October 28, 2015

17 A Broken Stanza -- Pullover in Rowan Mohair Haze






Sometimes I have all these fabulously evil plans to make a pattern better, but honestly, sometimes I just end up with evil. I have no doubt that you'll read this whole post shaking your head and saying, "what are you talking about, that top looks just fine". I'll blame the USDA Choice photography on that, but I can't deny that I'm just not happy with the process or the result. Boo hoo, it's my knitting pity party, did you bring your party hat?

This is Stanza by Sarah Hatton, from Rowan Magazine 56.




I fell for the 50's cropped frame and those little barely noticeable cables running up the raglans. Also, I wanted to try out Rowan's yarn from last year, Mohair Haze, made of 70% super kid mohair and 30% extra fine merino. Just look at this COLOR!! I couldn't resist.




Ok, I liked it -- but there was one major issue, reverse stockinette. Yes, the outside of this piece is the "wrong side" of knitting and my wrong side is usually pretty ugly and untamed. Additionally, I had a ton of trouble with split stitches using this yarn (pretty unusual for me, so be careful).




The wrong side especially shows fixes badly -- I mean, I had to go down over 60 rows to fix that lowest mistake! So I decided I would flip Stanza inside out and use the nice smooth stockinette side on the outside.




But then that was trouble for the cabled raglan. To show off cables nicely, you usually have a nice bed of reverse stockinette to display it on. Well, look at that, I had removed it. I decided, ok, I'll go subtle and do stockinette on stockinette. It's ok, not great.

And to be really knitpicky, those decreases look like Frankenstein sutures! Happy Halloween, everybody.




BUT NONE OF THAT COMPARED TO THE MISTAKE I MADE ON THE RAGLANS. Look, those cables are twisting the same way! omg! /expletive/ Yes, I thought I was clever when I did the body bottom up and the sleeves top down (to make them as long as I had yarn for)... until I didn't switch the cable to compensate. Ugh.


Seriously?

Also, by this point I was getting pretty disenchanted with this project because of the yarn. It was beautiful to look at, but the hair was flying around everywhere as I knitted. As in, don't wear lip gloss or else. To top it off, it was knit on size US 2.5/3.00 mm needles (kill me now) AND it refused to undo itself, knotting like mad with every stitch.

Nooooo, those cables were going to stay and I was going to soldier on.

I'm like a bulldog with knitting projects, I tend to finish them no matter how much they are pissing me off.




Even this bulldog started walking home though, because after intending to make full-length sleeves, after the elbow I was like, I AM SO DONE WITH THIS.




A note about the neck -- it's nice and square in the original photo. I guess I cast-off too tightly, but then I didn't really mind the roll neck, because it stays put. I bet I would be messing with a rectangular collar all the time. I tried to mirror the elbow to roll, too. My smile says smoothly, I meant it all from the beginning, oh yes. (a.k.a. never trust this smile)




The silver lining is a positive note about this yarn: one of the reasons I was so annoyed with the project was because I was convinced that the yarn flyaways were going to make wearing this top a nightmare. It ruined the inside of my knitting bag -- I had to "wax" it with tape so that I could put another project inside without it becoming Donald Trump's hairpiece.



But wouldn't you know it, after blocking, sewing and 3 days of wear -- not one hair has been flying around. There's a beautiful glow on the shoulders from the fuzz, and the fabric really looks quite delicate and lovely. Even more? It's not itchy at all, I can't believe it. So there you go, it's like a cherry on top of an invisible sundae. Yummy and magical.

And now let's end this pity party early, the whine and cheese is done, onto a much more rockin' after party next week!


See my Stanza, Convoluted on Ravelry






October 13, 2015

26 What On Earth Is On My Needles? -- October 2015 WIP Tour



I've got a bajillion things on my needles, so it's time to summarize -- as much as for you as for scatterbrained me. Besides, I have an opinion I need to gather from you guys!

My pile is looking pretty colorful, hey? If you follow my blog, you know that's the way I like it -- though I do want to point out that one of these pieces is a solid dusty pink.  I'm thinking outside the Dayana Knits box, over here!







I have become obsessed with using scraps because, well, I'm drowning in them. I even started a Scraptabulous Pinterest board which is definitely worth checking out. The above photo is my inspiration for Scraptastic 2. Below is Scraptastic 1, blogged here. It used longish repeats of yarn, all amassed in a very pre-planned color order:




Scraptastic 2 is a totally different approach, using as little as 10 inch pieces of yarn, started and stopped wherever, knit in the round with armhole and neck steeks. I think you'll enjoy reading about it, chop chop!










This is Stanza by Sarah Hatton from Rowan Magazine 56. I was excited about this top when I started, mostly because the yarn (Rowan Mohair Haze) is so beautiful. In the end, it's my disappointment of the year, I'll tell you why soon.






Arezzo from Rowan Magazine 57

Unusual for me, I used all (okay, almost all) of the same colors used in this Kaffe Fassett number. It's made in a yarn I absolutely love, Rowan Pure Linen, which I've used once before. If you're interested, have a look around online, I see it on sale all over the place.

I think you can see why I've named it after pasta. The bottom part of the seam is woven in already.








Sometimes you just need to stick a crescent shawl in between all those neverending sweater projects, ya know? I pattern tested Wake by Kephren Pritchett, and it's a favorite on Ravelry already. Hint: if you buy the e-book now, you will get new shawl patterns as they are added. Each new pattern raises the e-book price, so buy now, chickadee! I used a really interesting yarn from Easyknits.co.uk: it's a superwash merino sock yarn decorated with Donegal Tweed.








