Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pattern crazy

I've gone a little crazy buying patterns.  It's a secret...sorta. Shhhh! Don't tell Mr. SpiderKate.  I love LOVE buying patterns.  My love of patterns is born of two interests: the designs themselves & a chance to see how other designers layout patterns.  Okay, so what have I gotten recently?  Mostly I'm on a book buying spree.  The two most recent purchases were Botanical Knits by Alana Dakos of NeverNotKnitting and The Knitter's Curiosity Cabinet: Volume II by Hunter Hammersen.  Both books had pre-order incentives, which I think were very nice & generous.  Both of these books either included or gave an option to buy either the electronic copy ONLY or the print copy + electronic copy.  I opted for the print copy + electronic copy in both cases.  For today I'm going to highlight Botanical Knits, since I received my book in the mail yesterday :o)

This book is just gorgeous.  Let me say that again.  This book is gorgeous.  The layout is well done (I wouldn't expect anything else from Alana!) and the photographs are just stunning.  The book includes 12 patterns and is divided in two parts: Sweaters & Accessories.  There are 4 sweaters & 8 accessory patterns.  The accessories range from head to toe: hats, a shawl, gloves, & a pair of socks.  There is also a leaf pattern included at the end (literally the last page of the book) that Alana suggests as a way to use up any left over yarn from your projects.

Since I pre-ordered the book, I got some extra goodies with my book.  I received an exclusive pattern, Ivy Trellis Hat, which is really a preview of the next book in the series, Botanical Knits: Volume 2.  I knew that the book would include an extra, exclusive pattern, but I thought it would be just printed on paper and not really anything special per se.  Boy was I wrong.  This pattern came as you would expect to buy any of Alana's pattern in your LYS.  Love it.

The other extra I got was a sheet of sticky page markers.  These are super cute and say things like "cast on now", "must knit", and "great gift idea", to name a few.  At first I didn't really read what was written in the center of the sheet; I just figured that it was just more info about the book/stickers.  Upon further inspection I found that it included a buy one get one code to use on her other knitting patterns.  While it wasn't necessary for her to include that, it was really nice & generous of her to include it.  Oh, I should mention that when I got my link to download the electronic version of the book, I also got a code to download one of three (maybe it was four?) at 50% off.  I opted to get the Oak Grove fingerless mittens as I had been eyeing them for sometime.

What will I knit first? I'm not sure, but I'm kinda leaning towards the Ivy Trellis Hat (the extra included pattern) because I have half a skein of Madelinetosh Pashmina that would be perfect for it.  Though the Spring Foliage fingerless mittens would look nice knit with Pashmina as well.  Decisions decisions decisions :o)  For more discussion on this book or looking for a KAL to join, then I definitely recommend checking out the Botanical Knits group on Ravelry: Botanical Knits Rav group.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A lesson in gauge

Gauge is a four lettered word to knitters.  Except it's 5 letters and really it's more of a love/hate relationship with the word.  I learned this the hard way recently.  In a break from my normal KAL ideas, I decided that the next KAL at PAY (Park Avenue Yarns) would be a cardigan/vest.  I know what you are thinking - "But Kate, what about finishing your Einstein coat or your Rocky Coast Cardigan??!?!" - and I know!  My track record for finishing garments is not good.  It's just down right bad.  I have yet to finish one!  

Okay, let me explain myself.  I've been ogling the beautiful wall of Weekend yarn we have hanging in the shop and then I happened across a pattern booklet full of great designs knit in Weekend.  It didn't take long to convince myself that this is what the next KAL needed to be for the shop.  I am worried that I might not finish it, but I think that the KAL is going to keep me accountable.  I'm knitting mine using color #5907 aka mouse.  This happens to be the same yarn the sample in the booklet was knit in, which wasn't intentional.  Oh!  The booklet is Weekend booklet #297.  The pattern is the cover pattern, Aon.  You can also find Aon on ravelry here: Aon.

My first attempt; soon to be ripped out.
This pattern starts with a US 5 (3.75 mm) for the ribbing and then switches to a US 7 (4.5 mm) for the stockinette body.  I know that I should have checked my gauge, but I figured this isn't really a fitted item so I would probably be okay.  Well, I'm knitting away and then I start to hear comments along the lines that mine looks small.  Now, this give me some alarm and I did a quick check on my gauge and I was off, but it didn't seem like I was off by that much - at least that is what I told myself.  Then someone else said it looked small....and then someone else.  

Yeah, there is quite a difference!
Okay, it was time to face reality, stop knitting and restart.  Saturday night I  went home and did a gauge swatch on size US 8 (5.0 mm) needles and low and behold, it was very nearly on gauge OR at least close enough.   Before I was knitting between the 32" size & the 36" size.  I am definitely not between those sizes.  Now I'm knitting between the 36" size & the 40" size.  I still haven't ripped out my original yet, but I will soon.  At least I keep telling myself that I'm going to rip it out soon ;o)