b r o o k l y n t w e e d
  Komi Mittens
first and foremost let me start with this: to say i was overwhelmed by your insane response to the Urban Aran would be the understatement of the year. thank you! you really know how to make a knitter feel great. and it seems that interest in this pattern has exploded, so i'll be looking forward to seeing all of your Urban Arans in the future. But really. Thank you. Really.

with the completion of my big project, i have been released once again on all of my WIP's. Of course, after a month of knitting with only one color (boring!) i was hard up for some good ol' Fair Isle Knitting. and since i had yet to overcome my bout with second-mitten-syndrome on my Komi Mittens from earlier this year... my hands quickly found their way back to the fair isle love.

Komi Mittens - Floats
Materials: KnitPicks Pallette in 'Bark' and 'Yellow'
Pattern: #32 from "Mostly Mittens" by Charlene Schurch (newer edition of the book is entitled "Knitting Marvelous Mittens"... its the same book)
Needles: US 1's for main body, US 0's for cuff
Modifications: I squared off the tips of both the hand and thumb. Following the pattern makes for some very pointy tips... I'm not down with that.
Started: 2.24.06
Finished: 4.25.06

Komi Mittens - Fair Isle Detail
this is fierce.

this was my first real fair isle project, although i knit Ufserud during the same time period as well. i have to say, my detail-oriented side really loves working two-colors at a fine guage. its a lot of fun, and the product is really precious/priceless. and sturdy! these are light but warm, and while i definitely plan on making more warm things for my hands in this way, i'm probably gonna do gloves from here on out. because mittens? they're kinda ridiculous. have you ever tried to take photos with them on? or listen to an mp3 player on the train while wearing them? its amusing ... to watch. not to wear. but i feel fine about these because they're such a great vehicle for patterning. so regardless of how much i wear them, i'll sure stare at them a lot!

Komi Mittens - On Hands Komi Mittens - Laid Out

mittens on hands :: laid out to oggle

the bad news? no more fair isle currently on the needles. even worse news? i'm sticking to my oath of finishing all WIP's before casting on for anything else. not funny. but i'm sure i'll be happy with myself in the end blah blah blah...

have a great weekend and knit something great.
  The Urban Aran Cardigan
here it is, the post you've been waiting for. the big unveiling. it is with great pride and excitement that i give you ... the urban aran cardigan.

Urban Aran (Front)

Pattern: Urban Aran from Paton's 'Street Smart' (heavily modified)
Materials: Elann Peruvian Highland Chunky in Malt Heather
Needles: US 10.5 for body :: US 10 for ribbing at base :: US 9 for collar

Start Date: 4.3.06
Finish Date: 4.23.06

Urban Aran (Back)
back central panel

Extensive Modifications: the most obvious alteration - i made it into a cardigan. The original pattern is written for a regular sweater. because i get hot very *very* easily, cardigans make more sense. not to mention they're stylish (in my opinion). and come on, this pattern is just begging to become a cardigan - the symmetry. the center panel. i think the first time i saw it, i was surprised that it wasn't a cardigan. i split the front panel into two pieces (worked at the same time for accuracy's sake) adding a 2 stitch selvage to both sides, with a slipped stitch border for camoflauging the zipper sewing. i wanted to give myself a new challenge - adding a zipper was a great learning experience. i treat the sweater more as a jacket now anyway.

other modifications - added length to the pattern and changed most of the proportions/measurements, as they are written for female sizes. i increased the length of the sleeves to match my own personal preferences, ending at the knuckles. because of the ribbing and sleeve length, the cuffs can be rolled up (helpful if i'm at work, or knitting) and still look great! I added overal body length to add to the "jacketness."

Urban Aran (Open Front)

i ended up rewriting the collar portion of the pattern, adding strategic p2tog decreases to follow the shaping from the shoulders to the neck, since the collar is picked up at a pretty shallow point. i also 'stopped down' (photography terminology, although i think fits the context) 2 needle sizes to stiffen the collar and make it more shapely. it worked very nicely.

although the zipper was always in the cards, i had an epiphany and decided on a last minute whim to furnish the sweater with a 2-way zipper. this is my favorite part of the whole thing! for one thing, because i am sewing an inelastic zipper onto an elastic knitted fabric (the thought of which already makes me cringe), the 2 way zipper is a perfect way to help these things work together. when i'm sitting or crouching, i raise the bottom zipper and alleviate major (negative) tension, stretching, warping and puckering on the bottom half of the sweater. over time, i think this will preserve the fit and quality. also, the dual zipper action helps me more precisely control the ventilation and temperature. very important. oh yeah, and it looks pretty cool i think. yes. really digging the zipper solution.

