Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Kyoto Deconstructed.

Warning: This may be painful to see.

I'm telling you, if you can't handle seeing an innocent sweater torn to bits...

You should really turn away now.

It might give you nightmares.

I cannot be held responsible if you need knitting therapy after seeing what you are about to view.

Are you ready?

Can you handle it?

Ok, here we go...

Background story--last year while in Japan a lovely friend was good enough to bring back from a US trip a boxful of KP shine sport in four colors, turquoise, river, sand and grass, for myself and a friend to do a mini-KAL of Kyoto. The knitting was easy. Too easy. I got a lesson in seaming while learning how to put together the 7 (7!) pieces of Kyoto. I liked the yarn, I liked the simple knitting, I almost liked the double moss stitch used for the obi and cuffs and neckline. I knit the obi longer than called for since I didn't really want it to be a cropped sweater. I also knit the sleeves a little longer than called for since I wanted them to be full length and I don't believe they were intended to be. I thought I did everything right. I think I had knitted all the pieces before I left Japan in July 2006. I seamed at home in August. I got this:

Saggy and shapeless. Not well seamed, and not exciting enough to make me want to re-do it.

The cotton, though, I felt would live to see another day. After blue Kyoto suffered in a drawer for the better part of a year while I was off trying to sort out next steps and find employment, I gritted my teeth and started to pull everything apart.

I began.

I picked apart my crappy seams.

I pulled on any knots that presented themselves and undid them.

I got pieces, straining to pull away from other pieces.

It was very satisfying when I reached the end of a seam and got a piece to break away from its friends.

Sometimes it was necessary to frog as I went along in order to avoid bad tangles...

I had to admit, as time went by, that this was not a one day job. Here we are at the end of the first session.

The second day I got right back to it, determined to finish the job in less time than it took me to put the thing together.

At last it was all in pieces, the easier for frogging all at once, my dear.

I frogged like a demon.

Finally I ended up with a beautiful bowlful of redeemed potential.

Since then the yarn has been reincarnated as a market bag for CK:

The beginnings of Badia:

Which came out too wide and silly looking, so it has also been frogged.

And the next project for this cotton just might be the Summertime Tunic from IK. I recently acquired a copy of the summer issue, lucky for me.

I also just encountered someone on Ravelry who knitted a beautiful one piece no seam version of Kyoto. I couldn't find a post on her blog about it but it's in red Noro Cash Iroha and it's really lovely. Wish I'd been so clever. Ha!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

handpainted yarn yumminess

falling...falling...oopsidaisy. I seem to have fallen down hard. This is only the beginning. Meet 'Stonechat' laceweight:


Here we have 'Rich Earth':
And this gorgeous one was actually an afterthought. A very good afterthought. 'Whale Road'. Don't ask me.

So I've been keeping an eye on Handpaintedyarn.com for quite awhile and they never seemed to have enough to make me put in an order. They'd just have one or two colors I liked enough to think about ordering. Patience is a virtue, however. When they update, there are tons of beautiful things, and you have to act fast. I acted fast. I figured out that I could get 7 skeins before the shipping would go up and raise the cost per skein an uncomfortable amount. So I have two of each except Stonechat, because they only had one remaining.

It takes half an hour to wind one ball. um, yikes. Thank goodness I finally got the ballwinder I've been wanting!! There is more yarn yumminess and pictures of WIPs to come... thinking about heating up my coffee and winding one more ball for today... I'd like to swatch two strands together to see if I can get 850 yards of something closer to fingering weight, which could become a lovely light fall top.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

WIP weekend

I finally ran in the ends of my 'so called sash' and took pictures today--the most glorious day of the summer so far.

Turns out my 'sash' looks a lot cooler draped around my neck than my hips, possible sort of doubled and looped through itself although it looks a little like a necktie then--what with the angled ends and all. Still. I'm very happy with the silky drapiness of the bamboo yarn. Just realized again today the colorway is called 'Japanese maple'. Which is nice :)

Here is a close up of the textured herringbone stitch. I will definitely use this again!!

And here is a little extra piece of fun: my first skein of Yarn Pirate sock yarn. No, I don't knit socks. Yes, I will find something else to use my beauteous skein of 'rum runner' for. It was a surprise colorway and I was very happy when it arrived on my doorstep.

