September 28, 2004

Feeling better

Ok, I think that second sleeve was cursed, but I’ve finally wrestled it into submission. After deciding that I would go ahead and do it “wrong” to match the first sleeve, I managed to mess various bits of the pattern up at least three times, each time being forced to rip out at least 8 or 10 rows. And I had already knit this sleeve pattern twice! I don’t know what was wrong with me / it … but I persevered, and last night I finished the sleeve and blocked it, so tonight I’m hoping to do the seaming and the collar, and then I’ll be done! I want to wear it to the SnB tomorrow… except that I also want to wear it to the Knit Wit launch party on Saturday… is it gauche to wear the same thing twice in front of the same people in one week? (Remember, I don’t go out much anymore, I’ve forgotten basic rules of socialising!)

Thanks for all the sympathy and encouragement, everyone. That’s what makes blogging so satisfying, the support from others, even when it’s all the fault of my own stupidity!

Oh, and thanks to my frustrations about Cabaret the second sock that I’ve been working on forever has reached the point of turning the heel, so I may yet actually finish this pair!

Posted by Aven at 05:37 PM | Comments (6)

September 25, 2004

Now I'm annoyed

Oh, I had grand plans for this weekend. Grand plans, I tell ya. Not to do with going out, socialising, or finishing a chapter of my thesis, of course — to do with knitting. I was going to finish the second sleeve of Cabaret tonight, block it overnight, and sew the sweater together Sunday night, resulting in a complete, beautiful work of art on Monday.

Or not. It turns out I’m having some issues with needle sizes. You see, the pattern calls for 4.5mm needles for the garter detail at the cuff, and then switches to 5.5mm for the main knitting. And I swatched, and got gauge, surprisingly enough, with the 5.5mm. Great! I picked up some Addi Turbos in that size at the SnB the week before last and got going. I even checked my gauge a couple of times — spot on, amazingly enough.

And then, today, I’m approaching the end of the second sleeve and I make a small mistake with the final shaping, so I rip back several rows, and to confirm where I am when I pick up the stitches again I compare this sleeve with the first one. And they don’t match. The one I’m knitting tonight is an inch or two longer than the first one.

Hmm. See, I know I knit the same number of rows for each, so they should be the same length, right? I check the gauge — the first sleeve is at a tighter gauge than the second. Ominously, it’s also at a tighter gauge than the body… oh dear. I start to get the feeling that I messed up the needle sizes, so I pull out the other two sets of Addis I have, to check them. (I only have three sets — shouldn’t be too hard to keep straight, hmm? Well, yes, apparently). It turns out that I don’t actually own any 4.5mm Addis, just 4mm, 5mm, and the 5.5mm I’m using on the sleeve. And, if you recall from the beginning of this already overly long saga, I was supposed to knit the garter bands with a 4.5mm needle. So what the heck was I doing all along? I was using Addis… I must have been using the 4mm, I guess, unless of course I used the 5mm. I see no way to tell, really. And that still doesn’t explain why the sleeves are different — I think I must have switched from the 4mm to the 5mm instead of the 5.5mm, for no particular reason.

Confused yet? The upshot is I have one finished sleeve the wrong size, which I think I’m just going to keep the way it is, and one almost-finished sleeve that I’ve now frogged completely. Arrgh! I have to reknit that sleeve, hoping that I’m right about using the 5mm needle, because if I’m not then the sleeves still won’t match and I’ll have to rip out the other sleeve and reknit it! I certainly won’t be getting this sweater done this weekend. And now I’m irritated and confused, which is not what knitting is supposed to do!

But I do feel better now that I’ve shared my pain at great and very boring length. It’s so nice to be able to rant… sorry to inflict it on you!

Tomorrow I’ll restart the sleeve. For tonight, some sock knitting seems in order, to calm my frazzled nerves.

