New year, new lace

In lieu of a mosaic of last year’s FOs (which I umm, still haven’t finished photographing) or a summary of frantic Christmas gift knitting (nope), I have a fresh start for the new year.

Hellooooo, lace. I’ve missed you.

This is the start of the Wakame Lace Tunic, from the summer 2008 Interweave Knits. It has a very interesting construction, and I really love the lace pattern. I hope I continue to enjoy this project after a couple hundred more hours of it.

Also Blue

In contrast with my ever-so-pink socks, I am also going through quite a bit of a blue phase as well. I’m obsessed with navy and deeper, richer blues in ways I’ve never been before.

I started a Sunshine sweater, a beautifully-detailed top-down raglan designed by the lovely Auntie Amanda.

I remember when Amanda submitted this design to a Craftster “One Stitch to Rule Them All” challenge (where I submitted my Garter Lace Tote) and I thought I’d never be able to make something that complex and stylish.

I’m pretty chuffed that I’m making it through with nary a worry. This is a wonderful pattern and easy to customize for a perfect fit. I just split off the sleeves and am making my way down the body. I can’t wait to finish this sweater!

It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t also cast on for a new pair of socks. These are Eleanor socks, a pattern I’ve made once before (with not such great success).

This yarn is quite a treat. The varying shades of blue are combining so nicely, and I love working with it.

I’m working the eyelets the same this time, so I think I should be really happy with these socks.

Meanwhile, I’m relishing the blues.

FO – Molly Ringwald

Last Sunday, I finished my Molly Ringwald.

I think it’s pretty cute.

Pattern: Molly Ringwald by Michele Rose Orne, from Knitscene fall 2006 (on Ravelry)
Size: 43″
Yarn: Bernat Satin, 100% acrylic, 10-ply worsted weight, color 04232 Sage, 3.3 skeins or approximately 546 yards
Needles: Knit Picks Options, size 6 (4.00mm), Brittany birch crochet hook, size E (3.5 mm)
Modifications: added 1 inch length to body, used kf&b increases instead of m1, reversed strap stitch pattern for mirror symmetry, added crochet rounds at armscyes

Started: March 3, 2008
Finished: April 20, 2008

This was a lovely pattern, and I learned a lot in the process. It is full of elegant little design touches, like the way the ruffles are formed or the transition from the bust to the sleeves.

Because it is relatively simple, I knew finishing would be important. I was very careful with my seaming, and while I was tempted to avoid learning how to crochet for the neckline, it is now one of my favorite details. I like the clean, sharp edge so much that I crocheted around the armscyes as well. This is definitely a good skill to add to my knitter’s toolkit, as I’m sure I’ll use it again.

I really admired the way the sleeves were constructed, and that is another trick I plan to remember: the front neckline stitches are reduced down to 4 stitches on each side, and these are knit into a ribbed strap which extends over the shoulders and attaches to the back. Once the body is sewn together, you pick up stitches from this edge and knit outwards to form a pretty little shoulder. I imagine it would not be at all difficult to extend this to a cap or short sleeve. Way cute.

There were a few times when the 3×1 ribbing became maddening, but mostly I zoned out and got into the Zen of it. It was a good companion project for reading, or in this case, listening to the audiobook of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll for the Knitting 19th Century Novels group.

I’d been wanting to knit this top for a while, but when I envisioned it as Alice’s pinafore, I couldn’t resist bumping it up to have something cute for spring.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am completely entranced with this particular shade of soft bluish sage green, and I’m sure this won’t be the last project I knit in this color. The yarn was lovely to work with, and it’s soft and comfortable to wear. This was my first time using Satin, and it was just perfect for this project.

I do think I could have gone down a size. I’ve come across quite a few people online who’ve said there is a lot of ease built into the pattern, but I thought I’d rather have something slightly loose than too tight.

I would definitely recommend this pattern. It’s a lot of fun and a great learning experience. I think the effort I put into the finishing details really paid off, and overall I think this is a sweet top. I will probably not wear it with puff-sleeved embroidered shirts all the time, but I think it will still carry some of that charm with simpler styles too.

Now for my next sweater, something without ribbing!

Previous Entries on this Project:
The C-Word

Photo Finish

Against all odds, I finished my Bella Paquita before the end of March, the deadline for the Sexy Knitters Club KAL.

Please excuse the truly awful photo. It’s pouring rain today, my boyfriend is at work, and I have about five minutes before I need to leave for a meeting.

I have so many thoughts about this project, and I plan to take much better photos, all of which I will post soon.

But I just wanted to pat myself on the back that yes, I set myself a goal and I reached it! Phew!

Look Ma, Seams!

Today was a huge day for me as a knitter.

I hunkered down with The Knitters Book of Finishing Techniques by Nancie Wiseman and resolved not to stand up until I had set in the sleeves for my Bella Paquita.

I stared at the diagrams and read the text over and over until I understood the weaving stitch (which I gather is the same as mattress stitch?).

I did everything she told me to: I pressed the pieces, I worked on a flat surface, I carefully pinned it together…

And it worked!!!

I finally, properly LEARNED HOW TO SEAM!

My seams are nowhere near perfect, but they’re also not the glaringly awful results I got with my previous haphazard stabby sutures technique. As in, I would wear these sleeves in public.

I have only a few more days to finish this sweater for the knitalong, but I am just thrilled to have overcome what has thus far been my greatest knitting obstacle!