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January 31, 2010

FO: Clementine's Birdie Cardi

I've been wrassling with those gloves for Thunky all week and all I've got to show for it is a couple more fingers and a lovely case of knitter's block. So much for me and my speedy needles, eh? So I'm going to attempt to distract you with a belated Christmas FO. This one was for my niece, Clementine {impossibly adorable photos (sans cardi) over on Rae's blog}.

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This is my favorite classroom. It matches the sweater.


Pattern: Felix Cardigan (modified a goodish bit), from Vintage Baby Knits (ravelink).

I fell in love with the scallopy colorwork the first time I saw this cardigan but I had a few changes in mind (when don't I?) Here's the run-down of the mods I made:

1) I was a little miffed that the colorwork didn't extend to the back. I'm not an expert on the Wee Drooly Ones, but I've observed that that you generally see more of the backside of a baby than the front. Even if that's not strictly true, I figure it's better to have both sides covered, don't you? So I did both anterior and posterior colorwork.


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C birds...are asleeeeeeeeeeeeeep...*


2) As photographed in the book, the ribbon-lined button band looks a little sloppy (and it it sounded like a lot of work). Instead I just knitted a little bit of ribbing onto the front edges after I finished assembling the sweater to make everything nice and tidy. To compensate for the extra fabric, I knitted the buttonholes a titch closer to the edge.

3) I used a yarn-over buttonhole instead of the one in the pattern.

4) I'm not so much a cat person. So I made up a little bird and "C" (for Clementine) chart and duplicate-stitched the design onto the sweater after I was finished sewing everything up.


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"C" is also for "chalkboard"


Yarn: Knit Picks Essential (or Stroll, as they now call it).
- 65g of Glacial (24345)
- 45g of Mermaid (24346

Not a fancy yarn, but it's machine-washable and soft as a baby's bottom, so it suits this project perfectly! And the colors are fantastic, even if the Glacial color is now discontinued (boo!).


CCBack2.jpg
and "chair"


Needles: Vintage aluminum straights in size 2 (2.75mm) and 3 (3.25mm)...they're not fancy, but they're my favorite needles to use for great swaths of small-gauge stockinette. Nice and quick!

I think that about covers the major points for this one! Rae says that it's still too large for Clementine so no modeled shots yet. Grow, baby, grow!

Raveled here.


*10 Nerd Points if you got the Elgar Sea Pictures reference.


January 29, 2009

SNOW EMERGENCY!

Guess who got the day off of work yesterday? I love living in a town with two snow plows*.

First off, thanks for all the opera glove love! I personally hope that opera gloves stick around for a while. I love me a little drama in the accessory department. Now I just need to get around to making a pair for myself...

Time for an update on the Lily of the Valley** cardigan knitting, I think. I'm officially done with the back and have cast on for the fronts. You all know the number one rule of cardi knitting, right? Do both fronts at the same time!

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Back? Check!

I realize that it's been a really long time since I've knitted great swathes of stockinette. It's nice! And it goes ridiculously fast even on the size two needles. V. theraputic and soothing. So soothing in fact, that I cast on for another pair of Plain Old Socks just to get some portable stockinette into the rotation. Never underestimate the amount of brainless knitting you can get done when you sneak in a minute here and there.


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alien landscape

Just to head any questions off at the pass, I'm knitting this with some thrifted Pingouin Corrida 3 that has been loitering in the stash for a bit. I'm pretty sure the yarn is discontinued, but it seems to be a fantastic sub for the the Rowan Fine Milk Cotton the pattern calls for...very light and sturdy.

Go do yourself a favor and veg out with a little stockinette!


*Ok, so we may have more than two, but you wouldn't know it judging from the speed at which they clear the streets around here.

**I looked up the name. See how I slipped it in so casually?

January 15, 2009

Smitten

I interrupt this FO parade to show off my new crush:

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*sigh*

From the new Rowan 45. I don't remember the name of the design.

