Stacy Knits

Ramblings about knitting and whatever else crosses my mind

Monday, February 27, 2006

Rebecca Ruffled Jacket

After some anxious moments staring at the tiny, weird shaped pieces, thinking there was no way they were going to work out to be a sweater that fits and pondering if it was possible to rip out a mohair sweater, I present...

Pattern: Rebecca #30, Wrap Jacket with Flounce Edging (Pattern 37)
Yarn: GGH Soft Kid, about 5 1/2 balls (pattern calls for 7 for the small)
Needles: Size 5 Addis
Alterations: Very minor ones. My gauge was 22 rather than the pattern's 21. Since my row gauge with those needles was on, and row gauge mattered in this pattern and after calculating to make sure the fit would still be okay, I went with it. It blocked out to almost the same measurements. I slightly shortened the body, sleeves, and armholes.

Other notes:
*The pattern was very easy to decipher. Yes, it really was a Rebecca pattern!
*I love this yarn. It's wonderful to work with (not so if you want to rip out though) and makes a cuddly, warm, soft sweater. Too warm unless you're one of these that's always cold like me. I'm anxious to use it again.

*My ruffle isn't particularly ruffly. I think that's because I messed up the bind off. You're supposed to slip the 2 purl stitches while binding off, and I, forgetting that step, just bound off normally. I realized it about 2/3rds of the way through the almost 600 st bind-off and there was no way I was making the change. The shape of the sweater and yarn was what drew me in originally, and I was afraid the ruffle would be too much anyway. I even left off the ruffle on the sleeve. I may go back and add that later but even without it, the sleeves hang nicely, no rolling.
*There really aren't many changes I'd make. The pattern was sized almost perfectly for me. I'd add a couple of stitches onto the sleeves. The final measurement at the top is a bit over 11", and that's kind of small, even for a stretchy sleeve like this one.
*I am glad I didn't mess with the measurements of the back piece. The bottom of it starts out at 20" and decreases relatively quickly up to the waist. I wasn't sure that would work and thought it would leave a big hip-emphasizing peplum type thing hanging there but I decided to go with it. Glad I did, it's perfect
*Oh yeah, you may noticed mine crosses over on the opposite side from the original sweater. I seamed the first side, forgetting to add the slit. I just put it on the other side.

All in all, a huge success! It's the best fitting sweater I've done so far because I really took the time to deal with the armhole and shoulder sizing, which is where I run into the most problems with the fit of my handknits. Wrap sweaters seem to be the most difficult to get to fit properly, whether knit or store bought, and this one works better than any I've owned.

I'm really proud of this sweater. I had to figure this one out on my own since I haven't seen another one online. My finishing is getting better with every sweater (and fluffy mohair hides a lot of sins :). When deciding what garments to knit, I've realized that I stay out of "won't wear it" trouble if I knit things only if I would buy the same item in a store. This one would be one I'd definitely buy!

It's done!

The Ruffled Cardi is done, and I'm wearing her today. Pictures and details to follow later this evening...

A little on the Knitting Olympics. All in all, a fun little thing to do, to work feverishly toward the deadline. I'm not so sure I'd participate in another one however. I tend to have 3-4 projects going at any one time, projects of varying types, some more complex like lace, some bigger but mindless like stockinette sweaters, some smaller like hats or scarves. I pick them up in the evenings depending on what my mood is at the time. Setting this deadline, I had to work on this same project just about any time I knit. It was fun this time but deadlines like Christmas gift giving usually take a project from an enjoyable knit to one that I am struggling on and cannot wait to be through with. This sweater was already starting to take on that for me.

And even though I finished last minute, would I have gotten it done if that one front piece wouldn't have been completed going in? Sure! The front pieces took probably under 4 hours each, they knit up that quickly. I didn't knit a whole lot on the weeknights but given the deadline, I definitely would have. I'm such a procrastinator but usually manage to make my deadlines but the skin of my teeth.

I look forward to seeing everyone else's completed projects!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The last progress report

Let's hope it's the last and the next post is a fully complete Ruffled Sweater!!!

