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FO: Hubris

I began knitting in July of ’09, a scant 2 years ago. I had been crocheting for awhile, and, at the time I started knitting, was in the process of crocheting 5 shawls for the women who would stand up for my husband and I on our wedding day, at the end of August of the same year. I was quickly enamoured with knitting, though, and especially with the wearability of knitted things. Not to say that crochet isn’t wearable, but it’s a bit thicker in its final construction, and as a heavy woman, I shied away from that.

I was already on Ravelry, and was seeing a lot of knitted things that appealed to me. I jumped straight from my first, awkward knitted square to a shrug, then moved on to knitting in the round with some armwarmers. I cast on my first pair of socks on my honeymoon in September ’09, but knew that a sweater was in the near future. The Central Park Hoodie really appealed to me, but I felt constricted by my budget, and didn’t feel comfortable buying, well, buying the yarn I should have bought, which is anything other than what I got.

A trip to an LYS saw me going home with Briggs and Little Softspun, which certainly *wasn’t* soft, but which I was assured would soften up with wear. Being a brand-new yarnaholic, I didn’t know to look for vegetable matter, but I soon discovered was it was, as this yarn is full of it. I was unhappy that I’d bought somewhat scratchy, stiff yarn, that was full of chaff. But, I was determined to have a sweater, and so I cast on, after picking as much of the VM out of the yarn as I could while hand-winding the balls.

Not being content to knit my first sweater as written, I decided to make it seamless. If you read my Ravelry Project Page, there’s a blow-by-blow of the trials and tribulations that decision brought upon me. I’ll save you the brunt of my whinging, but the basics are: I hated working with the yarn, I’d inadvertently switched the cables on the front so I couldn’t take the one cable up over the hood and the other didn’t line up with the cable from the back, Jared Flood’s Seamless Set-in Sleeves Instructions were helpful but a challenge to my newbie-self, the increases I used on the sleeves left little holes so it looks like a vampire bit the sleeves all the way up, and, more than anything in the world, I hated the yarn and all that damned VM.

I found myself easily distracted by other projects, especially as other projects didn’t involve reconfiguring the pattern, and didn’t involve the hated Briggs and Little Softspun. By the following February I had gotten everything but the button band done, and I quit.

At some point between beginning the project and putting it on possibly-permanent hibernation, I renamed my Central Park Hoodie Hubris, for the sheer cockiness of the decision to alter my first-ever sweater. It seemed appropriate.

Hatred for the sweater kicked in, and I would almost snarl when I’d see it lying around. What a waste of time, of money, of knitting! The yarn made me so unhappy, and I think I was just overwhelmed with everything I had put myself through in the creation. Eventually, though, it just became part of the scenery, sitting in its basket in the living room.

Fast forward to this Spring. As the weather started warming up, I started craving a hand-made sweater. The Katje had blown out into something massive and unwearable after 2 wearings, and has been sitting in a To Frog pile since then, and the Hubris was the closest thing I had to a sweater (the Camber being more of a inside handknit). So, I looked at it, tried it on as it was, and determined to finish it.

Part of the problem of finishing was also buttons. I’d bought some, but didn’t like them, so I went out and found some other, better buttons that matched both me and the sweater better. I picked up almost 400 stitches using my Knit Picks Nickel Plated needles, instead of the Addi Turbos I’d been using (and not liking) for the rest of the sweater, and went at it. Soon enough the button band was done, and the Hubris was blocking.

The result? I kind of love it. Yes, I’d like to make another, real, Central Park Hoodie, with seams and the cables in the right place, and increases that don’t look like I was attacked by a precise vampire, but this sweater, finished, has become a roadmarker for me. The increases are endearing; the too-large hood a lesson in trusting the designer (maybe the hood really was deep enough as written, and I didn’t need to pick up extra stitches!); the one spot in the back – that I can’t find but know is there – a reminder that when you’re new to knitting, you don’t always knit in the right direction when you pick up your work mid-row; the expensive, not-likely-to-ever-be-used buttons a reminder to trust myself and to not just buy stuff at LYSes, but to go to other stores as well; the overly long sleeves a lesson in fit.

