Tag Archives: year. of. sweaters.

Alterations Needed

Yesterday I looked like this:

Today, I – and Francis Revisited – look like this:


I needed a big change.The sweater just needs a few small changes.

The sleeves need to be longer and a bit more flared. When I sat down to finish them over the weekend, I decided to just knit them straight to the end, thinking they would end up a bit larger around than my arm at the cuff but not annoyingly flared (also thinking I was too lazy to get the pattern and figure out where I was and measure and blah blah blah). I tried them on as I knit and started the seed stitch edge once the stockinette reached my elbow. Since this yarn is a 50/50 wool/acrylic blend, I washed the finished sweater to see how it would hold up to how I’m most likely to treat it. It didn’t felt, but it definitely got plumper and squishier. The sleeves lost some length, and I  can see now that they will need a little flare. I’m going to rip these back to a few inches above the elbow and redo them.

The body needs to be a bit longer too. It was fine when I finished it, but the washing made it shorten a bit like the sleeves did. I think I’ll work some more increases so it flares a bit more at the bottom as well as making it a few inches longer.

Other than that, this is a perfect fit. I wore it yesterday as a sort of test run to be sure about what I wanted to alter. I actually don’t mind the length at all when I’m wearing it. It’s more a matter of aesthetics. This sweater wants to be bell-shaped and drapey and a little bit long, and so it shall be.

Year-End Wrap-Up

So, all the Xmas and New Year’s celebrations are over, my vacation is almost over, and it’s time to start another year. From a yarny point of view, starting another year for me means starting another yearly goal.

Two years ago, it was a pair of socks a month, which I didn’t quite make.

Last year, it was a sweater every two months, which I also didn’t make. I started with this list in mind:

Drops 103 became Aidez instead. Owls flew off the needles in one weekend. Bonny is still queued, but (1) I don’t have the book with the pattern and (2) now that Knit Picks has come out with Aloft I may wait to get some of that and save the Felted Tweed for something else. I have 4-5″ of Plain and Simple done. Winding Path has been set aside until I find a yarn I like better. Apocalypta is definitely looming on the horizon, I just haven’t gotten to it yet. Francis Revisited, which was not in the original plan, still just needs sleeves. And there was the almost finished sweater I got in a bag of yarn from a coworker that I finished up. So, that’s 3 sweaters finished. Call it 3.75 including the progress made on Francis Revisited and Plain and Simple.

As I’ve said before, I don’t set these goals with the thought that if I don’t accomplish them it will be a failure. I set them just to keep me motivated to work on certain projects regularly. It’s one of the few ways I ever get things done, since sometimes I feel like my real hobby isn’t so much knitting as it is starting new projects. So, when I set a goal to knit a pair of socks a month, I ended up trying to work on some socks every month, and I ended up with several new pairs of socks. Setting a goal of knitting a sweater every 2 months served as a reminder to pick up a sweater and work on it for a bit now and then, and I ended up with 3 new wearable sweaters. So, there you go: success.

For 2012, I think it will be back to socks, but I’m going to speed things up a bit and try for a pair every 3 weeks. Some of my favorite hand knit pairs have worn through (side goal for 2012: learn to darn) so the sock drawer needs refreshing. I also want to try to spin more often, but that’s as much of a goal as I’m setting there. I just want to remember to spin sometimes. And I want to finish Francis Revisited and Plain and Simple before I start another sweater.

In other yearly wrap-up news, I published 59 posts this year, keeping up my roughly 5 posts/month average, and blogged about 25 finished projects.

Here’s the 26th:

Pattern: None yet. I made it up as I went, but it gave me ideas, so stay tuned.
Yarn: KPM & KPPPM left over from these mitts
Needles: 2.75 mm KP Harmony 40″ circular
Started & Completed: December 2011

These were an Xmas present for my sister and took care of one more item from the AKB. Not much more progress was made on the AKB over vacation, since we got a Wii for Xmas and so there has been so much Mario about the place. However, there was Xmas yarn, so I’m definitely committed to the idea of working on AKB stuff so I can clear the way for the Xmas yarn knitting.

