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Freshly Finished: Silver Marigold

Silver Marigold 1

Pattern: Marigold by Marie Wallin (from Rowan 45)

Yarn: Naturally Caron Spa, colorway 0008 Misty Taupe, approximately 836 yards

Needles:  Addi Turbo circs, US 5 for the body; Hiya Hiya steel circs, US 3 for the ribbing of the neck and button band; Karbonz DPNs, US 3 for the ribbing on the sleeves

Size: 36″

Satisfaction with end product:  I love this.  It’s light and drapy. It fits and feels great.  Click here for my Ravelry project page.

The pattern calls for US 2 (for ribbing) and US 3 (for body) needles, but I couldn’t get gauge with the US 3, so I went up to a US 5 for the body and saved the US 3 for the ribbing.

Silver Marigold 3The raglan shaping gave me fits.  I had to rip out the shaping on the back three times before finally figuring out the pattern instructions. The pattern reads like there’s an extra decrease on each knit side. Nor does it make clear not to decrease on the purl side as previously established for several of the sizes. Reading through the pattern, this language is repeated for all raglan shaping. To be clear, the raglan shaping is as follows: Dec 1 at each end of each right (knit) side row as established (that is, k6, ssk, k to last 8, k2tog, k6; follow instructions for eyelet row as established); do not dec on back (purl) side.

Silver Marigold 4And it wasn’t just the shaping on the back.  The sleeve gave me fits too. After tearing my hair out and then letting sleeve #1 sit overnight, I re-read the shaping instructions for the top bit. I guess the designer condensed the instructions for publication due to Rowan space restrictions. I wrote it out line by line for clarity.

This isn’t the first Rowan pattern I’ve made, but it’s the first pattern that wasn’t an accessory, like a hat or a scarf.  The, um, brevity of the instructions gives me some pause about tackling other cardigans and pullovers.  I mean, I muddled through, and the sweater turned out fine, but it was a headache for a while.  I don’t knit to give myself headaches.  Knitting is my soothing activity.

Regardless, the knitting was finished sometime in May, and then the sweater sat in pieces for months.  Well, it did get some use as a prop in Evelyn In Purgatory, but mostly it sat.  Finally, in early September, I finished the seaming, added the front and neck bands, sewed on the button and called it good. I opted out of the embroidery after realizing how easily this yarn snags.  I’ve already worn it a couple of times.  It’s suitable for casual weekend wear and for the office.  So, I love it, despite the PITA it was to make.

 

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Freshly finished: Piney Woods Tunic

Glacier 6Pattern: Glacier by Joji Locatelli
Size:  Medium (38″ bust)
Yarn: Newton’s Yarn Country Merino Nylon Superwash, in colorway LB Print, 1422 yards
Needles: Addi Turbo circs, US size 6 for the body; Hiya Hiya steel circs, US size 2 for the ribbing
Mods: Only 6 decreases on the sleeves, because going the full 10 as called for by the pattern would have made the sleeves way too long; ended mitered knitting approximately 1 inch sooner than called for by the pattern
Satisfaction with end product:  Quite happy indeed.  Now if it will just get cold enough in Atlanta to wear it.

By the way, here’s the link to my Ravelry project page.

Glacier 7I was working from the paper book (Interpretations 5) rather than the e-book, and I was a little flummoxed when the pictures of the tunic showed ribbing at the bottom edge, but no instructions for the ribbing were included in the book.  Because of the way the garment is constructed, stitches for said ribbing had to be picked up after the rest of the garment was finished.  A post in the Ravelry Interpretations forum quickly resulted in a private message from Interpretations pattern support with the missing instructions.  Kudos for the prompt response!

The yarn is some deeeeeep stash that I bought at Stitches South in 2010.  It’s actually a wool/nylon sock yarn, and I had something like 1600 yards of it.  It was a bulk purchase in an absolutely HUGE skein.  Over the years, I’d occasionally pull it out and look at it, then put it back because I just couldn’t imagine what I was going to make with 1600 yards of fingering weight sock yarn.  Finally, this tunic pattern came along: a perfect match.  So, the moral of the story is don’t despair!  Even the oldest yarn in your stash will find its project.  Eventually.

