Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Canopy Cardigan - New and Improved Photos

I was less than pleased with the initial photos I took of this garment. I was wearing what can only be qualified as jammies. They were photos for photos' sake and frankly I'm embarrassed.

These are much better.

This is how I wear this sweater from day to day. Jeans and my favorite style top in the world, the long sleeve knit crewneck T-shirt. A little close-fitting, but not tight. That's my style and this cardigan fits in perfectly.

I freely admit I could have knitted a size smaller. The sleeves and length are perfection, but the body is loose and a little wide. There is no way I can wear this cardigan without a fastener. It flops off my shoulders and I fear I could fly away like a kite.

I'd been using a kilt pin to fasten the ribbing together at the neck - which did work, but it was bulky. Plus the pin is so sharp that I worried about snagging the yarn.

Then I remembered the fasteners in Doris Chan's Everyday Crochet. These are genius. Grab a couple shank buttons, some beads and elastic beading cord and in mere minutes you have a wonderful non-permanent fastener for your favorite garment. It works kind of like a cuff link. Amazingly, I found the perfect buttons at Walmart.

The Fastener for Canopy

It works like a charm. I put each button through the lacy holes at the base of the leaves. I'm thinking a couple more might be nice to close it up a little more. I love the flyaway look of cardigans fastened only at the top or with just a few buttons done up.

The great thing about this type of fastener...wait, there's a few great things. You can make multiple fasteners for the same garment and vary your look as often as your mood. AND you don't have to sew anything. ANYTHING!! That rocks. Not that sewing buttons is hard, but it can be irritating. This fastener won't mess with the way your fabric looks either, no puckering or anything. Plus, playing with beads is fun!

Pretty cool, huh?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Yes...I made another cardigan...

Drops 107-9 Cardigan
Originally uploaded by JRoKnits
Ok, I know I've made a lot of cardigans lately. Yes, I do still have BOTH my mom's scarves on the needles. Yes, I said I'd make socks for my daughter before she goes hunting in 2 1/2 weeks.

What exactly is your point?

It's that same thing that happens when you have to study for a really big test and suddenly you feel the urge to scrub your bathroom with a toothbrush. Anything to prolong the inevitable.

It was just too cute to pass up. I even had a suitable yarn in my stash. Ok, acrylic may not be all that suitable to anything other than afghans, but I felt confident it would work in this pattern (Drops 107-9). The gauge is a little looser and the lace would give it more drape as well. I gave it a soak and laid it out on the guest bed. I'll blast it with some steam in a little bit. Steam certainly can't hurt.

I think it worked out well! It's a very pretty design, very feminine. Alas, I think I made it a little small for my taste (either that or I have the tricky gauge again). The Lupus Foundation is stopping by Friday for donations so I may leave it out for them.

Although now that I think about it, I'd kind of like to keep this stuff in town. I know there are people who need clothing right here. I'll have to check into where I could take my stuff.

I'm going to donate a few other sweaters as well. 28thirty, Leaf Yoke Cardigan, and Drops 79-24. They all turned out well, they're just not doing it for me either in size or style. A couple of them hit too high on the neck and I have a thing about stuff touching my neck. I've been saying I'm going to lose weight for a while, but since that isn't budging more than about 5 lbs., I'd better just get rid of the stuff rather than have it taunt me.

Plus, if you were someone in need, wouldn't it make you feel good to have a cozy handknitted item? I think it would feel pretty special to see something like that among your choices. I'll tag 'em and bag 'em and say a little prayer that they find good homes.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dulcie and the Bad, Bad Yarn

Dulcie Hat (6)
Originally uploaded by JRoKnits
Remember the bad yarn? I shouldn't blame the yarn. It was all me. I had a bad morning at work and felt the need to throw Wiltons icing dyes at some yarn. I soaked it for too little time, tried to speed the process along, and ended up with something not remotely like what I'd envisioned.

But it all worked out in the end.

Somehow I'd forgotten that a very kind woman had swapped patterns with me. I gave her a scanned copy of a hat pattern and she gave me a copy of Going Straight by Woolly Wormhead. I know. A fair trade, it was not, but she was willing and I was happy to receive.

So I'd forgotten about it. Until the other day. Lo and behold, there lay the most perfect-est patterns for hand painted or subtely variegated yarns.

I chose Dulcie.

Now let me first say, these patterns are not difficult. The knitting is easy. However, one must familiarize themselves with short rows, hiding the wraps of said short rows, and kitchener-ing just about anything to anything else. I was 4 sections into my first go at this hat when I realized that I'd been hiding wraps as though the stockinette side was the right side. Wrong! They looked like crap, so I ripped it out and started again, this time doing it the right way. I also sized up to the large.

It's cute, huh? This is immediately after weaving in the two teensy ends. The colors aren't quite this bright (that's the flash) - they remind me of sumac in September, just before it's completely red. Or the Minnesota Wild hockey team. I will call it what I will as the mood strikes me.

The Going Straight e-book has THE best instructions for short rows, hiding wraps, and Kitchener stitch on the entire planet. No lie. I've never been able to Kitchener to save my life. Everything I've tried it on looks horrible. I learned to do it on the needles and that works fine, but I really wanted to do it the right way. The instructions in Going Straight are no fail. Perfect photos, perfect text, everything worked like a charm. I can't even find my seam now. How 'bout that?

Just remembered I have to get some dog food.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A better shot...

See? It's a little better. First one is with the flash - a little flashed out, but it shows the color variation.

Not as bad (1)

This one is without the flash and a more accurate representation of what it looks like to me.

Not as bad

As I went through the 3rd iteration of this yarn dyeing adventure, I decided to check out Knitty's tutorial on hand dyeing yarn...again. She let her yarn soak in the vinegar/water all night long. Hear that, Jen??? All night! Not 15 minutes until you've decided you can't wait any longer. ALL NIGHT!

Next time I'll soak it all night first. Think first, then act. I might just end up with something I love.

In the meantime, I'm going on a hunt this evening for Malabrigo Chunky in Stonechat. Must make a hat.

The Bad Batch (1)

The Bad Batch (1)
Originally uploaded by JRoKnits
Ugh. It's better than it was. When it came out of the pot initially, it was mostly green. Rats!

I really didn't want another skein of green yarn.

So I popped it back in and tried to add more blue. Got more mud.

So I let it dry. Then I laid it flat in a 13x9 glass dish and tried adding a little more dye in what I thought was a responsible manner. I do think the final product bears some more depth and is better, but it is so far from what I originally wanted.

There is far more reddish/purpleish/burgandy-ish and that's good. There is less green and that's better. There are hints of midnight-y blue, gold, and brown here and there. That is good too. Not sure what I'll make with it. Possibly the cabled footies from One Skein. Possibly a scarf or a hat.

Although if I had to wear this yarn on my head I might never leave the house.

Then again, I could make something really embarrassing and wear it on the 6th grade field trip next week.

Would that be too cruel?