Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It Was a Swatch--

Then it grew and grew—and now its a short summer scarf. You know the kind a little something to wrap around your neck when you get caught in a cold down draft from an A/C vent, or at night when things cool down and there is the slightest breeze that sends chills down your spine.

It all happened by accident. It took a few inches to get the pattern just right (and I my version is actually a mirror image of the one I first saw)--and then I just wanted to do a few rows to see how it looked. The pattern works up fast, and before I knew it, I was half way through the color pattern repeat—and had 20 inches done! It just made sense to continue along, and finish up the color repeat, and now, I have a 40 inch scarf. Not a perfect one, since the first few inches at one end aren't quite perfect, but that's hardly noticeable (the dark ash tone makes it less obvious)

I plan to gift it to another knitter (one who skill level isn't quite up to lace yet) –because she always feels the cool draft, and gets cold in heart beat (I tease her, and tell her she must have been a lizard in a previous life—she still like to sit in the sun shine and soak up the suns rays--and grinds to a halt when she gets cold!)


What next?--Well there are still a bunch of UFO's—and socks head the list—but some cotton baby booties--(Mary Jane shoe style ones) are in the mix... And maybe a shell type sweater for me, and sewing, too. I have things cut, and unsewn, and baby hats to sew, and... (laundry looms large in things to do, too)  

Saturday, June 14, 2014

2 Sweaters and A Swatch

Sweater 2 is done, too. Well all except for having the buttons sewn on.. That will happen tonight. It should have happened last night, but I got distracted—Some one on Ravelry had posed the question, “Do you recognise this stitch?”

The stitch in question, (this one) was just lovely..I didn't know it, (or at least, its never caught my eye before) but I had no doubt I could reproduce it. I went off to swatch, and didn't quite get it right at the first go—so slowly, I made some changes.  (I would have gotten it faster if I sat at my computer desk instead of trying to reproduce from memory!--still I didn't do to bad.)

Can you see the changes I made as I worked the swatch? The beginning of the swatch the leaf motif is 9 stitches, with 3 purls between each motif—It evolved to a 7 stitch leaf pattern, with just 2 purls between each pattern repeat.

I am using a partial ball of some left over yarn (Patons Lace, to be exact) and I have some other partial balls of this yarn. I don't know if if I am going to continue the swatch and make a scarf of it or not. I think the stitch pattern would make a very lovely sweater. For a shawl or scarf, I'd start with a provisional cast on and work both ends to keep the leaves the same in the front.

The pattern is simple, a basic leaf with a simple change: all the decrease are done on one side of the leaf, (rather than symmetrically on both sides). This change requires decreases on both the right and wrong sides of the work.
So begin with a single stitch between columns of purls, P2 YO, K1, YO, P2—followed by the second half of the leaf pattern, SSK, K5. (at the end of all the pattern repeats, add another purl border (or not)

On the wrong side row, K the border stitches, and P4, P2tog, K2, Purl 3, K2...
With each row, the one leaf motif grows with YO (either side of center stitch,) and the other tapers off, with decreases (front and back)


Finally, one leaf has grown to seven stitches, and the other leaf has been reduced to a single stitch, and the process starts over. I love how the pattern makes soft undulating waves. But I am not sure this yarn is the best choice for the pattern. Its OK, but I think a smooth yarn would be a better choice. But then, this is why we swatch, right? To learn a pattern and see how it look in a specific yarn.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Off To A Good Finish

 Yesterday, before I posted, I had already picked up underarm stitches, and worked a full round on the sleeves for sweater 2.

I didn't work on the sleeves consistently, but did a round here and there between other tasks, and after lunch and after dinner.. This morning I was surprised to learn I had done almost 4 inches! One or two more pattern repeat (2 rounds) and it will be time to start the garter stitch cuffs—and then another dozen and half rounds and the cuffs will be done.

I had already woven in most of the ends on sweater 2 as I was finishing up sweater 1. Of course since then, I have 2 new ends from starting the sleeves, and 2 more end from joining new skeins—so there is some more finishing to do—and I still have buttons to sew on. But it sure looks like I will have sweater 2 finished by my self imposed deadline. 1 month for 2 mini sweaters is certainly not workhouse pace—these are very small projects—even doubled.  But I have finished them in time for the girls to get some use out them.  They fit now, albeit loosely and will be good till the late fall.  There are plenty enough cool days and cooler nights in the summer that they will get some use from them.
There is a big project looming.. not mine, but a new luxury building 2 blocks away. It has already obliterated a good portion of my skyline view, and its getting higher and higher ever day. When I sit at my computer, instead of the 59th street bridge, and the upper portion of Manhattan skyline, I see nothing but building—from the bottom to the top of my window. The first image is from May 20th, the lower one, today.
It's less obtrusive from other angles—but I really hate how its changed my view from my computer desk. Oh progress--how I hate it sometimes.

I am also somewhat amazed at the idea of luxury housing so close to the the LIE (I-495) I am 2 blocks from the LIE, and didn't mind the muted white noise of the traffic (which I still can hear, though it is more muted)--but 1 block closer? It has to be louder and dirtier.

