November 01, 2005

It is begun

I finished the lace borders of the Fir Cone Shawl last night between candy dispensing and did two repeats on the edging.

The last border round was made up of 860 stitches. Yes, you heard correctly - eight hundred and sixty. The edging, which is knitted together with the body on every wrong side row, will consist of nine hundred and four rows, since a full repeat gets done over each corner.

You can't see it from there, but blood is dripping from the walls as I type.

A lot of people have asked for more details on the cabled cardigan:

The book is Adrienne Vittadini 15, published in the fall of either 1999 or 2000. I've had my copy for ages, but I *have* seen some back copies in stores as recently a couple weeks ago. Be warned, though, it's a pricey book - I paid $19.95 for a book with just two patterns (the cover and the cardigan) I made any use of.

The pattern is really quite different from what I ended up with. The book calls for light worsted wool/alpaca on 4mm (US6) needles, while I used a mercerized cotton yarn on US4 needles. I split the garment down the middle, did more of the waist shaping at more frequent intervals, added some short row shaping at the bust, and knit on a stocking-stitch hood adorned with a cable that trailed up from the body of the garment.

If anybody would like more details, I'm always happy to provide them, though I didn't keep extensive notes. For the most part, I made things up as I went along, dealing with construction issues as they came up (my motto: Speak softly and carry a big calculator).

October 28, 2005

Meme clickclick typetype

Yahaira and Mintyfresh have both sent some meme dust my way. I love reading these - I love seeing the variety of answers to one question, and I dig seeing knitters address topics they normally wouldn't go out of their way to discuss (needle talk, yarn talk, disaster talk...).

What is your all time favorite yarn to knit with?
Hmm. I'm going to cheat (gotten off to a great start, haven't we?) and say it depends on the type of project. I like doing a lot of different things (cabling, felting, lacemaking, Fair-Isle-ing), and have my go-to yarns for each of those (Cascade 220, Lamb's Pride Worsted, Jaggerspun Zephyr Wool-Silk, and Dale Baby Ull, respectively). I do think very fondly, though, of one discontinued yarn - Rowan's True 4-ply Botany, a fingering-weight wool that came in vivid, deeply saturated colors, and knit up beautifully into highly-formed texture, or jewel-toned colorwork, or plain, smooth stockinette. It wasn't as buttery-soft as a Merino yarn, but the Botany wool definitely had its own brand of lush richness. I don't know why Rowan discontinued it - it was "replaced" with, I think, 4-ply Soft, which isn't the same thing at all.

Your favorite needles?
Circulars, for sure. Addi Turbos for cables, Addi Naturals for lace and Fair Isle. I keep meaning to try out the ebony and rosewood needles everybody talks about, too. I also have a mild obsession with glove needles - I can't help buying a set whenever I see them, although I only knit maybe three pairs of gloves a year. I love the 5" length - so comfortable. I own birch, bamboo, plastic, and metal sets, with the wee little aluminum ones being my favorite.

The worst thing you've ever knit?
Ahh, I wish I had a picture. It was this pretty thing:

Erin, from Rowan 30, a few years ago. As I knit, I learned that I 1) hated stringy, papery All Seasons Cotton; 2) hated reverse stockinette; and 3) hated myself when I seamed the sucker and then couldn't get my head through the turtleneck. I promptly frogged, and then hid the yarn so well that I just realized that I have no idea where it is.

Your most favorite knit pattern? (maybe you don't like wearing it...but it was the most fun to knit)
The Norwegian Stockings were a lot of fun; a cleverly written pattern with zen-like simple colorwork. Fabulous fireside knitting:

The macho aran was interesting to knit, too - my first from-scratch garment. It was immensely interesting to watch it develop as I went along.

Most valuable knitting technique?
Cabling without a cable needle, hands down. I love cables, but don't think I could bear the fiddliness of working with that short, crooked needle for more than a few stitches at a time.

Best knit book or magazine?
I like to look at Interweave Knits, and occasionally make a project out of it. Best one-subject knitting book would have to be Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting, for the incredible wealth of historical information she presents, the beautiful patterns, and the excellent guidance on developing your own garments.

Your favorite knit-a-long?
I thought the Union Square Market Pullover knitalong was really interesting. Lots of information and discussion.

