And miles to go…

As some of you already know, after my joyous yarn delivery and some serious ‘yarnerd’ fun dyeing and swatching I spent most of my weekend either dismantling things or destroying them in an effort to either fix them or ‘make them better’. It wasn’t a stellar decision.  ;-?

The whole thing started with frogging back the neck on my Schnabu and re-doing the sleeves. After posting images of this on the blog and seeing how shit it looked, I determined to sort it out. I got halfway through a sleeve and then remembered how much I hated knitting these sleeves in the raspy N-80 on double pointed – or magic loop! So I put it aside. One sweater down.

Then pocket insertion on Smaug got out of control and now I have an enormous pocket that needs to be dismantled and Kitchener-ed down to size. And I HATE Kitchener stitch. So during one of the coldest weeks of our London winter, one of my warmest sweaters is out of commission. Brilliant move. It might be pooched for good. Grr.
pocket
So, of course, I couldn’t stop there….and dismantled the bands and neck on Odilon. Again. That fecking neck is giving me an ulcer. Here she is in her current state with a simple i-cord bindoff:
take2
So all or nothing this time. I am making it reversible – as I originally wanted, but just couldn’t deal with as I had so many other problems with the pattern. I am also putting a zip in, hopefully, if I can order the right one online (I want 2way open ended in a colour that matches, or something even close…and that seems akin to looking for a Dodo in London. Heaven forbid you can actually find something you want – WHEN  YOU WANT IT – in the shops in this city. So online ordering it will be. Fingers crossed.).

Think the zip will work a bit better visually as those chevrons will come closer to meeting at the top – as in the photo above. The way the buttonband separated the chevron in the previous incarnation bothered me as it didn’t match the back:band1
Also, the reversibility will be great as that crisp triangle looks fantastic as a simple pullover feature.

Sigh. So not a great knitting period.

On an upside, Sakura is being beautifully behaved and is a simple, happy knit. Only a few more gazillion miles of teeny tiny stockinette and she’ll be ready for spring!
sakura
Have I mentioned I love knitting? ;-?

MY Picard version

It is finished, and I have to say it turned out better than I expected.
frontOpen
Here she is, my Odilon, at long last! Ok. I know it really hasn’t been all that long, a just short of 2 months that you have all been ‘listening’ to me whinge, but when you frog a project as much as I did this one it can last FOREVER mentally.  (Also I got the first bit done so quickly that if there hadn’t been so many annoying problems with the pattern I would have had it done in a month!)

I redid the body without the shaping and am much happier with the fit. It still looks like it comes in at the waist, but it is actually dead square!
front
This is the batch of Rowan Purelife Organic DK that I ‘tub’ dyed for this project and LOVE the yarn. A slight crunch and actually quite a bit more of a dense strand than I would have thought. The stitch definition is just divine for all those crossed stitches…
side
…and I love the way I ran the chevron right down into the ribbing on this attempt (if I do say so myself!). That said, I feel the yarn is actually better suited for stitch patterns that aren’t reverse stockinette, as it doesn’t bloom quite enough to give an even fabric in that stitch – see all the little stripes of unevenness in the shot above? (Especially on the sleeve right above the chevron). Likely just me and tension problems, but the stockinette side looks much better:
yarn
There are a few other little things that still bother me – the front neck is still a titch high. I should have taken it back a bit lower when I took the fecking high collar off.  And there is a little jog in the raglan where the increases turn to decreases from where I redid the neck. Neither of these things are noticeable unless you are really scrutinising, though.
jog
Final negative – and this is nothing new – the bloody buttonbands gave me the usual runaround.

I wasn’t able to get the holes stitched professionally in the end as I had already knit holes into the fabric, which sucked. Apparently you knit the bands without holes and then they machine stitch them in and cut them open. Will try it one day.

So to make a long story excruciatingly longer,  I had to do them by hand. Cursing most the way. They are ok, but my hand stitching truly leaves something to be desired. AND I balls-ed up the other side (too embarrassed to show you) so had to cut the ribbon between already stitched buttonholes and make them shorter. It was hateful. (I still want to open a can of whoop-ass on them.)
bands
Positives – Love the way it fits, those graphic CHEVRONS (heh), the i-cord edging I did on the buttonband…and…I finally got to use my favourite ceramic buttons, which I made months ago and have been hoarding for the right project:
button
Another positive – I think I am becoming slightly less stressed when things don’t work out, and a bit calmer about frogging. That is a huge plus…as I have to do it so much. Finally starting to accept it as a normal part of my process (!).

So there she is. Thanks for all the support and advice on this one girls!