January 24, 2008

Finished: Chicago

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That's my sister, Rae

The Specs:

-Pattern: Chicago, by Louisa Harding, from Rowan 37.
-Size: Medium.
-Yarn: Rowan Calmer, 6.5 skeins Sour, and less than one skein each Blush, Coral, and Lucky.
-Needles: size 8 birch, (size 7 when called for).
-Start to Finish: August 11, 2007 – December 26, 2007.
-For: My darling sister Rae, Christmas 2007

Notes:
Rae has been asking for this sweater since Rowan 37 came out (which was in 2005, if I remember correctly), so I'm pretty darn pleased that I finally delivered. There were some initial reservations about all those little flowers, but in the end they weren't so terrible. Because knitting is like chocolate. Even when it's bad, it's still pretty good.


ChicagoBack.jpg
I knitted her a cardigan.


Mods: I think Ms. Harding got a little carried away with the extras on this pattern. At heart, it's a basic ¾ sleeve cardigan but then there are a) an eyelet lace pattern, b) 52 little knitted flowers, c) 2,500 knitted-in beads d) 18 buttons/buttonholes, and e) a ruffle at the bottom. That's a lot of stuff on one sweater.

The key to making this one a winner was to strip it down a little. I nixed the ruffle from the get-go…it doesn’t appear in any of the pattern photos (and why doesn't it?) so by the time I discovered its existence it was already out of the question. The beads knitted into the lace pattern were vetoed by Rae, thank goodness. So the whole project was a little less crazy-making than it could have been.

The only thing I added was 4 extra buttonholes (and buttons). Toward the end there I got a tiny bit lazy and didn't feel like doing buttonhole math. So I just knitted on buttonholes until I ran out of room. So 22 buttons it was. They're all hidden by the flowers, so it doesn't really matter anyway. Not that they aren't fantastic buttonholes.


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It looks nice unbuttoned with a fancy shirt too.


Errata: The instructions for the little flowers say that you’ll have 6 stitches at the end…you won’t. You’ll have 11. If you want to have 6 stitches, omit the K1s. I just knit the 11 stitch version and they looked fine.

The Yarn: I love Calmer. So delightfully sproingy. I did have to go up a needle size since sproing makes me knit tightly.


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Finishing:
I'm particularly happy with my set in sleeves. I used the crochet method (my current favorite) with a half-thickness of yarn to keep the bulk down (you just slap the pieces right sides together and crochet along the edge through both layers). So tidy!

To attach the flowers, I first arranged them on the sweater and then basted them into place. Then I just starting sewing those little buggers on and didn't stop until I was finished. Each one has three little glass beads into the center but you can't see them in the pictures (note to self: take closeups next time).

I picked out transparent buttons that are the exact same color as the sweater so that they don't distract from the knitted flowers. Normally I like buttons to stand out a bit, but in this case I thought they would just clutter things up.

Final Verdict: Woo! With a side of Hoo!

December 5, 2007

19 days

Christmas knitting is in full panic mode here at Chez Elliphantom. If there were a virtual elli-cam you could witness me flitting between projects and not being able to finish any of them because I keep distracting myself with something else I should be working on. I totally love the holidays. So productive. Too bad it makes me all twitchy. Here's our sampling for today:

First up, Mum’s blueberry-flavored Shetland Triangle:

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Hello. I am silky and blue.

This project hasn’t managed to make it onto the blog yet for various reasons. Back in October I knitted almost an entire one of these in navy Cashsoft 4-ply before I decided that it wasn’t up to snuff (read: too chunky and blah-looking). So that version got sent to Project Purgatory to await its fate, and I ordered up a hank of Blue Moon silk thread in the Haida colorway. Much better. I’m knitting the shawl with the yarn doubled and it’s turning out just exactly as I’d envisioned. Hooray!


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Ho there.

The Chicago cardigan for my sister Rae is on the home stretch. All parts are knitted and the main body of the sweater is assembled. Still left to do: picking up and knitting the neckband and buttonbands, weaving in ends, and sewing on all those dinky little flowerlings. Anybody want to come over and help with that? I’ll feed you Christmas cookies and homemade hot cocoa! Anybody? What, no takers? Darn.