And down the stretch they come (er, that's horse racing, not Winter Olympics. And it will be nice to make a post without silly sports metaphors. We're all doing it, I've noticed! :) ) The knitting's all done. The blocking is done. Next step: seaming.

I am still incapable of getting a picture that shows the color accurately. I've tried different rooms, different lights, flash or not, and the result is the same. They are mostly too bright and too orangey. Imagine the rosy red color of a raspberry and you've got it.

You may notice the shaggy overgrown Parker Cairn observing my work. You may also noticed plain guest bed mattress that serves as my blocking board. If you remember from a couple of weeks ago, Elly Cairn had a bladder infection and her 4th recurrence of bladder stones. All was pretty well within a couple of days, leading me perhaps to a bit of false security. One evening, she was whining around. Elly does that often if she wants me to pet her. I was busy and didn't. Oops, that wasn't a "pet me" whine, that was a "gotta go" whine. Usually I'm excellent at Elly to English translation but I blew this one. She jumped up onto the bed and peed a river. I watched in horror as my lovely back piece was under Elly as she peed. All was well, the piece was dry, and I didn't even mind having to rip off the sheets AND the bedskirt and clean the carpet.

Today's plans: Lunch with the grandparents. Stop to get some thread to seam this baby with (I have no desire to do that with the mohair!). Knit the ties that I had completely forgotten when saying that I was done with the knitting (14" stockinette, no biggie). Try to finish seaming. If I have time, pick up stitches and get started on the ruffle. Tomorrow, I'll finish the ruffle. And maybe have pics posted by tomorrow night. Don't hold your breath but that is the goal!

I'm thinking I'll even do a little on Salina's front this afternoon. The Cats have a big game with LSU at 3:45, and there is no way I'll be able to seam during that if I haven't finished it by that point. I'll probably finish the ties during the first half. It's a big game and knitting keeps me calm and from throwing things at the TV (yes, I have done that. I remove all hard objects from reach of my lucky game watching spot. Yes, there is one of those)

Good luck on finishing everyone!

P.S. Thanks for birthday greetings!!! Yes, CupcakeQueen, the Cats gave me a great birthday present with a HUGE 40 point win where my favorite player, Rajon Rondo, came out of a big slump he's been in with 12 assists! It happened to be his birthday too. February 22nd was a good day. :) I'll pretend that his nasty dunk during the game was a little birthday shoutout for me!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Happy birthday to me!

Actually, it was yesterday, not today. I was so stuffed from my birthday dinner (sushi) that I didn't even eat my favorite red velvet cupcakes. 31 seemed so old when I was a kid. But now, I don't feel or (hopefully) look that old!

I've stalled out on the sleeve of my Knitting Olympic cardi. I hate sleeves! I'm about 11 inches in but I cast on for this thing late Sunday night. Hopefully I'll get it finished tonight and tomorrow for seaming on Saturday and ruffling on Sunday!

The back and front pieces are blocked and ready to be seamed. I may do a little of that tonight to break up the sleeve monotony and see how it fits. In spite of how much I hate doing sleeves, I love being at this phase of a sweater...the phase where you know that you're going to have a brand new handknit sweater pretty soon!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Progress Report...

One week to go! I've made great progress on my Ruffled Cardi. I've completed the back, both front pieces, and one sleeve piece. I thought I would try to complete both sleeves by this weekend and to leave only the quick knitting front piece to go for the week. But since the front piece has some type of shaping on almost every row, requiring me to closely track where I am, I figured it would be best to do it over the weekend. I do like to carry my project with me during the week in case I have a chance to work on it, and tracking sleeve increases is a lot easier than this.

(I'll try to snap some pics later)

So technically, after casting on for the final sleeve last night, I'm just one day behind from my intended schedule. That's pretty good with just one piece left to go. Finishing is going to be the killer on this! But it should be do-able over just a weekend if push comes to shove.

I'm not so sure I want to put every project on a deadline like this but it has been fun, knitting like crazy to get it done.

