Friday, May 8, 2015

It Ain't Easy Bein' Green

At long last, here's what I've been referring to as my Slytherin sweater (Caligula would have been Slytherin, for sure!):

A Viper for the Roman People

Pattern: Grace by Jane Richmond
Yarn: Countess Ablaze Viscount of Spark in "Caligula always found some cause for envy"
Needles: US 4

I tried to be really smart with my yarn-buying last year because I'm trying to destash quite a bit. I've been largely successful, but I have to buy up yarn from time to time. Just have to. Last year, one of my favorite indie dyers, Countess Ablaze, was dying special monthly batches based on the 12 Caesars using quotes from Suetonius' biographies of the Caesars as inspiration. I'm a classicist, so I can't turn something like that down. I jumped at the chance to grab some Caligula-inspired yarn and matched it to Grace, which had been in my queue (and in a book on my coffee table) for a while.

At first, I was a little apprehensive about making myself a sparkly green sweater, but if one is going to have a Caligula sweater, one must absolutely go nuts and embrace the insanity! I'm glad I did! I'm also a Slytherin through and through, so green and silver is a necessary wardrobe staple, eh?

I will never wear this buttoned. The bands are too flimsy to sustain that kind of wear. If I ever change my mind (it is kind of cute), I'll have to sew some ribbon to the bands for stability. In all other ways, this is the perfect sweater! If you haven't made yourself a Grace cardigan yet, you need to! I'm going to wear this thing to death!

If you are interested, this year's journey with the Countess is through Homer's The Odyssey. The yarns have been really, really stunning. I haven't had the opportunity to get any, but I plan to. :)

I don't think I've mentioned, but I am getting married very, very soon! That's part of the reason for my blog flakiness this year. It'll be the reason I may go silent for the next month or so, too. I'll try not to! I have lots of freshly finished things to show you. :) If I can find the time in the next week, I'll get those lovelies scheduled. Then, when I come back, I'll be able to show you the wedding dress and lots of other cool things!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ranting and Rambling

We are well beyond the bounds of the "Friday-ish" sweater and still no post! Until yesterday, it needed three more buttons and some ends re-woven in. I had an argument with a button and its placement in the promised week, which ended in undoing the bind-off of one button band and binding off a tad looser. Turns out, it wasn't the poor button's fault, but a problem I've always had with yarn-overs paired with directional decreases.

They are smaller paired with one than the other, which means the lace detail across the top of the cardigan doesn't match up when I button it because it's lower on one side than the other. Aggressive blocking might do the trick, but it takes a hell of a pull to get them to line up, so I'm skeptical. The worst part is, it will never matter because I don't intend to wear it buttoned, but I still care SO MUCH! In any case, it is officially done and ready for pictures.

In other news, I have in my possession quantities of yarn for two coveted summer tops (i.e., sleeveless, a nice break after the Winter of Sleeves) and it is KILLING me that I can't cast anything new on until I have finished a significant number of works-in-progress. It's supposed to be motivating me, but it might be having the opposite effect. I haven't knit much in the last couple of weeks. Only 2.5 sleeves left.

I broke down and swatched the minty stuff last night. I'm going to start that top tomorrow, in-progress sleeves be damned.

I basically wrote this post to rant about all the stuff I'm not doing. I feel better about it. Your turn! Rant here or forever hold your peace! You can rant on your blog and I'll happily go read it there too. :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Flannel Dress

Lots of people have been asking me how the dress turned out, so it's really time I share, eh? Well, see for yourself!

My verdict: not too shabby. A couple of minor details like:

Meh. Minor things. I fixed the hole (it was a sewing missed that bit...nothing sinister). If I can retrain John to use dryer sheets, problem #2 will also be a non-issue. The reigning opinion is: cute, it's like a pajama dress! Not exactly what I was going for, but it is super comfortable and made from flannel, so I can't fault them that opinion. I find a belt helps dispel the pajama opinion a bit. This is a photo-heavy post, so my apologies, but I'm pretty proud!

