Monday, February 26, 2007

I'm starving - is there any more champagne?

Watch out fashionistas! Here's my comes my best Vogue pose:




Familiar, non?

Okay, it turns out you can't recreate a professional photo shoot with merely a digital camera and a self-timer (why is there never anyone around to take my picture during daylight hours?). In fact, I should be applauded for getting myself in the frame at all. I had quite a few of these:



Anyhooz, you get the idea. The cashmere sweater is complete!




Pattern: Cowl Neck Sweater - Pattern #20 from Vogue Knitting Fall 2006
Yarn: Brushed Cashmere from School Products (substitute for mohair)
Needles: Denise Interchangeables

This sweater took me down a long and winding road to say the least. First there was the business of the 'un-plying' (we shall never speak of it again). Then there was the knitting and subsequent re-knitting of the sleeves. (Though I knit the sleeves a whole two inches shorter than the pattern suggested, they still managed to turn out orangutan length. Curious.) Then I went and knit the cowl neck backwards. In the end, none of it really matters. I wear it with cuffs, and the yarn is so fuzzy no one would ever notice the 'reverse stockinette' neckline. The important thing is it fits. It's also light as a feather and warm as all heck. Hurray for finished objects!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Twinkle twinkle little mar

Oh Twinkle, what are we to do with you? I instantly fell in love with Twinkle's Big City Knits and like all good love stories, this one is not without it's hiccups. It wasn't until I sat down to cast on a sweater from this book that I noticed something something a little off with the sizing.

The instructions for the Best friend Cardigan had sizes for S (M, L). Okey dokey, I'm usually a small so let's just check... oh. Apparently the corresponding bust measurements are 28" (30 1/2", 33"). Woah! I guess I'm a large now? Knowing that womens clothing sizes are nothing if not inconsistent, I cast on for the largest size and headed off to Wednesday's Stitch n' Bitch.

After hearing other people complain about the teeny tiny sizes in the book, I did some further investigating. Let's look at other patterns in the book, shall we? Chelsea Sweater: SM = 28" bust, Hampton's Halter: SM = 25" bust, "Twiggy Tunic SM = 22" bust ... What the..? There is no way these sizes were meant to correspond to women's bodies! No. Way. I'm sure even an Olsen Twin has a ribcage bigger than 22"! I went back and scoured the book for sizing information.

Finally, on page 78 I notice this:

Each pattern provides knitted measurements, which is what the garment should measure when laid out flat. You should choose your size (XS, S, M, or L) based on the following bust measurement.

XS S M L
30-31 32-33 34-35 36-37


Ah-ha! Well, that information would have been helpful, I don't know, maybe at the beginning of the book? I was now knitting a sweater which I had thought might turn out one size too small, but now turns out to be one size too big. It's a real shame that the sizing isn't clear in the patterns. I'm sure a lot of people have picked up this book, only to put it back on the shelf after seeing the puney sizes.

As for me? Twinkle and I are back in love after starting over in my new "medium" size:



You gotta love the quick pay-off of giant-size knitting! This shows the progress from just one Audrey Hepburn movie.

Earlier in the week I got back in touch with an old flame: Stitch n' Bitch Nation. Tired of old man winter blowing up my sleeves, I cast on the "Hurry up Spring Armwarmers":



One down, one to go! Another quick knit - fabulous! There are a couple of mistakes in the chart though, so if anyone is planning on knitting a pair of their own, I suggest checking the errata to save a lot of head scratching.

From the same book, I've started a Loop Pillow:




Mindless knitting at it's finest! Someone at Stitch n' Bitch mentioned the stitch pattern would make a good bathmat. Genius! I'll put that in vault for later.

Last but not least: The orange cashmere sweater is complete! Finished object - Yay! Pictures to come soon...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Birthday booty continues!

Though I received many fabulous gifts from many fabulous people this birthday, I wasn't exactly inundated with knitterly gifts. So, I took it upon myself to rectify the situation. You see, every year my wonderful parents place a tidy sum of money in my bank account for the purpose of buying myself a birthday gift. Fine by me! I would rather have cash than a big bag of mystery loot I never wanted in the first place. Unfortunately, every year, the money appears and, well, disappears. It mingles with the rest of my moolah and winds up being spent on things like bills and groceries and rent. The horrors!
This year I decided to make a point of buying presents with the money. Yipee! After purchasing a "totally practical" pair of shoes, I sent myself to Lettuce Knit:



Twinkle's Big City Knits! I'm not usually great purchaser of pattern books. I have a hard time finding one with enough patterns I want to knit. This one is an exception (see pics here). So many lovely chunky things! As an added bonus, it has a pattern suitable for the Lopi yarn I've been dying to use:



I'm hoping this super-bulky, super-quick knit will be a good counter-balance to the painstakingly slow progress on my brushed cashmere sweater (which by the way, is seamed and awaiting the knitting of it's cowl neck). Jumbo yarn requires jumbo needles, so I picked myself up a set of these puppies:


(yes, this IS actual size!)

