June 26, 2005

Getting Close

I've finished the body of the raglan


and I'm almost done with one sleeve.


The body is fitting very well! The sleeve is a good length, but I'm still not convinced about the edging. I did 3 rows of garter and a picot bind off. The picots are a little bigger than I envisioned and I'm not sure if I like it yet.

I'm going to sleep on it and decide later.

BTW, see the big U-shaped curve in the full sweater shot? I steamed the top when I finished the short rows and it made quite a difference in the way the stitches look. Cotton really shows every little deviation but with a light steam they even out nicely. Once I'm done and have woven in all the ends I'm going to wash and dry the top. I'm hopeful the rowing out by the shortrows will wash out. I caused them by being overzealous and using a smaller needle for the purl stitches. Turns out I would have been safe using the same needle. Oh well.

I'm also curious to see if the part that was steamed will look any different after being washed. Since cotton has very little memory I'm betting that it won't look different, but I'm still curious enough to perform this little experiment.

Work is going to be jam-packed this week. Will I get this top done before July 1st like I hoped? This is afterall my June stashbuster project. Your guess is as good as mine. I'm really looking forward to wearing this one but I didn't knit a stitch all last week so who knows.

Until then, let me know what you think about the sleeve edge. Too much? Not enough? I thought a little frill would be nice but now I'm not so sure.

June 26, 2005 in Black Raglan | Permalink | Comments (18)

June 19, 2005

Short Rows Done

Frontshortrow Sideshortrow

As planned I did 10 short rows -- 5 on each side.

I did these differently than the ones I did on the black version of this top (remember prototype #1?)

For this version I did the short rows from the inside out, meaning I started with the shortest of the rows and increased my row length on each pass.

I also spaced the wraps 4 stitches apart. One thing I didn't like about the last version is that I got a more distinctive line than I was looking for. I didn't want it to be noticeable. The spacing between them seems to have done the trick. I still have a nice straight bottom edge, but it's much harder to see that the short rows are even there.

And with the completion of the short rows I've started ball #3, which means I'm officially further along than I have ever been on this top! I think it's smooth sailing from here -- some waist shaping and a hem. I'm considering doing a little ruffle along the bottom edge (only a couple rows tall) but we'll see when we get that far.

As for the sleeves, my current plan is to knit them about an inch longer than they already are. I haven't decided if I'll ruffle them too or if I'll go for a plain 1x1 rib to match the top.

June 19, 2005 in Black Raglan | Permalink | Comments (8)

June 18, 2005

Adding the Short Rows


I'm just at the point where I'll be starting the short rows and I thought some of you might want to see what the top looks like before they're added.

A side view shows it best. There's about an inch and a half gap between where the sweater falls at the side and where it falls in the center of the sweater. That gap will be filled with the short rows.

The length of the gap is how you determine how many short rows to do. I know I need to fill in 1.5 inches, which equals 9 or 10 rows at my gauge. I need an even number of rows so I'll do 10 rows, or 5 short row wraps per side.

I'm off to do the short rows now, and if I have a chance I'll snap another pic right after I'm done with them so you can see the transformation.

June 18, 2005 in Black Raglan | Permalink | Comments (1)

June 16, 2005

Boston, Portland, and Back Again

I had to travel up to Portland, Maine for work this week. A 4 hour meeting ending up keeping me there for 2 nights. Here's the short version of my little trip to Portland:

  • 6:30PM Tuesday: Got to the airport and they immediately cancelled my flight.
  • 7:30PM: We (my boss and I) decided to take a flight to Boston instead and drive to Portland
  • 11:00 PM: Arrive in Boston and pickup rental car. A mini van. Beggars can't be choosers
  • 1:30 AM: Arrive in Portland. Check-in to hotel. Go up to rooms. My key doesn't work. Boss' key works, but the safety latch is on so it only opens a few inches. A guy screams and we hear panicked footsteps
  • 1:45 AM: Back to the front desk. After some investigation she apologizes for giving us the wrong rooms.
  • 7 AM: Alarm goes off. Get ready, go to meeting.
  • 4 PM: Leave meeting. It went really well
  • 4:30 PM: Return rental car. Realize we forgot to fill the tank. Pay $5.70/gallon to fill it with the rental company
  • 4:45 PM: Enter the terminal to see they've cancelled this flight too. Switch to a US Air Flight going into LaGuardia. We'll then have to take a bus shuttle to Newark because that's where our cars are.
  • 5:00 - 7:00 PM: Hang out at the only bar in the airport. Have a few drinks and some dinner.
  • 7:15 PM: Informed by airport security that since we switched airlines we were automatically flagged as needing the advanced screening. Watch as security people take out all my unmentionables with my boss standing right there. Try to remind myself that at least there were no tampons. Oh, and in case you're wondering, they did NOT confiscate my Addi Turbos.
  • 7:45 PM: Proceed to gate for check in. No one is at gate. An employee comes out of the jetway. We tell her we're on that flight. She says it's gone. We say no, it's right there (pointing at the plane). Lady, you can't hide a plane. No, it's gone. She was very rude as well. I've heard they can ask the pilot if they'll open the doors but she wouldn't.
  • 8 PM: Go down to Delta and get on their flight to La Guardia. After he tickets us he informs us it's late and he's not sure if/when it will get in. Decide it's not worth the risk and get on the Continental flight for tomorrow morning.
  • 8:15 PM: Call around and finally find a room. Seriously, Portland was booked up. We're at the bar-free ammenity-free spartan Comfort Inn.
  • 8:30 PM: Walk down to the Pizzeria Uno for drinks. While inside it starts to rain. Really hard. Wait out the storm and walk back. Jeans are soaked to my knees. Flip flops (the only shoes other than my dress shoes) are squishy they're so wet, and my feet are icicles. Go to sleep with my favorite mohair socks. Ahhhh.
  • 4:15 AM: Alarm goes off. Shower, get ready, and take the shuttle back to the airport
  • 6:45 AM: Flight takes off on time and arrives early. Drive into work in half the time it would take to get there from home.

