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Brewer Burns

Monday, December 29, 2008

Lady Eleanor

First, here are the beautiful, finished Lotus Blossom Tank pictures:

Now, let's talk about my project. Lady Eleanor. I have been wanting to make this project for a long time. And, after looking at the projects on Ravelry, I decided that I wanted to make it with Silk Garden. I knew this would be expensive. On Saturday I bought 10 skeins of Silk Garden in Color 292. It's a mix of navy blue, grey, white, purple, merlot, fuschia and gold. I am completely enchanted with it. This is also my very first entrelac project. After noodling around on the web for a little while I found a blog with good pictures and I figured it out pretty quickly. This pattern is knitting up really quickly. I'm using size 9 needles and I've finished Tier 19 (of 35.) I also taught myself to knit backwards so that I never have to turn the work. This is a real time and frustration saver when you're working a series of 8 x 8 squares over and over and over again.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Laundry Day

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lotus Blossom Tank and Other Finished Objects

I finished knitting the Lotus Blossom Tank.

Project Stats:

Pattern: Lotus Blossom Tank from the Summer 2006 IK
Yarn: El. D. Mouzakis Butterfly Super 10
Needles: Size 6 and Size 5, clover bamboo

Let me explain my mods for the reknit. As I have said before the bust line, basically everything from the lace up was always too big for me. The top would flop open to reveal my entire boobular area. Not a good look on anyone. So my objective in reknitting the tank was always to fix that. From noodling around on ravelry I determined that a lot of people had added a lace repeat to the bottom portion of the tank and had knit the bust smaller than the bottom. That's what I did, I added a lace repeat, which was really a good call. I didn't know it until I had knit the extra repeat, but not only was the tank too big on top, the proportion was off. Making the bottom longer fixed that problem. I also added an eyelet round below the bust line in the garter stitch ridge before you begin the bust knitting. I plan to run a ribbon through it so that I can cinch that portion below the bust, thereby accentuating the smallest part of my torso. I knit the size 38" inch bust for the bottom, but decreased to and knit the 33 1/2" bust size for the bust. I had some misgivings about this since my bust is larger than 33 inches, but I kind of did it on faith. I figured that 38" was way too big and knitting stretches. It turns out that I did the right thing. I don't have photographic evidence yet since the tank is taking it's sweet time drying (it's been on the floor in front of the heater vent since yesterday morning) but it fits me nicely now. Not perfect, but nicely. This is a garment that I will wear come summer. And enjoy.

It also occurred to me that I hadn't blogged pictures of my Bijouterie earrings.

I plan to keep the upper pair, and give away the lower.

Lastly, I also finished Stephen's Christmas Socks.

Another pair of Thuja socks, made in Opal Magic yarn. They fit him perfectly and he's been wearing them for two days now.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thoughts of an Evening

I tried on my reconstructed WIP Lotus Blossom Tank. And? It fits. More or less. Now, instead of having a bust that flops open continuously because it's too big, I have a bust line that will be very close fitting. I think in a good way. I'm pretty thrilled about it since that means that I have not ripped and reknit only to rip again. I am now a little worried about running out of yarn but I believe that I have part of a ball tucked away somewhere. If I don't, then the yarn I used is pretty common and I should be able to get more. Currently, I'm working on the back of the tank which means that I have about 25% of the tank to go.

After this, I have one more WIP: my Alpine lace shawl from Victorian Lace Today. I'm mostly done with that as well. After that, what will I knit? I've been carefully considering what to do with the leftover sock yarn from Donna's Mermaid Mitts. I have one skein plus a smallish size ball left over. I think I might be able to squeeze out a pair of socks for myself. However, I think it might be wiser to make myself a pair of Mermaid Mitts since I know I have enough yarn for that and I want a pair of my own. Plus I don't want to run out of yarn for my socks. I realized recently that I have reached a milestone with my sock knitting. I have enough pairs of handknit socks that I can wear handknits every day of the week, and then some. It's fabulous. I also noticed that I only have a few pairs where I didn't run out of yarn before the end or that weren't constructed from oddballs. That's because it took me a while to accept the fact that it really does take two skeins of most sock yarns to create a pair of socks and because I often buy yarn to make gift socks then use the odd balls for my own. The next pair of socks that I make, I want them to be made from fabulous sock yarn, all one colorway.