Posted by Aven at 11:09 PM | Comments (9)

September 24, 2004

Pictures

Ok, here’s a picture of the front of Cabaret:

cabaretfront.jpg

And a close-up of the detail at the neck, showing the rather subtle mini-cabling… subtler here than in the model sweater, but that’s ok.

cabaretfrontclose.jpg

All the pictures I’ve posted so far have been rather washed out in colour — the camera doesn’t seem to want to capture the true colour of the purple. Except, it turns out, when there’s something else in the frame — namely Tigger, who of course came by to see me as soon as I went outside to do the photo shoot:

cabaretfronttigger.jpg

This is a much truer version of the colour, at least on my monitor. Thanks, Tig!

Posted by Aven at 02:32 PM | Comments (2)

September 23, 2004

Progress

Another exceedingly enjoyable SnB last night at Lettuce Knits — I know I don’t really have time to spend a whole evening knitting and chatting, but I do have such a great time, and I’m very happy to get to know the other knitters who attend — they’re such interesting and friendly people!

In the course of last night’s stitchin’ I finished the front of the Cabaret Raglan. It doesn’t have as good stitch definition as the yarn called for in the pattern, so the cables don’t show up terribly well, but I still like the way it turned out. I’d show a picture, but it’s currently blocking on a black garbage bag and every picture I take is full of the glare of the flash or is too blurry to show the detail. I’ll wait until it’s dry and try to take a reasonable picture then.

I’ve started the first sleeve, which shouldn’t take long. I’m really looking forward to having this top to wear, especially since I think it will be exactly the right weight for the fall. Must knit faster…

Thanks, everyone, for your compliments on Mark’s sweater. I really appreciate it when people comment, and I always love praise, of course! It adds so much enjoyment to my knitting to know that other people understand how great it is to finish a project and be happy with the result. What fun this all is!

Posted by Aven at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2004

Another one done

Done!

ridgeddone.jpg

I really like how this one turned out. It fits Mark well, and the pattern and colour suit him. He likes it, too — which is rather crucial! Here’s a view of it flat, for completeness’s sake. (Please excuse the poor framing and my sock in the lower right corner — it’s not easy trying to get a photo of the whole of a large men’s sweater!)

I feel that this sweater helped me progress a little with my finishing skills. Because of the pattern, with its horizontal and vertical lines, it was both very necessary and fairly easy to make the seams completely straight, since any deviation was very obvious. I’m rather proud of my mattress-stitch seams on this sweater, especially the attachment of the sleeve to the body, which I always find difficult. Just because I’m pleased with them, here’s the outside and the inside of the armhole sleeve.

This was my first time trying a pattern from Knitware, a sweater design programme, and I think it worked well. I’ll definitely be using it again, especially for Mark’s sweaters.

When I got to the point of doing the finishing work on this one, I must admit that I started a new project before I was done. I didn’t want to bring fiddly sewing to the SnB, so I cast on for my new project, the Cabaret Raglan from Interweave Knits Summer 2004 edition. I looked through all my magazines for a good project to use some more of my Turino Silk from Elann, and this seemed perfect. I’m really happy with the way it’s working up so far; this is the back:

cabaretback.jpg

Here’s a closer shot of the fabric, with the garter detail at the bottom:

cabaretclose.jpg

The colour was named “Grape” and I love it… all the little tweedy flecks of red and blue give it lots of depth, I think.

So now I’m working on the front, and at this rate I’ll soon be done and ready to start the next cycle — probably with something else for Mark, either another sweater or a pair of socks.

Oh, if you’re interested, details about the recent FOs and current WIPs are in the sidebar.

Posted by Aven at 04:05 PM | Comments (9)

September 15, 2004

Names

Thanks for not laughing too loudly at me about those bikinis… Thanks for the compliments. I think they worked pretty well, actually, so I’m glad you thought they were fun! And they’re very quick, since there’s not much material! Dani, the pattern was from some online site, but it was originally from Bust magazine, I think. I have a printout of it somewhere, but I don’t know where I’d find it online now.

For those of you wondering about me and my sister’s names, the short story is that we were born in the 70’s and our parents were hippies.