The queen of fit and wardrobe layers tempted me with this simple cardigan, Candice from the book Honey. The little cable detail in the front with pockets is just enough to keep me interested. As an aside, should there be a new rule that all knitwear requires pockets? Who doesn't love pockets.


Jester pattern by Berroco




Mayfair in the scrumptious Rowan Superfine Merino DK

Here's one by Martin Storey that has been very fun to knit. You'll never believe it, but no colorwork is required. You do two rows of main color, then two rows of contrast, slipping most of the stitches in the row. That makes those contrast color rows lighting fast!

I have a dilemma though -- the underside is SO TEMPTING AND INTERESTING... do I stick to the original, or turn it inside out? The only downside (other than Blinding Your Friends And Enemies) is that those long floats will surely get caught on things.








Millstone by Sarah Hatton

There's a new yarn in town that I think you need to try: Rowan Alpaca Merino DK. It's a chainette yarn mix of baby alpaca and merino, and yes it's very very soft. But there are soft yarns anywhere you turn -- what makes this unique is its weight: 25g of DK give 115 yards, unheard of!! This makes it possible to have a stranded garment for half the heft.






#8: Anchors Aweigh!



So, I have a Knitspiration board on Pinterest too (with >3K followers, whoop!), and I always have these grand schemes that I will immediately replicate these pinnacles of fashion on my magical Missoni/Kenzo/Burberry needles. Hmph. Well, this is my first attempt, and I'm starting "simple" with a cable motif from the front of an English ready-to-wear jumper.

I've got a lot of it correct, but I am totally stalled on the hook tips. How do they curve so nicely? Driving me nuts, honestly, not sure how to get over the hump. I need to start a Ravelry thread or something. Get the experts involved.






#15 Multidirectional Top by Irina Poludnenko


I went to Goodwill and scored a bag of bright and beautiful Noro scraps. Then I spit spliced them together in some kind of reasonable order and made me a big "magic ball". I'm alternating it with some unknown navy blue cotton, so this is a major stashbusting win!




The front and back of the tee are two short "scarves" that are connected on the side by picked up stitches and short rows. I'm enjoying the design.





#10: PHEW THERE IS NO #10, FOOLED YOU. (until, uh... tomorrow) 


Little Long Pond, Mount Desert Island, ME





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October 6, 2015

27 Curing "Second Sock Syndrome" and the Four Year Pair of Socks





Poll: Tell me truthfully, how long does it take you to 1) start and 2) actually finish the second sock of a pair? Well, I'm sorry, but if you don't cast-on and finish that second little rascal right after the first one, you will suffer outrageously from Second Sock Syndrome, a.k.a the Bubonic Plague of knitting, a.k.a. Don't-you-dare-make-me-knit-that-thing-again-or-I-will-kill-you Syndrome.

This, my friends, is a pair of socks that took four years to make.




Four, long, single-sock years pretending the other one got *oops* lost in the dryer. I mean, if you think an alluring pattern or an eye blinding color could be enough to inspire closure, think again. First, these Beautiful Butterfly Socks by Shiny Little Stitches are a delight to make... smocked stitches, lace, even a different orientation for the second sock, this pattern has it all!




And then check out this shade of Jawoll Superwash sock yarn, which comes complete with a stabilizer thread spool packed inside like a prize in a Cracker Jack box. Even the incentive to fish it out and hold it double for the heel wasn't enough to get me to finish.


From MoaO's stash on Rav


I have a proposal for a cure for second-sock syndrome, ready?

Hypothesis: One doesn't need two of the same sock. (Case and point, do you see the four years of pills from use on my first sock, never mind the ends that got felted because I never wove them in?)





Corollary: No, I don't mean you should have the other foot bare... just wear another completely unrelated first sock without a pair! This is (1) lovely Galileo Sock by Laura J.



A Better (and I Think Genius) Solution: Just make two different exciting sock patterns using the same skein of sock yarn. Think about it! It would be twice the fun, you would never have to feel that woeful Second Sock Syndrome guilt AND only the most scrutinizing loony would know the difference when you wore them, I swear!

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Ok, but clearly I managed to finish the Beautiful Butterfly pair of socks, despite the timespan of a US election (which is always 4 years, but somehow the 2016 election feels like it will be the Rumplestiltskin of elections). Anyway, the question is, what made me finish?!

Ironically, it was another full pair of socks. My husband demanded one, he even picked the skein out of a Knitpicks catalog:

Knitpicks Stroll Fingering in colorway Coffee Shop


With the simple pattern Ridge by Dieuwke van Mulligan (and him breathing down my neck), I had to finish the pair right away, see?



And bizarrely, after finishing the second sock I realized that I had in my hands the exact needles required to finish off those 4-year socks. Hey, the pair is nice, don't get me wrong, but I really am going to try out my new hypothesis, just you wait!

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I don't have any house updates for you (because my SD card broke) but my screened porch is finished! It's a beauty.

What I do have is a JOB UPDATE! On November 2nd I will take a position running the social media channels of the scientific institution I work for in Bar Harbor, Maine: The Jackson Laboratory. This is a departure from my training as a researcher, but a welcome departure. I was already transitioning into leaving academic research to do scientific writing (manuscripts, grants), but when I saw this opportunity I had to give it a go. My knitting social media channels have really taken off (especially my Facebook Page) and I feel like I've learned so much about capturing audiences online that I could use my deep scientific expertise to help people get to know our institution better.

I am really excited to take this on -- wish me luck!

Stay tuned for a WIP tour, I've got a ton of projects on the needles to show you.


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