Monday Mishaps: It Never Rains…

I have finished knitting the body for my Stripes Gone Crazy Cardigan. The end result looked a little… asymmetric. However! In the pattern itself, the designer wrote that this is totally normal and it will bock to look like a regular cardigan. I thought nothing of this and threw it in the washer to wet block.

Stripe Gone Crazy

I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but I use my ‘damages’ to knit samples from my own yarn. A ‘damage’ is a skein of yarn that had something wrong with it and I deemed it not fit to sell. This could mean anything from a knot in the skein to the colour not looking quite right. The skeins I had designated for this sweater looked fine, so I assumed there were knots in them or something. Little did I actually know, when I had dyed the purple, I had used too much dye. The yarn was very saturated and I was having trouble rinsing it out. I was afraid the colour would bleed and this would equal my whole business failing horribly.

Stripes Gone Crazy 2

I am really glad I didn’t sell those skeins because they bled onto the yellow and turned it a weird purple yellowish colour. Which I was totally not impressed with, so I washed it again. When I say I washed it, I mean I threw it in the washer on the wool cycle with some soak. There is no agitation and the soak is actually rinsed out. After the second wash the yellow was still a gross colour and then a light bulb went on in my brain. This is made entirely of superwash yarn, it doesn’t need to be on the wool cycle.

Stripes Gone Crazy 3

I put the sweater in again with the regular cycle and detergent to see what happened. Most of the purple came out of the yellow, but it still wasn’t the sunshine yellow that it was.
The yellow is now the exact same colour as the gold yarn in Gilt Leaf and Rule the Night; so that is what I will market it as. The sweater itself doesn’t look bad, but I am a little bit sad the really bright yellow didn’t stay bright. Perhaps I will have to make another one…

Vampire Barbie Socks

I realize that I may have mentioned before but I have completed the Vampire Barbie socks! I have good photos to share with you now as well as an update of the Stripes Gone Crazy Cardigan.

Vamp Socks 1

The Vampire Barbie socks were knit entirely in tiny little pieces. Paul and I carpool to work because we work at the same company. It’s not a particularly long drive to work, but instead of just sitting there, I started working on my socks. I got a shocking amount done while making the seven to ten minute commute to work. I’ve decided any time I am a passenger in a car, I am going to knit I’ve accomplished so much while knitting during a wait time, like at the doctors office or the passport office.

Vamp Socks 2

Since I’ve finished my Vampire Barbie socks and the K/W Knitters Fair is over, there is not a while lot of pressure to finish anything with my own yarn. I cast on a sock from the Knit Circus yarns; the Greatest of Ease base in the colour Over the Rainbow. This was a special colour that was only available for about a month or two? But I heard about it on the Knit Circus podcast Jalaa and Amy do and immediately ordered a couple for myself. I am so in love with this colour way!
It’s a rainbow gradient that goes through all seven colours, yellow to green. There aren’t distinct stripes for each colour either, they are blended together so the sock slowly goes through each colour and starts into the next.

Vamp Socks 3

I am doing them from the cuff down because that is the style I am used to, but I think I might to the next pair from the toe up. It is a great yarn to knit from the toe up and I should really learn how; I’ve been putting it off for far too long. This means I will have to give things a try and figure out which one works the best for me! The gradient yarns from the Knit Circus are the perfect yarn to attempt these on. You always want to use every inch of the yarn and I have some sock yarn I bought from VKL Chicago 2013 that I haven’t used yet. I better get them knitted before the show this year.

Stripes 2

I have been trying to make it out the Purple Purl’s social knitting night because I really miss having a group of knitters to talk to. It’s like reading a really excellent book and having no one to talk about it with. I went for the first time last week and they happened to have the perfect buttons for my Stripes Gone Crazy Cardigan; I’ve never seen bright yellow mother of pearl buttons, but they are PEREFECT for this sweater. I was so happy about finding them.
I managed to get some knitting done on the Crazy Stripe Cardi; it felt like I was on the very end of the left side forever. I think I actually knit it a little too long, but I have faith I can block that out… along with the coffee stains. I did manage to spill my coffee all over the place once while working on this, on the pattern and the sweater itself.

Stripes 2

Since I am close to done the Crazy Stripe Cardi I am looking for my next project. I think I am going to knit something from the Shibui Baby Alpaca yarn I got from VKL Chicago 2013. I would really love to have most of the things I bought there all knit up for this time. That way I can go to the booths I visited last year and show them my awesomeness. I think I want to find some kind of drapey cardigan pattern. The yarn is mostly alpaca which means it is soooooo soft, but it will stretch as I wear it. I can’t do anything form fitting because it won’t stay that way. I am thinking some kind of comfy sweater that will be amazingly soft to wear. I am still searching for a good pattern so all advice is welcome. The yarn is a DK weight so a pattern calling for that size yarn would be preferable, but if there is a pattern that is perfect, I’ll do the math to sub in this yarn! Send it to me regardless!!

Technical Tuesday: Short Rows

The Stripes Gone Crazy Cardigan is one that uses a lot of short rows to get the effect of leaning stripes. I will not lie to you, my short row skills were a bit rusty before I started knitting this cardigan. It also took me a while to remember how to do them properly. Through the trial and error that is my knitting style and a couple well- that-doesn’t –look-right’s I managed to figure it out, so I am going to try to help everyone here understand them better and save yourself the horror of really ugly short rows…I am hoping I can block that out.

