Aliens Have Invaded the Sweater Body

HighScoreBody2It looks like gauge isn’t going to be an issue with this project.  (Thank Heavens!)  And, several members of my household are looking forward to wearing this when it’s finished- including my 15 year-old daughter who hasn’t worn any of my hand-knit sweaters.  So, I’m very flattered!  lol.

Initially, I was thinking of putting the alien motif on both arms.  Now I think it would be overkill so the new plan is to knit the arms in plain black.  This means I need to end the motif before I join the arms to the body which shouldn’t look too strange when finished.  I just hope it wears well and it isn’t awkward having a thick band of color-stranding around the middle of the sweater.

UPDATEDsiChartThis is my second fingering-weight color-stranded adult-sized sweater in a row.  My next project needs to be a fast and chunky knit.  An immediate gratification project.

I’ve updated the chart for the little aliens.  It’s a 45 stitch repeat with 5 rows of black between the different alien types.

Thinking ahead towards future projects, I found the most clever use for Noro yarn on ravelry.com.  It’s an improvised triangle sweater knit by a lady in the Netherlands by the ravelry id of DHelbig.  My hubby thinks the sweater is too 1980’s but I love it!  Intarsia is one of the few knitting techniques I have yet to tackle and I am thinking of trying to recreate this thing with some Noro I have tucked away in my stash.  Maybe I should start out with a scarf first?

The Start of a New Design

HighScoreDesignAs Edward, the butt monster, was taking shape, ideas for the next project were swirling in my mind.  Color-stranding is the current obsession and an adult-sized sweater was a requirement.  Browsing through my collection of patterns and inspiration projects on my Pinterest boards, I decided that something very contrast-y and retro was what I wanted.

My hubby’s favorite t-shirt has PacMan chasing ghosts across the front but I had seen some space invaders gear that was adorable.  So, I found a screen shot of the game and re-created the aliens in Excel and then took the whole thing into Photoshop to play with placement and color.

The goal is to make this a uni-sex over-sized sweater so that I can share with the hubby.  He says the pink is just fine with him!  lol.  That means a standard v-neck or crew neck is appropriate.

HighScoreSwatchThe yarn was ordered (Knit Picks Palette) and I’ve got the swatch to start my measurements.  Because the sweater is going to fade from plain stockinette into color-stranded sections, I’d imagine the rows-per-inch will be different with the different type of knitting.  My swatch isn’t really big enough to detect a difference so I’ll just have to play it by ear and see what happens.

HighScoreChartWith my swatch measurements in hand and my body measurements in mind, I’m ready to cast on.  This one is going to be knit a little tighter (I’ve changed the way I hold my yarn to remedy the too-loose knitting problem) and my swatch is giving me 7.75 spi and 9.5 rpi on average.

As luck would have it, 7 repeats of the chart gives me the perfect sweater circumference!  Yay for that!!

A More Moderate Color Scheme

OrangeFairChartMy family (husband and children) talked me off the 13-color fair isle cliff and into a more reasonable (and visually appealing) 7-color fair isle.  It didn’t take a lot of convincing because I wasn’t completely sure I could wear such an eye-catching sweater around town. 

Hubby chose a complimentary color scheme of orange and blue with greys and a pop of green.  I really love it.  When it was knit up into a test swatch, the blue-on-blue had a nice subtle effect.  And, the grey-white made the whole thing feel vintage and washed a million times before. 

OrangeFairThe blue-on-blue is much more apparent in person than in this pic of the swatch.  And, I’ve changed the design a bit from this test. 

A weird thing about the swatch- my gauge came out to 6.5 stitches per inch and 6.5 rows per inch after blocking (from size 2 needles).  My sweaters always grow into monsters after blocking so I’ve gotten into the habit of doing a blocked swatch so my size is correct in the end.  There’s nothing worse than spending a hundred hours knitting a sweater that grows into a tent when you block it!

ColorSchemeI have cast on and started knitting the body from the bottom ribbed edge.  This is the first time I’ve used Palette from Knit Picks and I’m loving it!  It’s reasonably soft after blocking, the colors are amazing, and it’s not a bad price. 

I Hate Bottom Up Baby Sweaters

JoiningJoining the two tiny sleeves to the body and knitting around sounds easy enough.  However, taking a tiny circular tube (baby sleeve) and flattening all the stitches out onto a needle and stitching across them makes for some seriously tight knitting.  The poor little underarm stitches are all stretched out while I’m trying to make it work.  It’s miserable and not Zen-like AT ALL.

I’ve invested too much time to bail on the project at this point.  But, I will not be doing a bottom-up baby sweater ever again.  Adult sized bottom up sweaters haven’t ever given me this much trouble.  In this baby sweater, there just aren’t enough stitches to make it work.  join2All the sleeve stitches are stretched flat across the needle and my underarm stitches are stretched to the max when I go to knit across.  I’m going to have to do some serious blocking at the end to reshape the underarm areas.

