Minimalist Cardigan-Maximal Time

Originally, I planned to have the Minimalist Cardigan done in mid-October after starting in early August. But a lot of things got in the way, so it took me until last Wednesday to finally finish the finishing. I was home alone while M and his sister were up skiing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the peace and quiet were perfect for sweater finishing. It took 4 podcasts to get me through the finishing: 2 Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, 1 Cast-on, and 1 Car Talk. These photos are after two full days of wearing it.
Minimalist Cardigan
I had no idea how to seam invisibly moss stitch, and I had lost 15 pounds since starting this sweater. Therefore, I opted for backstitching to take it in a bit, especially in the shoulders where I knew it would be a little wide–a problem stemming from being pear-shaped. The backstitching appears to have worked fine. There are a couple of things I either don’t like about how this turned out, or I don’t understand why it turned out the way it did.

First, I made the knit even portion of the sleeves 1.5 inches shorter than the pattern called for, and I still ended up with 7/8- and not 3/4-sleeves. Since my row gauge wasn’t off, and I don’t have horribly short arms, I don’t know why this happened. But you can see that these aren’t 3/4-sleeves at all, even if I do have my t-shirt sleeve hanging out on one side. Therefore, without thinking about it, I keep pushing the sleeves up when I wear it, and now the sleeves are getting baggy (or is that because all the sleeve increases were done in one row–the last row of ribbing). I wish I had knit the ribbing on smaller needles even though the pattern didn’t call for doing that. I didn’t pin out the ribbing while blocking, but to me it looks like I did.
Minimalist Cardigan in Cascade 220
I’m wearing jeans that fit when I weighed 40 lbs more than I do now, and I didn’t wash my hair this morning, hence the cropped photo. Also, I could only find the 2 second delay on my camera and not the custom-set delay, so I didn’t have much time to pose. Sigh. But I couldn’t wait to get this post done and to get it marked finished on Ravelry. It just didn’t seem really done until all that was completed.
Minimalist Cardi side view
The body length, although not as cropped as in the magazine photo, is fine with me, as I’m really not cool enough to wear cropped tops. I was aware that the body length wouldn’t be cropped, as I had measured other cardigans of mine, but I did knit the length given in the pattern. I’m 5′ 6″ tall, so I don’t know how tall the magazine model was for the sweater to look as short as it did, but she must be pretty darn tall.

All in all, this was my third sweater and a definite improvement in both knitting quality, finishing and fit than my first two sweaters. So, even though it’s not perfect, I’m pretty pleased. I really enjoyed the moss stitch, and I like how it looks, especially juxtaposed with the stockinette. The bright navy color and the quality of the Cascade 220 are also big pluses in my book. I learned a lot with this sweater, including that cap-sleeves aren’t a big deal to seam properly, and I hope this new knowledge keeps my sweater making skills on the ascent.

Sweater Stuff

Once upon a time, long enough ago that I was a legal adult and M was still a minor, I used to sew a lot. Set-in sleeves were no big deal. I sewed the sleeve into a tube, the side seams of the body were done, and carefully adjusting my gathering stitches along the sleeve cap, I could set-in a perfectly fitting sleeve, sewing in a circle. The set-in sleeve process in hand knitting follows a different protocol, and frankly I have my doubts that anyone has ever really seamed a cap sleeve to armscye of a hand knit sweater. I think it may be a hoax. I mean, do you think this will work?
Minimalist Cardi sleeve fitting
The two sides of the sleeve’s cap are actually the same length, even though they look different in the photo. I checked after I saw the photo. Twice.

I hope it will work out as I really like how the blocked front looks going from moss stitch to stockinette. It’s my favorite feature of the Minimalist Cardi. Blocked Minimalist Cardi front

I am screwing my courage to the sticking point. Basting of the sleeve to the body with light grey yarn will happen before the real seaming. I’ll have M keep his fingers crossed while I baste and seam. After all, he is the Luckiest Man in the World–but that’s a story for another day.