There is more yarn on its way so today I have been knitting quite a lot, trying to make a good start on Badia, which I am knitting with my recycled Knitpicks shine sport in turquoise, which was a Kyoto in a past life. There is also a mystery vest OTN and I am thinking of working on short row techniques with CK using 6 skeins of wintergreen Mission Falls cotton I bought with a tank top in mind, and we'll do the Shapely Tank.

Finishing up some Wuthering Heights movie action tonight - with Juliette Binoche and Ralph Fiennes. Funny how many versions there are, isn't it! I've managed to eschew starting the new HP today though I'm sure many accosted their mailmen to get their copies and get started! I'm in the middle of knitting projects and also a decent Murakami (Sputnik Sweetheart) so I was in no rush! have a lovely evening, folks!

Monday, July 16, 2007


Ahhhhh. That's so much better! I've added some pretty progress bars for current wips and also fo's and put up a few links to members of the community I'm into, and suddenly things are looking much better! I still want to create a section for places I find supplies etc, and you know, before you know it this will look just like any other reasonably well maintained crafty blog. I'll have to think about how I can make it different. Baaaaaaa.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

progress bar progress

Very exciting! A kind reader has helped me out with some code for making my progress bars on the right all pretty and normal looking again and I won't have to rely on a useless outside hosting service that kept messing up the images.

So bear with me while I straighten up the untidiness that is my blog and thanks for visiting! I can see from the world map that I've had a few people from unexpected places and that is fun! Please feel free to comment on anything you see here and if you're on Ravelry definitely drop by and visit! I am spending way too much time there these days but c'est la vie.

Oh yes, and here's a new project, similar to the Dragon Scales cuff in the previous post... a Snakeskin cuff. Honestly, get yourself some number 5 Perle cotton and size one needles and try out an interesting texture or lace motif in a cuff sort of width and you can have a new piece of funky jewellery in just a few hours!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Dragon Scales Cuff

I'm very pleased with how this beaded cuff turned out. Want one? It's easy!

By the way, if you are wondering how to knit with beads, please check here is some help from Knitty, where I first got the idea for knitting beaded cuffs. The instructions for adding a bead to your knitting (they're pre-strung, btw):

Insert the needle into the stitch to be knit, slide a bead up close to the needle, and pull the bead through to the front as you complete the stitch. The bead should sit on the right leg of the "V" formed by the knit stitch.

Thanks, Elizabeth!

I'm knitting my fourth cuff now. The first two were Lily of the Valley cuffs and the third is this Dragons Scales one I designed with help from Barbara Walker's Treasury, and the fourth is now in progress, a snakeskin one with help from the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary. More on that later.

In this pattern, I adapted the 'Dragon skin' pattern from Barbara Walker, but I shortened it so the scales are smaller and more suited to a bracelet sized project, and also I had to work out where to start and end the patterning since the swatch in the book uses a center line and builds the scales around that, whereas I sort of wanted to just have the scales overlapping in this design and no lines running through the middle. It took more brainpower than I thought it would. Please reap the benefits.

-First, select some DMC no. 5 Perle cotton and US size 1 (2.25 mm) double pointed needles. Don't be distracted by your ordinary cotton floss, it's not the same and not handy for knitting. I tried.

-Find a few beads that will fit on the cotton, if you want. I found some interesting square glass beads at a local beading shop but this would look nice without beads too. Oh, and I used sew on snaps to connect the ends around the wrist, but be creative--I've used hook and eye closures, and you can always sew on a couple of buttons and then crochet loops to go around them!

-String on the number of beads that you want. I chose to just do 7 and place them intermittently through the knitting, like drops of blood, in my fanciful imagination.

-Cast on 18 stitches. I used a long-tail cast on, but you may do whatever you like
-Knit five rows, ending on a right side row if you used the long tail cast on, or knit an additional row if you started on the right side in the first place.

Pattern rows:
Row 1: sl 1, k1, yo, ssk, k1, m1 [make one stitch], ssk, k2, k2tog, k2, m1, k1, k2tog, yo, k2.
Row 2 & all even rows: sl 1, k1, purl 14, k2.
Row 3:
sl 1, k1, yo, ssk, k1, m1, k1, ssk, k2 tog, k3, m1, k1, k2tog, yo, k2.
Row 5: sl 1, k1, yo, ssk, k1, m1, k2, ssk, k2, k2 tog, m1, k1, k2tog, yo, k2.
Row 7: sl 1, k1, yo, ssk, k1, m1, k3, ssk, k2 tog, k1, m1, k1, k2tog, yo, k2.

