One back down, two fronts and two sleeves to go.

Dan’s Aran.
I’ve finished the back of Dan’s Aran! Hurray!

I immediately cast on for the first front, so I didn’t lose interest. Even though my deadline for this sweater project is Thanksgiving. It’s nice to have some leeway.

Dan's Aran: Left front in progress.

I’m knitting this at a slightly larger size than the largest size the pattern has. Basically, I added 8 stitches to the body of the sweater in length (4 on the back, 2 on each front), which creates an extra 2.5″ of ease in the sweater. I’m also knitting it slightly longer than called for. This is a really easy sweater to modify since there is no shaping for the fit or the sleeves – it has simple drop sleeves, that are picked up and knit down from the sweater body, and the only important shaping is the v-neck of the sweater, which is kind of the same, regardless of size.

Dan's Aran: Left front in progress.
Cable Details. Color is not true here.

So far, I’m still so happy with it, and so is Dan.

Yarn Addiction.
So happy, in fact, that I ordered four skeins of Cascade Eco Wool for my own sweater. I’m considering making Starsky from Winter 05 Knitty. Except with no tie and buttons, like Starsky Jr from Winter 06 Knitty.

I bought the Eco Wool in a natural color, and four skeins, with shipping, came to about $54 on yarn.com. FIFTY FOUR DOLLARS for 1,912 yards of wonderful, two-ply, slightly heavier than worsted, off-white wool.

WEBS has a great price as it is ($15/skein for Eco Wool, $18/skein for Eco+ [that’s the colored one that Dan’s Aran is knit with]), but add in yarn.com’s discount (more than $60 and take 20% off), and you’ve got a skein of the vanilla-colored Eco Wool for about $13.05, including shipping. I know, it’s fabulous.

I have such a yarn problem.

Gratuitous Yarn Dying.
Here’s a shot of some of the yarn I dyed last week, all balled up and waiting for a project.

Balled and ready to be knit.

The two smaller green balls were dyed with Lime Kool-Aid a million years ago, and I over-dyed them last week with Country Classics Dye.  I’m very happy with the green variations they have going on.

The one in the middle is self-striping burgundy and green (it’s a little darker than the picture appears).  Worsted weight (it’s Paton’s Classic Merino).  I was aiming for a green and pink/orange stripe, but the orange was first too bright and looked like the Irish flag, and then quickly got too red, and looked like Christmas.  Now it has a bit of green in it, which made it deeper and browner.

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Skein = Back = Ball

Random “I want to knit this!” moment
I never really wanted to stop playing dress up, and I’ve always loved costumes and such. Which probably explains why I want to knit this princess hat from Vickie Howell’s “New Knits on the Block” book so much. Oh! A felted princess hat! How cool is that! I’ll never wear it anywhere, but it makes me wish I was still seven years old.

Dan’s Aran
I’ve almost finished the back of Dan’s Aran. It looks like it is going to take a little more than a skein of Cascade Eco+. This yarn is kind of awesome. It’s 478 yards of wonderful two-ply wool goodness. 478 yards in a skein! The entire sweater is going to take four skeins, I think (I could have called it close with three, but I think that four will be safe).

Dan's Aran: A skein = a back = a ball

Foot [well, he walked into the picture, is more like it] and DVD included for scale. This is three skeins of the yarn – one is still in the hank, one is knit into the back of the sweater, and one is balled up and ready to go.

Oh, and ignore the color and the cabling in that photo – I had to use a flash, and it the photo doesn’t do the sweater justice.  It’s really coming out well.

FO: Hand-Dyed Feather and Fan Scarf

Feather and Fan scarf is done!

Blurry Close-Up of Self-Striping Feather & Fan
Extreme Close-Up.

Very easy. I cast on 36 sts, and dove in. It knit up really fast, and I was surprised by the amount of length I got out of a single skein (I should have planned a bit better with that, but this was all so off the cuff).

I finished it while I was at work, and immediately made the boyfriend take pictures when I got home. He seemed to like taking pictures of me with the camera tilted to the side.

Emo Shot II
Modeled Shot 1

Emo Shot
Modeled Shot 2
Pattern, over a multiple of 18sts:
Row 1: Knit.
Row 2: Purl.
Row 3: *K2tog 3 times. yo, k1 6 times. k2tog 3 times.
Row 4: Knit.

I like yarn.

I have a serious yarn problem. But who doesn’t?

Hand-Dying Experiments.

I’ve been dying yarn over the past few days, and am very happy with my results.

Self-Striping Yarn (Hand Dyed)

This is on Paton’s Classic Merino, using Wilton’s Icing Dyes. It’s my attempt at self-striping yarn, and it kind of succeeded, as can be seen in this feather and fan scarf beginnings.

Self-Striping Feather and Fan Scarf

The purple was a cool accident – I had been trying for moss green and grey-blue with runs of white in between them, but the blue I used had a lot of red in it. The red moved into the yarn first, along with a bit of the blue, creating that cool purple. The sky blue are the remaining white parts that I put in the dye pot after all of the red had been absorbed from the grey-blue. The runs are really, really short (I wound the skein the length of my bedroom, which just isn’t very big), but I think it was an excellent first try. LOVE that green.

Hand-Dyed Yarn

These skeins are orphan skeins of some LionBrand Fisherman’s Wool and KnitPick’s Wool of the Andes that I dyed with Country Classic Dyes. The three on the left were white to begin with and the three on the left were leftover from playing with Kool-Aid and wool a few years ago (so they were a nice lime green). For the pre-Kool-Aid dyed skeins, I didn’t mix the dye – I just sprinkled the blue powder directly on the yarn, then poured a little vinegar and hot water on top. I wrapped each one up in a package of plastic wrap, stuck them in a disposable cake pan, and let them brew like sun tea on my balcony for the better part of a sunny day.

