Recently in Phil'Onde Pullovers Category

Onde Finish Line

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There was no way I was going to go into the weekend being so close to sweater completion without finishing my Phil'Onde sweater. I finished it Friday night, but a wedding and bad weather got in the way of any photos on Saturday. Here's the results from Sunday's photo shoot:

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"Le Pull" in Phil'Onde Cholorphylle, Front and Side Views
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A Phil'Onde Hourglass

So there you have it! One of my favorite projects of the year so far. It's not a complicated sweater, which is just fine, because the yarn is complicated enough -- having both the color gradient and a boucle texture. There is just a little bit of shaping to make it pinch in at the waist just a little bit. But other than that, it's the ribbing that is doing all the work.

It's hard to describe how light and airy the sweater is. Even though it's composed of about 600 g of yarn, it has a light-as-a-feather quality about it. I think this is achieved due to a combination of the texture and gauge and composition of the yarn. Phil'Onde is a fairly fine yarn (somewhere between sport and DK weight) so you wouldn't expect it to work well knit on 5 mm (US 8) needles. But the nubbly texture works in your favor here and sort of fills in the nooks and crannies. I think the fact that this yarn is mostly acrylic also works in my favor -- a lightweight springy garment is less susceptible to the ravages of gravity.

And I guess it goes without saying that I'm happy I fixed that first sleeve cap. I was a little worried that the sleeves were going to feel kind of tight with the ribbing. As it turns out, they are wonderful and loose. I think over time they will bell a little bit at the wrist.

One of the nice things about a simple sweater is that I can focus on the details. For this sweater to come off well, it was important that I do a good job of setting in the sleeves and finishing the neckline.

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Neck line detail

The neckline finishing is simple and elegant -- a row of crocheted chain stitch followed by two rounds of single crochet. I haven't always been successful when it comes to getting crochet to lay flat, but this worked out well, I think.

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Set-In Sleeves Accomplished!

But the detail that I am most proud of is the setting-in of the sleeves. I was worried that it would be difficult to get the ribbing to look right. I did a lot of ripping as I attached the sleeves to make subtle corrections that would get everything lined up correctly. It took me a lot more time than I thought it would, but I think the results are worth it.

So what did I learn on this project?

  • Set-in sleeves are a little more challenging, but a very flattering look for me (at least I think so!).
  • I have more tolerance for doing an all over ribbed sweater than I would have imagined.
  • Phildar patterns are well written and easy to follow. I could have almost done the pattern from the schematic alone! I think they have some of the best pattern schematics around. It also pays to have a few people who can help you with the nuances of French patterns (thanks, Becky!).
  • Not everything acrylic is a bad thing.
  • Ripping is good for the soul and even better for the finished look of the project
  • There will be more Phildar projects going on for me this summer.

I've had a lot of people ask me "where did you get the Phil'Onde?" My Phil'Onde arrived special delivery from Lyon, courtesy of a blogging buddy who has easy access to all things Phildar. But I'm very excited because I know a little secret that I've been allowed to share -- I'm now going to have a source of Phildar yarns in the US. According to Rob, ThreadBear is going to have the whole spectrum of Phil'Onde sometime in June. Finally a US retail source of Phildary goodness!

I'll leave you with this shot of my Beezle doing his best to imitate Claudia's Igor. No sooner had I finished this sweater and folded it on my desk than he decided to lay down on it and "claim" it for his very own pillow. Apparently I am not the only one who appreciates French yarn.

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Who's Sweater is it Really?

Much Better

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Much Happier Now

It may not be exactly perfect, but I'm much happier with the shading in the sleeves. I finished the sleeve cap after I got home from work and sewed up one sleeve seam. I had hoped to get both done, but my weekly date with my sweetie intervened.

But I do have something else to show and talk about -- my Palm application.

