Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Bolero Project

I have finally had it with baby blankets. Nobody else can reproduce for at least a year. Seriously.

And I hate, hate H-A-T-E my Knit-along sweater. I haven't even assembled it because I'm still disgusted. I mean, my mom will have a lovely sweater. That part I don't mind, but I kind of do mind, because I made this thing for me, and it wouldn't fit me if I gave up eating...

That being said, I did dig a little in the stash pile and found the Yin Yang Bolero by Knit One Crochet Too. You should check out their patterns; they're very cute. I have their "Blueberry Tee" that's in the stash, about 1/2 done, but I thought the bolero would be a nice change.

They made it in two distinct colors (each side is a different color) but I chose two of them that were kind of close together. I have a totally fun fish button for it, and I plan to wear it by the end of this month.

Here's what I have so far. I've started on the back - you knit each side from the bottom up, and then join them at the back, knitting across.

You can see that the yarns I have, color 672 and color 631, are rather close together. There's enough purple and blue in each to make them sort of look like they match. I didn't want to do the green they suggested, though the 631 was one of the pattern colors.

It's going to be short, in spite of me adding 4 rows at the very bottom, prior to starting the increases. But that's ok. I can wear it with an un-tucked t-shirt or a turtleneck if I want. I've recently found my waistline and I think this won't look too boxy.

I had a little trouble with the "joining" in the back because the instructions weren't exactly clear. And what I did was just knit the 2 colors together. I don't think it'll look odd; so far it seems to just be a little "tweedy" at that point. And if you're that close to my back? We'd better know each other!!

The buttonhole they had was a yarn-over and it absolutely was not going to fit the fish. Here's the fish. I wanted a colorway that was kind of "beachy at sunset" looking, and I wanted a fun button. The fish is a wooden one, so it's going to be hand-washed or using a dryer product just so the button won't get ruined. The yarn is 100% cotton, and surprisingly heavy.

So, I changed the length a tad, changed the buttonhole, and along the way, learned a new skill: the vertical buttonhole.

Now I've done yarnover buttonholes...most of the time they've been mistakes! But this buttonhole thing was serious, and I did a little looking around to see what I liked. I ended up with this one out of a knitting book, I think Maggie Righetti's "Knitting in Plain English" but I can't remember. Anyway, it was easy, once I got over the thought of breaking yarn and knitting it up that way. But it wasn't that big of a deal. The pattern calls for 2 balls each of the colors, and luckily, ball #2 of the appropriate color started on the colorway I was in the middle of! Whew!

So this is my buttonhole. I'm rather proud of myself.

I also learned "Work as for left front, reversing all shapings." Yikes...That took a little bending of my mind. I thought, "Oh, I'll just do another left front." Not really. I had to think that all the shapings which initially were done on the right side of the work were now to be done on the wrong side. Luckily, the pattern is entirely knitted, so it's rather mindless when you come down to it.

As usual, it's all in my knitting journal. One of these days, if I'm lucky enough to see the Yarn Harlot in person, I hope to bring her at least one of my knitting journals and have her sign it for me.

Knitting journals are weird things. Some knitters (not me) can just knit a pattern and keep a few scribbles on the pattern itself. Some can do it all in their heads (!) and don't have to write anything down or keep track of what row they're on or what they've modified. That would not be me.

I write things down. A lot. In detail. Excruciating detail, some might say. But I can't seem to function otherwise -- I mean unless it's a scarf or something. And I keep a ball band and a scrap of the yarn in the journal, too. It's like a diary of where I'm at as a knitter.  Or as ample record of my anal-retentive characteristics. Or a record of the fact that I need instructions to do the same thing twice!

Either way, the journals are helpful. I have about 3 of them in current circulation, plus some paper from my old Franklin planners that I have attached to patterns. Those will make it into the appropriate journal at some time. Or perhaps it'll just be stuck on the pattern and the pattern put back into the binder. You never know. If I actually do make the same thing twice (it's happened - the Liberty Wool mitts are on version #3 for MIL - I didn't like the second pair to give to her, but that's another blog entry), this is a good way to track what I did, particularly since sometimes little quirks develop.

The hash-mark row counting was what I learned from my second knitting teacher. My first, my grandma, could count in her head. I didn't stick with knitting long enough for that to work its way into my brain, and my second teacher (a now-deceased talented knitter named Dorothy) was a fan of "hashing" - she didn't even like the katchas (mechanical row counters). So I got into that habit. And with Sonda, knitting teacher #3, it just stuck. Sonda actually used my notebooks as an inspiration to a knitter who'd had a stroke and was having trouble.

The woman was one of those "in my head" knitters and she was horribly upset about being unable to do that after the stroke. I remember Sonda picking up my notebook, and telling the lady, "Look -- she does it and she hasn't had a stroke. You have to do what works for you now and then go from there."

So. The journals work for me now. Hopefully, the bolero will come out on time and fit ok. It all comes together eventually, I suppose. And if the bolero DOESN'T work... well, it'll fit my sister.

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