Monday, May 28, 2007

the finished argosy

pattern: Argosy
yarn: Noro Silk Garden lite
needles: 4mm bamboo straights
more details on my knitting progress can be found in my previous entry on this scarf (here)

This was a fun project. I love the modular geometry of it, and I'll no doubt do it again, though possibly in a solid colour next time. You definitely can't get away with not blocking this one. Note, the left side unblocked here:

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And after:

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Much better! Plus after blocking my whole "inverted bottom" issue (you can see it in the top photo --the burgundy end) really wasn't very noticeable, so I plan to just leave it. I figure when you wrap these things around your neck inevitably the wrong side ends up showing in some spots anyway.

Last photo of it:

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This puppy is loooooong. I think in the end I did about 32 of the pattern repeats. The pattern gives you two options --24 and 36 or something like that, so it's odd that mine is quite as long as it is (but I'd be lying If I said i checked my gauge on it --come on, it's a scarf!) But the width still appears to be right, so i don't know what's up there. I haven't quite decided yet who I'm going to gift this thing to.

In other news I've also started a chevron scarf from last minute knitted gifts. Can I just say how much I love this book? I guess I should expect nothing less from the people who brought us Purl, but having just finished another item in that book, the instructions on everything are amazing. I think I'll be getting a lot of use out of this book. Plus after seeing how great this looked, AND having the exact same yarn, I really wanted one for myself.

So off I went. I decided that since it was a chevron scarf that I should actually try and combine two different varigateds together. I used Rowan Tapestry's "antique" and "pot pourri". Both gorgeous yarns on their own.

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But put together I got this:

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I don't know, I just really wasn't feeling it. Considering it's a sea of pinks and golds and purples, why is it looking so muddy all together? I've since frogged it and have cast back on using "only" the antique colour. But i've now stopped that as well after seeing all of THESE! on flickr, I caved and ordered some more koigu. I think it's the kind of pattern that really requires a bright sock yarn for the pattern to stand out. So, the chevron scarf is officially on hold, and hopefully the colours I've chosen will actually go together when all is said and done.

As for the Rowan yarn which I'm dying to use, I think a half clap is what I'll be reserving that for. Notice I said HALF clapotis. Another blanket I don't need!

Alright, sorry for the epic photo novel, now back to my regularly scheduled vacation.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What the heck is an argosy?

There's been a lot of buzz on the internerd about the Argosy scarf I've noticed, and given that I'm such a follower of most trends (ok slight sarcasm there) you know I just had to give it a whirl. It didn't really appeal to me via Knitty, but after checking out all the argosies (sic?) on flickr, I was pretty impressed. Is it the new clapotis? hmmmmm. The jury's still out on that one, but then I guess nothing could ever be that big.

I searched in vain at my local yarn stores for the requisite Noro Silk Garden Lite (or light as it should correctly be spelled...) only to be informed that it was (like most things) not yet available in Canada. From a consumer's standpoint, nothing good ever is. Or worse, no one wants to ship here, and it is endlessly frustrating.

So I began my ebay hunt knowing that 2 skeins couldn't possibly break the bank, and I got them both for 6 bucks! A deal--unheard of! I knew I wanted some dramatic colours that would really show off the geometry of the pattern, so I chose colourway #2014, and hit "buy it now". I thought I was being really clever in my colour choice until I re-read the pattern and discovered that it was the exact same yarn and colour recommended. How bizarre. Not so original after all.

And then it arrived:

hmmm, a little on the um "loud" side, wouldn't you say?

To me this is borderline "tie-dyed", and a hippie I most assuredly am not. But after all the fuss, I decided to make do anyway, and hope I'd be surprised in the end. There's definitely a lot of lesbians in my life who would no doubt appreciate a "rainbow" scarf! --I always rag my friend Shelia that she has single-handedly ruined the kitsch factor of rainbows for me and my straight compadres. Ah well, at least the gay community has left me my unicorns!