Freshly Finished: Out of My Head Shawlette

100_4988 (2)Once upon a time I was not a shawl person. That changed. Behold the latest finished shoulder warmer:

Pattern:  Out of My Head Shawlette by Mona Mono

Yarn:  Cherry Tree Hill Broad Band Supersock Silk in African Grey, 354 yds; Cascade Heritage Sock in Real Black, 132 yds

Needles:  Addi Turbo Lace, US Size 6

Satisfaction with end product:  LOVE!  It’s colorful and lightweight and so versatile.

I’d been holding onto that Cherry Tree Hill yarn for a while, waiting for just the right inspiration.  The Out of My Head pattern was exactly suited to my internal vision for this yarn.  Because I wanted to use every single yard, I kept knitting in 100_4989 (2)stockinette with the established increases long after the pattern called for beginning the lace.  Once I reached the last color change, then I started the lace edging.  The Cherry Tree ran out about halfway through the lace; I was expecting that and pulled out some leftover Heritage Sock to finish up the edging and bind off.  I think it worked out just fabulously.  The extra knitting  made the finished shawl an extremely long crescent shape, one that can be wrapped around me completely and tied in the back for an effortlessly wearable colorful accessory that also keeps my shoulders warm in an overly air-conditioned office.

You can find my Ravelry project page here, with lots of other pictures.

Stash Enhancement Saturday: Overboard edition

Because I’ve been so busy with rehearsals and performances in recent months, I haven’t made it out to any local yarn stores.  That did not stop me.  Because I have the internet.

Normally I ignore the emails I get from yarn dyers and other internet yarn vendors, like Webs or KnitPicks.  I especially ignore the emails I get from Expression Fiber Arts, simply because Chandi’s yarn is so amazing.  Except for email with the weekly free pattern .  That one I always open.  Well, a few weeks ago, that free pattern email also featured some new yarn colorways that smacked me between the eyes.  So I went to the website and looked around.  Out came the credit card.  Results pictured below.  I offer you my photos and her photos, because the lighting in my craft room simply does not do her yarn justice.

 

Pearlescent Fingering, colorway “Hygge”

 

Pearlescent Fingering, colorway Beluga

 

Oasis Camel Silk Fingering, colorway Arches National Park

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Resilient Sock, colorway Butterbeer

For this one, you just get my pic.  By the time I took photos and checked the website, this colorway was sold out and Chandi’s photo was no longer available.  Believe me, this creamy yellow, pale gray, and even paler ecru colorway is even more gorgeous in person.

And finally, this:

 

Dewy DK, colorway Maple Fog

I’ve actually lusted after this colorway for a while, but every time I checked the website, she was either out of stock or she didn’t have a sweater quantity in stock.  So I emailed and asked when she would have it available again.  “How many skeins do you want?” she replied.  I told her.  “Okay, it will be ready in about 10 days. I’ll email you then.”  And she did.  I bought enough for a cardigan.  It’s going to be amazing.

And now I’m going back to ignoring her emails, possibly even the free pattern Friday emails.  Because my credit card bill is going to be amazing too.

Book review: Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Broken MonstersBroken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Detective Gabriella Versado of the Detroit Police Department gets called out for a dead body. Said body has been pieced together from the upper torso of a boy and the lower body of a deer. This is the first of a series of similarly constructed corpses that show up around the city. While Versado works the case, her teenage daughter concocts a scheme with her best friend to catch an online predator; a tabloid freelancer does his level best to get to crime scenes ahead of the police; and the interior voice of an otherwise unassuming individual leads that individual to create the monsters Detective Versado keeps finding.

Tough read.

And I mean that in the nicest way. I think. It’s tough because of the subject matter and gruesome descriptions of mutilated bodies. And it’s tough because I found it a little hard to follow — but whenever a novel is hard to follow, I have to look at the circumstances in which I’m reading it. I read this one while rehearsing two plays at the same time. Yeah. Distraction.

So the tough read isn’t entirely the fault of the author. Lauren Beukes can write, I’ll give her that. I may try this novel again someday when I’m not so distracted. Or I may try Shining Girls instead.

View all my reviews

WIP Wednesday–A couple of items

A couple of WIPs are nearing completion.  I haven’t blogged either of them before so here’s your first look.  These are exciting times.

First up is Marigold from Rowan 45.  I’m at the sewing-together phase, as you can see.

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Once I finish sewing it together, I have to add the button and neck bands, embroider the flowers, and find the right button.