Those are just the highlights. But in the end we got the work we went up there for, and I got more knitting time in than I otherwise would have.

that's right...a finished yoke...and i like it!

I've had my doubts the whole time I was knitting this up but I just tried it on 10 minutes ago and it fit. Well. Nice taut armholes like I wanted. Nothing gaping. No unsightly bra sightings (even with movement). We have a winner folks!

And those increases I fretted over so much. I love em!

look how pretty! and that tubular cast on ain't so shabby, either!

I know I'm gushing but I can't help it. I've been working on this pattern for 3 weeks now. I've knit 3 complete yokes. I've knit umpteen increase swatches. I've frogged more knitting than I've kept.

But all is not lost.

5 plane tickets, 2 flights, 3 hotel rooms, and 1 roadtrip later and I have a yoke. And it is good.

June 16, 2005 in Black Raglan | Permalink | Comments (20)

June 11, 2005

I Got It!


Those are just a few of the little swatches I've made this past week. All in all I think I've made about 10.

I'll confess that yesterday in a moment of weakness I even considered making it a bottom-up sweater. I know this wouldn't be an issue if I had to make decreases every row. But in the end I really wanted this to be a top-down pattern. I like having all those opportunities for tweaking the fit, and I'm sure you all would too.

I'm really surprised by how much time this has taken though. I've consulted several books -- Knitting Without Tears, Knitting from the Top, Vogue Knitting, and the Knitter's Handbook, as well as several web sites. I even downloaded the trial version of Sweater Wizard to see if it could help. And get this -- it wouldn't let me put in the measurements I wanted. Well, I've knit this yoke once already -- I know the measurements work! I just needed a little increase help.

All this fuss in the name of an increase that would work well on every row, without making holes or a pucker in the fabric.

And then, I finally got it right last night. Wanna see?

I know. Doesn't look like much. But to me, it's magical.

I can't wait to see this yoke all knitted up. I'm still a bit worried that it won't work so it will feel really good when it's done and looks good and fits. Plus, I keep telling myself that once I get the yoke done it's smooth sailing -- a little short rowing and then some hourglass shaping. Sounds simple right?

June 11, 2005 in Black Raglan | Permalink | Comments (8)

June 09, 2005

Happy Thoughts

So, first off. How does one appropriately thank her readers for the amazingly sweet comments? You guys had me smiling all day yesterday! Thank you so much!

And lemme tell ya, it was really helpful after a night of swatching the raglan increases. I won't bore you with a pic of a stack of no's, but suffice it to say I'm making progress but I still don't have the increases nailed down.

I'm too stubborn to give up though.

I am not, however, above taking off a day or two to think about this some more. In the meantime, I've been taking a good look at my stash.

Over time I've learned more about the types of yarn that I like to knit with, and which of those look good on me.

While I like mercerized cotton, I feel very self-conscious about wearing a shiny sweater. I don't like the sheen around my chest.

I bought this yarn a year ago. I love it. The colors are very me, and the gauge would knit up a nice, fine sweater. But it's mercerized.

I was considering trying to sell off the yarn but then I thought I could make something in lace out of it. I've never knitted lace out of cotton. I did some googling and it looks like people have done it successfully. I wasn't sure if you could block mercerized cotton. But even Soleil from Knitty is in a mercerized cotton. And it looks like that blocked out just fine.

So, will I be safe using this yarn for a lace project? Any suggestions/warnings/caveats?

June 9, 2005 in Black Raglan, project ideas | Permalink | Comments (8)

June 06, 2005


I've knit one full ball of yarn and I'm 6 rows away from completing the raglan.


