Recently in Audrey Category

Absolutely Audrey

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I am both pleased and embarrassed to finally introduce Audrey.

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Audrey from Rowan #35, in NightSky

Pleased, because I think she is a lovely top that I will want to wear on a regular basis. Pleased, because I think she fits well and I am happy with my technical execution. Embarrassed, because she sat in my armoire for three months because I was too lazy to remove the lace edging, take out one repeat and re-attach the edging -- a process that only too a couple of hours when I actually sat down and did it. I'm not sure why I thought it was going to be such a painful repair. Knitting those repetitive lace units must have softened up my brain.

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Audrey in Profile

These shots aren't intentionally artsy -- the best light in the house just happened to be near our sliding glass door. I would have gone outside, but a whole bunch of snow and low temperatures kept me on the warm side of the window. Fortunately, most of you already know what Audrey is supposed to look like, and my Audrey is no exception. I did the increases and decreases that create the darts exactly as described in the pattern with no alterations. I'm a bit surprised at how much those darts seem to - er - augment certain portions of my anatomy. No wonder this sweater went over well when I introduced her to John.

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Audrey from the Back

I always like it when a sweater looks as going as coming. There's definitely no odd rippling or gapping here!

What did I learn from Audrey?

  • I like Calmer. It's a great yarn that knits up well and feels lovely against the skin and heavy enough for three season wear. It can split a little bit, however, if you're not paying attention to it when you knit with it. I think it would make a very man-friendly garment.
  • Kim Hargreaves is still my favorite designer for Rowan. This top has a lovely classic shape. And as long as I don't change shape too much, I'll be able to wear this top for years to come.
  • In spite of everyone's concerns, the increases and decreases as written in the pattern work just fine -- at least to my eye.
  • Knitting a sweater in K2 P2 ribbing was not as painful as I thought it would be, but I won't be searching out another one anytime soon.
  • Attention to detail makes all the difference in the world. By elimating one of the lace repeats in the collar, I made a significant impact in how the collar lays on my shoulders. With 19 repeats: big gaps, collar did not lay flat. With 18 repeats, no gapping, collar lays the way it was meant to.

My first February fix is in and I now have an Audrey I'm happy with. For anyone interested in making Audrey, I'd say that she's an intermediate level project. There is a little thinking involved in getting the increases and decreases correct and attaching the collar to the body of the garment requires patience and a little basic math. For more detail, you can check out the Audrey project blog where a lot of other Audreys and helpful details have been described -- and where I'll have posted more details about what I did to get the collar tacked down gracefully.

The Fix Is In

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Alison's gone and done it again -- come up with another great knit-a-long idea that is going to make a positive impact on my knitwear and on my closet.

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I think it's just one of those rules of knitting: the more you knit, the more you complete, the more stuff you're going to have that just didn't come out quite the way you planned it or just isn't getting worn as much as you thought it would. Yet it's something that is made out of good yarn that deserves being knit up into something that will be worn and loved.

Alison is one of my daily reads and she definitely has a knack for coming up with the righ knit-a-long ideas at the right time. When she started talking about fixing knits in February it got me to thinking about what in my closets and drawers needing fixing in order to enter into regular rotation in my wardrobe. And of course, that lead me to thinking about what things were in my closets and drawers that no amount of fixing would help. Yes, not only will there be fixing, but there will also be ripping and recycling.

Here's my goals for fixing and ripping for February:

The Fixing:

Audrey. Oh most definitely Audrey. There's a reason I haven't been able to bring myself to move her into my gallery and claim true victory on the Audrey blog. The neckline just wasn't right. So with thoughts of warmer spring weather in my head, I'm going to rip out the neck lace edging, remove one or more of the lace intervals and sew the lace back in place. Hopefuly there will be victory dancing all around. And I can stop feeling so guilty about not completing my own knit-a-long!

The Ripping:

Goddess Capelet
. It doesn't fit me, it doesn't fit my mom and it was just an all around poor design choice for me. The yarn is lovely and soft and beautiful and deserves a better fate. I have no idea what that fate might turn out to be yet. But anything has to be better than sitting on the floor of my yarn closet.

Banff. Put this one in the category of wrong yarn, wrong pattern as well. Why do I say this, since the results in my archive don't make it look that way? Well, first off, while I love Manos, Manos is a yarn with very loosely spun regions. This means that those regions are going to pill and fuzz like crazy if long lengths are exposed to surfaces that rest on other surfaces. In order to make the Manos work for Banff, it has to be knitted at too loose a gauge and there are just too many of those loosely spun areas on surfaces that rub against each other (i.e. under the arms) or against my desk at work. Secondly, this design is just too short for me. It hits just at the top of the hips and the ribbing falls at a place an inch or two under my boobal area. The overall effect is to make me look even shorter on top than I already am. Finally, the combination of big collar and my neck being very sensitive to wool, means that there is no way I can wear Banff without a turtleneck underneath. Overall, Banff just isn't a good design for me or for the Manos*. This yarn needs to be reclaimed and knit at a smaller gauge into a design that makes me feel good about wearing it.