Unlike a lot of people, I actually enjoy seaming.  Well, maybe “enjoy” isn’t the right word, but I don’t hate it.  I view it as a necessary step in the process.  Sometimes I procrastinate on the seaming, but that’s usually because I’ve distracted myself by getting started on another project.

Like this one:

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This is the top-down Glacier Tunic from Interpretations Volume 5.  I love Joji Locatelli’s patterns.  I’m shaping the bottom now.  Then will come the sleeves and the neck band.

Both of these projects are so close to done that I’m struggling with cast-on-itis right now.  Must. Resist. The Call.

New FO: V-Neck Cardigan

Ravelry sometimes chooses my next project for me.  Such was the case when the Vogue Knitters group decided that, for 2018, we should knit pattern #18 from any Vogue Knitting magazine.  As it happened, I had a couple of #18s in my queue, so I picked one and cast on.

18 V-Neck Cardigan 1

Pattern: #18 V-Neck Cardigan by Anniken Allis, from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2016
Yarn: Naturally Caron Country, colorway 0017 Claret, roughly 750 yards (4 skeins and maybe 20 or 30 yards from a fifth skein to finish the button band)
Yarn notes: Super splitty, and definitely not an Aran weight. More like a DK or sport weight. Discontinued. I wouldn’t buy more even if it weren’t because the splitty nature was a real pain. But it knit up with nice stitch definition that made the lace pop.
Needles: Addi circulars, US 6
Buttons: Resin buttons from stash, purchased at a Stitches South booth so long ago I can’t remember the vendor
Mods: No waist shaping; shortened sleeves by 1 inch; shortened body by 7 inches. My gauge was slightly larger than what the pattern calls for, so a little bit of math resulted in casting on for the 38” and expecting to get the 39.5”. My bust is 37”, and the pattern calls for 2-3″ of ease, so we’re good there.
Satisfaction with end product: I love it. I’ve already worn it to work. It’s perfect for this cool spring weather, even if it is sort of an autumn color. It will be useful when autumn rolls around again, of course.  By the way, here’s the link to the Ravelry project page.

18 V-Neck Cardigan 2

The knitting of this little cardigan was a bit of a chore. The body to the yoke is all one piece; the sleeves are knitted separately and joined to the body at the yoke; then the whole thing is knitted as one piece.  I got to the sleeve/yoke join and was merrily knitting and decreasing along.  Nearing the end of the decreases for the shoulder, I suddenly noticed the front edges between the lace charts weren’t matching up: one was considerably wider than the other.  Vogue errata, grah! On the VK site, I found the error.  Unfortunately, to fix it, I had to rip back nearly a week’s worth of knitting, all the way back to the joining of the sleeves, and start that whole section again.  Frustrating.  But I may have finally learned to check EVERY SINGLE VOGUE PATTERN for errata before casting on.

18 V-Neck Cardigan 4

Another issue with the pattern is it doesn’t really explain how to manage the continued decreases across the lace once the lace charts meet up at the top of the shoulder.  So I muddled through by studying the magazine photos thoroughly, and then decreasing across the front edge charts and maintaining the stitch count by doing plain stockinette when I didn’t have enough stitches to make the yarn over and its accompanying decrease.  It worked out, so I was happy about that.

18 V-Neck Cardigan 6

The last real struggle was with picking up the stitches for the button band and neck edge.  Because I shortened the cardigan by 7 inches, the pattern instructions for how many stitches to pick up went right out the window.  So what I did was fall back on the standard method when you don’t know how many stitches you need.  I picked up 3 stitches for every four rows as follows: 89 from cast on edge along right front edge to marker, knit according to pattern to next marker, from marker pick up 89 down left front edge to cast on edge.  Perfect!

And now, one last photo.

18 V-Neck Cardigan 3

The cheesecake shot

Stash confessions

Let’s see….last August was the most recent stash update.  And until yesterday, there really hadn’t been that many stash acquisitions.  Rehearsals got in the way of yarn shopping as well as yarn creating.  But yesterday made up for it.  Hoo boy.

Let’s start with some yarn I actually acquired a couple of years ago but didn’t put into Ravelry until a few months ago.