The current Plain Old Socks:

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Mmmmm...cookie

The usual recipe. Knit with the rare and wonderful Cookie A. Handpainted Sock. Kricket has claimed this pair already and, since she’s worn the heck out of the last pair I gave her, I have no qualms about sending these her way. We’ll see if they get done by Christmas. They get lower priority since she did get a birthday knit this year.

In other knitting, the Argyll vest knitting is on hold until I get Chicago and the Shetland Triangle finished. More projects planned. Stay tuned.

p.s. those of you drooling over the fishie bobbins from the last post...I regret to inform you that I found them at the thrift store. I do recall that they were made by Phildar, and it looks as if they have some similar ones for sale on their website. I have no idea what shipping from France costs.

p.p.s. no links in this post. I have to get back to my knitting.

November 15, 2007

creeping sleeviness

Here's the most recent photo of the Chicago sleeves:

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howdy.

That picture was taken yesterday before I got distracted by Pushing Daisies and inexplicably stopped increasing. So tonight I get to rip back an inch and a half. Bah. Otherwise the sweater is coming along swimmingly...the back, fronts and wee little flowerlettes are all finished. Yay!

Back to the argyle intarsia...there were a few things I forgot to mention yesterday:

1) The vest is the Argyll V-Neck from Knitting for Him, by Martin Storey and Wendy Baker. More on my love-hate relationship with this new book later.
2) My BIL Ross (Mr. Kricket) picked out the colors himself (he requested pink argyle...gotta love that, right?))
3) I HAVE knitted intarsia. I just forgot. Remember the robot?

And in closing, yesterday I discovered (much to my delight) that two pairs of the Herringbone Mittens have already been completed. Go check them out over at Kathryn Ivy and Anny Purls!

Over and out!

September 10, 2007

A little bit of everything

I went into the weekend thinking that I'd see how much of the Chicago cardi I could crank out, but I got a little sidetracked. What's new? I did finish the back though:

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Hello. I am soft and smooshy.


Saturday morning was devoted to thrifting:

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Fall colors and fabrics!

There is enough of the blue and white herringbone to sew a nice-sized project (am I crazy to want a jumper?) and the tweedy orange wool is destined to become a cushion.

And just when I thought my days of bringing home odd balls of thrifted yarn were over, two skeins of vintage alpaca/nylon found their way into my basket (they're sneaky little things). I reskeined them and gave them a nice wash to get rid of the fusty smell and now they're ready for action...whatever that may mean. Then there were some vintage pattern pamphlets and zippers that didn't make it into the picture. A darn good trip for $4.83, wouldn't you say?


Inspired by the fabric, Sunday afternoon I decided that I had to knit some herringbone mittens. Here's where I was by 5pm:

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Hello. We are fuzzy-wuzzy.

The yarn is some leftover lamb's pride worsted and I'm making things up as I go. We'll see if it works!

September 4, 2007

Chicago is for knitters

Look at me...blogging two days in a row. Wheeeeee!

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39 down, 15 to go.

In honor of it being 98 degrees out (how did we have such a beautiful Labor Day weekend and then return to this?), I'm flashing my Christmas knitting again.

I know I said that I was going to knit all 54 florettes before starting in on the actual sweater, but I lied. I got sick of them. I figure I can either glare at the flowers or make progress on the back. Easy choice, I say.


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Greetings. I come in peace.

[Also pictured: the stubby tote I finally caved and bought for schlepping the knitting about town (and I have to say that it coordinates nicely with the current project and my pear needles). Shael still has a few left (on sale!) at her Etsy shop if you're on the market for a small-project knitting bag.]

I like to celebrate the advent of fall by pulling out my vintage taped-off-tv videocasettes of Ally McBeal, so I'm off to go knit and do a little singing along with Vonda and the crew. Over and out!

August 14, 2007

4 months, 11 days

I love August. It is my birthday month. It's hot and sticky and lovely...and the month I start thinking about Christmas knitting. I can't be the only one, right? Admit it. You've been planning and scheming too. Project Number 1: Chicago, from Rowan 37.

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Hello. We are wee flowerlings.

