Retro stripey top.

Viva experimenting! Tubular cast-on and sloped shoulders with three-needle bindoff.

I finished the back of my pink and orange sweater in cotton while trying out some things I've never done before:

1) The first rows of the sweater are in 1/1 ribbing, so I cast on my stitches using the tubular cast-on method in the main yarn. It's so neat! It's invisible, and blends in perfectly with the ribbing. (And doesn't the word "tubular" bring back memories of big hair bands and neon-pink pants? I remember the word "tubular" being used to describe something as "cool" back in the 80s when I was in highschool. Yes, I'm that old. Yikes!)

2) The shoulders on this sweater are sloped, but I didn't want to do a diagonal bind-off and then sew the shoulder seams together. I wanted to leave the stitches on holders so I could do a seam bind-off, like I do for sweaters with straight shoulders. To achieve this, I decided to work darts for the shoulders, turning my work at certain points every two rows. It worked! The shoulders are gradually slanted, and there are no steps or holes to show for it. I left the stitches on stitch holders, and I'll bind them off together with the shoulder stitches of the other side of the sweater to make a nice-looking seam. I've never created sloped shoulders this way before, so let's see how it looks when the shoulder seams are joined together.

Offing on a tangent, I visited my local Phildar yarn store (er, again) and bought some beautiful new yarn called "Giboulees" so I can make myself a sweater for fall. The yarn has just been debuted by Phildar and I can't wait to work with it! Can you stand the suspense?

* For reference purposes, the tubular cast-on method using the main yarn for 1/1 ribbing is described in Katharina Buss' Big Book Knitting.

Apparently, Barbra makes for quick knitting.

Thanks to the strangely compelling film Yentl starring a singing Barbra Streisand disguised as a man (why Barb, why?) I was able to advance quite nicely on my project the other day. About an hour and a half of knitting stockinette stitch while peeking at Barbra, Mandy Patinkin and Amy Irving in a too-bizarre-to-not-be-humorous love triangle with Barbra's melodies in the background made for really productive knitting. So I am nearly finished with the front. Hurrah!

The back is already blocked, and as soon as I finish the front I'm going to block it so I can knit the slanted shoulder seams together using the three needle bind-off. I'm not even going to start the sleeves until I do, because I'm really eager to see how the shoulders look after being knit and sewn together this way.

Check your yarn purchases!

Disaster! Just as I pulled out another pink skein of yarn so I could work both sides of the neckline at the same time, I said to myself "Hmmm...there's only one more pink skein left. How funny. I need more than that to do the sleeves...why is there only one more left yet two more of orange? Wait...oh no!" That's right. The owner of the shop mistakenly gave me more orange skeins than pink, and I didn't notice until now as I bought the yarn for this project together with yarn for other projects. Truly disastrous, because the Phildar shop where I purchased this yarn is closed for the rest of August, and when it reopens it may not even have this yarn in the same dye lot as I bought it nearly two months ago. Therefore, I am contemplating giving the sweater three-quarter sleeves. Or just reworking the colors so that I use up the orange in lieu of the pink. I've also contemplated hunting the owner of the shop down - wherever she may be taking her vacation - and boxing her ears for having made this mistake. Or boxing my own ears for not noticing until now. But of course, that's not productive. I'll find a solution. And yes, it's a lesson to me. Blabbing incessantly with an owner of a yarn shop while she gets your supplies for you will eventually result in a screw-up.

Steetch and Beetch.

Yesterday I finished shaping the neckline, got ready to block it, and then decided that I didn't like the way the decreases looked as they were instructed by the pattern (s1, k1, psso paired with k2tog). And if you know how I am, you know I frogged that neckline. All of it! A-di-os. So I redid it, this time pairing ssk with k2tog. It looks better on this type of yarn, in my opinion. I'll block it tomorrow, and continue with the sleeves when my local Phildar stores reopen after vacation and I can look for some more pink yarn.

In other news, I taught knitting to someone for the first time! A friend of mine, who has a toddler with whom my own toddler plays often, said that she'd like to learn how to knit when she discovered that I made all of my kid's knitwear and knitted my own sweaters. So I taught her (in French, as she doesn't speak English or Spanish) from casting on to doing the knit stitch while our husbands chatted and the kids played. She was so cute...she kept holding up her needles and telling her husband, "Look! I'm knitting!" between sips of a martini. If she takes to knitting, we'll have our own mini French chapter of Stitch n' Bitch going on. How fun!

My poor sweater is still sleeveless.

