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Doubletwist Baby Cardigan

§ May 28th, 2011 § Filed under Baby things, Screw ups, sweaters § 6 Comments

Thanks for all your comments on the Syllable Vest! The excitement of making things for M is also making me try out new patterns of my own, however simple in look and construction. Here is another one, made hurriedly during a trip to the hills where it was a lot cooler than I had expected:

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It’s a cardiganized version of the “seamless hybrid” pattern – a mix of a saddle shoulder and raglan – from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Without Tears, sized for a 6-9 month old baby, with some stitch detail. I worked it from memory, since I didn’t have my copy of the book with me, but it worked out alright, except that in this baby size, the saddle ends up rather short. I worked two small 2-stitch twists into the sleeve pattern extending into the saddle shoulder, one twisting right and the other left, hence the “Doubletwist” name.

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I have written out a rough pattern below mostly for me to remember what I did this time round – I’d like to make another version of this, because this one turned out rather sloppy at the end. I tried to “kill” the acrylic into shape by wetting and ironing the patterned buttonband. But a moment’s distraction while the iron was hot meant I held it on the right buttonband for too long. Thanks to the slipped stitch at the edge, the band got overstretched, and now gapes at least a couple of inches longer than its counterpart. It doesn’t matter so much since there are only 3 buttons, but those too look gapey and unsightly.

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Doubletwist Cardigan Quick Notes:

Pattern: Improvised cardigan based on EZ’s Seamless Hybrid.
Needles: Size 4 bamboo circular.
Gauge: 6 spi.
Yarn: Vardhaman acrylic (approx 3 skeins).
Size: To fit baby 6-9 months.
Finished Dimensions: Chest – 20″; Total length: 11″, Armhole depth: 4″

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LT: Knit two stitches together as if to SSK. Pull yarn through both stitches, but before dropping them off the left needle, knit into the first stitch once more, then drop both stitches off together.
RT: Knit two stitches together as if to K2tog, Pull yarn through both stitches, but before dropping them off the left needle, knit into the first stitch once more, then drop both stitches off together.

Sleeves (2): C0 38. K2, p2 for 10 rows.
Setup Row (RS): K 14, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2, k 14.
All WS rows: knit stitches as they appear.
Next row: k14, p2, LT, p2, RT, p2, k14.
Knit 7 more rows as established.
Next row and every 6th row hereafter, inc 1 stitch each at both ends of the row.
Continue till you have a total of 50 stitches on the needle.
Knit 7 more rows even after the last increase row.
Cut yarn. Put the first and last three stitches on each sleeve on a piece of waste yarn, and set sleeves aside.

Body: CO 126 st.
K2, p2 for 10 rows.
Setup Row (RS): Sl1, k1, p2, k2, p2, k110, p2, k2, p2, k2.
All WS rows: sl1, knit the rest of the stitches as they appear.
Next row: Sl1, k1, p2, RT, p2, k110, p2, LT, p2, k2.
Knit as established till work measures 6 inches total.

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Join body and sleeves:
RS: K2, YO, p2 (for first buttonhole) knit 25 in patt, put next 6 st on waste yarn, join and knit across right sleeve, k 56 st of body, put next 6 st on waste yarn, join and knit across right sleeve, k29 of body in patt.
Work one row even in patt.
Next row: Work 26 st in patt (right front), pm, SSK, k2, pm, k2tog, work 38 st in patt (right sleeve), pm, SSK, k2, pm, k2tog, work 49 st in patt, (back) pm, SSK, k2, pm, k2tog, work 38 st in patt (left sleeve), pm, SSK, k2, pm, k2tog, work 26 st in patt (left front).
Next row: work even in patt.
Repeat these two rows this way, working in patt to the 3 stitches before the markers, and working the raglan decreases on the RS, for a total of 24 rows (48 st decreased total).
IMP: Remember to work buttonholes at the beginning of every 10th or 12th RS row.

Saddle:
Work 32 st in patt, SSK, turn work.
Sl 1, work next 14 st in patt, k2tog. Turn work.
Continue joining right shoulder saddle stitches to the front and back stitches in this way, till you reach the right front pattern button band. Cut yarn.
Repeat for left saddle.
Neck: Work 8 rows in patt.

Put on baby, who is happy wearing it with or without a perfect buttonband!