Urban Aran (Laid Out Flat) Urban Aran (Side)
laid out flat :: from the side

final thoughts: this sweater is awesome. its a quick knit (20 days!), and an instant comfortable addition to the collection. i'm a big fan of lounging around in my apartent(always with coffee and yarn) and this sweater fits that bill pretty well. the yarn softened up a lot in eucalan, and because of the cabling and ribbing, you get a lofty and thick piece that isn't overdone.

what can i say? i'm happy with it. i'm wearing it right now... probably won't take it off till i have to. and i can't complain, because i beat the heat! (the recent spell of gloom and rain has never been more welcome.)

thanks for all the support throughout..... now go make one of these!
what did i do today? SEAMED ALL DAY. or at least thats what it feels like....

but hey, i think it was worth it.

Urban Aran Post Seaming
freshly laid seams

theres still the matter of the zipper. and, although it looks great on the bed, i'm having some collar issues. i'm assesing my creative options. i'm thinking i might extend the collar to act as a hood-like shawl collar (not a real hood). i have one ball of yarn left... i might as well experiment? the current collar has a slight (elizabethan) ruffle effect when upright, i'm not really digging it. i might try reknitting it with a smaller needle to make it a little more sturdy. this will throw off my timeline (purchase and sew zipper tomorrow), but i'd rather make it perfect than settle for less. after the zipper and collar resolution, you'll get the post of your life! extensive notes, modifaction talk, and general opinions to come... and some great photos.

oh and the fit? like a glove.
  still kickin'
yes, i'm still here. its been a while though. i've been balancing work and hosting my mom which hasn't lent itself to much time for photographing my work, or writing about it for that matter. but, the good news is that while my mom was here, i did secure a healthy amount of knitting time. hooray!

while my mom was here, she raided my knitting book collection and copied a bunch of patterns, so she'll be set for awhile (especially after her new acquisitions from school products and purl). you'll be happy to note that, of all the yarn shopping we did together, i succeeded in not purchsing any additional stash enhancers! although, at times, it took an act of sheer will to get out the door of the yarn store without even one measley ball of wool for yet another hat ... just one more?

most of my knitting time has been spent plugging away on the urban aran. and i'm still not sick of that awesome cable motif on the sleeves and center of the body (although i was very happy when the wider cable panneling was finished on the front and back pieces... wasn't my favorite thing). i'm definitely to the point where the end is in sight, but theres still a good chunk of stitches to make. so despite my urges to work on my other projects, i can't do anything but work on this sweater because i want it to be done! and i'm losing the weather-motivation... i actually thought that i might be able to wear this at least for a couple of days before the heat is here to stay... but i'm thinking that is less and less a possibility. the forcast in the city today is for 80 degrees. *twitch*

Urban Aran Pieces
the pieces all laid out

pictured above from bottom to top: the back, front right, front left and the two sleeves (being worked at the same time) still on the needles. i've added about 5 inches to the sleevle-lings since this photo was taken yesterday afternoon. the end is so close i can taste it. and i'm 90% sure that all of my modifications for male sizing are going to be successful.. but of course there's always that slight fear that i might have to redo something (the sleeves are the only thing i have a tiny intuitive snag about... but we'll see). with so much ribbing, i can get away with murder while blocking.

here's a question about blocking: i block virtually everything using the TOTAL IMMERSION method, aka soaking each piece in a bath and pinning it out to dry (for a few days). i've had the best results with this and i like it because i feel like i have the most control. but this pattern calls for the collar to be worked after seaming (and hence blocking). since its a ribbed collar, i'm worried about getting it to behave like the rest of the blocked piece after i knit it. i dont want to immersion-block the whole thing again, but i feel like steaming or spraying the collar alone will be frustrating and ... less than desirable. since my other sweaters have been top down and in-the-round, i haven't really had this problem before. i always blocked after the whole thing was done. and the ribbing is what really makes it interesting (or frustrating.) any suggestions? (this probably shouldn't be a problem, i'm just sooo anti-other blocking methods.)

in other news: my roommate asked me to teach him how to knit(!) - i was wondering if the day would ever come. it was probably just a matter of time being around me night after night on the couch. producing something with my hands while watching this or that. ha! chalk one up for our team! he actually picked it up a lot faster than i thought he would, and definitely faster than my first time! dont tell him but i took a picture of his first swatch.