In the meantime, let’s just take a little peek or two at my new sweater project.
Greed Tweed tease

That’s right, my friends, I’ve gots me my first TWEED yarn! I loves it with a deep and abiding passion. It’s a present from M (he’s not allowed to buy other knitters tweed yarn– sorry). It knits up like a dream.
Grey Tweed Pullover back 012708
Tahki Donegal Tweed; color 895

I know orange tweeds are all the rage, but I look like the walking dead in orange. But charcoal with black, white, burgundy, lime and butterscotch flecks–that’s perfect. Must go knit.

Sock Stuff

I finished knitting the sock for my pal! I wrote the pattern (and checked it twice)! I made stitch markers! I boxed it all up! I forgot to photograph it! I could cut through the mailing label and the packing tape, unwrap things, but I need to think about that. I had such a feeling of it all being done except for the trip to the post office. Won’t my pal take a picture? I’m such a goof!

Thank you to everyone who left such heartwarming comments to my last post! I’m taking things day by day, bit by bit. My hormone medication and my own hormones hate each other and seem to be in competition to see which can make me more depressed. My doc changed my hormone formulation, so we’ll see in November how that works. To my readers under 40: try not to turn 40 but stay alive. The ovaries go rogue after 40.

In the meantime, I have been trying to finish my Minimalist Cardigan, but I can no longer knit the two row pattern repeat of moss stitch reliably. I keep switching to seed stitch. AAAARRRGGGH! After I do that two rows in a row (yes, it’s a sad state of affairs here at chez Molecular Knitting), I fix everything but then knit on something else. I may never finish this last front. But I want the sweater! Here is the left front after 2 weeks since casting on:
Minimalist Cardi

Due to the aforementioned moss stitch fiasco, I have been knitting socks for myself. I even have a pair in the second sock stage. Granted they are only a garter rib, but that’s boring to knit, and I am on the second sock. The yarn is Fleece Artist Merino in Hercules (although it is very dark for Hercules).
Hercules Garter Rib Sock Progress

I am trying to knit up sock yarn that I’ve already wound into a ball, so I got out this Cherry Tree Hill in Log Cabin (?) and decided to do an uneven cable (4 by 2 instead of 3 by 3). Barbara Walker refers to this as an ancient or archaic cable, but I wonder why she thinks the early developers of the cable would first choose to cross stitches unevenly. Wouldn’t you think to do a 2 by 2 or a 3 by 3 cross first–all nice and symmetrical? Anyway, I like how the uneven cross makes the cables look fat. There are 6 cables going around this sock and they alternate with left vs right cross (and the round I cross them on). The tiki mug approves. Tiki mugs come from a warm climate and appreciate a cozy hand knit when the weather turns cool. Here he is all snuggled up to take a little nap. I guess I won’t be knitting on this sock today.
Archaic Cabled Sock

I have also finished a pair of socks for my MIL for Christmas, but I can’t get them to photograph well. That should teach me to knit a subtle knit-purl pattern in a blue-grey semi-solid yarn. I am inordinately pleased with how I modified the pattern on each sock, so I’d really like to get a decent photo. I shall refer to my photography books and see if they can help me. I do have 3 FOs to post. I shall try to post more often.

In the meantime,
Happy Knitting!

WIPs and Praying Mantis

I’m a day late with the WIPs, but a headache kept me off the computer yesterday evening. So, it’s WIPs on Thursday this week. In August when I started planning my autumn knitting, I wanted to get four things knitted by October: the spaced check socks (done and gifted!), the Delicato mitts, the Clarence Border Scarf from Victorian Lace Today, and the pieces of the Minimalist Cardi. When my hands started hurting, I gave myself until mid-October to finish the cardi. So let’s look at the progress:

I started the second Delicato Mitt, so it shouldn’t be too hard to finish by October. Does anyone else find Schaefer Anne kind of splitty?
Delicato Mitts 091907.JPG

I took this photo of the Clarence Border Scarf on Tuesday morning while I was part way through the second border, but now it is actually off the needles ready to block.
VLT Scarf 091907.JPG

As for the Minimalist Cardi, I’m on the right front. I’m a bit very concerned at how much the stockinette panel is rolling. However, this seems to be a universal occurrence based on what I’ve seen on Ravelry and other blogs, and for most knitters it tends to block out. I plan to finish this first front, block it and see.
Minimalist Cardi Front 091907.JPG

In closing, I have to show you the praying mantis that has been living on our hummingbird feeder, keeping the little bugs out of the sugar syrup. It does startle the hummingbirds a bit, but they still eat up. I am always a fan of creatures that eat nasty, little insects, even if it’s a great big insect.

