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Stripes Gone Crazy Sweater (Part 1)

(photo from the pattern page)

Stripes Gone Crazy by aletier alfa

Well, I’m doing it. I’m going to make a sweater. I feel like being able to successfully knit a sweater that looks good and is wearable is important, at least in terms of my feeling like an capable knitter. Never one to take on reasonable challenges, I of course chose a more complicated pattern for my first sweater – Stripes Gone Crazy by atelier alfa (paid pattern). Gorgeous pattern if you ask me and well worth paying for, and I HATE paying for patterns. So much more interesting than just a basic striped sweater. The pattern is complicated but seems really well written and clearly laid out with lots of explanations and graphics explaining the different techniques used, which is fantastic.

Cascade Heritage Sock Yarn

Now, I do worry this wasn’t the best choice because it has certain echoes of my Sonar Shawl. Lots of stockinette and stripes of varying widths in fingering weight yarn… Sounds familiar, eh? I am really hoping that because these stripes are done using short rows  and there is a lot more interesting knitting going on that I won’t find it as tedious and miserable to finish. Please god, I hope this isn’t as bad as that shawl was. That said, I do love the end result of that shawl, so maybe even if it is awful to knit it will still be worth it.

After deciding on a pattern I ordered my yarn online. After consulting with others on Ravelry I decided to go with Cascade Heritage Sock yarn. I had originally thought of buying 4 different colours for the stripes to create a gradient or ombre effect, but my Post-Christmas yarn budget didn’t really allow for that. Instead I went with two colours – China Grey for the main colour, and Cerulean for the secondary colour. For the first time ever I ordered the yarn via Yarn.com. It took two weeks for my yarn to arrive (damn you, international shipping times!) but it arrived yesterday. First impressions of the yarn are very positive. Really nice texture, soft, the colours are nice. I wish the China Grey was a lighter grey but that isn’t a huge deal. My only real complaint is that the balling the yarn is a big fat pain in my ass. Why the hell haven’t I bought a swift and ball winder yet?! Why do I keep forcing myself to go through the torment of balling things by hand?! Such a pain in the ass and by far my least favourite part of knitting. I managed to ball 3 last night using my knees as a makeshift swift, and each ball taking me about 30 minutes to do. Ugh. But hey, each of them balled up really smoothly, no tangles or knots like I usually get when I ball hanks of yarn like this by hand. And now I have two grey and one blue balled and ready to go.

After taking my measurements I decided to cast on the XL size. I was absolutely convinced I was going to have to make the XXL size and then cross my fingers that even that would fit, but the XL size seems to be almost exactly my measurements. I clearly still haven’t updated my inner size after having lost all this weight (100lbs and counting! Yeah!). I’m hoping for a bit of negative ease so that it isn’t all droopy and baggy.

And so it begins. Looking forward to seeing some progress on this.

 

Click here to see every post about my Stripes Gone Crazy sweater, or visit my Ravelry project page.

 

 


Birthday Sprinkles Ski Bonnet

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The hat before I blocked it.

This modified version of the Neon Ski Bonnet is fairly fabulous. The rainbow sparkle white yarn reminds me a lot of sprinkles on a birthday cake and makes me giggle every time I look at it. Yes, I am 32 and overjoyed to have a hat that reminds me of birthday sprinkles. Judge me if you wish. I’m not ashamed.

This hat only took me 4 days, which is twice as long as the first one took me but still not too long. I didn’t feel the big rush this time since I was making it for myself. My modified cable pattern (explained below) was faster to knit than the cable pattern in the original design, but how I did the wraps in the bonnet portion took me longer due to my changing my mind. 034I did a MUCH better job making a pompom this time! Hurray! I also totally stand by my decision to do it in two colours. Granted the pink and sparkly white isn’t for everyone but I love it. Life is too short not to wear ridiculous stuff like this.

And of course, as luck would have it, the day after I make this splended joy-making hat for myself the weather warms up to a point where a hat would be foolish. Mother Nature is really harshing my groove.

 

My Project Notes:

  1. Closeup of the sparkle yarn and the wrapped rib pattern

    I used of Loops & Threads Impeccable in Arbour Rose (about half a ball) and Loops & Threads Impeccable Glitter in Ice Queen (about 2/3 of a ball). Same as last time, this cheapo acrylic yarn knit up nicely, is soft, and frankly looks good. I swear the past two projects have really made reconsider acrylic yarn’s merit.