Yes, the yarn did soften up a bit with the soak it got, and I hope it will continue to soften up more. Will I ever work with this yarn again? I highly doubt it: my hatred for Vegetable Matter is rather large at this point. But, the silver lining to having used this yarn, as opposed to a softer, and most likely superwash wool, is that some day I’ll be able to felt the damn thing, and have a wind-proof, warm, hand-made sweater.

The wind came along and opened up the hood just as my sister took the shot. See? Huge hood.

I took the cable up the back of the hood. Link to instructions on my Rav Project page.

This seemed an appropriate pose for a sweater renamed Hubris.

I’m Not Dead!

(That phrase always makes me think of Monty Python.)

Obviously I’m not doing the best with updating here. I’ve finished a *lot* of projects, and in fact today was startled to discover that my next project will mark my 100th project on Ravelry, including the few hibernating pieces I’ve got there. 100! I only started knitting 2 years ago, and I’m already at 100 projects. Wow.

I honestly don’t know what I did before knitting. Yes, I used to crochet, but never with the obsession that I’ve got for knitting. Just yesterday at the in-laws for Easter dinner, I was fiddling with my rings, and K commented on it. I responded that it was because I wasn’t knitting, and it was true. Knitting has become such a part of my life that I fiddle – probably more than I did before – if I don’t have needles and yarn in my hands.

I knit on my lunch break at work. I knit while I watch tv. I knit at friend’s houses, I knit in waiting rooms, I knit in the car, on the bus… I knit. I love it. People know this about me, and no one is surprised when I buy yarn with birthday money, or Christmas money, or any time I get extra money. Consequently I have a fair bit of stash, and lately I’ve been trying to buy less, and stashbust more. I’m not that successful, because things keep coming up that just seem to demand new yarn: a friend lost a baby, and therefore needs a new blanket. I just got a bonus for the first time in my life, and, since I’m in love with Ruth Stewart’s yarn, I bought myself some yarn to make the Stripe Study Shawl. I’ve recently joined the Three Irish Girls Sock Yarnista club with birthday money, and am eagerly anticipating my first shipment.

Cardigans are high on my want-to-knit list, and I even have a sweater’s worth of yarn purchased, just waiting to be knit up. However, I’ve recently joined Weight Watchers, and have begun a journey to a healthier me (15.8 pounds so far!). I don’t see any reason to knit a sweater if I’m just planning on shrinking out of it, but that doesn’t mean my Ravelry Queue isn’t full of cardis. So in the meantime, I’ll make more triangular scarves, some hats, and hopefully get some FO pics up here to keep track of my journey.

Spring is here, and new life is growing around me. Hopefully I can instill some new life into this blog, as well.

FO: Camber

Yes, I finished this months ago, but the blogging spirit hasn’t really be with me, so my apologies to anyone who might actually have been checking to see if a) I ever finished this cardigan, and b) I ever blog.  And so, without further ado, I bring you: Camber.

On a GO Train platform in Toronto

 

If you read any of the posts I wrote while knitting this, you’ll know that it was somewhat fraught with anxiety for me. There was a mistake in the pattern for my size, which I didn’t know about, and assumed that the uneven stitch count was all me. This led me to put it down for quite awhile before ripping back, counting, looking at the pattern, counting again, and finally contacting the designer to see if my math was right. It wasn’t, but the pattern was still wrong, so she helped me sort it out, and I went back at it.

 

The Chandelier lace pattern works up so prettily!

 

Errata aside, I enjoyed the way the pattern was written up. It was like a choose-your-own adventure for knitting, as it had tables and corresponding blanks in the pattern, to allow you to write your own stitch count/repeats/etc into the pattern, instead of having to circle the right number out of all the available sizes. Jesh, the designer, also suggested using bust shaping, which I did, and between that and the waist shaping, this looks pretty good.

