Girly cocktail, anyone?

Hello, pink!  I’m starting the Cocktail(Dress).

cocktail

I think I will end up making some kind of S/M hybrid, putting the ease of the garment somewhat between the measurements for these two sizes.  I’m ok with some negative ease in the bust, but I don’t want this hugging my tummy and hips in an unflattering fashion, so I’ll just modify as necessary.  Hooray for top-down garments you can try on as you go!

So far this pattern looks like it is as carefully planned and written as the BlueSand Cardigan, so I expect an easy journey.

I need a serious case of startitis

I passed my dissertation defense, and am now officially Dr. Dominick!  Good alliteration, eh?  My dissertation research included two knitting groups with 4th grade girls to see if participating in the knitting group enhanced their social skills and academic achievement, while reducing problem behaviors.  The group seemed to have a medium effect on lowering bullying scores and raising communication scores.  The girls loved participating in the group and I loved working with them, so while I would have expected a greater number of positive results, it was a lot of fun conducting the group.

In knitting news, I’ve been totally lazy about getting a good picture of my New Girl skirt.  I will get to it soon.  In the meantime, I’m feeling a little out of inspiration for new projects.  I just finished a secret project that I will get to blog about later in the week, after a baby shower.  I have those socks on the needles still.  I’m almost lamenting the end of the cold weather here, because colder weather inspires so much fabulous wool knitting!  I’m ready to focus on warm weather items with linen, but I’m not sure what to make.  I’d love suggestions in the comments.  I have been eyeing Cocktail(Dress) for awhile and I have a TON of Laines du Nord Baby Milk (merino/milk fiber/cashmere) to use, but it’s in super pale pinks and gray. milk-2I don’t usually swath my person in that much pink, but the yarn was a STEAL from WEBS, so this dress will only cost me around $40 to make.  milkI think the peachy color on top would work for the sleeve caps, then gray for the chest stripes.  I have the most of the pink on the bottom, so that will have to be the main color.  I’m going to swatch a bit and see what I think.  It might be some super girly insanity.  But I want more ideas! I’m ready to fill up my dance card with summer knits.  What are you planning for the warm weather this year?

Socks I have not forgotten

Today is my dissertation defense at 2:00pm!  I’m nervous, excited, and so ready to be done! Think good thoughts for me, y’all.  There is power in the collective unconsciousness…

As for knitting content, while I’m working on larger projects, socks that I’m working on often get set aside.  I always have at least one pair of stockinette socks going, and sometimes many pairs of socks of varying styles.  They’re excellent knitting projects for traveling, commuting, knitting in the movie theater, and reading.  Right now, I just have a pair for me and a pair for Matt on the needles, but there is always more beautiful yarn in my sock yarn stash calling to me.  It’s hard not to cast on 10 pairs right now.

My pair is made with Juliana’s Lucky Star Sock Yarn in Truly Outrageous.  This yarn makes me happy every time I work on the socks.  It’s so ridiculously bright, and has just a hint of sparkle.  To keep from interrupting the stripe sequence, an afterthought heel would be best, but I really like the feel and security of the slipped stitch heel flap that I used.  I got lucky with this yarn and the stripes weren’t altered too badly.socks

If you’d like to know more about this heel flap, check out my sock patterns.  You can see what it’s like for free on Earlybird and Summer Slice if you just want to quench your intellectual curiosity.  Basically, going toe-up, I start the flap under the heel and continue the pattern to wrap around the back of the heel too.  It makes for a nice cushion on the heel and adds some durability.

Matt’s socks are made with Lorna’s Laces Shepard Sock in Fiddlehead.  This color is so perfect for many things in his wardrobe, in case he ever wants to match his crazy hand-knit socks to things.  There are a ton of colorways in this yarn, and many of them would work well for fellas that like their socks to be both fun and slightly conservative.  Matt is fine with wilder socks like this pair, this pair, and this pair.  I’m very happy about that, because the wilder self-striping yarns are so fun to knit!socks-2

It would be incredibly hard for me to pick just one favorite kind of sock yarn, but out of the ones that I have tried I love Koigu KPPPM, Tosh Sock, Hazel Knits, and Colinette Jitterbug for amazing colors, Regia and Opal yarns for amazing durability and crazy fun self-striping yarns, and Anzula Squishy for it’s maddeningly soft cashmere-induced coziness.  I’ve used other kinds of sock yarn, but these are the ones that stick out in my mind and will be brands I’ll go back to often.  What are your favorite kinds of sock yarn?   I always love learning about more kinds of sock yarn to covet!

Fiddly, but worth it

Aw yeah! Happy to be finished! bluesand

BlueSand Cardigan is a lovely pattern.  It has enormous amounts of detail and takes you step-by-step through everything, with photo tutorials where necessary.  It does have many elements you have to attend to for a good portion of the pattern, but overall I had fun making this.  I was ready to finish it already and wear it.  When working on two larger projects (this and New Girl) progress can seem fairly slow for both.  I made headway here and there in decent-sized chunks though.

Contemplating the yard full of junk.

Contemplating the yard full of junk.