ETA properly modeled finished shot of the hat and mitts on their recipient now that Dan’s awake to work his Photoshop magic for me (AT&Ticus takes dark indoor pictures).

Properly Modeled Finished Projects: Part 1

Yesterday Aidez and I enjoyed a peppermint hot chocolate and a nice river view.

(Actually I was enjoying the view of the building I would so totally be living in – which has a river view – if, you know, I had money and stuff. It has rooftop patios, people.)

We looked askance.

We just generally showed off our loveliness.

It was quite nice, indeed.

I love this sweater. Love love LOVE. I love the cables. I love the fit. The sleeves are just the right length, past my wrists but not in the way of my fingers. It stays on so well even though it’s pretty open in the front. And I love the yarn (Cascade Eco +).  I’m not too sensitive to wool, but when I bought my first Cascade Eco I was a little worried. It’s a bit hairy and as a general rule I try not to get tickled, but it softens up very noticeably with washing and while I wouldn’t wear it with nothing underneath, I can wear Aidez and Owls with short or three-quarter sleeves just fine. This color (2452) didn’t bleed at all, which was a huge problem with the yellow I used for Dan’s Smokin’. I think I can safely call this the Best Randisweater In All The Land! Oh, yes.


Oh, how I wish it were winter!

For then I could wear this and be all, “Yeah, that’s right, I made this.”

Alas, it will be in the 80’s today, so I must wait a while longer before I can wear this and be all, “Uh-huh, oh, yeah, I got cables on my arms too.”

Pattern: Aidez by Cirilia Rose
Yarn: Cascade Eco+, color 2452, 435 g (I just noticed, looking at my Ravelry project page, that I had 2 skeins of one dyelot and a third skein from a different lot; I actually mixed dye lots on this and they were close enough I didn’t see a difference, so, you know, dodged a bullet there.)
Needles: 6 mm KP Harmony interchangeables
Started: July 2, 2011
Finished: August 30, 2011
Mods: CO 161 and knit the back and fronts together to the underarm seam. CO 38 for each sleeve and knitted in the round to the underarm seam. Left 8 sts aside for each sleeve and each side of the body and joined the rest, working the yoke in one piece. I worked the raglan decreases on every other row and left 2 plain sts between decreases. This left a lot more sleeve stitches than the pattern called for; I had to knit the collar extension to 8.5 inches rather than the 3 or so inches written. I left the sleeve and back stitches live, and for the collar seam I worked mattress stitch on the extension while going through each live stitch and taking it off the needle for the sleeve and back stitches. After both sides of the extension were attached to the body, I worked a 3-needle bindoff on the right side to join them.

Of course, this unfortunate weather means the sweater will also be blocked and all pretty-like (and I’ll have woven in the last 2 ends I found hidden in a sleeve while taking these pictures) when it first sees the outside world.

That’s 3 sweaters done in the year. of. sweaters. What will be next? Do I continue with Plain & Simple? Do I wind up the red mystery yarn and start swatching? Do I pull out that Telemark and start in on the EZ seamless set-in sleeve number I’ve been contemplating? I’d better go queue up Midsomer Murders on Netflix – I mean, I only watched 4.5 episodes yesterday – and contemplate a bit.

Motivation, Thy Name is Aidez

So, Francis Revisited will get sleeves eventually, I promise you. Friday night, I thought about it a little and decided the reason I wasn’t too motivated to finish it was because it will be so long before I can wear it. It has a cowl neck and it’s 50% wool, it’s really hot here right now, and we only have a/c in the bedroom (which stays closed at all times), where I don’t usually knit. Clearly it just wasn’t the right time of year for that project. Time to find something a bit more seasonal.  So I started another sweater, this time in bulky 100% wool. Clearly that was the better choice.

Actually, it’s been a good idea so far. I’m tearing through this.