So it was an auspicious beginning. Not sure how noticeable it is in this photo but I missed a row somewhere at the beginning which basically inverted the first couple of inches, so it's purled for about 15 rows when it should be knitted. I didn't even notice it until I was this far along:

And I wasn't about to turn back at that point. Plus I was praying it wouldn't be noticeable after the blocking. The pattern was quick to memorize, but requires some concentration, particularly at the start, or you will get not so straight rows of yarn overs like I did:

yargh. Honestly, I don't know where my brain was at. So after that half-assed start things went a lot more smoothly and it's actually a really fun, easy knit. It's now done but I have yet to upload any photos, so those are soon to come.

I think I would have been way more into this colourway if the bright green and turqouise weren't included. I loved the way all of the other colours flowed into each other, and it really spurs you on when you're anxious to see how the next colour will look.

That is until of course I ran into the dreaded "Noro knot". Everything is flowing all Roy G. Biv, and then blam-o! Ball 2 they've tied a neon green onto a purple. Annoying. Winding it one way and then the other didn't really help me either, but I did the best I could to make it all flow.

So, finished photos to come, as I begin ten glorious days of vacay! La Sapiniere and Tremblant, here I come!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


pattern: Gilmore Vest
yarn: 5 balls of Fable Handknits 100% baby alpaca in "grey"
needles: 3.5 and 4mm bamboo clover straights

I cannot believe that I am finally finished this thing. This vest has been on the back-burner I think longer than any other project. I got a great deal on the yarn at pick up sticks. It was all 50% off, and it's the softest stuff I have ever knit with, so I kind of went a little crazy buying it. I bought 3 balls in "mist" as well, with which I knit this cowl (pattern from the same website), 3 balls of a coral colour, and 3 balls of the black which I'm thinking about making another cowl in as well. I got a lot of wear out of the light grey one this past winter so it stands to reason that black should take me a lot farther!

As far as the pattern itself goes, I wouldn't recommend it. It was riddled with type-os for starters (though after checking it again on the site it does seem as though some changes have been made), and a lot of the number counts were off in the larger sizes in terms of how many stitches/rows you should be at at any given point. By far the most annoying part though was the V-neck:

Which you had to knit seperately and then pin into place to seam it on. Saying that I am TERRIBLE at this would be the understatement of the decade. Particularly given that it's the last thing to do, and I really just wanted to get it done, my efforts at this were half-assed at best. Plus the ribbing didn't really seem long enough to fit the gaping neck hole, so I had to stretch it (which for ribbing is fine), but means that it's seriously puckered around the back of the neck where there's too much material. I know these are all mistakes that no doubt only I will notice, but you know how that goes. I have yet to block it though, so that could make all the difference. I also didn't block the front and back prior to seaming them together either (I know, I'm bad) but they were appropriately sized so I just went for it.

This vest looks a lot longer in these photos than it does on me (due in large part to my giant rack, no doubt!)

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I likely won't get around to wearing it until the fall, plus somewhat like my last angora experience, I think I'm allergic to it. Though that kind of thing doesn't affect me so much in the wearing as it does the knitting, so it's probably just as well I worked on it in fits and starts.

One more item to go before the board is cleared and a whole HOST of new projects can begin. Inappropriately it may be a wee scarf party for me this summer!

Monday, May 07, 2007

It's a mod, mod world...

So I'd heard a little rumour that a local yarn store was shutting it's doors forever more and that "everything must go!". Normally this might excite me, as it's the knitting store that's pretty much the closest possible to me, but truthfully it wasn't one that I frequented often. I always referred to it as "the old lady store", since there's always this same 'lil lady in there, and she's pretty old school about what she keeps in stock etc. No joke, her cash register looked like this:

Which I'm sure worked just dandy, particularly given that they had a cash-only policy. Every now and then I'd pop in there if I needed something that was a no-brainer (I think she had a selection of about 6 aero circulars, that kind of thing), but it was a small store, so that's understandable.

