crafts · knitting · patterns

Bubbles progress and new Kim!

The Soap Bubble sweater is comng along really well!  This is the left front.  My yarn sub is working out great (I love the Lion Brand bamboo cotton, highly recommended) although my row gauge is ever so slightly off.  I am trying to compensate for this – it’s rare that I run into row gauge issues since my row gauge is inevitably 7 rows/in (as it is here) but for once the pattern calls for a slightly larger row gauge.  It will work out I’m sure.  It would probably give a neater edge on the garter stitch to slip the first stitch, but I can’t be bothered.  I am using a smaller needle on the purl rows here, and I think it’s really helping out my tension.  I can’t wait for this to be finished – it’s going to be so lovely and springy!

Kim Hargreaves has released her Spring/Summer book “Breeze” today.  If you read my blog you are well aware of how I love her designs, and this is no exception!  My favorites are below.

It’s wonderful when you find a knitwear designer who really exemplifies your own personal aesthetic.  For many people I know that designer is Norah Gaughan, but I find her designs (while undeniably gorgeous) too out there from my style.  There are others I love, but Kim Hargreaves is always from number one! One of the things I love about Kim’s designs is the way she can translate current trends into something that is still classic and flattering.  I think the first two sweaters above are great examples of that.   I love both the boyfriend style cardigans and the drapey cardigans that have abounded in stores lately, but I was worried about looking too “juniors dept,” you know?  I trust Kim’s design aesthetic, and that neither of these sweaters (which I plan to make) will make me look like I’m trying too hard.  She has also designed the only versions of the slouchy hat trend that I can wear, so I’m planning to make both the hats above (the green is crochet and is love, the other is knitted.)  There are several designs from her previous collections such as Blithe (2nd from last.)  I really wanted to make this when it came out, and now I think I shall (out of some lovely 4-ply cotton I have stashed.)  I seriously want to make nearly everything in this collection.  There aren’t too many 4-ply designs in this one, so I’ll have a chance – I can’t wait to get my copy (you know I ordered one, right?  Even though it costs more to order from the UK?)

crafts · knitting · yarn

Up next and a yarn review

Last night I swatched for the Soap bubble wrap.  I’m really looking forward to this one – I don’t have any sweaters of this style!  The yarn I’m using is Lion Brand studio Cotton Bamboo.  I was a bit leery after my last bamboo experience, but this yarn feels very different to me.  The cotton gives it a pretty dry hand, but it isn’t stiff.  It is a bit splitty, but nothing like some bamboo blends (RYC Bamboo soft, I’m looking at you!)  I would compare the feel of knitting with it to Brown Sheep Cotton fleece, just a bit less dense.  Same amount of splittiness, and the feel is similar.  This color is a really pretty tea rose, tending on the salmon side just a little, but not really orangey.  You will have to excuse my obsession with pink for a bit – I have missed the color so much with the red hair that I keep getting pink things!  The gauge is between 5 and 5.5 st/in.  I’m using the 5 st/in one (on US 6 needles) because I don’t have enough yarn to go up more than 1 size.  I think it will drape nicely at that gauge, and it doesn’t at all look too stretched out.

I’ll update my review after I knit for awhile though, but so far this looks like a good economical yarn choice!
I used Aveda’s Black Malva conditioner on my hair, and I think it helped a little with the brassiness.  My hairdresser offered to redo, but I think I will wait until it has to be recolored and keep using the conditioner every few washes.  I suspect this color will require more frequent touch-ups, since it is darker than my old color and much darker than my natural dark blond (I used to have super dark hair, and nothing looks stranger to me than light roots.)

Finally, I’m selling some yarn on my Ravelry Stash page – check it out if you are interested!

crafts · finished objects · knitting

FO: Millefiori Cardigan

Pattern: Millefiori cardigan, Interweave Knits Spring 2009

Yarn: Ella Rae Bamboo Silk

Needles: US 4 and 5

Notes: Finished in time for St. Patrick’s day!  I made this pattern with no mods other than the yarn substitution.  I am fairly pleased with the outcome, but it was frustrating to knit.  I’m not sure that I would use this yarn again.  While it is very soft and drapey, it sheds like nothing I have used before.  The black skirt I was wearing in these photos is covered in green fluff, and while I was knitting it kept ending up in my mouth and nose.  It worked out ok as a sub, but it doesn’t have a lot of body to it.  The sweater could benefit from a little more structure I think.

Now the pattern.  Well… it’s super cute in the magazine, and I do like it on me.  However, the clam stitch was frustrating to knit, and to be honest I don’t think it’s all that pretty.  It might be better with single rather than double YOs, but this would affect the length of the lace panel.  The pattern asks for you to knit the button bands with the fronts through the ribbing, and then knit the rest of them separately and seam them on.  I generally don’t see a lot of benefit from this technique – I would rather pick up and knit stitches than seam them on.  It this case, because of the large number of buttons and buttonholes, it was impossible to get them to line up properly when seaming, even if I made them on the same rows.  That’s why it isn’t completely buttoned – it looks wonky.  The buttonholes are impossible to find as well, a common problem in this sort of band.  The clam stitch is not pretty wherever it meets as seam, including the button bands, so I prefer not to emphasize that.

I just remembered one mod – I did knit the sleeves flat and seam them up.  I hate sleeves in the round, and find them hard to sew into armholes.

I know I’m being all complainy, but this sweater is really lovely to wear.  I would recommend the pattern, but be aware that you’re getting into something that will take longer than you think.  It took me quite a bit more time that I would have expected from this sort of sweater.

I think my hair looks red in these photos.  I can’t tell if the brown didn’t take properly, or if the sun is just reflecting off of it.  It does look more brown when I’m indoors.  I think I’m going to end up at the hairdressers.  I’m not going to be happy with it if it fades back to red… though it does look nice with the green!

crafts · knitting · Life

New Interweave Crochet!

