so it probably doesn’t need repeating, but this sweater really killed my wrists and hands.  I will definitely be taking a break from cotton for awhile.  But I am super happy with the results.  I haven’t blocked it yet, because I’m worried that I’ll put it in water and the whole thing will go to shit and I’m not prepared for that. 

I knit it in the 38″ size, which gives me about 2″ of ease.  Based on some other ravelers who said that sleeves were a little big, I decided to knit the smaller size sleeves.  The height of the two sizes was the same, this sleeve is just like 1/4″ narrower.  I added a few rows in the sleeve cap while fudging the decrease rates so that this sleeve would fit into my Medium size armholes.  For no particular reason I decided to use short rows on the top of the sleeve cap instead of doing stairsteps.  The cap is a little shallow, but I think it would have been so even with binding off stitches instead. 

The other change I made was on the neckband.  The pattern calls for 2″ of ribbing.  This made the collar stand up away from my body a little.  I ripped back about an inch and weighed my options.  I could have proceeded on a smaller needle, or done some extreme decreasing.  I was a little worried about decreasing in ribbing.  I thought it would look a little wonky.  The final decision?  I just left it alone at 1″ and bound off.  It’s a little wider than the neck in the pattern, but I think I prefer it this way.  Definitely better than a semi-cowl collar.  It was like the collar in Ingenue, but not intential and not as cute. 

I was going to avoid showing this picture, because I don’t think it’s very flattering, but it’s the best full-on shot of the sweater.  All these sweater pictures are really making me self-conscious!

Another thing I learned from this project?  That I don’t like seaming in reverse stockinette.  It shouldn’t be any different from regular stockinette except I kept getting confused.  I couldn’t tell if I was a stitch in, or half a stitch in.  I bet my seams waver a bit.  I also kept forgetting which side was the right side and leaving my yarn ends out on the purl side.  That didn’t really matter, but it was annoying nonetheless. 

Oh, and you were asking me the other day if I use a cable needle.  I usually do.  I like doing things the traditional way and don’t mind using the needle.  But on this project I did reacquaint myself with cabling without a cable needle and was enjoying it.  I did the back with, and the front without.  I am not sure if I am completely won over, but it is very tempting.

I started my next project last night.  It’s the Drop Collar Cabled Jacket by Debbie Bliss in Yorkshire Tweed Chunky.  It is going super fast!  But my real priority is a present for my sister.  I need to make her a headband by next Friday.  I want it to be functional, so don’t know if it should have elastic on the bottom of it.  And probably not very wide.  And it should be purple.  I have some GGH Velour in purple and that might work.  I was thinking about doing a short version of the Dream Swatch head wrap.  I also have some tweed-y yarn that would work.  I could do some sort of herringbone pattern maybe?  Any good ideas?

Jill B.


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