Friday, November 21, 2008

Top 5

The top five ways that you know you have been working bloody hard, physically AND mentally.

And the winners are....

5. Your voice is going from shouting over the noise of it all

4. Your whole body aches from running up and down stairs all day

3. You've eaten junk food for every night for a week

2. Every time you blow your nose, black stuff comes out (Ew!)

and the number one tell tale sign of too much work.......

1. You have barely done any knitting at all!!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cherry Blossom

Late on Thursday afternoon I got an IM from Zena saying....
It is done...

I am very tired so am going to bed.

Will block tomorrow. Should get some photos for you. Hopefully i can stretch it a bit during blocking, it's a bit snug at the moment!!
I could not believe she had finished it already. She is a machine!

This morning I received this in my mailbox....
Well it is done! I just laid it out to block and took some semi-happy snaps for you. Something seems to have gone west with my gauge as it is quite snug, yarn band says 22st/10cm, my swatch was 22st/10cm (just) so who knows what happened. before blocking it was more like a 33-34" than a 36" (I need it to be 35"). I've pinned it out to 35" but not sure how it will hold up. I am pretty dissappointed at this stage, as it feels like the shaping would be perfect if only it was a bit bigger. The buttons are just tied on so I could try it one properly although I quite like the simple mother of pearl and I think the size is about right too (will still need to buy buttons though as these are actually slightly different sizes/styles). Photo's attached for the fans.

Oh dear Zenes! I'm sure that once you try it on, the wonders of negative ease will kick in. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you darling! Doesn't it look fabulous though. I just love the colour.

Meanwhile I am still faffing with sleeves and spending way too much time thinking about buttons!

Here are the results of those deliberations.

Half an hour playing and dragging poor Chi Wai in to view five different button options! I also went through all of these options with the girls at SnB yesterday hoping for a unanimous decision which of course I did not get. I have managed to narrow it down to either the pink plastic flower buttons (two top squares to the left in the photo) or the creamy shell buttons shown in the centre square. Also note that I am planning to go for seven buttons rather than the five specified by the pattern in an attempt to limit gaping. See what I meant by "thinking too much about buttons"!!!

I have however finally made a decision on the sleeves. I've taken a similar path to what Zena has done. I wrapped the back ribbing section around my arm to see how many stitches I would need (61), cast on that many and then evenly increased after the ribbing to get to required number of stitches (74). I think it has worked okay. Sleeve one is knitted and blocking with sleeve two about half done on the needles. I still need to seam everything up and knit the button band and neck band. Still a little way to go before I catch up to Zena.

The saga continues.....

Getting our knit together!

We had another very successful SnB yesterday. Yes, I know we have been talking about naming it something else, but when we get together we always preoccupied with other things. Kundi has a few great suggestions here. I personally like "U-knitted Nations".

We had another two new members join us yesterday bringing us to 10 people! Our two new members Asma'a and Rama are both new to knitting, in fact we were giving them lessons right there in the cafe. Hala always comes prepared for this with a spare set of needles and ball of yarn. Asma'a and Rama were both very excited to be learning to knit, and not at all put off by the level of obsession of the rest of us. Yay!

There was a bit of excitement at the Marina Mall yesterday while we were there. The Korean Navy Band (go figure!) was playing on the ice rink, complete with little dancing men banging on drums with streamers on their hats making quite a racket!

It was quite a lot to compete with, still we managed to lift our voices above it all and continue. I think this was our longest get together yet. We were there for five hours. Go us!

I've said it before and I will say it again. It's so nice to have some knitting friends that I can get together to knit with again. Yay!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cherry Pie

Last night I had a dream that Zena and I were both knitting the same cardigan. I walked into a room to find Zena's cardigan blocking out on the bed, almost finished. It was completely assembled except that the right front was not quite finished being knitted (impossible I know, but it was a dream, okay!). In the dream the cardigan had long sleeves, a small cable pattern all over it and this really interesting flared peplum done in short rows. It was more like a structured jacket than a cardigan I would have to say and I think it was pale blue. In the dream I was no where near this finished and there was a definite sense of panic. Weird!

