Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A (small) hitch in the works.

Fyne vest07
Originally uploaded by runawaypenguin
I think ones attitude towards steeking reflects a great deal about ones attitude towards life in general. I would like to think that I am a calm, collected individual with a dash of devil-may-care. That being said, I did want to have photographic evidence in case the cutting turned out to be a total disaster, so there is one pre-cutting picture on Ravelry and my Flickr page.

I used Eunny Jang's tutorial for the crocheted steek, and I love how tidy the edges are. I haven't sewn in all the ends yet but at least it's only half as many as it would have been otherwise. I wouldn't have minded seaming up both sides but the thought of dealing with all of those ends was not appealing.

I didn't have any problems with the steeking itself, but I seem to have run out of yarn for the ribbing on the armholes. I'm hoping someone will have a quarter of a ball left over from a project that they wouldn't mind parting with. We'll see how that goes.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Knitting fiend.

Fyne Vest03
Originally uploaded by runawaypenguin
Let me tell you, it was a real shocker to measure the vest on a whim and realize I'm only a few rounds from starting the armhole steeks. Time to get serious! There was a tense moment where I worried about having enough rows to finish the end-of-waist increases for the bust before simultaneously needing to decrease for the arms, but I think it's going to work out fine. If you try telling me that I could have just subtracted the necessary increases from the decreases and life would have been peachy, I will ignore you. Just a warning.

Yesterday was so gorgeous I spent all morning knitting outside, on our porch, without needing a coat. Since taking this picture I've finished the large motif nearest the needles.

Funny story: I kept insisting that I didn't need anything from the yarn shop while we were nearby, but we decided to stop in anyway since it was on the way home, and it took me a half hour in the shop before I remembered I need a crochet hook for Eunny-approved steeking. I have to say, those things are handy. I have never been afraid of dropping down several rows to fix a mistake and just using my regular needles to work my way back up, but the hook definitely tops the list of "Best $3 Purchase In Recent Memory".

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Last minute change in the lineup

Fyne Vest02
Originally uploaded by runawaypenguin
We have a winner! I've decided to go with the Fyne vest and join in with the Vest-uary festivities on Ravelry.

Getting past the ribbing was tough, because it was hard to feel like I was getting anywhere with it. However, yesterday I only had to go in to work for three hours, and I devoted a solid portion of the rest of the day to knitting. Although I don't particularly want to devote every waking moment to the vest between now and March 1, it now seems possible to finish in a month (as per the loosey goosey Vest-uary "rules").

I took a break from the actual vest knitting this morning to lengthen my swatch and reevaluate colors. I've decided to replace the dark forest green in the largest motif with a dark blue color of Felted Tweed I have in my stash, and switch the order of the light blue and purple so that the purple is furthest away from the center. I've probably mentioned before how I'm a bit of a chicken when it comes to changing design colors, so this decision was a Very Big Deal. I had to take a break and talk it over with Mo before I decided to go ahead with the substitution. Having that swatch ready to embroider over in the various colors was a lifesaver--I would hate to knit dozens of 200+ stitch rounds only to decide it didn't look quite how I had expected.

Every time I finish a round I think about how grateful I am that I don't have to start purling. Yay steeks!

Friday, January 30, 2009


Originally uploaded by runawaypenguin
I am very, very excited to be wearing this sweater. I am also excited to have captured on film a cat toy escaping behind the door hinge.

When I wear hats and scarves to work I am often asked if I knit, but it's almost as if this is beyond the realm of what people think is possible of a handmade item. I have to admit I enjoy the attention.

Some thoughts on the pattern: If you are thinking about making this, you should strongly consider going down a size, perhaps even two sizes (as I did). I ended up unraveling the first eight inches I knit in order to start over, and it nearly derailed my entire project. I'm generally somewhere in the 37-38" bust range, and having gone down to the smallest size (for a 32" bust) this is still plenty roomy.

I did not incorporate color changes into my swatch because I was concerned about running out of yarn, and I wanted the option of re-knitting from my swatch without having to deal with a million short pieces of yarn. Although I think the sizing problem is more the fault of the pattern than my particular batch of yarns, it is possible that my swatching decision contributed as well. There was a highly variable level of twist between each color, which may have changed my spot-on gauge measurement into something a little...roomier. I relied on several vendors in order to assemble all of the colors, so I think it may simply have been because some of the yarn was much older (for instance, the now-discontinued dusty rose).

The sweater is flattering and (as long as you compensate for the sizing problems) I think the original pattern picture does a good job of portraying the type of fit--if you want to make a statement with your figure, you will need a bra with an attitude, because there is no bust shaping.

If I were to suddenly have the patience, sewing experience, and visualizing/charting/math skills to change one thing about this pattern, it would be to modify the shape of the set in sleeve. The sleeves begin farther down on the torso than I think is entirely necessary, which makes it feel slightly like having miniature bat wings. However, I know that I am not yet at the point where I want to start messing around with changing armholes, so I'm pretty darn satisfied with how this turned out.

Three last words of advice: buy (and use) stitch markers, first of all; count often; and forgive yourself if your stitch count gets off for a few rows. Feather and fan is forgiving, and I can't tell you how many times I compensated for a mistake several rows later instead of going back six rows to fix it. I can't tell you because it is practically impossible to tell without a magnifying glass and a severe case of OCD.

Working on and completing this project after more than a year and a half has greatly influenced the type of project I am interested in tackling next. For the longest time I thought I would want to work on Salina--I finished the moss stitch hem last winter and the Felted Tweed looks absolutely delicious--but I don't think that is enough of a challenge. Besides, I have plenty of classic, single color sweaters in my wardrobe already, and although they aren't hand knit I don't feel an urgent desire to add another one.

So here are the top contenders: a slightly elongated Fyne vest, with added bust shaping and steeks for the arms and neck, or a Tangled Yoke. I already have the yarn I would use for both of them, but so far it seems like the Fyne vest may be winning as I have already swatched. Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Addressing Imperfection

Red Herring01
Originally uploaded by runawaypenguin
It's not perfect, and I never once considered ripping back.