The Cats beat South Carolina Saturday in a great game, where they played like the Cats of old. It amazes even me how much better of a mood I'm in when they win. Patrick Sparks was on fire in the second half, hitting 6 3's. If this guy played on any other team, I would despise him that his cocky little smirk he gets when he's on fire. But he's ours and as frustrated as I get with his streaky shooting, I love the guy.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Progress, Day 6

We almost had a tragic Knitting Olympics equipment failure. The other night, a peaceful, quiet evening at home with me on the phone, Elly Cairn resting on the couch, and Parker Cairn ripping pieces from his favorite stuffed animal. Only when I turned around, it wasn't his favorite stuffie. Parker had a ball of expensive GGH Soft Kid, trying to rip the ball band out, all in his way be damned even if it was fluffy soft pricy yarn. The boy loves him some paper products, and ball bands are high on his list of fine dining. I grabbed the yarn, expecting to see scores of 5 inch pieces but amazingly, all that was ripped from the skein was a couple of yards.

Of course I'm already late on my planned Olympics progress schedule. It wouldn't be ME if I wasn't! I'm not too far behind however. I wanted to finish the back on Monday. In reality, I finished it mostly on Tuesday except for binding off which I did on Wednesday. I started the first sleeve on Wednesday as well and have about 3 inches done so far. I want to have both sleeves done by Sunday which is definitely possible given the weekend. Here she is, the back piece...

For the life of me, I can't get a great shot of the color of this yarn, no matter what light I take it in. Look at that cool ruffle at the bottom! This ruffle wasn't bad to knit but I only bound off about 300 stitches with it. I imagine the final ruffle isn't going to go by nearly so quickly.

This is really going quickly compared to Salina which is knit at the exact same gauge and has similar measurements. Maybe it's just my imagination. Or maybe I've flying because I love this yarn so much.

On another note, it got up to 70 degrees today. It's February in Kentucky, that just doesn't happen! But as they say, if you don't like the weather here, stick around. It will change tomorrow. It will be in the 30's tomorrow. Nice. But on a really comfortable day out, I actually broke out Lucky!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Finally, the first posted FO of 2006!

Olympic progress report: about 4 inches left to go on the back plus the ruffle. Right on target! Today is my goal for finishing the first piece.

It's quite pathetic that I haven't posted a single FO this year! Actually, up until this, I have only finished one thing, the Loopy Cowl I made for my co-worker. I didn't even take a picture of it since it was something I'd made before.

This is Ruffles for my friend Stephanie. It's been mostly finished since mid-January but she just got it from me last week. Yeah, it was SUPPOSED to be a Christmas gift! I was holding off handing it over until she was in town but after her trip in was cancelled, I mailed it. Otherwise, she would have had it much earlier.

But here she is, another finished Ruffles ...

The color's really darker than this

Pattern: Scarf Style by Pam Allen
Yarn: Berroco Softtwist, 3 skeins
Needles: Size 7
Started/Finished: Mid-December/Mid-January
Notes: I didn't make any revisions. The scarf ended up measuring about 66". The pattern calls for about 400 yards but this was a nice length for this scarf. The yarn was somewhat splitty but I'm not too bothered by splitty yarn. If you are, beware. It's not as splitty as Cotton Twist though! I'm not sure I'd use it for a sweater because I kind of hate the feel of rayon but I did wash it, and it has a nice, soft, slinky texture that is nice for this scarf.

That makes for my 2nd Ruffles. Will I do another one? Maybe! This second one was torture near the end but that's probably because it was my second one in a month! But it's a good, mindless project and I love the final result. So while I won't do another now, maybe down the road sometime as a gift.

My other projects from Scarf Style: Ruffles #1 and Backyard Leaves

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Today's Knitting Climate

Ahhhh, it's a blizzard!!! Four whole inches. You east coasters are snickering madly when you're looking at 12+ but hey, this is the most we've had in ages. I was thinking, I moved into my house about 4 years ago and haven't had to shovel my driveway once. My driveway record is still intact because none stuck to the roads or sidewalks.

A snowy day plus a sick dog (more below) made for a perfect time to make some great progress on my Olympic cardi. I'm about 10 inches up on the back piece. I would love to finish it up tonight. So far, the pattern is very straight forward. Even Rebecca finds an acorn from time to time. I've read through the rest of it, and all seems well.

