Archive for the ‘Jackets’ Category

Girliest. Tweed. EVAH!

August 25, 2007

See that?  It’s the terrifying tweed of incredible girliness, guaranteed to make small children squee with excitement.  It’s also the beginning of Nora’s Tomten.  Most of my knitting time lately has been devoted to…well most of my knitting time has been devoted to unpacking, actually.   But anyway, the knitting time actually spent on knitting has mostly been devoted to the super secret project of mystery that I cannot talk about, and that hardly makes for interesting blogging.  I’m mostly finished with the super secret project of mystery that I cannot talk about, however, and so I cast on for Nora’s Tomten, which gives me a nice relaxing project to work on when my hands and mind feel tired.

I’m working with Rowanspun 4 ply, and it’s fingering weight.  Do not believe the labeling, which says it is Sport or even DK weight.  It’s fingering weight, and I remember sitting and comparing it to Knit Picks’ Telemark, which is labeled as Sport and staring back and forth between them.  Telemark is a heavy Sport, closer to DK, and Rowanspun is undoubtedly fingering weight, but Rowan seems occasionally to have issues with labeling its yarns a heavier weight than they merit.  I do. not. get it.

Since the yarn is fingering weight, I’ve doubled it.  I like it better this way, anyway, because doubled it captures a lot of air and makes for a softer, squishier fabric.  It also offers some opportunity for experimentation when I begin to add the blue stripes of Yorkshire Tweed 4 ply that I have in mind.  I can use one strand of purple and one of blue, or both blues together, or each blue kept strictly to itself.  Much in the way of possibility here.

I’m planning on making this Nora’s Christmas present, even though she keeps walking by and commenting on it.  I can’t seem to hide my knitting from the kids, so I don’t really try.  She’s very eager for the blue stripes to start, and keeps asking when I’ll add them in, but I want to set them high up.

Have you ever seen such a purple?  I was a tomboyish child, but that is the exact shade of purple that I found hard to resist.  I never liked pink.  I had no problems resisting dresses or lace or frill, but I could not resist that slightly blue, slightly opaque purple color.  Nora, who is actually a rather girly little person, is smitten.  The flecks of magenta, pale turqouise, and plum only add to the effect.

I’m hoping that the Yorkshire Tweed (in Sheer and Oceanic) will help ground this flighty purple menace.  Otherwise the cute may blind.

In other news, I walked out with the children yesterday and discovered that I live just a few blocks from a store called K2Tog.  Glory be!  It’s a lovely little place, and the owner is a wonderful woman.  She has a little corner with children’s books, and it’s not just a nod – she was friendly and welcoming to the kids.  Anyone who’s gone yarn shopping with little ones in tow knows that this is a rarity.   The stock is very nice indeed, lots of soft alpaca yarns, and beautiful sock yarns, and a wide range of Cascade products, and the shop is light and airy with big comfy chairs, and a back room for lessons.  And I live three blocks away.  Yowsa.  I am looking about for a number of yarns for projects right now, but I don’t yet need to buy.  Nonetheless, I bought a skein of Misti Alpaca worsted, just because I can’t resist the colors and softness.  This one is destined to become a hat for my brother.  It’s a peacock melange – gorgeous.

I’ll update when there’s more to look at and more to talk about.

Ooh la la fancy schmancy

August 9, 2007

I was going to put a poll here asking whether you thought I should shrink the sweater, and you can still weigh in, but seeing this picture has pretty much convinced me that I need to try. I mean, I may not be the chestiest woman in the world since I weaned all the kids, but I do have a bosom. For reals. I’m actually kind of curvy for a stick being. You wouldn’t know it, though, to see me in Willow. Also, check out those rolled up sleeves. Yikes! Anyone who’s knit Maude Louise can tell you that I have gianormously long arms, and these sleeves are still too long!

It looks great from the back, though. If I could just convince people to walk behind me all day when I wore it, never daring to peer around the front side, we’d be set.

So close, huh? It almost looks good, and yet it fails to actually look good. I suppose I could frog and reknit it on smaller needles, but I think trying to shrink it a wee bit might actually work better, because it would take some of the stretch out of the yarn. Look what happens to the shoulders when I’m wearing it.