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Syllable Vest

§ April 28th, 2011 § Filed under Baby things, sweaters § 6 Comments

The mercury has been hovering around 40 deg celcius (104 F) the last few days. Even nighttime temperatures have been in the 20s. So the idea of a sweater in any yarn or material, let alone wool or alpaca, is quite simply madness. But the combination of a new tiny person to knit for, a knitting addiction, stir-craziness and spare yarn lying around beats even this rotten heat. So when a longish train journey in an A/C compartment and a visit to a slightly cooler place loomed on the horizon, I whipped up this vest for my baby.

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The first syllable of his name is maa (plus that’s who is knitting the sweater for him, get it? get it?), so I adapted it in a stylised motif from the scripts of two of the three Indian languages spoken in our family. The first (the front) is in Bangla, and the second (the back) is in Kannada:

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Actually, it can be reversible too: the buttons and shoulder opening, and the V and round necks just change sides. I created a chart for the motifs in Excel, and worked it from there. (I couldn’t figure out how to get the gridlines of the graph to show in the saved file – does anyone know how?) I thought of calling it the Maa Vest, but that sounded too much like Baa Baa Black Sheep, or Paa, yet another of those Amitabh-Abhishek starrer films that I couldn’t bring myself to watch. So “Syllable Vest” it is – I liked charting the letters enough to contemplate charting other letters and syllables for future versions of the pattern. My mother has already asked me to chart M in Marathi and English for one she wants to knit.

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I really like the sideways opening of the popular Pebble Vest, but wanted to make something that would stretch a bit and fit him until this winter at least. So I knit a band of ribbing at the sides, and at the shoulders, and made it a bit long. It’s 19 inches, unstretched, across the chest, but stretches a good two inches.

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Syllable Vest Notes:

Pattern: My own, inspired by the Pebble Vest.
Needles: Size 6 straights.
Gauge: 5 spi.
Yarn: Harrisville Designs New England Highland (approx 1 skein), and some Indiecita Alpaca worsted, used doubled, approx 3/4 of a skein. In general, you need about 300 yards, 200 in the main colour, and about 100 in the contrast. Also, 5 black buttons, which are not ideal, but which will do.
Size: To fit baby 6-12 months.
Finished Dimensions: Chest – 19″, can stretch about 2″; Total length: 10.5″, Armhole depth: 3.5″.

Syllable Vest Notes:
Body:
1. Cast on 102 st in MC, knit 2×2 ribbing for 10 rows, with CC at rows 5&6.
2. Remember to start buttonhole at beginning of row 3, and every 12th row thereafter.
3. Setup row at row 11: k2,p2,k2,p2, k38, p2,k2p2,k2,p2, k38, p2,k2,p2,k2.
4. Knit 3 rows even in MC, then 2 rows of CC, then 2 more rows of CC.
5. Start motif. Knit 40 rows of motif: start bottom motif at stitch # 60, and top motif at stitch # 10.
6. Start armhole: BO 10 st, k38, BO 10, k48. Next row, BO 10, k38.

Back:
Now turn, and first work the back.
7. Next row, sl1, SSK, knit till 3 st left, k2tog, k1. Purl next row. Repeat these two rows twice.
8. Knit 2 rows even in MC, then 2 rows even in CC.
9. K16, turn work. BO 4 st, purl across. Next row, knit to last 3 st, k2tog, k1, turn work and purl across. Repeat these two rows once.
10. Next row: sl1, k1, p2, k2, p2, k2. Knit 13 more rows as established. Bind off all stitches.
11. Join new MC yarn at back neck RS, BO 4 st, knit across. Purl next row. Next row: sl1, SSK, knit across. Purl next row. Repeat these two rows once.
12. Next row: sl1, k1, p2, k2, p2, k2. Knit 13 more rows as established. Bind off all stitches.

Front:
13. Join fresh MC yarn at beginning of RS row. sl1, SSK, k13, k2tog, k1. Purl next row. Next row, knit to last 3 st, k2tog, k1, turn work and purl across. Repeat these two rows once.
14. Sl1, knit till 3 st left, k2tog, k1. Purl across. Repeat these two rows once in MC, once in CC.
9. Next row: sl1, k1, p2, k2, p2, k2. Knit 13 more rows as established. Bind off all stitches.

Finishing:
Using CC yarn, single crochet (SC) along the neck starting at left front opening. At the V and U neck joins, use a double crochet stitch. Repeat SC for right armhole, starting at back armhole opening. Repeat also for left front and back armhole openings. Sew on 5 buttons, and weave in all ends.

