FO – Hope’s Jellyfish Shrug

Two Christmas gifts had to fly under the radar around here. While I’m not sure that my best friend Hope reads this blog, I do know she sees my Flickr photos, and I didn’t want to ruin the surprise.

I also finished this one with almost no time to spare before rushing it to the post office in an express envelope and crossing my fingers that it got to Boston on time (it did!).

Pattern: Jellyfish by Iris G in the July 2007 MagKnits
Size: Small
Yarn: Patons Brilliant 69% Acrylic 19% Nylon 12% Polyester, color 3008 Crystal Cream; I used a little less than 2 balls, each 1.75 oz/50 g and 166 yards, for approximately 332 yards total.
Needles: aluminum 9-inch size 10.5 (my mom’s) and Knit Picks Options size 9.
Modifications: Changed yarn and needle size, accidentally changed lacy rib pattern.

Started: December 7, 2007
Finished: December 22, 2007

Hope is a sparkly, fun girl, a musician who works in IT by day, a classically glamorous style mixed with a punk-rock sensibility. She’s recently lost a lot of weight and has many weddings to attend this year, so I thought a sparkly new shrug would complement all her pretty dresses in an exciting but relaxed way.

This project actually started with the yarn, a delicious cream color with gold metallic flecks running through it. It reminds me very much of champagne and shouted “I am for Hope!” from the shelf a year ago.

I consulted a Ravelry forum for suggestions, and everyone was taken with the Jellyfish in a solid color. I didn’t know if I’d have enough yarn, since I was subbing a stretchy DK for worsted weight mohair, but I ended up with plenty, even some leftover.

I loved the fabric it created – nice structural stitch definition but very delicate drape.

I have adored this pattern since it came out, and it was an absolute pleasure to knit. The vine lace stitch pattern is beautiful, easy and simply flies by. I memorized it within the first few rows, which really helped me keep knitting through the very stressful last two weeks of the semester. The shaping is elegant and entertaining without becoming cumbersome, which I think is a mark of a brilliant pattern. I knew exactly what to do on every single row, but it didn’t feel like I had my hand held – the instructions were clear and well-written and this project was a pleasure, through and through. I can’t say enough good things about it.

This was the shrug while blocking, an interesting shape. I was very pleased that the lace opened up at this point, as I’d worried about using a synthetic.

I had a few accidental modifications when I got to finishing. When I picked up stitches for the ribbing, I ended up with spaces. Because they were regular, I decided it’d be a little lacy detail, and I didn’t let it bother me.

I also misread the pattern while doing the lacy rib, so the order is a little off, but I kind of fudged it and think it came out alright. This project had such an all-over serendipitous quality that I really felt that anything I did was okay – it looked great no matter what!

I’m really happy with the outcome, and my friend absolutely loves it. She called me on Christmas Eve saying it fit perfectly and she would wear it to a New Year’s Eve wedding – woohoo! I will ask her permission to post photos of it modeled soon. This was a really fun knit, a great gift, and a remarkably pleasant experience.

FO – Toe-Up Magic Stripes Socks

I actually finished these socks at the end of November, but today is the first time I’ve had anywhere near enough light to photograph them.

I know there is some kind of irony (or foolishness) that I live with a professional photographer, yet it never occurs to me to ask him to shoot my knits. He’s now on a month-long trip around Asia, so please bear with my attempts.

These are very probably my favorite socks I’ve ever owned, hand-knit or otherwise.

Pattern: Universal Toe-Up Sock Formula by Amy Swenson in the summer 2006 Knitty
Size: custom fit to a lady’s size 9 with 9-inch foot circumference and 9.5-inch foot length (see notes below)
Yarn: Lion Brand Magic Stripes 75% wool 25% nylon, color 310-201 Denim Stripe; I used every speck of 3.50 oz./100 g (330 yd/300 m)
Needles: Knit Picks 6″ nickel-plated double-pointed needles, set of 5 size 1 (2.25 mm)
Modifications: None, as they were custom fit to my feet.