I ended up deciding to put together a little program that would focus on tracking projects, but would have supplementary yarn and needle databases so that one can keep track fo needle and yarn stash and know what needles and what yarn are allocated to what particular project. It's tentatively called "KnitTrack". I'm going to be keeping it simple at first and then, if there is enough interest, I will build on it. My first goal is to get the interface for the projects and needles worked out. Here's the intro screen:

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Knit Track Projects

Can you tell what is supposed to be going on in this screen? The first column is the priority for the project, the second is the project name, the third and fourth columns are the start and end date, respectively and the final column is the percent completed (eventually I will get the percent sign in there). The "P", "N" and "Y" push buttons stand for "Projects", "Needles" and "Yarn" and they can be used to navigate between three main screens that let you see the items in those categories. Projects will also be able to be categorized, but I haven't implemented that yet.

If you click the "New" or "Edit" button on this screen, you will get something that looks like this:

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Add a Project

These are the project information fields. Is this enough information? Too much? I haven't figured out exactly which "widgets" I will use for each field. I want to use tap-down lists whenever possible to make data entry easier since I won't be creating a desktop app for data entry.

I haven't dealt with the main needle listing screen yet, but here's the new record screen for needles:

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Add Needles

Should there be more fields? The "Type" drop down will let you select straight, circular or dp. The "Current Project" label indicates where I will put information about what project the needles are associated with (if any).

Any and all comments and criticisms are appreciated. Don't be shy!

I know that when I first talked about this I mentioned that there would be goodies for the person who came up with the idea that I used. But everone who posted came up with good ideas, and I hope that I will be able to grow this little program to incorporate several of them. This makes it difficult for me to declare a "winner". So I would like to declare everyone a winner here and let everyone know, that once I finish it, anyone who reads my blog and is interested in having this program for their Palm will be able to have it when it is finished. I am implementing it under Palm OS 3, so it should be compatible with a wide range of devices.

Slept On It

Heh. You'll all be happy to know that I ripped that sleeve cap back right after breakfast. Those of you who pointed out that I had mentioned it twice, and if I was bringing it up a second time, I would probably be bugged by it forever, are definitely right.

I was just too excited about getting it all put together to realize that I wasn't happy about that detail. Better to rip now than to rip after I had set in the sleeve. So I'll be finishing up the sleeve cap tonight and then I'll get back to the business of finishing. Thanks for everyone who commented! I definitely needed the moral support/butt-kicking in the right direction.

Visualizing "Le Pull"

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I always forget how long it takes to seam up a sweater. Once I get the pieces blocked, I inevitably convince myself that I am just a few hours away from a finished garment. Even though I didn't finish the sweater tonight, I did get about halfway through the seaming adventure. Shoulder and side seams are now in place. The side seams took longer than they should have since I neglected to give myself a selvedge stitch and thus found myself seaming up reverse stockinette edges, which is not, to say the least, my favorite seaming situation.

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So Close and So Far

But I think the seaming effort turned out well (I'll try to provide a few closeups when I can take pictures during the daylight) and I got to try on the body for size. So far I'm very pleased with the shaping and the fit. The Phil'Onde is also just the perfect weight -- it's very very light and I think it will resist gravity better than most summer weight yarns tha I've worked with. The ribbing is very figure flattering. I'm looking forward to getting the sleeves attached and getting a look at the final product. I've learned through experience that you can't trust the fit of a sweater until all the pieces are in place.

The picture above gives a little bit of an idea of what the finished garment will look like. I guess the uneven shading on the sleeves is probably going to stand out more than I would like, at least based on this picture. I'm still not sure it's worth ripping out the sleeve cap to try to achieve perfection, though, as I am quite capable of making it worse by trying to guesstimate how much green I would need to take out in order to make the things match.

I think I'll sleep on it. But I am interested in hearing opinions. What would you do?

Almost Onde Finish Line

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Well, I was planning on talking about my programming class project tonight, as I think I have most of the project mapped out, and I have a nice chunk of the user interface coded up. But I think I will defer until later in the week, and instead follow the advice from Silvia and Claudia that I just knit on as fast as I can and get finished with my Phil'Onde pullover.