They drop off of my actual shoulder, that’s what happens. It’s not actually the size in this case. It’s the stretchy, stretchy yarn, which slowly s a g s down my arm until the shoulder is no longer within spitting distance of that table-like span that separates my arms from my back and neck.

I do like that big collar, though. I actually like so much about Willow that I’m thoroughly frustrated with what I don’t like. If I liked the project less it would be easier to know that I should just rip it and start anew with something prettier.

(more…)

Willow (sans ooh la la fancy schmancy modeling)

July 31, 2007

Because modeling is for the weak!*

*The ‘weak’ being those who have a photographer on hand because they didn’t decide to take pictures while the other adult in the house is at work. In other words, those who are envied by me.

Pattern: Willow, from A Yorkshire Fable
Yarn: RYC Soft Tweed in Twig (MC), Misti Alpaca Chunky in brown (CC)
Yardage: 1131 yards of Soft Tweed, about 27 yards of Misti Alpaca Chunky Needles: generic bamboo sizes 10.5 and 11
Modifications: Very few modifications. I made the 34 inch chest size, and I lengthened the sleeves slightly, which was a mistake. I also used the contrast yarn for the pocket edges and the belt.

Obviously, without ooh la la fancy schmancy modeling you can’t see how this fits, and you can’t weigh in on whether I should shrink this coat at all. Unless you are ninja, in which case you may already have seen me in the coat. I guess not, though, since I’m still alive and all. You’re a lousy ninja. Sheesh.

This thing is every bit as fat as it looks. It might also be phat, but I don’t feel I’m qualified to weigh in there. My husband tried it on, and it made him look like – well, if there had been a pimp in Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood, he might have worn this coat. It was a very odd, somewhat appealing, somewhat creepy look. Anyway, perhaps not the best sweater for the gentlemen, as cozy as it is. Unless the gentleman in question gets a kick out of appearing to be a very huggable person in a morally deplorable line of work, in which case, are you sure he’s the gentleman for you?

Such questions aside, here are more shots of the coat. Marvel at the collar of giganticness! See the buttons of wonder! Feel the squish with Squish-O-Vision™!

Oooooo!

Aaaahhhhh!

Squiiiiiiiiiish!

Coming soon

July 30, 2007

I’m sorry. I finished Willow, and I meant to get pictures, but we ended up being very busy this weekend, and now it’s dark and I have no pictures. Until I can get some, you’ll have to be content with the pictures from my last entry. Mea culpa.

Thoughts on Willow: I think the Soft Tweed was a good substitution, but if I knew then what I know now I would have made the smaller size and I would have shortened everything a wee bit. The Soft Tweed, you see, is s t r e t c h y and it lengthens when you wear it. As a result, this coat is huge. Absolutely enormous. When I wear it, I look like a mattress. I’m not complaining, per se. I didn’t make this coat to look svelte and sleek, and it’s a good thing I didn’t because I’d be endlessly disappointed right now. Still, I may have to attempt a slight shrinkage of the whole deal. I just might look like a little kid dressed up in her dad’s overcoat when I wear it now. Maybe. The weird part is that it’s so stretchy that when I put it on at first it’s enormous and too long and my hands don’t show, but when I adjust it a bit everything springs back into place and it looks…well, it still looks huge, but not unreasonably huge. I spit spliced the yarn throughout with great success, so it clearly felts, and it should shrink if I toss it in the washer, but I’m afraid to do so. When I get the pictures up you can judge for yourself whether it needs to be smallified.

The original pattern for Willow called for a belt, which I dutifully made, but as I mentioned, the coat is huge and makes me look like a mattress, and the belt makes matters worse, looking like I’m trying to add a nipped waist to a mattress. Mattresses, it turns out, do not look good with a feminine figure.

Despite the huge and the stretch, members of my immediate family (you people know who you are) have been hinting that they too would like to have a Willow. Perhaps in their own size. Perhaps without cables. Maybe they could just borrow mine. I figure when people are trying to borrow your giant mostly wool coat when it’s hot out, it can’t be a total disaster of knitting.