With motifs, I can never decide whether to do them via duplicate stitch or knit them into the main fabric. Duplicate is easier, but I cannot shake off the irrational idea that it is cheating with the knitting. I like colourwork in general, and enjoyed knitting the motifs into the main fabric, but the wild jungle of loose ends it generates at the back, especially with an asymmetrical pattern across multiple rows and stitches, is a royal pain. But I did patiently weave them all in in the end, and for good measure, added a few duplicate stitches here and there where I felt the Kannada motif could use some fine-tuning.

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Overall, am pretty satisfied with the results. The recipient seems pleased too!

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Afterthought Sleeves

§ April 4th, 2010 § Filed under sweaters § 10 Comments

Two years ago, I made this vest:
wicked vest done

Like most of my vests (and unlike all my other handknits), it has stayed in the closet, hardly worn. I have finally, grudgingly, accepted that no matter how much I like knitting them, vests are not my thing. But this one, in particular, also felt a bit unfinished, and every time I tried it on, I felt that its sleeves were missing, and put it back. So I finally brought it out last week and put some sleeves on it. I had one extra skein, but needed another one. So I went to Stash, where I had bought this yarn two years ago, and wonder of wonders, they actually had a skein in the same colour, and in the same dye lot! I felt the universe was sending me a message. I *had* to knit these sleeves.

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I am much happier with the results, and if the last 48 hours are any indication, this version is going to get a lot more wear. I gave it 3/4 sleeves to keep it a light, wear-in-summer-when-the-idiots-jack-up-the-a/c kind of sweater. Although I have to say, I wore it out to lunch today on yet another rainy, grey day, and the Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool is surprisingly cosy.

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These ‘afterthought sleeves’ are my first attempt at top-down set-in-sleeves. I could have started at the cuffs and worked my way up to the armscye, and sewed the sleeves in, but some good advice on Ravelry from Suzeeq made this a more pleasant adventure. She pointed me to the instructions in the third post in this thread. I followed them, and in addition, I added wraps to the turns to avoid gaps in the fabric.

Rough calculations for ‘afterthought sleeves’, or ‘top-down set-in sleeves’

* Basically, you pick up and knit evenly around the armhole, starting at the base. I picked up 87.
* Knit the first 2/3 of the stitches (in my case 58; you go all the way up the front of the armhole, past the shoulder, to about a quarter of the back). Wrap the next stitch (59th) and turn.
* Purl back 1/3 of the stitches (in my case 29). Wrap the next stitch (30th) and turn.
* Knit 1/3+1, wrap the next stitch and turn. (k30, wrap 31st). Pick up the last wrap as you knit the last stitch.
* Purl 1/3 +1, wrap the next stitch and turn. (p 30, wrap 31st).
* Continue in this way, adding one more stitch on each side and wrapping the next, until all stitches and wraps have been picked up.
* Even out the total number of stitches. I added one stitch (88) after all the pick-ups were done.

* Now, knit in the round, decreasing for the sleeve depending on how close-fitting you want the sleeve to be.
* To decide the decrease formula, you need the following measurements:
>> Desired length of your sleeve. (11 inches; 8 inches minus a 3 inch cuff)
>> Desired width of your sleeve cuff. (6 inches)
>> Stitch gauge, if your cuff pattern is different from the overall sleeve pattern (8 spi). Also, my cuff stitch pattern was a 10-stitch repeat, so I decided to decrease down to 50 stitches.
>> Your row gauge. (Mine was 8 rpi)

* Now, subtract the cuff from the stitches at the armhole. (In my case, 88-50 = 38. I had 8 inches, ie 64 rows in which to decrease 38 stitches evenly down to 50 before starting the 3 inch cuff.)
* One decrease row typically has 2 stitches decreased, so there were 19 decreases to distribute evenly. Every third row would take me only 57, whereas every 4th row would take 72. So the first two decreases I did every fourth row, and the remaining every 3rd row.
* After decreases are done, begin the cuff. Once cuff is done, cast off loosely, especially if it’s a 3/4 sleeve. I did the Russian bind-off with 2 ptog continuously around the cuff.