Et Voila! La Devant du Pull...*

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The Front of the Phil'Onde Pullover in Chlorophylle

For once, my poor little camera did a good job on an indoor shot, with regards to color. Maybe that bright white Onde reflects just enough to make it work out. The piece is all pinned down to my SpaceBoard just waiting to get hosed down and block over night. Yes, I know that a little water will not fundamentally change the shape of a cotton/acrylic piece of fabric, but the stretching and the water do seem to help even out my sitches a bit, and I think that will be helpful when I go to assemble it.

In response to Julie M.'s comment from yesterday, my assembly process is pretty simple. The first thing I will do is attach the shoulder seams and see how it hangs. Then I'll sew up the side seams (which won't be a lot of fun, because I've got purl stitches on the edges -- I forgot to add that handy selvedge stitch) and try the body on to get a sense for how it's going to fit. Then I'll sew up the sleeve seams and attach the sleeves to the armholes. This might seem like more trouble than it's worth, but I think the extra stability this order of sewing gives the sleeve will be worth it. After I've got the sleeves taken care of, I'll try it on one more time and make a quick assessment of the neckline before doing the simple neckband finishing.

After that I will put it on and dance -- maybe even outside in the sunshine!


*my apologies to anyone who speaks and writes French correctly. I hope I haven't butchered that little phrase too badly.

Green Sleeves and Green Leaves

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While I love the green growing things, I am not always very good at keeping them alive. Thus, I can't help but get excited every year when my clematis voluntarily come back from their winter hibernation. They're only three years old, so I think they're still getting themselves established, and I still worry that something tragic will befall them. So far though, all three of the plants that we settled up against our garage (in the hopes of giving them a protected space) are alive and well. The poor things are desperate for a little more light, though, so all three of them have sent up vines as far as they can go.

The first couple of years, I got a few blossoms from each one, but I think they were concentrating on getting their roots and vines established. This is the first year that I'm getting a real show. The first one to get going this year is the one that is supposed to be the early bloomer, a variety called "Nelly Moser". Nelly has big showy single flowers (they're probably about 6" in diameter) that have whitish/pinkish petals with deeper pink to magenta petal centers.

Nelly still has plenty of buds to share with us, and the second one is also getting ready to put on a show for us. We may be urban, but we still get to enjoy our little garden.

Speaking of green and growing, I made good progress on my Phil'Onde pullover this weekend. I now have both sleeves finished.

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Sleeves for Phil'Onde Pullover

The astute amongst you will recongize that these sleeves are fraternal, rather than identical twins. I'm actually pleased that this is somewhat difficult to see int he picture, because hopefully that means that it will not be completely obvious in the sweater. But just to make it completely clear, I also present this closeup of the sleeve caps:

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Phil'Onde Sleeve Caps

I'm actually considering myself quite lucky that I decided to do the second sleeve before I did the front and that I grabbed the ball of Phil'Onde that I did to knit the second sleeve. You might notice in the sleeve on the right (the second sleeve) that there is an area just around where the shaping starts that looks a little whiter than the rest of the surrounding area. Well, as I was knitting through the last and lightest color, I suddenly encountered a rather lengthy area of white, followed by a big globby green area that was rather thicker than the rest of the yarn, followed by a return to the appropriate color. Because I was knitting in a low light area I didn't notice that the light green went to white before hitting the glob. Once I got it into high light areas, there was some ripping (and a little grumbling) to do.

Now, a truly dedicated knitter would rip the first sleeve back in an attempt to make the two match. I decided that since the two sleeves would be separated by the body of the sweater, the imbalance probably wouldn't be very noticeable. And it seemed a real shame to rip back, just to give myself a few more ends to weave in. Hopefully I will not regret my decision after I have painstakingly set in the sleeves.

So far, this is the only problem that I have had with the Phil'Onde. Unfortunately, the yarn's format makes it almost impossible to anticipate flaws deep within the skein. Kureyon and Silk Garden have given me similar problems in the past as well. I guess it is just one of the hazzards of working with striping yarns.