Overall, I’m in shock of the beautiful colors I got with the icing dyes. Combine with the easy accesibility to purchase them, the great color selection, the relative cheapness, and the ease of use (not poison!), I think that’ll be what I use from now on.

More Yarn.

Also, I couldn’t resist WEBS sale on Cascade 220, and now have 8 skeins in “Lime Heather,” the lovely color seen in the upper right hand corner in this little swatchy-wishlist-picture.  The other colors are of some Cascade 220 colors I want.  If the Quatro had been on sale, I would have been all over the two color cards on the left.

Cascade 220 and 220 Quattro

That image is from my yarn wish list, where I made mosaics and notes on yarns I want.  You can check them out on Flickr, if you want.

Yarn Love?

The thing with the excess yarn – is that yarn really, really makes me happy.  I love it.  I love the colors, the texture, how it looks in a bowl or a drawer or a basket, how it feels while I knit it, piles of it everywhere, how it looks in a nice little hank or a ball.  The mere presence of yarn brings joy to my life, and I know that sounds crazy.  Sometimes I think that I may love the yarn as much as I love the knitting, the creation and planning and playing with the yarn is such a big part of the knitting for me.  I think that they’re inseparable.   Oh, yarn.  How I love you.

One sweater: down.

I’ve been working on a lot of sweater projects lately. I finished one today.

Three Skein Wonder

Glampyre’s One Skein Wonder. Took three skeins of yarn (two of Filatura di Crossa Print 127, a cool self striping yarn that rotates solid and variegated.) I knit until that yarn was exhausted, then used a skein of Mission Falls 1824 Superwash Wool in pumpkin for the trim, both the sleeves and the edge. My boss bought the yarn for me to make the sweater for her as a going away gift, as she is moving to Colorado in two weeks!

I used US7s, which is slightly smaller than the needle called for. Created a nice, soft fabric.

The pumpkin colored wool just happened to be in my stash, but it goes really well with the yarn Jessica picked out. It’s a good thing she likes orange! I’m very happy with how it came out.

As always, I hate top down raglans as I knit. Why does my row need to get longer every single time?!? But it does seem fast. And is very nice for making cropped cardigans and little shrugs, which I do love very much. So it’s worth it in the end, I suppose.

Bonus close-up progress photo:
Three Skein Wonder.
Mmm.. I love seed stitch.

Stress Makes Me Knit.

Custom Chunky Top-Down Raglan

I did most of this yesterday. Including swatching, measuring, and math. And going to work and having a job interview. Sometimes life just throws too much stuff at you.

This was once my Bulky Mini-Cardigan from Stefanie Japel’s Fitted Knits. Though I loved the sweater to death, loved the increases, the colors, the yarn, the shape, it was incredibly unflattering on me. Two nights ago, I was watching Knitty Gritty and saw the “Knits That Fit” episode. I decided that a nice combo of the custom top-down raglan from that show and my knowledge of how the yarn works and pretty increases from the mini-cardi would be perfect.

So at two am, I ripped the Mini-Cardi apart. I swatched and measured on my way to work, and did the math while I ate lunch. Then I started knitting.

I don’t know how long it is going to be, or what kind of edging yet. But my stress isn’t going away anytime soon, so there may be a sweater by the time I go back to work on Friday.

I’ve also been knitting along on Dan’s Aran. It’s a bit too big to bring to work, so it’s my sitting on the couch project now.

Dan's Aran.

Two sweater updates.

I’m knitting fourteen million sweaters in progress.  Here are two of them.

This is Jack’s Aran Cardigan, from Men In Knits.  It’s knit out of Cascade Eco-Wool, in a teal color.  I’m using US9s, and it’s knitting up suprisingly quickly for a huge aran cardigan.  I love how it is knitting up, the Eco-Wool is suprisingly soft, and it’s the perfect sweater for Dan.  He requested, as you may remember, a cardigan with cables.  He wants pockets, too, but I don’t know if I am going to throw those in there yet.  He’s very picky about his knits – he doesn’t like stuff knit on large needles, he really likes ribbing, he doesn’t like any holes that he could accidentally poke his toes or fingers through.  I’m a little worried about the sweater, but I love it, so if he doesn’t wear it… I will!

It’s a bit hard to tell in that photo, but you can see my favorite thing for reading cable charts: color coding.  I grab some markers, pens, or highlighters, and I color in the cables and the keys.  I can’t tell my right from my left, and sometimes it is hard for me to immediately recognize which way a cable is leaning in chart form.  It’s must easier for me to associate the colors, and it makes cable knitting not a pain in the ass (along with cabling without a cable needle).

Another sweater I’ve been working on is a simple custom fit E. Zimmerman’s raglan in Paton’s Classic Merino, with hem facing in oh-so-soft Emerald Blue Malabrigo.  I want to live in Malabrigo.

You may remember this from my (sadly, now defunct) “A Day in the Life of a Sweater” photo-series.  Obviously, I have no attention span.

I’ve finished both of the sleeves, and have been dawdling along on the body for months now.  I get bored by the endless stockinette, and I just let it sit, picking it up when it’s near me and I have time for a few stitches.  I haven’t decided what kind of shaping I’m going to do at the top of the sweater (traditional raglan?  seamless hybrid? oh, the endless Zimmerman choices).

Now I will return to my Wednesday afternoon tradition: DIY and HGTV on the DVR, blog-catching up, and knitting in bed.  My favorite!