Thursday, February 23, 2006

Product or Process

It seems that people all fall somewhere along the product and process range. Some people just knit for the act of knitting while others want to own whatever object they are knitting.

I usually fall somewhere in the middle. I will not knit something usually unless it is somewhat challenging for me and I feel I will learn something from the process. I also, however, have to like the finished product also. It generally needs to be something I would wear and if it does not fit right I will be depressed. Each of my projects falls somewhere along the continuum I guess though. I knit my Peacock Feathers Shawl mainly for the process since really how often have I worn a shawl previously although there is something magnificent about owning something so beautiful.

My latest project was a pure product knit though. My current slippers wore out and apparently stores do not sell slippers after Christmas. What is a girl to do? Knit her own, of course. So here are my Fiber Trends felted slippers made from the leftover Patons Merino from my Green Aran Sweater. I can't say I liked much about knitting them. Size 15 needles. Yuck. Stockinette stitch. Yuck. Lots of fiddley counting. Yuck. And then felting. Yuck. I think that I am too much of a perfectionist to like felting. It never seems to come out quite right. I have my slippers though and that is good at least.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Leaves In Relief Finished!

Well, here is my Leaves In Relief blocked and finished (almost). I am in love. It came out very nice and was so much fun to make. I have been searching blogs to find someone else making this sweater and have been unable to find someone. There is a lot of talk about the charts being needlessly complicated and about preferring different sleeves. If you are intimidated by this pattern, I would say go for it. It was not nearly as difficult to follow as I imagined. By the time you finish the first repeat on the sleeves you know the chart symbols pretty well and you can just buzz along.

Other impressions:

1. There were many times that I was tempted to alter some part of this pattern. I thought that this or that might look better another way. I always followed the pattern and realized that it always looked better as written.

2. On the model I thought that the neck looked too large and that the sweater seemed too tight for my rather lumpy figure. The neck was fine. Initially when I tried on the sweater it did look tight and lumpy but blocking has cured that.

3. The sleeves are written to be 20 inches long for everyone. I like my sleeves a little long so I lengthened the cuffs. Big mistake, now they are too long. I actually took apart the cast-on on one sleeve and decreased the length and bound it off again. In Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting she explained that early Aran sweaters had the cuffs knit in the round so that it they ripped they could easily be unraveled and reknit. Apparently this only works well if your sweater is knit from shoulder down. This evening I will be tackling the other cuff.

4. Initially I thought that I did not like the leaf sleeves. Since making them they have really grown on me. I have been thinking of other things that I could make with this pattern: hats, mittens, socks. I also love the way the leaves are repeated in the tree pattern.

5. The tree on this sweater was so much fun to knit. (Did I mention this before?) I would definitely recommend this sweater. The one problem that I did have reading this pattern I e-mailed the designer about and she clarified it for me. For that I take that help is available which should make the pattern a bit less daunting.

What now? As luck should have it I received my order of Nature Spun in Pink Please for my Fulmar sweater. I am also still plugging along on Donegal. Now I will be working on two Alice Starmore's at one time. I may regret this.

In review:

Pattern: Leaves In Relief from
Yarn: Nature Spun in silver sage from Stitches, Plainfield, MI (5 1/4 skeins)
Needles: size 7

Related Links:
The Beginning
First Sleeve


Monday, February 13, 2006

Leaves In Relief Blocking

My Leaves In Relief is coming around the home stretch. I finishedthe knitting, grafting, and weaving. Now it is blocking under the ceiling fan. I can't wait to wear it. More pictures to come. . .

Friday, February 10, 2006

Twinned Trees Completed

Happy Olympics! or however you offer that greeting. Good luck to all of you knitting your hearts out in the Knitting Olympics. After much deliberating I have decided to just be a bystander. One of the reasons I have decided to opt out is my Leaves In Relief sweater. As you can see, I have finished the trees and am coming into the home stretch. I hated to abandon the project for 16 days while I worked on something else. I also have a couple other things that I want to work on that don't really lend themselves well to 16 days of knitting. So I will be watching the rest of you with some degree of excitement.

As I have mentioned I am finishing up my Leaves In Relief. I have attached the sleeves and finished the trees, now I just need to finish knitting the shoulders and neck. I can't wait to wear this sweater. It also was so much fun to knit. Not too much repetition to bore you.

As an aside, my husband continues to misunderstand the art of knitting. His most recent quote was, "Wool is not sexy." Have you seen the centerfold in the Men's issue of Knit 1. I beg to differ on the not sexy issue.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Leaves In Relief Growing

In a rare moment, my one year old is napping and my three year old is playing next door. What do I do with my free time? Clean the kitchen? Change the sheets? No, blog and knit of course.

I have been knitting away on my Leaves In Relief sweater. I have gotten to the top of the tree at about row 106 and will be attaching the sleeves in 8 row. Yeah! My LYS had a Super Bowl sale last weekend. I ordered more Nature Spun in "pink please" to make Alice Starmore's Fulmar sweater next. It should arrive in a couple weeks so I am trying to get Leaves In Relief done by then.

I love my LYS and like hanging out to knit but the manager there gets under my skin. Every time I try to buy something, I have to convince her that I should be allowed to. Don't you want to make money!?! When I ordered the yarn for Leaves In Relief, they didn't have enough yarn in one dye lot so I had them order it. The manager argued with me that I didn't need the same dye lot if I was felting. Well, I wasn't felting. Is that the only thing people use wool for anymore? The time I needed 14 skeins for Fulmar. This is a lot of yarn since I only bought 7 for Leaves In Relief. I know that it is a lot of yarn but it is knit on a size 3 needle and is knit very thick. Nature Spun has 245 yards per 100 oz which is the same as the original yarn used in this pattern. Well, anyhow I had to convince the manager that I was buying the right amount of yarn before I was allowed to buy it. What can I even say?