Wednesday, October 30, 2013

WIP: Sweater Surgery

Last week I'd pretty much finished the Christmas sweater for my youngest nephew... but I did think it looked awfully small! I knew that he'd only be able to fit it this winter as it was, but it would be such a shame to knit a sweater that was too small before he even got it! So I decided not to weave in the ends until after I'd tried it on him.

Turned out not to matter, because while it was too small for him, it was too small lengthwise (I'd mostly been worried about the tightness of the bind-off) so I needed to knit another 5-10 cm before the bottom ribbing. As this yarn was easy to knit with and had wonderful stitch definition, I figured this was as good a time as any for my to attempt Sweater Surgery... especially because this sweater was small enough that no real harm was done if the sweater surgery failed and I had to knit the ribbing again after all ;)

Sweater prior to Sweater Surgery

Taking a scissor to the yarn... that was kinda intimidating. I haven't tried steaking yet, so in my books knitting and scissors don't mix!

Slowly unravelling the cut yarn, catching the stitches as I go along.

Leaving a gaping whole and two sets of live stitches.

And finally the ribbing completely separated from the rest of the sweater.

After having knit another 8cm in the round it was time to combine the two again...

Using kitchener stitch to graft them together.

Getting a seam that's practically invisible... should be completely after blocking.

The purple stitch maker shows the place of the original ribbing.

And all done!
Granted, the tree looks kinda small compared to the full size of the sweater now, so I probably ought to have unravelled further and done another set of branches there, but what's done is done. Now I just need to weave in all the ends, and it's ready to give to my nephew for his birthday next month! I'm still contemplating whether to use coloured yarn to embroider ornaments on the tree... On one hand I think it looks good as it is, on the other, the added colours could give a neat effect as well. I might just try a couple and see how it works out.

Lessons Learned
1. Always get measurements of the person you're knitting for! Especially if you're knitting something time sensitive for a growing person! I've knit other sweaters for my nephew in the past, but there I deliberately chose a size 1-2 larger than I knew he used so he could grow into it. This sweater he'd be using within a couple of weeks of me finishing it, so I should just have asked my sister for measurements right away.

2. When cutting and then grafting remember to check all your stitches are facing the right direction before starting to sew them up. I didn't, so some of my stitches came out crooked. As it's the first round after the ribbing it's not too noticeable, so I don't really mind, but if it had been in the middle of a longer sts section it would have been VERY obvious.

3. Using kitchener stitch to graft 80-odd stitches together takes FOREVER!!! Time-wise I'm pretty sure it was still faster than just re-knitting the ribbing, but it felt slower, so for another time - when it's such a narrow ribbing at least - I think I mind just unravel entirely and reknit instead.

4. I need to be more careful not to pull the yarn too tight when grafting. The ribbing turns up some, but I'm hoping to fix that with a good blocking.

5. While it took awhile, and was it somewhat daunting to start cutting into my knitting - I managed!!! Yay! A new technique learned :D :D :D

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

WIP Wednesday - Squishy yarn!!

Of the four WIPs I showed you last week, one is done already! Yay :) It probably won't show up this Friday though, as I want to wait until it has reached its intended recipient.

I've been doing quite a bit of knitting this past week, and have made good progress on several WIPs, so that's all good :)

Garter Stitch Wristlets - one down, one to go :) I really adore this yarn - it's Posh Yarn Pamela Sock in the "That Don't Impress Me Much" colourway. The colours are awesome, and I love the squishiness of the yarn - especially in the garter stitch section.

I've just cast on for the second one this morning. This first one took me about 4 hours to knit, so it's possible - even if not particularly likely - that I might finish the second one by the time I see my sister this weekend :)

Honey Cowl - I've just gotten started on the purple, so 25% through. I LOVE how this is turning out. The yarn is amazingly soft, and the colours work perfectly together! Despite the simplicity of it, this is currently my favourite thing to knit, because I just can't wait to use the finished product. It's dedicated travel knitting though, so I'm trying to limit myself ;)

Red Chocolate - yes, I finally returned to the Red Chocolate ;) The bobbin pin shows my progress since the last photo - that's only the work of one evening though, so I'm satisfied :) Another 6 rows to go and then I'm ready to bind off for the armholes. I'm a tad worried about this project just now, I have to admit. For the back piece I measured the length at the cabled section rather than the garter section, as the cabled section was the longest part and I figured I didn't want to squish anything together when sewing it up. Now the side piece tells me to measure "on the short side" = the garter stitch section! Doing that would mean that the decreases/bind off of the back and side wouldn't match up! On the other hand, I'm afraid that NOT doing that would make the sweater too short :-/ I think I've decided to just discount measuring altogether and counting garter stitch rows instead to make sure I have the same number for back and sides... and then just keeping my fingers crossed that the drape will make it long enough anyway.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

FO Fridays - Boticelli Blue

I have a finished object! :) And one that's been on the needles for quite awhile too :)

I finally finished the Boticelli Blue week before last, and got to give it to my sister last Saturday. I had been a tad worried about it, because I'd tried it on post seaming (to check that the neckline was good) and it really did not look good on me - at all. However, my sister and I have quite different frames, so I figured there was still a chance it would look good on her. I handed it over to her Saturday, she put it on right away... and it looked PERFECT on her!!! Just suited her to a T. I think I may have started to jump up and down because I was so thrilled by how good it looked on her :) Yay! So that is ALL good.

