Tag Archives: february lady

Adventures in blocking

It’s fall, as of yesterday. Time to take off the ankle bracelet. Time to put on jeans and real shoes. Time to wash and block the February Lady!

I’ve been dreading blocking this sweater because of all the stories I’d read on Ravelry about this yarn, Dream in Color Classy, growing. But I couldn’t wear it without washing it because it was full of excess dye that I didn’t want on my clothes. I ran it through a short warm cycle in a zippered pillowcase in the washing machine with Brown Sheep wool wash and some vinegar to set the dye last night. When I took it out, it was enormous! It had grown to 1.5 times its length, and at least twice its width. And the fabric felt very, very thin. I was freaking out. But the ball band did say machine wash, lay flat or machine dry. It was time for the leap of faith.

I put it in the dryer for 20 minutes. Still damp. Still all stretchy looking. Another 20 minutes. My dryer cools down towards the end of the cycle, so it was still dampish. I laid the poor bedraggled thing out on a towel and patted it into shape to dry overnight. It was still pretty waffly.

This morning I checked it, and it was still a bit damp. I still really wanted to wear it, so back into the dryer it went. And it came out the same size it had been before I washed it. A miracle! The yarn did lose a lot of fuzz in the dryer, and it’s a little fuzzier than it was before I blocked it. I wore it this morning, and it grew about 1.5 inches in length during the day. Here it is:

feblady4

And here’s a closer view of the lace:

detail

I don’t know if I’d use this yarn again. It’s so gorgeous, and it smells great (even after washing), but it’s so nerve wracking blocking it! And if it’s going to require machine drying to make it pop back to size, I wish it didn’t make it fuzzy…

But it’s done, and cozy and wearable. On to the Central Park Hoodie!

February Lady: Encore!

The February Lady is done. Really, this time.

ladydone

Isn’t she lovely? And aren’t her buttons absolutely perfect?

ladybuttons

I think so.

Since the last time I finished, I added two lace repeats to each sleeve. They don’t *look* much longer, but now they *feel* like they’re in the right place. I also added three lace repeats to the body. This lengthens the visual line of my torso, and makes me look slimmer. Now the whole thing needs a washing/blocking before I can really wear it, to remove excess dye.

February Lady Sweater, pattern by Pamela Wynne

Dream in Color Classy, color Night Watch, four skeins

Size 8 needles

Modifications to pattern: Added 5 sts to each front to allow for overlap of the button bands. This gave me one extra lace repeat on each front by stealing 2 sts from each button band. Continued raglan increases until there were almost enough sts for XS size, then increased the last 4 sts by kfb over just the back sts. Decreased one st for each lace repeat when I reached ther garter edge of the sleeves.

I have about 50 g of yarn left, and I’m dreaming of coordinating fingerless mitts.

Other fun:

shells

I finally got around to washing my shells from Guana Island. I love the different shapes and textures. There are a lot more; this is what fit in the viewfinder!

February Lady is done! Or not…

I haven’t decided yet.

After all that talk about edgings, I just couldn’t find a sleeve length that made me happy. Turns out that the width below the elbow was making me unhappy, too. I tried decreasing within the lace without leaving a stockinette stitch swath down the arm, but it became clear to me that it could only lead to madness. Mine. So I ripped again, and just decreased one stitch out of each lace repeat when I started the garter stitch edge. Much better.

And the bind off? The purl bind off made it too curly toward the inside; the edges didn’t look crisp. Back to the knit bind off. Funny how the purl looked right on the baby sweater, but not on this. Live and learn.

So am I done? I have to decide if it wants to be a bit longer. But I’d have to put on jeans to know. I haven’t worn jeans all summer. And I had a really great vacation, full of food and fun. Hmmm. The Ravelry Knitters who meet at Lloyd Center for lunch on Wednesdays think it looks fine, right now. Weave in the ends and move on. Tempting. But I just have to see…

And I still need buttons. I’m headed to Button Emporium this afternoon. So I’m not really done, anyway.

What’s taking so long? Work is busy this week; September is always a new beginning. And I’ve been pretty distracted at home, compiling a photo book gift on Shutterfly. I love this company; the quality of their products is great. They make it easy to share pictures, even if I’m not buying anything. But this week I’ve been wading through 1100 (!) pictures trying to tell a story, and I finally ordered the finished product last night.

Now I can get back to knitting…

eta: I tried it on with jeans, and it needs to be just a bit longer. Back on the needles! Speaking of which, guess which needle I *didn’t* use on the sleeves? This sweater will definitely need a wash before I wear it!

blueneedles

Back to normal, and a contest

dpnsleeve

On double pointed needles and enjoying every round. All is well. I’m actually a lot further than in this picture; there was some good dvd knitting time last night, and coffee with the crafty moms this morning. I’m down to the first elbow and need to decide how long the sleeves really want to be.

