Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas hats and a list

I've shown off the completed Christmas sweater but not the hats I was making. The first hat is the green fish hat, last seen missing only its eyes. The second hat is an off the cuff smaller version of the fish hat that I knit when I realized that I still had nothing to give my baby nephew, whom I was going to see the next day. The bodies of both fish are made of handspun yarn and the mouths, fins and tails are Briggs & Little Softspun. I couldn't be happier with how these hats turned out:

Since it is New Year's eve, I had a look at Ravelry to see what projects I finished this year. I'm quite pleased with just how many things I've knit:
1 baby blanket
1 skirt
1 scarf
1 shawl
1 pair of gloves (still unblogged)
1 pair of mitts
5 hats (two of which were for a baby)
7 sweaters (two of which for babies, and 4 of which were for me)
14 pairs of socks (5 of which were ankle socks)

Only three of these projects were started before the beginning of the year, the rest were started and completed in 2009. I'm also happy to say that 11 projects used yarn I made.

I've very pleased with this tally. With all of the upheaval that occurred this year I can't say that my knitting has really suffered. With tonight's forecast of -33 degree weather, I'm really thankful to be going into the new year with a lot of knitted wool clothes.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The sweater story

Christmas preparations (knitting and other) prevented me from blogging as promised but I've finally found some time so here it goes. The last time I really talked about my Christmas sweater progress I was working on the shoulder area and I had a ball and a half left. It turned out that this was not enough yarn to finish the shoulder area even after I ripped out my gauge swatch and knit it into the sweater.

I still had a couple of balls of the brown yarn left so I decided to use some of the orange yarn from the body and make up the length by making the brown stripe wider. To do this I could have ripped all the way back and reknit the body with more brown and less orange. I probably had enough time to do this but I would have had to guess just how much yarn to leave for the shoulders and I would have had to reknit the whole top intarsia section. Instead I decided to cut the sweater in half.
I put the bottom section of the sweater on spare needles and I spliced the end of yarn from the bottom of the top section to my working yarn at the shoulders. I then knit the shoulders out of yarn that was unraveling from the middle of the sweater.

Once the top of the sweater was completed I put the loose stitches on another needle and then I used kitchener stitch to reattach the top and bottom of the sweater.

I'm not sure that it is clear from the picture, but the body was now a good 3 inches shorter than it needed to be. I had planned for this (though I was surprised that it at up quite so much length). My next move was to cut the brown section in half and knit another 3 inches into it. Of course this had to be done once for the front and once for the back because the brown section was knit back and forth to allow for the intarsia. Having knit the extra 3 inches I once again kitchener stitched the sweater back together.

Finally I sewed up my side and underarm seams and tucked in a whole lot of ends. Here is the result modeled by its recipient:
It fits and he's happy with it. Hurray.

I think that this sweater may deserve an award for most seams in a 'seamless' sweater design.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Made it

The sweater is finished. I promise to write about the whole thing tomorrow, with lots of pictures. Now I just need to knit two hats.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gone fishin'

I took a break from sweater shenanigans to knit up another of my Christmas projects. I've had my eye on Knitty's Fish Hat for some time and I have a penchant for knitting novelty hats as Christmas presents. This year I have a nephew type person who likes to fish so I finally had my excuse.

I dug up some hand spun that was waiting for the right project, bought some Briggs and Little Soft spun for contrast and now I have this:
All it needs is some white felt for eyes and it is done. I'm hoping to find time on Sunday to buy felt and sew eyes and then this guy can be crossed off my list for good.

If the recipient doesn't like it, I'd gladly take it back and wear it everywhere. It is just such a cool and weird hat.

Monday, December 14, 2009


The Christmas sweater is progressing well. I ran out of yarn just short of the saddle shoulders, but I've found a solution that should work. I have pictures of this solution in progress and I promise to share soon.