Enormous addis! These needles are so giant everyone seems to have an opinion on what else they look like. Medical/IV device? "Marital" aid? I also picked up a set of 'swing' needles by River John Needle Company (in the top picture). Needles that 'swing', huh? The 'swing' comes from the fact that the needle ends are removable, making them usable as both straight, or double points. Neat, huh? Of course, I can't help making jokes about 'swinging both ways', but COME ON! They're totally asking for it!

Now drag your mind out of the gutter and take a look at the marvel of nature:



As much as I've been cursing the recent frigid temperatures, sometimes mother nature just gives you a kick in the pants. Californians may have beach weather all year long, but how many get to wake up to this beautiful frost painted on their windows? (Bear with me, I'm trying to be optimistic)

Happy knitting!

Miss.Muffy

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Block Schlock

As much as I believe blocking is the definition of tedium, alas, it is a necessary evil when it comes to sweater knitting.


Baby's first bath! (Also a fantastic reminder that burnt orange should never be worn with mint green)

I was lucky enough to get home early from work yesterday, so Oprah helped me through the pinning process.(Dr.Oz tells us why a Brazilian wax is perfectly harmless!).



Now that I have perfectly flat sweater pieces waiting to be perfectly (or at least adequately) put together, I thought it perfectly (or at least adequately) reasonable to start new projects. Woo-hoo!

See those swatches taking a bath with the sweater up there? I'm hoping I'll get gauge so I can jump on this bandwagon:



I got a boatload of cheap, somewhat raw wool at a catholic commune (of sorts) last summer. How I know about the place is a long story (I didn't live there!), but they have a great thrift store, book store and gift shop. The yarn they sell comes from sheep they raise on their property. It's pretty rough, but totally fine for something not worn close to your skin. Enter: Phildar swing jacket (thanks for the pattern Cara!).

I'm also trying to get a version of this out of two skeins of the loveliest wine coloured merino from Farmhouse Yarns.



I'm fully aware that this sweater looks strikingly similar to something else I just knit. So, sue me! I likes what I's likes!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Orangitis

Sleeves are complete! Weee! Now to block/seam and knit the cowl neck. The cashmere sweater will soon be mine - Muah-ah-ah-ah-ah ! (That's supposed to be an evil laugh - use your imagination). If anyone has any tricks for seaming fuzzy yarn like this puh-lease let me know. I think doing it 'properly' (ie: mattress stitch etc...) would be a nightmare. The fuzz makes it darn near impossible to tell one stitch from another. Whip-stitch it together with the same yarn, perhaps? Run her through the the old Singer? I've spent so much time knitting and re-knitting this sweater the last thing I need is an unfortunate sewing machine mishap!

As an interesting side note: Just when I thought I had seen enough orange cashmere I came across this:



I was merrily blog-hopping away and spotted this very familiar looking fuzzy yarn on Jenny Check. SAME YARN! Quite a coincidence considering it's from School Products. Further proof of the ever-shrinking world be live in... or the irresistible allure of Italian cashmere. Whatevs.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Birthday bag!

Yesterday was the big day - I'm 29 and feelin' fine! I was thoroughly spoiled by friends and family. I got a lot of great gifts, but oddly, nothing knitting related. Until...



Hmm... what's missing from this picture?



Ahh, much better! Thanks for the cool bag Cathy!

I'm hoping the bag will breathe new life into the never ending sea of orange cashmere I'm tackling. I am now knitting the sleeves for a second time. Don't ask. I'll fill you in on all the gory details upon completion (which should come soon, if there is any good in this world!). Must. not. start. new. project. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The long and 'whining' road

Hey all! I'm back! It's been a while since my last post, but jeesh! I've got excuses up the wazoo! It would take far too long to explain myself fully, so let's just say my weekend involved a freak snowstorm and multiple automobile issues. 'Nuff said.

On the bright side, it's rare that I have access to a vehicle and it enabled me to indulge in one of my favourite pastimes: thrift shopping! My thrifting took me far and wide across Ontario (If there is anything better than a Goodwill or Value Village, it's one outside of the G.T.A.) . Allow me to share the (knitting related) bounty:


DPN's!



Pattern Books!



I love the ladies patterns from the 50's knit in impossibly tiny guages:



I'm also partial to the men's fashions. Notice the common denominator:


Fishing and smoking!



Driving and smoking!



Golfing and smoking!



Sailing and smoking! (Also note how this picture is completely NOT GAY)


I may not be knitting any men's sailing sweaters in the near future, but I might just knit something out of this 60's pattern book. It's interesting how the women's fashions in this book could totally be contemporary, but the men's? Mmmm....not so much:



Of course, there are some things that should never come back in style:



Socks, on the other hand? Truely timeless. Whenever I get up the gumption to try some mulit-colour work, I might knit me up a pair of these:



I promise to post more often in the near future dear readers. Just thank your lucky stars for CAA and good friends!