I had wanted to make this top since I first got the magazine. I bought the yarn during a clearance sale in a LYS last August, and didn't get around to it until this summer. Just have so many projects and so little time. Such is the dilemma for us knitters, isn't it? This is actually a very quick and easy knit. Obviously I didn't work on it full time during the three weeks it took for me to finish it. I picked this project to start in the midst of all those lace projects, to sort of give myself a break. Something straight forward and not fussy, something that I don't have to keep counting stitches and rows and looking at charts. I actually knitted the majority of this top on the road while we were driving around in Toronto, just a few rows at a time. Plain old stockinette is the best for in-the-car knitting.
Originally I had wanted to make this top in the same shade of orange-y red as shown in the magazine, but when I saw the actual yarn color in a store, I changed my mind. Somehow it just doesn't seem to be the right color for me. I like purple, but I hardly knit with purple. This shade of purple is not appealing to everyone, I know. At first I hesitated on picking them up from the clearance bin. After another half hour of pacing in the store, I just couldn't leave without them. And the color kind of grew on me, I am liking it more and more. It would look striking on ivory, grey, brown, and black, which are the basics in my wardrobe.
The pattern is easy and clear, I had no problems following it at all. But do check the corrections posted on Interweave Knits' website. The pattern as published was correct, but they posted a different way of describing how to do the short rows along the back neck ribbing which, I agree, is much easier to follow than the magazine.
I deliberately used a larger gauge - 21 sts/4" instead of the suggested 22 sts/4". I wanted a 33 1/2" - 34" chest circumference, the closest size in the pattern is 32 3/4" and the next size up is 35". I decided to knit according to the 32 3/4" pattern, and hoped the larger gauge and blocking would give me a slightly larger garment. I think it turned out pretty well.
I used a little over 5 balls of yarn. For the size I made, the magazine called for 5 balls of yarn. It probably would have been enough if I watched carefully while I knitted and maybe ripped out my test swatches when I ran short, but I didn't. I bought 6 balls anyway, so I figured, why skimp on the few inches that I usually leave when changing to a new ball or the lengthy tail that I saved for seaming?
Cathay knits up beautifully. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. But it also splits like crazy if you have to unravel. The yarn also splits during seaming, all those threading back and forth. My guess is - don't work it too much, and it will be fine. But I wonder if I will ever be able to rip this out and reuse the yarn for something else?
It's been too long since my last post, two months!! I was still busy knitting and crocheting during this time. I took a trip in September, was out of town for more than three weeks. Originally I was planning to finish a project by end of August and post it, but all the little things I had to do before the trip just kept me from even finishing the half-written posting. And now I am starting all over again.
Early September I went back to Chicago to visit my parents, sister, and the newborn nephew. He is such a cutie! I didn't help out much this time around. Since it was an unfamiliar environment for Connor, he was very needy and got anxious everytime I left his sight. Thus even though we went over to my sister's house everyday, I didn't get too many chances to even hold the baby. Connor got more comfortable by the second week though, he started loosen up a bit and had lots of fun playing with his older cousin. This time I also got to spend time with my college buddies. Last year I had a chance to see A, but J and B, I haven't seen them for at least three years. It was a great time. All we talked about was our kids, exchanged experiences and advices. It was certainly different from our old college days.
After more than two weeks in Chicago, my husband flew in to meet with us, and then the three of us headed over to Toronto. We visited the usual touristy spots such as CN Tower, Niagara Falls, Toronto Zoo (this one was for Connor), and the wineries on the peninsula. I was really amazed by the Chinese communities in Markham and Scarborough. I thought we get pretty good access to Chinese goods and food in northern Cal, but the stores and restaurants I saw in Markham reminded me of Monterey Park in LA. There were so many Chinese markets, book stores, clothing stores, bakeries, and tea shops... And restaurants, oh, there were so many that looked authentic. We didn't know about these areas before the trip. Our hotel was in downtown (other than Chinatown, not sure where we could go for good Chinese food). Craving for good authentic Chinese food, we ended up driving north for dinner the last three days, stuck in traffic on Don Valley Expwy.
Well, I guess I could have done more research before the trip. I did not realize until three days before heading home, that Mississauga was near Toronto. If I remember it right, Margaret lives near the area. Too bad that there wasn't enough time, and I didn't have means to get in touch with her, otherwise I could really use some tips on good restaurants, and most importantly, good yarn shops!!
Being away for so long, coming home to try to get everything back to normal routine is still exhausting. I guess being 5-month pregnant didn't help (yes, Connor will be a big brother in January! I probably won't have time to play with yarn for a while... >.<) I have been back for a week now, still haven't caught up with my blog reading. I have now 1459 articles to read in my Bloglines, very intimidating...
Anyway. So what have I worked on in these two months? I finished knitting the VK lacy dress in Chicago and blocked all the pieces. I just need to sew it up. But sewing will take some time too, cause there were so many pieces. I also decided to add another acorn lace edging along the bottom hem, and I have only managed to knit about 1/4 of it (before I got distracted and started something else ;P) I think another week should do it.
In between working on the lacy dress, just so I wouldn't fall asleep at the needles, I made this crochet shruken cardi in August. I was really hoping to finish it before the trip and post it. But after I finished it according to the pattern, I realized that it was too short. I decided to add some lace edging to the bottom hem and the sleeves. And then I ran out of yarn. Thinking that I would be back to Chicago soon (where I got the yarn), I brought it back to Chicago with me, planning to buy one more ball, and then finish it. After I got to Chicago, I thought about it long and hard, tried it on several times, and asked my sister and my mom for opinions, I finally decided to rip it all out. It is really too small for me, I can wear it, but it is really tight. And also the lace edging I added to the hem and sleeves changed the whole look of the garment, it was really different from the original design. I decided ripping it out and starting over with a larger hook should do the job and really make something that I wanted in the first place. I will probably start after the lacy dress is done.
Below is the Sagittaria Shawl, which I haven't touched since end of July. I really felt bad, but knitting this project was really tiring. I had to look at the chart constantly, afraid of making a mistake. The yarn is also the finest I have ever worked with, it almost felt like sewing threads. Knitting with such fine yarn tires my eyes and hands. After reading this posting, I am really worried. Although the yarn I am using is not Graceful, it is from Yarn Place. Will I have the same problems, since I tend to block my shawls rather severely? I am not sure if I should switch yarn, or maybe I should test block a swatch and find out for sure.
好啦, 寫了落落長囉哩叭唆的一大篇, 下篇應該會有成品與大家分享, 再等幾天哦!
Wow, this is a really long posting. I shall have a FO to share with you in my next posting, should be ready in a few days. See you then!