So now I've got my fixin list out in the open. Let the games begin!

P.S. It looks like Alison is not the only one to encourage people to recycle their unhappy garments. Check out the ReKAL project for another place to go to find friends to rip and re-knit with.

* This is not to suggest that Banff is not a good design, nor that it can't be knit in Manos. It is to suggest, however, that I made a poor choice of yarn and design when I chose to knit this sweater for myself, given my lifestyle, skin sensitivities and body shape.

Group Therapy

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Thanks to all the helpful comments I received yesterday, Audrey and I were able to start to work out our differences. Using Becky's suggestion that I divide the lace units proportionally over the various parts of the sweater, I was able to get things matched up where they needed to be.

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Audrey in Waiting

The jury is still out on the seaming, which is why there are no closeups yet. And there are no modeling shots because I decided to try to block the lace a little bit -- when I tried it on, I found the lace rolled in an unflattering manner. So we'll be in therapy for a week or so longer...

Why a week? Well, I've got to take a little business trip that's going to take me away from my usual computer keyboard for all of next week. I wish I could bring Audrey, but my luggage room is limited. I'll be taking a couple of lace scarf projects to work on since they should be small and easy to work on as well as light weight.

I'm hoping that I will have some internet connectivity, but it is still hard for me to predict right now.

Where am I going? Well, in the spirit of Carmen Sandiego, I'm not going to say. But I will be taking my camera and if I can get to an internet connection I'll be posting photos (if not, I'll post photos when I get back). To whomever can guess the most locations will go a fabulous prize. Well, okay, not like Oprah giving away cars fabulous, but definitely something nice.

P.S. I know there are some people out there who already have some clues about what direction I am travelling in. You can play along, too, but I might require more specific answers...

Time Out for Audrey

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I was hoping to post something about attaching the lace band to the body of Audrey. However, Audrey and I are not on speaking terms right at the moment. After spending several hours trying to figure out how to join the lace to the top and do this in a way that looked acceptable to me I decided to give up for a while. I spent a lot of time looking at the pictures in the Rowan magazine, looking and the successful sweaters on the Audrey blog, trying to understand the right balance of lace repeats and just how much the lace should be stretched and combining that with attaching the lace to the body in a tidy fashion.

And nothing worked the way I wanted it to.

I am actually considering re-knitting the lace and attaching it to the body of Audrey as I go. But I am not yet ready to tackle that yet, so Audrey has been put aside while I consider the best course.

In the meantime, I decided to move up a couple of needle sizes and get started on Butterfly. Even though I have a pretty good feel for how Kureyon knits up, I decided to be a good little knitter and swatch, just to make sure. Soaking the swatch in water and letting it dry did have the effect of loosening it up just a bit and softening up the Kureyon quite a lot.

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The Swatch and the Start

So far, the chevron pattern is a nice balance of interesting and mindless. I can actually work on it and watch John's jungle mercenary progress.

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Butterfly Chevron Detail

I'm enjoying the color progression of the Kureyon a lot. Amazing how a simple texture pattern can change the whole character of the yarn. I've been wondering how this pattern might work in socks with a striping sock yarn. Could be kind of interesting, I think!

Laced Up

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A bit of a two part post today. First the progress, then the public service announcement.

I completed the lace neckband for Audrey. 19 intervals of stretchy garter stitch lace. Gotta say that I didn't really get off on knitting this stuff. It wasn't that hard, but it wasn't that easy to remember, either and I never really memorized the chart (April actually created a very helpful chart and shared it on the Audrey blog). I almost put it down a couple of times, but reminded myself that it would be a shame to stop this close to the finish line.

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A Lace Band for Audrey -- 19 Repeats

Since that long stretched out piece doesn't give you a good sense for what the lace actually looks like, here's a photo from a little closer perspective.

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Audrey Lace Up Close

I'm all patienced out for the evening. So attaching the lace to the body of the sweater will have to happen tomorrow.

The public service announcement of this post has to do with machine washing and drying my Phil Ruban swatch in anticipation of doing the same to the top I made out of Phil Ruban.

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Washed and Dressed Phil Ruban Swatch

Over all, the washing and drying process doesn't have much of a negative impact on the look of the swatch. The swatch did, however, undergo some shrinkag. The original swatch was 20 stitches and 27 rows to 4", the washed swatch is 21 stitches and 30 rows to 4" (in other words, what used to be 4" x 4" is now 3-3/4" x 3-1/2" (most of the shrinkage was in the vertical direction. So if you're planning on working with this yarn, I'd recommend doing the same experiment -- it's definitely not shrink resistant.