Repeat the 8 row pattern to desired length. I repeated it 8 times, placing beads intermittently through the scale pattern. You could omit beads or use as many as you like.

After 8 repeats I knitted five more rows in garter stitch to overlap the initial garter stitch rows. I blocked it to straighten it out well and sewed in two black snaps.

My cuff was designed to overlap to allow sewn in snaps to connect. Depending on how you want yours to work, you might want to knit a little less so they just meet and then button or hook or whatnot. Please feel free to comment on this pattern!

1.7.08 ETA: errata fixed within pattern.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

almost fell down

today! today! My ballwinder from JoAnn's should arrive today!! The UPS site says it's on the truck and headed my way... I should do something productive NOW so I can excuse myself for winding yarn all afternoon! neatening, tidying up sloppy stash yarn... I have been waiting a long time to get around to getting a ball winder. Even found a great antique wooden swift in February and bought it on borrowed cash despite having no ball winder! After joining the Yarn Pirate Booty Club though I knew I needed to Fix The Situation.

I have been really putting most of my online crafting time into getting projects up on Ravelry (LOVE IT!) so I will intersperse this post with pictures of current WIPs in case you're not on Ravelry yet, dear reader. Comments appreciated.

Over the weekend I was sorely tempted to Fall Down Hard. The damage was not too great in the end though as I simply took advantage of free June shipping at Fuzzy Mabel and ordered a baker's dozen (ok, fuzzy dozen) of Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy, mostly in chocolate but with two skeins each of turquise and sand.

Good news! I just looked at the Fuzzy Mabel site again and they've extended their free shipping through July! Hop to it, people!!

The other things I was really thinking about ordering included lots of yarn from Elann, either the Lara cotton or Sonata. I can't decide which cotton looks nicer. I have a number of projects in mind for some nice cotton yarn but I am trying to resist and just get back to my LYS and pick up the Mission Falls cotton I promised I was going to buy once the full line of colors came in... The owner had most of the line but not the musk warm brown color I was interested in for designing a summer weight vest... She has had all along however the dark peridot-olive green I have been thinking about getting to designa summer top for me! She also has mentioned giving me 10% off after I told a bunch of people about the grand opening sale and they travelled across the state to spend moolah in our wee town... it's a reward discount, I guess. Need to use it before it is forgotten! Hopefully tonight at knit night.

I currently have about four small WIPs. I enjoy larger WIPs more as I can crack away at them without thinking about it too much. Hence I had a great time knitting Intolerable Cruelty.
I'm working on Fetching, Branching Out, My So-Called Scarf (in sash form) and a beaded cuffed bracelet a la Perdita that I swatched a 'dragon skin' swatch for over the weekend--I tried using Barbara Walker's pattern of that name but I wasn't happy with how long the pattern repeats were, I wanted smaller scales for my purposes, so I got out some graph paper and actually tried my hand for the first time at charting the pattern myself. It basically worked, so I was proud of myself. Here's my sample swatch.

I also reblocked my Perdita just for kicks. It is saggy after it is worn. I need to starch it or something to make it pretty and all-the-time-wearable. I certainly don't have time to be reblocking things!!

I also joined the Mystery Stole KAL no. 3, apparently now at over 4000 members. Pattern clues (chunks of chart) get emailed on Fridays. Except the week the new HP comes out. (We preordered last weekend, phew!) Knitters get a break to read the book and then continue knitting. Despite not being a lace knitter (see: progress of my Branching Out) I have been looking at ordering lace weight yarn in about ten different places over the last two days. I have been thinking about ordering the necessary 1200 yards of laceweight.

Despite not being a lace knitter.

Despite not having time for lace knitting!

Despite having a dozen other projects I'd like to knit first!!

Other projects being
(a) easier
(b) more practical
(c) not totally insane.

Lace knitting with beads? Before I even know what the thing will look like in the end, assuming no massive mistakes? Perhaps I'll be more on track for next year's KAL. I just love the idea of the mystery, I can't help it!!