Saturday, February 17, 2007

WIP Revealed

In the previous post I made reference to a major new knit project. This will be my first attempt at a sweater in 30 years. I'm breaking out of the simple knit mode of socks, mitts, and scarves to make something with real structure. After seriously considering the Shocking Jacket I decided it involved way too much seaming for a sweater newbie. Then I saw the Equestrain Blazer in the Winter 2006 IK and knew that this would be perfect. It has beautiful shaping and I just love it. The yarn I chose is Knit Picks Andean Silk. It is an alpaca, silk, merino blend with a luscious hand. It is soft, squishy and a dream to knit with. And the best part? The yarn didn't cost me anything. If you'll remember I participated in an NFL Fantasy Football League. My team won the league championship! My gift from Vera, the organizer of the league, was a gift certificate to Knit Picks. It was exactly enough to purchase the yarn for this project. And, since I didn't have all the needles needed for this project I pulled out the credit card to purchase the Knit Picks needles in three sizes. I have been wanting to try these since first reading about them and saw this as the perfect time to give them a go. So far I like them. The circulars are surprisingly lightweight with smooth joins and nice pointy tips. While they will never completely replace my beloved bamboos I forsee buying more sizes of them.
I cast on February 11 and this is what I have so far. The pattern calles for size 6 needles. I had to go up to a size 7 to get gauge of 19 st/in. My row gauge is off by 5 rows. Which works out perfectly since I have a long torso and long arms. From what I have read on other blogs I think this means I will have to make adjustments when I get to the sleeve cap. If anyone would like to throw out recommendations on how to handle this I would love to hear them. One thing I have found out is that it's hard to maintain consistent guage over such a large area of st st. To ensure that my sweater doesn't inadvertenly shrink or grow during the knitting I have been checking gauge about every five rows. I have had to adjust my tension a couple of times to maintain the 19 st/in.
I had some concern after knitting the swatch that this yarn would loose its shape after washing. The swatch got a good Eucalan bath and layed out to dry. After it dryed it measured exactly the same as before washing. My occasionally wonky stitches evened out and it looks and feels great.
Now for my kind of eye candy......Alpacas! Tyra, Rose, and Sancha are watching DH coming down the driveway. Don't they just look so serene and beautiful? It wasn't like that a couple of weeks ago. It finally came time to wean the crias from their Moms. We had some very unhappy alpacas on our hands. We struggled with who to pasture together for weeks before DH finally came up with a plan that seems to have worked out great. We put Sabrena and Jaxson (Tyra's cria) in the far pasture where they couldn't see the others. That left Rose (Sabrena's cria) in a pasture with Tyra and Sancha. Sancha's cria, Lincoln, went to live at Auburn University in December. Sancha and Rose have formed a tentative bond that seems to fill the void that they have both felt over the separation. Sabrena and Jaxson are getting along nicely and everyone is settling into their new routines. Jaxson is a little sweetheart. He has a great easy going personality and is going to be a permanent part of our herd. I think he will give us some outstanding cria in the future. Just look at that face. Isn't he adorable? Okay, I know. I'm partial. But, isn't he cute????
Rose is a work in progress. She is very cautious with us and only recently has started allowing us to handle her more easily. She used to tremble when we would handle her but now stands calmly and allows us to pick hay from her fleece and will even let me check her teeth. I have been working with her to get her ready for the show ring. She has to learn to walk easily on a lead and allow people to touch her from head to tail. Each time I put a halter on her she does a little better. I have two more weeks to work with her and Jaxson before their debut in the show ring. Wish them both luck. (The luck is for good behavior. They both have all the qualities of fine alpacas and will do well as long as they behave.)

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11 Comments:

At Sat Feb 17, 06:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anne said...

Oh you definitely have to let us know how that pattern goes! I was so close to getting yarn for it, but I decided to knit the waistcoat first. Heather blue wool of the andes...

Can't wait to see yours finished!

 
At Sat Feb 17, 08:32:00 PM, Blogger Emma said...

That's going to be so pretty. I love the color you chose!

 
At Sun Feb 18, 07:27:00 AM, Blogger Anne said...

The babies are adorable. Good luck in the ring - It can be hard to get those youngsters to pay attention and get with the program when you want them to!

 
At Sun Feb 18, 12:20:00 PM, Blogger La said...

Look at all that 'paca love!

How are you liking the Andean Silk? I've gone kind of sour on knitpicks lately.

 
At Sun Feb 18, 03:07:00 PM, Blogger Beak-Knits said...

I am loving that pattern...can't wait to see how it turns out.

And I also would love to hear a review of the Andean Silk...I've had a few iffy Knit Picks experiences lately.

 
At Mon Feb 19, 05:36:00 AM, Blogger Caroline said...

This issue of IK is the first knitting magazine I've bought in *ages*, but there are actually two cabled patterns I like. And I *love* Jaxson's color!

 
At Mon Feb 19, 12:50:00 PM, Blogger AR said...

Congrats on winning! That's neat.
I like my options a lot.

The alpacas are so cute!!

 
At Mon Feb 19, 01:14:00 PM, Anonymous Joni said...

I’m in the process of doing some massive ring maintenance for the FiberArts Bloggers ring and I am contacting you because there’s a problem with your code. The code you have up is actually alright, except that the ring’s home page on the urbanspinner site is long gone. The new home page is:
http://unioncenterknits.typepad.com/fiber_arts_bloggers/
You’re welcome to either switch out just that one part of the code, or ask me for the basic default ring code instead.
Please feel free to contact me with any related questions/concerns. Once you have your code fixed up, if you want to send me a note I’d appreciate it, so I can check it out. Thanks!
Joni
joniknits@gmail.com
PS If we’ve already corresponded via e-mail you can disregard this message. I’m not the best with names. ;)

 
At Sun Mar 18, 05:47:00 PM, Blogger Alpaca Granny said...

Enjoyed your blog. Come visit mine. We are weaning two alpacas right now.
Maple

 
At Tue Mar 20, 03:04:00 PM, Anonymous Joni said...

I’m in the process of doing some massive ring maintenance for the FiberArts Bloggers ring and I am contacting you because there’s a problem with your code. The code you have up is actually alright, except that the ring’s home page on the urbanspinner site is long gone. The new home page is:
http://unioncenterknits.typepad.com/fiber_arts_bloggers/
You’re welcome to either switch out just that one part of the code, or ask me for the basic default ring code instead.
Please feel free to contact me with any related questions/concerns.
Also, your blog is in the queue at the moment, as it's been more than a month since you've posted. That's nothing personal, and as soon as you've put up another post--even a quick one just to let us know you're there--I'll be happy to move you back to the ring. :)

Once you have your code fixed up, and/or have posted, if you want to send me a note I’d appreciate it, so I can check it out/move you back into the ring. Thanks!
Joni

 
At Sat Mar 31, 03:16:00 PM, Blogger Amie said...

Fantastic pictures - oh, those faces!!!

Can we get an update, please?

 

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