Thursday, April 26, 2007

VK Fair Isle Sleeve Sweater

or "What I Did at Work Last Night: A Photo Essay"
or "A Million and Seventeen Ways Not to Make a Sweater"
or "Vogue in Red: An Erotic Mystery-Thriller by Nikki the Shizknitter"
(oh, wait, that last was a mistake)

Vogue Sweater, how I hated you. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong with you. I knit the fair isle sleeve too big, despite the fact that I subtracted stitches (apparently not enough). I didn't wash my swatch, and the red in the fair isle bled into the white (curse you, JaggerSpun Zephyr DK!). I knit the front to an entirely different pattern because I didn't check the Vogue Knitting Errata before starting (curse you, faulty VK patterns!).

Fortunately, there is always a cure. The sleeve got cut, in my attempt at steeking. I say attempt because the outcome was not totally perfect. Though there were several tutorials on crochet steeking (I don't have a machine), none of them were for something like this, just cutting off the sides of the sleeve. But I did it anyway. And I cut off the bottom, too, as it was a little too long. Then I picked up some stitches along the bottom. Again, not perfect, but hey, that's what Fray Check is for.

The red bled a lot. A lot. A whole lot. I haven't had color bleed like this since the Sugar N Cream cotton washcloth I made. Why should this yarn have bled so much? Anyway, dye once it bleeds
onto the fabric, doesn't set immediately. I thought I had rinsed it all out. I set it down to dry. But I guess I missed some because some of the red dye crept back into the white. Damn. I used my RIT Color Remover which is to get rid of colors that have run, and it did the trick (mostly).

And the pattern errata was eventually found with the help of the wonderful folks at You guys are the best.

But still, this sweater left me pissed. It's like it took pleasure in frustrating me. And so, I decided to murder it. "Murder" has been one of my coworkers words for a while. He's always going to murder something or somebody. So it was my turn, and VK Sweater, it was your turn to die! (insert maniacal laugh).

Now to be fair, this idea all started from this:

That's not Kool-Aid, people. And thus, it was on!

I first considered having it die from lonliness and starvation, just by dumping it in the trash.

But I thought a sweater that had come up with so many ways to torture me deserved a more inventive death. I considered shredding it to bits in the office fan. "Feel that breeze, baby? That is the wind of inevitability!" But then I realized that we still needed an office fan and didn't want to break it.

Aha! I had it! Steek this, bitch!

But in the end, I decided to just finish sewing it up and wear it. Now, VK Sweater, you are truly conquered!

Pattern: Vogue Knitting Holiday 2006 Fair Isle Sleeve Sweater
Yarn: JaggerSpun Zephyr DK silk/wool blend. 7 2 oz. balls Cinnabar, 1 ball each of Charcoal, Steel Gray, and Vanilla
Needles: Size 4
Yarn Notes: Despite knitting this to a tight gauge, this yarn has amazing drape. Also bleeds like crazy. Despite the silk content, not what I would call a luxury yarn in terms of feel. Spun such that at parts it is often flat like a tape yarn. Has mysterious tufts every now and then. Suspect will be fairly hard-wearing.

You know the pose by now.

And from the back.

The neckline is a little loose, despite the fact that I actually put in fewer stitches than called for. I may rip and redo it, but not now. I'm tired. There are a million more things to say about this sweater, so, um, maybe later.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Telegram for Mother Nature

Dear, Mother Nature, it's April! Just thought I'd let you know. What is up with this weather? It snowed last week. Chicago makes me (more) depressed. I was riding on the bus, looking out the window. The sky was cloudy and gray. The buildings were brown and gray. The earth was brown, the trees were bare. Just nasty. I need sunlight. It's always around this time of year that I'm like "okay, Chicago, we get it, you're cold. You can stop now." Cuz we've had enough.

So if I can't make the sky blue and the trees green, guess I'll just have to knit and crochet those colors. So I have this lovely Touch Me scarf that I crocheted. I got this yarn on sale and it was still pricy, especially for the little yardage. And with the speed of crochet, I had gone though (censored) dollars in about 3 hours! It is luxuriously soft, though. The stitch is from 220 More Crochet Stitches, crocheted on an I hook. Chicago's brown and gray + the blue and green I'd like to see come along.

With the leftover, I also made this choker. Band is knit in 2x2 ribbing, flower crocheted, leaf knit. Chicago flowers, please come back!

I still have some leftover in brown and green, that I'm going to use for a small necklace. This one, I think. That's where I got the knit leaf instructions, anyway.

And I finished my Clapotis! In HandMaiden Lady Godiva "Nova Scotia". I used just a wee more than 2 hanks. I knit on size 6s, one less increase section than in the pattern and 2 more straight sections. So if I had only done one extra straight section, 2 would have been enough. The other 1 and 9/10 skeins will be for Perfect Periwinkle from Fitted Knits, I think. I also held with the Lady Godiva a strand of Drops/Garnstudio's "Glitter". Very fine, 10 grams gives 700 yards, so I only need one spool, and at $4, a very cheap way to add glitter to a project.

I absolutely love this thing. I think I've worn it every day since I finished, rather than the Touch Me scarf. I like that it's so much wider than a normal scarf, it's got heft (sorta like me since my recent weight gain). And it's purrrty.

So there are blue and green knits. Um, Mother Nature, take that as a hint.

In other news, I started a group at for natural black hair, as I can use all the advice I can get. On occasion, my hair looks, I think the technical term for it is "busted". Totally doesn't help that it's all uneven from when I got angry and whacked it all off with the craft scissors. I have a lot of hair, it is really really thick, and it is a serious effort to keep it reasonable. So I thought I'd get together with other women who wore their hair like this and maybe share some tips. It was great, we're all so cute, trust me.

And my semi-miniature crown variegated African violet trailer is also looking happy. All crowns are in bloom or bud with color, which means it could be a good show plant with a little grooming. Unfortunately, not all the crowns are showing the variegation.

And one final thing, Bloggers, what's up with the restricted blogs? I don't subscribe to anyone's feed, but every now and then I go through the comments left for me and try to look at people's blogs. But for some of you, I click on your name and it tells me that regular folk like me can't view your blog. Damn, I never get invited to the party with the hip kids. Not cool, people, not cool. Ah, knitting, you never reject me!