Audrey – or aka Schokoladenkuchen

This was my  Audrey last Saturday:
audrey body
A weeks worth of holiday knitting. Not too bad. I was really motoring along in downtime and enjoying it.

Gudrun‘s Audrey is a really quick  – easy and satisfying. Another recommend. The lace would be a perfect beginner lace project -so simple to produce and yet so pretty.lace
Two micro-mods only. No waist shaping and I decided to change the seam from a purl stitch to garter to test out how a single garter stripe looks after seeing a beautiful jumper which is being knit in a stitch that alternates these rows with stockinette (in German called Säumchen…not sure what it is called in English), and I wanted to try it out!
säumchen
Very pretty, no? I will definitely use this in future for texture as it is so easy and subtly pretty.

I got a little bogged down on the shape of the short row sleeve caps. I was given a bit of a kindly heads up from the secret benefactor who gifted me the jumper (thank you again!) that the caps were a bit sharp.

So before attempting my first knit down sleeves with short row shaping thought I would do a bit of research. What I kept seeing the projects were bumpy shoulders like the one below in the promo shot:
audrey shoulder
One person had modified her rows to be less steep and had given brief project notes on her mods , but I just couldn’t figure it out. I hadn’t done the technique before, myself, so was not sure of what she meant! Poo! So I took a bit of time and used the handy free charting programme Sconcho to work it out.

This is what the pattern short rows looked like, visually, at the top. My simple mod is below. (aren’t the little charts pretty?)
sleeve cap
In the images you can easily see how the arc of the shoulder is rounder in the second with my stitch modifications. This seems to have done the trick for this yarn. In future I might try a little wider yet on the top row, starting with 12 sts and working down.

For those who prefer text instructions:

Row 1: knit 5 sts past shoulder marker, w&t
Row 2: purl across stitches just worked and 5 sts past the stitch marker on other side, w&T
Rows 3-11: repeat rows 1&2, working 2 stitches past the w&t on each row, w&t (3 sts past including the w&t)
Rows 12-: drop down to only 1 sts past w&t until all but underarm sts have been worked.

You can get Sconcho at SourceForge for your own charting needs. I find it very useful for charting out stitch patterns that have been supplied in text only and getting a visual on what is going on.

Oh. And did I mention it is free?  ;-D
(I’m not affiliated with SourceForge, by the way! Just very grateful.)

Brilliantly tasseled

Oh! How perfect (and simple) an idea is this? Red tassels crocheted onto a simple shell:

by Suvi Ainoa

Now it is meant for children…

But you can see how awesome it would look on an adult, no? As a layering piece or for summer.

The tassels make me think of  paired down traditional Tibetan jewellery and clothing. That beaded/tasseled ‘Genghis Khan’ chic that is creeping in lately (is that un-PC? Loosing perspective the longer I live in the UK!)

Want. Will make. Sooooon…ish…

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…

Schnabu Three

I thought I was nearly done my Schnabu, but should have known it wouldn’t be that easy! I got the elbow length sleeves done and then decided they weren’t really me, so have extended them…twice. They were too loose the first time around. I hadn’t really considered how loose/stretchy garter is and what that does to an edge.


Anyway, round three and hoping to be done today. Sleeves, that is!

I thought I might flag some interesting things I have been watching lately. I purchased Edie Eckman’s Craftsy course  ‘How to Say It: Pattern Writing for Knitters‘ and started it the other day.

So far it is pretty interesting. A HUGE amount of information for the price. Definitely value for money on these courses if the others follow this pattern!

I started by watching the free taster sessions ‘Short Rows‘ by Carol Feller, which was very interesting, and ‘Know Your Wool‘ with Deborah Robson, which was less useful (I thought there would be more in this one on how the different yarns knit up, but it was very basic and mostly on sheep breeds.). Looks like this site will grow to be quite a useful resource as they get more classes up.

As they currently have an xmas sale on their classes, I have purchased 2 more of the full length classes(technically from my mom, as xmas money came super early this year! Thanks Moo!). Merry knitting xmas to me!!

I will be learning how to size patterns with Faina:

And FINALLY – knit socks with Donna:

I love learning new things! yay!