My big sister Rae has reallyreallyreally wanted this exact sweater, in the exact pattern colors, for a few years now. I have to say that I admire her persistence. Now that I've finally managed to find the Calmer* on sale, I'm really to go.

I started the trim this weekend while up in Michigan visiting the fam [gratuitous adorable nephewling pic here]. I'm making myself knit all 54 of the itty-bitty flowers before starting the sweater bits. I know I'll thank myself when December rolls around. 16 down...38 to go.

It's August 14. Do you know where your Christmas knitting is?

*colors: sour, lucky, coral, blush.

August 5, 2007

The Next Project

Here's what the Rowanspun Aran and I have been up to lately:

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Hello. We are cableicious.

Say hi to the Cabled Riding Jacket by Teva Durham. Cabley goodness and tweediness galore.

You probably can't tell from the picture, but the whole sweater is knitted in one piece up to the armholes. This makes for rather slow going, but there is the whole no side seams to sew up advantage. I'm concerned that it might be a little tricky to set in the sleeves this way, but I guess there's no point worrying about it until I get there.

I'm currently in the middle of the waist shaping, which is very cleverly achieved by doing a bit of decreasing in the filler stitches and then increasing the frequency of cabling to draw in the fabric. So far things are cruising along nicely but I've read up a bit about this sweater and it sounds like the next section (the bodice shaping) is where things get a little hairy. I've got the errata printed out and there are chocolate chip cookies in the freezer, so I should be ok. I hope. I'm sure you'll hear about it either way.

April 23, 2006

Finished: Apricot Jacket

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

Finished_AJ2.jpg

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!

AJ_back.jpg

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.

FinishedAJ.jpg

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.

WeekenderPattern.jpg
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 12, 2006

Jacking up the Apricot

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

AJFronts.jpg

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 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.

March 27, 2006

Back before Yak

[warning: this entry has a high colon count]

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Update on Spring/Summer 2006 Gift Knitting Ban:

You may recall that as recently as my last entry I was promising that this would be the summer of knitting for me? Er, this is terrible...but I’m already adding to the list. This week:

a) Baby sister Kricket got engaged. She wants River from Rowan 38 for the wedding (normally elli + lace shawl = disaster, but I love her. Stay tuned to find out if love does indeed conquer all).
b) Friend S. (one of my baby buffers*) is preggie. Boy due on July 4. I may have panicked and accidentally uttered the words “I’ll have to knit a sweater” in the presence of the baby bump. No going back now.
c) Thunk asked for a new hat. If you saw the old one you would knit one too.

Just don’t let me add anything else, ok? This is it. I promise.

This weekend was spent doing adult things, like catching up on the budget. The bad news: not much knitting was accomplished. The good news: I have more yarn money than I originally thought. Coming soon: a picture of my second expensive sock yarn purchase. Tee-hee.

Update on minimal weekend knitting progress:

a) I finished the first cable and rib sock, which was a bit of a disaster (still might be). More on that later.
b) The whole time I knitted on the sock I was lustily eyeing my unfinished Apricot Jacket. As I have completely forgotten where I was in the pattern, I blocked the already finished back so I could feel like I was working on it. Next up: figuring out where on earth I left off in the pattern.

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remember me?

p.s. Thanks for all the really sweet comments about the pattern! I’m still a tiny bit afraid that the first person who tries it will declare it completely unknittable, but I guess I’ll just have to wait to find out.

*baby buffers: those people who you point to when someone asks if you are planning a family and you say “I’m waiting for X to go first.” Being a cautious person, my buffers number as many as the sands on the seashore.

January 16, 2006

I have a little secret...

I've been hiding WIPs from you. Shameful, I know. To be perfectly fair, I haven't worked on any of these in the time that I've been blogging--they've all been loitering at the bottom of the knitting basket. Since I've been in a cleaning mood lately, it seems like an appropriate time to introduce you to the Projects Which Languish:

Apricot Jacket from Rebecca 27
apricotprogress.jpg

I started her in September. I got 500 kinds of insecure about knitting a cotton blend. I put her down.


