Grass-ercup

Finally, the finished object report for my latest sweater. 

I apologize in advance for the pasty photos.  That’s what you get  late on a Sunday night.  Better photos will come this weekend when I have a photographer available at the same time I have on make-up and have decent hair!

September 2010 011Project:  Grass-ercup

Pattern:  Buttercup.  Great pattern, but if you’re going to make this, measure right up under your arm pits to determine your size.  I made a medium, increasing to a large through the chest, if that helps those of you who know me well enough to get an idea?

I also picked up fewer stitches around the non-lace portions of the neck when I finished, to draw it in a bit more.  I only did three rows – as written – because I intend to wear a cami underneath (or a long-sleeved shirt…), but some knitters did several more rows to fill in the sides a bit more there where my collar bones are showing.

August 2010 012Yarn:  Plymouth Grass, a lovely cotton-hemp blend.  I really, REALLY like this yarn, and if Dog House Yarns & More still has some in sweater quantities in other colors, I might snag it.  Compared to a fine merino, it’s a bit rough to the touch while knitting, but after a good bath, it softens up nicely.  I am assuming hemp responds like linen, and the more I wear/wash, the softer it will get.

Needles:  The bulk of the pattern was done with #6 bamboo circs – 24″ in length.  Where the patten calls for the smaller needles, I switched to the Bryspun #5 circs.

September 2010 013Verdict:  It was a perfect, mindless pattern.  I do think some knowledge of the feather & fan lace pattern helps; I knew I wanted to REALLY tighten my gauge on the row or two after the yarn-overs to assure the lace wouldn’t be too open.

(Faux double chin, squinty-eyes and all…  Really, better photos of ME will follow!)

Would I do it again?  Probably not, through no fault of the pattern.  There just are tons of similar top-down, no-seam raglans out there, so why knit one twice?

I’m looking for the next sweater in waiting for my queue.  I’m eager to start on the pink cardigan, and I might opt to finish (frog and re-start?) Whisper, a laceweight, almost unstructured cardigan after that.  Any suggestions?  For the non-knitters, you can always tell me about your favorite sweater.  Is it a cardi?  Is it bulky or lightweight?  What makes it your fave?

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Book Scoot Boogie

I’ve been on such book bend lately.  I’m currently on book #4 in the tea shop mysteries.  They’re very “cozy” little novels; I finished #3 almost in one sitting Sunday evening.  I won’t keep reviewing each and every book in the series, but I really do enjoy all the tea lore and Charleston society/history tossed in there!

August 2010 004I also finished up Died in the Wool by Mary Kruger, the first in her Knitting Mystery series.  It does qualify as a cozy mystery per Wiki’s definition: Cozy mysteries are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humourously.  (There are several sites devoted to this genre; here’s one.)  While I get that a cozy mystery is void of sex and gore – which suits me just fine – this book isn’t as “fluffy” as the other cozies I’ve read.

It’s longer, and while the plot in all cozies is about the same, this one had a little more meat to it.  There are more than a few sentences of insight into ulterior motives (read: potential motive to kill), and the characters have more depth to them.  Heck, I was beginning to suspect dear Aunt Laura, just because anyone who uses “dear” as much as she does has to annoy people enough to have enemies!

That completes my tear through the first of series I had on hand.  Several of you have kindly suggested other knitting fiction and/or other cozies you think I might enjoy, and I’ve added them to my e-list.  I’ve already read over 25 books this year, which is way low for the pre-knitting days, but probably is about a two-year total for any of my knitting years.

September 2010 011

I can’t quite seem to finish my sweater in progress.  I should have finished the body last night, but I’m about three rows short.  Then come the sleeves.  I’ll have a ball left for each one, so I’m on the fence about how long to make them.  At any rate, I hope to have it finished this week, finally!

What’s new with you?

DOTFO

Or, all about acronyms…

Today’s Dogs on Thursday post also doubles as an FO report.  I wish I had better photos for you, but MJ is off and the Knight is foul-tempered this morning, so I went to the ladies room and did the best I could.  I suppose I could have held off for better photos, but honestly, in my world, this is probably as good as it gets, and I’m ready to share my first raglan sweater!

