Monday, March 29, 2010

Adult Surprise

File this under "I'm going to say this out loud and I hope it's not just me." But pretty much anything with the word "adult" in front of it makes me giggle a little. Like the time my son came downstairs sleepily while Dave and I were watching a movie (just a regular movie--I can't remember what it was ) and I told him he couldn't stay up and watch with us because we were watching an "adult movie". Heh heh.

So I type out the title to this post, and have my little giggle moment, and wonder how many creative ways it could be interpreted by a non-knitter.

Anyway. Presenting, in progress, the Adult Surprise Jacket:

I've made 2 baby surprise jackets, and now by the third one, you finally get the hang of just how exactly this weird amoeba-like shape is going to work out into a sweater. Fold here, fold there, voila! It's fun!

I'm using 2 strands of sock yarn to make a worsted weight yarn; leftovers in blues and purples that I've collected for over a year just for this project. I'm purposely using very short strands and interspersing the lights and darks to get a tweedy effect, looking a little like hand-spun yarn.
And yes, there will be lots of ends to weave in. I think a movie marathon might be in order. "Adult" movies! Feel free to leave recommendations as I haven't seen a good movie lately. And speaking of watching stuff--if you haven't caught Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution yet, you gotta watch it! I am totally hooked. It is on again tonight.

Barn Raising Do-Over

Thanks, you guys, for all of your sweet comments on my Olympics sweater! You guys are awesome.

So, the last time I showed you some Barn Raising progress, I declared that the next time I mentioned the blanket, it would be DONE! (I used all caps and exclamation points.) Apparently, I lied, because here it is again, and it is definitely not "DONE". What happened was this....the blanket was another one of those projects that I was desperately trying to get done before the Madison Knit-In. I wanted to hang it in the booth. But.....sewing up those seams takes a lot of time. A. Lot. Of. Time. I seriously underestimated the amount of time it would take. (I am aware, there is a constant time management theme going on on this blog. Mirroring my life.) I discovered that this is no "sew it together in one evening in front of the tv" kind of project. First, it took multiple hours to sew the squares into strips, then it took about an hour each, to sew one strip to another.

I was on schedule early in the week before the Knit-In, and I sewed the last seam together at knitting guild Wednesday night, and in a ta-da moment, spread the finished blanket out on the table for some ooh-and-ahh time. Yes, my friends did their dutiful oohing and ahhing. I didn't say anything at the time, but I was not completely happy with it. I brought it home and laid it out again. It just didn't look as pretty as I had imagined it would.

Then I figured it out. I noticed a square smack in the middle that I knew was not supposed to be there. It was my least favorite square, and I remembered that I had put it over on the edge. Somehow, I had sewn them together out of sequence. A week before, I had spent a long time laying out the squares and determining the arrangement, and then I had made a mistake in sewing them together and gotten them out of order.

Luckily for me and my blanket, I am a big geek and I document the heck out of my knitting. I referred back to one of the layout photos and figured out that I had only mismatched one strip. Only one seam to rip out and re-do. That wasn't as bad as I had imagined the reconstruction would be.

As you can see from my diagram above, the seam between columns 4 and 5 needs to come out and the right section needs to be turned 180 degrees and re-sewn on the left.

Then ends woven in (a lot of them!) and some kind of crocheted edging. Then it will be really-truly-finally-done, DONE.

p.s. Wrongly-sewn together notwithstanding, I still took it to Madison and displayed it in the booth.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Own Little Olympics Closing Ceremony at the Madison Knit-In

Hello my friends! Last week the yarn factory was running overtime as I was getting ready to go to the Madison Knit-In. I still managed to squeeze in a little knitting time as I really, really, really wanted to wear (read: show off) my finished Olympic sweater in Madison. I finished the fair isle knitting on Wednesday.

And basted a line for the steek. I went through the center of the "v" in the center stitch. This allows you to see where you need to stitch when you have it under the sewing machine, because it is hard to follow the column of knitting in all those tiny dark stitches.

Late that night (note the bad lighting) I sewed the steek by machine. I did two lines of stitching on either side of the basted line.

