Sunday, October 29, 2006

Yellow Orangina

Yarn: Rowan 4-ply Cotton #140 Honey Dew, 4 balls
Pattern: At Glampyre Knits by Stefanie Japel
Needles: Addi Turbo US size 4 (3.5mm) / 24" (60cm) circular
Gauge: 31 sts = 4.5" and 32 rows = 4" over lace pattern
Start: October 8, 2006
Finish: October 28, 2006

Orangina is done. I stayed up Friday night till 4 AM to finish it and actually wore it all day yesterday. It's a little big, to my surprise. I tried it on before blocking, it was perfect. After I blocked it, now it's a little big. Too long, actually. Before blocking, it measured 16" wide and 19.5" long. After blocking, it measured 16.5" across the chest and 21" long.

These are the details and modifications I made to the pattern (for size XS - 34"):
  • First of all, I could not get the 24 sts and 24 rows per 4" square gauge as suggested by the pattern. I made 3 gauge swatches - with US sizes 3, 4, and 5 needles, none matched the suggested gauge. I eventually decided on size 4, it would produce a 32" bust circumference which I felt is closer to my size. I also blocked my gauge swatches, really pull the lace apart and made sure I stretched it out. All the swatches shrank back to their pre-block size after I took them off the blocking board. So I thought, okay, this yarn has no give (it's 100% cotton after all). I shouldn't have to worry about any stretching. I guess I was wrong...
  • Lace pattern - 15.5" long (120 rows) and ribbing - 4" long (32 rows). Armhole was 6 3/4" before blocking. And now it is 7 1/2" long.
  • At the join of front and back panels, I did k2tog. The total number of stitches for the 3x3 ribbing is 204.
  • Shoulder seams - I sewed up two scallops for each shoulder. It seems to look better.
Although it is a little big, I like it nonetheless. The lace pattern is very pretty. It is very comfortable to wear. Rowan 4-ply cotton is a pleasure to knit with. I would definitely make this top again, with the following modifications:
  • Make the lace pattern 14" long and the ribbing 4" long per pattern.
  • Use US size 3 needles for the lace and size 2 needles for the ribbing.
I wonder, if I throw it in the dryer, will it shrink? Do I dare to try?...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Orangina Making Progress

Not wanting to work on Tempting II any more, I re-focus my energy on Orangina. It has made good progress. I have only got about another 1 1/4 inches of ribbing to do before bind-off. And then seaming and blocking. I am hoping to finish it by tomorrow. This is probably the last warm weekend of the year. The forecast is a comfy 78 degrees for tomorrow, and then goes downhill from there. I want to be able to wear my Orangina this weekend, before the cold weather comes.

I also joined my first KAL yesterday - Phildar Swing Jacket. It is such a cute jacket, and the shape of the season. I am really looking forward to this. I was going to order the pattern and yarn yesterday, but got busy with Orangina. I will definitely place an order this weekend, right after I get to wear my Orangina!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Tempting II Progress (or Regress?)

I want to cry. I finished the connection of the neckband to the yoke on Tempting II, and just had to stop. It looks terrible! The neckband flares out so much, it is like a ruffle. I followed the pattern exactly. And this is what it looks like after more than one week of hard work at the neckband...
I had a bad feeling as I was knitting it, but hoped that miraculously it will turn out okay once I put on the buckle. And I realized now the buckle is not going to fix this. I am going to have to rip out the neckband, maybe do more decreases, and maybe use smaller needles to knit the neckband... or something... I don't know anymore.

I have to put this sweater away for now. I am so upset right now, another sight of it will make me tear it apart.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I Splurged

Once again, my indecisiveness got me. I went to the local Japanese book store Kinokuniya yesterday and bought 6 knitting and crochet books (這就是在網上賴賴索的下場…). Six! Even if there is only one project I like from each book, I couldn't possibly finish them all. Plus I have more wish list from Rowan magazines, Interweave Knits, Vogue Knitting, and the many books I bought... But I just couldn't put them back on the shelves... Sigh...

I can't read Japanese. Well, I did take one year of Japanese in college. I still remember my Katakana and Hiragana. And I know Chinese so I recognize all the Chinese characters (Kanji). But the grammar rules are no longer with me. I can't make out what the paragraphs in these books are saying. Luckily most of the patterns are very well illustrated, with graphs and charts. I think I can figure out how to use these patterns.

Here are some of my favorites from the books. These two boleros will probably be my first to-do's.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bevin Tank is Done

Yarn: Patons Brilliant #3232 green glitter, 4 balls
Pattern: Spun Magazine Issue 1
(With correction on lace pattern here)
Needles: Size 9 (5.5mm)
Hook: Crochet hook 3.75mm for edging
Gauge: 20 sts and 26 rows = 4" in St st
Start: September 25, 2006
Finish: October 11, 2006

After ripping both the front and back pieces back to the beginning of armhole shaping, I added 8 rows to the body portion before starting armhole shaping, raised the neckline, and shortened the shoulder straps. This time, I just tried to decide my next steps as I go. Although it took longer than anticipated, it was a good learning exercise. And it was kind of fun, as if I was trying to come up with my own design. I am pretty satisfied with the end result. Although I realized the armholes were a bit too high (a 4-row increase would have been perfect), but it didn't bother me enough for me to rip them out again. The center lace panel is very see-through, something I did not anticipate. I have to wear a cream camisole underneath.

