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August 21, 2008

Finished: Ross' Argyll V-Neck

Argyll_1.1.jpg
This is not Ross; it's Thunk.

The Specs:
-Pattern: Argyll V-Neck, by Martin Storey from Knitting for Him
-Yarn: Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4 ply (discontinued), subbed for the Rowan Scottish Tweed 4ply the pattern calls for.
-Skeins: 6.25 skeins of 283 (whiskers); 2.5 skeins each 269 (blessed) and 270 (stainless).
-Needles: size 3 for the ribbing, size 4 for the rest.
-Start to finish: November 2007 – August 17, 2008
-For: my brother-in-law Ross for Christmas (as in LAST Christmas. He gets extra points for being very patient).

Notes: It might seem a little tedious to knit an entire man-sized garment in fingering yarn, but the finished vest is such a practical weight (so very light and layerable) that it makes it more than worth the effort. And the argyle? It’s pretty fun to knit.

Argyll_5.jpg
Thunk selflessly volunteered to model this vest because he secretly wants to keep it.

Mods (a.k.a. tips for happier argyle vesting):

I knitted the vest without the diagonal lines, and then went back later and used duplicate stitch to fill them in. This significantly cut down on the number of bobbins I had to work with, and (as we all know) fewer bobbins = a happier knitting experience. Besides, duplicate stitch is kind of like cross stitch and makes a nice break from bobbin wrangling.

I worked short rows instead of binding off at the shoulders and then attached the front and back with a three-needle bind off. This is one of my favorite finishing tricks and I find it makes a neater, less bulky shoulder.

I sewed up the side seams first before picking up and knitting the armhole borders in the round (if you're doing this, make sure you pick up a multiple of four stitches so that the ribbing comes out correctly).

Argyll_2.jpg Argyll_7.1.jpg
I don't know if you noticed, but Thunk is a hunk.

The Pattern (this is a bit ranty, so if you aren’t planning on making this pattern you might skip this part):
The biggest frustration I had with this pattern was the sizing. An existing Ross vest was secretly measured in order to figure out what size to make and I was surprised to find that I would have to knit 2 sizes (4 inches) narrower than the smallest listed and 2” longer.

Our lovely model, Thunk, declared the finished vest to be a perfect fit and (you may not be able to tell this from the photos) he’s not a tiny dude. It’s pretty crazy that the pattern doesn't include a size to fit an averagely-sized taller-than-six-foot guy who generally wears a medium, don’tcha think?

The rest of Knitting for Him, which includes many attractive designs for the menfolk, has similarly gigantor sizing. The sweater designs for the smallest chest size (40") have anywhere from 6” to 9.25” of ease, while the three vest designs (a bit snugger) clock in at 4,” 3,” and, strangely enough, negative 1.5” of ease. Am I living under a rock, or are those numbers not huge?

That said it wasn't that hard to do the math and calculate the size I needed. A vest is a pretty straightforward article of clothing. The neck decreases were the trickiest bit.

My only other complaint about the pattern was with the listed yarn quantities. I had more than enough of the contrasting colors (more than a ball of each remaining) but I ran out of the main color. I might have calculated incorrectly, but I think that my mods (2” longer and 2” narrower on both front and back) would pretty much cancel each other out. If you plan on making this, you’d be wise to consider springing for an extra ball of the MC.

7.2.jpg
He think's you're pretty hot too.

The Yarn: Yorkshire Tweed…how I love you. Ross picked out the colors himself and, though I was a bid dubious about the mauve (never one of my favorites...I wore it too much in 7th grade), the overall effect is fabulous. And Ross always looks v. fetching in pinks so I imagine it will flatter him nicely.

Final Verdict: It's pink! It's vesty! It’s argylriffic! We won't know for sure until Ross tries it on, but I think we can safely call this one a winner.

August 12, 2008

Neck?

Check!

Behold:
ArV_Neck.jpg
I like your neck

I am way more excited about that than I have any right to be. Also the observant among you will notice that I have procured more black yarn. Way more than enough (in the same dye lot thankyouverymuch) to finish the job. Are you excited? I'm know I am. When next you catch a glimpse of mauve argyle on this blog, it will be finished and fetchingly modeled by a male of the species.

Excuse me while I go pick up a bazillion arm hole stitches.

August 3, 2008

More Mantis

I've been working on another secret project lately. So instead of knitting photos, you get more praying mantis:

mantis_1.jpg
Hello there. I have a fabulous heart-shaped noggin.

I found three of these little guys on my plants today, but they're awfully good at camouflage so I like to imagine that I have a whole herd of them. I'm hoping that some of them are the descendants of the two that I observed mating on my morning glories last fall.

I've spent a ridiculous amount of time looking for them, trying to photograph them (I'm still learning how to use my camera's macro settings), and just staring at them. Totally fascinating!

August 1, 2008

Hooray for new things!

A new online knitting magazine! Have you seen it yet?

mantis.jpg
hello. I blend in with the portulaca*.

I haven't had a chance to read the articles, but I've already picked out my favorite patterns:

Ysolda's little birds cardigan

Adrian's faux bois scarf and mittens

Yum, yum!

*Thunk says that I should tell you to look for the praying mantis. Did you find him?