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April 25, 2006

6 months

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Yesterday marked six months since I started blogging here. Time flies, eh? I'm not going to get mushy on y'all or anything, I just thought I'd rest on the old laurels and get away with posting pictures you've already seen. To be perfectly frank, I'm a little surprised at how much I've accomplished in my spare time.

On the Weekender Bag front: I'm. Still. Cutting. Out. Pattern. Pieces. Last night I could possibly have finished all the cutting, but I accidentally slashed myself with the rotary cutter (these things tend to slow down production). Don't worry; I didn’t bleed on the fabric. I mention these things purely to elicit sympathy. At any rate, I hope to have something to show for it soon.

p.s. Thanks for all the sweet comments about the Apricot Jacket! I expect you all to go out and make one now. Send me pics.

p.p.s. A big thank-ewe to Thunky for all the programming/proofreading/photographing he does for me. It's a thankless job being the man behind the knitter. Yes indeed.

April 23, 2006

Finished: Apricot Jacket

The pro-finishing camp won out...I sewed her up!

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The Specs:
-Pattern: Apricot Jacket, from Rebecca No. 27
-Yarn: Handwork Cora substituted for GGH Java (not an exact substitution).
-Skeins: 8 balls in Caribbean Sand
-Needles: size 8 bamboo
-Start to finish: September 2005 - April 23, 2006
-For: Me!

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Sizing: The substitute yarn knit up a bit under gauge so I decided to follow the directions for the larger size and hope for the best. The finished cardi has the same measurements as the smaller size, so it worked out pretty well considering that I did no math. I also lengthened the arms by about an inch to make it tall-person compatible.

Seaming: My sleeve setting-in skills have always been sketchy at best so, just for fun, I tried crocheted seams* for the sleeve caps. Folks, we have found a winner! It could be argued that the seams are slightly bulkier but they look pretty dang fantastic (if I do say so myself). I stuck to good old mattress stitch for the sleeve and side seams.

Buttons: The buttons are vintage mother of pearl (three different patterns but all the same size) that I got in a jar of old buttons from the thrift store.

Final Verdict: It's a winner! I recommend this one highly...the pattern is interesting, it knits up quickly, and it’s v. flattering. I can see myself wearing this one a lot this summer!

p.s. Don't forget to copy out the errata if you're making this one.

*I couldn't find a good link...it's basically just a slip stitch crochet through both layers of knitting.

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April 20, 2006

Back at it

I'm back at work after a nice long weekend with the family. I didn't take a single picture the whole time I was in Michigan so you'll just have to conjure up your own images of familial easterly bliss. We shopped, we crafted, we watched movies, we ate lots of yummy food...all the important stuff.

Over the weekend I located the last few things I need to make the Weekender Bag for the sewalong. I finally decided on some coral fabric to coordinate with the bird fabric I want to use. It isn't what I'd originally envisioned (I thought I'd go green), but I think it'll look pretty cool for the piping and the lining.

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Once I got home and looked at the pattern a little closer, I realized that I need to go out and buy yet more stuff (heavy duty sewing machine needle, fabric marker, different pins, a yardstick...). I've never seen a pattern that called for so many materials! Who knew these bag things were so complicated? I see in the instructions that there is even a "false bottom." Geesh. I may have gotten myself in over my head here.

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but it's so cute...

In knitting news: I finished the sleeves for the Apricot Jacket. They are blocking contentedly on the living room floor and should be dry by the time I get home tonight. And yes, I am fully aware that I messed up one of the eyelets on the right sleeve there. You can chalk it up to Mr. Darcy...I was knitting that bit while we watched Pride and Prejudice.

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The next question is...should I seam the sweater or start working on the bag?

April 13, 2006

Needles 2.0

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Have I mentioned that I love vintage knitting needles? I just got these ones earlier this week. They're mostly old Patons, Aeros and Parfreys and in their previous lives they were well-loved by an Australian knitter. I've adopted them and plan to put a little more wear on them before they retire.


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The weather was perfect today. I took these pictures with all the windows open and a warm breeze blowing through. I didn’t have time to get many photos taken before it got dark though, so I’ll have to wait for a nice sunny Saturday and get a few more.


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April 12, 2006

Jacking up the Apricot

The Apricot Jacket is back, folks. Look, I finished the fronts!

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I finished the knitting on these Sunday night. Things went pretty smoothly after I managed to get the ribbing at the bottom correct (you are looking at attempt #3 there). The sleeves are on the needles as I type and, if I don’t get all distracted, I might be able to finish them before I head up to Michigan for Easter weekend. I'd like to say I'll have everything finished and sewn up by the time I get back, but I tend not to knit much when I'm around my family. They bring out my slothful side.

FYI: the finished cardi will be about the same color as the lightest bits shown in the pic. This yarn looks all orangey and blotchy when it's wet.