If I were to do it again: I’d make the body longer, and the armpits a bit snugger. I’m also not a fan of the i-cord button band, which I didn’t know as this is my first cardigan with one: it tends to gape open when I sit, even though there’s a fair bit of positive ease in the fabric. I’d also contemplate adding a row or two of some stitch at the bottom edge of the cardigan, to ensure it wouldn’t roll up. Button holes would be marked as they were made, and I’d contemplate making them two i-cord rounds big, since there’s a couple button holes that are overly snug.

Final impression: I’m glad I made this. The pattern’s clear (clearer now that I caught that mistake for my size!), Jesh does a great job of answering questions and offering support, and I learned a fair bit while making this.

Specs:

Yarn: Valley Yarns Colrain Lace, under one spool

Needles: US 4

Buttons: Celtic knot inspired plastic buttons from Fabricland

Ravelled – my notes are somewhat long-winded. My apologies.

… comes a resounding

DONE!!!!

Started in April, sleeping through a chunk of the summer, and then knuckling down and working on it practically every chance I got (aside from the times when I just needed a break from the thing), I can finally say that the Persephone is done.

Well, aside from weaving in the ends and blocking it, but… close enough.

A full post with my comments and pictures and all that jazz will be forthcoming, as will an FO post regarding the Camber cardi (done and worn to great reviews), and the Saroyan, as well as a Honey Beret.

But for now, please allow me to revel in the fact that I don’t need to work on the Persephone scarf any more. Let’s just say that the recipient had better love it!

Travelling as a Knitter

Sometimes it’s hard to believe, but I’ve only been knitting for just over a year now. At times it seems like life before knitting didn’t exist: haven’t I always carried a project around to work on when I’ve got a spare minute or two? Wasn’t I always on Ravelry, meeting new people, stalking new patterns, discovering new yarns and needles? Hasn’t the joy of petting yarn, ogling new colours, and dreaming of new projects been a part of my life for a long time now?

However, there are times where I definitely feel like a new knitter. Like now: while I’d planned on purchasing new yarn on an upcoming trip (a much-needed vacation), and even arranged meeting a Ravelry pal, I hadn’t considered what projects to bring with me. What would be the perfect project(s) to have along on vacation? Something simple, obviously, as there will be line-ups and public transit and such things, but also something that wouldn’t make me bored, as the usual vanilla sock would. At first I was contemplating bringing along the Perseverance shawl, as I’m making it with laceweight yarn on size US1 needles, but then I remembered what Fall means. Yes, it means that I get to pull out my knitwear and wear it proudly in public again, but it also means that Xmas is around the corner, and I haven’t made as much progress on the Xmas 2010 projects as I’d like. Specifically the Persephone, which I’m making in alpaca on KnitPicks Options (which means it’s a little extra slippy at times!!). The recipient is around my height (6 feet), which means there are a LOT of cables to do! At last measurement, I had enough scarf to go from my foot to my knee. Progress, but just not enough. And so, it has trumped the Perseverance, and will be making the trip with K and I. I’ll also be bringing a vanilla sock along, for all the line ups I anticipate (going to the Toronto International Film Festival will, I’d imagine, mean line ups!). And who knows, maybe I’ll get a sock photo with a famous person!

For the curious, the yarn I intend to purchase will be a sweater’s worth. My plan is to take along the yarn requirements for a project done in something lightweight, and something a bit heavier, so that I can just go with whatever yarn I like best at the shop. The two sweaters vying for yarn are:

Tempest: I’m thinking either all one colour, or something monochromatic, so that I can wear it at work (though with me, you never know what I’ll land up with, I could easily be swayed by pretty colours!), or

Persimmon: I think I’d make it without the bell sleeves, as they’d just annoy me, but keep the length of the sleeve and hopefully the design.