Started: October 27, 2007
Finished: November 30, 2007

I absolutely loved every bit of this experience, as it was such a clear, specific, and elegant process. Every calculation paid off for a uniquely perfect fit.

The formula starts with a gauge swatch (you can see mine here), once you’ve got the combination of needles and yarn for the fabric you want. In this instance, my gauge was 8 stitches per inch.

From there, I used my foot circumference and length measurements and a lovely little formula from the pattern to derive a set of numbers. This was all incredibly easy math and because I’m a nerd for numbers, I loved the way mine worked out.

For my own future reference, my math and cheat sheet numbers are as follows:

gauge = 8 st/inch on size 1 DPNs

foot circumference = 9 inches
sock circumference = 9 x 0.9 = 8.1 inches
length of foot = 9.5 inches
length of foot – 1.5 = 8 inches (A)
desired length of cuff = (when I run out of yarn) (B)

sock circumference x gauge = 8.1 x 8 = 64.8 –> 64 stitches – Key Number (C)

Number of Stitches for Toe & Heel Short Rows: divide C by 2 = 64 / 2 = 32 (D)

Number of stitches at end of toe and heel: multiply D by 0.4 = 32 x 0.4 = 12.8 — > 12 (E)

Cheat Sheet:
A – 8
B – when I run out of yarn
C – 64
D – 32
E – 12

The toes and heels are worked exactly the same, using short rows with wraps. Both are exquisitely comfortable and because I knit the sole to the exact length of my foot, the heels cup my feet so nicely.

I took this project with me on the subway, and I think it may have been what saved my sanity. This semester I was taking a French class in Manhattan, which involved three hours of traveling through rush hour twice a week. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it really adds up in terms of fast little rows of stockinette.

As I approached the end of my first sock, I started compulsively weighing the skein to determine the exact middle. I was excited at the prospect of using every last centimeter of yarn because I was working toe-up.

I found the half-way point and realized that I would be incredibly close to the stripe sequence at which I’d begun my first toe right at the mid-point of the skein.

It therefore only took a little bit of winding off and weighing to match my stripes precisely. As it happened, I was left with a small enough length of blue that I could split it evenly for the top stripes and incorporate it into the pattern where it belonged.

I really love when things go my way.

While I know that this pattern is basically just a generic toe-up formula, I think it’s perfectly written to make simple sense of sock construction and get a custom fit.

It literally took me less than three minutes to calculate all my numbers and the pay-off is tremendous.

I can’t recommend this method highly enough. The formula is also adaptable to other stitch patterns than stockinette, like cabling, lace, entrelac, and so on.

In this instance, I thought the stripes were such a strong design element that a simple and clean stitch best showcased what I loved about this yarn.

All in all, I couldn’t be happier with this experience. I was so happy, in fact, that I immediately cast on for another pair of socks within minutes of finishing these. No second (or sixth) sock syndrome around here!

Previous Entries on this Project:
Oh oh oh they’re magic…

FO – Top-Down Seamless Raglan Baby Sweater!

I finally, finally, finally finished Gabriel’s baby sweater!!!

For as long as I’ve been putting off the buttons, they really make it come alive.

So stinking cute.

Pattern: Top-Down Seamless Raglan Sweater by Carole Barenys for Knitting on the Net
Size: about 18-24 months; dimensions: 11″ wide across body, 12.5″ long, sleeves are 7.5″ from underarm
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft 100% acrylic in color #9905 Bone, less than 1 skein
Notions: 5 natural wood buttons, 5/8″ size, by JHB (they are either #1774 or 50951 – the packaging is unclear); Coats & Clark sewing thread
Needles: Knit Picks Options size 6 circular, size 5 straight (for ribbing)

Modifications: I used a heavier yarn weight than recommended, resulting in a larger sweater. I tried to approximate the same proportions based on the amount of button holes and the ratio of sleeve length to body, rather than going by the measurements as written in the pattern.