Praying Mantis.JPG

Whipping Through the WIPs

I got home late today, and I have things to do, but I also wanted to keep to a WIPs on Wednesday post, so I’m going to whip through the WIPs. WIPs being my works in progress (my only aunt is a new reader, so I shall explain a few of the blogging terms as I come to them–Hi, Auntie Ann!).

The last time I showed the lace scarf in Habu silk fromVictorian Lace Today, I used a tape measure to show progress. Oh, the hue and cry from my readers! Where was the couch-o-meter?! I had no idea the couch-o-meter was so famous. But here is the scarf on the couch, and as you can see, it is just over two couch cushions long. Another half a cushion and I can knit the second Clarence border and then it will be done (and I can photograph it so you can actually see the lace).

Habu Scarf 091107.JPG

Moving right along, the pile of Minimalist Cardigan pieces is growing. The first sleeve joins the back in the pile of completion and a front is on the needles. The ball of yarn is the end of the third skein, so I think it will take less than 6 skeins to finish. I am still loving the moss stitch.

Minimalist Cardi 091107.JPG

I finished the first Pennant Stitch sock, and I have posed it in this oddly suggestive way to illustrate how I decided to pattern the top of the foot. Four pattern repeats fit across the width of the instep and foot. After finishing the gusset decreases, I switched the first repeat to stockinette stitch, did another 8 rows for a another pennant, then switched the second repeat to st st, and I continued thusly til all four repeats were stockinette stitch. This luckily worked out to being only 4 rows short of starting the toe decreases. The second sock is in the leg stage, and I’ve reversed the direction of the pennants, and I’ll also reverse the order of the switch on the foot.

Pennant Stitch Sock 1.JPG

I also started a sock for myself, as the Pennant Stitch pair is the third pair in a row of socks that I’ve knit for other people. This is Fleece Artist Merino in Hercules (a very dark dye lot) in the simple Garter Rib. FA merino usually looks best when I knit it in a simple stitch pattern, so even though this is a bit dull to knit, I like how it looks.

Garter Rib Hercules Leg.JPG

And finally, I started the Kiri shawl in the bright red Brushed Suri from Frog Tree. This photo doesn’t do justice to the reds, but it does prove that I managed my first provisional cast on and have knit just over one repeat of chart 2 without botching things up. As of this evening (photo taken this morning), the shawl is now on an Addi Lace needle. Therefore, I don’t have to go on a violent rampage. The joins on the circular bamboo needles in the photo were so bad I had to carefully, carefully slip 2-3 stitches at a time over the join. I love the Addi Lace needles!

Kiri 091107.JPG

So there is your whirlwind WIP tour for the week. I hope to post Friday with some new yarn acquisitions like my first Koigu, my first SeaWool, and some Fearless Fibers lace weight. Maybe I can even make them Fiberlicious.

Happy Knitting!

WIP Survey

Before looking at this weeks WIPs, go enter my blogiversary contest, if you haven’t already! And take a look at the links in people’s comments. As a community we have knit some very cool things this past year.

There are some former WIPs that are WIPs no longer. I’ve finished the Spaced Check Socks for my friend Nancy, and they await their FO post. Earlier in the summer I showed a circular lump of stockinette Lamb’s Pride Bulky in Fuchsia for a felted bag. It was not to be. Instead it will become a new felted bag with a couple other colors. I have to get the pattern (and the other colors), but it has mosaic knitting and looks really cool. The yarn is psyched too. Details to come.

