Posted in Knitting, Work in progress

WIP Wednesday: It’s purple

At either Thanksgiving or Christmas 2018, I told my mother and sister I would make them a sweater and asked them to choose a pattern.  I finished Mom’s pullover (blogged here) and gave it to her at Thanksgiving 2019.

I’ve been working on my sister’s cardigan ever since.  The pattern is See You There by Joji Locatelli.  It’s a top down design with lots of cabling, so it’s fun to knit.  It calls for a worsted weight, but I’m making it in a fingering weight held double because purple is the perfect color for my sister, and I had sooooo much of this Araucania Itata Solid that I wanted to use as much as possible. (Yes, gauge issues meant math was required.)

I See You Cardigan 6 (2)

I finished the body the other day.

I See You Cardigan 1 (2)

Do you see what I see?  Yes. I didn’t notice it until I took the photos.  Some of the skeins are a deeper purple color than the others.  And they’re all in the same dye lot.  *sigh* The subtle striping isn’t terrible, but it wasn’t what I wanted. I’m hoping a good soaking wet block will help even the coloring out.  Isn’t it awful to actually wish for the dye to run?

I’m working on the sleeves now. Then there’s the hood and the button band to make. The end is in sight. Sissy might even get her sweater before winter’s over.

Posted in Finished object, Knitting, Life in general, Yarn stash, Year in review

2019 in review: Yarn

2019 wasn’t a terrifically productive year for finished projects, probably due to the fact I did four plays. But I did get some things made.

100_5070 (2)First thing finished was the Lochlan Cardigan in February, briefly blogged here.  I wear this cardigan a lot.  It’s really warm; I often throw a sleeveless vest over it, and away we go on weekend errands. No heavy coat needed unless the wind is really sharp.  This was my first project with zipper installation, and it was easier than I expected.  Fear of zippers will no longer restrain me!  It’s also the first time I doubled a fingering weight yarn instead of using a DK as the pattern requires.  My gauge was a little off, but math fixed that, and the fit turned out great.

100_5139 (2)After getting home from Stitches United in June, also briefly blogged in the link above, I made a swimsuit coverup from a pattern I’d had in my queue forever.  The blog entry for this project is here.  As I suspected it would, the coverup shrank in the wash, and now fits much better through the neck and shoulders. When I wash it, I tumble it until it’s damp-dry and then lay it flat and block out the length.

MicheleMeAtAvilaI took the coverup to California with me in August, completely forgetting how cold Northern California beaches are.  I wore it with my swimsuit, shorts, and a denim jacket against the chilly shore breeze.  Although we didn’t get a picture of me wearing it, the coverup actually got used in the way it was intended when the spouse and I went to Sandestin (Florida) for Labor Day.

100_5168The Cabled Yoke Cardigan, finished in July, was part of a Vogue Knit #19 in 2019 Challenge. The Vogue Knitters group on Ravelry does this challenge every year: knit the corresponding pattern number for the last two digits of the year out of any Vogue Knitting magazine.  The blog entry for this project is here.  I was still mildly unhappy with the size after wearing the cardigan several times. So the other day I ran it through the washing machine in a mesh bag on the handwash cycle, and then laid it out flat to dry.  The sweater did exactly what I thought it would do: felted just the teensiest bit, just enough to make it fit better and not be so loose and long.  Yes, I was gambling.  Yes, I got lucky.  Don’t try this at home, kiddies.  Now I need to re-sew the buttons.

Mom'sPullover1 (2)My mother’s pullover was the final project for the year.  We picked out this yarn last Thanksgiving, and I gave her the finished sweater this Thanksgiving.  I haven’t blogged about it yet, so here are the details.

Pattern: Delsea Pullover by Lisa Shroyer (click here for link to project page)

Size: 56

Yarn: Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted Tweed Superwash, colorway 917 Steel Cut Oats, 1143 yards

Needles: Addi Turbo Circulars, US size7

Mods: None, except for giving the bottom ribbing the same number of rows as the ribbing on the sleeves.

Satisfaction with end product:  My mother loves it.  She plans on wearing it over long-sleeved tees and turtlenecks to keep her toasty warm throughout the winter.

This pattern is easy television knitting, and I would have finished it much sooner had I not gotten bored with the endless endless stockinette and taken time out to make the swimsuit coverup and cabled cardigan mentioned above.  No matter: I always intended to give it to Mom around Thanksgiving and that deadline was met.

100_5146 (2)In the acquisitions department, 2019 was a year of extreme stash enhancement.  I’ve blogged about a lot of the new pretties, but not all of them, and I’m not going to take the time now to chronicle everything I skipped writing about.  Suffice to say, between January 2019 and December 2019, I added 86 new skeins, and a total of 23,468 yards, to stash.  A few (a very few) of those skeins were gifts or prizes, but most of it was purchased. I know I’m lucky and privileged that I can afford to buy yarn of such quality and in such quantities. Believe me, I’m grateful.  And I refuse to feel guilty, but dang, I really need to get to work on reducing this stash.  It’s damn near unmanageable. Especially considering this year I used only 7,122 yards in completed projects.

So, without making any resolutions, because those are doomed to fail, I’m going to set a 2020 goal of using two skeins of yarn for every skein I might buy in the coming year.  So far I have used four skeins (I’m making a cardigan for my sister), so that means I can buy up to two new skeins.  A secondary goal is that any skein I buy will be something really special — like cashmere or silk or some other luxury fiber.  The cost of such yarn will be a secondary deterrent to willy-nilly fiber acquisition.  We’ll see how it goes.  Wish me luck!