I hope to take about 4 days for the back (including ruffle), 6 days for the 2 sleeves (including ruffles) and 2 days for the front right which will leave 5 days for the finishing, building in some extra time if I get off schedule (and to let me pretend that even if that giant funny shaped swatch wasn't a perfect fit for the left front piece, I would have finished anyway).

My Elly-Girl

If you've read my blog for awhile, you may remember my Elly-Cairn's surgery for bladder stones last April. That was bladder stone surgery #3 in 2 1/2 years. We've taken lots of steps each time to try to prevent them but when I got home Tuesday evening, I found two places where she had peed in the house. This dog never pees in the house. Unless there is a problem. A urine sample delivered to the vet Wednesday morning showed lots of crystals (a precursor to stones), and Thursday, I dropped her off for x-rays. I told him to give me a call with the results but went ahead and signed off on the releases to do surgery. Being down this road before, I knew she'd need it. An anxious hour later, I still hadn't heard from them so I called. They had just finished with her and had great news for me.

NO SURGERY!!! He found a couple of small stones on the x-ray but decided we'd try to dissolve them with diet instead of surgery (you can do both things but in the past, we've opted for the surgery route as the best treatment). She had a couple of rough days (though she's acting just fine, for the most part) but this morning, she seemed to pee normally. She's on antibiotics and a special prescription for a month and after that time, we'll x-ray again and hope the stones are gone.

This dog has been with me through so much. I got her my senior year of college. I love both of my dogs equally and dearly but in different ways. Parker's my baby. I love nothing more than to snuggle and love on him. Elly's my best friend, my lil soulmate. Parker's 7, I've had him since he was 1 (actually, he came home 6 years ago this weekend!). Elly's 9, and I've had her since she was an itty bitty 4 lb ball of fire. Her first night at home...

To not leave my Parkie-guy out, here's a picture from the week I brought him home, in his very favorite position. You can't resist rubbing this belly, I promise!

Kentucky lost again yesterday. This time to Vanderbilt. Again. Swept by Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt. The school that disbanded their athletics department a couple of years ago. This sucks. Big time. I've joined the chorus of people saying that our coach needs to make some BIG changes at the end of the season in recruiting, coaching staff (fire at least 1 or 2 of the assistants), conditioning (they fired the strength and conditioning coach a month ago, the first casualty of this pathetic season, a move about 7 years overdue), and even within his own coaching philosophy. If he can't do that, I want him gone. This is bogus. We're Kentucky. We're the winningest basketball program of all time. We shouldn't have seasons like this. An off year for us means a 5 seed in the NCAA tournament, not not making the tournament which is what we're facing this year.

Friday, February 10, 2006


Y'all, to paraphrase my Mamaw, I might could be crazy. For non-Eastern Kentuckians, my Mamaw is my grandma and might could be crazy means that I quite possibly am out of my mind. I started experiencing a few pre-Olympic jitters. I haven't finished Salina, I haven't finished the baby cardi (but there's not a lot of hours left to finish that one). And if I make my Olympic cardi, there's no way I'll get to the project in my stash I want to wear most, the Ruffly Cardi from Rebecca #30, by the end of winter. Don't get me wrong, I love the Blue Sky cardi but since it's cotton, I can wear it well into May and even on cooler summer days in an air conditioned office. A mohair cardi is probably going to be put up sometime in March. I really, really want to wear it this winter. Like, really bad. And with the weekend snowstorm we have coming in (translation: 2 inches predicted), I would love to settle in knitting a nice fluffy mohair sweater.

A lesser person would declare her Olympic dreams over, with the games commencing mere minutes from now. I, however, will do no such thing. My Olympic project will be the Rebecca Ruffly Cardi. That piece I knit already, nah, that wasn't the left front of the cardi. Nope, that was a big, funny shaped swatch.

Obviously, I am not above cheating.

If I HAVE to, to preserve the integrity of the games and to prevent myself from being ostracized from blogland entirely, I'll reknit the first piece.

At the end.

Once I know that I will get done by the closing ceremonies.

