Some Stones Unturned

Knitting, Biking and Some Sober Second Thoughts

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Enfin, Vendredi d’Achèvement: $5 in Paris

$5 in Paris

Completed $5 in Paris

$5 in Paris

A little closer, you can see that it’s a bit lumpy and weird, but in a way, aren’t we all a bit lumpy and weird? In a way.

Pattern: $5 in Paris by Anna Peck-Maliszewski

Yarn: Knitpicks Brava Worsted, 425 yards Tidepool and 316 yards Eggplant

Size: 40″ bust, 32″ waist, 24″ long, with longer sleeves than pattern (~16″ along outer edge from shoulder).

A few more pictures and then I will get into my way-too-long modifications section.

$5 in Paris from the side

From the side

$5 in Paris from the back

From the back

$5 in Paris off the shoulder

Wearing it off the shoulder

Modifications: I got way too fiddly with things just because I was worried about it not fitting and kept doubting myself. Also, I knit a big chunk of it on a plane and on vacation where it wasn’t really convenient to keep track of things in Ravelry, so my notes were scratched onto the back of an envelope (literally) and since I didn’t get around to weaving in the ends for a over a month, I’m not sure I quite remember what all of them are supposed to say, but here is my best deciphering of some of the things I claim to have done.

Cast on 176 stitches and did 8 increases for the shoulders (I have big shoulders), then knit one row even before setting the sleeve stitches aside just to finish the first non-ribbed green stripe before the colour change. Cast on 6 sts backward loop for the colour change.

Bust shaping: Three sets of short turn rows along the front: rows 10-11 of second purple stripe, rows 7-8 of second green stripe, rows 3-4 of third purple stripe. This was my first attempt with Japanese short rows and I liked them, but I was getting a hole on the one side, I think because I wasn’t sure what to do knitting in the round: at the second turn you actually have two extra rows vertically and I couldn’t find a way to get rid of the gap during knitting. I patched it up a bit when weaving in ends and after washing the thing, it looks okay now.

Waist shaping: Started the waist decreases (ssk when one stitch past the side marker, k2tog one stitch before marker) on row 6 of the third green stripe. I didn’t feel like the decreases in the pattern were fast enough and I calculated it out using my bust and waist measurements and decided I needed to decrease four stitches every three rounds. I thought I would need seven sets of decreases, but I stopped at six because it was getting a bit tight. I think maybe I started the decreases a few rows too early and also they were a bit fast. Would maybe go every four rows if I did it again.

Started the hip increases on row 5 of the fourth green stripe (Make 1 front one stitch after the marker and make 1 back before the marker). Other increases row 9 of the fouth green stripe and rows 4 and 8 of the fifth purple stripe.

I ran into a small problem because I’m taller than the original pattern was designed for, so I was going to have to do two extra stripes to finish with a purple before the green ribbing and I was worried that would be too long, so I only did 12 rows in the last two stripes to shorten things up a bit (could not stop nervously fiddling with the pattern. One row here, try it on, one row there, try it on) and then did 2.5 inches of ribbing on the bottom. I’m happy with that length.

Sleeves: I had 51 stitches on the holder + 11 picked up. I wanted longer arms so I knit three stripes, decreasing two stitches roughly every 6 rows:
second purple: rows 3 and 9
second green: rows 2 and 8
third purple: rows 1, 7 and 13
I went down to the smaller size needles for the ribbing, but I was still worried it wasn’t tight enough, so I actually decreased four stitches on row 16 of the ribbing, adjusting so the rib pattern stayed okay (hid the icky part on the inside of the sleeve). I would not recommend doing this, but, yeah, first sweater, nervous, fiddly, etc. Then knit 5 more rows and cast off.

So that’s it. I haven’t actually worn it around yet because I finished it just in time for 30 degree weather, but I like it except it’s maybe a bit tight in the bust and I’m worried the acrylic won’t breathe much and will make me really sweaty. But otherwise I like the yarn and it’s pretty soft after the first wash and dry. I have a bunch left, plus some in Fairy Tale, so I will probably end up ordering some more to do another sweater or something at some point when I have more money.

I’m off to my graduation. Check out today’s other FOs on Tami’s Amis.


Stash Update

All right, well I haven’t done much knitting in a couple of months. Months! I made a small amount of progress on the ugly Skew socks and just last night I finally picked up my $5 in Paris sweater, pulled out the bottom and knit another inch onto it. I appreciate everyone’s comments, but it really was just too short. I never really understood those people who would write about finding an FO in the closet that had been there for months or more when all they had to do was cast off and weave in the ends. I still can’t say I understand it, but it turns out I am one of those people. I still have 16 ends to go and I figure it’s going to take me at least a few days to get through them. Weaving in also forces you to go back and look at all the spots where you might have made a mistake and there are little holes and stuff, which is unpleasant.