Schnabu Two

I have put my Toasty on mico- hold as I sort out a yarn order, and am completely addicted to my Schnabu.

The pattern is so simple once you sort the neck cast on out. I am not sure how anyone would have gotten the right diameter neck with a 6mm, knit cast-on and 100 stitches! But all the power to the ones who did. It wasn’t going to happen for me.

I ended up trusting my swatches rather than the pattern  (which I should have done in the FIRST place! Swatches don’t lie. Well, mostly they don’t!)and cast on 165 stitches with a 5.5 needle…a little smaller for a bit of a tighter fabric on the neck. I just felt the loops from the 6mm would have looked too big and lacey compared to the body.  I should really have gone with 160 as the garter is so stretchy, but I can live with the extra inch+ in width. It still looks good and fits over the shoulders.

Unfortunately, I have realised, once again, that I should have done a provisional cast on with the neck as it looks a bit sloppy. When will I learn? Casting on is another achilles heel (along with sleeves). I always get to the end of projects and realise I want to re-do the start. Sigh.

Anyway. The endless garter is a JOY. I had forgotten how satisfyingly mindless it is not to have to agonise over a chart! I can read/watch tv without hardly having to look down, and people watching on the tube is a breeze! And even though it is garter, which usually takes up tons of yarn, when you do it in a bigger needle it stretches out flat and inches fly by. I LOVE the slip stitch trick that keeps you knitting the garter on both sides – even though knit in the round.

Below is a close up of the slip stitch seam up the back. It is a pretty sexy detail, and definitely something I will be using in future designs:

Unfortunately, I managed to drop the marker at the back at one point. Of course, I got all the way down to the end and preparing to bind off before realising I had created a jag in the line by putting it back  in one stitch over. Sigh. Frogged back to the waist and lost all of Sunday’s knitting.

Pattern gushing over…a bit more on the the Habu N-80 that I am using for the first time:

I searched for ages for the right project for the yarn. It is a strange silk/merino, as the silk is wound around the merino core, sliding about and bunching in places to form nubs of colour. I had assumed it would have as ‘fluid’ a hand as other silk/merino yarns, but it reminds me more of a linen in its almost crisp drape. It is hard to describe.

As mentioned in a previous post, I love the look of the Habu packaging – precious little bundles wrapped with simple paper. However, once the wrap is off the balls are actually a little annoying as the yarn slides off the bundle in chunks instead of spooling out as you need it.

Also, the yarn itself is a bit hard on the hands at first – unpleasantly like what I imagine knitting with rough twine would be like – as the rough wound silk scrapes over your fingers with every stitch. You wouldn’t think it would hurt, but after a few hours my fingers were pink, raw and sore! They have toughened up a bit since, but be prepared for some pain when you first start working with it!

All that said, the fabric it makes is quite pretty and totally unique:

A subtle variation of colour, and in the larger needle size rather sheer (not sure this is what I want in winter wear, but it will make it a year-round piece with layering!).

Here was my progress 2 days, ago. I am now past the waist. This was approx 3 balls of yarn:

I got a bit of help from the lovely Gail From Today’s Agenda on how the top down process works, as I was struggling a bit with the concept and couldn’t figure out if you knit to the top of the arm or down to the armpit before doing anything. Apparently it is the latter. Bless her for her non-judgmental help! It is so obvious, now that I have done it.

I am a little worried about the uneven-ness in the cowl stitches, though. Fear I may have to go back and re-do part of the cowl at the end, as usual, to get it looking a bit more cohesive.

I am just praying it all evens out when I wet block at the end (as steam blocking it is still leaving it a bit wibbly!). Fingers crossed.

Schnabu

Finally swatching my Habu N-80 in earnest for Obsidian.

It is knit in the round, but WITHOUT purling! A fantastic technique that uses a wrap, creating a sexy seam up the back of the garment.

Here is a detail of the seam from Lisa Mutch:

Exciting…

Onwards and upwards

On to the next project.