First, though, I have to share a secret project from the summer:

Now that the winter knitty is up, I can share some of my summer sample knitting. Back in July I answered a call for sample knitters posted by Sarah Sutherland on Ravelry. We met and I took the job of knitting the sample of her 'Four Corners in Tokyo' sweater. It was an interesting and fun pattern, and getting paid to knit it was just the icing on the cake. I'm happy I get to add it to my Ravelry projects and write about it, now that it isn't so secret.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Final push

The sleeves and the body are now one. The next few rows will be really long but the decreases will eventually take care of that. I have about a ball and a half left, so wish me luck.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Plugging along

The second sleeve is about 4 1/2 inches away from completion. I'm finding the progress slow, but that is because I'm looking forward to knitting the shoulder section and discovering if I'll need more yarn. Tonight I'm thinking I will have just enough to finish but I'll probably change my mind again once I know just how much yarn the rest of this sleeve eats up.

We are certainly having a sweater worthy winter in Regina this year. The high today was -28, not counting any windchill there might have been. The low tonight is -35. My car does not have a block heater but so far has been bravely starting. I certainly hope it will start again tomorrow morning. Poor car just got used to winters in southern Ontario and Quebec and now it is back in the prairie deep freeze. I really need to get it a new block heater. Or maybe I should just knit it a sweater...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Plugging along

I've now finished one sleeve and started on the second. Each sleeve takes slightly more yarn than a ball and a half, which means I will have less than two balls to knit the shoulder section of this sweater. I think this will be enough but I won't know until I've done it.

At least the suspense is motivating me to knit quickly.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

No problem (?)

The sweater is coming along really well. I have the body within an inch of where I will join the sleeves and I'm about half done the first sleeve. I don't think that finishing in time will be an issue. Now I'm just hoping that I won't run out of yarn.

I have 4 full skeins of yarn left. I think the sleeves will take about a ball and a half each, which will eat up 2 of the remaining balls. This should be enough to add a bit to the body and knit the shoulder section. I also have some small balls of the orange yarn thanks to the intarsia section.

I based my yarn needs for this sweater on the Swisher sweater I knit last year out of similar yarn. This sweater is longer but knit at a looser gauge. I also didn't use as much of the brown as I guessed I would so I effectively have about 2 balls fewer than I estimated I'd need. I think the looser gauge will save me, but it might be close.

Whenever I knit a sweater I'm always sure one minute that I will have tons of yarn leftover and then ten minutes later I'm sure that I will run seriously short. This is just one of the things that makes knitting sweaters interesting.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Round I go

Tonight I got so caught up in knitting that I almost didn't get around to posting anything. The upside is that the intarsia section is now done and I'm back to working in the round. My guestimating was way off, though, and I didn't use nearly as much of the brown yarn as I planned. This may lead to not having enough orange yarn to finish the rest of the sweater.

I don't think that this will happen but I won't really know until my sleeves are knit. I still think the knitting fates are on my side. Fortune favours the foolhardy right?

Friday, December 4, 2009

A job for tomorrow

I am now done the colourwork on one side of the sweater and I'm well underway on the second side. To my great relief the knitting gods seem to have ignored my reckless claims and may allow this sweater to be finished by Christmas. Furthermore it is actually starting to look like I hoped it would.

Tomorrow after work I should be able to get all of the intarsia done and then I can return to knitting in the round. Yay. First, though, I might have to do a bit of yarn wrangling:

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Tonight it came down to a choice between blogging or drinking beer.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Knitting flat out

I made some decent progress on the Christmas sweater today. I spent my lunch hour winding small balls of yarn since this sweater involves an intarsia section. Tonight I took advantage of my prep work and set about actually knitting part of the intarsia. I have a bunch of ends to tuck in but the knitting was mercifully quick and mindless.

Since I wanted to knit this sweater in the round and using stranded knitting instead of intarsia was very impractical, I cast on in the round but am knitting the colour work section flat in two pieces. I will then join back into the round and sew two short sections of seam at the finishing stage. To make this work neatly I increased 4 stitches right before I started to knit flat so that my seamed section wouldn't be narrower than the seamless sections. In theory this should work. In theory.

Thankfully my brother will enjoy his Charlie Brown sweater enough to make all of this fiddling worthwhile.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Now that the sweater is on the needles it is flying right along. I've knit almost two balls worth which, if I need the 13 balls that I ordered, means I'm about 15% finished. I've had to pause to do some simple charting but I should be back underway tomorrow. It is a nice feeling to be so productive. I may actually have time to do all of my Christmas knitting. Cue the ominous music.