In all seriousness, this project is probably a bigger challenge, even with completed left front, and I'll call that well within the spirit of the games. It's a Rebecca pattern. It's at a smaller gauge and thus is going to take much longer. Finishing is bound to be annoying. Did I mention the final ruffly bindoff of about 600 stitches? It's not like a project I've been working on for a couple of weeks already. I did one piece, put it down, and haven't touched it since (that's a lie, I like to fondle it)

So off we go...well, later today anyway. I'm not one of those that took a day off work for this monumental event. Not that I didn't consider it though. :)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Olympic Training

The Knitting Olympics are just days away! I've got the yarn...

I've got the swatch...

I've got the needles (you don't need a picture, do you? Addi Turbos, Size 7)

I think I'm ready to get started on my Snap Cardigan!

I've decided not to add any shaping for this project since the ribbing hits almost to my waist and because I'm going to size it down to make it a slimmer fitting sweater than the almost 40" small in the pattern. I don't find shaping quite as necessary for me when I'm dealing with a cardi instead of a pullover. So that much of the planning is done! I'm really happy with the color I chose. It's a pastel-ish shade but to me, it's a hint more grown up than a baby pastel.

My swatch looks a little rumpled in the picture. After measuring it carefully, I decided to give it a test. Typically, I'd wash a sweater like this on the gentle cycle and lay it flat to dry (or perhaps dry on gentle). I wanted to see how it would work with regular washing and drying in case I want to use leftover yarn for project for the new nephew. I don't want to give new parents any more work than necessary so I tested it with washing abuse. I tossed it in with a load of sheets and towels, with hot water and bleach. Then I dried it normally along with the load. It didn't shrink at all (plus!). It looks a little rumpled but that's really because of how the stockinette rolls at the edges. Following their actual instructions to dry until damp and block would work better. The ribbing looks pretty good. It still feels so soft.

Why this project is a challenge...

One thing the Yarn Harlot said about the Knitting Olympics is that every knitter should choose a project that will challenge them in some way. Truly, a worsted weight cardigan in 16 days isn't a huge challenge, provided I set my mind to it. But it does have some challenging aspects. The first is a couple of days visit from a friend. My birthday falls in there too so that will be some more time away from knitting.

Another is the yarn selected and the pattern selected. Blue Sky Cotton is so soft to work with but cotton isn't as forgiving as wool. The pattern has a lot of ribbing, and while swatching, I had to be very careful that the edge of my ribbing wasn't loose. So I can't just rush through the knitting.

I've decided that I want to put a zipper in this rather than the snap tape. It will be my first zipper, and that's the big challenge on this project. I'm a little afraid to do it but there are several great tutorials online. If all else fails on the installation, I'll need to get it done as quickly as possible to have time to drop it off at the tailor. :)

Really, I'm ready to go. I bought a zipper that hopefully will work. It's white which I think will work just fine with the light color. If I end up not liking it, I'll look into ordering a custom one.

Salina probably is not going to be done by Friday. I've got about 6 inches of the front piece done. I did finish one cuff and have the other to do. If I make good progress on my Olympic project, I'll work on Salina throughout that time too.

I ended up going to the basketball game last night. I should have stayed home and worked on Salina. We lost yet again. This basketball season is KILLING me. We're 15-8 which is a really pathetic record for the winningest program in college basketball history.
It may be crazy for living and dying with a sports team but I grew up on this stuff. I grew up going to games with my Dad. I grew up sneaking my headphones into bed so I could listen to the postgame radio shows. I cried after every loss. One of the happiest, most exciting moments of my life was being at the 1996 NCAA Final Four when we won the whole thing. And yet now, our season is spiraling out of control, and there is not a thing I can do about it.

From a game in January, one of my favorite Rupp Arena traditions, the big K flag with the bank playing the theme from 2001

It looks like a sweater!

I really want Salina done before the Knitting Olympics begin which will be a huge challenge in and of itself. It's the Olympic Qualifying Competition, perhaps! I've got the back done and both sleeves. I've started on the front. After that, it's just seaming it up and doing the cuffs and collar. At least I have the dreaded sleeves done.

There's not a lot done on the front yet. It's a cold, wet, and snowy day here in Kentucky and while I've bummed around most of the day, I plan to curl up on the couch tonight to knit. My knitting time this week may be a bit limited, and if I want this thing done (or mostly done) by Olympic torch lighting on Friday, I had better get cracking!

Go Steelers!!!