Pattern:  Plath Cropped Cardigan.  What a great pattern!  It was well-written, was just interesting enough to keep me going and could have been a quick knit if I hadn’t been afraid to separate (and then put all those stitches back on needles) the sleeves from the body in the car.  If it wasn’t such a distinctive pattern, I’d be tempted to say I’d make another…

My only complaint is the yarn-over button hole.  Won’t EVER do another of those on clothing, or perhaps not at all, period.  This is really my first button hole on an FO, so live and learn.

Yarn:  Whooohoo, three cheers for me, Cotton Fleece from my stash!  (The color is most accurate in the first photo.)  My first really big yarn purchase was well over a dozen skeins of CF for an afghan for the Knight, over 18 months ago.  I got burned out on baby blankets and never picked it up, and in the meantime, reading the comments on Ravelry, I learned that CF BLEEDS when used for color work.  Ugh.  I had no fewer than six colors for said afghan, so I found the above-mentioned pattern around the same time I discovered this little CF issue, and thus, I had my first not a one skein project knitted from my stash. 

The colorway’s called My Blue Heaven.  Because I discovered that right after Mugsy had moved on, my mind made this his sweater, despite the fact that blue was one of Fred’s colors, not Mugsy’s.  It’s a perfect blue, and I predict many years of regular wear for this sweater.  CF’s wool/cotton blend makes it a true three-season yarn here in Central Virginia, and despite being very loosely plied and thus splitty, it’s not a bad yarn to work with.

Needles:  The trusty Knitpick Options in Harmony Wood, sizes #5 and #6.  I magic looped the sleeves, so the two pairs of tips, the little tightening tool and my 40″ cord were all I needed for the whole project.

Accessories:  A new category for me!  If you’re a regular reader, you know I agonized over the button selection, but since this sweater did make me think of Mugsy and was worked on at his beloved beach, these little silver-tone terriers are the perfect touch.

Verdict:  My favorite FO to date.  It’s still too warm to wear it today, other than for the photos for your viewing pleasure, but starting tomorrow, it’s supposed to be rather cool.  I expect lots of wear for this one.

I was finally able to look at some photos of Mugsy without crying earlier this week.  However, I cannot look at Jack Russell Terrier puppy photos without crying, so I don’t think we’re getting another one.  That, and Sissy’s incredible activity needs make getting another dog with intense exercise requirements seem less than ideal.  Sure, we want someone to play with her, but we know from raising Mugsy and Fred together that a calmer dog can help a wild child find some balance.

Suffering from Knight Art

Suffering from Knight Art

 

Guarding a Christmas treat

Guarding a Christmas treat

Oh, what love and laughter you brought to our lives, Prince Mugs!  Poor Sissy believes all JRTs are you, which is making life interesting in our JRT-owning neighborhood.  I’d forgotten how quickly he declined, and that he did play with Sissy and Shadow for a few months before the beginning of the end.  What a grand dog-boy you were, for very nearly 13 wonderful years!

Which Button?

The faster WE make a decision, the sooner YOU get an FO report on my favorite FO to date…

The buttons range in size from 3/4″ (the white ones) to 1 1/8″ (the pewter look and the tan flower), and while the two larger ones are a stretch, I haven’t washed and blocked said sweater yet, so there’s that…  Also, there are two buttons, as shown in the one photo…  Don’t critique my knitting, because I didn’t block, didn’t “stage”. I just want to know which buttons best suit the sweater!

Or

Or

Or

My favorite?  Whichever one I’m looking at.  The white’s rather simple, but honestly, I will most likely wear this with a white shirt 99% of the time, and this sweater was knitted with Mugsy on my heart and mind, and he was mostly white.  I like how closely the blue matches, and I like that size.  But I have a thing for pewter and for knots, so that makes THAT one nice, and Mugsy did have that spot of tan on his ear, and aren’t flowers always a nice touch?

I don’t know when I’ll make a decision and sew on the two buttons and call it an FO.  It’s supposed to be in the 80s tomorrow, so no rush there.  Wednesday is supposed to be warm too, I think, but Tuesday night is my last evening at home this week.  (Friend is giving my report for me, in case you care.  I actually bothered to call and ask more than 24 hours in advance.  Maybe my old ways are finally coming back to me and I won’t be so scattered for the rest of my life.)

