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Project 365, Day 89: Tri-color Shell

This entry could also be titled, "Running Out of Yarn," or "How to Make It Look Like I Meant to do That" (more on that behind the cut). :D

Day 89 - Tri-color Shell

This is the first thing I've ever knit for myself (and it's really only the second thing I've ever knit, period), and I like it. :) There's a bit of a story, though, about why it has stripes . . .

I found the pattern in a book called "One Skein Wonders," so in theory, one would think that all the stuff in the book can be made from one skein of yarn, right? Well . . . this particular top, called the Diotima Shell, was apparently made from one really freaking big skein of yarn. (The pattern calls for 275 yards, and I did know this before I started, but who knew that yarn came in skeins that big)? I decided I'd try it with somewhat less yardage - some Lion Homespun, which really, is a pretty big skein of yarn, comparatively. It was some I had in my stash, needing to be used, and I happily started knitting. Things were going along fine, but before terribly long I realized that the one skein really wasn't going to be enough. Okay, no biggie. I'd just knit along until I had used up about seven-eighths of the yarn, and then switch to a different color, do a big stripe, and then finish off with a thin stripe of the original color at the bottom. I even knew what color I wanted for the stripe. I was sure that Lion made a turquoise yarn that was the same shade as one of the colors in the multi-color Colonial blue that I was using.

So, I headed over to Michael's, to discover that there was no turquoise. Not the shade I wanted, anyway. Poo. (I even checked the Lion website when I came home; there is no turquoise. Maybe it was discontinued, or something, because I could swear they used to make one). There was, however, a skein of Colonial blue that looked the same as the one I was using, although since I bought that original yarn more than year ago, I was pretty sure it couldn't actually be the same dye lot. I bought it anyway, along with a couple of other colors that I thought might work as a stripe.

When I got home, I couldn't find the wrapper from my original yarn, so I couldn't check if the dye lots matched. They really did look the same, though, so I decided that I'd just finish the sweater with the new yarn, and forget the stripe. So, I knitted my way through the rest of my original yarn, but when I went to join the new skein, I looked at them closely and decided that, actually, the new skein looked brighter than the old yarn. I was afraid the difference would be really noticeable, so I came up with yet another "brilliant" plan - I would do a stripe after all - if I put color between the two different Colonial blues, the slight difference in color wouldn't show, right?

So, I knitted a nice, happy stripe of Gothic (some purple I had on hand from my afghan project). When I thought the stripe was wide enough, I had second thoughts AGAIN about the new Colonial blue. What if the separating color wasn't enough, and it would be obvious I'd used dye lots that didn't match? Okay . . . this is still fixable. I didn't want to finish the sweater with the Gothic; doing it in just two colors would look weird, I decided. But what about three? So, after comparing half a dozen colors I had on hand (I have a lot of Homespun, because of that afghan project), I decided to do a third stripe in Antique (red). As I knitted the third stripe, I decided I was quite pleased with the way the colors looked together. When it was long enough, I finished it off, wove in the ends, and tried it on - YAY, I really like the way it looks. The yarn is a bit bulky, and kind of makes me look like a linebacker, but not so much that I can't wear it. So, I was happy with the way my project turned out. Hey, I actually knit something for myself. Whoo Hoo!

That's not quite the end of the story, though. Later, I was tidying up around the couch (where I sit while I'm knitting and crocheting), and I found a Homespun wrapper. It was the wrapper from my original skein of Colonial blue, and just for the heck of it, I decided to compare dye lots with the new one I'd bought. And I'll be damned if those two skeins - purchased more than a year apart - weren't from the same gosh-darned dye lot. *facepalm* I could have finished the sweater in blue; the difference was just my eyes playing tricks on me. Of course, now I'm right where I was before I started this sweater in terms of my stash - I thought I was using up stash yarn, but I ended up buying a new Colonial blue to replace the one I used, (um, not to mention the two other colors I bought as potential "stripe" colors, one of which was the Antique). I guess that's okay. I'll use the yarn for something, eventually, and it makes for a good story. (Well, I hope it was a good story, anyway :D). Funny thing is, I think I like the sweater better with the stripes than I would have if it were all blue. I do think it looks like I meant for it to be that way, and not that I ran out of yarn and had to finish haphazardly with another color. So, we'll let that be our little secret, shall we? Except for the part where I really didn't have to finish with another color, if only I'd bothered to compare those dye lots from the start. *giggle*