As for WIPs that I knit on this week, the Minimalist Cardi has a back (folded in the back of the photo) and a goodly portion of sleeve. I love it when I start collecting a stack of sweater pieces. Perhaps that is why I like to knit sweaters in pieces, although it helps that I don’t mind seaming. All the dead leaves in the photo come from our neighbor’s sugar maple which does not like the arid, rainless California Central Valley summer. It always just gives up around this time of year.
Minimalist Cardi 082807

In addition to finishing the Spaced Check Socks from More Sensational Knitted Socks, I worked on another sock from that book that I had started when I first got the book (May?), which uses the pennant stitch. The yarn is Sundara’s sock yarn in Lenten Rose, and it is hard to photograph the knit-purl pattern, but try to visualize little pennant shaped purls all lined up in columns down the leg.
Pennant Stitch Sock

As for two other old sock WIPs, I am having difficulties. The blue-striped sock is very boring to knit in the rib, and I can’t seem to make myself knit the second. I am hoping that when the weather turns cool enough to wear the socks, I’ll be spurred on to finish. I like the different blues (Regia Cotton Surf in Pacific).
Socks of Shame
The aquamarine cable rib sock (mmmm…Black Bunny Fibers!), is too stretched out on my leg to make me happy, and I don’t like the beaded rib between the cables AT ALL. But I love the uneven, “archaic” cables (BW V1). What’s a knitter to do? Swatch! As I wasn’t worried about gauge yet but just wanted to play with cables, I used some Nature Spun Sport in natural for my swatching so my swatch would look all professional-like (I did the first swatch with leftover Chocolate Cherry sock yarn and couldn’t really make out what I was doing).
Cable Swatch 082707
The double cable on the left and I are having a wonderful little affair (I made the cables up!). We’re just deciding what other stitchy elements the cable would like in its sock. It’s rather particular. I am hoping that by the time I get the Pennant Stitch Socks done, the cable and I will be ready for the BBF Aquamarine yarn. We’re pretty excited.

I hope your knitting is exciting you!

WIPs and Contests!

You’ll have to wade through the WIPs to get to the contest info (or skip to the bottom if you are a heartless blog reader). I didn’t do any knitting on either scarf this past week, so I don’t have couch-o-meter progress this week. Last week I used a green tape measure and was told in the comments that the couch-o-meter was missed. The one scarf is dark pink and the couch is bright red, but as soon as there is more progress on it, onto the couch-o-meter it goes! But this week saw action on three WIPs.

The first delicato mitt is done. All I did this week was the thumb. Three times. It’s as good as it’s going to get. I have a short, stumpy thumb and need little more than a gusset. It’s rather pathetic in a trivial way. Delicato Mitt #1

I am half way up the armscye on the back of the Minimalist Cardi. I had illusions of having the back done for this post and the first sleeve started, but I got caught up in other things. Still, to stick to my schedule, I have until Saturday to get the back done.
Minimalist Cardi Back 082107

What I got caught up in was working on the Spaced Check Socks for my friend Nancy. I finished the first sock, and am half way done with the heel flap of the second. The Walk in the Woods colorway is doing some pooling, but so do woods. You don’t find a violet here and a violet there. There will be a mass of violets here, then a grove of evergreens, another mass of violets, a stream, etc. So, I think this pooling is fine.
Spaced Check Socks 082107

I have received over 900 comments. The 1000th commenter will receive a yarn prize!

August 27th is my First Blogiversary, so naturally there will be another contest. But what to have people comment upon? My last contest, wherein I asked readers to tell me why they had named their blogs what they had, met with great success. Many, many commenters remarked how much they enjoyed reading why blogs are named what they are.

How do I top that? I will have a Pre-Blogiversary Contest Contest! So, to enter the Pre-Blogiversary Contest Contest (PBCC), leave me a comment to this post on what you think I should have you do for my Actual Blogiversary Contest. The PBCC is open until noon PDT, Saturday, August 25th, when I will choose a winner based upon which idea I like best. Then, on August 27th I will announce the Actual Blogiversary Contest based upon the PBCC winner’s idea. Simple as pie! Who ever said I make everything needlessly complicated?

