Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Irish Hiking Hat

070127 irishhikinghat

Instant gratification. Right after I finished my green Bluebell sweater, I cast-on to make Nicole Reeves' Irish Hiking Hat for my mom. I used less than one ball of Cascade 220 Heathers, an extra skein from my purple Back to School vest. I had an FO in about three or four days. I love the cables and how the whole thing feels. I want one too. Or maybe Gretel. Anyway, I sort of misread Nicole's pattern; she wrote that I should repeat the cable pattern until I reached 7 inches. In a hurry, I glanced at the instructions and thought I should repeat the cable pattern 7 times. If I'd done that, the hat would've fit a Conehead. So, a few days later, I read the instructions again, caught my mistake, but had already reached 10 inches. Since I was going to make the hat a little longer to cover the ears, it was ok. So, I ended up with 5 cable repeats before I decreased to shape the crown. I didn't rip anything back; it was fine as is. Ok, it's big, but the comfort and warmth make up for that!

Next, I plan to make a hat for my dad. Other than the yellow garter stitch scarf (my first project ever) I made for him when I was 11, I haven't knit anything new for him in years. I'm not sure what pattern to make. I dread a plain 2x2 or 2x4 ribbed hat. I know it'll look fine in the end, but the knitting will be horrifically boring. Plus, he requested black yarn.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


My knitting needle cord broke! I can't believe it. This has never happened to me before. I know these things are not indestructable, but I didn't sit and squash it or have a pet/baby chew on it. This morning, I was knitting along on a new sweater. As I pushed the stitches around the cord, the cord snapped at the join. I'm still a bit stunned!

See the top of the picture, where the little joint is at? And the clean break with the cord? Ack! Anyway, I need to get the rest of my stitches off that cord and pack it off to Denise needles for a replacement cord.

Actually, before this happened, I considered getting a new interchangeable needle set, the Knitpicks Options metal ones. I love my Denise set, as they're lightweight and plastic. I wouldn't give them up. However, while knitting this particular project, I dealt with a lot of resistance with this yarn on these plastic needles. Got me thinking about how the stitches might slide more easily on the metal needles. I own a few Knitpicks double pointed needles and a fixed circular needle, so I know they're good (and pointy!).

Anyway, I cast-on for the Cozy V-neck sweater from Fitted Knits last week. That's what's in the gory picture above. I'm using Wool of the Andes chunky in grape. Not sure if the color is really right for me, but we'll see. Coming off my last sweater, I'm a bit bored with knitting another stockinette sweater. So to change it up, I've got two other projects going which I'll show next time.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Jester Hats

My jester hats from the Yarn Girls' Kid Knits book have been posted here! It's the Potter Craft January Newsletter. Scroll to the middle of the page; it's on the right. How exciting to see something of my own published/posted (and not self-posted :))!

This picture actually marked the first time I began documenting all of my knit FOs. Originally, I made these two hats for Elena's twins. They were so cute to make that I made one more for Terri's baby, Zoe, a few years later. There are so many possible color combinations that keep the pattern fun to knit.

Yay, it made my day to see my hats on their website!

Oh, and yes, for the pictures in my last post, I'm wearing my glasses. I know, I hardly ever wear them, but it was a lazy day. As for the beret, I'd been wearing it all day but then couldn't take it off because it flattened my hair. Now that I think about it, I could've posed on a non-bad hair day, with contacts in. Just wanted to get my FO picture done asap. Plus, it started to rain on me. Oh well!

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Finished! Washed and blocked too. My green Boatneck Bluebell Sweater from Fitted Knits is done. Here I am posing for my usual side profile shot. It looks better this way. After many starts and stops, I finally reached the end on Tuesday. What a relief. Last weekend, I thought I had this pattern beat; I was busy tweaking the sleeve pattern for a closer fit. I ended up going overboard that it wouldn't go around my forearms. So I had to rip it back AGAIN! This time, I followed the written directions but omitted the bell sleeve bit. Just knit straight until the wrist. Also, I only knit one "ring" at the wrist, instead of doing another ring triad. Having another bulky triad so soon after the ones at the elbow would've made my arms look short. I wanted to elongate the sleeves as much as possible.

