Sunday, December 13, 2009

Keeping Track of those Darn Decreases

Behold, my current obsession. The Folded Mini Dress.

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This is an incredible pattern found in Lynne Barr's new book, Reversible Knitting: 50 Brand-New, Groundbreaking Stitch Patterns. This was instant love and I am shocked that there isn't a million people stitching this right up. I am one of 2 projects on ravelry. huh. I'm usually such a lemming with my project choices. But I digress.

The point of this post is to tell you about a technique for keeping track of increases and decreases that I learned from Susan of the rainey sisters. It is simply brilliant.

Lynne' direction for the bodice of the dress are typical and straight forward. Split at the center front neckline and then do armhole decreases on either side and do neckline decreases on either side. This means you need to track 4 decreases on every row. Hard enough. HOWEVER, the neck and arm decreases happen at different rates AND the arm decreases change row count half way through. yikes. AND I am using dark yarn. DOUBLE yikes. (dark yarn makes it really hard to "read" your previous stitches)

I am a bear of little brain. How can I possible keep all of this straight? Enter, the Dental Floss Solution.

Every time you make a decrease stitch lay a length of dental floss between the just completed decrease stitch and the next. When you come back around to make the next decrease, bring that same length of floss back over between the newly completed decrease and the next stitch.

As you can see in this picture I have 4 lengths of floss for each set of decreases I am tracking. I can easily see how many decreases I've done and what row I decreased. it is also easy to see if I MISS a decrease.

Obviously, this works just as well for increases. Brilliant.

Just thought I'd share.

I want to wear this for Christmas and I have many gifties to finish as well. Will I make it??

Sunday, June 28, 2009

And for the last few months...

Let's do a little catch up, shall we?

First up is a lovely Cami that is knit form a souvenier skein(s) from my trip to Tuscan, AZ. My Mother's family is from there and I went there for my first time as an adult.

I went to a delightful knit shop near the University (of Arizona?) called Kiwi Knits. They have divided thier shop into rooms; animal room, vegetable room, sock room, etc. to organize the amazingly diverse election of yarn. Considering the desert (read: warm) location, the vegetable room was amazing. Cotton, silk, hemp, bamboo, linen and- get this- sugar cane. (Sing with me... C&H....pure can sugar... from Hawaii...) Seriously! Yes. I *might* have licked a strand. I won't tell. But If I did lick a strand I could tell you it is not sweet at all.

It is, however, sweet to work with. Smooth and slickery, though a tiny bit splity. I decided to make the Honeymoon Cami. This is a well written pattern and the only mod was to raise the neckline a bit. The yarn pooled a whole bunch but I decided to think of it as interesting raher than distracting.
Sugercane Cami

Sugercane Cami

I really like this whole "souvenier skein" concept. Now, whenever I wear this cami I will think of my time in Tuscan and the connections I made there. Better than a dust collector, "fer sher".

Next up is Hey Teach. This is a super popular pattern on Ravelry with over 1200 versions knit so far. Here's mine:

Hey Teach

I had some trouble with the button bands- like always. Seriously, what is the secret to bands that lie flat and don't gap unattractively over the girls? I knit positive ease into the garmet, tried to get a button at the point of maximum (erm) stress, knit and then reknit again to get the ratio of picked up stitches correct... sigh. All in all it's isn't too bad.

Hey Teach

I love the way it fits and it is knit with Blue Skys Skinny Dyed Cotton ( I **LOVE** this yarn). This is the perfect summer sweater.

Hey Teach

I managed to get my Tigger Sweater done just before this last cold snap, so I've worn this quite a lot already! It is the perfect comfy super soft sweater. Nearly as good as an old sweat shirt. And the color!!! OIY! Just the perfect thing to draw me out of mt shy, bashful, timid, meek and mild shell.

Tigger Sweater

This is a terrible shot- I am really not that fat! This is the hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I used Malabrigo- natch.

Lastly (for now), I completed the first of the stash busting felted bags. I've been knitting long enough to have an annoying amount of left overs- too much to toss, not enough to make a whole project. I have everything sorted into color ways and I hope to bust out enough of these to give to nieces for Christmas. I'm sure they would rather have money... but I just have to be the oddball aunt who gives the unusual. Aileen, if you're reading, mums the word! I might not get past this one bag!!! And yes, I'll think of something cool for Nephew. He's special. He's the only one.

Felted Purse

Whew! I really ought to do this more often. Then I can have nice, short, reasonable posts like everyone else.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sipalu is Finished!

Finally finished. Finally. This is the most detailed bit of knitting to date and I am quite proud of myself. There are flaws, certainly. My next Fair Isle will be much better, certainly. But this will always be the first!!


The first thing I have to tell you is that this bag is BIG. I thought it would be this cute little side bag, but it is a full on purse. Here is a perspective shot:


The other thing is the structure. This is my first knitted purse and I'm not sure how I feel about the slouchiness of it all. In these shots I stuffed it with newspaper, but in real life the weight of my necessities makes the bag do all sorts of unpleasant things. I might rip out the lining and put in an interface or plastic side inserts. Maybe this will just be a museum piece.. I dunno.


I also knit the i-cord strap extra long so can wear it cross body, messenger bag style. Afterall, this is a rather bo-ho sort of design.

In the end I might have more of a show stopper than something practical, but that ain't bad, eh? It was a very interesting knit and a great first fair isle project. My ultimate goal is Venezia or Autumn Rose.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

This is the story of Elsa, the Elefante. Elsa was born into the world on a cold spring day and she shivered and shivered.

But soon she eyed a delelctably warm thing off in the distance. It looked so beautiful, and, somehow, so familiar. Elsa thought it looked like her Mom...

The Story of Elsa

Elsa decided to get a closer look and maybe even a sniff. Yes! This warm comfy thing was as familiar as her own skin! She had to try it on...

The Story of Elsa

Well, it is a little big. But Elsa is happy. And warm. Do I have to tell her the sweater is for a human baby, or will you?

The Story of Elsa

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I am making great progress on the Sipalu Bag. This is easily the most spectacular project to date, but it is not as hard as you might think! I keep finding that in knitting, as in life, things are much harder and scarier in the contemplation, not so much in the doing.

This project had a 2 month time out while I completed scads of holiday gift knitting. Or - I was suffering from second side syndrome. Could be either one. Once I picked it back up, though two amazing things happened. One, my tension got way better and there is considerably less puckering on the second side and, two, my continental knitting improved a whole lot.

Just a final welt, i-cord strap and lining to go.

Today I went to the Unwind Superbowl Party with 2 knitting/Realtor friends, Paula Walker and Diana Walker (no relationship). See how happy we are to buy yarn?

Good or bad, there is nothing like a good stash enhancement. I exercised considerable restraint- and then immediately rewarded myself with 2 skeins of the most yummy grey/taupe/mushroom seasilk. I've been reading about this extraordinary yarn for years (all 2 of my knitting years) and now it is my turn.


Any ideas on what sort of special pattern is worthy of this yarn?

One other project worth noting - Nob Hill. Love the project, but I'm too cheap to drop that much on the recommended yarn. I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Think and Quick and it turned out just fine. I don't like the acrylic feel - but I maybe paid $5 for the yarn. I'll deal. Here's the pics