Sunday, February 17, 2008

Wicked Crazy

Pardon the crummy photo (there are more), but Mr. S is away and it seems that my camera isn't so good at focusing while using the self-timer while balanced on a makeshift tripod made of piled up plastic bins. There's also the matter of my not-so-best Sunday look. That said, here's the first look at my finished Ridged Cowl neck sweater.

As you can see, I finally got the neck right. When I started this, I really had my doubts about the Manos because the needle size (8) seemed awfully small for the yarn. As it turns out, the first skein I started with was very heavy on the thick end of thick and thin. Unfortunately it also hell on my hands. As the sweater grew, so did the pains in my left hand from clutching the bulk. The claw! I think I pinched a nerve in my shoulder! Anyway, after blocking, the yarn softened up quite well and has a surprising amount of drape considering that it looked like a wrinkled elephant before. It was so bad that I referred to it as the "Michelin Man" sweater!

I really wanted this to be a winner because I was so in love with how it looked it the magazine photo. It did come out pretty much as pictured, but what you can barely see in my first photo above, but not in the magazine, is that there is a fair amount of fabric that likes to hang out it the back (Note to self: 4 inches of positive ease is not a good thing). If I were to make this again (which I probably wont), I would add side shaping, only because I can't quite figure out how I would change the number of cast-on stitches and increases to make the upper body work. I first wore it to work with black dress slacks and a scoop neck T, but as the day wore on, it felt frumpy and a little too hot; and I swear that when this yarn warms up it gives off a faint aroma of vinegar. Yesterday, I wore it with jeans and felt much better about it, because for a while, I started having those crazy thoughts. You know the ones: "Why the hell do I knit anyway? I never wear anything I make! All that time and money!" blah blah blah.

The other sweater I was working on didn't do much to bolster my knitting enthusiasm. I used Debbie Bliss Merino Aran to start Wicked and found the yarn to be crapola from the start. Stiff as Red Heart! What the hey? I won't even rant about the knots (@#$!). This wasn't cheap yarn but it sure knit up to look like it. Since purchasing it, I've felt skeins in other colors and they feel completely different. What's up with that? Here's what it looked like before I blocked it. See how the hem stands up and the bumpy stitches?

Here's a another look in color. I wish you could reach out and touch the yarn so you'd know how yucky it feels!

The good thing is that I love color and the fit is perfect.

So I thought that rinsing it would help soften it up...

Nope, still stiff. After 2 days of drying, it looks exactly the same. So I did the only other think I could think of. I steam blocked the hell out of it with my iron!

Voila! It still has that handmade look about it, but it kinda works with the geek chic thing.

I feel so uber cool!

When I first saw this pattern at Zephyr Style, I thought it was too "young" for me (being that I'm now considered "middle aged"), but I was surfing around Ravelry (deep dark hole) using the tag "sweaters" (you should try it if you don't want to look at any more fingerless mitts), and showing Mr. S all of the gorgeous work and he pointed out a finished Wicked and said "Why don't you make that?". I replied "Don't you think it's a little to young for me?", and he said (bless his heart), "I like it a lot better than some of that so-called fashion stuff you knit".

Since I knew from the start that I didn't like the yarn but loved the sweater, I started another one. I know. Yes, I do sleep. I'm not going to tell you what the yarn is, and if you already know, don't tell. But let's just say I'm doing a little experiment with bargain fibers. I will tell you that this is a dream to knit with and is super soft (no, that's not a hint).

Since I'm still Wicked Crazy, I bought some Lambs Pride Worsted in Cafe Au Lait to make a 3/4 length version because I love the way the variegated versions look.

You may have noticed that I changed my profile picture. I was tired of looking like a pin-up girl, so I photographed my little sheep in her Spring outfit (she came with many - you'll see). Does Sheep looked scared that the big cat is walking by? That's Mr. Mr. whose M.O. is to lurk around in the background and hope that someone will notice him.

Missymoo (don't you just love how pet names evolve?), on the other hand, just plops herself in my lap and demands immediate attention, no matter what I may be doing.

Speaking of things lurking around in the background, while I finish Aamu (before you say another word, I started it in the Fall and am only now getting around to finishing), I am just itching to start my next project with this Noro Big Kureyon.

It's going to be the garter stitch cowl neck sweater from the March 2008 issue of Creative Knitting (page 22). I think I'll make bell sleeves instead of the fitted and may do mostly stockinette for the sleeves and body - maybe some garter at the wrist.

There's just something about Noro that keeps me coming back to it.

I'll leave you for now with my little trio of sheep. The best thing about Easter is that you can find cheap sheepy things! I picked these up at Christmas Tree Shop for $2.99! Dontcha just love a bargain?



Octopus Knits said...

The sweater looks very nice on you - I can definitely see it looking great with jeans! It's got a nice relaxed feel to it.

Despite your yarn issues, I think Wicked looks wicked cute on you! (My goodness, you are Wicked Crazy... can't wait to see how it looks in the Cafe Au Lait Lamb's Pride)

The kitties are so cute, and I love how your little sheepies are posing with your lovely Noro...

Luni said...

Whew, I am overwhelmed. You said a lot. The sweater is quite nice, but I can understand that it would go better with jeans; you have to wear something under it, and that means, imo, one layer too many for work. The Wicked(s) look good, too. I am most intrigued by your comments--"Why the hell do I knit?" I know the feeling, I have a drawer full of sweaters that I don't wear much, but what about the learning, the challenges, the feeling of accomplishment?
Then, the 'youth' factor in the sweater patterns--I'm struggling with that one. What is it exactly that makes a look too 'young'?

craftivore said...

I love both of your sweaters. Despite your struggles with the Debbie Biliss stuff, it looks really cute. Youth is a state of mind, wear it with pride.