January 24, 2008

Finished: Chicago

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

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.

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.

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.


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:

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!

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:


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:


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:

Hello. I am soft and smooshy.

Saturday morning was devoted to thrifting:

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:

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!

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.

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.

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.