  2. For the band I cast on 44 stitches and divided it to be 26 on one needle (outside/visible of band), 18 on the other (inside/hidden part of the band). I knit it on the round. I did 6 repeats of the cable pattern found at the bottom of this post for the top of the band and just knit all the stitches for the bottom of the band.
  3. I didn’t block it or kill it because I actually really like the poofy chunky look of it. I may block it eventually just to better show the cable pattern but for now I’m happy as is. [Edit: I actually did block it and yeah, looks awesome. Worth blocking to really show off the cables! And it drapes better now too.]
  4. The bonnet portion (in the pretty pretty sparkle yarn!) I knit with a basic 2×2 ribbing and didn’t do the wraps until after I finished because I was intending to do the wrap sin the pink. It looked pretty terrible when I tried doing the wraps in the pink though, so I did them in the sparkly white, and did them every 5 rows and every pair of ribs. The end result is a much more intricate looking pattern that I adore, but damn, I wish I had done it while I was knitting the bonnet. What a pain it was doing it after the fact!
  5. The ties are braids with 24 strands (8 strands in each of the three braid pieces). I did it in both colours of yarns to tie the hat all together. They are nice and thick and match the weight of the hat.
  6. Did the pompom in both colours to tie it all together, same as the ties.

 

Cable Pattern:

Row 1-4: p2, k10, p2, k10, p2

Row 5: p2, C10B, p2, k10, p2030

Row 6-10: p2, k10, p2, k10, p2

Row 11:  p2, C10B, p2, k10, p2

Row 12-16: p2, k10, p2, k10, p2

Row 17: p2, k10, p2, C10B, p2

Row 18-22: p2, k10, p2, k10, p2

Row 23: p2, k10, p2, C10B, p2

Row 24: p2, k10, p2, k10, p2

 

C10B = slip 5 stitches to a cable needle and hold to the back of your work, knit 5, then knit the 5 from the cable needle


Swirled Ski Cap (and matching mittens) 1

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The finished set

For Christmas my sisters bought me a couple balls of Lion Brand Amazing yarn. This was the first I had ever heard of this yarn, but I definitely liked the colour gradient nature of it. (I’m such a sucker for colour gradient yarn!) I really wanted to make something with the yarn they gave me and I found the Swirled Ski Cap pattern. Yes, technically is a pattern for a hat for kids, but screw that. It is a super cool pattern so I made it for myself. Plus, it is a free pattern, and I am a sucker for free patterns.

Note to self: don’t knit hats in flesh tones if it gathers at the top because it WILL end up looking like a sphincter.

I have ended up wearing this set a LOT since I made them. I think they look pretty cute without being too young or silly looking.

I will admit that there was a small issue to solve around where the hat was gathered together at the top… it ended up looking a lot like a big pink sphincter. Disturbing, I know…. No one wants a hat that looks like it has a bum hole! I looked in the project notes of other people who made the hat and they said the same (though they described it rather more delicately than “my hat has a bum hole”…) but were able to hide the sphincter with a pompom. I was asked not to put a pompom on this hat so I didn’t have that option. I did find a very lovely solution though which I will describe in a minute.

Overall I really love this pattern and would make it again. It is quite simple and easy to do and the end result is a very cool looking hat. I also love that the hat and mitts together used up almost all of one ball of Lion Brand Amazing yarn. I think that if I were to do it again next time I would pick up stitches at the top of the hat and do proper knitted decreases to avoid the top of my hat looking like a butt-hole. I’m pretty sure if I had use a pompom as the pattern specified it would have hid the gather, but my workaround looks pretty good, so I guess it is no big deal.