This is a good basic tank pattern (now that I have it figured out for my size.) I would make it again, maybe with a cotton or cotton-blend yarn. Substituting the center panel with a different lace will be fun too.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I am either extremely lucky, or...

... hopelessly impulsive. I went to Knitter's Studio yesterday, and found lots of Karabella yarns in their sales bins. All are 50% - and purchase all balls of one color of one type of yarn gets additional 10% off. I don't usually go to Knitter's Studio, as their prices are much higher. Plus, I prefer to shop by yarn brands and types to colors. I went yesterday specifically to look for Karabella Zodiac, as I have not found it in the other local stores. I ended up spending money on something totally unplanned. This is what I got:
  • Karabella Margrite (80% extrafine merino wool and 20% cashmere) - with their high markups, it came out to be about $7.88 per ball.
    6 balls of color 8912 (mint/aqua) - I was thinking of this sweater ("Coral Crossing" in Interweave Knits Fall 2006. ) I realized the gauge was different after I brought the yarns home. I am still contemplating if I want to go ahead and try to modify the pattern for this yarn? Maybe do 3/4 sleeves and no pockets? Or just make a short cardigan or bolero?
  • Karabella Margrite
    4 balls of color 13 (deep red) - 2 lacy scarves for Christmas, maybe "Branching Out" or "Dayflower" .
  • Karabella Breeze (40% cashmere and 60% silk) - about $7.48
    1 ball of color 37 (pale green) - a lacy scarf for myself, maybe?
  • Tahki Star - this one is not on sale
    1 ball of color 5 (blue/silver/brown/black) for "Evening Star Top" in Interweave Knits Summer 2006.
    Sis, if you are reading this, yup, this is the 11th ball. And it's the same dye lot as the first 10! Yeah! Thanks for finding the first 10 balls for me at Flying Colors. I never would have gone ahead with this project if you didn't find such deals for me!
These yarns totally changed my mood of the day. I was actually feeling kind of bummed as I didn't get to leave the house until 1:30 PM (on my off-day) and I was expected back by 5:00 PM. Then I found these yummy yarns. Happy, happy, happy! I just can't resist cashmere...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Nothing Has Gone Smoothly...

Lately, none of my knitting has gone smoothly. Tempting II is not done. Bevin Tank is STILL not done. And Orangina needed a restart... Very frustrating... I did not get much knitting done this past weekend. My weekends are actually busier than weekdays. We usually have to run errands, pick up groceries, and eat out. Connor doesn't get his usual nap time, which also means I don't get to knit either.

This is Bevin Tank as of last Friday. I finished armhole edging on one side, still got the other armhole, the neckline, and bottom edging to do. I am hoping to finish it by Wednesday. Keeping my fingers crossed...

I re-casted on Orangina Saturday night while watching CSI (taped) and managed to knit a few rows while on our way to SF Fleet Week on Sunday. The plan was to go to the piers and see the carriers and Blue Angels. But as we approached Daly City, we decided to make a yummy detour to Koi Palace. Yes, food always comes first, especially Koi Palace's delicious dim sum. After lunch, we were happy and sleepy, but still headed toward the city. Once we entered the city, the traffic was a nightmare. We were basically crawling along the Embarcaderos. There was this pregnant woman walking on the sidewalk, who kept passing our car - you get an idea how slow we were going. It was a beautiful day in SF though - sunny and warm. Yes, WARM in SF waterfronts... very rare. We went to the Ferry Building for gelato (I know, food again...), Connor loved the mango flavor. I wish we have some pictures, but we forgot to bring our camera.

Here is the restarted Orangina. This will be one of my in-the-car knits for a while.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Bevin Tank - Major Set-Back

I had hoped to finish Bevin Tank today. It was possible, if the knit hasn't turned out to be a major disappointment. I wanted a modest neckline. And I know the pattern is a medium/large size. So I modified the pattern to shorten the shoulder straps and BOed the center stitches for the neck opening at 95th row (instead of 91st per pattern.) I BOed my shoulder straps at 133rd row, instead of 149th row per pattern. It is still unwearable.

The thing is, this yarn is super stretchy. The shoulder straps measured 6.5" long when the garment is laid flat, which is the exact length I want. But, when I tried it on, the straps stretched and draped, dragged down by the weight of the garment, to 8". The armholes are also too big, half of my bra straps was showing (that's why you won't see pictures of me modeling the top.) I keep wondering, if anyone else has finished this top exactly per pattern, and what it looks like on a real body? Maybe the pattern works better on people with fuller figures...

I definitely need to rip part of it out. I am not sure if I should rip it back to the beginning of armhole shaping, or just re-do the neck and shoulder strap portion? Oh, I hate ripping...