Brain: Haaaay. Why haven’t you made that Back to School vest from Fitted Knits yet?
Me: Because I am busy angsting over what yarn to use. Angst! Angst!
Brain: So just pick a yarn and buy it already.
Me: But but but it’s all so expensive and I’m poor.
Brain: You know, you could stop looking at yarns that a) contain high percentages of silk or b) contain the words “hand dyed” in their description?
Brain: Why don’t you just use the recommended Cascade 220? You like Cascade 220. It’s pretty. It’s cheap. It’s practical. And just because your current stash of it may be cursed doesn’t mean a new stash will be.
Brain: Ha! I win! Buy the Cascade 220 and shut the hell up!
Me: But… but… I can’t find it locally and I’ll never find the perfect shade of heathered deep brown with a reddish-plum undertone by looking at pics on the intarwebs…
Oh. How about that.
Ordering yarn online is tricky. No matter how many pictures you can dig up of the yarn in question, you’re never quite sure what it’s going to look like for reals. So it’s very satisfying to actually get it right.
And it’s very very satisfying to get it right twice.
Phear me! I will hunt down all the dark brownish-reddish-burgundyish yarn in the universe and I will buy it all! Er, assuming it’s cheap or on crazy clearance at Elann or something. Ahem.
But… I may have a problem.
Hmm, yeah, I am seeing a problem here.
I seem to have left my red-and-coral comfort zone only to plop my weary ass down in the land of reddy-plummy-brown. And it doesn’t stop with yarn. Sitting on my bed right now are a pair of pants, some pyjamas, and a purse, all in that shade of brown. On my night-table is a brown hair clip. Oh, and look over there, there’s a brown sweater with a lovely shawl collar that I need to steal for knitty purposes, and if I go to the front door there’s an adorable pair of brown mary janes that have been eating my feet a lot recently (but they’re so cuuuute), and next to them are a pair of brown slouchy boots and AHHH HELP ME IT’S TAKING OVER.
Gah. Even my nail polish matches the vest-in-progress.
Sick, sick, sick. The good news is that I’ve finally escaped from Ribbing Hell. The Back to School vest pattern seems to make a lot more sense than the Filthy Lying Tunic Of Seventeen Clothespins pattern, so there’s that. But it starts like this:
Purl for awhile.
Knit for awhile.
Purl for awhile.
Work 2×2 rib FOR THE REST OF ALL ETERNITY, UNTIL YOUR FINGERS BLEED AND YOUR HEAD ACHES WITH BOREDOM AND POSSIBLE BRAIN PARASITES AND, WRITHING WITH PAIN, YOU TAKE OUT A BALL OF FUCHSIA FUN FUR AND KNIT A PONCHO WITH IT FOR A CHANGE OF PACE AND THEN WEAR THE PONCHO OUT IN PUBLIC BECAUSE IT’S STILL MORE PLEASANT THAN MORE FUCKING 2X2 RIB oh okay I’ve reached 9 inches I can stop now. whew.
Now it’s time to worry about the sizing. I picked the 35.5″ size and I have a feeling I should have picked the 34″. My reasoning was that I’d be wearing it over a shirt, and I didn’t want it to stretch too much or it would do that thing where you have big white spots over your boobs where your shirt shows through a darker over-sweater. Er. Yeah. But I have a 35″ bust. So this is POSITIVE EASE. I fear positive ease. whimper
I don’t know about the Vest Problem, but there is a tiny ray of hope for the Brown Problem, and here it is.
That is a skein of Handmaiden Lady Godiva (…yuuuum), in, um… brown… but also! Teal! A colour that is not brown, and also is not red or coral or any sort of neutral! Yay! Rejoice! I wish I knew what colourway it was, because I want more of it. The closest I can find is Forest, but it’s greener and the brown is lighter and me no likey. Maybe it’s an especially dark and tealy dyelot of Forest. Or maybe I will never see this colourway again.
Well, I’ll just have to console myself with MORE BROWN YARN. Muhahahaha. Muhahahahahaha! MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Um… am I missing the point of NaKniSweMo if I finish in 10 days?