A whole week left until Phildar yarn stores reopen. Why, oh why must people take vacations? I'd love to finish my pink and orange sweater, but I won't even start on the sleeves until I can find out if more pink Falaise yarn is available. I'm almost tempted to nonchalantly saunter past these closed stores and quickly press my face against the glass to see if there is any pink yarn in there. But of course, I won't do that. Instead, I'll try to wait patiently by swatching for my next project and thinking about what things I'd like to knit sometime in the future (aside from the sweaters I'll be making for myself and my son):

1) A few throw pillows.
2) A few teddy bears to decorate my kid's room.
3) A playmat for my kid.
4) A sweater for my husband.
5) A stuffed girl doll.
6) A shrug with eyelash yarn trim on the edges.
7) A poncho.
8) A long coat.
9) A pillbox hat for a little girl.
10) A sweater for my friend's pug, Boris. (I knit one for him last year, and the thing poofed in the mail. Somewhere, out there, there's another dog wearing my friend's long lost sweater. Oh, the shame.)

There are other things I've thought of knitting, but these are the ones that I am obsessing over. I need another pair of hands, about 6 months spare time and a free pass to a yarn emporium.

We got sleeves!

Ever obsessing over my pull sans manches, this morning I called a Phildar yarn store that is a bit out of my way in the hopes it would be open, and it was! What's more, I asked the woman who answered the phone if she had any Falaise yarn in corail and she replied, "Yes, we do, you desperate-sounding individual." Okay, she didn't call me "desperate-sounding". But I bet she was thinking it. Anyway, I happily got my yarn, which means that this weekend there'll be feverish knitting needle clicking chez skinnyrabbit. Margaritas, anyone?

Must. Stop. Socializing.

I've been so busy lately, I haven't knit more than a few rows a day on my current project, and yesterday I didn't knit a stitch. I'm only about halfway through the sleeves (I'm doing both at the same time), and I miss my daily routine of tuning out for an hour a day while knitting. Today is just as busy as yesterday was, but I'm hoping to get some enjoyable knitting time in tomorrow. Besides, I'm really eager to start my fall sweaters, and my husband actually asked that I knit him a sweater from Phildar's catalogue for men this winter! Can you stand it?

By the way, today was cloudy yet comfortably warm weather, so I was able to wear my white Rebecca top while visiting a friend's house for lunch. It's the first time I've worn it out, and it felt pretty neat. Oh yeah.

Grease is NOT the word when it comes to knitting.

Last night I finished enough of the sleeves to start shaping the sleeve caps and started to sing happily because we know that from there, it's all quick but fun knitting (I love shaping!). But suddenly, while knitting mid-row, I starting thinking about how I had done the increases in the lower half of the sleeves and realized that I might have possibly distributed the last increases incorrectly. So I feverishly finished the row I was knitting, set the sleeves down, and peered at the increases. Ack! Sure enough, the last two increases had been done every twenty rows instead of every twenty-two. I could have left it as it was, but we know that I didn't. I frogged the forty rows and am re-doing it.

And that, my friends, is what I get for making increases in sweater sleeves while watching the terribly cheesy and woefully B-ish Grease II, starring Adrian Zmed (whose hair looked as stiff and plasticized as Big Boy's throughout the entire film) and Michelle Pfeiffer (who I'm sure feels this film is a real credit to her filmography). Dubbed in French. Which obviously makes for erroneous knitting.

Janet rocks, people.

When going away for the weekend with friends always take your knitting with you. Because that weekend might unexpectedly stretch out to four or five days, like my own weekend did. But! I had my knitting with me, and was able to finish my pink and orange sweater. As the fabric is so stretchy, I decided to seam it using the backstitch, which I find to be stronger than the mattress stitch but sometimes causes the seams to require blocking because they are so thick. Today I blocked the seams and then decided to throw the sweater in the gentle rinse cycle because it had been hauled all over the place so much it could have pretty much stood up by itself from all the dust it had accumulated. (When it dries I'll post pictures of it.)

In other great news, when I got back from my long weekend I found a wonderful present waiting for me in my mailbox: Two Rebecca magazines, numbers 22 and 24! All bright and shiny and screaming at me to pull out the needles right now. Yes, two Rebecca's! Sent to me by my pal, the very fabulous Janet. I am touched by such a thoughtful gift. Thank you so much, Janet!

Finito!

Fall's here! So it's time to close out my summer knitting and start in on cold weather knitting. Here's my last garment for the summer - my retro striped pink and orange sweater in stretchy cotton. Can I just say that I love this sweater? I love this sweater! I wore it all day on Sunday and not only is it incredibly comfortable and perfect for mid-season weather, but after just a short while the sweater had molded itself into a real custom fit. I noticed the same thing with the striped turquoise sweater I knit for my son a couple of months ago. What fun this yarn is; I can't wait to knit with it again.