Started: March 2007, as a different pattern
Finished: finished knitting in August 2007 (with many delays), sewed buttons on December 2007

Those who have been reading this blog from the beginning may remember that this sweater started as an ill-fated, or maybe cursed garter stitch cabled sweater. It went through several fatal errors until I finally found the right pattern. I decided against giving the accompanying hat I made, since I can’t imagine the huge bulky seam would be comfortable to wear.

I delayed this project for months over nonsensical fears, such as picking up the stitches to knit the arms on DPNs and most notably, sewing on buttons.

I’m so glad I finally finished it because it’s just plain adorable. I love this pattern, and I highly recommend it. The yarn is beautifully suited, with a gorgeous drape and the added benefits of being stain resistant and machine washable. I’m pleased with the color and the style of the buttons; I think it gives it a classic, sophisticated look. (Can you tell I’m just a little happy with it?)

It’s all ready to be gifted, and only – what? – 9 months late. I’m thankful I had the premonition to knit it in a much larger size so that just in case I behaved true to form, the baby would still get ample wear out of it.

Let’s hope they like it!!!

Previous Entries on this Project:
Notes from the Pile
The Beauty of Monogamy
Oh right, this is a knitting blog
This sweater is cursed
So Much Better
Finishing, ugh
Cabled Baby Set

Happy Socktober!

It is with great pride and happiness that I present my finished Jaywalkers:

I am so in love with these socks.

Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina, from the September 05 MagKnits.
Size: larger (9 inches around foot, 9-1/2 inches from top of leg to bottom of heel)
Yarn: Patons Kroy 75% wool 25% nylon, 4-ply sock yarn, color 54801 Krazy Stripes; I used two 50-gram balls and 7.4 grams of a third (about 30 yards), for an approximate total yardage of 436 yards.
Needles: Knit Picks 6″ nickel-plated double-pointed needles, set of 5 size 1 (2.25 mm)
Modifications: I unintentionally added a few straight rounds in the right toe. I vastly prefer the one done according to the pattern.

Started: originally in October 2006, then put on hold many times
Finished: October 24, 2007

I have mentioned my deep and intense love for this pattern before, but really, these have been the perfect first socks.

The pattern was easy to memorize and had just enough variety to stay interesting while remaining a perfect “pick up and go” kind of project.

I learned all about sock construction, including turning a heel and Kitchener stitch, and I cannot wait to make more socks after such a wonderful experience.

This yarn was a pleasure to knit with, through and through. The finished product is so delightfully cozy.

Smokey instantly approved.

I must trust him. That cat is an expert in comfort.

So there you have it. My first socks, my first knitting with wool (and my feet can tolerate it!), and a wonderful project through and through. I can’t recommend these highly enough!

Previous Entries on this Project:
A Jaywalker walks into a bar… ouch
The Jaywalkers Saga
Sock Bliss
Unconscious Knitting

More shrug pics (also, I’m home)

I am home at last from Italy, and I had an absolutely amazing time. I’ll be writing a lot and posting photos on my regular blog soon, though I am still adjusting to the time and getting back into my life here.

I will say, I got a lot of use out of my cropped raglan shrug in Italy (in the above photo, I was on the Lido in Venice). We had to cover our shoulders to go into churches, which we did quite frequently for classes. I also found my shrug to be perfect over dresses in the evenings, and because it washed so wonderfully, I wore it all the time.

These two were at the botanical garden in Padua, which I just loved.

I didn’t bring any knitting with me to Italy, nor did I find any yarn shops. I was honestly too busy painting and studying to get around to it. Since returning, I’ve knit on my Summertime Tunic a bit, but I had better get back to work on the baby set before the baby grows out of it!

I hope you all have had a lovely summer thus far, and I look forward to getting back in touch!