The other thing to mention if you happen to be someone who likes Willow and wants to make your own, perhaps in Soft Tweed, is that you should buy one more skein of yarn than I did if you want to make the 34 inch chest size. I used 13 skeins of Soft Tweed for my main color and one of Misti Alpaca for the contrast color. I had about 2 yards of Soft Tweed left after I cast off the collar, and there were still the pocket edgings and the pocket seams and a belt to go. I made the pocket edges and the belt in my contrast yarn (and I still have quite a bit of that left) and then I performed the most heroic act of spit splicing in my entire knitting career, sewing in the ends of the Soft Tweed and then splicing every single leftover piece into a tiny skein of very delicate yarn, which I used to seam the pockets. If the belt had worked out and I’d wanted belt loops, I would have had to buy an extra skein of yarn for that purpose. So buy more than I did. Soft Tweed is on sale pretty much everywhere, too, so if you happen to like it, I’d snap it up now.

I’ll be returning to previously scheduled projects now, such as the Rowanspun stripey sweater, which will be slow and ongoing and dull and likely take me a year, and the Cotton Glace top and a new beginning for Gabriel’s sweater. There’s also a secret project in the works. The Cotton Glace top is a pretty quick project, but not quick enough. I have this one shirt I love, a tee shirt that is clearly based on a kimono, so I decided to base my shaping on that top. Suddenly, however, I’m seeing knit kimono tops all over the place. There’s a new book of knit kimonos coming out soon, and one of the patterns was in the latest issue of Craft magazine. The latest Magknits has a top, Stargazer, that has almost the same shaping I was planning on for my own, unnamed top. Anyway, I may be late on the bandwagon, but I am still going to finish up my own kimono inspired knit top and hopefully it will have its own merits.

Mr. Kninja, seeing how fast a project goes when you use thick yarn, has changed his stance on thick yarn versus thin, so I may change course in turn and let the Rowanspun raglan marinate for a while. He gave me that lovely bag of Scottish Tweed Chunky for our anniversary and I haven’t come up with a project for it, so mayhaps he’ll get it back in sweater form. We shall see.

Until there is photographic evidence of my endeavors – adieu!

What I did on my summer vacation

July 4, 2007

I just want to say first of all, that even though the fires in Tahoe started the day after we got there, there was no Kninja involvement. Seriously, it was spooky scene, as you can see above. We were staying at the north end of the lake, and the fire was at the south end. We’d look out and see…that. The shadow caused by the smoke meant that the green water was quite cold, while the blue water on the left side of the picture was fairly warm. It was utterly surreal. The loss of property in Tahoe is pretty devastating, but it’s amazing that there were no major injuries.

Other than the fires and the fact that Mr. Kninja and I both were a little under the weather, it was a nice trip. We were able to relax, to go to the beach, to play miniature golf, to watch Ratatouille, to hike in a lovely meadow, to eat fondue…it was a very pleasant trip.

And then we tried to go home.

That didn’t go so well. The car broke down at Donner Pass, and we were stranded where stranded people once ate each other. We opted not to eat each other, especially since there were conveniently located restaurants in the vicinity, but it was tempting, under the stress and with the prospect of a long drive ahead of us, to at least nibble on one of the children. We didn’t, but there was an agonizing ordeal involving renting a car, having our car towed to a gas station right next to Donner State Park, and deciding to go back home without it. In the end we made it home, but the car never will. It’s gone to that big Volvo lot in the sky, rest its soul.

The one redeeming feature of all this mess is that Mr. Kninja was able to snap this photo on his way back up to dispose of the car.

So that was stressful, and now I am trapped at home with three small people and no car, and very little to do within walking distance, which is everyone’s dream situation.

However, I did do a heckuva lot of knitting when we were at Tahoe. In fact, I knit at the beach rather than frolicking because the end result of my illness was weight loss, and I looked like a walking skeleton, so there was no way I was getting into a bathing suit. I figured I’d end up on the cover of some tabloid with the caption, “HAS THE WEIGHT OBSESSION GONE TOO FAR???” Instead I wore jeans to the beach and sat on a towel and worked on the Rowanspun striped sweater. But that wasn’t all. I got a lot of knitting done.