M's First Swatch
m's first swatch

and, if you're still reading this long post: i'm still working on forbes, every once in a while. when i need a little merino dk love in my life.

Forbes in Action
forbes forest in all of its curling glory...

stop by and say hi. and keep on knitting.

  down with the sickness
i've gone too far this time. i'm sick with a rabid case of starting syndrome. i've started way too many projects recently, especially considering the number of WIP's in the big basket at the foot of my bed.... but how can i resist with all these great yarn bargains i've been scoring? [for the record: i've cut myself off from ebay and knitpicks purchasing for at least 1 month. if not longer.] its a sickness i tell you!

so last time you were introduced to the Urban Aran. well, i've completed the back piece (pictured below) and started working on the front two pieces. i'm working both left and right front pieces on the same circular needle in an attempt to get them as close to identical as possible. I'm adding a 3-stitch selvage with slip-stitch border for attaching the zipper. i think it should work out nicely. i'm surprised at how enjoyable this sweater is, since generally i am anti allover ribbing. the cabling on this one saves it though. and knitting on US 10.5's aint bad either....

Urban Aran Back

this weekend i went out of town and didn't want to take a big bulky sweater along. since i had just gotten my knitpicks order in the mail, i figured, why not take a small scarf project along for bus knitting etc? and thus a new addiction, ehh, i mean forbes forest was born.

Forbes Forest Progress

and... because a small alottment of rowan cork recently came into my posession... i couldn't resist. [it looks like i have some sort of nasty cabling-bug?]

Log Cabin Socks Progress
log cabin socks from handknit holidays

but this is it. i swear it. its all-finishing-all-the-time from here on out. i need to curb the rabid consumerism that has reared its ugly head. so if you see anything new coming up in the next couple of weeks, scorn me!

maybe i'll do a post to catalog all the WIP's i have laying around to guilt myself into finishing. i really am going to try to focus on these over the next couple of months to get them done.

moving on: i catalogued and reorganized my stash last night. on the one hand, it was helpful and exciting because i found a lot of things lurking that i should really use up soon (and would actually enjoy incorporating into my future projects). on the other hand, it was frustrating because i have a bunch of yarn that was acquired one way or another (most of it, early on in my knitting life) that, at this point, i am positive i'll never have the urge to knit with. i try to tell myself to keep it around for gifts or small scrap projects, but really, its just taking up space. so i dont know what i'll do with that. i could sell it, but i figure, if i dont want it, will any of you?

also, my mom (the knitter!) is coming in for a visit this weekend and i'm planning on taking her on a proper manhattan yarn crawl. cause we all know there are plenty of places to feed the fiber addiction in this city... (this is for her benefit... not mine i assure you)

see you on the flipside
  the spoils of the weekend
saturday my big elann package came and i was finally able to start the urban aran i've been itching to knit. i didn't get a whole lot of knitting time in this weekend because the weather was un-REAL and i had to get outside and enjoy it. i guess i could have brought my knitting to prospect park, but it probably would have distracted from all the laying-in-the-sun-doing-nothing-but-enjoying-the-warmth-on-skin that was happening.

the great thing about working with chunky weight yarn? even the most modest amount of weekend knitting time results in large chunks of completed sweater pieces. as of last night i'm already up to the armhole shaping. this is the back panel of the sweater. the front piece is patterned the same, although i'm splitting it into two pieces and adding a zipper to make this the 'urban cardigan.'

Urban Aran In Progress (Back)

i'll probably finish this sweater when the excruciating summer humidity is just starting to set in. not the best planning on my part, but hey, what're you gonna do? summer goal is to beef up my sweater collection anyway (for the fall), so this can be the start of that process i guess.

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