Heirloom Bag from Rowan 37
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This was started over Labor Day when my sister Rae came to visit. She wanted to crochet something (being good at that sort of thing) so I gave her the leftover KnitPicks Shine from the bolero I'd just made her. I had some other colors sitting around (originally for Anouk) and she whipped up all of the crochet motifs in about a half hour. I started the bag part, but once Rae went home I lost steam. Mostly because the colors are, well, a bit vile. But I'm going to finish it. And besides, Rae just asked me about it on the phone last night.


Flower Basket Shawl from Interweave, Fall 2004
flowerbasketprogress.jpg

The oldest WIP going, I started it last spring when I thought I'd get a jump on the Christmas knitting. It turns out that I hate knitting lace. A lot. I picked it up again this fall and didn't get much more accomplished. It is slow. It is tedious. It makes me want to eat glass. I'd be crazy to rip out all my hard work now, right? The really sad part is that people keep citing this as an easy beginner lace project. Oh the shame.


Regia Socks

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Also started last spring…a pair of toe-up magic loop socks. Much to my surprise, I loath the magic loop. I'm going to be a total wimp and finish these on dpns.

So there they are. Hopefully putting them up in the sidebar will motivate me to finish them.

December 29, 2005

Success!

Well, we're back home again! Christmas was celebrated with my family in Seattle this year. Actually, we were in Sammamish, but have you ever heard of Sammamish? Didn't think so. But I digress...remember how I was afraid my Mum's sweater wouldn't fit?

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It fits! And so does Pop's vest. I think we can safely call this a Christmas knitting success.

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And in case you haven't had enough of Christmas yet, here's my entry for Carola's Christmas Excrescences Contest:

Continue reading "Success!" »

December 5, 2005

Finished: Laurent

LaurentFinished.jpg
For Christmas I would like some natural lighting please. [actual color]

The Specs:
-Pattern:Laurent by Sharon Peake from Rowan Vintage Knits
-Yarn: Knit Picks Merino Style in Nutmeg, substituted for Rowan Yorkshire Tweed DK
-Skeins: 11 1/5 @ 50g each
-Needles: size 7 bamboo and size 8 birch for the edging
-Start to finish: November 9 - December 4
-For: My Mum (Christmas)


Sizing: I'm note entirely sure about the sizing. I made the third size (36" bust) as this is the size Mum claims to be, and didn't go down a size as she generally wears things looser than I do. According to the diagrams, that size has 3 inches of ease (is this a lot?). I think it came out pretty close to the 39" measurement, but when I tried it on last night it looked suspiciously large on me. Granted, I don't have a 36" bust, but I do have broader shoulders than Mum. I guess I'll just have to wait until she puts the thing on. Now I'm a little nervous.

Other details: At Mum's request, I left off the intarsia flowers, and the belt. I wet blocked it before sewing up. I thought I did a decent job of sewing up at the time, but it looks a little sloppy to me in the photo. It seems that vast expanses of stockinette are not that forgiving.

Final Verdict: Not the quickest or most exciting knit. I guess the jury is out on this one until Mum tries it on.

**Update**

It fits!

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December 1, 2005

Let there be sleeves

Well, so far things are looking good for the Elliphantom Christmas Countdown. Yesterday I conquered the never-ending sleeves. Not much to report there...I managed to knit them straight through without any mistakes. This could mean one of two things 1) It is a Christmas Miracle (hopefully the first of many) or 2) I just haven't found the fatal error yet.

At this point I consider it a minor Christmas Miracle that anyone keeps coming back to look at more pictures of brown stockinette. To shake things up a bit, and to ensure that I still have a readership in the New Year, I've thrown in my new shoes for interest. Everybody likes shoes.

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(Since when have I been knitting an orange sweater? Oh well, at least the shoe color is correct.)

So here's the plan. Tonight I will block the sleeves and the back of Laurent. We're talking a good wet blocking...none of this Rowan "pin and iron with a damp cloth" nonsense. Also, I need to buy buttons (I always forget about that part) as it might be a good idea to have them on hand when I knit the buttonholes. Saturday I'll knit the button bands and collar, and then block the fronts. Hopefully, with the help of dry winter weather and my great big fan, things will be ready to sew up on Sunday. Hooray! The end is in sight.