I like the inch of 1x1 ribbing, and the tubular cast on. I also like how the sleeves are proportionally smaller on this version (which is good since that was the whole point of changing those increases).

But guess what? I'm frogging this one too.

The increases are just not working for me. I knew early on they were going to be a challenge. They're not evenly increasing so the pretty double increases I used when starting this project aren't going to cut it. I've tried out a bunch of different ones but they're not working.

In the shower this morning (we all do our best thinking in the shower, right?) I had a Eureka moment. I have another idea for how to handle them. I should probably knit a swatch first, but well, we all know that's 50-50. What's a pattern without a little misery, right?

The silver lining with this is that I did get to work on other projects yesterday since I hadn't solved my increase problem yet.

Tune in tomorrow for the details on how I spent my Sunday.

June 6, 2005 in Black Raglan | Permalink | Comments (7)

June 02, 2005

Raglan Fix

You guys are great! So many volunteers to test knit, and already a few who would consider buying the pattern. It was all the encouragement I needed!

I think I've ironed out all the issues with the raglan pattern so I'm going to start fresh. I'm anxious to get the pattern completed and the bottom of the sweater is the easiest part. It's those raglan lines with the modified neckline that have been bending my brain.


I do plan on frogging the black sweater but I wanted a fresh color for now. And it just so happens I have enough red TLC Cotton Plus in the stash for another raglan.

I thought I'd cast on as soon as I got home but I've been working on the raglan decreases for about 2 hours. I've finally gotten them right. At least, I think I have.

So here it is 9PM and I'm just starting. And I'm not frustrated. And I'm using stash yarn.

Yup -- this is my June stashbuster project as well. Two great reasons to knit this up quickly -- test knitting and a KAL deadline. Dani really had the right idea with this stashbusters KAL. I love it!

OK, I'm off to cast on 150 stitches.

June 2, 2005 in Black Raglan | Permalink | Comments (6)

June 01, 2005

Standard Body Measurements and Test Knitting

The reaction to my black raglan has gotten me thinking that I may offer the pattern up for sale. I'm still mulling this around but I do need a little help. Does anyone have a good source for standard body measurements? If I grade the pattern I need to have some basic body measurements.

Also, the focus of the pattern will be on achieving a great fit. So, I'll need a few test knitter volunteers (in different body shapes and sizes). If you think you'd be interested in test knitting the pattern (I think it will be available for test knitting in about a month) please leave a comment and I'll get you on the list (list - ha! I have one volunteer so far).

And finally, if you'd be interested in buying the pattern let me know that too!

June 1, 2005 in Black Raglan | Permalink | Comments (20)

May 31, 2005

Short Rows Make Me Happy


What I hate on just about every ready to wear shirt and sweater I buy is that they ride up in the front. It's so unflattering but it's really hard to buy a top that's made for someone busty.

Since I'm making my own though, I knew I'd be putting in some short rows so I get a nice straight hem.

I've avoiding using short rows for bust shaping for no real reason. My years of pattern making training (albeit in sewing, not knitting) told me that they'd work well. But I was afraid to go to all that trouble and have to frog it back and keep tinking until I get them right.

Not any more!

I followed the instructions for the shapely tank's short rows and it worked like a charm. I did 12 short row rows, which she said is for a D cup. I'm definitely a DD*, but any more would have made the sweater curve down. I have the same gauge too so I'm not sure what's causing the discrepancy. No worries though because this sweater's edge is perfectly straight!


I wasn't sure how many rows to do so I tried it on every few rows. Once the bottom edge went straight across my body (no more upside U shape across my chest) I stopped and knitted across all the stitches, picking up the wraps as I went. The hardest part of the whole process was digging out the wraps from all the black yarn. Definitely something to do in sunlight.

I'm very pleased about the way the body is shaping up.

The neckline? I'm not so sure. It's definitely a tiny bit wide but I planned on doing an edge anyway. I'll wait until I'm done with the body to see how that turns out. There's a little nagging part of me that says I'm going to have to frog the yoke and do slower decreases on the sleeve than the body to get the properly proportioned neckline (which is what I'd do if I were to start this top again). But, I'm hopeful that I'll be able to make it fit well enough with some ribbing and a few well placed decreases to pull it in just enough.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, OK?

*I wasn't sure if I wanted to post this on the web, but some of you have emailed me asking about fitting for larger busts so I decided to share. Believe me, there's no bragging going on here. While I do certainly love my curves, it's definitely a love-hate relationship. They're heavy and make buying well-fitting clothing really difficult. But, when I find something that fits really well the curves can be fun and really sexy, too.

See, there's that love-hate thing again.

May 31, 2005 in Black Raglan | Permalink | Comments (16)