Pattern: [Not So] Fluffy Bolero from Simple Knits for Little Cherubs
Yarn: Random stash yarn
Yardage: Unknown, but I used whatever amount of yarn I had
Needles: size 5 generic bamboo needles
Modifications: The pattern has a major error, so I had to make some of my own decisions about length. More below.

This one was frustrating, since I didn’t have computer access to look up errata for Simple Knits for Little Cherubs. I now realize I should have looked this up before I left, but I didn’t think of it. There’s a part here where the knitter is told to knit for nine inches – and that makes up only half of the sleeve for a two year old. I know no two year olds with eighteen inch (circumference) arms, but even though I could tell it was wrong, I went along with it, because I thought I might be misunderstanding things. I wasn’t, and it meant a lot of unraveling. I chose my own length for the sleeves, and it all worked out fine. This is a major error, and I’m not sure how it made it to print, but apart from that it was a good knit, because the construction is really clever. The front panels are knit separately, then joined to form a single piece, and only the sides are seamed.

I don’t usually like pink, but this pretty heathered stuff makes me smile. I used it both to clear out room in the stash, and because it goes well with most things, and I figured the girlchild could use a simple sweater for times when she’s wearing a dress without sleeves. It worked out well. She wore it out before it was blocked. It looks better now, but she still looked cute.

Then there are the socks. As you may know, I do not make socks. I don’t really dig DPNs, and I haven’t found the desire to make socks to be so overpowering as to force me to learn Magic Loop or to just press on. Nonetheless, I made socks – well, slipper socks, but they were made the same way as regular socks. And then I learned how hard socks are to photograph well.

Pattern: Cable Footies from One Skein
Yarn: Leftover Andean Silk in Leaf
Yardage: Slightly less than two skeins, about 180 yards
Needles: Knitpicks Double Pointed Needles, size 6
Modifications: Smaller needle size, made them in the medium length but the smallest width

I like the end result of this, but I’m not in love, either. Knitting socks was sort of enjoyable, but not enjoyable the way knitting a sweater is. And even though I went down two needle sizes, the socks still turned out a little too big. They’ll work for slippers around the house, but they’re not ideal. Today I performed a meaningless task and boiled them in a futile attempt to shrink them. They felted slightly but remained the same size. Eh. I boiled them longer and mashed them with a potato masher while they bubbled merrily away, but they just went on being their own too-large size. I haven’t seen how these have turned out for other people, but I’m bewildered about the fact that they’re intended to be knit on size 8 needles. Are my feet really that narrow?

I also started another Cotton Glace top, this one from the bottom up. I have a definite picture in my head of what this should look like when it’s complete, but we’ll see if it works. The color isn’t really accurate here – the color is a deeper, richer shade called Spice. I’ve had a pack of it sitting around for about a year, and I’m just now getting to it, but I’m glad I waited, because my original idea of what to do with it was very, very boring.

I didn’t quite get those leaves right. They’re something I made up based on a lace pattern in a Barbara Walker book, and I almost got them the way I intended, but not quite. I’m not worried, though. I’ll get there.

As if this wasn’t enough, I finished the back of Willow.

She’s zipping right along. I also made some decisions about languishing projects. My apologies to those waiting to see the Seaberry Shell in its finished form, but I’m going to frog it. I just can’t quite like it, and I really do think it’s too thick. I don’t want to end up with something I won’t wear, so ribbit, and the Sir Galli will find new life as a skirt. I’m thinking I might use it to make the skirt from Greetings from Knit Cafe, or I might try to come up with something on my own.

The other project I came to a decision about is poor Gabriel’s sweater. It’s been unfinished for a year, and I never have really gotten into it. It’s two things – the intarsia, and this, which I’m just now finding the heart to admit to. I made the intarsia chart myself. He wanted a beautiful hawk and I turned a beautiful hawk into a chart, but what I didn’t take into account was that the shape of the stitches was not the same as the shape of a normal square on a normal sheet of graph paper. I’ve been working for months on an unpleasurable squat, fat hawk that looks like it’s been sat upon and I’ve been so unwilling to admit to this that I’ve just kept plugging away at it. No more. I’m unraveling the sweater and starting over. This time I’ll be making it as a seamless hybrid – Gabriel was admiring his father’s sweater – and doing the hawk after the fact. I think that should work out better for both of us.