The only thing that can thwart me now is that package from Elann with the yarn for Trellis. Heaven help me to be steadfast and true.

November 28, 2005

A little (more) Christmas knitting

On Sleeve Island. Send Hula dancers. I need something to distract me from the Endless Miles of Stockinette.

LaurentSleeves.jpg


On a slightly different tack, remember how I was going to knit just three Christmas gifts this year? How I decided that it was the best way to avoid holiday knitting insanity? Well, apparently I can't take my own good advice because a few other things have crept into the queue.

Thing One: Trellis. For Thunk's niece O. This baby needs a snuggly sweater. Oregon is a cold, cold place and her parents requested something warm for her to wear for Christmas. My knitter's alarm bells went off so I ordered some Jaeger Matchmaker Merino in the color tinsel. The yarn should be here by the end of the week. Justification: It's a small sweater; I should be able to finish it before the 10th of December when I see her, right?

Thing Two: Socks for Lou. Lou deserves some socks. I could give you the 20 or so reasons but I'll keep this short and just give you two. One: he gave me a big beautiful wooden swift last summer (no occasion). I had told him I was saving up for one and within the week he had bought one for me. Turns out that, when he was a little thing, his mother used drag him to yarn shops and then made him hold her skeins while she wound them into balls (see? knitting trauma can result in more thoughtful men). Second reason? His birthday is in December. Besides, I've almost finished the first sock.

LouSock1.jpg
Don't worry, I have huge feet. They'll be large enough.

I’m using the same basic pattern that I did for the Octo socks, and this yarn. I'm guessing that "antibakteriell" is a cognate.

Also, I'm planning two or three smallish mystery knits (I don't even know exactly what they'll be yet). Justification: I am going on a cruise to Mexico in a couple of weeks and need small, mindless things to knit on the plane/ship. As we already know, I can't really bring anything that requires pattern reading if I'm going to be around people. And, as you can see, I seem to have a burning need to knit something for everyone I know.

So what does this do for my Christmas knitting schedule? Well here's the plan:
-December 4: Finish Laurent (doable, if I stay on task).
-December 9: Have most of Trellis finished. I figure I could do some finishing on the boat, if needed.
-December 10-17 (on cruise): Knit Lou's second sock and get one or two more small gifts knitted.
-December 18-20: Finish any remaining small gifts.
-December 21-28 (in Washington) Wrap up lose ends and finish Thunk's sweater.

I know I'm just asking for trouble, but there's no harm in trying, right?

November 27, 2005

Home Again

We're back! Michigan was fab.

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It was lovely. I woke up early every morning and drank tea while I knitted and basked in the light of the Christmas tree. It sure beat going to work. I was able to finish the Laurent fronts (sans button bands) and make some headway on the sleeves. I would have gotten more done if I hadn't been frogging every five minutes. Knitting with people around equals me ignoring the pattern and making whole sections up. Maybe it's good that I don't knit socially very often.

Saturday afternoon the three sisters were observed crafting in their natural habitat. Kricket crocheted her boyfriend scarf, I knitted...

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and Rae prepared lessons for her physics class. While this is not a traditional needlecraft, she gets extra points for doing work over a holiday weekend while the rest of us were having fun. Yay teachers!

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What else did we do?

Continue reading "Home Again" »

November 22, 2005

Off to Michigan!

Yay! I love long holiday weekends. Thunk and I are packing it up and heading off to the land of my youth to see my sisters. My parents have thoughtlessly moved to the west coast, thereby rendering themselves inaccessible for turkey-based holidays, so we will be celebrating without them.

We're staying with Rae (my older, shorter sister) and her husband Nate for a few days at their house in Plymouth. Saturday Kricket (my younger, also shorter sister) will get into town. Plans have been made involving a turkey, Moscow mules, Christmas decorating, Harry Potter movie going, and shopping. There might even be needlecrafts of varying types. I will definitely knit. 11-12 hours of driving time round trip is enough time to put a significant dent in Laurent (I do surely hope, anyway). Throw in traffic and snow and I might even have more knitting time than I would like.


