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1  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Alapca and washing/blocking - HELP! on: January 20, 2008 04:30:31 PM
(x-posted at Ravelry)

I think I already know the answer to this, but Im going to ask anyway. Im knitting the McQueen knockoff by Calista Yoo in the recommended Andean Treasure and I finished the front and back panels. I know not to wet block alpaca, but when I held them up to my skin, they felt really itchy, I think because Id been dragging them all over the place to knit, and theyd gotten dirty. So I very very gently washed them in the sink and then I blocked them. This morning I picked up a dry panel and held it up to myself and found that my fitted sweater is now much much larger than it was before. It looked fine while blocking, but stretched the moment I picked it up.

Obviously, this is my own fault, since I did know better. What I want to know now is twofold. One, do I have to rip and reknit this? I suspect that I do, but if anyone knows a way I can avoid this, theyll have my undying love. Two, when/if I do this over again (on much smaller needles, by gum), and it comes that I need to wash my sweater, whats the safest way to wash alpaca so that it doesnt grow like a mofo? Im down with steam blocking future alpaca projects, but I do want to be able to wash dirty sweaters without fear of a disaster the like of which occurred this morning.
2  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Leafy Shawlette on: October 29, 2007 04:02:57 PM

Pattern: Clementine Shawlette, Spring 2007 Interweave Knits
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy, Happy Forest colorway
Yardage: About 350 yards - less than one skein
Needles: 3.5 mm, US size 4, random bamboo jobs I got on Ebay

I'm thrilled with this pattern.  It's fast, fun to knit, and the end result works really well as either a shawl or a scarf.  I'm also thrilled with the yarn, a lovely gift, in that it's every bit as smooshy as the name would imply, and the colors are to die for. 

This was a less-than-two-week project from start to finish, and it's very rhythmic.  Once you get past the shaping at the bottom, it's suitable for TV knitting (although there are some small mistakes on the second half thanks to some exciting moments on the DVDs I was watching.) 
3  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Willow (Now with fancy schmancy modeled pictures) on: July 31, 2007 11:39:22 AM
Oh yeah.  I win at life.  I finished my gianormous wool blend coat of doom in the middle of summer.  (Actually, though, this was on purpose.  I wanted it to be ready for when it actually get cold, since last year I was unprepared and froze.  Still, it's been funny working on a giant coat in the middle of the heat.)

The important stuff:  Willow is a pattern in Rowan's book A Yorkshire Fable, and it's written by Kim Hargreaves.  The called-for yarn, Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Chunky, is no longer made, so I substituted RYC Soft Tweed for the main color and Misti Alpaca Chunky for the accents.  I made the 34 inch size, but even though I got gauge with the Soft Tweed, I'd recommend going down one or two sizes to anyone who makes this in the same yarn.  It's so stretchy that the coat bags out on me.  I don't have any modeled pictures yet because my husband isn't home to take any, but you'll have to trust me that this thing is gigantic.  Technically, there is supposed to be a belt, and I did make one, but it does not look good with the coat, like I'm trying to put a nipped waist on a mattress.

Chunky yarn knits up super quick.  I started this just before I left on vacation at the end of June, and the actual work was probably only about two weeks time, though I wasn't working solely or solidly on this project.

More pictures, and of course, the whole saga is on my blog.

Edit:  Now with modeled pictures.  I'm adding these to ask for advice in shrinking the sweater.  Better to frog or to full?  Clearly it needs to be smaller.

4  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Some design questions on: July 30, 2007 02:01:13 PM
I'm still a beginner when it comes to design, and there are a few areas I can't seem to get the hang of.  I'm hoping that some of the more experienced knitting designers can set me straight. 

The first issue I'm having is with yardage.  If I make a top in my size,  but translate the pattern into multiple sizes, how do I figure out how many yards or skeins of yarn are needed for other sizes?  Is this an educated guess, or is there a foolproof way of calculating the yardage of other sizes?  There must be, right?  What am I missing?