Pattern: Drops Jacket in blah blah long name purple monkey dishwasher, modified up the wazoo
Size: Small (roughly)
Yarn: MMMMMMMMalabrigo merino worsted in Cinnabar, every last little scrap of 4 skeins
Needles: US 9
Here’s a brighter pic, but it shows less details. This sweater doesn’t like to be photographed, apparently. I don’t like to be photographed either, but I’m still on a “no more headless pics!” mission.
So. 10 days. Wait, what? Granted, I did all my pattern reworking, and swatching, and blah dee blah before November. That’s allowed, right? Didn’t cast on until November 1st, though, and finished last Saturday. I haven’t blogged it until now because it took FOUR DAYS TO DRY. Which worked out fine, since I wasn’t able to go button-shopping until yesterday anyway, but still.
I’ll forgive the sweater, though, because I loooooove it.
Yeah, it ate all my yarn, but I had just enough to finish. And I mean just enough. I kept going back and forth between the sleeves and the body, monitoring how much yarn everything was eating. I do not recommend this. Yes, you can make this sweater (in size small, with some modifications) with 4 skeins of Malabrigo. However, you will go mad in the process. Is it worth it? Huh? Is it?
(I already went mad long ago, so what do I care?)
Whether you take the path of sanity or not, make this sweater. It’s yummy. I was very wary of the idea of an A-line sweater, but it works, it does sort of a ruffly thing at the bottom instead of making you look like a giant umbrella.
Yeah, I modified the crap out of mine, but all the unmodified ones on Ravelry look great too, on all sorts of body types. Make it! Make it now! It only takes 10 days!*
* If you’re a lunatic.
So. About the modifications. As written, it’s a bottom-up sweater knit in pieces. I made it as a seamless top-down raglan. And then I got a whooole bunch of messages asking for details on how to do that. Here’s the thing. I took really sparse, messy notes. Mostly they are a bunch of numbers scribbled in my sketchbook. And then I ignored or changed half of those numbers on the fly when I actually made the thing. So no, I cannot rewrite this pattern for you as a top-down raglan, unless I start over from scratch and do it, and I’m not gonna, because I hate writing patterns.
I’ve seen a lot of people on Ravelry and elsewhere trying to turn standard sweater patterns into top-down raglans, whether it’s because they like raglans, or like knitting top-down, or hate seaming, or whatever. So I’m thinking I might write up a tutorial on how to do just that. With any pattern, in general, not necessarily this one. Is there any interest in that sort of thing?
Other mods… let’s see. I left out the 2×2 ribbing at the bottom because I couldn’t figure out why it was there and it looked funny; just went straight to the garter stitch (which was enough to stop any curling). I ignored pretty much everything the pattern said to do with the sleeves. I made the bottom edge smaller than the pattern wanted, because the numbers seemed huuuuge; I think I took off about 4 inches from that measurement. I tweaked lots of the numbers slightly, like, by 2 stitches or so, little things that aren’t really worth documenting and are mostly just me being a control freak.
And then there was the collar. I’d heard horror stories about this collar, and with good reason. I read the instructions for the collar and went “WTF?” I read them again, and got it, but then went “WTF? Why are they doing it that way? Why seam the edges when you can just pick up extra stitches as you go?” So I did. And it seems to have worked out fine. By the way, picking up stitches along a curved edge SUUUUUCKS.
Like the buttons?
I found those within a few minutes of entering the store, then spent a zillion years looking at every damn button in the store, only to go right back to those in the end. It figures.
So. I guess that’s NaKniSweMo all done. I picked something quick and easy to take the pressure off, but I guess I should have picked something slow and impossibly difficult. This wasn’t masochism, it was fun! This is all wrong! Where’s my standard November pain and suffering?
Well, my next project is the Back to School Vest from Fitted Knits, and I hear it’s crawling with errata and weird increases. That sounds promising in the masochism department…
Finally blogging this. I finished it weeks ago, but, well, I suck.
Scarves are annoying to photograph.
Pattern: Knotted Openwork Scarf
Yarn: Araucania Magallanes in colour 311, 1 skein
Needles: US 9
Hey look, I have a head!
