I’ve made a huge mistake

Aside from watching a bit too much Arrested Development, I’ve been plugging away on my Seaglass Shell tank top. I haven’t mentioned it here yet because I wanted to make sure I had something to show off before I did a post. Unfortunately, I’m almost done and still don’t really have anything to show off.
Let me explain.

I originally saw this pattern while flipping through Interweave Knits. It was love at first sight.

Photo from Interweave knits.

I loved the back lace panel; it brings a bit of edge to the otherwise plain top. I (strangely) was drawn to the plain stockinette; I wanted some simple knitting I could do while re-watching all those Arrested Development episodes. I rushed out to pick up the recommended yarn (it was 25% off at my LYS, that had to be a sign right!?).

Like a good knitter, I swatched: three times, which is a big deal because I’m particularly averse to swatching. But I wanted it to turn out just right.

At first things seemed to be going well.

The lace pattern looked good. The yarn was a treat to knit with.

However, there were warning signs that things might go awry.

  1. The swatch grew. A LOT. But once it was dried it happily went back to the suggested gauge. So I soldiered on, trusting that swatches never lie. (Now I know they’re more like guidelines).
  2. Choosing a size. Clearly misguided about my own measurements, I cast on for the size 38. After all, the pattern stated the model was shown wearing 35 with slight ease. I didn’t want a skin-tight tank top, so I went up a size. Even though I know that I’m not close to a 38.
  3. While knitting I kept thinking to myself “man this seems big”. But I was confident that it would all block out to the schematic and I’d have my tank top with ‘slight ease’
  4. Blocking was a disaster. I should not, I repeat, should NOT have done a full wet block given how much the swatch grew. A light spray block likely would have been fine. As a result, the body pieces were so much bigger than the dimensions I didn’t even pin them out. I laid them flat and pleaded with them to “go back to your original size”, which thankfully they did once dry.

Despite these warnings, I carried on. I pinned out the back lace panel.

I even seamed the edges, but by now my feeling of dread was not dissipating.

After I seamed the second side I couldn’t put the dread out of my mind. I had to try it on.

Not good.

I was swimming in it.

That ‘slight ease’ I had hoped to achieve was more like a size or two.

I slowly took it off and placed it gingerly on the table. I haven’t been able to pick it up since. It just hurts too much.

This is my first real encounter with a non-wearable knitting project; a disaster in size. What really gets me is that it could have been prevented: I should have seen it coming. I should have made the smaller size. The signs were there. Now I know.

Time will tell if I’ll rip it all back and redo it. Right now it’s not looking good.


Promise Kept

Holding true to my promise, I made time for the Summer Solstice shawl yesterday. This section is only a 6 row repeat, but when each row is 277 stitches long those  6 rows can take a while!

The image doesn’t really do the colour any justice. It’s a lustrous plum colour. Hopefully one of these photos will capture the true colour.

I chose to do 5 stitch nupps, however they aren’t showing up very well. Once the shawl is blocked I think they’ll really pop.

Part 2 will be released next Tuesday.

Falling behind already

In my last post I told you about the Summer Solstice Mystery Shawl KAL . I was  am really excited about it. The pattern was sent out in the wee hours of June 20th. I was so excited that after opening the new pattern, I had to do this before I went to work:

That’s 277 stitches quickly cast on.

I have to say I think it was the most efficient I’ve ever been when casting on.  Normally I cast on, get frustratingly close to the final number and then run out of yarn (the long-tail cast on is my normal method of choice).  Usually – after re-casting on with a better estimate of yardage necessary to finish the job – I’ll count, re-count and then count again until I’m fairly certain I have the right number of stitches on the needles.

Not this time. I was determined to get it done right the first time, so that when I came home from work my knitting would be right there waiting for me, all ready to go. I made generous estimates for how much yarn the tail should be; I counted deliberately and placed stitch markers every 50 stitches and voilà! 277 stitches cast on in 15 min or so. (The impressive part is I made it to work on time).

