Monday, September 14, 2015

New Patterns for This Early Fall

I got a new pattern up in Ravelry.  It's Season of Persimmons. 
It comes in 8 sizes 30, 33, 35, 38, 41, 46, 49, 51.  The sizes are based on chest measurements of finished sweater in inches.
It's a pattern I'm rather proud of and it's actually reversible too. So, this brightens up my Monday!

Also, a while back, I got 2 patterns published and I never got around to post them here.
First, After Chrysalis.  It's a triangular shawl worked from top down, and pattern includes it 2 sizes.

Also, Early in June Shawl. My version of this top down triangular shawl was knitted in linen yarn and I love, love, love the look and feel of linen.  It's well worth the extra effort of knitting with linen.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Handspun Shawl

Semester started this week.  I was too exhausted to post my latest project, a handspun shawl that I finished last week until now.  This semester, I ended up teaching one extra class because they couldn't find anyone to teach it.  Now I'm kicking myself for saying yes.  As much as I need the extra income, the schedule really sucks. It leaves me with little time or energy to do anything else. I sure hope I can still squeeze in time for some knitting this fall.

I used the Polwarth from Doodles in String that I spun coupla years ago, and needle size #6.  It's a top down triangular shawl with very simple stockinette stitches in handspun for the main section and Elann Baby Silk  for the lace border.  The colors of the handspun were just lovely, Chris sure knows how to dye beautiful yarns and fibers. Initially I was hesitant to pair the delicate colors with a shocking deep red for the border, but I went for it anyway and sure glad I did.

The lace border was a last minute design, and I dig it.  Unlike the usual way of designing the border before I start the first stitch of shawl, this time, I knitted the plain section to use up most of the handspun yarn first, then swatched for the border that will work with the stitch count.  The border design took 2 tries. First one was OK, but as it was laying on the floor to dry, I noticed I like the design upside down more. So I re-designed and re-swatched the second one with the motif flipped upside down and made some slight modifications.

Loving this shawl. Hating my work schedule. Hoping for more knitting to come.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August Sweater

Hello, I'm back.
And with a sweater to report.

I know, it has been a while since my last post.  Truth be told, life is just so routine, which I rather enjoy as I'm get older.  I feel so lazy and uninspired to talk about myself and my routine life.

The one thing that's newly added to my daily routine this summer is hour long walk with Ritchie everyday. It's something we both look forward to. He has also been going on hikes with us that ranged 3 to 5 hours. Being a good trooper that he is, he just keeps trudging along with his short legs. He's more like a teenage boy compared to Cody, who was like a toddler. When Ritchie doesn't want to be patted or cuddled up, which is half of the time when he's napping, he would make grumpy noise or simply walk away. Seriously? Shih Tzus are supposed to be a lap dog that LOVE to be cuddled. But he does not likes to sit in anyone's lap at all! He's rather independent minded.  The only time he ever barks is when big dogs approach him too aggressively by putting paw on his back of sniff him for too long. He doesn't take crap from them whereas Cody would roll over submissively.  So, I'm just having a great time finding out his likes and dislikes and little antics of his, and every once in a while feeling rejected when he turns away as I am about to pat him.    

See, isn't it more fun for me to not talk about just me?
But I do have some knitting to report. So here we go.

This sweater was knitted top down in one piece from neck to underarm with raglan style sleeves. The front was knitted separately top down to underarm, then join the back in rounds from underarm to hem.  Sleeves were then worked in rounds after the body was finished.

Even though I designed some lacy sweaters and shawls, my personal daily style is rather un-delicate. So sometimes I'd design delicate stuff to satisfy my design curiosity, and other times, I designed things more wearable for me. This time I wanted something I'd wear comfortably. I was inspired by the monotonous use of textures in men's sweaters, and I wanted to design a sweater that's using the similar feel with a more feminine silhouette. After some thinking and swatching, I decided on combining 2 textures, 1x1 ribbing and twist stitches columns. And top it with the triangular, faux-shrug neckline.

The yarn I used Elann LE Lana Pura, a soft DK weight yarn from stash, and needle size #4.

It took quite a few re-dos to work out the front section, and that was not even the most frustrating part. Knitting the endless monotonous twist stitches was a big test on my patience. First, it was over 80 degrees out most of the time, and inside the house felt like 90 degrees in the afternoons if I forgot to draw the curtains earlier in the day.  And I'd been covered by bug bites the whole summer due to extra buggy this year in the woods.  Then the stitches were not exactly the fast going kind.  The twist stitches was so frustrating working with a yarn that is plied with hundreds strands (OK, maybe 50 strands.)  The yarn was great to work with in plain stockinette stitch or ribbing. But it turned in to a source of frustrating splittiness for twist stitches. Within 2 days I started to feel stress tension around my shoulders. Fortunately, I got into reading a book that I didn't work on the sweater for days. When I got back to it, I was a lot more relaxed. Somehow, the twist stitches all of sudden became tamed and flowed smoothly for the rest of the sweater.

The striping on the sleeves was an impulsive decision.  I was wearing my stripey pajamas pants while knitting, and the combination to the texture just seemed right, not to mention I was dying to do some stockinette stitches.

In the end, I really, really like this sweater. I like the way it fits, not too fitting as I gave it about 2" positive ease.  This neckline construction was experimental for me.  I'm very thrilled it worked out as I'd hoped.  Even though I doubt many knitters would want to knit endless ribbing plus endless twist stitches, I still wrote up a pattern for it, just because I really like this sweater.  I'm hoping to get it published later in Fall or Winter when it's not crazily hot to knit a sweater.