Even so, I'm getting quite excited about having this sweater done. On Saturday, I met up with Julie to do a bit of shopping and a bit of knitting. I got quite a bit done on the last piece of the sweater, so I'm thinking that I could be wearing this sweater next weekend. And then it will be time to focus on Audrey! I'm so inspired by all the lovely finished Audrey's that have shown up as part of the knit along. If you were worried about the shaping decreases and increases or wondering whether the lace would lie flat, worry and wonder no more! We've got 6 beautiful finishers who got incredible results!

Phil'Onde Sleeve #1

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First off, I hope all of you motherly types had a wonderful Mother's Day. I got to spend the weekend with mine. We spent Sunday afternoon at the Chicago Botanic Garden. It is absolutely beautiful there right now. The tulips are still out, the flowering trees are in full bloom and everything is getting green and happy. I was particularly taken with the Sensory Garden and Spider Island. I'd never been there before this early in the spring. It's definitely a treat! If you live in Chicago and have never made it that far north, it really is worht the trip. If you would like a few more images of the garden, you can also take a look at some lovely photographs taken by Dawn Mikulich of Chicago Uncommon.

It was a lazy weekend and I didn't do very much besides relax with Mom and Dad and knit. Right now, I find myself surrounded by ribbed sweater projects. Over the weekend, I buckled down and got serious about getting a move on so that I can wear these sweaters before spring and summer have flown. Here's the first sleeve of my Phil'Onde sweater.

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One down...

I like the smooth color shading on the sleeve. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that in this size, I actually had some yarn left over from the 100 g ball with the color shading. I don't think I will have any more worries about having enough white.

I am thinking of casting on for the second sleeve before I do the front. It's not exciting, but there's no shaping until you get to the sleeve cap so it doesn't take much thinking, either.

If you want to see a lovely finished Phil'Onde sweater, check out Silvia's cardigan done in the Hyacinthe colorway.

Something interesting arrived at my house this weekend. There'll be pictures of that later this week.

Onde Way

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I really just can't resist the bad puns that come to my head when I hear the name of this yarn. So I hope I'll be forgiven. With any luck, I'll run out of them before I complete this sweater -- and the one I hope to make for John.

I did hit a major milestone with my Phil'Onde sweater -- I completed the back.

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The Back of "Le Pull Femme" in Chlorophylle

This yarn has a lot more character when the picture is taken outside in the sunshine. I think this green has in it the essence of spring, and the morning sun makes it more apparent. The fabric itself is also light and airy and, dare I say it, springy. Here's a little closeup of the texture of the Phil'Onde knit in K4P2 rib on 5 mm needles:

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Phil'Onde Up Close and Personal

It's a boucle yarn, so I gave up on completely neat and pretty. From a distance, though, all you see is the lovely gradient and the nice wide ribbing.

I've cast on for the first sleeve tonight. I want to see how far one of the gradiant balls goes so I can figure out if I need to find another ball of white. It would be just dreadful to be a few rows from finishing the second sleeve and not have enough white yarn!

I'm not sure yet, but this sweater may be one of the projects I take with me to Maryland Sheep and Wool on Friday along with the Mermaid socks. I can hardly wait to get on the plane and make the treck to one of the premier festivals in the US, especially since I know I am going to be in great company.

Onde and Other Things

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Here's my latest progress on the Phildar pullover I am doing in Phil'Onde:

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Back of the Phil'Onde Pullover

I'm closing in on the end of this ball of Onde. I've got 27 more rows before I start binding off for the armholes. I wonder if this first ball will make it that far? I'm still finding the "chlorophylle" quite easy on my eyes and I have gotten comfortable with the stitch irregularity that is part of the character of this yarn. It feels like it is taking me forever to knit this thing, but that's probably because I can't speed-knit the ribbing as much as I might like.

It's definitely fun to watch this Onde stuff do it's magic. Not quite as fun as Kureyon or Silk Garden, but almost.


There have been quite a few interesting posts concerning knitting and yarn acquisition and guilt of late (check out Claudia, Carolyn, Wendy and Kersten for their personal feelings on the subject). I enjoyed reading these posts because they are personal perspectives on guilt and fiber acquisition and knitting. I can pick pieces of myself out of each one of them.