Needless to say I wasn't clamouring to get there for amazing deals on cashmere or anything like that, but decided to pop by Saturday after my french class (and as a little last class French graduation present to myself) on the off chance that there was something great there.

What I had FORGOTTEN about was the massive collection of patterns she's had since she opened the store in the fifties. As soon as I saw the words MARY QUANT, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven:

She had hundreds of mint vintage patterns going for a couple bucks apiece. And when I say hundreds I mean at least a thousand. It's a miracle and a shame that I only made it out of there with six. I was feeling a bit guilty though. She's fallen ill (which unfortunately is the reason they're shutting down), so it was just her (husband? elderly son?) running the place, and the system by which you purchase these patterns was a bit convoluted. He's got these massive binders that you flip through, select the one you want, and then he goes to some filing cabinet hidden deep within the bowels of the store to retrieve you a fresh copy (the older the pattern the more difficult a filing system it seems...). So by about the sixth one I was feeling supremely guilty for putting this guy through his paces, and I had to kind of cap it there. I could have easily kept going though and am not ruling out a reconnaissance mission. Really what I should have said was "please, just bring me to the mystery cabinet and let me rifle!"

Anyway, he was desperate to see the back of me I think, so I didn't want to push my luck. Plus how many of these (if any) will I even get around to knitting. I just new that I particularly couldn't by-pass the Mary Quant patterns. I felt as if I'd stumbled upon a pucci dress!

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In other news, my thoughts have turned to mother's day, and in light of my recent obsession with the fabulous Elizabeth Zimmerman (...I've just added the Rorschach to my list of must-knits!), I've picked up the opinionated knitter for my mother.

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(But the Manos is for me!) I hope she likes it...she can be a bit picky about this kind of thing ---being herself an opinionated knitter (and hopefully she's not also reading this, thereby spoiling one of her surprises). Oopsy.

In knitting news, the Alpaca Vest should be done tonight. I've never loathed a pattern quite so much.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

how weird is this thing?

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It's like a half a sweater for a giant with teeny tiny arms. When I look at this photo I think "no wonder it felt like I was knitting FOREVER". Maybe if I shape it into an approximation of how it should be worn it will look less weird?

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and no again (wilting cat grass notwithstanding).
Like I get that it's supposed to be weird --it's a shrug. It's a back with arms. But, shrugs don't usually have a back that spans from the middle of my head to the bottom of my bum. Just how the hell am I supposed to fold this thing?

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Ah yes, much better.

Anyway, I'd be lying if I said this thing wasn't agony to knit. The ribbed border that goes all around the honkin' rectangle: 506 stitches in 3x3 rib. It was cruel. If the pattern had started off with that I likely would have given up, but when you get to that point you feel as though the end is in sight. What a cruel joke that was. I timed myself on how long it would take me to knit ONE row. Result: 25 minutes of my life that I will never get back. I think I need to stick to sweaters that are just sweaters and that don't have so much crazy crap going on with them. I need to accept that I'm a plain jane, and that I'm totally okay with it. There's a reason my wardrobe is a sea of black, army green and brown (with the occasionally gawdy sixties polyester dress thrown in).

The ribbing that almost killed me:

and the specs:

pattern knit 2 together "the pimlico shrug"
yarn: Rowan pure wool DK in spice (the M/L took me just over 11 balls)
needles: Denise interchangeables

The other thing that's kind of weird about it for me is those ribbed arms. It's like you've got giant bat wings that then terminate into socks for your forearms. I have yet to block it though, so that might help with the "drape" of it. I do like it, it just is, as I said, kinda weird. I feel like it's one of those things that I will always be pulling at when I wear it: trying to have the back not ride, trying to have the flaps not gape open, trying to stretch the ribbed arms out, etc. etc.

Also I think I need to take some kind of class on finishing and seaming as well...I sewed the sleeves on too tight in my zeal to get 'er done.

AND, might I add, there will be no new projects begun until that vest and those stinking socks are also complete!