For the body, I also omitted the ring triad at the bottom edge. Instead, I did a few rows of garter stitch and then bound off. With my body, I didn't think another set of bulky rings would look good around my hips, so I made it lay flat. One thing to note: the model in the book must have a super long torso. If I had not fitted the pattern to me, the sweater would've ended up mid-thigh!

In the end, was it worth it? Four frogs and some frustration. Well, yes, it all worked out eventually. If I hadn't altered anything, I would've spent a lot of time on an ill-fitting sweater that I'd never wear. So glad I made the boatneck neckline smaller. It's the width that I'm comfortable with right now; but the original cast-on would've made this totally off the shoulder. I cast-on 90 stitches (20 inches). I knit the chest to 34 inches, instead of 33 inches, because I thought the raglan sleeve-body separation was going to stretch too much if I made it smaller. Now I know it would've been safe to go with 33 inches but a little ease is ok.

Vitals: 4 skeins of Cascade 220 Heathers in sage green on size 8 (5mm) needles

Gauge: 4.5 stitches/inch; normally I have a 5st/inch on size 7s (4.5mm) with this yarn but I didn't want to recalculate the pattern, so I decided to go with the pattern gauge. It's a little stretchy but hopefully it'll keep it's shape.

My sweater pictures look out of focus. Somehow the sharp picture on Flickr is not translating here. If you click on the picture, it should take you to my Flickr album. Or check it out on Ravelry.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

templates and the dumpling nazi

I'm experimenting with different blog templates. I started out with the dark blue background with dots. This one has a light background with a different font. I'm trying to decide which one makes my pictures look better. Possibly the darker background? Or maybe it doesn't make a difference. Which overall look do you like better? Let me know.

Update on the Bluebell. I finished the body and am almost done with one sleeve. Still tweaking the pattern, so I'm not sure if I like how the sleeve is turning out. For sure, I've gotten rid of the bell sleeve shape. One thing I've learned from past bell-sleeved sweaters is that it's tough to eat anything without the sleeves dragging into all of your food. What a pain.

Sure would've made it awkward reaching over all the steam baskets for dumplings last night. We went out with friends at a dumpling restaurant. Good stuff. After we cleaned off everything on our plates, we ordered more shao lun bao (I can't spell it) but the Dumpling Nazi told us that they'd run out (No dumplings for you!). How do you run out of dumplings at the Dumpling House?! She told us to order something else and went away. While we thought about it, she came back, we ordered, my friend asked again if they'd really run out, then DN ripped the menu out of Simon's hands. We got her mad. Our potstickers eventually arrived, but she made us wait. Hee hee! Can't wait to go back!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Bluebell WIP

After the power went out at work today (about 15 minutes after I arrived), I went home. We're having a terrible rain storm today, so I'm glad to be indoors, safe and sound. I did bring home some work, but I do plan to get in more knitting time.

Ok, time to talk about my Boatneck Bluebell Sweater from Fitted Knits. It's been frogged three times. Each time I think I'm set, I find out it doesn't fit right. Since the whole point of this book is about custom fitting patterns to yourself, it's only right to keep readjusting. Except I don't usually have this much trouble!

First frog (rip-it back):
the boatneck line was way too wide

Second frog:
I adjusted the neckline but forgot to recalculate the raglan sleeve/body proportions. I was in holiday mode and just wanted to knit, so I kept going and going...

Third frog:
After recalculating everything, I thought I'd be clever and start the ring triad and waist ribbing pattern a little lower. Nope! My torso is not that long, and so the rings started around the middle of my stomach and looked weird. The waist ribbing ended up around my hips.

Now, I've taken off an inch on the stockinette torso and will start the rings higher up, closer to the bust line. I hope I love this sweater in the end. I really wanted to make/wear it before I started, but who knew it would involve so many starts and stops!