29 September 2006

Clapotis - aah

So much better! I found an Excel spreadsheet with stitch counts for every row in the Files of my Clapotis Yahoo! group, and so far, so good. I'm on the second repeat of the expanding section. Now, I just need more stitch markers. Or perhaps I could switch to purling the stitch to be dropped. I wonder if it's OK to change part of the way through. I won't have the opportunity to buy stitch markers until tomorrow.

Ooh, and tomorrow A.C. Moore is having a knitting sale with 25% off everything. The funny thing about the sale is that it's from 11-3. That's a pretty narrow window of opportunity. Now, I don't often buy yarn there, but they do have a few "natural" yarn options. I've used the synthetic Bernat Satin for some baby sweaters with success, since the yarn is machine washable/dryable, but I'm generally a natural fiber girl, which is why I love my LYS - almost all of their yarn is natural and a lot of it is hand-dyed. I have bought some mohair and a skein of Araucana wool at A.C. Moore, so I'll check it out.

I really like the yarn. As I said, the Paris Night color is lovely. Only problem is that it's a single-ply, and my bamboo (Plymouth Sister set - thank you, sweetie, for giving me those a while back) needles are a little splitty at the points. I may have to switch to my Bryspuns, except the Haiku cardigan is on those right now. I guess the moral is to not have two projects on the same size needles at the same time. Since the Clapotis is a gift, the cardie should go on the back burner. I'll swap needles tonight when I get home and get cranking on the shawl.

I can't wait to start dropping stitches and only hope there aren't any problems with the yarn felting. I know that's why people on the Yahoo! group have been discouraged from making a Clapotis with mohair.

So, I did get to knit a little on the train yesterday afternoon, once my laptop battery died. I guess spinning photo CDs is tiring for the ol' 'puter. Hopefully, my car will be ready today. Much as I like the extra time to knit, I'd rather spend more time with my family these days.

28 September 2006

Clapotis - argh!

Again, last night at Knit Night I found myself frogging the darn thing. I've downloaded an Excel spreadsheet with stitch counts for every row, and I cast on again today at Knitting Lunch. I finished section one (again!), and seem to have the right count. Now, maybe this will work.

At least I sewed the buttons on my niece's sweater last night. And I'm not at the point on the cardigan where I can separate for the sleeves. The pattern I'm adapting suggests using waste yarn to hold those stitches, but I think the mohair would just make a tangled mess when it's time to pick up the stitches (many moons from now), so I'm going to have to devise some stitch holders. Really big safety pins? Probably

Since I forgot my scissors I couldn't break the yarn on the teddy bear's first ear. I should do that before leaving work, so I can do the second ear and head. Then, of course, there will be more finishing work than I can stand, since I will have two bears ready to sew and stuff.

I'm on the train today, but I think I have work to do this afternoon, so probably not much knitting time. Oh well, at least I had two knitting "events" this week.

27 September 2006

T'other laceweight project

Turn back the clock to the end of July/beginning of August and imagine yourself on vacation in Door County, Wisconsin. Now, check your email and discover that one of your not-so-LYSes (Cambridge being within striking distance but not terribly convenient to Gloucester) is having their anniversary sale: 25% off all stock, 20% off special orders. No phone calls. No emails. And they stock Alchemy's Haiku, which you have suddenly become obsessed with. Ooh, kid mohair and silk. How can anyone resist? Especially in the amazing colorways they dream up out there in California.

So, I email some knitting friends to see if they were going to the sale. But they've got other things to do and/or are on a yarn diet and/or don't want to deal with the chaos that is the sale. Understandable, but it doesn't help me.

I decide to ignore the no calls, no emails policy and get in touch to see if they could accommodate me with five or six skeins in San Francisco Sky. They could but only by the bag, which is ten skeins. Ten skeins! What would I do with ten skeins of laceweight? Thanks, but no thanks.

But then I went to sleep and woke up in the middle of the night thinking about the yarn. Which meant I had to contact them again and order the yarn. Crazy. They do, and I justify the expense (even at 20% off) by claiming it as getting-a-new-job yarn. The LYS tells me that they ordered the yarn, and Alchemy will dye it just for me. How cool is that!

A few weeks later it comes in, and I have to figure out what to make with it. The skeins looked different than I expected, with a creamy white instead of light grey, but it was beautiful and luscious. I knew I wanted to do a knee-length, very simple, stockinette cardigan sort of like one I saw at a store on Newbury Street. But there really aren't patterns out there for laceweight cardigans. Trust me, I looked.

But I did find a top-down, raglan-sleeve cardigan pattern that I could adapt after doing the math on gauge. It's based on one by Glampyre, someone I had found online when I started to knit, so I felt this confident about it.

I did a couple of gauge swatches with different needle sizes. The funny part about this swatch was that I didn't want to cut the yarn after I cast off, even though I knew I couldn't frog this yarn! I just wasn't ready to ... I don't know ... break up the set or something. The swatch was like a puff of warm air or feathers. Amazing, luxurious.