I started knitting Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark’s Girl Friday…on Friday! Then realised the lace would be too cold for the thick jumper I was after. (I want something even warmer than my Aidez. Our place is just too cold in the winter and has already started to feel sub-zero!). Also, after going through all the projects, I decided I don’t really like the clunky way it  seams up on the shoulders – looks a bit boxy and squarish….


…and on the back, where it creates a line straight across the back and as a  result drops the shoulder seam behind where it should be. The pattern just seems a little wonky.

So here we go again. I am modifying it and cobbling other elements in.


I am modelling the shape off this Toast jumper. Longer with long rib sleeves, a larger shawl collar and higher buttons. With cables. Of some sort. Somehow. Am sort of making it up as I go along (who was it that called my knitting approach ‘ a bit rainman’??! hah).

I love working with the sumptuous organic merino/silk aran blend I am using. It is thick, silky soft with a hint of coolness from the silk that gives it a slight sheen as well. So beautiful in the natural colour! I am a sucker for winter white, and this yarn is a pleasure to hold.

Can’t wait for this one to be done, so I can shroud myself in it and feel luxurious!

There  are my sleeves above with the start of my cables…knit two at a time in the round! What fun. It is so much easier than I feared. I am never doing two of one thing separately again!

Check out a great how to video  here! Learn the technique. You will love it.

Owls, Owls Always With the Owls – Part 2

So to continue on my Owls adventure…

Just to make it easy on myself, I decided to further modify the pattern by making it a cardigan and knit the button bands as I went in a seed stitch. That part was remarkably easy… Less easy was the decision to change the long sleeves to cap sleeves and add them into the yoke as I started the owl pattern.

Never having done this before, and not being able to find any tutorials on how to do this, I basically winged it. I cast on the number of stitches I decided I would need for the sleeve circumference…

…and then joined it to the other side by slipping the first stitch on the yoke over to my right needle and then crossing the last bound on stitch over it, inverting them to eliminate a gap.

This worked well (There is probably a better way to do this, but I couldn’t think of anything else!). Unfortunately after doing a few rows I decided the arms were too big (no…NO! They actually weren’t, I just doubted my calculations. Sigh.), so frogged and redid the whole process, dropping 8 stitches on each side. There, I thought, that should do it. Um, no.

Then it really went to hell when I started the owls. It wasn’t that I hadn’t done cables before – that part was fun, and so easy after all my worries!

The problem seems to be that I can’t count.

And forgot to add extra stitches before the button band at the end of the owls to match the ones at the start of the pattern. Eeesh. But I didn’t notice this until I had made a host of other mistakes and frogged back…and back …and back.

All told, I restarted those owls a good 5 times. The last time after I had gotten as far as the eyes (knitting when you are exhausted is NEVER a good idea!).

All of the owls above were frogged. The pain. After all the rejigging I settled on 2 stitches between the first owl and the band, which looks much better.

You can imagine my panic/horror when I tried it on after starting the yoke decreases and realised the arm holes were too tight as the yoke pulled up.

Imagine it now…the sinking feeling in your stomach, tightness in your chest. Desperate thoughts of ‘maybe it will stretch enough with blocking’…

Not in cotton/linen it damn well won’t.

So I got a bit inventive. There is nothing quite like desperation for improvisation.

I figured I hadn’t much to lose so what I would do is…gulp…use scissors.

I carefully put in a life line a number of stitches down from the ones that were being held in the underarm:

Then I unravelled:

Then the scary part. I snipped:

After weaving the gazillion ends in the  armholes were treated as normal, with stitches picked up and sleeves knit down.

I am shocked to say this worked amazingly well! I was worried everything would unravel as I picked up stitches, but made sure I wove the ends in and back so they couldn’t pull free, and it did the job.

Now I know this is sloppy practice and do not recommend doing it as a matter of course, but if you are ever about to hang yourself with your own yarn and feel you have nothing to lose, give it a try.

Much like steeking, it is radical, but works!

I ended up putting in grosgrain bands to stablise the hooks I put in and minimize the bulging below:

And here she is in all her glory:

I only sewed in 2 eyes, as I find the one owl peeking out from the pattern a little less cutesy.

I still haven’t figured out how not to look like a complete dork in the ‘finish’ shots.


But am working on it!