Aside from all this, I learned a lot about knitting from doing this project. At first, I had trouble keeping track of my stitches (it's k1, p1 rib stitch, which now seems easy, but at the start I kept getting confused); I learned how to pick up stitches from the cast-on edge (thanks to some help from happy_potterer); I learned how to knit in the round on circular needles; and now I actually know what knit and purl stitches look like on the needle (it took me a while to figure this out, but once I did it made it SO much easier - I no longer had to count obsessively; if I got lost, I could just look to see which my next stitch should be). So, all the way around, a successful project. YAY. :)



( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 2nd, 2008 09:53 pm (UTC)
Very cute top. I like how the stripes came out.
Jul. 2nd, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
I like it! It looks so cute! I never would have known how complicated it was if not for your story. :D But it was entertaining to read!
Jul. 2nd, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC)
Very cute. Definitely looks like it was meant to be. I'm not got brave enough to try something big like that in knitting and I don't really read a crochet pattern well.

I'm still working on the bag from heck. But I think I'm going to go find something else at the LYS with help from a yarn-buddy.
Jul. 3rd, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
Thanks! And I suspect you'd have no trouble with this pattern . . . it was super easy. There's not even any increasing or decreasing (which means that when it's laid out flat it looks awful - it's perfectly rectangular - but it was really easy to knit. The only semi-tricky part was picking up stitches from the cast-on edge, but even that was simple, once Amy showed me how to do it.

I hear you about the "still working" - that's how I feel about the afghan from heck. :D I'm actually seeing light at the end of that tunnel, now - I've only got about four and a half more rows to do (of course, since the thing is for a queen-sized bed, each row takes a couple of hours, but still). Light at the end of the tunnel. :)
Jul. 2nd, 2008 10:55 pm (UTC)
I totally wouldn't've known that the stripes weren't intentional! Nice job. :)

One thing with colors - I've had the same dyelots look different at times. Especially since they were purchased a year apart, it could be that one of them faded, and it wasn't just eyes playing tricks on you.
Jul. 3rd, 2008 12:39 am (UTC)
I wondered about that . . . that maybe the colors had shifted over time, due to one being under fluorescent lights . . . but wouldn't the one from the store be the faded one? It looked brighter, to me? I also thought maybe it was because all the yarn from the original skein was already knitted, and looked different because of that . . . I don't know. I like the way it turned out in any case. (Although now I've got this new skein of Colonial, and nothing to do with it. Yet). :D :D :D
Jul. 6th, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
I don't know - where did you keep yours? If it was in sunlight, I could see it fading. Though I don't know why you'd be storing it in the sunlight. :) But yah, it's a pretty color, so I wouldn't be too worried about finding something to do with it. I'm sure you'll think of something. :)
Jul. 2nd, 2008 11:52 pm (UTC)
And you look lovely in it!

:) js
Jul. 3rd, 2008 12:22 am (UTC)
Looks great, looks great on you. And nope, never would've known the stripes weren't part of the original plan. You have a great sense of color.

Jul. 3rd, 2008 12:25 am (UTC)
Very cute! Plus that homespun is nice and toasty for wintertime.
Jul. 3rd, 2008 10:45 am (UTC)
I personally think it looks fab, and you look gorgeous. Very, very well done... Just be careful -- I may head over there and steal it from you! LOL :)
Jul. 3rd, 2008 05:15 pm (UTC)
I still haven't managed to knit myself a sweater. Mittens, yes, sweater, no. So I'm impressed. It looks great!
Jul. 3rd, 2008 06:44 pm (UTC)
Well done, the top looks great! Know what's even more fun? Only realising you're not going to have enough yarn to finish the sweater halfway through the !"£%! second sleeve. Aaargh...

Now I need to get you hooked on sock knitting ***cackles evilly***
Jul. 4th, 2008 12:28 pm (UTC)
I'm so impressed - it is gorgeous. I have a couple of knitting questions for you - what does pick up stitches from the cast-on edge mean? Is it different from increasing/decreasing the stitches in the row?

Also, how do you weave ends in (and do you do this too if changing colours in the middle of the item?) I've been relying on knots and putting clear nailvarnish on them if they look like they might not stay :S I am an intuitive knitter!!