At the end of the day, I just have a hard time feeling guilty about my stash. I slogged through four years of college, six years of graduate school, two years post-doctoral training and then another two more years of grad school. I worked hard to get where I am and no one is going to make me feel guilty about how I spend my salary. I firmly believe in surrounding myself with the people and things that make me happy. My house makes me happy. My stash of fiber makes me happy. My collection of books and my tech toys make me happy. I'm definitely a material girl.

I consider myself lucky to have all these things. I wish everyone could have all the things that they want. But I don't really feel guilty about having them. Life is too short to feel guilty about things.

But people are a different matter. The guilt in my life comes from much more personal things. I feel guilty about not responding to the email that is piling up in my inbox right now. I feel guilty about not having enough time to blog, (because I miss my daily creative writing experience). I feel guilty about not having enough time right now to be a truly active participant in the Audrey blog (though I'm hardly needed -- there's so much good stuff happening there without me). I feel guilty about not yet having made hotel and plane reservations for a friend's wedding in July. I still feel guilty about not coping as well as I would have liked with my mother-in-law's extended stay with us over the summer. And I feel extremely guilty about not having enough time to call a dear friend who is going through a very rough spot.

I really truly feel that material things should only be worried about when they become an uncontrollable obsession that starts to hurt other people. But I also feel that if I try to keep people as my main concern, it's hard for the material things to get out of control. It's all about balance and perspective. When material things start to get out of hand, my guilt levels go up. It's an emotional warning sign that I need to re-prioritize and figure out how to be more efficient with my time.

And that's what I am struggling with right now -- achieving balance. It's amazing to me how one extra activity (my programming class) can throw everything else out of whack. Good thing it's only until June. In the meantime, I hope all the people that I'm feeling guilty about will be patient with me. And I promise to stay away from any more degree seeking ventures... at least for a little while!

Onde Target

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After two more swatching attempts, I finally got the gauge I needed with the Phil'Onde. I ended up on 5.0 mm needles instead of 4.0 mm needles. I guess they are not kidding when they say "knit loosely". Here's the proof of my swatching victory.

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White Onde Swatch

It's not as pretty as I'd like (note the far left stitch on each rib block...). When I speak of getting gauge, I was mostly concerned about getting row gauge. I've never been very good at dealing with stitch gauge in ribbing. But this swatch does work out to 4" in both dimensions with the number of stitches and rows expected.

I have to admit, I was feeling very uncertain as I kept increasing needle sizes. So I did a survey of the projects in the Phildar books that I have that use Phil'Onde.

While most get 33 rows on 3.5 mm needles, there are a couple of patterns that get 32 or 29 on the same size needles. I guess the moral of this story is that you need to swatch and be sure and not assume that the recommended needle size is going to work for you.

But who wants to knit with white yarn when there is a variagated ball of green goodness waiting for you? After I got my swatch out of the way, it didn't take me very long to cast on and get going.

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Onde Way (Bad Pun Intended)

Such a happy springy green!

I also spent some time trying to track down a solution to those ugly stitches. As per usual, it is Monse Stanley to the rescue. (If you don't own this book, you really should! It's a great investment and is filled to the brim with excellent tricks and tips, not to mention good diagrams.)

Her suggestion:

On the right side row, knit into the back of the stitch (i.e. twist the stitch).
On the wrong side rown, purl the stitch, wrapping the yarn under the needle.

Of course, I didn't look this up until after I got the back of my sweater started, but it's still early in the game, and that's not going to be a high visibility area. Plus the Phil'Onde has a boucle texture that makes stitch definition appear a little fuzzy and makes less well formed stitches less obvious.

Posting Note: The class I am taking this quarter (the last one I need to complete my masters in computer science) is proving to require more effort than I initially anticipated, and I've got some (good) things heating up at work as well. While I'm going to try to post on a daily basis, please be patient with me if I'm somewhat irregular until June.

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