Your favorite knitblogs?
I'll join the chorus, and say I love the blogs with beautiful photographs: Sweet Georgia and Streets and YOs, of course, but I also smile when I see that Knitfix, Whispering Pine, and Fig and Plum have been updated with my daily dose of yarn porn.

Your favorite knitwear designer?
Kate Gilbert. Teva Durham. Veronik Avery. Kim Hargreaves, though "interesting" usually moves over for "classic" with her stuff. Oodles of others.

The knit item you wear the most? (how about a picture of it!)
My cabled hoodie cardigan. Perfect for throwing on over a swimsuit once the sun goes down at the beach, perfect for fending off high whistling winds in the nosebleed seats of a ball park, perfect for layering in these chilly, sunny days. It sees a lot of wear:

Tag time
How about Kate at Knitlit, Laura, over at the almost brand-spanking-new Soapturtle, and Leah at Use Your Hands?

August 29, 2005


I've had messages from a couple people, asking how I finished the aran cardigan - basically, I knitted in the toggles and the i-cord loops. Since I used every last inch of yarn the first time, I thought I'd have to bind off a row sooner the second time to have enough yarn for the loops. So I ripped out seven rows, knitted the toggles (using the crochet bead placement method) in, worked five rows, and did an attached i-cord as I bound off.


Actual content tomorrow! Right now, I'm too sleepy to even attempt anything resembling coherence.

August 26, 2005

Done: Cabled Hooded Cardigan

"Doesn't matter if you're skinny / Doesn't matter if you're fat / You can dress up like a sultan / in your onion head hat"

Pattern: Aran Pullover, Adrienne Vittadini 15
Yarn: Jaeger Aqua in color 319-Wicker
Yardage: Approximately 1700 yards
Yarn Source: Yarns International
Needles: 3.5mm (US4) Addi Turbo circulars
Gauge: ?
Modifications: Pullover pattern altered for cardigan; hood attached; additional waist shaping; short-row bust; yarn/needle substitution

See all entries on this project

Kill me now

Pretty, huh?

I can't believe I'm doing this...


August 25, 2005


First, can I just say to all you gorgeous people out there how much I appreciate the sweet comments you've left and the messages you've sent, and the fact that you've come by to visit at all? I'm sure you know this already,'re the real heroes. To show my gratitude, I'm offering my firstborn son, should that ever come to pass, on a first-dibs basis. Sign up now!

I know I promised a finished object today, but I'm mired in a pit of almost-finished object angst. I want to make some knotwork frogs out of leather, but every placement I can think of seems awkward. The best I've come up with so far is the drawing on the left - a narrow strip of leather running down the front bands, with knotwork buttons and loops at intervals. Dunno yet.

And because it will give you such a good idea of what this looks like, here's a blurry, arm's-length photo of one quadrant of the front side of the garment.

Butterfly's chugging along; the frill for the back panel is done and the pattern set. Memorizing the lace pattern helped immensely with the frill - the pattern for the body is incredibly simple (it could qualify for movie-theater knitting, if the stitches weren't too fine to knit by touch), but the frill has lace stitches on both right and wrong sides, and a constantly changing stitch count. For me, anyway, it's nothing like an aran pattern that can be seen forming as you knit; it took a really careful walk-through of the 8-row repeat with the goal of understanding exactly what each stitch was doing where, to make this easy in any sense of the word.

old 4.5mm (US7) Crystal Palace bamboo circulars (the pattern calls for a US 8), with the points filed to extreme sharpness. They're fine for this project, as the whole garment can be bunched onto the needle portions comfortably, but I would never use these when a laceweight yarn will end up on or move around the cord. It's impossible to tug anything fine over that join.

I have another idea I'm working on...

Yeah, the swatch is in ugly stashed colors and at too fine a gauge, and the chart I drew for myself had some problems...but it was one in the morning and I was just excited about where this could go. Stay tuned.

August 24, 2005

Actual progress

The front panel of Butterfly is done:

I'm amazed at how quickly this went. I sat down this morning and completed the top half of this in a couple hours - I'd guess there are maybe only six or seven actual knitting hours in this front piece. The back will go even faster, as I've decided to do a straight bind-off at the armhole, rather than duplicate the front neckshaping.

I got a nice chunk of Martha done as well:

I love this fabric, these beads, this color, this pattern, everything. I'm busy thinking, too, about the mechanics of the mods I'm planning on - split side seams and sleeve cuffs; lapels; etc. With the rate this is going, it won't be long.

