Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My NEW Knitting Chair!!!

Yesterday we had an impromptu visit to IKEA (which is a four hour drive - one way) to order a new sofa as ours is starting to fall apart and is starting to be a safety hazard for the baby. The staples are falling out of the bottom (thanks to the kittens who like to crawl into the couch from the bottom and hide) and I'm so worried that Pooter will find a staple before I do and eat it. So... we ordered the Karlstad 3+2 sectional sofa in brown. I had wanted to get a dark grey, but upon seeing the fabric in the showroom, I didnt like it anymore. It just looked... tired and cheap. Like it had once been a beautiful black sofa that has sat in the sun way too long. I had wanted that fabric because it was machine washable, but the brown is drycleanable.... so... I could always Dryel a cushion cover if it gets covered in the bodily fluids of a baby. It'll be here in about 2 weeks.

I also wanted a new chair to knit in. I bought the Poang with a black-brown frame and a black cushion. I also got a matching footstool. I needed to replace the Papasan chair that I've had for about 5 or 6 years now. It's just getting a little rickety and the only one that sits in it regularly is Pooter and even he is starting to not like it anymore. I put it together this morning (we got home at about 12:30 last night and went straight to bed) and it was only a few pieces to bolt together which was nice. As you can see by the photo, Mischief and Mayhem have already made themselves at home on it:

(photo taken with my cell phone...)

Remember that chart I was complaining about making a few weeks ago? Well I finished it and have been working on the intarsia part of that sweater. At one point in time, I had 10 (? I was too scared to count) little balls of yarn attached to the back of the project. It was a tangled mess for awhile but I muddled through it:


THat's all the yarn I was working with, the chart underneath it, and the knitting a little bit behind it. I'm trying to obscure the work a bit so it doesn't violate any knitty submission laws should I decide to submit it. I'm finally back down to two colors and in a few rows I'll be back down to one color. Yay!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Lillian Tank top (FO)

I've been meaning to write this for awhile now and am a little backed up with writing about my FOs. The Lillian tank (designed by Amanda Reed) is a gorgeous tank with simple shaping and a fun lace pattern on the bottom. The problem is... the shaping was TOO simple and I had to modify it as I went along.

When I start a project, I usually research what other people have said about the pattern for at least an hour (sometimes more if you can believe it). What other people have said about this pattern on Ravelry was that there was a lot of stockinette on the top as the sizes got larger, which makes sense except that it was too much stockinette especially in the back as there was no bust shaping in the front. So girls that were simply busty (as opposed to just being bigger all around) had issues with the fit up top and in the armholes. I'm not necessarily busty (makes me sad to write this but after three kids... the girls kind of lose their girth) but I do have short shoulders (not sure if that's what they are really called but lets just say my bra staps are almost always as short as I can make them and I need to shorten the straps on tank tops so that I'm not looking like I work at a peep show).

Before I could even start this project with all the modifications I had planned in shortening the shoulders, widening the straps (I had noticed that the strap size is the same for all sizes and some of the Lillians made in the larger sizes had straps that were way too far out to the edge and it looked awkward), and adding short rows, I noticed an issue with the gauge. It took me days to try to wrap my head around it. Before even making a swatch, I noticed a discrepancy. For a size medium (36-38") at a gauge of 5.25 stitches per inch, you are instructed to cast on 154 sts. This equates to about a 29 1/3 " circumference. There were no increases at the bust area. There's no way that that would fit anyone with a 36-38" bust. It's not just this size. All of them have extreme negative ease. The only thing I could think of to explain this was that the designer used a cotton/acrylic blend and was compensating for a possible stretch. The other thing I couldn't wrap my head around was why the heck she wanted us to use a 16" circular to knit it. Yes, one is needed for the trim at the end around arm and neck holes but for the body of the tank that's a lot of stitches (esp at the bigger sizes).

After starting twice, I cast on for the size large (40-42" bust) to have enough to go around my waist comfortably with enough ease with a gauge of 5.5 stitches per inch on size 5 24" circs. I used Bernat Softee Baby solid in white which is a sportweight yarn.


I created my own chart for the pattern instead of the line by line instructions using this chart generator and went for it. I did a half of a repeat more than the lace pattern called for to lengthen it a bit but I wish I would have done another whole repeat as it shortens up a bit as I wear it (so I would have made it 5.5 repeats long or so).


When I got to the bust portion I added 8 staggered short rows to add an extra inch of fabric to the front. Once I got past the short rows, I followed the directions for length of stockinette portion for the smallest sizes and tried it on multiple times to make sure it was right. When it came to the straps however, I made them 14 stitches wide instead of 8. There is about a half inch of ribbing on both sides of the strap but I didn't think it be wide enough to cover the straps of the camisole I'd wear underneath as well as hide the ol' bra straps.

I steam blocked the heck out of the lace portion because I needed it to flatten out as much as possible. Turns out that I maybe should have made the xtra large size for the bottom. It fits around the waist, but I wish I had a bit more ease to hide the "baby pouch" a little bit better.

But, it's still cute, and I got a lot of compliments on it when I wore it. No one believed me that I knit it and didn't buy it at a store.

(Pic above is pre-blocking)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Is it possible to twist stitches AFTER you've joined in the round?



I've done it twice now.

I'm using 5 dpns and the stitches on the needles that are hanging down get twisted between the needles. I use dpns a lot and I've never had this happen before.

I'm working on a hat for the (big) man of the house while he is a way at a music festival. I'm using this pattern (That Chocolate's Gone Straight to your Ribs) and using Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Coal. Everything that man wants knit for him has to be black. Boring.

Because WOTA is a yarn I've been contemplating using for some designs and other projects I made a "good" swatch. (As opposed to knitting some stitches and some rows, measuring while still on the needles and saying close enough). I cast on 30 stitches, and knit stockinette for about 3", bound off, and ::gasp:: blocked it. Counting stitches and rows on black yarn was difficult but I think I got it. To prove that I actually DID do what I just said I did... I took a picture:


As I was pinning my little swatch to a folded up kitchen towel, I decided that I needed these:

... Blocking mats and blocking pins from Knit Picks. I'm half tempted to order them, but the pins are backordered a bit... and I SHOULD really wait until I'm working again in Sept.... Yes, I think that these would be a nice treat for having to deal with the kids all summer long. Problem is though, that once I'm working again, my knitting time will dwindle so I may not use them often. Grrrrr..... !!!!!