My only real changes to the pattern include using fingering weight yarn and moving the slipped stitch portion on the arm to the elbow area for an elbow patch effect.  I added a couple of extra rows on the contrast color rows at the top, but my row gauge was close enough to the pattern, so I wasn’t concerned about changing much.  In my experience, superwash yarns grow like crazy in such a large garment, so I didn’t want to add any extra length to this already over-sized garment.  Since I used fingering weight, I went up one size from my normal size to get a pretty good approximation to the chest size I wanted. I didn’t actually do a wet block for this yet.  I steamed it, since I was eager to put it on and take some photos.  I think a few ripples here and there would look nicer with a wet block, but I’m happy to get to wear it. bluesand-2

Never thought you’d use algebra after high school?  Knitters use it all the time.  In this case, if you’re subbing yarn, you just need to know your stitch gauge from the swatch with the new yarn (you swatched, right?), then look at the total stitch count around the chest size (or wherever the fit matters to you most) and divide by your swatch’s stitches per inch.  Simple, simple.  I was within a half inch of my target chest size, so I just went with one of the written sizes to make it easy for myself to follow.  A half an inch is totally within the blocking margin of error.bluesand-3

At first I didn’t think all the pocket striping was worth it, but now I’m glad it’s there.  Same thing for the i-cord bind off.  It really finishes things nicely.

If you want to know more specifics about the yarn, further project notes, and yardage used, check out my project page on Ravelry.  It’s public, so you can see it even if you aren’t a Ravelry user (but why wouldn’t you be?).bluesand-4

I love this cardigan and I should get to wear it for several chilly mornings, evenings, rainy days, and in overly air-conditioned offices for days to come.

G-g-g-g-gradient!

I love this top.  It’s Whispers, another brilliant design by Veera Valimaki.  I love her style.  The pattern was originally called “Wispers” on Ravelry and in the magazine preview, and “Whispers” in the pattern itself.  It has since been corrected on Ravelry to read “Whispers”.  I fixed my previous posts since the library graduate assistant me couldn’t stand to have all of those incorrect keywords floating around.whispers-3

This top is meant to be worn with more ease, but I only had 635 yards in my gradient kit, and I was hesitant to buy a second kit since these yarns are not sold separately.  I decided to knit the smaller size, add a bit of length for my long waist, and not worry so much about the extra ease since it would still fit at this size.  I still like the effect, and I’m so happy the kit worked for this!whispers

The kit is the Terra Cotta colorway from Black Trillium Fibres on Etsy.  I used all but a couple of yards for this project.  If you recall from an earlier post, I did run out of yarn and I ripped back to the waist decreases and made a few alterations so that I wouldn’t run out a second time.  It was a bit of a pain, but worth it to save the cost of an extra kit.  I’m sure I could have found a good use for more of these beautiful colorways though…whispers-2

Round and round

My New Girl skirt is not finished, but I’m nearing the finish on it soon.  I thought I should do an update on it, so here is where I am:new girl-6

I went with the Marina colorway for the contrast color.  It just kept sticking out as the color choice that would work best with my wardrobe, and it was the clear option for use with some highlighter yellow tights I’m itching to wear with this skirt.new girl-4

I’m working the daisy stitch portion of the skirt.  It’s definitely slower than stockinette, and requires me to look down at the knitting, but I think it’s a nice decorative element to the skirt and it will probably provide some structure to the lower portion.  I will be omitting the daisy stitch near the pockets because I like the sleeker look of them without adornment, like this Raveler’s example.  Angela is ahead of me on this KAL.  Last I heard,  she  was already working on making her pocket bags, but I bet she’s done by now!new girl-5

This thing still looks huge, but I’m keeping the faith that elastic will work wonders.  I hope there will still be a few days to wear this when I finish. Spring is wildly unpredictable temperature-wise where I live, so I’m guessing that I will wear it a few times.

Have knitting, will travel

Matt and I went to Kansas City at the beginning of the week for a couple of days with some friends. While there, I went to visit The Studio yarn shop.  It’s a cute little store near the Westport area.  I got some super shocking pink Regia sock yarn and one skein of Madeline Tosh DK in Filigree.  They had a Gnarled Oak Cardigan made with the Filigree colorway and it was GORGEOUS.  The yarn itself is lovely in the skein, but I probably wouldn’t have considered it in the same way without seeing it knit into something beautiful.  It took me a long time to decide whether I should buy a sweater’s worth of the Mad Tosh DK, or just a single skein.  I went for the single skein since Matt kept reminding me about my 3 out of 4 projects coming from stash goal at the beginning of the year.  I haven’t counted, but he had a good point.  And impulse buying a sweater’s worth of yarn without a particular sweater in mind is always a bit of a risk.  I can easily make a hat or a variety of accessories with a single skein.madeline tosh

I am always willing to risk buy skeins of gorgeous sock yarn though… regia

I was a little disappointed with their sock yarn selection.  They have some lovely brands, but it looks like they need to restock a bit.  I was happy to feel Anzula Milky Way in person, but they only had a single skein in a color that didn’t interest me.  I was really hoping to acquire more Anzula Squishy yarn, but they didn’t have any, despite showing some on their site.

The super shocking Regia (color Violett) will likely become some kind of tunic or sweater for Z, with the leftovers as socks for me perhaps.  I really enjoy the kind of pinks that make my retinas scream.

Dissertation edits are still happening, but they’re slowing down.  I’m ready for this baby to be fully done.  This feels like a super long pregnancy that’s finally coming to fruition.

I am nearing the finish on both BlueSand Cardigan and the New Girl skirt for my KAL with Angela.  Updates soon!