My second issue is with sleeve caps.  If you've downloaded my sweater pattern for Maude Louise, you already know this.  My problem is that while I was able to figure out the sleeve caps for the one I made, I can't seem to figure out how to do it when I'm not knitting.  I don't want to make a Maude in every size to figure out the sleeve caps, but I don't understand the instructions on calculating sleeve caps in my Vogue Knitting book.  Is there a good tutorial out there on figuring this stuff out in a purely mathy way?  I'm a bit of a math dunce, and I cannot seem to solve the problem.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give. 
5  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Very simple toddler bolero on: July 03, 2007 10:30:50 PM
This is the bolero from the cover of Erika Knight's Simple Knits for Little Cherubs - a cloying title, but a nice book.  This pattern wasn't so nice, though, in one respect - there's a major error on the sleeves, which the knitter is instructed to make twice as long as they really should be.  Once that was worked out, though, I was able to spend my time being impressed with the construction, which is simple but really clever.  The front panels are knit separately and then joined so that all the seams are down the sides.  The yarn is random stash yarn that wasn't labeled when it was given to me, but I suspect it of being Lion Brand Wool-Ease.

6  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Zimmerman Seamless Hybrid on: June 10, 2007 11:25:51 PM
I'm so glad to have this done - it's taken what feels like forever.  I started this sweater last August, I think.  My husband wanted me to make him a sweater, and we found the perfect sweater in Elizabeth Zimmerman's seamless hybrid.  Still, I managed to mess it up enough times that there was a lot of unraveling and fixing and ordering of new yarn, and all in all, I'm surprised that at the end of it I want to make another of these some day.  I think it looks great on my husband, though, and even with all of my frustrations, I had a great time.  The yarn is Knitpicks' Telemark in Aubergine, and the facing hems are done in Colonial Blue.  It's very warm, and, again to my surprise, I liked working with a small gauge yarn to make a big sweater.  The body was pretty boring, but it was the kind of mindless knitting that could be done without looking or thinking.  Oh, and I love blocking so much I want to marry it.  The sweater was too short and had an ugly crease across the chest before it took a bath, but post blocking it's as perfect as I'd want it to be.

Here's a shot of the hem:

7  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Arthemis (self designed tee) on: June 10, 2007 11:15:02 PM

I had a bunch of Rowan Cotton Glace sitting around in my knitting cabinet following the unraveling of my Vintage Knits lace camisole, and two weekends ago, on a whim, I cast on for a tee shirt.  It turned out to be one of the fastest knits I've ever done, and I had this nice little top to wear this Saturday.  I was limited by the fact that I had only five and a half skeins of the yarn, and the color I used is discontinued, so the top is a little shorter than I would have liked, but I really enjoy it.  This is my first raglan, my first top down project, my first project with darts - lots of firsts here, really.  Fortunately, everything went as planned.

Here are a couple more pictures.

I'm really happy with this one.   Grin  It's named for a red-spotted purple butterfly because the fluttery quality made me think of butterflies when I finished.
8  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / A question for people who've knitted Twinkle patterns on: May 31, 2007 10:59:17 AM
I've been working on the Seaberry Shell from last year's Summer IK, and I'm having doubts.  There's something that seems wrong about a sleeveless top that is this thick.  I'm using 100% silk, and I'm wondering if this is going to be a really wearable project.  Am I going to be super hot if I wear it?  What has your experience been with these patterns?  I love Wenlan Chia's aesthetic, but it seems like it might work better for winter garments. 

It's no real problem if I have to unravel the shell.  It's been a very fast knit so far, and I think the yarn would make a gorgeous skirt that would be a wardrobe staple.  I love the way the Seaberry Shell looks, though, and I'm just wondering what the thick fabric is like, and what other people have noticed in knitting Wenlan Chia patterns.
9  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Has anyone dealt with Knitpicks' customer service? on: May 08, 2007 02:29:31 PM
I ran out of yarn just before the end of a sweater, and I need to order more.  I assume the dye lot I originally got is sold out, but I emailed Knitpicks just to ask, and I haven't heard back.  It's been more than a week.  I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask, but now I'm wondering whether this is a slip and I should just email them again, or whether I'm just not going to hear back and should go ahead and order the yarn.   Undecided  Has anyone dealt with their customer service before?  What was your experience? 
10  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / What is the one thing you've knit... on: May 01, 2007 07:19:28 PM
that you'd recommend that everyone else knit?  Just one! 

I think I'd probably recommend the Corinne dress at Knitting Fog.  I loved knitting it, and it was pretty easy, took not all that much yarn (less than 6 skeins of Rowan Cotton Glace) and the end result is remarkably satisfying and flattering.  I wear it whenever I can actually get to go out with my husband. 

What's your favorite knit so far?
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