Friday, January 25, 2008

Urban Aran: Totally not a figment of my imagination.

After brief technical difficulties (fucking USB cords...) we continue our FO parade with something a long, long time coming:

It's real! And it's finished! Technically the zipper didn't get sewn in until January, but I'm counting it as a 2007 FO. Because I'm the decider.

I've wanted to make this for The Lady for over a year now, but wasn't certain enough of my skills. But when the hourglass sweater went so well and so easily, I said to myself, 'Self, we can do this'. And do this we did.

The Dirt:
Pattern: Urban Aran, from Paton's Street Smart. Cardiganized a la Jared of Brooklyntweed.
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky, in Old Sage. I used roughly 2.5 1-lb cones, so about 1250 yds.
Needles: US 9s for the cuffs & hem, 7s for the collar, 10s for everything else.
Mods: I... pretty much did exactly what Jared did -- jacketified and lengthened by about 2 inches total. Oh, and I accidentally made the slanty cabley parallellogram thing at the waist one repeat too long on the first front, so I just did the same with the rest of them and it looks fine, particularly with the added length over all.

I have zero complaints about the pattern. This was my first time dealing with set in sleeves, or really any substantial seaming at all, and it was far less harrowing of an experience that I'd feared. Possibly because the sleeve caps actually fit into the armscyes, more or less. Although not always quick, everything about this was straightforward and turned out as I'd hoped it would.

The yarn is, as I can tell from experience and from you helpful internet citizens, going to pill. But frankly, that's true of any yarn that I could afford in this kind of quantity. And I'm very pleased with the texture and the color. What are sweater shavers for, anyway?

If I had it all to do again I would change one and only one thing: I'd add another row or two to the collar so that the whole thing is exactly the same length as the zipper. Right now, the very last couple millimeters of zipper peek out at the top. Which, um. I could obviously fix, and probably will. But she was just so anxious to WEAR it, you know?

ETA: I almost forgot -- I have officially decided that the Sweater Curse is, like the risks of unwanted pregnancy and mothers nagging about 'setting a date', one of the things I'm exempt from as a member of a same-sex relationship. I did, however, freak out a little once when we fought while I was knitting this. But The Lady is way too cute (and too well versed in knit-culture) for me to give her up: when I gave her the sweater she grinned and said "Does this mean I have to break up with you now?"

Monday, January 14, 2008


I had the kind of winter break that saw me reveling in my favorite forms of relaxation, wallowing in novel forms of stress, consuming stupid large amounts of alcohol, losing and regaining my knitting mojo at least twice, and overall having the kind of time that left me needing a vacation from my vacation. But mostly in a good way.

And now here I am again, and with a fair bit to show for it. So, taking a cue from Ashley, we'll begin a mini FO parade. The Real Family (= me + The Lady + The Sis) went down to Corvallis yesterday to visit the Slightly Extended Family (= Mom + Gram) for the latter's 80th birthday. When Mom started driving us all just a leeeeeetle bit crazy, we needed an excuse to take a break -- and the Inga photoshoot did just the trick:

We drove down to our old middle school and did two things we never did while we were students there: photographed knitwear, and smoked cigarettes in the parking lot.

PSA: Smoking is bad. Except when fortifying yourself for crazy relatives.

The Dirt:
Pattern: Inga
Yarn: 1/2 skein Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted, in Aran, 1 skein Knit Picks Swish in Clematis Heather, and a wee bit of Cascade 220 in Green.
Needles: US 6 (I forgot to use smaller needles for the brim, but I think it worked out OK.)
Mods: None, really. Slightly heavier yarn than called for, I guess.

I knew this pattern ran long, if not wide, but I figured since the sis has a big head, it'd be fine. Turns out it is a tad long -- if I were to knit it again, which I might, I'd take out part of the first repeat, like Adrian did -- but she loves it as-is.

This will probably go down as the project that taught me both how important even tension is in colorwork, AND how much blocking can do for you when you neglect said tension. I didn't take any pre-blocking shots, but believe me: this hat was transformed.

All in all, I am over the moon about this one. It's the kind of project that makes you look like an even better knitter than you are because it's just so damn pretty. So: go make it, now. But consider lopping off an inch or so.