Now my other sister is making noises about wanting me to make her one as well... we'll see ;)

Please forgive the HORRIBLE lighting in this photo. It was the best I could do at the time. My iPhone camera is going out I think. Still, it shows off how the blouse suits her well enough :)
Pattern: Boticelli Red
Yarn: Hjertegarn Blend Bamboo 70% bamboo, 30% cotton. Had a tendency to split, but was SO soft and wonderful to work with!
Moderations: Knit in a completely different gauge than the pattern originally called for, but did the maths to make the rows/stitches fit anyway. Also spotted a couple of errors in the original English translation of the pattern. You can see both my calculations and the errata on my project page.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

WIP Wednesday - Cast-on-itis

Before I start with the WIPs, I had a lovely time with my niece yesterday! After work she and I met up in Lyngby where I took her to the biggest yarn store around. I think she was slightly overwhelmed by the large selection, but she ended up finding some gorgeously soft yarn in hot pink-yellow-blue-purple. It's very loud and very cool! We took the bus back to my place, and after we'd gotten dinner started, I took her to my hobby room and showed her how to use the swift so we could get the yarn wound up, and the knitting started :)

I cast on for her, (and knit the first round as I discovered too late that I'd cast on WAY too tight for her), and after that she was flying. She immediately got the hang of knitting in the round ("This isn't difficult at ALL, aunt Maria!" No, nor should it be :) ), and had gotten another two rounds knit between dinner and the time my sister came to pick her up. I had such a great time just hanging out with her, each doing our own knitting, and according to her mother, she'd enjoyed herself too - so that's all good :) I'm looking forward to seeing how her cowl will turn out :)

I have cast-on-itis :-/ Don't know why I'm surprised, because the same goes for my reading, so.... Should have seen this coming ;)

Of course this means that the chances of me participating in NaKniSweaMo are looking slim at the moment. I'm okay with that - my main reason for setting that as a goal for 2013 was because I wanted to push myself to knit a sweater, and as I've already knit 3 and am half-way through a third I've completed the spirit of the goal even if perhaps not the letter of it :) And the Moyen Age isn't going anywhere ;)

Anyway, this means I have no fewer than four WIPs to show off to you today. Unfortunately the Red Chocolate isn't one of them. I haven't touched that one for almost two weeks - which I'm slightly embarrassed about. But it's really not travel-knitting, so it has to wait for my evenings at home.

In fact, one of the reasons why I've cast on so many new things is that after I'd finished the Boticelli Blue, I had no travel-knitting! I love to knit on my commute, so obviously this just wasn't good enough! At the same time I was hit by a request and an adorable test-knit I just couldn't refuse, and now I have more WIPs than ever!

First, my sister asked if I'd knit her some fingerless mittens. She'd seen some at the woman's conference we went on last month, but figured I could just as well knit some for her ;) She wanted the yarn to be varigated in earthly tones, and fortunately I already had just the thing in my stash, so I could get started on those right away.
I've only made it through 1 repeat of the cable pattern so far (out of 4), but that only took me 1 hour, so it's going well. The yarn is very different from my usual stock, but I love it - very soft and squishy, especially in the garter stitch :)

Next, I've finally got started on the Wombat blanket. I absolutely LOVE the idea of this reading/knitting blanket and have been wanting to knit it ever since I first saw it (... ever since I got far enough with my knitting that I believed I could actually do it anyway ;) ). I'm almost finished with the pouch and getting ready to knit flat.

Then there's a test-knit that jumped up and attacked me on Friday. I wasn't going to sign up for any more test-knits until I'd limited the number of my WIPs, but this was an absolutely adorable Christmas sweater for toddlers. Fun without being tacky :) And at size 12mo I figured I could get it done quickly enough. So once again I have stolen one of my nieblings to knit for ;)

But amazingly enough none of these WIPs will work as travel-knits! The Wombat blanket is too big, and the two others require constant checking in with the pattern. Travel-knitting - at least on my train commutes - needs to be small('ish) and easily memorized. So... of course I had to cast on one more project before I was satisfied. I ended up picking the Honey Cowl, so I would finally have the chance to use this terrifically soft bamboo yarn that I bought last summer, but never oculd figure out what to use for! Haven't come very far yet, but I'll post this photo anyway to show off the colours! ;)

That's all for me this week... more than enough, really ;)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

FO Friday: Take 2

This FO was so quick it didn't even make it to a WIP post!!

I wanted something to knit during the seminars at the women's conference last weekend. I'd originally brought the Boticelli Blue, but it turned out that it was less than ideal because of the yarn's tendency to split (=I needed to pay more attention than I was willing to give it, and the small stitches didn't mesh well with the low light), so for the second day I brought along some lovely bulky yarn for another pair of super-chunky socks as my sister had mentioned she'd like a pair.

This pair was even faster to knit up than the first pair, so I'm glad I thought to bring yarn for both socks. Altogether they can't have taken me more than 4-5 hours to knit :)

I didn't realize until afterwards that the yarn had been wound in opposite directions in the two skeins I'd brought, but I actually think it looks quite cool :-)

By the way, this aunt is very proud :) My oldest niece wants to learn how to knit in the round and has asked ME to teach her! I think that's all kind of awesome :)

So I sent her some samples of things I thought she'd be able to make, and she settled on a lovely cowl that's all in the knit stitch - great idea to start with just one new thing rather than learning purl at the same time too - and her mother and I have arranged that when they're in Copenhagen next I'll take niece out to go yarn shopping (on my dime of course - niece was very concerned whether she'd be able to earn enough money on chores beforehand which also touched my heartstrings. Brilliant girl not to just expect her aunt to buy her some yarn, even if that is, in fact, what I'll be doing!) and then she'll come over for dinner at our place afterwards so I can cast on for her and teach her how to knit in the round.

Awesome :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

WIP Wednesday - I'm Blue...

I've been working almost non-stop on the Boticelli Blue this past week (interrupted briefly by a new FO) and have now knit 156 of the 197 rows of the front of the sweater. My goal is to finish by October 13th when I see my sister next. We'll see if I manage...
Missing 41 rows of the front, seaming and knitting the cuffs... should be doable.