Tag Archive | cardigan

FO Friday: The Wildflower Cardigan

100_4655Hurray, it’s done! After all this time, it’s done!

Well, to be totally truthful, it was finished at the end of June.  But it wasn’t until  two weekends ago that spouse and I managed to coordinate our schedules for a photoshoot (my head is cut off in the photos because I hadn’t yet taken a shower that day and my hair was a mess;  spouse said “Either we take these pictures now or they don’t get done,” so we took the pictures); and then it wasn’t until this past weekend that I found the time to write this blog entry and schedule it for publication.

Pattern:  Wildflower Cardigan by Alana Dakos; available as a download or in the book, Coastal Knits.

Yarn:  Silky Wool by Elsebeth Lavold, colorway Acorn; roughly 8 1/2 skeins, totaling 1575 yards

Size: 43″ (bust measurement)

Needles: US 1, 2, and 3 — I used Hiya Hiya Sharps circulars.

Mods:  None, except adding a few more rows to make the button band wider and adding one more button.

Satisfaction with end product:  I love it.  It fits just right; it has the three-quarter sleeves that I love; it can be dressed up or dressed down.  Now I’m just waiting for the weather to turn so I can wear it.

You can click on the big pic up there to go to my Ravelry project page.  Here are some more pictures for your enjoyment.  Click each of the pictures to view it larger.

To knit this, you must be prepared to face endless endless endless stockinette. A lot of Alana Dakos’s designs are like that. Her cardigans tend to be very simple in structure, with one or two special design features (like the tiny pocket and the scalloped detail at the hem and sleeve edges on this one) that stand out against the acres of stockinette. The good thing is this makes her cardigans perfect for television knitting.

This post is part of the Knit Your Library Challenge. Click the badge to see what other folks participating in this challenge have done.

FO Friday Avantaknits Badge (2)Because I’m scheduling this entry ahead of time, I’m not linking with any other Finished Friday blogs. Feel free to link with this one, if you so desire!

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WIP Wednesday: The never-ending Wildflower Cardigan

Wildflower 12Don’t look now but this yarn and book blog has actual yarn content today.

I’m still plugging away at the Wildflower Cardigan. The right and left fronts are finished, and now I’m working on a sleeve.

Progress is slow but steady.  Mindless stockinette makes for easy television knitting, but I do get bored after a while.  I’m glad to be working on the sleeve because, hey, increases and counting rows!  Something to pay attention to.  And soon, the shaping of the sleeve cap, woo hoo!

In looking at this picture, I see how the tweedy silky texture in the Silky Wool gleams in the flash from the camera.  I really like this yarn, even if it does contain the occasional twig.  And it’s a good thing, too.  That I like this yarn, I mean.  Because I have, um… * counts * … four other colorways of Silky Wool in stash.  You can thank one of the vendors at Stitches South for that.

This post is part of the Knit Your Library Challenge hosted by Snapdragon Crafts.  Click that badge down there — the one that says “knit your library”, of course — to learn more about it.

And while we’re posting badges — yes, we have to show you these stinkin’ badges — you can click the other badge to see who else had something to show for the Stitch-Along Wednesday roundup.

knit-your-library_2016Stitch Along Wednesday(I don’t think these badges stink at all, by the way. I just couldn’t resist making the movie reference…)

WIP Wednesday: Still Gathering Wildflowers

Wildflower 11

I finished up the right front of the Wildflower Cardigan over the weekend and got started on the left front.  You can just barely see the cable crossing that marks the bottom of the flower pocket detail.  I haven’t touched any of the other WIPs that are floating around in my craft room — all of which are either cardigans or socks — and I’m fighting what may be a losing battle to cast on a quickie instant-gratification hat project.

Current Kindle book: California by Edan Lepucki, a collapse-of-civilization/survivalist story of the near future.  I use “survivalist” in the sense that the characters are out there in the wilderness doing their best to keep body and soul together, not in the hunkered-down-in-the-bunker, got-my-guns-n-ammo-n-MREs, looking-out-for-number-one sense that word usually implies.  However, I have just reached a part of the story where that latter definition might come into play.  Good story.

Current physical book: The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman.  This is the January selection for a Ravelry reading group, and I’ve barely started it.  Although I really like what I’ve read so far, I daresay it will not get finished before the end of the month.

Stitch Along WednesdayCurrently in rehearsal for Clybourne Park, playing Bev and Kathy.  Every time I take a part in a play, I remember why I don’t take parts in plays very often, especially as I get older.  I hate hate hate learning lines.  I want to place my script under my pillow and have the words I’m supposed to say magically appear in my memory through some form of osmosis.