I waited until the next morning-Thursday-to cut. Since my supervisor at the yarn factory (aka "me") seriously discourages drinking on the job, I had to cut the steek without the traditional shot of vodka beforehand. I did ok sans alcohol, although it was a little more nerve-wracking.

I knit the button bands Thursday night before I left (no action shot because if memory serves I was knitting with one hand and skeining yarn with the other, at that point). And I sewed the buttons on in the hotel room on Friday night, the night before the show. I also wove in (most of) the ends (at least the ones that would dangle down and show) that night and kitchenered the underarms.
I blame the bad hotel room lighting (note to self--always throw an Ott light in the car for a hotel) on the bad darning job under the arms. But hey--I've been to several big events in my life with a hem masking-taped-up, so I am not fazed by a knitting show with a few dangly ends inside and a tiny underarm hole!

She's done!

And here we all are at the show--me, my new sweater, and my dear friend and assistant Blogless Carla.


Pattern: Lloie's Cardigan also known as "Yoke Sweaters" by Elizabeth Zimmerman and Meg Swansen available at Schoolhouse Press.

Yarn: Sophie's Toes sock yarn. I dyed the background color especially for this project by overdyeing Blackberry to an even darker and more solid shade. The fair isle colors are from bottom to top: blue--unknown, Cranberry, He Saw Her Across the Smoky Bar, Layers of Color Dark Green, Green is the New Black, Olive, and pink-unknown. These were all pretty much from my own collection of scraps so sorry some of the info is sketchy. It really takes just a bit for most of these color sections.

Needle size: 2 for body and ribbing; I'm a loose knitter.

Mods: I didn't follow the body stitch count but modeled this sweater after another one I've made in which I really like the fit, and I added waist shaping. But she uses the percentage system anyway, so that was fine and then I just followed the chart when I got to that part.

Several people have asked me if this was a kit or if the fair isle yarn was one yarn that changed colors like that. NO! PEOPLE! This is what I love to do--make color choices. I am very very happy and proud of this sweater. It is one of the best things I have ever made.

Thanks for listening! And before I sign off I just want to give a shout out to Blogless Carla who is an excellent help at the shows and to my special mom for tirelessly winding yarn as well as moral support for me last week before the show. Thank you!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

What Do You Mean "The Olympics Are Over"?

Hi guys!

Sorry to keep you hanging. I had a little shop update this week, and that tends to mess with my already-irregularly-scheduled blogging.

In case you didn't guess this already: I'm still knitting!

First of all, thank you to everyone who cheered me on, everyone who didn't say I was crazy, and everyone who didn't call me a loser!

Here's a summary of the past several days:

My 2010 Knitting Olympic Assumptions
(that turned out to be wrong):

1. Because I was knitting with the same/and/or/similar yarn, my gauge would be the same as this sweater, so no need to swatch.

2. Losing 2 days because my gauge was off was no big deal.

3. Knitting stockinette, even with fingering weight yarn, would be super-quick.

4. When I got to the colorwork section, it would be even quicker, because it was fun.

5. Picking colors out of my scrap bin, on the fly, without swatching, would work out great. (see photo above--colors that are too varigated or have highlights that match the background color don't work out great for fair isle patterning because you lose the pattern.)

And the BIG ONE:

6. Somehow, magically, because the Olympics were on: my family wouldn't need to eat, my kids would go off to boarding school, and the rest of my life would stop so I could be enveloped in a beautiful cloud of magical knitting and nothing else.

Yeah, that "beautiful cloud of magical knitting" thing didn't work out the way I had planned. Do I have any regrets? No. (Not to get all philosophical on you, forgive me) but I don't believe in regrets. Especially over knitting! So, I picked an overly ambitions project. However, it was a sweater that I wanted to knit, and I'm knitting it! And I'm almost done! I am really happy with this sweater, and now that the actual Olympics are over, I'm on the fun colorwork part. Albeit, the very slow colorwork part. I should be done in a few days--at least the plan is to be able to wear this sweater to the Madison Knit-In (I'm vending) next weekend. Onward!