I’ve also carefully thought out what audiobook to bring with me. At first I was torn between Wicked and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but the reviews of The Girl, and the price of Wicked (and a comment by a friend about having a hard time keeping all the characters and events straight) steered me away from both, and made me realize how much I hate picking new books. What if I pick a bad one? And it’s not like you can re-sell, or return!, audiobooks. And then, I was struck by inspiration of some sort, and looked up the Yarn Harlot. Lo and behold, Audible has two of her books, and since they were both reasonably priced, I bought them both. Much yarny happiness will be happening on this trip, and I’m excited about it.

~~~

In bug news, I’ve found no evidence of bugs since the last post. I froze, shook, microwaved, and re-froze all the FOs that had been in the bedroom, and nothing. Which is great, as bugs would be horrible, but it still leaves me with the mystery of what the heck happened to those two projects, and the sadness that a) I have to fix the Kensington beret, and b) I can’t bring it on the trip and wear it in the Kensington Market! ::sigh:: Ah well. I still have to sew buttons on the Camber, and between that, an errand, and packing, tomorrow night’s full up!!

Pre-Long Weekend Update

While I’m not sure what it was that ate those two FOs, I’ve put all my FOs in the freezer and will take them out tomorrow, which will be day four. I also realized that the two FOs were made from yarn from the same seller, and so have also put all yarn I have from that seller in the freezer.

I found a number of pages online that were somewhat helpful, though nothing really told me what it could be that did this. Apparently the clothes-eating moths are rare here, and since we don’t have carpets I’m guessing it’s not carpet beetles, and there’s no evidence of mice, so…. I’m at a loss. But, one website suggested a mixture of one part cloves, one part peppercorns, and 3 sticks of cinnamon, broken, as a pot-pourri that would keep most bugs away, so many of my new, clear-plastic stash boxes have “sachets” of that mixture. (“Sachets” is in quotes because I have no muslin, no cheesecloth that hasn’t been used for baking, and so the pot-pourri is wrapped in paper towel and twist-tied shut.) I hope the combination works to keep things away! And besides, I may have a scent allergy, but not to that combo, and the thought of having yarn and FOs that smell like cloves/pepper/cinnamon is really quite pleasing.

I seem to have lost my evening-knitting mojo, and have instead been opting to sit and stare blankly at either the laptop screen or the tv (we’ve started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation again from the beginning). I’ve been opening at work for the last two weeks, and that means leaving the house before 8, which I’m definitely not used to, so I’m often tired when the day’s over. However, as of today I’m off opening duty, and will hopefully have more energy to knit in the evenings. It’s practically fall, and that means that I’d better get my butt in gear on all the Christmas projects I need to make!

I’ve made some progress on my Saroyan – the decrease section has been started. Woot! I’m making it in KnitPicks Organic Cotton, in the Duchess Heather colourway, and man is it soft and luscious. If the recipient doesn’t like it, I’m totally taking it back! Persephone has seen some work, too, though I still have a long way to go.

Most excitingly, though, I’m this close to finishing the Camber! Less than 15 rows left on sleeve #2, and the great thing about the construction is that when I’m done the sleeves, all that’s left is to weave in the ends, block it, and sew on the buttons. Then again, the construction also means that I can’t just undo the applied i-cord edging at the bottom of the body and add more length, now that I know that I have enough yarn left over to do so. Ah well, hopefully blocking makes it nice and long.

I’ve never blocked a sweater before, let alone one that is done on such small yarn (light fingering), or with a lace pattern at the top. Any advice? And buttons: I’m assuming those go on after I’ve blocked, yes?

We leave on a trip on the 10th, and my goal is to have the Camber done and wearable by then. True, we’re going somewhere that is in the middle of a heatwave, but hopefully I can still get some wear out of it. It’s going to be such a pretty cardigan!!

I’ve found two FOs with holes in them. I just tossed my stash, and didn’t see any evidence of bugs, but a few items I keep in my bedroom have been attacked and have holes in them.

I’ve heard of freezing the yarn/FOs, but for how long? And, in terms of prevention, what can I use? I’ve seen lavender and cloves mentioned – can I use either? Both? Is there some magic combination of the two I can use to help protect all my lovelies? I’d like to not use chemicals as much as possible.

I’m not sure if it’s moths or carpet beetles, but we live in an apartment building full of hardwood floors, so I’m guessing it’s not carpet beetles.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions – as this is the first time I’ve encountered something like this, I’m at a loss.

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