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This should theoretically make for a well-fitting sleeve. However, this is easier said than done. Figuring out how many stitches to pick up around the armhole to make for a neat and even sleeve at the upper arm is a trial-and-error method; I settled on 87 after three tries. Plus, the original vest itself had a deeper-than-normal armhole, and so I had to space out the pick-ups more than usual. If you look closely enough, there still are a couple of unexplained folds, but nothing that the drapey look and my ability to ignore minor problems cannot handle! Trying on the sleeve as you go along to see if it falls well is a must, and all the more so with this yarn, which stretches a bit with wear.

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Ideally, I would have liked the body to be a few inches longer too, but I’m not complaining. It’s too much of a pain to undo the patterned cuff at the bottom to add length below. My friend Latha also approved of the new Wicked iteration as is:

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I love revisiting old projects like this – apart from the now-you-know-who’s boss! feeling of it all, it’s neat to be able to actually fix a problem to make the garment wearable (all over again). Mel recently fixed one of his sweaters, and my reformed Rogue is much more well-behaved-fitting.

Has any one else modified or fixed your already-finished projects? I’d love to hear these stories of the afterlives!

Rip, chomp, shed

§ November 6th, 2009 § Filed under Shawls, sweaters § 12 Comments

It’s finally getting a bit chilly here in the evenings, and I brought out a shawl I made two years ago, the North Sea Shawl. I was quite impressed with the Malabrigo lace, for not pilling at all despite two years of good wear. But here’s what I found:

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My first thought was that there was a mouse in my closet and that all my woollens had been chewed through over the year that I was away. (No, I did not individually wrap each one in plastic with mothballs in them..) But nothing else has been damaged – the socks, gloves, other shawls and sweaters are all ok. Just this bit. Yet it does look like the yarn has been cut or bitten through in several places in that one area of the shawl, and not worn out. Any suggestions on how to fix it? I don’t have any pink malabrigo left, but even if I were to find some, how does one sew or darn something that already has holes as a design element?

Speaking of durable yarn, I am quite disappointed with a lot of brands I used over the last year. The Cascade Eco that I used for my Ribby Cardi and the handdyed merino for my Cobblestone pullover have pilled quite heavily.

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What’s bizarre is that the same merino I used for the aran pullover has barely any fuzz on it. Maybe it’s because the fabric is so tight? I generally tend to go down a couple of needle sizes to get a firm fabric just to avoid pilling to the extent possible, but I guess some yarns still start shedding earlier than other. I have worn both these sweaters quite a LOT, but still, I wish they wouldn’t look so unkempt and old this quickly.

What are your favourite durable yarns? I think I want to make another Ribby Cardi in Blackwater Abbey or one of those scratchy finer gauge Shetlands. I love the pattern, and think it will be worth the maths required to redo the measurements.

Turbulence

§ September 19th, 2009 § Filed under sweaters § 5 Comments

My blue period continues:
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This is the back of the Turbulence U-Neck pullover by Norah Gaughan, from Knitting Nature. I am using the Berroco Inca Gold for this project instead of the Sidelines Top I had bought it for.

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This will be my third project from this wonderful book, the first two being the Ogee Tunic and the Spiral Scarf.

I passed right over this one when I first browsed through the book, because it is in a very non-descript colour, and the photos did nothing to make it stand out. Frankly, I came back to it because of Ravelry’s wonderful search-by-gauge function, in my opinion one of the coolest things about that site (and as we know, there are many!). It fit my 5.5 spi gauge, and so I looked the pattern over and what other people had done with it. As written it’s rather boxy and shapeless, and also a good deal shorter than I would like. So I will be modifying the overall shape quite a bit, lengthening it and adding waist shaping. This latter I have already begun for the back.

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I love the two twisting cables that turn away from each other in the central motif, like serpent-headed staffs. (They reminded me of a wonderfully spine-chilling Marathi short story by Ratnakar Matkari about a serpent-shaped magician who remains immortal by periodically sucking youth and life out of unsuspecting men, and where the shapeshifting is a big part of the suspense.) But I am not yet sure about the neck shaping. I might move the entire motif down a couple of inches to sit right below the bust, and turn the neck into a V, by playing around a bit with the motif itself.

