Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Blocking Red Hot Mountain

As promised, I have pictures of the stole! Here it is before blocking. You can still see the pattern, but the edging is completely hidden because the sides curl in. It's about 13 inches wide and 57 inches long.

And here it is blocking. Now you can really see what the pattern looks like, including the edging. With it all stretched out on my blocking board its about 22 inches wide and 63 inches long. That's smaller than the pattern (26" x 72"), but it just wouldn't stretch any further. I'm still satisfied with the size though.

Now I just have wait patiently for it to dry before I can really see the final result.

Off the Needles

I haven't posted in a while, because I've been really busy with work, and I just wanted to spend my precious little free time knitting. But now I've got big news - I officially knit the last of my 54,450 stitches for my lace stole last night. I still need to block it, but it already looks gorgeous. And it's feels really great too. It's so soft, light, and warm.

I'm planning to block it tonight. I promise there will be pictures.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Yarn Harvest

I'm continuing to make progress on my stole, but I'm about to reach a bump in the road. I've almost used up the sleeves from my recycled cashmere sweater. When I bought the sweater from Goodwill, it wasn't necessarily an unattractive sweater. It was a red, 100% cashmere, long-sleeved turtleneck with a subtle cable pattern. It was a little bit too big for me, and I wanted the yarn more than I wanted the sweater, so it was destined to be recycled. But I decided to use up the sleeves first, so that if I didn't need the rest of it for yarn, then I could take it in a bit and I'd have a red, 100% cashmere, sleeveless turtleneck with a subtle cable pattern that actually fit me. Plus I'd have my lace stole.

Just a few days ago, I realized that there was no way that the sleeves alone would be enough yarn. Well actually, I've suspected that for while, but I just recently admitted that to myself. So yesterday I frogged the turtleneck, washed the yarn, and hung it up to dry. It will take a few days to dry, so I might run out of what I have before then. Hopefully I won't have too much downtime.

Then I have to decide what I'll do with the rest of the sweater. I probably won't try to salvage it as a garment now that the turtleneck is gone. I could unravel the rest of it, but I won't want to knit anything else with it. No matter how gorgeous the yarn is, after 54,450 stitches you would be tired of it too! I could make some throw pillows with the leftover pieces (good idea SJ!) or maybe I'll stash bust the yarn and watch people fight over it. That could be rather amusing...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lace Stole Update

Well, it's been a few weeks since I posted about the deadline for my lace stole. I'm past the halfway point (yay!) but it's been just a little neglected lately. I was making really good progress for a while, and I was more than a week ahead of schedule. But then I realized that I was almost done with my vest, so I set the stole aside to concentrate on the vest. You would think that after I finished my vest, I'd go back to the stole, right? Wrong. Finishing a project is the ultimate excuse to start a new project. So I cast on another project. No details here, it's another gift.

Then I noticed that the buffer in my stole schedule was totally gone. I wasn't behind schedule yet, but I needed to go back to knitting at least 9 rows per day if I was going to finish in time to wear it to Wicked this fall. So I'm knitting the stole again. And I'm remembering how much I love the stole. And I'm determined to finish it in time!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Eek! Steeks!

Since every steeking post has to have a scary scissors photo, I’ll get that out of the way now.

Those of you who aren’t familiar with steeking might be thinking that I must have become really angry with my sweater vest. It’s actually quite the opposite; I really love this sweater vest! And this is exactly the fate that the designer had in mind. First you spend countless hours knitting a garment, and then you cut it up!

Before steeking my vest, this is what it looked like. This bizarre lumpy-looking tube certainly doesn’t look like a garment (at least not for a human being, anyway). But there are advantages to knitting things this way. First, you knit the garment entirely in the round, so you can create a stockinette piece using just the knit stitch. I don’t have anything against purling, but when all of the stitches are knits, it’s easier to keep your stitches uniform and your knitting goes a bit quicker. Second, you are always looking at the right side of your garment. This is really helpful for colorwork projects where you spend a lot of time “reading” your knitting.

So to steek a garment, you reinforce the stitches somehow (to prevent unraveling) and then you cut through waste stitches to create things like v-necks and armholes. And then it looks like this!

I’m too lazy to give you a more detailed tutorial on steeking, so I’ll refer you to Eunny Jang’s excellent tutorial instead. If you still think the vest looks strange, keep in mind that it’s a Deep V-Neck. The neckline is supposed to come down below the bust line, with the vest worn over a button-down shirt.

I did the crocheted steeks just like Eunny recommends in the pattern. I used a “grabby” yarn and I think the crocheted steeks looked pretty solid. I cut all of the steeks and I didn’t see any signs that they would unravel. But they still made me nervous, so I reinforced them with my sewing machine. Depending on how gung-ho I get with my finishing, I might sew them again closer to the garment and cut out some of the excess material from the steeks.

Now I just need to add some ribbing to the armholes and neckline and weave in some ends, then you’ll get to see the finished product.