All day at work the lace-y pattern was in the back of my mind. My fingers itched to get at it. Nupps, no problem, I’ve got my method worked out.

Then something happened.

Something wonderful, indulgent and expensive.

I crossed the threshold into the Apple store. (It was sort of on my way home…).

I’ve been thinking about making this purchase for a while. However, I managed to talk myself out of it since it was originally released. (Being a student with a limited budget really “helped” talk me out of it).

Student no longer, I bit the expensive bullet and purchased an iPad.

Almost immediately my need to knit my shawl melted away.

I will get to it tomorrow. I’ve promised myself.

Summer Solstice

Summer knitting should be light and airy; something to give a little warmth on cooler nights and not be too warm when while you’re knitting it. A shawl is the perfect solution.

Despite having a few other things on the go, I’ve decided to take part in Wendy Knits’ Summer Solstice Mystery Shawl KAL (knit-a-long). The pattern is a ‘mystery’ because it’s released in five increments over the next month. Rather than seeing the final product at the get go, the pattern unfolds as you go along.

The yarn I’ve chosen to use is Cascade Heritage Silk, 85% merino, 15%s silk.

The initial package includes a materials list, techniques and a swatch pattern, which I’ve knit up.

The pattern also calls for nupps or beads, but after the Advent KAL, I’ve had my fill of beads, so nupps it is. The pattern includes detailed instructions for making nupps, but I thought they came out more bobble-like than a nupp. I much prefer Nancy Bush’s technique, best demonstrated in the video below.

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The first pattern increment will be released tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Commuting in Style

Since starting the commute to work, I noticed that my purse had very little real-estate for knitting projects once I’d packed in my wallet, phone and a mini-umbrella (because you just never know). As a result, I rarely took any subway knitting. There just wasn’t room. That was fun for a while, but I soon found myself wanting something to occupy my hands during my commute. Knitting-bag hunting soon commenced.

I’ve had my eye on Jordana Paige‘s L.J.Kaelms bag for a while now. It’s the perfect combination of style and functionality; there’s room for your work/day-to-day items, and -most importantly- room for your knitting projects. Despite thinking it to be the perfect fit, I hesitated ordering it online for a few reasons.

1) Colour. The two colours offered, red and green, didn’t really excite me. They’re not exactly a ‘neutral’ that will go with anything. Not only that,  images online showed the colours slightly differently; different enough that I wasn’t exactly sure of their shade. I was leaning toward the red, but perhaps not if it was too bright.

2) Size. While the website does a fairly good job of showing the bag’s scale, it’s just not the same as slinging it over your own shoulder to see if the fit is right.

I himmed and hawwed, fairly certain this was what I needed wanted, but I just couldn’t commit. (Exorbitant shipping costs put the brakes on my impulse purchase pretty fast).

To my delight, one of the LYS carried the bags. However, they had just placed an order and wouldn’t be in for a few weeks.  After much anticipation, the bags finally arrived today. I scooted over after work to check them out. (By this time I had pretty much made up my mind that my next knitting project would be travelling with me in a shiny new red bag).

The bag is exactly what I hoped for. The colour is more muted than the website images, and – possibly the best part- it’s extremely light! The downside of having a large tote is it quickly gets heavy from all the stuff you can load in there. I’m hoping that by at least starting off very light, it won’t get heavy quite as fast (I said hoping…).

The bag is divided into two sections divided by a zippered pocket in the middle and is  tall enough to fit a magazine or pattern.  One section has two pouches on the side for holding a ball of yarn, complete with eyelets about them to keep the yarn in place while you’re knitting. There are also pockets for DPNs and a removable little pouch.

The other section is all business; there is are card holders, a zippered pocket and a handy snap for holding your keys. (We’ve all searched frantically at the bottom of our purses for our keys; it’s usually raining out when this takes place).  Of course, you could always use this side for more knitting!

As for the middle section, I can’t speak from experience, but I hear it fits an iPad quite nicely.