 

My Project Notes:

    • I used 1 skein of Lion Brand Amazing yarn in the Regatta colourway (with only a couple yards to spare! PERFECT!)
Crocheted edge looks tidy and was really fast to do

Crocheted edge looks tidy and was really fast to do

  • I used ~1/3 of a ball of Loops & Threads Soft & Shiny Solids in white
  • I cast on 45 stitches for the main part of the hat. That is more than the pattern specifies but I have a big noggin and I wanted to make sure it fit. That ended up being perfect.
  • I HATE HATE HATE seeing the purl ridge when colours are changed, so I changed up the stripe pattern. I knit 4 in the main colour, then purled 3 in the white followed by 1 knit row in the white.By doing this I kept the colour change purl rows all hidden inside the hat. WIN!
  • The pattern calls for a big ribbed fold over edge to the hat but I thought that would  make this look too heavy. Instead I did a a couple rows of double crochet to edge it. Looks perfect.
  • I suppose I could have used Kitchener Stitch to seam the two sides together, but I’m lazy and frankly didn’t care enough. Instead I just did a crocheted seam. Super fast, super easy, invisible from the outside. What more can you ask for!
  • The pattern calls for a pompom and man do I ever want one but my husband vetoed it, declaring that this was the nicest and classiest hat I have made, saying how great it looks on me as it is, and saying that a pompom would ruin it. He so rarely has any opinion on my knitting, so fine, no pompom, but I was left with a big pink sphincter looking thing at the top of the hat where it was gathered together.
    Swirl Ski cap Crocheted Top

    A lot better than what it looked like before, believe me…

    I refuse to wear a hat that looks like a bum hole so I crocheted a circle around the top to close it off and hide the sphincter. It actually think it looks really good and my husband is happy.

  • The mittens are basically the same thing as the hat, but I made the purled white rows 1 row less so that more of the colour gradient would shine through. I also finished every white stripe with a knitted row to keep the colour change purl row inside the hat. I knit them using an afterthought thumb 8 stitches wide.
  • The hat and mitts look great, even though the colour gradient has resulted in three pieces with very different colours. My only complaint is that the mitts aren’t super warm. The purled white row is far from wind resistant. Good for normal days, but super cold days require different mittens. Honestly I think the problem is that I used cheap acrylic yarn for the white stripes.

Neon Ski Bonnet (aka. Knitted Sympathy)

I don’t generally like knitting for other people. I feel too much pressure to make it PERFECT, and I always worry they won’t like it, or (worse) won’t appreciate it enough to justify the work that went in to it.

However, last week my very best friend (and cousin) found out that a job she was hoping for was given to someone else. This job would have had her moving to my city which would have meant we’d be able to see each other a lot more – as it stands we are only able to see each other once every few months – so we’re both extremely disappointed. When she called me to let me know she demanded “Knitted Sympathy” and a cousin visit. Well, I wasn’t going to say no…

Don’t I look snazzy?

Its a Neon Ski Bonnet. What a great pattern and what a great end result!!

I’m going to visit her this coming weekend and will bring it with me then but I couldn’t wait until then to see if she liked it so I emailed her a couple pictures of it. She LOVES it and has already forwarded pictures of it around to other people to brag about what I made her. So many thank yous and “Oh my god, look at the detail, that must have been so hard!” comments.

So I may not generally like knitting for other people, but she has made it 1000% worth it. She can consider herself officially added to my “People Who Are Knitworthy” list. 🙂 This brings the list to a total of 3 people (me, my kid, and her). LOL

 

My project notes:

  • I made the Adult Large size hat.
  • Used Loops & Threads Impeccable Solids yarn that I got on sale at Michael’s for $2.50 a ball. For being inexpensive acrylic yarn it actually knit up quite well and was fine to work with. I generally sort of hate using cheap ass yarn like this but I was in a hurry and I am sort of broke after Christmas… 🙁
  • The hat itself took almost exactly 1 ball of yarn, but then I needed to break in to a second ball to make the pompom and ties.
  • The time the hat took me to knit was pretty evenly divided between the cabled band, and everything else. I was really getting grumpy over the band and how it was a tube and therefore taking a lot longer to knit than I felt it should have, but now that it is done I fully support the tube band. Extra warm and thick, AND the weight of it contributes to the hat’s ability to stay comfortably on my head.
  • I could NOT get the twisted stitches in the band to look right so I eventually gave up and just did a tight cable on either side (cables going in opposite directions). Looks okay but I wouldn’t do it the same way again. The next time I make one (which will be very soon) I will either find a way to make the twisted stitches work, or, more likely, will devise a totally different cable motif for the band.
  • For a hat like this you need to make substantial ties for it to look right. I made small dainty ones (as seen in the above photo) and they look dwarfed and stupid. I will be redoing them to be about three times as thick, and I think I will braid instead of twist.
  • My pompom making skills leave a lot to be desired. Freg.