At any rate, progress on Mum's Laurent continues. See?

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See the gaps in the middle? I'm supposed to continue the textured stitches up the edge of the sweater and sew them into place later. I'm just wondering how one does this neatly and nicely. The pattern specifies slipstitching. Note to self: buy a comprehensive knitting reference that gives instructions regarding slipstitching (any suggestions?).

Also, on a side note...those little Clover locking stitch markers are my favorite knitting accessory ever. I've used them more as tiny stitch holders than as stitch markers, and they thoughtfully put two colors in a package so that you can mark port and starboard on your sweater.


And because I know I've shown you way too many pictures of brown stockinette lately, here is a bonus shot of our favorite autumnal snack (and my favorite primitive appliance) here at Chez Elliphantom.

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Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

November 21, 2005

Weekend Knitting

There wasn't as much weekend knitting as originally anticipated...but I bought yarn!

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Funky colors, eh?

On Saturday, Thunk and I went to see the LOTR exhibit with our friends Jason and Wendie. It was v. cool, though the museum wouldn't let us take any pictures. You'll just have to use your imagination...lots of costumes and props and one very creepy wax body double of dead Boromir in a boat. Wendie is a knitter too (yay!) so we hit Mass Ave. Knits in Indy after the museum. I was v. restrained and bought only the Regia sock yarn (which was on sale) and a pair of long size 6 Brittanies.


Sunday I resisted casting on for the socks and finished the back of Mum's Laurent instead. I really hope it doesn't grow much when I block it. It is the perfect size right now.

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I started on both Laurent fronts last night. I'm working both at the same time so it feels like things are moving pretty slowly, but it's just mental. I'm past the fancy edge bits now, and on to the miles and miles of stocking stitch. Provided I remember to read the pattern (not always as easy as it sounds) things should be fairly zippy from here on out.

November 15, 2005

We're not in Kansas...

...but we sure are having more than our fair share of fall tornados in the Midwest. On the bright side, I was able to get in a few rows at work yesterday afternoon while waiting for the sirens to stop. Some of my coworkers reported seeing roofing materials swirling high up in the air above the building, but no funnel clouds. Me? I was in (what I considered) the safest room in the building. First floor. No windows. I'm a big tornado chicken I am. It was nice though--rather like a big impromptu work party. There was even a cute baby in attendance.

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Last night (during another tornado warning) I laid into Laurent and cranked out a nice patch of stockinette. I'm at the half-way point on the back now. If the rest of the sweater goes as quickly, this should be a relatively fast knit. The collar instructions don't even look that complicated...nary a short row to be seen. Of course, skipping the intarsia speeds things up considerably.


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Here's a better detail shot of the edging. It pretty much looks like gussied up garter stitch.

As for the yarn, I’m enjoying the Merino Style more than I expected. I've heard mixed reviews--that it doesn't hold up well when frogged. However, I ripped that slip-stitch edging more that once and the yarn seemed to come out ok. Maybe I'm a gentle knitter? We'll see how it holds up when actually worn though.

November 14, 2005

Results may vary

I didn't get as much knitting done this weekend as I was hoping (I haven't touched Demi) but I did make some progress on the Christmas knitting.

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After many swatches and much futzing around, I decided to knit the edging for Mum's Laurent on size 8 needles. The knitting itself is still narrower than I’d like but when I went up to size 9s the stitch pattern lost its structure and got all floppy on me. At this point I'm trusting that a stiff blocking will solve all my problems. I have that bad feeling that I'll come to regret my decision...going up 5 needle sizes seems like a knitting sin punishable by something bad. Like moths descending on my stash. Or arthritis.


I knitted like a fiend on Sunday and managed to finish the front of Thunk's sweater. I decided to block the front and back just to make sure things are going as they should. Before blocking things were looking a bit narrow (like mini-dress for me narrow) but the ribbing relaxed nicely when it got wet.

