theraineysisters knitting and so much more

January 27, 2010

From Susan — It’s Called “Throwing in the towel.”

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 9:16 pm

It’s true.  I have given up.  Thrown it in.  Divested myself.  Moved on.  Cut the thing loose.

Of what do I speak?  The EZ Green Sweater!   But why?  One word: fit (or, more accurately, the lack thereof).  I got to the neck and tried it on and it was abysmal.  So, I will put it aside rather permanently I’m afraid. 

The rating scale:

Pattern: high — scored high for style and historical significance
Motivation: high — I really wanted to make this sweater!!!
Yarn: low — the yarn quality was just not there for me
Fit: low — too narrow, too wide, too weird, too everything but right!
Sadness: low — I do not feel bad about this at all.  It was a small moment in time that is over. 

Edited to add: 
Please do NOT be discouraged!  If you have started this project or plan to…go ahead!  The sweater did not fit ME, and believe me, that is nothing rare in my world!  Many others are having success, so please do not write off the whole affair based on my experience!!

In memoriam

There is a chance I will try it again at a later date with different yarn.  I’ll keep the original start (“What NOT to do!”) just in case.

So now what am I up to?  It will be revealed in a few weeks when it is finished and ready to unveil!

January 25, 2010

From Sally — A Sweet Surprise

Filed under: Back Story — surly @ 2:58 pm

I have the bestest big sister in the world. I just got this sweet surprise in the mail.

Now, that’s cool enough: chocolate, peeps, tattoos, and there were even some small knitting tools. But here’s the best part — she made the basket! I had seen a picture of one of these while trolling on Ravelry and said I’d make it if I knew how to crochet. Well, Susan knows how to crochet so she surprised me with it.

Thank you!!!

Now I have to go gorge myself on chocolate.

PS from Susan — It’s funny that Surly and many commenters refer to this as a sweet gift or project.  I used suger water to stiffen the bowl, so it really is sweet!  Sally didn’t know that when she posted either!  I hope it holds up over time.  I guess that’s the beauty of making things: you can redo them if you have to.

PS2: Ravelry Pattern Link — Filigree Basket

January 21, 2010

From Sally — Some Finished Business

Filed under: Baby Cables and Big Ones too,Open Cable Cardigan — surly @ 2:26 pm

Today I have a new (well, sort of new) finished sweater to show off. First, however, thank you so much for all of the kind comments about my husband’s Open Cable Cardigan. I really appreciated the response! I know many of you asked whether I’d write up the pattern, and I apologize but I can’t.

When I said I designed it on the fly, I wasn’t exaggerating. Although I have drawings and notes, I didn’t always stick to what I had planned to do and I didn’t keep really great records of my last-second changes. Let me explain a little bit more why recreating the pattern for others to follow would be so difficult.

A rough description of how you knit the sweater:

1. You knit the body up to the armhole. Then you knit the sleeves to the armhole, and join the sleeves to the body.

2. Once you’ve got everything in one piece, you work raglan decreases (taking stitches out of the sleeves and body at four points) until you’ve eliminated approximately half the sleeve stitches.

3. You then knit to the first sleeve, and go back and forth only on the sleeve stitches. At the end of each row, you work a sleeve stitch together with a stitch from either the front or the back. When/where you stop doing this depends upon whether you’re knitting a cardigan or a pullover. Elizabeth Zimmerman’s instructions were for a pullover and included a small diagram of what to do at the neck.

The tricky part of converting those rough instructions into my husband’s sweater was the cable. I had really wanted it to start at the cuff of the sleeve and end identically at the neck. That meant ensuring that the sleeve was the length it needed to be before I joined the sleeves to the body. At the same time, I had to calculate the rate and number of raglan decreases I needed before I switched to the yoke/saddle decreases. Finally, I had to make sure that the row count was such that the cable crossed for the last time right where I wanted it to. In case that wasn’t difficult enough, I used a twelve-row cable, so I had very little room to fudge.

Even having drawn everything out, I had to play with my decreases as I went. There were several points when I thought the sweater was going to be a big fat failure. Susan and I love to share patterns, but when we do we try to make certain that the directions will allow anyone who follows them to have a successful project. I don’t feel comfortable that I could write up this pattern well enough to guarantee that.

But — the seamless hybrid yoke concept itself isn’t all that hard. If you follow EZ’s general directions, but don’t insert a cable on the sleeve or else use a cable with a much smaller row count, it would be much simpler to do.

* * * * * * *

Long, long ago, I started and almost finished a lovely pattern called Baby Cables and Big Ones, Too (Ravelry link). I had it all finished except for one sleeve, and then I stopped. Part of the problem was distraction — I always find something else I want to work on. The other issue is that I decided it was too short. Because it’s knit from the top down, it would be easy to add length, but I just never got around to it. Once I finished all of my Christmas knitting, however, I decided it was time to finish this sweater.

So here’s my Baby Cables with both sleeves:

One reason adding length made me sigh was that I had added a small cable to the hem. To add length, I had to rip back to before the cable started. I liked the detail, though, so when I added length I kept the cable at the hem:

I knit my Baby Cables out of Jaeger’s Extra Fine Merino. It’s a lovely yarn, and I’m sad that it’s no longer available.

