Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lucy too

About a year ago I made a machine knit version of Holli Yeoh's pattern Lucy. I had bought the kit from her and loved the colours she had put together. The sweater turned out great and the daughter of a friend of mine really liked it. The only problem was, the sweater was size 2 and the child is about size 7... The Opal yarns I had used were no longer available, and so I started hunting for something suitable to use instead. About six months ago, I found Little Knits, an online wool shop out of Seattle. They had some Opal yarn on sale, and I found a variegated yarn with almost the same colours of pink and purple as the Opal. I had the pattern sized up to fit a seven year old child, and adapted for use on the knitting machine. And here it is! A little over a week worth of knitting (and unpicking and reknitting the mistakes) and this sweater is blocking, almost ready for sewing up. I am a bit disappointed in the variegated yarn. The pink and purple were a great match, but the yarn also has quite a bit of orange in it, which seems to dominate in the knitted up fabric. Hopefully the child will like the combinations.

Here is my version of a cabled Lucy. I used Holli's pattern as inspiration to create a cabled sweater. Love the colours in this bright cotton/bamboo sweater, but I always remember too late that I hate working with intarsia. The yarns get so tangled. So the project is moving slowly...

...And here is the finished Picovoli. I am not happy with the shoulders/sleeves. They are too big and so the armhole drops down too far. Joan, my machine knitting mentor, wants me to take it apart, redo the sleeves and the neck hem. A good idea in principle, but I don't have the energy or the motivation to take apart a completed project. This always makes me sad! This is way I never liked sewing for myself - I was never happy with the result. Well, maybe I can summon up the motivation after I complete a couple of other projects!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Almost Picovoli

I love the Picovoli design by Grumperina. The fitted shaping, the picot edges and the open neckline all appeal. This was a pattern that seemed to be a good choice to try and convert to a knitting machine pattern. My machine knitting mentor, Joan Frost, has a computer programme to design patterns for the knitting machine. If you have measurements, a tension swatch, and a diagramme of what you are trying to knit, she can ask the computer to produce a pattern. So, using a lovely variegated bamboo, I have been working on this machine version of Picovoli. It is close to being done; it needs to be sewn together and then the neck edging attached. We had to make some changes; the hand knitted version is knit top down, in the round, with no seams. This machine version was knit in four pieces, bottom up. I think the final result will be quite similar to the orginal.

Learning how to read the machine knitting instructions is another thing, however. I read the instructions as: decrease one stitch every row for twenty nine rows. The instructions actually mean: decrease one stitch every twenty nine rows one time... That makes a fairly significant difference in the shaping of the garment... Sigh...

The drape of the bamboo is wonderful and I am anxious to finish up and try this on!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Lace is done!

52,576 stitches. And probably another couple of thousand tinked and reknit. I never thought I could finish this as quickly as I did. Though the pattern isn't all that hard once you get it memorized, I found I was able to insert a number of unnecessary yarnovers, and skip a few here and there. It's that darn concentration aspect. I kept struggling with the diamond lace, particularly at the top and bottom borders, because it's hard to keep the diamonds straight - are you ending one pattern repeat, or in the middle of it? Is it yarnover, knit two together, or knit two together, yarnover? I finally realized that a lot of knitters wouldn't struggle with this as much as me, because most people would be sensible and use stitch markers. I disdain them. I can tell where I am in the pattern!! Why should I use stitch markers? I can count! Yes, and I can also make a lot of mistakes. Lifelines? Not for me! Did I mention I can also be an idiot?

Nevertheless, the stole is now done, complete, ready for delivery. The blocking has almost broken my back, but it is done! One word of advice to any fellow lace knitters - take off any jewelry and watches when blocking. One little catch and you've got a great big loop to deal with.

Now to enjoy summer sun and relax by the pool...