Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sweater dilemma

This is a current picture of my Lofoten sleeve, taken after Colloquium the Thursday before last.  The measurement that prompted my dilemma is the length: 18.5" from the purl turning row, with four more increase rounds to go before I get to the stitch count for the top of the sleeve for the 40" size.  The schematic gives some ridiculously short length for the sleeve.  I don't remember exactly what it is, but under 17".  I am at least 5'10".  I cannot wear a 17" long sleeve, no matter how much ease there is in the body (the pattern suggests at least 4" of ease).

This discovery, Thursday morning just as I was trying to grab my knitting and get out the door to go to work, prompted me to think about my gauge, and to calculate out the intended gauge of the pattern.  I really think it's ridiculous that this pattern (which is not free!) only specifies the gauge for the colorwork sections, even though the plain stockinette takes up WAY more of the sweater.  But I'm a mathematician, so I can figure these things out.  The gauge for the stockinette is supposed to be the same as the gauge for the colorwork (WHY?  doesn't the pattern writer realize that people are likely to get wildly different gauges for dense stranded colorwork and plain stockinette?) - 25 sts/4".  I got stitch gauge easily for the colorwork bracelet, so I figured I was fine.  But my stitch gauge in the stockinette portion of the sleeve is 21.5 sts/4".

I did a little bit more arithmetic, and even if I knit the smallest size (36"), I now expect my sweater to come out a bit more than 40" around.  Good thing I'm not twig-skinny!  So my plan now is to start the body using the stitch counts for the 36" size.  I'm not sure yet what to do about the sleeve.  I might end up frogging it and starting over, or I might just frog the stockinette part, or I might make it work to use what I've already knit, depending on what the stitch count is supposed to be at the end of the sleeve.  I'm trying to tell myself that this is why I started with a sleeve - so it can be a swatch that might just end up being part of the sweater.  

Saturday, March 14, 2015

CMS knitting

I worked on my first Lofoten sleeve on Thursday.  It's zipping along!  I'm at least one third of the way through the sleeve (based on row count, maybe not based on stitch count/yarn use)!  I've almost used up the first skein of black yarn - the table is just visible through the skein in the picture.  I'm a little bit concerned about having enough black yarn.  I have 12 skeins, including this one.  I'm trying to tell myself that I'm making one of the smaller sizes, so the kit should be plenty of yarn, even with lengthening the sweater!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


I cast off my gradient Multnomah shawl week before last.  Then we moved, and last weekend we were settled in enough to wash and block it (on our new guest bed in our new guest bedroom!).  It turned out beautifully.  I love the color shifts, and I think it's a good size (although to be honest I haven't tried it on).  Here's a picture of it all pinned out.  Please ignore the drying socks:
And here's a detail of the feather and fan lace:
Pattern: enlarged Multnomah shawl by Kate Ray
yarn: Freia Handpaints Ombre Lace in color 710 Pixie
needles: US size 6
modifications: enlarged it to use the whole skein
Started January 2015, finished March 2015

Friday, March 6, 2015


I went to Quiltcon two weeks ago!  I had an awesome time!  The quilt show was really beautiful and inspiring.  Many of these are the kinds of quilts that I like and aspire to make (and feel like I could realistically maybe someday make quilts like them).  There are a lot of really amazing quilts at quilt festival, too, but so many of them are art quilts, using techniques I can't ever see myself learning, or are very traditional or otherwise not really my style.  I took lots and lots of pictures of my favorite quilts in the show.  I also enjoyed the vendor hall - I found some really great fabric for a baby quilt I'm going to start soon.  And there was a really generous swag bag!  There were several fabric samples, and patterns and magazines, and little gadgets.  The tote bag itself is really high quality, too.

But my favorite part of Quiltcon was the classes I took.  The blocks up there are from Lee Heinrich's Advanced Piecing Crash Course on Friday night.  I learned paper piecing and partial seams!  Paper piecing is something I've wanted to do for a long time, but I was afraid of it.  Now I'm confident!  Lee walked us through the two blocks and gave us a bunch of tips to make the pieces fit together and place each new piece.  The only downside was the sewing machines ... I'll probably never buy a BabyLock.  The machines in the class were BabyLock Rachels, and they were advertising a special show price that I don't remember, but I think it was in the neighborhood of $500 plus or minus 100.  The machine was about the same size as my little Brother machine (which has a tiny harp space and cost about $100) but didn't sew anywhere near as well.  Several of us, including me, had seemingly unsolvable tension problems.  It was computerized (which my machine is not) and had a needle down feature, which was nice but not worth the other problems it had.
The other class I took was Elizabeth Dackson's Find Your Go-To Fill.  It was great!  We used wonderful HandiQuilter Sweet16 mid-arm machines and did a lot of sketching and practice of five or so different filler patterns.  In contrast to the BabyLock experience in the other class, if I had a spare $5000 and a permanent space to set it up, I would definitely consider buying one of these machines.  They quilted so smoothly and were really easy to use!  I came home inspired to do more free motion quilting!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

CMS/Colloquium knitting

After I cast off my Gradient Multnomah last week, I didn't have a single knitting project on the needles to take with me to CMS and Colloquium!  It is really rare and a little weird for me to not have ANY knitting to work on ... so I cast on something new.  This is the beginning of the hemmed cuff for the first sleeve of Lofoten.  The bottom black part (up to the purl ridge just below the colorwork) will be folded under.

I'm making a few modifications:  I'm knitting the 40" size (this sweater is intended to be worn with 4" of positive ease), but I think I'm going to want to lengthen the sleeves (and possibly also the body), so I started the sleeves and the bracelet pattern with the chart for the 36-38" sizes.  I expect to just make the increase section longer, to end with the right number of stitches for the 40" size at the top of the sleeve.  The instructions say to just knit even at the top of the sleeve increases for extra length, but I don't think I want the extra bagginess at the top of the sleeves.  I'd rather have them a bit narrower for the length of the sleeve.  I hope this works out!

Now I need to get working on finishing a few of my UFOs - I'm up to 7 (EEK)!