Monday, December 20, 2010

Leyfi Pullover

I finally had time and decent enough light and a willing photographer to get some shots of my finished Leyfi Pullover.
Pattern:  Leyfi Pullover by Romi Hill, from Interweave Knits Fall 2010
Yarn:  Tahki Yarns Bunny
Needles:  US 10 and 10.5
Started:  July 28, 2010; Finished:  Dec 2010

This sweater was both an easy knit and a huge headache.  It was a complete impulse cast-on.  I didn't swatch, wasn't sure I had enough yarn, and couldn't be bothered to even knit the sleeves on the same size needles as the body  (US 10 for the body; 10.5 for the sleeves since I happened to have a 10.5 16-inch circular and I hate magic looping sleeves).  It's kind of a miracle it came out at all.  Even more amazing is that I'm really happy with it despite some major mistakes.  Early on, I discovered I had completely botched the upper part of the lace yoke (that would be what I get for trying to knit a lace pattern at 4am).  I agonized a bit over this mistake, but in the end, I decided not to rip and kept on knitting.  Deep down I was convinced that these mistakes would drive me crazy even when the sweater was finished.  But I'm pleasantly surprised that I don't care (much).  Even close up, there really isn't anything that jumps out as being wrong.
Now granted, even in that photo, I can point out the mistakes, but I'm fairly certain that most people don't see what I see (and if you do, just lie).  I've worn it happily twice now and accepted compliments without feeling the need to say, "thanks, but, look right there--don't you see all these glaring mistakes? I must be the worst knitter ever".

Other than my unintentional lace customization, I knit the sweater pretty much according to the pattern.  The pattern calls for you to hold two different yarns together, but I used a single ply bulky wool that I had in stash, which worked out just fine.  My only modification was to add some waist and hip shaping.  Even with the shaping, Leyfi has a relaxed fit which I'm finding rather refreshing to wear since most of the sweaters I knit this year are very fitted.  I love the nice long loose sleeves in particular, and the whole sweater is cozy and warm and comfortable and I love it.  Isn't it great when that happens so unexpectedly?  

Maybe most importantly, the nice neutral color doesn't show dog fur.  And yes, that comment is really just an excuse to add in a gratuitous puppy picture. 

With Leyfi finished, my WIP knit-down has hit a speed bump.  I'm slogging away on the Chelsea skirt, but progress is slow and tedious.  Only eleven days left of 2010, and I hope at the very least I'll be able to knock out the last pair of socks. Only time will tell...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

'Tis the season

Having grown up celebrating only Hanukkah, having a Christmas tree is still a novelty for me.  For the past several years we have cut down our tree at Butler's Orchard in Germantown, MD, and this year we carried on that tradition.  I like that it makes the occasion a little more of an adventure and that we are supporting a local farm in the process.  Every year, I marvel at the rows and rows of trees to pick from.

In past years, we easily spent an hour wandering through the rows--we would find a tree we liked, decide to look a little further and eventually decide we liked the first tree best and now couldn't find it.  Usually it was around the third tree we found that we would actually start sawing. This year we were more efficient and cut down the first tree we decided on.  I admit, Mike did most of the hard work while I stood over him supervising and snapping pictures and being generally pretty unhelpful.

Soon the tree was on the car and we were headed home to start decorating.  Awhile back, I started my own little holiday tradition--each year I add a new ornament that reminds me of something that makes me smile.  I love that we are slowly accumulating a collection of ornaments with some sort of personal significance.  Each time I pull one of these from the box, I remember some happy experience or trip. I was thrilled when I was in a running store and found this year's perfect addition. 

I'm still really proud of finishing my first half-marathon (13.1 miles) this year.  No matter how many more races I do, I love that every time I pull out this little green ball, I will think about how wonderful it felt to finish that race and how much fun we had that whole trip.  This simple 13.1, therefore, became my "special" ornament for 2010. 

Another great thing about the trip to the farm is that it's about a 45 minute drive away.  Knitting time!!  The Leyfi pullover was my priority last week, and on the way to and from the farm, I eagerly worked away on the second sleeve.
Leyfi is now finished.  I'm quite happy with it--more so than I expected to be.  I haven't had great light to take pictures so hopefully this weekend Leyfi will get a photo shoot and I'll post all the details then.  Finishing Leyfi brings me down to seven WIPs.  I ripped out one fingerless mitten project since the cuff was too snug, so that brings me to six.  From fourteen to six in less than a month!  Now is when it starts to get a little harder though since most of the projects I'm trying to tackle are not very far along.  I've moved onto the Chelsea skirt, and I can honestly say I hate knitting this project.  Luckily, I still have a sock to work on when I need a break, but I fear finished projects might be few and far between for a bit.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Parade of Socks

Forgetting the yarn for the Leyfi sweater during my long day at the sleep clinic last Wednesday at least translated into progress on the other project I brought. 

Pattern: Burning Rings of Fire (Ravelry pattern) by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn:  Dream in Color Smooshy in Plum Paisley
Needles:  2.5mm
Started: September 2010

The pattern is little more than a basic ribbed sock and not the most interesting knit so I don't have much to say except that I'm happy the socks are done. If I had anything else to knit at the sleep clinic, they would still be a WIP.  Let's move on.

Feeling the burden of finishing Burning Rings lifted, I surprisingly was super motivated to keep working on socks.  So I did not go back to Leyfi last week as planned but turned my attention to another half-finished pair of socks. Before I knew it, more finished socks!

Pattern:  Charade (Ravelry Pattern) by Sandra Park
Yarn:  Yarntini Self-Striping Sock in Peggy (Mad Men collection)
Needles:  2.25mm
Started: September 2010

I love these socks.  LOVE them.  I love that I took the time to make them a nice length.  I love that the stripes match up absolutely perfectly, right down to the three rows of blue at the toe.  I love that they are a perfect match to my brown clogs, which are the only shoes I wear with handknit socks.  Most of all, I love the combination of the stripes with this texture.
A little texture to catch the eye but nothing that disrupts the stripes. Perfect.  This sock yarn was an impulse buy this summer, and it makes me happy that it's been turned into a pair of socks and is not just languishing in the sock yarn drawer.

My sock knitting hasn't slowed just because I've finished two pair in the last week.  No, there is not a third pair I can show off but I did at least finish a first sock. 
It's pretty obvious I'm enjoying the striping yarn lately.  This is another great pattern that makes the sock a little interesting without taking away from the stripes--a free patten that was recently released: Down the Rabbit-Hole (Ravelry download).  One more sock and all four pairs listed for my great WIP knit-down will be complete.  That's kind of amazing to me given my lack of sock knitting for most of this year.

Finally, I finished one more project this week.  Not socks exactly, but they're close enough.

I decided I hated one of the baby sweaters that I had started so I ripped it completely and knit up a pair of Saartje's Booties in its place using some leftover Dale of Norway Baby Ull and some mystery pink scraps.  Instead of cute buttons, I used snaps to secure the straps, mainly because I had no cute buttons and wanted the project finished up quickly more than I wanted to go button shopping. 

So all in all, a very productive week for me even if Leyfi still needs most of a second sleeve.  Three finished projects bring me down to eight total.  Single digits!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I'm currently at a sleep clinic and will be here all afternoon.  Every two hours I take a 20 minute nap with nothing to do in between but sit around.  I came prepared to get a lot of knitting done and had dreams of finishing the entire second sleeve for Leyfi.  I remembered to bring the sweater.  I remembered to grab the right needles.  I remembered the magazine with the sleeve chart.  Know what I forgot?  The yarn.