In real life, we are both still plugging away at our Cherries, at slightly different paces, stopping to work on other projects from time to time, until the other person (me) has a chance to catch up a bit!

After my comment last time about the possibly small sleeves, Zena had this to say (earlier in the week)....
Ooh I see what you mean about the sleeves! I just cast on for the first one, only knitted two rows of the rib and I can see already that its not going to fit! The sleeves are cast on 57 stitches, rib for an inch and then do a bunch of increases to get 76 stitches. I just wrapped the back of my cardi around my upper arm and I need 75 stitches to get the rib sitting comfortably- which is pretty much exactly what I'll have after the ribbing and increases in the pattern, except that 57 stitches will definitely not fit. Therefore I think I'm going to make the call to cast on 75 stitches, rib away for an inch and then increase 1 stitch to get an even number and continue as per the sleeve cap in the pattern. It means my sleeves won't be puffy but hey I never expected them to be! At least this way it should fit AND I won't have to mess around with the sleeve cap- this is my first proper adult fitted sleeves so would like to just follow the pattern this time!
Can you see why she is my best friend! She is so clever. I still have not blocked my first sleeve to see how my solution to the problem turned out. I think I'm avoiding it, and I have a strong suspicion that I will just end up doing what Zena has done. Instead I went straight on to the left front and worked on something I knew would turn out okay. My usual denial technique!

Here's the left front (button band and all!) beside the back, after blocking,

and a bit of an artistic shot showing off the pretty stitch pattern. So much better without the flash!

I am now happily working away on the right front, still avoiding the issue of the sleeves!

Zena on the other hand has tackled it head on. A few days after making her hypothesis on the sleeves she had put it into practise. She sent me this....
Here are some progress photo's of my cherry- its growing!

I decided to go with the modified sleeves as we discussed earlier - I cast on 75 stitches for the 36" size, ribbed for an inch and then increased one stitch to give 76 stitches as called for in the pattern after the increase row. This meant I could just follow the pattern for the sleeve cap. It means the sleeve isn't puffy at all but it does fit and I think it looks fine. It was fun trying to fit the sleeve cap into place- I've never done a proper adult one before but it wasn't as scary as I expected.

Showing off her methodical approach to fitting the sleeve cap here,

and here with a sleeve that fits.

Note the yarn in the back pocket. Nice bum Zenes!

Ever the perfectionist, Zena has some concerns about the placement of birdies along the front openings.
I'm still really happy with the way this is progressing although I'm not 100% sure about the birdie placement in some areas- my guess is that it was designed for a smaller size (Miss Bell looks to be a bit slimmer than a 36") and the scaling up has thrown things out a bit. I won't really know if its a problem for me until its all finished, which feels a bit risky but hey that is knitting- if I wanted certainty I'd be buying a cardi in the shops not knitting it myself!
Looking at my photo above, I think the birdies along the front opening look fine once the button band is in place, and I hope for Zena's sake that she thinks so too. Otherwise I fear a lot of frogging. Yikes!

Just a little history on Zena and I. We met on the second day of University after moving into on campus accommodation and finding that we were next door to each other. Zena was studying Environmental Engineering and I was studying Materials Engineering. Being the only two female engineers in the place they must have figured that we would have something in common and that we would get along. They were right! That was fifteen years ago!

About five years ago (a little less) Zena and I continued our history of independently doing the same thing when we both decided (without any discussions between the two of us, hard to believe I know) that we wanted to learn how to knit. I had seen a blanket pattern in the "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine that I thought would look good on our new lounge in our new little house. I was newly married and must have been nesting. Zena found a fluffy white scarf that was a must have but didn't want to pay the $90 asking for something that was in her mind so simple.

Typical for the two of us, I went out and bought a book, and asked my Nanny to teach me how to knit, while Zena worked it out all by herself from her memories of knitting as a child. Zena still wears that scarf today (fluffy white angora in garter stitch with lots of tassels, just gorgeous) and my blanket did indeed look good on our new lounge. The rest as they say is history!