I also really want to go yarn shopping. Seriously, it's been a while. The last yarn I bought was the Shibui Knits sock yarn for the mermaid mitts, but before that, well it's been a long time. I want to make the Flutter Sleeve Cardigan from the fall Interweave Knits and I want to make Lady Eleanor from Scarf Style. I have yarns in mind for both. For the cardigan, Knitpicks Shine Sport in chocolate brown. I think it will look very nice. And for Lady Eleanor I want to use Silk Garden. An expensive proposition.

I hope that you all have a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and brilliant new year filled with food, friends, and love.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mermaid Mitts

Project Stats
Pattern: Mermaid Mitts based on the lace pattern by Cookie A. published here.
Yarn: Shibui Knits Sock yarn, Color #3930. Basically lavendar.
Needles: Size 2 Brittany Birch

As soon as I saw these on Ravelry I was smitten with the pattern. I decided to make them as a christmas/birthday present for a good friend and co-worker, Donna. There is no real pattern for these mitts. I cast on 48 stitches, worked one pattern repeat (22 rows long) then started the thumb gusset between stitches 24 and 25 (between the second and third pattern repeat.) I worked the thumb gusset like the one in the Fresco Fair Isle Mitts, basically increasing two stitches every other round until there were 17 stitches in the thumb. I placed those on a holder, finished the pattern repeat, then worked three rows in 1x1 rib to finish the mitts. I think these are pretty and functional. I will most likely make myself a pair soon. The best thing about these is that I used significantly less than a skein of yarn. I would estimate that I used about 3/4 of a skein to make both mitts. Definitely a fun, quick project.

I have also finished Stephen's Thuja socks. I will block them today. And I finished the last christmas gift, a cell phone cozy. I am therefore free of christmas knitting obligations. And four days early. Now I have a couple of WIP's to finish: my lotus blossom tank and Alpine shawl. I am also knitting on another pair of Bijouterie earrings for myself. I'm having a hard time getting really excited about any of these projects. The LBT uses the cotton yarn and it's a tank top and there's three feet of snow on the ground so it's not really catching my fancy. The earrings are fun but I can only do one at a time because then my desire to knit with metal wanes. The Alpine shawl really should be finished first because it has been on the needles longest and I will get some use out of it this season if I finish it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Inch by Inch

We're currently experiencing what I'm calling "shit snow 2008." Basically, we've received inches and inches, some of them adding up to multiple feet, of snow over the last day and a half. My little residential street will be lucky to see a snow plow before spring. My snow removal tool of choice? My neighbor's snow blower. My actual snow removal tool? A fucking shovel. My office was closed today (as was the courthouse as a whole.) That leaves me some time to blog and knit.

On the Christmas knitting front, I have finished the first of Stephen's two socks. I feel that he should have smaller feet if I'm going to knit for them. I have also had another christmas request, that I will fulfill. Another cell phone cozy. It will be simple. At this point I am one size 10 men's sock and a cell phone cozy away from knitting freedom. Hallelujah. Since I always have to reinvent the wheel when knitting for Stephen, I would like to memorialize my sock recipe for his feet. I cast on 68 stitches on size 1 needles in Opal Magic yarn, knit for several inches, then turn the heel, then knit until the foot is 8 inches long, then decrease every other round until there are 24 total stitches left (12 top, 12 bottom) and kitchener the toe shut. These fit his feet perfectly. I made him try the first one on to make sure.

I also have a picture of the Bijouterie earrings I made for my friend Lori for Christmas. I sealed them into an envelope today but we will see when they go out. I don't think we got mail service today.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Weather Outside is Frightening

We've got about a foot of snow outside and it's still falling heavily. The good news is that it's warmed up to about 15 degrees from about 7 this morning. I am 99% done with the Mermaid Mitts and have knit up through the last of the lace repeats on my Lotus Blossom Tank. I have also knit some new earrings, from the Bijouterie pattern on knitty. One pair is going off to a friend for Christmas, but I also plan to make myself at least one pair. Knitting with the wire is interesting. It's not as hard as I thought it would be. I couldn't get 32 gauge wire at my local bead shop, so I got 28 gauge instead. It's still very bendy. I didn't double the wire in any of the patterns. I didn't want to make it harder than it needed to be. Christmas is fast approaching but I still have a lot to finish, including Stephen's socks. I will post progress pictures soon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Trellis Scarf

Pattern: Trellis Scarf, Spring '06 IK
Yarn: Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in Tide Pool, 1 skein
Needles: Size 5 straights
Mods: None

As I have mentioned already in this space, this pattern requires you to make "7 into 5 clusters." This is executed by knitting together 7 stitches, not dropping them from the needle, then performing: yarn over, knit 7 together, yarn over, knit 7 together again before dropping the stitches from the needle. This is a total pain in the ass on many levels. By the end of the scarf I figured out that if you purl back the previous row (rows 8 and 16) very, very, very loosely it is less crazy making but it still sucks. Unless you like doing this kind of thing, I would suggest not making this pattern.