I passed 50 posts and 15,000 page views this week, and I’m having a contest to celebrate! I started this blog in March as a way to give my patterns a stable home on the ‘net and to keep track of my knitting, and it’s been way more fun than I expected. I hope you’re enjoying it, too. I know, most bloggers wait until their blogoversary, or their 100th post, but I’m happy NOW.

The contest? Leave a comment on this post and tell me how you found my knitting blog, and if you’re a repeat/regular visitor, what keeps you coming back?

The prize? This sweet book, Knitalong, Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together, by Larissa Brown and Martin John Brown. It’s by a local Portland knitter, and I believe she threw the first pitch at the Seattle Mariners game last night! Sorry I missed it.

knitalong

Contest closes on August 20. I’ll choose a winner at random. Make sure you leave info on how to contact you, either your Ravelry name, or a hyperlink to your blog, or email, or….

In which I learn a new technique

And reject it out of hand.

I finished the body of the February Lady sweater, and it’s lovely. I’ve been knitting with Lantern Moon ebony circular needles, my favorite. I thought I’d try magic loop for the sleeves so I could continue using the same needles. I found some tutorials on the web and tried it. I’ve knit eight rounds of sleeve so far. I DON’T LIKE IT. There’s too much time spent dilly-dallying with scooting stitches around on the cable every half a round. Feh.

magic loop

There she is, sitting on the hammock, looking like some kind of crazed Mickey Mouse. See the loopy ears?

I briefly considered using two circulars (I have 26 and 40 inch cables), but that also involves the scoot. I knit fast enough that the half round comes around way to soon. No thanks.

So it’s back to the double points. My dpns are Brittany Birch. I do love these, too, especially the skinny ones for socks, because they’re so “grippy,” but I wonder if that grippiness will change my gauge? The ebony needles have been so smooth; the stitches slide right along. On the other hand, my gauge working in the round on the sleeve may be different than my gauge working flat on the body, anyway. I guess I should just go for it.

Option three is to buy ebony dpns! That would be extravagant on my part, since I do have workable options already…

February in August

Now that Josephine is done, my knitterly attention has turned back to the February Lady. This Dream in Color yarn is so lovely to work with, and it smells good, too. A multi-media experience! I put the sweater on a 40 inch needle this morning, and tried it on. It’s beautiful, feels great, and it fits! The fronts *will* overlap, due to my adding 5 stitches to each side so that they’re wider than the back. I just need to decide how long to make the lace section; it’s at my waist now. Here’s the obligatory progress picture, but not on me. I fail at taking my own picture in the mirror.

lady4

I’ve been enjoying seeing all the finished Lady sweaters on Ravelry. It’s great to see how people have made this pattern work for them. There’s lots of variation! I’m in the knitalong group there, too. I’ll miss the KAL group at Twisted this week; I’m hosting the pinot and piano event this evening.

I love this shirt Sharon gave me.

unwind2

Thank you, Sharon!

Third time’s a charm

I hope.

The February Lady. I made the baby version, eons ago; I know how it’s done. Simple, no?

No. The first time was my own fault. I fell in love with another yarn, so Lady 1 was frogged and Lady 2 begun.

Saturday, my less than charming third button-hole finally got to me, so I took it off the needles to frog back to re-do it. While it was off the needles, I tried it on. Uh-oh. (Good thing there’s no picture.) The fronts barely met up. And that makes sense; there are the same number of stitches in the front as in the back. Same width, no overlap.

So I frogged THE WHOLE THING. Good thing I like working with this yarn, even though it’s making my hands turn blue. I added 5 stitches to each front, which gives me an inch to overlap. And I redid the buttonholes, moving them a stitch further in and worked from the right side instead of the wrong side, because the side I was working looked way better than the back side. I also continued the raglan decreases further instead of doing the eyelet row. After knitting like a madwoman Saturday and Sunday, I’m almost back to where I was Saturday morning. I’ve divided for the armholes again, and am cruising on the lace. I tried it on this morning (Monday) and it fits perfectly.

lady3

lady back

Still can’t capture the red, purple, and green in a picture; you’ll have to take my word for it!

I can’t seem to knit a sweater as written. There are always modifications that I want, but it’s hard to tell what they are until I have something tangible to work with. Smaller items don’t give me this problem (hats, socks), but the big stuff is more of an investment, and I want it to be PERFECT.

