Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Saved by the photoshoot

I've been feeling a bit frazzled lately and my knitting is starting to show it. Or rather, my lack of knitting. I had high hopes of finishing Que Sera by the Fourth (yes, they were delusional hopes but real hopes nonetheless). I've finished the body and started one sleeve but now I'm stalled.

I think I've diagnosed the problem: a pesky little thing called the bar exam that takes place in two weeks. Now, I've been able to get quite a bit of knitting done during my bar study. Every day for the past two months I've had 3-4 hours of lecture to listen to and that makes for great knitting time. But recently the lectures have required much more note-taking, which means less knitting. I've been able to knit a bit, but only on relatively mindless things like my latest pair of husband socks (DH will be pleased). And next week has no lectures at all - just 10-12 hours of pure cramming every day. (Thank you, boss, for giving me next week off to study.)

Last week was better. I did this: charts 1, 2, and a tiny bit of 3 from Juneberry.

(No, this isn't the sort of thing I can knit on during lectures. Instead, it was my reward at the end of the day.)

I'm actually a couple of rows past this point. I had paused here (yes, gasp, in mid-row) because I wasn't sure how I liked the bobbles in the laceweight yarn. Nupps would have been lovely. Really lovely. But that's not what the patterned called for and I don't think they quite fit with the feel of the piece. So I stopped.

I also wasn't quite sure how I felt about the laciness of the piece. My problem: it wasn't the thick, weighty fabric of the original. Which is unsurprising, given that the original is knit in a sport-weight yarn and I'm knitting with a true laceweight on the same sized needles. That was intentional. I saw Veronik's gorgeous version in laceweight and decided to go for it in Zephyr.

Of course I forgot all of that when bar exam malaise hit, and seriously thought about ripping the whole thing and starting over in a more substantial yarn. Then I took this photo

and decided that I do like the fine, open lace after all. Here's hoping I can find some time to work on it in the next couple of weeks.

And bar exam - please let me pass the first time. I really don't want to go through this process again.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Finishing Frenzy

I've been cleaning out my knitting basket this weekend (or my to-do list, which is how I see the WIP list on Ravelry). Most of these knits have been "finished" for a while and were just waiting for final touches. Really, I suppose it all depends on how you define "finished." For me, a project isn't complete until I've taken FO shots and posted them to the blog. This should explain why things sit with 100% progress bars for weeks, if not months. I may be waiting for buttons, or weaving in the ends, or blocking, or remembering to grab the DH and ask him to take pictures (or finding something interesting to say in a post). All that said, even if I didn't knit all four of these projects this weekend, I'm still really happy to finally cross them off my to-finish list.

First up: the gifts.

Pattern: Lilac Leaf Scarf from Nancy Bush's fantastic book Knitted Lace of Estonia
Yarn: 1 skein malabrigo lace, colorway olive (I absolutely adore this yarn!)
Needles: size 4 addi lace circular
Mods: I don't know that I'd call it a mod, but I knit until I thought I was going to run out of yarn. And then I stopped. What relation that bears to how long this scarf is supposed to be, I have absolutely no idea. But the length is perfect (just shy of 5 feet, if I remember correctly).

I love the contrast of the modern-looking semi-solid yarn with the very traditional lace patterns. I don't know that a multi-colored malabrigo would look as good in this pattern but any of their semi-solids would be fabulous. Believe it or not, this is actually a Christmas present, so I'm feeling pretty good on the gift-giving front.

This next one is a "just because" gift for a good friend (his wife is getting Aestlight).

Pattern: Koolhaas by Jared Flood
Yarn: about half a skein of Dream in Color Smooshy in colorway Grey Tabby
Needles: size 6 and 8 16" circulars, size 8 DPNs for the crown
Mods: none. This was a great pattern - easy and fun to knit. So fun that it was the only thing I knit while we were on vacation. Normally I don't like paying for a hat pattern but I was happy to do so for this one.

Last up: some belated birthday socks.

Pattern: Gentleman's Half Hose in Ringwood Pattern from Nancy Bush's Kitting Vintage Socks (Yes, you're right, I have knit these before).
Yarn: 1 skein Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in colorway Salt & Peper
Needles: size 1 addi lace circulars for magic loop
Mods: I might have tweaked the stitch count for the foot but that's about it. This is a great men's pattern - interesting enough to knit (especially as a reading project) but simple enough to appeal to the recipient. 

These socks are for our good friend Z, the father of little n (whose birthday present is finally done - with buttons! - but will wait on FO shots until she receives it).

And finally, the one you've been waiting for, Audrey in Unst is done, too!

Pattern: Audrey in Unst (Fall 2009 Twist Collective) by Gudrun Johnston
Yarn: 5 skeins Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in colorway Spruce
Neeldes: size 3 and 4 circulars
Mods: I made two mods to this piece - one intentional and one not. The intentional one involved lengthening the body since the original pattern is a cropped sweater (not flattering to my long torso). Because the original is cropped, I just added extra rows to the body below the waist (in the decrease sections), since everything is proportional above the waist. 

As for the unintended mod, I also managed to make one of the front sides a single stitch narrower than the other. I discovered this when I went to pick up the armscye stitches for the second sleeve and saw that I had two too few stitches on the underarm. I thought very briefly about ripping back and fixing things (very briefly) but quickly discarded that idea since it would have involved ripping everything back to the underarm divide. Anyway, I don't think you can really tell.

At least not from the back. Or the front.

This is an easy, straightforward pattern with some clever touches. The lace bib is interesting to knit and not too "lacey" to wear. But the sleeve cap shaping is the truly great part of the pattern: it's all worked in short rows and entirely seamless. The fit is great and the finishing minimal. What more could you ask?