Recently in Goddess Capelet Category

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.

Completed Capelet

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I was seaming like mad on Saturday in hopes of getting my capelet complete for the week. By Saturday afternoon it was all put together. I put it on and raced to a mirror.

And was terribly disappointed.

Why?

Big. The capelet was just too big. The nice woven motif hung down around the area of my navel when the capelet was situated evenly on my shoulders. So you don't get a victory shot. But I will show the finished product. Unfortunately, the picture leaves a little something to be desired. Gotta love grey fall/winter weather in Chicago. Believe it or not, this was probably the brightest space in my house this morning.

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Goddess Capelet Completed

I think the biggest part of my disappointment, however, was not really that the garment was too big, but because I should have seen it coming. The garment is not too big because my gauge was off, or because I mismeasured things. Believe me, I checked those things many times. No, the garment turned out too big because of wishful thinking and because I didn't listen to my own instincts.

I should have done the math and realized that even the small was going to be too big for my body shape and size. Why didn't I? Well, it was the picture in the advertisement. That woman didn't look large, so I figured that a small would be find for me. Definitely not good logic. I had really thought that I had gotten beyond being bowled over by a picture, but apparently not.

But even if she doesn't fit me, she's still a lovely garment, and I'd just hate to have to go on a ripping expedition. About a year ago, I started working on a Charlotte's Web shawl -- a garment that I had intended for my mom, but which after I got it knit up, I decided I couldn't part with. As I look at this capelet that doesn't want to be from me, I'm wondering if it was really meant to be for Mom.

What did I learn?

  • Even if a pattern doesn't come with a schematic, it pays to make one and consider it in the context of my own measurements.
  • Bulky alpaca is wonderful, but it would be more wonderful at a slightly tighter gauge. Alpaca has no elasticity and almost no memory. Gravity can take a significant toll.
  • Stay away from a three needle bind-off for bulky alpaca -- for the same reasons listed above. It's not a good seam to support a heavy weight garment that hangs from the shoulder.
  • Don't trust a picture. I could have taken a picture for you of this capelet that would have made it look perfect just by hiking it up and letting an uneven amount of the garment fall behind my back.

This pattern has a few problems, they aren't insurmountable, but anyone interested in it should probably be aware that you will need to make a few small changes to the short-row shaping in order for them to work correctly. Also, my copy of the pattern completely lacked instructions for the right side neckline shaping. It's not so hard to reverse the instructions, but you do have to spend a little time thinking about it.

Sorry if this sounds a little distracted, there was a major fire in a downtown high-rise in Chicago and I've been watching the coverage all evening. Scary.

Not Quite a Capelet

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I was excited before I left for Texas because I knew when I got back to Chicago there would be one more skein of Goddess Phoebe waiting for me (one more than required by the pattern) -- and I was anticipating finishing it up and having a lovely alpaca garment to add to my winter sweater collection.

10 skeins of of Phoebe got me this far:

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Goddess Capelet Minus one Shoulder Panel

It looks more complete than it is -- but actually I am one shoulder panel short of being able to get this garment finished. Fortunately, my second call to Ruhama's resulted in another skein of Phoebe in the correct dye lot.

There's one very special feature of this garment. I love the basketweave panel in the center. So much so that I figured I needed to post a close up. The alpaca worked surprisingly well in the cabling department.

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Capelet Detail

That last skein arrived today, so I am very psyched to get this project finished. Hopefully I won't need anymore emergency calls to Ruhamas...

Closer to My Goddess

What was my big push over the weekend? Getting both side panels of my Goddess Capelet finished. By the time I had gotten both of them finished, I had one full skein and most of a second left, but with my yarn shortage paranoia running high, I made a quick phone call to Ruhama's to see if they had another skein in the same dyelot that they could send me.

Credit cards are a good thing. By the time I get home from Texas, the last skein should be waiting for me and I can get on to knitting the fun parts of this project.

The side panels aren't really much to look at, but to provide proof of completion (mostly to myself -- even on size 8 needles this knitting was a little bit of a slog), here's a picture of the project.

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Two Sides of the Same Goddess

One thing that I couldn't capture well on digital film was the subtle differences in color in the skeins. This is not to say that Phoebe is like Arucania Nature Wool or something like that. If you look at the skeins they are most definitely solidly the same color. This is just enough variation to give the fabric a little depth, without screaming incompletely dyed. Either that or it is just a trick of the light in the room with my blocking board. I'll try to get natural light pictures when I get back from Texas.

