Hello, 33.

Today is my 33rd birthday.  I have a new shirt to wear.  It’s a finished Waterlily out of Louet Gems Fingering in Terra Cotta.  I’m very pleased to have another warm weather top finished!  waterlily finishedI added waist shaping to this, decreasing 4 stitches a row about every 6 rows, then increasing back at the same rate.  I like customizing this to my shape, so if I’m working from the bottom up I start decreasing around 6-6.5 inches and begin increasing again around 9-10 inches, depending on the length of the garment.  waterlily finished-2This one is about 15.5″ from the armpit to the bottom of the garment.  I added about 4 extra inches.  I am fairly long waisted, and I like my tops to dip down an inch or so below the top of my pants.  waterlily finished-3I loved knitting this top.  The yarn was soft and bouncy, the color makes me happy, and this project accompanied me through quite a few things.  I worked on it during some Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy training, while watching The Fault in Our Stars, and while listening to The Silkworm and Shadow of Night.  It holds many memories. waterlily finished-4I love the finished item too.  It’s dressy enough to wear to work or on a date, or casual enough for anytime wear.

waterlily finished-5The lace was fun and addictive.  I took a few days break when I got to the front neck division because I had little time for focus at that juncture, and that part definitely required some focus.  I couldn’t get the number of stitches to match the pattern on the row for dividing stitches.  I was 2 short, but I ended up just dividing it evenly and forgetting about it.  At the point for the kitchener and neck edging, I wish I had used a smaller needle.  The neck edging is a little loose at the back of the neck, but I doubt I’ll notice it later.  I love this top.

One of my birthday presents this year was a Fitbit Flex (the blue armband in the second picture).  It’s a pedometer/sleep monitor/general motivator that’s inspiring me to move around and meet my fitness and nutrition goals with real time feedback.  I love it so far.  I also have some Eaden Yarns self-striping sock yarn coming in the mail soon… I love birthdays!

Happy Bastille Day for those that celebrate it!

Ah, lace.

Lace keeps me wanting to knit and knit and knit, to watch the fabric take shape and change.  I took a break from the stiff linen yarn on Kit Camisole and I jumped back to my soft merino Waterlily to work the lace panel at the sleeves.  fluromania-2I’m nearly through two repeats of the lace.  It’s been a good companion the audio book version of Silkworm.  fluromania
I can’t wait to wear this.

Baby’s first rejected knitwear

peachick-5This is the first piece of knitwear that Z has refused to wear.  Even on days when there’s a bit of chill in the morning, she’s just not interested.  It’s called Peachick Eyes Cardigan, and it was a quick and fun knit.  The pattern includes a long sleeve option as well.  Luckily, I made this quite a bit bigger than she’s wearing now, so it’s likely she will be able to wear it through next year.  peachick-4She has no problem with Bear wearing the sweater.  We love to dress Bear.  The jacket she’s holding is one that looks like a child size Member’s Only jacket with a hood for rain.  She’s obsessed with it lately.  Even when she’s not wearing it, she’s often carrying it around with her.  Here’s some evidence from my Instagram feedScreen Shot 2014-06-11 at 4.16.28 PM Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 4.16.43 PM Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 4.16.59 PM

peachick-6The yarn is Colinette Jitterbug in Elephant’s Daydream.  I’ve used this yarn a few times, and I adore this color.

peachick-3If I get her in this sweater, I’ll try my best to snap a picture.

Knitting while learning

I feel doubly productive when I knit while I’m knitting and learning.  I had to attend a two-day training on Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and I was able to do a lot of plain stockinette knitting while I listened to the presenter, gaining some good ground on my Waterlily.  waterlily-2I think I had about 2 inches when I started knitting on Thursday.  I’m at about 13 after two days of knitting and listening.  The yarn is Louet Gems fingering in Terra Cotta.

waterlilyI added waist shaping and I’m adding extra length before the armholes, probably knitting until about 14.5″ before moving on to the lace.  It’s been a relaxing knit so far.

Halfway there!