In other news, The Rib and Cable socks have been gifted. After much rigorous brother-in-law testing, Natey declares the Mountain Colors Bearfoot to be Not Itchy. There you have it folks. His sensitive footsies have spoken. Selah.

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April 9, 2006

Fleece Fair Report

I had a v. excellent time with Wendie at the Fleece Fair yesterday. There’s really nothing better than spending hours meandering through booths of knitting and spinning stuffus. I pretty much just took pictures of animals. (So did Wendie…she's your gal if you like the cute baby bunny and lamb shots).

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We cruised all the booths a couple of times and then fortified ourselves with fair food before making final purchases. I managed to be fairly restrained, and only bought things that I can't normally find around here. Aside from some needles and a pound of white merino roving, I got some Romney lamb's wool in a lovely chocolaty color:

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The owners of the booth had wound all of their rovings into beautifully spherical eight ounce balls. I'm such a sucker for presentation.

The least expensive thing I bought:

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A copy of Wool Gathering #63, the Saddle-Shoulder Aran Cardigan. This fetching design has the much-coveted spousal approval necessary to become the next Thunk Sweater. Besides, I've wanted to knit an Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern for ages, and this fits the bill almost perfectly (almost, because the pattern is by Meg Swanson, not EZ). Close enough, I say. I'm going to finish a few other projects that are hanging around before starting this one though.

I'm off to go work on the Apricot Jacket, but I'll leave you with a shot of Cold Sheep:

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April 4, 2006

Ships and Shoes and Sealing Wax

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There are exciting things afoot at Chez Elliphantom including, but not limited to:

-The Indiana Fleece Fair is on Saturday! Plans are to meet up with Wendie and (try) not to spend too much money. It's not Rhinebeck, but it's ours. Anybody else going to be there?

-I joined the Sew? I Knit! bag-along. Yes, making the needle case woke the sleeping seamstress within. Don't worry. I'll be making a knitting bag. Well, technically, you could argue all my bags are knitting bags. I'm sewing the Weekender Travel Bag by Amy Butler. Hugely ambitious, possibly disastrous, but oh so cute!

-I bought some vintage grosgrain ribbon at the thrift store this weekend (see pic above) and want to make something cool with it. Anybody have any ideas? I may possibly make a belt, but (horizontal stripes about the midsection not always being the wisest fashion choice) I'm open to other possibilities.

-Progress continues on the Apricot Jacket. Unfortunately I don't have anything to show since I had to rip out two evenings worth of knitting today. It should be noted that, when one copies down errata, one should copy out ALL of it. Not just some of it. Bah.

But I am very upbeat about it. Yes indeed. Over and out.

April 3, 2006

Finished: Modified Rib and Cable Socks

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The Specs:
-Pattern: Rib and Cable Socks from Fall 2005 Interweave, severely modified.
-Yarn: Mountain Colors Bearfoot, in Juniper, and Sock it to Me Essential 4 Ply in Mint Leaf.
-Skeins: One 100g skein of MC Bearfoot + about 20 grams of the Mint Leaf.
-Needles: size 1 bamboo dpns.
-Start to finish: March 5 - April 2.
-For: Brother-in-law Nate, for his birthday (which was in February...hmmm).

I severely underestimated these socks from day one. They may look all green and innocent, but under that cabely exterior they're really pretty devious. This was one of those projects that turned out fine, but took forever to knit because things didn’t go quite as planned.

Modifications:

-knitted toe-up in case I ran out of yarn. (I did, so that was good).
-I made the socks 80 stitches around instead of the required 60, to make them man sized.
-I used a PGR shortrow heel.
-The first sock was a bit too snug in the ankle (I was knitting tightly, in hopes that I wouldn't run out of yarn.) so I dropped the stitches on all four of the cables on the back of the leg and hooked them back up again sans cables. This took forever, but it fixed the problem.
-When I ran out of the Mountain Colors Bearfoot, I stopped cabling and just knitted the ribbing pattern using leftover yarn from the Squirrelly Swedish Mittens (points for stashbusting!).

In fact, the only part of the directions I followed was the bit where you set up the cable pattern. I didn't even read the rest of it. Oh, and I used the required yarn, but not at the correct gauge.

Other considerations: The yarn pooled, so I alternated knitting from the inside end/outside end of the ball. This was a pain in the neck, and the yarn still pooled anyway.

Final Verdict:
Pending. [If we disregard the fact that I am gifting Very Warm socks just as the weather is getting nice and balmy, I will consider these a success if a) they fit and b) Natey doesn’t find the mohair content in the yarn to be too scratchy.]

**a bit later** geesh--I'm a grouch! I just re-read this and I sound like the biggest negative grump. I really do like them and I'm thrilled with the way they turned out. I just thought I should add that. Coming soon: more positive posting!