This post is part of the Stitch-Along Wednesday round up.  Click that badge over there to see what other folks have been working on this week.

WIP Wednesday: Wildflower progress

Wildflower 10I took the Wildflower Cardigan with me to California over the weekend.  With all the time spent waiting around in airports and in the air, plus the evenings filled with chitchat with the girls, you’d think more would have been accomplished.  But there were books to read and movies to watch and photographs to share…  Still, it’s almost to the point where I can start binding off/decreasing for the armhole.

Knitting around non-knitters is eye-opening.  They think it’s magic.  Several of my girlfriends marveled at the tiny stitches.  “It’s tiny yarn and tiny needles,” I explained.  (This pattern uses sport-weight yarn and size 3 needles — while that is small, it’s not excessively tiny to a knitter.  Had I been using lace- or cobweb-weight and size 0 needles, they might have thought I was a sorcerer.)

This post is part of the Stitch Along Wednesday and Knit Your Library round-ups.  Click the badges below to see what everyone else has been doing.

Stitch Along Wednesdayknit-your-library_2016

WIP Wednesday: Hospital Edition

image

This will be a rough entry because I’m posting from my tablet and I can’t edit or format worth beans on this thing.

I also can’t take pictures worth beans as witnessed above. It’s sideways. But otherwise it’s decent for a photo taken in a hospital room in light slanting through the blinds.

That’s the right front of the Wildflower Cardigan with its pretty little pocket detail. The rest is straight stockinette, making this the perfect project for hospital knitting. I expect to advance another three or four inches today, unless I get bored and decide to read instead.

Meanwhile, I’m sitting at my husband’s bedside listening to the IV beep and waiting for the nurse to come in and fix it. I called her 15 minutes ago. Just because I think he’s the most important patient on this floor doesn’t make it so.

knit-your-library_2016I’m knitting from my library in 2016. So are a bunch of other folks. You can check out their posts by clicking the badge at the right.

2016: Plans, not resolutions

I abandoned making New Year’s resolutions ages ago because I always ended up breaking said resolutions and then beating myself up for failure.  Now I make plans or set goals.  Because plans can change if circumstances change and no fault accrues; and if goals aren’t met, any progress made toward those goals is a win.  Baby steps are still steps in the right direction.

Reading plans and goals:  I mentioned a couple these in Sunday’s Year In Review: Books blog post but they belong in this post as well.  My goal is to read and finish 52 books; then write at least a one-paragraph review and post it here as well as on Goodreads.  I also want to read more non-fiction.  Even though about one third of the books in my house are non-fiction — history, politics, sociology, and religion, mostly — I managed only one non-fiction title in 2015, and that one (Drift by Rachel Maddow) came from the library.  Speaking of the library, that’s part of the goal as well: to continue to make use of the library and of books I already own.  I simply don’t have room to acquire any additional physical books; and spouse and I have set Trigger Warningsome financial goals that limit my discretionary spending. What discretionary spending room I have, I prefer to save for yarn.  Or travel.  More about that later, though.

A couple of LibraryThing Early Reviewer titles rest here on my desk, Get In Troublewaiting to be read:  Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman and Get In Trouble by Kelly Link.  Getting those read and reviewed will do two things: alleviate the guilt I have for letting them sit as long as they have and add toward the annual reading goal.

Other than those two specific titles, and a general notion toward adding more non-fiction, I have no restrictions or plans for my reading material.  In the past couple of years, what I read and the order in which I read it has been dictated by the local library system.  I have a wish list, and when a title on the wish list becomes available, that’s what I read next. It’s rare that I don’t have at least one title from the library checked out.  Maybe cutting down on the wish list items will aid toward reading down the physical Mt. TBR in the house.  But that’s not a priority.

Wildflower 6Yarn plans and goals:  2016 will be the Year of Knitting Selfishly. All the knitting I did in 2015 was for other people.  This year it’s all about me and it’s all about the stash.*  First thing will be to finish the Wildflower Cardigan, an Alana Dakos pattern that’s been waiting patiently for more than a year.  The partial sweater is shown at right; the yarn is Elsebeth Lavold’s Silky Wool in Acorn. After that, I want to find the right pattern for a cotton shrug I’ve been wanting to make in a turquoise Cascade Ultra Pima.  And at some point this year, I hope to find some use for the two colorways of Rowan Plaid that’s been in my stash for going on 8 years.