OK, but I’m working to have some good loot for prizes. I’ve done some shopping at Simply Sock Yarn Company, and I have (or am expecting) Sleeping Dragon sock yarn, Fleece Artist Somoko, and Seacoast merino/tencel! If I get a lot of entries to the Actual Blogiversary Contest, the prize pool may increase. So, start your commenting for the PBCC now! You may even be the 1000th commenter!

WIPs with a Green Tape Measure

Before I WIP it for this week, I want to say I received my Ravelry invite on Sunday. I’m still learning my way around the site, where I can be found under the sobriquet of MolecularKnit, but I have already found several projects to put in my queue. I even found a few people whose blogs I read, and I made them my friends. I still need to find a picture of myself to use. I might try to get M to help me do something fun. I may wait a day or two to ask him though, as today in lab he thought it was “fun” to keep squirting me with lab bench water bottle. But let’s look at those WIPs!

The back of the minimalist cardi is up to 11 inches! 3 more inches and I get to decrease for the sleeves. I got to just over 10 inches with the first skein of Cascade 220. I know I have to stop knitting on this when I do a row of seed stitch instead of moss.
Minimalist Cardi Back 081407

In addition to knitting all the pieces for the Cardi by October, I would also like to get the Habu silk scarf from VLT done. The Clarence Border isn’t shown here as I can’t get the tape readable and show the whole scarf as it is now a yard long. Half way done.
VLT scarf on 081407

By Thanksgiving, I would like to get the Pinnacle Chevron Scarf in Ultra Alpaca done for M. I took it to Wisconsin and knit on it there, so now I am up to 21 inches. M is very tall. Thanksgiving is not an unreasonable finish date. I love knitting with this yarn–soft but durable.
&Pinnacle Chevron length 081407

WitW sock and Delicato Mitt

Finally, by October I would like to finish the Delicato Mitts and this new pair of socks. I started the sock for myself; the yarn is Claudia’s Hand Paints in Walk in the Woods. The pattern is the Spaced Check from More Sensational Knitted Socks, which I realize is hard to see here; it’s better on the foot. However, the sock is rather large for me. I was bummed at first until I remembered that my friend Nancy, to whom I have promised a birthday gift of hand-knitted socks, has bigger feet than me. So instead of using the LL Mother Lode yarn for her socks (you may remember I had tragic pooling issues), I shall do a switcheroo. Now I am almost done with her first sock instead of not having started!

Well, those are all the WIPs that are fit to print.  I hope all your WIPs are going well!

Minimalist Cardigan

I am always, always on the lookout for throw-on-throw-off cardigans due to my job. The lab is kept reasonably cool unless I need to wear a labcoat, work in the cell culture room, or environmental services decides to “make improvements.” So an easy cardigan is perfect, and when I saw Ruthie Nussbaum’s Minimalist Cardigan in the Fall IK, I knew I had to have it. (I took a photo of the magazine photo, but Flickr is giving me the wrong code for inserting the photo, so you’ll have to use the link and scroll down).

Luckily, she used a worsted weight yarn, and I had more then enough bright navy Cascade 220 in stash. I made the moss stitch swatch, and I got both stitch and row gauge. I never get row gauge. I even got gauge with the specified size needles. I was a bit worried the knitting gods were setting me up for a great fall, but I decided I needed to continue in a suitably grateful and humble manner.

Saturday morning, after finishing THE BOOK the night before, I cast on and knit throughout most of the day. I also did six loads of laundry and cleaned the house, but I got half way to the arm hole decreases of the back.

Minimalist Cardi--back start

I really like the moss stitch fabric, and since I knit continental, the switch between knit and purl is easy. I need to email IK as the pattern tells the knitter to knit the ribbing of the back and sleeves to 1.5 inches, and 1.25 inches for the fronts. Clearly, that isn’t correct. But otherwise, the pattern is very clear and easy to follow.

My plan is to have the pieces all knit by October along with a few select WIPs that I’ll talk about on Wednesday. This schedule should fit well into a Master Knitting Plan that I have been concocting in my feeble, little brain. I would then, in theory, have time to also knit something like Icarus for holiday wearing. Time will tell if I can bring all this to fruition.

I hope you have had a good knitting weekend!