An avalanche of work has hit me this month, and I am likely to remain buried under it for the foreseeable future. Some of it is very interesting and keeps me happily occupied, especially a new graduate course on historiographies of language, for which I am reading a lot of stimulating new work that straddles cultural history, literary criticism and linguistics. I also have two papers to write for conferences, which are fun to think about when the thought of the deadlines isn’t keeping me awake at night. But there is also a lot of admin work, which is boring and tedious, but unavoidable and continuous. All in all, it’s cutting severely into knitting time. Can you believe that I have only two WIPs right now, this one and the never-ending sampler shawl? The lace, of course, will take still more time, but let’s hope this mostly-stockinette project will not live up to its name, and race smoothly to the finish line!

Dilemma

§ July 29th, 2009 § Filed under sweaters § 13 Comments

I need to unpack; restock my kitchen and fridge; have my broken mobile phone repaired; get over jetlag, and brave a mountain of work in my office.

But the burning question that I have to resolve before any of that can be done is:

The yarn: Brooks Farm Mas Acero (Worsted, wool-silk-rayon, approx 1650 yards)

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The patterns:
Pamela Wynne’s excellent and wildly popular February Lady Sweater (yes, I am aware I am very late to this party)
or
The Sidelines Top from Interweave Knits last fall.

Questions:

Am leaning towards the Top, but the Lady sweater keeps drawing me back, and I am going back and forth.

1) Which one to make with this yarn?
2) Will the Lady sweater require a lot of mods to fit my dimensions, and will it look ok on my frame?
3) Is the Sidelines top worth the change in gauge and the maths required (it’s for DK yarn)?
4) Which one will show off the slightly variegated yarn better, and hold the silk-wool-rayon blend better?
5) I already have a lot of stuff in this colourway, and is reminding me of my Ogee Tunic. Should I be selling or trading in this yarn for something else on Ravelry?

Baggy, with Pockets & Trauma*, a.k.a. BPT

§ February 23rd, 2009 § Filed under BPT Cabled cardigan, sweaters § 11 Comments

Ack – it’s a whole MONTH since I blogged! Somebody up there took my new year’s post about “arduous travels to meet friends ok” a bit literally, and flung me into this mad caper that went from Pune to Delhi to Berkeley to New York to DC to Denver to Hong Kong and back to Delhi last month. Boy was it fun, but fuck, it was exhausting! And if that weren’t bad enough, I have been living in Delhi without continuous internet access. Oh, quel horreur! It’s been quite a revelation, actually – figuring out how much time I suddenly seem to have to read, walk around and, yeah, work! Somehow, the new year also decided to ring out a long-lasting burnout and ring in a much-needed dose of enthusiasm about doing some academic research. So I’ve been slaving away in the archives, excited about scribes and scripts and old, dusty files. Who knows, I might actually write a paper again!

All that time offline also allowed me to finish the BPT sweater:

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Truth be told, I finished this nearly three weeks ago. But apart from all the work and stress of setting up a temporary flat, I also got a major case of zipper phobia. I bought a perfectly matching zipper, read all the excellent tutorials out there, and was determined to hand-sew the damn thing in. But every time I sat down to do it, I froze, because I am terrified of the whole process, traumatised by ugly bulges and puckers and loose stitches and needles refusing to pierce the nylon in previous zipper encounters. A tiny voice suggested a button band, or even a set of invisible hooks. I even bought the latter. But a friend with strong opinions insisted I put in the zipper because it would suit the pattern best, and I took a deep breath and sewed it in while watching one of my favourite films of all time, Padosan. Even though I refuse to show you the inside of the sewed up zipper, I think said friend was right after all:

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Truth be told again, it’s a very very comfortable sweater. It’s quite chilly in my flat, and it’s perfect to sit around and have chai in and read the paper. But, since truth we are telling, it’s also not very well-fitting. There’s much to fret about, actually. The sleeves are too baggy at the arms and weirdly tapered at the wrist, the neck (which I was quite thrilled with when it was done) has turned out to be a bit loose on the right, the edges roll up a lot sometimes, the yarn is already looking a bit worn, and worst of all, I chose a non-separating zipper!!!!! So I can’t fully separate the cardigan fronts; it’s literally a pullover refusing to let go! But, I like how the pockets turned out, and the yarn mercifully softened up a lot. It was a bitch to knit with, though – like coconut fibre – and it’s so comfortable I am not frogging anything to fix it.