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Can you see where I joined in new skeins? Yeah, me too. I think I did a better job on the front though.

Unfortunately, things got a bit longer in the blocking as well. Both pieces grew, but now the back is longer than the front. How do these things happen? I think I'll have to take out the bottom, rip it back a bit, and reknit the yellow edge. This, of course, is my punishment for not blocking my swatch.

November 10, 2005

Twisted

Last night, feeling the knitalong spirit, I cast on for Demi. Well, I cast on twice. The first time I cast on for the 36" bust (medium) thinking "hmm...I'm would normally make the 32" but I'm a little under gauge so I should go with the 34" just to be safe...and it looks nice with a little bit of ease on the waify model there so I think I'll try the 36 inch." I knit about four rows before noticing something looked a bit odd (as in oddly huge) so I finally bothered to look at the sizing diagram and wouldn't you know that the smallest size (32" bust) actually measures 36"? So I'm making that one. Yes indeed. You'd think by now I would have learned how to read a pattern.

This is as far as I got on the back before bed. I'm just about to start the cables:
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All those twisted stitches! Ai-yai!

In other news: progress continues on Thunk's Christmas sweater (can I rename it? I just can't bring myself to type "hidden agenda sweater"). I'm finished with the back and about a third of the way into the front. Lots and lots of k2p2 ribbing. It's a wee bit mind numbing, actually.

I also cast on for Mum's Christmas Laurent but I already have issues with the slip-stitch edging. The Rowan people want me to knit it on size 3 needles but on size 4s it's coming out way tighter than it should (it's actually a little too tight on size 8s as well). If anybody knows someone who has knit this one, send them my way. Otherwise the edging will be knitted on size 9s (bizarre, I know. This all just seems a little too wrong).

October 25, 2005

Christmas is coming...

So I've been pretty gung-ho about the whole Christmas-is-coming thing here for a few weeks now. Last year I tried knitting something for everyone I know and it got to be a bit much. This year (as I am older and wiser) I am choosing my battles. I will be waging 3 major Christmas offensives this year.

#1 Thunk's Sweater:

Thunk hasn't gotten much in the way of knitted gifts...ever. I made him a hat once. The time has come.

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The pattern is the Hidden Agenda sweater from Knit Wit. I'm subbing 12 skeins of Handspun Bulky Wool from handpaintedyarn.com for the Manos the pattern calls for. My only complaint with the yarn so far is that a couple of the skeins are a little more thick and thin than the rest of it. I don't think anyone will be able to tell, but I'm a little afraid that some of the thinnest parts might snap. It's soft and nice though, and the colors are yummy. As for the pattern, so far it's miles of easy-peasy ribbing with no shaping.

#2 Pop's Sweater Vest:

I haven't knitted much for Dad either. More than for Thunk though-- I can recall one scarf and a pair of socks. So he's a bit overdue for something nice too. Enter the Skye Tweed Vest from Spring 2005 Interweave. I'm using plain old Cascade 220 from the LYS for this one.

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This is as far as I got before I was struck down by the knitting angel of death (aka the big C.T.) and I haven't knitted a stitch since Saturday night. I'm taking it easy on the wrists for now but hopefully I'll be able to get back to it tomorrow. The goal is to finish the last bit on the front and block it (not too strenuous, hopefully) and then all I'll have left is to do is pick up a whole whack of stitches for the ribbing. Should be done by the end of the week I think.

#3 Mum's Cardi:

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Strangely enough, Mum has also been a bit neglected when it comes to knitted stuffus (I'm seeing a pattern here). She does win the prize for being the only person I know of who actually uses (and requests) knitted dishcloths though. Mum picked out this sweater (Laurent) from the Rowan Vintage Knits book which I love, love, love. She requested no flowers (that's ok...I avoid intarsia like the plague) and no belt, so that should make things go quite a bit faster. I haven't started this one yet. If I'm really on top of things I'll order the yarn in the next couple of days.

So what have I been doing if I haven’t knitted since Saturday? Sewing! I bet you'll never guess what I'm going to be for Halloween.

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