Ok, there’s a longer version: my name comes from the Mountain Avens, a flower that grows in the Rockies and the Arctic. Before I was born my parents lived for several years in Edmonton and went hiking frequently in the Rockies. They thought the flowers were pretty and Aven would make a nice name. Here’s what the flower looks like:

avens.jpg

As for my sister, a morel is an edible (gourmet — you’ll find it on the menu at fancy restaurants) mushroom that grows in the depths of Canadian forests. Again, my parents had gathered and enjoyed the mushroom in their university days (and still do, if they can find them — they’re rather rare and mysterious) and thought the name was very pretty, which it is. Here’s a picture of the mushroom itself, which, unfortunately, isn’t quite as pretty. Though it is darn tasty. (In fact, we made a morel pasta sauce earlier this summer).

Morchella_esculenta.JPG

So now you know. I’ve always liked having a name with an interesting story attached, and I think my sister does too; she gets a fair amount of mileage, I think, out of complaining that her older sister was named after a flower, but that she got stuck with a fungus!

SnB tonight, so I have to go gulp down some dinner and head out. Later!

Posted by Aven at 06:03 PM | Comments (2)

September 13, 2004

Shocking!

Well, I still don’t have any interesting progress to report on the brown sweater (though I’m getting near the end of the final sleeve, really I am), so instead I’m going to post something I made quite a while ago. Two things, actually, or rather two iterations of the same project. Now, before I give you the link to the popup picture, you need to know a few things. It’s taking a bit of courage to show you this, for at least two reasons; first, the picture is rather, erm, revealing (hence the popup!), and I’m vain enough to rather dislike showing so much of myself to the world. Second, and more importantly, this project will probably be scorned by all serious knitters as a waste of valuable knitting time… and with some reason. But it was fun! And the entertainment value provided by having such an item in my closet (and then being able to give a second version as a gift) was priceless.

Enough already, eh? The only other thing you need to know is that the lovely girl standing next to me is my sister Morel, proud recipient of the silliest handknit birthday present ever! Here it is, then.

Not really worth all the buildup, but it amuses me… Oh, and for what it’s worth, we both swam in them, and they held up just fine. Mine’s cotton/acrylic (leftover from the CottonEase I used for my Sitcom Chic, actually) and my sister’s is plain acrylic.

Next time, back to the sober, sensible, plain brown sweater.

Posted by Aven at 11:57 PM | Comments (7)

September 07, 2004

One piece to go

Be still my beating heart — only one sleeve to go, and then I can put the brown sweater together and start thinking of other things. Here’s the front:

ridgedfront.jpg

It’s beginning-of-term time around here. I’m not actually teaching or attending any classes this fall, but the return to routine still affects me. And Mark’s teaching two courses, so he’s in frantic last-minute-preparation mode. All I have to worry about is a meeting with my supervisor next week, in which I’ll have to admit to getting a disappointing (though unsurprising) amount of work done over the summer. Sigh.

Oh, and the fact that the returning undergraduates will be swarming the campus like locusts, creating lineups everywhere and undergoing strange Orientation Week rituals. But I think I can survive that…

Posted by Aven at 04:57 PM | Comments (3)

September 02, 2004

Stop-gap socks

First, thank-you, everyone, for your birthday wishes! They are very much appreciated.

Second, despite all my best efforts at the SnB last night, I still haven’t finished the front of Mark’s sweater. I was distracted by meeting some bloggers from the GTA Knitblog ring for the first time in the flesh: Elizabeth from Kitty Cafe, Sandra from Fibersantric, and Dani from Knit, Stitch, Click. It was great to meet you, gals, and I can happily state you’re all as fab in person as you are online!

However, since I don’t have a finished sweater piece to show you, I’ll instead give you a picture of the sock I’m currently working on:

bluesockwip.jpg

It’s another one in the cotton/elastic blend, with an improvised cable pattern that sort of does what I wanted it to do… but I like the colours, and it’s good to have a sock on the go at all times, for knitting in lines and while waiting for people.

Oh, and I couldn’t resist taking a picture of Tigger while I was doing the sock photo-shoot — can you tell we’ve been letting our garden go to the weeds rather drastically? But Tigger just loves his jungle:

tiggerjungle.jpg

That’s all for now — I’ll keep plugging away on the brown sweater!

Posted by Aven at 02:48 PM | Comments (2)