Posted in Finished object, Knitting

Freshly finished: Cabled Yoke Cardigan

A few months back I committed to a mini-knit-along with another Ravelry member.  We both decided to knit the #19 Cabled Yoke Cardigan from Vogue Holiday 2016 as part of the Vogue Knitting forum’s “Knit #19 in 2019” challenge.

Here’s my completed cardigan:

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Pattern: As mentioned above, #19 Cabled Yoke Cardigan by Kristen Ten Dyke, from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2016. Click here for my Ravelry project page.  This is knit from the top down, with no seaming at all.

Size: 38″

Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, colorway 79 Thundercloud (a deep deep gray) (discontinued), 1175 yards

Needles: Addi Turbo Circulars, US size 4 and 5; Knitter’s Pride Nova Platina DPNs, US size 4

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Mods: Not many. The sleeves are an inch shorter than the pattern called for. I also used beads in the yoke instead of bobbles.  I wasn’t happy with how loose the seed stitch cuff turned out on the first sleeve, so when I knit the second sleeve, I went down a needle size when I got to the cuff. That was better, so I re-knit the first cuff.  Otherwise, knit as written.

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Beads: 32 Toho 6/0 glass seed beads, color Metallic.

Buttons: 7 vintage buttons from stash. Glass/metal/bakelite. Non-matching but similar. Purchased at a Stitches event some years ago.

Hair:  Courtesy of brutal Georgia humidity

We’re always our own worst critics, so when I look at it, I see all the flaws.  For example, the 38 turned out a trifle big, but it’s not so big that it’s unwearable. It’s too long for me because I didn’t shorten the waist shaping to accommodate my height — well, lack of height, to be precise.  And the button band and cuffs are still a little loose and gappy for my taste, despite using a smaller needle. I don’t care, not really. Still, if I ever knit this again, I’ll make it one size smaller, shorten the torso by about two inches, and knit all the seed stitch edgings with a size 2 or 3 needle instead of a 4.

Despite its imperfections, I’m happy with it overall. It’s comfortable, it’s cozy, and it looks pretty good.  The color will coordinate with multiple items in my wardrobe for work and casual wear.

Come on, autumn weather!

Posted in Knitting, Work in progress

On the needles: three projects

I’ve got three projects going right now (and am fighting the urge to cast on/start crocheting another).

The oldest WIP is a pullover for my mother. I intend to have it done by her birthday in November.

100_5135 (2)

It’s knit from side to middle, and then side to middle again, with the center seams front and back joined by grafting, if I remember right. I set it aside a while ago to work on something else, so I don’t recall exactly.

Mom’s pullover got thrown over for this cardigan, as part of a Ravelry Vogue Knitting group KAL.

100_5132 (2)

It’s top down and mostly seamless (there will be a short seam under the arms, and that’s it). But I set it aside, too, because it’s summer and I desperately need a new bathing suit coverup.

100_5130 (2)

This is also a top down knit in a tiny cotton tape that’s so crisp it almost feels like paper.  It will soften up once washed.  I love the sea-glass color.  I need to have it done no later than the end of July because I’m going to California the first weekend of August.  And I’ve promised myself that I will spend at least one of those days in California on the beach.

While at Stitches, I bought some linen yarn and a pattern to make another bathing suit coverup, but I decided to go with this one instead.  I may repurpose the linen, or I may use it for the coverup at a later date.  Won’t hurt to have two.

Posted in Book stash, Books, Knitting, Project planning, Reading, Technique, Yarn stash

Been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely time

This Led Zeppelin moment brought to you by… YouTube

Of course, it’s my blog that was lonely, not you all. You went about your days in ordinary fashion, never even noticing the eight-month absence here. Which is perfectly fine. I don’t really expect anyone to actually pay attention to my ramblings. It’s one of the reasons I feel only marginally guilty when I don’t post for weeks and months at a time.

But I finally found some time to catch you up, the three of you who still read this thing. 🙂

Since we last met, I made two shawls:

The Reyna

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and Arroyo;100_5067 (2)

And one hooded cardigan, the Lochlan.
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I performed in two plays:

The Vagina Monologues
TVM

and A Round-Heeled Woman.
RoundHeeledWomanBanner

I read all of 34 books and portions of eight others. Three of those are “did not finish” and five are still being worked on.

And I just got home from Stitches United in Atlanta, with lots of new goodies.
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At Stitches, I took some great classes, learned how to customize a pattern’s fit to suit me, tackled brioche stitch and Irish crochet, won a door prize, made two new friends, and (as you can see above) went a little crazy in the Marketplace. I had an absolutely fabulous time, and came home inspired and ready to tackle some new challenges.

This summer will include taking a dance class, learning an Irish accent, surgery (nothing major), and traveling to California for my 40-year high school reunion. My intention is to be a little more present around here, post a little more frequently. You know what they say about intentions.

Drop me a note in the comments and let me know you’re still here too!

Posted in Finished object, Knitting

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.

 

Posted in Knitting, Work in progress

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:

img_20180819_144314

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.

Posted in Finished object, Knitting

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
Posted in Finished object, FO Fridays, Knitting

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!

Posted in Knitting, Work in progress

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…)