Sunday, March 06, 2011

I promised gloves, I bring you gloves.

Okay... where was I?  Ah yes, with one exception, I was addressing the backlog.  Oh dear, I have been remiss again, and the damn thing has grown, rather than shrunk.  Well, as promised, I bring you gloves.

I had bought two balls of yarn for Elijah (following the yarn requirements in the pattern), and perhaps it's because I was using lighter yarn, but in the end, I only used about half of one.  I didn't want the yarn to languish in my stash, so I poked around Ravelry for a suitable pattern.  What I would do without Ravelry's pattern browser...  May I never have to find out.  Kingdom jumped out at me, and I don't have many pairs of gloves, so it seemed like a perfect fit.

It was a pain to knit, but mostly because the cable pattern is so complex, I had to consult the chart for just about every row.  Other than that, I chugged through them, mostly during my (long!) breaks between classes.  A good and satisfying knit.  The only problem, which I realized after finishing, was that with such light yarn, they make little to no difference in warmth.  But it's good yarn, and they're nice, soft gloves.  I photographed them at sunset, so they look much more orange than they should.  They really are the same color as Elijah.

Needed a hand to hold the camera.
Cable detail
Finger detail
After that, my mother came to visit me, and I've knit her vests many times in the past, so we bought yarn and I got to work.  She was with me for two weeks, and when she left, she brought home a finished garment (that needed to be blocked - I'm not magic).  It's really a simple pattern, one I developed from copying an existing vest she has.  I mentioned that one here.  The trouble with my mother's vests, though, is that I never, or almost never, have photos of them.  Honestly, I feel uncomfortable asking her to model them.  Which is a little silly, because I've never even tried.  Still, since I'm lacking pictures, I'll do my best.

The basic pattern is a big rectangle, with smaller rectangles cut out for armholes.  A lot like the Craftster circular shrug, only rectangle, with more fabric in the front for a wrap-like effect.  Also, instead of curving up along the hip region, it hangs down in points, and it comes all the way down to the hip, unlike a shrug.  For these (I've made three in total, now), I try to showcase the yarns (my mother always chooses interesting ones) so I keep it simple, with plain stockinette for the body and ribbing, turned hems or i-cord for the borders.  They're all reversible too, if she decides she prefers the reverse stockinette side.

Some time in early spring, I decided I wanted to try out a new yarn, one that was actually DK instead of my brain tricking me.  Since I didn't want to spend much on it, I decided to make a dog suit for Gir.  I'd wanted to make a dog suit since I first cast on for Gir, and it would give me an opportunity to get a feel for a new yarn without breaking the bank.  I've already talked about the dog suit - I think I mentioned it then because I was already on the subject of Gir.  But in keeping with the chronological format of the rest of the backlog posts, the suit was made in early spring, just after my mother's vest and the kingdom gloves.  By the way, it hasn't grown at all since then.  I was unsure of how to make his jawline, and I think I got it right (and I thought so then) but the whole thing made me nervous, so I abandoned it for more certain projects.

Whew!  Well, if you're keeping track, we've reached Spring, 2010.  I started knitting a bit more around then, probably because my mother's vest and the kingdom gloves got me in a knitting frame of mind.

I had used lovely egyptian cotton for my sister's Rose Red, and I liked the idea of using that yarn again, so I decided to make a whole shell out of it: Bottoms Up.  For this, I worked in a lot of modifications.  I knew from the start that it wouldn't be long enough in the waist, so I doubled the length of the first section.  Later, the next two sections weren't long enough, so I expanded them from 18 and 17 rows to 25 each.  I knit above the armholes as written.  It's a good top, and it looks good on, but I should've known better when I picked one hundred percent cotton.  It stretches like crazy, and actually, knowing the stretch factor, I could have knit one size smaller and gotten a better fit.  I've considered that, but I don't really want to unravel it, and it's okay as it is.  Just not great.

In progress
Right after Bottoms Up, I started the bed jacket.  I detailed an attempt at a Bed Jacket a long time ago, but it ended up being too small.  In the end, my sister took it, and I hear it looks great on her.  But I still wanted my bed jacket, so I cast on with Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in a similar chocolatey-brown color, and I got to work.  It raced past, with more or less the same modifications as the first.  For one, I made the body all in one piece, with three-needle bind-offs at the shoulder seams.  The sleeves were knit in the round, until the sleeve cap, which was knit flat.  For the borders, I used a provisional cast on, attaching the border to the edges of the sleeves and body by knitting the last stitch together with a stitch from the body.  Then I grafted the provisional cast on and the last rows together.  It was great for time saving, and it helped a lot to know exactly how long to make each piece.  But if I had to do it again, I think I would have made the edging separately.  Blocking was much more complicated than it needed to be, and the edging couldn't be spread out all the way in some places.

This project traveled home with me, after I graduated in Tokyo, and it got blocked and seamed at home, in Los Angeles, which brings us to Summer 2010.  The last photo is closest to the actual color.

Sleeve, post-blocking
Body, pre-blocking
Buttoned, on 
Modeled arm-shot
When I came home from school, I was out shopping with my mom one day when she noticed a vest she liked.  It had an asymmetrical collar, and two layers of edging: a longer stockinette outer edging (which curled) and an inner edging of ribbing.  It also had bottom points that hung down.  We drew a picture of it in the store, and when we got home, she outlined how she wanted hers.  Hers would be a bit higher in the neck, shorter in the body, with less pronounced points.  So we bought yarn, and I went to work.  It was tricky, mostly because I made it up as I went along, and my mom wasn't always clear on her design points.  But at about a week from cast-on to bind-off, I can't complain.

hot off the needles
unblocked neckline detail
After the vest, I made the favorite sweater reproduction, which I've also described here.  I did a lot of cleaning when I got back from school: essentially a complete overhaul of my entire bedroom, closet and underneath my bed.  In the process, I pulled out all the old yarn, and I began what I called the Stash Fest.  During this time (two or three months), I looked at all the yarn in my stash, and seriously attempted to make something out of all of it.  I will describe Stash Fest in detail later, but I'm running out of steam.  Until later, (but not much!  I hope!) dear reader.

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