The end product is pretty. It is a pattern of interlocking diamonds. This scarf is going to be a christmas present for my friend Mary. I hope she likes it because I am never knitting this again. The finished product is about 58" long, and 12" wide.

I now have just two more christmas presents to knit and then I can get back to other projects, like the Lotus Blossom Tank. Speaking of which, I couldn't figure out why my new repeat of the lace pattern wasn't lining up properly with the previous repeats. Then I realized that hadn't ripped back past the decrease row. The problem was that there were less stitches than what the lace pattern required. So I ripped back a few more rows and have started over again. This time the lace pattern is lining up properly and I am happier. I just hope it fits right this time. Otherwise I will have to send it to someone that I think will be able to wear it.

Monday, December 08, 2008

I'm Remembering Now....

I started reknitting my Lotus Blossom Tank last night. I am adding a lace repeat before I start the bust area because I think it will be more flattering. Anyway, I had forgotten how many stitches 230 is in a round, I had forgotten how heavy the cotton is, and I had forgotten how irritating it can be when you screw up a lace pattern but don't realize until 340 stitches later. Ugh. I ended up tinking back to almost where I started back up again. I'm still hopeful about this project though. It looks so pretty in the magazine! And on several fellow Ravelers.

Have I mentioned that I am obsessed with Ravelry? I am. Totally. I love it.

I am currently in the middle of several projects. Very unlike me. I have the Mermaid Mitts, Alpine Lace Shawl, Thuja socks and Lotus Blossom Tank. Plus I have about twenty things in my queue in Ravelry. It's a bit of a knitting renaissance here at Chez Burns. I'm really itching to start another sweater or sweater-like project, but that requires a large investment in yarn and I don't know when I'll be in a position to make that happen. Two projects are really at the top of my mind though: Lady Eleanor from Scarf Style (I want to make it in Silk Garden) and the Mirapoix Bodice from Interweave Knits.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Mermaid Mitts: The Sunday Update

I've started my latest Christmas gift. It's a pair of Mermaid Mitts for my co-worker and friend Donna in Shibui Sock yarn:

The Mermaid Mitts are made using the stitch pattern from Pomatomus. There is no actual "pattern." You just sort of figure it out yourself. Let me explain my method.

1. I decided that I would make the mitts after noodling around on Ravelry. I think they're quite pretty.
2. Three weeks later buy the yarn.
3. Two weeks later cast on. Originally cast on 60 stitches.
4. After getting three rounds in try on the mitt and decide it's going to be way too big. Rip back to nothingness.
5. Cast on 48 stitches.
6. Knit to the point of needing to start the thumb gusset.
7. Start the gusset between stitches 30 and 31.
8. Three rounds later remember that I cast on 48, not 60 stitches.
9. Tink back three rows and re-start the thumb gusset between stitches 24 and 25 (between the 2nd and 3rd pattern repeats.)
10. Successfully finish the hand of the first mitten last night.

So far I am loving this pattern and I'm loving the opportunity for some improvisation in my knitting. In other knitting news, I finished the Trellis Scarf last night and it's happily blocking now. Hallelujah. The end product is really beautiful but those 7 into 5 clusters were not only crazy making but I think completely unnecessary.

I have also frogged the bodice of my Lotus Blossom Tank.

I plan to add a lace repeat to the bottom, and reknit the bust area in the next smallest size. I'm very hopeful that this will fix the sizing problem that I had before. We shall see.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

More Christmas Bookmarks

I have made three more bookmarks since my last post, for my MIL, and two of my coworkers. I have loved making these. They are small (smaller than the average swatch), allow for endless variation and pretty. I love the little beads. They were inexpensive but pretty. They may become my go-to christmas gifts.

I have made a momentous decision. Remember my lotus blossom tank? It never fit me quite right. It was too big at the bust line so that the top tended to gape open in a very unladylike way. After looking over a bunch of projects on Ravelry I have decided to rip and reknit in a smaller size up top. I'm very excited about my decision.

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