It's my first sewn garment, so there was a lot of learning to do on a tight curve, especially given the pattern format (Japanese patterns are super minimal), but I don't remember thinking anything was particularly hard. Buttonholes gave me the most trouble, but I have an amazing friend who helped me with that. Thanks, Codi!

This is pattern V from Stylish Dress Book: Wear With Freedom. I plan to make quite a few more dresses from the book, just not with flannel or until I can take a proper class on sewing garments. :S That said, I have sewn a skirt in the last couple of weeks and my grandma and I as a team figured that sucker out with very few problems. The biggest problem is that my grandma doesn't like it, lol. I'll get some proper pictures of it and you guys can tell me what you think. I'm on the fence. Crushed tulle might not have been as great a choice as regular tulle....

There is another sweater for Friday! The blog is back! Woohoo! I'll try to actually get it up on Friday, but I make no promises. It will go up Friday-ish.

Are you sewing anything? Does it look totally professional and amazing? I know you can do it, though I certainly can't. ;)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

I love Easter! Not just because bunnies, but because you can celebrate religiously or not! It can be about Jesus or chocolate and Peeps. How ever you choose to celebrate (if you do), I hope you have a gorgeous day.

Love Is...

Pattern: Meridien by Joji Locatelli
Yarn: Sundara Yarn Petite Sock Yarn in Cool-Mint
Needles: US 2.5 and 3
Project Page

This sweater, like all the sweaters you will see in the coming weeks, was a bit long in the making. I started it about 11 months ago. It worked up quickly enough, I simply got hung up on a few things (you'll see that sleeves are a theme). The first was that I couldn't get the armholes and back neck to fit me comfortably, so had to keep taking the thing apart to add short-rows. Once I got it mostly figured out, I then started the sleeves, found they were way too big when they were almost done, and put it in time-out for a little bit.

In any case, it's done and it's really lovely, isn't it? I adore Sundara Yarn. I loved this color when it was a monthly color two years ago, I think, but I didn't get it for some reason. I lucked out and it reappeared at the end of the year in just enough quantity to eek out this sweater! I have a skein in aran too, destined to be a Rosebud.

Besides the short-rows I added at the back, I don't think I changed much. The sleeves and the peplum are a bit shorter than called for because I was a little worried about the yarn situation. I shouldn't have shortened the sleeves. Twenty inches seemed too long, but after wearing it, the current length is more like 3/4 sleeves. I don't mind it, but they aren't full sleeves. I used German short-rows on the sleeve caps. I gauged, via Instagram, interest in a video on how to do that. It will happen! The next short-row sleeve cap pattern I have uses a different (better even, perhaps) method, so I'll demonstrate both.

The details are so gorgeous. Joji outdid herself! I can't believe how pretty it is. It has to be the prettiest sweater I own! Will any other sweater ever measure up? Well, I guess I'll just have to keep knitting to find out. :)

I named it for the lyrics in this lovely song by the one and only Kenny Loggins. I'm curious how many of you my age grew up on his lullaby album too.

The buns, John, and I wish you a very, very happy Easter!

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Hi! I swear I don't mean to lapse into weeks of silence. In fact, I wanted to post last week just to warn you (for once) that I wasn't going to get a chance to post last week week, but...well...I didn't get a chance to post! The last two weeks have been CRAZY. Fortunately, things are starting to slow down a little bit and sweaters are being finished, spring is in the air!

Last week, I said, "NO!" to all my obligations, and started on something for myself. I'd been knitting (am still knitting), but that's always for myself and all the sleeves were really starting to kill me, so I did something that wasn't knitting sleeves for a few nights. It's only mildly interesting, at best, I'll bet, but I'm going to show you because I need to write some blog posts!

I bought some alpaca and some special wool to make wigs for my dolls. Dolls plural. I haven't talked about them for a while, so last you knew I had one. I'm up to four! D: They need outfits, wigs, and/or painting, which is why I haven't shown them yet (and the lack of posting anything...). Soon. When I get a life again. Anyway, I bought unprocessed suri alpaca and wool and spent a few minutes here and there the last week washing and brushing the alpaca. The alpaca will by my first wig attempt. I'll work out the kinks and prepare myself for the wool, which is the perfect color for the one girl who really needs a wig. Suri alpaca wigs look much more realistic and natural than other wigs. Since I can't find a wig quite the right color for this girl, I decided to make one. I hope the wool I bought will be as nice as the alpaca is turning out.