Whew. This has been a long entry. If you’ve read the whole thing, get up and go get a piece of chocolate. You’ve earned it.

Maude Louise

March 3, 2007

March 29, 2009 update:  Whoops!  All of a sudden this old post is getting a lot of traffic.  The pattern for Maude Louise has been completely rewritten as of this month, and you can get it here. Sorry for any inconvenience.  The entirety of this post applies to previous incarnations of this pattern, none of which was entirely complete.  Even if you’ve downloaded Maude Louise before, I highly recommend downloading the new pattern rather than trying to work with the old.  I’m leaving these notes, up, though, in case they help anyone who has the old pattern still.

IMPORTANT: If you downloaded the pattern prior to March 12th 2007, there is a major error in it. Please see the corrections here and here. I’m very sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Well, I’m exhausted, and I don’t really want to do math ever again (though I shall be doing lots shortly to figure out the other sizes), but I finished the pattern in my own size! Ha! Victory is mine! I do the happy ninja dance of joy and drink the blood of my enemies in celebration! Um, OK, maybe I don’t drink the blood of my enemies, but I am boogying in my seat pretty hardcore. Oh yeah.

I apologize in advance for any errors and remind you again to let me know about them as you come across them. Before you start, please be sure to look at the notes here.

The latest version of Maude Louise has multiple sizes, but not in the sleeves.  Until I figure out the math on this one, you can use these great instructions, or those found in Barbara Walker’s Knitting From the Top, to make the sleeves work even without me knowing how you should make them from the bottom up.

On the subject of torsos and the many sizes in which they come, I wanted to discuss the sizes I’ve given in my pattern. Maude Louise is intended to have a fitted waist, but there are a few important things to keep in mind to make sure your sweater fits. One is bust size, of course, and all of those are listed in the top, but I wanted to explain how big the waist is for each size. That way, if you want to mix and match bust and waist size, you’ll know how many stitches you need. Bear with me.

The size 32 and 36 inch bust each have a 27 inch waist that gets a little smaller when seamed. It stretches, so it shouldn’t be a problem if your waist is a little bigger or smaller than 27 inches. The size 40 and 44 inch busts have a waist size of 32 inches. The size 48 and 52 have a 35 inch waist, and the size 56 has a 42 inch waist. This is assuming you’re knitting in gauge, of course. Now, I’m limited here by the lattice stitch, which requires the addition of a very particular number of stitches to come out right. However, there are two ways you can make sure this sweater fits your own particular waist. One way, if you’re knitting in gauge, would be to see if one of the measurements I’ve listed is close to your own, and swap out the number of stitches on the bottom half of the sweater for the one that will fit you best. The other, probably more precise way, is a bit more work. You’re going to have to knit a few more gauge swatches of the lattice stitch, on several different sized needles. By changing the gauge around, you should be able to make a sweater that fits your body type.

One last note – the size 40 and 42 are designed so that the waist seams will not line up perfectly at the sides. If it all works out as I think it will, this won’t matter much, but it’s certainly possible that I’m wrong. If I am, I will be sure to try to fix it. Anyway, I think the twisting will be minimal and won’t really show when the sweater is worn, but please do keep me updated if you run into any problems with it.

Thanks for reading all of this, and good luck! Send me pictures of your finished projects – I really want to share.

Gulp. (Notes on Maude Louise)

March 2, 2007

So here’s what is happening with the pattern for Maude Louise. Finished or not, I will be posting it tomorrow, hopefully as a download, provided I can figure out how to do that. The likelihood is that I won’t be finished, but not to worry – I will update it as I finish and continue to update as people let me know about problems in the pattern. (And there will be problems, though hopefully not too many!) Right now I’ve only got it in one size – mine, and I am a fairly stretched out sort of person, so bear this in mind if you decide to start. I’m 5’10”, and I have a very long torso and very long arms, so there may need to be some modifications for people who are of a smaller stature. Other notes: I have a 34 inch bust, but I made Maude at 32 inches to make her more fitted. If you want your version to fit closely, make the chest two inches smaller than your actual bust size. The Andean Silk I used stretches very well, and relaxed a lot when I blocked it. I don’t think that a stiff yarn would work very well, since that stretchiness is pretty necessary for fit.