After all the math I cast on and started increasing for the raglan. I'm almost to the point where I will separate for the sleeves. The best thing about top-down patterns is you can try then on as you go - particularly nice for those of us with long arms.

Things I have to decide at some point:
  • bell sleeves
  • split sleeves (a slit from the end of the sleeves back up a few inches - can be graceful and might be easier than figuring out the increase for the bells with similar end result)
  • side slits at hem (would make walking in the sweater easier)
  • collar or hood or nothing?
  • 25 September 2006


    Why I can't just make a pattern as prescribed is beyond me. I've decided to jump on the Clappy bandwagon finally and make one out of laceweight yarn from Handpaintedyarn.com in the Paris Night colorway. Of course, the pattern calls for worsted (Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb), but I thought laceweight would make something more delicate and shawl-like. So, I spent a lot of time googling laceweight Clapotis and Handpaintedyarn laceweight, ended up joining a Clapotis Yahoo! Knitalong group, and generally became obsessive. Though not as obsessive as some folks are about Clapotis. Just type that word into your favorite search engine and you will find all sorts of links to people reworking the pattern and getting obsessive about using stitch markers (the pattern calls for 18 - 18!) or purling the stitches that will be dropped later.

    Anyway, I've cast on twice. First time with US8, which didn't go too well, then with US6, which went better, but I seem to have lost a stitch somewhere, so I think I'm going to have to frog it and start again. Third time's the charm, right? Right.

    Is it wise to have two laceweight projects on the needles at the same time? Probably not, but that's where I am. There will be a future post about the other laceweight project, which I will probably knit forever since I want a knee-length cardigan. Barking mad, I tell you.

    But back to the Clapotis. I think it will come out nicely once I get started properly. I will need to get some more stitch markers, but that's fine. They're inexpensive, and something you can sort of never have enough of, since they tend to disappear into the cushions.

    The yarn is really nice. Lovely shades of grey. It's the regular wool laceweight as opposed to the Merino, since they had very few color choices in Merino when I placed my order. (Full disclosure: I did buy a skein of black merino - very soft - but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it.) So, Paris Night. It's dark grey with shots of light grey every so often. I should probably knit up a gauge swatch to show it off. Especially since I searched obsessively for info and images of the yarn online before buying it in part due to Handpaintedyarn.com's somewhat primitive website, but mostly due to buying yarn without touching it. They are the folks who bring us Malabrigo in shops, so I knew I would be pretty happy with the yarn, but there is always a little trepidation.

    In my searches I ended up checking out the forum on Knitter's Review, which had a whole thread on Handpaintedyarn.com, and the Coffeeshop on Knitty, which, of course, has a whole section of threads on Clapotis that led me to the Yahoo! group. Oy. Lots of great resources online for the obsessive knitter.

    While searching for all the Handpaintedyarn information I could find, I noticed a dearth of information on their boucle, making it difficult for me to commit to buying some, though it looked so yummy in the Natural colorway on their site. Sort of like the natural color Lumpy Bumpy I've been mooning over at my LYS. I ended up taking the plunge and think the yarn is quite nice. I'll write about that in a future post.

    Oh, the other thing about altering the pattern is that I've been wondering about Bob + Weave-ing the finished Clapotis with some pretty ribbon woven through the ladders. Can't tell if that would be too much, but I originally thought of making B + W before going laceweight crazy. Then I had trouble figuring out a yarn substitution for the Artfibers called for in B+W, since they don't seem to make the yarns called for anymore. Plus their site is very annoying to navigate, and they don't seem to have distribution. And that just led me off on the current path.

    FO - Cable Baby Sweater

    Well, it's almost a finished object. Just have to get some thread to sew the buttons on, since the Blue Sky Organic Cotton is too bulky to fit through the holes in the button. But that yarn sure is soft! And you can wash it in the machine (lay flat to dry). This sweater is just in time, too, since the baby was born on Friday night. She is a beautiful baby and everyone is well.

    The cables were more challenging in cotton (not as much give), and I'll do my next cabled item in wool, but it sure was a fun item to make. Except, of course, the finishing. It took me two knit nights to finish, though the puppy and kitten tearing around the house probably has something to do with not knitting at home as much.

    I really liked using the Brittany Birch Cable Needle. [N.B. I haven't purchased from worldknit.com - they were at the top of the Google results list.] I started out using a Clover plastic one, but the plastic was just too slippery with the cotton yarn. And the shape of the Brittany is just so pleasing, don't you think?

    The pattern is from Knitting for Baby, which is a great book for beginners who have baby items to make. Good illustrations and explanations of techniques. And I know a number of knitters who don't have little babies around who have made the felted "diaper bag", so there is something for the non-baby crowd.

    14 September 2006

    Knitting Obsessed

    It's official. I'm obsessed with knitting, so now I need a blog. Here goes...