I’m halfway through the Driftwood Tee that is my second TTTKAL project.  I’m loving working with this Manos Serena fiber.  I discovered I was a stitch short when I got to the shoulder shaping bind offs, and I have no idea where it went, but I continued forward and promptly put it out of my mind.  drift backI was happy to find that I had 14.4 grams leftover from the second ball, so I will only need 4 balls of this yarn for the top.  I’m not getting by on the skin of my teeth with crossed fingers for this project!  drift back-2

A dress that screams, “PINK!”

cocktail dress-7This dress has been done since May 7, when I eagerly cast on the Saco Stripes tank.  It’s called Cocktail(Dress) by La Maison Rililie.  This is the second pattern of hers that I’ve knitted.  I also made her BlueSand Cardigan and both patterns were well-written with nice polished details, like i-cord edgings.  While I didn’t always appreciate knitting the i-cord edging at the end when I wanted the dress to be DONE, I really like the look of them. cocktail dress-9I had to deviate from the pattern at the bottom, when I started to run out of the main color.  There are no contrast stripes in the original pattern, but since I bought my MC at a deep discount when it was discontinued, it was unavailable.  I had plenty of the lighter pink, so I improvised as shown above.  I wasn’t crazy about it at first, but it’s grown on me.  I think sometimes we fret over elements of a pattern while knitting them that become completely irrelevant later when wearing the garment.  cocktail dress-10

My sizing is between the small and medium sizes.  I wanted to hit something around the 34″ bust for a bit of negative ease there, but I wanted to keep some of the positive ease around the waist and hips.  I just compared my measurements to the finished garment schematics and tried to hit something that worked well for my body.  I left off a decrease in the waist, knitted to the high hip increases and worked as specified, then I added an additional hip increase.  I’m happy with the body skimming fit.  I also like the colors together more than I thought I would, and while it definitely screams, “GIRLY,” it is a dress, after all.  cocktail dress-4I put off taking pics till after my chin stitches were out, and then I just decided to do a photo shoot with just me, my camera, my tripod, and a remote.  Matt takes a lot of my pictures, and he does a fabulous job of it.  I can be very finicky about the specificity of an angle in a shot, or a weird face I’m making, so it’s nice when I can take a bunch of time and play around with the camera.  That’s also why this post is photo-heavy.  cocktail dress-2I used Laines du Nord Baby Milk yarn, a merino, milk-fiber, and cashmere blend.  I wish it wasn’t discontinued and was available in more colors.  It’s hella soft.  I used pink, light pink, and dove gray.  All in all, the dress cost only about 48 dollars, so I’m especially pleased for that much yarn.

Back to knitting!

Drifting on a sea of purple

I started this project on Monday, as soon as I got my Saco Stripes top sewn together.  For my second TTKAL project I’m making a Driftwood Tee, by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark.  I’ve been dying to use this Manos Serena yarn (color Boysenberry) for ages now.  It’s 60% alpaca and 40% cotton and it’s heavenly soft.

driftI love this color.  I love working with the deliciously soft yarn.  This top was appealing because I think it will also be appropriate for wearing to work at my upcoming position as a school-based counselor.  As a graduate assistant at the library, I could wear any of my hand knits with jeans, and that was fine workplace attire.  Now I will have to consider knitwear for work that can pair with skirts or nicer pants, so this top got to jump to the front of the queue with about 20 days to go until I start that job.

drift-4I’m making a couple of alterations, because sometimes I just can’t help myself.  First, this top would be waaaay to short for me.  I find many tops have about 12 inches or so between the armpit and the bottom edge, and this just doesn’t work for my freakishly long-waisted figure.  I need at least 14.5 inches before I feel comfortable, and I prefer more like 15.5, so that’s what I’m aiming for here.

Waist shaping is not included in this pattern, but that’s easy enough to add with a few measurements.  When I got to about 5.5 inches from the bottom, I marked off the center 28 sts and I mirrored ssk and k2tog decreases on either side of these markers.  I first held a tape measure up to my body with the 15.5 in mark at my armpit, and determined how many inches from the bottom I wanted my waist decreases to start based on my body’s curves, then noted where increases should start again (about 9″ for me).  Since this pattern has a design element on the side, moving the decreases to the center avoids making any other alterations to the pattern.  I also think that center decreases are rather flattering.

Cocktail(Dress) pics tomorrow!