But, in spite of the fact that I haven’t been knitting, I did buy a few things. Not too much because, you know, space requirements, but two of my friends were scheduled to go to a yarn-tasting at The Purple Purl in March and one of them hurt her wrist, so I filled in. A yarn tasting, as it turns out, is where a few companies (five the night I was there) have donated yarn that they want knitters opinions on and a group of knitters shows up, knits and describe their experiences (and test their abilities to come up with single-word descriptive adjectives without a thesaurus). Then there are prize giveaways and then they open up the cash and sell some/all of the yarns in the store at a discount (I believe it was 15% off everything in the store the night I was there, but I don’t have my receipt to check). A deal like that is not to be passed up, so I got this Tanis Fiber Arts blue label fingering yarn

Tanis Cobalt

80% superwash merino, 20% nylon. Hand dyed. Colour: Cobalt. Already wound into a ball more successfully than my previous attempt to get something out of a skein.

And also this really soft Debbie Macomber Blossom Street: Read more…

A Bike-y Interlude

I have been out enjoying the nice weather (and stressing about my defense) and neglecting to write, but I did hear about a window display of crocheted reef things. Fibrework? In biking distance on a nice weekend? Of a reef when I am off to Australia in a couple of months? It was like I was meant to go check it out. Very fun.

That’s about it. Not much knitting progress lately.

Skew S’more

So the knitting is done on $5 in Paris (although I still think I may add to the ribbing on the bottom), but I really underestimated the time it would take me to weave in all the ends (two per stripe; sleeve and body), especially given that I am using some of them to fudge holes left by my short row fail. I had hoped to have it done by Wednesday because it was beautiful here so I could do outdoor pictures, but when that didn’t happen, I figured I would take my time finishing it, run it through the wash once, and show it next week.

In the meantime, I’m afraid I must subject you, once again, to Skew.

Skew sock progress

Motivation for learning to dye

I finished one sock. Since my successful plane flight, I have decided to tentatively dip my toe into knitting in public more. I took this sock on the subway (so really a subset of the public who have been self-selected to deal with other people’s weirdnesses and quirks; a perfect place to start KIP) and got about 4 rounds done when I went to meet some friends for dim sum. I should have gotten more done (dim sum is in the ‘burbs), but I messed up on the very first row and had to tink back almost a whole round.

Then last night my usual ride to ultimate Frisbee fell through, so I caught a ride with someone to an earlier game and brought my knitting to keep me busy. Got that bit of a toe done. I briefly contemplated casting on something new to take, just to avoid subjecting more people than necessary to this yarn, but socks travel best and I had a limited supply of sock yarn and limited time before leaving to memorize a new pattern. So Skew it was; if you’re going to get over your embarrassment of KIP, might as well jump in with both feet. Maybe since I was just doing the toe, they didn’t get the full effect of the pastels screaming at them. Or maybe, crazy idea of crazy ideas, they were too busy playing ultimate to notice. Let’s hope.

$5 in Paris: à laver la tête d’un âne, on perd sa lessive

$5 in Paris sweater progress

You know how there was that one member of Destiny's Child who always had to wear the one sleeve thing? This isn't like that at all.

Now that I’m back on Canadian soil, I can say that my first trip taking knitting in my carry-on (or, as I like to refer to it, Operation Please Don’t Confiscate My Sweater) was a huge success. I got a ton of knitting done. I don’t know why I wasn’t doing this ages ago.

I like to be early for things, especially flights, and since I was taking public transit to the airport, I left super-duper extra-early. I got to the check in just over three hours before my flight left, which is technically the time they recommend you be there, but just so you know, they do not actually even have the check-in counters open yet. Fortunately I had no luggage to check, so I just used the machine to get my boarding pass, beat the crowd to security and breezed through customs. I was seated at the gate ~2.5 hours before my flight was due to leave.

Needless to say that gave me a great starting point for knitting, both before boarding and during the flight, although I started getting worried during the flight because there wasn’t really space to wriggle into my sweater and check the sizing as I went, so I had to keep knitting and hope it would be okay. In the end I think I did the waist shaping decreases too quickly: the pattern says every five rounds, which seemed way too infrequent to me so I did every three; next time I would split the difference and do every four. Also, I threw in three sets of short rows and I thought that if I combined the decrease row with the row after the two short turns then I could save having to do any funny wrapping or picking up of stitches and just do k2tog/ssk where the gaps were, but for some reason this didn’t work and I’m left with a bit of a hole:

short row fail


I’m still not quite sure why this is. I do it all the time with sock heel turns and that seems to go okay. Is it the yarn weight or does the shape of the heel turn make it less noticeable? I didn’t rip it back though because I’m on vacation so whatevs (hence the post title). It basically almost fits. Close enough!

Anyway, knitting was great. I didn’t care that I had a long wait at the gate. I didn’t care when we hit turbulence. I almost didn’t even care that the woman beside me smelled pretty bad, although that was starting to make me a bit sick by the end. None of it mattered since, after the flight there, I had a sweater that was about 3/4 complete.  I think they should actually encourage everyone to knit on flights; people would stress way less. Sitting in the airport for my flight home (for which I was again really early because my sister’s flight was before mine and I got dropped off with her), I could hear families fighting around me, having (I assume) finished their vacation in Florida, where it was gorgeous weather all week, the stress of travelling was getting to them. “No we board at 2:10. It says right on the ticket.” “Well, I just asked her and she said 2:40. We’re delayed an hour. Go check yourself if you want.”…”I checked we board at 2:10. You want to fight about it some more? I love fighting.”

