Thursday, April 02, 2009

So I buckled down and turned some UFOs into FOs.

Hooray! First was my mom's vest. I had stopped because the way I understood the pattern, the armholes were more like slits, but the pattern (and reality) is that they're more like gaps. When that was clear, I raced through the last of it and blocked it, to my mom's appreciation. Apparently she gets compliments whenever she wears it. I'll coordinate with her soon for some pics.

Then, I finished Butterfly. I had stopped because I was afraid the straps would stretch when on, and didn't know how long to knit them. I ended up knitting them as if they would stretch, and then blocked them stretched. So they're the right length, and they will stay that way.

Unblocked Butterfly, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Pattern Detail, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Hem Detail, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

This last photo is closest to the actual color.

While I was waiting to figure out what to do with the straps, I began knitting the camisole version of Butterfly. I had bought three skeins of yarn for the dress, afraid of running out, and the dress took a little less than two. One skein of laceweight isn't enough for much, so I decided to make a camisole, which would make a more versatile, casual version of the design. I ended up using that one skein, plus a little bit of the yarn left over from the dress. Perfect.

Butterfly Tank, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

I began knitting the camisole on a car trip to San Francisco, where I spent last Christmas with my family. My sister liked the design, so I had her pick a color (I already had the color card for KnitPicks Shadow, which I used for mine) and got to work on hers (she wanted a dress with the same iridescent beads from mine). I raced through hers, and spent a frenzied couple of weeks finishing it (and the trim and straps from my dress and camisole) and then blocking all three. I was up until three one night, but it was great to have them all finished and blocked. There will be blocked pictures (and modeled pictures) someday in the near future.

Finished Butterfly, Unblocked, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Unblocked Pattern Detail, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Unblocked Hem Detail, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Yarn Plus Beads, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Like the first Butterfly, the second two were knit in the round, with hem frills done in one long strip. I picked up stitches around the top and did the trim and straps before blocking (I didn't have to block before seaming - no seams - and I wanted to block everything). For my sister's, I left the middle stitches at the top live, and simply put them on the needle when I needed to pick up stitches for the trim. This was to save time and effort, but it also turns out that the cast-off edge pulls at the lace a little, and messes with the top of the garment. So leaving the top stitches live was the best option.

After all of that, I decided to make something different. I have knit birthday presents for myself in the past, but often forgot to, or didn't even realize how the timing was working out in terms of my birthday until I was most of the way through the knitting. This year, the timing's right to have a FO in time for my birthday (April 19) and I have a pattern, and the time! The pattern is from a book I bought about a year ago - Knitting Lingerie Style by Joan McGowan-Michael. It's a great book, and has some lovely designs. It's one of few pattern books I've found that I would knit more than one thing in it (for this book, make that four or five!), which is why I bought it in the first place.

I really bought the book for the Bed Jacket design, though, which I love. So I bought the recommended yarn - Cascade Sierra - in a great chocolate brown color, and cast on about a week ago. I did the body and sleeves last weekend, and have done the front trim over the week. I blocked the body and sleeves over the past couple days, to spread out the finishing and seaming.

I'm making it with a few modifications - so far, the body was knit in the round to the armholes, and the shoulders were done with short rows and a three-needle bind off. The sleeves were knit in the round, up to the split for the sleeve cap. For the trim, I played around with knitting it all in one piece, but ended up knitting the first part, then picking up stitches along the cast on edge for the second piece. When it's finished, I'll use a three needle bind off, rather than having to seam. That was confusing. Anyway, this will make it much simpler and easier - big pluses for me.