I never did get an invite to the crafy webgroup you recommended a month or so back even though I went through their registration process :(

Jul. 4th, 2008 06:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm really happy with how the sweater turned out. I wasn't sure I was ready to make an actual sweater, but this pattern was really easy. YAY! :D

Picking up stitches is when you go back to the cast-on edge (or a cast-off edge, after you've finished a section of knitting), and put the stitches back onto knitting needles, so you could continue knitting. This is one of the things I don't like about knitting - how the stitches have to stay on the needles (crochet is so much easier - you just pick a spot to start crocheting, and have at it :D). It actually wasn't too hard to figure out how to do it - just look closely at the edge, and identify the individual stitches; then you pick them up one at a time - always putting the needle through from the same side - and then you'll be able to use those stitches to start knitting again. Does that make sense? I think it's easier to see someone do it (which is why I asked Amy to teach me). Oh, and yes it's different from increasing and decreasing. I don't actually know how to do those things yet. :D (Which is why I chose this pattern - all the rows have the same number of stitches, which made me very happy). :)

Weaving in ends is a total pain. I feel more comfortable doing it into crochet fabric (most of the time, it seems like there is more "solid" places to weave into). What I did is this: if there were two ends together, I tied them into a knot (I'm not sure most people do this, because knots can be icky, but I didn't want to take any chances with it unraveling). Then, I took one end at a time, and, with yarn needle, I wove it into one "ridge" of knitting for about three or four inches, then I wove it into the last stitch a second time (to secure it better), and then I wove it back the other way. I try to pick stitches that are tight against one another, so they'll hold the yarn in place, hopefully. I haven't tried nail varnish (there are also fabric glues that some people use), but I have a feeling I'll need to do that sometimes. A lot of it depends on the yarn - some yarns will hold better; something silky or slippery might need to be "attached" like you've done with the nail varnish. I hate weaving in ends. (Which, I think, is pretty universal). :D

Maybe the invite got sent to your spam folder? If it's not there, you can go back to Ravelry, and on their home page there should be a place to inquire about your pending invitation. I can't find that screen now (since I was signed in, I guess all that stuff disappears since they know I don't need to see it). I know they have a page where you can check the status of your invite - I think you put in your e-mail address, and hopefully they'll have your invite code there for you. You MUST be on Ravelry! It's a lot of fun, and we can play together there! :)
Jul. 16th, 2008 02:37 am (UTC)
I am now a member, and am holding onto your comments to help improve my skills :) Thanks. x
Jul. 8th, 2008 05:01 am (UTC)
i miss you, but i had to cut back my list for a while.
i hope you're doing well, and that you don't find me ridiculous for asking you if you could tell me where you got the pattern for the star blanket.

things here are ok but i'm a bit overwhelmed with what ifs and solutions i don't completely like.
and it's summer so i'm rarely online because i'm at the boardwalk.
i hope to feel more capable and like myself again soon.

Aug. 10th, 2008 06:16 am (UTC)
Hee . . . it only took me a month to answer this question! (Sorry! We've just moved house, and things have been a bit crazy).

Here's the starghan pattern:


It was pretty easy to make, although there were a couple of places where the instructions had me scratching my head. I managed to work it out, though. Well, except for the fact that the "arms" went a bit wonky at the end. It still turned out cute, though. :)
Jul. 10th, 2008 05:36 am (UTC)
I found you on Ravelry and am glad I did. I think I will try making this for my best friend for Christmas this year. Yes, I think that far ahead. I may even make this my Ravelympics project since it doesn't look complicated. I've never knit in the round although I have been knitting for two years! It intimidates me for whatever loony reason. You did a great job. How's the fit on it? From what I see it's a one size fits all item.
Jul. 10th, 2008 07:40 am (UTC)
Hi! I'm glad you found me, too - I've peeked a bit at your journal, and it looks like we have some things in common. :)

Hee - I've started working on Christmas presents, too. Well, that's not entirely true . . . I've purchased the yarn for Christmas presents; I haven't actually started knitting yet, though. :D I'm going to make this diotima shell for my mom, and maybe one for my sister, as well. It was really easy to knit, and I'm happy with the way it turned out.

It fits well. Mine is a bit bulky, because of the yarn I used. (I'm going to do the one for my mom in a lighter-weight yarn, and see how that works). On the plus side, the bulk of the yarn means that it's a tiny bit on the "big" side, so it's not stretched so much when I'm wearing it that I need to wear a camisole underneath. The downside is that I think it makes me look a bit . . . boxy. Big-shouldered and more buxom than I really am. :D But I do think it's a reasonable one-size-fits all, although some people definitely might need to wear a shirt underneath, since the stitches are big, and pretty loose. It's funny - when I first made it, when laid out flat it looked completely rectangular (because that's the shape of it, really), but now that I've worn it a couple of times, it's taken on the shape of my body.

If you decide to make one, you'll have to let me know how it turns out. I was really happy with the pattern (especially since I was successful, considering what a beginner I am). Oh, and knitting in the round was super easy. Don't be worried about that at all. :)

What's the Ravelympics?
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
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