Lesson learned- no bottom up baby sweaters for me!  However, I still think this will be wearable in the end.  I hope my sister will never even notice the wonky underarm area and proudly don her baby in my creation.  🙂

Side note- I couldn’t help myself and ordered a hefty amount of yarn during the Knit Picks summer sale.  I haven’t tried their Palette yarn yet and I couldn’t figure out how much I might need to just try out the yarn so I added way too much to my cart with needles and books.  I’m going to be stalking my mail carrier until they arrive.

Bad Ass Sleeves

BBASleeveMaybe I shouldn’t be using cuss words to name this new sweater for my nephew but I can’t seem to help myself.  The skulls and cross bones just seem to be screaming out for it.  Any alternative naming ideas are welcome because I am coming up empty handed.  Bad Ass sweater is just what keeps coming out of my mouth when I refer to my tiny project.

I’ve made it to the first sleeve.  It was a bit of a chore figuring out what row in the pattern to start the sleeve out with because I want the skulls to line up neatly when I join the sleeves to the body.  Hopefully my measurements were accurate.  And, I’m trying to figure out what sort of neckline I will use.  Babies have giant heads so I need either a V-neck to ensure it can get over his head or I need some buttons up top.  pattern

I’m thinking this is going to be a raglan with buttons in the center front or off-center along the raglan decreases.  Off-center may be more interesting with a green button band and a green collar.

I’m also thinking of writing this up as a pattern for ravelry but I have very little experience in baby-sizing.  There’s this handy sizing chart online http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/babysize.html that I’m thinking of using.

Since I have spent half of my morning on reading knitting blogs instead of knitting I don’t know how quickly this sweater is going to be completed but I’ve gotten inspiration for future projects.  🙂  I’m just going to have to muster up the discipline to finish this thing before I plunge ahead onto something new.

Baby Bad Ass

Baby Bad Ass
Baby Bad Ass

It’s been well over a year since my last post.  Lots of things have happened – we moved (twice), I have a new nephew, and I’ve battled some anxiety and depression.  And, yes, some knitting also happened that was not recorded here or on ravelry.  I apologize for any unanswered questions or messages.  But, I’m ready to rejoin the world.  🙂

My latest project is for my teeny little nephew that resides over a thousand miles away.  His momma is a rebel and a sweetheart.  I couldn’t just give her a sweet baby bear sweater for her new bundle of joy.  Nope.  Skulls and cross bones are in order.

I’m aiming for a size 12 months.  If you’d like to follow along, I cast on 176 stitches in a contrasting yarn (fingering weight) using a size 1 circular needle.  Rib in K2, P2 for an 1 1/2 inches or so.  K around while decreasing (k2tog) every 10 stitches to reduce to 160 sts total.  Begin chart using black and white yarn.

Update:  And just for fun, a video of my color stranded knitting technique which was kindly edited by my wonderful daughter.  (Thanks babe!)

Sweater Update

Fungi3Now that I’ve finally reached the armholes it feels like I will actually be able to finish this sweater.  The plan is for a raglan sleeve and there is a 10-stitch steek at each armhole.  I want solid black sleeves so those will be knit up separately and sewn into the arm holes at finishing.

My biggest concern is that the solid black sleeves will knit up at a different gauge than the color-stranded fabric and therefore will not join up nicely to the body.   But, for now, I’m going to finish the body and worry about the sleeves when I get to them.

I’ve only cut open one steeked project in my life.  I used the sewing machine to secure the steeks first.  This time around I want to use the crochet chain method.  Only a couple of days until I can try it out!

Slow Progress

FungiSlow2This past week has been tough on my knitting.  I’m in the process of house buying and it’s time-consuming and stressful.  But I’ve managed about 5 more inches on this piece nonetheless.

I’m fairly close to breaking my monogamous knitting habit and starting a second project just to break up the monotony.  I’m afraid if I do start another project, I will never come back and complete this one!

Mushroom Mistake?

Fungi2Sock yarn sweaters take forever!  Many hours have been spent knitting this sweater and I’ve produced only 4 inches of fabric.  I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to knit up an adult size large sweater with fingering-weight yarn.  I guess I was in the mood for something tedious.

I’m a little worried that between the bright Noro colors and the mushrooms, the sweater may end up looking like a psychedelic nightmare.  lol.  I can’t decide if I should bail on this sweater now or just plug ahead.  I would love to hear your opinions on this matter.

bowlOn a side note- I recently took the kids to paint pottery with some friends… and the pottery store had yarn bowls available to paint!!  I was soooo happy to see them on the shelf!  I’ve been eyeballing some of those things on etsy but I’m glad I held off so I could paint one for myself.  My creation isn’t as beautiful as those on etsy but I’m thrilled to have it.  And, my daughter was kind enough to put a little lamb in the bottom of the bowl.  🙂

Fun With Fungi – New Sweater

FungiThe original plan for this yarn was to create a stained-glass-window sweater.  After much consideration, I decided to create something a little more fun so maybe my oldest daughter might want to wear this when it’s finished.

I’ve got the fungi mapped out and ready to go.  At this point, I’m thinking of going with solid black raglan sleeves and keeping the color on the body only.  And, there will be a 10-stitch steek down the middle so it can be opened into a cardigan.

This is another fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants project.  I did knit up a small test swatch to get gauge.