And while I like my neighborhood—I hardly think it is a luxurious one. The new building is 3 long blocks from the subway. (I am 2 short blocks.) The streets don't run at 90° angles in this area. The blocks are trapezoids—rather than squares. I am at the narrow end of the trapezoid, the new building at the wide end) This makes a big difference in how close I am vs how close they are to the subway. Plus, the subway stop is a local. (Premium locations are always at express stops!) A good half the apartments will have great views(my old one!) but there are other empty lots in front of these location—and their views are temporary, too. All in all, it just doesn't seem like a luxury location...

But what do I know? Housing prices in NYC are outrageous... getting a good location, at a good prices requires a good deal of insider knowledge, and a bit of luck. It is easier in Queens—but no where in NYC is housing cheap. I often think the term “Luxury” is used to warn people—EXPENSIVE.

When the building opens, I will make a point of looking to see what luxury amenities are included.
(For sure, they won't have a pool—new construction never include this anymore.)


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sweater 1—Done

And I have started to knit the sleeves on sweater 2. I so hate knitting sleeves... but its more than time to have these finished. And I really want to try to have them done by Monday.

Most weeks, I spend Wednesday with my DD and the girls...We start at the Queens Library Mother Goose program, sing songs and listening to stories. The girls love the time—they love the songs and the stories, and they love seeing all the other little children. There cheeks must hurt after the hour is up, because they never stop smiling.

They end up exhausted to, and the quarter mile walk home is always nap time (which sometimes extends even after we are home.

Next week, they will miss Mother Goose—Dr.'s appointments instead, and I will spend Monday with them (another Dr.s appointment ) —so the race is on to have sweater 2 finished by Monday, Grandma--(their paternal grandmother used to come Fridays, but she is out of commission for the moment-- She had knee replacement surgery Monday past—and it will be some months before she is going to be up to driving and visiting.

So I might be doing double duty and going twice a week. But I still want to have the sleeves done by Monday. I tired the sweater on to J--(with the sleeves still on the needles) and it fits lovely... The puffy yoke and puffy sleeves mean it will fit over clothes, (and will fit by the end of summer) but the loose fit means it won't be too warm on cool summer nights—especially when they go camping up state, or visiting family in the country.

I don't know why I hate making sleeves—they are so like socks... except—there is the sweater hanging around. I have always—with 1 exception, made top down sweaters. I don't remember the sleeves being so onerous in that sweater.. Maybe I need to start doing more bottom up sweaters, and knit the sleeves first—like a pair of socks, and then knit the body, and finally the yoke.

The yoke of the sweater is always the best part—whether its color work, or lace patterning, or even just simple miters, there is always design. And working Up it has the advantage of fewer and fewer (rather than more and more) stitches every row (or round)



Thursday, June 05, 2014

On to the Sleeves


Both sweater have the body completed, and now I am on to knitting the sleeves. Tomorrow will be 2 weeks since I started and I hope to have sweater 1 finished-- Not just all the knitting done, but really finished.

End woven in, buttons sewn on... and sweater 2's sleeves on needles ready to knit! These sleeves need another inch or so, and then a cuff of garter to be done.

I have, as you see, already found some buttons for the sweaters. I was thinking of just this style button—and had a choice of pearl or the pink.. (and you see I went with the pink.)

One reason was the pearl buttons were 3 to a card. Each sweater has 4 buttonholes—and the pearls (not real mother of pearl, but plastic) were more expensive for 3 than these (also) plastic were for 4—3 cards of more expensive buttons, vs 2 cards of less expensive ones? Well, that was a no brainer!

At the same time I was buying the buttons, 2 small remnants found there way into my hands—a striped print of pink and white (for some summer dresses) and some solid pink for trim and little diaper cover panties.

Meanwhile, I still have a skirt and jacket cut –but not a stitch sewn—and plans for more clothes.. I better get cracking!


Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Ahem

No, not a hem, though it was a possiblity; I thought about. Instead I opted for a border-- Simple garter stitch. There is plenty in the yoke on top, and the button bands are garter, so a garter stitch border is just the right touch.

I ended up with 6+inches of the mock smocking, and now with 6 garter ridges for the border, the final measure will be 7 inches below the armhole, and 12  inches from back neck to lower edge. A nice length.


I still need a few more rows to finish the border, and then the sleeves, and then the sweaters will be done. There will be enough yarn left over for a pair of hats, and likely even a pair of booties.   

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Two More Inches

Added to the body of the sweaters... Making 5 inches so far.. Another inch and half, and then I do the bottom border and  I will  be done with the body of the sweaters.

Nice progress—especially compared to the month it took me to knit the other pair of sweaters. I like this yarn (an acrylic) better than the wool. It's soft feeling (with out being so soft its has no body) and the pattern is baby friendly.  I didn't really much like the pooling and uneven stripes of the blue/white/pink.  I especially like the fine yarn. In theory, a thick worsted and size 9 needle should knit up faster—but I so end up disliking the crude results. I like the fine detail that fine yarn offers.

I am well into the second skein, but its clear I will have plenty for the sweaters, and for hats, and booties, too. But first—I have to finish the sweaters!