Needles 2*Let me say at the outset that I do NOT pledge to go “cold sheep” — that is, not buy any new yarn — because that’s a sure-fire way to set myself up for failure.  What I can do is shop the stash first and, if I go to a yarn store because I’m traveling or because I’m accompanying someone else, I can limit myself to a single skein or two of exquisite sock yarn.

Speaking of finding patterns, I’ve decided to take part in Snapdragon’s Knit Your Library Challenge (click the link to learn more).  I’m confident that somewhere within all the pattern books and back issues of knitting magazines filed away in this house is any project I could possibly wish to make.  Matching the yarn to the pattern to the mood will knit-your-library_2016comprise a major part of this challenge, I think.  Sometimes I want to knit something new, but can’t make a connection between the stashed yarn in my hand and the library patterns that show up in Ravelry.  And the reverse is sometimes true:  I find a library pattern that I love love love but nothing in the stash works for it. When I have some time to breathe, I will spend several hours matching patterns and yarns and lay them out in an organized fashion. I’ve already got a couple of matches in mind.

Technique goals: This will be the year I finally tackle a Fair Isle project: a little one, like a hat. Three stashed skeins of a fingering weight cashmere blend in complementary colorways are screaming at me, so I want to shut them up. I also want to learn some different sock heels. I’ve always done the “flap and gusset” heel, so a short row heel and an afterthought heel are on my list this year.

Finally, I intended to have this blog entry ready to be published yesterday. Remember what I said at the top of this entry about plans? The universe had plans that trumped mine. I had to take my husband to the emergency room yesterday afternoon: he is currently hospitalized and we expect him to remain in the hospital for several days yet. His condition is not life-threatening — well, not really. I mean, it could be, but mainly it’s a chronic condition that periodically flares up and makes our lives miserable. I’ll be able to catch my breath when he comes home. In the meantime, I’m getting lots of knitting and reading done while sitting by his bed, in between the times I run home to take care of the pets. Thank heavens for an understanding employer.

2014 in review: Yarn

2014 wasn’t a productive year for yarncraft. I finally figured out why this past weekend, after Jacquenetta was gone. When she became so ill, she spent so much time in my lap during the evenings that knitting and crocheting came to a virtual standstill. I couldn’t work on projects without getting her fur all over them, but I could read, so I traded yarn for books. Snuggling her for the last few months of her life was worth every moment, and be damned to lackluster productivity in the yarn arena.

Projects finished in 2014: Three.

Wanderer Scarf 2The first, finished on New Year’s Day 2014, was the Wanderer Scarf, seen here modeled by spouse. The pattern and the yarn are from Rowan. It was intended as a gift for a friend in Washington, and finally was mailed off to said individual shortly before Christmas.

Buds and Blooms 21Next was my new favorite cardigan, A Rose in Winter, finished January 31. The pattern is “Buds and Blooms” by Alana Dakos. The pattern calls for endless endless stockinette, but that only serves as a backdrop for the gorgeous details: the buds and vine pattern up the back, the flowers on the pockets, the deeply ribbed collar. I also loved the yarn I used (Chris by Schaefer, now sadly out of business), and that gorgeous pomegranate color.

Penny's Granny 2The only other finished project was a giant granny square baby blanket, made for the new grandbaby of one of my colleagues. I grabbed a variety of high quality acrylic leftovers in my stash and threw them together to come up with the color scheme for the blanket. This is the fastest, easiest baby blanket I’ve ever made, and the pattern become my go-to pattern for quickie shower gifts.

Projects started in 2014 and not yet finished: Three.

Wildflower 6The day after the Rose in Winter cardi was finished, I cast on another of Alana Dakos’ patterns, the Wildflower Cardigan, using Elsebeth Lavold’s Silky Wool in a deep caramel color. This is another cardigan with vast expanses of stockinette but exquisite little details that make those vast expanses worth the tedium. The back of the cardigan is finished; the right front has been sitting here in my craft room, waiting patiently for me to pick it up again. Soon, my darling, soon.

Tunisian Terror squaresAt Christmas 2013, Mom picked out a blanket pattern in one of my afghan books. In April 2014, she bought the yarn and shipped it to me. Thus, the Tunisian Terror was born. The thing that slows me down with this project is the boredom. Each square is the same: one color surrounded by a border of black single crochet. The pattern calls for some multi-colored squares, but I haven’t got there yet. And each square, once finished and assembled, will be cross-stitched, so there’s some excitement to be had down the road. The finished blanket has 63 squares. I’ve got roughly half of those done.