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Project Specs:

Pattern: BPT, from Knitty
Yarn: New England Highland Worsted in a lovely brick shade, I think I used just under six skeins
Needles: Size 6 throughout
Gauge: 5 spi

Mods:

1) Made a stiff neck instead of a hood. Mainly because I got tired of knitting with the rough yarn. I picked up stitches all around, knit for ten rounds, knit one garter ridge at the edge to make it easier for it to roll down, and then knit 8 more rounds, and then sewed the live stitches down to the pick-up edge. I had a lot of fun doing this, but am not sure if it contributed to the slight looseness of the neck edge.

BPTneckstitch

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2) Made pockets. Picked up stitches and knit straight for a couple of inches, then began the cable at one end, decreasing every knit row along the inner edge of the cable, until I had a pocket size I liked. Then I sewed down the top and sides. Amazingly, the pockets matched, and lined up nicely at the top sewn edge. The pockets really add to the sweater’s loungey feel.

If I knit this one again, I’d watch the sleeve measurements more closely and fudge the numbers, to make it fit me better. But other than that, it’s a clean, neat and simple pattern; results in a very pleasing sweater, despite all my grumbling about the things that went awry.

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It’s already warming up in Delhi, but I can still wear this in the late evenings and early mornings for a couple weeks more, I think. Perfect end to the cold weather!

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(I found a cafe that offers free wireless broadband here, so hopefully I’ll be able to blog more regularly… fingers crossed.)

*Before anyone raps me for flaming the designer and her chosen title for the pattern, rest assured this elaboration of the abbreviation BPT is merely a description of my version, and not intended at the original…

One sleeve down

§ January 23rd, 2009 § Filed under BPT Cabled cardigan, sweaters § 18 Comments

This BPT sweater should be going quickly, given that it’s mostly stockinette, and I’m on a decreasing spiral, which means there’s less and less every round. I really should get cracking on this, given that I am travelling a lot this month and have tons of airplane, bus and train time, especially mindless movies to go with the long airplane journeys. But it’s taken me nearly two weeks to finish one sleeve, and am very bored with the second.

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Why is this? Part of it, I suspect, has to do with the yarn, which is rather rough and annoying to work with, and I can’t seem to do more than a few rounds at a time. But part of it is, I realised, the awkwardness of working sleeves in the round on a seamless raglan. You have to move around the whole bloody sweater every round or two, and because of the small (and decreasing!) circumference, it gets very heavy and cumbersome. I don’t like carrying a nearly-done sweater around everywhere, but that’s the only way this thing is going to get done soon. Anyone else have that problem? Next time I do a seamless raglan, after I divide for the armholes I’m doing the sleeves first and then the body. Somehow it seems like two sleeves flapping merrily around will be marginally easier than the whole body pirouetting madly under the tube of a sleeve hanging by dpns.

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At least it fits alright. Am not so happy with the sleeves above the armholes. I think there should have been fewer stitches to cinch them in a bit, but now the only way I can fix that is to undo the whole sweater – um, I think I can live with the tiny bulge at the raglans. It’s a clever pattern, though. I keep wishing I was knitting it in Cascade 220 instead. It’s also no-to-ri-ous-ly difficult to photograph clearly – I assure you it’s not felted, even though the photos make it seem like it is! It isn’t even fuzzy, really. I wonder why the fabric looks so matted, despite tons of focusing and adjusting in all kinds of light and angles. Ah well. Am soon going to have to wonder about two things – 1) hood or collar? and 2) pockets or not? I’m thinking hood and pocket just to go with the overall slouchy look, with mirrored cables along the diagonal pocket openings. Opinions?

Three cheers

§ November 12th, 2008 § Filed under About Me, BPT Cabled cardigan, Life, sweaters § 30 Comments

Today my blog is three years old. It feels like only yesterday that it turned two, even though this has been an horribly long and exhausting year. When I came to India a few months ago I was worried that with the higher temperatures the knitting would fall by the wayside and then so would the blog. But with each passing year I realise how prescient and apt my choice of tag-line was. The blogging (about the knitting, but much else besides, as it turns out!) really does keep me sane through some incredible highs and lows in my life. I hope I don’t tire of it anytime soon – or do you, my dear readers. Incidentally, my stats have spiked quite a bit in recent months, but I don’t really have an idea from the comments about who many of the new readers are – If you are a relatively new visitor, knitter or non-knitter, I hope you’ll stop to say hello today! I’m curious.

