Sunday, February 24, 2013

fingerless mitts {knit & crochet}

My dad requested some fingerless mitts for Christmas, but I didn't quite get around to them. So I made some for him for his birthday.

He wanted some mitts to keep his hands warm since the circulation in his arms isn't as good as it used to be.  The hub (not) so willingly modeled these for me since they were too big for my hands.

I crocheted the hand and arms and held the yarn double to speed up the project.  Then I picked up stitches to knit a band for the fingers and the thumb.  I even added a little stockinette to the arm end of the mitts.  The stockinette rolls nicely and gives the mitts a professional finish.
I used a J hook to crochet and chained 23 for the start of the mitts near the fingers. This number created a large mitt perfect for my dad but much too big for me.  If I was going to make these for lady hands, I would probably only chain 19 which I would consider medium.
These fingerless mitts were very quick to whip up.  The first one took about 3 hours because I had to make all the design decisions.  The second didn't even take that long.  Two evenings and done!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

boys preppy cardigan

What do you think of Trent's new cardigan?

I completely improvised this design using simple raglan sleeves and v-neck shaping down to the belly.  The main color is a natural cream.  I added thin orange and light blue (which you can't really see in the photos but they are directly under the orange) stripes to give it a moden look.  The hub says he looks like a frat boy . . . mission accomplished!

Given that this was my first knitted sweater without a pattern, I did make some miscalculations.  For instance, this was supposed to fit Logan, my almost 7-year-old.  The arms are long enough for size 7 but the body was a little too snug for my liking.  And it surely wasn't easy to convince Logan to give it up to his little brother.  Trent claims to love it, yet he won't wear it in public.

This cardigan was worked from the top down in one-piece.  I even added faux side seams just for fun.  The seams are made of one purl stitch down the stockinette sides and it gives the cardigan a more professional look.  I've read that seams help keep a sweater from twisting  and give you some nice fold lines.  I never have a problem with my sweaters twisting and I don't care about fold lines, but I wanted to try it anyway.  They were easy to add and, at the very least, the cardigan looks like it could have been purchased at Old Navy or The Gap.

Even if I'm kidding myself about looking professionally made, this will be one of my favorites for a long time.  I love the unexpected orange edging along the neck and body ribbing.

This was a fairly quick knit for me.  It took about 3 weeks.

yarn name: Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool (main), Patons Classic Wool (stripes)
yarn type: 100% wool
colorway: Natural (main), Orange & Light Blue (stripes)
yardage: ~450 yards worsted (main), ~75 yards worsted each (stripes)

needle size: US 7 (5.0mm) circular and double-pointed

Friday, February 1, 2013

my driftwood sweater {a difficult lesson in gauge}

During a major yarn sale at JoAnn just before Christmas, I bought at least 10 skeins of Wool-Ease yarn.  I earmarked 6 skeins for a new sweater for me since my first one came out so well.  I had the Driftwood pattern in mind for my new sweater.  This is free pattern on Ravelry.

The pattern is wonderfully written and this was my first time using the contiguous sleeve method; this is a top-down sweater that looks like it has set-in sleeves but is actually worked seamlessly.  Sounds genious to me.  I just couldn't picture how the method actually worked, but I trusted the instructions and now it all makes sense.

I didn't make a gauge swatch or really even check my gauge until I was about to separate the sleeves from the body.  Big mistake.  Just like all the books try to tell me.  I got a little too cocky and thought I knew exactly what I was doing, but my gauge was way bigger than the pattern, and, of course, so was the top of my sweater.  I made some adjustments to the pattern at this point to try to keep it wearable, but things still turned out a little too large.

After I was done with the body, I tried on the sweater and it measured at least an extra 4 inches than I really needed.  So before I knitted the sleeves, I seamed up about 2 inches on each side of the body with a crochet hook.  This took the body in quite a bit but still kept the body proportional to the yoke.  I then moved onto the sleeves and picked up only the underarm stitches in the body that were appropriate for the new sizing.

And now that the sweater is blocked, I actually like it.  It's not my new true love, but it will find its place in my wardrobe.  A valuable lesson in gauge learned the hard way.