Ultra Pima cardi attemptCome summer, I decided I needed to knit a lacy cotton cardigan to wear over sleeveless dresses, which serves two purposes: warding off the air-conditioned indoor chill that is everywhere during summer in the South; and making said sleeveless dresses appropriate for the office. Yes, I know it’s old-fashioned of me, but some reptilian portion of my brain won’t quite accept that “sleeveless” is now in keeping with professional office attire. I am determined to use this turquoise-colored Cascade Ultra Pima that’s been hibernating in my stash for several years, but have had nothing but trouble in finding the right pattern. I think I’ve started three or four separate patterns with the Cascade and ripped each one of them out after getting roughly five inches into the piece. I’ll keep experimenting until something clicks.

Projects started in previous years but not finished: Nope, not telling. Let’s just say there is more than one (*cough*spouse’s socks*cough*)

New techniques learned:

  • Tunisian crochet: Learning Tunisian crochet (Tunisian simple stitch only) was easier than I thought. I will no longer shy away from Tunisian patterns, even if they call for something other than TSS, because if I can learn that stitch by reading the directions, I can learn them all!
  • Mitered squares: This technique was taught me in a class at Stitches South in April. I have yet to put the technique to use, but the instructions and my practice swatches are sitting right here in my craft room, just waiting.

Stash acquired: Um. A lot. A good sight more than I used, that’s for darn sure. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Stash used: Not very much. As noted above, I only completed three projects. I’ll never go cold sheep, because such is beyond my willpower, but this year will probably be a diminished year in stash acquisition because I’m not going to Stitches in April. It’s been moved to Nashville and the travel budget just isn’t available. So, yay for the bank account? And yay for shopping the stash!

So, here we go, 2015! New year, new crafting opportunities, new patterns to read, new AND old yarn to fondle, new techniques to learn or put into practice. It’s going to be a good one.

WIP Wednesday: The Return of the Yarn

It’s been forever since I wrote about yarnie goings-on. Mainly that’s because I’ve been in a slump for several weeks — um, months — and have hardly touched any of the pending projects. In fact, I just took a look back and the last time I posted anything yarn-related was in June.

*sigh*

Tunisian Terror squaresThe only project that’s seen any significant progress is the Tunisian Terror. This picture was taken in July. Since then I’ve completed several more squares but haven’t taken any more recent photographs. If I buckle down, it’s possible I might get it completed by Christmas, which would make Mom happy, but part of the trouble I have with this project is the process of making the squares bores me silly. After about the third or fourth square, I’d mastered the Tunisian simple stitch and there’s simply no challenge any longer. Something to look forward to, though: The pattern calls for several squares that require color changes; however, due to some color and yardage Wildflower 8
Wildflower 6limitations, I had decided to wait until all of the solid squares were completed before getting into the mixed colors. I’m regretting that decision. It’s still the right decision, and I won’t change my mind, but I keep looking longingly at the directions for the multi-color squares…

The Wildflower Cardigan has had virtually no progress. The back was completed several months ago, and the left front was started, but once I got into the part where I had to follow the chart for the pocket design, I fizzled out. Again, this photo was taken in July. I have done some work on the first few rows of the pocket chart, but again, no pictures. In the meantime, please admire the scalloped bottom detail. And those little flaps on the stitch holders are the pocket backs. 🙂

Ultra Pima cardi attemptThat turquoise blue cotton lace shrug stalled right at the point the ribbing was done and the lace pattern began. I hated the lace pattern, so I put the poor thing in a bag for a time-out while I rethought the whole thing. Here we are, months later, and over the weekend, I finally did a couple of fresh Ravelry searches, which resulted in a few other lace cardigan or shrug patterns that may work. I just have to grit my teeth and rip this piece back to the beginning. Again.

Spouse's socks 6And the less said about spouse’s socks, the better.

Normally, I’d refer you to Tami’s Amis for the usual WIP Wednesday roundup, but there isn’t one for this week. If you’re on Ravelry, though, you can look in the group The Blog Hub for the WIP Wednesday thread and catch up there.

Inspiration Saturday, after a fashion

At the time I write this, it’s shortly before 1PM Eastern Daylight Time.

I’ve been up since 4:30. That’s AM.

