All secret stitchy mcyarnpants project posts

I'm back!


Well, I just mailed off my top secret project, with all its fixin's to it's rightful owner. I'll miss that beautiful plum color Calmer but not as much as I've missed being able to talk crafty on my blog. While stories of Panda and hikes and tea and eating are all fun, it's yarny goodness upon which this blog is built.

So adios pretty plum calmer and, long time no see, Lily!

I've only had time to cast on and work a few rows of the second sleeve and it's amazing how hard it's been to get back into the swing of it.

Truth be told, I'm the sort of person who would likely have abandoned this with such a long hiatus. I know that's crazy, but when I lose momentum on something, it's almost never that I pick it back up again. It's good for me to push myself to finish these projects so they don't languish and end up ripped, or worse, donated to charity in their half knit form.

I have a couple other projects I'll probably be working on this year; projects that cannot be blogged right away but which I'm pretty excited about. But I also have big plans (bigger than any warping of the space time continuum can accommodate) that should all be bloggable.

A little slice of heaven


When I worked on site, at my job, I was often pretty far away from windows throughout the day. What little of the day I saw, was usually while I bustled between meetings.

Now that I work from home, I sit right next to a window, and I have Panda by my side. It's all I could ever have hoped. I love it.

There is one downside, though, when the days are absolutely beautiful, I feel like I'm in 3rd grade waiting for the school bell to sound and mark the end of the day.

Yesterday, was one such day. The sun is absolutely beaming, everything is verdant, and it was a mere hours before my weekend was scheduled to start. I could barely contain myself.

When my shift was up and I'd finally completed all those little things that seem to come up just when I think I'm done for the day, I decided that Panda and I needed a relaxing afternoon in the backyard.

We don't have any proper lawn furniture, but we do have some portable camping chairs. Ours happens to have a perfectly sized drink holding divot and yarn holster.

For a drink, I had myself a beer, though, to be honest, I was more like 25% of a beer, because I am a cheep date and it started to make me sleepy. For knitting, I had my super secret Stitchy McYarnpants project, so all you get to see is the gorgeous plum color and a big heap of knitted fabric, stitch holders and needles.

For entertainment, A Game of Thrones on my iPod. I'm such an audio book junkie. I'm so enamored of them, I exercise to them instead of music.

Panda made good use of the backyard as well.

Then she finally settled into a nice shady spot to watch me knit.

In the evening, I spun some of the Pearl colored Optim I got from Janel, last year.

This is my first time spinning Optim and it is unbelievably smooth and soft. Her colorway is beautifully subtle, which I love. This will be a colorway I can work into a very wearable item. I've started the second bobbin and will ply the two before moving onto my new Luxury Fiber of the Month; Baby Camel! I'm sure I'll absolutely bastardize the camel like I did the yak, but who cares, it's too soft to let languish.

Well, I made it home after a busy week of working and some serious knitting, all weekend long. It was a great weekend, though my travel karma is definitely out of whack. More about that near the end of the post.

The week started on a great note, when the manager in OC treated me to some Spongebob goodness. Here are my bath pals.

They squirt water when you squeeze them. Is this an appropriate bath accoutrement for a 32 year old? I suspect yes. Did I use them? You bet your sweet tush I did.

I didn't have much time during the week for knitting, so I only did a touch of swatching for a future design that I am envisioning.

I started by following Jody's instructions for the Latvian braid (at the top, I prefer this stitch pattern inverted). I should have reversed the foundation row to achieve the proper effect. I was working a technique that was meant to be worked in the round, flat and I flubbed that portion, but that's no fault of the tutorial. Otherwise, it's very easy and a great way to start a 2-color piece.

I don't actually plan to knit this particular stitch pattern, and probably not in these exact colors, but I do plan to use some of my Blue Sky Alpaca of which I have a few other colors. While I like how the orange really pops against the blue, I think, in this particular usage, it's too much. The yarn is leftover from a project that I did for Kat's upcoming Baby Boho book. I really can't wait for it to be published since I'm so happy with the finished project.

Once the work week was over, I got to spend a couple days with my always gracious and welcoming friend, Julia. She had a very busy week, so I got some good bonding time with her kitties; Townes and Tuna.

Townes just walked all over me for the first few hours. Nothing says "welcome back, my friend" like being treated like furniture.

He also made sure I didn't oversleep during nap time. Thanks Townes!

Tuna was just blissed out the whole weekend

I took this picture right after she walked over to me and started linking my cheek. She's so cute. She did a few of those hardcore head rubs on my forehead and then plopped herself down for some belly rubs. I'm pretty sure that in Tuna's past life, she was a loving little lap dog.

Don't believe me?

Here she is snuggling her doggy chew toy.

There ain't no catnip in this teddy bear, just a kitty feeling all kinds of bliss with the world.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the beautiful Zosia, but she and I had some nice walkies and explored the hilly streets surrounding Julia's house.