Can I Get Some Lace With That?

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Warning: gratuitous display of bra straps ahead. To anyone who is disturbed by the suggestion of white lingerie and even pastier white skin I apologize heartily. I promise the Keyboard Biologist will be bra strap free tomorrow.

I finished seaming Audrey tonight. Let me just say that I did not really enjoy the process of seaming up a lot of reverse stockinette edges, but with perserverence I was able to bring the main body of Audrey together. I always enjoy watching seams create the structure of a garment, and Audrey was even more rewarding than most, as seaming accentuated her curves.

(As an aside...Before I started seaming I took a look back through the Audrey blog to see how others had done it. That led me back to the blog entry of a certain dancing rabbit and her Flashdance references. For the entire time I was seaming up this garment I had "She's a maniac..." going through my head over and over. (Keyboard Biologist trivia for the day: the first R rated movie I ever went to was Flashdance -- my mother took me, ostensibly so that we could see the dancing. I thought I had a very cool mom). What is it about 80's music that makes the stuff so easy to lodge in ones brain? It's probably a good thing she didn't mention "My Sharona"...)

Normally I wait until the sweater is finished before a try on session. But I just couldn't resist seeing what she felt like on.

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Audrey Topless

Wow, is Calmer nice to wear! So incredibly soft and nice to have next to my skin. And so far, I think Audrey fits well, too. John thought at first that the sweater was actually finished. He's apparently so used to unwoven in ends that the ones hanging down didn't phase him at all. He almost looked disappointed when I told him that there would be a lace band around the top.

I wonder how many lace repeats I can get done in the dark while watching John play Far Cry... and humming the theme to Flashdance.

Almost Audrey

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Twins

Tonight we celebrated one whole year of Knitting in Public in Chicago with cake and other goodies at Letizia's. Three cheers for Bonne Marie who played hostess to our feast and made sure that there were door prizes to share. She even made sure that I took home some cheesecake for John. Cheesecake for dinner in our house? You bet!

I also got to finish off and bind off the second back/front piece for Audrey. I would have gotten started on the sleeve as well, except I forgot to bring the smaller needles that I needed to cast onto. Ah well, that just gave me more time to chat and catch up as our fun little group isn't so little any more.

And for anyone else who is thinking about knitting Fitzgerald, Pixie is holding a knitalong. I obviously won't be starting until my yarn arrives, but I'll definitely be joining her.

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Gina suggested a "Man A-long" -- and I'd love to start one, but there is already one of these going on. Check out the goings on at knit-o-rama for more info.

Metamorphosis

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Something about getting Salt Peanuts finished in such a relatively short period of time got me feeling intensely guilty about the fact that my Audrey sweater has been languishing in a heap on top of some books in a bookcase. That hardly seemed elegant or dignfied, so I have decided that I can't get started on Butterfly until I give Audrey a chance to have her own starring role.

I think my stumbling block with getting this sweater completed is that the front and the back are the same and you have to knit two sleeves. At some level, Audrey is like sleeve hell times two. And my attention span is a relatively short one, so knitting the exact same thing twice, two times in the same top just tends to leave me bored. But I think there's been a long enough gap now. I started knitting the second front/back piece on Sunday morning and I'm now 20 rows away from binding off.

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Audrey Transformation

I've been going back and forth on the "to block or not to block" question. Most of the time I think ribbing should be left alone to do it's own thing, but I decided to not leave well enough alone on this occasion, as you can see in the picture above.

Why? Well, to be frank, I wasn't pleased with the stitch conformation in the knit stitches next to purl stitches in the ribbing, and I feel that a good blocking will help ameliorate that problem. I also didn't think that it would be much of a treat to seam together the pieces if they were all as compressed as the piece I am currently working on. Finally, I am just curious to see how the Calmer blocks out. It has enough elasticity that I think that even with a little blocking the ribbing will be pretty stretchy.

And, I just like seeing the curvy lines of the ribbing when the piece is stretched out.

Early on after this sweater was published in Rowan #35, a lot of people seemed to think that the dart increases and decreases were unattractive, myself included. But after seeing a few of the sweaters get completed on the Audrey blog I became convinced that my first impressions might not have been the correct ones.

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Darts and Increases

I rather like what I see in the picture above. I now think that they are a neat design element instead of being unattractive and crude.

I am also enjoying my Calmer experience. Calmer thinks that my Denise needles are AddiTurbos. Hopefully this combination of speed and smoothness will help me power on through to project completion.

P.S. Check this out... it's an official Audrey Hepburn stamp issued by the US Postal Service. I think I am going to need to get some of these to send out labels to the Audrey finishers!

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