I took a short row class during Vogue Knitting Live New York 2014, that was really the second experience I had with short rows, but the first time didn’t count because I didn’t know I was attempting to do short rows. The VKL class was very comprehensive and covered the basics of short rows and a little bit beyond. For the class, each person had to knit their own swatch and put a few short rows in it. The end effect was a curved swatch. After this class, I would say I have a basic knowledge of short rows; I can follow a pattern with short rows and maybe figure out a short row heel for socks. I would definitely not be able to success fully add short rows to a sweater. I am sure if I knit a few sweaters with short row shaping in them, I would be able to pick it up. For now, I feel like I would probably put them in backwards.

Adding shape to any garment is usually something I highly recommend, so if I can give any advice on this subject, it would be to learn as much as you can about short rows and shaping in general. I will go over another shaping technique next week so short rows are not the only option!

Home Stretch

With the Kitchener/Waterloo show coming up, I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get things finished. Overall, there has not been much time for knitting, but I do have a FO!

Helpful

I managed to finish the Vampire Barbie sock. I was really close in the last car ride I took on Saturday, so I polished it off that night. I grafted the toe and weaved in the ends so I could immediately put the sock on. I think I am going to wash one of them because the question I get all the time is, will the colours stay when I wash it. Of course the colours will stay, why wouldn’t they? How would I ever be able to share this yarn with anyone if it washed white? It reminds me of those orchids at the grocery store that are bright blue or purple; after you go through the trouble of NOT killing it, it blooms white the next year. This way, people will be able to see real evidence that when the yarn is washed in a washing machine, it doesn’t hurt it and it doesn’t lose any colour!
I was really concerned about the amount of re-skeining that needed to be done. It was one of those things that kept getting put off indefinitely. Luckily I had a lot of friends helping me out! I’m sorry to be such a high maintenance friend! Please don’t un-friend me from life! As of Monday there was only a small box left.

Yarnsplosion

This past two weeks it has looked like there was some kind of yarn explosion went off; there were no survivors, it was tragic. I have a huge mountain of odds and ends that have been used to tie the skeins together or tie the tags on the skeins to label them. It is really monstrous, but I feel like keeping it as a conversation piece. I could put it in a truffle bowl and keep it on the counter. Yarn décor is the best décor.

We have also been working on the stitch markers. Usually booths have a little extra couple things here and there. Stitch Please will have stitch markers and a few pattern markers. The pattern markers were Sara’s idea because we constantly use post-it notes or craft tape. The problem with these things, is when you’re constantly moving them, they lose the stickiness and fall off. At which point you are completely bamboozled, because I never keep track of where I am. I can attest to how well they work because on the weekend, I was using one for a test run. I managed to knock over my cup of coffee onto the pattern and when I yanked the pattern up and away from the stain, the pattern marker stayed where it was. It is currently air drying with the magnet still attached and marking my place. On one hand I am upset I wrecked my pattern (of which I can simply print off another page) but on the other hand I was really pleased the pattern markers worked so well.

Pattern Markers

That is about all that I have been up to lately, I can’t wait until this show is over and I can semi relax before the wedding. I really hope this show goes well because it is the first step along what I hope is a very fulfilling and successful path! Wish me luck and if you’re attending you can find us at booth 60!

Functional Friday: Stripes Gone Crazy by Atelier Alfa

I told you the story about finding this pattern on Wednesday, and I have actually knit quite a bit of it. So far I have only had to frog it once, and I’ll let you know about that on a Monday Mishaps post. This pattern comes in a set of three, so I grabbed all of them.

Stripes Gone Crazy One

The one I really wanted to knit was the cardigan with the asymmetrical stripes. Usually asymmetry doesn’t work well with my brain, but I was looking for something different, what could be more different than a cardigan worked from the top down with stripes that slowly widen on only one side?

 

I didn’t know this when I started but the stripes are made larger and smaller by doing short rows. Now my short rows are a little rusty, but I managed to make it work. Once I remembered how to do a short row invisibly.
There are a few tutorials on the pages about how to do short rows and a couple tips that would make it easier. I really liked that Atelier added in all these small boxes with legends and diagrams to help keep you on track. When you are widening the one side of the sweater, there is a small photo that shows you what it should be looking like; it even has the stitch markers you place visible. She also puts the break down of stitches in the pattern. I could not have asked for a more useful tool.

Stripes Gone Crazy Three

I am not really sure what happened, I much have been doing my increases on the wrong side of the markers, but at some point I got off track. I was able to count how many stitches should have been in the first front piece, sleeve, back, sleeve and second front. I was EXTREMELY lucky in the face that I didn’t mess up the total amount of stitches but just managed to move them around a little bit.
One thing I didn’t like about this sweater are the short rows for the increases for shoulders. To me, this feels a bit excessive and I would have preferred to do a raglan increase or something, but I do believe I am biased on this point. This is the place where I messed up my stitch count and had to shift the stitches; and my stitches could be more even in these places. I didn’t do the best job I could have so I am mad at that part of the pattern.
The pattern is very well organized and colour coded. There were a couple bumpy spots which I am going to email about, but I really found it great that there was a clear divide between the size instructions. There were parts where the instructions were together and there had to be slashes between the different amounts of stitches. I did really like that the patterns for XS, S and M were together on one pattern and L, XL and XXL were on a completely different pattern. I feel that if they were in the same sheet, it would have been excessively long. When you buy the pattern you get all the sizes, but they are in two separate files. The math for each size is different so each size needs its own dedicated section.

Stripes Gone Crazy Two

Otherwise, I think Atelier must be a math genius because everything works out just so. This is one of the few patterns I do not dare to change… at all. There was a section that said ‘to add some length or shorten, add or remove more rows’ so I definitely added rows. Most cardigans are a little short for my liking and I always add in a bit, I am not sure about this one though, I may have needed more. I will have to wait till I am done in order to see.
I don’t want to post a whole lot of photos about it because I want to post a good finished object photo! So everyone can get the full effect all at once!