Suri alpaca is so incredibly soft! I always thought my own hair was pretty soft, not compared to this. Maybe I'll make myself an alpaca wig too. ;)

I'll keep you updated, but get back to my knitting focus, first. I have at least three sweaters in the final stages of finishing. I took pictures of one today, so there will be an FO Friday post! I'm writing it and scheduling it now, promise. I super promise not to let any of these sweaters fall into the pit that is my cobwebby blog. :)

It was incredibly hot today, but I didn't mind because it's been so cold since the beginning of time! I wish things would come alive, though. What does spring look like where you are? I hope you have spring! I like to know about fall too, you southern hemispherers!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Knitting Again!

Hey all y'all! I've missed you! Yesterday I checked off a major box on my to-do-list, which is a load off everyone's mind. That means we can breathe for a second and I can update the blog. :) Then it's back to the grindstone. :P

I've been knitting, but it's all been so slow-moving, there hasn't been much to share! I think I do still have a pile of FOs to show you from way back in December and maybe beyond, but I promise they will appear soon!

I've been finishing lots of WIPs from years past. It feels amazing to finish the things, but working on them has been nothing short of torture. This is mostly because I'm also trying to be monogamous(ish) with the projects and they are almost all stockinette sleeves. Ugh!

This week marked the end of endless fingering weight stockinette sleeves and the beginning of some worsted lace ones. The difference is magical! I can't believe how fast this sleeve is working up! If you have an amazing memory, you might recall that I frogged these sleeves about a year and a half ago in the interest of a well-fitting sweater. That sweater should be realized as soon as this weekend (you know, 6 years too late...)!

Friday, I'll reveal either a newly finished minty sweater or a finished-a-couple-weeks-ago flannel dress. Or both! The sun has decided that staying up later than 5:30 is the cool thing to do, which I really appreciate. :)

What are you guys working on? Are you snowed/iced in? I've enjoyed many knitters' Instagram photos of snowed-in knits. I'm hoping for a snow day tomorrow myself, but it will take more than 6-9 inches to get the university to throw in the towel.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

My Go-To Sweater

I've been so busy trying to keep all of my resolutions this year that I haven't had time for any of the blog resolutions! It has me fuming, really. I'm working my butt off and I'm still behind on everything. :P I owe you some knitting FOs, my sewn dress(!), a video tutorial of German short-rows on short-row sleeve caps (we have to wait until the next short-row-sleeved sweater, but it won't be long! And the sun will exist by then!), and more teasers about the up-coming not-so-hard-to-figure-out special event in May.

So in the interest of curing my angst and not disappearing completely off your blog feed, I'm posting a midnight post with pictures you've probably seen before. They are weird ones too. Sorry about that. :S

This is prompted by a blog post from Karen Templer of Fringe Association. She wanted to know earlier this week what knit her readers couldn't live without. It was a particularly timely post because that very same day I was wearing a sweater I never thought I'd wear much. I didn't particularly like knitting it because the wool was super unpleasant and the sweater pattern isn't especially drool-worthy, just functional and clean. I'm a bit of a knitting show-off sometimes, if you haven't noticed. I need some pizzazz!

Yet I wear it all the time. I often stand in my closet and think, "I want to wear a hand-knitted sweater. Which one?" And it wins probably 80% of the time. It isn't fussy. Some sweaters I'm always tugging or fluffing the collar or adjusting the sleeves but this one just...fits.

As terrible as the wool was to knit with, it's absolutely comfortable to wear even without an under layer (it's too hot for a layer). It is scratchy, but not uncomfortably so. I am not particularly sensitive to scratchy wool, though. Except when knitting with it, I guess.

Here's the original post with the Ravelry project page linked if you want yarn and pattern info, though the pattern is heavily modified, if memory serves.

What is your go-to sweater? Did you know it would be your wardrobe staple or did it just happen to grow on you?