Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.

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Stephanie wearing a knitted cap-sleeve raglan top in pink variegated yarn.

Simplicity Top

In March, 2019, I went to Toronto for BreakoutCon. While I was there, I went for a nice walk in the rain and bought 2 balls of pink variegated fingering-weight yarn (Knitting Fever Painted Desert in color 104: Rosefield). I put them in the stash and periodically thought about what I might want to make with them. Sometimes I was tempted to just pull them out and make Yet Another Shawl Already, but I resisted the urge because I have a dozen shawls.

Last month, I finally cast on for a project which I thought would use just about the 2 balls of yarn. It’s a sleeveless raglan top (Simplicity 2 Ways by Jeannine Hoeffler) that is “reversible” in the sense that the front and back are interchangeable. It uses garter stitch for the edgings.

Description: Stephanie wearing a knitted pink variegated cap-sleeve top with a lace panel running down the center, and denim shorts.
New pink top! Fits perfectly!

It’s knit from the bottom up, and when I got to the shoulders, I ran out of yarn. My options at that point were to use a different yarn (which would contrast and maybe not in a good way), frog the whole thing and use the yarn on something else, or buy more yarn. I searched online and found just one store that still had this yarn in stock, but of course I had no idea if the dye lot would match. Since it’s variegated, it’s entirely possible to not match but be imperceptible– or it could match and be really jarring. I bought it and hoped it would be close enough, and intended to overdye it if it didn’t look right.

It arrived last week. 2 years and a completely different store and even country, and the yarn is the same dye lot. I was very pleased.

Description: Back view of Stephanie wearing a knitted pink variegated top with lace panels; the back has 3 lace panels, instead of 1.
The back!

I made a few modifications. I went down a needle size when I got to the waist, then back up, to give it some subtle waist shaping. At the top of the shoulders, where it’s supposed to turn into the neckline, I added a dozen short rows so the neckline wouldn’t be so wide it would expose my bra straps.

The pink variegated top, laying flat on a table.
Top without body in it.

When I was all done, I hated the bottom band, because it was kind of short, and flipped up (because of how stockinette curls, and because garter’s gauge is larger than stockinette). You can see that in one of the WIP pictures. So I cut that off, picked up the stitches, and knitted in a smaller gauge for 3 1/2″.

Front view of the pink variegated top, worn by Stephanie, noting the detail of the bottom edge rolling upwards. A single strand of yarn leads off from the neckline, indicating this piece isn't done being knitted.
Work in Progress: Note the bottom band.

I am pleased with the result. This top looks great, like it was custom fitted for me, because it was.

I’m a champion!

I finished up some knitting projects recently, and have a great announcement about a shawl I’ve been working on since 2015.

I finished the Nouveau Beaded Lace shawl I’ve been working on in black Baruffa Cashwool with silver beads:

2017-04-16 12.50.02I took it to the Clark County Fair and Rodeo, which was April 12-16. When  I got there on Easter Sunday, I made a beeline for the Fine Arts building, where I proceeded to search around for my shawl…

I found it! With a big blue ribbon for Best in Class (best hand knitting) and a big purple ribbon for CHAMPION! It took the best in its section, including all other needle arts.

I’m not sure there’s a Best in Division. If so, probably one of the beautiful quilts got that– as it was, I had a point docked for “presentation” because I didn’t turn it in inside a bag.

I’ll post a few more knitting projects later today. It’s been Finish Up month here at my house, with socks, gloves, scarves, and a sweater all reaching completion!

Finished a Few Things

I finished knitting a couple of things this week!

First, I took a hand-dyed “sock blank” from Knit Picks (dyed around Easter) and transformed it from this:

2015-04-03 09.37.08

Into these:

2016-01-06 08.37.56

The pattern is Twisted, from Knitty.

The sock blank was harder to work with than I realized. I had thought, for some brainless reason, that you could unravel the blank from either end. But in fact, you can’t– one edge gets tangled if you do that. So I had to wind a ball for the second sock, which was not a huge imposition, but it meant I was no longer knitting from a knitted thing to a knitted thing.

I also have smallish feet, so the full sock blank was too wide and too long before I’d get down to the bright red part. I wanted to gradually blend from the cuff to the heel, merging into that vibrant red and yellow for the toes. Instead, I had to cut about 3″ out of the middle to skip to the more reddish part as I went into the heels. It worked out, but there are a couple of woven-in ends. Fortunately, I can’t even feel them.

Then, I reclaimed a pair of socks that I’d knit for a friend of mine. These were finished in July 2014. He has worn them so much, he wore out the toes in a year and a half!

TobySock

Fortunately, he has big feet and when I knitted these originally, I needed to use a second yarn for the toes. What a blessing! They were easy to replace.

I cut the toes off, pulled out/frogged back to just before the stripy yarn, put the stitched back on my needles, and used a strand of thread and a strand of the same sock yarn held together to re-knit a reinforced toe.

2016-01-07 15.29.03

Next project: I have no idea. I have another hand-dyed (all natural dye) project I’m working on, doing a basic feather and fan scarf. It’s kind of my new “desk project” for when I need to do something with my hands during meetings.

2015-11-23 20.02.20

Handspun maple leaf shawl of comfort

Recently on Google+, a group of us decided to knit and crochet the Maple Leaf Shawl as a Fiber-A-Long in December. People went about getting their yarn and needles together throughout October and November, and wrapping up any loose ends of crafting before the month started.

I started on December 1st and finished by the 15th. I used a bunch of handspun I’ve had for a while– some of it is silk, some is superwash, and the bulk is a purple and yellow wool/mohair blend. I’ve used all this yarn before, in making myself a sweater. Somehow, my handspun is either far too much for whatever I want to make, or not nearly enough. It’s never quite “just right.”

2015-12-15 07.27.08

In the process of knitting this, I realized that, while I was enjoying the process of knitting it, I wasn’t in love with the end result. It’s gorgeous– don’t get me wrong! But it’s just not me.

2015-12-15 07.26.21

Unfortunately, during this month, my best friend’s grandmother passed away. His mother, a lifelong knitter herself, is hurting pretty badly over the loss of her mother, and even though we haven’t met yet, I tucked the shawl in a gift bag with a note and sent it as a comfort shawl to her.

2015-12-15 07.25.50

Nothing replaces her mother, of course, but I hope a little thing of beauty helps comfort her in her grief.

Dragon Knitting

I’m following along with Kim Harrison’s dragon knit-along! This weekend’s homework was to knit 5 pieces of a wing:

2015-07-26 19.33.35

There are increases and decreases in these pieces, some of which are a little weird. I’ll be honest– Harrison could use a good technical editor (there are common guidelines she isn’t sticking to, and she has a huge typo in her pattern and stitch instructions), although she is really clear at the beginning that the pattern hasn’t been professionally edited.

Anyway, this week’s assignment is a bunch of icord wing bones. That’s fun… but it means I am now a little stuck because I didn’t get pipe cleaners yet! I can fix this by using floral wire (as long as it’s not expected to show), or I can wait to cast on until I have the pipe cleaners.

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