Buttonhole experiment

I have decided to do something a bit scary…take my Odilon in to a D.M. Buttonholes in Soho on lunch and get the buttonholes finished professionally.

I started cutting the ribbon I stitched last night and it was looking pretty crap, so think this might be the way forward (as they say here). At £4.50 for 1-10 buttonholes per garment it sounds like a steal. The company has ‘been established in the heart of London’s Soho for nearly 100 years.’ That is promising, no? They apparently service a lot of the fashion design colleges and houses.

Here are my options:

I really have no idea which they will recommend but am hopeful as well as quite nervous to be handing my newly finished baby over to strangers.

Fingers crossed this works. If it does I will be very pleased! As mentioned previously, I often have issues with buttonbands and I am hoping this finishing will look slick.

Maybe they do zippers too! Imagine…

Michelin approved

So very, very close to finishing Odilon. Even after my last bout of despair over it turning out the way I wanted I thought it would be good for me to see it through.

I am glad I did.

I never fail to be amazed at the difference a good blocking makes, both to the fit and feel of a project. blocking
I swear, Rowan Purelife must be one of the most satisfying yarns to block! The process takes the fabric from a somewhat stodgy handle to a more fluid, even, and yes, more SPACIOUS one. Gained a bit more room in the body and shoulders after the vigorous block and am so relieved. It is nicely squared out now, and not body hugging.

The neckline remains a little dodgy. I could have taken it down a bit more at the front, but think a steam/shaping should sort it out when it is ready.
neck3
I ended up  doing a 3×1 rib for the buttonband and added an i-cord bind-off with 2.75mm needles for extra stability which gives it a nice edge. I also went back and added a crochet chain to the tops and bottoms of the band to give it a more consistent ‘outline’ appearance and match the i-cord edge.
bandDetail
The ribbon order for the buttonband was a bit of a debacle, though.

I have been waiting nearly two weeks for the pretty East of India cotton ribbon, which has been a huge annoyance with my levels of impatience! The first company I ordered it from were out of stock. It took a bit to find the brown ribbon I was after again, as it seems popular, but I finally reordered it from a company called Frumble. Then the process was made more confusing still as the ribbon colours on the order form don’t match the actual colours of the ribbon in the photo (maybe someone colour blind is typing the text? No. I am being serious.) Sigh.

After some email back and forth I managed to order the brown ribbon I wanted, but after impulsively choosing a second ribbon from the list (the £2.40/roll price is great compared to the £6/roll in a shop down in Soho so I figured I would get two for the shipping cost!) I guessed wrong on the description of the red ribbon (red/grey is down instead of red/linen so picked red/cream. EEESH). *banging head against walAnyway, as you can see below it is fine, just not the linen/red/cream striped one I was after. I will use it for something eventually.

ribbon2
(And the skull fabric? I just couldn’t resist it! I am going to make a needle roll organizer for my interchangeables!)

This is where I am going with the brown ribbon:
ribbon

AND – I am finally going to use these buttons I made ages ago when I was teaching a ceramics class!
buttons
Michelin Man is watching over them until it is all ready to roll!

When is enough enough?

A question I have been asking my self since the weekend is ‘when do you know when to let a project go?’

I am still struggling with my Picard/Odilon and am just not sure it is ever going to be what I want it to be.

I spent ages re-doing the arms as they were way too tight the first time around, and still feel they are a bit too snug. I also took that hideous neck off – finally.

That was something I had been looking forward to. I saw this great technique from the amazing Techknitting and couldn’t wait to give it a try:

Needless to say, my first attempt wasn’t anywhere near as slick and required 2 tries, but I did it. And it was kinda fun.

😉

Thing is…I am just not sure the whole thing is worth any more bother. Wondering if I should just frog the whole thing and start over with Kate Davie’s Deco.

When do you stop and throw in the towel on a pattern? I haven’t given up on anything yet and it kind of runs against the grain, but…

Buttonbands

Bogged down with a hideous virus this week so have spent my time off work watching Heroes and planning ahead. I am trying to decide on the most suitable buttonband for my Odilon V.2 . As it still feel a little snug- even after dropping all the waist shaping- I want a solution that will give me a bit more width than the i-cord band suggested in the pattern.

To keep examples in one place I have started a Pinterest board on buttonbands that I am hoping to continue to add to as I see interesting examples. (all images credited on Pinterest)
button pins

I am pretty fussy when it comes to bands, so this is obviously a curated list!

When it comes to buttonbands I want them  sturdy and NOT gape-y. I have a huge problem with gaping (nothing lets a good cardi down as much as a wobbly,gape-y buttonband). Don’t get me wrong, I will sew on ribbon to stabilise if I have to …but am pretty lazy about sewing bits on and prefer knit processes to stitching. SO FUSSY.