Now, if these people knit, I could just lean over and say “Hey guys, don’t worry. If we’re delayed an hour then I might be able to finish this sweater before I get home. Isn’t that great?! Well, not the sweater. I mean the sweater’s okay, but it’s my first sweater and I think I kind of messed up the fit a bit and there are these holes where the short rows are, see? But I can fix that up when I weave in the ends. Aren’t the colours great though? It’s great yarn. It’s acrylic. Crazy right. I mean, you can still tell. I’m nor a fibre snob or anything and I can tell, but it’s not bad and it’ll be machine washable. So, yeah, I’m starting to think I could really finish this up on the flight today.” But then the part of my brain that is still capable of interacting with non-knitters suggested they might not actually find any of this helpful or comforting. But if everyone knit on the flight, well, they would be thrilled with the extra time to finish their own projects, wouldn’t they?

I finished the body (may go back and do more ribbing? I intentionally did less than called for because I was worried it would be too long since I already have two extra stripes, but a couple more rows might be better) and most of one sleeve on the homeward wait/flight, but I didn’t want to start the sleeve ribbing until I could try it on to test the length. I think two more stripes will be too long, but right now might be too short, so I’m not sure what to do. Anyway, I’ll probably have something I consider finished by next week. Hopefully I can get those holes patched up.

$5 in Paris sweater unfinished

With the needles sticking out at odd angles, I guess it's a bit less Destiny's Child and a bit more Locutus of Borg. Although my pyjama pants are nicer than his.

More WIPs at Tami’s.

$5 in Paris: La croisière s’amuse

The title is my subtle way of telling you that I’m going on vacation. Ages ago I read an article about Canadian politics that explained “La croisière s’amuse” basically means a group of folks try to amuse themselves with frivolous things.

(Weirdly I have always assumed the phrase had a bit of a negative connotation, but I found the article online-could not find my hard copy which I think I clipped from the paper back when I actually used to clip things from the paper, back when I got a paper made of paper-and it doesn’t really imply the expression is negative. Maybe just because of its context in the article? “La croisière s’amuse” was also the French title of the TV show “The Love Boat” and that’s not negative. Well, okay, I’ve never seen it, but the opening song is great. Incidentally, results for the TV show are basically 98% of what you get if you Google the phrase and I have no idea what keywords I ended up using to find the article since all I really remembered was I thought it was about a Canadian election.)

ANYWAY, yes, I’ll be doing frivolous (hopefully) things in Florida with my family for the week, but I hope to have posts queued up before I go (I should be in the air when this gets posted) and will have internet, but perhaps slightly less frequently than normal.

I am trying to take just a carry-on and have prepped what I have of my sweater to go with me.

sweater started

Hooray for top down-try it on as you go. Feel even stupider if it doesn't fit in the end.

I didn’t initially plan to knit so much of it since I have a whole week’s worth of time to fill, but after the lacework it was sort of nice to just knit round and round in worsted while reading. And by the time I was finished the first non-ribbed stripe, I figured I should finish the shoulder increases and get the sleeves onto scrap yarn to check the fit because it would probably be really awkward to do that on a plane.

sleeves not done yet

So many pointy needles passing my face to try this on, yet I am uninjured so far!

But when I got the sleeve stitches transferred, I just kept knitting. I wanted to do some short rows on the front, as suggested by someone on Rav, so there would be less bunching. It seemed like a good chance to practice Japanese short rows, which I’ve been wanting to try, since the results would basically be hidden in my armpit. I was reviewing this video before I started, but I continued to knit in the round as I watched and when the video said “Continue purling across” apparently my brain responded well to the not-so-subliminal messaging:

accidental purling

Purl across? Don't mind if I do.

So I tinked that back. Then did my short rows, but when I went to knit back across all the stitches, I realized neither this video nor the first related one did short rows in the round and so I was left wondering how to deal with the purl-side turns. I did it by trying to imagine what things would look like from the other side: knit to one before the gap, slip that stitch purlwise, lift the marked yarn onto the left needle, put the slipped stitch back and knit those two together. It turns out that if I had bothered to look up “Japanese short rows in the round”, I would find that someone else had already worked this out (except she slipped knitwise and then went through the back like you would with ssk, so mine probably leans the wrong way, but still GO ME for kinda figuring it out on my own).

I finally forced myself to put the sweater aside Saturday afternoon, picking up Skew to keep my hands from reaching toward its siren call again. I still cannot get over how ugly those socks are going to be. I’m excited yet horrified at the same time.

FO Friday: Rock Island Shawl

Rock Island Shawl

Completed Rock Island shawl

Pattern: Rock Island shawl by Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood

Yarn: Indigo Moon, Finest Silk, 481 yards (a bit smaller than it was supposed to be)

Size: 22″ x 42″ before blocking; 28″ x 60″ after blocking

I took a zillion pictures because I’m pleased as punch with the way it came out:  Read more…

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