Archive for February, 2009

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new knits noted now

20 February 2009

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I’d had these in my queue for awhile (they’re the Twisted Tweed Socks, from Schrodinger Knits), not realizing I had already stashed the exact yarn in the exact color called for in the pattern. Last week I wandered upstairs in a fugue state, got the yarn, printed the pattern, pulled the needles right out of a half-finished but sadly ugly sock-in-progress, and cast on. Gorgeous! I’ve never had so much fun being so derivative.

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Still not sure what quite what I’m doing here. Inspired by this lovely cap, I unvented a bit. It’s nearly done (and perfect work knitting), but I’m not sure how wearable it will be. Still, since I’ve got so much of this yarn stashed away, I predict a version 2.0. I already know what I’m going to tweak!

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I know, it’s unbelievable, but I’m doing it again. Ivy League Vest, I just can’t quit you! This may well be the March almanac installment if I can’t get it together and choose something with sleeves, already. I’ve got a pretty sizable dilemma; I’ll post it tomorrow.

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february almanac: veste everest

16 February 2009

dscn1487Pattern: Veste Everest by Veronik Avery, from Interweave Knits, Fall 2005

Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted in Prairie Fire, 3.5 skeins

Needles: Addi Natura size US 7 32″ circular

Size: 34″, with slightly larger gauge (completed vest measures about 31″ unstretched)

Mods: I did 6.5 repeats of the cable pattern before starting the armhole shaping.

dscn1490Clip ‘n’ Save! (or, What I Learned From This Project)

  • Shaping: the instructions do not include any subtraction/addition of stitches for waist shaping because the stitch pattern takes care of it for you! The ribbing is so delightfully elastic that it hugs your curves all by itself. The key is selecting a size that has enough negative ease. Believe it or not, the above photos show a vest with about 8″ of negative ease. This is completely comfortable, and the vest could stretch further.
  • Horizontal Stretch vs. Vertical Shrinkage: When a knitted fabric is stretched in one direction, it contracts in the other (I learned this rather obvious factoid by knitting a pullover that was a perfect fit, except that it exposed my bellybutton. No, I’m not going to post a photo). Since I was expecting such a large amount of horizontal stretch, I knew I would need to add some length so that my vest wouldn’t be too short. Since I wanted a vest that ended about 13″ (stretched) below my armpits, I ended up knitting to 14″ (unstretched) before starting the armholes. The armhole edging added an extra 1/2″, so the unstretched vest (shown below in an absolutely terrible photo), measures about 14.5″ inches below the armpit. To figure out how much longer I needed to knit, I simply stretched the piece to my desired width and measured it that way, to see how long it would be when on my body.
  • dscn1503Seaming with Negative Ease: I used a slipped-stitch edging on the vest pieces to make the seaming easier. Alas, this ended up backfiring! The mattress stitch that is so clean on a drapey or unstretched knit looked absolutely terrible when I stretched it out. So, I switched to (gasp) a whipstitch seam. It still doesn’t look quite as clean as if I had knitted the vest in the round (which I would do if I made it again), but it isn’t noticable when I’m wearing the vest.
  • Binding Off at the Back of the Neck: I think the pattern suggests that you put the neck stitches on a holder, but I chose to bind them off and pick them up later, because I think it makes for more stable, sturdy neckline. Also, I think it matches the rest of the neck edging better, since this way all of the neck edging stitches have been picked up and knit.
  • Picking Up Stitches: To make the armhole and neck edgings, I had to pick up and knit stitches. For me, the most difficult part of this procedure is getting the right number of stitches picked up and knit, since there is never a 1:1 ratio between available edge stitches and the number you need to pick up and knit. I found that picking up one stitch for every bound-off stitch (at the bottoms of the armholes and back of the neck) and about 4 stitches for every 3 slipped selvedge stitches. Since you can’t pick up a stitch that isn’t there, I just used a yarn-over increase as follows: [pick up and knit 3, yo] repeating.
  • Binding Off the Edgings: The pattern instructs you to bind off “in patt”, but this is a little ambiguous. Should you bind off in rib or twisted rib? I didn’t like the idea of twisted bind-off stitches, so I simply bound off in rib, making sure to do it loosely.

Now: what to do about March? I’ll post some ideas soon…

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brioche french toast

11 February 2009

dscn1481This is what we ate for breakfast yesterday morning. Utterly delicious, and unlike pancakes or muffins, it took about ten minutes from thought to plate. Want to make your own? Here’s what I did:

Brioche French Toast (serves one or two)

Ingredients:

  • four slices of brioche (I used day-old from this lovely bakery, but you can make your own…)
  • four eggs
  • a splash of vanilla
  • cinnamon-sugar (I mix this myself, but I think you can buy it as well)
  • a bit of butter
  • blackberries for serving, or some other fruit or sauce of your choice

To Make:

  1. Heat a nonstick skillet or frying pan to medium heat, until water droplets sizzle before they evaporate
  2. Beat the eggs and vanilla together in a wide shallow dish.
  3. For each piece of french toast, dredge both sides of the brioche slice in the egg batter and fry in the pan, flipping once, until lightly browned on both sides. Remove to a warm plate, spread one side lightly with butter, and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.
  4. Continue until you have run out of brioche slices (you can easily increase this recipe; I used one egg for every slice of brioche).
  5. Eat quickly, topped with blackberries or something else delicious!

I suggest coffee with this (as you can see from the photograph).

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mailbag: bizzaro world edition

10 February 2009

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I’m not even sure what to say about this. It came in an envelope with a bunch of other coupons for craft-related items.

It’s really special that they felt the need to specify “loving female/male relationships.” Also the line about “stimulat[ing] the imagination”; I guess that makes this emotional pornography?

Moving on.

Thanks for the comments about the Autumn Rose swatch. I’ve since heard back from a Knitpicks representative, who said that most of the new colors will be non-heathers (blast!), but there will be a few “neutral” heathers (insert ray of hope here). Since the neutrals might be just what I need, I’ll probably hold off for now.

Veste Everest update: one little armhole edging to go! I’m going to do a much more detailed “finished object” post for this one than I normally do, in part because there is a knitalong for this sweater on Ravelry right now, and also because I have a surprising amount to say about things like negative ease and seaming. If the minutiae of vest-knitting intrigues you, stay tuned!

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swatch this

4 February 2009

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The above photo captures the colors of my Autumn Rose swatch pretty well. What do you think?

I honestly can’t decide. On one hand, I love it. It feels pretty close to the original colorway, and the medallion design is very clear. On the other hand, the orange in the center of the peerie band is a little too traffic-cone, and the yellows on either side of the center band of the medallion are a little too green. However, I was more than charmed enough to cast on immediately, but then I heard some interesting news:

Knitpicks is going to expand the Palette line by adding approximately 30 new colors in late summer or early fall of this year.

I’m so excited! I really like Palette; it seems durable, the colors they have are lovely, and you certainly can’t beat the price. So, I’m considering waiting to see what the new colors will be (specifically, will they be heathers? Will they include that elusive warmer light yellow and deeper orange that would make the swatch so much better? A lighter shade of pale??) I’m going to try to get more information, but I needed something to do while I was waiting.

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That’s the back of Veste Everest, as of two days ago. Currently, the back is finished, but the front barely begun. Unfortunately, like most reds, it photographs dreadfully.

I’m trying to finish this quickly, if only because it’s *freezing* outside, and I’m a bit self-conscious wearing the same cardigan to work three days in a row. Look for a finished vest by Monday!