The best I have come across, so far, is the vertical knit on button band that I did recently on my Toasty. The one by one vertical rib (un-stretched) forms a thick, professional looking/feeling band that should last ages.

Thing is, I want to try something new with this cardi.

Can anyone think of any solid ones I have missed? (I am not much of a picot person, so have purposefully left frilly ones out!)

Knitting as a world of pain

Alright. I need to balls up and just do it.

I have gotten to the hem of my Odilon and have started on the arm and am fooling NO ONE. WTF am I doing? I won’t wear this…it just isn’t me right now.

Here is a photo of version 1.0
take1
Form fitting and cute enough from the front, but thentake1back
What the feck is that lumpy business in my lower back??

Just one more gripe about the pattern before I leave it behind in the dust (since I am sure you all haven’t heard QUITE enough yet). Once you get to the chevrons meeting at the sides you are pretty well on your own. Except for a vague, half sentence on how to join the tip (which doesn’t match the tip on the back. Why? Oh why?), you are left to guess as to what it should look like, how/when to join up the new chevron and how to do the hip increases.  This is what I ended up with after 2 tries and more frogging:
take1side
Not bad, but not stellar.

To end things on a positive note, though. Look at those front chevrons!
take1front
Just look.
Ahem. Frogging back to the armpit and then knitting this puppy again without decreases. I want a boxy little cardi.

Why don’t I ever listen to that inner voice? (or the outer one either for that matter!). What an arsepain.

Why oh why?

I am just confused. I am telling myself there must be a reason for this, but can’t figure it out. Those of you that are more experienced might be able to answer this for me:

Why would you go from M1 increases and halfway through a pattern change to LL1 increases at the hip increases? (AND not say what they are – but that is just my catty-ness resurfacing with a meow). Does LL1 create a less ‘gappy’ increase or something?

This is something I pinned ages ago from Twist Collective – examples of increase types:

I can’t see much of a diff. Can you?

This project has me continuously confused (more than normal).

Also…I have reached the vague wording for the joining of the chevrons on the sides and subsequent hip increases and am now thinking of frogging again…
backfront2
I am just not sure I want another form fitting jumper. It isn’t too tight, but I am more into loose/schlumpy things at the moment. Eek! What have I done.

AND THAT FREAKING NECKLINE.
neck2
WTF is up with it riding up at the front with that little bulge after all those convoluted short rows? It had better come out with blocking.

No really.

Odilon continued

I have finally managed to sort out the short rows and increases for my Odilon and have joined under the arms. I did add an extra inch for this size in the arm circumference and am hoping that will be enough, though it might feel a bit snug (do I have bingo-wings or am I just paranoid??)Pardon the blurry photos. Here is the status quo:

back

peak

I am really loving how the twisted stitches pop out and the stitch definition with the Rowan Purelife is perfect – nice and crisp (though it looks super wobbly before blocking in these shots, it evens out beautifully with steam).

The one thing I am not really feeling is the collar. I am reserving judgment until the end, but have a feeling it might have to go in favour of a wide round collar. We’ll see.

Looks like the formatting has gone all squirrelly on WordPress again. Does anyone else have this problem…where it won’t even let you fix it in the html no matter what you do? Frustrating.

front

Odilon

The big reveal for those of you that haven’t already guessed…the new project I started is Picard by Marnie MacLean!

My partner gave me the pattern for xmas and I couldn’t wait to get started on it. As mentioned in a previous post I purchased a motherload of Rowan Purelife Organic for peanuts at the Knitting and Stitching Show in October, so had my DK yarn – just needed to dye it.

This was a bit of a problem as I still haven’t found a cheap replacement stainless steel dyeing pot after my toxic mercury spill. In a fit of inspiration I decided I would try dyeing some other lovely yarn I received as a gift (thank you again!!) in a large a plastic tub, adding hot water from the kettle until it was hot enough. Figured trying it with 2 skeins would be easier than 10!

I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get the yarn hot enough and keep it high enough to exhaust the dye, but thankfully it worked! I am now able to dye yarn once again! Hooray for me! What a relief. I was going into withdrawal.  😉

So on to the Rowan – here it is soaking in a vinegar/soap bath below.
yarnbefore
And here it is after dyeing, drying in the loo:
yarnafter
Initially I planned to dye the yarn a deeper peacock colour like this photoshop mock up,
photoshop mock up
But along the way I hit this beautiful French looking grey/blue and just couldn’t go any further.
It makes me think of faded French chateaus and a particular painted panel I saw by Odilon Redon the first time I went to the Musée d’Orsay.