I’ve sacrificed a goat to the digital camera gods, which seems to have bumped up my self-portrait quality from “unflattering picture of a retarded monkey” to “unflattering picture of a normal human being”. Yay!
Anyway. The scarf.
… I don’t have much to say about the scarf. Hmm.
I followed the pattern as-is. Except I cast on fewer stitches. If I knew how many, I’d tell you. I’m counting… how do you count stitches in this wacky lace pattern? My best guess is 27 stitches. I guess to try to make it a bit longer. It’s not really long enough; I have to tie it in a knot around my neck instead of that thing where you fold the scarf in half and make a loop and then pull the ends through the loop and oh god I am making no sense. You know, the thing. The thing. Yeah, I got nothing.
The yarn is scratchy.
I’ve complained about this yarn. It is beautiful, useless yarn. I’m never buying it again. And oh, it is scratchy. I already gave it a Eucalan bath, but it’s still scratchy. I guess a conditioner bath is next. Or I can wear it on the outside of my coat collar where it will look pretty and not touch my skin. Why do people wear scarves like that? Well, I know, because it looks pretty, but it doesn’t do much for warmth. This is Canada; I need to keep warm in my igloo. Or something.
full of giant holes made of delicate lace, so it wasn’t going to keep me warm anyway, right?
So overall? Pattern = yay. Yarn = suck. Make this scarf. Make it with some textured yarn, because it looks pretty neat that way. Do not make it with Magallanes, because Magallanes is made of pointy sheep and sandpaper and bees.
I has a yoke!
This sweater is quick. It may be knitting itself when my back is turned, because I don’t think I’m that fast. That picture was from yesterday and since then I have a bit more body and a big chunk of sleeve #1. I will have no problem at all finishing it in a month. That’s the good news.
The bad news?
This sweater is a RAVENOUS YARN-EATING BEAST.
Yes, I’ve already acknowledged that I don’t have enough yarn for the sweater and I’m prepared to work around that. But, I said, okay. If I can get to the point where I split off the sleeves in under one skein of yarn, I’m good. I’ve made top-down raglans before. I can estimate how much yarn they’ll eat. I’ve got 4 skeins of Mmmalabrigo. If the yoke eats less than a skein, I can finish the body with another 1.5 skeins, and the remaining 1.5 should be enough for 3/4-length sleeves.
The sweater heard me.
The sweater laughed.
I used up the first skein of yarn one row before splitting off the sleeves.
That can’t be a coincidence. It just can’t. The sweater knows my plan and is out to foil it. It’s waiting until I think I’m safe – until I’m just about to split off the sleeves with my tiny little remaining nub of skein #1 and BAM, out of yarn.
I made you, sweater. I can unmake you. Ribbit, ribbit.
But I’m not giving up yet. It’s going to be tight, but I may juuuust have enough yarn. I abandoned the body for awhile, and started a sleeve, just to see how much yarn would be eaten, and the news isn’t bad. The sleeve is gently nibbling at the yarn instead of greedily slurping it down.
I made some on-the-fly changes to the sleeve shaping – decreasing every inch instead of every 2 inches – tried it on, and the sleeve fits fine. The body seems to fit about right too. I’m a bit concerned that everything fits, because the sweater’s going to grow a little after washing. But my swatch didn’t grow toooo much, so it’ll be all right. You hear that, sweater? You grow too much, and I will feed you to my monster hat.
The Malabrigo is DELICIOUS. It’s soft and beautiful and soft and a pleasure to knit with and soft and so very, very soft.
I may or may not have tried on the sweater naked.
And I’ve lucked out with a fairly consistent dye lot, it seems. I’ve heard horror stories about Malabrigo’s colour variation; even within the same dye lot the colours can be completely different. I did not want to do that thing where you switch balls of yarn every couple of rows. You know why? Because I’m lazy. That’s why. I stared and stared at my 4 balls of yarn, and came to the conclusion that 3 of them were exactly the same. The 4th is just a touch darker than the others. So I am not switching balls until I have to deal with that 4th skein, and you know what? I can’t tell where the skeins change at all. S’all good.
(Heh heh. Balls.)
STOP EATING MY MALABRIGO, YOU ASSMONKEY SWEATER JACKET THING FROM HELL.