I’m trying to think what else a knitter would need to know about Maude Louise. I used three different needle sizes in making the torso area, in order to keep increases and decreases to a minimum. For this reason, gauge is very, very important. DO NOT try to make this pattern without swatching first. Since the end result is supposed to be fitted, it’s doubly important. On a bulky garment, it’s not as huge a deal if you’re off by a little bit, but being off a little on this one could leave you with something totally unwearable. There’s meant to be a fair amount of stretch in the waist. Because of the fact that it’s in lattice stitch, many of the sizes will begin with the same waist sizing on different needle sizes – it goes up by a full five inches if I add more stitches to the waist. The waist on mine measures 27 inches when I’m not wearing it. I think my waist is a little bigger than that, and it stretches without looking pinched. If you’re worried about waist size, though, go up a needle size instead of adding stitches. The lattice stitch is done in multiples of 16 (+2) so the increases are pretty sharp.

I think that’s it! Wish me luck in finishing this pattern, and tomorrow I’ll post it. C’est la guerre!

Oh, Maude!

January 5, 2007

She’s not done, not really, but I’m afraid I’ve been wearing her everywhere anyway. I haven’t replaced the button bands, or the too-small buttons, and I still feel I’d like to make the collar area look a little nicer, but she’s sooooo cozy, and she’s 100% mine, from start to…well, to almost finish. I’m not going to really debut this jacket until it’s done, though. In the meantime, here are some lousy photos of a few details.

That’s the set in shoulder, which, miraculously, turned out just right. I was so relieved about this, because my copy of Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book has dire things to say about the difficulty of matching a sleeve to a set in shoulder.

And finally, here’s a lousy picture of the lattice up the side of the sleeve. The size six needles didn’t make as even and neat a twisted stitch lattice as the size threes, but I didn’t want to mess with the sleeve size by using smaller needles just for the twisted stitches.

It doesn’t look quite so…what’s the word? Jagged, maybe. It doesn’t look quite so jagged in real life.

Anyway, I’ll post a real photoshoot when Maude Louise is finally finished and then, if there’s any interest, I’ll get to work on a pattern. The sleeves of this jacket make me ridiculously happy. You probably can’t tell this from the top picture, but I have a more than six foot long armspan. My arms are disproportionately long compared to my body, and while this has never really bothered me, it wasn’t until I finished the sleeves and tried the jacket on that I realized I’ve never had sleeves that were the right length for me before. I am built small, and retailers assume that small people are also short. I’m five ten and as mentioned, have the arms of an ambitious chimp, so almost every shirt, jacket, or sweater I own is a little too short in the arms and the torso. Maude, though, is the jacket equivalent of Baby Bear’s porridge. Just right.

Crabby, crabby, crabby

December 20, 2006

Moving at the speed of lead, I’m in a race against time to finish all my Christmas gifts. Some of them aren’t going to be done. It’s making me very grouchy.

I thought I’d have Maude Louise completely done and ready to show you today, but there’ve been a few unexpected disasters. I was so proud of myself for finishing the button bands, but it wasn’t totally obvious until I added buttons that they have one or more of the following flaws. Guess which ones are real!

A. The button holes are unevenly spaced.
B. The buttons I bought are too small.
C. The button bands themselves should be wider.
D. Creating the button bands opened a vortex into a dying universe, and now I’m trapped on the other side while a doppelganger tries to adjust to life in our world, and my only hope is to find the mysterious Object of Power and take it to the center of their world in order to return things to the way they should be.

If you guessed A through C, you’re right. If you guessed D, then you have a wonderful and creative imagination that I hope you’re putting to good use. Or you’re crazy. I’ll let you decide on that one.

Gaaaaaah! I have to do the button bands all over! I feel like crying, ala Lucille Ball, thusly, “Waaaaaaaah!” Stoopid, stoopid button bands. I hate you so. Anyway, when I was grumpily ruminating on the unappealing prospect of redoing the button bands, I dozed off, and I had a weird thought that might be a good solution. I can at least try it, since it’s now clear I won’t be able to wear Maude Louise down to Christmas and impress all my relatives. I am going to make the left button band wider than the right and I’m going to either make tiny i-cords or buy some pretty ribbon, and I’m going to make a series of little ties down the front. It might look horrible, but considering that I have to try something new anyway, I might as well try this. I subscribe to the school of failing hugely if I’m going to fail at all.

