Sunday, January 27, 2008

Presenting...The Russian Coat!

Pattern: In Vogue Knitting, Holiday 2007, Designer Norah Gaughan

Yarns used: Plymouth Boku, colorway #6, Berroco Peruvia, color Granito, #7106

Needles used: US size 7 for most of the body, size 6 on skirt hem and size 5 for collar

Well, it’s done. Am I happy?? Mostly. There are a couple minor issues, which are MY fault. It’s a great pattern, one of the most fun things I’ve knit so far. Even if it didn’t fit at all, I’d still be happy I made it.

I learned really well how to do a p2tog tbl! It’s a little tricky at first, but not hard once you’ve done it a few (thousand) times. I learned how important it is to check your gauge while making your project. (That’s important? Go figure!) Here’s a breakdown on how it went.

The top: this was tremendous fun making all those hexagons and triangles and such and taking a leap of faith that this will indeed be a wearable item. With the Boku, I found it has a tendency to break about easily when pulled, for seaming up the hexagons, I had to put more twist in the yarn, and then it was fine. I liked that you picked up sts. to keep working, therefore eliminating a lot more sewing there.

I heard some folks were having issues with the sleeves being too long, so I blocked my pieces when I had all but the last sleeve extension finished. It was too short, I decided to go ahead and make the last piece, only I did it in garter, so it would be reversible. This worked out great and I do turn it back to make a cuff, I love the look of this last piece and I’m really glad I made it. (Well, it would have been too short for me otherwise.)

The skirt: a LOT of sts. to cast on here, but you have the happy thought of knowing it will only get smaller from there! I realized I started off with my size 7’s, when I needed 6’s, so I switched over after the first row. I used quite a few of my Denise cables to accommodate all the sts. The knitting was fine, my problems came after blocking. My overall height of the skirt was off by 1 ½”, and silly me, I didn’t realize what an impact that would have. (Apparently I did too many decreases.) The sides of the skirt need to overlap the top by 3” on each side, which seems like it would have been a tight fit already. Well, I tried to sew the top & bottom together many times and it just didn’t work, there was too much bunching at the top. (We won’t even mention the happy two hours I sewed it thinking, ‘wow, this is going so much easier now!’, then to discover at 11:30 at night that I had sewed it upside down!! No, we won’t mention that.)

I finally realized I had to compensate for the missing 1 ½” and only left a 1 ½” overlap on each side of the top. It was still pretty tricky. Many more boo-boos later, I had done it! Steam blocked that seam.

I tried it on. Oh no! I’m wearing a tan colored bikini top on my sweater! Why, oh why, had I not realized that the lighter colored Peruvia I had chosen would mean I was making triangles right over my ta-tas?? (Perhaps because the model in the photo doesn’t have any??) Great. I was almost defeated at this point, but I wouldn’t give up. I went ahead and did my smaller collar with no trouble. I went and found some great clasps at Waechter’s Silk Shop, here in Asheville.

THEN, I decided to do some embroidery on those dreaded little bikini triangles. It worked. (At least I think it did, if I’m deluding myself, let me know!) Of course, once you get going on something, it’s hard to stop. I added more embroidery to the sides, still wasn’t enough. Decided to do some on the back.

It’s DONE. Finished. Finito. Fertigstellen. I love it. It’s pretty, it’s unique, it fits great, it was a lot of fun, I learned a lot! Hooray for me!!

ETA: Also finished: The Jane Crossover Sweater! This sweater was a real pain in the #*&!@#!*#%!!!! I wish I could recommend it, but I’d have a hard time. The main issue with this pattern was the fronts, which are left ‘up to you’ but in the M/L size, you may have a hard time. (I used all but about a foot of this yarn!) I found that I needed to sew the fronts together to get them to quit moving around and looking all wonky. I added 3 ‘faux’ buttons on the top seam, I also put a 5 seed st border on the panels, I have this strong aversion to rolling stockinette!! (Just ask Allison!)
The Fleece Artist Hand Maiden Ottawa yarn was nice enough, honestly, it was what kept me going on this pattern, with all the miles of stockinette. I would definitely buy more fleece artist yarn, just not for this pattern. I plan on wearing this to work tomorrow. Hooray for FO's!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Progress....and a little Quick Fix

Yes, I’ve been making progress! Here is a shot of the Russian Coat’s skirt; the top section is finished, except for the collar I will add after sewing the skirt on. Now with the top I was a bit nervous, after hearing about the length of the sleeves being WAY too long. I blocked it after I had finished all but the last sleeve piece. It was way too short, so I felt confident adding that piece on. I decided to do it in garter stitch. Besides looking really cool, it’s great because I can fold back that pointy part and then it fits perfectly on my arm.

I still kind of wish I’d used the Berocco Jasper that the pattern called for, it’s just an obviously nicer yarn. Having said that, I’m still happy with the Plymouth Boku, I think it will wear well, and I really like the tweed effect. It also blends wonderfully with the Peruvia (the lighter sections). I debated for a while about using the lighter color, but I think it works.

I’ve been so good at just working on the coat; I kind of needed a quick fix. A couple of the girls at work have been wearing these cute little caps with brims, and I found this pattern: Urban Cap and found some yummy stash handspun from Yarn Ahoy, and went for it! I watched Terminator 3 and Bourne Identity while making it.

Have a great week!!!