I originally planned on knitting the Drops 103 jacket that you’ve all seen a million places as my next sweater. I had 3 skeins of Cascade Eco+ set aside for it, but I was a little worried that all that stockinette and seed stitch and the cowl neck would be too like Francis Revisited and I’d end up in a rut again. I was ready to go ahead anyway, then Saturday morning I was checking out the latest finished projects on Ravelry and saw a little tiny thumbnail of a cushy looking, cabley cardigan and I thought, “Oh, OK, that is what I must knit. I must knit that right now,” before I’d even clicked through to see what the pattern was. Within a few hours I had printed the pattern, written out how I planned to convert it to one-piece construction, and was on my way.

Watch this space, folks. I think I’m about to make up for all the time I lost on sweater #3.

On Arbitrary Rules

I have some serious process-knitter tendencies. I love love love to buy yarn, pick out patterns, and start projects. I do also love to have knitted items to wear and enjoy, but that love has never pushed me into productknitterdom. It’s in the sticking to things and finishing them where the whole thing kinda breaks down. So, I set rules for myself. They usually don’t have any real substance backing them up, and there are almost never any consequences if I break them. I just have to give myself deadlines and parameters so that I will not drown in a sea of 6-rows-of-this and 3-repeats-of-that. It’s about getting myself to focus.

Last year it was a pair of socks a month. I was buying a skein of sock yarn a week and not knitting it with nearly as much frequency. So, I set a goal for myself. And I totally didn’t meet it, but it gave me something to focus on and brought a few new favorite pairs of socks into my life. No consequences for failing, but even in failing there was some reward. This year it’s a sweater every two months. First it was owls, then it was the surprise squishy raglan, and now it’s Francis Revisited (I also started a Plain & Simple Pullover in there) to be knit in May-June.

It’s June 30, you may have noticed. You may also have noticed that so far this post does not seem to be about a finished Francis Revisited.

Anyway, my point is it’s a good thing that arbitrary, self-imposed rules have no consequences, or I’d be in trouble right about now.

Here, have a picture of CSA week 4:

We have 1 bunch each of kohlrabi, turnips, and beets; one head of red-leaf lettuce; scallions; new potatoes (NEW POTATOES! THEY WERE PURPLE! OHMYGOD!); peas; and collard greens. There was also escarole but I passed it by this week, as last week’s came out sort of bitter and terrible and I think it caused my cast-iron skillet to rust and I sort of hate and fear it now.

And that’s Thursday, folks.

I’m on my seventh episode of Farscape…

…and my 4th row of the Francis Revisited cowl. But at least I’m working on it. In true easily-distracted-procrastinator fashion (I seriously haven’t felt it this bad since about 7th grade), I have decided that my sock yarn blanket is the most important thing on the planet and keep putting the sweater down to knit a few more squares or even weave in ends (of all things!) on the blanket.

Lest you remember too much about all the promises I’ve been making to myself and posting for the world to see lately regarding that sweater, let me try to distract you with something shiny and new:

I paused both Farscape and all knitting progress a few times to make sure I ate some fresh vegetables today. I have a weekend to myself and need to cook a little more than I have been the last few weeks to make sure nothing from the farm share goes bad. This week’s share brought in some escarole, kohlrabi, scallions, broccoli, beets (it was supposed to be broccoli or beets, but there was another woman picking up her share at the same time who didn’t want either, so even though I’d chosen broccoli – sacrificing my desires to make my husband happy, I should point out! – she said I could have “her” beets; maybe thinking of others really is the right thing to do – who knew?), kale, garlic scapes, spring onions, lettuce, radishes, and turnips.

Truly, I want to go on at length about the wonders of the sock yarn blanket (and the turnips!) but I allowed myself a rather lazy day off and I can feel this post turning into nothing but parentheses and exclamation points if I keep writing, so I’m-a sign off a bit early.