Lately I’ve been longing for warm weather (high today: 56, which is getting there!)  With warm weather for me comes the desire to crochet something.  The preview for the new Interweave Crochet is up, and it all looks so pretty!  Kim Werkler is stepping down as editor of IC, and I’m sad about that because I love her aesthetic, and I think she has been a great cheerleader for crochet as a craft of its own, not merely “not knitting.”

This issue is fantastic though!  There are several great sweaters.

That vest is so pretty, though it is made from laceweight.  I’m not sure what I would wear a laceweight vest over, so I might pass.  The 2nd sweater is fab, as are all of Robyn’s designs, but I always worry about piecing together this sort of sweater.  I wish I could see the purple sweater more clearly.  The green shrug is super cute!

There are lots of cute accessory patterns as well.

I really love that capelet, and it has gone on my list for sure.  Do I have anywhere to wear it to?  No, but that won’t stop me – I adore my Chanson en Crochet, though I don’t wear it often.  I think the hat is cute, and what I love about the blanket is how intricate those crocheted cables are (I’ve never tried the technique.)

I see myself adding the capelet and one or two of the sweaters to my queue.  There is also a nice tote bag that i actually like (usually bags do nothing for me.)  I can’t wait til the magazine arrives!

I’ve finished knitting all the pieces on Millefiore now.  Unfortunately, it has a whole ton of finishng.   The button bands are of the “knit separately then sew on slightly stretched” sort, and there is an awful lot of holding stitches going on.  It’s nearly done though, and last night I did finished the vertical part of the button bands – only the neckband and a little seaming to go.  I hope to finish by Tuesday, because I think I can get photos then if it doesn’t get dark too early (and have a green sweater for St. Patrick’s day!)

Thanks for your patience and support with my recent issues… I am moving forward with yet another job while maintaining my current ones.  I am happy though, because it’s one that I really enjoy (sorry to be vague, but I don’t really like talking about work here.)  So no real changes other than me being slightly busier (but only a little!)  I am feeling much better now, and now that the weather is warming up I am starting to peek out from the little corner by the space heater, where I have been since mid December.  I find winter to be very depressing, and I have to confess that I’m glad we don’t live anywhere further north!

Oh, and thanks for the compliments on my hair – I love it!  I’m trying to grow it out to shoulder length.  And I’m so happy to be able to wear pink again, I don’t know where to start!

crafts · knitting · Life


I promise a finished cardigan soon – I am on the last sleeve!  The most interesting part about this sweater is that the buttons are knitted into the sweater, a new experience for me!

I wonder if the stitches will get stretched out, but I do love how easy this is to accomplish.

Spring appeared here this past weekend, and in its honor I got myself a new haircolor/cut

Ok so maybe brown hair isn’t in honor of spring so much… but I do love it!   One of my frustrations with the red has been that it limits the colors you can wear (or knit with) so I decided to try brown for awhile, at least til I get tired of it!

Progress is still a little slow… I have been doing a lot of thinking about things (nothing bad, don’t worry) and it takes all my energy.  Hopefully I will have an FO soon!

crafts · knitting

Clam stitching…

I’ve finished the back and one sleeve of the Millefiori cardi.  This is usually the point in a cardigan where I start getting annoyed, so hopefully I can slog on through!

The clam stitch, which makes up the lacy rows, is a super annoying one.  Anything that involves this line “K5tog without dropping stitches from left needle, YO 2x, P5tog, YO 2x, rep til you want to stab your eye out) is not my friend.  The whole time I was thinking “this would look nicer and be easier in crochet.”  Oh well though – the yarn is still lovely, and I am enjoying it, though my tension is not the most even (always a problem with bamboo.)  Tonight I hope to finish one of the fronts… I have the Love Boat season 2 waiting for me (don’t laugh, I love it in a totally non ironic way!)

Spring patterns continue to appear.  The Spring Twist collective was unveiled this week, and I’m not sure whether to be relieved or disappointed that only one pattern appeals to me.

This is primrose path, by Angela Hahn.  I usually love her designs, but I haven’t knit one yet – could this be the one?  My only worry is the neckline, which is hard to see in the photos.  I have a theory that scoop necks either need to be very high or relatively low to not look matronly on me.  This one could be like that, but I will wait and see some FOs.  I also quite like Kat Coyle’s Ardent Jacket.

I don’t think it’s very springy though, so I’m not interested now… maybe in the fall.  I also like the Cherry Fizz scarf by Kate Gilbert, but I have a similar pattern already saved.  Other than that, there seem to be a lot of baby and men’s patterns, which I don’t have a use for, and the other women’s patterns would not flatter me.  I don’t know whether to be relieved or disappointed!  I love the Spring Interweave so much, and that seemed to be controversial, but I have plenty of patterns lined up.  I’m also still waiting for Kim Hargreaves’ summer book, due out some time this month.

Other than that, I’ve just been working – seems things are extra busy right now, and I’m probably picking up an extra day of teaching.  I’m a little stressed and in need of a break – we will be traveling through Wisconsin and Minnesota in May sometime for a few weeks, so I’m really looking forward to that – we will visit Marc’s sister and the baby, as well as a few friends he still has in Wisconsin (plans include Madison, Mikwaulkee, and the Twin Cities)

My husband, by the way, may be the only man who could see this product in the store and be convinced he needed to try it.

I don’t know if you can tell – my camera seemed horrified – but that is a can of bud light mixed with clamato (which is itself clam juice and tomato together.)  I’m not sure words can express precisely how terrible this mixture was.  Should you see this in your local liquor superstore I can only recommend running the other way.

A new vintage book is coming soon, so look out for that!