Tomorrow, I'll have an Actual! Finished! Object! to show you, but I'm not adverse to showing it during the wet-blocking it's undergoing to correct some shaping:

The Beowulf hoodie?

August 23, 2005

Lovely and amazing

So sometimes I have these really vivid dreams about knitting - once I dreamt that a drop spindle was whirling my hair around and inching slowly, inexorably, towards my scalp, and once I dreamt that a giant knitting needle was lunging at me, epee style. Still, I think I've never dreamt of anything quite like this:

417 stitches. In moss stitch (anyone with me on the k1, p1 hate?). In stringy cotton. Crammed on a way-too-small needle, necessitating a major stitch redistribution every 20 stitches or so. Four hundred and seventeen stitches. I have five and half rows done...only seven more to go. The really perverse part, of course, is that none of this is called for in the pattern for a simple pullover - I blundered into this merrily, quite of my own accord.

In other news, I finally cast on for Martha:

I'm planning on doing split sides, with some corner shaping, so I'm knitting into a foundation row of contrasting cotton and hoping to do the garter edging later, after this thing is seamed (want to make something of it?) Too bad I totally failed to notice this little issue:

One of my needles was a 3.25mm needle, where all my others were a 2.75mm. Aughhh. I was at Jeff's house, and didn't see any way I could cram the stitches onto two needles and knit with the remaining needle of the correct I had to cry uncle on this for the night.

On the other hand, it meant I got to work on Jeff's sweater a little more - I'm a solid 3/4 of a way into the front panel before the neck shaping:

The safety pins are my incredibly sophisticated row-counting method...a pin every ten rows means I never lose my place and can match shapings (not that there are any in this piece) for opposing sections. In fact, I'm so sophisticated, this is how I fix mistakes I don't notice until almost too late:

To cement my amazingly, astonishingly fancy refinement in your minds forever, and win your knitting awe and respect for time immemorial, I offer you my very elegant row-counting method for Butterfly:

August 22, 2005

Jessica at Rose-Kim Knits has

Jessica at Rose-Kim Knits has sweetly added me to the Martha-along list, even though I'm six months late to the party. I went yarn shopping today:

I'm going to use Dale Stork, a soft 100% cotton, for this in a muted navy color. This stuff seems pretty lush so far - it contains no acrylic or animal fiber, but it's bouncy and very soft and not at all "stringy". While I was out, I also got some beads that might look good:">

And swatched my little heart out:

I pitched the iridescent black seeds beads and went with the sea green ones in front - I love the way the green glass looks against the dark blue, the way it subtly brings out the green in the yarn and keeps it from looking like denim. Wearing something embellished in this way is a bit of a stretch for me, but I already adore this...I think it's the juxtaposition of the very square stitch pattern and the very dainty adornments. To take the theme a little further, I'm thinking that I'm going to alter the neckline and add some more shaping to turn this into a fitted jacket:

It's such a dense, firm fabric patterned in such a structural fashion; I think it would be fabulous as a nipped-waist jacket closed with a single hook-and-eye under the bust and finished with a wide lapel collar shaped with short rows. We'll see how all this works out - I really like this idea, though.

I also started playing with Baby Ull colors for the baby fair isle -

Unfortunately, the colors that looked so pretty together in the basket turned out looking like something a Fourth-of-July rodeo clown would wear when swatched. I'm going to look for a darker, wine-ier red, I think, a brighter pink, a darker gray for background, and a better blue (or eliminate the blue altogether).

In other news, I sucked it up and finished the main knitting of the aran cardigan - I didn't realize blogging would provide such an impetus to make measurable progress on things :)

I was so pleased with myself for managing the three-needle bindoff on the top of the hood so cleverly, getting the cable band to cross right in the middle and everything...

but totally failed to realize that the cable is crossed the wrong way - the only incorrect cable in this whole freaking sweater - until I looked at this photo more closely just now. Now I'm taking perverse pleasure in wondering whether I should rip and fix this.

I'm thinking not, because it's at the top of my head where no one will notice, and because I have this to deal with right now:

Seriously, a veritable runway of stitches to be picked up and knit. Worse than a runway, actually, because once I get to the vanishing point you see above, at the tip of the hood, I have to turn and come back to the other bottom front edge. Gah.