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Alpacas By The Falls Pure Alpaca, an undyed 100% alpaca light worsted/DK, purchased at a small town LYS in Alabama.  Each skein weighs about 115 grams, and my best guess on yardage is probably 200-220.  I really don’t know because the label doesn’t say.  This was a one-off production run by an Alabama alpaca farm, who has since decided that their alpacas are pets rather than products.  I found this out because, when I finally got around to putting it in the Ravelry stash a few months ago, I emailed the alpaca farm to ask them how much yardage was in each skein, and she emailed back with the information that she didn’t remember and they only made the one batch as an experiment. I adore the tweedy gray, but it’s kind of hairy and scratchy, so I imagine I’ll turn it into a sleeveless vest of some sort.

In February I had a photo shoot in downtown Lawrenceville, Georgia.  After the shoot, I couldn’t leave town without visiting The Yarn Garden, where I found this fabulous color combo that almost literally jumped off the shelf into my hands.

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Manos del Uruguay Alegría in colorways Nickel (the gray tonal) and Turmeric (that gorgeous golden yellow).  This yarn is going to become the Make Space cardigan by Veera Välimäki.

I renewed my Rowan subscription recently and received the appreciation gift in the mail a couple of weeks ago.

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Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted in Peacock.  There’s just enough of this to make a scarf and hat combo if I stay with a solid color.  I have leftover partial skeins of other 100% wool worsteds, though, so I could throw a bunch of colorways together to make a colorwork pullover or something.  We’ll see.  It’s a sturdy workhorse yarn, so I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

And then there was yesterday’s splurge.  My cohort in yarn crime Alice and I drove up to Gainesville for a coffee and yarn buy excursion.  Our target was a yarn store that had announced it was closing at the end of April.  Currently everything is 35% off.  The discount will be greater as the month wears on, but we wanted to get there before the stock was too picked over.  And we found some perfectly gorgeous stuff.

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Frabjous Fibers Cheshire Cat Fingering (Uncommon Nonsense collection) in colorway Flower Bed.  This one made me think of Monet’s Water Lilies.  Really generous yardage in this put-up — over 500 yards — so there may be enough to get a pullover or cardigan with short sleeves out of these two skeins.  April Come She Will is a possibility.  Or perhaps La Grasse Matinée.

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Malabrigo Silky Merino in colorways Ravelry Red and Vigo.  This will become a short-sleeved tee or cropped cardigan of some sort.  The Short-Sleeved Raglan Tee or The Girly Tee are both possibilities.

After a stop for a bottle of water, we drove back to Atlanta to visit a new yarn store, The Craftivist.  Here’s where I went a little mad in the MadelineTosh department.

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Tosh Merino Light in Winter’s Rest

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Tosh Merino Light in Purple Rain

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And Tosh Merino Light in Gracenotes.

I haven’t the faintest idea what I’m going to do with these, but the speckled colorways just screamed at me to take them home.  What’s a girl to do?

Go to the bookstore down the street, that’s what.  I’ve been intending to visit A Cappella Books ever since I moved to Atlanta over five years ago.  Since we drove right past it after leaving The Craftivist, we had to stop.  I picked up a novel that had been on my wish list, American War by Omar El Akkad, plus another novel I hadn’t heard of but had enjoyed a previous book by the same author, The Changeling by Victor LaValle.

So, it was an expensive day, but a happy day.  Four, count ’em, four small businesses supported (our coffee and mid-morning snack came from an excellent non-chain coffeehouse, Midland Station), so feeling a little virtuous about that.

But I’m hiding next month’s Amex bill from the spouse.

New blog entry, with actual yarn content!

With all the rehearsals going on over the last six months, you would be forgiven for thinking that I’d forgotten how to turn yarn into usable items, much less actually complete anything.

Ha!  I haven’t!

Okay, I didn’t get much accomplished in that time, but there were a couple of things.  First, this baby blanket for a colleague who was expecting his first child was started in November and finished in January.

Mike Blanket 3

Pattern: Taylor Baby Blanket (my original design)
Yarn: Bernat Pipsqueak, in four different colorways (see Ravelry project page for details), approx 275 yards total
Needles: Addi circs, size US 15
Size: Approx 36″ x 24″
Satisfaction with end product: It’s soft and squishy and perfect for a newborn. My colleague and his wife loved it, and that’s the most important thing.

Late last summer I made this tank top.

