Christmas Knitting

This is just a tease.  I just want to announce that I did officially start working on my first Christmas present.  It could go to one of two people; I haven’t decided yet.  I’m liking it so far.

My family reads my blog so I can’t actually post anything about the Christmas presents I am making.  That means I won’t be able to write any FO posts or show my projects for months!  I’m going to have to queue them all up to post after Christmas.

Maybe I will add a page under Odds & Ends to at least track my progress.  That way I don’t feel like a slacker since I can’t share them yet!  I wonder if anyone in my family would try to guess what I was making and who it was for.  Maybe I could make code names for the gift recipients …

My First Sweater – Yarn

As I’ve posted I am starting my first sweater: the Briar Rose Tunic. After getting all my measurements ready I had to decide what yarn to buy.  I picked four different yarns and made swatches (from bottom to top):

1. Malabrigo Worsted – Sweet Grape at $10.75 for 210 yd skein

2. Dream in Color Classy – Purple Rain at $19.95 for 250 yd skein

3. Timothy Street Yarns – Dark Blue at $13.00 for 145 yd skein

4. Swish Worsted Superwash – Dublin at $4.49 for 110 yd skein

Of these swatches only the top two, the Timothy Street Yarn and the Swish Worsted, were washed on a delicate cycle in my front load washing machine. The other two were both hand washed only.

The Malabrigo yarn is nice and exactly the color I wanted.  Unfortunately I really don’t like single ply yarn and that took away from it. I also thought after washing the swatch it would fill in a bit but it still felt pretty thin and easily seen through after a few washes.  It would be my second choice and there’s a good chance I would use it in the future.  I’ll just need to adjust the gauge so I can’t see through it.

The Dream in Color was darker than I expected.  It also didn’t stand out much.  It was a little stiff feeling while knitting with it and even after washing the texture wasn’t better than average.  It’s an okay choice but for the price I doubt I go seeking it out.

The Timothy Street Yarn was the clear winner.  I love this yarn.  It felt amazing to knit with.  I liked petting the swatch.  I didn’t get any itchiness out of it.  Plus my stitch definition was great.  I did start to see some fuzziness in the swatch with a few machine washes but I did not see it on the second swatch I was hand washing.  Sadly it’s a pain to order.  The store is in Canada and you have to call in the order.  That meant international shipping for me.  The other downside is this yarn gave me the hardest time while winding. The yarn liked to fly off the ball and leave me with a long tangled strand I had to redo until sometimes I gave up and finished off by hand.

Lastly, the main reason I tried to the Swish Worsted was to look for a cheaper yarn that I could throw in the wash with the rest of my laundry.  As you can see this didn’t work out.  It started felting in the first wash and by the third wash I gave up on it.  I do keep wondering if I ordered the wrong yarn somehow but so far I keep seeing that it was indeed the superwash. This is not the yarn I would use for my sweater.

In summary, I of course picked out the most expensive yarn per yard that I tried.  I ended up buying 9 skeins of this for 1300 yards which I very much hope is enough after I’ve played with the gauge.  This sweater will be the most expensive thing I have knit!

First Sweater Posts:

1. My First Sweater – Measurements
2. My First Sweater – Yarn
3. My First Sweater – Gauge
4. My First Sweater – Casting On
5. My First Sweater – Waist Shaping

Beaded Cable Belt WIP – Next Giveaway?

My attempts to go back and add posts for my missing weeks was a complete failure.  Instead I’m going to just start from where I’m at now instead of getting further and further behind in my posts!  Then I can go and fill in the old stuff.

So where am I at now?  I’m about done with a beaded belt that I plan to have as my next giveaway on the blog.  The pattern is from the class I took at Stitches Midwest: Accessorize with Beaded Belts with Judy Pascale.  The pattern uses a cinch buckle. It’s nice because you can easily swap the buckle and have a bit extra room for sizing with the buckle placement.  I’m running into two issues with this.

1. Sizing – if I’m doing a giveaway the size I make will determine how many people are interested. Should I wait to see who the winner is and finish it to their size or just let everyone know what size it will fit?

2. The Buckle – I am having the hardest time finding belt buckles.  I have a plain basic one from Joann Fabrics but this isn’t a simple belt.  It’s bright and busy and that buckle isn’t really the greatest fit.  Does anyone have anywhere they go just to buy buckles?  So far the best ideas I’ve seen are to use buckles from old belts.  I guess the winner could swap out the buckle later.

My last worry is the color.  Personally I’m very much into neutral, earth tone, or cool colors.  This belt is not my style so I have a hard time knowing if anyone else would like it.   I love the look of it but I don’t know that anyone would ever wear it. Should I even bother with a giveaway or just put it into my “oh look at the pretty thing I made” pile?

My First Sweater – Measurements

I decided to knit my first sweater after attending Stitches Midwest where I took a class with Barry Klein about getting the right fit on knitted garments.  Suddenly all my fears about knitting a sweater were addressed and I’ve been excited to start ever since.  I wanted to do a lot of prep work ahead of time so I’ve been slowly working towards getting everything ready to knit the Briar Rose Tunic from Interweave Knits, Winter 2011 magazine.

I already had my pattern so the next step was getting all my measurements ready so I knew what size to work from.  We did the actual body measurements in class but one of the great suggestions Barry made was to also take these same measurements with your favorite clothes.  It’s finally starting to cool down so I pulled out my sweaters and did just that.

Sadly the two sweaters I like most have a lot of differences between them.  Oddly enough the sweater I always felt was a bit too tight actually had larger measurements than the sweater I thought was too loose.  I had to pick and choose and make some guesses but I have a good enough idea to start customizing the pattern to how I feel it should fit.

Now that I know about what size I will be knitting I also know how much yarn to buy.  Wow is that scary.  Most of my projects have been one or two skeins but a sweater is a lot more than that.  A lot.  It’s time to move to the next step and pick which yarn I want!

First Sweater Posts:

1. My First Sweater – Measurements
2. My First Sweater – Yarn
3. My First Sweater – Gauge
4. My First Sweater – Casting On
5. My First Sweater – Waist Shaping

Giveaway Reminder & Doll Cape WIP

Just a quick reminder about the lace scarf giveaway.  We’re at the half way mark and already have enough entries to meet the requirements.  Thanks for everyone who spread the word!  You can still enter here until July 31st.

I was finally able to start my first doll clothes.  I started with the cape I found on Ravelry.  In my head I keep expecting Barbie size clothes even though I can clearly see the 18″ doll in front of me.  I’m glad to see it’s fitting.  I really like this pattern so far.