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Above is another reason to celebrate. Much of the BPT sweater you see above was knit watching the glorious India-Australia cricket test series (The Border-Gavaskar Trophy), which India won 2-0, giving the Aussies a severe drubbing. I watched a well-played, drama-filled test series after years and it was most wonderful. Watching the Indian team, which has always specialised in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, methodically beat the mighty (and might I say snooty) Australians was only part of it. (Okay, a big part of it.) It was bittersweet to watch old favourite players play fiery final games before retirement (although Sourav Ganguly’s golden duck on his final test innings was too painful to watch, however Bradman-esque) and great to discover many cool and sexy new players (hellooooo Mahendra Singh Dhoni!) that I had seen in a lot of annoying TV ads, but never actually playing.

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A third reason to celebrate is that the BPT is not only progressing very rapidly – it also looks like it will fit quite well! I have about 40-odd rows left to do on the body, and then the sleeves. I’m thinking of adding pockets in addition to the hood, depending on how much yarn I have left. The India-England one-day cricket series is beginning on Thursday. Here’s hoping that this encounter is as exciting, and at its end there’s a finished sweater to enjoy.

The Princess and the Frog

§ October 16th, 2008 § Filed under BPT Cabled cardigan, sweaters § 6 Comments

princessandfrog

That’s what popped into my head the minute I saw this photo – a shapeless frog with bulbous eyes at the top, blue because of the cold or because he’s lonely, sidling up to a pretty, purply, plump princess who’s not sure she likes him. This is what October heat and the delirium of putting up two finished objects on the blog after eons will do to you. You anthropomorphize your knitted garments (the frog would become a prince sooner or later, yes?) and weave a fairy tale around them.

frog1

princess1

Truth be told, these are not mine. As in, I didn’t knit them – my mum did. I added the buttons, and pretty much did the maths on both of them. The Blue Frog is The Thrifty Knitter’s Nifty baby riff on the Cobblestone, but with redone numbers cast on onwards. It was an absolute breeze to knit, with hardly any shaping or finishing. The Purple Princess I sort of did from scratch, trying to feminize the frog and give it sleeves and some flare for a baby niece. The yarn was all leftovers that I brought over from the US for her to make baby things with. The biggest effort was writing down the instructions in Marathi for my mum so she can file the patterns. She is thrilled to bits with the end results – total garter and cotton love!

princessback

Instead of the buttons at the side, we put them at the back, and added a contrast border. So she began at the chest with a provisional cast on, knit in garter stitch up to the shoulders, and then picked up stitches at the chest to knit below in stockinette. One rapid increase on the first row gave the gentle frock-like flare. I think it was more effort than necessary – too many ends to weave in at the top, even though it looks okay. It might be easier to start at the neck in one piece with raglan sleeves and then increase at the chest. Hmmm. I might actually try it this way with another sample and write up the pattern in English and Marathi for a free download.

So, specs:

Blue Frog: 100% worsted cotton yarn hand dyed by Laura of Textiles a Mano; no idea how much got used, but it wasn’t much. Size 6 needle. Cast on 120 stitches.

Purply Princess: 1.5 hanks of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, plus some purple DK 100% cotton also from Laura. The gauges for both were different, so size 6 needle for the magenta and 5 for the purple. It worked out okay though. Also cast on 120 at the chest, and increased to 160 for the flare.

princessneck

I know you’re squinting at those umbrella buttons, so here’s the obligatory macro shot:

princessbutton

While we’re on the fairy tale theme, it’s amazing how all it took was a blog post for my own knitting fortunes to turn around. Thanks for all the suggestions and encouragement – I first ripped out the Aran Cardigan and suddenly, out of nowhere, I remembered an old project that I had snatched the yarn from midway to make the Cobblestone. Simple cables and stockinette seemed too dull to knit then, but they practically sang to me now. So, since I last whined to you all, here’s what I knit:

BPTredux1

Nice, eh? I can’t put it down, I even knit it in the bus the other day. Am already halfway down the undivided top, and it won’t be long before I divide for the body and sleeves. So I do get my stockinette hoodie after all, but with some needed twist! What’s more, I got the right gauge at 5 spi on size 6 needles, and it will (hopefully) be my desired finished size of 40 inches, without any maths or mods. I haven’t decided yet whether to add the hood, or make a different collar. And maybe add pockets. What’s not to love?

BPTredux2

Tomorrow kicks off a series of trips here and there – maybe this will get done soon!

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