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Pattern: S7365 Damentop mit Ajourmuster by Schachenmayr Design Team (Thankfully, it was available in English)
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Sunseeker Multi in Candy Cane, approx 628 yards
Needles: Addi circulars, US 5 and US 3
Size: Medium (34″/36″)
Mods: Gauge with this yarn was a little wide and tall, so I cast on for the small to get a medium, and began the armholes at row 120 instead of row 148. Did 4 rows garter stitch at bottom edge before beginning lace pattern. Also 4 rows garter stitch at neck edge and armhole edge instead of stockinette. Did not turn over arm and neck edges for a hem. 2 inch shoulder seams instead of 2 cm as called for in the pattern.
Satisfaction with end product: Made for me, and I love it. It’s cool and comfortable and looks pretty good under a jacket, so I can even wear it to work.

You can see a few more pictures on the project page.

And finally, I made this hat in February:

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Pattern: #24 Cabled Pompom Hat by Annabelle Speer (from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2012)
Yarn: Schaefer Chris in Pomegranate, approx 215 yards (a now defunct yarn company; this was my last skein)
Needles: Addi circs, US 7
Mods: Smaller pompom due to lack of the appropriate size pompom maker, a situation that has now been remedied
Satisfaction with end product: This was a gift for a friend who helped out the production of Old Love by sending us authentic Tim Horton’s to-go cups from Canada to use in our coffee shop scene. A small detail that the audience probably never noticed, but we did. I think the hat turned out lovely, but more importantly, my friend did too. You can see a few more pics on the Ravelry project page.

Catching up on yarn biz 2: More recently finished FOs

Misty 1Pattern: At Dawn by Joji Locatelli.  Great pattern. Easy to follow. Looks good either side, although if you look closely, you can tell which is the “wrong” side in the photos.

Yarn: MC (darker shade) = Araucania Huasco/Botany Lace in colorway 017, 329 yds; CC (lighter shade) = madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in colorway Urban Flagstone, 353 yds.  Misty 2Both yarns are fabulous to work with, and they look so good together. I was a little concerned because the Tosh is a single and the Araucania is a two-ply, but they worked like they were meant to go together and made a scrumptious garter stitch fabric.

Needles:  Hiya Hiya Sharp Steel Circs, US 3.  These are pretty much my go-to needles for most fingerweight projects.  They’re just grippy enough, and plenty sharp for picking up wrapped stitches or working lace charts.

Satisfaction with end product:  A qualified hurrah!  I love the drape and think the colors look amazing together.  The unusual shape makes it a little difficult to wear, but I may remedy that with a shawl pin.  I’m looking forward to wearing it once the weather cools.

Another pic because it’s so pretty.  If you want more pics, you can go to my Ravelry project page.

Misty 6

Next up, my new favorite!  I finally found the perfect pattern for that Cascade Ultra Pima I’ve been trying to turn into a cardigan for years.  Behold!

Flower Cardigan 5Pattern: Blomstertrøje / Flower Jacket by Lene Holme Samsøe, from the now-out-of-print Feminine Knits book.  I rated the pattern medium difficulty because increasing/decreasing while maintaining the lace pattern isn’t necessarily a beginner skill. Otherwise, it’s fairly easy. I rated the pattern itself as three stars because of the many errata, only one of which (the error in the flower chart) is noted on the Interweave site. For example, the directions to bind off for the shoulder were identical for the left front and right front, when they should have been reversed. Also, the directions for buttonhole placement should have been in the Flower Cardigan 3section prior to “shape neckline”.  It’s only because I’m an experienced knitter that the errors gave me no difficulty.  A newbie might have been in a little trouble. While I’m willing to believe these may have been simple Danish-to-English translation errors, the English-language tech editor should have caught them.

Size: 36″.  And you can’t imagine how much of a thrill it gives me to make something in such a small size.

Yarn:  Cascade Ultra Pima, colorway 3732 Aqua, 685 yards.

Needles:   Addi Circs, US 2; Addi Click Circs, US 4

Buttons:  4 vintage 1/2″ mother-of-pearl shanks from stash. The pattern called for 3/4″ buttons, so these were just a smidge too small for the buttonholes.  I remedied that by tightening up the buttonholes with sewing thread after sewing on the buttons.

Satisfaction with end product:  Regardless of the pattern errata, the cardigan itself turned out great.  I finished it on a Saturday and wore it to work the following week.  It fits like it was custom-made….Wait a minute; it was!  And I love it.

Because I love it, here’s one last photo.  Naturally, the Ravelry project page has more.

Flower Cardigan 6

Now we’re all caught up on finished stuff. Another project is on the needles, of course, so stay tuned.