Fall Beer Review

I came across this beer at BrewMongers a few weeks ago and it looked too good to pass up. ‘Chocolate AND pumpkin,’ I said? Sign me up!

This beer did not deliver what I was hoping for. Though a good beer if you just call it a porter, it was lacking in the chocolate and pumpkin department. It has that nice, earthy flavor that I like from porters with a barely-there touch of chocolate.

Unfortunately, if you had given me a blindfolded taste test, you sure could have fooled me that there was supposed to be any pumpkin flavor to it.

I’ll give it a B-. Good porter. Not worth $7.


Sweater Progress

Here is an update with photos on the progress of the sweater clone.

It looks a little different because once it has been washed, the size will change as the fibers relax.

I think the hardest part so far was figuring out exactly how the original knitter increased at the armpit for the cables. The cables begin off of a line of knit stitches that gradually turns into eight total for a front cabling rope. I tried knit front-back for my increases, but I am thinking the original had lifted increases (which I am not very good at just yet).

A tale of two sweaters.

Having trouble with my lens being too close, so I didn’t quite get the whole length.

Desert Bus for Hope 6

Desert Bus 6 is right around the corner! I can’t believe it has already been a year since my last scarf brought in over $3,000 for Child’s Play Charity!

I am keeping the expectations low this year, just like last year. I have three items in this year’s Bus experience:

1) Mini Doctor Who Scarf – Give-Away Item

2) The Doctor Who Scarf-purse – Auction Item

3) Full-sized Season 15 Scarf – Auction Item

Please tune in starting November 16th at Desertbus.org. You may find something that will make a unique Christmas present (perhaps even a collectible item) for that nerdy friend, plus you will be contributing to a very worthy cause, Child’s Play Charity. Child’s Play provides books and entertainment supplies for children’s hospitals around the world.

The team at LoadingReadyRun works extremely hard each year (for 6 years running) to put this event together. They work around the clock to take donations for suggestions for dares, requests for performances, do pledge give-away events and run auctions – all while playing a marathon run of the tedious and boring video game, Desert Bus! Last year there were live Skype phone-ins from people like Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, and Peter Sagal.

I’m a Desert Bus Crafter and I approve of this message!

Beginning With a Swatch

After yarn shopping, my friend decided on Stitch Nation’s Bamboo Ewe in a shade of gray.

The original sweater is most likely in something like Cascade 220 Super-wash, best we can tell. While 100% wool is springy when knit up, adding the bamboo causes the yarn to relax a little after it’s been washed.

To begin, I knit up two gauge swatches in the sweater’s pattern, on two sizes that I figured already were close to accurate (US 7 & 8). Then I washed them both in cold water & Woolite.

Here are the before and after pictures to show how both swatches relaxed almost an inch after washing.

Size 8 is on the left, size 7 on the right. They are really close to being the same size.

Size 8 on the left and 7 on the right again.

Either way, it looks like size 8 is the closest to the original sweater, which I had already guessed (always good to be certain before you start).


The Sweater Challenge

Been a while since my last update. Apparently grad school + work = too busy to do the things you want.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine proposed that I take a look at a much-loved sweater of hers to see how I felt about trying to recreate it. At this stage in my knitting, I feel confident enough to take a shot at reverse-engineering a shirt, so we’re going to give it a go.

I apologize for the crappy photos. I need to change the lens on my camera, because this one does not like to get too close.

The original sweater.

Overall, the shirt is knit flat in pieces and seamed together. A basic knit 1, purl 2 ribbing for the body of the shirt. It gets interesting where the sleeves are joined, however, as stitches are added gradually for the process of the braided cable. I’ve figured out that 3 stitches are added on each side, over 3 rows, before the braid starts.

Mattress stitch, seaming the front and back together.

Seaming on the inside of the sleeves. As you can see, the seam is perfectly lining up the rows.

I think the hardest part is going to be figuring out the sleeve measurements. They are beautifully and flawlessly attached around the shoulders, so I’ll need to get the decreases just right.

Looking at the shoulder from the side (sorry, it’s blurry).

Last but not least, the neck line is first folded over and seamed so that the stitches make a horizontal line around the inside of the neck. Then, a separate braided band is stitched around the outside.

Note the line of stitches around the inside seam.

The cowl neck.

That’s the break-down. I’ll keep you posted as soon as I get started. This is going to be an awesome learning experience and I can’t wait to begin!

The Purple Purse

The purse is mostly finished and I can say it was definitely another learning experience.

Not the greatest purse.

I’ve already taken it for a couple of test-drives and it serves the purpose I made it for, so I would call it a success. It holds my wallet, keys, cellphone and is just deep enough for pens (or certain feminine products).

I ended up making the strap a little too long. The problem with measuring a strap is that you have to take into account the fact that it will stretch depending on how much you put in the purse.  At this stage of knitting, I should have known that, which is why I shouldn’t knit when I’m tired! It should be pretty simple to fix. All I need to do is fold it over and take it in either at the center or on each side.

I did not end up working the beaded part onto the front because the beads that I bought were too small. I’m working with some other ideas, like making a beaded embellishment with a thinner yarn and sewing it on or sewing on a patch.

This is not a pattern, but more of a general idea of what I did to make it:

Worked in stockinette stitch.

  • Cast 30 stitches on size 6 needles (enough to equal 5 inches) with Caron Country yarn. Worked 48 rows (enough to equal 6 inches).
  • Switched and picked up knitting with 2-ply fine acrylic yarn and size 4 needles, adding 1 stitch to each side to make up for the gauge difference. Worked 45 rows. I used the thinner yarn for the center because I didn’t want the purse to be super thick.
  • On the 46th row, I worked 3 stitches, bound off 26, worked 3 (for zipper hole).
  • Row 47, work 3, cast on 26, work 3. Then worked another 64 rows.
  • Switched to size 6 again and picked up to knit with the Caron Country yarn again for 48 rows. For this back section, I added 2 stitches to each side for it to be wider when I seamed the front and the back. That should equal 36 stitches (because of the 2 already added when working the thinner yarn).
  • On the 48th row, bound off 3 stitches on each side (back to 30 total).
  • I worked the next 48 rows with a 3 stitch garter-stitch border on each side, plus 6 rows of garter stitch at the end. I realized the closing flap was not going to lay flat, so I picked up with the thin yarn again and worked enough rows to have a lining for the inside of the flap, then bound off.
  • Now for the finishing. I started by sewing the 4 inch zipper in place. Next, I accordion-folded the purse and pinned the seams. First, I seamed the bottom of the middle pocket, then I mattress-stitched the sides of the middle pocket.

The zipper pocket.

  • I seamed the middle pocket to the inside/back of the purse by seaming the sides of the middle pocket to a vertical row of purl bumps on each side (hopefully that makes sense).

This is how the bottom ended up looking. I suppose it would be better to use the same color yarn or seam it differently.

  • Last, I mattress-stitched the front and back sides of the purse and seamed the lining onto the closing flap.

Side view.

  • I added snaps to keep the front closed, then made a handle out of the thinner yarn (I ran out of the Caron Country) and seamed it to the inner sides of the purse. My handle was about 17 stitches across worked in ribbing.

Inside flap and snaps.

I know it’s not the greatest description, but I’m not exactly thrilled with it, either. Feel free to ask if you have any questions.