Needful things

Let’s see: Josephine is knitted but I still don’t have time to seam until after this weekend. My favorite aunt and her family are visiting (of course she’s my favorite; she taught me to knit when I was 16!) for my brother’s birthday celebration. We went to Twisted yesterday for a little shopping, and to Powell’s, to look at knitting books (and cookbooks, but not for me). I managed to avoid buying more yarn or knitting books, but I did buy these. They are the most elegant pins I’ve ever seen.

pins

While at Twisted, we wound more of my Dream In Color Classy. I told you there was no going back on this one! This means commitment. Although there is one more skein to wind. It just wouldn’t fit in the cute little bag I was carrying. You can see more of the color variations here, but it’s still not as good as real life. The February Lady is coming along nicely; I just moved from a 26 inch needle to a 40 inch needle. It feels better not being so scrunched up.

classylady

I just received this as a gift.

dpn case

dpn case 2

It’s a needle case for double pointed needles. I’ve been looking for a way to manage them, and this is practical and beautiful. It’s from Lantern Moon. Now that my needles are in there, I’m wondering where my size 3 dpns have gone? I know which socks my size 4 dpns are living in, but the 3’s should be free. Oops.

Oh, I have a fairly recent Lantern Moon silk circular case, too. I love it; it’s nice to have all my circulars in one place so I can find the right size quickly. And I like that I can just tuck it away. Again, practical and beautiful.

circ case 2

circ case

And last of all, I think we’ve declared a winner in the squirrel war.

It’s not me.

the winner

I think he’s jumping from the trellis on the front of my house. We’ve moved all the other possible launch points away, and moved the bird feeder, too. The trellis has a really ugly climbing hydrangea on it, and it will probably be removed next spring. But for now, it’s Mr. Squirrel 4, Me 2, maybe. Mookie doesn’t seem to mind. She finds the birds more interesting, though.

My Cheating Heart

That French blue Riverstone? Beautiful yarn. Lovely to work with. But when knitting yards and yards and yards of garter stitch? Just a tad bit…boring.

The gals at Twisted sent out a twitter (do you know about Twitter?) that they received new Dream in Color Classy. Lots of it. That was enough to make me go look. Only looking, you understand. Just to make sure I had made the right choice for my February Lady.

Somehow this followed me home.

classy1

classy2

The pictures don’t do it justice. Sure, it’s blue yarn. But it has green, purple, brown…everything. It’s amazing. The colorway is called Night Watch. It will be fun to watch the color changes as I’m knitting all that garter yoke.

You’ll note that I’m a cautious knitter. I only had one skein of the Riverstone wound up into a ball. It will make a lovely something, later. The rest of it was exchanged for this Classy. And you’ll note that there’s only one ball so far, too. But I don’t think there will be any more exchanges. It’s too lovely.

And it still fits my blueberry theme!

Here’s the cobbler recipe we’ve been using (shout out to my friend Vickie, who sent me this recipe in 1987 or so, when we still wrote letters via snailmail):

For the batter:
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 TBSP butter (I admit that I misread her 4 as a 9, and have been using 8 TBSP, or 1/2 cup, of butter. Yum. 6 is a good compromise.)
3/4 cup sugar (I reduce to 2/3 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
3 cups berries

Stir together flour, baking powder, salt. Cream butter, sugar, vanilla; beat in egg until blended. Add flour mixure and milk–beat only until smooth. Spread in buttered 8 inch square baking dish; scatter berries on top.

TOPPING:
1/4 cup soft butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour

Combine topping ingredients and beat until smooth. Drop teaspoonsful of topping over berries. Bake @ 350 degrees for one hour–toothpick should come out without batter, and top is golden. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream, or both. 6-8 servings.

Enjoy!

Blueberry Forest

I just realized why I picked my February Lady yarn.

blue3

blue2

blues2

I seem to have blueberries on my mind. They’re just coming into season, and I have five bushes in the side yard. We’ve been having blueberry muffins, blueberry cobbler, and my favorite, watermelon and blueberries. I’m going to try to freeze some for later, but I usually just pick enough for whatever I’m making that day.

I swatched for the February Lady, and am 15 rows in. I’m not sure I like the increases I’m using, and am thinking of a simple yarn over increase instead, which would make a double eyelet line at the raglan corners. There’s a knitalong group on Ravelry, as well as the upcoming KAL at Twisted, so I’ve been looking at pictures of finished Ladies on Rav. As you can probably tell by now, I don’t mind frogging and re-knitting!

I finished the knitting (and reknitting) on Josephine, and now it’s leap of faith time. Will it fit? Will it look good? It’s time for the seaming, and there will be a lot of mattress stitch in my near future. And we’ll see…