Sunday, August 24, 2008

FO: Chinese lace pullover

Pattern: Chinese Lace Pullover by Angela Hahn
Yarn: Eden Madil 100% bamboo
Size: Small, with adjustments to the shoulders
Needles: Size 4 Knitpicks
Construction: in the round where possible, bottom-up, but I sewed the raglan seams as directed by the pattern.
Here, the sweater and I are wondering whether anything can be better than knitting AND coffee together.
Then we went back to the yarn's origins at Mind's Eye Yarns in Porter Square. The ribbing on this sweater really lends itself to weird pixellation at some .jpg settings -- weird! But here we are. (It was fun to pose here, because I knew anyone looking out the windows would know exactly what we were doing and why.)
We went in to see Lucy and her new yarns, which may have been a bad idea. Yarn fumes!! (That hank of yarn around my neck has a really high cashmere content, just so you understand.)
Lucy really does have some lovely new yarns. Way down in the bottom right corner you can see some of the bamboo the sweater was made from, but all the newer stuff is for fall/winter.
Then, home for closeups. The place where I found the pattern least clear was probably the directions on the body/sleeve increase area. Here is how I did it: lifted increases one stitch away from the edge of the expanding region. I did lifted increases because this yarn was incredibly unforgiving, and it was the least visible least disruptive increase I could find, and I did them near the edge instead of always at the center so that the whole section would appear mostly vertical instead of all flaring out from a central line. One last minor detail: after the armpit bindoffs I had 3 stitches left from this new rib on either side. I kept it that way as I did decreases, ending up with 2 visible stitches on each side of the raglan seam -- a minor variation from the pattern which calls for 1 on each side.
A closeup of the lace, where I didn't deviate from the pattern at all:

But what about those shoulder adjustments? Sorry, I couldn't get a good shot of them. Basically, to kinda-fit my square shoulders I had to add both width and height, so I have a few increases and a few short rows. I decreased away the increases after the short rows. I hid all the short row turns in the purl parts of the ribbing, which was a good idea, but I did the wrap-and-turn method, which left pretty visible wraps on the surface. Maybe if I hadn't done the wraps and left little holes instead, it might have gone better with the pattern... it does have lace, after all. But the wraps are a very minor flaw in a sweater I'm otherwise happy with, so meh. :)

Finishing: did I mention this yarn is unforgiving? It also frays like an 18-ply mofo. So, I dipped the end of each end in a thin solution of fabric glue and water a day before weaving them in, to stop the fray. It may have been overkill, but I'll sleep better at night.

And the future? Bamboo stretches, you know. I'm actually counting on it to grow a bit. I'll try to post a follow-up picture in a few months when I've been wearing it for a while.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fables of the construction

Ever seen this pair of fingerless mitts before? Yes, here is yet another one of the 6783 instantiations of Fetchings that people will admit to on Ravelry. I'm sure there are twice as many in the wild. Still, my mother likes these. I knit them up in 3 days for her birthday, and felt very competent doing them. :)

And, here is one of those pictures only a knitter can love. It's blurry on purpose -- I'm trying to get you excited about the NEXT post. And yes, that is a ball of yarn on my head. ;)

In between my monotonous chants of "never making a raglan again, never making a raglan again" I've been having a bit of fun with scraps. I finally learned the long-tail cast-on and an invisible caston for 1x1 rib, and have come up with a simple lace pattern to use with the Noro Transitions yarn that flew into my mailbox after I heard about it. This crazy-ass yarn changes fiber throughout the skein, always a wool blend but transitioning also between silk, cashmere, angora, alpaca, kid mohair and camel. I had to have it.

Also in the mail to me right now: Knitter's Guide to Stitch Design by Annie Maloney.