In other news, I whipped up some very fast fingerless armwarmer thingies with cables. Nothing very impressive, but I think my friend Christine will like them muchly. I will post pictures and a pattern for them soon, because I think they’re a good, inexpensive last minute gift. They look bizarrely like a hip version of the wrist splint I had to use when I sprained my wrist earlier this year.

I’m finishing as much as I can today. I’m finally going to finish the stupid dog coat I’m making for my sister. It’s weird to return to a knitting project I started so long ago, because I can spot all my many mistakes so much better than I could then. Still, it will be done.

I also need to whip something up for my dad. The cushion goes horribly, because while the fabric produced is nice, the two yarns I twisted together are too fluffy and sticky, and they move like molasses through the needles. I may make him an iPod cozy instead.

Gabriel’s intarsia sweater is progressing, but will not be finished. Damn. And I already knew the Seamless Hybrid wasn’t going to make it, but hope is a tease, and I was secretly hoping that maybe, just maybe, it would be a late addition to the heap. Nope.

So, yeah. Crabby.

Error message

October 26, 2006

The errors began when I cast on for Maude Louise and decided to use a wide rib for the bottom edge, which ruled out my original plan of a sort of rounded skirt like ruffle below the button band at the waist. That was fine, though, because I didn’t mind the new look, even if it was vastly different from my original sketch. I plunged ahead, learning as I went. And mostly, it’s all turned out as calculated. My math has been right (!) and the gods of alpaca, merino, and silk have smiled upon me.

So here’s where I’ve made two major blunders. One, the shawl collar I told you about. Here it is.

Doesn’t look too bad there, but the back is atrociously sewn, and though the front is, too, it doesn’t look quite so bad because of the stepped edge, which looks like a purposeful ruffle or something. Now, I’ve discovered that the collar will close, and if I re-sewed it, I think it could be saved. But even then – even well sewn – the collar itself is just ghastly with the rest of the jacket. I tried it on over and over again and stared into the mirror, and there is no way it will work. There’s a decided conflict, and I may end up just crocheting the edges with a little picot stitch and letting it go at that, because no collar I picture will look nice, not to mention that the edge already comes up pretty high without any collar. If you have any suggestions at all in regards to collar styles or really anything about the collar, please don’t hesitate to comment, because I really am going distracted about this.

Then there’s error number two. As I said, my original plan had been for the skirts of the jacket to fall away in sort of half circles below the button band, which was to go to the waist. The shape of the jacket changed, but I thought, “You know, it could still look good that way! I’ll make a short button band, and then it will fall open below, like a skirt. The drape will be nice.”

Yeah. Cute idea. Here’s what it looks like.

It looks like a cliff. That sharp edge sucks the grace right out of the garment. I need to soften the whole thing up. I tried some fancy solutions, including improving my crochet skills enough to put little flowers into the corners and then connecting them to the bottom edge via a web of crochet. It looked ghastly, and I ripped it out immediately. The fancy solutions were no good at all, so I’m going with a simple one. I’m going to cut the button bands back off the jacket and open them up again to continue the rest of the way down the edges, but the actual button holes will go no further than they do now. Not as elegant as originally planned, but it will do.

You’d think this would be more discouraging than it is, but I’m actually having a blast. When I was in art school, my very favorite drawing teacher gave us this advice: “When you make a mistake, it’s an opportunity. There are a lot of risks you simply won’t take on a drawing that is going well, because you don’t want to ruin it. Well, if you’ve already ruined your drawing, you have nothing left to lose. Make huge mistakes. Take those mistakes as far as they’ll go. Try out everything you were too scared to try.” I think it was some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten, and I’ve tried to apply it to all of my artistic endeavors. OK, so I made some mistakes. I tried things I haven’t tried before and I got in over my head. That’s OK. Now I know more about how to do those things the right way. Maybe I can find ways to use those mistakes in the future. It’s all an opportunity.