Laar at Last

Laar Lace Sweater

Hello everyone!

I have not yet completely disappeared from the planet. As you can see, I have still been knitting, albeit slowly.

The new job has been very busy and fun, but I have still managed, after 6 long months, to finish the Laar sweater! It involved doing a lot of techniques that were either completely new to me or that I had only done maybe once before. And yet it still turned out wearable with no obvious flaws. It’s a success!!

Laar Lace Sweater

Laar Lace Sweater

Laar Lace Sweater

Laar Lace Sweater

Ravelry project page.

A Little Something for the Office

Happy Monday morning everyone!

I have now completed five days (not consecutive) at my new job, and been paid for not working on a holiday. It’s going pretty well so far. My only real problem at the moment is that the two new pairs of shoes I bought specifically for work because I thought they would be nicer looking and yet still be good for walking around campus have now both given me giant blisters. One was a pair of Born sandals and the other some cute Cole Haan’s with a small wedge and Nike Air insoles. Drat.

I DID manage on my day off on Wednesday to sneak in a tiny sewing project! I took two of those nine patch blocks that I have been hand piecing (though I haven’t done any lately) and sewed them together to make myself a coaster for my tea mug at work.

Nine Patch Coaster, side 1

The hand quilting stitches don’t show as well on the back, of course, but I really like both color palettes. This entire (tiny) project was all sewn by hand!

Nine Patch Coaster, side 2

And on Saturday I hemmed a pair of new pants. Not exciting, but technically a sewing project!

I’ve also been working on knitting that sweater. Progress is definitely being made. It’s a bottom up sweater and I have finished the oceans of stockinette on the bottom and my next row is the first row of the lace pattern. Wish me luck!

Getting Ready to Knit Some Lace

Remember this sweater?

For which I bought this yarn at Stitches West 2012?
RedFish Lace Yarn

I’m finally getting started on this project!

Step one: wind yarn into balls (one of which is smaller because I’d already done step 2 by the time I took this picture).
Red Fish Merino/Silk Lace

Step two: gauge swatch.
Gauge Swatches for Laar Sweater

This pattern unfortunately calls for 5 different needles in three different sizes (the others are different lengths). I usually knit really tightly, so I started by swatching the larger needle I would need, one size up. It called for a 6 and I tried 7. This looked pretty good.

Gauge Swatch, size 7

I use a technique I read in my Little Red in the City book for keeping track of gauge swatches. When doing stockinette stitch like this, you just put in a few purl bumps in one row that equal the size of your needle. So, there are 7 purl bumps where the arrow is above, because I was using a size 7 needle. Cool, huh?

Gauge Swatch, Sizes 4 and 5

I started a size up for the smaller needle as well (called for a 4 so I tried a 5), but this was clearly too big, so I switched to 4’s, which look to be perfect, for some unknown reason. On this swatch there are two rows of bumps. Everything above the 5-bump row was done with size 5 needles, and below that was the size 4 needles.

Step 3: Plan for alternating skeins.

I have never had to alternate skeins before unless I was changing colors. But this is hand-dyed yarn and a whole sweater, and I don’t want it to look patchy. And if you can’t tell from the photos above, one of these skeins is obviously lighter than the others. So, I did a bunch of research on Ravelry, and decided that since I’m knitting flat, it would work best and look best to alternate three skeins. Problem was that I have four skeins, and I didn’t want one left at the end without anything to alternate it with.

So, I devised this plan.

Chart for Alternating Skeins

I’ll start with balls A, B, and C, and knit until the balls are about 1/3 gone. I can determine that using my kitchen scale. Then I’ll switch to using balls B, C, and D until all the balls are (another) 1/3 gone. Then I’ll switch to using balls C, D, and A. At this point, I will have basically used up ball C. I will then switch to using the last 1/3 of D, B, and A. I actually think this will work!

Unfortunately, after swatching and buying needles, I have decided that I am still short one pair for making this sweater. And of course it’s the ones I need to do the cast on. But I’m ready to get started once I get that pair of needles!

Color Affection Shawl

Color Affection Shawl

It’s finally done! And I love it. I just need to figure out how exactly to wear it. Because it is HUGE!! And super snuggly.

Color Affection Shawl

Details available on my project page on Ravelry.

And We’re Blocking…

Blocking Shawl

Also, here’s a shot of one of the two whole cloth quilts I’m making being pin-basted last week. I got both of these machine quilted already as well, and have selected binding fabrics from my stash.

Pin Basting Poppies

I’m making such quick progress on these two quilts, that I’m actually harboring some hopes that I’ll be able to get the other three done soon as well. I’m always overly-ambitious that way.

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