I also, because I'm so great at this blogging thing, don't have any pictures of the subsequent S&B at Nicky D's. A few of my favorite people were there, and some were noticeably not and missed.

I did tons of knitting for a top secret project I'm working on for a McYarnpanted individual. You'll just have to take my word for it. No pictures for you.

The trip home lacked the joy of the weekend. I left for the airport very early, to allow time to fill up the tank of and return my rental car. That went unexpectedly smoothly which left me a couple hours to entertain myself in the Burbank airport. I got even more time when the first leg of my flight was delayed. Guess what that means? I missed my connection. The next flight didn't leave for another 2 hours and I was only granted standby for that. The good news; I got on that flight, narrowly, by the skin of my teeth. (Am I the only one who finds that image pretty horrifying?) The bad news; my luggage didn't get the memo. The OK news, United had it delivered to my home later that night.

All said and done, no harm, no foul and my greeting when I got home was as loving and enthusiastic as I'd hoped. Yay for visiting friends and yay for coming home.

Revenge of the sleeve.


This entry has also been posted at the Create Along.

While I have done a fair bit of design, there are still aspects of the processes that I can only perfect through trial and error. All the excel sheets and schematics in the world cannot reproduce the look and feel of knit fabric adhering to all the laws of physics. Julia has a really nice post in which she discusses the process of designing without knitting the piece herself. In her case, her sample knitter helped ease that processes by providing continual feedback, as she was a fine designer in her own right. However, I think this is a valuable lesson to take away. While I consider Julia to be a hugely skilled and technically adept designer, who has years of experience knitting and designing knitwear, even she cannot completely predict the way the finish piece will need to be constructed in order to execute her vision.

As a side note, this is one of the beauties of the web and why I absolutely love being a part of this CAL. I cannot imagine how critical I might be of my own work, if I didn't have the blogs of other designers to show me that all of us face the same challenges and missteps.

Back to the topic at hand, Lily has gone surprisingly easily throughout the body portion of the piece. While I debated on length, a bit, and I may still close the side vents up a little bit, the bulk of the design process went pretty smoothly, once I had my original vision.

From here, I knew I wanted to knit the sleeves up to, but not including, the sleeve cap, so that I could join all the pieces and work them together, to avoid any possible offset of the motifs.

There were no problems with the body, the sleeve, however, has dogged me. This humble elbow length sleeve is the product of, not one, not two, but 4 trips to the frog pond.

It's a testament to the quality of Calmer that I see absolutely no change in the yarn, despite all that ripping and re-knitting.

My first thought was that I'd migrate the motifs from the front of the sleeve, around to the back seam in preparation to run the motifs up the sleeve cap. I felt that just running the motif up the seam would look peculiar and unbalanced. Something really needed to pickup the theme, on the outside of the sleeve.

If you are astute, you've already caught my big mistake here, however, I knit about a quarter of the sleeve and realized I just had too much ease worked in and ripped the sleeve to start again. It was only when version two had hit about the halfway point, that I realized my fatal flaw. If the motifs were correct at the outside of the sleeve, they would be flipped at the back seam as shown in the illustration below.

As the great philosopher, Homer, said, "DOH!" That was a real head slapper moment.

I realized that my new calculations worked out perfectly to fit 2 full motifs across the entire hem of the sleeve (a centered full motif on the outside of the sleeve, with two half motifs inside by the seam). I knew I didn't want to carry the outside motif up the entire length of the sleeve, firstly, because it would be too busy and secondly, because when it came time to decrease for the sleeve cap, I'd be left with a lot of lace to wrangle into submission. I decided to just work the outside motif once. I tried maintaining the purl ribs up the length of the sleeve but found it added a sort of sporty feel that was inconsistent with the vast stockinette of the body.

So I took out the purl ribs, after the first repeat.

I was getting much closer but there were two things that bothered me. First, the outside repeats just seemed to look uncontained. There were still strong lines delineating the edges of the motifs on all sides except the top. Something just seemed off. I also didn't care for the fact that I had begun the sleeve shaping, while working the first repeat. It meant I had to increase in the purl ribs between motifs. Since I was eliminating the extra purl ribs and motif, it just didn't look cohesive.

After all that, 5 times was the charm.

I added a purl ridge to the top of the outside motif, which added the visual container I felt the motifs needed. Additionally, I held off on any sleeve shaping until I had completed the border of repeats, allowing me to increase in the stockinette area, as I had on the body.

I think the final product is consistent with the style of the body and deals with the design concerns I had, in a logical way.

For now, Lily needs to go on temporary hold while I complete a project for a friend. Lucky for me, it's in Calmer too!

I hope to complete that in the next week or two, while I'm traveling and then I'll get back to Lily and all that she entails. I'll try to get a couple tutorials up in the interim, if time permits.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the secret stitchy mcyarnpants project category.

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August 2016

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