Promises, Promises

“I will – I WILL! – put [my new socks] down this weekend to knit the cowl on Francis Revisited.” –Me, last Friday.

See, what happens is sometimes I say these things that just turn out to be completely untrue. Or, almost completely untrue, because I did put the socks down, it’s just that I didn’t exactly pick Francis Revisited back up again. It’s OK. It’s a quick knit and I have all the way to next Thursday to knit the cowl and sleeves and still make my deadline. Really, it’s fine. Nothing ever goes wrong when I leave things to the last minute – it got me passing grades through 10 years of school, and I see no reason to change courses now. (Actually, my secret weapon is a plan to do nothing but knit, cook, and watch Farscape this weekend. I have Friday off. By Sunday night, there will – THERE WILL! – be an extra piece sticking off my sweater in at least one direction.)

I was distracted by some green and pink stripey business over the weekend, then by my FOODOHMYGODIAMLOVINGTHISCSATHING the past few nights. This week’s turnips and beets had very tasty looking greens that I didn’t want to waste and I’m trying to use as much as possible and save a little bit out of every week’s share, so the last few nights I’ve been working in the kitchen after dinner. I’ve blanched and frozen the turnip and beet greens as well as the kale and broccoli stems. I also used the blanching water to make a green-veg-heavy vegetable broth that’s now in the freezer. I don’t think it will work for just any old soup, but it smelled and tasted wonderful so I’m sure I’ll find a use for it. This is on top of what I’ve made for immediate consumption this week – swiss chard with garlic and currants served over polenta (both recipes from How To Cook Everything Vegetarian; neither of us was crazy about the currants with the greens – the rest of the dish was too savory for the currants to really fit in), lentil kohlrabi salad from Chocolate & Zucchini (awesome, but I subbed olive for sesame oil after a particularly traumatizing over-glug in the salad dressing a few weeks ago that left the kitchen smelling like sesame for DAYS), and last night’s buffet-style offering of jasmine rice, braised and glazed turnips, kale sauteed with garlic and olive oil and dressed with lemon juice, and steamed broccoli florets.

Actually, just writing all that made me more tired than doing it did, so I shall bid you farewell for now. Be back soon with sweater progress – I swear.

A Bit of Progress

Here in the Randipants corner of the living room, we have some progress, finally.

I have finished the body for Francis Revisited. I was very happy to find out it fit after having knit it all on a 16″ circ with really no idea if I was on the right track at all. I vow to knit the cowl this weekend, but right now I’m seriously distracted by some awfully pretty green and brown wool-Seacell blend sock yarn from Mad Color Fiber Arts and a stitch count that makes a pair of Leyburns a viable option for me at last.

Sadly, we also have some regress. In my quest to find teensy tiny needles that won’t bend before I can knit a whole pair of socks with them, I bought some Brittany 2.25 mm dpn’s. My gauge tends to be pretty loose, but I thought I could squeeze by with just an extra quarter millimeter. I cast on with the Crazy Zauberball and it looked so pretty I quickly knit a whole cuff and started the leg.

The whole thing was just too flimsy, though. These socks would not have lasted.

(That's the Asscat Can behind the sock. It's full of bottle caps and I shake it at Zoe when she tries to get on my end table and launch herself onto my yarn drawers. Those are my yarn drawers behind the Asscat Can.)

I really should have known ahead of time, as the Zauberball feels a little thinner and more loosely plied than the plumper and/or twistier yarns I prefer, like CTH Supersock Select. Perhaps I did know and let the siren song of marled, stripey socks lure me astray. Yes. That’s it. I blame the sirens. Also, these needles are already bending but I probably can’t blame the sirens for that.

I’m using the Brittany needles for the Leyburns as I know that this particular yarn knits up a little too tight even for my liking on 2 mm needles (I think it’s the Seacell – the yarn doesn’t have much bounce to it, but oh, is it gorgeous). After the Leyburns I think I’ll just have to invest in some more KP Harmonies. Yes, they break after a few years, but at least they last a few years before they break.