My husband snores like a freight train. *sigh*

© Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine

© Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine

But I’ve tried to put the time to good use. A few days ago, I started making a little lace shrug, using a bright turquoise cotton DK I’ve had in my stash forever. The pattern I chose (pictured left) isn’t exactly what I want, but it’s the closest thing to what I want that I found while searching Ravelry. I’m not even two inches into the project yet, and I’m already not liking the pattern. This is now the third time I’ve started something with this yarn and started hating it (the pattern, not the yarn) before getting very far. It’s rather frustrating.

Why am I so determined to make this yarn into a lace cardigan? I have a sleeveless dress that is in desperate need of a cover-up to make it suitable to wear on camera. Ultra pima 1And besides, who couldn’t use a turquoise blue lace cardi? The yarn, by the way, is Cascade Ultra Pima. It knits beautifully, and I will find the right pattern for it, or die trying.

So, while I was awake in the wee hours of the night, I started searching Ravelry again, and expanded my parameters somewhat. Free patterns or in my library; 3/4 sleeve, V-neck, buttons optional, DK or sport-weight, leave off the yardage limit, leave off the lace requirement, but specify plant fibers rather than animal fibers. Maybe I’d find a coat or a tunic-length cardigan that I could shorten and adapt to meet my yardage requirements. And I found something. Still not exactly what I want, but in my bleary-eyed befogged state, I saw past the pattern and into the nebulous realm of …

© Vogue Knitting

© Vogue Knitting

(cue dramatic music)

Design!!

Or at least major modifications.

I looked at this coat and ticked off the things I don’t like: Can’t stand the lace patterns, and it’s waaaaayyyy too long. But it has a V-neck, buttons, and 3/4 sleeves. I pulled the magazine off the shelf and read the pattern. Okay, I see the spot where I can cut off the bottom two-thirds of the coat and turn it into a cropped cardi. What about the lace pattern? Next I pulled a stitch dictionary off the shelf. And I found a lace pattern that will work with the number of stitches needed for the back…but not the front. Wait, what if I…? And here’s where the calculator came out.

A rough sketch has been made. No, you can’t see it because my drawing skills are crap. The rough dimensions and a preliminary stitch count are calculated for a cardigan in my size. The rest of the math is still pending because a swatch has yet to be knitted.

In between all this calculation, I’ve eaten breakfast and weeded the backyard (spouse helped with both).

Now, I’m hot, sweaty, and tired, but a little exhilarated. I think a shower is in order, and then I’m going to resume work on the Debbie Bliss cardigan. Because I read that pattern again, too, and realized my frustration and dislike was due to a misreading of a particular line in the written lace instructions. (This is why I prefer charts.) I’ve tinked back to the beginning of the error and will start afresh. And continue the design work a little later on.

I’ll keep you posted on the progress on all fronts.

WIP Wednesday: Tackling Tunisian

Mom's Tunisian 5I started on The Tunisian Terror Sunday evening. And you know what? It’s not so bad!

I read through the pattern once more before chaining a single stitch and discovered I had missed something the first go-round. Something really important: the majority of the colorwork is applied AFTER the crocheting is done. A few squares have minimal crocheted color changes, but the rest of it? It’s cross-stitch! Can you say major sigh of relief? I knew you could.

Mom's Tunisian 7The technique isn’t hard, but it is time-consuming. I crochet faster than I knit, so I’m accustomed to flying through a crochet piece. Tunisian is much slower than regular crochet, so I’ve only finished one square and started on a second in three evenings of work (haven’t made a stitch as of yet today, but that will be remedied once this blog entry is posted). For someone who’s accustomed to whipping out one or two crocheted afghan squares in an evening, it’s a little frustrating. But this is a new technique, too, so maybe my speed will increase with practice.

It’s amazing how much Tunisian looks like a square of stockinette knitting. A far thicker fabric than a square of plain stockinette, but still… And the back even has “purl” bumps. What do you think of that? I think it’s pretty cool.

Wildflower Cardigan 5As you may have guessed, the Wildflower Cardigan has gone into hibernation for the nonce. I may alternate between the two projects: do four or five squares on the afghan, knit several inches on the cardigan, lather, rinse, repeat.

I left off just at the point where I was to start the pocket on the right side. The pocket linings were knitted first; now the exterior flap with its pretty flower motif will be made and the lining attached. Note to self: remember to read through the entire directions on the pocket again when you return to this project.

ab2a5-tami_wipToday’s post is part of the WIP Wednesday round-up, hosted by Tami’s Amis. Click the badge over there to see what other fabulous projects are in the works.