So, let’s say that if you really want to have input, you’d better comment by 4pm ET Tuesday, okay?  Otherwise, I’m interested in your opinion, but the buttons might already be in place…

Oh!  And if you need an idea of what it will look like in the end, go HERE.   Thanks in advance.  In my next life, I’m going to be one of those stylish dames who looks like a million dollars in jeans and a tee, and I’m going to be decisive.

Confessions

I don’t know whether I am a loose or tight knitter.  That’s another plus for top-down sweaters; gauge is less of an issue when you just knit until something is long/wide enough.  I’ve tried swatching, and it works okay I guess, but I don’t know whether to envy those of you who say you’re a tight knitter or you always go down two needle sizes to get gauge, or to call you delusional liars.

Maybe I’m just not good enough to be consistently one way or the other.  Maybe it’s because knitting is my therapy that sometimes I’m so loose the stitches run off the needles when I put my hands down, and others, I have to fight to get that tip in there for the P2tog. 

I know I’m not alone.

I also know that I’m not alone in think acrylic has its place.  I’m quite happy with this Bernat Softee Chunky for my little hat for Knitters Day Out.  No, it’s not a sock; I just have the stitches all bunched together, because I’m magic looping.  Well, that and the pattern calls for #10s with a bulky yarn, but because this is supposed to be for a child, I’m using #8s, and I think it will look just fine when I’m done.  It’s a happy colorway, and I would think either a boy or a girl would be happy with these colors.  The colorway is called circus, which makes me inexplicably happy.  The easy-care softness of this hat makes it ideal for an unknown child, to my way of thinking. 

I also wanted to show you my progress on my sweater, but Sissy had a camera-hogging impulse I couldn’t control. 

Seriously, that’s the best I could do with Sissy’s help.  I suppose I could have put her outside, but I didn’t bother.  Y’all think she’s cute too, right?  (We’ll see how cute Anita still thinks Sissy is after this weekend.)  I’ve just started into the bust area, if you can see the bottom left portion of the photo, so there’s basically no way I’ll have it to wear on Saturday.  I still have three swatches to do as homework, along with finding 150 grams of a DK weight yarn for a scarf.  I’m betting I have something in my stash that will work, but it’s a matter of finding it.

And who knew my lumbar pillow would be such a nice sweater in progress holder? 

Sorry.  Gotta go.  It’s the House season premiere!

Blue Streak

All things considered, that’s not a statement about my well-being.  I’m holding my own, given what life has handed me of late.  I’m not blue, but my yarn is!

That’s my Plath Cropped Cardigan.  Last night, I finished all the increases – I think.  I have to try it on yet, and assure that the sleeves will be big enough for my arms.  I love this pattern, I love knitting from the top down, and I think that sweaters (for ME!) might become this season’s shawls.  (Have you noticed I seem to get in a zone with my knits?  Simple scarves, felted bags, SOCKS, lace shawls…)

Then, I got another sweet package in the mail. 

That’s from Kathy.  The book is right up my alley, and Sissy and I read a couple of cute, heart-warming stories last night.  (Yes, I read aloud to the dog.  I sing to her too.  She likes, it makes me happy, and since both sides of my family have complex mental health histories, if that’s the worst of it for me, I’m in great shape.)  I told Kathy that the magnet looks like the puppy Sissy and Fred would have had if it was physically possible. 

And the yarn!!  Kathy’s Gypsyknits Twinkle Toes  yarn!  I oogled it almost daily when it went up, and there’s still one colorway left, but I kept telling myself I already have one sparkly sock yarn in my stash…  Sigh.  The photos – mine and Kathy’s alike – don’t do this justice.  There are shiny not so little flecks of silver in there.  This yarn already has a special purpose (sshhh, Kathy!), but I can think of a dozen colorways and projects for more!  Those miniature sweaters, socks, hats and mittens as ornaments?  A fancy party shawl?  We’ll have to chat, Kathy…  Thank you for your very fitting gift!

Last, but hardly least, my stepmom’s reaction to the black necklace was all I could have hoped for.  She put it on right away, oohed and ahhhed, and when I left, she wanted to know if she could collect orders from her retirement village friends back home, because she was certain there would be many.  Sweet!  She’s a beader and an artist, so I knew she’d appreciate my handknit gift, but it’s still nice to get that validation.

Happy Tuesday!