January 14, 2010

From Sally — Mme DeFarge’s Christmas Part Two

Filed under: Open Cable Cardigan — surly @ 12:23 pm

The second sweater I knit as a Christmas gift was an open cable cardigan for my husband. I used City Tweed by Knitpicks in the color Tabby. I designed it “on the fly” using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s rough instructions for a seamless hybrid. What I like about that kind of design is that you get the look and fun of a knitted in shoulder strap, which I’ve always been partial to.

The tricky part of the design was having the open cable start at the wrist and end just where I wanted it to at the neck. I had to play around a lot with my raglan and shoulder decreases. In a moment of design stress, I gave up the idea of surprise and made my husband try it on. About every five minutes. Fortunately, he’s a patient man and he loves the sweater.

Here are some not great photos of the finished product. First, the back so that you can see the yoke:

A bit of the shoulder and neck:

The front:

And, finally, a close up of the cable detail (the cable runs up the sleeves and up each side):

January 12, 2010

From Susan — Not a Good Sign…

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:47 pm

I don’t know which is worse — the fact that I thought this magnet was so perfect, or that I forgot I bought it!!

January 8, 2010

From Susan — A Living Tribute

Filed under: EZ Green Sweater,One Day Hat,Updates — lv2knit @ 9:42 am

When this article appeared in Twist Collective, I was thunderstruck.  I knew I had to make this wonderful sweater: a tribute to one of the greatest knitting legends of all time, Elizabeth Zimmermann.  So, I was thrilled to learn that the pattern was being deconstructed by Sunday Holm, AND that there was a stash of the original yarn still left in the Briggs and Little vault.  The sweater could be recreated as originally intended.  My own little piece of history!

Wrong, Optimistic One!  The original stash sold out faster than you can say computer meltdown!

Schoolhouse Press

The original yarn sold out within a couple of hours, leaving some of us desperately sad .  But then, because of the high demand, B&L decided to dye another batch.  Yay!    And happiness ensued.

So, many of us received a shipment of the new batch, which actually seems better to me than knitting with 60-year old yarn. 

I started the sweater last week and it is kind of going slower than I anticipated, considering that it is straight stockinette.  The yarn itself is very thin (430 yds/113 gms!) though the pattern gauge is 5 sts to the inch.  I am knitting mine at ~5.5 sts/inch. 

The construction of the sweater is really the interesting thing about it: mitered front facings, deep armhole with gusset, squarish neckline, mitered sleeves.   The folded facings and mitered corners are a little unusual and gave some knitters pause.  I had to draw it out to figure it out:

In the original pattern, Sunday accidentally included the width of the facings in her overall finished measurements, so they are shown as 2 inches bigger than they really are.  There is errata available that describes this and other minor corrections.

The sleeves are described as dolmans, but I think a more accurate description is a modified drop shoulder with an underarm gusset.  The appearance is that of a dolman, but it really isn’t.  EZ was brilliant.  As you knit the sweater, you “cut out” a huge chunk at the armholes, but then add it back in (gray section in illustration below):

Once the gray area is added back in, the armhole is fairly standard, but the look is dramatic.  The drama continues with the mitered sleeves and flared gauntlet at the wrist.

The sweater is very cropped.  I do not wear cropped.  I am too fat tall to wear cropped well.  I am adding about 6.5 – 7 inches to the overall length and doing some gentle waist shaping.

Here is a picture of my EZ in progress, though I am farther along than this:

I am enjoying this immensely!!

Back a few weeks ago, I shared a free hat pattern: the One Day Hat.  I knit one up for my DH and he LOVES it.  I mean he really loves it!  It fits his huge head perfectly and is very soft and rich looking:

More accurate color here:

The yarn is Geologee from Knit One Crochet Two Yarns (120 yards per 50 gms).  Because the yarn is smaller than the weight of the original pattern, I used the Size XL numbers, a US 7 needle and it ended up perfect.  In fact, the XL size was actually included for this purpose.

Now I am going to go knit on my EZ Green Sweater!!

PS: Jody writes, “I have several skeins of Briggs and Little that I picked up in New Brunswick 5 years ago and I can’t imagine ever using it. It’s just too scratchy.”

In response — the yarn IS scratchy, but softens when washed.  I happen to love wooly wool.  It wears like iron, hence the fact that the original sweater got so many years of active use.  I don’t know that I would have chosen this yarn if it was on a shelf, but I am really happy to be able to use it to recreate this particular sweater.

January 3, 2010

From Sally — Madame Defarge’s Christmas

Filed under: Updates,Vivian Cardigan — surly @ 1:22 pm

Mme Defarge suffered a few production delays in her knitting workshop this holiday season, but in the end things worked out reasonably well considering everything else that was going on.

1. Daughter’s sweater. Finished. On time!

2. Husband’s sweater. Finished. On the 26th!

3. Son’s blanket. Not finished. Oops, alors.

Just as Dickens liked to do, I’ll post these finished gifts as a serial. In our first installment, here are a few quick shots of my daughter in her Vivian.

As a bonus, I knit her a Calorimetry headband while sitting in the hospital with my son.

As for the Vivian cardigan, she says she likes it but the proof will be whether she wears it. Don’t you love a cliffhanger?

Next installment: Open Cable Cardigan.

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