Now that I have gotten the lion's share of the knitting done on this project, I feel like it's a good time to talk more about this yarn. On the overall, I like it a great deal. It is incredibly soft to the touch, has the most phenomenal hand and makes for a truly blissful knitting experience.

However, this yarn did make me crazy in one very specific way -- it splits like nobody's business. I suspect that this is related to it being alpaca, but I haven't knit with enough alpaca yarns to be sure. I don't want to tell how many times I would look down the fabric to realize that of the 6 or so strands that are plied together to make this yarn, on a stitch 10 rows down, I had caught only 4 of the plies and there were two extra ones swinging in the breeze. I did the "drop a stitch and re-knit back up" routine so many times I thought I was working on an alpaca version of Clapotis! Obviously, this is my fault, not the yarn's, but what this means is that I had to pay attention to this project more than I would have expected to for a long stockinette slog.

Speaking of long slogs... I have an airline story that fits that bill as well. But I'll save that for tomorrow.

Of Guage and Alpaca

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Aren't you proud of me? I've managed to go three whole days without acquiring any new yarn. Not only that, I've started my next project out of yarn from my stash -- granted, it it's yarn that's been in my stash for only three days, but I think it should count.

To be honest, I had to cast some Phoebe on to my needles almost instants after getting it home. Because I didn't want to waste any of this luscious yarn, I swatched and then ripped it out. On size 8 (5.0 mm) needles, the pattern calls for a gauge of 18 stitches and 22 rows to 4" square. My swatch worked out, so I cast on the zillion stitches requred and got started.

And then I discovered that my swatch had lied to me. I wasn't completely off, but my 4.5 stitches/inch had become more like 5 and my 5.5 rows/inch had become more like 6. This was after I had knit through my entire first skein and part of the second. The piece stretched to the correct dimensions, but I started to get worried about yardage and decided that I needed to test out another swatch on the next needle size up (US 9). This resulted in 4 stitches/inch and 5.5 rows/inch. Right row gauge, wrong stitch gauge. Sigh. My swatches weren't going to give me any easy answers.

So I set the piece aside and worked on Clapotis while I considered what to do next. The thought of ripping the whole thing out and starting over didn't appeal to me, but I figured the wrong row gauge would result in a yarn shortage. And by now everyone should know that if there is one thing I don't do well, it's deal with a yarn shortage.

In the end, I decided that maybe my original swatch hadn't lied to me -- maybe my fingers had. rather than rip, I decided that I'd consciously force myself to knit more loosely and see if I could achieve my original gauge.

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The Beginning of A Capelet

To my very pleasant surprise, thinking loosey-goosey worked. This is just after starting my third skein of Phoebe. And here's an up close look at the difference in my stitches:

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Loosening Up

Can you see the difference? It's small, but real. It feels a little strange to knit this way, but I think in the long run it might be a good exercise to keep me from choking up on my needles.

This yarn is absolutely delightful to knit with. The plies, however, have a tendency not to want to stick together, so it is very easy to knit through a stitch and split the yarn, meaning that it doesn't make for completely mindless knitting. But it's still a pretty good option for working on while my boy indulges in a little Half Life 2.

Finding My Outer Goddess

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I really do always go into yarn stores with the best intentions to not enhance my stash.

Really, I do.

But, inevitably, something happens -- some confluence of random magical fibery forces -- and I find myself, like some kind of addict, trying to convince myself that just one more little purchase really won't hurt. It will be quick to knit. It will be the perfect wardrobe addition. And I really don't have that much yarn waiting in my stash closet at home.

What is my excuse this time, you might ask? It's a simple equation, my friends, as shown below:

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+

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=

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Take one part sweater design I have been ogling for some time, mix it with one of the few yarn stores in the country that sells the Goddess yarn line, add it the good company of a great friend, wave over the mix with my magic Visa card, et voila! -- another yarn purchase.

But not just any yarn purchase. No, this yarn, Phoebe (by Goddess Yarns), is 100% Baby Alpaca in the kind of color that my skin was meant to be placed next to. This yarn is the softest yarn I have ever fondled, with a hand like an angel. And best of all... it knits up 18 stitches/4 inches, making the capelet that is my current heart's desire almost a quick knit

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